This week's post didn't really have a theme, didn't really have any obvious inspiration to be quite honest. we are honestly still so humbled by the contributors we've had thus far but the weeks go on and content is always needed.
We, at Herstory never want to post just to be relevant and in your face. Sooo when the emphasis "writers block" kicks in I have to draw back a bit and remind myself who this is for.
This blog is a continuous open letter of REALness...the realities of survivor's stories are not all pretty and happily ever after. This is work. I'm still learning from my experiences of sexual abuse and the history that it's had in my life; more importantly, the legacy I WANT to have because of it.
So today, is a bit more of an ode to thankfulness and reflection for where we are now. To contribute her thoughts is our cofounder: Devin Marie.
"I'm thankful that it happened the way it did. The fact that a man I knew to trust in friendship became my attacker. It could have been worse, right..? But here I am CHOOSING to learn to trust again..
With gratitude I shout praises that I didn't give up on myself...I'm still HERE.. and to think there was a time when I was left empty, today, I'm reminded of what it's like to be full again.
I'm thankful for the self-love I've accumulated and STILL cultivating. Telling myself I'm beautiful right after I take my makeup off, and whine down for the day.
With gratitude I accept relationships into my life that cherish my time and presence. People that around me that aren't here to just take but give...
For these I'm thankful...and for so much more. I hear stories of the pain he or she caused you.. I hear stories of how much they hurt you, took advantaged, lied, and manipulated...I hear stories of how many times you've attempted to hurt yourself or others because pain is the only reality that makes sense.
I hear you, how bitter you sound, how angry you are...your bones heat up like coals in hell just at the thought of "them"... how they still have power over you like that night, or day it happened.
But let me tell you, you don't have to be buried with their sin.
YOU can and WILL be thankful too that it wasn't worse, that you are indeed still HERE. This is not your end. Please know, I know it's hard to be thankful for something so awful...but in the ugliness of my experience I am grateful I can share it with you, I'm hopeful to still make this world beautiful again. And if not the world, at least one or my own."
With love and gratitude,
Don't ever give up because you have someone who is looking up to you. Maybe it's your mom,sister,brother or even you're nieces...so don't give because God got you! keep pushing forward... And to my babies that pushing towards not giving up... YOU got this! God didn't bring you this far to leave you.
We at Herstory intended on creating a platform of individuals around the world to share their stories of survival, specifically that of sexual violence and abuse.
We also realize that surviving is not limited to these specific experience, and that we can ALL benefit from hearing someone share how they got through any challenging/trying time in their life.
We were touched by this young woman's story and it is with great pleasure we share this week's blog. Post from another Queen, Tamara Pace who fought against all odds to save her life. Thank you for your transparency, and your perspective on how we can all learn to be grateful under any circumstance God trusts us with.💗 some of you might be wondering what this Cancer Survivor's story has anything to do with uplifting and encouraging the healing process of Sexual abuse survivors like ourselves...but surviving, and choosing NOT to be a victim of circumstance is a notion we have in common. Even with the help from the best doctors, and experts of these topics, no one can choose this path Towards self-love nor cultivate a new meaning of life without first taking that step YOURSELF. So it gives us great pleasure to extend this message through the experience of Ms. Pace and we pray it inspires you to apply and change your mentality on the choice to either succumb or overcome any adversity you may have or are currently facing...
This is ((her))story:
Hi my name is Tamara Pace. At the age of 23, I found out I had cancer. What I thought was just a sudden weight gain, turned out to be something more serious. My stomach was bloated a lot at the time. So eventually, I went to the emergency room. The doctors thought I was pregnant because of how my stomach looked. The didn't see nor hear a heart beat, which is when they discovered the fluid. That explained where all the bloating came from. They drained all the fluid out of my stomach. Filling up 6 1/2 tubes. Later on, I was sent off to Birmingham. The doctors ran test on me, as well as testing the fluids that was found on my stomach. From there, on April 3rd 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. First thing the doctors suggested was removing my ovaries as soon as possible, but I said no. I wanted to try chemo first. So I started chemo treatments. With the power of God, my tumors began to start shrinking. My tumors began to go from 80% to 60% to 40% to 20%. All I could do was cry and thank God because I knew he was healing me. During chemo, the only pills I was taking other than the steroids I was given were herbs. The herbs helped with my immune system, liver, and hair. Yes, I did lose my hair. Which was a drastic change for me. I did lose weight also, but my taste for food didn't go away. Through this whole situation I must say it made me become a VERY strong person mentally, physically, and emotionally. I don't think anyone thinks they'll hear, "you have cancer" ever in life. A few years before, my dad was diagnosed and lose his battle with stage 4 lung cancer. So during my battle with it, I had him in the back of my mind. Not only was I fighting to beat this disease for myself, but I was fighting for my daddy. I couldn't give up. I was fighting this battle for us BOTH! I never lost my faith because I know it was nobody but God healing me. Now hear I am, in remission. Cancer free. My hair has grown back. My weight is slowly catching back up. Most importantly, I've changed. Even though, the doctors said it might be hard for me to have children in the future my faith tells me different. In due time, I WILL have my own kids. So now I live my life. I try not to let nothing stress me out anymore. I no longer worry about the little things. I'm much more thankful for what I have because of what I went and came through in the past year. I tell anybody that's dealing with cancer to keep pushing, and let God handle your burden. Be around positive people and energy. Keep your faith at all times, but most importantly don't give up on yourself.
Happy Friday supporters and survivors alike!
I am currently writing on the road right now as I embark in another production of fashion week in LA & now Palm Springs, CA. And Cristal is busy working away in fashion, enjoying her NEW growing family as they are expecting another bundle of Joy!!!😆👶🏽👧🏾💙💗
sooooo at the very least we can both account that the last leg of 2016 has been very demanding on us!
As long as these days are I know there was something I struggled with from time to time...asking for help.
Activism and standing up for anything can be taxing on anyone.
Questions like: "is this all making a difference, do they care, what more can I be doing..." sometimes naturally pop in our minds in supporting a cause bigger than ourselves.
And just being honest here....We can be SO passionate about our cause(s) it become easy to neglect ourselves in process of helping others.
And okay, maybe you do consider yourself an "activist". But perhaps your a working single-parent. Maybe your a student, a volunteer, a entrepreneur on the rise, or an already established business woman or man?
I was raised to be the CEO of my own life, it's been instilled in me since I was a child. Being a woman of color, and a minority...my father always said "you'd have to work 2x as hard as anybody else." I took this ideology and ran with it. But sometimes to the point of exhaustion. Never in this ideology did I gather the lesson that even CEOs, incredible mothers, amazing scholars, activists, artistic enthusiasts, professionals and amateurs alllllll need help in some capacity.
I think this is why we at HERSTORY promote the importance of SELF-love so much...love itself is a powerful reminder and measurement to our internal happiness and a necessity to survival.
Like shelter, love is a means in which we find safety, and without...we are left feeling vacant, abandoned, and alone.
So in terms of advocating for individuals like ourselves, survivors of sexual violence and abuse, it's critical we self-assess. Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, while managing healing yourself, and helping others...We are always asking "am
YOUR healing isn't in other people, please know that. Whether it's involving your Time and energy in a relationship, business, etc. a good mentor of mine once said to me, " Devin, if your out to heal the world you can stop now, you can't fix anything from broken pieces...make sure YOU'RE Good in order to implement the GOOD in others."
There is no use trying to play the hero in life and your internal enemies are fighting a battle no body ever sees nor helps you fight.
We've spoken weeks prior on "accountability".
We mentor young women from different areas in the world and speaking from my own experience...I am incredible grateful for Moments when my mentees ask "are you okay sis? Is there anything I can pray for you about?" That type of self-less question is self-reflective for me and I can be honest, I can share with someone the truth that life is hard sometimes, I am allowed to be human. And in acknowledging that simple truth, I am able to move forward intentionally, not doing things half-heartedly...
There will be days when I just don't feel like interacting as much on social media, on speaking of ANOTHER sexual assault survivor's story because it hurts to know it's still happening, or to console another person's emotional wounds when I'm battling my own. But GOD calls us to be like the good Shepard and stop and consider the other less-fortunate in wealth, in emotional and physical stability...to clothe someone else in LOVE.
So like that good Shepard, we at Herstory, have made a pact...no matter how we feel, or where we are in life Cristal and myself have one another and the foundation of Jesus Christ to anchor us in our weaker moments. To be able to be used by God, to support whoever needs a platform to speak or a simple open hear.
Our form of accountability has helped me in countless ways I'm left with overwhelming gratitude. When either of us is having a crazy week or longer days...the other acts as a reminder in saying "it's okay...do what YOU need to do to get YOU in order! If that means going through a self-care routine, spending time with loved-ones, doing something for you...so be it" we are no stronger than the weakest link in our team...
And with that, we encourage the working moms, the passionate activists, the artists, the creatives, the entrepreneurs...take care of YOU. In a world that needs you more than ever....allow yourself to love yourself as much as you love to love others...
With love and solidarity,
I can remember that night as if it was yesterday. Days like these I felt so heart broken and lonely.
I came home from work and thought to myself... this is it. In my heart I felt like living one more day of living a lie, pretending to be happy, wearing a mask I learned to put on daily that said "nothing is wrong."
After a certain point, the lies I was telling others daily became a lie I couldn't contain for myself.
I spent years suppressing not only the night I got raped, but the countless attempts of taking my own life.
This is a reality that too many are forced to deal with; the reality that pretending to be okay isn't enough to survive anymore. The reality that 13% of rape victims attempt suicide. (RAINN.org)
I though I can't live with this pain any more, if I tell someone they would not understand.
That night, I took about 10 to 15 prescription pills, went into my bedroom and locked the door.
I cried as I sat in front of my laptop, and waited. I was surrounded in diligence until my silence and perceived "end" was continuously interrupted by constant telephone rings. I kept rejecting the calls, until the same friend noticed I was online and sent me a meassage.
I reluctantly went to open the message to chat with my friend....and what a God-send i thought. I began to open up to my friend about my plans of taking my life because of suppressed pains connected to the night I was raped.
I could go on about the conversation, but the moral of the story is that this is what people don't wish to speak on. That healing on your own is an impossibility when you feel defeated from the beginning. There needs to be a reminder of HOPE. That it IS possible to survive past the moment of initial trauma.
Rape hurts in the moment it happens...but the moments after...the moments spent contemplating self-harm and attempting self-harm are real!
That being said, we all have a role in healing from pain. Whether you are knowingly a witness to someone's hurt or painful past, whether you know a survivor or not. Consider that behind every pretty smile, every positive IG or Snapchat story, that person may be sitting behind a filter or a pain unimaginable.
Like Cristal's friend, he didn't ask how, or why... but in that moment he knew the best form of healing she needed was in his presence. It was in knowing that "you are not alone" even if you felt alone and abandoned the moment of your trauma. That loneliness doesn't have to be perpetuated in your present or future.
We are grateful for friends like Cristal's who encouraged, and spoke life into a dead-end situation. "That interaction allowed me to open my eyes to the bigger reality that in fact I did survive I am standing and all though at the time I was just starting a healing process I was full of life and purpose." -Cristal Lowe
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.