Move Forward

There are always three sides to a story: my version, their version, and the truth.  Only God knows the truth...and this is mine.

This is what I need to keep doing.

There are experiences that have shaped who I am.  All of them memorable: some full of joy and others not so much.  Some of those experiences would make any sane person cringe. Unfortunately, the memories of the horrific are what attack me.  In the middle of the night when it's just me in bed with my thoughts, the memories come back and attack me like knives to my heart.

Having cancer three years ago, triggered so many emotions.  When I had once been able to control the flashbacks to a certain extent, cancer was the evil that pushed all the work I'd done on myself right back to step one.

I remember thinking:
"I still have to go through more, God?"
"Haven't I gone through enough already?"
"What did I do to deserve all of these trials?"
But as the saying goes: God only gives you what you can handle.  Apparently, a lot.  I can and have handled so much in these 45 years of life.

Photo by Vek Labs on Unsplash

I constantly try to train my brain to push back memories and flashbacks.  Interestingly enough, I don't have a lot of memories from having leukemia.  I remember going through it, but I don't feel the transgressions from it.  Yes, I get scared that it will come back.  I have been in remission for almost three years, but each time I see a doctor, follow-up or otherwise, I'm anxious.

What if this is the test that shows an abnormality?
What if they ask me to come back for some additional tests?

Thankfully every time, through God's grace, I have been clean.  My doctor has said, "perfect" and "amazing" a few times, even.

Right before I got diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), I was pretty much at the point of feeling like a survivor, not a victim.  I had gone though terrible stuff as a child, but I felt comfortable with sharing my story on here and telling my truth.  It was okay.  I still blamed myself some, but was getting to a point where I was protecting my inner child.  I was getting to the point that I didn't get attacked at night with nightmares and thoughts of was done to me.  I wasn't worried about not being safe.  I didn't have to talk about it to anyone.  I didn't feel like I needed help resolving issues.  I was able to write about it.  I was out of the dark.  Light was shining on me for once.

Here enters cancer.

I was focused on being positive.  It's what the doctor told me when I was diagnosed.  She said the people who stay positive, survive.  Survive I did...again.

No one told me, though, that I would be people's confessional.  No one told me that people would divulge their deepest secrets because they thought I'd take it to the grave.  No one told me that I'd have to take it from so many...again and again.  Things I didn't want to hear, but felt that these people were coming to me because they needed me and had to unload on someone.  That someone is me...always me.

My father needed to release and confess as well.  He needed to feel like he could tell me anything.  Remind me of my childhood and act like he had and was protecting me.  He needed to talk about what happened so that he could feel absolved.  He was never involved in it, but he didn't protect me either.

He told me about how he found out.
What he felt when he knew it had happened to me.
How he felt betrayed.
How he felt stupid for falling for their lies.
How it affected him.

Never how hard it must've been for me.  Not one word to apologize for not seeing the signs, for being naive, for making sure it didn't happen to me.  Just how hard it was for him.

This is why I have dissolved this toxic relationship.  My father hasn't asked why I stopped talking to him.  Well, I take that back.  I told him that I needed space because I was going through a difficult time because of my childhood.  I've told him that I don't want to hear from him or my mother.  And he said, "What did I have to do with your childhood?"

And I thought - Exactly, Papa.  Nothing.

I guess he doesn't care or maybe he thinks I'm just a bad daughter.  I just got fed up with putting him first when he should have put me there.  I got tired of hearing what a difficult child I was to raise. 

My flashbacks started when my mom and dad came to help my husband take care of me.  So instead of taking care of me, my father reminded me.  He wanted to know what happened.  He asked questions.  Constantly.  He wanted to reminisce.  He already knew what happened.  He didn't need to tell me the marital problems he has with his wife.  He didn't need to tell me that my childhood was a lie.  He didn't need to tell me what he did on the side.  He didn't need to say not to worry, "I haven't left you other siblings."

It was my time to be sick and vulnerable, but he made it about him.  All of my life, I put my father on a pedestal...the highest one possible where no one could touch him.  I wanted to be his favorite.  I wanted to be the one he had the closest relationship to.  I wanted him to love me...unconditionally.  I wanted him to be proud of me.  I feel deep in my soul what a disappointment I am to him.

I didn't become the woman he raised me to be.  Or who he thought I should be.  I didn't marry the right guy.  I am not submissive.  I say what's on my mind.  If only he knew how hard I tried to be who he wanted but I just couldn't.  He was the one who could do no wrong, but now I see the father I thought I had was just a figment of my imagination.

It's not all my dad.  My mother knew I was in danger, but let it all happen.  All the women of my family knew.  None of them protected me because they needed to protect themselves and the image of the perfect family we were supposed to be.

I was the one who told.  I let out all the dirty laundry.  All of the abuse ended for future generations because of me!

And, yet.

In October of this year, I wrote my father to tell him that I didn't think it was healthy to have a relationship with him.  I didn't mention my mother or brother.  I am no longer in any contact with the three of them.  It was the hardest thing I had to do to keep myself healthy...mentally.

I said this was my side of the story.  I didn't say it was everyone's truth.  It's my truth.  The real story?  Only God knows it.

When I meet my Maker, I hope He understands my side of things and forgives me for whatever hurt I inflicted on others.  I also hope He sees how at this point in my life I was ready to forgive.

Forgiveness is what needs to be done.  But remember, loveys:  Just because you forgive does not mean that everything goes back to the way it was.  I won't allow myself to ever feel that way or go through those feelings again.

I will slowly forgive and in that process, heal.  The healing will be my ultimate gift and step to moving forward.

All my love,