While there is no guarantee the intended recipient’s eyes will ever see this post, it is important for me to write it. Hopefully, my words will reach the eyes of those who will truly benefit by reading them.

What’s in a name?

Many people in our society are quick to label others. Sometimes these labels – the very same ones created to help – do more harm than good.

Sadly, once you’re labeled, you’re forced to carry the burden of that label for a lifetime. A burden that often includes whispers, stares, laughter, ridicule, confusion, and hate.

My cross to bear is the direct result of the actions of others. While I hold myself responsible for my actions, I cannot change the past. Sometimes life presents us with challenges for which we lack sufficient coping skills. Our job is to learn from these experiences and develop new coping skills; a process that is more significant than most realize.

Breaking free

I am not a victim. I am not a survivor. I am more than the sum of society’s labels.

I am a woman with a past. A past that includes the experiences of rape and abuse. But I am so much more than that.

I am also a woman with a future. A future with limitless possibilities.

I share my life with three fantastic people: my two children, and my patient and loving husband; a man who – for more than twenty years – continues to stand beside me. While we don’t have a lot, we have more than most, and we are truly grateful for everything we have.

Sadly, though… there are those around us who seem reluctant to remove the labels of my past. I’m not sure if you know this, but defending one’s character and shedding a taboo label is exhausting, to say the least.

Yes, I was raped. Yes, I was abused. No, I am not D-E-F-E-C-T-I-V-E. I reject your labels and substitute them with my own: Human.

For the longest time, I allowed the shame of my past and my labels prevent me from moving forward. Please do not waste time doing this. You are a valuable human being. Never allow anyone to take that from you with their actions or their labels.