You, too? Find Freedom When You Share Your Story
“Me, too!” We’ve become jaded by those words and stories, haven’t we? But wait, maybe you think the movement passed you by and left you without a chance to tell your story. It’s not too late. And since I’ve learned how much sharing helps, I want that for you because you will find freedom when you share your story. ❤️
“I am not a writer,” you say.
You don’t have to be a writer or anything specific. You’ll find freedom when you share your story in whatever way it works for you.
Maybe it looks like this:
For me, it took years before I admitted . . .
. . . I lost my virginity on a date when it wasn’t my choice.
Why is telling your story so important?
When I went to get my degree in counseling, I learned that sharing your story is one of the first steps to healing.
At first I thought the teachers at my seminary were nuts when they told us to sit in your pain.
My goal was to avoid pain at all costs. But when I decided to give it a chance, when I picked up my computer and wrote until I had nothing left to say, well, there was a release.
So however, it is that you decide to share your story . . .
- With a friend
- In prayer
- Or through a drawing
You, too, can take that step toward healing and find freedom when you share your story. ☺️
So, why did I publish my stories I wasn’t even going to tell?
After wrestling with God, I finally wrote about losing my virginity and put it in a drawer. There, done, or so I thought.
Then came the nudge to share. 😳
That’s when I thought God was the one who was crazy. I mean it was one thing to own my bad, but to put it in a book was another matter altogether.
But then God showed me that . . .
Sometimes I don’t know how to explain all the mixed emotions I have to myself. And even though I now understand that you find freedom when you share your story, I often don’t know where to start.
So, I love it when an author puts words to my thoughts and nails it for me, explains me to myself.
And that’s when God showed me that I could help you recognize your stories in my words.
That’s why I decided to publish my stories.
When God showed me that not only would I find freedom when I share my story, but it could be a step in healing for you, too . . . I couldn’t resist.
In fact, it made me want to share the stories I wasn’t going to tell.
And as soon as I put the story about losing my virginity in my book, the “me, too” movement began. It seemed like confirmation—that publishing those stories was something God wanted me to do.
Don’t worry, I’m not recommending that you write a tell-all book!
No-o-o, I just want you to find that freedom that comes when you share your story in a journal or with a friend or counselor, someone who can guide you into even more healing.
That’s what I want for you!
So, where do we begin?
We start with whatever comes to mind. We stop trying to push things out of the way and we let our story reveal itself to us.
Thats what I did in following paragraphs, an excerpt from my book, Mary Me: One Woman’s Incredible Adventure with God.
Seems weird, doesn’t it, to have been twenty-six and so standoffish about including a partner in my life? I wanted one, but without the pain I’d experienced in the past.
After my desperate attempts for Dad’s approval failed, I sought attention from boys.
At fifteen, I’d shared my latest theory with a friend, Sophia, as we stood in front of the mirror in my closet, putting on makeup, “The secret to happiness is finding the right guy.”
“Well, that’s a no-brainer!” She applied another layer of lipstick and flashed me the smile that got her into the Barbizon School of Modeling.
Then we headed to a party.
I just wanted to fit in. I was desperate for approval.
As I transitioned from living in my parents’ home to launching out on my own, I explored with a vengeance. Who was I? With an over-bearing mother and a father who wasn’t clued-in, I hungered for male attention.
So, there we were, at what’s-his-name’s house on New Year’s Eve. There were no parents, plenty of alcohol, and a band on their way over after their gig. Rock stars. Happy 1979!
With a beer in one hand and a joint in the other, Sophia and I sang along with the song blaring from the stereo.
She got together with the lead guitarist, a white guy with an afro, and Alex and I hooked up. He looked like Steven Tyler and made me feel pretty important when he started picking me up at school.
One afternoon, we took Sophia with us to the mall. Stoned, he bought me everything I liked.
“Wow,” Sophia said, “He really loves you!”
As you begin to allow your memory to surface . . .
You may become aware of details you’d long since forgotten. That’s what happened to me. It’s like I knew the main event, but as I began to wonder how I got there, other specifics surfaced.
It can be tempting to put them aside.
You might even think what does that have to do with anything?
Well, there’s treasure in them thar hills! 🙂
Since God has been with us our entire lives, He knows the puzzle pieces of our past and how they fit together to heal us.
So, what I’d like to suggest to you is that you just let your thoughts flow.
I think it takes venturing into the less scary bits of our stories to get to the real deal.
Now, where were we?
At one of the band’s concerts, Sophia’s man showed his “love” by making his guitar talk from the stage, “Hello-o-o, So-phi-a!”
We strutted past the other girls throwing themselves at the band and met the guys backstage.
When Alex dropped me off that night, Mom looked out her bedroom window and saw us kissing good-bye. She thought he was a girl with his long hair and slight build. She wasn’t much happier to find out he was eighteen and in college.
Of course, her uncertainties made him more appealing to me.
Until she started getting along with him.
Like she did with everyone else, she pumped him for information, “How much does a joint cost?”
Hearing her question as I came down the stairs to meet him for a date, I backtracked. Grabbing my sister, I said, “Tell him I’m in the car,” then I snuck out back.
A month after we met, Alex said, “The band’s going to party at a motel this weekend.”
I thought about New Year’s Eve party. Okay, so it would be like that. “Cool!”
The following Friday, I walked into my parents’ living room and found Alex lying across the floor, patting the dog as he talked to my parents. The other guys I’d dated quivered respectfully by the front door, but not Alex, I think his casual style gave my parents the feeling they could trust him.
I guess it lured me in, too.
But right away, more was expected sexually than when I was with guys my own age. I could take care of myself, though.
At least, that’s what I thought.
When he started pushing my head toward his crotch, I repositioned myself, letting him know that was a non-negotiable.
Guess I told him, right?
Maybe not strongly enough . . .
I was a virgin and I wanted to keep it that way until I got married.
Raised in the church, I knew God didn’t want us sleeping around. Thou shalt not commit adultery and all that. And saving myself appealed to me, but my world, my society, my culture none of that reinforced my truth.
I needed a little rebar.
As Alex and I made our way to the door that night, Mom said, “Where are you going?”
“Out for dinner and then to a movie,” I lied.
“Have a good time and be home by midnight.”
Here’s the thing, telling our stories is not about bashing anyone.
In the past, I might have done that, you know, found a way to pin everything on someone else.
And I’m not saying that you take the blame for anything that’s not yours. I’m just saying I want to own the blame that’s mine to own.
So,I’m suggesting that when you tell your story, you see if you can’t be as honest with yourself as possible. And by that, I mean, don’t be afraid to confess your bad.
It is more than okay.
That’s healing, too.
If we could go back in time,
wouldn’t we all do a few things differently?
And you’re brave!
I can tell because you’ve made it this far into the post. ☺️
Here’s why I hadn’t thought of what happened to me as a date rape.
I hadn’t thought of it as a date rape because for much of the night, I was a willing partner, like here:
In the car, Alex pointed to a gallon of wine inside a brown bag.
“Never seen a bottle that big,” I said. “Guess we are gonna party tonight.” He pulled down a back road and parked, opened the jug, and rolled a big, fat joint.
An hour later, I staggered into the motel room. Hanging on his arm, I slurred, “H-h-hey! Where iz evry-one?”
Trigger warning: this next part might be considered graphic.
In order to find the freedom of telling your story, you do not have to be graphic.
In fact, it wasn’t my intention. It’s just that I believe that the more detail we can muster to explain our stories to ourselves, to clarify how we felt or what we thought, helps.
- Owned my bad
- Forgave myself
- Asked for God’s forgiveness
- And I received validation as I shared with a trusted source.
I did it because I wanted as much healing as possible. If I was going to do this, I was going to do this to the best of my ability.
So, that’s why I was super vulnerable in my book when I talked about this and having been left pregnant and choosing abortion and all the other tough topics.
If I hadn’t been so vulnerable, I don’t think readers would understand how powerful it was. For me to have gotten this far in my healing journey where I can write and speak to help others get the same type of freedom is huge.
That’s God, right?
And it’s the kind of healing I want for you!
So, if you don’t want to read the graphic part, skip this section.
A half-naked couple got off the bed, grabbed their clothes, and disappeared. Without any other furniture, I flung myself on that bed. The light shone from the vanity around the corner. I watched Alex circle and climb on the opposite side. He pulled me close and kissed me.
I felt his hands all over me.
Dizzy, I felt something inside. His finger? He’d done that before. I reached down to check and—no-o-o!
Vomit came out of the depth of my being. Retching, I sat as the other couple emerged from the bathroom. Was it their turn on the bed?
“Ew,” the girl said, “There’s puke everywhere!”
Alex laughed nervously as he dragged me behind him, mumbling, “Sorry.”
I don’t remember the trip from the bed to the toilet, but something happened. I didn’t drink anything else, but the intoxication intensified to alcohol-poisoning.
In the bathroom, Alex said, “I can’t believe how drunk you are!”
I reached for the shower curtain thinking it was a wall and fell into the tub. Sitting on the toilet, he snickered. Trying to steady myself, I leaned on the toilet paper holder.
It ripped from the wall and fell to the ground.
Again, he snickered, my catalyst of shame. I shivered and looked down.
Where were my clothes? I didn’t remember taking them off.
Then he pulled me up and over himself so that I straddled him on the toilet. Up then down. Up then down. Since he’d already penetrated me on the bed, resisting seemed pointless.
Inside, I crawled to the far end of a dark tunnel, curled up, and that’s the last thing I remember . . .
Until the next day.
Gagging, I leaned over the side of the bed.
I grabbed hold of the wastebasket, but only experienced the dry heaves. Wiping my lips with the back of my hand, I looked at my clothes strewn across the floor of my bedroom.
How did I get here?
Then I felt an ache inside, down there, and remembered what happened.
An inner voice accused, “You’re not a virgin anymore. What if you got pregnant?”
I thought Alex cared. Curling in a ball and rocking ever so gently, I wondered, What do I do now?
I couldn’t tell Mom. I wished that I could, but if I did, she’d kill me. That’s not what I wanted, but neither was this.
Later that week, I told my best friend. She hadn’t had a boyfriend and wanted one.
She thought the whole thing was cool.
It wasn’t. And I didn’t know how to help her see things the way I did.
If she didn’t get it, who would?
After that , I didn’t want anyone else to know, so I didn’t break up with Alex. Because no one knew, everyone treated him as they had before.
I know this sounds crazy, but I kept having sex with him because, well, I was no longer a virgin.
So, what did it matter?
I stayed with him a few more months, took all my inner turmoil, and squished it into two spring-loaded words: “Oh well.”
And I repeated them often with a shrug.
I thought we might need this picture to stop and take a deep breath and remember that God is always alongside us and even carries us when we need it.
You will find freedom when you share your story.
As I said in the beginning, I’ve found some simple ways that help. Sharing your story is simple, but it isn’t easy.
It takes courage.
My prayer for you is that you will continue your journey of healing.
First, I invite you to join my spiritual adventure team. Each week, I’ll touch base with you.
In a short email, I’ll share a funny God story or attempt to enCOURAGE you with something God has shown me because I believe that He’ll do for you everything He’s done for me if that’s what you want.
When you sign up, I’ll send you four short videos where I’ll walk you through 7 Quick Steps to Heal all your Emotional Pain. It’s one of the ways God’s helped me find healing for my past and you can use it over and over to heal all kinds of things!
God has an awesome plan for you and I want to help you find that. ☺️
And second, maybe you’d like to find a counselor to help you much more personally than I can. One thing I did was I signed up for a class called The Wounded Heart.
For a year, I met weekly with a group of women that became lifelong friends as we processed our stories with two co-leaders.
I would love that for you!
Related Posts: 5 Steps to Help with Emotional Healing after an Abortion
Much of this post is an excerpt taken from my book called Mary Me: One Woman’s Incredible Adventure with God. In it, I also share about choosing abortion, finding out another boyfriend preferred men, and what it was like to go back and to talk to and forgive those guys years later. If you are interested, click on the title to find out more.
Maybe you feel a nudge to share this with someone you know. Feel free. In fact, I’d appreciate it. Because there are others out there who need to know we care! ❤️