Dear Survivor: You Rise
Let me start by reiterating what you must have heard from so many people already. You are a force. Surviving is an act of bravery and immeasurable courage - I wish with all my heart that the world wasn’t so, and that life isn’t a matter of survival but of joy. I wish you didn’t have to experience the dark side of humanity. But this is about you, for you, and everything you are - not what has happened to you but about what you are despite it all.
I cannot put myself in your place to tell you that I understand. But what I can offer, as a stranger who is rooting for you, is healing energy. I wish for you the strength to carry on and rebuild. I wish kindness and love for you which will support you on the path to recovery. And not to make any assumptions, but I do hold space for your anger, if you feel it, and resentment and all the volatility you may have within you, if you have it.
Above all I want you to know that you have a well wisher in me, an anonymous person from the internet, and together we can be a part of a community in which we lift each other up and overwrite violence with solidarity, compassion and empathy. I may not ever know who you are, but I know that you are important, you are valid, and you matter so much to the world. You are a unique combination of chance and atoms and there can never be another you in all of time ever again. Which is what makes you precious beyond comprehension. I want you to remember, against the hate you may have confronted, that you belong here and that you are needed.
You are invaluable and you deserve love. You deserve kindness. You deserve to be told that you make a difference to this world, no matter how small, which is significant and irreplaceable. You must believe in this. I know it can be hard. But trust me when I say that I don’t have to know who you are or what you have been through to know that your presence here on earth is immense and infinite.
Nobody can shrink you or take that away from you. Know that I am thinking of you and that I wholeheartedly wish restoration and health for you. Everything about you is significant. You are so loved and cherished. Nothing can ever touch that. Dear survivor, I leave you with this poem as a reminder that you are not alone. You are powerful and luminous.
Still I Rise
By Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.