Trigger Warning

I want you to hear me, in my own voice, speaking my own words.  Click “Play” to hear me read this blog post in audio format.

 

***  TRIGGER WARNING:  This post contains mention of sexual trauma, rape, and suicide.  If you are in a space where it will be better for your mental health to avoid these subjects, I honor your commitment to self care and invite you to stop reading now.  Although the post is ultimately about healing and resilience, I understand that we are all dealing with our own stuff, and that sometimes we need to hold space for our own feelings and healing process before we can bear witness to someone else’s.  ***

TRIGGER WARNING

I was scrolling through facebook today
innocently enough
when I got the wind knocked out of me

by a man
who I’ve never met
and never will.

His argument is irrelevant
the exact words don’t matter

what matters is the way those words made me feel.

My first reaction was to get angry and
I wanted to make him disappear
to regain some control.

My mouse hovered over the block button and I thought
if I just make him disappear
I’m not acknowledging the way his words made me feel

I’d be reacting
knee-jerk, hair-trigger
reacting.

Now I know that sometimes
blocking the ones who we find intolerable is a very, very good thing.

Being able to delete the ones who hurt us from our online experience
is a form of self care.

But here’s the thing.
This person didn’t intend to hurt me, and his words,
while ignorant,
were not intentionally harmful.
They touched a sore spot
a tender, aching nerve.

I want to do more than just run from these feelings, I told myself.

It’s time to look at the wound.

So I looked, and

his words made me feel small, unimportant, unworthy of being heard.
they reminded me of a time when I felt powerless
when I had my boundaries crossed in the most terrible way
and I didn’t tell anyone because
I didn’t think anyone would believe me, and
to be honest
I was so fucked up by previous trauma and rape culture in general
that I didn’t realize at first that something terrible had happened to me.

When I did tell someone, they blamed me.
Screamed the word slut at me as they drove down the street beside me, slowly
while I walked to high school.

When I went to the doctor to be sure that I hadn’t contracted a disease
as the result of what was done to me
and I wanted to close my legs, close my eyes, shrink away
from his examination
he was frustrated with me.

That stranger on the internet…  Will never know how much pain his careless words caused
his laughing, smug, words.

He will never know about the time I was sexually assaulted in broad daylight in a shopping mall
in a store, by the shopkeeper
and that when I found the courage, this time, to go to the Police
through gritted teeth
trembling and struggling to find my voice
and spilled what had happened to me
white knuckled
to the officer,

she said,

“I’m sorry but since it didn’t happen in this city,
you will need to go report it to the police station where it took place.

I
can’t
help
you.”

That person will never know about the time my friend was raped in her sleep
by her traveling companion
and she called me,
suicidal
the next day,
wanting to die because of what had happened
and how she refused to tell the police because

they would not help her.

Because it would be her word against his.

Because then her boyfriend would know what had happened and then he might break up with her.

No.

That stranger on the internet will never know.

I sat with these feelings, like cold lumps in my throat, my chest, my gut.

I looked at them until the rage evaporated and what was left was the truth.

grief
pain
loss
frustration
deep sadness
a longing to be heard
a fear of speaking up

And as I sat with these parts of myself
I looked on them with the most

Courageous
Gentle
Resilient
Love.

“You survived.”

I told them.

“You survived and you healed and you are healing.”

And I thanked them.  I thanked those pieces of my spirit for not giving up
or succumbing to bitterness and hate
For choosing love
again and again.

I am here because I choose love.

I do what I do because I choose love.

I am love.

I AM LOVE.

and the thing about love is
you can’t break it.

You can’t shrink it or silence it or stop it

You can’t squash it or ridicule it or forget it

You can’t contain it.

You can’t extinguish it.

You can’t control it.

So, breathing slowly.
one hand on my gut
one hand on my throat
Reiki flowing
mantra playing softly in the background

I came home to myself.

I remembered myself.

Love.

I am not Love in spite of everything that I’ve lived through.

I am Love because of everything I have lived through.

Every aching second, every jubilant success

sculpted me into who I am today.

Sometimes, when I feel triggered, it’s easy to forget that.

But I did not fight so hard to find my Self

only to let Her go so easily.

So,

Dear Stranger on the Internet:

Thank you.

You will never know how much HEALING your careless words caused.

Your careless words were a catalyst today

Your careless words reminded me of who I AM.

© Krystle Ash, all rights reserved. 2018

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