The Spirit Journal

Sexual Freedom: An ongoing journey through child sex abuse and adult healing

It has been a long time now since I have posted anything in the written blog portion of Sunshoal, let alone the podcast. As is true for some many of us, this year has been compounded and compacted with trials and stressors, then some triumphs, then more trials. Above it all, I am finding growth. Though the path to get there seems and has seemed in the past, crowded, trecherous and forever.

And then, suddenly and right through the thickest, roughest, nastiest dark of it, you’ve suddenly learned something. Suddenly there is growth. A new shoot so automatic and green growing from within you. Like a dusty old plant you’ve been rehabilitating and now it’s so suddenly and freshly sprouted again. This time it has been so many things for me.

COVID-19 and the isolation that came with it was an unexpected curse for me. I had always thought myself to be fairly independent, wonderful with solitude and not in need of much human intimacy. It became clear to me that all that might be true when I can go to work and see a few dozen people and socialize, go to the dog park, the grocery, the odd friend here and there. Go to classes and workshops, volunteer and attend trainings. Once all that had come to a screeching halt, I had nothing and no one but my partner, who I had been on the rocks with here and then as we were recovery our relationship from an intense honeymoon phase, both of us with rocky childhood backgrounds…plenty of package between us. Lots of clothes to sort with limited closet space if you know what I mean.

This, and a culmination of a few other things, some of which I can’t even remember, sent me in and out of some minor depressive episodes. My apartment would whirl in and out of states of disgust and destruction, and some semblance of spick and span. Dishes at times would pile into the sink so much so I had to go into the bathroom to fill my dogs water bowl. She, luckily, didn’t mind the taste of bathroom sink water to that of the kitchen tap. All the while expressing to anyone who may happen to ask that, overall, I was fine. I didn’t feel I had any close enough relationships to confide in. I had been bad at keeping them. My survival instincts of keeping people at arms length was beginning to back fire now that I couldn’t touch them with ten ten-foot poles.

Any sort of help I knew to give myself was drifting away into the land of “I don’t care” or even worse, “I don’t know”. Awareness is everything. I was trying my best, but I didn’t really want to. Actually, one of the better days was realizing I didn’t have to do any better than I was doing. To give myself time to be depressed, do nothing and rest. Heal. Times were hard. After those days of recuperation, I was able to life all those heaping dishes out of the sink and give them a wash. Finally my dog would enjoy kitchen water instead of that 3 buck chuck in the bathroom. I heard a story recently–or read one on Facebook anyway–about a women who went to her therapist and told him one of her biggest struggles above anything else was getting rid of the pile of dishes in the sink. Which, first, amen girl! Sometimes it’s not some big cinematic struggle of a lifetime. Sometimes its those nasty ass dishes. If only we could just eat. No strings, or dishes, attached. But alas. The women suggests the biggest part of the struggle she was avoiding was scrapping all the old food off before placing them in the dish washer. Her therapist replies, “Run the dishwasher twice…There are no rules. Run it three times. Just shove them in food and all and run it twice”, or something along those lines. And yeah, if you have a dishwasher, run that sucker eight or nine times! But if you don’t, which I don’t, then let those fuckers sit in the sink. And when you finally muster up that courage, wash the heck out of them. Call a friend, talk about whatever, play some music, and do the dishes. For me, honoring the fact that that is the challenge is what the first step towards motivation is.

Beyond dishes, after the school semester started back up, I had a huge and unexpected hit to my financial aid and needed to come up with 3,000 asap to pay my rent and survive. Suddenly I was swamped with financial stressors, at times not having enough money to eat. My car broke down and asked of me $600 dollars and at 15 credit hours of science classes, this wasn’t the back-to-school I had signed up for. It was a big deal for me to decide to go back to school. A risk in some senses and a sign of achievement in others. Overall, this COVID education was not the one I wanted, paid for and definitely not the one I deserved. Not the one I earned. Why can’t we just all take a year off from life and let us and the planet heal? Don’t people know that nothing is real?? This economy that and money this, job here, rent there, it’s all N O T H I N G. We created it, we can sure as hell hit the pause button. The little pausing we’ve done has shown how successful that has been. But no, we refuse. Because we need a million of everything–dollars, soaps, foods, restaurants, stores, clothes, shoes, tools, plastic nonsense, people–and we need it now! I am drained from it all. I plead for the world, a call to oneness and action in stillness.

But anyway, back to the story and away from the soap box. So here I was, breaking down about finances and I finally decide to get a job. Working and going to school–which by the way I had SUPREMELY slacked off on, SUPREMELY–couldn’t be any worse that the stress and pain of not having any money. I was already way below the poverty line as it was. The extra hit really took me to my knees. And thus, the piles of dishes in the sink and my poor dogs second class drink.

Finally, I hit a few breaks. I trade in my car for a much better and more reliable one that is also much cuter so hooray, and only pay $300 on top of the trade in because of my suave ability to negotiate which was good. It’s good to get to exercise your voice in a needed and assertive way. Especially if you’re stressed. I do some art, I write some poetry, I do a few podcasts and things are up and down but maybe more up than down.

Then I hit some hard spots. I have a break-up with my partner that ended up turning into a much closer and healing and healed relationship that is now just unlabeled. Which feels healthier for me and my black and white anxiety mind that doesn’t want commitment because I don’t want to get hurt. Hurt.

I have been hurt by many people in my life and in my family and you know, Life is just hard. It’s just good, and it’s just hard. And that’s just that. The breeze still blows. There is grass, there are dogs. Someone some where is getting married and having children, liberating by a cliff-over-hanging, a beach, a mountain. Somewhere someone is singing and cheering and saying goodbye. Somewhere someone is dying. Someone is being raped. Someone is losing hard for the first time, someone for the twentieth time. Somewhere someone is committing suicide and drinking again. And somewhere, a little girl is smelling a yellow flower for the first time and she loves it. Both are true. And without both we would die or at least be very uninteresting and even more uneducated. I mean sure, there on plenty of things on that list that I could SUPER do without and want to work to eliminate. But that alone doesn’t make them untrue.

Most recently, and the motivator to write this blog post, I have had an intense and traumatic flashback about a previous trauma I hadn’t yet been aware of. I had always known it. The way there is a knowing within you. To say I didn’t know would be untrue. How could I ever forget. My body knows and my mind with it. Some things remain unseen, un-opened, unaccessible or unacknowledged. The trauma was a heavy and violent one, and one which was sort of unclear. I had been sexually abused as a child by one of my older cousins, this I knew. I always felt there was something more, however. Soon came gathering senses of this other, hidden thing. This different thing. Little hints presenting themselves saying, ‘I’m here, look out for me, don’t forget me. Be open’. And so I was. It was hard to not close off by simply speculating on and on or worrying or just shutting it down. And here came afloat the rough and shattering memory of being raped by two men. I am not putting too much pressure or definition on this information, partly because it was so overwhelming to me and partly because I just don’t know all the details. This immense fact was so overwhelming to me that for the first time in my recovery history and in my history of having flashbacks, my brain panicked. I had this intense though as more of the memory unfolded that I couldn’t handle it. I was way too overwhelmed. I would have to come back to it later. And even now, knowing it and writing it and telling it to my therapist or my partner, I am not looking too closely, shying in someway from it.

And through all this there have been times when I thought I have reached a brink in the healing process where the road would be smoother and then I’ve gone further and its rocky again. I think this trauma coming up is a testament to my healing. To my growth, I am so honored and glad that my inner self and body felt comfortable enough to be vulnerable in that way. Thanks, body.

And all this is leading to a path of sexual freedom. A breath. A weight lifting, freedom on the other side to not be condemned by these demons. For all you rapists out there, know you are taking a life. A crime worse than murder. Your are destroying a core of a person, not allowing it to be seen. Consuming it. And for what really? I truly do not understand. And I may never. And I guess I am grateful for that. To not know the inside of that horror is probably a good gift. Away from those shitheads!

And back to sexual freedom. I will reclaim myself. And by honoring and remembering and telling these stories, I begin to reclaim my whole self. The sexual self, the child self, the playful self, the destructed self, the peaceful self and on and on.

So why am I telling you this incredibly personal and fresh story of abuse that I do not yet fully understand and that I haven’t told my family about and then I go and post it all over the internet? Because it’s mine. I can do with it what I please and I will. Another reason, stories like this deserve to be told, heard, shared and honored. In my family, we swept, and still often sweep, everything under the rug. I never thought I or my story mattered. That it was unacceptable. That I couldn’t and wouldn’t be heard even I tried to say it, that I wouldn’t be saved or defended. And I wasn’t. Because even when I shared about my cousin molesting me a few years after it had last happened, after a handful fo suicide attempts and hospitalizations, they denied me. To the point where I now question everything, even things I know to be true, traumas I know to be true. Even this most recent one, which I felt with my full body as I had flashbacks of it and saw in some flashes of honest memory, as soon as it passed the fear of it being a lie crept in. If not one corroborates it, if my family doesn’t support me, it must not have happened? Well folks, that’s just not fucking true. Fuck those people. You know your truth.

All but my parents denied me. Even they didn’t try to do anything real about it. My dad even forgave my cousin after my family drug him up to my dads doorstep to apologize to him, not me, but him. Like I was my fathers cattle which he accidentally shot in the leg. Like it was his right to forgive him on my behalf or even on his own. So yeah, they suck. And, so sorry for them, that’s all they had to work with. I wished my mom would have taken things out of my hands and pressed charges, done it for me and called screaming over the telephone, made some grand gesture instead of asking me to share deep, vulnerable accounts of the abuse and then didn’t even turn off the television let alone look away from it. Look people, if you can’t take the heat, don’t even offer to come in the kitchen. Especially if you’re the mom! But she tried her best with what she had. And yes, that stinks for me and a part of me hates her for it I suppose, but what can I do?

I can tell my story and I can own it. I do own it. It’s mine. And it’s yours too. For whomever is reading on any side of any story, your story is yours and yours only. You can defend it, share it and uphold it, but be prepared to deal with shitty people, people who just don’t know or have too much going on in their own lives to respect yours. But sing it out loud. You deserve it. And yes, what happened to you was wrong. What’s happening to you is wrong. Don’t let it go. And don’t wait for someone to save you. Save yourself dammit! Because unfortunately, as much as you want them to or need them to, sometimes no one else ever does. And in the grand scheme of things, this whole life is just you. So be wholesome and true! Run the dishwasher twice! Let the dishes sit in the sink. Draw a picture, meditate, do nothing all day and then tomorrow or in the next moment try again. But whatever you’re doing, in every moment, choose yourself. And if you forget, choose again. Do not hesitate. And if you do, choose again. Smell the little yellow flowers and take picture of a funny slug, help him across the road even so he doesn’t get squished. But use a stick! The salt and oils on our skin can harm him.

And if you’re the family, know that this is the other side of the story. This is what it’s like. Everyone comes with a past the guides them in one direction or another and everyone makes mistakes, especially with things that are shocking and emotional and very hard to deal with. No one knows how to handle these things really, that’s why it’s important to tell these stories on any end. So we can heal and move forward from our mistakes, pains and traumas. If no one had written books on how not to hydroplane in a car or what to do if your brakes go out, we would all just be out there busting our heads. Thank goodness those stories were told! Now let’s tell these.

Even when trying to do research to help figure out parts of my story, I notice these stories are silenced or edited and subdued even in places where they’re ‘being told’. It’s hard to find someone out right saying it. Do not let the world turn you into the dirty little secret. Let your voice be found and let it be heard.

Above all,

“Sing your song until the end”.

If you have questions or want to share your story, email us at sunshoal@gmail.com or visit the “Contact” page for more information on how to get a hold of us. Let us know if you would like to be a guest on the podcast or a written blog post or just want to chat. Life’s hard and good! So let’s start a conversation on every part of it and deepen our experience, together. Have the good in this day and remember, choose you! And again.

Be sure to check out the podcast and subscribe to it and the blog for more updates and opportunities for partnership etc.

Also available on Anchor, this blog, and any other major podcast host. Here is the latest episode. The title of the podcast is up for change, so if you have any suggestions vote and comment below! Or send us an email or DM on social media. Thanks! Happy Holidays.

And mom, if you’re reading this, don’t worry. For all you didn’t and don’t do best, I see you trying and I see glimpses, at least of what you had to work with. You have grown so much with me and I am thankful to have you as a mother, though there are things I still wish you would change. And would have changed. Things I don’t understand. Guess I have mommy issues! lol. Talk soon and love you much. I appreciate you working to honor me and honor you, now. Never stop choosing. You of course, not (just) me. 😉

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