Updated: May 20, 2019
As a child, I trusted the adults like my parents and teachers to protect me. As an adult, I trusted managers, directors, and bosses to protect me. But a lot of these people in the role of protection and power harbored and protected the very people who would hurt and abuse me. My parents would not believe me when I told them about predators living in our household. My teachers didn't believe me when I told them bullies were stealing my school supplies and beating me in the playground. My bosses wouldn't accept my complaints when an employee was harassing me or that I was being paid much lower even though I had more experience and skills than my peers. This has always been the case for most of my life. These feelings and experiences became a sleeping dragon for over 30 years of my life. Then I got married and have the most wonderful child and husband anyone could wish for. It was like the golden years of my life.
Then came the trigger years. The year when the biggest bully/predator/racist/bigot (and all the other names) became the leader of this country, the administration and policies that followed. Then I looked around at my friends and family. I saw the same adults and the people who I trusted. I saw them in a different light. I saw them supporting people who directly conflict with everything I have fought for and survived. I saw how they were okay with hurting certain groups and hurting my son's future world, so they could profit, so their religion could win, so they could save on their taxes, so they could save a fetus's heartbeat, but not the heartbeats of the sick, the refugees, the poor, the victims, the minorities. But this group that they hurt includes me. I was always part of this group consistently being discriminated, oppressed, abused, and stepped on. I was always the victim of the policies and the people they voted for and supported. I was tired of being the victim.
My sleeping dragon woke. I am awake as ever, but I struggle. I struggle to balance who to trust and who I consider safe. I see enemies in the very people who are my friends and family. I hear my friends and family reminding me: "It's your family or it's your friend. You'll regret it if you don't do this or that." I struggle to see all the bad things happening and not being able to help. Sure, I attribute this to PTSD, but I also see the hate, evil and meanness in the news, but I also see it in those people around me. Some people tell me: "You can't expect them to change."
I don't expect any of these people to change because it is WHO THEY ARE and WHO THEY WILL ALWAYS BE.
Just like I am always who I am. This is the devastating blow to my safety net. I don't feel safe around them. I don't trust them. I don't want to be around them. But most of all, I don't feel safe. Safety is what I need to survive mentally. No one will understand that, but me.
The adults have already failed to help me in the past. No one will choose for me or will force me to do things that make me uncomfortable or unsafe. I will choose, even if I struggle, even if people get angry, even if people judge, even if people guilt-trip me. My guilt has cost me my childhood and most of my adulthood. I did a lot of things out of guilt and it cost me dearly. Now, I am trying to do things to help make me safe and for me to feel safe. I have to feel safe to be there for my small family. I have to feel safe to be able to fight for what is right and to help others. I also have to have my moral compass to steady my journey.
These are some of the reasons why people like me are struggling. I struggle because where I live, I am surrounded by people and policies that negatively impact everything I believe in. Every day there is a law that passes that directly impacts me and my child's future. I try to participate in groups and organizations to help change all of this. Still I struggle. I struggle because the security fence I put around myself is getting smaller. I no longer feel safe with the same familiar faces. Every hour, every minute I feel my morality is being questioned. But in the end, it is me. I have changed. I no longer follow what he or she said. I will choose my own people, my own conversations, my own safe zone now.
Even if it is lonely and even if I am struggling, I know I am fighting on the right side. I am fighting on my side and that is what matters.
And I hope that I am helping the same people who are struggling just like me. But most of all, my sleeping dragon is awake now. I have a fire that burns inside me. This fire gives me hope and energy to persevere. I will fight for what is right and I will stand with people who are on my side.