This is me. The picture was taken maybe 4 or 6 weeks after the assault, in front of a new house my friend rented so I would have a place to live. She found the picture a few years ago while cleaning out her attic and gave it to me. At the time, I could barely look at it. The triggering was instant and hard. Now, after years of therapy, I can look at myself and remember and be okay. This is how I know I am also healing emotionally.
My foot was broken in numerous places when a man slammed his foot down on it to hold me down. I remember the sound it made as it shattered. And the searing pain.
I had three broken ribs on my left side, a damaged kidney and a ruptured spleen.
I had been kicked in the jaw that dislodged two teeth. They had stuffed a shirt in my mouth to muffle my screams and I began to choke and gag on the teeth and blood. I now clearly remember that frenzied panic of choking to death.
I continue to wrestle with the rest. Although I remember it, I still cannot talk about it.
But I'm working on it.
I survived the physical punishment although some the effects remain with me -
My left foot is now filled with arthritis filling in all where all the bones broke. It is very stiff and bothers me a lot in the morning but is not unmanageable.
To this day I am still protective of my left side. I still flinch if someone approaches me from the left and I instinctively position myself to protect myself. I also lost some hearing in my left ear so I tend to tilt my head when someone is speaking to hear from my right.
And I have a wicked gag reflex. I cannot swallow pills. The taste of blood in my mouth can send me to a fetal position for days, although I am a much better about that now. Trips to the dentist are still a little rough.
Still, I consider myself physically healed. Emotional healing is taking a bit longer. But just as physically healing did not erase all the permanent effects and scars and need for physical protection, I now realize that emotional healing will not eliminate all the soul wounds and scars and my need for emotional boundaries. And I am okay with that.
My therapist often told me that once I was able to talk about it, it would be a sign true healing.
So today, here I am. Talking about it. And that is my victory.
Today I can look at this picture, calmly and with love. And that is my victory.
Today I can share love and joy and intimacy.
Today I can climb mountains - both emotionally and physically. And that is my victory.
They win some battles but they will not win the war.