Surviving is a courageous act. I do it everyday.
In my interior world, everything according to my viewpoint is tainted by other people’s unknown and dangerous intentions. Something I can’t see inside another’s heart and mind. For example last night I was trying to find my way to a meeting room (for Survivors of Incest Anonymous) in a local hospital.
Fourth floor conference room. How hard can it be?
Even though I followed the easy instructions to where the room was, I ended up needing help locating it. After entering the hospitals front doors, I took a quick look around, noticed just a few people at the lobby desk. Elevators where they were supposed to be. After arriving on the 4th floor, there was no one on this floor and I headed down the hallway looking for the room. It wasn’t where I thought it was going to be. At the same time, this employee who I had noticed on the first floor, was behind me, having gotten out of the other elevator. In my mind, he was following me 4th floor. To him, he was just working. I felt a flash of wariness, a sort of automatic alarm going off . Even though I felt suspicious, I forced myself to turn around and asked where the 4th floor conference room was located. I kept my physical distance. He helped me find the room, and the bathroom. Then he moved on to where ever had been going.
Danger averted. Apparently I really needed this meeting.
Based on my own past experiences, the flash of wariness and suspicion, and the question of ” why was he following me?” are a perfectly normal and to be expected. What are his intentions? People are harmed in the places where they are supposed to be safe. It happens everyday. The shame was deeper. I realized since it was such a small, fairly new hospital he probably knew that I was there for the SIA group, so he knew my secret shame. What if he thought ( like so many others I have met) that I had deserved what happened to me. That I had been born in sin and this was what I was here for to~ be abused and raped. That I had been placed in his life at this moment to be his gift from god to take care of his sexual needs.
I had to tell myself, its okay, I can do plenty to protect myself, I am not the little girl who was hurt so badly in the past. By someone who was supposed to be responsible for looking out for me.
But I didn’t really breathe a sigh of relief until the other members started showing up.
Nothing happened to threaten me. I found my room safely. Our group meeting was richly satisfying. We all made wonderful connections to other survivors. My own past experiences poison me with fear, shame, and doubt in the simplest of endeavors.
I have learned that courage comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. You can’t tell from looking at someone if they are courageous until you hear their stories of where they have been and what they have survived. He never knew that I was displaying tremendous courage, both by asking for help, and going to a meeting.
For today, it is all about the courage.