For a while now, I've been asking myself the question: Who am I now? By what labels will I define myself? Which old labels am I ready to let go of? And as I ask myself those questions, I keep coming back to the biggie: Do I want to still define myself as a survivor of abuse?
It doesn't impact my life on a daily basis any more. It doesn't trigger shame or guilt—any more. It doesn't determine my self image or expectations for what I can do—any more. And yet....there is a part of me that says it's important so that I can stand for how far we survivors can come. So that I can speak to how deep the scars can go in children who are abused. That part of me says that if I stop seeing myself as a survivor, I'm abandoning other survivors.
So why not just keep calling myself a survivor? I'm not sure. On some level I worry that despite my denials, I am limiting myself in some ways by seeing myself in those terms—as a survivor who was deeply scarred even if those scars have pretty much healed now.
So I don't know. Do we ever stop calling ourselves survivors? Why or why not? I'd really like to hear all your thoughts on this.
There was a time I thought I'd write a book about surviving abuse. Now I'm not so sure it matters—that what I have to say would be of enough interest to anyone. There was a time I thought I could be a positive example for other survivors—now I wonder if that's just hubris because each of us has to find our own way out of the pain and past. I used to wonder if I had to make my experience mean something and now I wonder if it's enough just to be happy and discover where life takes me if I don't see myself in terms of being a survivor.
Note; There was a time when I would have been denying my experience if I had said I wasn't a survivor of abuse and it would have been because I didn't want to face all the memories and emotions and shame and guilt and despair. This is different. I'm at peace with who I am and my life relative to the abuse.
I'm not usually this confused. I don't know where I'm going with all of this. No doubt I'll explore it here as I explore it within myself.
I'd really like to hear your thoughts and how YOU look at this issue.
Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),