A Journey from Victim to Survivor…to Living Freely

Fire Dancer

on October 12, 2012

Six months ago, I was raped.  Believing these words, without taking blame on myself is a new thing for me…and something I am settling into.  Not because I like the “victim” aspect of it…but because I needed to feel it for what it is…and, after recognizing I was a victim, I could become a survivor–and then learn how to live and thrive.

And so…on this Friday evening as I gathered with the first group of people who got to know the authentic me…the one with all the warts and insecurities…and still loved me, I thought that moving forward with my next phase of healing was appropriate.  I laughed with my IOPeeps…the only group of friends who know what it’s like to live with ED…the first group I was able to eat comfortably around…a group who understands the humor that comes with therapy…and also knows the tears, too.  They understand my meal plan jokes and get a giggle out of photos I text of cheese sticks (protein and energy fuel!), supplements (yeh…we’ve seen too many of those!), or cashews (a solid energy fuel!).  They respond to my texts when I am crying in a dressing room because, not only do I not know what size I am–I also have no idea what I look like to other people–and I have learned my interpretation of myself is not quite accurate.  They offer support and encouragement like no other group of people can…because, they are living this with me.  I never anticipated that one of the greatest aspects of “higher-level care” would be the people I met in treatment.

We gathered for a meal…and ate together–even doing our breathing, movement AND a reading before we ate….I lit candles…I had IOPeep supplements on hand.  I love this group.

And, it’s because I love them…and because they have played such an important role in my recovery–and also my life–that I had them there for my catharsis that night.  I had decided to burn the clothes from the night of the attack (see…I still struggle with calling it “rape” all the time…I’m still healing).
They gave me distance as I began to light the clothing in the fireplace…and then asked if I wanted them closer…and I did.  I wanted them with me and feeling the heat as the clothing ignited.  They were quiet…and just watching…and one peep snapped a few photos…I wanted to have them for later.  Then–some laughter–as a peep asked “Just how many clothes were you wearing???”–and laughter from all of us!  I had two nearly identical tank tops and jammie pants–and I didn’t know which of those were ‘the ones’ from that night…I no longer wanted either of them!  But it was then I made my first joke about that Friday the 13th–which was “Well–the rape probably would’ve been much more difficult if I HAD been wearing so many layers!”…A bad joke, distasteful…really not funny–but the first I’d made.  And since I have a somewhat snarky sense of humor, I celebrated that I had healed to a point of making a joke.

We watched as the fire burned and leapt…and I said I wished it was as easy to just ‘burn’ memories as it was burn clothing.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with burning those clothes…and, I don’t know if I can describe it…it was relief…it was peaceful…I felt I could breathe again…and to share it with my sisterhood of peeps…that may have been the most wonderful part.

I love you, Peeps!!!!


KJfire dancer

The photo attached is one I took that night…I simply changed out the colors to make it into ED recovery colors…I took a hundred photos of the fire that night…and was amazed at the images…this may be my favorite…this fire dancer is standing tall…she is strong…she can do anything!!


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