We Are Victors
I was once stuck in a world where I felt alone. I was covered in rejection, abuse, confusion, and did not have a self-love bone in my body.
I was molested from the ages of 5 to 14, which caused me to live a portion of my life outside of my true self. During my teenage years, I tried to find other pains outside of the sexual abuse pain that I was suppressing. I didn’t want to hurt my mother or my family, so I suppressed my voice. I felt that the no’s and the tears were not enough for the pain to stop. Searching for attention, I started cutting, skipping school, and hanging around crowds that I knew I should have not been around. My mother raised me to be a straight-A student. I was in AP classes, but I didn’t feel like that was getting anyone’s attention, so I took a turn my final years in high school. As an athlete, sports were my outlet, but eventually, that couldn’t help me, either. I found myself sinking into a dark place because I was mentally, spiritually, and emotionally unbalanced.
I grew up searching for people’s approval. I wanted whomever, wherever, to love me. I was becoming who people wanted me to be in order to feel loved and approved of. I started to continue to build this person that was not me. This was a burden that just added to the seed that was planted into the five-year-old girl. Trying to be someone you are not takes more work out of you than accepting yourself for who you are.
After graduating, I tried to run away from my problems, so I enlisted in the Navy at 18 years old. I took orders to Japan and stayed there for six years. During this time, I took to alcohol, which was a suppressant. After a year in Japan, God saved me. This was my turning point, and my life changed.
I started to learn about myself and who I was. I started to look at my story in the light instead of the darkness. In order to get to this place, I had to learn about that five-year-old again. I had to rediscover myself. It was time to redress my story in order to heal. During my healing process, I experienced being re-victimized, hurt again, and backed into a corner—but it was part of the healing this time. I got to a point where I refused to be silent, and I built up the courage to tell my mother and family. I started telling my story at testimonial services and saw how it helped others speak up and out. I started venting and telling people whom I would randomly meet, and I saw how this was creating a voice for those that had no voice. My story changed my family, friends, and those around me when it came to thoughts about forgiveness and self-love.
I was able to face my abuser and ask the questions that I needed to heal. I was able to forgive them. I realized that hurt people hurt people. I did not want to be that hurt person in the world hurting other people because I refused to heal. In order to forgive and love others, I had to love and forgive myself. Once I realized that I was not a product of what had happened to me but was a victor due to surviving my experience, I started to see the gem that I was. I started seeing the gift and purpose that was over my life.
Yes, I had a traumatic experience. Yes, I dealt with the anxiety, PTSD, and scars—but I survived. If I could forgive my abusers and survive an experience as such, there was nothing else in my life that I could not tackle.
I was also the product of a daughter who grew up without her biological father. Fatherless women are women who tend to have daddy issues and relationship issues. I wanted that daddy’s girl experience but couldn’t find it, because realistically, no one can give you that outside of a father. During my healing process, I reached out to my father to forgive him for not being in my life. I thought I was going to take a new journey, but two years later, God called him home. I felt peace because I forgave him before it was too late. This taught me that time waits for no one. Forgiveness gives you peace and releases you from strongholds. I continued to tackle my internal issues one by one as I moved through my journey that was buried under so much pain.
When you start to realize that you were hurt, challenged, bent, but not broken, you see the gem in your story. I started using my story to be the voice for those that have yet to find their voices. I became another #MeToo public figure. I have been in the U.S. Navy for almost 11 years now and am currently an engineering officer. My story is now my voice for women, men, and children that have not found their voice, gift, or purpose. I am here to tell you that your life is not over. It is just beginning!
We are VICTORS, not VICTIMS!