Once upon a time in a kingdom far away – or not really far away at all – there was a fair damsel in distress. There was also a fire breathing dragon holding that damsel captive to her fear.
We ALL live in some kind of a kingdom. We just may or may not have ever had to face a dragon. Our kingdom may be decked out with fancy art portraits, scrumptious desserts in the refrigerator, and there may even be a crystal clear pool to swim in out past a beautiful redwood deck. It may just be an upstairs un-air-conditioned apartment over neighbors who bang on their ceiling all day long. Wherever you call home and even if that is the street, it is the place you return to at the end of a day.
Home SHOULD be a refuge, where the welcome mat is always rolled out for your return. Home should be comfortable, where you can laugh as loud as you want and people enjoy the sound of your laughter. Home is where you go to escape the demands of a crazy merciless world. Home has a longing we come imbedded with – like a GPS chip – that always has us looking to find our way there. Home should be the place you sleep the best because you feel the safest. Home represents security and safety. Home is defined as: “a protected refuge”.
Sadly, though, many kingdoms have dragons lurking in the shadows.
I wish I could assure you that there are no fire breathing dragons in any of these kingdoms; that no dragon will ever come out from under your bed to scare you, or breathe a fiery breath over you in the dark. No one should ever have to try to figure out in the dark how to stay clear of a fire breathing dragon.
What I CAN tell you is how to watch for dragons, how to keep them from increasing in their size, and how to begin to banish them from your kingdom should one show up. I hope to show you how to begin to save yourself and how to be your own sword-wielding hero. The word “wielding” means you handle your tool or weapon effectively (take THAT you dragon!)
Like any heroic knight protecting the fair damsel in distress, you too can have great power in your own kingdom, as you protect its most priceless, precious treasure – YOURSELF!
Part of slaying dragons is exposing them! Picture yourself on a balcony in a high tower with brave knights or princesses throwing open their door to the night sky, and taking back their kingdoms. It means no more lies, no more secrets, and no more fear.
Why do people feel ashamed? Forgotten. Lost. Hopeless. Maybe even suicidal. Because they don’t feel free to tell the truth! Because they fear judgment! You are not going to tell someone your deepest, darkest ugly secret if you think they will reject you. You are not going to tell your family. Or your relatives. Or your church. Or a boss. Or anybody that you are pretty sure will cast you aside. Whether intentionally or not, you can be made to feel that it is NOT okay to tell the truth. Strangely, you can be the victim but be made to feel like the abuse done TO you was somehow YOUR fault.
So you carry your secret.
Your dragon accompanies you to the secret chamber of your soul. And no one knows. But the secret will eat you alive from the inside out. It never goes away. Ever. This then carries into every crook and cranny of your life, and into the small things that you never share. No one knows you check under your bed for monsters, or that you are afraid of the dark, or horrified of spiders, or being stuck on high bridges. And then it carries into larger things like hiding your mates’ secrets to protect them or your kids’ secrets. Your life becomes shrouded in lies.
We teach by example that the truth is too painful, and too much to bear. It may not be intentional, and certainly not done out of malice or cruel intent. It is just learned behavior, all born from that fire breathing dragon of (and here is his name) Abuse. And on and on it goes from generation to generation.
BUT somewhere down through the ages there WILL arise heroes to rescue those locked away in their own private dark dungeons, and to protect generations to come (remember – the hero in this story is NOT the fire-breathing dragon)!
For our one brave dragon slayer the long, unanswered question from way back then till now, has always been – WHY didn’t they tell? Why did they carry that secret so long? Why did they allow that dragon to keep standing there, mocking them? Keep it a secret and maybe it will go away! It is easier to just pretend the secret wasn’t there, or that it was somehow the fault of the carrier of the secret.
Trust betrayed destroys you as a person and it changes who you will become. In order to ever find your way back to some place of innocence (before it was stolen), you must see the abuse as the powerful dragon that it is – that has breathed its fire down on you for so long – and you must slaughter it.
A fire-breathing dragon could come in any shape, or form, or vibe. They could show up just once, or they could take up residency. They are after what they want, and how they get it is irrelevant to them. BUT if someone IS coming at you more than once, they are going to most likely be smoother. It is kind of the terrorist mentality of lying in wait for the right time for the attack, no matter how long it takes. The dragon will always start out by being nice. Of course – you catch flies with honey. Or candy. Or a few bucks. Or new toys. Or sadly, just that little bit of attention every human craves. Who would think a hug is any more than just a hug? It so should NOT be any more than what it is.
Dragons generally don’t walk in the room and announce their presence. Oh, eventually they will show off their firepower, but first they want you to trust them.
If it happens, you need to speak up – the very FIRST time. There is no hoping it was a figment of your imagination, a bad dream, or a fluke event – if it happened once, once is TOO much. TELL SOMEONE. The problem in this taboo subject is, mostly this happens to children who simply do not know how to even tell someone, or how to protect themselves, or how to help themselves. Fleeting moments of the years before the abuse actually started, often went unnoticed and with no warning of impending doom. It is someone stronger than you taking what they want, when they want it, and then not paying any attention to you until they want more.
With any kind of abuse – you can be triggered right back to that moment by a familiar setting. The kicker is that somehow it can all get twisted to where you think it was YOUR fault! You have to excuse yourself for having been naïve, or for being afraid for your life, or for covering for someone else, or for simply being a child who didn’t understand what was going on.
There IS hope, and it comes from breaking the silence! Fire-breathing dragons need banished from our kingdoms!
Somewhere there has to be a hero to ride in and save the day, and more times than not it will have to be the actual ONE who needs saving!
Picture what you think it would look like for a knight in shining armor to come in on a white horse to save you. Would he make a lot of noise, pushing all enemies out of his way? Charging in to save the day, wielding his sword in defiance? IF we would break the silence the dragon wants to keep us in, yes – we could be our own knights in shining armor!
At the end of the day, who wants to save you more than YOU?
If a dragon has chased you down – it is time to SCREAM out! Go tell someone! Make a lot of noise! Silence gives the dragon power to grow – like blowing up a balloon. Your silence inflates it to grow to unspeakable heights. Our dragon slayer grew up thinking these subjects were not discussable, that no one wanted to know the truth, that no one really cared anyways, and that truth destroys. Sadly when they finally tried to tell, they were made to believe it was their fault, so to this day they still hide things. It is a hidden fear that if someone knows the truth and that literally can mean ANY truth, they will be rejected
or judged. Gee, wonder where that thought process came from.
All secrets do is breed more secrets!
Truth is meant to set you free, not make you a meal for a dragon.
The ugly dragon of abuse rules and governs one’s opinion of their own self. It destroys relationships. It spits its poisonous venom all over things you hold dear. It huffs and puffs – until one day there comes that moment – maybe it is brief BUT it is long enough for you to lift up your head that hangs down, look the dragon square in the eye – and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
It is when the child inside of you, long beaten down, finally stands up on the inside! You know, the moment you acknowledge it and face it, it begins to immediately start to lose its power over you. The guilt and the shame was NEVER yours to carry but the more you carried around and kept the abuse a secret, it was like it fueled the fire in the dragon. It inflated his ego.
There finally comes that day when you are just DONE.
Maybe you have tried for years to just get a frail whisper up from your soul. Maybe you tried to scream and nothing came out. There may be no rhyme or reason why all of a sudden a rush of reckless COURAGE comes reeling out of your broken soul, and you take that first step to coming back to life.
Dragons want you to believe you are less than, that you are weak, that you don’t have a voice, that you don’t deserve pure love, that you are the wad of gum on the bottom of a shoe. Dragons are bullies. They prey on those who have not yet had time to become strong – particularly children. Children need to be defended, protected, cherished, and when adults fail them, I have come to learn and believe the child WILL rise up in defense of him or herself.
It may take years but there WILL come a day when the voice of that inner child who was abused WILL scream! Finally! NO MORE! That inner child will finally have the strength and the courage to stand up for themselves. What they could not do in early years, will now come to the forefront.
The first step to becoming a dragon slayer is to admit there WAS a dragon!
Stop trying to hide it. This just feeds it and makes it stronger, and then it will NEVER go away. You need to literally say things like this out loud: Yes I was molested! Yes I was bullied! Yes I was abused! Yes I was raped! Yes I wanted to kill myself! Yes. Yes. Yes. This should immediately light a fire in your heart to begin to stand your ground. Hold your head up, even just a little and scream out – IT WASN’T MY FAULT!
Stand up for yourself! Someone abused you? How was that ever your fault? Someone bullied you? How was that ever your fault? Someone raped you? How was that ever your fault? Someone molested you? How was that ever your fault? Time to take back your life. Even if it is in bits and pieces and shattered, it’s YOUR LIFE! Take a deep breath and reclaim what is rightfully yours.
If you don’t feel like you have any other person in the world that cares, then YOU care! YOU be your own hero! You can SO do this! I am telling you, you CAN! Be your own fan club! Be your own cheerleader! NO DRAGON DESERVES TO HAVE THAT KIND OF POWER OVER YOU! Doesn’t it make you mad to think of someone overpowering you? Aren’t you tired of carrying the secret? Aren’t you tired of being made to feel you could have/should have done something?
Aren’t you tired of that dragon being what has defined WHO you have become?
So, Repeat after me – NO MORE! I am brave. I am beautiful. I am not living in EXILE anymore. I have no shame. I am throwing off my tattered, dirty clothes and putting on some royal robes. Oh yeah, and maybe a tiara. Then I shall fearlessly go stand out on my balcony! I am a dungeon dweller NO MORE! OFF WITH YOUR HEAD, DRAGON! You shall rule me no more. I fear you no more. I don’t give you any more of my time, my heart, my self-esteem, and my memories. I banish you to outer darkness! No more dragons hiding in the corners of MY Kingdom .
Once it is exposed, it can be done away with! No.More.Secrets.
Oh thou brave dragon slayer, if this is YOU– whether you are 17 or 29 or 52 this is YOUR moment to shine! This is your moment to take back what was stolen from you! This is your moment to end the torment! This is your moment to be the king or queen of your own kingdom!
Many of us are dragon slayers and there are MANY more waiting in the wings to get their swords polished! For the sake of yourself AND generations to come, there are kingdoms to save, dragons to be banished, lives to be reclaimed, and futures to be lived in peace.
Remember: You are your own hero, and at the end of the day, no one wants to save YOU more than YOU!