As the months become years, you inevitably reach days on the calendar that are anniversaries of sorts…ones you would wish to forget. There are a few distinct dates which always affect me when they come around again.
This time five years ago…
Six. Effing. Years?!?!
When I logged on just now, WordPress congratulated me on our two year anniversary together. Wow. I remember the exact moment I showed the first soul my fresh post. I remember the wonderful feeling of releasing so much pain anonymously into the cyber world. It felt bloody fantastic. I’ve said it before but it doesn’t hurt to repeat why the decision to blog was so important.
When you find yourself the victim of crimes, one of the dominant struggles is to be heard. You are revealing incredibly painful and personal information on demand for the legal system (and then for Workcover) but you are rarely HEARD. No one is listening as they all have jobs to do and the state of your core (and your poor tortured brain) is not on the list. These kinds of crimes are hard to talk about. Even if there is someone who loves you who can be there.
Who hears you?
Not everyone would feel the same but I was desperate to spew some of these toxic thoughts out…get them out of me. Away.
In this imaginary net, I played with some settings and began to eek out a teeny tiny space for me. For whatever I needed it to be. To cry, to ask for help, to connect, to purge. I had the control to make it public to varying degrees or shut it all down should my bravery leave me. There have been moments.
Like a little carver, I chipped away at the space – no plans or idea of the finished product. I don’t really work like that. Just trying a little of this, a little of that, and seeing how that felt. A work in progress.
My work. My progress.
As the process rolled on in The Outside World, it still affected me but I had a secret release valve. My little space to be. It was enough to just imagine I was being heard. To actually hear from people who have read my words is almost beyond belief. Incredibly validating, supportive and absolutely crucial to my progress (what IS the best word? It’s a journey but this isn’t Idol. It’s a kind if healing but you don’t get better, you work out how to adjust…so it’s progress). I will always endeavour to reach out in that same way to someone who is crying out to be heard. I know what that means. It’s one of the greatest things about being a human being. Connection. Caring.
To have recognition from BlogHer as an Honorary Voice of the Year 2012 was a funny kind of dream come true. Funny because I’d rather it have been for ANY other subject than sexual violence! I used to want to write for a living, I adore language and stories in general and have been inspired by so many amazing female bloggers over this two years. Real talk. Raw shit. Real life. Bravery. Tough topics. The idea that a gathering of amazing women who have overcome or developed incredible ideas, coming together on the other side of the world, would even have my pretend name on their radar, rocked my world. The echo of my first whisper out into the Internet. Reverberating around the world. That was a game changer for my mental health, right there. That was very special. And if you’ll excuse the cheesiness, it felt decidedly like my whisper became a roar.
Today, it looks like this saga is almost at an end. I haven’t been updating the details even anonymously here, because the stakes are so high. This is my only chance for recompense…for closure. It it too precarious to risk until the ink is dry. But let’s say I am awarded some dollars. When I let myself picture Future Me (there was no such thing a while ago) now, she is standing in the room at another BlogHer Conference. When I go too far, I imagine that they let me read or say something. I love the idea that I could say out loud and in real life what it meant to be heard in that way. What it means to be a part of that world. How much it helped me heal. I want to thank them. I want to go to America and sit and hear the other women speak. Absorb their experiences, bravery and greatness. Stand in that moment and have it be a defining marker in this experience. How far I have come. That I see a future now.
Being able to imagine your Future Self is no small thing, though you might not know unless you’ve ever felt the crushing despair of believing that you won’t be able to live that long, that you have ceased to exist or matter.
I am so grateful for this gift. Yeah, I’ve made it happen too, and it’s a combination of factors at play, but I sit typing next to my demanding child who is calling for me now and I am smiling. I don’t know what the future holds, next month let alone next year, but I believe now that I have a future. That I deserve a future. That I feel proud of myself and what I can achieve again.
On this New Years Eve, and my Blogaversary, I am toasting Future Me. With chocolate mud cake and SpongeBob Squarepants.