The trauma that’s followed the abuse feels a lot like an incurable disease. It lies dormant at times but can strike at any moment with out any warning or reason and ravish every aspect of my life. My education, relationships, goals, dreams, body, mind, and spirit have been forever altered and changed by this darkness.

Darkness, however, can only live in the presence of light. And although the abuse has increased the darkness tenfold, the presence of light has only become that much more apparent. Because of the sorrow I never fail to see an act of compassion, because of the pain I am so much more appreciative of joy because the despair I never let go of an instance of hope. Because I so often feel weighed down, exhausted, and defeated, I am that much more grateful when I am uplifted, energized, or inspired.

There is an opposite in all things and, in my case, the happiness I am still capable of feeling in spite of darkness that’s tried so desperately to encompass my life has created a story of resilience, hope, and courage.

I admit that I sometimes get scared. Scared that life will always be difficult, that love will forever escape me or that I will one day resign in exhaustion but that’s okay. Because feeling scared is just an indication that I’m doing something brave. And that’s exactly right. Bravery is not only what every single day requires after being abused, but brave is what I am and more importantly, brave is what I will remain.

-Briana, Survivor

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