Make Every Day a Thankful One!

If you’ve been living life a while, it’s honestly almost too easy to forget ALL of the ways God has made in your life. On one hand, I would like to think that we can give ourselves a little grace here because when you’re talking decades, that’s a lot of information to hold on to. If you remember the MAJOR miracles you’re probably doing alright.

BUT there comes a time where we truly need to look back year by year and identify the ‘little’ or ‘unseen’ ways the LORD has made for us. Then we need to RECOGNIZE His hand in it all and thank Him for it!

That brings me to this morning. I woke up out of my sleep EXTREMELY thankful and amazed at what God has brought me through. I think about the BIG miracles daily, but the recent murder of an old classmate unearthed the times where I really was ONE moment away from disaster.  But God!

 

I remembered how (after my sexual assault) I came home to rumors spread by the VERY guy who assaulted me. It crushed me because my good name/virtue was (and still is) VERY important to me. I was that girl who was sweet to all and thought the best of everyone; truly innocent at heart. But God…… gave me the courage to press on in the face of attacks on my character all while ultimately vindicating me.

 

I remembered the time I had a severe allergic reaction during a college night of drinking; instead of dying on the spot, my body simply hit snooze and I curled up and went to sleep. I woke up looking a HOT mess….But God let me live instead of go into anaphylactic shock.

 

I remembered the time my pistons blew while I was driving two hours away from home (after a very disrespectful exit from my parents’ house earlier that week.) Instead of the pistons blowing back into the car and killing me, my car simply shut down and conked out. But God….forgave me and saved my life regardless of my disobedient behavior.

 

I remembered the year (not too long ago) I was facing having to pay $300 a month for health insurance due to a company restructure. But God….worked a ‘behind-the-scenes miracle’ and somehow knocked my bill down to under $100 by the time the first next cycle came around.

 

I remembered the times where I felt I would never find godly, goal-oriented friends who still liked to laugh and kid around. It was so lonely and every day felt like I was in limbo. I’m too churchy for my old friends but too worldly for my church friends. But God….allowed me to meet and reconnect with some amazing people who are now part of my tribe. We pray, we study the bible together, we laugh, we dance, we sing our hearts out.

 

I LITERALLY could go on and on; as I’m sure you all could! This week, take some time to really sit in a quiet space and think about your life. Even if it’s only during the 2.7 minutes of alone time you have in the car before walking in to get the kids or if it’s during your work commute. Regardless of how tough your life has been, I know you can find at least ONE thing to be thankful for. I know you can find at least ONE ‘BUT GOD’ moment when inspecting the timeline of your years.

There is no real ‘rhyme or reason’ for this post; I just HAD to publicly say that in the good times and in the TERRIBLE times, God has always given me something to be thankful for. Thanks for reading this little testimony. Happy Monday!

 

— Peace & Blessings, Joc

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Joc's Observations

Lessons From 35 Years Of Marriage (Courtesy of my Parents.lol)

August 4, 1984 two lives blended into one. I’m sure plenty of couples were married on that very day, but none as important as George and Sandra Drawhorn.

Okay so I’m biased on this – so what, they’re my parents. What did you expect?

 

My parents have been together over half of their lives. They met towards the end of college and pretty much never separated since then. I have learned so much from them – practically and spiritually – and as they return with stories from their 35th wedding anniversary adventure, I’ve been unexpectedly thrown a few things that have caused me to reflect.

 

REFLECTION #1

Romance is intentional.

My parents have been together a total of 41 years and while it was normal for me to see a loving marriage growing up, as I got older and looked outside my house; I saw that it actually wasn’t as common as I thought. ESPECIALLY in other countries. There are some countries where marriage comes first (function/necessity) then the love comes after (luxury). I realized that it wasn’t a ‘natural’ thing to be romantic or do romantic things. It takes work.

From what I’ve learned of him if you give my dad a bucket of popcorn, a pillow, and enough space for him to sprawl out across my mom’s lap….he is SET! He’s very simple and doesn’t really like a lot of flash and flare – though he won’t turn a pair of NBA courtside tickets if you give them to him. Lol, My mom, on the other hand, is big on experiences and travel. She loves discovering new foods and cultures. On paper, they are very different and define romance in slightly different ways. That’s why when they planned their getaway trip to the mountains, it was intentional. It was a blend of low key relaxation (my dad) and exciting excursions (my mom). This trip was intentionally planned so that both of my parents were able to have a romantic time.

REFLECTION #2

Having a reset button IN marriage is okay.

If you’ve been together as long as my parents have, you get used to a certain way of doing things. A certain way he likes his eggs. A certain way she does the clothes. A certain station he likes on tv. A certain way she styles her home. Shoot, even being at the same job can get routine FAST! That’s why it’s good to refresh and reset every now and again. This wedding anniversary trip for my parents was like hitting a symbolic ‘reset button’.

With the responsibility of helping EVERYBODY else and balancing a full-time job or two, it had honestly been a MINUTE since my parents have had time to actually spend TOGETHER.  This trip was a FULL WEEK of the two of them. They had time to rediscover each other and themselves as a couple. Sure I face-timed them at least once a day, but I left it up to THEM to do it. I tried my best to handle things back here in NC so they wouldn’t have to stress or worry about coming to anyone’s rescue. Having this reset to totally download and clear up space to upload new memories and more love was needed. Some marriages grow predictable, and while a sense of stability IS good/necessary for marriage, LIFE can squeeze out all the fun in the process. INSERT RESET BUTTON. This past week I could HEAR the stress melting off and the energy returning with every call. This is something every married couple should be mindful of. If you take a good inventory of the last time you’ve had QUALITY time to spend with your spouse with no interruptions and draw a blank, you should really look into planning something. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. Maybe it’s sending the kids away for a week or using a few vacation days to go road tripping to the city. Go. Do it.

REFLECTION #3

Young married couples have a LOT to learn.

It seems like every day I hear of someone getting married then someone getting a divorce. I can’t help but hear it because I’m now in my 30s. I can’t help but pay attention to it because I’m still unmarried and want to make sure I do this thing right and do it once. I know on paper there are no perfect people but it’s one thing when you actually have to live life out with them. It’s hard enough at times to stay connected to your BLOOD relatives, let alone meld your life with someone with a totally different upbringing and set of values and habits and goals and dreams.

With the social media culture we are in, I think a lot of people who are married fall for the looks and ONLY the looks. Fall for the money, or subconsciously seek perfection. I can include myself in the last loop because this is something I’ve had to work on throughout my latter 20s. I grew up in a semi-traditional household that was God based/nurtured and I expected everyone to basically agree with that type of lifestyle. As I began dating, I found out that this wasn’t the case. Some people aren’t faithful. Some would never think of cheating. Some people believe a man’s only job is to provide financially. Some people want it to be split exactly 50/50. Some people don’t agree with the husband helping with household duties if needed. Some don’t care. Some don’t believe wives should work outside of the house. Some people are fine with the wife working multiple jobs. Some people don’t want kids. Some say no kids is a deal-breaker. Some people drink and curse – a lot – while some don’t believe in it.

You get my point.

I really do HONESTLY believe a lot of people between the ages of 25-40 look at marriage like a fairy tale or hold their potential partners up to the unrealistic standards of social media. If they’re not going about it that way, they end up settling because they feel like they want SOMETHING rather than nothing at all. Some people will marry people to get ahead in a certain social group. Some people will get married to appease family and stop the seemingly unending pressure of “so when ya gonna get married?!”. Some people will get married to the most attractive person they can find despite their personality being trashy or despite getting cheated on because they want pretty kids. I DON’T WANT TO BE ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE. So I look to my parents as a guide. Sometimes it feels hopeless because half of me thinks I’m being picky but the other half of me says “What’s wrong with wanting someone to love me like my dad loves my mom?” Sure it’s very rare these days but a girl can still hope right?!

I’m basically saying WE as 20, 30, 40-year-olds have to REALLY take a good look at how these older couples have been together so long and realize that we won’t always FEEL in love. Things won’t ALWAYS be 50/50. Outside beauty fades with time. A good, lifelong marriage takes time, understanding, communication, and a TON of intentional cultivating!

I’m not sure what my parents will do to celebrate their next milestone together, but my prayer for them is that they will have a fantastic time and that they continue creating memories that give me great things to blog about!

 

Peace & Blessings,

-Joc

Leave a comment

Filed under Joc's Observations

Miracles, Signs, & Wonders

Over the past 2-3 weeks, I have been experiencing hardships on my job and in my health. To sum everything up in a sentence or two: I found myself worn down and on the brink of burn out. It was like there wasn’t enough time to fit everything in my schedule and my health suffered because I didn’t take care of myself or because there wasn’t enough “time” to maximize the resources that could help me get stronger. I was drained mentally and physically.

 

As a Christian, I observe Lent. It takes place 40 days prior to Easter Sunday (aka Resurrection Sunday) and you usually fast and/or abstain from worldly sustenance in honor of the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness prior to becoming active in his earthly ministry. To be honest, most Christians observe lent because their pastor “makes them” or because it’s “just what you do as a Christian”. Those people TOTALLY miss the point.  Much like Jesus pointed out while He was on earth, God doesn’t want us to do something JUST BECAUSE…He wants us to fast and pray to get closer to Him! When we are distracted by earthly things like television, social media or food (even though food IS good and is a basic need) it’s easy to find ourselves distant from our Creator.

Think about it. How easy is it to spend 1 or 2 hours straight checking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Youtube? How hard is it for you to sit and read the Bible for 5 minutes without squirming or feeling like you’re missing out on something? How easy is it for you to binge that entire series you’ve been patiently waiting all year to drop? How hard is it for you to sit in a quiet room in silent prayer before you feel like you’re going to go mad? How easy is it for you to scour Pinterest ALL day long, daydreaming of the amazing dinner you have planned after work? How hard is it for you to do a quick topical search on your You Version Bible app or index search in your print Bible for scriptures on anxiety – which is something that haunts you daily?

Fasting for a certain period of time frees us up from those distractions and allows us to be stripped down to NOTHING and NO ONE but God. We don’t have comfort idols to pass the time or interrupt the silence. Fasting in the wilderness is part of why Jesus’ ministry was SO powerful. His mind was free to soak up ALL the wisdom and great ideas God had ready to download into His heart and mind. He was strengthened.

 

OKAY so back to my story.

The month of April was filled with numerous hardships BUT I can honestly say that participating in lent this year has made the difference. While I didn’t abstain from food (due to taking certain medications) I did make the decision from abstaining from secular television or worldly influences after a certain time. If that meant having nothing to do but sit in my room and stare at the wall – I did it. Fasting from outside influences put me “in a corner” where I had nothing to rely on but God and His Word. If I was spending time with my friends or family, I’d leave at a certain time or go off to myself to focus on God. Sometimes He would say nothing – I’d just sit there in silence or simply fall asleep. Other times He would encourage me and remind me that despite the hectic life I was experiencing He saw me and would give me the strength to make it through.

By the time Easter Sunday arrived (yesterday) I had experienced not one, but THREE miracles in a 40-day period! All three miracles saved me from a hospital stay and/or burnout. I know that miracles happen great and small but this is the first time in a LONG time that I can remember instant miracles like that. I KNOW it wasn’t by happenstance that these miracles took place when they did! I believe that God was showing me what awesome wonders come to light when we depend SOLELY on Him to meet our need. One of the miracles happened through medication and that’s something some people would have missed. GOD WORKS THROUGH DOCTORS. Visiting a doctor does not mean you lack faith, it means you possess wisdom and God-given common sense!

 

Sure I can find myself overwhelmed or worn down all throughout, but I truly believe that THIS time God has resurrected my physical and mental health to on purpose. He has honored my desire to grow closer to him by fasting and He has rewarded me by renewing my strength. Sometimes miracles don’t come through money or possessions but through the restoration of health and peace of mind.

I’m not really sure what the ‘moral’ of this post is, but I just had to testify and share the amazingness that has taken place in my life. I’m looking forward to more miracles, signs, and wonders in the NEAR future!

— Stay blessed,

Joc

Leave a comment

Filed under Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, It's Me Joc

In Pursuit of What HE Says

It’s 2019 and almost half of the year has passed us by! Last year was tough for me in a few different ways: a few family members passed away, I took on a partial caretaker role for a handful of people, some health issues flared up, and fear popped its ugly head into my business. Regardless of all that I fought through — I made it through! I’m grateful that I’m no longer struggling to adapt to those changes and even in that, I’m evolving more and more into the person God always meant for me to be.

This brings me to the topic of today’s post. Since last year, I’ve been grooving to Hillsong United’s “So Will I (100 Billion X) but I’d groove to it and mainly focused my energies on the chorus (because if you know Hillsong, their songs are WORDYYYY.) It wasn’t until January of this year when Cross Worship’s version of it popped into my feed that I REALLY took notice of the words!

The lead singer Osby Berry literally sent me into another stratosphere when he began ministering that song! Apparently, it was at some church conference they were having; and I don’t know if it was because I was having a tough day at work or if it was solely his powerful treatment of the musicality but I was left in AWE! Each syllable he sang brought new life into the song like never before (no offense to Hillsong United) and one stanza, in particular, stuck to my heart like glue.

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
So will I
So will I

WOW! WOW! WOW!

I have sat in this stanza ever since I heard it and every time I think about it, it causes me to really ponder on what I’M doing as it relates to God’s purpose for me! The lines that hit me in my soul EVERY TIME are “…evolving in pursuit of what You said…”. This line speaks specifically to “creationists” vs. “evolutionists”. Since I believe the words of the bible and the truth that we are ALL God’s creation I consider myself a creationist; however, I also believe that we are (flora & fauna included) constantly evolving BUT only by God’s design. No big bang theory. No random, pointless combustion of life. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof (plants and animals) and they (meaning us ya’ll) that dwell therein. This song highlights the TRUTH that God created EVERYTHING for a purpose and that in His magnificent sovereignty, has equipped everything to morph and adapt as He wills it. If animals who ‘wander aimlessly’ can naturally change, shift and evolve as God ordains without question, why is it so hard for us as humans to willingly adapt to the nature of God’s will?

“If creation still obeys You so will I.”

In my own professional life and personal life, I have allowed toxic environments, vampires, self-reliance and fear to take precedence over God’s natural and simplest command. To go where He sends me. To go with His perfect flow. For that, I repent daily! If the animals and plants can go where He sends them and GROW where He assigns them, so can I. This song (and the anointed voice of Osby Berry) has pulled me into a place of deep reflection and I can quickly tell that this will be the theme of 2019. My YEAR OF REFLECTION.

A time to consider what got me to this point. Make the necessary changes to live fearlessly and limitlessly (as Judge Lauren Lake always says) and to thrive walking out the purpose that Jesus Christ died for me to have! It is God’s will that we ALL live a joyful life and an abundant life jam-packed with blessings and worship all in the Lord’s name. Everything exists to glorify Him so He equips us to innately to walk in His precepts, growing from faith to faith and soaring from glory to glory.

God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die
And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I.

So will I.

 

— Stay blessed good people, Joc 

Leave a comment

Filed under Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, Joc's Observations, Quotes To Live By

I Could Have Been Her. [Trauma While Black]

Every day on my way to work I come to a familiar (and awkward) intersection; finding myself face to face with the woman of “what could have been”.

Let me explain.

I work in a small town and often see faces of people from yearbooks past and find out what most I graduated with don’t – what happened to __________?! Back in college, one of my high school acquaintances and I became closer and began hanging out with each other more. This meant meeting each other’s families and knowing parents and cousins on a first name basis. I distinctly remember one special cousin in particular who would come up to the college to hang out in our rooms some weekends. Cousin and my friend were more like sisters really! She was still in high school (about 3 years younger than us) and I remember her being so entranced by the college life. She was tall, skinny and was a really pretty girl overall. She would LOVE getting into some of everything, asking a million questions and sticking her nose into everyone’s business. To her college was another world.

Well, as college progressed, my friend and I eventually went our separate ways and adventured into young adult life. This also meant we didn’t see each other’s families like we once did – including Cousin.

Fast forward 11 or 12 years, and notice a strange woman aimlessly wandering up and down the street not far from where I work. It’s common to see kids skipping school or people saving gas by walking, but I quickly noticed that this woman was different. Not wanting to be rude, I’d try to sneak a glance at her face, but it seemed every time I passed her on the way to work she’d be walking IN my direction, so I’d have to turn all the way around to see her face. One day, I decided to just throw caution to the wind and look around. What I saw broke my heart.

It was Cousin.

She had transformed into someone virtually unrecognizable. Her hair had been shaved. She’d picked up at least a good extra 80 pounds and she had the distinctive stare of someone who had suffered mental trauma. Growing up in and out of hospitals and meeting countless of my mother’s special education students, I have developed a knack for recognizing when something is “not all there” with someone. Cousin had that stare. Since then, I’ve studied her as I drive to work. I’ve even waved a time or two to no avail. Her blank stare and babbling otherworldly chatter leads me to speculate – what happened? What happened to transform this giddy, lively girl into a woman who may not even know where she is most times?

Did she have an accident where she sustained a brain injury that left her incapacitated? Did she have a surgery that went wrong? Did she experience a traumatic experience that triggered the onset of mental illness? Is she under a spiritual attack?!

Looking at her each week puts me into a reflective state of “she could have been me”. She could have been any one of us really. Think about your own life for a few minutes.

Have you experienced a heartbreak or trauma that could have made you “lose your mind”?

Were you ever involved in an accident or event where you could have suffered a brain injury?

Have you ever felt the weight of your problems plunge you in a spiritual darkness, constantly hovering over you?

The truth is YOU and I escaped those things. Cousin, unfortunately, didn’t.

Take time today to really check on your friends, families, and classmates. Offer them an encouraging word if you notice on social media (or in passing) that they are struggling with something. Encourage them to seek professional and spiritual help. Let them know that there is NOTHING wrong with investing in a therapist and spiritual counselor. There is still mass stigma in the black community regarding seeking professional help for trauma.  It’s one thing to not be able to afford it, it’s another to simply dismiss the benefit of it.

As long as I see Cousin, I will continue to thank God that while I could have been her, I am not her! I will continue praying for her…her family…that they get the answers and help they seek. I don’t truly know what had happened to her, but I pray whatever it is, she stays safe, that she doesn’t hurt anyone else and that we all count our blessings!

— Joc

 

ps. Here are some helpful recources for you if you want more information specifically catered for African Americans!

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/african-american

  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culturally-speaking/201111/why-african-americans-avoid-psychotherapy

  3. https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/

  4. http://bridgehavencounseling.org/counseling/profile-of-omar-king/

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Around The World, Joc's Observations, Society and Such

Chad Loves Michelle: Depression, Anxiety & Love

This morning while getting ready for work, I watched Good Morning America and was able to catch the end of Michelle Williams’ and fiance Chad Johnson’s interview with Robin Roberts.
4B530CF300000578-0-image-a-56_1524163923316
In the little part that I saw, Michelle spoke on battling depression and revealed that around the time she and Chad were getting deep into their relationship, she checked herself into a hospital for treatment. When Chad came to visit her, she told him “I understand if you leave. I can go to bed at night knowing [it was because] you were praying for a wife, but not a depressed wife.” She had already mentally prepared herself to battle her depression without him but he stayed.
That stuck with me.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that 2 1/2 years ago I was attacked with burnout/anxiety and started having issues traveling distances that I normally wouldn’t think twice about. You will also know that it was TOTALLY out of the blue! AND that means you know that at that time my burnout occurred, I had literally JUST started dating my now ex-boyfriend. It couldn’t have come at a worse time.
So here I was trying to balance a new (somewhat long distance) relationship, ever mounting responsibilities at work, family issues, a photography business, and on top of all of that — anxiety. Prior to that, I had never really dealt with it before aside from stress and it caught me off guard. I was just used to that stress where you can drink a Ginger Ale, take a nap, and wake up fine! What honestly frustrated me about this whole fear thing was the fact that I couldn’t seem to shake it overnight.
FACT….most everything I’d been confronted with in my life (up to then) was always something I could snap out of or shake off. Not this time.
Going from fearlessly traveling ANYWHERE in the world to freaking out by simply sitting in a car is DRAINING, CONFUSING, EMBARRASSING…. you add a new boyfriend in the mix. DISASTER. One of the reasons my ex started dating me in the first place was for my sense of adventure. Huge problem Houston.
GettyImages-616072284
While my ex and I had some really good moments, I truly believe (now and even back then) that anxiety was primarily responsible for our breakup. Sure we had a ton of other differences and probably would have broken up anyway (lol) BUT may have stayed a little longer if anxiety and panic attacks didn’t tag along as the third wheel.
When we broke up I couldn’t blame my ex for not wanting to deal with a woman battling anxiety but deep down I was hoping he would or could somehow help see me through it. It changed who I was. I clung to my family a little tighter, I was a little less adventurous, every trip to visit him wiped out every bit of spunk I had. It was mindblowing for ME to deal with and I was PERSONALLY frustrated BEYOND end. I felt weak, I felt punkish, I felt crazy; basically, all of the above. I didn’t want to be a girlfriend or wife fighting anxiety — I’d never experienced it before in life and was mad at myself for not being able to just ‘snap out’ of it; after all, that was how I usually rolled.
Watching that GMA interview this morning and seeing how Chad truly loves Michelle gave me hope.
“The relationship just seemed to be slipping out of my hands,” Chad said in the interview. “I could see [her] spiraling, but I had no idea that it was depression.”
Seeing how Chad and men like LaGuardia Cross have made the choice to help their women conquer their mental struggles gives me hope that there are people who can handle it.
Let me say this, I have NO intention of allowing anxiety to stress me like it once did forever. I plan to live FREE from this! Since the winter of 2016 – spring of 2017, I began seeking out mental and spiritual help, beginning with a therapist. While I am better than what I was 2 years ago I’m not at 100%. However, what I have learned through this experience so far is that some obstacles don’t fall away overnight. Some do. Some people wake up the next day and the fear is gone. Some have to work to achieve that. It’s a matter of focusing on God in the midst of everyday stresses and taking things day by day. Not worrying about the future but focusing on the victory in today. I am not alone and there are others who sympathize AND empathize with my journey.
I AM MAKING THIS CLEAR RIGHT NOW — I am not trashing (nor trying to trash) my ex because he didn’t have the capacity to deal with my monster at that time; I couldn’t honestly say that I wouldn’t have felt the same way THEN if I were him either! I learned a lot of valuable lessons and gained new insight during the time we dated. I AM, however, expressing the thankfulness I have for supportive friends and family because I now know that everyone doesn’t have the patience/will to interact with someone battling with PTSD or anxiety.
9c6014d44ed87f7b805a4a0faaa88aed_resize

I know God did not give me a spirit of fear but has given me His Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind…some days it’s just a little tougher to grasp that truth.

I have thoroughly been encouraged today. Michelle and Chad reminded me that all I can do is take each life one step at a time and that I shouldn’t allow myself to fall victim to discouragement whenever I have a bad day. Their words reminded me that this too shall pass. They reminded me that I should be thankful for the blessings of those in my tribe while graciously accepting the exit of those who choose not to be part of it. All in all, I’m good! I am graced for this.
Peace and blessings,
Joc

Leave a comment

Filed under Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, It's Me Joc, Quotes To Live By

Cosby,Trump, Kavanaugh, and Rape Culture

The first time I was sexually violated was when I was around 6 years old.

 

Growing up my parents made SURE I knew where people SHOULD NOT touch me and what was inappropriate. I always thought this type of conversation went on in EVERY household and that I was instantly immune from the negative emotions and repercussions that came along with “being touched down there”. BOY OH BOY was I wrong.

Hearing and reading the various reactions to the Bill Cosby verdict this week have me reflecting on my experience with sexual abuse and misconduct. While I was never violated by a family member or neighbor, my first sexually inappropriate encounter was at the hands of my 7-year-old classmate. I remember how confused, scared, helpless I felt as he and his friends circled mine that day on the playground. I remember being shoved down to the ground as he got on top of me. I remember squirming as he simulated sex all while trying his best to put his hands down my panties. Thankfully I was able to get away before he could succeed. I remember running back to school, dirty from being held down in the gravel and being scolded by my teacher for getting back to class late.

When you are sexually violated (whether you experience some actual sex or not) it messes with you. You ask yourself a million questions and try to make sense of what happened — even as a child. Did you say something to make them mad? Did you do something wrong? Did you in any way make yourself open to this act and make the violator think it was okay?!

You don’t automatically process “oh I should tell someone”. You try to figure things out in your mind and decide how you are going to move forward.

This is what makes me annoyed and upset with people who have made negative remarks about the accusers of Bill Cosby and even Brett Kavanaugh. TRUTH: some women and men who cry rape cry falsely. TRUTH: most of them are telling the truth.

I remember going home that night and having a debate with myself — to tell someone or not to tell? I felt nasty and too embarrassed to tell my parents outright, so I was happy when my babysitter Sabrina Thompson asked me that night how my day was as she was helping me get ready for bed. My nerves were on 10,000 when I finally hinted that something was wrong. If you know Sabrina, you know she doesn’t take mess and is unapologetically bold. I’m so thankful for her persistence that night because I told her what happened and how “a boy jumped on top of me.” I still remember her face — now that I’m an adult I know why it was fixed the way it was — she was ready to jump into action; but she probably recognized that I was honestly afraid and was able to reel herself back in and calmly explain why what happened to me was wrong….. why she needs to tell my parents. At the time she was in 9th or 10th grade by the way.

CAN YOU SAY MATURE!!?!?

Even though she convinced me she wouldn’t tell my parents, she eventually did and I’m so glad. Later that week they sat me down and talked with me about what happened and answered questions I had. Because they knew the truth, they were able to truly put me at ease and I was able to continue my childhood with few lingering effects.

Like the Bill Cosby victims, all victims of sexual trauma aren’t blessed enough to have a ‘Sabrina’ to step in when fear has stifled our own courage.  Even though I was unfortunately sexually assaulted again later in life, I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I would be one messed up chick if I hadn’t had Sabrina’s help the first time in speaking out. If she would have not told my parents and allowed me to stay silent, I would have stayed in the bad headspace I was in and probably try to deal with the trauma myself. A child’s mind isn’t set up for that. No one is really.

While I can honestly admit, that first assault still has had some negative effects on my life, my life is richer and healthier than it could have been all because I was able to tell the truth and have a compassionate ear to listen.

Like you, I plan to keep an eye on what happens with each of these #MeToo and assault cases and take note of comments like Donald Trump’s . I know that the world has a long way to go and things are not going to get better overnight. It’s up to us to really HEAR one another and support one another instead of immediately resorting to jokes and harsh criticisms — you never know what victim you may be pushing into hiding.

 

  • Joc

1 Comment

Filed under Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, Joc's Observations