The Ugly Truth Behind Pedophile Rings

Just a note to inform I wrote this blog approximately 6 weeks ago. But given it’s heavy content and the way in which it heavily impacted my soul, I haven’t been able to go back to it. I’ve been approached by several journalists asking to interview me. I’ve declined every one of them because what has upset me and added to my sleepless nights as much as the abuse of children, is the way in which it is voyeuristically reported.

TRIGGER WARNING… I’m about to get unapologetically real.

Why is it that what happened to a 13 year old lion in Africa has ignited more media coverage, outrage and empathy here in Australia and around the world than what happened to a 13 year old girl in Perth? Don’t get me wrong, I am just as appalled as the next person that this innocent lion was killed and I understand that we can be equally outraged over different tragedies. But when a little girl is sold by her father here in Australia to other men and it doesn’t even make the six o’clock news, we need to seriously look at ourselves. Or when it is reported, the media continue to sensationalise that which needs NO sensationalism, and a little girl’s unimaginable terror and suffering, in one careless sentence, has been minimised and reduced to a grotesque click bait title.

When it comes to writing, while I appreciate my gift, I never realised how much I have taken the written word and my ability to articulate difficult subjects for granted. Crafting ugly truths in a particular way to make it less shocking and more digestible for others. I somehow find a way to keep people at a safe distance while absorbing the raw pain in clever analogies and effortless flow on sentence structure. I inject humour at the right moments after eluding to but carefully dancing around the detail… until now.

To be completely honest with you, I’m struggling to protect people from the ugly truth and the evil we blindly walk past in our daily lives. And when I read the paper or watch the news, on the abhorrent reporting against abuse victims, each time, something inside of me dies. The conversation then flowing from this at times leaves me frustrated as well. Ignorant comments such as, surely these things don’t happen in our first world countries. Because that is the lie we are content to believe, granting us permission to turn the other cheek and remain blissfully ignorant in our indifferent bubbles. But as much as this one gets to me, my new favourite mindset would have to be this; (and I do hope my sarcasm isn’t lost on you all here) Surely looking at child pornography on a computer doesn’t constitute as a criminally indictable offence. Looking at it and making it – two different things. Really? Is it though? Allow me to elaborate…

When an individual is paying for, viewing and getting off on images of children being ABUSED, they are placing their sick perversions above the safety and welfare of innocent children. They are not thinking of that child as a person. A human being with rights. They are willingly participating in the rape and abuse of minors. They sit anonymously behind their computer in the safety of their own home while these children whose images they view are forcibly removed from their homes and taken to remote locations. Or and probably more often than the former, these children are being abused in their own homes by those who should be protecting them. So really, what these “innocent” men are willingly viewing is not a pornography studio, but a crime scene.

When children are exploited, dehumanised, consumed and commodified for the pleasure and gratification of men, that is a crime that should carry significant penalties.These images are not of child actors pretending. Contrary to whatever lie people tell themselves to justify the viewing of images containing children, this isn’t a victimless crime. These images are of real children being brutalised for the harmless pleasure of men. And that “innocent” man behind the computer is driving the market demand on this global epidemic.

Now, allow me to introduce you to these children 30, 40 and 50 years later. Todays adults who were once these sold and exploited children, repeatedly raped and used in pedophile and pornography rings for the viewing pleasure of the “innocent” man engaging in criminal activity behind his computer. I must warn you, and forgive me for the following difficult paragraphs, but what needs to be told is the truth. And forgive me again, and perhaps forgive me especially, for no longer having the desire to protect people’s natural preference to rather not know about what happens to these young victims who grow up to often become broken adults because of the physical, mental and psychological damage inflicted upon them as children.

I have heard from many broken adults who have suffered extreme childhood abuse but I want you to meet Michael. He is from Canada and was brave enough to allow me to share part of his story. What he had to say is raw and real and exactly what we need to understand and what nobody wants to know.

Hi Carrie,

Im a victim of childhood sex and physical abuse as well. I was lured by one of my best friends into a pedophile ring that my grade five teacher used to sodomise us. The judge ruled that they should be put to trial. I was assigned a lawyer, whom I heard from twice, and then never again.
I’m sure I didn’t remember [parts of] the abuse because he and his friend beat me into submission and then sodomized me until my [rectum] collapsed. These memories stayed buried even when I saw [my abuser] at the hearing. The memory of his other friend’s abuse which took place on the same school sponsored field trip was less violent and easier for me to remember.
Anyway, you have my support and empathy.
I’m not sure why Ontario has a problem recognizing and dealing with pedophile rings like the one I have pointed out that I’m sure still exists?
Reading your story helped me; thanks.
Mike

I responded to Mike and asked if he would allow me to quote some of what he told me. He kindly and bravely agreed.

Hi Carrie; thanks for responding. Please feel free to use my name, or not; I’ll leave it up to you. I am pretty focused on “getting” these idiots, even though my last effort failed miserably. 
I am also truly sorry for your pain Carrie. 
I am really happy you survived, and that you are still strong. 
I still see my friend who was abused with me. He lives in an apartment with his ninety year old mother. The apartment is literally behind the school where this happened. Other victims live there as well. They are jobless and in some sort of paralyzed state.

As I mentioned, I have been struggling to craft this blog for the better part of a month now. Most of which I have written on my phone as I tend to do. And for the most part where I have been doing my writing and thinking has been in doctor’s offices, during scans, procedures and recovery rooms. My lower back pain is chronic and has been a part of my life since I was a child. It was my therapist who pointed out to me the cause. ‘Carrie, the bodies of little children were not meant to be banged around and violently forced upon as yours was.’

Sciatica has been a part of my reality for most of my life. I knew I had herniated lower discs. When it flares up and I can’t sleep at night, it tends to be then when my anger and sadness sometimes get the better of me. I also just discovered that I now have arthritis in the facet joint of my lower spine. Last month I had two epidurals and a cortisone injection in hopes to provide me relief. Sadly, I’m still waiting.
The reason I tell you this is because remaining ignorant, stuck in denial or taking our time coming to terms with child rape being a huge problem in this very broken society in which we live, does nothing to help the little girl or little boy who is being sold to be raped and abused as I write this piece.

Child sexual abuse is difficult enough to recover from. But imagine the added trauma of knowing there are pictures and videos out there of your abuse. Think about how devastating it must be to know that your lowest, darkest, most traumatic terrifying moments were captured and are being viewed over and over and over and over and over again. That men are bypassing the terror and dead expression in your young eyes and failing to acknowledge your suffering so that they can get off on your image. Derive pleasure in your pain. I mention in my book to this day I cannot have a polaroid photo of myself taken. I can still smell the chemical on the film and it makes me sick to my stomach. I still feel the humiliation and the dread. Sometimes I shake uncontrollably because moments like those come back with terrifying clarity. To put much thought into where these images may now be, 30 odd years later, is a luxury I cannot afford to entertain because it causes me such anxiety and limits my ability to function in life.

We need to properly address and prioritise violence against women and children. Have the solution based discussions and stop sticking our heads in the sand and denying the issue. God forbid we risk feeling uncomfortable, overwhelmed and helpless for a minute in order to get deliberate in our intentions and ability to be honest with ourselves. Yes abuse of this magnitude happens in our so called First World, developed countries and it is far more common than we would like to believe. Are we really so naive to believe otherwise?

So to that 13 year old girl who still has her entire life ahead of her,

Despite how you feel, you can still be ok. Despite how this is being reported, you will never be placed in the broken beyond repair category. You are able to rise above this. And you were never anybody’s sex slave. Nothing that happened to you was ever your fault. It was never about you and everything to do with their inability to be decent human beings.

Promise me, when people reach out to you, you will reach back. When someone opens their arms to you, you will fall into them. When someone offers you love and compassion you will accept it without hesitation because you no longer believe that lie holding you prisoner. You are worthy. When the anger makes way for the sadness you have been too scared to own and those tears burn like acid in the backs of your eyes, you will let them fall freely. I promise you they will stop.
That shame you still hold onto, not that it was ever yours but someone had to carry it and they were all incapable. Promise me you will let that go. It was never yours to bear.  You likely haven’t heard it in a while, but you will laugh again. Your heart always remember how to smile.

You will not be defined or limited by what was done to you. Your freedom starts now. Your life can still be significant. You will find the treasures that were put on this planet for you alone to discover. That is the journey. We all have a destiny, and if there can be a silver lining taken from our brutal beginnings, I believe it is this;
There is a knowing that exists inside our souls that will remind us for the rest of our days, our spirit holds immeasurable strength and our character, infinite courage. Remaining grateful for the life you have been given and letting go of time that’s passed, this is the gift of perspective and it has the power to hold you in good stead for the remainder of your tomorrows.

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Finding Grace

There are times when I am asked what the greatest privilege afforded to me as a published author has been. Always a tricky question because I don’t really see myself as an author with a book, but more an individual with a story I am sharing for a greater purpose. In a recent interaction I had with a woman who has contacted me several times now after reading my book, I sat back and realised I am finally able to answer that question.

Without doubt, the greatest privilege has been the natural creation of that sacred space I am honoured to hold for people who read my book and  find the courage to break the silence and find their voice. A space where others share their pain and are granted the assurance they will receive understanding in the absence of judgement.

This courageous woman, I suspect has survived far more than I. She reached out to me a while back and then again last week on the day she was to have another corrective surgery related to the trauma she suffered as a child. During our conversation, she shared with me something she does unconsciously when she is stressed or anxious. It made me think about the impact abuse continues to have long after the physical stops. The mental and emotional trauma lingers on. I decided to share with her something that I never wrote about, never speak about actually, mainly because it isn’t conscious and I hadn’t given it much thought until she shared with me what she does with her hands when she is anxious (I do know I wring mine a lot though if I’m stressed). Or perhaps, because I still carry shame at some level and there are many personal things I will likely never tell a soul.

I told her I bite down hard on the inside of my cheeks. Always have for as long as I can remember. I don’t realise I am doing it until the pain brings me back. To this day, I have two scars inside my mouth and I often run my tongue along both sides and feel the raised thickness. I believe I started doing this to distract from the pain my body endured as a child. Before the pain hit, I would bite down with my back molars on my cheeks… I’m actually doing it now as I write this and remember. I would continue to do it throughout the course of the assault. Maybe it was my only measure of control. A temporary distraction. A more tolerable pain to focus on. Whatever the reason, it is still a habit I have yet to break.

11352508_10205784172835286_1151228115_nSo on we spoke about issues both she and I have (both physically and emotionally) as a direct result of the childhood abuse. I have ongoing health issues related to the abuse (my back being on of them) so I could relate to her anger. I still feel it myself. But despite the anger and frustration that were definitely touched on, the underlying, unspoken tone of the messages we sent, held the answer to what could be the opposite of shame. I asked her if she would mind if I shared some of what we discussed. Her response was beautiful. She said, “If your post can reach someone else doing it tough, then I am absolutely in.” And then she sent me this amazing piece of writing she found on Facebook. Please click to enlarge and read it before you go further. (and especially follow the directions at the bottom)

I thought it was so brilliant and reading it the first time through, very reflective of where our emotions can go when we isolate ourselves or don’t have those hands to reach back for, helping us out of darkness. To be honest, when she sent it, my heart dropped as I read to the bottom. This is not a woman who shares her pain and her story with people. So while it made sense to me, given her situation, that shame and fear were present, my heart still broke in that moment. And then I read from the bottom back up and the message she sent along with it, finally made sense.

“Carrie from my heart to yours I thank you for bringing some light, humor and comfort to my day. Honestly it has been the difference between a fucked up day to a day that has so much more meaning and light. Someone cared to check in on me. Blessed xxx”

All I did, was carry through on a thought I had before starting my day. I receive messages from people often who have been moved by my story or struggling with their own. So I wrote to a few of them yesterday morning – this woman being one. All I did was reach out and ask her how she went. Pretty simple gesture and, unbeknownst to me, it changed her whole day. So beautiful. And how easy it is to let someone know that they are on your mind and you care.

What an honour and privilege sharing my story has been. But as I said to her and others, it is critical we have people in our lives to reach out to. We aren’t meant to walk this journey on our own. I am absolutely the product of people stepping in and making it their business to care. The product of women who believed in me so deeply, that I started to believe in myself.

Shame is so crippling in the way it isolates. Makes us live small and apologetic for taking up space in this world. And that is exactly why I decided to lose my shame, find my voice and show others that if I can do it, they sure can too. And they deserve at least that. We all do. So in that conversation with that woman, I believe it is shame that prevents her from letting others in and getting the support she deserves. She is a wonderful, considerate person who opens that space for others to share, but doesn’t believe she is worthy of receiving the same.

Up until that particular conversation, I always believed the opposite of shame was feeling proud. But what I came to understand yesterday after we spoke, was so much more than that. When we lose our shame and realise that we are in fact worthy of love and belonging, it isn’t a sense of pride that fills us. When we discover that we are enough exactly as we are and have gratitude for all that we have, the state we experience is grace. And when we trust and surrender while walking that path of grace, the universe rises to meet us where we are at. I have had it happen far too many times to call it coincidence.

I will end this blog with an example of this;

One year ago exactly to this day, the universe lined up yet again and brought back into my life a very significant woman from my past. When I was homeless back in 1998, this social worker saw me every week, supporting me though one of the roughest times in my life.  Natasha stood up and gave evidence at the Refugee Review Tribunal on my behalf when I was fighting to stay in this country and seeking protection. When I was rejected at the refugee stage, she wrote to the Immigration Minister asking for his intervention in my case. (I was pregnant at the time (as was she) and they were considering basically two options; deport both myself and the baby before I was seven months pregnant, or allow me to give birth and the baby could stay but I had to go back.)

“If Carrie is to have a chance at recovering from the significant trauma she endured as a child, it is imperative she be granted protection so she can feel safe and secure. It is for this reason that I support Carrie’s application to remain permanently in Australia.”

Now we come to the one year ago part. I created a page on Facebook roughly a year before I received a publishing deal. On this page I would share my journey and speak on the importance of supports for young women dealing with trauma. Once receiving the publishing contract, I shared my back book cover and spoke about the Young Women’s Project Gatehouse was creating. 25% of the proceeds of my book go toward this project and I was most proud of that. Now this post was seen 25000 times because it was shared by so many.

When I wrote those words, I was specifically thinking about the Young Women’s Project that took me in when I was homeless and the organisation Natasha worked for when she was my therapist. All morning I received notifications on my phone when someone commented or shared this post. (Here’s where the universe comes into it) The organisation who supported me and to whom I was actually referring, saw my post and shared it on their Facebook page! (having no idea who I was or that it was even them I was speaking about!)

I stood there shocked for a minute, even though this trippy shit happens to me all the time. I was meant to be catching up with a friend later that day but instead jumped in the car, rang my friend and said there has been a change of plans. I told her to get ready cuz we were heading to a part of the city I hadn’t been for nearly 15 years.

It was so strange being back there and having someone from my present revisit my past with me, if that makes sense? Having a car and not having to walk everywhere was a real bonus as well.

I knew Natasha moved overseas after she had her baby so I wasn’t expecting to see her. I just wanted to go in there, introduce myself and let them know that even though they had no idea who I was, that post they shared was directly related to them. They appeared as shocked as I was (in hindsight, perhaps their shock was more related to my excitement and the off putting manner I spat out the explanation like I was Busta Rhymes.)

Anyway, to make an already long story short, by fluke I ran into the counsellor who replaced Natasha on maternity leave. She is rarely at that office but just so happened to be there that day… I know right? And she said to me Natasha was back and working with her at their other office down the coast. NO WAY! She gave me her email and I messaged her as soon as I got home.

Subject: Hello Ladies!!

Hi!!!!!

I am so pleased to be able to contact you both and THANK the two of you for the role you both played in my broken life way back when. Truly grateful.
Susan, that just made my day going back there after 16 years and getting to see you! Wow, words fail me. But going back empowered with something to give back to a community that gave me so much. Truly an honour and things like this excite me far more than launching a book to be honest with you.

Natasha, wow, it has been a long time. I was so pleased to hear that you are back and you work with Susan. What a trip out. I’m pretty sure you were one of the women who came with me to the RRT back in 1998? I know you worked so hard for me researching and helping me put a case together. Drafting a support letter (all of which I still have all these years later).  haha This has truly made my day!

And not long after I received this…

Hi Carrie,
Cosmic forces work in strange ways ….
I was just on your sight reading your story when your email came through AND last night, school sent a notification that my daughter, aged 10 years teacher who is about to go on maternity leave is to be replaced by Carrie from Canada!! I was thinking of you at about 10 pm last night, wondering how you were doing! … your memory is very good – I’m sure that’s not always a great thing for you, but yes I did attend the RRT with you. That is still a day I remember well.
I am so pleased you have been able to turn your experiences into something so positive.
Thanks so much for the email.
Regards,
Natasha

I suppose the point of my story is this, life is sometimes a real struggle and isn’t seemingly fair. But when you know you are worthy of love and support, a world of healing and recovery opens up to you. When we hold onto the shame and believe the lie, we stay stuck in the struggle of self hate and isolating circumstances continue. I have been so blessed to receive the amount of love and support by significant woman I met on this wild and wonderful journey. Women who continue to walk that path beside me. But the other obvious fact for me going back to revisit my past last year was this; I worked my butt off to do better and be better and get better. When people offered their hand, I took it. When I was homeless and pregnant and seeing Natasha sometimes twice a week, I walked over an hour to get to see her each way. Whether it was 5 degrees and raining or 40 degree disgusting summer heat, I never missed an appointment.

Grace and gratitude don’t just miraculously happen. It requires effort. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when it hurts to be me and I find myself frustrated with a strong desire to break things. But I make a conscious effort to focus on my blessings always. Because when we jump out of our head and drop into our heart, the positives become far easier to see. When we give ourselves permission to let go of that which isn’t serving us, and we stop the punishing and self sabotage, trusting and surrendering become so much easier and our focus then naturally falls upon our blessings. Better enabling us the opportunity to continue on our journey toward the goals we have yet to achieve. All the while, holding onto the belief that while they are not yet in our grasp, one day soon, they will be.

Just don’t lose hope. And on this journey, know that you are enough exactly as you are and worthy to reach out for those hands waiting to reach back.

Now that, is grace.

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This is me… Love me or Leave me

So another sleepless night reading interesting articles and one got me scrolling through my personal Facebook pics thinking about things. As I thought, I recalled an email I received a while back from a young woman with a history of abuse who was struggling with her sexuality. Wondering whether her abuse was a contributing factor to her being gay or was she born that way? I’m afraid I didn’t have a worthy response at the time.    Not that people come out and ask me directly, but often I’ve been questioned about my personal life. In particular my ability to have intimate relationships with people. Jon Faine asked me directly (and over stepped I feel) but I answered the only way I know how… Honestly. Have I been able to recover from what happened to me? Largely I think so. Has there been any irreparable damage as a direct result of my past abuse? Absolutely. What I said on the Jon Faine interview was I am unable to trust men. Given my past, most would find this totally understandable. Some men take offence and say not all men abuse. Women abuse as well… Blah blah yawn. I don’t understand why men get their back up because I don’t trust them. It isn’t personal. It is a direct result of my experience. And are we not all impacted by past experience that largely shape who we become and how we see the world? Sure, we can heal and grow and overcome many things, but I’m rather happy with how I’ve turned out. Do I need to work on things? Of course! Who doesn’t? Yes, women do abuse as well but this has not been my experience. Women, for the most part have played a pivotal role in my healing. Stepping in and loving me through the hurt. Seeing in me potential and taking the time to nurture that with me and stand back and watch it grow. My answer to Jon Faine was as follows; I am a great friend but I make a lousy partner. Does that mean I identify as gay? I’m not sure. The same story applies there. In the past, intimacy has made me run a mile. I have many beautiful friendships with women and a couple great guys and I seem very content with just that. Friendship! Im not looking for a life partner. Will I ever? Perhaps. And given my past, would I be able to overcome my fears, trauma and limitations to go beyond and have a beautiful relationship one day? Possibly. The one thing I know I am very good at, is loving people. I do it with my whole heart. Always have.       Many of my close friends tease me about how I dress. They think I wear the baggy guy clothes so not to attract male attention. They don’t think I’m gay, but more damaged by what happened to me as a child. That women are safe. And then I read that article last night in Elle on Ruby Rose on gender fluidity and non-binary. And then I started thinking about my natural style. What I am most comfortable wearing and how strongly opposed I am to the frock. I’ve never been one for labels given so many have been placed upon me growing up. I am who I am. Am I a product of what happened to me as a child? Probably. But I attribute all my positives to that as well. Gotta take the good with the bad, right? I’ve not posted anything like this before because I’ve not fully identified as anything. I don’t give it a lot of thought to be honest. But when Ruby was talking about gender fluidity and I had a look at how I often dress non gender specific, it sort of fit for me. It’s not a sexuality thing. But is it a gender thing? I dunno. I am female, I know this. But do I identify as such? Like really embrace my femininity? No, I can’t say that I do. Growing up, I hated being a girl. It meant I was hurt. My whole Refugee claims case was built around being persecuted as a member of a particular group – female. So maybe it is more that for me. It’s complex. Like we all are. I have been judged my whole life. I guess the positive in that is it has made me tolerant and accepting of others. There is no one way to be. I think it is dangerous and narrow minded to think otherwise.    image1 We are who we are for whatever reason. Maybe we are born that way, maybe experience plays a hand. But at the end of the day, does it really matter? Gay. Straight. Bi. Trans. Gender fluidity. Non-binary. Who gives a flying cuff? So to the young woman who sent me that brave and beautiful email with a totally different take away message from my book… I’m so happy my story gave you the courage to come out and be yourself! Be proud of who you are! You made me think about a lot of things. And like I said, there’s no shame in who you are. I’m not sure why I am so reluctant to publish this, but like everything else I’ve done so far, if I can help one person out there who feels all alone, it has been worth doing. I am so blessed and so humbled my story is resonating with so many in totally different ways. Many ways I never imagined possible. Ok. That is all. As you were soldiers 😊

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An Open Letter to the Media

An Open Letter to the Media:

My name is Carrie Bailee and I am a repeat survivor of violence and exploitation. I have suffered trauma many are fortunate enough to find unimaginable. And yet, far too many have had their own painful back stories similar to my own and can very much relate. I grew up witnessing extreme male violence as a child when my father would physically abuse and mentally torture my mother. Her powerlessness became mine. Her inability to speak caused me the loss of my own voice. The first time my father lay his hands on me, I learned at four years old, my body was not my own. I was taught that to be a girl in this world, was a vulnerability handicap, punishable by a force meant to rob me of all dignity and strip away my self worth. My rights as a human being were non existent. When I was only nine years old, my father started selling me to other men. The incomprehensible pain and suffering I endured as a child became permissible because the men responsible for inflicting such upon me, dehumanised and exploited for their own unfathomable pleasure. Yet somehow, I managed to will the courage and rise above my beginnings to find my voice.

The media has taken from me, exactly what my father robbed me of as a child. The media has continued to inflict upon me the same emotional suffering my father repeatedly caused. And like my father and every man who paid to rape and dehumanise me when I was a little girl, the media continue to do the exact same thing to both myself and to others brave enough to come forward with their story of SURVIVAL only to be victimised and exploited again and again.

You need to know that what you have done and continue to do robs me of my dignity, my power and my worth as a human being. Time and again for the benefit and enjoyment of others and your monetary gain, you have diminished and dismissed the power of my message of hope and resilience because you are more interested in sensationalising the breaking of a human being and have no interest in benefitting humanity by focusing on my rising. I am curious though, before running these stories, are you aware of the impact your grotesque, voyeuristic approach used to retell my story will have on me as a human being? Or do you know, and just not care?

When you ran that Good Weekend cover story four days before my book was set to release, and wrote an ignorant piece with voyeuristic, sensationalised skepticism, I was so humiliated I didn’t even care my first book was coming out. I was so devastated by the incorrect way in which I was portrayed, that what should have been one of the proudest achievements of my life, mattered very little to me. You robbed me of my pride and joy.

The mind boggles when I try to find a plausible excuse how any company could have “mistakingly” placed my book in the “Erotic Stories” category. photo 1And when I brought it to the attention of the CEO, I eventually received the hollow, emotionless apology and business as usual approach. Heaven forbid they sat down and allowed themselves a moment to imagine how traumatising a discovery that must have been for me. My pain and suffering as a child, bravely recounted to help others lose their shame, placed in the erotica section for others to get off on. Your “mistake” caused me such shame. I felt dirty and disgusting and didn’t know what to do. You made me feel powerless.

I wonder, before you placed my four year old face on the cover of your national women’s magazine and called me a sex slave, did you consider the impact? Did it cross your mind, how demeaning, degrading and excruciatingly painful that would have been for me and my girls? My fifteen year old daughter, who isn’t one to show much emotion, felt so helpless and upset, she masked her pain and tears with anger and resentment. Did you consider how grotesque and minimising that click bait title was to what I endured as a child? photo 2My torturous childhood summed up in your raunchy ‘sex slave’ description for the enjoyment of others. Yes media, we learned very quickly, how little regard you have for valuing and upholding the dignity of a human life. I refused your $600 payment and requested that sum as well as a considerable donation be made to the Young Women’s Project – who help young girls who have suffered abuse and are still at risk of exploitation. You agreed and asked who the cheque be made out to. We received your one hundred dollar donation. Not only did you victimise and exploit my pain, but to add insult to injury, you also managed to make us feel worthless and completely irrelevant. What an insult that was.

I wonder what would happen if you wrote with a sense of agency and integrity? Instead of focusing on the irrelevant details of my abuse and the suffering of others – instead of detailing the breaking of the victim, you provide in depth analysis on the rising of the individual. It seems to me, our mantra has become the more sensationalised and voyeuristic the story, the better. But my question is this; better for whom? How does focusing on and being fascinated by what has broken an individual help us become whole? How does spending 90% of an article’s focus on documenting the detail I suffered as a child, promote growth and ignite healing in the adult reader? Why do we show such interest in the detail of another’s suffering and have little to no regard for learning about what the key aspects were that lifted that individual up out of the darkness and what motivating, tangible factors continue to see her rise?

The victim story has been done to death and so my sole purpose in releasing my book into the world was to transform this space and contribute a body of work that would enrich the lives of those reached. Not through evoking pity or horror, but by inspiring courage and innovative thinking. Words are such a powerful weapon and the intention behind the message is equally so. We measure success on impact, reach and monetary gain but don’t seem to place much value on sustainable growth and the transformative potential for healing and wholeness. Instead of creating and seeking sensationalised garbage the market ‘wants’, why don’t we get deliberate in our intentions to add soul nourishing value by supplying quality messages the market needs?

And so I humbly reach out to the people who make up this society. If we are the market demand, let’s higher our expectations, get deliberate in our goal setting and demand better of both ourselves and the media. Let’s be mindful and observe more closely that which we are drawn to and ask ourselves why? Do we want an exploited, sensationalised victim story to entertain us, or do we want content to educate and enrich our own lives and propel us out of darkness by offering to give us the points of light and inspiration we are all desperately searching for?

So I will ask you again, do we add to the perpetual ugliness that breeds misery and fuels the victim mentality, keeping us in a state of suffering or do we take our power back? What if the movement toward collective rising begins with our refusal to buy into the sensationalised, gender based objectification and voyeuristic hype? Maybe when we stop our complacency and actively seek out, contribute to and demand more enriching, enlightened experiences, we will naturally move away from this toxic culture of inequality and toward a movement of solution based and innovative thinking that raises human consciousness. A movement so inspiring and undeniable that it ignites an uprising bigger than any one individual and so powerful and authentically contagious, that it becomes the soul’s calling. And maybe then, we will find our way back.

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Stepping Back Into Life

There are times when life is messy and ugly and painful. Exhausting, unforgiving and cruel. When it hurts so much, you just wish you had the guts to end it. I get it. I’ve been there. My lows were scary low sometimes. So much so, that I don’t ever want to talk about it. I always say I choose to focus on the rising. Not the breaking. And I do. Because this mentality is what has carried me through the depths of  my despair. But before I could see the light through my own darkness, I had to know there was a light to search for. That there is light. That I was that light. I am that light. You are that light. And it changed my life.

Unknown This movie resonated so much with me. I saw myself in the anger and despair of Aniston’s character. Her lost soul following a path of self destruction. I’ve felt that hopeless before. I’ve touched that anger and I stepped out of living. I used grief as an excuse to hold me prisoner in that space and I chose to harbour that grief and not step into life. That was the choice I made, though I didn’t realise I was choosing anything at the time. It was simply my reality. It was awful. And it hurt so much that I don’t even like remembering how how helpless and hopeless I felt. I don’t like to talk about the darkness. But you know what? Sometimes we need to and it can still be ok. Because although life can be cruel and unforgiving. Messy. Ugly. Excruciating. Unjust. Plain frikkin hard. It can also be gracious and beautiful. Loving, nurturing, hopeful. Fair. And worth it. So so very worth it.

And because I have occupied both sides of the spectrum in my life… Walking the line between heartache and grace. Moving beyond not only the childhood abuses, but my adult excuses. I know that painful, amazing journey intimately. And yes, there were many lows, you don’t forget the lows. But you know what that does? Makes the highs phenomenal! Helps you find the extraordinary in the ordinary. It is the ordinary moments that make up the majority of our life. When you can find extraordinary in the simple privileges in life, life will start loving you back.

This is one movie I cannot recommend highly enough because it is so real. So beautiful, raw and authentic… and we can all relate.
Cake 2014 – Jennifer Aniston gave the performance of her life.
She deserves an oscar.

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The Impact of Flying on Broken Wings

It has been one month since my book’s release and the response has been absolutely overwhelming. So far I have received hundreds of emails, comments and messages. People reaching out to share their story or simply tell me about the impact my book has had on them. These messages continue to pour in daily. For those who believe child sexual abuse and severe trauma isn’t a problem in our community, I wish they were on this side of my computer reading the many heart breaking accounts I am receiving. Mothers reaching out to me, desperate for help because their children are suffering and many suicidal as a consequence of the sexual abuse suffered. Young girls who have been through similar trauma and have never told a soul as they thought they were the only ones and no one would believe them anyway. Men and women who were abused as children and were held captive by their fear and shame. Shame that was never theirs to begin with. And after they read my story and after so many years, can begin the process of healing because the shame is falling away!!!!

My message is landing and resonating with people. And my book affects each person differently. One woman spoke to me, tears in her eyes and said that the last two chapters and the relationship I have with my girls, inspires her to be a better, more present mother! How cool is that?

 

The book launch was a huge success. The energy in the room was so beautifully uplifting. A day I will never forget. I was so honoured to have it captured by Peter Roberts. His final edits in this five minute video captured the essence brilliantly. Please have a look!

As I have always said, my hope in writing this book was to help set others free. By owning my story and sharing it so candidly, I lose my shame and inspire others to follow suit. But by owning my story and showing others that we are so much more than just our story, that gives people hope and a whole new outlook. And as so many share with me the conclusion they have come to, “If Carrie Bailee can do it, then I can do it!” This makes me happy dance every time I read it!

People are starving for hope. I am so grateful they are receiving that through reading my book. While I empathise implicitly as I know all too well the pain and desperation, what I find most distressing is having to tell people I am not qualified to support them through their trauma. I have read and responded to each and every email I have received. That is getting more difficult as the volume increases. Please know I will do my best to get back to every one of you. I am so humbled and hopeful you all have received my message in the way it was intended.

I will leave you with some of the amazing comments I have been receiving. Also the book reviews have been phenomenal. Please, can I ask if you have read my book, to go onto Goodreads and Booktopia to rate and review. Also if you could with ibook and amazon kindle. Most people get it… but there will always be the odd one. I would just like to have  the positive reviews noted so that people do not have to fear reading my book. I was very careful writing it. I learned yesterday one woman said there wasn’t enough detail. Another said it was “heinously graphic”! But the majority get it. And I am grateful.

Thank you for your support and for your bravery in facing your own trauma. Let’s continue to shed a light on the evil that thrives in darkness.

Book Reviews:

Ms. Bailee is an amazing writer who has crafted the narrative of her brutal and horrific childhood into a memoir of strength, survival and success. She takes the reader along with her from her early childhood to her current life and celebration of all that is joy-filled and wonderful about life. Bailee’s ability to transport the reader between time and place is flawlessly seamless. The foreshadowing, the flashbacks, the realistic dialogue, and even tones of humour, combine to result in this memorable and powerful memoir by first time writer Carrie Bailee. The reader will experience a myriad of emotions as the pages turn, but will conclude with a tremendous feeling of peace, knowing that now, this young woman is indeed, “Flying on Broken Wings”

I was reading this book and about 3/4 finished when my sister arrived to visit from NZ. She was only here for 4 nites and I know she is a speed reader and I wanted to share this book with her but I didn’t want to hand it over until I finished it but I sacrificed finishing it to let her read before she flew back to NZ…. I gave her a quick overview of what the book was about – she is a nurse, she’s seen a lot, she works in a hospital – she is not squeamish….BUT… she said oh, I don’t think I want to read this now Shell…… I said trust me sis you will love this book, please just have a wee read, if you like it keep reading…. she finished your book in 2 days. She loved your book. I love your book. You inspire us both. You are extraordinarily normal. You laugh, you make jokes, you are tough. You are amazing we are in awe of you Carrie. And, you can write. Everyone should read this book.

“WOW … what courage. What unbelievable strength. This book is so well written, this story so beautifully told. The way Carrie has told her story leaves the reader with hope, courage, strength, Carrie takes US on a journey of inspiration and healing. Sometimes in the telling of life traumas, we are left feeling hopeless and in grief. Sometimes there is a frustration and anger. Not this time – Carrie is a victor, more than a survivor and this story should be read by every survivor, every woman. I wasn’t sure what would happen when I read this book … would it trigger some sort of reaction I wasn’t prepared for? No, none of that happened, not at all Grab this book, read it and share it. Thank you Carrie…”

You can’t put this book down! i was afraid to buy it at first, thinking i would get depressed, but when i finally did it was an inspiring read, full of encouragement to find the moments of grace in one’s life. That she is able to write about her topic in such an inviting and comfortable manner brings hope to anyone who is struggling. Well done Carrie!

Just finished reading these beautifully written and inspirational book. I am left crying, but filled with hope and promise. I honour this beautiful woman and her courage.

This book is a must read. The darkness described in the pages is told with a voice brimming with resilience, light and hope. And that is what you are left with. In the same realm as Victor Frankel’s acclaimed book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Flying on Broken Wings sheds light on the incredible power of the human spirit, and inspires.

During the time reading this I immediatly found it extremley hard to put down. Baliee has an ability to write in a way that pulls you to hear her story. And what a story to be told. She has now inspired me to face and heal my Broken wings. Thank you thank you thank you.

Humanity….it’s a word that more of us need to understand. Carrie is inspiring brave and strong. Sharing her plight for the sake of others. That is humanity

A truly inspirational, moving story that reminds us all that there is always hope when there feels like there is none. Carrie’s strength of spirit and determination to not become a ‘victim’ will resonate with all of those who have ever felt trapped by the circumstances of their past.

A Few Personal Messages Received:

From a 14 year old girl;

“Just finished reading your book! Moved me so much to the point of tears. Thank you, thank you, thank you for publishing it because for years I’ve felt alone and disgusting hiding away from the world. I now know that what happened to me from a close member of my family actually wasn’t my fault, despite what I used to believe. Sharing your story like this is such a great way to raise awareness of this really concerning issue that is affecting girls around the world. Thanks heaps, hopefully one day I’ll be as brave as you are!”

“Thanks for sharing your incredible story Carrie, I have just read your book cover to cover, I had knots in my stomach and tears in my eyes most of the time. I couldn’t go to work today just so I could finish your book. You are an inspiration to me in many ways.
I’m now curled up in bed with a “hot drink” reflecting on my own past experiences and what steps I can take to step out be vulnerable, take a risk, in order to heal move forward.”

“Today I bought your book and I couldn’t put it down… I just finished it. I have an abuse history, and so much of your story spoke to me. Thank you for being so willing to share your life. Your courage is inspiring.”

“Your book made me cry. It made me happy. It made me think. Hard. It made me reevaluate. It inspired me to become better (although that will take more time). It made me proud to be an Aussie. I’ve shared it. I’ve rated it. I’ve talked about it. I’ll never forget it and hope no one I’ve shared it with ever will too.
Your bravery in speaking out, your eloquence in your poetry, your determination to survive as a rounded human being living a happy life is to be commended.
Again I thankyou for sharing your story.”

“Thank you, you give me so much hope for my daughter. She will be able to get through her demons and face the world again chest on…. I believe we all have the strength however as you know we need to find what works for each of us to get through to the other side. I will continue to help her however I can to make this happen.. Thank you again for having the strength to tell your story and for giving people like us hope for the future.”

“Your writing is amazing and your story just so so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story and helping me and many others out there view their life differently now.”

“I have just started reading your book and can’t put it down. You are extraordinary, your strength is amazing. The way you write and take the reader with you is incredible. Even though your experiences are so far from my world it’s like I am there with you. That’s good writing girl!”

“This is an Incredible story of hope and courage. I’m so grateful I was recommended to read your story Carrie. The thing that touched me so much was that you have created the life you wanted. Any one would understand completely if you’d chosen a destructive path in life or given up and been a victim but not only did you chose love and happiness but also forgiveness and gratitude. Amazing.”

“Thank you for sharing your life with us, and being a light for others. I am still in the early stages of my healing journey and after twenty years finally am being heard in a court of law. I hope one day to be a light for others, too. You are a hero to my inner child – thank you for your voice.”

“Dear Carrie

I am writing this with tears running down my cheeks. Tears for you and tears for me as well. Thank you from the depths of my soul. Your courage to stand up and be yourself unashamedly, for yourself and for others, is truly remarkable and inspiring. As you said in your blog, courage comes from courage and I wanted to tell you that I have drawn such strength from you… I have been writing a memoir that, until now, i could not bear to publish for fear of hurting those i love. But having seen you stand tall in your own story, knowing you have helped others by showing them they are not alone, I simply must go ahead with it. I will stand up and be me, because you stand up and are you. Truly, your courage has given me wings on my soul.”

 

 

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Points of Light

September 20 1996 my journey began. Exactly 18 years ago today, I tasted freedom for the first time in my life. Stepping off of that plane, I didn’t know a soul and it was the best feeling in the world. And now, nearly two decades later, I am experiencing freedom again – but in a different way. I was the cover story for a magazine today and how I was portrayed, the victim slant and sensationalism honestly humiliated me. To the point where, other than a few close friends who have been so supportive, nobody knew. I woke up this morning and didn’t want to face the day… the thought of one person reading that article let alone one million (I’m sure it was nowhere near that amount but I am just going off the readership stats) gave me such anxiety. So much so that I started losing sight of my focus and my vision, and I allowed my fear of what others would think to cloud my judgement and doubt my journey and the decisions that have led me to this point… and then the emails started coming in.

Initially it was all men. Lovely messages from dads horrified that the most important person who is supposed to protect a little girl could do such a thing. Men apologised to me on behalf of all males. Other men told me that they had been abused as little boys and thanked me for my courage. And then women started writing to me. Young women, older women, moms, and grandmothers. I was quite surprised that the article had even resonated, as it was so shocking and graphic. My fear was that it would scare people away from my actual message. When you are dealing with such a heavy subject matter, you have to be so careful in your delivery because you risk people turning off and shutting down. I was so careful in the way I crafted and told my story throughout my book, making sure I had the right balance of shade and light and the way I wrote my poem. Because before a message can resonate and hopefully inspire, you need it to land! If a message doesn’t even get the opportunity to land, what is the point of having one?

I will answer each and every person who has reached out to me. Thank you so much for telling me the impact my story has had on you. Thank you for the ability to see beyond the horror portrayed in the article to see the essence of who I am and why I am doing this. I received so many amazing messages and one heart breaking message from a determined mom whose daughter disclosed abuse and died tragically days later. This woman’s pain and courage gave me the courage to post the online article to my social media sites to share with my friends.

As I have always said, each and every one of us is a little broken in some way. I am just a reminder to others that no matter the trauma, it can be possible to rise above suffering and make that flight on broken wings.

Thank you from my whole heart. Your words have lifted me up and inspired courage to push through my fears to continue to be that point of light for others. You have all been points of light for me today. xx

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The Sharing of a Secret

Brave though I am, releasing my story into the world to be judged and picked apart, I have been more scared about my daughter reading my story, and the impact it could have on her. She is nearly fifteen, but I am certain this is not her first time on this planet. But still, it is a mother’s job to protect their child from the evil that exists in this world. As a mom, especially a mom with a background of severe abuse, it is a top priority for me to ensure my children have a childhood that is the polar opposite to the one I endured growing up. And for nearly fifteen years, I did just that. And my biggest challenge was the balancing act between not being over protective and paranoid for their safety, and at the same time remaining vague and busting my ass to protect them from the darkness of my past. I never wanted them to know what happened to me.

I have always been very selective with whom I share that part of my life with – until last year when I decided I needed to come forward with my story to be a point of light for so many souls still struggling in the dark. I am very proud of the body of work I am releasing into the world. But I am also aware that people can be cruel and I will be judged. This terrified me for selfish reasons (nobody likes to be torn apart by insensitive, ignorant people) but it mostly worried me for my girls…until last night.

I lost all fear of that after writing in the very first copy of my book as I handed it over to my daughter. I don’t even know why, but as soon as I wrote what I did, I knew she would get it. And this foreign feeling of comfort seeped into my bones. (Don’t get me wrong, I still felt like I was gonna have a heart attack after releasing it to her) She then went upstairs to bed to begin reading it. A few minutes later I was alerted that she had tagged me in a facebook post (she’s 15, so as you can imagine, this never happens!)

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Her words have humbled me beyond measure, made me proud, made me ugly cry and marvel at the young woman she is becoming. And as a result of this, has made me more driven than ever and ready to own my story so that others may do the same.

Although relieved, I still remained wide awake in bed as the time ticked on and I tried to imagine what part she was up to and hoped she was ok. Just after 11pm I caved in and sent her a quick text asking if she was alright. She said that she had just come across a shocking bit. I took a deep breath and replied, “End of chapter three?” She said, “Yup. But I am ok.” I believed her, mostly because I had to and for years I knew that she wondered and her questions were finally being answered. I owed her that much. We never spoke about him. She may have asked about him half a dozen times when she was really little, but I just instinctively dismissed it and moved on to better topics… anything really. I can’t even recall how I would have gotten out of it. She has been a switched on kid from the moment she was born. My change in demeanour, perhaps the terror in my eyes I tried unsuccessfully to mask. But whatever the explanation, she knew not to push it further. And so for years, we left it. An unspoken topic. The elephant in the room that neither one of us dared to address.

The hours passed and my anxiety grew. 2 am – surely she was sleeping. As I lay in the dark, surrendering to my heavy lids, my phone lit up. It was three in the morning when her text came through. She had finished reading my entire book.

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And she gets it! She, at nearly 15 years of age, had the ability to look beyond the darkness and into the light to receive the essence of my message. Something some adults haven’t been able to do. There have been some who haven’t been able to read my book because they find it too traumatising. My defensive response, although never verbalised was initially, “I am so sorry that my lived experience, which I have been painstakingly careful writing about, with the protection of the reader (and myself) in mind, has somehow been too difficult for you to digest. (sarcasm is my go to defensive comfort spot) But that isn’t fair for me to do, and so I try to be mindful and empathise with another’s shock or compassionate when all they can have for me is pity and they miss the whole point of my intended message because they get stuck on the detail.

But now, I can honestly say, I am no longer worried about how my book will be received by the public. Many will get it. Some will not. But nobody has the world as her audience. To be honest with you, the way I see it, I have already won. One of the 2 most important people in my life has put my mind at ease. So anything that happens after this… is all ok with me.

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The Color of A Million Midnights

Although this has not been my own personal experience, it so easily could have been. And so I write this poem to honour the women, who at some point in their lives stopped seeing the world in color.

The Color of A Million Midnights

Little girl lost. I see your struggle. I feel your pain.
Beyond the darkness of a million midnights, I hear you and you matter

She’s been alive for 2000 night falls.
Wide eyed wonderful little girl. I see you
Borrowed promises, unapologetic confidence and a belly full of laughter. I hear you
A beautiful naivety exists within her heart. In her little body contains the eternal ocean of endless possibility. Of reliable, relentless currents and tides.
Welcoming waves of unconditional love as she dances the shoreline of her lifespan
She is brand new shiny bike proud

Shame is not the watchman standing guard of her gate to worthiness
For she is love. And she is safe. And she is the sum total of unconditional forevers. Because for now, even though she doesn’t know why, she knows she is worthy… and that she matters.
She is 5 years old and her favorite color is purple

Every night she would climb up to her window and look out to a sky of limitless potential. Her head held high for she knew no other way to carry herself – other than with pride. The fullness of the moon, like a pregnant belly of hope carrying with it a future so bright, the stars pale in comparison.
And in the light of day, resides an unwritten promise that the sun rises and shines just for her. And though she doesn’t know it yet, it would be the last setting sun, pregnant moon and scattered diamond sky that cradled her future and held tomorrow’s hope

Little girl lost. I see your struggle. Little girl lost. I see you and feel your pain. Beyond the darkness of a million midnights, I hear you and you matter

She said the betrayal was worse than the pain. And her tears fell like rain
Into an open hand casket on the day she buried her childhood
Every No – Every please – Every bone shattering scream – Every muffled cry – Every stop you’re hurting me, landed on deaf ears. But not hers. Her ears remained wide open and welcomed every bad name. Every fire breathing threat – Every no one will ever believe you anyway but if you do tell, I will kill you little girl.

She lay broken and bled a river of red into that dirt road behind her grandfather’s farm.
Staring up at a million midnights, her moon had fallen from the sky. She picked herself up. She dusted herself off and she said aloud, ‘You don’t need to kill me. I’m already dead.’
She was nine years old and her favorite color was purple

2000 suns have risen and set in her empty sky childhood. Same blue eyes lookin’ but she hasn’t the ability to see. Because her girlhood broke in a hundred different ways by five different men. Three who were kin…by the time she was ten.
And after five years of black skies she passes the time pushin’ harm up her arm.
Her hero is heroin. Her highs blind her eyes – numbing her heart to the pain as a million midnights rush through her veins. That once held high head slumps back and falls forward – chin to chest. She feels nothing. You don’t need to kill her. She’s already dead

And not that she kept count but from 12 years old, at a guess she lay down 400 different times for 400 different men. Each encounter killing her in 400 different ways
But helping her forget the five different men; her grandfather. Her uncle. Her cousin. His friends
She is fifteen years old and in a world of grey her favorite color became the shade of a million midnights

30 years old, abandoned by everyone who once loved that wide eyed wonderful little girl. Whose future burned bright and whose hopes and dreams were once held by the moon. The same moon who pulled tides and the same girl who carried within her tiny frame the eternal ocean of endless possibility.
That same little girl who danced like no one was watching now sits – a shadow of her former self, upon the shores of her lifespan with 1300 Sundays of unanswered prayers behind her. But more hopeless than the unanswered are the unspoken that will forever remain stuck in her throat. Because one reaches a point in one’s lifetime where faith and hope die if you haven’t the help needed to keep them alive

If she could turn back the hands of time or reach back for the hands reaching for hers, maybe she would still be ok. But instead of help she had heroin. Instead of hope she had hell. Instead of ‘I believe you’ she had ‘you must have done something to provoke him’. Instead of worthy. She had shame. And instead of love she will forever have judgement.
40 years old and her favorite color is the shade of a million midnights

If there was a way she could reach for a different brush to paint the life she once saw in her dreams, don’t you think she would? If she hadn’t been robbed of her ability to see the world in color, don’t you think upon her blank canvas, with a broken brush she would dip the tip in to the deepest of purple and create yesterday’s masterpiece and title it:
‘What Could Have Been Had He Let Me Be Me’

50 years old in search of her soul. Because beyond the darkness of a million midnights, her favorite color will always be purple and her now dull eyes; once brighter than the stars- will always be blue – and hold the sparkle of a distant memory – back when she knew love and was love and still believed herself to be the sum total of unconditional forevers.

If choice was truly a luxury the world had gifted her, don’t you think she’d have chosen differently? 50 years old with 2,600 Sundays of unanswered prayers behind her.
And 26,000 different men to help her forget the five men she couldn’t get from her head. No matter how high or how hard she tried. The stars stopped holding her future the moment her grandfather. Her uncle. Her cousin. His friends – took without asking. Her parents never bothered asking and so the eternal message imprinting her soul that no amount of anything could mend was unanimously this; You don’t matter. Forever broken was the backbone of a little girl’s dream

A million midnights of moonless skies to claim the brightly burning star she once was
And the sad reality of this Unhappily Ever After: it could have been prevented
Had somebody told her all those years before when her head was still high, when she was her own watchman. When she was still love in the sum total of unconditional forevers
And the unsung hymn she was longing to hear that never played to her welcoming ear;
Little girl lost. I see you beyond the darkness of a million midnights. I feel your pain. I hear you and you matter and you are worthy of love. The moon still holds for you a million IOUs. The sun still rises and shines just for you. You still have every reason on earth to be brand new shiny bike proud and your favorite color can forever be purple.

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