When I was younger and being sexually abused, I was forced into silence. I was threatened that if I told anyone about what he was doing to me, he would hurt me more or even hurt my family. I was terrified, so I stayed quiet. I needed to be heard, but wasn’t allowed to speak. I was forced to be voiceless. In my recovery, I’ve had to learn to use my voice. After decades of silence, it has been hard to learn to speak about what happened. I’ve also learned to speak up for myself, to speak up about how I feel and what I need from others. I’ve learned to confront life head on, rather than just run away from problems and cover my feelings up. Our voices are powerful tools in recovery. The more we speak up, the less power our past has over our lives!
These are some of the very first collages I made. I think I made these in 2007. It was around that time when I was living alone in a very small apartment. My bulimia and self harm were ridiculously bad and I was in a very big downward spiral. I was in and out of psychiatric hospitals on a regular basis. This is when I first discovered how much art really helps me. I started collecting magazines and I would spend days pouring over them, cutting out words and pictures. I don’t even want to know how many glue sticks I went through during this time. Making collages was such an awesome distraction. Not only did I really enjoy it, but I could collage about things I was feeling and I didn’t have to take my feelings out on myself through binging and purging and self harm.
“Just be a good girl and this won’t hurt” he said. He was a liar. It always hurt. It hurt so much that I would leave my body. I’d float above myself and watch from the corner of the ceiling. Sometimes I feel like I will never get better. When will the memories and flashbacks go away? When will I feel “normal” again? Does this ever get easier? I have so many doubts and fears. So much anger that I feel guilty about having. Good girls don’t get angry. At least that’s what I was taught early on. But I’m learning that anger is good. It teaches us when something is wrong. It is ok for me to be angry about what happened and about what I lost. It’s such a slow and torturous process, but I do have a small glimmer of hope.
Lately I’ve felt pretty voiceless. Like I have emotional laryngitis or something. I made this art journal page today in effort to express the feeling of voicelessness. As a child, I didn’t have a voice. I was threatened, hurt, scared and little. He was powerful and so much bigger than I was. But here’s the great thing….I DO HAVE A VOICE NOW!!! I can express what happened. It may not be pretty. People may not want to hear it. But I have freedom and no one can stop me from sharing my story. Now people can hear my screams and some of my whispers.