Realest post I’ll probably ever write

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Hey guys !

Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m not going to be doing anything extra like last year haha (I was so extra omg). I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do anything at all but as I was talking to some friends I got the idea for this post and I thought leaving it for my birthday would be a good idea. Even a little therapeutic for me.

What this post is basically gonna be is me being candid about some of my life experiences and how that ties in with my love for Six of Crows and why that duology just means so much to me. This won’t be a bookish post, not even a happy post, I think. Maybe a little hopeful by the end but we’ll see how this turns out haha.

TW: Rape, sexual harrassement, panic attacks, PTSD.

Those trigger warnings are your last warning to not read this if any of those topics might harm you. I won’t be giving any graphic detail but yeah, those are going to be the main topics of this post. And it’s going to be deeply personal. I debated for weeks whether or not to write, whether or not it was *okay* for me to post it on here but at the end of the day I decided this is my platform and pretty much the only outlet I have. And it’s kind of book related.

So here goes nothing.

#MeToo

I was raped at 5 years old. It wasn’t anyone I know. It was a man who barged on me at a public restroom. I escaped him though. I don’t know how I did it, but I did. I’m gonna spare you the details but I can’t really spare myself the details, It happened almost 16 years ago but I can still see all of it, I can remember the feelings, the smells, all of it. And for a long period of time, it was all I saw whenever I closed my eyes. So yes, I was a 5 years old who had to grow up before she was ready to, who had to take care of herself, not let herself fall apart because who would pick her back up? She felt she couldn’t tell anyone.

And you know what the worst part is? My mom has always told me that if a stranger ever touched me I should go to her, it’s what she told me since I can remember and I still didn’t feel like I could because “What would people think?”. Yes. Even at 5 years old society had me ruined, ashamed for something that was out of my control, Something I didn’t ask for nor instigate. And I was the one carrying the weight of the shame. I was a happy child, I liked going towards people, hugging, etc… but that’s the day those things became physically impossible for me.

I closed myself off to the world, couldn’t bare being touched, not even my own mother’s hugs were something I could handle, I would feel my heart racing everytime someone tried touching me. I had become touch-averse. But I had to bare the touch. Because I couldn’t explain to anyone what was going on with me. Society told me not to. I became sensitive, had inexplicable bursts of anger, would cry over the smallest things, which later on turned to me bottling up my feelings. Because I couldn’t explain why I was crying, why I was angry. So I learnt to hide it.

Because I had to.

And I had (and still have) PTSD too which I didn’t understand that’s what it was until a couple years ago. I would have panic attacks which I also didn’t identify as such because they weren’t as *loud*, at every news story about a rape case, followed by many sleepless night where I’d see my abuser’s face everytime I closed my eyes. At every scene is a book or in a movie. I never thought I could have PTSD, I never thought I’d have anxiety but I do. And I know today all those thinks are linked. A chain reaction.

I learnt to live with it too. I’d have nights where I couldn’t bare sleep, where closing my eyes brought nightmares that I couldn’t stand the dark so I would stay awake. Other than that. I was okay. Mostly. Still touch-averse though. Nothing changed on that front. Touch was still overwhelming to me. A decade later, I get into my first year of high school. In a new school. And there was this boy in my class who apparently thought I had a great ass and that he was entitled to it so he would touch me whenever I passed by him. Every. Single. Day. For months. And that gave a few other guys ideas. No matter how many times I said no, they didn’t hear me. Then again, I didn’t report it. Society told me not to.

I fell into a spiral of dark thoughts and worthlessness. I was public property. At one point, I was so numb I didn’t care anymore. Maybe the fact that they didn’t get any reaction out of me anymore took the fun out of their little game, so by the end of the school year, they had all stopped. Come summer break, I pick myself up again, focus on healing, getting myself to a state where I felt a little like myself again. And I did it all by myself. Which I honestly would not recommend. If you’re reading this and relating with it, please seek help (and you can email me if you want) I promise you’re going to be okay. 

I was still as touch-averse as ever.

I got myself to a livable place again. A place where the self-loathe wasn’t as loud. It was more like a soft whisper at the back of my brain. Over the years, from 15 to 17, it was ups and downs, but I made it. And I learnt to say no to contact I didn’t want, I taught people who are close to me to ask before coming into my personal space, and I’ve gotten myself to what I like to call semi touch-averse. I am mostly okay with consensual touch but there are days where I still can’t handle it. And it’s okay. I’m okay.

Now to the bookish, less sad part of the post.

Fast forward to last year, a month before my 20th birthday. I decide to pick up SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo. And that was the best reading decision I’ve made in my life. Because it’s introduced me to Inej Ghafa and by extension, her experiences as an abuse survivor. And reading about that was cathartic. I cried. And cried. And cried. Until there were no more tears left in me. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, that I wasn’t dirty or worthless because someone thought I was public property, because they thought they could lay their hands on me. I am still me. My own person. That I would be okay, that it’s okay to not hate myself, that none of what happened to me was my fault.

Especially since Inej was made uncomfortable to touch like I was. Let me put it this way: Inej is a Brown abuse survivor who’s slightly averse to touch but still manages to be strong, amazing and kick everyone’s ass. I wanted to be her. I AM her. I am as strong as she is, I am as beautiful and brave as she is. I deserve love and respect as much as every other human. And I needed Inej to show me that, especially since she reclaimed her narrative, she reclaimed her life and made anyone who dared touch her regret that decision deeply.

She also thought me that it was okay to talk about what happens, that I have nothing to be ashamed of because I didn’t do anything wrong. And it’s only then that I actually started talking about everything that happened to me and this post is the first time I talk about it so truthfully. Until I was 20 no one ever knew about my rape and til this day no one IRL knows about it and I’m not sure I wanna talk about it. Not because I’m still ashamed. But because I don’t want to bring my mom the pain and guilt of knowing her daughter has been to hell and back without her knowing. 

I mean. She might read this post one day, she knows about my blog. But I’m okay today. I am happy on most days but even when I’m not I know I will be okay. And I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that she would be okay. That she’s doing the best she can to process her feelings, that that feeling of hopelessness and helplessness will eventually dissipate and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As cliché as that may sound haha.

I wanna end this post by thanking Leigh Bardugo. Honestly. Thank you for giving me a character that would be so cathartic and therapeutic to me. That would help me heal and move forward. 

So yeah folks! That’s that. Not your typical happy birthday post but this is where my heart is right now.


That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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51 thoughts on “Realest post I’ll probably ever write

  1. Ah, my heart. This post means so much to me. I was abused in foster care, and have been fighting PTSD for years. It never gets easier, but you learn how to fight it, right?

    I’m glad Inej gives you strength. I think for me, Anne of Green Gables has always been my strength. I’m a redhead, and her courage, and constant optimism kept me going. I just related so much to her.

    And as a 20 something, the new Cinderella movie was my mantra. Have courage and be kind. I live off those words.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh gosh this made me cry. I’m so you shared this story and felt confident and strong enough to do so. There are so many people who this post might help and it proves the need for these topics to be discussed and how powerful literature can be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. first off, happy birthday, girly! i think sometimes the best gifts we can get come from within ourselves–one of those gifts can be self acceptance and the knowledge that you don’t have to be ashamed of yourself or of your life/your story, that you deserve love and acceptance, from everyone, beginning with yourself. i hope that writing this post may have given you some of that in the release, i know how cathartic and simultaneously peaceful being brave and being honest can be. but if it hasn’t given you that, i hope that is something you can work towards because, as i said, you *deserve* that love and acceptance, especially from yourself. you are so brave and so strong, even in the moments when you might feel small, and you have a light within you that the world needs, because even when that light is just a tiny spark, it could still light a thousand wildfires in people’s souls. i hope you always remember that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my god. I know that nothing I can say will make this ever okay, or suddenly cure you, but I just want to say that — though I barely know you — I admire you so much for your courage and your ability to go through life with what happened. I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I’ve never been abused or harassed or assaulted (yet), so I have no idea what it’s been like for you. But I’m so proud that you’re able to tell this story now after all that you’ve fought through!
    I love Six of Crows with all my heart, purely for “I just love it” reasons, but to see that a book can have such a positive (and negative) impact on someone is absolutely amazing. I’m so happy that you’re in a better place right now and all my best wishes are with you, lovely!! Have a wonderful birthday — you 100% deserve it. 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy birthday to ye – a wonderful and strong and intelligent and lovely person. This post made me heart ache for ye and also smile at your tenacity, determination, and grit. From personal experience, abuse is a b*tch, but we not only can survive but thrive. Yer worth is not determined by stupid society standards that is for sure. Ye be awesome matey! I am grateful and proud to have ye on me crew! Arrrrr!
    x The Captain

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are a strong, brave woman, Fadwa! I am so proud of who you are today( though it doesn’t matter what I think, but I just wanted to say it)

    Happy 21st birthday, Fadwa. I am glad that I got to live in a time where our pathways crossed. Getting to know you in 2017 was truly a blessing. Okay, I am done being cheesy, happy birthday! 💚💚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like to grow up keeping it all to yourself, but I’m happy that you’re healing now, and that you are better! You’re amazing, strong and beautiful, Fadwa, and very, very brave! And the most important is that you can be whatever the hell you want. Please don’t let anyone else ever say otherwise. Happy birthday! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a beautiful story. I’m sorry for all that you have gone through, but I am glad that you found something that made you feel strong. It’s so important to share our stories and to realize that we are stronger then our darkest thoughts. Some days it is hard to see the light but when you do see it you realize that it is so much brighter then you know. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and that you continue to grow with grace and strength as time goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you so much for posting this. I hope it helps in you healing! You are so strong and it breaks my heart that any little girl has to go through this. You are so brave to post this. I have struggled whether or not I should write my own story, but I haven’t gotten the courage yet. Your post is very inspiring and as much as I wish you didn’t have to go through it, its nice to know I’m not alone. Thank you. #MeToo

    Liked by 1 person

  10. For someone like you who was able to rise above the horrible things that happened to you on your own, the words of others may not have much of an impact but I’m so so sorry that all this happened to you. I wish we lived in a better world and I’m so glad you have the will and the strength to share your story. I’m glad you realise that you don’t have to “forgive yourself” because you did nothing wrong in the first place. You are a strong, brave person who has gone through worse things than people older than you have and you’ve been able to rise above it and LOVE yourself and I know you’ll continue to. I’m glad you were able to see yourself in a character in a book and I’m glad she was such a great impact in your life.
    Thank you for sharing your story and I hope other rape survivors are able to deal with those horrible incidents as well as you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This was a difficult story to read. I found it hard to find words to respond for words seem to fail me. No child should suffer like that. It is good to know your stronger today and I know this story must have been hard to write. I want to wish you a happy birthday and tell you your a wonderful caring person. Though I have never met you in person I consider you a friend and it is wrong our societies make life difficult for survivors of abuse. Maybe the power of books can open more peoples hearts. Hopefully your story may help someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fadwa, thank you for sharing such a personal post. This post broke my heart for many reasons, but mostly for the reason that you have suffered for so many years alone. You have had to work through things that no child should ever have had to. The fact that you are where you are right now in life is a testament to how strong you are. Your strength and determination are an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love you so much ♥♥ I’m so sorry that you and others have to go through this. It’s so unfair. You’re all such incredibly strong people and definitely an inspiration. You deserve all the love. I’m so glad you were able to connect to Inej. I love that reading makes us all feel a little less alone!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  16. I was 6 years old when it happened to me too. Still very touch-averse. And I understand exactly why you love Inej and can relate to her–her story made me feel less alone even though our circumstances were different. I hope we see more characters like her in literature because it is important to be reminded that we are strong and brave and unbeatable no matter what.

    Like

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  18. Wow … I don’t even know what to say. This was an incredibly touching and emotional story and just so damn powerful. No one deserves to go through what you did, and you’re honestly so so strong. I’m glad that you found a character and a story that made you felt seen because everyone deserves to be able to see themselves in both literature and the media. I’m so happy for you that you loved Six of Crows and found yourself in it though.

    Like

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  20. I’m crying, I’m…You should not have gone through that. I’m glad SoC helped you so much, and that you found Inej.

    You are right: you are as strong, beautiful and badass as Inej is. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise because you don’t deserve that.

    Like

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