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what is courage?

Confronting dragons

Overcoming the obstacles

Understanding the risks

Really living

Always believing

Going the distance

Expecting the BEST

We all are different - each a unique creation of God. I suppose that is why we all look at things differently - why we all have our own definition of hope, faith, happiness, peace, love, and courage. I believe I have courage. I am very proud of myself for my courage.

I received "What is Courage" , from a friend, who is also a rape survivor. We are reading a book titled "The Courage to Heal - A Guide for Woman Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse" The book is mainly for woman survivors of child sexual abuse - but it speaks the truth for all sexual abuse survivors. I told her I did not think I had it in me - the courage to heal. She, being a good friend, reminded me I did. She wrote me a wonderful, supportive letter and sent a bookmaker that had "What is Courage" on it. I know I have courage. I needed reminding.

So what is courage to me? Courage to me is coping with that fact that I was forced to perform oral sex on four men. Courage is knowing that if I were to fight them any more I would not live when each of them took their turn having sex with me. Courage is blocking out things that my mind and body could not cope with at the age of 18 - like having my face shoved into a mattress while each man had anal sex with me. Courage to me is being raped by four men and being able to walk out of that house ALIVE. Courage is still going on after all that those men have stolen. Courage is dealing with my rape after stuffing it away and pretending it did not happen for 11 years. Courage is looking at all they took away from me/how they altered my life and start grieving the losses and taking back control of my life.

So . . .

"C" is for Confronting the dragons - four men who raped a 18-year-old in a very vicious and violent way. The images stay in front of my eyes almost 24 hrs a day. Yet I am not pretending it did not happen anymore. I am facing those dragons daily!

"O" is for Overcoming the obstacles - many obstacles to over come from this situation. First one in overcoming it was accepting it happened to me. Next was trying to feel again and trying to identify my feelings stuffed away since the day they raped me. Now that I am healing, another obstacle came up . . . who am I now? Finding that out and trying to show myself that I deserve to love and live.

"U" is for Understanding the risks - took me 11 yrs to let my rape out. When I did admit it to myself, it took me another three months to tell my therapist about it. Big Risks - because I was going to have to give up a way of life - not dealing with anything - stuffing everything away - and existing instead of living.

"R" is for Really Living. This is a wonderful part of courage and probably the most scary for someone in my situation. The day I broke the silence - I started living. Some days I would give anything to go back and keep it all inside because the pain of it is unbelievable. I am living the rape again - only I think now it is worse. However, I am living it which means I will heal - because it is not buried eating away/taking away the rest of me left.

"A" is for Always Believing - I will always believe that - I will heal. I believe I will gain control back from those monsters. I will see my worth - I will know that it is not my fault. I will stop the chaos in my life. I will succeed in my dreams. I will be able to focus again. I will have peace of mind and heart again. I will LIVE again.

"G" is for Going the distance. I have traveled a long road to get here and the road ahead is even longer, but I know I can make it. I will heal. I will be whole again. I am going the distance to reclaim my life from four men who stole it Dec. 31, 1985.

"E" is for Expecting the BEST! Yes, I am expecting the best - the best of me. I am going to heal and show the world me and that will be the best I have to give. The real moonaura - a woman who is a survivor of a terrible trauma. I may not have handled it right all the time - but I know my direction now and am walking that road of healing. A long hard road - but with a bright sun shining at the end of the path.

So, I believe I know what Courage is. It is me. It is every person who feels courage in their heart and soul. It is every person who faces daily life. Living takes courage.

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