Erasmus Mundus IMCEERES Program Tastes of life

On Trauma — Life goes on(1–2)

Life goes on, but trauma follows.
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Life goes on even when trauma still hurts.

I am not sure whether I will ever be able to get rid of the nightmare. At least for now, I don’t see the end. I’m 24 years old now, 15 years have passed since it happened.

Though I still don’t recall all the memory pieces, people’s chats, people’s actions, or whatever, my body does. I still have post-trauma reactions when I smell cigarettes, pass by their places, see their pictures, or feel like people are blaming me.

All I know to do is to apologize. To what? I don’t know for sure. Maybe for my existence, my guilt, or my shame. I question my life a lot. What is the purpose? Why was I saved from my suicidal attempts? I went through a living hell, either because of the trauma itself, or the stupid decisions I made after what happened.

I am just living pieces trying to look like I’m still complete, and my life is still worth living. People might say I have achieved a lot, given the fact that I went through sexual abuse, bully, and discrimination. But none of the achievements meant something to me for the fact that I was numb.

After psychological sessions for almost a year, I would say the situation has improved a bit. But it never settled, I still can’t make peace with myself.

I remember how I used to be treated like a toy, or a pet. Coming whenever they’re in need and leaving whenever they don’t want you in sight. I was slapped, I was insulted, I was touched, I was threatened, I was blamed, and I was played.

I was not treated as a valuable human being among them, yet I stayed. I know I am not to be blamed since my brain was manipulated. But I still can’t get over it. I wish I could have been smarter, and tried harder to get out of hell instead of staying, willingly or unwillingly. I feel disgusted by the fact that I tried to numb myself or free myself by fooling around on the Internet.

I felt ashamed of what I had been through and what I had done. Life goes on, but trauma follows, too. I can’t tolerate the slightest uncertainty, negative comments, and non-friendly attitudes. My life has always been in surviving mode. There is not a moment I can relax and hide away from those thoughts. I never truly enjoy peace.

I don’t know why I detest myself so much. Probably I just took whatever mean words people threw at me to survive until my plan was achieved. I wanted to kill myself after things seemed more successful than ever. At least people would remember me at the highest; at least they would have grief even knowing the truth; at least, I don’t have to hear the comments about how I, as a woman, am to be blamed.

Under the unbalanced system, it is so hard to survive as a female victim of sexual abuse. “You must have seduced him first,” “Why didn’t you reject him?”“You are such a slut to have ‘a relationship’ with your own cousin.” “Why didn't you choose to leave or tell anyone?”

Well, I really wish I did, so I don’t take the shame and blame to live on.

As the first generation to move out of the mountain, my parents had to manage not only our family but also my greedy relatives, who wouldn’t stop asking for money from us. And I, as the first child, carry all their expectations to become better than them, to set an example for my sister, I was the last person to be allowed to make mistakes.

I, told by my mother about those similar things happening to girls at my age, didn’t choose to turn to her. Because she hates the environment, and she emphasized that she wouldn’t help if things like that happened to me.

I, being an indigenous, couldn’t be soft in school because of my identity to prevent more discrimination and bullies to happen.

I never told my family about this, up till now. I don’t know how long I can keep on carrying those pain. They come and take over my breath and calmness from time to time.

Life goes on, but trauma follows. I don’t know how much pain stands ahead, and I don’t know how much of them can be reconciled. But I really hope one day I could be normal, just like everyone.


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