I never realized how pervasive my sexual abuse has affected my entire person. Every part of my personality has changed because of one very selfish act by a perpetrator. It has changed me so much, I sometimes don’t really know who I truly am.
Obviously, my sexual abuse has confused my sexual identity and altered a healthy sexual outlook would be for me. I constantly wonder if I’m sexually attractive. But then I also wonder if others are thinking lewd thoughts about me, and how many walls I need to put up to keep myself safe. What would seem like an easy and enjoyable part of an intimate relationship becomes so complicated and difficult that it’s just easier to avoid it at all costs sometimes.
But then all parts of my life now seem like a constant struggle. I second guess myself as a husband and a father because I don’t feel like I’m being a good provider or a good protector of my family. I feel as if I’m a failure at work because everything seems to go against everything I try to do to provide for the best for my students. Although I know I shouldn’t, I constantly compare myself to others at the gym knowing that as I age I’ll never capture the youthful body that I couldn’t have had years ago. Furthermore, I feel like I’m neglecting my writing since I can’t feel inspired enough because of the weight of everything else I’m trying to do. I also wonder if I’m escaping too much into reading because that’s the only thing that seems like I can do successfully.
Yet if I continue to feel this way, I’ll never completely heal. Life is hard, and it’s hard for every one. I can chose to dwell on all of the negative and never move forward in my life. But I can start with realizing that my sexual abuse doesn’t define who I am. It was an event that tragically happened, but it doesn’t drive the trajectory of my life. It’s a lot of work, but I know that I can discover the person who I was meant to be. Once I begin doing that, I can feels things in a more positive way and realize that this, too, will pass. From there, I can chose a better perspective on my life. I pray that you all can do the same, too.