Powerless, afraid, sad, alone, stuck, future-less, broken, pain... I was a little kid and did not have the words to explain my feelings and didn't know there was one word to describe all the feelings.
Nearly 30 years ago I learned what it felt like to be a the victim of sexual assault. It took a decade to reclaim my power and banish the word victim from my vocabulary. I learned some valuable lessons; I could chose my path and did not need to be defined by the choice of another person to perpetrate a crime.
I became a survivor.
Today that dirty word, victim, crept back into my vocabulary. I don't want it there.
About a month ago a stranger broke into my home and sexually assaulted me.
Initially it was easy to call myself a survivor...
I was in shock. It took a week to remember to do all the steps of bathing myself, I even forgot to wash the conditioner out of my hair.
Then it was denial; "I was just a little event, no big deal..." I was frustrated I was not functioning well; my memory and concentration were little or none, I walked through my days like a zombie.
There is still a lot of denial.
Today I feel like a victim.
This time my head can tell me many things are not true. I am not alone, I have experienced an outpouring of love and support from family, friends, co-workers and even some strangers in my local church group. My head says I am not broken, I am not powerless and there is a future for me. The fear is subsiding, I remind myself I have an alarm system and a dog.
Unfortunately the head can only do so much to convince the heart...
Maybe it's okay to feel like a victim for a while. Maybe it's okay to say, "I feel broken and powerless" and accept those feelings... after all no feeling is "bad or wrong." These feelings are uncomfortable and painful but pain is often part of healing. I know pushing feelings and thoughts away is not effective, sometimes it is necessary to sit in the feeling, acknowledge it is there, it's a valid feeling.
I wish I had the answer. I wish my past experience had created a perfect road map to travel through this event in record time. It didn't.
So today I will sit in this feeling for a while then do some things to take care of myself... nap, love on my pets, clean house, paint my toes, knit, eat something good for me, take a walk, reach out to a friend or two... I know I won't do all of them and that's okay too.
This feeling won't last forever but it won't go away overnight either... but it will go away because I am a survivor.