Facing My Future with an Open Heart

2018 is a big year for me; I’ll be saying goodbye to my twenties. That thought alone was enough to make me actually look back to see what my thirties could offer that my twenties didn’t. When I did, I realized something: I grew from being an abused child into a cynical, isolated adult.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I came to feel like I wasn’t lovable. I started to devalue people around me, their relationships with me, to avoid getting hurt. I vacillated between hating people for being unloving, and hating myself for feeling unworthy of their love.

Instead of trying to think the best of people, I thought the worst. So I closed up. I became an island. Everyone, no matter what they might share with me, was on the outside.

Making myself an island might have felt safer, but it didn’t made me happier. I felt more wounded and lost than ever. It hurt to always have my guard up, even around people who actually were respectful and kind to me for years.

As I’ve gone through the process of healing, it occurred to me that my life—like all lives—is a gift of love. Even if I wasn’t given the love and security I needed growing up, that’s not the world I live in anymore. I don’t have to be scared anymore.

I am loved by people who are very glad I survived. I have touched their lives in a good way, as they have touched mine. They continue to remind me of my worth, even when I feel worthless.

As the saying goes, “No man is an island.” I’m not meant to be just “me.” The whole world is full of people out there for me to love in whatever way I’m meant to. I can’t do that from my tiny island, and be who I’m meant to be. So that’s why I’m charting a new course: facing my future with all its unknowns with an open heart.

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