Joy Ride

The first time it happened was in a parking lot, in the back of my first boyfriend’s old beamer. 
I told him it was rape, he said he “couldn’t tell” and that he “just thought [I] was a screamer.”

Then it was my Uber driver after he parked outside my job about a half hour before sunrise.
They made me work my shift, hot tears searing down my face, fresh blood dripping down my thighs.

So I got a car. I reclaimed a place that used to suffocate me in panic into a place that makes me feel free.
And now I am never with anyone I don’t know, at any time I don’t like, at any place I don’t want to be.
She was my best friend. I remember the first time I saw her, we were in class, I turned my head and she smiled at me. With that smile, I knew she was going to be a part of my life. She understood me on a sacred level, a level that I don’t let anybody see, a level that can be dark and scary. We had something special, I liked to think of it as this thin crystal strand that is unbreakable. I was wrong. I learned that she had a secret but I never asked. If she wanted to tell me, I’d have listened. She never told. In one twisted night that was her birthday, someone else told me. She was raped. The shadows swallowed me. I didn’t tell her, I didn’t tell anyone. For two days I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t turn on the lights. It was before we met, I couldn’t have protected her. Let that sink in my heart. I couldn’t protect her. But after that night I’ve tried my best to protect every woman out there and I still do. She and I, we are not friends anymore. Although I’m miles away, I still miss her. My soul still burns with yearning. The crystal strand is broken. The dust settled in. I lost my crying. I lost her. She was my best friend.
For the first time in a while I was able to take a bath. Trauma can do a lot to how you see yourself nude and trying to ride those feelings out while healing and nurturing myself is a hard balance to find. I catch myself fearing my reflection for what I'll associate myself with. Recently my body has been truly feeling like home. The valleys and mountains that support me, the roots and vines that keep me warm. I try my best to nurture and sustain myself , which includes allowing myself sugar in my coffee, long warm baths and other mundane "unnecessary" delights.
Self love comes from acceptance of not just who I'll be in the future but who I am now.
Also, in times like these splashing around in the tub helps distract me.
One tool I try to remember I always have access to is breathing. It’s something I generally don't think about when I am in a state of panic, however it IS a tool I am learning to be more mindful of. Actively learning different breathing techniques; how and when to use them, has helped me tremendously when dealing with anxiety and trauma that I frequently experience in my daily life. This tool has helped me on my journey to healing and becoming the person I aspire to be.
I am god, ceremony, and disciple

Healing is my religion
I meditate upon it each day

My mattress is my temple
Where I practise my devotions

My body is my oracle
Which I anoint with oils

My journal is my sacred text
Each page a testament

-Audriana Burella
When I was raped at the age of 18, like any other problem I kept the pain inside me. Bottled up my anger and sadness and tried to act as if everything was alright. It took me more than a year to realise that I’d changed after that. I was more moody, rude, frustrated, got triggered easily, anxiety, you name any negative feeling and it was there. I got insomniac and was scared to sleep cause of my bad dreams. My boyfriend then noticed how worse I was getting every single day and asked me to visit a counsellor for help. That was my first step to healing. Taking my emotions out, my worst fears and feelings. How I blamed myself for the things that had happened. Talking to my counsellor freed me, it made me understand my own emotions. Later after that I started listening to podcasts on appreciating life and things around us, hearing stories of other people who had been through something similar or worse made me feel normal again. I started reading about psychology and how and why our mind works in a certain way, to be aware of my emotions. I found happiness in things that were present with me at that moment, my family and friends. There are still days that I get my anxiety back cause life throws lemons at you all the time, I just look back at my journey of how much I’ve already been through and believe that there’s with each suffering, you grow, learn and be a better person.
Postcards in partnership with Soldiers of Creation

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