The Tale & Healing from Sexual Abuse

caroline-hernandez-219724-unsplash.jpg

Last night I watched The Tale, a new movie on HBO based on true events of the director Jennifer Fox’s life. She was sexually abused by her running coach at thirteen.

Usually I opt out of watching these movies because they do trigger me. For anyone reading if you watch the movie, know that you might be triggered.

There are some graphic scenes that made me sick to my stomach.

I saw myself in the main character. She resonated with me in her journey of discovering that she was sexually abused and accepting it.

I don’t know about every woman but I do know that for years I couldn’t accept the truth. It was a slow agonizing process to realize that my father wanted to have sex with me.

Even as I type these words I feel sick to my stomach.

Watching The Tale last night only magnified my feelings around sexual trauma.

I was very promiscuous in my twenties. I experimented with women. I experimented with polyamory relationships. I have wondered if my experimenting had anything to do with the trauma around intimacy.

In the film, the perpetrator tells the victim it was her. He was in his forties and she was a thirteen year old girl. It was her fault that it happened.

I remember many times my father saying the exact same words.

It was my fault. I wanted it. 

The journey of sharing my story has been a slow process.

I have held shame around it as if I was the cause of all the abuse.

I know now that it isn’t the case.

I felt an obligation to protect my parents. I shouldn’t talk badly about them. 

Or talk about what happened.

If you ever find yourself saying shouldn’t remove it from the sentence immediately.

It only brings guilt.

I lived with another family at sixteen.

In the film the main character idolizes two adults who become like her family.

I remember idolizing this family as well.

They adopted me and I moved in with them.

As the adopted father and I grew closer I remember several conversations of him sharing that if he had met me years before his wife we would be together.

I was sitting at the kitchen table doing my homework.

I remember thinking, “Oh no. This can’t be happening again.”.

It was a scary life for me as a budding teenager.

I know that many times I thought I should try dating women because then I’d be safe.

I wasn’t particularly sexually attracted to them as I was emotionally.

I wanted to feel safe.

They made me feel safe.

The Tale shows that a young girl wants to feel special especially by her family.

To feel safe. And loved.

We all do.

The main character freed herself in her own way by speaking her truth.

But remember this is based on the director’s life.

I admire Jennifer Fox for taking her pain and creating a powerful message with it.

I am just starting to really talk about the years of trauma I experienced.

Thank you Jennifer for being a voice for us. For giving us perspective into your journey.

I look forward to taking my story and impacting millions of women with it.

 

Enjoy Life.

When was the last time you sat down and just breathed in nature? Or had a heartfelt conversation with someone? For me, it had been a while. Being the New Yorker that I am, I constantly feel a pressure to be working on something. It’s hard to simply sit down and relax when time is of the essence especially in New York. This constant drive to be doing something changed drastically when I recently took a trip out to the West Coast, California.

Immediately life was slower but I was still in that New York state of mind, trying to rush everywhere, do everything and had no patience for how slow everything was. Life became more relaxed, however I didn’t feel relaxed. I felt tension in my body from trying to force life to be faster. Luckily my friends pointed this out to me and I soon realized they were right, I simply just needed to relax and enjoy the scenery. Sure it wasn’t New York, but there was a beauty to how Californians live. Once I realized this I really started to let go of that New Yorker energy and accept that this was going to be my life for a few days.

I felt happier and lighter and definitely more relaxed. I didn’t feel the urge to be doing something in my down time. Instead I spent hours talking to my friends and relaxing by the beach. It was the first time in a long time that I stopped, put my responsibilities aside and just enjoyed the moment.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember to enjoy our lives and find beauty in our environments. I think the biggest lesson for me from this trip was to relax and understand that everything happens at the right pace.

What are some ways you can enjoy your life despite daily responsibilities? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Take a walk even if it’s during your lunch break.

2. Get some sunshine! Go to the beach or the park with some friends or your loved ones.

3. Meditate.

4. Listen to music

5. Have a conversation with good friends.

As Abraham Lincoln once said,”In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.”  – Abraham Lincoln