She grabs my wrist and yanks me down toward her. She snarl-whispers, “Don’t take ANY MORE pictures of communion!”
I’m stunned. For a moment, words don’t even come to me. I just stare at her, at my wrist held in her hand.
I feel like a child, not the 36-year-old woman I actually am. The wedding ceremony I’m photographing becomes an echo, words I can’t make out. My heart is racing as I try to find words.
“I was told I could.”
The woman lets go and says, “Oh, well, if [the pastor] said you could…go ahead.”
I retreat to another side of the sanctuary, hide myself behind the sound booth, and don’t take another picture of communion. My hands shake, my heart thumps, and my head tries to play it cool. No big deal. Silly girl, getting yourself all worked up over nothing.
But it doesn’t feel like nothing. One “simple” aggressive action made on me by another and I become a little girl all over again, scared, cowering, retracing my steps to figure out what I did so wrong this time.
Weeks later, I try to rationalize how ridiculous it is that it bothered me so much. Instead of fading away, though, I can’t help but feel her bony fingers wrapped around my wrist, yanking me, a reminder of a past I have healed from.
Healing is a lot like forgiveness. It isn’t a one-time fix. You don’t just reach the end, say you’re healed, and walla! you are. It’s a process, and while the bad periods are a lot shorter and come less often than before, it’s always a surprise what will be a trigger.
Standing in that church, in the middle of a joyous occasion, I never would have expected to have had such a moment. A moment that, when I try to write it out and convey how it made me feel without sounding like a sensitive crybaby, still gives me a little shiver.
I’d love to just get over the past, to let it go, to snap out of it, but there’s no easy exit. It’s still there, it still hovers in the background of my happy life. And every once in a while, it creeps out and takes center stage.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Plato
For the next 30 days* (today included), I will be writing about abuse, the past (mine, maybe yours, how abuse was once viewed, how it’s handled now), statistics, organizations, and about reclaiming your beautiful self if you’ve experienced (or are experiencing) abuse. My goal is to raise awareness about abuse and organizations, as well as raise funds for Teller Safe Harbor, TESSA, and national organizations that help the abused. This will be a busy 30 days on the site, as I will post frequently – pictures, stories, statistics, etc. – and I would appreciate help in getting the word out.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but it is often buried behind the pink of Breast Cancer Awareness, which I wholeheartedly support as well, but I’ve never experienced breast cancer, nor has anyone close to me, but I have experienced abuse, and I think the more light we shine on the issue, the more victims can step out of the shadows and become survivors.
Won’t you join me for the next 30+ days?
*This project will continue beyond 30 days. However, it won’t always be an intense everyday project…until next October.