Tag Archives: personal

Both Sides Now

Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughin’ when you go
And if you care don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say, “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say
I’ve changed, but something’s lost
But something’s gained in living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all…

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Dying Slowly

Is this what I am doing???

You start dying slowly
if you do not travel,
if you do not read,
If you do not listen to the sounds of life,
If you do not appreciate yourself.

You start dying slowly
When you kill your self-esteem;
When you do not let others help you.

You start dying slowly
If you become a slave of your habits,
Walking every day on the same paths…
If you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
Or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

You start dying slowly
If you avoid to feel passion
And their turbulent emotions;
Those which make your eyes glisten
And your heart beat fast.

You start dying slowly
If you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love,
If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,
If you do not go after a dream,
If you do not allow yourself,
At least once in your lifetime,
To run away from sensible advice.”

– Pablo Neruda 

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Understanding Madness

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.” 
― Philip K. Dick

Very dangerous Idea. Imagine omitting the “sometimes” from the above sentence and what you got is a powerful conviction (or excuse) to do something outrageous.

Having said that, There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when the reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind. I guess that is what happened to my sister, she has gone insane to escape the sick reality of our lives.

Later on, she will choose to live on the streets than to face her responsibilities, leaving her six children behind. I’ve tried countless times to change her mind, fostering her kids, sending them to school, but although she will play with them and stay for a while, whenever I brought up the topic of her settling down with her children again, she will get hysterics and tell me she doesn’t want headaches anymore and she will disappear again, back to her old habits of moving from one place to another.

It hurts me to think of the horror she had been subjected to being the way she is and living the life she has chosen for herself. Sometimes, she will have deep cuts on her arms or bruises on her bodies. Other times, her hair had been chopped off badly and she was bleeding. Rumor has it she had been gang-raped in the cemetery… It breaks my heart but I am powerless to do anything. You cannot help somebody that doesn’t want to be helped.

I’ve nightmares about it and like her, I avoid thinking about her situation too much for the fear of joining her in her never-ending quest for peace of mind.

Yann Martel said: All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.

Maybe that is what my sister is doing, saving herself in the only way she knows how. It might seem insane to onlookers but to her it makes sense. I hope someday she will find what she is looking for. I hope she will find someone who understands her and will take care of her and show her how it is to be loved. She needs it. Love is something she never experienced in her life. Certainly not from my mother who hated her from the moment she was born. Hate she passed on to anyone and everything that has something to do with my sister including her children. I don’t understand it. I will never understand how someone let alone a mother could differentiate her love between her children? 

They say all parents do it, they love their children in different ways, seeing each child as an individual, each one with their own unique characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses and may find it easier to understand one child from another. That I could understand. But to hate and shun your own child calling her ugly among so many other derogatory terms is to me unacceptable. 

Maybe my mother had her own twisted reasons for doing it. She never told me when she was alive and now that she’s dead, I will never know why. Perhaps that is the madness of my mother, favoring one child among her children.

Maybe we are all mad here in Wonderland.

Emilie Autumn said:

Some are born mad, some achieve madness, and some have madness thrust upon ’em.

I believe the last one is my sister.

Her mind is too weak to cope with our dysfunctional family situations. But she’s not alone. None of us siblings survived the ordeal of growing up without scars, visible or invisible. The traumas manifested in all sorts of bizarre behaviors which in turn have lead into more compromising circumstances breeding the next generations of the likes of us.

God knows where it will lead.

According to the experts___

When you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there’s always madness. Madness is the emergency exit.

I will keep this in mind.

When things become unbearable.

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The hierarchy of needs

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself. ― ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

This above quote made me think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which btw I failed miserably on all levels, no wonder I grew up to be the person I am today. On the other hand, I don’t exhibit most of the symptoms that I supposed to be having being deprived of almost all the basic needs that made up the whole pyramid. For example, I practice the above quote without knowing and I don’t crave attention, love or acceptance. I don’t form an attachment to anything or anyone But then again maybe I am what I am because I never pass the first hurdle which is the psychological needs. This means that if a human is struggling to meet their physiological needs, then they are unlikely to intrinsically pursue safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. That explains probably why. Perhaps my greatest issue is Self-actualization, which actually is not a surprise according to Maslow’s theory. Maslow believed that to understand this level of need, the person must not only achieve the previous needs but master them. Though I believe and practice religiously what my father instilled into me which is to fulfill any task big or small with my utmost best, heart and soul or do not do it at all, I failed to utilize my talents and abilities pursuing my dreams (I prefer to call them that instead of goals) meaning success for me means translating one’s capabilities into monetary aspect. I wonder where that came from. It’s just so. And if my daughter is to be believed, my parenting proficiency is also next to nothing and let’s not talk about pursuing happiness because I miserably failed on that level too. So, what’s left? Me, a failure on all counts.

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Boredom can be a lethal thing on a small island.

For me, it’s the restlessness. I can hardly sit still. I keep fidgeting, crossing one leg and then the other. I feel like I could throw off sparks, or break a window–maybe rearrange all the furniture. Or dig the whole garden and starts anew. Yesterday I killed five giant Choisya Ternata (Mexican orange blossom) for no reasons other than boredom and wanting something new. The other day I killed three Great Maple trees and planning to dig up two more when I came from vacation. They are in the wrong place for God’s sakes! I put them there because I wanted shadow for my Hydrangea Macrophilia but I’ve read somewhere that their roots are shallow depriving other plants around them of moisture and hydrangea is hydrangea for the obvious reason so they have to go. See? I have some pretty valid excuses. I will replace them with trees with purple leaves like Acer or Sambucus Nigra Black Lace or Catalpa x erubescens ‘Purpurea’ to break up all the homogenous green that seems to be dominating my garden. I will buy a few Azaleas also to replace the ones that died from drought last year. And a couple of Nepeta and Peonies. Oh, God, It’s so easy to break the bank when it comes to buying plants for the garden. I think I will dress up now for my appointment with the doctor at six. You see, I’m feeling quite queasy lately, especially when I lie down or turn my head left right up down. So much so that I gave over in bed first time in history. And I’m losing my vision ever so often. That or there are these zigzaggy flickering patterns floating around. Sometimes black dots or multi-colored blinking stripes dominating my view. I wonder if it’s normal. Okay, Have a wonderful weekend and see you next time.

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Maybe

Maybe I’m really crazy. Like my sister. Maybe I have learned to hide my madness inside a seemingly calm, confident, strong package. Maybe I know from the start that there is no place in this world for someone like us, like me. Maybe behind this creative, free-spirited, mind, a raving lunatic with a taste for macabre is secretly lurking. Someone who doesn’t and will not fit in. Maybe I will succumb to the insanity which is in my blood and fulfill my destiny. Maybe there is no escaping my heritage no matter how hard I try and how far I run. Maybe I will come full circle in the end and repeat the errors and history of my tragic past. Maybe I am better dead than alive. Maybe I have to stop thinking too much and go quietly with the flow. Maybe I have to accept things as they are and quit analyzing every little detail. Maybe it will be better if I let things happen instead of expecting the worst. Maybe I have to sleep so I don’t entertain crazy thoughts.

What do you think?

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10 Signs You’re Being True to Yourself

“The most confused we ever get is when we try to convince our heads of something that we know in our hearts is a lie.” ~Karen Moning

It’s painful and stressful to feel like you’re living a lie. Like you’re hiding how you really feel, saying what you think other people want to hear and doing things you don’t actually want to do—just because you think you’re supposed to.

But sometimes we don’t recognize we’re doing this. We just know we feel off, or something feels wrong, and we’re not sure how to change it.

It makes sense that a lot of us struggle with being true to ourselves.

From a young age, we’re taught to be good, fall in line, and avoid making any waves—to lower our voices, do as we’re told, and quit our crying (or they’ll give us something to cry about).

And most of us don’t get the opportunity to foster or follow our curiosity. Instead, we learn all the same things as our peers, at the exact same time; and we live a life consumed by the mastery of these things, our bodies restless from long hours of seated study and our minds overwhelmed with memorized facts that leave very little room for free thinking.

To make things even worse, we learn to compare our accomplishments and progress—often, at things we don’t even really care about—to those of everyone around us. So we learn it’s more important to appear successful in relation to others than to feel excited or fulfilled within ourselves.

This was my experience both growing up and in my twenties. A people-pleaser who was always looking to prove that I mattered, I was like a chameleon, and I constantly felt paralyzed about which choices to make because all I knew was that they needed to be impressive.

I never knew what I really thought or felt because I was too busy suffocating my mind with fears and numbing my emotions to develop even a modicum of self-awareness.

This meant I had no idea what I needed. I only knew I didn’t feel seen or heard. I felt like no one really knew me. But how could they when I didn’t even know myself?

I know I’ve made a lot of progress with this over the years, and I have a mile-long list of unconventional choices to back that up, as well as a number of authentic, fulfilling relationships. But I’ve recently recognized some areas where I’ve shape-shifted in an attempt to please others, and in some cases, without even realizing it.

I don’t want to be the kind of person who panders to popular opinion or lets other people dictate my choices. I don’t want to waste even one minute trying to be good enough for others instead of doing what feels good to me.

I want to make my own rules, live on my own terms, and be bold, wild, and free.

This means peeling away the layers of fear and conditioning and being true to what I believe is right. But it’s hard to do this because sometimes those layers are pretty heavy, or so transparent we don’t even realize they’re there.

With this in mind, I decided to create this reminder of what it looks and feels like to be true to myself so I can refer back to it if ever I think I’ve lost my way.

If you also value authenticity and freedom over conformity and approval, perhaps this will be useful to you too.

You know you’re being true to yourself if….

1. You’re honest with yourself about what you think, feel, want, and need.

You understand that you have to be honest with yourself before you can be honest with anyone else. This means you make space in your life to connect with yourself, perhaps through meditation, journaling, or time in nature.

This also means you face the harsh realities you may be tempted to avoid. You’re self-aware when faced with hard choices—like whether or not to leave a relationship that doesn’t feel right—so you can get to the root of your fear.

You might not always do this right away, or easily, but you’re willing to ask yourself the tough questions most of us spend our lives avoiding: Why am I doing this? What am I getting from this? And what would serve me better?

2. You freely share your thoughts and feelings.

Even if you’re afraid of judgment or tempted to lie just to keep the peace, you push yourself to speak up when you have something that needs to be said.

And you refuse to stuff your feelings down just to make other people feel comfortable. You’re willing to risk feeling vulnerable and embarrassed because you know that your feelings are valid and that sharing them is the key to healing what’s hurting or fixing what isn’t working.

3. You honor your needs and say no to requests that conflict with them.

You know what you need to feel physical, mentally, and emotionally balanced, and you prioritize those things, even if this means saying no to other people.

Sure, you might sometimes make sacrifices, but you understand it’s not selfish to honor your needs and make them a priority.

You also know your needs don’t have to look like anyone else’s. It’s irrelevant to you if someone else can function on four hours of sleep, work around the clock, or pack their schedule with social engagements. You do what’s right for you and take care good care of yourself because you recognize you’re the only one who can.

4. Some people like you, some people don’t, and you’re okay with that.

Though you may wish, at times, you could please everyone—because it feels a lot safer to receive validation than disapproval—you understand that being disliked by some is a natural byproduct of being genuine.

This doesn’t mean you justify being rude and disrespectful because hey, you’re just being yourself! It just means you know you’re not for everyone; you’d rather be disliked for who you are than liked for who you’re not, and you understand the only way to find “your tribe” is to weed out the ones who belong in someone else’s.

5. You surround yourself with people who respect and support you just as you are.

You understand that the people around you affect you, so you surround yourself with people who respect and support you, which motivates you to continue being true to yourself.

You may have people in your life who don’t do these things, but if you do, you understand their issues with you are just that—their issues. And you set boundaries with them so that they don’t get in your head and convince you there’s something wrong with you or your choices.

6. You focus more on your own values than what society deems acceptable.

You’ve read the script for a socially acceptable life—climb the corporate ladder, have a lavish wedding, buy a big house, and make some babies—but you’ve seriously questioned whether this is right for you. Maybe it is, but if you go this route, it’s because this plan aligns with your own values, not because it’s what you’re supposed to do.

You know your values are your compass in life, and that they change over time. So you check in with yourself regularly to be sure you’re living a life that doesn’t just look good on paper but also feels good in your heart.

7. You listen to your intuition and trust that you know what’s best for yourself.

You not only hear the voice inside that says, “Nope, not right for you,” you trust it. Because you’ve spent a lot of time learning to distinguish between the voice of truth and fear, you recognize the difference between holding yourself back and waiting for what feels right.

You might not always make this distinction immediately, and you might sometimes be swayed by well-meaning people who want to protect you from the risks of thinking outside the box. But eventually, you tune out the noise and hone in on the only voice that truly knows what’s best for you.

8. You do what feels right for you, even if that means risking approval from the people around you.

Not only do you trust that you know what’s best for you, you do it. Even if it’s not a popular choice. Even if people question your judgment, vision, or sanity. You recognize that no one else is living your life, and no one else has to live with the consequences of your choices, so you make them for you and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to public perception.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have everything you want in life. It just means you hear the beat of your own drum, even if it’s silent as a dog whistle to everyone else, and you march to it—maybe slowly or awkwardly, but with your freak flag raised nice and high.

9. You allow yourself to change your mind if you recognize you made a choice that wasn’t right for you.

You may feel embarrassed to admit you’re changing directions, but you do it anyway because you’d rather risk being judged than accept a reality that just plain feels wrong for you.

Whether it’s a move that you realize you made for the wrong reasons, a job that isn’t what you expected, or a commitment you know you can’t honor in good conscience, you find the courage to say, “This isn’t right, so I’m going to make another change.”

10. You allow yourself to evolve and let go of what you’ve outgrown.

This is probably the hardest one of all because it’s not just about being true to yourself; it’s also about letting go. It’s about recognizing when something has run its course and being brave enough to end the chapter, even if you don’t know yet what’s coming next. Even if the void feels dark and scary.

But you, you recognize that the void can also feel light and thrilling. That empty space isn’t always a bad thing because it’s the breeding ground for new possibilities—for fulfillment, excitement, passion, and joy. And you’re more interested in seeing who else you can be and what else you can do than languishing forever in a comfortable life that now feels like someone else’s.

As with all things in life, we each exist on a spectrum. Every last one of us lives in the grey area, so odds are you do some of these things, some of the time, and probably never perfectly. And you may go through periods when you do few or none of these things, without even realizing you’ve slipped.

That’s how it’s been for me. I’ve gone through phases when I’ve felt completely in alignment and other times when I’ve gotten lost. I’ve had times when I’ve felt so overwhelmed by conflicting wants, needs, and beliefs—my own and other people’s—that I’ve shut down and lost touch with myself.

It happens to all of us. And that’s okay. The important thing is that we keep coming home to ourselves and we eventually ask ourselves the hard questions that decide the kind of lives we lead: What am I hiding? What am I lying about? And what truth would set me free?

By Lori Deschene


Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. An avid film lover, she recently finished writing her first feature screenplay and is fundraising to get it made now.

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On Ice

With the coming of Spring and everything happening all at once and with my annual holiday to the sun looming closer and my health going steadily downhill, my writing is now on the back burner.

It is not due to lack of interest or low priority but more of a time management issue. I need more time to do the things which once upon a time was nothing but a walk in the park. My brain refuses to cooperate lately and seem to be in a perpetual state of confusion about everything. Yesterday I burned myself seriously cooking dinner. The back of my hand resembles a crackling. I don’t remember experiencing a similar degree of pain except when I was giving birth. What a horror.

And my partner in crime seems to be following suit. He inherited some of my symptoms and suffering from them more than me which doesn’t come as a surprise because he is generally weaker and you know… “man flu.”

When he is out of order, I am more isolated than ever because no one is chauffeuring me around while I lay dead sick on the passenger seat occasionally asking if we’re there or remarking about whatever view I could glimpse through the window from my reclined position. When this happened- him being sick- no matter what state I’m in I need to be the stronger one, the caring one, the undertaking one, the mothering one more than usual because when two kids embark on an adventure together, one of them has to be the grown up in order to survive or otherwise… you can fill in the blank.

Anyway, this is my/our current situation at the moment and I’m afraid it could only get worse so I’m buckling up for the journey ahead and crossing my fingers hoping for the best.

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Me2

She’s not gonna be the easiest girl to be with. To be honest, you’re probably gonna go through hell with her. Her insecurities are ridiculous, her expectations are unrealistic, her trust issues are too much, her anger issues are scary, her logic doesn’t make any sense at times, her feelings don’t know what they want here and there. Just to let you know right now, she’s gonna cause a lot of problems, she’s gonna get jealous often, and she’s gonna over-analyze, over-exaggerate, and over-think every situation there is. There will be times you’ll find her weird, there will be times you’ll find her immature, and there will be times you’ll be her complicated. You’re gonna be annoyed, you’re gonna get frustrated, and you’re gonna feel like giving up on her. But despite all of her flaws, faults, and errors, she has such a big heart and it’s because she has a big heart that she’s the way she is in the first place. If you can stick with her through all of the challenges she’ll give you, then she’ll make sure it’s worth it.

Good luck, though. You’re gonna need it.

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Home Is Where Your Heart Is

I discovered that what most people call creepy, scary, and spooky, I call comfy, cozy, and home.― Zak Bagans

They say we feel more comfortable in a familiar environment. With the people we know.

Studies have shown that we are all attracted to what is familiar to us and that repeated exposure to certain people will increase our attraction toward them. This is a subconscious process that we’re not even aware of or have any awareness of making such a choice. We are attracted to familiar people because we consider them to be safe and unlikely to cause harm. Even when someone’s behavior or personality is hurtful, on a subconscious level, some part of us finds comfort in the familiarity of that behavior. Good or bad, the environment in which we grew up is the only home we’ve ever known.

This is why it’s so difficult for people to leave hurtful relationships. It’s easy to criticize someone for staying in an abusive relationship and to blame the person for staying, accusing them of being weak or wanting to be treated badly. But no one wants to be treated badly. It is hard to leave because, besides the issues of having nowhere else to go, we are tethered to bad relationships as much as we are tethered to the past by our subconscious minds. [source: Psychology Today- The Familiarity Principle of Attraction]

I am a product of this principle though not by my own choice. I suffered from Stockholm Syndrome and still suffering the consequences nonetheless.

Going back to where I came from, I always seek the familiar environment of my youth even though I’ve long escaped that situation and now belong to another group. That makes me susceptible to horror and ordeal of the past which my family and most people are trying to escape and will gladly trade for my privileged position. Difficult and incomprehensible as it is, that environment could evoke feelings from me when nothing could and will forever be miss and long for against my better judgment.

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No, I Do Not Have Proof.

I do not have proof.

But, I know it happened. I know because I remember. I know because I was there. 

I was six going on seven. I remember what time of year it was—summer—and I remember it was at a party or maybe it was a picnic. I remember it happened in my own backyard behind my house.

It happened with people laughing and talking and drinking in the distance—not watching, but right under their noses. It happened in the woods, in broad daylight.

I remember it was quick. I remember his mouth coming down on mine, how he grabbed and squeezed my little girl face. I remember being pinned against a large rock. I remember his hand, how he put my small hand beneath his big one and worked himself over. How he shoved his big fingers up inside me and told me I would like what we were doing a lot more when I was older.

I remember running away and hiding in my bedroom. I remember that I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t get enough air, and I wanted to vomit, so I did, right in my mouth—the taste sharp and sour when I swallowed it back down.

I remember how terrified I felt. I remember being mute, unable to speak, holding my words hostage inside my belly, a belly filled with bile. I remember I had no idea what the f*ck just happened to me. Or why it happened.

Because I was six.

I remember the pain between my legs—but no, I don’t remember his name. I’m sorry I don’t remember his name. I’m sorry I don’t have the proof you are looking for, but does it count—is my story “credible”—if I tell you about the blood? Because I remember the blood. I’m sorry I didn’t save my underwear. And I’m sorry I don’t remember what time it was, but I remember his bad breath and his curled, wet lips.

Does it count if I remember this? Will you believe it happened if I told you exactly what he said? How he snarled and told me he would kill me if I said anything to anyone? How he called me a f*cking brat as I ran away from him? Does any of that count as proof?

I’m sorry I didn’t talk about it. To anyone. What I told my mother that day was I had a stomachache. That I didn’t feel good. I didn’t talk about it that day or at all until I was 45 years old. I still don’t talk about it.

Tell me, was I supposed to keep my underwear locked in a box, tucked away like a keepsake so I could pull it out in the future to prosecute my attacker, someone I knew, someone who would deny my story, call it crazy, call me crazy, and tell everyone I was lying?

Was I supposed to ask someone how to spell his name so I could write it down on a piece of paper? A piece of paper I could put inside the box, pinned to my underwear? Tell me, what was the best way for a six-year-old to handle the situation?

I can tell you how I suppressed it, though. How I buried the memory. How I held it down, muffled it so that it wouldn’t kill me. How it tried to kill me for years and years, and how I fought with it—my demon memory. How I carried it around inside my body. How I ate and ate and tried to stuff it down in order to control it.

And how it just kept coming back up again. How it still does.

If a branch fell on a woman walking alone in the woods, and she told you about it 32 years later, would you believe her? Maybe you would because she could point to a scar on her arm if she had one. If she had a scar, one that you could see, she could call it proof.

7.6 billion people inhabit the planet. Roughly half are women. One in four women and girls have been or will be sexually assaulted, which is close to one billion women. 

When will one billion women be enough proof?

We don’t carry proof around in our purses waiting for just the right moment to “ruin” our attacker’s life. We carry it in our hearts and in our heads.

Our assaults come along for the ride in every relationship we ever have. We carry them on our hips and in our bellies when we turn to food to cope. We carry them in pill containers and wine bottles. They sit next to us in AA meetings. They’re tucked into the folds of our divorce papers.

We carry them like rocks in a sock and we wield them as weapons with our sudden bursts of pent up anger and unexplained rage.

We are labeled moody and troubled and bitchy and unpredictable. We put our proof in a bag and we drag it to our therapy sessions where it sits on the floor, heavy, next to our feet. We pass it down to our children, our daughters—like toxic heirlooms.

Our dysfunction, our depression, our damage are the gifts that keep on giving.

Don’t talk to me or any other survivor of sexual assault about proof. The proof is often invisible, but we are not. We are right under your noses.

A proof is in the moment that haunts us forever, the thing we cannot forget.

We do not “have” proof, we are the proof. Because we were there one billion times over.

AUTHOR: KIMBERLY VALZANIA

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