Self

This blog is me reflecting about the past; what I would have said to my thirteen old self now. We all look back and think about how we should have done things differently.  I can’t change the past: no one can and however I might want to rewrite the last ten years I can’t.  The attacks have made me a stronger person and who I am today. I wish all of the things had never happened but I wouldn’t change it. For some people that might be a difficult thing to understand but I have come to the conclusion that the past doesn’t define me and I believe everyone can overcome challenges; struggles in their life and that is what I choose to do now; in this moment that will shape myself and my future. I don’t think about myself as a “victim”, because for me, that would give the three individuals a sense of accomplishment and I will not allow that to happen. I am not perfect, have made mistakes, misjudgments and wrong decisions, but I never asked or wanted to be hurt.

After the attacks I felt a sense of loss.  I still struggle with the feeling that I was less of a women or a girl due to the way the two girls abused me and how they did aspects of the attacks. For many years after the rape and abuse I believed that if I ever spoke about it to a friend or family they would judge, find me repulsive and unlovable but that’s not been the case. The small group of family and friends I keep around me have embraced me, have shown me that I am not alone and, with their support and love, I will be ok.

I wish when I was younger, I had had the strength to be myself.  I use to wear a pink bracelet, saying “Just be yourself” but I wasn’t living by it. I thought if I changed myself and what I wore people would like and accept me. I am not going to lie, for me school was difficult. I just didn’t fit the mold of the school and its competitive atmosphere.  When I was fourteen I moved to a different, smaller school. It was caring and I was allowed to be myself. I think that is what I had needed for years but I just put a brave face on everything. I didn’t communicate my feelings to my parents and that is my fault. They both did what they thought was for the best.  I am very grateful for all they have done and how they are still here after everything. I would say to my fourteen old self, you have a voice, be more confident, you are beautiful as you are and don’t change for anyone and you have a right to be in this world. It is easy to say all these things but I have to live by what I say. Otherwise, I am not being honest and truthful to anyone that reads my blogs.

I still struggle with all those emotions.  I can list what I believe I have failed at in life, but when I do this, I have rethink about how I see myself. Do I believe what others tell me and how I negatively perceive myself sometimes? It shows in my body posture, across my face and the way I engage with people. I am trying to “give myself a break” about how I think I should be and where I should be in my life. I am still young and sometimes I forget that. Every day I try and look at myself in the mirror and say one good thing about myself, because if I can’t accept my own imperfections then how do I expect anyone else to do the same.  I used to look in the mirror and not see me.  I would see my thirteen year old self looking back at me. It was a shadow that would never leave my side.  But with people’s support and by me learning to accept myself for who I am I am slowly becoming more positive and confident that I can have a life not shaped by the past. I am learning to laugh, smile and enjoy life. I have bad weeks and days but we all do.  You don’t have to experience trauma to have those feelings. I just wish when I was younger that I realized that I could overcome this period of my life. Every day I am slowly working towards this.  I hope that one day I can feel free for the past.  I just have to be patience and learn to accept myself.

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About Rosie Burnham

Twitter: @Rosie_Burnham Blog: rosieburnham.com Huffingpost Blog: www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/rosie-burnham Very Loose Women (ResonanceFM): http://bit.ly/2l02xw3 Women's Health Magazine (Strong Minds Issue): https://www.pressreader.com/uk/womens-health-uk/20171201/282948155497339