This post has been brewing for a couple of months now, but I just wanted to warn everyone that it may be triggering. I'm going to mention eating disorders, sexual assault, and abuse/neglect.
Over the last year, I've read a good amount of books. Nothing like the amount I used to read in my High School or Jr. High days, but a good amount. It brought me to a couple of amazing books that really challenged me. The books shook me, made me remember and made me really think about what I've gone through.
It hasn't been easy. It's been ugly, emotionally draining and outright scary at times. Only a few people really know what I've been through because it's not only hard to talk about, but it's already hard enough to cope with on a day to day basis.
I struggle with these things every single day. Even if I look "okay" on the outside, chances are - I could be having a hard time. It could be any little thing that sets me off - sending me into downward spiral where I just break down and have to put myself back together and fight through.
There are times where I have to force myself to just take a step back and a deep breath before pushing through and going forward.
Except, it's not that easy.
People think it is. I've heard it from a lot of them. They think that because I'm in a better, safer place now that I can just pick up and move on. That I can just automatically change and be better. They assume that I'll just be able to turn off the memories and suddenly be OKAY.
I can't. I won't. These aren't something that I can just forget and be one hundred and ten percent okay one day out of the blue. I don't think they ever will be.
When you've experienced situations like the ones I've been through - looking back isn't easy. It's hard. It's a mess of tears and it's ugly. It takes a lot to go back there, and I'm there a lot because it's brought me back to where I am today. The truth is: I still struggle. Every day. Every day is a new challenge to face, a new day to push through.
There are a lot of things I've never talked about with a lot of people. Not because I don't trust them, but because what I've been through is hard enough to even think about myself, much less completely open up and talk to them about everything.
I've read three books that really challenged me and made me think. They made me cry, they made me remember and they made me think about what I've gone through to get to where I am today. IF YOU STAY by Courtney Cole, IN HONOR by Jessi Kirby and my most recent read - IF YOU FIND ME by Emily Murdoch.
Each of these books has touched a part of me in some way, deep down. They've uncovered memories, challenged me to face my past and open up to a select few. They've challenged me to realize how far I've come and have reminded me that I'm not alone, even their characters have experienced some of what I have.
In the darkest of days, that is what calms me. It's what encourages me to remember that I'm going to be okay, that when things get bad - to take a deep breath and remember how far I've come. Those three books have forced me to take a closer look at where I've been and really pushed me to start to heal - very, so very slowly.
I simply don't have enough words to thank each of these authors. It's been a long, hard journey to get to where I am today but with these three books - I can finally feel like I can face these things, to open up and to most importantly to realize that "Hey, this is me. This is what I've been through." I haven't really been able to do that until this past year and with each of these three books, I've been able to do that more and more.
Thank you for the stories and your characters who have been where I've been, to help me remember and trust enough to get this all out. It's a journey I have been needing for years now and as scary as it is to remember, and to open up - I know that it is something I need to do. I need to do this for myself in order to process my experiences and be able to begin to heal in some small way.