A major matter of the heart has been brought to my attention and I feel the need to address it.
Please take the time to read to the bottom. This is important.
Every time I share a piece of my story, it is an act of defiance.
I feel stronger. I feel the torch lit in my hand as I pull the secrets of my father screaming from the dark corners of the room. I feel vindicated. I feel relieved that although my father will never know justice in life, death did not grant him protection from my voice.
That is how speaking feels for me.
It can be exhausting. Sometimes in mid-sentence, memories surprise me. It can send me reeling for days.
My story can still scare the shit out of me.
I often feel guilty for sharing it because I know for some of you, it rips into your own fearful places. When volunteers at the Listening Ear told me that they had received crisis calls after my story was featured in the LSJ, it made my heart ache.
Did you miss it? You can read it here: LSJ – Back from the darkness
I whispered to my husband through a few tears that I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.
I know that there is healing in pain but I guess I wasn’t ready to be the one to make the cut into someone else’s scar tissue. As a matter of fact, I’m sure I didn’t realize that I would.
I have now shared my story with many of you publicly, in meetings and sometimes in the warmth of my kitchen over coffee.
I have encouraged you to share your story too because I want you to feel stronger, braver, vindicated…
Some of you apologize for choosing not to.
Here is the important part.(Just in case you were wondering when I would get to it.)
You owe me nothing.
No matter how many times I share my story, how many dollars I raise and how many children we help heal together, you will never owe me an apology for not sharing your survivor story. Not ever.
You will never owe anyone else an apology for not sharing your survivor story. Not ever.
The most important thing, the so-important-I-wish-you-were-here-so-I-could-say-the-words-to-you-while-looking-in-your-eyes-is:
Your healing journey is your own.
It serves no one to compare your path with someone else’s perceived wider, deeper, narrower, easier or more death defying path.
Your story is yours and yours alone.
Heal in silence. Heal in your voice. Heal in your body.
Heal where YOU need to heal.
You need make no justifications if privacy in a place where power was stolen is now your favored act of defiance.
I dig it.
I heal loudly from a stage but I also heal quietly on a yoga mat writing love notes to my own body.
I honor you.
You are one of the reasons I started this foundation. You are one of the reasons we’ll be providing therapy to child survivors of sexual trauma in a few short months.
I hold your story in complete confidence and I ask you to forgive me if ever I made you feel guilty or ashamed for not being as vocal as I.
In all sincerity,
Tashmica ‘Firecracker’ Torok
PS – One single, solitary disclaimer. Again. This is the important part. 1 of 3.
If you or a child you know is currently the victim of physical, emotional, sexual abuse or neglect, you are most definitely required to report it to the authorities.
To report child abuse and neglect, call 1-855-444-3911. Anytime. Day or night.