Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Child's Journey

The other day Joe showed me a comic called Something Terrible that struck to my core on the website UpWorthy.

Before you read on, read the comic first.


Okay, read it?  Wow.  Pretty powerful stuff, huh?

Dean Trippe is a comic book artist who has done work for Oni Press.  He created the comic Something Terrible to deal with the childhood trauma he dealt with as a child.  He isn't alone in experiencing childhood trauma but survivors of sexual abuse can often feel alone.  It's scary stuff to express these emotions and for him to do so is remarkably brave.

What I love about the comic is it describes exactly why I love geeky stuff like superheroes and comic books.  For many of us, things like Harry Potter, Dungeons and Dragons, and DC Comics are escapes or coping mechanisms to heal from childhood wounds.  It's why well-developed characters in these stories last with us to when we are grown ups.  You could say that these are some of our lifelong friends.

There are lessons that are learned from heroes.  Superman doesn't just give the people of Metropolis hope.  He gives us, the readers, hope. I'm thankful for characters like him when facing my own struggles.  I'm thankful for healthy creative outlets to help me heal from childhood wounds.

Like Dean Trippe, I'm also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.  I even told my story in the form of a comic.

For me, I'm actually quite lucky.  My childhood abuse was a one time event.  Though the abuse did lead to other trauma for me, I've found that the consequences of my abuse have been as much as blessing as they have been a trial.  I've discovered strength I never knew I had.  The journey has brought me closer to my Savior.  I'm lucky because I barely even think of the actual abuse anymore.  It isn't a nightmare that is relived when I'm going to sleep.  It's a journey that I've been on.  The storm is over now and it's just summer breeze and broken clouds scattering sunshine.  I still have plenty of trials and wounds to heal from but in terms of my abuse I simply find peace.

I definitely want to add my voice to Dean Trippe's.  Survivors of child abuse are not doomed to become abusers themselves.  I remember hearing at a scout meeting that survivors of child abuse will try to recreate the abuse on other children.  Our boy scout leaders also said that if we were ever touched or abused, we could come to them and our fathers to talk about what happened so we could get help.  I was very afraid of the idea of talking to my father or any of these men.  I was even more afraid of potentially being a predator.  It was at that time that I told myself that what happened to me when I was four was a nightmare and didn't happen.  It was just a weird dream.  I couldn't handle the thought of me being a monster.

In addition to the atonement, my art and geeky pursuits helped me through my childhood and putting my childhood trauma on a shelf.  My childhood was great.  I made great friends and had wonderful experiences.  My abuse didn't become something I looked at until I became an adult.

Please don't make the mistake in thinking that trials like these are simple matters for adults.  Though many other adults may find it strange or a waste of time for grown ups like myself to play Dungeons and Dragons, sometimes it's those experiences for me that are so therapeutic.

One of the favorite characters I've ever role played before is my Tiefling Druid Indifference or "Indy".  Indifference has an evil demon father and was raised by elves.  He looks evil but he is completely good.  Indy wants to do what is right and wants to be good even if it seems like he doesn't care.  What I loved about playing Indifference is the fact that for all intensive purposes he should be the bad guy but chooses not to be.  He has to deal with his very nature being chaotic and sadistic.  The world he swears to protect does not accept or trust him.  Indy may be imaginary but became a great friend to me.  He helped me accept myself as I played him in his journey of self acceptance.

Even if you don't deal with childhood trauma, I hope that you take advantage of the good things in life that uplift us and give us the strength to carry on.  We all have different demons and trials.  I'm thankful for my art, my nerd loves, and for the atonement to help me deal with mine.


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