I’m tired of my story. I’m weary of carrying it around with me. I’ve been steeping in it forever and it’s tiresome. I would like someone else’s story for a while, preferably with lots of free time and a happy ending.

The chapters of my story are varied, but they share the same root. They’re woven together into a tapestry… a crappy tapestry… a crapestry.

If you really want to get technical about it, these are the chapters of my story:
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There are nineteen of them, including the introduction. Even though I’ve only lived half a life so far, I’ve written a whole story. I did so hoping that the remaining years will be very boring. I’m totally looking forward to boring. I want to yawn and nap my way through my 50s. Playing bingo sounds great.

My life makes for a fascinating book in need of some serious editing. It will be published posthumously or when my parents die, whichever comes first. I’ve already written the highlights in the post called Dented Bucket List, but some of them include:

Meningitis.
Child sexual abuse.
Anorexia.
Self-harm.
Alcohol abuse.
Drug addiction.
Homelessness.
Prostitution.
Sexual assault.
Traumatic brain injury.
Skin cancer.
Domestic violence.
Identity theft.
Attempted murder.

It’s a long laundry list of shitty, shitty things. Most people are horrified when I tell them one of those tidbits, let alone all. They all happened to me. They are my story.

I can’t help but roll my eyes on the inside a little at the reactions I get when I tell people my story. People are horrified. They always are. They don’t know how to react. I don’t blame them; I wouldn’t know how to react either. I’ve had decades to digest (or ignore) all that has happened to me. The people I tell only have a few seconds of reaction time.

People look at you differently when you tell them that you were tied up, blindfolded, gagged and sexually tortured starting at the age of seven, which was just the first tile in a domino effect of abuse. They can’t help it.

Nobody has the same life experience as me. Some people can relate to certain experiences, but other things leave them dumbfounded. No one I’ve ever met has experienced all of the things on that list. People can relate to one, three, maybe even five of those things, but all of those ingredients together are unique to just me. I’m so lucky.

No matter how bad your life story is, there are always people who have it worse than you. I’ve never experienced war first hand. I didn’t survive a Holocaust. I’ve never been unjustly imprisoned. I wasn’t born into slavery or sold as a commodity. Well, when I was a prostitute, I very much was sold as a commodity, but I was the one doing the selling, so I don’t think that counts.

It is not a competition to have the shittiest life. If it is, I’m not even in the running. I’m bush league compared to Malala Yousafzai or Squanto.

There are always people worse off than you. I am lucky. I’m relatively healthy. I have most of my original factory equipment. I have freedom of speech, politics and religion. I can walk, see, feel, taste and partly hear. I am still alive. I survived, at least, physically. Mentally, well, that’s a different story. There are wounds on top of scar tissue in my psyche that are still fresh and they probably always will be, but I am alive to experience them.

I don’t want people to think of me differently when they hear my story. I don’t want people to walk on eggshells around me. I roll my eyes on the inside, because horror is exactly what I don’t want. I’ve had enough horror. I experience horror at night when I try to sleep. I will always be visited by demons in the night when I’m most vulnerable and my conscious mind cannot protect me. I will always sleep with a baseball bat next to my bed.

As much as I shun my story, as tired as I am of carrying it around and letting people read it, I wouldn’t change it. I sure as hell don’t want to relive it, but I don’t regret it. It is all of those things that make me who I am. It is mine.

I haven’t opened any of those chapters in a dog’s age. When I wrote my story, I wrote it straight through, like a woman possessed, every day, as much as I could until it was done. When I finished, I closed it, saved it, backed it up and never looked at it again. It was outside of me. That was enough.

My story is a story of loss, hardship, heartbreak, very few lucky breaks and many awful, awful things, but I won’t get rid of it. I keep it in a file folder, because when I’m ready to put it out there, it just might help someone. If my words can help another soul not feel so alone, if they can relate to a little piece of me, then it was all worth it. Selfishly (because I want to help) and conceitedly (because I think I can), it is a story that must not die.

So, what’s your story? Share it at Stories That Must Not Die.