• Gray Butler

Open Letter To Survivors

I know the world feels heavy, that the pain of your experiences feel all encompassing. Like the very foundation you understand yourself to be feels corrupt and evil. Or that you have normalized and minimized the impact of your trauma to the point where you have just accepted the fact that life is hard for you, that other people have it so much easier. That you will always be subjected to your triggers, and history, or that you are irrevocably broken.

It can feel like you are the only person who feels this way, or that the people who think the way you do, who resort to the same coping mechanisms as you are bad evil, or maybe you see yourself as being just as bad as your abuser. You will doubt yourself, second guess all of your actions, or feel as if no matter how hard you try you’re trapped by your own mind.

And while your pain, your fears and the way you feel is absolutely valid, and real, understand that you are more powerful than you know. The fact that you have survived this far is a testament to just how powerful you are. You were not deserving of what happened to you, you are deserving of good things. And your sheer survival of how far you have made it should not go unnoticed. No that what happened to you has conditioned you into believing things about yourself and the world that are not necessarily true, even if their impact on you is.

Know that there are people who have survived what you are going through right now. Know that you truly are not alone. The horrible thing about trauma is that it shames us into silence, it severs the connections to people who have walked the path before us, the people who can show us how to deal with the realities that we face. It perpetuates by our silence, it makes us feel so utterly alone and ashamed of who we have become, how we have coped, how we have survived. But know that you have no reason to be ashamed no matter how your trauma manifests. That guilt and pain stems from things someone else left on you, it is not a part of who you are and who you can become.

You deserve love, support, nurturing and care. And you deserve to love yourself, you deserve tenderness and patience with yourself. You deserve to feel angry, to feel pain, to grieve to feel sorrow, and happiness. You deserve the opportunity to backslide and relapse, even if you’ve started to heal. You deserve the space to fumble and fall. You deserve the time to learn how to be a person again. You deserve people who will listen. You deserve to say no. You deserve to make boundaries for yourself. You deserve to listen to your needs. You are worthy of so much by simply existing.

You can be accountable for your actions without hating yourself, you deserve the space to learn how to do that. Remember to be kind to yourself. You are valuable, your time, your energy, your ideas, your personhood is so incredibly valuable. Your story is valuable, you are powerful. Your existence today shows just how powerful you are. You may not always feel powerful, but you have survived some serious shit, some scary shit, some painful shit, and no you did not make it out unscaved but you made it, even if you’re still fighting. Every day you wake up is an accomplishment. Not everyone will understand the courage it takes to simply get up in the morning. To keep existing. But know that it is possible. That the traumas we face, while they change our lives, are able to be healed. You just have to find the right people and resources. And people every day are working so hard to make these resources more and more accessible. As cliche as it sounds please remember you are not alone, and that healing is not linear. But you grow every day. And you are powerful, and deserving. Never forget that

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