Trigger Warning: Moderate Discussion of Sexual Abuse
I know a lot about being scared.
I spent most (or all) of my life living in some form of fear – fear of making people unhappy, fear of doing something wrong, fear of people deciding they didn’t love me anymore. Fear that I was going to mess up so badly that no one would want me anymore. Fears mostly related to being alone.
And then something horrible happened, something that went on for years before I was free. I knew that no one could possibly want me. Why would they? I was spoiled. Ruined. This person left no lasting marks on my body but broke my spirit and said I deserved it. Said I was owned. Said I was going to be alone now.
Said I was going to be alone.
I was, according to everything I had been taught, worthless. Worse than worthless, I was to be shunned. Rejected.
I was going to be alone.
My greatest fear has always been being alone.
I can take pain, grief, hurt… but I can’t take being abandoned. I can’t handle being left on my own. Sometimes I choose to withdraw and be by myself for a short time, but I cannot cope with being abandoned.
I don’t exactly know how I survived for the next five years before finally coming to terms with what had been said to me, before gaining closure. It wasn’t easy to get there. I was so scared and small. I was always afraid of someone hurting me again. I was afraid of spending the rest of my life alone. And that was all I knew. There was nothing else for me except the night and being alone.
I know it’s not what you wanted and I know it still hurts that you’ve been abandoned, but you’re not alone. I know you’ve been through hell and back, I know that you’re not sure how you made it this far, but you did and I’m proud of you for it.
I’ve always known God, and though it’s been rough, I’ve learned to trust Him more and more. But my faith couldn’t fix the fact that I was going to be alone. He was with me; that was enough that I kept breathing and living. He was there and so I didn’t die.
But that didn’t fill the ache for a human to love me. For someone to hold my hand and see what I’ve been through and say, “I’m proud of you. You have survived and I am glad.”
And she showed up. She knew what it was like and she didn’t blame me and she held my hand and let me scream my anger to the moon. She was there for me.
And then I learned – she taught me – to be there for myself.
And once I had accepted myself as I was, and understood that I didn’t have to be that way forever, once I understood that I could change myself and make myself into what I wanted to be… Once I began to break free of my abuser’s words and claims of owning me… Once I decided to own myself…
It didn’t hurt so much that I was alone.
And I could see how I wasn’t really alone, after all.
Because there’s a difference between being by yourself, being in solitude, being alone… and being stuck, being trapped, being forced into complete silence and emptiness.
And while I will probably never seek out solitude the way some people do – while I still crave connection and people and love – I’ve found that there is beauty in the lonely road. There’s beauty in having the night sky spread out above you and entirely your own. There’s beauty in silence.
I was so scared of being alone, and so convinced that I would be, that the idea of a balance between companionship and solitude never occurred to me. But I’ve learned that there is such a thing and I’m learning to enjoy it.
~Love, Butterfly Emergent~