Updated: Jan 3, 2021
I feel so dark. Broken. Gross. Used. Like a ragdoll. Sometimes I mention that I have a black soul. I’ve heard, “No you don’t!” or, “No, it’s just clouded right now.” It’s probably true – I probably don’t have a black soul like they say, but those are the closest words that I can explain how I feel. A black, broken soul hidden under layers of flesh, a smiling face and optimistic personality, despite the hell I went through and the chaos that surrounds me.
When does it go away? When am I free of this darkness inside of me? When can I feel like the rainbow that everyone sees me as?
How can people say that I’m a ray of sunshine, when I feel so dark and shattered? When I feel like I have a thunder cloud directly above my head, shooting down lightning bolts and hail? If people think I’m such a ray of sunshine, doesn’t that prove how much of a front I’m putting on, just to get by? When I was at my worst, I told a select few that I felt like Robin Williams; you know, the actor who also put a smile on a broken soul.
Being an advocate keeps me going. My son keeps me going. My job, friends, and family keep me going. I do what I have to do, what I should do – and that keeps me going.
A majority, if not all, of the depression, anxiety, and panic attacks that I have experienced are situational. Before court hearings, before Grand Jury, around the time of the one-year mark since my attack and sexual assault. But even in the times I’m not experiencing depression, anxiety, or panic attacks, this black cloud surrounds me and it is filled with anger, rage, and brokenness.
When people ask, “How are you?” They aren’t expecting a reply of, “Broken.” They’re expecting you to reply, “Fine, how are you?” And so I do. And the world carries on.
I spoke to someone about how I was feeling recently, and they said, “You do not have a black soul. You have a bright soul. You have a lot of anger, but you wouldn’t do the good things you are doing for people if you had a black soul. You wouldn’t have continued your support group, you wouldn’t have gotten the City Hall lights to glow teal for Break the Silence Day, you wouldn’t be on the Survivor Advisory Group to the governor, and all of the other things you’re doing for other people if you had a black soul.”
Ok. That makes sense. Maybe the darkness that I feel will fade over time...
Despite having anger deep inside and feeling like I have a black soul, I’m not an angry person. I’m optimistic, I smile a lot, I try to look for the best in people. I do good things with the energy that I have and my goal of all of this is to try to make this crazy world better – better for future victims or even to help prevent people from having to be victims. But despite all of this and how I portray myself, I feel a deep, dark, anger/storm/rage in my soul. It is sitting deep inside smoldering like a volcano. Is that what happens when children are sexually abused? Is that why they act out? Is that why a number of rapists/violent criminals are known to have been abused as a child – and why they became who they are? Because they have this rage but instead of acknowledging it, getting help, and doing good things with it, they portray it in the manner they grew up knowing: with violence?
Anyway… if you hear me reply, “I’m fine, how are you?” know there might be a storm cloud raining on my parade. Some day I will be sincere.