Sunday, October 22, 2017

To Everyone With a Me Too Story:

(told or untold)

I've been reading your stories and realized I am what some of you thought of when you differentiated yourself from a "real victim." Some of you were never touched. Some of you were unconscious or drunk or half asleep. Some of you didn't know the person who did it. And for those reasons and many others, you felt less legit. You felt ridiculous because someone else's suffering towered over yours.

Someone like me. I'm not saying my experience was the worst, but I think measuring sticks for suffering are bogus. Anyway, I was awake and I was tiny and it was my father. My story is one people don't want to hear. It's just too much, if there were a scale for such things. I couldn't tell much of it anyway because my mind decided it was impossible to live with and repressed the memories after I told my mom. If it wasn't for an exam that documented scarring, I don't know when I would've been wise enough to believe it. 

And what I want to say to you is, your hurt sounds SO LIKE mine. I don't feel a space between us. It doesn't matter if there was or wasn't penetration. They crashed through your edges as if you were their property and now you struggle to feel safe and autonomous and at home in your body. That's the same, friends. That's the same freakin' thing. 

Which is why I love this quote:

This is a jewel of truth we forgot when we were treated like a cubby-hole for penises. Some of us have found it again and that gives the rest of us hope it can be found. I'm still finding it. 

I'm still finding lots of things, but for the sake of sistering, here's what I've learned.

If I could speak to my former self or someone who's just beginning to address this pain, I would say, "Go ahead, lovie. The darkness won't crush you. I'm calling to you from the place where light lives and one day you'll bask in sunshine much brighter and warmer than you've ever felt."   

I know you're split open, but your soul is held safe. By any higher power you admit to, the pure, carefree version of you is not lost. I believe it's held safe somewhere in the cosmos beyond this earth so nothing evil can touch it. I know it's gone and you can't reach it now, but that healing people talk about? It's when you're reunited with yourself. 

This will take time. I'm sorry to tell you this part, but I don't want you to feel you're doing it wrong when you can't bounce back. Anyone who tells you to suck it up or pull yourself up by your bootstraps can stay the hell away from you for a few years. Find the people who know the truth about this pain and listen to them. They will teach you how to become your own hero, someone who's in this with you no matter how long it takes. 

Can I tell you something else? Sometimes the deepest shame is about what we did as a result of assault. As a girl, I trotted to my neighbor's house and showed their kids some things I'd learned. In counseling as a grown up, I could hardly bare to write about it in my workbook. I figured what my dad did was his fault (and wasn't even sure of that), but what I did because of it was surely my responsibility. Well, this is another thing you'll need to sort, but when you do, it will feel like you've cut loose a bag of bricks. 

No matter how minor you've considered your experience, it sent the message, You're not safe. This message can settle in our bones. That's what trauma does and we have to relearn a sense of safety. You'll have to show your sweet self, "You are safe," and she won't get it right away and so you'll show her again. 

The best gift you'll find on this road is a friend in yourself. This seems impossible if you're still hating yourself for being there and not being strong enough to save yourself. I blamed and punished myself for fourteen years before I took a second look at what happened and I've only recently begun to accept my vulnerability. 

Most importantly, healing will come.

Not all at once, but it will come.

And a part of mine has come from knowing I'm not alone.

Me too. 

P.S. There's a little more about my experience over here.


  1. Thank you Kendra for speaking up and out.Your words will surely touch others on this painful journey. I love you for many reasons but especially for your bravery.

  2. Kendra,
    Thank you for sharing this. So much guts! You have overcome so much! You are a such a rockstar! ❤❤❤❤

  3. Kendra, I am so damn angry that this was done to you. It's not okay. It's never okay.
    Oh. My heart hurts. Thank you for saying what you said and reminding us that "the best gift you'll find on this road is a friend in yourself." Yes. Every damn day.

  4. I LOVE what you say here, Kendra. Such good advice--crucial awareness--realization of where the real responsibility for your abuse and all its sequelae lies, and moving into how to direct your own life from here. You are rocking this! I love you, dear one. --Ann