Stained Does Not Mean Unclean… Healing After Sexual Assault

I’ve been keeping an ugly secret since I was six years old.

I kept quiet for a lot of reasons, the biggest being shame.  MY shame.  I am ashamed of myself, ashamed of the circumstances I allowed myself to be in, ashamed of my stains.  It’s never a fun thing to admit that you’ve made a mistake, even if the mistake wasn’t completely your fault.  The secrets I keep have enveloped me in shame for all of my life.  In fact, shame has been a fundamental part of my emotional make up for so long that I don’t really even notice that it’s there anymore.  I ALWAYS feel shame.  Humiliating, shoulder drooping, brow beating shame is just a part of my everyday self.

I think the second reason I’ve kept my disgusting secrets is to protect people.  To protect myself, of course, from the shame I just talked about and from punishment for my actions, but also to protect the people I feel I’m supposed to protect.  Namely my family.  My parents.  My parents, and the people my parents care about.

If they ever find this blog post online….   Sorry Mom.  For being stained, and for being damaged.  And for failing to be everything I could have been.  And Dad, please don’t kill anyone.  I know you’ll want to, and that’s okay.  It just means you love me.
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How to Love Your Body Even Though Change is Slow

Progress might not be what you think it is.

In our heads we have a WAY things are supposed to go.  I do, anyways.  It’s what I do.  I have plans, and ideas, and dreams.  And MORE plans.  I have plans that are stuck so far down inside my brain folds that I don’t even know they’re there until they don’t happen, and then I get angry, and I usually don’t know why. (Ask The Mister, he has to put up with my didn’t-actually-make-a-plan-that-fell-through temper tantrums OFTEN.)

These progress pictures are kind of like THAT.
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How To Be A Girl – Learning to Accept My Gender Reality

I am my father’s first born son.

Not kidding.

Before you exit this post and look for a photo of me, I’ll confirm for you that YES, I am female.  That does not change what I said, though.  I am my father’s first born son.

Now don’t get me wrong.  When I say “I’m the first born son” I don’t mean in a lesbian-y, gender-identity-crisis, or “I have dangly man bits” kind of way.  I mean it in every other possible way.  I exist in a female body, but I am a masculine energy, raised by male methods, taught to think in a gender-neutral-but-mostly-masculine way.

And wow.  That has really been an obstacle to overcome.
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Living Like You’ll Die Tomorrow – The Beautiful Gift of Time

Let’s pretend that you and I meet on the street.

It’s a gorgeous day, the sun is shining.  You’re having a good day.  You’re walking to or from somewhere, having just said goodbye to someone or meeting someone soon, heading to work-school-gym-coffeehouse-library-mall-grocery-store.  In your moment of “normal” I approach you, look in your face, smile, and hand you a black canvas bag.

Inside the bag is $750 million.  SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION SMACKERS.

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What Does the Voice in Your Head Tell You? Discipline Your Inner Voice

I have voices in my head.

I think that makes me weird, and honestly I’m okay with that.  The Voices keep life interesting.  Their presence also makes me somewhat unique, if in no other way than the voices themselves are unique.

For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me.  I never really mentioned the Voices for fear of judgment, worry that no one will believe me, and (the biggest issue) lack of trust that anyone could possibly understand.  I don’t talk about the Voices with friends or at parties.  I don’t tell anyone that “the Voices helped me figure this out.”  The fact I HAVE Voices is permanently added to the list of “things you do not mention on the first date.”

It’s an act of consideration, really… I try to be fair and not creep people out.  Most would have a hard time understanding that my “sitting quietly and thinking” time is less like a single chair in an empty room, and more like a family meeting.  With eight people attending.  And they all have strong opinions, they all “know what’s best,” most of them dislike one another, and most of the time they’re fighting about something stupid.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more comfortable talking about the voices.  I think partly that’s due to being more comfortable with myself, my reality, and the cards I’ve been dealt, but even more than that my comfort level can be attributed to realizing just how much The Voices are a part of who I am.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world while listening to their dialogue.  They also help me to analyze all sides of a problem, to see multiple perspectives.  I’ve solved COUNTLESS problems that seemed impossible to resolve by letting The Erins argue it out during my otherwise preoccupied hours.

Over the last couple years I’ve learned to distinguish and identify the voices.  I read somewhere that having voices in your head is fairly normal, and you’re not really crazy unless you NAME THEM.  I totally named them.  Label me as you see fit because of it, but having named them helps me a lot to understand from which part of myself the thoughts are coming from.  I’m able to identify WHO is talking, to decide how much weight to give what is said, and what thoughts to dismiss when I hear things that aren’t productive or uplifting.

And now I’d like to introduce you to them.

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Finding Your Real Self – The Necessity of Self-Worth

I am what you’d call a people pleaser.  A giver.  A grace-giving, loving, hospitable servant of others. A person that gives to others physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

It sounds braggy and self-inflating, but it really isn’t.  I really am all of those things, and I come by them honestly.  I was raised in a family that believes in “others before self,” the kind of family that, without being asked, helps you tie 300 bows on custom made cards at 4 am because you failed to plan ahead very well (or at all).  I had the mom that everyone knew because she baked for EVERY bake sale, and volunteered at EVERY event, and sold snacks out of the concession stand or sat in the bleachers for EVERY game of every sport we ever played.  I had the dad who hosted every party for every family gathering and every class reunion for as long as I can remember.  I was raised in a culture of giving, and service, and kindness.  I was taught that the best way to love others is through acts of wholehearted grace.  I was nurtured to consider every person’s feelings, extend every possible courtesy to everyone involved, to always give attention to the desires and goals of others when making a decision that might affect them.

EXCELLENT LESSONS.  I am glad I learned them.  And I do still believe those things to be true.

The trouble came when I took “others before self” too far.  Trouble comes when I TAKE it too far, because I still do that.  I do it without thinking, and for the wrong reasons.

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