There are days I do not want to speak up for myself, days it would be so much easier to smile pretty and let the needs of others swallow my own. Some mornings I want so badly to forget pieces of my story, to pretend I don’t feel this cracking open in my chest, that I don’t have these scars on my wrists and these ghosts on my back.

My story was not an easy one. Yes, others have had it much more difficult. Yes, I have healed and grown and worked and been blessed with some abundant joy in my 30 odd years of life. But still, this body has lived through trauma and survived…which means I feel the physical, spiritual, and emotional effects of my recovery everyday. I distrust those who try to love me, I am sickeningly allergic to fear & adrenaline, and I get triggered often by sounds and smells and noises that remind me of past pains. And also…I see beauty in the grungy unexpected places, I am an excellent care taker, my senses are vibrantly alive, and I have a galaxy-sized toolbox full of ways to feel inspired, grounded, and healthy.

Most days I feel like a badass warrior superhero, grateful for my strength and amazed at this little body for how it keeps on keepin’ on. But some days I am exhausted and I don’t know how I will live through another moment when just the sound of a door opening or the clink of a spoon on a bowl makes me shudder and jump. Those are the days I need words the most. Those are the days I remember that as long as I have a pen and paper in my hand, as long as I keep records of my journey, of what happens and how I feel and how I heal…then I exist. I exist, and my past exists, and my recovery exists. And as long as I keep writing and speaking my stories and encouraging others to do the same, then I am doing my part to remind the world that it is the secrets that keep us sick. That it is only when we are willing to have the difficult and honest conversations that healing is possible.

Trauma tries to erase us. Oppression tries to erase us. Ignorance tries to make us disappear so we don’t mess with the tyranny of the status quo. We were taught to stay silent, to smile while bleeding, to pretend it wasn’t so bad. We were tricked into thinking our stories were shameful and stupid. Writing and speaking these exquisite truths – the truths about our story, our gender, our sexuality, our races, our biochemistry, our memories, our dreams – and revealing the ways in which we heal and keep on healing, this is how we fight for our lives. And this is how we win.