Thursday, August 12, 2010

When the bullet hits the bone

"Where am I to go now that I've gone too far

So you'll come to know

When the bullet hits the bone
So you'll come to know
When the bullet hits the bone."
Twilight Zone, Golden Earring

Have you ever been shot at or had a gun aimed at you?  I have.  It's a feeling that tells you that you are utterly exposed, naked, that you are soft flesh, weak bone, blood and spirit.  It tells you that nothing will ever be the same again.  It can tell you what you are made of deep inside.  It can tell you what parts of you matter most.

"Sexual abuse is like a bullet that's never been removed." - Ksenia Oustiougova

What happens when you cannot remove the bullet?  What happens if it keeps moving deeper?  What happens if it stays and builds up a scar, tough and hard?  What happens if it infects and poisons you?

When I think about sexual abuse I think Ksenia's quote and I understand that when someone uses trust to hurt you it is like being shot.  And worse than being shot with a clean through and through, it is a bullet that never gets removed.  

It stays, burrowing deeper, building scars, cutting and making you bleed.  No medic, no doctor, nor surgeon can remove it.  It stays and unless we can cut it open and reach inside to pull it out into the light, it stays.  It stays.  It stays.  

It scars over, it leaves a faint mark on the outside.  Inside there is a trail, a wound track that follows the bullet from precious place to precious place.  Abusers use their power to shoot us.  The trails of their bullets scar our trust, our memories, our feelings.  They rob us of safe places and trusted people.  They leave us wounded, bleeding and sometimes they walk away.  Sometimes they stay and see us in pain and fear.

When we start down the path to healing, when we see ourselves as survivors, we start to understand the bullets we feel that no one can see.  Sometimes we move the wrong way, sometimes a person will cause us to flinch back from the cold steel and sometimes we hold our hands over the wound, trying to feel it again, to prove it was real.

You made it through the impact, past the blood and tears, the smell of your own fear and the taste of your own sweat and tears.  You survived the shot, the hole, the wound...only to find that when you are ready, really and truly ready to share, there are those who would dare to ask you why you still think about it.

They ask, "Was it that bad?" "It didn't really hurt that much." or they cruelly say, "Oh well there are others much worse off than you."  It isn't them carrying around a bullet, a wound to your body, mind and soul.  But they, who have only ever done the shooting, dare to question those who have the holes from being shot.  Those who carry bullets never removed, never dug out, never touched very often shot by shooters who carry no shame, no blame and paid no earthly price.

For those of us who carry bullets, count, calibre or range isn't what matters, I honour your scars, I celebrate your being amongst the survivors.  I proudly tattoo around my scars, I write about my bullets and I sing the songs that were stolen from me so long ago.

Join me and my sister survivors as we blog weekly on a on the links below to visit:

Chicks with Scars
Sugar Patch
Ye Old Crone's Gazette


  1. So glad you participated in this project and nice to meet you. Looking forward to more of your writing.


  2. Shanyn, beautifully said! I feel my scar together with yours - I feel the pain. The power of writing, of being able to say it, to express it, this power makes us stronger. Thank you for joining in this project - I am looking forward to more.

  3. What doesn't show on the outside is how those bullets can continue to poison you on the inside. The poison can spread and affect your whole life. The poison can spread as shame and leave you feeling worthless which can put your life in danger because of the people, the shooters, that you attract as an adult. Because you feel worthless, you attract more people that help you to continue to feel worthless. The poison can also leave your body open to infection and other illnesses that can also kill you. Great article, Shanyn.

  4. Patricia, you are so right and your comment about attracting shooters later in your life is so true...they seem to know who has been wounded and who is vulnerable.

    Ksenia, thanks for your powerful and heartfelt words. I'm honoured to be sharing this with you.

    Ayngel, thank you for sharing as well, blessings as we journey together in healing.

  5. I hadn't heard the bullet analogy before - it is very apt and thank you Ksenia and Shanyn for sharing it. I used to be a vet, and living in the wheatbelt, would often treat poor animals with grass seeds that had burrowed in, causing a deep, nasty abscess - unless you find the seed, the abscess just keeps re-forming, slowly poisoning the animal. I think being shot is the perfect description of sexual abuse. But on my own journey, I often felt as though I had an abscess deep inside, and so, whenever I think of emotional and mental abuse, I think of those seemingly innocuous grass seeds slowly piercing the skin and burrowing deeper and deeper. Of course - once the seed is out, healing, precious, life giving healing *can* begin. Here's to all of you ladies as we share and journey together.

  6. Thanks for sharing Zoe, sorry it took me so long to reply here.