If you hail from a religious background you might be familiar with this phrase. If not, no worries – this is NOT necessarily about that. I’ve gone public with my abuse history. I’ve done tv and spoken on numerous occasions to audiences about my journey to healing. In fact, those very activities were and are all a part of my healing journey- as. is this blog.
After speaking out publicly there are usually a few women who would approach me and disclose that they had been abused. Some say that they hadn’t ever told anyone up until that moment. I’m NOT a therapist. I don’t know what to do with that information from a professional perspective. I usually don’t even know where to begin. What I DO know is that where two or more (survivors) are gathered there is a kinship that often surprises me and has always served me well.
Today, I had a friend, a sorority sister, disclose to me that she had been molested – so what do I do? I begin to ramble on about this darn blog and the titles and the feelings that I’ve experienced. Of course I was somewhat representative of a mirror image for her. Survivors of sexual assault often seem to have and experience many of the same emotions. The funny thing is that when YOU are experiencing those emotions (as a survivor) you are probably merciless. Yup, you shouldn’t have done this, and if only you’d done that and why can’t you and why didn’t you and why and how and who and what and and and… But if another survivor enters your space and begins to express those SAME thoughts and emotions, you are probably ready to inform her (or him) of how incredibly foolish (albeit normal and understandable) it is of them to feel guilty. And you are able to explain why they shouldn’t accept those feelings. The same for any expression of alone-ness, despair, depression and any other emotion attributed to survivors.
I used to wonder why I couldn’t do that for myself, but today it became clear. Today I realized that where two or more are gathered you can find yourself much easier as you use that person to reflect “you”. It’s kind of like a mirror. For example, you know what clothing you put on when you get dressed. You may even look down at your pants and shoes and shirt – but you can’t SEE it in a way that allows you to make a sound judgment as to the appropriateness of the outfit, or how well it fits, if it’s too tight, too short or just too “not you”. Why couldn’t you do that for yourself? You’re too close. Too close to the clothes that are literally draped over you, on you, nearly a part of your body. However, if you can just step back and look in a mirror you will see yourself more clearly. You can decide if the outfit fits the way you’d like, if your shoes really match, if you even ‘like’ those items worn together. But you need a mirror. You need something that will allow you to step back and look at yourself.
Where two or more are gathered there is a mirror. As my friend spoke I saw pieces of myself and my healing journey. As I spoke she exclaimed that she now realized that she “is not alone”. She hadn’t had the opportunity to step back and take a look at her abused self and the scars left behind as a result. So I allowed her to step back and realize that nope, those pants aren’t too tight, in fact thats how they are supposed to look and fit after you’ve been running a race. The sweat stains in the armpits of her shirt, yes, they’re supposed to be there as well. Everyone has tear–I mean sweat stains after all of the hard work you’ve endured while running this race.
Where two or more are gathered, yes, you will find God in the midst, but look a bit more closely – you may just also find yourself.