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One Cha-Cha Step at a Time

This is the year…

The year I take myself back.

Not to anywhere or to anything.

I take back me…control of my life.

Control of who I am.

That may sound stupid to some…I mean, you always have control of your life, right?  Whether you make wrong decisions, right decisions, whatever path you take…you’ve made a choice – and it’s in your control that you made that choice.

I’ve always thought I had control of my life…but when someone, such as myself, has PTSD, whether it’s from sexual abuse, verbal abuse, dramatic experiences from war or accidents, etc…. you don’t have full control.  Because those memories will hit you anytime, anywhere – and you’ll feel like you’re right back there…feeling small, feeling sad, feeling alone.

Can you push it aside or put it in a box in your mind?  Absolutely – and therapy will help you do that…but sometimes that’s not enough.  Sometimes you have to take control of the situation by confronting the person or taking it to the authorities for that person to be held accountable and prevent them from hurting anyone else.  I never dreamt that would be the path I took.  Until I found out the offender is in jail…because he’s still hurting young girls.  Maybe not to the extent he did me, but to the extent he’s affecting their mental health.

What am I not saying?

I was sexually abused as a child.  By a relative.

No details.  There will be no details.

I debated putting this out there for all to read.  But then I realized that so many women, or girls, like myself, are afraid to say it out loud and this leads to feeling alone…and ashamed.  Like somehow it was your fault.  Even if you were only 10.

It can haunt you.  I would put it in a box and then out of the blue – wham – I’m a small girl and I’m a victim again.

Upon meeting the sheriff’s investigator, her first words to me were: “I don’t see you as a victim.  I see you as a survivor.”

I am a survivor.

And I have resilience.

I’ve moved beyond what happened to me to make a good life for myself and my children.  I’ve been a successful Purchasing Agent, Saleswoman, and Shop Owner and now, the best of all vocations…I’m a Daycare Lady.  I get to take care of two sweet, fun little girls for a few days every week…and now they’re like family.  And they love coming to Patty’s House.

I have resilience.  I live a happy life, filled with gratitude for the many blessings and finding joy in everyday things.

And today, I feel proud.  Because today, I realized that I’m taking back my power.

I’ve already taken steps to better myself.

For my children.

For my husband.

But most of all, for me.

I need to get back to me.  And I need to focus on making me better.

I’ve withdrawn from a committee that’s very important to me – but only for a year.  Hopefully.  I was feeling overwhelmed at the thought of coordinating a large event, getting donations, praying for a good turnout to raise the much-needed money…and I realized I needed a break so I could focus on dealing with this…so I could get past it and return later stronger than before.

I’ve handed over the checkbook to my husband , who said…”I guess I can take a turn – you’ve done it for 14 years, I can take the next 14!”  I don’t know if that’s what will happen or not.  But I realized how much better I feel not being ‘the one’ in charge of it.  Don’t get me wrong – he’s always offered to take it over…when I’ve grumbled about paying bills, etc.  But did I ever let him?  No.  Even if we share in taking care of bills, I’ll feel better.

This is the year.

This is the year I face my faults, head on.

I will not buy something just because I love it and may not find another one like it.  If we don’t have the money for it, we don’t have the money for it.  Period. (Oh – don’t get me wrong – we’re not in huge debt or anything…but I’ve overspent this year and I don’t like it.)

I might even try to eat better.  OK, obviously I’m not quite sold on this one…chocolate still has a bit of a hold on me and there are still Christmas cookies to eat.

This is the year…

A few months ago I made a decision to bring forward a past hurt and face it head on.  It meant reliving a hellish time in my life.  It meant going to the proper authorities.  It meant putting a family member in the limelight…and not in a good way.  It was heavy.  It was a weight that was hard to bear.  But I needed to do it, because I found out he has continued his horrible behavior.  I needed to do it, or I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if he hurt another young girl.  I needed to do it…in the hopes that this would help prevent him from doing it again.

And that’s when I stopped writing my blog.

It felt trivial.

My depression reared its ugly head.  And even though we increased medication, any bump in the road and I bottomed out.

And life didn’t feel funny anymore.

And then I got sick…which always brings my mood down.  Sick with a severe stomach flu that took weeks to recover from.  Sick with a cold that turned into bronchitis and a sinus infection – all at once – and it had me sleeping most of the days away.

But that was then.

This week, I took steps to fix me.

I’ve decided I WILL take the daycare babies more.  They bring me great joy…and there is the income thing.

I saw my doctor for a new medicine for the depression.

I got a second antibiotic to really get rid of the infections.

I’m back in physical therapy – and more determined than ever to take back some control over my body.  (Crossing my fingers.)

And another item on the road to a better me is to stop talking about my illnesses…to stop whining (or at least stop making it the primary topic of conversation).  I’ve let it take over…and it’s time to think about other things.

I have an appointment with a new therapist tomorrow, who will help me get through this process.

This process that is in a state of flux.  The worst could be over…but the worst may be yet to come.  It’s a decision in someone else’s hands and that decision will determine whether it’s over…or not.  If I need to continue this process, I will, and I will do it with the support of my husband and the help of my therapist.

And just going through what I have so far, I feel more empowered.  Yet I also feel raw….like I’m inside out…vulnerable.  That’s part of what the therapist will help me overcome.

But for today, I’m taking steps ahead.

And I already feel like I’m regaining control of me.

One step at a time.

Mostly forward.  Maybe a few back.

But mostly forward.

As someone once said…”Doing my version of the Cha-Cha.”

I leave you with that thought.

If you’re a visual person like me…you can picture it:  me, doing the Cha-Cha, fancy outfit and all…yes, go ahead and laugh.  I’m shaking my head, rolling my eyes, and smiling at the thought.

Happy New Year everyone,

Let’s take back our lives.  Do what makes you happy.  Spend time with people who make you happy.  Do things that feel good in your heart, not heavy.  And do what you can do…for your health, both mental and physical.

We’ll get there.

One Cha-Cha step at a time.

Your friend,

Patty O

ps…Happy Blogging One Year Anniversary to ‘A Thankfully Imperfect Woman’!

pps…If you see me on the street, just smile and say Hi.  Just like always…

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17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Candy #

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. You are a brave, strong and resilient woman. This has inspired me to take action as well. I haven’t been physically abused, but I also have PTSD. I suffer emotional abuse from a non-family member and up until now I’ve felt trapped. I agree that this is the year I stand up for me and the respect I deserve. Thank you for helping me realize that I’m not alone and that we can get through this. God bless you on your journey to peace.

    Like

    January 3, 2014
    • Oh Candy,

      Thank you! And stay in touch – we can support each other as we get stronger!

      Like

      January 3, 2014
  2. Jan #

    I can see you dancing in a beautiful dress wearing great jewelry! Stay strong!

    Like

    January 3, 2014
  3. May you find inner Peace and Joy this year. Onward and Upward, my friend. You are such a beautiful person! Many hugs, Jane

    Like

    January 3, 2014
    • Thank you so much Jane. I truly appreciate the well wishes, the compliment and especially the hugs.

      Like

      January 3, 2014
  4. Karen #

    I’m so proud of you!!! Cha Cha Cha baby!!!!

    Like

    January 3, 2014
  5. Autumn Cole #

    You continue to be amazing amidst all your challenges. I am here to support you in your new take charge attitude. And thank you for being so brave and honest about your abuse. When one in four women have been sexually abused, there are many more women carrying that secret. Carry on and know you are loved by many. Autumn

    Like

    January 3, 2014
    • Thank Autumn. I’ve carried our conversations close to my heart and some have brought me inspiration. Patty

      Like

      January 3, 2014
  6. Thank you for sharing this story, Patty. You are brave. Now it’s already a new year so come over and play with me! I have a new tea pot.

    Like

    January 4, 2014
    • Sharee…let’s just set a date – a jewelry-making we will go! I’ll message you on FB! And thank you dear friend.

      Like

      January 4, 2014
  7. Karla #

    “This too shall pass” “Be still and know that I AM”. Those are two things that help me through the hard times. God’s blessings and peace Patty. 🙂

    Like

    January 4, 2014
    • Thank you for reminding me of those verses Karla. They are two of my favorites! And to you too!

      Like

      January 5, 2014
  8. Patty, I saw this story today and thought I’d share it with you. It may be hard to read, but there may be something in here for you. It’s the first part of a 4 part blog post from Living Well Spending Less. Here’s the link: http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2012/02/29/amazing-grace-my-story-part-1/

    Like

    February 28, 2014
    • Thank you Karla – I do really like it. I’m leaving her a comment!

      Like

      March 1, 2014

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