This drawing represents the inner struggle I sometimes have with sensuality and sexuality. Because I was taught so many conflicting things about sex, sexuality, my control of my own body and pleasing others, I really struggle with this area of my life. There have been times when intimate moments are wonderful and amazing, but there have also been moments where they are filled with guilt and shame. When I was being sexually abused, I knew that it was wrong. It felt wrong to me. I knew that sex was something that only grown ups should have. But I was forced into it. It wasn’t fun. It was extremely painful, often causing hours, sometimes even days of pain following the episodes of abuse. Because our bodies are made to respond to sexual stimulation, I didn’t understand why it felt good sometimes. I thought that meant I liked it and wanted it. These are still thoughts that get all tangled up in my mind sometimes and I’m still working on these issues in therapy.
“Danger lurks in the shadows”
I was never really safe when he was there. I tried to hide, but he knew where to find me, it was as if he was a blood hound, out to track my scent. My house was not a safe place. I couldn’t hide in my bedroom, the playroom, the bathroom… Not even my toys were safe. He used them to hurt me too. My parents had no idea he was hurting me. I was forced into silence. They just thought he was a good guy. I mean, he was a student at the local Christian college, so I guess they just assumed that he was a good person. But that was all a lie. He was evil. He was a liar and a pedophile.
One of my favorite art forms is collaging. I could spend days looking through magazines, cutting out words and pictures. I have a whole scrapbook sleeve full of stuff I’ve cut out already. When I make a collage, I usually don’t go in to the process knowing what I want it to look like, say or have pictures of. I start by choosing some sort of background because I generally hate having white, open space in my collages. After that, I just start picking out words and pictures that jump out to me and a theme starts to form. Usually that theme is about my feelings at the moment, or what I’m struggling with or thinking about at the moment. In my collages, you can definitely tell my good days versus my bad days. Honestly, there are a lot more bad days, than good ones….but there is hope! I know there is an end in sight. I know that someday I’ll feel able to cope with life better. I know I’m not alone. I know I’m safe, loved, cared for and special…all in wonderful ways.
This collage was definitely a bad day when I was thinking about my childhood sexual abuse. I carry so much shame and guilt about what happened. Sometimes I think the abuse was my fault. Sometimes I still feel scared that the man who hurt me will come back and hurt me again. I know that there is no way that will ever happen, but it’s just one of those irrational fears I have sometimes.