Today should be considered a good day. I went to student placement. Facilitated my first ever proper workshop. I got wonderful feedback from the young people I worked with. My supervisor was so impressed with the planning I did.
But I went home and wanted to cry.
A little voice inside my head didn't think I was good enough. A little voice told me that no, the constructive criticism I was given wasn't constructive at all. That I just wasn't good enough and I'd stuffed everything up.
As the night went on, I couldn't shake this feeling of negativity. I wanted it to go away but it wouldn't. That little voice stayed.
And then it hit me. That little voice wasn't my own voice. It was hers. The little voice I heard my whole life. She had told me I wasn't good enough. Called me fat. Told me nobody would ever love me. Told me if I didn't change myself, my now husband would leave.
That little voice told me for almost three decades that I wasn't good enough. And I believed it.
And she was one of the main reasons why I didn't speak of my child sexual abuse for 20 years.
She is the reason why I still doubt myself - no matter how much my husband says he is proud of me, no matter how successful I am in my life, no matter how much my loved ones feel inspired by who I am.
And it hurts. So much.
Because I know, all I ever wanted as a child was for her to say she was proud.
To say she was proud that I raised $200 for a charity when I was 14.
To say she was proud that I was running 25 websites at the same age and offered a web design job at 15.
To say she was proud that I chose to study Psychology to help people.
To say she was proud that I wasn't like other typical teenagers.
To say she was proud that I am who I am, in spite of what society tries to mould you into becoming.
To say she was proud not because of how much weight I'd lost, how young I looked despite becoming a parent, or anything meaningless like that.
I wanted her to be proud because I'd made something of myself.
For her to be proud that I am who I am.
I want so badly not to need her validation. Not to be crying as I write this.
I want so badly to have told her first when he started abusing me.
But I never wanted to tell her. Not that. Not anything.
As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I will always have my ups and downs.
And today, in spite of my success at student placement, I find it hard to celebrate.
I don't have her to call on to share my day with. I don't have her to tell me she's proud. I don't have her to understand the pain I have endured my whole life. I don't have any of them feeling the exact heartbreak I felt at pretending to smile and keeping this inside for so bloody long.
I chose to walk away because it was right for me. And I have never looked back.
But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.
That I don't cry at what I've lost as a child. That I don't feel ready to give up sometimes.
That I can't be intimate with my husband sometimes because the flashbacks are too strong and it hurts too much to fight the traumatic memories of what was done to me.
But although it hurts, I will work hard to see the good. To push out her voice. To believe in the goodness of every voice who has ever believed in me.
To listen carefully to my husband's words of love and pride. To picture the faces of my three children who are so proud that I am their Mummy.
To remember all the people who believe in me and are still believing in me.
To remember that one voice means nothing when you have so many others rooting for you, cheering for you.
So, as I continue to relax and unwind from my busy day of placement, I'm going to remind myself that these things take time.
That I'm still on my journey.
That 20 years is a long time to keep a secret.
That it's only been 1.5 years since I told someone for the first time.
That I am still healing, recovering, learning to move past the pain of what happened to me.
I need to show myself kindness and self-compassion.
I need to stop being so hard on myself.
I need to remember that the expectations I place on myself have been because of her and because of him.
And despite what I've endured, I am one brave, strong woman.
And I am destined for so many great things.
So, it's time to forget the validation from her. I don't need it. I don't want it.
All that matters is I know who I am. I know how inspiring and amazing I am. I know that there is always room for improvement but that doesn't make me less of a person or any less great.
Thankfully, there are no more tears dripping down my face.
It's 12.30am, I have a book next to me and I'm smiling. Ready to have my well-deserved break.
Today has, in fact, been a good day :)
Thuy Yau is a freelance writer who loves spreading positivity through her work. She is very passionate about psychology, personal development, child protection and the environment. Her writing has appeared on major Australian news sites and been discussed on radio. She is also studying to become a Youth Worker. She lives in Perth, Australia with her husband and three young children. Check out her motivational blog at Inside a Mother's Mind.