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  • Writer's pictureJ.L. Whitehead

It will get better

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

I remember feeling so alone when I was in my teens. The feelings of being surrounded by people that could not have cared less about my well-being engulfed me every day. I felt locked in by thoughts of inadequacy and inferiority amid the isolation that abuse causes. I could not find my way out. It was like being in a fun house where you keep seeing your image in a mirror thinking that this was the way out, only to hit another wall of glass.

I felt like no one could save me. My sexuality had engulfed my whole life. Back then, everything was sex…except it was with boys instead of girls. Trying to fit in was useless but that didn’t stop me from trying. Having a quick wit came out as sarcasm. Thanks to my uncle who molested me at age six, and my three back-to-back abusers who took what little self-esteem I had, I felt like I was drowning in a sea of anger mixed with sadness and self-doubt. Nothing made sense emotionally. No guidance counselor could help me. I was another lost black soul that no one outside of my family really cared about. Although I never shed real tears about this, I noticed that every day I would gain the hunched over walk of someone that had no self-esteem making myself a prime target for neighborhood and schoolyard bullies.

I am saying all of this to let you know that I understand all too well how you feel. I am talking to the person that feels so alone that you think that the only way out may be to end your life as you know it. I felt that way once. Since my father was not there, there was no one to teach me how to be a man. I knew in my heart of hearts that he didn’t want me and nothing hurt worse than that at the time. There was no one to guide me and the one person that should have been there was off living his best life with another woman and her three daughters. I met them and I saw firsthand how well protected they were.

Photo by Adam Jicha

And yet through all that, I survived. I came out on the other side of the fire. I grew up after making more than my fair share of mistakes. I became a man that is confident in himself and in everything I do. I longed to be effective in making a difference in the world. I do not know what that looks like or even if I am doing it at this very moment.

I am here to let you know that you are not alone…it just feels that way. I survived the very worst. You may be living through something much worse than me. Maybe the worst has already passed and now you are left grieving who you would have been; stuck with the broken person that you are now.

I want to let you know that you are not broken. There is a better “you” out there. You have to find him/her. You may feel like there is nothing left to live for. Please understand that there is so much more to life than just pain. You will find that one person who believes enough in you to love you past whatever painful past that has held you in place.

If you are in pain, I am here to let you know that it will not last forever. It just feels that way. You will survive this. You will live through this and thrive. You will grow to be a wonderful person…it just does not feel that way right now.

Life will not be all puppy dogs and kittens. Life will and can often be down-right grimy and nasty. You may experience the very worst that humanity has to offer. And you may not realize this yet, but you are a fighter. You will survive what was taken from you. You are not to blame for anything that someone else has done.

You will be okay.

It will be okay.

Life has the uncanny ability of working itself out. Believe me when I say that as an abuse survivor, I can attest to this fact.

I do not know what compelled me to write this piece. I can only think that somewhere out there, someone is hurting and hopefully this is the message that they needed to hear. And if that person happens to be you, I want to let you know that it is going to be okay. It will get better.

~ J.L. Whitehead

National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-7273

Chat at

Text – START to 88788

RAINN (Rape and Incest National Network) – 800-656-HOPE (4673)

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