Posted by: Marie | June 16, 2009

(88) Sharing my story

Post #88
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, January 8, 2009]

In mid-November (2008), I decided that I wanted to share my story with others – other survivors, friends and family of survivors, maybe even therapists who wanted to learn how to be more effective when dealing with someone like me. The thought of sharing my story to a larger audience was daunting, but I was compelled to do something positive with my experience. I realized this was something I could affect for the better. I could help break the silence.

Backyard by Martin Chen

Backyard by Martin Chen

In early-December, I compiled the journal entries I had written to-date and handed out copies to three co-workers. I asked them to provide feedback about their readability and value. As soon as I handed out those copies, I went home and crawled into bed. I stayed in bed for 24 hours because I felt too naked and vulnerable to come out from under the covers. It was tougher than I had anticipated to hand over my story to people I didn’t really know that well. However, the act of handing over the story to them put another huge crack in shame’s grip on me.

A couple days later, I was telling my accountability group about sharing my story with my co-workers. One of the ladies in the group asked if sharing my story might cause someone to assume I was a sexual predator because of my history with violent porn – which could cause me to lose my new job working with kids. This was a possibility I had never even considered.

It immediately sent me into a panic – I knew I was not a predator; my therapist had taken steps to confirm I was not a predator; but my co-workers might not know that. I didn’t sleep much that night as I tried to figure out how to politely ask my co-workers to give me back the draft and forget what they had read so far.

In the light of day, I decided to not ask for the drafts back – I decided that my story needed to be told and I was willing to risk my new job to get it told. I decided that, if a co-worker did report his or her suspicions to my boss, I would just deal with it at that time. I had done nothing wrong and I had nothing to hide.

This week, two of the co-workers told me they were having trouble finding time to read the draft. The third co-worker said he had read about a third of the book but then couldn’t handle the content. He apologized and handed the draft back to me with no comment. This reminded me of the weight of the content of my story – while I am becoming immune to the dramatic effect, my story will be shocking to most people reading it for the first time.

In the last month, I have talked to a number of people about publishing my story (my journal entries) as a .pdf file that could be distributed easily in electronic format. I figured that, with no publishing costs, it could benefit a large number of people. I contacted a significant number of mental health professionals — no one was interested in making it available to their clients. No online journals wanted it on their websites. I could find no takers.

So, I have decided to take matters into my own hands — I have decided to start a blog. I really have no idea how to do that, but I believe I can figure it out. My new blog is called “Coming Out of the Trees”.

I have decided to not use real names in most cases. I struggled greatly with that choice. Hiding behind substitute names goes against my intention of removing the secrecy that permeates sexual abuse. However, there are serious consequences for using real names – not just for me, but for others as well. I decided it was better to tell my story this way than to not tell it at all – it is the best I can do right now.

As I prepare to launch this blog, I can feel myself continuing to separate from my history. Sometimes I imagine seeing my history disappear over the horizon – I wave good-bye to it.

I will never forget – however, by putting my history into a written format and setting it free to go wherever it goes, it now takes on a life of its own, separate from mine.

Quotes 003


Responses

  1. It’s waaayy bad that no one wanted to read it or wanted a copy of the pdf. I think it’s because it so difficult to know about. On the most important flip side, people need to know and not stick their heads in the sand. They trick themselves into believing this kind of thing doesn’t happen or won’t happen to them and they won’t have to deal with it.

    So sorry. It is a story that needs to be told. As bloggers, we are all working towards making others aware, it’s all we can do right now for the time/place we live in right now.

    • Hi, Ivory –

      It probably was more an issue of packaging and/or marketing . . . I wasn’t very solid on how it was going to look and how it could be used . . . but, yes, I agree, we all can do our part to make others aware of what happens and what can be done about it.

      That is why I appreciate all of the writing you do!
      – Marie

  2. Personally I think this would be great as a book. There is a lot of information here. I have learned much.

    I haven’t found shock just relief.

  3. Thank you, lostinamaze –

    I’m glad it worked out the way it did . . the blog is much more healing than just blindly distributing a book would have been. The interaction with the readers (like you) is so valuable to me.

    – Marie


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