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harm is never done in isolation. violence is never private. pain is never meant to be experienced alone.

because we are connected.

trauma is not the event. it is the response to it. or perhaps more aptly, the lack thereof.

what does it mean to acknowledge harm done and respond it to that harm, in communal relationship? honoring our interconnectedness, interdependence?

it’s been a life long, compelling question for me and i find myself in it differently these days.

i have a folder in my inbox entitled “nope”. it’s five years old, created in 2018. it’s time to turn that inbox outward. to let it go. to release.

i am committed to no longer upholding the myths of independence. i do not want to participate in this lie any longer…and so, here i am, shedding another layer of that…

since 2018, there have been harassing emails/texts/social media messages sent to me and/or people i love and/or people or orgs with whom i work. these hateful messages are accusatory in nature, making claims about my personal ethics, morals, my marriage. and, they are accusatory of the person/org receiving the message, making implicit threats about that person’s/organizational character, integrity for being in relationship with me.

i’ve learned a lot from these fearful, hateful, violent emails. they continue to teach me and point me to more healing. now, the lesson is in how to open up even more in the face of the hard stuff and turn to community. trauma conditions us to turn away. i’m saying nope.

it’s been interesting to me who shares these messages with me. who confronts the attacker and who doesn’t. who is willing to face the darkness and who isn’t.

for example, just the other day, an org leader shared with me that more messages had been received by staff. none of those staff had shared with me directly, despite the fact that we are in relationship.

trauma is not the event itself. it is the response to it. or lack thereof. it has honestly been more hurtful to learn and imagine that people choose to not acknowledge or share with me than the messages themselves.

i know most folks would keep the messages to themselves out of good intentions–out of concern for me. this mindset is based in supremacy and the assumption that it is the job of one to decide for the other. to tend to the other. to fix or solve or save the other.

i am a grown up. treat me like one. it is dehumanizing, otherwise.

i promise, i will do the same. i will speak up when i see harm. i will do my best to not turn away from the pain.

i am now turning my inbox outward: nope. these messages of attack are not about me, alone. they are about us and who we choose to be, together. my hope is that if you receive one, please consider what feels right for you in response? don’t make it just about me. how do you want to respond to harm?

harm is never in isolation. violence is never private. pain is never meant to be experienced alone.

therefore, repair and response is communal.

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