Progress has been very slow since it is quite emotional writing this book…as you can well imagine. I have decided to write only when I am inclined to do so or have the energy to express myself about this aspect of my life. This is definitely not like the creation of my other literary pieces which I could plan the completion of by setting goals etc. This project needs to be undertaken one day at a time. It is also reminding me what it’s like to go with the flow – my flow – which I seldom do.
In the meantime, I am happy with the introduction that I have penned thus far…so here it is:
“Unlike the mythical bird that rises from its ashes after which this book is named, my story is not a myth. It may be easier for you to believe that this is a figment of my imagination reflecting some deeper psychosis. This is the conclusion Freud would have reached in his day but I have never bought what he had to sell. Sexual abuse – in particular the rape of children – is far too abhorrent to imagine for most…it is safer to think of it as fiction.
This book is primarily about dispelling the myth by making this type of abuse as real as possible. Accepting the reality of it is what allowed me to heal and thrive in my life – this is where the parallel between the Phoenix Rising and my own Psychological Resurrection lies. By facing what happened to me I was almost completely annihilated, like the Phoenix being burnt to a crisp, but as I reintegrated the fragmented pieces of my ashen psyche, I became whole and much stronger than before.
The story of the Phoenix is also, in my opinion, a metaphor for the power of the human soul/spirit to heal or resurrect itself through God, the Creator. In essence, each soul is a piece of God so when turning to Her/Him for strength, love and guidance I am turning to my own soul which is comprised of the same essential dynamic, expansive element as its Creator: electricity (also known as energy, light or power). This component is diminished during painful experiences but is regained during the healing process. It is impossible for it to be altogether extinguished.
Since the electric spark that is my soul is also my essence, then sexual abuse, or abuse of any kind, is in reality a violation of the soul – the very core of my being. Any physical and psychological manifestations of abuse/trauma are actually the effects of a wounded spirit. I begin the book by disclosing the types and/or specific incidences of trauma which created these wounds before describing the long-term negative effects of them. Then I progress to the healing part of the journey which includes a discussion of therapy/therapists, how I helped myself, the connection between justice and healing as well as the spiritual awakening which gave my life experiences meaning.
One of the most meaningful aspects of life for me is the concept of justice because it encompasses not only what is ‘legal’ but also what is moral in any given situation. For this reason there will be certain omissions in the book – namely, the identity of the perpetrators, other victims/survivors and innocents. Many of these people are relatives who are unaware of what happened or who were involved as either perpetrators or victims. Knowing these individuals, I can safely say that they will not be able to accept or cope with these truths seeing the light of day which may lead to severe psychological problems, physical violence or worse. I am also protecting myself from retribution at the hands of the surviving abusers and/or their family members who would want to punish me for no longer keeping their secrets. Consequently, I will use various versions of the following names when referring to them: ‘deviants’, ‘perverts’ and ‘chesters’ (the last term was created by a cousin of mine who combined the ‘ch’ from ‘child’ and the ‘ester’ from ‘molester’…no offense to anyone named ‘Chester’). Victims/survivors will be referred to by either of these terms as well as ‘children’, ‘kids’ or ‘others.’
The experience of writing this book has been a very significant step along the road to my healing and self-development. This was a very difficult task to undertake as I revisited past wounds and tapped into pain that I didn’t even know was there. I had to take lengthy ‘time outs’ in order to heal on even deeper levels, I received professional help when I needed it and I trusted my judgment/intuition about which step to take next on this most profound journey. Through all of this I discovered that my power to self-heal is inextricably linked to my authentic self which IS my spirit. In other words, true spirituality involves being real and that this is the only way to heal. I have also come to understand that by helping myself I develop the ability to assist or serve others. I hope what follows will help those who have had similar experiences to rise above such pain and to even thrive as a result of it.”
Copyright Helen Papadopoulos 2010