I’m not a damsel. I’m not in distress.

Elizabeth Smart posted this on Instagram today,

“…In my eyes the first step towards changing the culture of how we treat victims and survivors is to start by believing them! It is for that reason @elizabethsmartfoundation started our #webelieveyou campaign.”
view full post here.

When I read that it clicked with somethings that someone said last night.
I met someone last night and we spent a few hours talking. It was interesting and good, but at the end there was something I just could not put my finger on. I’ve never been so confused and perplexed about a person before. I could NOT read them. I left the situation waiting for it to click.

Then it did.

At one point I asked if he thought I was a damsel in distress. He responded, “Yes. You need someone to care for you to show you that you deserve love.”

Ok. maybe.

I just let it hang in the air.

I couldn’t make up my mind.

It made me feel vulnerable and needy.

I felt like I couldn’t be whole unless someone else gave that to me. That I was dependent upon someone else. That I had lack. That I was weak.

Later I asked him what he thought and he pointed out that I’ve had a hard go of life.

Yes. Yes I have.

Ug. the shame.

But I’m not broken.

I made up my mind about that a couple weeks ago when I was talking to someone else who triggered me hard core. (I don’t mind being triggered. Those moments are opportunities to understand.)

I am who I am and I am not broken.

Referring to Elizabeth’s comment… we need to change the way we view victims.

We aren’t broken. We aren’t damaged goods.

Those aren’t things we should even have to dispute about.

And definitely no one else has the right to place that label.

But most important we need to make sure that we aren’t self judging ourselves with those labels.

How can we ever become survivors if we do?

I am not a damsel in distress.

Yes, I need someone to love me and show me kindness. but not because I’m dependent on that. Not because I NEED it.

Rather, because I deserve it.

I deserve love.

I deserve to be loved.

I deserve to be respected and seen.

And so do you.

Not because you are broken and you need someone to make you whole.

But because of who you are.

You are you.

You are bigger than your past. You are bigger than what happened to you. You are bigger than the experiences you’ve had.

Those things don’t define you.

And they don’t define me.

We may have been to hell and back, but we are STRONG!

We are COURAGEOUS!

We are ENOUGH.

And we are deserving.

We may be full of pain… and suffering, anguish, grief, and anger.

And that’s ok.

There is space for that.

But we are NEVER damsels who need saving…

We are women (and men) who deserve loving.

For the pure face that we are alive.

That we are who we are.

There is no shame in our stories. Only power to lift us above the troubles of the world. If we can let go of the fear and embrace the moments, the experiences, the emotions, we become stronger than anyone.

We can heal.

We can be free.

and we can be the hands that lift all those around us.

Believe in you.

I do.

And I believe in me.

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