Michelle's Redemptive Story of Self-Love After Abuse
This week my little sister, Michelle, has written a guest blog post for y'all. She is going to tell her story, a shortened version, of abuse, rape, body-hatred, and then redemption.
This is easily one of the most, if not the most, moving stories that has ever graced the proverbial pages of the MGP blog.
Being that this story is of my sisters life, it got me in tears when I read it the first time; even though I have heard almost all of this in bits and pieces over the last 3 or so years. It was beautiful, powerful, and gut-wrenching to read it all together as one story.
Enjoy today's absolutely awe-inspiring story and please, take joy and some redemption from it for yourself!
*Trigger Warning. Domestic Abuse and Rape.*
Being violated from within your body, all the way out of it, is an especially robbing feeling that other types of abuse, violation, and violence do not share. Someone got inside of you and violated every fiber of your being from the inside out! That is what happened to me three and a half years ago, multiple times, by my ex-boyfriend. He tore me down, using every type of abuse there is, for over a year, in order to get me to a place where he could rape me and I would not realize that it was rape. I would not form memories of the rapes, and I would not care because I was so empty and hopeless and helpless inside. What started as an occasional jab at my self-worth and self-esteem, eventually became rape. By the time it reached the point of being raped, I was a shell of myself. I didn't have power, strength, feelings, or dreams anymore.
Three months before I left him, I started to regain my power, my strength, my feelings, and my dreams. I eventually got enough power, strength, and feelings (anger) to leave him. And it did take a lot of power and strength!!...because he terrorized me for months after I left him, and continues to ‘attempt’ to terrorize me when he sees me, to this day.
Because I would dissociate during the rapes, I did not have any memories of the encounters. That is, until two and a half years later. The memories started coming back to me six months after I started dating Stephen, my wonderful boyfriend! Stephen was my patient and understanding gift from God. He provided the safe environment I needed to heal and grow, which I am still doing today.
Once the memories started to emerge, I wanted to get out of my body! My body reminded me of what happened to it. My body made me angry and sad and scared and devastated and hopeless and helpless. I did not love my body, and I did not want anyone else to love it, either.
This was the beginning of what I later learned was PTSD. My PTSD episodes were caused by various triggers that I would encounter in my day to day life. My own body was one of those very triggers.
As I have healed, my PTSD episodes have become fewer and farther apart. Also, as I have healed, I have reclaimed my body! You know, the body that I would stand in front of the mirror and look at and just weep. The one that I could not let another person look at, or touch, for years, without becoming immobilized by fear, or lashing out because I felt a need to protect myself from them. Yeah, that body. I have learned to love that body in a new way…a bigger way! I have learned to appreciate it in a new and bigger way! I have learned to cherish it in a new and bigger way! And, I have learned to let someone else love it, and appreciate it, and cherish it, too!
My body is unique for multiple reasons. Each curve and freckle is unique. The texture and tone of my skin is unique. The height, and width, and depth of my body is unique. The shape of my toes and fingers. The placement of my scars and my hairs. But what is also unique about my body is all the things that have happened to it. All the experiences it has had. Good ones, great ones, bad ones, and terrible ones. Being abused, violated, shamed, used, terrorized, and raped was not one of this body's better experiences... But, what came after that was one of this body's best experiences! This body has been resurrected by the Hands of God! This body has taken back ownership and control of itself! This body has learned to love itself again, in a bigger and better way than it did before! This body has chosen to let a wonderful man, named Stephen, come in and love it, also! That is beautiful!
When I asked Stephen how it would make him feel for me to share my story with the world, I was afraid he would be ashamed, embarrassed, or insecure about being with someone whose body had been so broken and torn. He brought me to tears as he told me that it would not bother him one bit. He went on to say that, if anything, it would make him proud of how strong of a woman I am! I was showered with love, mercy, and acceptance, just the way that Jesus showers us with love, mercy, and acceptance!