Why Your Past Does Not Define You or Make You Foolish
Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
You turn away from the world because you believe the mistakes you have made are tattooed all over your body and that is all the world can see; marks of shame you cannot wipe clean, no matter how many years you scrub your skin until no more blood can seep from your pores still stained with filth and sin.
You turn away from the world because you believe you are defined by your past, by the choices you made when there were no other choices — that you are bound to the girl you once were by the invisible ropes still tied around your hands and feet, held in place by words of shame that will never deliver you from their grasp.
You turn away from the world because you believe you are not deserving to hold your head high and look it in the eye. You carry a scarlet letter upon your forehead that will blind those who dare to look your way, and you cannot stand to see the way they turn their face from your tainted humanity.
You forget, foolish girl.
You forget what you have survived.
You forget you fought alone against the world when your hands were too small to defeat the weight of it, and so you took it on as your own even though it almost crushed you.
You forget you were betrayed by those who should have protected you and so you barricaded yourself behind hard edges and sharp corners and promised to never trust or need another again.
You forget the way love was shown as abuse and abuse was shown as love and the shame you were forced to carry because of the way you longed to be loved even when that looked like abuse.
You forget you sat alone in a room filled with despair as your hands shook, and in that moment when you could have chosen death, you chose life.
You forget you have every reason to be hard, but you choose to remain soft. You have every reason to hate, but you choose to show mercy. You have every reason to cast judgment, but you choose to speak grace. You have every reason to fuck this world the way it has fucked you, but you choose to heal it instead.
You forget you have survived what many people never could.
Foolish girl, you are not foolish at all.
You are a warrior. You are strength. You are bravery. You are courage. You are hope. You are light. You are truth. You are love. You are survival. You are kindness. You are wisdom. You are redemption. You are transformation. You are revolution.
To love, and to be loved.
You just need to believe it.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.
If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
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Unsplash photo via Erik Cid