Dating! The word that I would avoid, the subject I was so afraid of. After being raped I promised my self I would never date anyone, because I thought no one would want to be with a rape victim. I shut down The idea Of a Love that would accept me as I was because Of all The baggage I carried. So I built an imaginary Wall SOO high up, I thought, i couldn't protect myself before but THIS time I would avoid The judgement, and The questions I didn't exactly have anwsers to...
Eventually, there came a time when I finally talked to someone after about a year of being raped. However, I was afraid to become his girlfriend because I thought for sure The topic Of íntimacy and sex is bound to come up. Long story short, we began courting, seven months went by and I did a pretty good job concealing fact that I was raped. Unfortunately, my methods for "protecting myself" made it very difficult to BE myself.
I formed more lies in my head, thinking thoughts like "Well, maybe if I have the choice to have sex, maybe if it was actually my choice I would not feel so much pain, maybe I would feel free and happy again? Just maybe then I'll walk with REAL joy and a true smile on my face..."
I made the mistake to choose to have sex and it fixed nothing...Simply because at The time I didn't love myself, and I was looking for healing in all the wrong places. I was Trying to find healing from where I was once broken.
Eventually, that relationship started to deteriate, and I began to Fall into a deeper depression; which I hid behind a smile.
Time went by and I finally realized and told my self "Cristal! You dont need someone to pre-approve you, you need to love your self again" I began the challenging process Of really letting go and as I mentioned before, forgave in order to have self peace.
Why do I share this? Because someone that is reading this needs to know that dating someone will not heal your pain, focusing your energy and time in a relationship outside of relationship with YOURSELF is not going to heal The hurt you have yet to face yourself.
How can We share honesty with a partner in The future If We have yet to be honest with our own flaws, our own experiences Of our Past?"
After much time of self love and embracing myself as a survivor of rape, God sent me a man who I was able to share and express my true feelings without worring whether he would love me or judge me. I knew then after sharing part of my story God always had a plan. This man who is my NOW my husband Of four years now has stood by my side and respected every step I had to take in order to truly heal in order for us to have room to grow and become one. -Cristal Lowe
LOVE IS an amazing thing and is more appreciated when It's self-experienced BEFORE anyone else steps into the picture.
We plan On doing a series Of self-love/ "Dating (You) Before Them" coming soon!!
Coming from our hearts to YOURS,
We love you, and are here💗
Doctors Call this symptoms Of post tramatic stress, others say "The things that make you tick, or set you off"
When healing from experiences Of immense trauma one must first address these triggers first hand. Confront The post trauma (secondary pain) helps understand The pain from The first trauma(initial pain).
After i was raped there were certain triggers that would literally send me Back in sheer pánic mode: i would loose all sense Of where i was, The Day And time....i was hit with a phycological pain affiliated with my Past i could Swear It was happening all over again.
I needed to find peace in those moments Of fear And torment, I needed to learn How to adapt into a world i could not trust after what happenned to me.
God aligned someone on my path who was a fellow actor. He taught me a lesson one of his acting coaches taught me that literally made sense...something clicked and the hours of therapy and time spent in doctor's offices finally came together and I felt I got my strength back.
He told me to close my eyes, imagine a time and place when I was really happy, dig deep, so far back that you reimagine the moment and the textures of that "scene" in your head. He then instructed me to describe this place(to myself) from what I was wearing to what the place smelled and looked like (channeling and connecting all of my senses).
He allowed me to meditate with this image for as long as I needed to...asking me how I felt, listening to my body relax in that moment.
After some time to myself he asked me to place my hand over my heart..."feel the rhythm of your heart, it's pulsing waves softly touch your chest like ocean waves to a calming shore.....now open."
Upon opening my eyes, my hand was still left over my chest. He said "now whenever you feel like your peace is being threatened by anxiety, fear, doubt, pain, etc place your hand over your chest, feel your heart beat, the same heart that beat in the chest of that innocent little girl who was free, and happy...before she ever met that pain or was triggered by it."
What a profound moment for me, and I trusted that God had orchestrated from the very beginning. That interaction changed the dynamic in which I chose to see the world around me; for that, I am grateful.
The great thing is, I have access to that moment as often or as little as I need. So with that, I encourage you like that great man once did to reintroduce yourself to that child within, before you ever knew the world to thrust its relentless sting upon your life.
Find that child, and never let him/her go...💗
Healing, after surviving is no easy task. During this process we can't forgot The "you" in Equation. I Heard from many people well you can get over that or SHOULD get over that by now...but EVERYONE heal S differently at a different time And through different practices. What has helped Cristal And myself heal from surviving rape (apart from support) is self-care. Practicing self-care or "me-time"can take many forms so It's important you invite safe And self-enriching hobbies or activities that Will help you Love on your amazing-self even More.
Cristal Lowe: " Sometimes we try to look past our moment(s) Of stress or pain by trying to put others or things before us, we bombard ourselves with busy work to forget about the pain or we stay busy to have no time to cry or think about the things that hurt us...but don't forget to be present in the process of healing And over-coming. I'm a Working mom to a beautiful Daughter, And a wife, And Fashion Designer....I tend to always forget about the importance Of "Me time" but I'm grateful for my Sister Devin Marie who always send me a reminder!
The process to any healing always required time off weather you just had a baby or a minor surgery it's important to take time off, we encourage you to take a day for just you weather you just go to the gym or take a walk at the beach take time and re- evaluate your plan your goals how far you came and where you trying to go!
"I have recently incorporated reading, and out door exercising to figure out what Will work for me. I believe myself to be an activist And It can be tiring fighting against so much in this world let a lone fighting for YOU. I have to ask myself, "When was the last time you put YOU first?"
Sometimes puting me first means not doing anything! Seriously, like nothing at all, no phone, no to, no noise but a deep breathes some good music And burning some Of my favorite candles. STILLNESS and SOLITUDE are two gifts I make a prioritary to do weekly! (And slowly incorporating The Daily part).
How can we be The BEST assest to our households, our jobs, our carrers, family, and relationships If We neglect The one relationship that is shared in every one Of these spaces?
You loving what you do isn't a crime; Whether That's being a great mother, coworker, student, Artist, etc. But NOT loving you IS.
Take some time for YOU. This process isn't easy, but It can be filled Will much More self-fulfillment when you remember that as much as you Love to LOVE On other people, remember that YOU are people too!
SELF-CARE x HERSTORY
A letter to future Allies,
With recent events (that are nothing new to many people's lived experiences) we wanted to speak to something both HERSTORY and BLACKLIVESMATTER movement find the hardest to come by yet we are hopeful of acquiring: allies.
👉🏽To be an "ally" [Al•Eye]
simply means you meet us where we are; even if you may not have first hand experience, you "show up" in whatever capacity of support. 👈🏽
*Don't be too proud for support!*
Listen, we a ALL need it....
Often times we hear "...until It happens to you, or until you walk in my shoes you'll never know what It feels like."
The problem with this sentiment is that We close off oppurtunities for those who May not ever know your pain be there to support you through It"
I closed myself off from a lot Of relationships (family, potential friends, And romantic interests because our diferencie would be too much.
I knew I was More sensitive to things...my experiences shaped a lot Of my outlook in my Daily life. Being a rape survivor I looked at my world differently including the media I consumed that escalated my anxiety on subjects like sex and intimacy by abusing it in forms of hypersexuality or women and poor representation of women of color.
But back to our future support systems:
Just because you haven't shared in personal experiences of sexual assault or harassment, just because you haven't been discriminated against because of your appearance and skin color, doesn't mean you have to choose to ignore the suffering of others.
Imagine walking on the sidewalk and across from you is a park. You are jamming out to your favorite song, summer breeze is just right, and life is good. Then all of sudden you
Hear the shrill cry of a child who not long ago fell hard to the ground.
You don't know this child, even if you don't know that child's name, or what their favorite color, game or toy is shouldn't be deciding factors in you extending the offer of "help" or at the very least prompt you to ask "are you okay, is there anything I can do.."
Involving yourself in someone else's painful experience involves nothing more than saying "I'm here, even if I couldn't be "there" when that tragedy, that harassment, that discrimination or pain occurred."
We as black brother's and sister, we as rape survivors or those prone to being assaulted are the fallen child who has been tripped up by a system of authority, a culture that has failed us. We are not asking for your criticism; you're first instinct shouldn't be to tend to the monkey bars (or system) that were involved with "the fall". Tend to US. The ones in pain. Whatever we need in that moment and moments after.
I get it, you were minding your own business, you were having a good day. We want good days too. We want the oppurtunity to keep walking no matter how many times we are subject to fall.
So SHOW UP for us. Show up for those who can't vocalize their pain or be able to explain fully the pain we share. We don't want you to have to relive what we survived. We want you to understand from human to human that we were all just children once, we have all cries before, hurt before, we are asking to be here in this next phase: of healing, of helping; and of changing to be better.
We say all of this to say that just because you haven't suffered the way I suffered; just because you haven't felt my pain doesn't mean we can't be here for each other (in whatever capacity)
Rape survivors like ourselves can stand next to our Black brothers and sisters, who are hurting...why? Because although their hashtag doesn't match ours, we share the same struggle for justice.
We may not have a definite solution; but we'll meet you in solidarity regardless of creed, sexual orientation, race...your human, and you deserve to be heard, and supported.
God bless you!
With love and solidarity
HERSTORY x BLACKLIVESMATTER ✊🏿✊🏼✊🏾✊🏻✊🏽
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.