They tell me I'm strong. It's true. How familiar, the sound of misunderstanding behind the word "strong" coupled with good intentions. I say nothing or "thank you." It’s widely believed that trauma makes victims more resilient. Trauma doesn't make victims more anything. Trauma takes. Trauma is a monster that aims to annihilate anything in its path. Trauma has the strength to destroy human beings and it has done so to many. And I used to think that it destroyed me. Scientists say that trauma can alter everything about a person; Physical, psychological, spiritual. Trauma is a monster. It doesn't care. It consumes. The monster enters our bodies, infects our minds. spreads through our bloodstreams and imbeds itself into our DNA. It defies every system of safety we've ever built within ourselves; Physical, psychological, spiritual. But the monster can't nurture. improve, heal, recover, or save. We do that ourselves. We build the cocoons. How we work to dispel the monster reveals our strengths which already exist within us long before the wrecking. The monster did not transform us. Don't you dare give it an ounce of credit. The only thing the monster ever did was eat us alive. I can't speak for all survivors but I know that I didn't "come out" of trauma stronger, I am the one slowly forcing the monster to come out of me. I defend myself daily with the strength I was born with. I adapt to the monster’s appetite. I continue to breathe while it sucks the oxygen from my lungs. I combat every single recurring attack. The monster is not the reason I am strong. The monster is not the reason I am ever-changing and rebuilding. I had already been both caterpillar and butterfly many times before. And here I am again flying, with wings, once severed and then stitched and re-stitched, shedding the monster piece by piece. Despite its initial slaughter it now cowers to me because I proved it never belonged here. Trauma is a monster but it was also just an event. The eternal metamorphosis is and has always been my power; Physical. psychological. spiritual.
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