Survival

We hold onto to our stories
long after the danger has passed
long after we have been liberated
by our own courage
by the intervention of others
by time
by circumstance
in part because of how your face changes
when we tell you our truth
You don’t mean to look at us differently
We know that
But we become someone different in your eyes
we are not objects for your pity
we are not damsels in distress
we are not mysteries that need to be solved
we are not broken toys that need repair
We are survivors
Survivors who have walked through hellfire to be where we are
Who know self-hatred and shame
like we know the lines on our palms
like we know our faces in the cracked mirrors that tell us lies about blame, about our ugliness
We have days when we are warrior women who will put your courage, your fierceness to shame
We have days when we are laid low by pain of remembrance
that you cannot imagine living through and still breathing
There are days when we are stretched thin and haunted, our will to survive fragile
These are the dangerous days
Do not turn away
This is when we need to know that you can still see our worth, our beauty, our value even when we can’t
You may need to tell us hundred times
a thousand times
and we may still not always believe it
this will frustrate you
scare you
keep talking
keep listening
and remember that we are more
than the worst that was done to us

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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