Give yourself grace. Forgive yourself. Set those fears and worries free.
Designed by our one and only Jessi!
The Journey of SWL through a different point of view. Hi folks, my name is Andy and I reached out to Eryn because I’m huge believer in SWL.
Most if not all the posts here are from women, which is awesome, but I’m not a woman. I am however still So Worth Loving! Although it took me a long time to get it through this thick skull of mine. Maybe that was part of my problem. Maybe I thought that in order to be a man, I had to push down and internalize all of my struggles, to not express my humanness. I am someone who pretty much gets along with everyone. This certainly helped during high school. I was what you would call a floater. I floated between clicks. I was on the Varsity football team, and a solid athlete, but I was also in the Games & Recreation club (think D&D and overall geekiness). The problem with this scenario was I never knew who I truly was and at the time I didn’t really care. I always felt on the fringe.
It turns out, most of this stemmed from my earlier childhood. You see I am a victim of sexual abuse. The mind is a wonderful thing. I was actually able to push all memory of what happened to me, deep into my sub-concious, but the lasting effects of what happened manifested itself in my behavior. Very specifically around self-acceptance. Finally, one day the memories let loose and I was confronted by a reality that I didn’t want to admit to. I sank into depression, began drinking and using drugs, until I got to a point in my life where I had to decide whether to live or die. In fact I was extremely close to committing suicide.It was a miracle that I didn’t and that I was saved.
I crawled out of that well of despair, discovered who I was and who I wanted to be. Most importantly I discovered that I was worth something. I was worth loving. Some of you might be wondering how I did this. Well to be honest with you, I’m not entirely sure. In fact, a very dear friend of mine asked me this question "Where do you find the want to live again? " Wow, what a question. I don’t have a particularly good answer, even if there is such a thing, but I will do my best to frame the question through my own lens.
When I was…scratch that…When I am confronted with this question I really struggle with it. Mostly because I’m so focused on the moment. The emotional storm that’s raging inside me, that I can’t see beyond the tears. I can’t seem to remember that there’s something beyond me. I become withdrawn. I become only focused on me, and that’s where the problem starts. If all I know is my own anger and pain how can there be any hope. So what do I do? If I continue to focus on the past, how can I live my life?
Things That I do:
Realize that I’m not alone!! Instead of choosing death, I reached out for help. I realized I couldn’t do this alone. It took an incredible amount of courage to reveal my deepest secret, but it was so worth it.
Write. I keep a journal. I write my thoughts in my private journal. There’s something very freeing about getting all of my thoughts on paper, and releasing some of that tension. It’s like purging the negativity.
Forgive. I gotta say, I choke on that word everytime I say it, but I say it nonetheless. While forgiving others of the pain they caused me is difficult. Sometimes, the most difficult part is to forgive myself.
Trust. Understanding that my past experience doesn’t mean I will continue to have negative experiences. I have to trust myself and in this journey.
One Breath. Living in the present is huge, and exploring the present can sometimes really help me find ways of enjoying my life at the moment.
Keep trucking. I try not to let the past dictate my future, so I keep walking. The past no longer exists, and by reflecting on it, I rob myself of the gifts that the present is offering me.
So, no real answers, just what helps me. Sadly, I know my story isn’t all that unique. There are a lot of men and women who have been abused. I’m hoping that they all understand that it was not their fault and that what happened doesn’t define them. I used to think that I was less of a person because of what happened, but I’m not. I’m more of a man today then I ever was.
Remember to never give up hope. You don’t know what’s around the corner and it could be something spectacular.
I haven’t formally introduced myself, fellow SWL readers! I am Xanna, an eighteen year old Atlanta native. So we can get to know each other before I get started, here’s a few fun facts about me! I am a barista at my favorite local coffee shop. If I could be someone else for a day, I would want to be Laura Marling, Bon Iver (is that weird?), or Charity Rose Thielen. If I had to choose between a beach trip or mountain weekend, my heart belongs to the Blue Ridge Mountains. I write songs in my room. And I found So Worth Loving through mutual Atlanta friends!
Now that you’ve gotten to know a little bit about me, I have something to share that lays heavy on my heart. One word that can make someone cringe:
a n x i e t y.
Anxiety is something that can go from stressing about a deadline, to keeping us up at night and putting a damper on our daily lives. Either way, it is never any fun!
When I was in 9th grade, an adult in my life asked me if I was anxious due to constantly tearing at my clothes, biting my nails, and lack of focus, biting my lip, and never sleeping. She then explained to me that only insecure people ever feel anxious, and it would be looked down upon if I kept showing signs of anxiety disorders. As any ninth grader would feel, I was destroyed. I didn’t know what I was constantly anxious about, or even noticed it before she had pointed it out to me, but it was in my head after our conversation that I was an insecure person and that’s what was causing the signs of uneasiness. Going on through high school, still an anxious teenager, I always felt like something was wrong with me, as most of us did in those lovely teen years. To be honest, sometimes when I catch myself biting my lip or over thinking and worrying about a situation, I still get the feeling that it’s wrong to be feeling how I am - which only makes the anxiety worse.
But here’s the thing, anxiety is not anything to be ashamed of! I am still convinced that everyone gets anxious, nervous, and stressed sometimes. What it comes down to is knowing that being anxious does not immediately make you an insecure person. It makes you human. It does not make you less worthy of love. Because no matter what our emotions are, everyone is worthy of love and loving themselves. So next time you sense someone is anxious or uneasy, let them know you’re there for them! And remind yourself that anxious or not, you are human who can love themselves, and be loved in return - anxious or not!
I watched a really powerful film recently on grief, loss and searching for closure. It’s called Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Its long and intense, but incredible. Oh, and I haven’t cried in a film like that… Ever. Don’t worry, there’s no spoilers in the post!
Towards the end, one of main characters shares that ‘everyone has lost someone or something’. The moment in the film was fleeting, but that line has stayed with me.
We have all experienced loss. Life is unfair. Life is so very unfair. I’ve experienced injustice and loss and so have my dearest friends. The death of a dream, a friend, a parent, an opportunity. The pain of rejection, abuse and oppression.
But… and it’s a big but! We are over-comers. There’s a high chance you don’t think you are, but whether you admit it or not, you are.
I’ve made some big and hard decisions in my life, as much as the next person. But I can’t tell you how many people tell me ‘you were so brave, I could never do that’. It makes me sad, and everytime I think ‘yes you could! Believe in yourself!’
Maybe you couldn’t have done what I did, but that wasn’t for you to do. That was my life and it was the right decision at the time, for me. You just need to do what’s right for you. You have it inside of you to overcome the challenge before you. I didn’t think I could either, but I did and I am so proud.
I don’t know who you are or what you’re facing, but we’re all facing something. You need to remember that you are an over-comer, and you are brave! You can do whatever it is you need to do; finish your exams or an assignment, take a risk in business, break away from the relationship that’s pulling you down. Or maybe it’s just getting out of bed. You can do it.
It’s the most satisfying thing in the world looking back and going ‘that was so hard, but I survived it and I’m better from it.’ Today, say no to the thoughts bringing you down and remind yourself ‘I am an overcomer’. Without knowing you personally, I know one thing for sure: you are so much stronger that you think. Give yourself a chance to prove it.