"I never knew a safe place, until I looked into your eyes. That's where I saw my future and forgot about my past. I saw all of my dreams, and forgot all of my failures. It was in your eyes that I forgot about the monsters I was afraid of, and stopped running from the ones hiding inside of me. You don't even know it, but that save place, in your eyes, saved me. You saved me." - S.L.
I wanted to offer Survivor Sessions (a better name is in the works) for women who have survived domestic and/or sexual abuse. I wanted to give them a safe space to speak out about their past. About their history. About what happened to them. I wanted them to know that they are not alone. That they are enough. That they are strong. That they are amazing, wonderful women.
Now when I say Survived, I don't mean only mean it in a physical sense, but in an emotional sense as well. This subject is very near to my heart - being a survivor myself but also because my sister survived one of the most horrendous attacks I have ever personally seen. (Another story for another time)
Kacandra, like my sister, is a Survivor. In the most literal and complex meanings of the word. To look at her, you would never know it. You would see a bright, happy, strong, healthy woman and mother. What you wouldn't see, are the scars, just below the surface. When we first spoke about her being a part of these sessions, I asked her, what helped you? What saved you? What healed you? She had but one answer. Dakota. Her now fiancé and father to her son. He picked her up and refused to put her down. He carried her when she was weak. He loved her through her pain. I want to share Kacandra's story with you, but it isn't my story to tell. So, instead, I will share with you her words, as she shared them with me.
"In light of recent events I have some things to share because I realize there is a big part of my life that will never go away or be forgotten. A lot of my teenage years I spent depressed from the abuse I was going through. I ended up alienating my self and failing classes that should've been easy for me. I had only tried to speak about it once and when someone scared me I never brought it up again. The emotional and sexual abuse I went through for six years ended finally when I met someone who forced the truth out of me and refused to allow me to remain in the situation any longer. Unfortunately the damage went deeper than even I had imagined. It took a few months for me to relax in a relationship and not assume he wanted something more than I was willing to give. It took another year for me to come clean with my mother who was equally shocked and devastated for me. Slowly I've been able to move forward by pretending it didn't happen. I know now that this is no way to live. Especially when evidence of the past can live on the internet forever. Those who know me see that I wear my hair up all the time or cut it short occasionally. I do it because someone always wanted it long and down. I have finally begun wearing it down and it feels amazing. This is just one example of moving forward. To anyone who is a survivor you are not alone. It may feel like it some days but trust me someone cares and loves you no matter what. It took me far to long to realize this. #survivor"