WEGO Award

I Refuse to be Undefined by Trauma


One thing I know I do not want in my future is to be defined by the history I have in therapy and trauma. It is a part of who I am but it isn’t all I am. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me or to doubt my abilities because of what I have been through these past fifty-seven years of life.

Will I Tell People in the Future About My Past?

Maybe. Maybe not. It all depends on who they are and why they need to know about it. I cannot in all good conscience leave a person suffering alone without telling them I understand their pain, but I am not going to seek out situations where I need not tell my story anymore. At least not until I am firmly established as a Scientist on my merits and my ability to contribute to the world.

How I Want to be Seen

I want my future bosses to see me as Shirley Davis Ph.D. who is an excellent Scientist with many ideas worth pursuing. I don’t want them to not see me as Shirley Davis Ph.D. the poor thing who lived through hell and deserves our pity.

I once thought that way but no more. It’s a stage everyone goes through, wanting people to feel sorry for you, but I am a force to be reckoned with like Superman and I don’t expect people to pity me.

I expect to be challenged by my superiors, for them to ask me the hard questions that need answered. I expect them to treat me like anyone else they have trained or hired.

I expect to live life in the open, unashamed but not telling everyone my past as though it were a badge I must wear. There is a huge amount of head rush involved in knowing I have outlived my abusers but I am choosing not to be defined by my past any longer. I have chosen not to live under the umbrella of “abuse victim” I have chosen instead to be known as a “conqueror and life-changer.”

Do You Understand What I Am Trying to Say?

I hope so.

There are many, many people whom I have had the privilege to know who will never move beyond their diagnosis. When I ask why they are choosing to remain stuck in the trauma they are working so hard to escape from, they often react in anger and either shut themselves off from me or decide I am trying to harm them. The reason? Because I dare to ask the hard questions that challenge their self-beliefs. However, they forget, I’ve been where they are and I understand their pain. The questions I ask aren’t to harm them, but to help them see there is a better life than deciding to live forever in the absolute hell of the past. Their words hurt, but still, I choose not to define myself by them.

Who I Truly Am

The experiences and challenges I have conquered are, to be sure, something to be proud of but I am to move on with my life.

Realistically I understand that I am forever changed by the trauma of the past. However, as I said in the beginning of this piece, that is only a part of who I am. Shirley J. Davis is a warm, considerate, intelligent, and caring person. She is a public speaker, a freelance writer, an international blogger, and many other things. Most of all, she is someone who wants to help.

Yet the best description of all, and the one that describes me the best is that despite all the trauma and horror of my past, I am undefined by it.

I am undefined.

“Your only identity is I AM undefined and infinite. Any label you give yourself limits yourself.” Deepak Chopra




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