Keep Going

By Jude SmithMarch 7, 2019

When I was a child I was sexually abused by my older brother. But it wasn’t until the last year and a half that I started on a very long journey that’s involved coming to terms with it, learning how to let love in again, and confronting the depression and anxiety it has caused.

On the hard days, I often write in an attempt to empty my brain and sort through the thoughts to find myself beneath it all.

Here’s my most recent entry:

There will be days where you curl up, making yourself as small as possible, adopting your inner lizard and wishing to speak to no one. It’s on these days that you struggle to shake his touch or the self-doubt. Because inevitably, something else will go wrong: you’ll fail a test, break a plate, injure yourself—and then suddenly the dark will descend and getting up again will feel like a mountain climb.

The worst: No one will notice, and how you wish they would. Or they’ll make fun of you and you’ll lose all of the remaining confidence that you’ve managed to somehow muster. And that’ll be it, nothing left—just a soggy, silent, heap of a human whose skin is crawling with the imprints left by his fingers.

The best: You’ll remember that days like this come and go; that we are all learning and if they laugh at you now, you will prove them wrong. You’ll put on your armor once more and walk through the rubble of this day.

The very best: Someone will notice. They will look at you and hug you tight and say: “I know you’re not okay and that’s okay. I’ll help you stand today while you gather your strength; then we’ll smash this.” And you’ll feel whole again, secure, and loved. And when you can stand again on your own two feet, you won’t just stand, you’ll dance, too.

But right now, when you’re at the bottom of the worst of the worst, nauseous and distraught: Eat the soup and drink the tea. Gradually you’ll find the strength to wrestle and the determination to overcome those absurd thoughts that question whether you deserve to eat fully or sleep soundly or be loved wholeheartedly. And one day, you’ll find yourself at home and at peace with your past. You’ll be able to take his hands and fingerprints from off your skin.

For now, focus on today. Focus on gathering courage and hope, because tomorrow you will do it all again. I know that’s scary to hear, especially since today you contemplated handing it in, crashing the car, putting a stop to it all. But keep going. Keep going for all of the reasons you tell others: the beauty of a sunrise, the joy of the summit, the excitement within the journey, and the love you’ll find along the way. Keep going for the fresh lemons that will become lemon drizzle cakes tomorrow. Keep going so you can dance to new songs and explore unfamiliar countries and meet the people who dwell there.

It is a bad day, a bad week, maybe even a bad year—but it won’t last forever—not if you’ve got anything to say about it.

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Comments (10)

  1. Sara

    I needed this today. Thank you for your bravery.

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  2. Bbb

    Thank you.
    You are wise indeed. These words I will place on my office wall.
    “I know you’re not okay and that’s okay. I’ll help you stand today while you gather your strength; then we’ll smash this.” And you’ll feel whole again, secure, and loved. And when you can stand again on your own two feet, you won’t just stand, you’ll dance, too.

    Reply  |  
  3. Gail A. Porter

    So very true I always would say “just one more day, hold on until tomorrow”. It would always make a difference. Yes abuse to a young child is monstrous it takes away the innocence of being a child. It fills you with skepticism and tells you to trust no one. It puts a hard shell around your feelings and tells you to never trust or let your guard down. I never realized what consequences I paid for a good portion of my life. When my daughter turned 5 suddenly it all hit me. What did I do when I got home and ate dinner? Why did I walk in my sleep and sit in the closet? Why did I feel embarrassed to go in the ladies room and have anyone hear me going? Why was I always embarrassed about a lot of things that are human nature? It took many years to understand why I did the things I did or felt the way I did. Or know it was wrong and an invasion on such an innocent soul. The dreams that never ended that kept me awake and wondering why I felt was so cold on the outside and so sensitive on the inside. I was so protective of my younger sister making sure no one would hurt her. I would look at my little girl and think would I recognize that something was wrong what would I do to the perpetrator, how dare someone violate her. My heart hurts for that little girl in me. How I needed to be held so tight and protected.

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  4. Laine

    Keep Going. Even if all we can feel is that everything is not good, just keep going. In the end, it will be all worth it that you choose to stay.

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  5. Sarah Royer-Stoll

    I’m grateful for, and in awe of your courage and insight. I needed to read this today. Thank you for sharing your heart, and your story. Much love, gentleness, and empowerment to you. ?

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  6. Cindy Frederick

    Thank you

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  7. Jules

    Yes, I’m only focusing on today. And what is next in the day. But also telling myself I have something planned and I need to do that in a few weeks. Helping me gather courage for the day. Thanks for writing this.

    Reply  |  
  8. Tina

    I’m in tears, cause it’s what I’m going through day in and day out. I’m sorry for your experience. I’m down and struggling to come up again but doesn’t seem possible this time. Thank you for your courage and the courage you’re giving us. Hugs ?

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  9. Mark

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate you guys. My daughter is 23 and has struggled for the last 10 years. Lots of trauma that she is getting help for Utah. Thank you for all you do and have done through the years.

    Reply  |  
  10. Brooke

    Thank you. I wish I could put my story into words like you. I needed to hear all of that.

    Reply  |  
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