I’ve been waiting my whole life to share this story.
Thank you so much for creating this safe space to be able to share.
My name is Katie, I’m 27, and I only say this because 7 has been my favorite number, and it’s apparently turning into a lucky number. 2017 has so far been the best year of my life. I was born in 1989, to parents who had difficult upbringings themselves, and not the most stable of relationships. I was born in a car accident, which feels telling. My early childhood is kinda blurry. I can remember moving a lot. I can remember feeling scared. I can remember having nightmares.
I was molested when I was 4 or 5 by a roommate that lived in my house. I didn’t know what was happening. I just remember thinking that this was wrong and shouldn’t be happening, and then having nightmares. Then I remember moving over and over again. I remember taking care of my baby brother when my parents weren’t around. I remember having to sort of be his mom. I remember fear. My earliest memory is just that – fear. It’s not security; it’s not happiness or love. It’s just fear.
I grew up afraid of men. Like, really, really afraid. I had traumatic nightmares starting around 4 or 5 and I didn’t realize it.
My mom and dad were both full of anxiety – my mom more so. My brother and I grew up very isolated and unable to do much because of fear.
I reached college and basically hadn’t lived. I was in a relationship with a woman because I didn’t think I could be in a relationship with a man, even though that’s what I had always dreamed about. I stayed in that relationship, out of fear and safety, for 7 years.
Eventually something changed and I decided to go to therapy. We (my girlfriend at the time and I) were about to get married and I felt so sad. So anxious. So trapped. I started going to therapy and realized that I had talked myself into this relationship the whole time I was in it, because from the beginning I had told her that it didn’t feel right. But I stayed. Out of fear. Out of anxiety and hurt and trauma.
After going to therapy for a while, I realized that someone telling me “no one will love you as much as I do” was actually a form of manipulation, no matter how loving that person might be. When you really love someone, you won’t tell them something like that. You want them to be happy. You want them to be free.
After 7 years, my fiancé (at the time) let me go. I moved out on my own. I started making so many friends and being open about my life… when I had been in that relationship, I didn’t talk much because it didn’t feel right. But I never told anyone. Until after it was over. My brother told me that it felt like I had been lying to him the whole time, because he had asked and I always said I was okay. Now I know that I need to be open and vulnerable to be alive, to make connections, to help with my anxiety.
I started going out more and reading self-help books. I started doing what I wanted to do. I listened to myself and I trusted myself. It was so hard. I cried a lot. I felt alone a lot. But now, 9 months have passed and I am in a better place with myself and my recovery than I have ever been in my whole life.
Recently, I ran a 5K for the first time. I started doing things alone, like taking long walks, and going to open mic nights. I read part of my journal at a spoken word event. I started dancing alone and eating alone and going to events alone, that I enjoy. I’m dating myself. I’m learning how to love myself and be gentle with myself.
After the 5K, I decided to learn how to ride a bike (I had a big ol’ bruise as proof). I decided to learn how to swim. Things I never learned as a child. I’m going to see an artist that I’ve loved since I was a child very soon. This is my first time seeing him live in concert. I am traveling to Canada by myself to see this suspension bridge that I’ve wanted to see for a very long time. I am in the process of starting to work with kids again, which I’m so excited about because they light up my heart. I love the home that I’ve built, and the things that I’m doing, and I finally feel at peace.
Maybe 7 is my lucky number, because this year has meant the world to me. This was and is the year that is changing my life. I’m finally healing, and I am so thankful. I know it’s taken a while, but I know that this journey is mine and no one else’s. I’m finally learning how to trust my heart.
After this, I really want to be able to open up to people more and trust people. I’m learning to do that very slowly, but it’s always terrifying. I’ve learned that if you just open up to people, if you just let them in, miracles will happen. That’s the only way to make connections. To be vulnerable. I am so thankful for those who have been vulnerable with me, and so honored to listen to other people’s stories. I am so honored to finally be sharing my own. Thank you so much for reading. Remember you are not alone. “No one belongs here more than you,” love. You are wanted. You are unique. You’re human, perfect in all your imperfection. And so am I. Thank you.
I am Katie,
a Brave Babe,
and I love and accept myself.