Today I am embracing being an unfiltered version of myself. As a woman in this society, I have spent my entire life restricting what other people see. Accepting responsibility for how other people choose to view me. Hiding vital parts of myself to soothe the fragile egos of others.
Today I show you who I am. I show you my un-photoshopped body. It has scars and stretch marks and cellulite. It has created and carried life. It has created and carried love. It has created and carried pain.
I also show you my soul. It also has scars. It also has carried life. It also has created and carried love. It also has created and carried pain.
I am a survivor. I am also a victim.
I am a fighter. I am also completely lost.
I am soft. I am also pissed as hell.
I am strong. I am also tired.
I am many things. I am stitched together by all of the experiences of my life. Some of those experiences were the results of my choices. Some were the results of my circumstances. Many were the result of both.
To hide the experiences of my life is to hide who I am. To sweep the pain of life under the rug, to pretend it doesn't affect me is to pretend that part of me doesn't matter. Or exist.
I am 38 years old. My earliest memories in this life are also the most painful ones. Every single experience of my life has been shaped by that trauma. Every. Single. One. To ignore that pain, that trauma is to ignore ME.
To those that tell me to keep my private life private, I say that I will shout about my pain until no other man, woman, or child has to go throw the pain I have.
To those that tell me to get over it, I say that I will continue to share and speak out in the hopes that I can help just one single person know they are not alone in their pain.
To those that tell me what good people those men that hurt me are, I say that people are multi-faceted and cannot alone be defined by one aspect, but that their criminal acts, their secrets show much more of who they are than the public facade.
To those that tell me they have experienced pain similar to mine, I say that I love you.