First my apologies in taking so long to reply to all of the kind, thoughtful and humbling responses to my original post. At first I was just ashamed for having posted in the first place and then I was overwhelmed by the responses so much so that I decided I couldn't reply with a simple "thanks". I've waited some time to make sure I allowed myself time to process the responses and time to fully reply.
Toddop - you were the first to respond and no you did not "run wild with your response". It was thoughtful and compassionate. I simultaneously appreciated and regretted that you could relate to my post. I appreciate the beauty of your earth analogy and your encouragement to find my answer.
Puffer - I know you and I have spoken on how similar our experiences were and I appreciate your re-acknowledging I am not alone.
1lifenow - I love your forthright response and your encouragement to be brave. I struggle to recognize bravery in myself after all these years - I know it has taken a monumental amount of strength to survive, I just fail to credit myself with much of anything. Thank you.
Victor-victim - you nailed exactly my experience with the post. It was as if I was performing an exorcism on myself by publically purging the memories. I felt better after posting though it seemed the most contrary thing to do to share the awful experiences. "You are not what happened to you." I want to embody that expression. Thank you.
thepatient - "keep on keeping on". You might be psychic. This is something I almost only ever tell myself in my inner voice, though I say it to myself very, very often. I almost never say it out loud for fear it might reveal something too honest about how I'm feeling. Thank you for sharing this with me and in so doing making me recognize I am not alone in this struggle or in the difficulty of determining to keep on keeping on.
Onesimus75 - I love "TheCosmicSpaceMonkey"
I am, by my own choice (no longer in the faith by which I was raised) a Christian but your point is well made and accepted of rejecting the notion some higher power was tacit in any way. And I very much appreciate your point about our abuse having potential. This notion strikes at the very heart of a project I've been considering/researching/preparing for over two years but have yet to present. If I do the presentation I will think of the Cosmic Space Monkey smiling down on me as a I realize the potential of my surviving.
Thisman - I very much appreciate you sharing your understanding of the idea "I am not my story" and giving a personal example from your own life. This concept is as hard for me to internalize as the concept that I was/am brave. There are times I feel so deeply scarred by the abuse that I feel it defines and limits me. I want that freedom, if only fleeting, of knowing it does not define me and, yes, that there is some form of fulfilling some other need or purpose by surviving it all. Thank you.
Soccerstar - first thank you for your encouragement, it is very kind. Second and more importantly thank you for recognizing the value of the prior responses. I appreciate how well you rephrased the other posts regarding some "some cosmic moral" and that you regarded the same as not intended to challenge others' beliefs. I too appreciate the re-phrase of potential versus purpose.
Risingagain - I hope my response to your reply is taken as a genuine expression of thanks. My experience in reading your reply was as if your inner child was talking to my inner child in the honest language only children can speak. My heart was warmed by your response. Thank you very much.
Sam - my fellow WoR brother. Thank you for the virtual (((hug))). I managed to save the computer screen and yes the public purging was a good thing.
I remain in weekly therapy. I often share with my newest T how overwhelming it is to consider the abuse of over ten years in my childhood in the "big picture". I kid with my T that sometimes I wish there was some kind of limited lobotomy that could erase all those memories. I went from no memories to one recovered memory to dozens upon dozens of memories with no limit in sight though I can't really imagine anything worse than what I already remember at this point.
I have much to be thankful for as Thanksgiving quickly approaches - a wife, two sons who will never know that cycle and thankfully were born after my dad died, a good job and a nice home. I wish it were as simple as deciding to "be present" and "let go of the past" but the memories, body memories and flashbacks will likely never end.
As I mentioned above, I've been working on a project - a presentation to give regarding the effect of childhood abuse - I've been researching it for over two years. It has transitioned from an idea to thorough multi-disciplinary research to outline to handout with citations and to Powerpoint. If I give the presentation, the news of my disclosure as a survivor, given my position of authority in my profession, will likely spread state-wide quickly. And I think maybe that's what I need to do now - if I can help others be the difference in the lives of children - I can feel like there was a greater purpose or that I reached an ultimate potential in surviving the abuse. It's terrifying and feels right. It's funny because when I went to my first WoR - I told myself any time I feel uncomfortable, any time I feel like hiding and avoiding to answer or to participate in a group exercise or to volunteer for an activity - I decided I would do the opposite of what my fearful mind warned against - and it made for a very rewarding WoR experience. Maybe it is time to press forward to the next challenge.
My most sincere thanks to all of you for your responses. I will keep on keeping on to find and fulfill my greatest potential for my sake, to make the Cosmic Space Monkey proud and to be a survivor like all of you.