Moving Past Shame

I am not a positive person by nature, but I try to be.  I have come from what can only be described as dark days, and having lived through those, I need to be positive.

My weight started climbing in high school.  I can pinpoint the time actually.  Although I had always been the bigger girl in school, I never really struggled with it until my mid-teens.

Looking back on the event that really traumatized me, I am not sure what you would call it.  Rape?  Taken advantage of?  I was a virgin, and was naive.  I was at bible camp, and me and a few friends went for a walk away from the camp to the public beach…something we shouldn’t have done  We met up with some boys (they were 19, we were 15) whom we had met earlier at the camp. The boys knew a couple people at the summer camp I was attending and had come earlier in the week to visit them (the boys were not part of the camp in any way).  They were quickly asked to leave when they started blaring ACDC’s “Money Talks” out of their truck window.  To this day, every time I hear that song, I’m taken back to that first meeting.

Long story short. That night I wandered away from camp down to the public beach I had my first drink, and it really only took 2 or 3 to get me wasted.  The guys were on that public beach and had a cooler full of drinks, music blasting, and welcomed us to sit with them.  The camp director after figuring out we were gone, came looking for us.  He saw that we had been drinking and asked the guys to drive us back to the camp. The camp director knew the guys somewhat, they were from his home town. To this day as a caretaker of children, that’s one thing that I don’t understand.  Why would he have asked him to drive us back to the camp?

We got into their truck, and rather than returning to camp, they stopped at a gravel pit to “party”.  The driver, we’ll call him A., asked me to go look for firewood with him.  Away from everyone else, he took advantage of me.  I didn’t even understand really what was going on. I was drunk, naive, and scared.  I remember mumbling “No, No, No” over and over again.  It was there in a gravel pit that I lost my innocence. His friend called out for him, and he told me to get up and get into the truck.  They dropped us off at the camp gates, and A. looked at me, asked me for my number, and then laughed and told us to get out of the truck.  We stumbled drunk back up the hill to the camp hall and I struggled to tell the camp nurse what had just happened, because truthfully I didn’t really understand what had happened.

After figuring out what had happened, the nurse thought it best that I sleep away from my friends in the “sick room”.  No taking me to a hospital, no calling the police, no talking about it further.  I was left to sit alone in a room trying to figure out what had happened in my young, naive, and still intoxicated mind.

After returning home from camp, I was left to explain to my parents that I was no longer a virgin.  There was so much shame involved, that I decided to go to a Christian boarding school away in Saskatchewan. My parents supported my decision as they knew I didn’t want to face a life of hushed whispers in the halls of my high school.  From there I made a series of bad decisions, and cared little about my future.  I really am thankful I graduated.  Thankful for my friends, family, and teachers who helped me along the way.

A few other equally major life changing events followed in the years soon after.  None of which I care to share because it doesn’t really matter. I am not defined by my past, but I am stronger because of it.  To me, the event at bible camp was the catalyst that started the quest for trying to find myself again.

It took me until I was 28 years old to figure out that I needed to find my way again.  I had to grow up before I was ready to.  The only regret was that I didn’t get to make that decision for myself.  I didn’t get to decide when I was ready.

I only share this with you today, because I know how many of us have suffered tragedy in our lives.  We have lived through pain that we want to stuff down with something…whatever your drug of choice may be.  Mine just happened to be food.

Coming from a very negative space, I find positivity so refreshing. I can’t go back to those dark days.  I won’t.  That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t deal with the ghosts of your past, it just means that you rise above it.  You cope and heal from within, you share, you grow, you appreciate all you have in life.

I have so much in life to be thankful for.  All of which I wouldn’t have if my path didn’t lead the way it did in life.

So, I am sharing this with you because I am thankful for where I am..right now.  I am thankful for all the people who have come into my life, through photography, through my community, and through this blog.

Maybe sharing this isn’t wise because it changes how people may perceive me…perhaps like a victim; However,  I am choosing (most recently) not to attach shame to my past.  I am so sick of feeling shame over events that were out of my control. You grow the most through adversity.  I am thankful for that.

If you are reading this and identify with these words, feel free to send me a comment. I appreciate the comments and support that have come through this blog, and as always I am here to support you as well.  It is my hope that we can come together and support, motivate, and inspire one another: all in the quest for living the best life possible. One filled with pride, joy, and fulfillment because life is so good.  🙂

From my heart to yours,

29 thoughts on “Moving Past Shame

  1. ……speechless……(((hugs)))) and tears. Thank you for hitting “post” You are an amazing, courageous, strong and inspirational women and I do not think that I have ever met someone as amazing as you, someone who shares their thoughts and in turn makes me a better person. You make me see life in complete different way. for that I owe you a Thank you.

    I am so sorry for the things you had “no say in” , but you are a true inspiration for rising above them and not letting what happened define who you are. Thank you for making me see the light

    I heart you!

  2. I had no idea that you were faced with this trial in life. My heart aches for your past heart ache. You are healing and that is so wonderful. You are a much stronger person now and a strength to others.

    In the time of struggles we can feel so alone but we’re not really. As you already know, our Savior is carrying us when we are too weak to keep going. Oh Christine, I would not have judged you, I’m sure I would have hugged you and walked beside you all the way through highschool.

    You are a great example of overcoming trials and making a wonderful life for yourself.

    Your friend, Karen

  3. Christine … I will never be able to perceive you as a victim, you are probably one of the strongest women I know, mentally and physically and emotionally. I cannot believe that you had to endure all of that in your life, kudos to you for having the strentgh to hit the post button, I don’t think I would have been able to. But, it is a step in no longer feeling shame for situations out of your control. You still continue to be an inspiration to me 🙂

  4. I loved you from the minute I met you and your past makes you who you are. A Strong, Funny and very independant woman. I look forward to your days of humour and the days when you admit your weaknesses to everyone. It makes me realize that most of us have days when we struggle whether we can see them outwardly or not. I think you do inspire alot of us and thank you for that. oooxoooo

  5. Thank you so much Karen, and I do know that if I would have stayed my friends would have helped me get through it. I just wasn’t ready to deal with it. I was really angry at God for a long time, but I do know now that he is so good, and has always been by my side. Thanks again.

  6. Thx for sharing Christine… It is refreshing to see a woman speak openly about abuse in her life… It is something that alot of women hide from and feel ashamed of but once one stands up and shares their story, it is surprising to see more and more women start to share as well… It has been surprising in my life to see how many women have been sexually abused! What I love about you is that you are taking a positive strong role and you are helping other women feel strong and not so victimized! I personally have many struggles in my past ~ which I wont share here because this isn’t my blog… 8) What I will say is that I live life every day without regrets… I don’t even regret the things that seemed at the time traumatic… I reflect and learn from every experience in my life, even the abuse! I think we all deal with things differently and for me it is so much easier to move forward positively and learn from them, and help protect my girls from similar situations… I appreciate your honesty, and I bet there are alot of women who will read this blog and realize that the shame of what happened to them, isn’t their burden to carry. It belongs to the person who abused them and they have the strength to move forward and find complete happiness in their lives… Thx for sharing your story Christine! 🙂

  7. Melissa, I loved you from the moment we met too! I have really enjoyed getting to know you and I’m looking forward to so much more fun in the days ahead. Thanks for commenting ❤

  8. Tawny, I think you should have your own blog! You always have such wise and positive things to say. I so appreciate that about you! Thanks for commenting. ❤

  9. Christine,

    you are an amazing person. I hope that I can conquer my grief and tell my story to help someone else someday. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Love Shadia

  10. Shadia, I can’t begin to understand the grief you feel. I think you just move forward because you have no choice, one day at at time, one foot in front of another, and you are forced to make a new different life for yourself. I do know this, you will be a support for others down the road. You are an amazing woman. I love you, and I’m always here for you.

  11. Your ability to share is a step in the healing process. Now, saying that, the strength that was required to do so, makes you an angel. Thank you for being a “net” that I so often look to for inspiration.

  12. I am breathing deeply as I read. It is the breath of relief, cleansing, power, and healing that I feel in your honest words. I am so proud of you and I love you so. Thank you for sharing this, for being bold and strong by sharing your most vulnerable moments. There is such power in that, and I KNOW you are challenging others to live a full, honest, and empowered life because of you. I have so much love and pride in my heart for you. I wish you could see you through my eyes–all your beauty, strength, integrity and passion is inspiring. xoxo sister. Hugs across these miles.

  13. Thank you Roxy for always being there for me. I am so proud of you as well, in all that you do for others and for your family. I love you so much and I am so thankful that you are my sister. I feel very blessed having you and your family in my life, only wish we saw eachother more. Thanks for commenting and thanks for that hug! ❤

  14. You continue to amaze me, Christine. I feel very lucky to count you as a friend, and I’m so proud of you for being the person that you are today. We’ve all had our challenges to move through and find our way out the other side… I’m glad you’ve found your path. Thanks for hitting that “post” button once again. {hugs} to you.

  15. I know that He led me to read your blog this morning. Tears are in my eyes as I can also remember the events of that night. We were so young, so unaware of the evil out in the world. Please forgive me for never realizing how you have brought that night along with you for so many years. Life is truely a journey, isn’t it. And fortunately we have the freedom to choose how we view ourselves and the world we’re in regardless of what is thrown at us. Thank you for making your life an example of how beauty can come from tragic experiences. Your kids, especially Tessa, will benefit so much from your understanding of just how fragile a young girl’s psyche is. How one incident can alter everything else. Thanks Chris for allowing me this insight in to YOU.

  16. Thank you so much for commenting Leanne. You know what else I remember from that night? Your warmth, empathy, and huge heart that helped me through that night and after. When I think of you in regards to this event, all I have is love, respect, and I’m so thankful for you.

  17. I don’t know how I missed reading this earlier.
    Thank-You so much for sharing your story, I will call you AMAZING once again…there really isn’t another word that I can think of that would describe you well enough. I have come to realize as the year’s go by that People that are victim’s can use how they feel to either tear other People down or to build them up. I too am a victim and was angry for many year’s and in being so took that out on many undeserving People, I am so happy to be in a place in my life now where I can be thankful for who I am and not be that poor me person. Reading your blog put a smile on face, because of your strength you are helping so many People and in turn this will help you to heal. I am sorry that someone took something from you that wasn’t there’s to take…how sad for them that there self esteem was that low. You my dear are AMAZING&heart’s;

  18. Tina, I have seen such growth in your life. I am so proud of the loving, funny, and honest person you are today. You inspire me and I really appreciate your comments. You bring a smile to my face 🙂 Hugs to you!

  19. Chrissy,
    I am sorry. I know the words are inadequate but I am truly ashamed for my role in this horrible event in our lives. I have wanted to say it to you for years but somehow a Dicke Due is not the place to bring up a rape. I regret not trying harder to talk you out of going to meet those boys instead of being jealous. There I was stuck fat already, ignored, sitting at the campfire with boys who were never interested in me and you were off on an adventure. I am ashamed of that. But I am even more ashamed of how I tried to help you cover it up. Why did we care about what the family would think? I wish I could have been stronger for you. I wish I had known how to help, what to say. I want you to know that while you felt alone and abandoned by the adult world my mom fought for you. Leaving you alone to suffer in silence, has weighed heavily upon me for years. With tears running down my cheeks as I type this, I can only end with, I am so sorry my beloved cousin please forgive me.

    1. Jodi, I had no idea that you carried around guilt over that event. I’m so sorry we haven’t talked about it sooner. In no way have I had any bad feelings about your actions surrounding that night. We were kids. Just kids! If anything, what I remember most, was that you were there for me. I remember you trying to convince me to talk to my Mom and Dad about everything. I remember you giving me a huge hug and just letting me cry on your shoulder. Thank you for sharing with me that your Mom fought for me. That means more to me than you can ever know. I miss her, she was such an incredible woman.
      I am thankful for everything I have learned through hard times, and this is no exception. I think you are amazing. You are intelligent, gifted, and such an amazing Mom. I’ve often looked at your life with not only admiration, but envy too! I’m not proud that I envy other people’s lives, but what I appreciate most about how you live your life is that you are so REAL and have such an amazing authentic connection with so many people in your life. You are so loved…and I love you too! Thank you for taking the time to tell me how you felt. I appreciate it, and I have so much respect for you. xoxo
      With much love, Chrissy

  20. “Call on me and I will show you things you know not of.” Jeremiah 33:3 I’m sending you all the positive energy I have, an energy that encourages, supports and holds you. Each day is new; each day is a blessing…

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