My First “Big Talk”

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Today is April 23, 2013 and the last couple of days have been emotionally enriched in a way that I have been in need of for months now. I’ve spent the last several months living in the mindset of how I’m not getting what I want for myself. Be it financially, personally or professionally I wasn’t feeling satisfied and to be honest I’ve been feeling selfish. I wanted someone else to do something for me without me having to ask for it. The thing is that people were doing for me in their own ways and I wasn’t appreciating it because it wasn’t in a way that I wanted it to look.

By honoring a commitment that I made, I turned my focus from myself to others. On April 21 I read a poem at the Crime Victims’ Rights Candlelight Vigil. I stayed for the rest of the vigil and was so moved by those that shared their stories of survival. I myself am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and to be in a space with so many people there to support, remember and share themselves was powerful. I cried more than I have in a very long time and part of that was due to the stories that I heard. I haven’t been able to clarify for myself what my own personal feelings were that were being expressed through tears yet, I’m just glad that they were expressed. Last night, April 22, I spoke at Broadway Unlocked, which was a benefit concert created to raise money for an incredible organization named the Crime Victims Treatment Center. This organization offers counseling to men and women whom are survivors of sexual abuse/assault and domestic violence for FREE. They are also the only organization in all of NY to offer these services to men. I am a former client and was honored to get to speak and share my story last night.

An individual approached me after I spoke and thanked me for sharing my story because they are not in a place to share their own and in hearing those words I was moved to tears. That exchange was why I said yes to speaking, it’s why I write this blog and it’s why I love being a performer. What used to drive my desire to perform was what I was getting out of it and as I got older and met more people I noticed that I had an impact on others and I consider that a great responsibility and one that I don’t want to squander. I may or may not get a video clip of my speech, but in the mean time I’m going to include the text of my speech in this blog.

“Good evening everyone. As I look around the room I am so pleased to see so many faces here in support of the CVTC. From the faces of those that work for the center to those that have been so moved by the work done there to volunteer their time and energy to make this evening possible. My own connection to the CVTC is why I accepted the invitation to speak tonight. I am the face of a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. A face that has graduated from both High School and College, traveled around the world as a performer, worked on Broadway and who is living a life greater than I ever knew it would be. Each survivor’s journey is different and the impact of the abuse on their lives is just as different. Tonight, I’ll be sharing some of my journey with you.

Though my abuse happened when I was just 7 or 8 years old, I’m going to start my story at my college years. Once I got to college I had the safety of distance from family to embrace my homosexuality and I found that it was easy to attract men. For years, men were just objects to me because I had very little emotional connection with any of them. Every now and then I would meet someone that would get beyond the wall I had up, but I always felt that I had to be in control of how much I gave of myself. Without truly sharing myself with someone, I could fool them into thinking that I was an open book, which would in turn endure them to me, causing them to get more attached. There was a satisfaction that I got from their admiration. For the majority of the men I met while in college, I truly saw them as objects, not anyone I was interested in a future with.

Now lets fast-forward to my life here in NY. I’ve dated a few different wonderful men and during those relationships I had either successfully cheated, or attempted to cheat on each guy. At the time I didn’t know why I would make the choice to put such a wonderful relationship at risk on more than one occasion. I would ask myself every question that I could think to ask. I even went so far as to ask my dad why he cheated on my mother because I thought that maybe in hearing his answer I would get some type of insight into my own behavior. Thinking that maybe the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree? After much self-analysis with no results I knew that I needed someone else to start asking the questions and that’s when I decided to call the CVTC.

Today, I have absolutely no delusions as to why I cheated. I know that it was for one simple reason. Fear. Specifically the fear of not having control. I had spent years conditioning my mind so that I would always be in control sexually, making sure that someone else would not take that control away again. I have since learned how damaging this mindset can be to a relationship because in my attempt to hold so tightly to that control, I wasn’t allowing myself to open up and share so much of the love that I truly know I have to offer.

Without the CVTC I don’t know when or even if I would have come to this understanding. There are no words to express how grateful I am for the help that they have given to me. I consider it a great responsibility and pleasure to speak tonight because I believe that by sharing my story, someone somewhere will not have to keep living inside of their own.”

Antuan RaimoneComment