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Is stigma like fear? Just a hologram.

Allow me to be frank with you if I may. I need to tell you something. I may not be what I seem. I want to tell you that I feel like a fraud. I want to be open with you. I want to share a deep dark secret about me. Something only a few know. It’s about what happened and what is happening to me. It’s about how I’m on a journey. An odyssey and at times the torture of it is exhausting. But telling you about it will help. Just sharing it with you helps me on this journey, and saying it helps release the pain it brings me. All you have to do is believe me, but why wouldn’t you? This is something no one wants to say. You see, I was sexually abused …

On the path, your path, to recovery there are convulsions beyond twists and turns: it goes so fast you’re heart pounds when you don’t move and the world carries on and you sit for an age in a wilderness and the anger is so much your blood becomes bile and everything is empty and reflects hopelessness and the despair weighs so that your legs buckle and you can’t escape yourself …

And to share this? I am a man and I don’t cry and I don’t have emotions because they are weak and to be a victim is not the man. The man carries on and accepts what he knows – that he is not allowed to express his pain; to share his pain is not the man. It just won’t work.

I chose to tell. I told and said it. ‘I was sexually abused as a child’, I told. I said it. I said it quite a lot of times to different people. All sorts of people that do all sorts of things and they look different too. And I just looked at them and I said it, ‘I was sexually abused’, tears in my eyes. That’s me, that’s this alpha male that played rugby and did MMA and had a motorbike and skydived and was a geezer, and I told other geezers too, and I like romantic films and art and love songs and I paint and I cried. I hadn’t cried for, well since the last funeral and I hadn’t cried before that for nearly thirty years and I’m not like everyone else, I am as my fingerprint and so are the people I told. All but all listened. All but all believed me. Oh yes, some said daft things. Some stuff they said was daft. I thought before I would want cough skin burning bile onto their face, but I didn’t as I heard I forgave. It’s hard for them to hear and a lot wasn’t daft. Most wasn’t. The daft stuff was just them just saying something, they are just saying something. What are they supposed to say? They are helping you on your way. You have said it and the pain dilutes, the weight gets lighter, you connect and you are not alone, they share with you too and sometimes it is sweet medicine and your souls’ touch and other times they fumble clumsily. But you choose to say it. You have a responsibility to your soul: to give voice to your child. To heal your soul which can heal and will, and sharing is healing every time.

I’m going to say it more. They’ll find it difficult and it will make them uncomfortable and some will admire you and some will be inspired. The sharing gives you strength, a strength that stays and it ratchets up every time; becomes another step.

You can trust now. You can tell. We’re ready. People will accept and the pain weakens and you have your place and you fit now and you can look anyone in the eye and you can say you were abused and your survival and your healing makes you stronger and this revenge is pure. You tell and fuel that purity within that is you, and you get this now because you said it.

The stigma is a hologram. You tell and both evaporate from your mind. Fall back, we will catch you.

Gregory

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