I am overcome.

Your notes, your texts, your calls, your stories. There are so many. So very many. For five days and nights now, I have been enveloped in love and light. I have also been privy to so many of your stories of “Me, too.”

My heart is lifted, my heart is heavy. But I will carry your stories with me, always. I will hold them for you.

This world is so full of pain and promise, of darkness and beauty.

Thank you — each and every one of you — for these gifts of grace and authenticity.

We help each other heal.

For thirty-five years, I bore a weight that was too heavy. It’s still so new, this feeling of lightness. Sometimes I feel I might fly away, untethered, from the relief of it all. But relief is not quite the right word, because the darkness still slips in through the cracks… especially at night when the world is quiet but my mind is not.

I have written this story for thirty-five years, in a million different ways, shapes, and forms. I have journaled it, recorded it in badly rhymed poetry, fictionalized it in short stories. It’s been my way of traversing all that was left in the wake, of making sense of a situation that never really made sense.

Did he love me? He said he did. And I was so very young. Did I love him back? I wanted to believe I did. It made everything less… frightening. I knew he would never hurt me in the ways I imagined pain to be inflicted… guns, knives, fists.

And there were others in my life to protect.

I will say it again — a million times — the words I spoke to my beloved mother last week: Everything that’s happened has made me who I am. I would not change those things, because to change them would be to change me. I had a beautiful, magical childhood. I was so well loved.

This was just an unexpected side trip. What happened on that journey formed me in ways I still don’t fully understand. But it formed me, my heart, my soul, my mind. To erase it — to change the narrative — changes everything.

The Butterfly Effect.

I choose not to live with regrets. I choose, instead, to create beauty from ashes.

Some days are easier than others.

Here’s what I know today: I am so incredibly grateful for your love, your support, even your silence. They all mean something. They all mean everything.

We are here to help, hold, and heal each other. Of that, I am certain.

Thank you for holding me this week.

Before I was able to claim my story, to put my name with it, I found a safe haven to share it anonymously. I will forever be indebted to the beautiful, soulful Jennifer Pastiloff and The Manifest Station for giving my words their first soft place to land…

Master of One


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