It has been seven years since my world crashed and burned. When I was eleven years old my biggest secret came out. My dad was sexually abusing me. December 3, 2001 was the last day I lived with him. Sometime around two in the morning my mom came in my bedroom and asked if it was really happening. I said yes and started to cry my life away.
When that night was over, I didn’t go to school for a week. I couldn’t handle being around anyone. I knew that by the time I went back to school, all the kids there would know what happened. I was made fun of, I heard people saying that I didn’t stop him because I liked it, and I heard people talk about me right in front of me like I wasn’t there. It was a huge struggle to make it through middle school.
In the summer of 2003 my family and I moved from Fort Dodge to Mason City, which is my home town. I had family there that I knew would be there for me. I was in the same grade as my twin cousins, which made my eighth grade year easier. Things did get easier, but I was still crying myself to sleep at night. As I entered high school I knew there would be more challenges than just overcoming my past. Dealing with relationships, rumors, and harassment, I spent nearly every night crying about one thing or another. When I finally got into art, I let all my feelings out. A lot of my drawings didn’t make sense to my teacher, but I couldn’t keep my feelings bottled up anymore.
Friday October 13, 2006, during my junior year of high school, was the day my father and I had our confrontation. He told me how sorry he was, why he did it, and that it was not my fault. After I showed him all the art work I have done dealing with the abuse, he started crying. That is when I knew I could survive because if I could make the man who had all control over my life for sixteen years cry like a baby, I knew I could survive anything.
Since that day I have lived every moment of my life knowing I can survive. Now I can tell the story of my abuse without crying. I can share every moment of my life and still stand tall. I can spend every single day of my life knowing I can do anything. I can do this all, because I believe I can survive.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.