Capital “T” Trauma. Little “t” trauma. This is not a one size, fits all dilemma.

Body image played a part. Not the whole part. It’s never the whole part.

We will celebrate you for your thinness. Your accomplishments will be because of it. Not your self-worth. Your self-worth is worthless. Like your thinness. Like you, it exists because it is nothingness.

Nothingness is nothing to dismiss. We are dismissive of that which we have not yet taken the time to understand. But I understand this Capital “T” trauma well. My muscle memory remembers it well. My brain matter dwells on it frequently. My emotions, ingrained from birth with it. And they, too, know it so well.

I cannot speak of the they. Or I would rather not. It is like the time in high school where my body meant something else to someone else. I will never speak their name. Only to the few who know me best and my therapist. The safest ones. The ones who love God. The ones who love me. The ones who love unconditionally.

If you don’t let me do this, I’ll kill myself. If you don’t let me touch your body, I’ll have no reason to live. If you don’t let me love you, I’ll have no one else to love.

My body and its muscle memory and my brain and its repressed memory worked it out so my need to give in to those demands was effortless. He knew it, so he took advantage of it.

I see his birthday on the clock and twice each day I think of the advantage that he took forever. Each year on his birthday I thank God I have not heard his name or seen his picture or heard his voice in a long while. I am one of the lucky ones.

My body now, now that I know who I am and whose I am: I love it. My confidence since having children only magnified. And yet, this year is the first year I will wear a bathing suit since my honeymoon. Because once you are married you discover things about yourself. Things you never knew before.

I did not understand that I was abused. I did not understand that I withstood domestic violence. I did not understand that I was sexually assaulted. Not until I was married and God gave me a glimpse of what a healthy relationship looked like. My very own piece of heaven–my husband. I am the church to his Christ and I am honored to be. And yet I still have what has happened to me.

It all happened to me and now I finally feel like I can enjoy the pool with my kids. It happened to me and now I finally feel like peaceful living is possible. It happened to me and now I finally feel like it is okay to look like a woman again. To look womanly.

How does that take nearly half of a lifetime to understand? Some never do and I know that I am beyond blessed because I have understood where I have come from. And now I understand where I have come from is not where I am going. I am an image-bearer of God destined to do great things for His glory.

What happened to me helps me relate to other people. What happened to me will help me shepherd others. What happened to me will always walk with me, but it will not define me. It happened to me. And what is happening is a new creation, breaking free from the chains of what happened to me.

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