Kathleen from Mount Gambier, South Australia was inspired by our KindaProud Rep Amy’s story to share her own journey, which will appear in the Pocket Book of Hope: #EmergingProud through disordered eating, body image and low-self-esteem.
We honour and respect Kathleen’s bravery in beating guilt and shame to find her voice and inspire others through her own story…
For 48 years I have carried the SHAME and GUILT for childhood experiences. I have owned & carried the responsibility for what happened to me, wondering why I felt so guilty about so many experiences of abuse in my life, like being born into a home of domestic violence. It’s easy to make the truth all about ‘being provided for’ and acknowledging ‘they did their best with what they knew’.
The TRUTH is, it was traumatic being around the yelling, screaming & hitting that often ended with bruises, blood, breakages, tears and bitterness. Through a child’s eyes it’s terrifying not knowing if she’s going to actually cut his throat with the knife she holds close.
It’s easy to make the truth about a grade 1 teacher just doing her job. The TRUTH is, she was a bully who I was terrified of and I’d wet my pants over daring to ask her if I could go to the toilet, she was mean.
It’s easy to make the truth all about being a liar because I stayed silent for so many years. The TRUTH is, he sexually abused me many times, I was only about 7 or 8. I believed it was my fault and their accusations and denial of the truth cut deeper than the abuse.
It’s easy to make the truth all about it being my fault, my shame that I was only 13 when I gave away my virginity because I didn’t have the courage to walk away. The TRUTH is he conned me and raped me. It’s easy to make the truth about it being all my fault when I fell pregnant at barely 17. The TRUTH is it was my responsibility to tell not only my mother but his aswell & allow him to leave town first so he could get on with his precious life. I believed it was the least I could do as it was my fault, even though he was the one pursuing me all those years.
It’s easy to make the truth all about helping & supporting family because that’s what you do. The TRUTH is they used and abused me for anything they could.
It’s easy to make the truth that I’ve been overweight from a young age because I’m built “just like my grandmother”, or I’m lazy and eat too much like all fat people. The TRUTH is it’s the trauma from all of the above and a tonne more that has set my body up to so beautifully ‘protect’ me from all the abuse, stress and trauma in the only way it knew how. Gain weight and hold on to it for dear life, to keep me safe. The TRUTH is those diets they made me do starting at age twelve, just kept helping me gain even more.
I AM grateful though, oh dearly I am so deeply grateful for everything this has all taught me. I love and treasure the gifts, learning and growth it’s all provided me. Just like how I have fallen in love with me and my body on a whole new depth that is new and nourishing me emotionally, physically, spiritually. Never in my life have I felt safer around food than I do now. Never in my life have I felt safer in this world and in my own skin than I do now. Thirty two years of dieting helped me get so overweight, depressed and hating everything about myself, believing I was the problem. I have learned through these experiences and a passionate search for the solutions, that it wasn’t another diet I needed, it was actually a way to love and accept myself fully and deeply just as I am for who I am and the weight would fall away by itself, just as it is now.
Society shames anyone who dares to speak of sexual abuse, domestic violence, suicide, financial abuse, emotional abuse and this list goes on. It’s the silencing and denial, which rapes us over and over, of the freedom to be who we truly are, speaking freely of our life experiences regardless of what they are.
NOT ANYMORE – Not in my time, not in my life. I will continue to share my truth of how it was for me and the healing I’ve done to come through it. I will NEVER BE SILENCED because others are uncomfortable, that’s what continues to feed the ongoing problem. It’s the silence that allows it to keep happening over and over. I will speak on behalf of others, until they find their voice, their strength and their power. I am not a victim, I am not a survivor, I’ve lived through and from it. It’s not my shame, it’s not my guilt and I will no longer carry it.
I am far from perfect and nor do I strive to be, I have much to keep learning, growing and evolving with, that excites me a lot, and today, right now, my heart is rich and my heart is full and I AM truly FREE to SPEAK MY TRUTH.
Kathleen Donhardt – Light Elephant Coach – Mount Gambier, South Australia
Does this subject resonate with your own experience?
Would you like to share your story for Amy’s KindaProud book, #EmergingProud through disordered eating, body image and low self-esteem?
Please contact Amy to find out how by contacting her at: firstname.lastname@example.org