An intruder takes what was not given and the demons of shame and blame wreak havoc on what’s left. Speak. What if no one believes me? You quiver. Step out you brave soul and meet your stronger self who survived what was meant to destroy you. Stand and know you stand with many. Head held high. Arms wrapped around yourself. The blame nor the load is yours to carry. Let them go when you’re ready and you will find the unconditional love gushing from your heart. Its only desire is to get through.
He visited and you shook. Numb. She stole and you wept. The distant memory, ever near and equally potent. You were present and absent. Void and whole. Violated and purified. Washed clean from the days, nights, weeks and months of a visit you didn’t ask for. An empty soul seeking a home and life it hopes to generate from a light within your spirit it cannot reach. But they try. The quest continues. The thirst left unquenched. The ashes of shame try to kill the flame of a soul so strong. The essence of who you are remains intact. Your heart hurts and internal light dimmed; but you are not irrevocably broken.
Speak. Your secret, hopes you will. Let me out. Tell your truth though a few may not believe you, but the chosen will. Let it out and be set free. I believe, says one. And so do I. And I. And I. The temptress of isolation wants to keep you silent. The persecution of self-judgment taunts you to take your life: “It’s your fault. You are dirty and useless; desired and unwanted. You are life’s rejected. No one will believe you. Sssh, keep me as your secret and I will be your forever friend. Nurse this wound with the scraps that life permits you – moving forward, that’s all you will ever deserve.”
A distant light begins to chip away at the rocks blocking the path. Small steps. Low voice. A little trust. A few tears. A brave soul. A bold step forward. Deep breathe. One last sigh. You dear friend have a story to tell. You stood on mountains in the valley wanting to simply make it over. Here you are. We believe you. I believe you. Come forward. Your body never held you responsible for not protecting it from another who it did not want. Forgive yourself. You dear heart are stronger and braver than you know. We need you. I need you. Live beyond a past that wants nothing more than to destroy you. It whispers your unworthiness in the quiet and tries to steal your joy from rising. The tug of war between life and death continues. The memories want nothing more than to keep you from believing that you have already risen from the ashes of shame. The secrets whisper lies as truth in your own voice. The internal dialogue hypnotizing you to believe that this is it. The meditation humming sweetly for you to accept that the reality is the extent of your existence. To believe that is to fall into the blackness of the night(s) that tried to steal your life.
Dear Maya knew why the caged birds sang. Antwan Fisher asked who would cry for the little boy who died and died again. Oprah shared her deepest shame and darkest secrets and pulled her out, and him out and many out and inside a quiet you out. In isolation you are fed the lie that no one cares, no one will believe you, you are unloved, you are to blame, you are not enough and too much. Come closer, your secret will no longer hurt you. Let me tell you what it tries to mute: You matter. You are loved. Nothing and no one can steal the core of who you are. You didn’t tell – do you want to? You told and no one believed you – I believe you. We believe you. You are safe from your horrors and free from your past. Step forward. Embrace the wind of life and allow it to move you forward. No longer will you cry yourself to sleep or lay in bed unable to close your eyes from fear of the dark. You are far from alone and in safe company. One person over, a little boy, little girl, young lady, valedictorian, the extra shy, the known and unknown stay covered and quiet. They need you as you need them.
Stand. Step forward. Hold your head high. Breathe. You are whole and wonderful and beautifully free. In forgiving yourself you break the chains of mental slavery keeping us captive to a life not our own. We set others free. We laugh. We cry. We share and when ready we speak. In our deepest thought and darkest moments, we dig deep to survive and find ourselves richer than we could ever have imagined. The life rocker finds us flat on our faces, but not for long. Resurrected in the belief that as Brian Zahnd so eloquently wrote in “What to do on the worst day of your life”: “Faith is the audacity to believe…that unfathomable goodness can come from unbearable tragedy. Faith is the audacity to believe that when you have lost it all, you will not only recover all, but you will also live to celebrate recovery. Faith is the audacity to believe that in the midst of the ashes of ruin you will again dance for joy. Tell yourself this. Dare to believe it. Take the leap of faith. Let faith fly in the face of reason, and courageously proclaim that you will dance again, that you will celebrate recovery, that beauty will come forth from the ashes of loss, and that in the end you will be better off than before! I know this isn’t easy. This is not common faith; this is audacious faith, exceptional faith!”
The caged bird has sang and we have cried for the little boys and girls Antwan. From beneath the ashes of your deepest shame and darkest secrets we pull her out and him out and you out. Life wants you alive and present and so do I. You are a force to be reckoned with, if it were not so I would not have told you so.
Walk on the waters of judgment and opinions, and they will be muted by your stride. Stand firm in the face of interrogation knowing you owe no one an explanation. You reported it, or not. Know you did the best you could, when you could. Shall another escape the predator’s plan, due to a journey you shared? Or shall the enemy lose a soldier in his camp due to prayers said, rewired thinking and an increased esteem that reminds them of who they really are. Their void is filled. Their conscious seeks help, and you are free.
For every 2 minutes spent reading this, at least one person was sexually assaulted. This means we all know at least one person who has endured this experience. Remove the judgement, mute the opinions, and when someone shares their story, be the ear they need. It could be what saves their life. Be a ‘life-giver’.
In recognition of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.