Please welcome Drew Sheldon to #BeReal.
I couldn’t believe it when Hasty invited me to take part in #BeReal, I was quick to say yes. I was not, however, quick to write this. Writing has been quite a slog recently. The more I work at being real, the more I struggle to continue.
I started blogging because I wanted to let my truth out into the world. Most of the time people are wonderfully supportive and encouraging. I feel incredibly fortunate considering all the horror stories I hear of fellow bloggers (especially women) being trolled and harassed. Occasionally, though, someone will quietly comment or send a private message that makes me re-think it all.
I have written here and there about my history of abuse. I endured it for much of my childhood and have further experienced it at times as an adult. Like many abuse survivors, I learned how not to be real and to do whatever it takes to hide the truth. We are so often made to believe that it’s our fault and that people will hate us if they find out. I try to fight against that conditioning, but like I said, I occasionally receive a comment that reactivates it, sometimes strongly.
One example happened this last Christmas. I published a deeply personal post about my mom and how her generous spirit used to shine during her favorite holiday. In it, I mentioned that family issues left me with few material artifacts from my mom after her passing. I did not mention that was the fault of my abusive older sister, but she felt compelled to comment on the post even though we haven’t spoken in nearly two decades. She said nothing about my vague mention of her. She simply tried to paint my mom as a villain rather than confront the truth about herself.
Abusers hate for the truth to be told. If they can’t defend their actions, they will try to distract, shifting the blame or at least the attention to others. It’s probably not even entirely conscious much of the time. I’ve never known an abuser who recognized themselves as such, and they probably don’t want to accept that reality. I have known them to tell whatever lies will suit their purpose, even and perhaps especially to themselves.
I learned this same habit and have known many other survivors to do the same. It hurts to think of the ones we love as abusers, and we do our best to defend them. Being real, however, requires me to do different no matter how much it hurts.
None of this should be taken as a claim that I’m innocent. I’ve certainly done hurtful things. I’ve participated in hazing and other behaviors I later recognized to be abusive. So much of the time, it was driven by fear and a desire to fit in, but that is no excuse. Just like with the people who abused me, it was never my intent to hurt anyone, but that doesn’t change the fact that I did.
Recognizing my imperfection is a prime motivation for being real. I want to examine my life and get better. When a former lover told me I had said and done hurtful things, I begged her to tell me all about that. Unfortunately, she didn’t tell me anything, and I’ve often had trouble getting any helpful thoughts on this. I’m lucky that some people in my life are quite open and honest with me, never hesitating to tell me uncomfortable truths. On the other hand, it seems much of the feedback I do get is discouragement from speaking my truth, and that’s not a request I can honor.
It’s been a struggle for me to write lately. The more truth I write, the more I realize I still have to write. A lot of it is pretty scary for me, and I’m sure some people will not be happy about it. I’m over it, though. I’m committed to this mission to #BeReal and tell my truth, regardless of who likes it or hates it. I’m really grateful to Hasty for this reminder and encouragement. I know my realest self is my best self, and I will not stop working toward that.
Drew Sheldon is a disabled veteran and a feminist. A survivor of numerous traumas and PTSD sufferer, he advocates passionately for his fellow survivors and all people struggling with mental illness. He was raised by a single mother whom he dearly misses. He currently lives under the rule of his beautiful kitty Francesca.
9 thoughts on “#BeReal – DREW SHELDON”
Thank you, Drew, for joining #BeReal. Stories of abuse and resilience and recovery must be told. Many are not able or dare not tell their own without encouragement like yours.
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Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
Drew is real
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I’m glad you wrote this for Hasty, Drew, and thank you. I remember saying much the same thing to my ex – that if there was anything I said or did that was experienced as hurtful or destructive, I wanted to KNOW, so that I could change my behaviour. Unfortunately the response was nil, and carefully hoarded resentments, because he said he didn’t want to be critical…and was anyway.
Keep writing your truth 🙂
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Urrrgh… Me too. And worse, I self sabotage. Let your truth be aired. I’m working on it too.
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Honest reflection goes through many layers, whereas staying with a lie goes nowhere. Better to grow and hurt and make mistakes than be caught in the stagnation. It still befuddles me how my entire family of origin, with the exception of me and one cousin, staunchly stands by the pedophile in our midst. Not only do they lie for him, about him, but they also tell lies about me and my cousin or twist the vulnerability of our healing. It’s painful and we as humans are never perfect, but keep writing because that is your voice and abuse loves silence. Excellent post and congratulations on being asked to guest write here. See, you are making a difference!
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Abusive me??? Lmaooooo really? Our mother who kicked me out at the age of 13 over her acholhloic bf. Also the lost of material possessions was yours and Wayne’s fault. Not one of you noticed mom’s credit cards, mortgage banks and the list goes on about her death and then you lied to the state of Michigan saying you were the only heir ha! This isn’t over with, it’s been under investigation since I came there and found the fraud that you two committed. You have this sick idea of our mother but you’ll never own up to the truth and you being raped!!@ OMG she even told me you made that up. Your a lazy person you always brought your laundry to her house for her to do and you lived off frozen pizzas and your room was always a pigsty as it was when I was there visiting. You got her life insurance didn’t pay off any of her bills or even get her a marker for her grave. For someone who claims how much he loves his mom he sure as did commit fraud among other countless laws that you and Wayne broke. Like you were going to buy her house and let Wayne rent it, but yes I did ruin that for you both because I got the law involved and now the judge who illegally did the adoption of Robert is under investigation to so is Wayne for Perjury so be careful little brother because the truth is coming out and not just from me but from family who knew how mom really was.
I assume you are the said older sister of Drew.
I do not know you or Drew enough to draw any conclusions in order to help. But I do have a few opinions I would like to express since this is my blog.
First, since you are responding to this blog and have responded to his writing in the past I would like to invite you to contact him personally. You obviously still follow his thoughts and care about what he says so maybe talk to him. There are ways to work through things in a better way. Many great ways.
Your comment tells me you are angry and defensive. Maybe you have a right to be and maybe not. But regardless, the “details” or “dirty laundry” you haphazardly threw together in order to defend yourself does more to corroborate his claims than to discredit him. I say this because he says things like, “It hurts to think of the ones we love as abusers, and we do our best to defend them.” Which sounds to me like he would like to work things out. Your comment just attacks him. It doesn’t solve anything and those of us reading aren’t going to pick sides so if the person you want to talk to is Drew… then send him a message.
Also, you mention rape. And then you laugh with OMG… and that so and so made that up. I will tell you right now I am deeply offended by that sentence in particular. Rape is not (and never will be ever) something to laugh about. Whether you believe someone or not… never a laughing matter. And to be honest I see abuse in that very statement.
Comments like “so be careful little brother” and using threatening language online IS abusive. It is not considered “defending” yourself. If you were to defend yourself it would be a much different comment.
I sincerely hope you are able to figure things out. That you and Drew can find a healthier relationship. Or that you can both find a way to move forward with or without each other. May love find you both and clarity be your gift.
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When compared to getting it re-laid each year, maintaining it once
every 3 months is obviously a much better option to look at.
Other border activists are telling reporters that while this event is tragic,
until border security is seriously addressed the mayhem will continue.
Then relax the mat onthe ground and shift it with the help of knees as near to the wall as they canbe.