An Open Letter to Anyone Who Needs It

TW: sexual assault, trauma

To the Kindred Spirits This May Concern:

I am pleased to inform you that you’ve made it this far. To this moment, reading a piece that’s probably painful, but hopefully healing. You have survived to this very moment. And isn’t that something? You’re living and breathing and bringing light to the world, even if it feels like you’re caught in a hurricane.

I could sing Annie! and declare the sun will come out tomorrow – and it will – but that’s not the point of these words. This is for you, stuck at sea when the waves are rough and clouds blur the horizon. This is for you, when the clouds break and the water calms, and you wonder if there ever even was a storm. Some storms last longer than others, but they do eventually run their course.

It’s not even really about seeing the sun again, but getting through today when the clouds are dark and the air feels heavy. That is not an easy task. It’s okay to admit that making it to sunrise feels impossible.

But you made it to this one! And that is something to be proud of. I am so proud of you.

It’s not your fault you relate to this, it’s not your fault you were even put in a situation that makes this real. And I’m sorry for all of the nights you stayed up as the memories crawl out of your mind and under your skin. I’m sorry for the days you talked about the nights that haunt your dreams. I’m sorry for the times you blamed yourself, tried to shrink yourself down to a place the monsters can’t reach. I’m sorry for the days your eyes welled up with tears trying to explain the words that feel like fire in your throat. I’m sorry for the nights it felt no one was listening. I’m sorry for the days you couldn’t cry and the nights you couldn’t stop. I see you. And I’m sorry.

It’s like striking a match, isn’t it? A quick little snap and the world is on fire. It shouldn’t ignite like this.

You should not be subjected to horrible feelings at the behest of someone else, made to carry the weight of their actions and words. I know you are tired of bearing this hurt when it is so much easier to be angry. I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and not recognize the person looking back. I know the pain of hearing the voices of people who hurt you echo through your brain. I know the emptiness, I know the anger and the sadness. I know it is hard to sit with and fight and work through the things that have been done to you.

This is not something you have to carry yourself and I hope you believe me when I say you are not alone.

It is exhausting to cope in a world that won’t allot space for it. It is heavy when we are told we asked for it, wanted it, gave the vibes for it; when we are not believed for things that happen everyday. We are constantly confronted with attacks on our character, our reproductive organs, our bodies, our lives. We need rest.

Every day we wake up and face a world where safety is never guaranteed, even less so at the intersections of identity. We have been forced to grow, flowers through cement that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Let our lives be a declaration to hear us and see us. Feel, smell, taste us at our discretion. Our survival is an homage to the generations before us that went through it, too. Our survival is a gift to generations after, who will be a little better off because we are talking about it now. Our survival honors ourselves.

You have blossomed, flourished, survived it. Survival is the hardest part, especially when your brain doesn’t want to, and it is okay to acknowledge that. Your body is yours and yours alone, even when it feels like it isn’t. It is heavy, but it’s easier to carry heavy things with friends. I am so proud of you.

You are full of a life to be lived and loved, with ambitions and joys and beauty. The things you experienced can not take that away. Reclaim your autonomy and passions. Reacquaint yourself with laughter, and let good things in even when the bad feels all-consuming. Let’s strike a match and burn down these systems. But first, rest.

What a radical concept.

Warmest Regards,

E

If you need it, here’s a link to resources provided by leading survivor resource foundation, RAINN, including a confidential hotline if you need to talk. You don’t have to do this alone.

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