Sometimes, I look at everyone else…married, with kids.
I look around at these happy couples surrounded by this warm, rosy glow, and I think that I’ll never have that. I’ll have other things, sure—but love? That feels impossible.
My thoughts spiral, a dark cloud permeates all around my body, and I feel this one thing that hurts so much:
I fear that I am too broken to be loved.
But, this is not truth. It is a multifaceted, bold-faced lie.
I am not too broken to be loved.
I am not too tender, too traumatized, too timid, too bold, too wild, too much like fire.
I am not too sensitive, too feeling, too soft, too undeserving, too hurt.
I am not too anything.
I sparkle just as I am, in grit and grace.
And, it’s not perfect…but there are ripe truths in me, in the very darkness I tried to seal away from everyone, including myself.
So no, I don’t believe I’m too broken to be loved—and I don’t believe that you are either.
I believe that someone hurt me, violated me, and broke my trust in ways that felt inexplicable and overwhelming beyond what any words could possibly describe.
I believe that trauma is a reality that touches so many of our lives…and nothing will ever make that suck less.
But, I am not broken. I am deliciously whole.
My pain is like licking the flames of hell, but it’s not forever—it’s not a final destination, but a small piece of an epic journey. And, I’ve chosen to make it art. I’ve decided to let it sculpt me into someone supple and wise.
I’ve seen the dark underbelly of this life, and bled, and lived to talk about it. I have risen with trembling lips to tell my story.
Because things like trauma and abuse—they don’t reflect anything that’s wrong with me. Or you.
They reflect what’s wrong in society.
Being traumatized, having anxiety, being afraid to walk alone at night, being silent and terrified, having panic attacks and PTSD, being afraid of men, struggling with mistrust—these things are not created in a vacuum.
They are natural responses to the pain of living in a patriarchy—to the terrors we have seen.
Society is faulty and f*cked up…not us.
We have survived. We have made poems from the pain and gritted our teeth through some damn dark times—and we are not diseased, or ugly, or wrong.
The culture is.
Rape culture—the fact that there could be such a thing—toxic masculinity that seeks power in low, devilish ways.
That’s what’s wrong: not me. Not you.
And, we can still rise, anyway.
So I rise, with this knowing imprinted in my chest, a soul-deep tattoo visible in the glistening pools of my eyes.
I rise from the ripeness of the shadows and mud.
I rise like a goddamn phoenix.
I burn, and combust, and—bam!
I come back to life—it’s my spring, because I decide it is.
Fresh shoots of green roots flourish beneath my feet, the blooms are prolific magnolias—they crawl all the way up to my forehead. My skin is fragranced with lilacs, and truth, and fire, and hope.
And my story, it’s not special or rare; it’s terribly common.
So yes, you might have feel broken or shattered at the hands of someone else.
But, you are not broken.
You are deliciously whole—and you are certainly not too broken to be loved.
There is no such thing, my dear.
You are wise enough to understand the unspoken subtleties of love, to dive deeper, and to walk further than most would dare.
You took the blackness of poison and made it new and beautiful again.
You took the ache and made it into gold.
You aren’t broken, you’re a f*cking genius. You’re an alchemist. You’re a woman.
Rising is your superpower.
But, rising isn’t who you are either.
You get to be you.
Not a survivor, not a thriver.
You get to be all of that. All the complexity and simplicity that is.
Whole, wild, uncertain, deep, feminine, soft, curvy, loud, sweet, sexy, creative, vulnerable, passionate, strong, smart, vulnerable, playful, determined, fierce, curious…all those things at the same time.
And, it’s not too much.
It’s incredibly enough.
And I know, it can feel so hard to heal from something that others deny—and I’m sorry you had to go through this.
I believe you. I see the pain in your eyes, because I know it as my own.
But, I will look back at your gorgeous tear-stained face and say this:
You are lovable.
You are whole.
I love you.
We will heal together.
Because resilience is threaded in our bones. Because healing is what we do. Because transformation is encoded in our DNA. Because there is always hope in the tangerine-soaked sunrise of each new day. Because we are women made of fire, surrounded by the whispers of flowers and wolves. Because we are the molten, ruby lips of creativity herself. Because we are not our wounds. Because we can come out of this, even better.
Because spring always comes…and it’s breathtaking.
We are lovable.
And no one can ever take that from us.
Maybe they tried, but they failed.
And so…we rise.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Image: WikiMedia Commons
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Catherine Monkman