Thursday, 5 April 2012

Lighting A Candle: The Battle for Words

To write, you must have energy above and beyond that necessary just to get through the day. I haven’t written for a while quite simply because I have lacked the energy. All the energy I possess has been channeled into surviving. Things are shifting and it’s painful, even if it’s good. Sometimes the pain is absolutely overwhelming – physical, mental, spiritual. I keep my head down and weather the storm. There are no quick fixes in recovery and boy, do I hate that! I do all the right things, but that doesn’t always mean I feel better – at least, not immediately. Opening up about my past seems to mean feeling worse in the short term.

When things have been really black I think, I can’t do this anymore. Too much, it’s too much. I feel raw and broken and scared and hurt and damaged, damaged beyond repair. And I’m exhausted from not sleeping, and my body hurts with PTSD and my mind’s full of technicolour images of the abuse, the scents, the sounds, the feelings. Enveloped with pain, frozen and mute with trauma, it chases through my mind: I simply can’t do this anymore.

But you know, what are the options? I contemplate suicide but I don’t want to die, I just don’t want to feel like this, to hurt like this. The survival instinct which brought me through the abuse and into recovery burns deep at the core of my being. So I put one foot in front of the other and do what I can to look after myself, to take care of myself, to pull through this, now as then.

Facing my past without drink and drugs to take the edge off, seeing my absolute powerlessness, experiencing fully the horror and pain and degradation that was my life is absolutely terrifying. I struggle to talk about what’s in my head: the realization of the brutality and humiliation to which I was subjected make the words stick in my mouth, make my lips seal together, form a dry sob in my throat. I’ve never felt more alone. But I do have help these days in the form of my therapist and my sponsor. I am doing the right things, trying to talk, trying to trust, trying to heal.

An old Chinese proverb says ‘it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness’. In taking care of myself as best I know, in keeping going, in riding it out, in being proactive in challenging the lies of the sex industry by telling my story, whether people choose to listen or not, that’s what I’m doing. I’m taking action, even if that action is painful and scary and feels woefully inadequate at times. Keep putting in the right actions, and no matter how slowly, things begin to change for the better. There's a long way to go, both in my personal recovery and in the larger scheme of things. But I'm in it for the long haul. It's the only way to be.


  1. Thank you for sharing. I hope the pain passes soon.

  2. You are so brilliant and beautiful I'm so sorry about the pain -- know what you mean. I wanted to share with you that someone recently gave a talk on "the invisible man" in the prostitution debate. It shows you are being read by people with power in the movement. I hope they give you credit for your brilliant idea/title

  3. Thanks Stella. Will enjoy having a shuftie at that!

  4. just found your blog, I am 55 years old and was trafficked for over 7 years as a young girl runaway from age 12, and ended up addicted to heroin. It has taken me years and years to be at the point of telling my story. And now I tell it whenever I can in hopes of helping are not alone.
    Barbara Amaya

  5. Thanks, Barbara. It's good to join voices with other people making the same journey.
    In solidarity

  6. You are the brave voice for those of us who cannot yet speak . Thank you for sharing your strength and giving me hope.

  7. I can relate to this a lot. Thank you for writing this! I just started opening up about my past to a counselor and it's becoming more real and painful.

  8. You are an amazing person - your courage is inspirational. When times are tough, I hope you can remember how many people are rooting for you. My very best to you.