Regina Rowley

Inner Peace in the Midst of Turmoil…

Braving the Wilderness so we can #HealForward

“…Anger and frustration are frequently signs/symptoms of deeply buried pain…”

Once again we are at a crossroads of a powerful entity questioning a survivor who dares greatly and speaks up. Questioning her truth because she waited decades to speak.

The purpose of this post is to state my own experience and the timing of disclosing my sexual assaults. I have no political agenda. This ongoing controversy, pitting people to take sides, triggers me deeply…

Society conditioned me as a child and into my early adult years to be seen and not heard, to be quiet and submissive because being vocal was frowned upon, socially inappropriate. Because I was shamed for feeling or expressing my feelings. As a child I was told to dry up my tears before I was given a reason to cry… the emotional disengagement of my childhood stemmed from adults and society unable to acknowledge their own pain, it was so deeply buried and denied. So my pain was regularly met with intolerance, frustration and anger.

With this experience as my foundation, why the hell would I feel able to share my sexual assaults and the accompanying pain. I was scared, confused and had no one to turn to. I didn’t trust anyone. Who would believe me, who would care, who would stand by me and trust my words, my truth, which would have shed light on the dark, ugly, selfish actions of adult men who satisfied their lusts at my expense.

Survivors often have memory gaps. I really don’t have memories of my childhood prior to my older sister’s death. I have a few, very poignant memories of sexual assaults from maybe 10 to around 15.

In spite of my experiences, the world around me perceived me as a ‘normal’ child. I put all my energy into my school work and had good grades. I buried my pain and moved on with life. A life many observed as healthy and happy. When difficulties arose, especially emotional ones, I self blamed and told myself to “get over it”, “pull yourself together”, and/or as I was so heavily influenced, “just put it on the alter”. None of these thoughts/actions diminished my self blame or led me to inner peace. They did nothing to release the trauma from y mind and body. They only served to bury my pain deeper and keep me in a state of inner turmoil.

Fear was my constant companion. I feared not being good enough to be loved unconditionally. I feared making mistakes, being judged unworthy, unfit, being shamed, ridiculed…. the list is endless. I feared being blamed for someone else’s actions, because that is what my childhood was filled with. It was all I knew.

So it is no wonder I spent my adult life appearing successful, and not disclosing to my friends that I was a sexual assault survivor. In fact it wasn’t until I was deeply triggered in 2015 that I made my story publi

c. By then I was in my 50s and 4 decades had passed. Does the passing of time change the fact I was assaulted? No. It simply indicates I finally found the inner strength and self confidence to speak up. My story came forth in my effort to declare #NoMoreSilence #BeTheChange so I can #HealForward.

I finally reached a ‘point of no return’ so to speak. I was in the depths of despair, and depression, which is anger turned inward, because I had not been able to share it outwardly, that I once again contemplated my life ending. So tired of fighting this battle

alone, being judged and expected to ‘let it go’ because those around me were uneducated on the deep and lasting impact sexual assaults and abuse have on survivors. And because wading through the murk and mire with me was uncomfortable…

As I pondered writing this post, I wanted so badly to just use my time and energy to share love and grace, and positive and healing energy. I did not want to re-experience the tightness in my chest, the pit in my stomach, the stiffness and ache in my neck, shoulders, jaw and hips. I did not want to be in this space…

Yet, I know resisting would only lead to more pain and a longer recovery. Yes, recovery, because being triggered means feeling the same agonizing suffering again. And choosing to bury my head because I didn’t want to ‘deal with’ the news stories, would only bring me more frustration and challenge my ability to bring forth light and love.

So here I am. Being vulnerable. Feeling inadequate. But trying just the same to give voice and credibility to, solidarity with, other survivors. I am choosing to extend love and grace to myself as I brave this wilderness. Knowing as I choose courage I will endure discomfort. Doing my imperfect best to show up, speak up, to be seen and to know I have no control over how anyone else receives me.

Just the same, I can’t sit back, pretending the way our country handles social injustices is acceptable when it’s not. By voicing my truth, I am able to release another layer of my pain and receive another layer of healing. Because I refuse to sit in despair, hopeless and helpless. I Am the Change I Wish to See.

I do my best to avoid rolling in the mud of political conflicts. That is not where I find strength. I know it is my purpose to bring healing tools and peaceful energy to those who are actively #healingforward. So with this off of my chest, I move on to my goals and intentions for bringing my vision of a supportive community for female survivors of interpersonal violence to fruition. We are all Priceless!

May we enlighten with love and grace, empower with a strong back and soft front, and embrace this journey together because each of us are valuable and should be heard. Because I Am Priceless shares #health, #community, and #restoration.

Regina Rowley 2015