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