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0001 - DonIsASurvivor - T-shirt from 2011 Sequoia WoR

I have to admit I was surprised to see my photo as one of the examples on the website. I don’t consider myself a good artist and don’t particularly put much effort into art, but after seeing my T-Shirt on here I need to reconsider that thought.

I attended the 2011 Level 1 Weekend of Recovery in Sequoia when I did this T-Shirt. Mikele was encouraging me to complete a T-Shirt and so I came up with something that just quickly came to mind.

I just attended 2012 Level 1 Weekend of Recovery and what do you know, I see my T-Shirt hanging up among the 20 other T-Shirts. Howard told me that my T-Shirt is one of the examples on the website and that I need to write a story to go with the T-Shirt. So, this is my interpretation of the T-Shirt.

I’m active duty military in the United States Navy. My job field is in meteorology. Like I said before I came up with a quick concept to get the T-Shirt done (part of the dysfunction that goes along with many types of abuse). Now, after attending my first Level 1 Weekend of Recovery and being in therapy, I have different thoughts that come to mind to give an explanation.

As a child, when we encounter thunderstorms in the middle of the night, they are scary for the child. The abuse that we have survived is like living through a continuous storm (whether it is a thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane, or a frontal system). The storm is turbulent, unpredictable, and at times scary. Just like the abuse, it comes at times where we can’t predict what is to occur (just like bad weather).

When the bad weather moves off we look around at the devastation that occurs. Hurricanes bring massive destruction of wind and floods. Thunderstorms can be just as bad with lightning strikes. Tornadoes plow right through with massive devastation. Houses destroyed, people injured, or even lives lost. Sexual abuse survivors live with the devastation. Most live in the house where the abuse occurred, as young boys our hearts, minds, and souls are severely injured, and as we get older, some can’t live with the pain and unfortunately end the pain.

As adults, the storms do approach, but with our new found knowledge through therapy, support, and hope, we know what lies ahead for us. So, when a bad storm approaches, we know what we need to do to be safe. Whether it be to stay inside, seek emergency shelter, we go and do that without being afraid.

These past 6 months have been like storms coming and going through the news with terrible stories of sexual abuse. They are storms that trigger much pain in my heart, mind, and soul. However, the storms don’t last long and move on and we know that more storms are to come as other survivors speak out.

The day I was scheduled to fly to Sequoia for the 2012 Weekend of Recovery, there were massive thunderstorms throughout the day along the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana (the location I was flying from). Right when I boarded the first leg my flight to go to California, the thunderstorms subsided and I was able to make my way to another wonderful weekend.

I wish all of you that are survivors a healthy and speedy recovery like mine has been so far. I’m not completely healed but recovering each day and the heart, mind, and soul are getting stronger each day.




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Taken on March 27, 2011