Hello, Friends -
This is a brag post – because I have done something that I am very, very proud of!
One of the struggles that many MST survivors struggle with is something called “Passive Acceptance.” Because we had no control over the assault – we often feel that we have no control at all. We may originally express what we want or what we need – but the moment that we feel resistance - we stop our request – we fold like a house of cards. People who are aware that we will do this, although they may not know why, can pick up this and manipulate the situation. We can be great advocates for someone else – but we can’t be strong for ourselves.
Several years ago I had a little Honda Rebel motorcycle. She was just a 250 – but I loved her. I loved riding her. She was pretty, light, agile and I was comfortable on her. Well – cash ran short – bills needed to be paid and so I sold her to pay bills. No, my husband didn’t force me – but I now realize that I felt that I didn’t “deserve” something as nice as a motorcycle. I wasn’t good enough. When the man who bought her drove away I went in the house and cried. I couldn’t watch it being taken away.
That was several years ago – and a lot of therapy ago! I paid off my camper this week. That was the deal I made with my husband. The kids were still young and I decided, with my VA Compensation, that I wanted something special. With my first check I bought a new roof and gutters. Always responsible and putting other needs first. But, I bought an old, used, beat up camper for myself. I love her!
Today – I take my oldest son, Creed, to the airport…he is moving away. My middle son, Jude, lives with his dad and is talking about moving out from there and on his own. My daughter is 16 – working and doing well in school. It is my turn!
My husband promised that when my Camper was paid off I could start motorcycle shopping. He has been supportive in my search. I was shopping in the 1500 to 3000 dollar range – you don’t get much bike for that price…but I felt that I just wanted 2 wheels and an engine. Besides – I would have no “guilt” by letting my husband choose – because I often practice passive acceptance.
FUCK Passive Acceptance! I found a bike I wanted and I went alone to the dealership and I got it financed. I went home to tell my husband what I was planning, I formulated a conversation in my head, I guessed his objections and I formulated answers. I practiced. Why should I have to settle?
My dream ride is a Harley Davidson Softail Slim – but it is 17,000 dollars! I just can’t do that – I fear that I would see the “price” hanging off the bars and I would never enjoy it. After all – I am practicing standing up for myself – but I still have to be reasonable. My second choice was a HD Sportster Low. However, there was a used Dyna Wide Glide that I really liked as well.
I sat down with my husband and we had a long talk. I told him that I had some things to say that might sound hurtful – but they aren’t meant to hurt. I listened to his statments and to his objections. Even when his “objections” sounded reasonable – I stood firm with my feelings, my beliefs and my wants. Yes – I expressed my WANT. Want for no other reason but because I wanted it. (Toys are not something that my husband denies himself – but to his defense…he has never hurt the family finances to get his want and he works very hard – two jobs – and he never denies me anything.) In fact, it has been my husbands “demands” and insistence that I have learned that it is okay for me to buy myself nice clothes or new shoes. He has taught me it is okay to shop for myself somewhere besides the Goodwill or Salvation Army.
However, this is different. My husband owns a Yamaha V-Star – but I wanted a Harley. Anybody who knows bike culture knows the difference between metric bikes and HD.
The next day, after our conversation, I told him…we are going to the Harley dealer. He balked – but said okay. He didn’t like the way I fit on the Dyna and he hated the color and the way it looked. I liked it – but even the dealer said, “It isn’t a good physical fit and I think you will struggle.” I sat on the Slim again – had a “happy ending” and walked away from it. 17000 is a lot of money.
The dealer said, “I unwrapped that blue Sportster that you liked – let’s look at it again.” I sat on her, picked her up, had him balance the front forks so I could feel the riding position – how I reach the controls. I moved the kick stand up and down. We took her out in the sun so I could look at the paint and the color flake in her. I started her up. Then—-I BOUGHT HER!
Yes, I have bought myself a brand new 2013 HD Sportster Low in Big Blue with Blue Flake. I signed the papers. I looked at my husband and said, “Are you okay with this?” He said – “I think you made the right choice…yes…this is a good thing.”
On my way home in the car – because 15 degrees is too cold to ride – I started to cry. My husband asked me why?! I know he doesn’t really understand but I told him – I just did something I have never done. I bought something I wanted. I defended my right to have what I want. You and I had a long talk, listened to one another, came to a decision. I stood up for myself and my want. Not need, not have to have…but a pure WANT! We didn’t fight although we didn’t really totally agree.
My internal dialogue had to change to do this. The way I feel about myself. You can’t do something totally insane like this while your brain is saying, “You don’t deserve it, you are not good enough, you are selfish.” My head tells me that a lot – that I am just not good enough. My head tells me I don’t deserve things. My head tells me that I had better just settle for anything I get…even if it is scraps and garbage. I think that many of us fight this battle.
I am learning that my scars don’t define me – they show the journey I have taken. I am not cured of my PTSD – but let me tell you…I am on the path to living with the scars. In fact, I am learning to be proud of the scars – even if no one else can see them. I may have completed my formal therapy…but I am still in therapy – with myself..not with a counselor. Now – I can “therapy” on my bike. MY BIKE! The bike I work to earn. The bike I love. The bike I deserve. The bike I wanted.
I am worth it. I deserve it. I am good enough. That is what I want my fellow survivors to know. I want you to know that you are worth it, you deserve it, you are good enough. You can have what you want…it doesn’t have to be a bike. It can be that job, that degree, that “thing” that you want but don’t feel like you can ask for or that you can have. You are worth it!