To Write Love On Her Arms uses a slogan that I believe everyone should engrave on their hearts. “Love is the movement”. Love is the movement that clashes with fear, hate, shame, and guilt. Love is what shines inside of you. Love shines through the container, while hate corrodes the container it is in. Everyone not only deserves love, but we crave it. Every human being and living thing on this planet longs to give love, and receive it. Love is free, but for some reason we seem to only want to give it at a cost. Many times we give love expecting more than the same in return. We will accept it but not give it freely.
When I came forward about my own childhood trauma 2 years ago, I was met with shame, disbelief, self hatred, and a bottomless pit of pain. I came forward, yet my voice was taken away from me by the adults I was supposed to be able to trust. I was forced to speak to people I did not wish to speak to, and I was ashamed of myself for coming forward in the first place. I immediately regretted speaking out, and I began to regret being alive. I began to tell myself that I was not worthy, I began to tell myself that I should be ashamed of what happened to me. In my head, I deserved to die for what I did because I caused others pain, more than just myself. I wanted to die rather than cause my family any more heartache or hardships than we had already been given. I created even rockier waters than we were already sailing on at the time. I felt isolated and alone, with no one there to reach out to me. My self hate was beginning to trump my self love.
I began to feel like my story was not mine. I felt like my voice had been taken from me and I had no control. I longed to be the “old me”, I wanted to go back to “normal”. Everyone around kept telling me that “things would only get better”, “the hard part is over”, “it will be ok”. But no, it was not ok, and really, it didn’t get better, I just began to heal. I was 16 and I was alone. I didn’t want to be alive anymore. But my salvation was love. Love from my significant other, and love from friends I never would have met without enduring the pain I endured. I began to heal because that love that was given to me without a price to repay. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as anxiety, and I had to learn how to be “me” again. I had to decide who I was now, and who I wanted to be. I had to choose to make a trauma something to learn from and something I could use to help other people.
My mom taught me as a kid that everything happens for a reason. She taught me that Jesus would carry me through the hard times, and that he would never forsake me. But I was angry with him and I was angry that I did the right thing but it was backfiring on me. I lost a part of my family, and I lost a piece of myself I will never get back. So, I filled that piece with anger and guilt. I had to learn, and am still learning, how to fill that lost piece with healing and love. Self love and love given to us is what heals our hearts. Affection creates a band aid, but love stitches us back together. Through counselling and a new found support system, I learned how to not only give love, but accept it as well. I have done a lot of my recovery and healing with the help of those around me, but at the end of the day, it was my choice to stay alive. It was my choice to get my voice back. It is yours too.
As I look back to 2 summers ago, I did not want everyone to tell me “it only gets better from here” because that was a lie. I wanted someone to tell me that they love me. I wanted support from my family and I wanted to feel love instead of regret. Once I came forward, I became lost in the shuffle of who I could or could not tell, who I would have to hide it from, and who I no longer felt comfortable to be around. Love was the last thing on the list to be dealt with. I didn’t want a mountain of reassurance and broken promises, I wanted someone to tell me how brave I was, and how I shouldn’t be ashamed of doing the right thing. I needed to hear “I love you unconditionally”.
After a lot of praying and asking “why”, I began to understand why I had to go through, and why I am still having to go through, a painful process. I was made unique, and I was made with the desire to help others. “Love is the biggest dream inside of me.”
I found strength inside me to never give up. I found hope inside me to keep believing that this is all for a purpose. I have a purpose. Life is worth living. “You are loved, and made to be loved, and made to give love, and to experience a thousand wonderful things”- Jamie Tworkowski
In a painful situation, we seem to get carried away in our pain, and in our own worries. But we forget that we are on this earth to love people, not to shame or judge them for being honest.
I have come to dislike the phrase “you have to love yourself first before anyone else can love you”, because that is a lie. Sometimes it takes someone else’s love to show you that love is real. Sometimes it takes someone else’s hope to give you hope. People need other people. We need each other.
Love came down and rescued me. Love came down and set me free.