Rest is a requirement of humanity, and time is a construct. Receiving rest will not make me better tomorrow, and the passing of time has not undone the reality of my trauma. Rest is necessary, and I am adopting a new relationship to it daily because of the demands of my illness. The notions of time present a way for me to whisper grounding statements into my skin when she screams in pain about the hands that have touched her without consent in the past. Though they both hold importance, in manners intimate to me, in their singular these notions of “rest” and “time” do not and can never undo my truth.
I will be twenty-six years old tomorrow. Eight years will have passed since I exited the home I was abused in for eighteen years, and twelve years will have passed since the diagnosis of my autoimmune diseases. Many things define me now, due to the great and vast privileges I’ve held in healing, but my abuse and my illnesses rest at the core of what has and continues to refine and shape me. The reality of them, and what they bring forth in me today, are mine and mine alone.
Mine to metaphorically dance within reverie at the freedoms I now hold.
Mine to clutch in agony on the floor as my body decays.
Mine to write about.
Mine to speak about.
Mine to feel the unfairness within.
Mine to be silent within.
Mine to hear and hold.
Mine to guide and challenge.
Mine to advocate for.
Mine to be weighted with.
Mine to create with.
Mine to be confused over.
Mine to know.
Mine to heal.
Mine to believe.
Because of my privilege.
So many do not hold what I hold because they lack the resource of safety, care, education, support, wellness access, insurance, and belief due to their lineage, skin colour, size, passing ability, religion, and other fundamental aspects of their existence. Please recognize this. Actively, daily, intimately. With everyone you hear. With yourself, your colleagues, your neighbours, your community, your politics, your posts.
In all I face, in all I struggle with, in all I currently become undone by, I sit in the reality of my privilege more and more each passing hour. As I study for exhausting finals this week, as I hold space for triggers, as my body malfunctions and my pain soars, I become clearer and clearer about the work I can do here. The work I can seek because of my privilege, even as I cry over unknowns about how my health will allow it. Because I’ve realized that the overwhelming, intimate, complex string that units us (survivors) is language.
We have, in our isolation and pain and suffering, created a new language together. A pidgin, in linguistic terms. A way of authoring our truths that no other sounds have allowed. A declaration of our stories in manners that break open the boundaries and spill out the blood we wash off daily with our own hands. A whisper, a chant, a spell, a prayer, a silent blink, a vibration, a sacred communion.
Our language, our reality, our life.
I believe your sounds, whether uttered or written in grammatical approval or sprung across the stars and keyboard in heavy, clunky, grief. Your reality, your truth, your experience is held in me with respect. Your fight, your advocacy, your pain is undoubted. Your choice trusted. Your language...welcome.
I believe me, and I believe you.