Every day when we wake-up we have a choice, we can look and say “today is going to suck” or we can say “I’m so blessed to have everything I have” and find fulfillment in the life you have.
Last night I went to bed after working late and doing some team building after work at a local pub. Like most late nights I said to myself “oh, tomorrow is going to suck” as I climbed into bed after 2 am.
I got up this morning, very groggy and wanting more sleep (especially hearing the light thunder and rain) but I got up and began to get around. Like every morning I wake up say good morning to my girlfriend and chat while she is on her way to work. As soon as I hang up with her I get on my phone and see what’s going on in the Social media world and I see this image above.
This is a picture that brought back many memories and emotions.
This time in my life was nothing less than an absolute disaster, I know it’s hard to see from this picture; apparently we have the capability of hiding even the most horrific of events.
I was about 6 if I had to guess and living with my grandparents, my father had moved to Florida with my step mother and had begun to start a new life, and my mother was seeking help from a rehab facility, no brothers and sisters at this time in my life after the death of my brother Matthew. You may say “oh, thank God for your grandparents” yes I absolutely thank Him for my Grandmother, she was a beautiful, sweet, kind little Irish woman and I will always have a place for her in the highest part of my heart and miss her like nothing on earth.
My grandfather is a different story, a story that I wouldn’t learn about until many, many years later after my mind was ready to accept the facts of what he was.
Fast forward about 20 years when the first of the dreams began. At first they were disorienting and very confusing, however clear as this blog I write and as real as you and I sitting here. In my mid 20’s he was exposed and registered as a sex offender because of what he had done to someone very close to me. Quickly rumors of many others followed and suddenly the dreams were no longer seen as dreams; but memories my mind was ready to release and accept.
I have forgiven him for the innocence he had taken from me and accepted that I am part of an enormous and saddening statistic.
According to the National Sex Offender website:
Child/Teen Victims. In a 2012 maltreatment report, of the victims who were sexually abused, 26% were in the age group of 12–14 years and 34% were younger than 9 years. Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been the victims of sexual assault. It is estimated that between 60-85 percent of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68 percent are abused by family members.
I am not ashamed to admit this, talk about it or express my disgust for anyone that has the capability to harm a child or any human being for that matter. There are no excuses, no logical explanation, or possibility for someone to understand the feeling this brings and impact to the soul unless you have experienced it.
I would like to speak to your inner child, to that little boy or girl stuck at that age, stuck in the time that was never intended to take place in our innocent lives. I want you to know that it is okay to love someone and hate what they have done, there is nothing wrong with you, and you are not broken, tainted or dirty.
You are completely normal and if you are not yet healthy, just know that one day you can be if you learn to let go. You are not defined by the statistic we fit into now; you are defined by the stance you take against this statistic and the ones who harm.
One thing you can do if this is happening to you or someone you know is to tell someone, a teacher, a friend, a family member and know that you have done nothing wrong…
Together, we, the 1.8 million lives that have been changed have an opportunity to find our voice and know that there is a bond between us that can never be broken. We can make a difference in the lives of others around us by simply finding the courage to tell your story. I’m not saying to tell the world by writing a blog unless you have the courage to talk about it openly, but that little neighbor boy or girl that is shut down, that friend that you see something lost in their eyes, the family member that feels alone and disconnected.. You can be the one to change everything