This is Sara and she is RESILIENT.
CONTENT WARNING: The I Am Resilient Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this post and on this website will include topics that you may find difficult
Describe the situation where you had to be resilient:
I’m a queer woman who was born and raised in Iran between the late 1960s and late 1980s and between the ages of five and ten I was molested by three different men. This put me on a path of self-discovery and taught me resilience.
From a very young age, I knew I didn’t fit in. I never knew why I was different. I hated everything about myself. My parents loved me unconditionally but I knew I had a deep dark secret inside. I felt trapped inside my body and never felt safe in this world.
When I was five I had my first encounter with a child molester, who was a friend of the family. He threatened me that if I told my parents that they would give me away and I would never see them again. I was scared but for the longest time, I thought maybe I liked to be molested, maybe I enjoyed it. He finally moved on and left me alone. Two years later, another distant relative who was in his 20s at the time, cornered me one day and the molestation happened again. This time I knew better not to tell anyone and let him do what he had to do until he moved on and left me alone. Three years later, my aunt’s husband found me alone and there it was again, hands under my shirt, rubbing his penis on my newly developing breasts and more. Only this time, after a few months, my parents found out and decided to keep me away from being alone with him, but never told my aunt neither did they confront that man.
The reason? They also wanted to protect my aunt so her marriage wouldn’t end. They wanted to protect the family’s reputation. My grandmother, my uncle and a few others knew but everyone kept it quiet. After that, every night I went to bed and begged God to take me away.
I tried to kill myself when I was 14 by taking painkillers that I took from my dad’s medicine cabinet, instead, I only felt nauseous and slept for 12 hours. I lived with shame and self-resentment for years. Partially because I felt too weak to stand up for myself and partially because I knew if I continued to be attracted to women and my mother found out, it would kill her.
I left Iran when I was 21. My parents moved to Canada after me. Finally, when I was 30, my mother (after many failed attempts to get me to marry a man) asked me, “Are you gay?” What happened next came as a shock. I told her I was, while I was getting ready to lose her and my father forever. She looked at me and said, “Why did you have to carry this weight alone for so many years? Don’t you know how much I love you? Don’t you know how much your father loves you? We love you unconditionally.” Then she held me in her arms and we both cried. My parents’ love gave me hope.
I was a little braver but still scared to navigate in this new territory. I had to get to know me all over again. I had to un-learn and re-learn myself and I embraced meditation and spirituality. From the age of 30 until now, I went through many heartbreaks and losses. I never talked about the stories of being molested with anyone, not even with myself until a few years ago when I told my homeopath. After that, I started writing my story. Writing is my sanctuary. As I write stories I laugh and I cry and each time I write, I learn a little more about life. Each time I write I travel in-between time and space.
How did you practice resilience when faced with this challenge?
I cried. I went deep into the dark night of the soul many times and thought about ending my life and each time I somehow crawled back up, shook off the dust and mud and kept on going.
Please share one piece of advice for people who are going through a similar challenge
Each time we reincarnate, we agree to come and go through difficult lessons. Every pain, every loss and every sorrow takes us on a path to evolve.
Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE and thank you for being brave and sharing your journey.