{speak up love; your story matters}

Oh October… you are always an interesting month. For many of you, it means changing colors and cozy sweaters, but for those of us living in the Southeast it basically means a little more breeze and not sweating as much when we walk to the car.

Still, you can feel a change in the air.

This October also comes with many of us reliving painful situations. Regardless of your thoughts on the Kavanaugh-Blasey Ford hearings, it’s clear that for many, the trial catapulted them back in time to their own nightmares.

And yet there is still beauty- thousands of women spoke up, many for the first time, as they joined their voices in courage in #whyIdidntreport. The reasons why I didn’t report? I was drunk, I didn’t know his name or anything about him really, I was afraid he’d find me if I spoke up, I thought it was my fault… to name just a few.

To all the women that have spoken up; you are truly brave and I pray that you are receiving healing. Often we don’t realize the bondage that we are in until we verbalize it. Some of my biggest moments of healing were saying out-loud “I’m having panic attacks,” “I’m hearing yelling in my head,” and “He was abusive.” The last one was particularly hard for me to come to terms with, as I know it is for so many women (and men). Even as I write this, nights I’ve suppressed for years are coming back to me.

This- THIS - is why it’s important to talk about pain. It’s hard- so hard. But it empowers others. We need to be real with each other, or we will spend our days hiding the hurt inside, where it keeps us hostage. Beautiful soul, please don’t stay imprisoned by your past. Speak up. Talk to a friend, a counselor, write it down... Your story IS important.

I created two limited edition prints this week, specifically meant to encourage survivors of sexual assault- you can fine them both here.

P.S. One of the hardest things about opening up is seeing the shock (and maybe even a moment of disbelief) on the other person's face. Give them some grace and patience while they come to terms with the idea that someone would hurt you like that. I’m genuinely grateful for the men in my life now, who have a hard time believing that so much assault occurs, because they themselves can’t imagine doing that to another being.