Tag Archive: Blog


It’s finally stopped raining here in Southern California and today’s blue sky is a welcome sight. This week, as I’ve tried to shake off whatever this under-the-weather thing that has afflicted me and a number of my friends, I’m taking a long look at last year, and breathing in this fresh new one along with all the promises it brings.

Nelson Mandela Courage QuoteI realize that much of last year was spent creating new goals for myself, not least when I picked up archery once again, having enjoyed it back in my high school days. The feel of the bow in my hand and hearing the thuck of my arrow hitting the target was all kinds of wonderful. Of course, a tiny part of my rekindling the archery romance might be my love for Hawkeye and having spent last year binge-reading my way through Marvel’s Hawkeye comics, I still tell myself it was mostly nostalgia. Mostly.

Annie Bergin Archery

And then there’s Hapkido. In 2014 I had extensive knee surgery which led to a year of intensive therapy to get the mobility back. Last year I started taking Hapkido and working with Master Sayed at the American Hapkido Karate Academy to build up its strength, with the added bonus of learning a martial art in the process. In May I achieved my first belt (Orange) and was very excited. After a few knee setbacks which saw me return to class in the fall, I ended the year with my much-anticipated second belt, Yellow.


I finished the year with new headshots by the fantastically talented Mark Atteberry and his eye for detail is incredible, as verified by his amazing Instagram (so it’s not just me being biased). The next few months will include marketing them to casting directors in the hopes of unlocking many new auditions for me.

Quite a few people see 2016 as the year that hated us, bringing with it losses like the wonderful Alan Rickman, Nancy Reagan, David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds to name but a few. Though it’s hard not to attribute human emotions onto the passage of time, 2016 has certainly dealt an unfair share of punches and I, for one, am glad the year is behind us.

One of the most emotional blog contributions I’ve submitted to this blog site was written last summer. In it I spoke of how the events of my past were once the core of my existence and how I let it shape and define every part of my life but that I was now choosing to no longer allow My Story to be my defining. I called the blog, “Live in the lower case“.

The fallout from this blog was unexpected. While the majority of those who read it were deeply moved by my honesty, this reaction wasn’t universal. I learned that while I was choosing to move forward with confidence, there were a few I once wanted to be close to who instead took umbrage at My Story, for they believe such things are meant to be kept in the darkness and not brought into the light. I’m sad to say that their support and understanding was not forthcoming.

I made the difficult decision to draw a line in the sand and walk away from these lifelong connections for the betterment of my soul and my future, and entered into the new year released from the burden of twisting myself into a pretzel of their defining. Though a part of me is pained by the estrangement, there is a sense of liberation within myself that I can now live my life according to my own definitions.

While the earth dries from the storms of the last few weeks, and while we each find our groove as we navigate this new year, I hope each of you pray for the courage to chase new challenges, and the strength to leave behind anything that is detrimental to your story.

Much love and Happy New Year

Annie

xo

Live in the lower case

Everyone has something that defines them. Whether it is something heroic, or a challenge they’ve overcome, or a spectacular failure they vow never to repeat, we all have something. It’s the yard stick we measure all else against, but sometimes it’s a pain we fiercely hold onto lest we forget its lessons and find ourself knee deep in the very thing we’ve spent our whole lives running from.

I call mine, My Story.

It was a long time ago now, but My Story begins when I was ten years old. I was sexually abused by someone with authority over me. He raped me once, and I remember staring at the corner of the doorframe as the world crushed against my chest and my legs, while I willed my mind to imagine what it would feel like to be a tiny bug crawling up the doorframe. There was no option to scream or cry for I’d been manipulated into making a deal – one that I carried the weight of for years to come – where I would do whatever was asked of me if it meant my siblings would remain unharmed and oblivious. Despite the breaking of my character, and the theft of my innocence, I learned a long time later that he’d actually kept his word.

My parents suspected. The abuse went on for many months until one day I said that I didn’t want this person’s authority over me any more. They respected my wishes, but they never asked for details and, for years after, I never told them. When I finally broke my silence, at an age where I was old enough not to be removed from my home, things in my life began to fall apart.

There was a lot of guilt and shame when people suddenly learned My Story. There was the close friendship of our families to deal with. There was the deafening silence from those who knew the truth but didn’t want to get involved. Then there was the chipping away at my story and my soul with words like “if that’s what really happened”, or being expected to get over it without structure or support. Amidst it all, it was hard to consider myself a victim of his abuse for I’d helped write the rules: trading me for them. Unprotected and alone, I struggled through My Story now loose inside our community, but with my trauma being a private anguish nobody wanted to help me through.

I look back on My Story, and I’m desperately sad for the child-me that went through all of that with nobody there to defend nor protect them. I’m angry at the family who let the perpetrator do these things, and at those who revealed I wasn’t the only person whose childhood was stolen by this terrible person. I’m angry for the friendship between our families that went on through the years until long after I was married and living in America, in spite of My Story. But mostly I grieve for thinking that God, Himself had left me in the midst of it to fend for myself.

Last week was a powerful one for me. I learned that I don’t have to carry the weight of My Story with me everywhere, all the time, by myself. My beloved church family and I were at our regular bible study, and testimony was being shared of how God had brought different people through the horror of Their Story, and transformed them into people of grace and forgiveness, and hope.

It was hard for me to process though, for hearing other people’s pain from being abused hurts those parts of me that want to take their pain away, but knows it isn’t possible while my own is out of control. The tsunami of guilt and grief overwhelmed me and I had to leave the room lest I unravel completely and let the ugly stain that is My Story wash into the room and ruin everything.

Unbeknown to me, my beautiful church family heard a little of My Story, and were – at that moment – praying for me. I found a peace and a courage growing inside me to be able to walk back into the room and sit among them, puffy eyes and all.

God filled me with such warmth and gentleness that I didn’t feel the pain of My Story weighing me down. I even got to share my gratitude for this beautiful family He has given me, and acknowledge that I’m not alone.

I know it’s going to be a long journey before I can unpack it all and leave My Story at the feet of Jesus. But that’s okay. This week I got to take the straps off my shoulder and see that I’m closer than I think. It’s also dawning on me that I’m not alone at all, but the enemy wants me to think I am. An army of God’s warriors surround me, in flesh and in spirit.

Now here is why I’m sharing this with you. I know what it’s like to allow yourself to be defined by your story. My Story is a part of me but it’s not the whole sum of who I am. It’s a small piece of an intricate puzzle that is me, and it’s not the only – or even the first – thing people see when they look at me. When I smother it into silence, it grows in power until the darkness of My Story is like a deafening roar determined to destroy everything it touches. But here’s the funny thing. My Story is a liar. It’s a little part of me that those who love me can already see, yet they love me anyway. The only one who was truly afraid of My Story was me.

But no more.

When I shared this on Facebook, a friend said to me, “Live in the lower case.” What a great motto to adopt, don’t you think?

My name is Annie Bergin, and I survived rape and sexual abuse. It’s my story (lower case), but it’s only a small part of who I am. I’m a fighter. I’m a warrior. And I have an army.

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