We Believe You

#TruthBooking: I know you’re there. On the other side of your screen. Maybe you're at work, blowing off steam. Maybe you're in your pjs, phone lighting up your face as you scroll in bed, winding down from a long day. Maybe you're in the carpool line, waiting for the van door to fly open, and the afternoon chaos to ensue. Or perhaps you’ve escaped, and you’re keeping tabs on life back home from your beach chair (lucky you). Maybe you’re none of these. Whoever you are, I know you’re there. How do I know? I’ve met you. I’ve heard you. I’ve seen you. I know you. I am you. I am me. We are we.

And if we are we, then you are not alone. Whether you know it or not, you simply cannot be alone because you are part of a whole. You can be whole in yourself, yet made greater by the whole. And you belong here. Accept it, or don’t. You do you.

I am a survivor. The unthinkable happened to me. More than once. Statistics say that chances are you survived, too. I see you in the sea of We. I see me there, too.

Here are the things I know about we: Our eyes won’t open until we’re safe enough to see.

Also this: It was not your fault, nor was it mine. No one gets to tell you what did or did not happen to you. Or what happened to me. We are the gatekeepers of our own stories. You did not deserve it, nor did I. Whether or not we told anyone at the time or in the years since has no bearings on the validity or credibility of our experiences. Whether we told or not also has no power to diminish the trauma and unspeakable pain we endured, and continue to endure, even as we seek to heal. Your life matters and you are worth fighting for.

I know you’re there. Just like I know I’m here. Some of you are wondering if you’ll ever be able to trust another person with the truth of what happened to you. You’re mortified at the thought of even the smallest utterance of your truth. Your body holds the memories, and the terror has never left you. Let me say this clear: You don’t have to broadcast one damn thing about yourself or your experience. You are in charge of yourself. But I hope you know We are here if you ever want to give voice to what happened. We are ALL around you. If you listen and look, you will find us. Sadly there are so many of us, we’re kind of hard to miss at this point. And once you see us here, and see yourself in us, it’s fortunately hard to lose sight of us again. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: You are not alone.

Some of us have been swimming here a long time, and we know our way around. Some of us just realized we are being held underwater by our trauma, and we want a chance to live again. Some of us spend our time taking deep breaths and treading water. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your unspeakable pain, you have a place here in the sea of We. I do think it’s important to know that We intend to hope for you and fight for you even when you can’t hope or fight for yourself. We are in this together, and that means We have your back, too. We’re convinced you deserve to feel safe, you have the right to take up space here, hell, even to thrive again someday. And if you ever decide to use your voice, WE BELIEVE YOU.