Saturday, January 19, 2013

Break (29)

Bright golden and ruby red leaves on the trees gradually turned to brown and piled high on the ground. Sounds of static and rustling as the cold wintry winds blew the remaining of the summers foliage into what appeared like a leafy drag race to the end of the street. Halloween was a success; my daughter dressed as a punk fairy princess and my son was a superhero.

For the first time in recent memory, I was able to enjoy the day. I was learning to understand and cope with what ordinarily is a very traumatic start of the holiday season. I absolutely hated halloween, almost as much as I hated Christmas. In the past, my prefered method of dealing with this time of year was to ignore it, shut my eyes, and wait for the new year to come around as quickly as possible. My only dream was to get back into the normal routine with as little stress and social interaction as possible.

This year, I decided that it was unfair to my family that I was this way. I decided that I was going to make an active choice to be happy and more interactive during the holiday season. I told my therapist that I was going to take a break from healing for the rest of the year. I wanted to give my family a relaxed Christmas. After all, they had been through so much trauma of their own that first year. They needed a break as well.

Beginning the first of November I determined that I was going to take a two month break and resume the healing process in January. I put my journal down and began to wean myself off the support websites I had become active on.  I was putting healing on the back burner.

Tension began to build inside me over the next several days as if a cloak closet had become jammed too full and the contents were exerting enough pressure on the door to cause it to become unstable. I really didn't think that I had anything worthwhile to say to the world. Yet, I couldn't help but remember what was said during one of my many counseling sessions with Derek Sissel. “Write your autobiography, it will help you see how far you have come.”

I sat down at the kitchen table with my laptop, a steaming cup of Kenyan coffee, and a chocolate chip cookie. I began to write,

“I need to find another outlet. I have so many emotions lately I have become overwhelmed. Trapped inside my head, unable to effectively release my anger in a way that satisfies the savage beast inside me.”
                                  from “Emotional Hostage”  11.07.11

Something felt right about that first entry, as if in a strange way writing my story was something that I was destined to do. Perhaps I could help someone going through the same things that I have been experiencing.

I was very nervous about putting my story into words like this. I clicked on “Publish your Blog,” shut the lid on the computer and anxiously waited for someone to read it. I quickly reopened the laptop and watched the clicks count upward. I think I counted 20 hits that day. It was certainly more than I ever expected.

I wrote as much as I possibly could the next several weeks. It was an effective way of releasing some of the turmoil inside. My story was bubbling out faster than I could type. Writing eight chapters in two months, it was now more than ever I discovered the incredible healing power in words, not only to mend my own wounds but others as well. I was surprised, and I continue to be surprised, by the kind and supportive words from other survivors all over the world. I was beginning to feel as if a community of pain and healing was building around a common wound.

My family and I gathered together to mark the end of the year. We played cards, ate chicken wings, drank beer and other libations. The clock struck midnight signifying the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. We all eagerly ran outside to watch the fireworks shooting from the top of one of the tallest mountains in the United States explode into a myriad of bright colors.  It is a spectacle I look forward to every year. On this occasion,  I had high hopes that perhaps the worst was over and I would be able to move out of the trauma that had consumed my every waking moment.

The last of the rockets exploded over Pikes Peak creating a pink and blue shimmering light reflected over the snowcapped mountain. I still had many questions that needed to be answered. I needed to know how was an innocent boy like myself lured into such a hostile environment. What were the external circumstances that caused me to walk in to the pastor’s office time after time and again. I needed to know how did the abuse stop? Did he get bored with me? Did I just stop going? How long did the abuse last? Was it weeks? months? years? How many times was I abused? Who in that church knew and yet did nothing? I’m still here, but for what purpose?

Some of these questions I have yet to answer, some of these questions have been answered only in recent weeks. (stay tuned)

My dear reader, Thank you so very much for reading my continuing story here. I can't express how much each and every one of you mean to me. Because of your support and kind words I will continue writing. Please know that as I begin writing about the 2012 a year that was full of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies. You were here alongside me. Thank you for reading my work, thank you for being here.  



Anonymous said...

i want to thank you for writing your story and for sharing it with us. i too am a survivor of abuse and started the process of dealing with it about the same time that you started your blog. you have been a friend and fellow traveler with me through your periodic chapters - sometimes ahead - helping show me the way - sometimes lagging a few steps behind my perceived progress. comparing my memories and feelings and reactions to yours has helped me to understand myself better. it has helped me to know i am not alone.
keep up the good work - both writing and healing!

Anonymous said...

I always appreciate reading what you have to say. I cringe at times while reading your entries, but as hard as it is for this fellow survivor to read what you write, you always have something meaningful to say.

Perpetually Healing said...

I am so humbled thank you sooooooo much for reading! More to come!!!


Lisa said...

Joel, just wanted to let you know I'm back. Had to take a break from your story and focus on my own. (which is nothing like yours)

Perpetually Healing said...

Welcome back Lisa!! Thank you so much for reading. Is there anything you would like to talk about? Send me an IM.