I celebrated my 24th birthday last week, and being a complete and utter book fiend, Husband wasn't shocked when a few weeks before I presented him with a list of books I wanted to read, and were safe for him to buy me. Some may think this is selfish/brass/presumptive etc, but in reality this is how me and the other half operate. He knows I have tons of books, my taste ranges wildly, and both of us would rather have a few options, knowing any of them will be well received. So, in prep for my wish list, I scoured Amazon.
One book that peeked my interest, was Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. On the page, I also saw there was a movie version, staring Elizabeth Perkins and Kristin Stewart. I grew curious and curiouser, and decided I fancied having a looksie at the movie (something I hardly ever do, FYI - check out the movie before the book). Anyway, I got it and watched it. And it affected me way more than I expected it to do.
That night I left Husband working on his computer and went upstairs to bed, the movie playing heavily in my mind. The character of Melinda and her reaction to a violent and soul-crushing attack brought back a torrent of memories, one's I often try and push away. In a lot of ways, I reacted to my situation in almost the exact opposite way Melinda did. Instead of retreating inside myself, I pretty much gave the finger to my life and everyone in it. I partied harder, put my body through the ringer and focused on proving to the world that I wouldn't let it affect me, I refused to be the victim. You can put me down, but you can't keep me down.
But in the end, I did the same as Melinda. I didn't SPEAK about it. I ignored it best I could, but as is inevitable with these things, they don't go away, no matter how hard you try. It took me a really long time to face up and admit how broken I was, and if I'm being perfectly honest, a little bit still is. People may react differently, go off the rails or hide inside themselves where they think it's safe, but I doubt anyone really gets over it completely.
And really...I don't mind that a tiny bit still lingers. I have peace now, something I struggled to achieve for longer than I care to think about. I still flinch occasionally, still have to battle through the instinct to withdraw if my personal space is breached suddenly, but gone is the outright fear, the feeling of worthlessness and anger. But I don't mind the tiny bit that lingers because it reminds me of where it brought me. I never regret anything in my life, the good choices, the bad one's, the situations I wish hadn't happened. But I can't regret anything - they all led me to the point in my life where I am now. And where I am is amazing. I have a beautiful son, a wonderful husband who I know is way to good for me, and a circle of friends I know I can trust with anything and love me for who I am. The circle may be vastly smaller than it used to be, but that's okay too. I'd rather a few friends I love and trust completely than dozens who don't really get me.
All our decisions and experiences make us who we are. Mine may not be perfect, but they made me me. And that I can't regret.