“I should be saving lives on an operating table, not giving speeches about how I survived my sexual assault 12+ years ago.” I said that in an interview and recounted as such on a Facebook post shortly after booking this speaking tour with REI.
I was answering a question about my “mission” for @hikingmyfeelings. A big part of my “why” behind standing up and sharing my story is quite simple: my sexual assault derailed my life, and I managed to survive the derailment. So many survivors of sexual assault don’t process the trauma, don’t get help, and then they don’t understand why there is chaos in their mind, body, and soul. I say they, but I mean ME. That was me. #MeToo.
This weekend was the first stop on my #HikingMyFeelings Speaking + Hiking Tour. We kicked off at the Burbank REI on Friday night, and woke up to hit the trail on Saturday. I had the pleasure of meeting @salty_millennial in person after a bit of #TransCatalinaTrail digital encouragement over the summer, and @trishnutz, both pictured here with me and @maker_of_waves.
I would never want to repeat the morning I was assaulted, but I’m coming to realize that while the past 12 years have been tragic, incredible, heartbreaking and important to my growth as a human, I wouldn’t change anything. If it didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be here, in this form, with these scars and stories, with this big ole heart that just wants to scoop up every survivor, look them in the eyes, and tell them what Barry told me the morning of my first talk:
I see you.
I hear you.
I feel you.
I love you.
They will too.
Tell your story.
And get to the point.
On that Facebook post, where I was ranting about saving lives, a friend commented: “you’ll save lives in other ways.” Little did I know, I’d be saving myself first and foremost.
I’ve been hiking my feelings, yes. On the Trans-Catalina Trail, I was #reclaimingmybody. And every time I let the words pass my lips for someone else to hear, I reclaim a little bit of my life, of my story, of my experience, and take it back as my own.
And, in doing so, I hope to give you permission to do the same. Let’s recreate ourselves in the great outdoors. 📸@freckled_wanderer