For the past few weeks my social media and I imagine yours too have been flooded with #metoo statuses and disclosures. There was a gut feeling, a reaction to these stories that I did not expect. The more articles I read, the more I realized there were unresolved incidents in my own life that I needed to process. I wanted to remind myself and others of ways we can take care of ourselves in the midst of trauma.
1) Your story is yours.
I believe in telling our stories and standing in our truth, to the extent where telling that truth sets you free and you are ready.
For some people, telling their story shines a spotlight on shame and eradicates it. It's that release from putting down the secret one has been holding for so long.
For others, telling their story comes with reliving the incident all over again and without support can be counterproductive to healing. And every experiences of telling the story can run the gamut and be different. Your story is yours to tell on your own terms- when, how and to whom.
2) It's not your fault.
If you need to process and talk about what has happened, please reach out for support; you have the right to non-judgemental and unconditional positive regard. We believe you. It really doesn't matter what you were wearing, what time of night it was, or whether you had been drinking. These questions come from a place of seeking blame and shifting accountability. To be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area, you can call 800.656.HOPE (4673).
3) You are so more than a story.
I believe that we are so much more than the culmination of the terrible things that have happened to us. I remember working with survivors and I would ask, what are your strengths? Most often I would get a blank stare. I would then ask, what are you good at? What do you like to do? What makes you happy?
Then a different set of floodgates would open, not the floodgates of trauma; floodgates of joy. Eyes would light up and I would get responses like:
I am a good mom!
I love to cook!
I can fix cars!
I can make art from scraps!
Creativity, resilience, passion; this is who we are. We can find beauty, love and hope in seemingly dark and tragic spaces. The stories are what has happened to us, who we are is what we do with it; including making art from scraps.