January 11 – Memorial

Today, if you don’t know, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. If you don’t know, it’s ok, you do now. I have had ups and downs with this today. I want to do something, say something, be something more today of all days. I was trafficked as a child, it was sex trafficking. There are other forms of trafficking, and for the most part you would never know by looking at a person if they were trafficked at some point in their life. They could be male or female, any race, speak any language, or be any age. The trafficker could be or have been a family member, a caretaker, a boyfriend, a husband, a supposed employer, or possibly a stranger. Trafficking includes forced labor, prostitution, slavery, and sex trafficking.

I have made a lot of progress in my own recovery. My experience was thirty years ago, and sometimes it is very hard to stay fully present and remember who I am now. I have to remember to stay where I am and not leap ahead into where I want to be instead of where I am. I want to be resolved, healed, and active in this movement. Its not a movement to me, but my life. There is a lot that has happened, and there is so much more awareness now than there was before. It is also at a point where there is a lot of more work to do, especially in the ways of treating, supporting, and helping survivors.

I want to be done with this part of it. I want to be done with the struggles. I want to be done with the memories, with the relearning, with figuring out boundaries, and how to ask for help. I don’t want to keep feeling like I am still more survivor than thriver. I want to skip it all and move on to helping others. I have had to realize that would be detrimental to myself and those I seek to help. If I skip these in between steps, if I rush ahead into trying to be whole, then I miss the lasting healing that I wish to help others find. If I rush, then I miss out on forging the new pathways in my mind to find other ways of living, believing, and behaving.

I want to change the world I live in and first I have to begin with me. I have to make peace with my past. I don’t just mean peace with the trauma, I mean being at peace with my own decisions and my own mistakes. I have to face who I have been, and the things I have done. Some of them have been because I didn’t understand or know that there was another way, but the guilt and damage and consequences still exist inside of me. I have done things I am not proud of, I have chosen to turn against myself numerous times, and I have broken my own promises over and over.

I am moving forward with my life. In order to move forward, I must first face who I used to be. I can’t sugar coat it even for my own sake. I can’t beat myself up about it because that is not the point. The point is to realize that I am no longer the same. I am not fully healed, but my steps are not taking the same familiar paths of old. I am stepping on new ground as a new person. Who I am is not in absence of who I used to be, but a stronger, wiser, and more resilient self. My day will come when I can do more than talk and share my story. My day will come where I join the ranks changing the world one person, one act, one piece at a time.