Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Get busy living, or get busy dying

The following post comes from a talented and beautiful-inside-and-outside Australian blogger, Kellie Heitman. Kellie has been a wonderful support for me throughout this past year. Along with several other bloggers, she has been able to empathise in a way many cannot because she has intimate knowledge of violence and abuse.

A little over a year ago I shared my own story of childhood sexual abuse and writing about it was very healing for me. A year later I wrote about the neverending prison sentence that victims, or rather survivors, of these crimes inherit.

Kellie, I hope you find some healing and a sense of release from sharing your own story. I hope you feel the support and compassion of those of us in the blogosphere who look at you and see your immense strength and courage. You are truly beautiful.

Here is Kellie's story.

* * * * *

Andy Dufresne is a fictional character. If you are familiar with the works of Stephen King, you will know that he is a character in The Shawshank Redemption. Jailed for life for a crime he didn't commit.

It's not unlike how I feel in my own life sometimes. For seven years of my life, I was sexually abused by my mother's partner. He is now in prison, serving time for the crimes he committed against me and the crimes he committed after he was found out. Having this man, my abuser, behind bars doesn't mean I sleep easy at night. Like my good friend Andy Dufresne, I was sentenced for life.

For the most part, I don't think about the abuse I went through. It hurts too much. But I can't stop the dreams. I can't stop the feelings of anger, of sadness, and feeling like somehow I brought it all on myself. Crazy, I know.

If I'm having a bad day, when someone upsets me or makes me angry, it all comes back to the abuse. Like I said, a life sentence. It is the root of all the pain in my life, it's had a ripple effect on probably every decision I've ever made, in some way. It has a part in how I raise my children. Without seeming like a paranoid weirdo, I have to make them vigilant - of strangers on the street, teachers at school, even people they should trust.

I find it hard trying to make people understand why I am the way I am, without them feeling sorry for me. It's not that I don't want their sympathy - it means they care - I just don't see myself as a victim.
It's not like I died. I survived. Physically.

Right now, I am making some changes in my life. Out with the old, in with the new and all that. I'm letting go of bad feelings, bad memories. Even the good ones, if they don't fit in with the next phase in my life. The abuse and everything that's come with it is something I am having trouble letting go of. It's hard to let go of your childhood, because that's basically what I'll be doing. But how do I separate the good part of that, all the wonderful memories I have, from the bad part?

I want to be like Andy Dufresne - who fought against those who imprisoned him, even though it took him years.

Andy Dufresne - who never let himself be beaten.

Andy Dufresne - who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.

* * * * *

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  1. So proud to call such a brave and strong woman, my friend ♥

  2. Wow, such an amazing piece of writing... Kellie, I hope you do make it through to that other side and never let the abuser win. He doesnt deserve to ruin your life. Wishing you so much peace & love on the road to recovery

  3. This is a fantastic post!

    Another survivor here and I think you summed it up well. It is a life sentence and affects all our decisions whether we are conscious of that or not.

    Good luck in making the changes in your life. As they say, to live well is the best revenge. :-)

  4. This is hard for me to read right now, as mine has been brought very much into the forefront in the past week.

    But it was perfectly written, Kel. I've been wanting to write all week and I can't get it out yet.

  5. So amazing to read this today. I applaud and thank you for your succinctness, you've touched on points that I am going through currently as well. The adult I am today (and recently, I'm accepting that the way I relate as well) has been shaped by something I cannot completely separate from. So I'm healing it instead.

  6. A very powerful post. Well done and thank you for sharing.

  7. Keep chiselling through that wall. You will break through.

  8. People can be so selfish and disgusting. Do they not stop to consider how much they are robbing from us? That there are no band aids or medicines that can fix some things?
    I hope you are able to heal. At least somewhat. Try not to let that awful pig and what he did define your life because you are worth so so much more than that.

  9. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved <3

    And big thanks to you Kristin for letting me share here today!
    Love you x

  10. Thanks for sharing your story so beautifully, Kellie!
    I hope you can break free from this, especially by sharing it here in the blogosphere!

    Something that every parent fear for their own children...

  11. What a powerful post - I had to read it a it quoted my favourite movie Shawshank Redemption. (I'm teaching it to my Year 11 English class. They are about to do a monologue on a character.

    Keep digging away at it and remember - Salvation lies within...

  12. What grace & humanity Kellie has, absolutely, teach your children to be aware, eyes open - how many times do we gasp when we hear of a raid on the news of child pornography & they catch teachers & community leaders, it's disgusting & children need to know to avoid those situations, prevent as much as they can. I can only applaud those who speak out, find justice (as much as they can, physically & do their best to resolve mentally) as it's incredibly brave. Love Posie

  13. You are a strong, brave, beautiful woman. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Wow. I'm sorry you had to go through this. But you have been so strong to write this succinct, yet powerful post. I hope you get your wish and all the clearing of the past brings you absolute peace.

  15. You write beautifully. And seconding a previous comment, it really does affect every action, doesn't it?

    The dreams have been a particular pain in the tush this week. It's odd; this is the second blog I read this morning talking about the dreams, when out of the blue, they've been waking me up this week. Funny how we're never that far apart in our journeys ...

    Lots of love to you, and I know you're going to find the other side just fine. And you have plenty of support here for those days when it doesn't feel like you will.

  16. What a beautifully-written post. How wrong that the victims of cfhild abuse predators have to live with this for the rest of their lives. Thanks for sharing here. xo

  17. I've only just had a chance to read this, Kel.

    There's so much I want to say but am lacking for words.

    Big love xxxx

  18. Kellie, I can't say anything apart from you are amazing. All the love in the world to you.

  19. Kellie, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful yet heartwrenching post here on Wanderlust. You are an amazing person and an amazing writer and I can't wait until the day I can meet you in person and give you a big hug. xo

    Thanks everyone for your lovely, supportive comments.

  20. Wow. I just read it again - and just, wow.

    It's funny from kind of knowing a bit about someone and then coming here and read all the things you went through - and got through.

    You are amazing, Kel. Truly. Totally. Take my fucking cowboy hat off to you. Chicks like you are changing the world and don't even know it.


  21. Kel you are amazing.

    Strong, beautiful and powerful. And such an amazing example to your children without even intending it.



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