Friday, May 04, 2007

HOPES AND EXPECTATIONS

First, I had a great time with my friend. It’s good to have people with whom we can be ourselves and know they will accept and love us—even if we’re not perfect.

Second, I want to talk about why I write this blog. I write it, I think, out of anger. Anger that when I began my healing journey all I could seem to find were experts who said we can never get over being abused. They certainly didn’t offer a roadmap to how one could.

I hated that. I was angry that it seemed as if the professionals were giving up on us. I wouldn’t accept that I was going to have to live the rest of my life scared, hating myself, desperately unhappy, filled with shame and guilt and believing I didn’t deserve to live.

I swore that somehow I was going to find a way to heal—and that if I did, I would do whatever I could to give hope to other survivors. I swore I would share the things that worked for me.

I’m glad I didn’t know then how hard it would be or how long it would take. I’m glad I didn’t believe the experts who seemed to be saying it couldn’t be done.

I know the power of expectations, you see. I’ve read the studies. I’ve seen it firsthand in the lives of people I knew. And it makes me angry when I read any expert say we have to live with the pain forever and we can never get over it!

Will we get to a point where we’re perfectly happy? Probably not—but no one does—no matter what their background might be. What we can do—the hope I try to share—is that we can create a life in which we are happy, where we can believe in ourselves, where we know that we have within us the strength and courage to grow and heal and become the people we want to be. That’s more than many so-called “normal” people ever achieve.

And so I created a kind of manifesto in my own mind for us survivors:

We deserve to be treated with respect.

We deserve to be allowed to have hope.

We deserve counselors who will whole heartedly work to help us reach a point where we believe in ourselves and in happiness.

We deserve to be full partners in any treatment program we undertake.

All parts of ourselves deserved to be loved and accepted and helped to be happy. No part of ourselves should have to carry a burden alone.

We deserve to be treated with kindness as well as respect.

We deserve all these things from OURSELVES as well as from others. And sometimes that’s the hardest part—to treat ourselves with kindness and respect. Sometimes it’s hard for us to let ourselves believe in our right to be happy—or that we can create the lives we want to have. But that’s the goal.

So if I sometimes seem naïve in my optimism, I’m not. I just fiercely want other survivors to know it IS possible to heal. I want to offer the hope that wasn’t there when I began my healing journey. And I want to help provide the roadmap I so dearly wished I’d had when I began.

Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),
April_optimist

6 comments:

jumpinginpuddles said...

We recently experienced a healing of one inside and nothing replaces that raw emotion of wow it is acievable and it was good feeling and gave us detrmination

dream katcher said...

Love your optimism!! Without it there's no hope and without hope there's no healing.

I recently wrote and posted this: "We are abuse survivors and the voices of all Divinely sacred women everywhere who have been loved with hate, silenced yet feared, adored and scorned, and oppressed by the obessesed. We have struggled with the many names and labels put upon us. We have struggled to find our voice with amazing strength through the weakness, and immense courage through the fear. We have been pushed down repeatedly, yet we have risen to release our burgeoning selves, embrace our Divineness and celebrate our liberation."

May we all embrace our burgeoning selves and our Divineness. Let your optimism shine unabashedly!

dream katcher said...

I added this separately so that the last post wouldn't be too lengthy. :)

You wrote "So if I sometimes seem naïve in my optimism, I’m not".

It's OK to seem naive or to be naive!

Some of the dictionary definitions for naive are "ingenuous: free from reserve, restraint, or dissimulation; candid; sincere."

"Lacking in cunning and guile; simple; unaffected; candid; open; plain".

There are many wonderful qualities encompassed in the definition of "naive".

We need to reclaim the innocence that was brutally stolen from us and go forth naively (in the wonderful senses of the word defined above) into the world of healing and renewal.

Abuse survivors are forcibly shoved into worldliness in an abrupt, premature, and poisonness manner. I vote for reclaiming our naivity!

There's a lot to be said for owning and reclaiming words.

Enola said...

I'm new to your blog. I stumbled across it from a link posted by Marj on Survivors Can Thrive (thanks Marj). I am in the midst of "is this all really worth it" crisis and am glad to see that you have such hope and optimism. Thank you for sharing.

Marj aka Thriver said...

I hate it when people say "get over it!" But, good Lord, Almighty! If I didn't think there was any hope of healing, there wouldn't be any reason for me to stay here in this life. It's that hope that the mountain can be climbed that keeps me going, even when I'm convinced I'm trying to tackle Everest! Thank you for your hope, determination and optimism, April1

April_optimist said...

Thank you all! Each success teaches us that more are possible. Each time we honor who we are and what we have gone through we are a step closer to where we want--and deserve--to be.