Trigger warning: talk of sexual assault, talk of suicide
I’ve made a lot of changes in my life in the last year. You could say some of these changes really shifted while I had Covid this time last year (now that I can talk about it without “causing a panic,” iykyk) because that gave me three weeks to really stop and see where my life was going. In only a couple months, I went from writing news releases about race results to helping people find the concealer that works best for their needs. While the latter is part of what I’m doing now, I get to do even more beyond that with cosmetics, and I truly love every bit of it.
I’ve been in a rough mental health patch for a bit here, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the post I made two years ago where I first talked about what my brother John had done to me when I was nine. I’m honestly still shocked I was able to publish that and floored as to how much doing so helped ease some of the weight I was carrying. I took a look at it with fresher eyes, and I’m finding my life isn’t quite where I thought it would be.
Even outside of the career realm, my journey with my trauma has been unexpected as well. Whether it’s outside influences or my own, there are some things where I know I’ve grown and others where they still aren’t where I’d like them to be.
For starters, I’ll rip the bandaid off and say that the family situation is no better than it was. The family that does speak to me has become even more dear to me. There’s a little family group text where we share funny things we see and when my phone lights up with a notification from that group, it brings me so much joy. The family that chose not to believe me and not to speak to me still has nothing to do with me and while that still hurts sometimes, I have to remind myself that if they’re choosing to ignore the truth, I don’t need them in my life.
I still don’t know my niece and while I thought that might be easier over time, it still absolutely crushes me. Sometimes it depends on the day how I’m feeling; While I’ve gotten through her birthday fairly unscathed the past few years, this year had me experiencing almost non-stop panic attacks where I could not pull myself together, no matter how hard I tried. I still feel a pit in my stomach when I think about things she’s probably told about me, but all I can do is hope that she knows how much I love her.
Nobody’s perfect. I know that, I preach that, but I can’t believe it sometimes. The fact that I still had a couple of self harm relapses after my time at St Vincent was something I regularly beat myself up over. Even so, I feel I can look at the positive side (haven’t hurt myself in over a year and a half!!) but sometimes it gets lost in the clutter in my head.
At the time I was starting to heal, I leaned very heavily on my religion. As I’ve talked about previously, I don’t see myself as Catholic anymore, which was a hard shift for some of the ways I spoke to myself about my trauma. While I still have a strong faith, it manifests itself in other ways, one big one being less of a need to feel like I have to forgive anyone involved. While I spoke of forgiveness a couple of years ago, I truly don’t know where I stand with that now. I don’t know if I’ll ever know unless the opportunity is staring me in the face.
I’m starting to wonder if we ever really do “heal,” if there’s a day we realize we’re in that place we’ve always wanted to be or if things just simply get easier. Despite all the changes in my life and despite all the things I still struggle with, I’d say my life is still my beautiful work-in-progress and I won’t stop working on it.