Riding horseback in Ireland. Bucket list- another check!
Honey, I’m good.
I have written about abuse, trauma, bullying and how society is so skewed. I have written of the unfairness of things. I have written about love.
Love is my favorite.
Bad things happen. And we get to grieve. We have a right to our reactions and our feelings no matter how they play out. No one gets a say in how we manage. No one gets a vote on how we survive.
The aftermath of tragedy and trauma is stifling. The effects are physical, psychological and social, at least.
The result of my sexual abuse smothered me. Living with it is much like being suffocated by a pillow. For years, I struggled to breathe. I could gasp, and that kept me going. It was no way to live.
I just could not get enough air.
My abuse did a tattoo on me. It wormed its way into the deepest part of me and, like a parasite devoured me. The worse I felt, the more I fed it.
And much like metastasized cancer this malady took over.
Finally, I decided that feeling broken had to stop. I needed a new baseline.
We have the right and responsibility to come up for air and take charge of our lives and reclaim our joy.
I made a conscious decision, a conscious commitment to put the kibosh on low self-worth, anxiety, and sorrow parasitically existing in my soul. And Honey, that took YEARS. And I am still at it.
I am not fully there yet. I know that it is not possible to squeegee my past so that my screen is clean. But I can squeegee my mirror so that I get a clearer picture of myself, a picture that is not smeared and muddled.
I have said before that there is great power in vulnerability. One may think that vulnerability is a weakness. It is nothing of the sort. Quite to the contrary.
Vulnerability takes strength. It takes courage, and it takes Moxie.
My cousin, Laura and I have recently co-founded Say It, Survivor (sayitsurvivor.com,) an organization committed to shedding a light on sexual abuse, helping other survivors to stand firmly in their stories and putting an end to this horrible epidemic.
We have had an overwhelming onslaught of love and support. We have heard from thousands all over the world; People are speaking up, reclaiming themselves and joining our bandwagon. It is awesome.
Often there is the predictable reaction when I share my story. Folks are uncomfortable (understandable,) profusely sorry and express pity.
Another reaction that I have heard more often than not is, “But you are so NORMAL!” That one makes me chuckle.
But Folks, there is no pity-party happening, At all. Not even a smidge of a pity party.
Then, there is the other side of the peanut gallery. Brace yourself.
There are haters. There are those who believe that we are trying to attract attention to ourselves. These are the people who gaff and roll their eyes and call us sensationalists. There are those who think that this is self-serving. There are those who are aghast that we would bear such “private” information about our past.
“Private.” That is why we are doing this. We are trying to tell our private stories and encourage others to do so. Privacy equates to secrecy and that in turn evokes shame.
Shame. That is the cancer, the malady I am talking about.
There are people with whom I was close. Friends who I kept for years. I have not heard from them. That is ok. For some, it is too painful and may stir up their emotions or past. I understand and continue to send love to them. I hope they heal if they have not already.
For some, it is not a “nice” topic.
Some, believe it or not, are embarrassed by me. And that is all good information.
Everyone has the right to their opinions and feelings. I can no sooner judge other’s opinion of me personally or of my charge. I am an activist and people are not going to like me or what I am doing.
That’s not going to change.
I am sad for people who have that perspective. It must be painful to live with a perspective like that.
I have compassion for them.
In my painful past, where I was suffering from parasitic self-loathing and insecurity I would be defensive and hurt and embarrassed over this.
Laura and I did not choreograph our dance. It was improvisational. We did not premeditate what happened at the Carlisle Police Station on January 18. My car turned itself into that parking lot.
Our story is not exceptional nor is it unique. We are not heroes. We are just two women who decided to take charge and find peace in telling our stories to anyone who would listen, And Officer Paul Smith did just that.
Our charge is not self-serving. We have plainly decided to do what I said. We decided to take charge and shake it up like a snow globe.
And every serendipitous turn, every co-incidence were God moments. We are not thankful for our abuse. Not at all. But we also refuse to stay mired in it. We refuse to be victims.
In Say It, Survivor we are working for a greater good. It is healing and empowering to help others.
“Honey, I’m Good.”
Thank you for your kindness and compassion and love. Thank you for the outpouring of support. Thank you for spreading the word. Thank you for holding hands with Say It, Survivor.
But All, please don’t view me broken because quite to the contrary I am better than ever. I am empowered and charged up and ready to take this on. I am privileged and honored for those who have faith and put their trust in us.
What a privilege.
There is something powerful, cathartic and joyful in putting one’s pain to work. And ill-wishers shall be ill-wishers.
And I will bear witness to others with kindness, compassion and love.
Love is my favorite.
Let’s change the world, Friends.