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Healing Is Not Linear

A Girl and Her Gun: Healing Is Not Linear

Monday, January 16, 2012

Healing Is Not Linear

Life is good, life is fine, something bad happens, rocks my world.  I go through the normal phases and eventually healing and progress takes place. 

I had thought all that pain was behind me.  Not forgotten, but tucked away as a memory, one that I could control and use to help others.

I never thought I would be dealing with the negative emotion that came from my bad guy encounter. Then I wrote that letter. 

That letter.

When I first wrote, it was exactly what I wanted to say.  It expressed exactly what I felt and as other shared it and identified with it, I felt happy and proud, but then as it grew and grew, I started to feel uncomfortable.

The more and more I see my name being used to represent victims the more uncomfortable I feel. 

Sometimes when I see the word violence, I think, I have no right to be include with those that have suffered at the hands of a mad man, those that have really suffered.  Those that had the courage to fight back or those who didn't have the chance. I feel guilty and ashamed.  Am I really a victim or just some stupid lady who didn't have the guts to fight?

And yet sometimes when I see the words...violence, victim...they take me back to that day.  A day, I haven't really thought much about, in terms of details.  I always talk about that day in general terms.  Even here I have never actual said what happened, step by step. I don't talk about it. I don't think about it. At least, I didn't used to, but now, now I do. No willingly, but there it is.  I  read a post like the this one last night and bam, there I am.  I can see myself standing there, doing nothing, being so god damned scared. 

It's been a hard couple of days.


At January 16, 2012 at 7:45 AM , Blogger Sean D Sorrentino said...

Not "victim," "survivor."

At January 16, 2012 at 7:47 AM , Blogger JD said...

OK, seriously, you need to talk to a "victim" counselor, don't let the label bother you. Even if you fight and succeed, you are STILL the victim, but a triumphant one.

Accept what you were, accept what you are, and continue to take what you are to the next level. But please, you need to accept things as they were and are. You can not change the past, but you can greatly increase your abilities to handle thing in the future.

Somewhere Lima has a piece on overcoming the "victim" label, I can't for the life of me find it but will continue to keep looking for it, in the mean time I've passed the link to your previous post to her and asked to to chime in.

At January 16, 2012 at 8:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not a victim. You are a strong, independent, loving person and a hero to so many who read your words. You are also a survivor. Don't allow some nut with an agenda who is using your name to diminish you in any way. You are a special person, who had a bad thing happen that was not your fault, and you survived. That makes you a hero in my world.

At January 16, 2012 at 8:24 AM , Blogger North said...

You won this. Don't go back and give up.

At January 16, 2012 at 8:37 AM , Blogger Wolfman said...

In some ways, we, as a group, have benefited from your misfortune. This thing happened, and you responded. That lead you to here, and we all threw the world at your blog. Your exposure is good for us; your experience gives your words additional weight. We are certainly not innocent of prolonging the effects of trauma, when it helps us.

The difference is, we celebrate you. The antis say, "Look what happened to X! Its horrible! Hysteria! Relive it with us!" When we hold you up as an example, we say, "Look at her! A thing happened to her, and look what she has made of herself since then!" Either way, you are held up to the world, a spotlight shines on you, and people you have never met recount your story. Every time it is referenced, you relive it. That cannot be easy, and you have born up well beneath it. They shine a spotlight at victims because they are useful. We shine a spotlight because you deserve it. Keep your chin up. We are still here for you.

At January 16, 2012 at 9:00 AM , Blogger instinct said...

Don't "What if" yourself. A bad thing happened, yes.

You survived it and it left you with some scars, yes.

The two things you don't want to do is second guess yourself or downplay what happened. Sure, worse things have happened to other people, that doesn't take away from the fact that what happened to you left it's mark.

You also don't want to bury it. I saw a good friend burn to death in a flight deck fire. For a long time I just tucked it away in the back of my mind and tried not to think about it and hope it would just fade to a blur. It didn't. I would wake up sometimes with the image still sharp in my mind and not be able to go back to sleep.

Then, I started talking about it and it help purge all of that from my system. When I think about it I can still see him, but there isn't the panic anymore, or the guilt.

Don't blame yourself for not having the tools back then to fight, you have them now. I would tell my martial arts students "It's hard to see ahead if you are always looking behind"

At January 16, 2012 at 9:36 AM , Blogger The Lost Goat said...

Sorry it has been rough; hope it gets better soon.

At January 16, 2012 at 9:44 AM , Blogger 45er said...

Here has been my issue lately: The use of the word "victim" as present tense. I don't see that in you. Wolfman is correct, you are seen as a positive example of what should be the case. A victim no longer. In control (as much as possible). Unfortunately, you're being hounded by thoughts that you are in some way responsible for anything that happened to you. My view is that I'm not responsible for what another person chooses to do. Even prepared people can be taken by surprised. You have taken ownership of that and are now prepared. This also means you will not be responsible for the actions you must take IF someone makes that decision for you in the future. Make no mistake, you will also be dealing with emotions if you do defend yourself. You probably should sit down and talk with someone, but someone that will understand your desire for self-defense. NRA has a Refuse to Be A Victim program and I'm sure there are others that can direct you to resources including some of the wonderful people over at Cornered Cat. Just talking it through with an understanding person can work wonders.

At January 16, 2012 at 10:13 AM , Blogger GunDiva said...

You're not representing victims; you're representing survivors. I've met victims and you aren't one. Were you caught off-guard and unsure of what to do? Yep. Have you since learned and taken steps to ensure it won't happen again? Yep.


Not victim.

At January 16, 2012 at 11:18 AM , Blogger Maura said...

One of about 50 things I can say in Irish: Nár lagaí na bithiúnaigh do lámh.

Don't let the bastards grind you down.

At January 16, 2012 at 11:24 AM , Blogger Maura said...

Oops. You don't cuss. I'll cuss for you. ;-)

At January 16, 2012 at 12:04 PM , Blogger Amy said...

I think I've finally figured out how to comment on your blog! Ha! All joking aside, I have to agree with GunDiva. You are NOT a victim. You are a survivor. And there is nothing wrong with that. You speak of your own experience and that's ALL you can speak to. In my personal life, when I was much younger, I had some things happen to me that *could've* been worse. . .but because I have a big mouth and can be as mean and nasty as a badger when provoked, I was able to prevent the abuse from going further than it did. That doesn't mean that I didn't suffer. It doesn't mean that I wasn't scared or hurt. It doesn't mean that someone else's "worse experience" should eclipse my own. I know what I know. I know what I've lived through. And if my sharing that information with young women helps someone, that's great. But our experiences with "bad guys" shouldn't be up for comparison. They were all bad things done by bad guys who made the decision to indent harm upon us. How little or how far the hurt went is of little consequence. Those of us who survived a lesser attack, still survived an attack. Period. Don't let anyone get you down. . .including yourself. In the few weeks that I've become aware of you, I am happy to know you exist. I hate what happened to you, because I hate to think of good people facing other's bad intentions. But I LOVE what you've done with the experience. You are inspirational, understanding and just effing fabulous. PLEASE keep being who you are. Screw the haters. . .including the voice in your head that tells you nothing you have is worth sharing. What you have IS WORTH SHARING. You're learning, you're easy to relate to and the way you share your thoughts are valuable to many of us. Keep on typing, sister! xoxo

At January 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM , Blogger Adventures in Self Reliance said...

I've been reading your blog for only a short time but going through your post I don't think you realize how much you have changed. You are now a "Dangerous person" a gun just like violence is just a tool, and both may be used for good or evil. Each person must make that choice and you have chosen to use violence to protect yourself and others. The gun is simply how you execute that violence. Heck you could have learned knife fighting or a martial art it's still using violence to protect yourself.
Remember there are no dangerous weapons only dangerous people

At January 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM , Blogger Country Tea said...

I can not add much to what has already been said, but I will say this: Thank you for sharing your story of survival with us. You are a wonderful example to not only us, but to your girls that they do not have to wallow in victim hood, but can rise above it and show that they can survive anything that life throws at them!

At January 16, 2012 at 2:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Girl, you are not a victim, you took your power back and turned it out to help others. The only reason they say what they say is because you are a big enough threat to them that they must try and belittle you. Do not look at yourself and minimize what happened to you because other people have had worse. Violence, in any form, affects everyone. That's the reality and girl you have over come it! Be proud! You are a huge inspriation!

At January 16, 2012 at 3:00 PM , Blogger Keads said...

Stay the course Girl! You are doing fine. Thanks as many have said for sharing your story with us. It means a great deal to us. We are here if you need anything we can provide.

Look forward to meeting you in March.

At January 16, 2012 at 3:19 PM , Blogger Sport Pilot said...

I’ve been reading your blog lately and following your experiments in self sufficiency and taking care of yourself. One of the thing’s you’re dealing with now is in recognizing how deeply a loss of innocence of the real world such as you experienced has affected you. Up until last year you’d been fairly well sheltered and distant from truly evil, vicious and degenerate people, facing violence the first time is a systematic shock to a truly normal, rational and accountable person. After more than twenty five years in LE seeing good people coming to terms with the world they’d never known before is nothing new to me.
As a Critical Incident Stress Debriefer I recognize that shock I encounter far more readily now. I encourage you to find a victims support group and attend some meetings. Listen to some of their stories and how they’re coping with what they experienced. After that read back through your blog and reflect on the positive ways you’ve dealt with matters. A cattail plant in a marsh will bend and move with every breeze or ripple in the water but always returns to an upright position ready to face the next breeze. Take not comfort in your fears but rather in your growing strengths and face your problems with determination.

At January 16, 2012 at 3:32 PM , Blogger Eck! said...

Dear Lady,

Like many have said. Your a survivor. What do they do? They cope, learn, and get stronger. The past is gone, we have no time machines to go back. You can't, you are working on healing, developing new confidence and better skills.

What you are not, A victim. To be so you would not live life but endure it, suffering, and reliving the moment and likely repeating it. You would be an affliction on others
as the past would be your everyday. They stay that way because its hard do face it.

Your talent for putting words to what I feel and would like to say better is what has drawn me. I can only offer what strength I have and to say it does get better. Keep going forward, there are people in your life for you to lead.

By doing it every day you show how its done for those around you. That is what survivors do, the hard work.


At January 16, 2012 at 3:45 PM , Blogger Lokidude said...

You're not a victim anymore. Less than a year ago, you were victimized. A bad person made you afraid and unsafe.

In that short time, you've grown. As you said in That Letter, you found strength and a belief in yourself. I sincerely hope that you never again find yourself in a situation where evil assaults your life, but I firmly believe that, if that day comes, your response will be appropriate, and very different from before.

And that's how you properly heal after being a victim.

At January 16, 2012 at 4:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone wisely told me a long time ago that it's not what happened to us that makes us what we are, but what we did about it.

Some people encounter violence and spend the rest of their lives in hiding, curled up in the fetal position. Others give public talks to accumulate pity from like-minded audiences, but learn nothing and leaving themselves wide open for a repeat.

The strong, the victorious, the wise learn from their experiences, grow, and prepare so that any future outcome turns out more favorably for them and their families. That's what you did, and why you're so dangerous to the antis. You refuse to live as a victim.

Speaking as a husband, I'm positive that your husband is extremely proud of you and how you've overcome adversity. We here don't know you nearly as well, but you can clearly read how proud of you all of us are.

Everyone goes through rough spots. We get through them by the grace of God, the inner strength that He provides us, and with the support of those He blesses us with in our journey.

And as it says on the box of Ex-lax: "This, too, will pass."

At January 17, 2012 at 4:30 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

Funny, and not the ha ha kind, how that crap can come up and bite you in the butt at the weirdest times. ...and again with the longer commentary in email.


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