How exactly do you start over? What pieces do you leave behind and which are the ones you pick up? When dealing with trauma, we are often faced with the questions of... "Where do I go from here?"
Sis...bro...there really is no perfect way to 'bounce-back.' There is no secret formula (I so wish I could give other survives I speak to) that eases the pain or helps them to understand how or why their innocence, their love, their confidence or their trust was taken away.
I do know this...I know that starting over sometimes means facing the very things we often run away from. It is a form of survival. If you are in a burning house, you find a plan of escape and you get out! Being raped by someone I trusted was my burning house, only I felt like I couldn't leave. I was suffocating in threats, in harassment from my peers at school, and it was very much as if I was being blamed for what prompted the fire in the first place.
I learned after escaping the fire (post-trauma) that it still needed to be put out. I knew that I would have to eventually confront the repercussions of this event, even though this was not my fault, (it is not yours either). The burden of putting out the fire the pain, the evidence of what was lost, meant getting really REAL with that pain. I believe owning up to the pain, the disappointment of that relationship, and who I was because of what happened to me was the moment I reclaimed who I truly am. I didn't feel like a hero, I didn't feel like a survivor, or an advocate. I felt the lies the devil whispered in my ear for a very long time. I felt that I was only worthy of being treated through some time of abuse. I felt the weight of unfulfilled hopes spoken by police officers and detectives who said "We were going to get this guy," I felt the emptiness I later understood that only Jesus could fulfill.
Even after receiving Jesus into my heart only months after the assault, I still needed to face the pain in order to lay it at my Savior's feet. I had to bring the baggage in order to unpack what was deep inside of me still: the hero, the survivor, the advocate, the feelings of joy and confidence and overall peace.
However, I couldn't reclaim such things without facing what was taken from me. I'm not going to make light of something that just might be the hardest thing you've ever had to do. Facing pain, but not living in it requires a type of grace I've only found through a relationship with someone I know who understands. With the help of other survivors like my sister, Cristal, and the love of my savior Jesus Christ, I was able to get to a place that I am at now. Today, I reclaim my past as the catalyst for true happiness I have on the inside of me. I'm not happy it happened to me, I'm not proud that I was once naive to think the world wouldn't hurt me again. But I am grateful that I could endure the fire, something that was meant to consume me, and put it out. I reflect now only on the remains as a way to remind myself I can literally do ANYTHING through Christ...including be happy and claim healing after hurting for so long.
Like the house that was once consumed by pain, I am still rebuilding. Brick by brick, the foundation I am finding through God's word, fellowship with other sisters and brothers in Christ, and mentorship by those who speak life into me daily is another brick. I am getting there, and soon I will make a home of new hopes, dreams, and a whole lot of love for me and those still picking up the pieces in their own lives.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.