Wednesday, February 24, 2010

the other side

i once dated someone who told me that he never again wanted to hear me speak of the abuse i suffered as a child. i don't hold it against him. he was ill-equipped to deal with many of his own issues which left him paralyzed with fear in the face of acknowledging mine.
i can't separate the abuse from me.
ask me who i am.
i will tell you i am pieces of muscle and tissue and blood intertwined with love and fear and a vibrantly exhaustive sense memory. i walk with metaphors strapped to my feet and i am unable to digest food when i'm lying to myself. when depressed, i smile and self-medicate and sleep. i hide things inside my ribcage and dangle the ribbons behind me, never expecting you to keep up. i leave trails for myself only. i've even stopped doing that because i'm no longer lost.
women tend to empathize...they've been there, too. here's an experiment:  ask your all of your female friends if they have ever been sexually, physically or verbally abused. count how many times you hear the word 'no.' tell me if you ever have to use your second hand.
look at the men around us. they aren't immune. they just hide it better. they aren't expected to speak about their truth, just deal with it. iron john and what not.
we are, all of us, swimming upstream with our fears and our pain and memories and the moments we wish we could take back.
but the beauty. oh, the beauty.
all of us, on the other side. greener grass around our feet and climbing up our limbs. we know something those who abuse do not.
we know how to survive. and we know how to stop you.
and we aren't afraid to speak out.

violence unsilenced is a website dedicated to giving survivors a place to speak out, to tell their truth, to give a voice. maggie has compiled a video in order to commemorate vu's one year anniversary. please go check it out. and stay awhile, if you can. read and witness and leave some support.

you can read my post here and my mom's post here.
two women, one after the other.
on the other side.


  1. Violence Unsilenced is an amazing place. I'm honored to read your words, and blown away by you and your mothers courage to speak out.
    Thank you.

  2. You may know that I am a bit of a geek and in one of the Trek Movies there is someone who is taking away peoples pain and controlling them. Kirk resists saying that the pain was his, it made him who he was.
    I often feel the same way and I know the pain I experienced growing up (and the gaps in memory it created) made me who I am today. It is part of me.
    So it is with all of us, the pain, the fear we experience growing up becomes part of us and actually makes us special in a good way. We can empathize with pain like no other and because we lived, we can give hope.

  3. You are a very brave woman. Is it silly to say that I applaud you?

  4. I don't remember if I ever thanked you for telling me about vu and showing me if you are brave enough to put your pain down to warn/help others, then I can step up to the plate and swing away with my words too. Painful to recount yet carthartic; if we can 'rescue" one person from feeling alone in their slow death, or that they don't really deserve to be on the receiving end, then it's well worth it.
    I love you so much...... Mom

  5. I love the part about who you are. It was breathtakingly beautiful...trailing ribbons and metaphors strapped to feet. Who you are is easy to like :)

  6. Thank you so much for this, sweet girl. As always, your words are so exquisitely woven.


  7. This is so lovely to read. As another survivor who finds it almost daily in others, it seems that none of us have lived this life unscathed. We carry with us what we took when our lives and bodies and homes burnt down around us, and it is for us to say what is brings us down with its heaviness and what lifts us up with its light.

    A good sign that someone is not at peace with their own past is if they cannot face someone else's. I hope that young man got some help.

  8. Oh Krista. This is what I love about you. The fact that you have triumphed over the ugliness of abuse, and have come out more beautiful and a better woman and friend, leaves me in awe of your spirit.

  9. You write so bravely, honest and raw. One of the most important lessons I've ever learned is that keeping things hidden leads to shame. You have to bring the hard things into the light. They have to be unsilenced. What a great organization.

  10. You were actually the first vu post I ever read when you shared your link. I watched the video when it first came out a couple of weeks or more ago(?). I was in tears of both joy and sadness at the same time. Joyful to see that so many had spoken out, sad to see that so many (and this is only an ant's handful, truthfully) that had suffered. It was wonderful to see the two pictures of you and your mother. I'm so thankful to "know" you, Krista! You have a beautiful soul and message to share. I'm so glad you aren't keeping things all to yourself and that you're willing to share with us so openly.

  11. That was very moving and I'm sure very painful to write. *HUGS* You're a survivor!

  12. just coming back to this. i had only been reading you one day when your post first went up on VU.

    like i said before - the stories of yours and your mother's, and those photos in maggie's slideshow -- beautiful, strong, inspiring women, you are.



use your kind words.