Branded

This is a post I thought I wrote ages ago, but must have forgotten to. (Diminishment in focus and concentration were two predominant symptoms I battled throughout the depths of my depression.) When I stop to think about my life a year ago…well, it’s not something I try to do very often. Last Christmas I reported my assault to the police. I could never have known that finally admitting, and speaking aloud, what had happened to me would unleash the greatest darkness I had ever known. I spent nearly the entire month of January, 2014 in my bed. It was all I could do to make myself shower occasionally and maybe babysit a few hours a week in order to buy groceries. After running through my savings, I brokenly turned to my family who began fronting my bills. I lived on potato chips and cheese, if I ate anything at all, because they required no preparation. I slept on average 2-3 hours a night, if I was lucky. Most weeks I might go night after night without sleep until my body hit utter exhaustion and would crash, a cycle that had plagued me since the assault. When I did sleep, it was racked with nightmares and flashbacks of the assault. In the midst of all the darkness and hopelessness, I remember it also being a time when many of my family and friends started questioning why I couldn’t just move on, some outrightly, some more silently. Though it was painful at the time and only served to increase the piercing loneliness I already felt, I think I understand that their desire came from a good place, or at least a reasonable one. It had been 4 months since the assault and I think they wanted, for my sake, that to be enough time to heal and move forward. I think for their sake they wanted it to be enough time because it was becoming far to painful to watch me continue to struggle and be in pain. The overriding opinion seemed to be that it was time to “get back to normal.” I remember reflecting endlessly on those words. “Normal.” “Back to normal.” I didn’t know what normal was anymore and I certainly didn’t know if I could get back to it. I realized, during that time, that there was no going back. The me that existed before the assault could never exist again. In a very real sense my assailant had permanently altered my path, leaving me permanently branded. I also knew, somehow, that while he had condemned me to a new existence, he would not get to determine what that existence would be. He may have eliminated the old me and branded me for life, but only I, along with my God, would determine how my life was changed. For me, this meant taking back control in a real and tangible way. I needed a constant reminder that he had changed me, but God and I determine how. So, last March, after months of consideration, I decided I would permanently brand myself the way I chose and with the words that would remind me of who truly determines where I go from here. Thus, I got my first tattoo. (I don’t necessarily think this is the best method for everyone. It was just want I needed.) It reads “Ecce nova facio omnia:” Behold I make all things new. A Reminder that we are every changing, every being changed. This does not define me. God and I define me.

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