This memoir excerpt comes from a chapter about sugar-coating the ugly. I sometimes refer to my kidnap and rape trauma as the big ugly. Here’s an excerpt from my first draft. (Remember, it’s a work in progress!)
The concept that there are rich lessons to be learned from our life experiences is interesting. There are those who respond to this idea with a negative connotation. Somehow, the ‘good’ that comes from such an experience lessens the profound horror of the experience. If I’m speaking from my experience, I see it from a different perspective. My big ugly is my big amazing. Not that I’m grateful for the experience, but I’m grateful for my choices.
There is nothing good or pretty or amazing about being raped and kidnapped. It’s horrible! In my mind, there’s no reason for another human being to do that to another person. It is senseless and cruel.
We have a choice, though, about how we choose to deal with it. Some people will forever feel victimized by their experiences. Others will pick themselves up and survive it—life will go on and it will become a past. For me, this historical part of life is now a part of what makes me who I am. No matter what sort of path you choose to come to peace with it, I’m so very glad you’re here and that you are alive.
Dealing with this kind of trauma is vast and complicated. There are about as many ways to handle it as there are people in this world. One way is not necessarily better than another. They are all different. This story is about the hills, valleys, and mountains I’ve climbed to be where I am today. I honor whatever process works for you. You are you, and I want you to do you.
There’s more to come… (…he waited patiently for the next string of words from her work in progress.)