Why You Should Share Your Story
During one of our class discussions, my Public Discourse professor said, “you can never tell your story enough”. This has literally been in my head for the past three weeks now. I’ve had to sit and think hard about this because as we all know…it isn’t always easy to share what we’ve been through in life. However, it makes perfect sense. He said how telling our story could inspire, make changes within our society, and give hope to those that need it the most. I’m here to take it one step further. Telling your story also stands as a reminder of how far you’ve come and how kick ass you are when it comes down to it. Storytelling becomes our own way of healing and growth as well as your road map as you continue to journey to your destiny. With that said, I would like to tell you my story.
Born and raised in Washington DC to two of the most amazing and loving parents, I wouldn’t be anything without them. Life drastically changed for me however when I was six years old and not for the better. As mentioned by the Crimes Against Research Center, 1 in 5 girls are victims of child sexual abuse. I unfortunately fell into this statistic and the perp a non-family member. My family had no clue…I at such a young age had no clue. From the ages of six to twelve, there is a gap in my life timeline that no matter how hard I try…I can’t remember anything. Believe it or not, this is a typical reaction to trauma…gaps of missing time. It’s our brain protecting us from the perceived danger. But like everything else in life that is tucked away…no matter what you do…it will eventually resurface. Fast forward to age fourteen. Boy was I an angry teen! But also…..a defender of the people. I took no shit (not much has changed I guess lol) but instead of using my words…I used my fists. All throughout high school whenever I felt I was being threatened, disrespected, in harms ways or worse….saw someone else being mistreated….I went all Game of Thrones on the person causing the harm. No one….not my parents, not the school, not myself, could understand where this anger came from. Years later, I figured it out…my brain was triggered by these incidents which reminded it of my past trauma. The events and memories hadn’t quite broken through the wall I had built when I was a child though.
I was an angry brown girl that was destined for a life of delinquency or worse, death. Heavily used drugs and alcohol to not feel, not be reminded of so many things. The crowds I hung with…gang members, drug dealers, and kids like me. Brown and black kids who were reminded daily that we were not welcomed at our predominantly white school and were a bunch of nothings. My own high school counselor who was a white man told me I wasn’t college material and that I didn’t need to waste my time in even trying to apply to a college. He legit laughed when I showed him the research I had done on the schools I was hoping to attend. Between being labeled a gang member or called a “spic”, I felt every day I had to fight for myself and those I cared for. Thus, my passion was born in helping minorities and youth of color. I lived it and I was one of the lucky ones that made it out.
I finally dealt with my past trauma in 2009 when I was in graduate school. To say that this by far was the hardest thing I ever had to do is an understatement. The wall I had built to protect myself as a child came crashing down. The flood of emotions and memories was more than I could bare. I turned to drinking and partying but came to realize that this would only further damage me. I sought counseling and fought one of the hardest battles of my life. I went down a couple times, but always got back up swinging. Today, I am a trauma survivor and have dedicated my life to helping those who have experienced similar difficulties. I share my story in hopes that you will fight, you will face your demons, and you will find the strength to the live the life you deserve. If I can do it, I know you can. I am no longer scared to share my story because it is a part of me. It is what made me who I am today. It is what will keep me from ever giving up and going after mine.
This is why you should share your story. The more you share, the less power you give whatever pains you and your road map further strengthened or revealed. I’m not saying to go and spill your guts this instant because only you can decide when you are ready. But hear me when I say this…..you deserve the best…you deserve to live the best possible life you can. If your story has been holding you back, flip the switch. Use your story to empower you and create a new life. Use your story to give others hope which in turn…reinforces your desire to live a life you love. Think how awesome it feels when you help someone else or put a smile on their face. I live for that shit! No longer answer to victim but to survivor. You do not have to do this alone either. Reach out to family, friends, or professional help because you matter. In the end, your story is one worth telling and don’t you ever forget that.