“If ever there comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.”

Matthew Arnold [Nineteenth Century British Poet and Philosopher]

Enough. Enough. Enough.

I believe that when pain is inflicted on innocents the universe grieves, a deep groan that fills the cosmos.

Every day someone in the world, in every corner of the world is being marginalized, trafficked, raped, abducted, abused, overtaken by violent rebels, domestically abused, sexually abused and the list just goes on far too long. Has that sunk in? Everyday. Everywhere.

The headlines, conversations and experiences of ones I love who have been and are being traumatized, has led me to what I can only describe as the most important kind of breaking point.

The one where you just say to the depths of who you are: Enough, Enough, Enough.

Throughout my life, I have had too many women I treasure be the victims of sexual assault and abuse. One would have been too much. These women have bravely shared their experiences with me, inviting me to sit in the pain and tears with them. A truly sacred space to be invited to as a woman, an honor that has never been taken lightly.

After too many stories, headlines and beloved women being harmed – I am simply saying, enough.  For the women I love, for myself, the women and children around the world being taken advantage of and for the ones yet to tell anyone.

I am most definitely not the first or the last one to share my truth, but today I am officially joining my voice to the battle cry that is sounding around the world.

Since I was a little girl I have been keenly aware of that darkness that at times can sulk in the shadows and sometimes is so bold it’s taunting you with it’s confidence. As a little girl I ran after the light, every part of me in the pursuit of wonder and imagination. Sometimes I wonder who I might have been had my wonder not been tainted. But, we’ll never know who she might have been. Today, I am ok with that. I’ve grieved and wrestled with it and am now so excited for who I am and am going to be.

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I was five years old.

I loved wearing the most twirl worthy dresses and even better if there was matching gloves and hat.

I remember it being an ordinary day, but one filled with friends and family – feasting on Alaskan King Crab and fresh bread. You remember details like that you see, when your world shifts.  What other people remember and what I remember from that day are very different. Because, I was five years old and someones choice, made from their own brokenness, dimmed my light.

I was sexually abused by someone I never expected nor knew to be afraid of. The experience was rough, violating and dark.  I remember, at five years old feeling shame, though I didn’t call it that – then. Though confusion and shock were the primary emotions, the experience was very real.

The  impact stayed. It lingered.

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As the years passed and something always just felt, not quite right, with how I perceived myself, my worth, and my innate goodness. Stemming from that trauma, at thirteen our family went through the intense divorce of my parents, a deep ripping apart of life and how we knew it to be. Only to discover that my father had inflicted such sorrow inducing abuse upon our family, that still at times can leave me reeling. That further increased my level of sadness and sense of abandonment. As I learned of others abuse and pain I mentally downgraded the impact of my own trauma to elevate the impact of theirs. Believing that somehow that would decrease the ache.

As the years passed I did everything  within my power to heal, but my capacity was limited. What I had truly done for most of my life was disconnect from my truest self, setting the fullest part of me aside to protect myself without even knowing it.

There have been moments in my journey where I’ve felt ripped apart by the impact of what happened that day – 23 years ago. Watching films like Precious and Short Term 12  wrecked me. I remember leaving the theater as my best friend held my hand the whole way home as I wept – for myself, for others I knew and had never met.

Memories were triggered and the pain so intense the only response was coming undone – what I have learned is that the awareness of the pain is sometimes the most vital catalyst for healing.

Thank God for friends who will hold your hand and sit with you in the quiet – where no words are needed and they have the capacity to sit in your pain while the wave crashes. Eli LaFlamme, I’ll love you forever for moments like that.

My personal trauma manifested in a lack of self care, my identity wrapped up in work and the results I could produce. Rationalizing my deep lack of self care to, that though I knew I wasn’t well,  it was all in the pursuit of important causes.

Translation of that message. I was not an important cause.

I can attest that no matter how hard you work, or how much you sacrifice for the love of others – unless you face your pain squarely in the face –  healing will only ever be an illusion, you will never be fully alive.

Trauma is real. It hits the core of who we are and as women,  it takes away something sacred from our belief in how beloved we are. I believe the destruction of the female spirit may be one of the greatest atrocities of our time. Because it happens in the dark – often in spaces where no one else is, where the cries for help are never heard. Or worse of all the spaces where they don’t even know they should or can cry out. So often times the violence exists in the the rhythm of our everyday lives but overlooked either from a lack of awareness or bold faced denial.

How I long for our girls, women young and old to know of their worth. To be free from the pain that stills their purpose and takes their voices. But more than longing, I have had enough. I posses a depth of frustration and sense of injustice that leads to all out revolution. The kind that takes broken people and makes them warriors.

There is a battle being waged for the hearts and futures of women around the world, and today – this is my self proclaimed enlistment.  I share this part of my story to say to the ones on the front lines, you’ve just gained a teammate.

I am all in.

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