One day while chatting with friends, the topic of sexual abuse came up and the conversation quickly chilled. I knew at that moment it was time to tell my story of overcoming sexual abuse. The abuse I faced as a child wasn’t a secret, but it was also part of my life that I rarely spoke about. Conversations never easily lent themselves to discussing it, and it was obvious that despite the pandemic proportions of sexual abuse, most people avoid the topic altogether.
Despite a clear vision for the book, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. What started as recounting childhood memories in chronological order, turned into uncovering healed wounds that began to take a serious toll on my health and well-being. Had I known how difficult the process would be, I don’t know if I would’ve started the long 5-year journey of writing my memoir.
I wanted to write as authentically as possible, so I didn’t hold back in recounting my past experiences. I engaged all of my senses. My body and brain worked overtime to recall the memories. While I am grateful for my memory, the process was at times exhausting and traumatic. In order to cope with the trauma, I began seeing a trauma therapist in order to help me process writing through trauma.
As the journey to complete my memoir grew longer than anticipated, I reminded myself of the reason I set out to share my story in the first place. As a young girl, I looked for a book, for a guide to help me walk through the complexities of abuse, but I couldn’t find it. Later in life, as I found healing, I knew I needed to write that story that I looked for as a young girl.
If you are just starting out or are in the middle of writing your story, don’t lose sight of your goal. Your story will make a difference and though the road may not be easy, it is well worth it.
Written by Cindy Benezra
“When a traumatic event happens, do you ever feel like you cannot completely move past the trauma? It’s easy to feel angry, fearful and unable to move forward.
In the cycles of trauma, I searched for the freckles of light to give me hope to move forward from the heartache. Freedom took on a new meaning.
Through my memoir, Under the Orange Blossoms, I share how I’ve found healing at different stages of my life. We do not have to take on the role of victim unless we allow ourselves to. You can create the outcome you choose. Nothing can been taken unless we allow it. I hope those who have walked a similar path to me find inspiration and self compassion through my story. You are not alone.
I currently live in the greater Seattle area with my husband and four children. I find happiness in discovering new recipes, entertaining and decorating. I own a luxury event business with my eldest daughter, and steal away time to be with friends and family. In my free time, I enjoy gardening and traveling.”