#WriteWithMe Reflection: week 13

Over the last couple of weeks, my writing through the prompts keep bringing me back to this space where I have to acknowledge how I feel about specific things. For example, one of the prompts for this week was to “Glance back for a moment over what you have overcome, how hard you have worked and the changes you have made to become who you are right now. What does it feel like to recognize your growth and progress?”

Well. I can tell you that was one I needed to sit with for a minute. As some of you who know me already know, there’s been a lot to overcome.

From being labeled as an accident, to being condemned for being gay, from being abused and neglected, to being exploited and raped and drugged. From addiction and suicidal ideation to being stalked and beaten and bruised and surviving multiple attempts on my life. From receiving almost no formal education at all, to finding my way to graduating with multiple advanced degrees with honors and earning several certifications since. From heartbreak to heartbreak, and healing and recovering my heart. Losing family and friends, employers that were toxic and abusive, and being re-exploited by nonprofits and politicians. I have had to overcome terrible theology, and words of harm spoken over me on repeat. Finding my way through spaces where there was no pathway, and finding the power of my own voice. Putting a stop to generational patterns of behavior, recognizing and working to amend the harms I have done. This and so much more… it has taken a lot to return to myself and become the person I was meant to be. And of course, I am still a work in progress, that doesn’t mean I haven’t overcome a bunch of shtuff though.

So how did it make me feel to reflect on this?

I felt so many things during this process. And it felt really odd to sit with how much I have had to overcome. It is kind of uncomfortable in some ways, because I have to actually acknowledge how screwed up the world was growing up and how different it is now. Even though it is still screwed up. It is also really cool, and a testament to the power of love and humanity and God. And to me. Which feels bizarre to say but it is so super true. I have had to work my f*cking ass off to get to where I am, there are some barriers I haven’t had to navigate and some advantages I had that others did not. And I still had to work extremely hard to get to where I am, and I continue to do that work every day.

Recognizing this makes me feel so heavy, and tired. It’s a lot. It also makes me feel powerful, and gritty and feisty too. It motivates me to double down, and to work ten times harder. I don’t want anyone else to have to overcome these things, I don’t want anyone else to have to walk those pathways alone. I want a world where people are able to be themselves, without having to dig through piles of poop to get back to themselves. I want a world that is beautiful and brave, healing and bold. And I am actively working to be part of making it so. And that feels… exactly right.