Monday, January 12, 2009

Full Circle

I have debated with myself whether to write about this or not, but as it turns out I blog more for myself and this is big in Pam's world.
My freshman year of college, 1994, I left home for the first time and headed to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. For those of you who didn't know me back then (this includes me because I just recently learned who I am) I was painfully shy in most situations, had no self confidence and was certain that I would die on the spot if anyone paid any attention to me at all. The first day of classes was torture because as is common for most new situations I was asked to introduce myself to the teacher and to the class. And of course this happened in EVERY class. My heart would race, my palms would sweat and I was 100% certain that I would disintegrate into a pile of ashes the moment my name was called and all eyes shifted in my direction. I survived, obviously, but only because fate wanted to torture me another day. Well that's how I saw things back then. I made friends quickly. Although shy I was a very sweet girl that had a knack for making others feel good about themselves. And as the days and weeks went on I started to feel a little bit more at home. As the first semester gave way to a new year I found myself happy and actually dating a handsome man. I thought that I was standing at the threshold of a new life with new confidence and I was certain that I was finding myself.
What happened next took me on a completely different journey than the one I had bought a ticket for. It is still hard for me to say the word and it will be 14 years this spring. Rape - it is such a violent word and for so many years it had this cloud of shame floating all around it. In my head anyway it did. I spent years ignoring what happened because I had forgiven my rapists. I believed that if I forgave I would forget. But the truth is that I never forgave myself. In fact until recently I still believed it was my fault and so to forgive them was easy, to forgive myself took many years.
I used to be so proud of the fact that my rape didn't define me. I was proud that I had put it out of my mind as if it never happened and I was not one bit scarred by the incident. I would hear of other survivors who were never the same and who spoke of life as before and after as if two different experiences and two separate sets of rules applied. I didn't identify with that. I just thought I was over it. Even though I blamed myself I thought I was over it. But my life "after" continued on a downward spiral, I could never allow myself to succeed at anything. I was always the quickest to sabotage my own happiness. I made choices that I still don't understand and I hated myself for many years.
But now there is a new before and after. Now there is after I forgave myself. Now there is peace and hope and love.
As I get ready to head back to the place I was 14 years ago I am excited to stand at a new threshold. I look forward to walking the same sidewalks I did those few days after my rape when I carried a knife in my back pocket and was scared of my own shadow. I am finally come full circle. I have worked through the un-speak able hell that is rape and have come out the other side filled with love and forgiveness for myself!


Brenna LaPray said...

Wow, how inspiring you are. I hope you really do know that you have no fault in that situation. You are so strong and seem so full of life. I wish you the best of luck with school and your new adventures. As for being married. It will happen. You're beautiful and the best comes to those who wait. I look forward to keeping in touch throghout your journey.

Susan said...

Good for you, Pam. I admire your bravery and passion for life. Good luck with the MBA program.

jewels said...

You are so amazing. I love your zest for life. I love that you shared such a personal experience. You are such a beautiful person. I know you are going to be successful in everything you do, good luck on your schooling and your new adventure in life. XOXO

Janae said...

I am proud of you and where you are today. Sounds like plans have changed as for what you want to do in school- how exciting!

Miss you.