I am still struggling with acceptance. I have spent months grieving- for my brother, my childhood, over my parents betraying me. Of course, my life is much better now. I do not feel like it is out of control anymore. I understand myself better, and my understanding of my family and what happened to me is much more sophisticated. Regardless of this awareness, though, I do not think I could ever really understand how my parents could have done what they did to me and my brother, and how my brother could have abandoned me the way he did.
Lately I have just been getting used to this new awareness, this new reality. It is a change from the other phase of my recovery, when the realizations and changes were coming fast and furious. I am at a resting point- my parents are out of my life, I have made a certain peace with my brother and myself. The drama is pretty much over. Now I am just going through the not very exciting process of getting used to my new life- not talking to my mom, and not hearing from my dad. They are slipping farther and farther away from my consciousness.
I am working on getting my name changed on the seemingly thousands of things it needs to be changed on, looking for a new, bigger apartment, settling into my new job, and acclimating to a boyfriend that I can talk to, and experiencing a satisfying relationship. I do feel sad, though. I feel grief- it was a difficult life that a struggled in for so long. The lies, the deception, and the denial- I am sad that it took me so long to be able to face the truth. In my mind at the time, I would risk what little I had by talking about what happened, by dredging up a past I kept thinking I could ignore.
It was like stepping off a building to stand up to the parents who, as terrible as they were, were the only parents that I had, and the only ones left from a childhood that, as miserable as it was, was the only childhood I knew. I could not just forget about my past, because I had gone through so much, and how could I just tell myself that it did not matter anymore. How could I throw away my past and walk away, when I had been fought so hard to survive it? How could I act like none of that had happened, ignore the strength inside of me that had saved me?
After my brother died, my parents were the only people who knew what had happened, even though they would never admit to it. I knew that they knew. They knew what I had gone through, and because I would not admit it to myself, and I would not tell others about it, I could not let them go because they were the only ones who knew the truth about me. Until I let myself remember, stopped suppressing the truth, and started talking about my life, I could not move on from my parents. I clung to that thread, to the unspoken truth of what had really happened to me in that family. That is why I feel the need to talk and write about this. At first, I wanted my friends to know, but now I want other people who have been though this sort of thing to know. I want them to know that I survived, but I wish I had talked sooner. I wish I had not kept these secrets for so long, and held on to shame and guilt that was not mine.
I want to use the strength that helped me to help other people. I contacted Teen Feed - the nonprofit organization that serves meals to street kids, and told them about how much they had helped me, and how well I am doing now. It sounds like I will be in their newsletter to supporters, which makes sense, because their mission is to help kids survive and get off the streets. They helped me do that. I also contacted the Vera Project - a music and arts center for underage kids in Seattle, a population I feel close to because of that time in my life when I was on the streets and underage. It was a new and wonderful experience to tell (what were then) strangers about the difficulties I have overcome and where I am now. I was not playing the victim because I talked about how well I am doing, but I was still able to acknowledge how hard it has been for me. I do not usually have the opportunity to emphasis both my personal and professional accomplishments (including passing the CPA exam!)
In the future I hope to make my blog (all ~60 pages worth) more accessible to people who might benefit from knowing about my success. I lived through physical, emotional and sexual abuse, rape, the foster care system, dropping out of high school, the streets, the suicide of the person I loved most in this world, and all the lies and manipulations and betrayals, and I am not a broken person. People victimized me, people I loved and trusted, but I got through it, and the way I got through it was by recognizing how much strength I had to survive and fight for myself, and by talking about it. Talking about it saved me. I think telling the truth, no matter how horrible it is, can help other people too.