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I heal. You Heal. We all Heal. The Asian Women Healing & Creative Collective

Learning to embrace every part of me–Learning and understanding that I’m beautiful–Not feeling ashamed or not looking down on myself and truly learning to accept myself as I come was something I focused so hard on for the last 2 years and of course I still continuously have so much more work to do within myself, but I also want to provide a space for others to seek themselves and for every individual and woman to realize their unique and collective beauty. I want to provide in a larger capacity to help women who are struggling like me to come together to learn about our identities and embrace our authentic selves.

Healing takes strength and vulnerability; The strength to be vulnerable and to dig deep into areas of ourselves that we do not want to see, accept, or acknowledge. I know my healing journey and purpose seeking has been nothing but an uphill battle. But, self-love, self-discovery, and self-growth is worth it.

Through my own healing journey and many conversation circles I’ve held over the past year, I was funded a micro-grant from the Women’s Foundation to create a community project, in which I created The Asian Women Healing & Creative Collective.

This is an intentional space for Healing, self-discovery and unlocking our creativity through the power of words, meaning the conversations we will be sharing with one another, and the writing and experiences we will capture on paper to release anything that no longer serves us. We as a collective will have a lot of fun getting to know each other, ourselves, and learn new ways and practices of how to move and navigate through this world.

If interested please do sign up for 1 of the 4 info sessions. I can’t wait to connect with you: Info Session Sign up.

For More information click here: The Asian Women Healing & Creative Collective – Be a part of this

Let’s go on this journey together. And remember. Daaamn You’re Beautiful.

❤ Cydi who is Livin’ Wabi Sabi

NO SHAVE NOVEMBER CAMPAIGN – Daaamn You’re Beautiful

Yo Yo ! It’s no shave November. It’s getting cooooold. I need all the hair I can grow haha. But forreal whose struggled with body hair? Who has always had to hide it or use all these hair removing products, just to fit in the mold of societal beauty standards? I know I have. If you are sick and tired of this beauty standard, help me bring light to this issue and be a part of this campaign!

SEND ME YOUR STORY, AND SEND ME YOUR PHOTO. I WANT TO DO A HIGHLIGHT ON MY BLOG AND SOCIAL MEDIA. Fill this link: https://forms.gle/RggRZmGgGZzgrHBVA

LIKE, SHARE, TAG ANYONE INTERESTED TO STIR THIS PLACE UP!

Hey Ya’ll. It’s No Shave November! I had to do an artistic and raw shot for this. This topic hits home for me. I want to normalize something right quick. Women have body hair too. On our upper lip, between our eyes, under our arms, our legs, our backs! It is NOT disgusting. It is NOT grotesque. There is no shame in body hair, whether a women, a man, a non-conforming person. Ever since I was a young girl, I was always insecure about my body hair, because everyone always pointed it out, especially because there is also a believed idea that as an Asian, Hmong women, we are seen as very fair and hairless. Because of this, I didn’t feel beautiful, I didn’t feel woman enough, I didn’t feel “Asian Women” enough to be specific. But, coming to terms with my body hair, loving and embracing that part of me, I’ve come to see myself in such better light. I started letting my under arm hair grow maybe since Spring of this year. It is nerve wrecking. That fear that someone will be shocked that I have hair under my arms as a women, but at the end of the day, I tell myself, I know who I am, I know my worth, and my hair does not make me any less beautiful. It means I’m a person. It means that I am a free thinker. It means I don’t allow societal norms to pressure me to fit into a box they call “beautiful.” I am beautiful. And you are too.

We all are Daaaamn right Beautiful.Daaamn You’re Beautiful! POWER TO BODY HAIR WOOT WOOT!If you want to take part in this Campaign. Drop a pic and your story about body hair or your message around body hair. I will highlight all the stories at the end of November!Click Link to be a part of this campaign: https://forms.gle/RggRZmGgGZzgrHBVA

Peace and Love!

Cydi and I’m Livin’ Wabi Sabi

Let’s Talk About

“Let’s Talk About” is a spoken word written and performed by my fellow cousin and co-artist Sumalee Vang and I. This spoken word is a medium to open up talking about suicide and mental health in our community, share our very personal experiences, and to shed light that there is Hope. This video was made in being part of Project Ntshav Ntuj’s Virtual 11/6/20 Concert: Because Tomorrow Matters! It was a great joy to be a part of this concert for a highly valued cause and just to be in the space with artists I adore and rising artists that will blossom. Peace and Love.

Want to watch the Full Concert? Click link below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYucb_yq7tU

Cover photo Credit goes to Allen Vang: FB: AllenVangPhotographyVisual

Follow my social media! Instragram: livinwabisabi FB: Livin’ Wabi Sabi Soundcloud: Wabi Sabi Blog: my-wabisabi.blog/

To the Woman Whom came Before me: Reflection and Rant of a grieving Hmong Granddaughter

There’s so much I have to say Tais...

There are so much unspoken feelings; Too many angry words thrown into the pile and not enough gratitude passed through my lips into your ears. Not enough understanding of what you were going through; that the beautiful, fierce strong woman I knew was deteriorating at such a fast pace.

I don’t think I was able to fully process that this woman who held me, fed me, washed my butt, and accompanied me places, now needed me to do this for her. I couldn’t accept you were aging; you were weakening. You weren’t going to stay the same. I was angry.

“Why couldn’t you just stay like the grandma I once knew.”

I remember in 2016 when you had salmonella. You could barely stand and were falling everywhere. I drove you to the ER and tried getting you out of the back seat. As I helped you out of the car, you were so exhausted and winded you could not stand up by yourself. I had to pin you against my car so you would not fall. I could not help but cry with tears streaming down, seeing my strong grandma in such a vulnerable state. Under my breath, through my tears, I plead you to stop being this way. You were supposed to be the one to hold me when I couldn’t walk. You were supposed take care of me. Not the other way around.

You knew this about yourself. And you felt horrible about it. You were becoming less and less independent. And we didn’t help you by screaming in anger when you couldn’t hear us or was confused due to your dementia.  You were already aware that you weren’t the same person you used to be. Your dementia was getting worse. I think your spirit was in between our world and the next; the in-between. I was frustrated, hurting, and helpless, but I knew you needed me.

What could I have done to make you happy? 

I tried to find ways to make you happy — or smiled at least. I remember one night when I cooked chicken noodle soup and you ate 3 bowls of it, scooping the soup with the ladle and smiling as you ate the food. I felt proud that I found a way to make you smile.

I made coffee for you as much as possible. You and grandpa used to drink it all the time together. You even let us drink it when we were 6 years old. I don’t think you actually knew it was bad for us. Your face brightened a little when I asked if you wanted coffee. Sometimes you would even ask me to make it for you. You loved your coffee sweet, so when your face scrunched together, that meant I made it too bitter. I would add more scoops of sugar into your coffee. You also loved the strawberry smoothie from Caribou.

I wondered what else could I do for you grandma. I had no idea what could make you happy.

I kept telling myself I’d start a video series of you and I to document our funny conversations and your humorous character. I knew people would love you. But. I never got to it.

I told myself, I’d take you somewhere warm before you passed, so you can feel the warm sun on your skin like how you did back in your homeland. Maybe California or Hawaii. I already was imagining it in my head.  But. I never got to that either.

I always believed you could bounce back from ANYTHING.

On a rare snowy morning in March 2019, you walked barefoot out of the house onto the snowy streets, blocks away from home. I’m sorry that I didn’t get up to check on you when I heard you grandma. I was so tired because you kept us up all night. I thought you were up just to use the bathroom and you’d come back to sleep. You had frost bite and your feet blistered and bruised. You couldn’t walk on your feet. But, you still tried.

In June, just when you were recovering from your frost bite, you had another stroke in your sleep. We had to take you to the ER. The left side of your body slowly stopped moving, eventually becoming paralyzed. You suffered many strokes, a stomach ulcer, salmonella, and frost bite. Every time you endured a health issue that landed you in the hospital, you always bounced back and came out still the strong woman I knew.  I thought it’d be the same. I thought in time you’d regain mobility of your left side again. My grandma is strong. She can come out of anything.

But, you stopped talking. You were deteriorating. I didn’t comprehend it completely at the time but. You were dying. I had a feeling you didn’t have much time left.

We were heartbroken that we could not give you the 24 hour care that you needed and so September 2019, we made the hard decision to have you stay in a group home. I was angry. I did not want you there. None of us did. I said I could work a 3rd shift job so I can stay during the day to be with you. I did not want you to go grandma. I voiced strongly how I felt to mom. She said we really didn’t have any other choice.

Mom, some of your grandchildren, and I arrived at the group home to check it out. I dreaded that we were even doing this. But, when I stepped into the home, it felt like a place you would like. I felt a calming vibe. The other grandmas living there were so cute and kind. I realized that this place better suited your needs. I couldn’t hold onto you just because I wanted you close. Our house was not built for special needs.

Mom visited you every day. I visited you every week and your other grand children came often too.

March 15th, 2020.

It was a Sunday; the last day of my Hmong Women show at Park Square Theatre. You passed in your sleep that morning. Randy burst into my room and hastily told me to wake up as he told me the news and left out my room as quick as his words. Tears welled up in my eyes. I was half awake not sure how to feel.

I was shocked. I was sad that we were not there to be with you when you passed. I was also relieved, because I knew you weren’t suffering anymore.

The PCA said at 3 am, the morning you passed, someone ringed the doorbell.

I wanted to be there when you passed. I knew you were afraid of being alone and I never wanted you to be alone. I never wanted you to feel like we abandoned you. We didn’t.

I hurt so much because I feel like I did not do my part to ensure that you knew we loved you with all our hearts despite all the disputes and frustrations. We loved you with our whole hearts. It was our inability to understand the aging process and how mental illness affected a person. We had no idea what you were facing. We did not understand you. I’m so sorry Tais. I’m so sorry. I felt so hopeless and trapped that no one was helping us and I was helpless in helping my mom take care of you. We were going through this alone with no support and no resources. Your dementia episodes were getting worse, to the point where I had to physically hold you down so you wouldn’t leave our house. You scratched and bit me, but I continued holding you. I was hurt, frustrated, and confused. I didn’t want to do that to you. You were my grandma. Dementia, depression, understanding the aging process; These kinds of things were never mentioned in our community and I failed to find resources to help you through your depression and other illnesses. I think, if only I was able to find you the help you needed, maybe you’d still be here happier and doing better.

F**K the Hmong Culture on this Part

You didn’t want a proper funeral because you felt like you didn’t have children to hold incense and come bow down for you. You felt like you were small in this big world. You felt like you were second to men. You felt like you didn’t mean much to the world. You left this world with a heavy heart of the unspoken pain and trauma held within you.

I want to let you know that you meant something to the world. You meant something to me, your children and grandchildren. I was infuriated when those men at your funeral were all throwing the mic to one another unwilling to sing the traditional tunes to send you off, as if they had better things to do. I knew if you had sons or more children, they wouldn’t even act that way. I was angry that people did not see your value. You were just another old lady who passed whom had no husband or sons. YOU WERE WAY MORE THAN THAT. And yet, that is what our society painted you as.

Your Legacy Lives on through Me

I wear your clothes because I miss you. I wear them because that is the way I feel closest and connected to you. This is the way I can embody you. Even though you didn’t think you deserved to leave a legacy, you have, and I will carry that legacy on for you; To be a righteous and kind person. I will let your legacy carry on through me. I will become the best massage therapist because you were the best. I will always give you the credit for when people ask why I’m so good at massages. Every time I sip my coffee, I will think of you. And one day if I choose to open a coffeeshop, I will do it in honor of you and grandpa. I will help girls and women and anyone else who are in need to be understood, seen, and supported to become the best versions of themselves. You never had anyone tell you that you were amazing, talented, and strong. You never understood how wonderful you were.

Though I couldn’t help you realize that about yourself, I will make it my purpose and mission to make sure that everyone sees their potential and realize that they can live out the highest best version of themselves. I carry you with me in everything I do. Every life that I touch positively, I think of you, and send all that positivity and love your way in hopes you could live your best life in the next life. That’s all I want for you Tais.

I want to be strong, selfless, and independent JUST LIKE YOU. I want to love unconditionally JUST LIKE YOU. I want you to continue living through me. I want your legacy of love and healing to live through me. Without you, there would be no me and all the positive things I’ve sent out into the universe.

I love you grandma. I miss you. I think of you every day. But I do want to forgive myself. I want to let you go so you can go ahead and LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE as you are with Source at this moment.

LOVE YOU TO THE MOON. LOVE YOU TO THE SUN. HERE ON EARTH WE STAY AS YOUR NEW JOURNEY HAS BEGUN, SO DOES MINE MAMA.

❤ You’re loving granddaughter

Cydi

Solidarity Process with Tou Saik and The Cedar

Click link to watch FB LIVE at 7:30 pm CT: https://www.facebook.com/thecedar/videos/824865151608751

Not on FB? Stream on YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF30LttR9lY

Hello beautiful people. Please do tune in tonight at 7:30pm on the Cedar Public Access Channel to watch The Solidarity Process curated by Tou Saik Unites as he worked with The Cedar Cultural Center as Black and Asian artists collaborated to create artistic pieces together in solidarity.

See you there. Peace and Love.

Embracing body hair

Where do I begin…. 

With this hair on my skin….

Its everywhere

Everybody stares in awe

You’re a girl

Why do you have hair

In between your eyesblck n white

Above your lips

Your arms

Legs

Arm Pits!

I cower in shame

Maybe I will never be a real girl

I shave and pluck

And nair my hair away

I have to be a real girl

I shave and pluck

And nair my insecurities away

I have to be like what they want

I shave and pluck

And nair myself away

Who am I

Where do I begin

With this hair on my skin

I will embrace it

It’s natural

It’s beautiful

It’s okay

To have hair

I don’t care

If I’m not who they want

If I have hair under my arms

I’ll raise it up proud

Tais always told me to keep it anyways

So let me listen to her for once

And not be ashamed of

The hair on my skin

That’s when I’ll begin

To truly love myself

Know myself

And be okay with who I really am

Not for them

Or for you

But for me

In this skin that I’m in.

❤ Cydi

Taking Back my Body Series – Regaining the power men took from me

For all the boys who I’ve laid with. It’s like you took a piece of me with you. I wasn’t even complete when you came to me. Now I’m left with even less then what I’ve started.

How do I allow anyone to wait at my door mat, touching my door knobs, finding the key, coming into my home, eating my food, laying on my couch, and pretending like my home is theirs, when I’m not even present in my home.

This is a slap to the face for the guy that grabbed my crotch when I was dancing on the cage. Just because I’m dancing doesn’t mean I want you to touch me. This is a slap to the face for those two men who slapped my ass on the street in Minneapolis. My leathery leggings did not imply I wanted to be groped on the streets. I said nothing to them, and the girls around me said nothing either. I let them take my power.

This is a slap to the face for the guy that slapped my ass in Las Vegas. I wanted to have fun and have a dance off with you. I didn’t understand that by us having fun and dancing, you thought you could violate me. I ran away feeling so upset. But this was the moment I took my power back. I walked up right to you. I looked you in the eyes. I knew no one will stand up for me. I demanded an apology. And you apologized. I said “Never Think You can Touch a Women Like that again.”

To the first boy I was in love with. What gave you the right to try to go into my shirt and touch my beautiful nipples. You thought it was a joke when I wouldn’t let you. It wasn’t a joke. I’m just so used to men taking advantage of me.

I’m so scared. I’m so afraid.

It was like every man I met, all they wanted was to touch me. They didn’t bother getting to know who I was on the inside.  I screamed “See me for me!” Not just for my body. I cried, “See me for me!” “Please see me!”

This is why I hesitate to engage in anything with men, because it seems like everything I do, it’s a que for them to touch me.

The only man I trust with my body, is my father. Someone who will never shame me for my body, someone who brought this body into existence. Someone who loves me for me.

To all the boys I was in a relationship with, I’m taking back my body. Though you’ve nested in me and seen every part of me.

When you hear, I’m taking back my body, what comes into your mind? Think for a second.

Reclaiming your body after society owned it, different boys, strange men, who’s taken it, may seem hard. Do I even want this torn up body anymore, after it’s gone through this much. Is she even worth to save? Nobody sees me worth it. People cringe at the thought of me. But most importantly, despite how others see me, how do I see myself? Do I love myself? I must love myself, because if I even have the thought to try and reclaim my  body, that means I know I’m worth it.

I am worth it. You are worth it. It’s time for us to start seeing it for ourselves.

Looking for aspiring Asian women artists

If you are interested or know of anyone who is an aspiring Asian women/female-identifying/non-binary spoken word/poet/writer/storyteller artist, and is located in the twin cities, MN,  please click the link below to apply for the Asian Women Performative Spoken Art Cohort program.

Application details for Asian Women Performative Spoken Art Cohort Program

Looking for aspiring spoken word artists! Poets_writers_storytellers (2)

I’m Movin out-Ish: Journey to Adulting

Hello all, Cydi here. I just want to say first of how proud I am to be almost at my quarter of a century mark. Blessed to be alive.

Sooooo…. I am 24 going on 25, BUT, I’m still in the basement of my parent’s home. Darn. BUT, that’s nothing to feel bad about. I used to beat myself down about this. I so badly wanted to move out at 22 right after college, but found myself stuck in complacency for years physically and mentally. It’s that hybrid millenial-Gen Z struggle; The struggle of finding meaning and sense in a world full of boundless options, and luxurious labels and titles; Adulting in this ever so fast-growing world has beat me down bloody to be honest. But, I can tell you now I’m MOVING OUT! Ishhh. 

I lacked direction. I lacked purpose. I lacked self-love.

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Cheerleading in 2014 at my University, trying to gain a sense of self.

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Peer advising in 2015 at my University, werkin’ hard to be a Leader!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I grew out of my old labels; college student, president of my college club, and a leader on campus. I Initially soaked in a warm small pond, but was thrown abruptly into a huge cold ocean called the “REAL ADULT WORLD,” and I had no idea how to survive or thrive there. I lost all my labels and identities that validated me as worthy and enough. I kept trying to re-define myself or retain some parts of me I once had, but I found myself giving up easily when faced with constant nos and rejections. So, I went and sought validation from unhealthy people.

 

GLADLY, that whole big high intensity crisis is over for the most part.

I took on the motto Wabi Sabi since 2016, but started to consciously incorporate it into my daily life just only this year. Things are finally looking up for me. My first step to freedom. MOVING OUT.

 

Well kinda. My mom and I are renovating the basement into my own studio. Yay! Yep. I’m paying rent, pet rent, and we’re writing a whole contract. It’s ALMOST the real deal. I’m making moves. Yes!

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Before photo of the space. Renovating in progress.

Truth be told, I want to be free as a bird and COMPLETELY move out, but my finances tell me otherwise. Another downer, but I realize to not be so hard on myself and take what is given to me and shed light to it. I made the crucial decision to stay with my parents until I finish my massage program. I know others do not have the privilege like I do to stay home. I do feel extremely blessed and grateful to have parents who are supporting me.

 

Healing, re-discovering, and learning to truly invest and love yourself takes time and patience.

I believe everyone has their own story and their own journey, and it took me three years to finally pick up momentum onto my rightful path. This is my story and I want to create my chapters in full vivid images. I’m at a great time in my life, though I always strive for better, for more, but whose to say when I get there, I’ll actually be happy? I’ve learned to really take each day at a time, and try my best to enjoy the process versus always focusing on the end goal.

I NEED to relax.

spirtuality

I need to enjoy the moment. I need to stop rushing to the future. I catch myself all the time already imagining how my new little basement studio will look like, already decorated and renovated; I’m already thinking of the possibilities after my massage program is over, which means……. 2020 will be over. SLOWW DOWN CYDI. I feel the positive changes happening. I have to trust in the process.

I’m working on my addiction to being productive and self-blame for not reaching my unrealistic expectations for myself. I am learning. I am reflecting.

So friends! Just give me like 2 months. This homey studio of mines will soon be ready for gatherings! (of course taking in account of Covid-19). I am on the journey to adulting and healing. I am craving to LIVE and striving for PURPOSE, GENUINE LOVE, AND FREEDOM. And I know I’ll get there with the steps I’m taking. If you’re going through the same crisis, I know you can embark on your journey too and succeed in the end.

It’s like Telling Ghandi to be like Barack Obama.

Never compare yourself to someone else’s success.  You have your own special qualities and unique path in life. Everyone’s greatest life and purpose looks different yet equally valuable. Don’t sit on the life you want. Dream it into reality. Manifest it.

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Cast members and friends during our Face to Face show at Park Square Theatre back in March 2020. Blessed.

2020 is almost half way done. And I have been blessed with so many treats and opportunities. This is only the beginning because my body and heart continues to tell me there is still something I’m not catching on to. As I continue, I hope I’ll be able to discover what that is. There has been so many significant moments in 2020 already, so let’s continue on this journey. I’m Livin’ Wabi Sabi.

 

Peace and Love

Cydi

#metoo? – Sexual Assault can be confusing. It comes in many forms.

metoo#metoo? With a question mark, is something we experience all too often. What I experienced, was it really rape? Was it really wrong? Does that even count? I’m probably just being emotional and dramatic like what EVERYONE tells me. But Hell no. You’re experience is validated. And if it FEELS WRONG, IT IS WRONG.

What I’m about to share may be triggering and traumatic to survivors. I have never really told anyone these stories due to shame or confusion to whether it was “sexual assault.” And most times, I blamed myself. But, I share this in hopes that young girls & women, young boys, and female-identifying individuals like me become aware of what sexual assault is, educate themselves on how to stay in healthy relationships, take care of themselves, use their voice to say NO, and KNOW that I hear them, see them, and is here for them. Here goes nothing. 

#metoo? There is a relative that is significantly older than me. The girls around tell me stories of what he’s done to them. I’m afraid of him. So one day outside when we are all playing, he picks me up and puts me on his shoulders. I am 10. I’m afraid. I am filled with so much nervousness and anxiety. He’s spinning me, and I am afraid, but I laugh and act like it’s fun though I am super afraid. I don’t know how to say I dislike it. I just don’t want to be alone with him.

One time during camping, he keeps trying to be close to me, maybe following me? Giving me more attention than he should. I am still 10. I’m so scared. We are all in a tent telling stories. He puts his head on my lap. I am frozen. Everyone watches but they don’t do anything. I just smile as if I’m okay. My face is burning and my heart is beating. I WANT HIM OFF OF ME. I DON’T LIKE IT, but I don’t know how to stand up for myself and I don’t want to make a scene in front of everyone.…..

#metoo? You know that feeling when the word “no”, or “stop” is stuck in your throat. You’re not sure on how to exactly respond to a sexual situation. I am 16. This person is older than me. He asks me to do certain sexual things. I am super uncomfortable, anxious, and do not want to do it. But I don’t know how to respond. I am scared to say no. I feel really pressured to say yes. What if I say no? What happens? He isn’t a bad person, just someone who is older than me with a different mindset on sex. I feel as if he took advantage of my innocence and lack of understanding. I’ve made out, and did some sexual things before this, but nothing to this extent. I think that these are things I have to do if I like a person. I don’t really know or understand what sex really means either? Just a thought. I didn’t even know where my vagina hole was until I turned 15. I just keep saying yes to things that make me super uncomfortable throughout our relationship. No one ever taught me to say no. I feel powerless. I feel continuous disgust, and shame for myself, but I am not sure because the message I get at this age from my peers, is that you are supposed to be having sex at this time. But I feel weird, and numb, and wrong. Having sex? Isn’t this what I’m supposed to be doing when I’m with someone?

#metoo? One day I finally have the courage to tell this person, I don’t want to have sex anymore. I don’t think he understands. When we are alone, he would keep forcing me to have sex with him. I am high on adrenaline and panic. I scream and struggle. I tell him I don’t want to. My voice sounds helpless. I said don’t you remember, I don’t want to have sex anymore. But he keeps touching me and forcing me into his arms so he could penetrate me. I feel so helpless as this person fondles me and is on top of me, literally putting all his weight on me. That day I accept that no matter how much I DO NOT want to give up my body, guys would always coerce me to give up myself. I have no say or power to decide who and when they can enter or touch my body. So I continue to have sex with him.

#metoo? A few years past. We aren’t together anymore. He takes me home from the club. I did not come there with him or hang out with him there, and I don’t remember consenting to him taking me home? But who knows, I’m drunk. He takes me home, but comes to sleep with me without my consent and has sex with me while I’m half-passed out. I know what is happening. I feel so much disgust and push him off drunkenly. He isn’t able to finish.

#metoo? There is a boy I am really infatuated with. I allow him to have sex with me. Because I like him a lot. LIKE A LOT. (though I didn’t even want to). I was scared to say no in fear he would not like me anymore. I remember being outside our school. He harshly reaches into my shirt and grabs my breast. I jerk away. I feel so violated. This is someone I really like? Why is he being this way to me? This is not right.

#metoo? There is a person I love and am in a relationship with. I knock on his door one day. He smells of the drug substance he likes to use. He looks a little out of it. I want to check in on how he is doing since I didn’t see him much that day. He pulls me in. This is closer to the beginning of our relationship. We have been having sex. This week, maybe a little too much. I am feeling quite sore down there and know I want to rest. He is smiling and pushes me and pushes me until I fall onto the bed. I tell him I don’t want to. He is just trying to sound silly, harmless, and comforting. But I tell him no. I am still sore and I don’t want to. Yet he precedes to get on top of me. I close my legs together. I tell him please not to do it. It is as if my cries pushes him on more to do it. He pulls down my pants as I struggle. He says he doesn’t understand why he likes having sex with me so much. I am trying to push him off and he struggles to penetrate me. After a few attempts, he is finally able to. It hurts immensely. I close my eyes and my whole body tenses up because of the pain. It is burning over and over. The only thing I can do is hold on to him because of the pain and bare it until he wants to be done. I wonder is that rape? I’m not sure. But I feel horrible. That day, I realize, that in our relationship, I have no power over my body. I don’t have the right to say no. I give myself to him whenever he wants. I feel worthless. I feel powerless. It confirms that my voice, my thoughts, and my feelings, as how I felt as a child was true. The message I internalize is that no one truly cared about how I felt or what I needed in order to care for myself. Not even the person I love.

I used to feel immense shame about these situations. I still sometimes do and constantly get re-triggered as I am now working in a profession where I am implementing a sexual violence prevention program and am reading up on all the information.

I’m sad to say that there are more instances than what I’ve shared. I blamed myself because I let them do it to me. I blamed myself for not being strong enough. BUT ALL THESE THINGS. WASN’T MY FAULT. I KNOW NOW.

I’m not here to make myself seem innocent of any wrong doings nor am I trying to demonize these people, as I’ve continued to heal from these situations and have found deep compassion and forgiveness for these individuals, yet IT DOES NOT JUSTIFY THEIR ACTIONS. 

I am telling my story, because I know I am not the only one that experienced these kind of things in my intimate relationships. I used to think it WASN’T rape or sexual assault because they were someone I liked, I willingly allowed them to, or they were my intimate partners. Many times I said YES, because I was scared. I didn’t fully understand what it was, and felt like I HAD to say yes.

But that’s what makes it confusing, because they also did good things for me and this made me re-think and question if what they did was wrong? But I want to tell you, if you ever feel GUILTY, SHAMEFUL, HIGH/INTENSE NERVOUSNESS AND ANXIETY, NUMB, OR SCARED when engaging in sex, sexual activity, OR EVEN CONSENTING, that is coercion and pressure. DON’T DO IT. That’s not TRUE CONSENT in my eyes. You should feel good when you say yes. BE AWARE LADIES. You MAY NOT REALIZE there and then, but IT WILL CAUSE YOU UNSETTLING TRAUMA that you will have to deal with later on; FEELINGS OF WORTHLESSNESS, POWERLESSNESS, LOW-CONFIDENCE, CHASING VALIDATION FROM MEN, SUICIDE.

If you judge me then this isn’t for you. I share this because at 16, I wished someone cared enough to ask me how I was doing, or if I was feeling comfortable in my relationships. I was scared and did not have an older person who was there to openly listen to me without judgment. I just kept putting myself into unhealthy situations where I got sexually assaulted over and over without realizing it.

This is NOT my battered story nor am I seeking sympathy. I want to share my story, to show you, my beautiful girl, no matter what has happened to you, how you feel about yourself, bad things you’ve done and endured, you can always rise up from everything and become whole, healthy, and fulfilled. You can begin embarking on your true path and despite anything, you can find healing.

Daaamn You’re Beautiful. Don’t ever forget that. Take your Body Back. It’s yours.

Wabi Sabi

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. #metoo?

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