The Sharing of a Secret

Brave though I am, releasing my story into the world to be judged and picked apart, I have been more scared about my daughter reading my story, and the impact it could have on her. She is nearly fifteen, but I am certain this is not her first time on this planet. But still, it is a mother’s job to protect their child from the evil that exists in this world. As a mom, especially a mom with a background of severe abuse, it is a top priority for me to ensure my children have a childhood that is the polar opposite to the one I endured growing up. And for nearly fifteen years, I did just that. And my biggest challenge was the balancing act between not being over protective and paranoid for their safety, and at the same time remaining vague and busting my ass to protect them from the darkness of my past. I never wanted them to know what happened to me.

I have always been very selective with whom I share that part of my life with – until last year when I decided I needed to come forward with my story to be a point of light for so many souls still struggling in the dark. I am very proud of the body of work I am releasing into the world. But I am also aware that people can be cruel and I will be judged. This terrified me for selfish reasons (nobody likes to be torn apart by insensitive, ignorant people) but it mostly worried me for my girls…until last night.

I lost all fear of that after writing in the very first copy of my book as I handed it over to my daughter. I don’t even know why, but as soon as I wrote what I did, I knew she would get it. And this foreign feeling of comfort seeped into my bones. (Don’t get me wrong, I still felt like I was gonna have a heart attack after releasing it to her) She then went upstairs to bed to begin reading it. A few minutes later I was alerted that she had tagged me in a facebook post (she’s 15, so as you can imagine, this never happens!)

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Her words have humbled me beyond measure, made me proud, made me ugly cry and marvel at the young woman she is becoming. And as a result of this, has made me more driven than ever and ready to own my story so that others may do the same.

Although relieved, I still remained wide awake in bed as the time ticked on and I tried to imagine what part she was up to and hoped she was ok. Just after 11pm I caved in and sent her a quick text asking if she was alright. She said that she had just come across a shocking bit. I took a deep breath and replied, “End of chapter three?” She said, “Yup. But I am ok.” I believed her, mostly because I had to and for years I knew that she wondered and her questions were finally being answered. I owed her that much. We never spoke about him. She may have asked about him half a dozen times when she was really little, but I just instinctively dismissed it and moved on to better topics… anything really. I can’t even recall how I would have gotten out of it. She has been a switched on kid from the moment she was born. My change in demeanour, perhaps the terror in my eyes I tried unsuccessfully to mask. But whatever the explanation, she knew not to push it further. And so for years, we left it. An unspoken topic. The elephant in the room that neither one of us dared to address.

The hours passed and my anxiety grew. 2 am – surely she was sleeping. As I lay in the dark, surrendering to my heavy lids, my phone lit up. It was three in the morning when her text came through. She had finished reading my entire book.

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And she gets it! She, at nearly 15 years of age, had the ability to look beyond the darkness and into the light to receive the essence of my message. Something some adults haven’t been able to do. There have been some who haven’t been able to read my book because they find it too traumatising. My defensive response, although never verbalised was initially, “I am so sorry that my lived experience, which I have been painstakingly careful writing about, with the protection of the reader (and myself) in mind, has somehow been too difficult for you to digest. (sarcasm is my go to defensive comfort spot) But that isn’t fair for me to do, and so I try to be mindful and empathise with another’s shock or compassionate when all they can have for me is pity and they miss the whole point of my intended message because they get stuck on the detail.

But now, I can honestly say, I am no longer worried about how my book will be received by the public. Many will get it. Some will not. But nobody has the world as her audience. To be honest with you, the way I see it, I have already won. One of the 2 most important people in my life has put my mind at ease. So anything that happens after this… is all ok with me.

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About cjbailee

I don't see myself as an author with a book, but a woman with a story and a message of hope and resilience. I want to use my lived experience and the lessons learned to help inspire others. Transforming the victim/trauma story and speaking to the possibility of what can be achieved when we have inner drive, a sense of worthiness and the love and support of others in our lives. I am a woman, a mother, friend, poet, writer, an advocate, an activist, a motivational speaker, a kid at heart, a deep thinker...a human being who suffered extreme abuse as a child and who continues to reclaim what was lost as an adult. I am someone who's been to hell and back and has come out whole on the other side of it to let others know they can do the same! I have an important message of hope, love, forgiveness and resilience. Come take a journey with me and discover how connected we all are and how truly achievable happiness and freedom is.
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4 Responses to The Sharing of a Secret

  1. camilla says:

    Your daughter is an amazing young woman! This entry brought me tears of joy for you that she reacted in this way to your story. She already understands your message: the shame does not belong to the victim! What a wonderful young adult you have raised. You must be so proud of her, and of course always remember to be proud of yourself! Look at all that you have created from the darkness! Love you!

    • cjbailee says:

      This has been the biggest weight off if my shoulders. She is more than ok. Gosh she is so amazing and her reaction to my book (my life) has honestly given me even more courage and conviction. I truly no longer worry about people’s reactions. If she can handle it, every one else can handle it! I love you too dear friend xx

  2. Isabella says:

    I want to tell you how brave you are in revealing yourself to the world. I suffered a great deal of physical and psychological abuse from a very young age, and as a young adult felt ever more alienated when a psychologist I tried to speak to looked so traumatised just listening to what was a just a minor event; I apologised to her and walked out half way through the appt. It amazes me as an adult how blind adults were or wanted to be (for me it was always wearing a cardigan in 40+oC heat among many other things). Like you, I separated my mind (for me it was music). I struggle to fit in anywhere, and my keeping to myself alienates me from ignorant people, who instead of offering me friendship, bully and torment me, not knowing anything about me. I’m sure your brave book will bring awareness to people who take so much for granted – even simple things like a hug from a parent to a child and how precious that is when denied to you.

  3. cjbailee says:

    Hi Isabella,
    Thank you so much for your message, your courage and your honesty. It truly is amazing how ignorant people are to a child suffering. Hopefully though we can help change that. I have noticed in the media even before the release of this article, front page last two weeks has been the increased rate of reports of these crimes against children. Maybe this is the first step. I am sorry you were on your own as a child as well. Thank you for being a point of light for me yesterday. I am truly grateful for your words of support and encouragement.

    All the best,
    CB

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