Last night I had a Zoom with two friends that I had not seen or spoken to in some time. We exchanged occasional Facebook greetings and encouragement but nothing like last night. It came about because we decided to go on a 52-week writing journey together and hold each other accountable. I don’t think any of us expected to participate in a three-hour conversation. And as usual, I felt like I talked too much. Nevertheless, I also listened and I heard things that made my heart ache and the protective nature in me rise up. Yeah, I want to fight everyone’s battle and save them the pain of life. I also have enough sense to know I cannot, so I listen.
I believe last night's conversation allowed us to purge some things that we had uncovered about ourselves when the world went into hiding. It's hard to hide from yourself when you’re cutoff from the rest of society. What we talked about was a manifestation that we (you too) are not alone in our fight to stay strong and overcome. It makes me wonder if there is at least one person in MY world who does not have their own version of an abuse, rape, #metoo story to tell. We may never talk about it, but is there something in us that draws us together to gain strength? Is there something that emits from our soul and pulls at the trauma of the sister next to us without having to discuss it?
For me, despite what I’ve gone through, I’m over being a survivor and have been for some time. I don’t know the shelf life for a survivorship, I just know I’m not there anymore. I decided long ago that I’m an overcomer. I overcame the mess and madness that tried to define me for so many years. I can talk openly about being raped with a gun to my head and being afraid to scream because my dad was in the other room sleeping. It is not something I survived. It is something I overcame. I can talk about my dad kicking my mom's ass on the regular and still loving them both for the people they became and not the people they were. I can talk about my boss high on crack standing in the middle of the office with his pants down to his ankles with his dick pointed straight at me. Yes, I can talk about all of it because it no longer defines me as a survivor. As an overcomer I’m free of the shackles of shame and guilt for taking in every stray dick I could as I searched for love.
Yeah, no, I’m not a survivor, I’m an overcomer. That person overcame the bullshit to become me. I refuse to be a person who wallows in what was for so long that I miss what could be. I almost lost who I am now because I had a hard time freeing myself. I can now talk openly about my past through a smile and tears because I’m free. I’m free to be great, fearless, and a badass. I’m free to not give a fuck about someone else’s definition of me. I’m free to let God use me and my past for good. I’m free to be vulnerable with my husband and transparent with my daughter. I’m free to choose who I allow in my space without remorse.
Dammit, I’m just free
Phyllis Williams-Strawder is a poet and writer of teaching memoirs. She is also a Certified Business Coach and a 20+ year veteran entrepreneur. In addition to Espresso Mischief, she is the creator of Spresso Mischief Designs, and the Founder of CKO Creator.
Her love of reading, writing and business she got from her father. Her love of helping she got from her mother. together and hold each other accountable. I don’t think any of us expected to participate in a three-hour conversation. And as usual, I felt like I talked too much. Nevertheless, I also listened and I heard things that made my heart ache and the protective nature in me rise. Yeah, I think I can fight everyone’s battle and save them the pain of life. I know I cannot so I listen.