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[personal profile] tylik
I'm almost embarrassed to post this, because it's so darn positive, really, I guess. Far more than the personal stuff. This morning while eating breakfast I read a random story about women dealing with their history of abuse, and one of the comments was from a woman just starting to deal with her own, and how much she felt like she couldn't even talk about it. So I wrote this.

And then it either didn't post, or went into some kind of approval queue, and I felt a bit silly.

You know how it is when you’re cleaning a closet that hasn’t been cleaned in years, and for a while it just feels like all the junk from the closet is filling the room beyond it, and everything is a mess, and why did I even open this closet?* And then, eventually, you work through it, and throw out the trash, and clean out the grotty corners, and sort the rest and put it away more or less neatly. And then it’s your closet, and hey, maybe you don’t like everything that’s in it, but you aren’t afraid to open it, and eventually don’t even wince when you open it because you’ve taken ownership of it.

It’s hard. If you can, you wait until you have some time and space to deal with it, because yeah, it’s probably going to take up a lot of your life for a bit. But it gets better. And the shame is maybe the thing that for me, anyway, got the most better, and the soonest. Because when I really took things out and looked at them straight on, I had to accept that they were not, in fact, my fault.

For me, and this is twenty-six years after I began dealing with my own abuse, that’s more or less how it’s been. Most of the time, it’s just another aspect of my somewhat colorful past. And at this point, while I absolutely wouldn’t wish my childhood on anyone, I also can’t really unwish it on me, because I really like the person I am, and like the life I have, and, well, if everything were completely different, than everything would be completely different.

A line from a favorite book – “That my uncle was cruel to me and my household taught me compassion.” We are shaped by our pasts. That’s inevitable. But we can also choose how we are shaped by our pasts. Not all at once, maybe, but over time. And if the lessons we learn are hard ones, we can also, sometimes, make them good ones, so that something comes out of all that pain. I’m not saying it can be worth it – but we are worth it. You are worth it.

I don’t talk about the abuse in my family a whole lot (though I write about it somewhat more) not because it makes me uncomfortable, but because it makes other people uncomfortable. A lot of people know a little. (Especially people who think they’re doing the world a service by lecturing me on why I should spend the holidays with my parents. And even then, I’ll usually smile and calmly say “My parents were abusive and criminal in their treatment of me and my siblings. If you’d really like I’ll explain further, but I suspect you would rather not.” It’s kind of amazing how many people respond with “Oh, I wouldn’t want to make you feel uncomfortable.” “Oh, no, this is all stuff I’ve put to rest years ago, and I’m happy to discuss it. It’s your comfort that’s on the table.” But, as I said, I have to be pretty provoked to push it even that far.)

But… it’s just a thing now, mostly. A few quirks and foibles that I might explain to a lover. (Or perhaps a housemate. Never, ever enter a room where I am sleeping uninvited short of the gravest emergency. Please.) At times a somewhat dark sense of humor.

I feel like I’m writing from such a different place that I don’t really know if anything I say can really reach where you are now. So maybe I should just stop with this:

It gets better.

* Okay, I don’t have closets like that, though the house where I grew up did. Though the shelves and drawers in the lab where I work are like that, which is pretty terrifying, really. I think most of us have dealt with something like that, though.


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