"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
This past week I've been worried. My book is in the hands of the editor. November 6th is the potential day for it to be printed. I've been wondering - what am I doing putting this stuff out there for everyone to know. I think people will look at me differently when they find out where I've been - when they find out how awful and crazy I was.
Reading what I wrote - I feel sick - Overwhelmed. It's not like there was one thing. There's too much - too much crazy stuff......kidnapped, raped, drugs, eating disorder, cutting, the streets,..... I' ve been trying to share bits of what happened with some friends - trying to prepare them - to warn them - that I'm not what they see. I'm trying to take a step - to test the waters. I try to convince myself it wasn't so bad. Then I look at what I wrote.....yeah it was crazy - really bad. I go back and forth like a ping pong ball wondering what the heck I"m doing writing this stuff and putting it out there. I watched this tv show - about a brother and sister. They looked like everyone else - normal. But they endured years of abuse - now they struggle to cope. No one could tell that everyday they fight overwhelming feelings of shame, fear and worthlessness. Looking at person you can't tell......
The other day I noticed someone - really thin - way to thin - face gaunt - body frame skinny - emaciated. I glanced in her eyes - I saw that familiar emptiness and the shame. I wanted to grab her and tell her she has a right to live....a right to be safe....a right to be cared for. I wanted to point her to the One who can help her. But I just let her pass by. I went home and emailed my editor some cover samples for the book.
If what I wrote can help just one person find peace, find their way out of the darkness, away from that horrible emptiness.....then I'll risk people in my world thinking less of me.
And I need to bridge what happened with who I am today. I don't want to live in shame anymore - hiding a secret - hiding huge parts of myself. I want to be free - totally free. I spend too much time hiding - worried what people would think if they knew the truth of where I came from. I don't want to do that anymore.
I want to be free inside - I don't want to carry the shame anymore. And I want others to be free.... Last night I did what I've been afraid to do. I told a group of women my story. I voiced it. I spoke. I said the words. The words that I've not been able to say outloud to anyone except a trusted friend. I couldn't stand up so they let me sit at a table and they closed the lights - I talked in the dark. But I did it. People came to me after - told me pieces of their stories - told me what I shared touched them - told me they were amazed I survived.... I think freedom is learning how to dance in spite of the fear. I'm going to keep taking risks - even though I'm afraid. Something pulls me to do it. A hunger to be free. A hunger for others to be free. I think it's happening.