I've been working with my daughter's school, in her group, to create awareness about bullying and other such trauma's in life.
I know a thing or two about trauma. Her teacher was very excited, the one that hosts the group she is apart of, to meet me and have me share my experiences.
I walked into a classroom of students not knowing how they would react. Ranging in ages from 11-14. The same age I was when it all started.
I shared my story. My book, now books plural. I shared my vision for the future.
I have received, what I felt were, mixed reactions. When you're speaking to a group of people, young or old, it's hard to tell how this is impacting them based on the reaction their faces make alone. It's hard to know until days or weeks later when they finally reach out to you.
I can tell which kids are the extroverts. Which one's that maybe need less help because they're so outgoing. They'll be able to vocalize things in a way that others can't. In a way I couldn't when I was that age.
So I'm watching. I'm observing.
Which ones in the room are quiet. Segregated. Pulling away out of shyness, fear, or maybe all of the above.
There's a reason these kids are in this group.
When someone has a deep desire to help others in a specific way, it's because they know exactly what it's like.
I met a girl today.
I won't say her name.
She's quiet, like I was, she sits at a table alone, like I used to. She quietly observes her surroundings, and when no one is looking, she will make her way over to the thing she has her eye on, and pull herself into the moment, concentrating on only that one thing because if she were to pull her concentration away, she would flee. The emotions would come crashing down, and she would need to run.
I know this girl. She doesn't know this yet, although maybe she does.
I saw her interest piqued when I put out my bookmarks. The one's that have the information about this website, and all that I'm trying to do.
All of the other kids were rushing around, thinking about other things, maybe they're in a similar situation, maybe not. They are there for a reason too, but today was for her. This quiet girl sitting alone at her empty table.
I made room. I walked away from the pile of books and book marks. I wanted her to have her space to take what she needed. To be able to walk up, and take the thing she wanted, but didn't know how to grab.
I watched her walk to the table, take the bookmark. Stare at it. Think to herself all that she had been through. All that she has yet to go through. The emotions piling ever higher on her, in such a way as to possibly crush her one day. One day...
She walked away. I lost sight of her.
I found myself in conversation with someone else. An adult in the room. I leaned against a desk, finding my place next to my stack of bookmarks yet again. She had what she needed...
and then she came up to me.
"I read your book, my mom has it on her kindle" she told me.
I was floored.
She told me stories of her family. Quickly, of course. I could see that it meant so much to her to reach out, to say these things. To connect. To know that there was one person in that room of kids and adults who understood her specific pain. She had lost her aunt. To an overdose. Not even two months ago.
I cry while I write this.
I know exactly the pain of where she is. A girl who lost her aunt. Not a mom, not a sister, her aunt. The person in her life who wants to connect with her in the way a mother might, but isn't sure how. The sister to a brother who never stepped up to be a father to this young girl, who now wonders... what about me? What will happen to me?
She reached out to me. I gave her what felt like a million hugs.
I understand your pain, and if I could take it from you I would in a heart beat. I would take your pain, and the pain of all the other kids who know your pain, and carry it with me. You shouldn't know that kind of pain.
Thank you for reaching out to me. Thank you for saying something. I hope that I can be what you need me to be so that you can have what you need in this life. The answers to all the questions you don't know to ask. And peace.
This is the very reason that I do what I do.
You are the very reason that I have survived as long as I have, so that you can know someone else that knows a pain that many hide.
I won't hide from you. Thank you for not hiding from me.