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Acceptance Is Key: So, Why Can't I?

Trigger Warning: This blog post has topics that could be triggering, including sexual assault, depression, and alcohol. Please continue with caution if those topics are sensitive for you.

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The struggle is REAL when it comes to accepting things from your past. Especially when those things have hurt you. No matter what you struggle to accept, one thing remains true: It hurts you. It still hurts you.


Some of our struggles relate to things that have been done to us, while other struggles relate to things we have done to others. Wildly enough, both are just as hard to accept at times.


If you haven’t read through or heard my sexual assault survivor story before, I’ll give a quick recap or you can go check it out here: Depression: How I Fought the Ugly Monster.



It’s been 7 years since I was raped and my virginity was stolen away. Looking back, that was a gut wrenching time for me. I can honestly say it was the biggest struggle of my life thus far.


For two years, I battled with acceptance. Somehow I couldn’t accept that I had been sexually assaulted and that something I had held so dear to my heart had been ripped away from me. I struggled to even look at myself as a victim. I felt stupid, unworthy of love, and just worthless in general. I would repeat to myself, “How could you let that happen to you?”


I held in the pain and didn’t tell a soul. I turned my back on my faith and I built up a facade for my family and friends. I kept running fast toward each and every career opportunity. THIS would fix me and take my pain away.


It didn’t.


It took 2 years, 2 jobs, 3 moves, endless drunken nights, new friends, and a kind gesture to get me to a place of acceptance.


Long story short, I began therapy, I found peace with what had happened to me, and I found my faith with God again.


In that time, I found that acceptance was key and I accepted what had happened to me. I no longer blamed myself for my assault and I worked hard to practice self love and improve my mental health.


I still have my down days and sometimes my assault enters my brain, but I have done the work to know how to cope with my triggers.


Even with all that, I’ve found a new issue I’m struggling with. And, to be honest with you, I’m extremely shocked and mostly annoyed with it. I’ve done the work, so why can’t I accept this new struggle I’ve been battling with?


This new struggle is exactly the reason why I’m writing this blog.


Let’s circle back to something I wrote earlier on:


Some of our struggles relate to things that have been done to us, while other struggles relate to things we have done to others. Wildly enough, both are just as hard to accept at times.


My past struggle was with something that had been done to me.


This current struggle is something that I feel I’ve done to others or reactions to ways I have acted in the past. This is something that often plagues me in my mind.


I have old memories of things I did and ways I acted the few years that followed my sexual assault. So, while I have done the work on accepting my trauma and moving forward with my life from that, I have found that I did not accept the train wreck of a person I was during those few years of unending trauma.



I am haunted by the drunken texts I sent, the stupid comments I made, the worthless one night stands that I had, the walks home alone late at night (often), and just all around behaviors I’m ashamed of.


That person is not who I am. And, I’m ashamed.


It hurts to view myself in that way. It wasn’t me. And, while I’ve done all the therapy and heard endlessly that you are not yourself while going through trauma, it still hurts.


Anybody ever get the Post Drunk Night Scares?


You wake up after a crazy night out and then you are mortified by what you may have said or did. Sometimes to make it worse, you find you have texts the next morning to prove you did something you wouldn’t have done in your normal state. Oh, it is the WORST FEELING.


I feel that way about an entire 2-3 years of my life. I just look back and I can’t accept all the things I did to try and fix my situation.


I drunkenly texted men so they’d say nice things to me because I couldn’t say nice things to myself.


I’m sure I said some dumb things while drinking or embarrassed myself numerous times.


I’m annoyed by the endless drinks I spilled when I should have been cut off.


I’m aggravated that I put myself in danger numerous times walking home alone at night thinking this is the ONLY way I can cope with my trauma.


It’s been over 5 years now since this all happened, so why can’t I accept this part of my life and move on?


I’m not that girl anymore. I’ve done the work. I choose to not drink. I’ve healed. So what’s wrong with me?


The only way I can explain it is that I was dealing with one trauma while in the midst of another. With seemingly no idea, I was fixing one part of my trauma, but not the full picture.


I’ve been working on this with my therapist and while I was in tears telling her all the things that plague me from that time, she said “well, have you accepted that this time in your life was you? Have you accepted that you were just doing what you felt you had to do to keep yourself safe? Have you accepted that this was you in a time of struggle and you were just trying to get by?”


I very easily was able to say, “No.”


Not at all. I have not at all done work on accepting the person that I was during that time. I just buried her and started over. I accepted my sexual assault, but forgot to accept the woman I had become. But, like we talked about earlier, running fast toward new opportunities does not fix your past struggles.


YOU must fix your past struggles. YOU must accept the person that you were during that time.


Because guess what? It’s okay that we struggled. It’s okay that we weren’t okay and we lashed out. Why is it okay? Because we are not that person anymore. We are doing the work.


Somehow I’ve found this journey of acceptance to be just as difficult as accepting my sexual assault. It’s hard to view yourself as you were during a period of depression and trauma.


It’s a new personal trauma set in my mind to make me question my worth and love for myself over and over again.


In response to all of this, my therapist gave me one task. She said, “This week I want you to work on accepting that you were just doing what you could to get by. I want you to accept that this version of you was you, but also remember to look at how you were protecting yourself as best you could at that time.”


I jotted down the assignment thinking, “I bet this sounds A LOT easier than it will be.” And, here we are. I’m ready to journey down this road so that hopefully one day I can write to you all telling you that I did the hard work and that I’m okay.


Today, I’m okay, and today I’m attempting to get to the root of why I’m struggling to accept this part of me.


If you are someone struggling to accept a part of you, I hope you find this to be the push you need to move past a trauma that’s hurting you. It’s not easy to do alone, so I encourage you to talk to someone. Whether that be a trusted friend, therapist, or God, don’t be afraid to share your struggle. You will find that you are not alone.


Once you do that, try to accept your past and embrace your future.


I’m practicing daily devotionals, self love affirmations, and giving myself some grace. These activities are helping me get closer to accepting my past. I’m hopeful that one day I can stop tearing myself down with the past struggles and build myself up to do the good work of helping others.


You all build me up, and I’m here to build you up.


Acceptance is key, and I’m on my way.


What advice would you have for others that are struggling, like me, with accepting their past?


Interested in trying out a daily devotional? Check out this one by Rick Warren: The Purpose Driven Life. This daily devotional has really helped me in the past couple of months.


Until Next Time,


Jessie



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