After I survived my sexual assault 12+ years ago, I tried as hard as I could to blend in physically, while screaming out and seeking understanding through my journaling and writing. I didn’t realize this is what I was doing at the time, but over the last two weeks, I’ve been exploring some new trauma that has surfaced, and a lot of seemingly unconnected dots are connecting.
When I decided I was too ashamed to tell anyone about my assault, I didn’t go to the police or the hospital. I didn’t tell anyone. I shut down and lost the connection I had with my body. My brain was spiraling, and my body was calling out to me. I wasn’t listening.
Over the years, while my brain shut down to this trauma, my body protected me from further violence by slowly changing my appearance. I gained weight. I started straightening my hair every day. I wore athletic clothes every day, and the only colors I wore were black, grey, and royal blue. I tried to sink into the background.
Now is not the time to hide. Now is the time to show up. Ferociously.
For our communities.
I won’t be hiding. In fact, I’m having a photoshoot to capture my essence in this moment in this life. I have never felt so good emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically. I want to see what that looks like in this moment. I want to give myself this gift.
This weekend I asked my stylist for unicorn hair and that’s exactly what I got. I’m done trying to blend in. I’ve been avoiding being seen for so long. No more. As for today and the black boxes, do what you want, show up how you want. You won’t get judgment from me, only love. Where I come from, black boxes means that someone died, so I won’t be triggering my old skydiving community with a black box. I stand with you no matter how you choose to support survivors.
Today, tomorrow, and every day therafter, you’ll be seeing my face. A lot of it. And hearing my voice. Nice and loud. Because I’m not hiding anymore. And neither should you.
SURVIVORS SCROLLING BY: I love you, I see you, I believe you, we got this.