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,