victim, survivor, warrior, fighter.
So many names to choose from. Usually I don't like any of them, but I haven't been able to think of any better ones. Except for maybe "person", but that's such a common name.
I share so much with other people who have experienced child sexual abuse. I also feel a bond with people who have experienced rape as adults. Anyone who's been violated, trodden on, taken advantage of and ignored are welcome on my team. I am quite desperate, in fact, to feel a sense of common purpose (not capitalized!), because I believe it's the only way to effect change.
I feel limited, ill at ease and tongue-tied though, when searching through the ant heap of humanity for fellowship, by the vocabulary available. Likewise when describing my past experiences of abuse or my life today. I feel (but this could be due to paranoia) that I am judged, or could be judged, for describing myself in one way or another. Or perhaps it's me who's doing the judging? Of other people? Of myself? There are words, feelings and states of mind that I am tempted to censor in myself, and in others. I'm not proud of that and I think I should stop it. I think everyone should stop it.
I could say that nobody likes to be pigeonholed, but that might not be true. I think some people feel comfortable with the label victim. Others see themselves as survivors. Others again are warriors first, or fighters. Some like to talk about "the road to healing" whilst others just want to get mad and even. Many are a mixture of some or all of those, or change between them depending on the time of day and the day of the week. Many resist all labels and want to be defined by who they are and what they've done, not by what has been done to them.
What I want to say to myself (because this is a talking to) and others (who are perfectly entitled to ignore what I say) is that it's OK. We've all earned the right to feel, say and think what we please, and to call ourselves what we like.
I'll use those words; victim, survivor, warrior, fighter, to find and connect with the people I want to be connected with.
For myself, there are days when I'm 100% victim. And other days when I'm 200% fighter. But mostly I'm a person who is fucked up, pissed off but fairly optimistic about the chances that the rest of my life is going to be better, and that one day, I'm going to experience something that feels like real peace.
Whatever you call yourself, if you want to make a change, I want to know you.