There are days when I look at the world, and see a place that has gone totally off the rails. A place where the blatant discrimination and racism and cruelty that we see every day makes me want to scream. To give up. To weep for the future that will be left to my children. To think that I can’t possibly make a difference when everything around me seems so broken.
When I wrote Survivor, I thought I was prepared for anything. I felt confident enough in who I am that I believed I could handle any criticism that came my way. What I did not expect though, was the overwhelming kindness with which I was met. So many people, some of whom I hardly know, wrote, or messaged, or texted, or emailed, or commented about my post with words of encouragement, and solidarity, and support. I had multiple women privately share with me that they too are rape survivors who had kept it to themselves for far too long. I had friends and relatives I have not spoken to in years reach out to me to compliment my bravery and show me love. And I did not have any negativity directed towards me. None.
And that was truly a blessing for the scared little girl inside me who wrote those brave words but still worried about what people would think. If I would be forever changed in the eyes of those who knew my secret. I wish I could share the hundreds of messages of support that I received with every rape survivor who is afraid to tell her story or who feels alone. That secret held a remarkable amount of power over me, and now that I am not clinging so tightly to it, trying to keep it in and stuff it down, I can actually let it go.
I feel so unbelievably free. Light and joyful and full of hope. And I feel this way in spite of the fact that this has been a tough week.
A few days ago I was sitting in the ICU waiting room with my mother waiting for my dad to get out of an emergency appendectomy. He is doing great now, but at the time I was getting a little nervous because his surgery was taking much longer than the doctor said that it was going to. Then we started flipping channels and Shawshank Redemption came on – this is the new Walnut Hill Medical Center place and there are flat screens everywhere and the biggest hospital rooms I have ever seen. I seriously had hospital room envy that my dad had a palace for his few hours there and I had to spend twelve days in a drab shoebox, but I digress…
So it was the part where Andy says, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” And I was reminded just how incredibly important hope is. I realized that the greatest gift I have ever been given is resiliency of spirit. After everything I have been through I still have hope.
Thank you to everyone who helped me re-affirm my faith in humanity this week by going out of your way to reach out to me and offer a kind word or a message of support, or a hug. I know a lot of you are going through your own struggles, so tonight I spent a few moments in meditation and prayer for those I know who are having a tough time right now.
I have this little candle that I bought as part of a youth fundraiser at my church; it is a tea light covered in tissue paper with the word “Hope” written on it and I lit it for the first time tonight.
I wish for you that when everything is at it’s worst you can see the glimmer of that tiny scrappy little candle- held together with Elmer’s glue and tissue paper. It may not be much, but just a little bit can change everything. Hope.