International Women’s Day is everyday…says this survivor.

Being an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape at 14. I lived most of my life in a fragmented mindset, pieces of my identity hidden behind the shadow of what I only allowed others to see. The secrets were suppressed and the key to that pain was locked away.

The bondage placed upon my life at the early age of 4, was meant to be a death sentence of everything good that my Mother and Grandmother stood for and the love they so lovingly wrapped me in, was now blemished. The curse had been passed down through generations and as much as they tried to protect me from abuse, I experienced this unmentionable pain in the hands of people they trusted.

Years of flashback and triggers haunted me as I covered up the pain through perfectionism, people pleasing, an eating disorder and many other coping mechanisms. Trauma after trauma tried to keep my mind in a self-denial pit of defeat. Blurring my decision making and accepting unhealthy boundaries.

On the outside I appeared to have it ALL together, picture perfect is what some would say. But, on the inside I felt scarred, damaged, worthless, unloveable and broken.

I was lost.

When I chose to face the truth and feel the pain, it was excruciating, literally debilitating and heart wrenching.

I wanted to put it all back in the pretty little box that I secretly kept hidden in the crevices of my heart.

But I couldn’t…the truth was exposed and I had to make a decision, either I was gonna fold or I was gonna fight…and I chose to fight for my freedom.

What does fighting for my freedom look like?

Everyday making a decision to do the next right thing…..in spite of depression, anxiety, ptsd, wanting to isolate, low self esteem, doubt, fear or self sabotage.

The next right thing looks

like…..accountability, intensive therapy, an eating disorder program, Celebrate Recovery: 12-step Christ centered recovery program, reaching out to others who I trust when I need support or a listening ear, prayer…lot’s of prayer, self-care, journaling, spending time with my husband, kids, granddaughter and our dog, walking preferably near salt water with the beach under my feet, fresh air, essential oils, laughter, whole food, supplements, chocolate, reading, drinking water, sipping my cup of coffee in a pretty mug, finding joy and gratitude daily…even when it’s hard and learning to love, accept love and give love.

Above all else, my relationship with God through his son Jesus is how I am learning to view myself through His Word, promises and truth. I am healing.

These are some of the tools, resources and support I have used and some I am still using to help me walk in my freedom.

Everyday I celebrate “international women’s day” as I cheer on other women who are locking arms with others who are overcoming tremendous battles (some in which others may never know about) and are taking one step at a time to courageously become liberated from what tried to destroy her.

My name is denise marie and

I AM no longer held captive…by my childhood secrets, I AM free.

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

#nolongerheldcaptive

From the first touch…

Self expression through writing has been a hobby & passion of mine since I was a little girl. In this picture, I was approximately 5 years old and was writing a poem. The following self expression explains why I am sitting there with a blank stare filled with so much sadness.

From the first touch, my life was forever changed. I could no longer see through the innocent sparkled filled eyes of a little girl, but rather the a darkened, blank stare that narrowly dilated my carefree view of this world. This false interpretation of safety and love from a man, quickly devoured my heart with lies of how my life was to be.

The depths of the overwhelming sadness that overcame me, could never be explained in order for you to understand how deep that violation not only hurt me, but changed me. All because of…that first touch.

The “first” touch led to many incidents of being molested by several people through the age of 12 and then raped at the age of 14. I held this secret until I was 40 years old. By finally sharing my story, it is helping me heal from the pain of the abuse.

Words That Are Silenced Are Lethal Secrets To Destroy You Soul, Speak Your Truth.

In April, I turn 50 years old, a half century! I want to encourage others that they too can be “no longer held captive by childhood secrets”. By safely sharing your secret with a trusted friend, family member, teacher, therapist or writing it out anonymously, this powerful act of courage, is the first step to being free from shame.

~ denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

No longer held captive by…my own limitations

Every part of my BE-ing

screams out from

under the mask

of my own insecurities.

Fear tries to woo itself

oh so closely

to the inner complexity

of my identity.

This inward battle of

who I am vs who I’m not

continues to churn.

Keep evolving.

~denise marie

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

No longer held captive by the scars of your past.

Every 
attempt 
to conceal
scars
is damaging 
to your soul.
Unleash them
from the 
preconceived 
emotions 
that keep you
bound to 
their power.
Allow your 
true self 
to be seen,
for your 
freedom cry 
is anxiously
waiting for
your arrival.

~Denise 
“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

Shifting…

When writing this piece, I began to hear the words SHIFT. For me it’s shifting from the self-sabotaging fear of change. The unraveling of each layer of my life that I held onto with “white knuckled fists” realizing that I could no longer be MY foundation. I had to release my hold on what was, to begin to face the reality of what is. The process of releasing fear and grasping faith can be a brutal one, only if I continue to fight the process.

~Denise

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”.

– John 8:36

No longer held captive by…discontent

Why must we

wander around,

looking to fill

the emptiness

with things

outside of ourself?

Attempting to drown out

the pain by trading

inanimate items

for animate

disappointments.

Yearning

for that

next fix,

which will

never truly

fill the

void.

~Denise

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

Unbecoming…

When writing this piece about simply “unbecoming”. I kept hearing the words, “you have to unbecome to become”. For me that means, ditching the old ways of viewing myself through the unhealthy lenses that are holding me back from my true potential and learning how to embrace my quirky ways by no longer apologizing for simply being ok with me.

~Denise

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

No longer held captive by…uncertainty

From here

to there

is such a small feat,

when we release

our need to control

every aspect of

the journey.

Moving confidently

in our own rhythm,

frees the constraints,

and releases

the reigns

on where our feet,

are waiting to take us.

Bravely…

in our own,

unique way,

just show up.

~Denise

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

No longer held captive by…avoidance

Not a simple crack…

Under the layers of

an ice-like heart

in the deep…deep foundation

there was a simple crack.

overlooked

Ignored

compressed

the layers

continued to form

until one day

under the pressure

of it’s own weight

the simple crack

expanded

and became a glacier.

and when the hardness

leaked into every area

of her life,

she then realized

it could no longer

be ignored.

~ Denise

“So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. – John 8:36

Spring of ’84

Parking Lot
The Latin word rapere “to seize,” from which rape is derived
I was very excited to be going on my first date with this guy that I had met at the mall. He was tall, with an athletic built. He was very handsome, quite charming and very polite. When he came to my house to pick me up, he was a proven gentleman by saying all the right things to my Mom and getting the green light to take her daughter out to dinner.
As we walked to his car, he quickly opened the car door for me and we drove off.
It was in the evening around 7:00pm, we were on our way to a late dinner. As we passed by my high school, he proceeded to drive into the parking lot. I looked at him with a nervous smile and asked him why are we here?
He let me know that we had some time to kill before dinner and he wanted to hang out and talk before we go to the restaurant.
The talking quickly lead to kissing, which lead to him getting on top of me, pulling my skirt up and  entering me. I told him I was a virgin and begged him to stop and that he was hurting me.. his response, “I will be gentle”.
The charming and polite gentlemen, quickly turned into a cold, self-gratifying, jerk.
I felt dizzy, as my head was spinning, and every emotion from anger, shock and despair engulfed me.  I couldn’t believe what was happening.
The next thing I hear is a tap..tap..tap.. on the window and a light flashing into the drivers side.  
 He immediately jumps off of me and pulls up his pants.
He rolled the down the window, and it was a police officer. The officer asks us what we are doing and asks for his license.
The officer than shines his light on me, and asks me for my name and birthdate. I give him my real name, but a fake birthdate, I pretended to be 17, (the age I told the guy, when I met him at the mall) now I told the same lie to the officer. In actuality, I was 14 and the guy was 19.
You see, even though I was being violated,
I was too afraid to tell the truth.
I felt like, since I had lied, it was as if I had deserved it.
The officer looked at me with disappointing eyes, shook his head and told us to leave the high school property.
He drove me home, kissed me on my cheek and told me that he had a great night.
Without responding, I got out of the car, went into the house, took a shower…and cried.
I felt like I wanted to die.
I didn’t tell anyone about the rape until I was an adult. I felt like it was my fault and I blamed myself for everything…
Things that played out in my head were:
I shouldn’t have lied…
I shouldn’t have went on the date…
I shouldn’t have worn a skirt…
I should’ve told him no, I didn’t want to go to my high school parking lot…
I should’ve screamed and fought him…
I should’ve told the police officer what happened…
I’m nothing…
I’m dirty…
I hate myself.
Those words haunted me for years…
TODAY, I know that I was not to blame.
That it wasn’t my fault…
It’s not the clothes that I wore..
or what I looked like..
or what I said…
or what I did or did not do.
I did not encourage him or provoke him to rape me.
Today, I no longer live in shame.
*********************************************
 National Sexual Assault Hotline

https://rainn.org/     1-800-656-4673(HOPE)