Read that a few times. Give it some thought. Now think about something that has happened in your life that you tried to wish away — the loss of a relationship, the death of a person in your life, an injury, a complete loss of a home from a disaster, domestic violence, alcoholism, child abuse, rape. Now read it again.
Did those things NEED to happen?
There are several times I have struggled with this type of statement throughout my life, but clearly one of the most significant times this bothered me to read is after the rape. WHY would anyone say that such a horrible thing would NEED to have happened to me? Is there anything more awful than saying that NEEDED to happen to me?
A bitter pill to swallow for sure.
Except I completely agree. Now. Maybe not right after it happened when I was devastated, angry, disgusted, sad, suicidal, and horribly traumatized. But now that I have gone through so much of my healing process, I can say something very close to that. I can’t quite get to it NEEDED to happen, but I can say…
All things happen for a reason.
Is that the same as NEED to happen? I don’t know. In my head it isn’t the same. But I do understand that all things happen for a reason. And my being sexually assaulted is no exception. I would not be who I am today if it hadn’t happened, that I can say for sure. And after all that I have been through, I CAN say I like who I am today. I want to be even more like the me I feel inside, but I am currently very satisfied and like the person I see in the mirror.
If I hadn’t been sexually assaulted, the rest of my life would have been different, I think we can all agree on that. I would have stayed in school where it happened which means I would not have reconnected with a guy who later became the biological father of my son. And that means I wouldn’t have my son, which would be NUTS because he is so awesome and has been an enormous part of who I did become and who I am today. If I hadn’t had my son, I wouldn’t have moved to the town I grew up in to be close to my family. And that means I would not have met the man I later married and he wouldn’t have adopted my son. I wouldn’t have my daughter and the 20 years of memories that we made as a family. And that would be sad. Because my daughter is also awesome and I can’t imagine life without her. Because we made a great family and had SO many fabulous years together. I wouldn’t change that part of my life at all. The years I spent at home with our kids and building a relationship with my husband were GREAT years. Now, there are many reasons why my marriage didn’t work, but I cannot say that me being sexually assaulted wasn’t a factor. It was. So I guess you could say that if I hadn’t been I might still be married, but you really can’t say that because of all the other things I listed which would have kept me from meeting my husband in the first place!
This next thing is difficult for me to say because I really don’t have any terrible feelings about my marriage ending. I would say as divorce goes, ours was perfect. We still have many nice conversations, can go out with our kids together, and we take care of each other dogs all the time for each other. And I am very thankful that we get along that well and have respect for each other. Clearly not everyone is that lucky. Which makes it feel a little icky to say…If my marriage hadn’t ended, I would not be this happy. Ewwww. I don’t like to say that and considered deleting it. But I can’t, because it is true. I let myself fall by the wayside for most of the years of my marriage. I didn’t take care of me and I accepted things I would never accept now.
I lost me.
And now I am found. And there is NO way I would give that up. Ever again.
If my marriage hadn’t ended, I may not have ever reached the point in my healing that I currently feel and understand. And going through that healing makes me the person I am today. A MUCH more confident, healthy, satisfied me. A me that has made so many awesome connections through telling my story and working through the challenges. A me who has helped myself and others have an understanding of shame. And an understanding of how to begin to let go of shame. A me who is able to trust again and who is more willing than ever to step out of my comfort zone.
A rediscovered me. A happy me. A loving me.
If my sexual assault would not have happened, I wouldn’t be sitting in this cabin today in this beautiful place. Reflecting on all my past and what I hope for in my future. I wouldn’t be dating. I wouldn’t have met the guy I look so forward to talking to and spending time with as much as we can. And today, that is REALLY difficult to imagine because he has become so important to me AND to my continued healing. He gets me, sometimes even when I don’t. Starting a new relationship with this much exposure to what happened to me has been terrifying in many ways. I can’t hide from it. I am really thrilled that I don’t have to hide from it. I can talk about it, answer questions about it, get mad about it, cry about it, and discuss it openly, with acceptance for his input. And that is truly awesome. WE are truly awesome together.
So today I am going to say…NOTHING has ever happened that didn’t need to happen. And that’s ok.