When I was 15, I tried to kill myself with the gun my mother bought to shoot the man who raped me. What she didn’t know was that he was one of three men who sexually abused me between the ages of 4 and 6. Terrible things happened, most of which I have repressed for years.
As a result, I have struggled with depression and agoraphobia my whole life. I fell into a pattern of relationships with broken people because I saw myself as broken. I thought, How can anyone love me when I am so hurt and ruined inside?
Then, when I was 28, my husband at the time suffered a psychotic break during which he tried to kill my two-year-old daughter and me at knifepoint. We escaped with our lives and little else.
That was the turning point. The moment I opened my eyes and saw the knife blade at my throat, I thought about nothing beyond getting my child and getting out. I moved with a calm and decisive strength I didn’t know I possessed. In the weeks that followed, I had an epiphany. I understood that my child and I deserve better. We are worthy of love and happiness, and I decided I would be the one to get it.
I’m writing all of this to tell you that although these things happened to me, they do not define me. That pain, all those dark years and struggles, they are part of me, but they no longer hinder me. Yesterday’s me is still me (thank you, Kim Namjoon). But I honor those struggles because today I am stronger, wiser, and more compassionate. I have learned to love myself. I have learned that it is better to enjoy your own company than to spend time with someone who does not appreciate you. It is better to give yourself time to heal than to give yourself to someone else.
I’m in my 40s now. My child has grown into a brilliant, strong-minded person. Together, we have traveled the world. I’m in love with someone who loves me for who I am. Every day, I am grateful I did not give up at 15. Every morning, I speak this mantra when I wake up, “I love my life, I love my life, I love my life.”
Even though it is difficult to talk about, I want you to know: This is me. This is my story. I’m sharing it so you know, if you’re in a bad place, if horrible things have happened, you can survive it. You become strong. Love your life and live it well. It is your time. Now more than ever, it’s important to speak your truth. #SpeakYourself