I seem to want to write about the post-abuse effects more than the actual abuse itself. It seems like that is, for me, the more important and relevant topic at hand. I was shaped considerably by my abuse, but I think what shaped me more was what happened after the touch. It seems more important to discuss my relationships with my friends, and family: my relationship with my dad after he stopped; my relationship with my mom and Julie, her partner; my relationship with my friends and other kids. I donít know why I think this way, but itís the way my brain is leaning. Iíve told my story a lot in the past, and saying it out loud, let alone writing, has produced limited results. Yeah I got it off my chest, but it seems that by focusing on that stuff Iíve stayed there longer than I need to stay. How much chest do I have, anyway?

Someone once told me that I wore my abuse on my sleeve. At the time that comment really hurt me. It was who I was, after all, but surely I wasnít proud of it. The abuse cut me SO deep and I KNEW I was damaged goods (pardon the clichť), and screw him for saying the abuse and its effects werenĎt real. ďIím not playing a part, THIS IS WHO I AM,Ē I thought.

Then I read a PostSecret that said something like, ďMy mental illness defines me, and I donít know how to live without it.Ē I think I butchered that, but you get the idea. The idea is that maybe I WAS being defined by my abuse. Maybe I WAS playing the part of an abuse victim andÖwas wearing it on my sleeve. Maybe I was living IN the abuse rather than living WITH the abuse.

Then I seemed to feel a rush of memories. Thinking back on everything that has happened as a result of my Abused Boy casting.

I donít count the years before I understood it all, but after Iíve told people as an adult I think it is, for me, a mental choice to keep living IN it. Yeah, I was abused, but I donít have to suffer any more with my poor boy face.

Itís sort of freeing for me to kind of step aside from going day in and day out with that burden on my shoulders. I have memories and hurt feelings, but it seems like I really held on to them for some reason and wouldnĎt let go, when really that was an option. Strange that I held onto that which hurt me the most.

Iíve learned that focus is really the key for me. I choose what to focus on and what NOT to focus on. I try not to hold on to the hurt inside me because of my past, and when I feel it welling up I just watch it go by, I guess, like a cloud. I experience the hurt and pain, I mourn my childhood a little, and then watch it float by and out of my head.

I really wasted so much time living in my abuse victim world. I chose to be depressed and sad and hurt and tormented by everything it seems. Now Iím nearly 30 and what did all that crying pay off as in the end? Iím only now learning to be an adult. I havenít finished college. Iím barely making enough money to live on because I never did well in school, which limited my college aspects, which limited my job aspects. I see so many successful people in the world and I can really be one of them someday -- I just hope Iím not 50 before I get there.

Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)