Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blue Ribbons and SAAM

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) as well as Child Abuse Awareness Month. Each year since my diagnosis of PTSD and the realization that all that pain in my childhood was actually abuse, I put on a blue ribbon to wear all month. I change my profile on Facebook to a blue ribbon and my cover picture to this --

I do it with a lot less panic and stress than it used to cause me. Acknowledging publicly my history, my experiences. A defining part of who I am. Yet I always remember the beginning. The first time I put on the blue ribbon. The stress of walking around wondering what would happen just because of that ribbon pinned to my shirt.

And by now it's become my tradition to repost this -- the first time I talked about it here. 

Put on a blue or teal ribbon if you are willing, but for sure It's Time . . . To Talk About It!

* * * * * *
every april I pull out my blue ribbon and pin it on my shirt. 
the first time I did it, I worried about what people would think/say.
I worried they would ask what it meant.
I worried they wouldn't ask what it meant.
I worried about what I would say.
I worried about what I wouldn't say.
each year that I have worn the blue ribbon it has become a little easier to set aside the worrying -- to expect nothing -- to be happy with a good conversation -- to set aside the discomfort of others.
it hasn't gotten any easier to have them look away though.
yesterday as I was having blood drawn at the doctor's office, the technician said, "what's your pin for?"
"april is child abuse awareness month. I am a survivor."
"oh", startled, she looked away, and I felt it again. the guilt and shame. 
what did she think of me now?
should I have kept my mouth shut?
not worn my blue ribbon?
there was no more conversation and little eye contact. she drew my blood, while I dealt with the pain of the needle in my arm and the accusation in her looking away. I was damaged goods all over again. I was at fault. I was less than.
I read a post this week about seeing people.
all I want is to be seen for who I am. a grown woman who is still 5 years old inside, wishing someone would intercede for me. wishing I didn't feel guilty and ashamed for others' actions.
but every april I pull out my blue ribbon and pin it on my shirt.

linking up with Imperfect Prose and Just Write


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