Operation Skinny Jeans: It’s been 5 years

I walked into Combat last Friday not looking for a fight. I was merely trying to shake off that post holiday funk and general bleh-ness that was dampening everything about me. I was there alone in a room of 50 {mostly} women. A group of stay at home moms, women who work the night shift, retired women, college students back for the new semester… women of all shapes and sizes. Plus a guy or two scattered throughout. I was nervous about Combat, it’s not unusual for it to be not just difficult but downright painful to move the next day. But, there I was… ready.

We started the warm-up, a few jabs. A few punches. Uppercuts to the unknown “thing” we were fighting that day. Two songs and some pretty intense jabs in front of me and I almost started sobbing like a child. This isn’t unusual in Combat, that class unearths some things inside and it’s the best form of *free* therapy I’ve ever encountered. But, this? This was different. This was deeper. This was a true battle.

It’s been five years.

On January 5, 2008 I walked in to the apartment of a man I’d recently met. When I walked in there, I was {almost} as innocent as the day I was born. I was naive. I believed that people are inherently good. I was there to watch a football game. I had no reason to believe that my life was about to change. I had no reason to believe that “No.” and “Stop.” didn’t produce the desired outcome. There are so many reasons behind why I walked into his apartment that night, none of them matter. Not a single one of them. Because, when I walked out – I was a statistic.

A 1 in 5, to be exact.

{New Years Eve 2007, the night I met him.}
December 31, 2007

I fought, hard, to not be defined by the new addition to my identity. I fought hard to never be defined as a victim. I fought hard against the shame that is so commonly associated with sexual assault. It was hard. There were so many triggers that first year. It didn’t help that I saw him everywhere. Or that the investigation went on for months. Truth be told, I never knew I had it in me. I never knew I had the strength to stand when I just wanted to crawl into bed with the covers over my head. I never knew I had the strength to walk right past him with my head held high, until I did it. I was determined that he would not control my life… consequences be damned.

I paid, dearly, for my stubborn will.

It was worth it.

But, the truth is, I was broken, crushed is more like it. I crawled into a corner and I didn’t come out, for a while. When I emerged from my corner, I wasn’t the same person. I was raw. I was wounded. I was damaged goods. Not at any fault of my own, mind you. I’ve never for one day accepted the blame for the events of that night. I was no longer naive. I was no longer innocent. I no longer believed that the vast majority of people are good. I was a harsher version of myself. I’d learned that I had a fight in me. I was no longer a doormat.

I was also 20lbs heavier.

{July 2007}
July 2007
{July 2008… do you see it there, around my belly?}
July 2008

A subconscious attempt to make my body undesirable to men. I’m so very thankful it didn’t work with Brad! Part of the reason that Operation Skinny Jeans started is because there’s a solid 20bs on my body that belong to Abraham, and he can have them back!

There’s more to the story. There’s always more. For the next 4 years I would walk through the longest spiritual desert I’d ever encountered. Those years wounded me almost as much as Abraham, just differently. They’re all intertwined.

Healing came in increments. Sometimes it was massive amounts in a single day. Sometimes there would be a thought that triggered something and then healing and forgiveness would come. Sometimes it was just a realization that another part of my heart had been healed. And, sometimes, healing was excruciatingly painful. I’m sure that there are still shards of my heart waiting for their turn to be healed.

Five years later… I’m one incredibly blessed woman. I look at my life, and I am in awe. I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I know the value of friends who will crawl into a corner with you, who will sit there with you and just be. Friends who anchor you when the entire rest of your life is spinning out of control. I know, deep in my heart, that God is good. I don’t struggle with this every day, or week, or month. In fact, very rarely do I even think about it. And while the events of that night will always be a part of my story… they are not the entirety of my story.

But, sometimes, in a BodyCombat class I shut off my mind and I let those little pieces of my heart that still need to be healed come to the surface, and I fight. I fight the injustice. I fight the shame. I fight for the girls who never asked for this to be part of their story, but it is. I fight for the young girls who don’t know that God is good, that men are good. I fight for myself. I fight for the girl who crawled into a corner, raw, broken and bleeding. I fight for the girl who walked out of that corner and pursued healing. I fight against hatred. I fight against unforgiveness.

I fight for control.

Happy Tuesday Ya’ll!

23 Responses to Operation Skinny Jeans: It’s been 5 years

  1. wow. i have no words but thanks for sharing your story and thanks for being awesome!
    laurenbtrain recently posted..AM’s 2013 ResolutionsMy Profile

  2. Love!!!

  3. Wow. Well written post. You are a strong, beautiful woman. Hugs to you.

  4. Love you a ton lady! You are an amazing person and God’s blessings always out weight the horrible things. I am honored to know you:)

    • Love you too Mandi… thanks for not only being my friend, but for being there that summer. Thanks for loving me.

  5. I love reading your blog. You continually amaze me with your insights and you often make me laugh. Thank you for being real, for showing how God is healing you.

  6. You my cousin, are simply amazing! I have loved you from afar since you were born, all of you awesome Tate cousins! You have amazing strength, you are beautiful an awesome mommy and wife and friend! That is what defines you. I love you….hugs through the computer!

  7. Wow. You are a testimony of God’s greatness!! I appreciate your transparency. Blessings on you my dear!!

  8. This post had me saying what others already have– “Wow.” What an amazing, strong person you are.

  9. You are strong, and brave, and undoubtedly a child of God. Thanks for sharing this. I love this story of hope and healing. Everyone needs that in one way or another, I think. Many blessings to you in the new year!
    Lindsay (Young Married Mom) recently posted..An Update That Really Could Have Used a Better TitleMy Profile

  10. I too am a survivor. Thanks for sharing your story. Most of my closests friends don’t even know my story. You’re so brave and strong for sharing it. Sorry I haven’t commented in awhile! I’ve always read though! :)

    • Heather! I’ve been wondering where you were lately {which meant that I should have emailed you when I thought about it.} How hard was it for you to type that first sentence? I’m proud of you!

      • Surprisingly hard….I actually sat with that comment typed up for about five minutes before I actually sent it to you. Who knew.

        I know, I dropped off the face of the planet! IDK what happened lol. ( I was just about to ask hows it’s going but I’ll just go ahead and email you :) )

  11. ok i had to catch up after i saw your post today. i have no words. you’re right. but i am so proud of the fight in you….you’re an amazing person.
    Kat recently posted..Best Faces of 2012 and a brain dumpMy Profile

  12. I agree with Kim… LOOOOOVE.
    Love you. Love Jesus. and LOVE this post.

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