Content warning: abuse, violence, violation

I survived.

I survived the way she drank, the way he screamed and broke things. I survived not knowing if we’d eat, waking to the glass of water by my bed frozen on the surface because the house had no furnace and we lived on the heat from a wood stove, which, if forgotten, grew cold, spreading that coldness through us like slow acting poison.
I survived the drunken car crashes, the interrogation by social services. I survived her pissing the bed and not getting out of it for days. I survived loneliness and neglect. I survived his unholy rage and remorse.
I survived the imminent cycle of violence and poverty. I survived the persecution for not being Christian in a Born-Again community. I survived the division of Haves and Have Nots.
I survived the invasions of my mind and body by adult hands; forever groping and petting, keeping secrets and telling lies to protect myself. I survived the threats. I survived his intimidation and control. I survived watching him crush a tiny bird to death in his fist to frighten me into silence.
I survived the cold barrel of a .22 rifle pushed into my six year old body. I survived the taste of blood and semen in my mouth. I survived the bike ride home and the first bath I ever took with the bathroom door locked. I survived the knowledge that my body was tainted. I survived self preservation and emotional catatonia. I survived the secrets that I had to keep for fear he’d make good on his threats. I survived being robbed of a childhood by mental, physical and sexual abuse.
I survived being uprooted. I survived a new definition of “family”. I survived the criticism and resentment of my existence. I survived the rhetoric that I was replaceable, disposable. I survived the emotional attacks on my body as if they were physical, each one tightening the smile I felt I had to wear to stay alive.
I survived the greatest loss of my life. I survived drug abuse and isolation, depression and grief. I survived not being believed. I survived being invisible. I survived the odds being stacked against me. I survived a career that nearly killed me. I survived my own suicide.
I survived yesterday.
I survived the night.
I will survive today because it’s what I do.
I survive.

11 thoughts on “Survival is not the same as living”

  1. Yes you did, you survived. I hope after all you have endured you have found a way to live, a way to be happy, so that these horrific experiences didn’t rob you of the future the way they ruined your past xx

  2. Survive seems inadequate a word. But I get it. And your courage to share your past and present makes me believe that your future will continue to be whatever you choose it to be!

  3. You are a survivor, a fighter, a strong woman. I have no words for everything you have gone through, everything you have endured. I admire you, your strength, your beauty, your talents. Thank you for sharing those with us.

    Rebel xox

  4. Is it too early in the morning to cry? Like others I have no words to do this justice. In case you are not sure of anything else, you are loved here, in this community.

  5. This was so raw, so honest, to personal, it left me with tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing your deepest pain with us. You are a survivor indeed, and your wonderful strength continues to impress me. *hugs*

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