Acknowledgement of Strength and Courage
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
Lately, there has been a request to identify strength and courage from within myself. And, honestly, the answer is not very easy for me to identify nor to convey. I haven’t written since early April and couldn’t have written if I had wanted to. Sometimes I seem to get lost in my own world not knowing how to get back to the present date and time. The words “strength” and “courage” seem to be ones of perception rather than having a concrete definition that fits most people and situations. Hang in there with me. I promise there is a point.
One of the more difficult things in my life has been to accept compliments. The ones I did get from perpetrators always seemed to have some form of abuse attached to them. Growing up and developing as an athlete I regularly received compliments from my coaches. I not only developed confidence but the discipline and hard work were always worth the effort. I received compliments from my parents, the parents of friends and teammates. When the compliments began to take on a more sinister tone and action from some people, I began to fear the very thing that only years before seemed to propel me into a healthy confidence and feeling of safety. Kind words, in their own way, can now cause instant fear and embarrassment unseen to the naked eye.
You can point out that survival of all the abuse is an example of both strength and courage. However, my stance is simply that I did what I had to do to live. Is this a great example of minimization? Well of course it is. But emotionally this is truly how I feel about my story of survival. So…..to identify examples of each I am forced to look at these things from another angle. I identify these by looking into the heart and eyes of my alters. This has truly been a process that has now led me to a position and attitude of gratitude. Trust me, it has not always been like this. For years I’ve been stuck continuing to try and deny the depth of my mental problems and diagnoses. And what this has led to for my system are feelings of denial and minimization of their strength, courage, bravery and existence of them both individually and as a group. This has led to anger, resentment and a whole lot of unneeded and hurtful chaos from them at times. They have had a general feeling of being unneeded and unwanted after years of wading through a life of blood, sweat, tears and the evilness of others. They have never wanted a war medal but rather just acknowledgement of the abuse and their efforts.
“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”
Me and “my team” or “my guys” as they are commonly referred to are not expendable. These children, teens and adults stepped into some very frightening situations when my mental and physical limits as an individual had been reached. Their actions often times with accurate precision led to self-preservation with the ultimate goal to preserve life. Their strength and courage doesn’t seem to have limits for which I’ll am eternally grateful. Their existence was created out of fear, pain and necessity. Mel will tell you that there have been times when physically and emotionally I shouldn’t have been able to function on any level. But you could also look up and standing before you would be someone who seemed to be functioning almost completely normal. The quest for my education while undergoing abuse, sometimes daily, is a stunning example of this very thing. Now several years later the answers as to how this was even a remote possibility are very clear. My guys stepped in and helped to make sure that my goals were achieved despite always being told that my dreams were nothing more than under achievable pipe dreams. To me, they are a living testimony of strength, courage and bravery that cannot be matched. And maybe my story is changing from one of survival to one about redemption.
“I never said I wanted a ‘happy’ life but an interesting one. From separation and loss, I have learned a lot. I have become strong and resilient, as is the case of almost every human being exposed to life and to the world. We don’t ever know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward.”