In the middle of an inner city neighborhood, on a tiny corner of green space wedged between two dilapidated houses stands a clumsy frame of the word 'hope'. Instead of the bright beacon of light we normally associate with the word, this hope is full of garbage-- crumbled, used waste.
I had to stop. You see, I saw myself in this artful pile of trash-- so much so that I parked on the side of the road and wept as I looked out at the structure. I felt long-buried feelings of worthlessness bubbling up to the surface.
My entire life I've struggled with self-worth. Even as a child, I struggled to simply feel worthy for life, itself, let alone any good things. I have treated myself like garbage, as if I was simply the detritus left in the wake of someone better. I have often wondered why everyone around me seemed to have it all together when I was suffering so inside my head. It has always seemed that I am missing a piece that everyone else is born with as I seem to fit in nowhere.
I drove past this the same day that an article I wrote in which I finally come forward as a rape survivor after twenty long years of silence went live to the world. I have long wondered if I deserved what happened to me that night-- if I am worthless, deserving of terrible, awful things. I have spent my life gathering evidence to support my belief of unworthy. Shame will take you deep in the darkness in unspeakable ways and much of my life has been spent inside the velvet obscurity of depression.
Today I dredged deep into the filth inside myself and I pulled it out into the light where the shame will die(shame cannot live in the light). I am taking out the trash and using that pain to give others hope.
Bringing up the shame is excruciating.
Bringing up the shame is beautiful.
It is excruciatingly beautiful.
I am on a roller coaster of emotion, the ups and downs coming with no warning.However, I firmly believe that this roller coaster will end with my feet solidly planted in the light, with no garbage in sight.
I am thankful for my time living in the dumpster of despair. It has reminded me how lovely the light is and that we cannot appreciate love without the juxtaposition of hate. At the end of even the darkest journey lies hope, as hope always lies in wait in the most unexpected of places.