Today is the end of No More Week. For those of you who don’t know No More is a campaign that the Joyful Foundation, which was started by Mariska Hargitay, and it aims to raise awareness about sexual assault and ending the back log. Mariska started this foundation because of all the letters she received for her role on Law and Order SVU and she realized that she could do something, that she could use her role to make a difference. So that is what she has done. She is someone who I look up to, and her heart of wanting to empower survivors and raise awareness to the injustices is amazing.
I know that I have not written a blog in a while, there has been a lot of change in my life. And that has all been part of my journey, in overcoming and finding out who I am and moving more and more to a place of having a roaring loud voice. Since moving and beginning to work on my masters I have been able to voice my story. Something that I avoided. I have done it 3 times now. That I shared details and what happened. Before I could write it and let someone read it. That was hard and scary, the more I did that the easier it became. It is the same thing with this. I am learning to voice my story, to be able to say it. Saying my story out loud was hard. It took pauses. It came with tears. It meant being vulnerable with those I spoke the words to. It meant trust someone not only with my story, but with the rawness of my emotions. But each time I have been met with love, acceptance, encouragement, and validation.
It meant staring right into the eyes of anxiety, going into a situation where my heart was racing, where it was hard to breath, where my throat felt like it was going to just close up, where my stomach was in knots, it meant running straight into the fear and saying well, I hope this turns out okay. While in the moment it was hard, and it still is hard, I gained something back. I gained this power and control. That I do not have to be silenced. Quite the opposite actually, I found that I can have a bold and fierce voice. That I have gained strength to be able to face what would have left me paralyzed even a year ago. That before being asked to share my story out loud would have me near tears and I would say that I could not do it. That I could not say the words. Now I know I can say those words, it isn’t easy, but I can do it.
I simply want to encourage those of you reading this who have experienced such hurt at the hands of another person. Wherever you are in your journey it is okay, it is your journey and you get to do it at your pace. Yours will look different than mine and that is beautiful. If you have not told anyone yet, I’m sorry that you feel so isolated. If you have told someone and you were not believed, I am sorry, because your story is real and true. No matter where you are in your journey keep at it. Keep finding a voice. While what happened is never changed, the big thing that can change is the power and control you have over it. I still have some nights that are challenging and filled with nightmares. I have times where I go out and feel as though I am being watched or become anxious or overwhelmed. But those times have become less and less. While my past is not going to change, what I am going to do with my past has changed.
I get to work with some incredible people with huge hearts for those who are hurting. I get the privilege of watching others discover their voice in their own struggles. I get to teach skills and ways of managing anxiety, nightmares, depression, and PTSD. I get to watch people do what does not make sense, facing and running straight towards their struggles and continually fighting day after day. I see resilience. I see courage. I see humbleness. I see hope. I never would have though that I would love doing something like this, but I am finding I am able to understand people. That I can sit with them and know what it feels like and also know the power behind facing those fears. I get to watch as someone takes back their power, be it in sharing their story, in choosing to take care of themselves, I get to people set boundaries in unhealthy relationships, I get to witness people leaving domestic situations. I am honored to see the fight that people have and the journeys they are making.
With today being the end of No More week. I would say no more isolation. No more stigmatization around PTSD, depression, anxiety and any other way people have coped with the trauma they have faced. No more to saying that someone is not trying hard enough. No more to destroying people with words because they don’t meet society’s standards for how they are living. No more to avoiding tough conversations because they are uncomfortable. I would say have more tough conversations. More asking people how they are doing and wanting to know without an agenda or judgment. More compassion and grace. More understanding. More empowerment. More belief in people. More meeting people where they are in the moment.