He remembered. Today is SASSU's birthday. Today, my baby turned 5 years old! Time sure does fly. Today I celebrate 5 years of growth, strength and resilience with SASSU. I celebrate 5 years of sharing my story with and providing service to communities, churches and schools but I also celebrate 9 years of being a survivor.
In August 2008, I experienced the most traumatic day of my life. A piece of me was violated. It took me a while to recover from it, too. Some days I remember so clearly what happened and it makes me sad but that's okay. Part of being a survivor of Sexual Violence is giving yourself permission to have the not-so good days but never allowing yourself to stay there. Love yourself all the way through it but actually move THROUGH it.
Last year, around this same time, I filmed a documentary about my rape. I re-visited the place where my rape took place and filmed a documentary in hopes of sharing my story with the masses in a way that would encourage and inspire them to stand up and speak out. That documentary was never released due to...well, due to procrastination of the guy who filmed it- there's no other way to put it. So I ended up getting the footage from him and when I watched it back I wasn't happy with what I saw. It wasn't the way I wanted people to see me. I didn't want to tell my story in that way. I seemed broken. It was so emotional for me to watch and not in a way that was liberating. It seemed as though I'd gone completely backwards and that was not the plan. I wanted my story to represent power. After all, it takes being able to tap into your power to go back to the exact place where your face had been hit by your attacker with a gun and your hands were bloody from the rocks on the ground and my soul was numb. My soul was numb for a while. But that isn't the story I wanted to tell.
"I am going to keep going back to that same place. I am going to walk my power all over it. I'm going to keep going back and filming my story until I tell it in a way that feeds my soul and the soul of everyone that will see it."
I wanted to tell a story of victory. I wanted to tell a story of triumph. I wanted women and men who'd see my documentary to know that they have the POWER to look fear, shame, guilt, doubt, worry and depression in the face and say I'm DONE! I'm done allowing you to control my life. I'm done allowing you to keep me from living and loving. I am powerful. I am not ashamed. I am beautiful and loved. I am a survivor.
So, today I tell a different story. Last week, I went back to the place where my rape happened and I attempted to film a short message but it was so windy that it ultimately turned out to be footage that I couldn't use. I am going to keep going back to that same place. I am going to walk my power all over it. I'm going to keep going back and filming my story until I tell it in a way that feeds my soul and the soul of everyone that will see it.
What I've realized is that I can choose at any given time to tell a different story than the one I've been telling. What happened to me was sad. It was traumatic. It was hard to get over and some days I have triggers that remind me of that horrible thing that happened...BUT
Today, I choose to tell a new story of love, hope, peace and joy. I hope you choose the same.