Things I Wish Someone Had of Told Me

There are a lot of things I wish someone had of told me, this piece outlines only some of them, I could write a book about all of them, but that is crazy. I need to say that I encourage any person who is experiencing anything I talk about to seek help, my piece is in no way implying for anyone not to, it is simply what I wish I had of known, and I hope this helps at least one person in a small way. 


 This time 3 years ago I was comfortably positioned in a job that I loved and studying a Bachelor of Social Work, I withheld this strong sense of determination and pride. I felt a sense of belonging in community, family and work. I sat on numerous committees and groups mainly as the ‘Youth Representative’. These committees talked about justice, education, local government and a range of issues within community.

I wish someone had of told me that one day I would be the person riddled with the unshakable issues we would sit and learn/talk about. And that when riddled with such issues you don’t feel like you belong anymore, anywhere.

 I wish someone had of told me that I would slip out of that ‘young leader’ category and I would lose my identity and strength just like a snake loses its skin.

In society I had gained this idea, that when faced with difficult situations, seeking help is the point where your nightmares are resolved, where you finally receive the help you have been longing for, the help you have been dreaming of.

I wish someone had of told me, that seeking help is gut-wrenching, it is nerve-wracking and whilst you push yourself out of desperation and go through the processes of ‘in-take’ within services, you suddenly feel this loss of control, you’re letting people know your nightmare, you’re losing control by gaining control.   

 I also wish someone had of told me, that the feelings of seeking help can be both powerful but also powerless. It’s like you’re running with a baton in a relay, and you have been doing lap, after lap, after lap alone, you form a connection to the baton, you know exactly how to hold onto it alone so it doesn’t slip from your hands, but when seeking help, you’re placing all of your trust in another person or organisation to take on the baton that is actually your living hell, but that living hell is in fact, your newly formed identity.

 I always grew up thinking that my family and friends would be the basis of my identity. That I could survive anything because of having the strong baseline that is made up of beautiful strong people in my young life. I grew up feeling comfort in knowing I was loved and respected by family and friends, and at the end of the day, that is all we need to survive right?

I wish someone had of told me, that the people you love more than anyone or anything in the world, can be your exact reason for wanting to leave this world. I wish someone had of told me, that in life I could be abused by the people I love, and through being abused by the people you love, you lose complete trust in the world and all of the people in it.

I also wish someone had of told me, that when you’re experiencing what feels like I life-time of hell, you will literally see your closest friends and family members disappear like a gum leaf burning in a fire. You will question why this is happening. Is it because you’re no longer their favorite person to be around? Is your living hell no longer dramatic enough to launch this inner wave of support and love from people around you? Is it because you’re toxic? And the people you love are protecting themselves from the abused, disgusting person you now feel like.

I always withheld this trust in the world, my spirit could never see the bad in people, only the good. I trusted that no one would steal my car if I left it open, I felt comfortable to never lock my house when going out, I never thought twice about anyone knowing where I lived and where I would spend my time. Most importantly, I never knew anyone could break my heart.

I wish someone had of told me, that when you’re so crippled by fear, you will begin to look over your shoulder everywhere you go. When your house is robbed for the first time, you will feel this overwhelming feeling of violation. Violation of your private space is sickening. But it does become normal when it happens over and over again. I truly believe our brains normalize things so we can survive rather than becoming intensely overwhelmed.

 I wish someone had of told me that in a few years it would just be normal, to leave tissues jammed in all the doors and windows when going out, or that to actually have the courage to leave the house, you will prank your abusers home phone to make sure they’re not in town. Your brain teaches you all of these things, that you never thought would ever enter into your daily routine. But they do, they have.

 I never knew that being emotionally and verbally abused daily for consecutive months on end actually existed in this world and I never knew that at 23 years old I would find myself laying on the shower floor questioning how much abuse and drama your body can actually take. But after months it becomes a part of you, you hate it, but it keeps you in this ‘survival mode’ that is keeping you alive.

I wish someone had of told me that you will get through being abused and manipulated daily, you will get through it because it actually becomes normal. It becomes such a huge element of your life, that for it to be taken away via intervention orders, safe houses, and blocking of numbers, you will actually feel lost and out-of-place.

 I wish someone had of told me, that due to missing being abused so much, you begin to grieve for the person that was abusing you. I wish someone had of told me, that to replace this loss, you will actually find yourself, like me, sitting down and writing a list of things your abuser has said to you. Then whenever you’re suddenly feeling guilt  or grief towards your abuser, you will pull out those pieces of paper and remind yourself what {they} have done to you and said to you. It’s like – your brain needs to be abused to function.

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Original note-book I wrote in and carried round with me for months when interventions orders were in place.

I remember in 2012 I went on an excursion with my school class to the Magistrates Courts, we were learning about the law, how it functions, how it seeks to provide justice to victims of violence and everything else that happens on a daily basis in the court world. I never knew that 5 years on from being an innocent school girl touring the courts, I would be one of the people using the courts out of desperation.

I wish someone had of told me how traumatic attending court actually is. As an Aboriginal woman it is the most sickening reality, that there is no other options than to follow a law that was originally built to destroy me. I wish someone had of told me how to process the feelings you feel as an Aboriginal woman navigating and attempting to seek an element of safety from a white institution

 I wish someone had of told me that when the person you’re seeking protection from is ordered to be incarcerated while you’re sitting in the court room, was going to push me so far out of my old identity. It would find me kicking court room walls, pulling at blinds and eventually on the ground in uncontrollable tears outside the Ballarat Magistrates Courts, feeling too depleted to lift myself off the ground. I wish someone had of told me, that seeking help and seeking protection, was not going to solve the war in my head, it was all only going to make me feel emptier and more guilty than ever before.

 I wish someone had of told me, that you can still be in complete love with the person that is destroying you and everything around you.

When living in a long-term nightmare, I always found myself telling people ‘I’ll be right’. I always felt an element of control of my mental health. 

I wish someone had of told me that if you experience trauma for such a long period of time, you will lose control of the poker face you’re portraying. 

I wish someone had of told me that I would hit breaking point when driving alone in the car in the middle of no where, all I could see were white crosses with ‘Sissy Austin’ written on them, appearing over and over again on the side of the road. I couldn’t understand what was happening, I still don’t know why that happened. I wish someone had of told me that family violence would lead to intense uncontrollable events such as this extremely scary night.

In June 2017 our situation forced us to move into a safe house. I remember people around me feeling an element of relief, knowing that we were now to be ‘safe’. We were safe I guess, but it didn’t feel complete. 

I wish someone had of told me, that when moving into a safe house, you will feel lost, alone and out-of-place. You will miss home. I wish someone had of told me, that on the first night of sleeping in a safe house, you could, like me, find yourself curled up in a ball on the mattress you have pulled out into the lounge, crying. I cried because I felt defeated. I felt like I had lost the fight, I was again losing control by gaining control. 

I wish someone had of told me, that the isolation of a safe house is both comforting and crippling at the same time. And these two feelings are so fucking hard. The only place now that feels like ‘home’ is your workplace and Gunditjmara country. 

I also wish someone had of told me, that although you cried for nights on end in the safe house, you did, like a lot of things at the time, become used to it, and when it was time to leave and enter back into the ‘real world’ your anxiety would consume your entire body. Entering the safe house felt as nerve-racking as leaving the safe house.

Before all of this started happening in my life, I was a strong and a proud young woman, I had confidence to have my voice heard, I withheld no shame and no fear in speaking up or simply speaking in small groups at a cafe or at meetings with people I love and am inspired by. 

I wish someone had of told me, that like a lot of things, I would lose my confidence to speak, I would lose my voice. I wish someone had of told me that it is okay if you feel voiceless in small or large groups or that after being abused for so long, you will feel too much anxiety and fear to even pitch in to a yarn as simple as talking about a TV show. You feel like your input is meaningless. I dream to find my voice again, and to hold no fear in having my say. I wish someone had of told me, how to not feel like a loser when this whole voiceless thing leaves you feeling shame and dumb. I am sure, I will find my voice again, but for now, please let me be. 

No one can ever take away whats happened over the last two years of my life and I feel comfort in that control I have. We wake up every-day to a new day. I have so many kind-hearted, loyal, committed individuals around me that have held my hand through every step of our nightmare, those people know who they are, I thank each of you, especially my big sister and my dad. I hope one day I will write a piece about coming out the other side of the nightmare with everyone I love beside me, for now, I will just keep hoping and I will keep smiling.

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3 Comments

  1. stunned. a cold wind blew straight out of my computor. cannot believe this has happened to you. to you. to you…sending love, would like to give comfort and reassurance, but its the old trick of life, can only come from within. All power to you Sis.

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  2. Amazing story to share and beautifully written. This story will help alot of people. I feel you sharing this story has shown your voice is still strong as ever. Stay Black&Deadly xo

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  3. I want to just say Sis ! Your voice I heard ! Thank you for sharing! 6am reading your blog ! And I’m legit touched with tears and even more proud of the resilient women you are !
    Throughout your journey sis I only hope that voice of your is spread to help many others.

    Love ya and I hope you are well YAWU !

    Like

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