Giving Up

I should rename this blog “Ugly Confessions of a Trafficking Survivor” because that’s really what it’s become.  I’ve gone pretty silent this past week… not just from blogging but pretty much in all forms of life… my job, my friends, myself, with my God, my daily routine… all pretty much silent.

I’ve prided myself on being someone who can handle a lot of stress at once.  My motto has always been “I’ll figure it out.”  So when I reach a point where I’ve overwhelmed and feel like I can’t make sense of a solution I can spiral downward emotionally.  Sleep hasn’t come in much quantity or quality for the past several weeks, maybe 2-4 hours a night, but I kept moving forward.  Finally, last week I reached a point where I just threw up my hands and said, “No more, I’m done.  I’m tired of fighting, I’m tried of trying, I’m just tired and I’m done.”  I was having all these crazy feelings including wanting to go home– even though home for me means a brothel.  I was sick and tired of the pain and exhaustion and didn’t care what happened to me, I just wanted to rest.  Apparently, much of this is due to sleep depravation but I just felt like I was loosing it… it’s amazing how much not sleeping can intensify trauma triggers.  Allow me to sugarcoat things by saying that I was simply in a bad space.  (And honestly, I’m not sure how much I’ve improved since then but we’re working on it.)

You see, it drives me crazy when organizations say that they “rescue” girls out of trafficking.  What they normally do is remove the girl from an awful, abusive situation and plug her into a recovery program.  This is great, don’t get me wrong, but the NPO’s act of taking her out of the pimp’s hands is only the beginning of the rescue.  She won’t truly have been rescued until she’s also free from herself, from the nightmares, from the flashback and triggers, from the insomnia, and from the guilty pain. The true rescue is a long, hard process.

True rescue comes in faith.  I hate this process but recognize that it’s necessary.  Of course I want to be free, but in all transparency, there are weeks like this week when I don’t want to fight for it– it doesn’t seem worth it.  People often say to me, “Oh, you’re so strong!” … I can’t stand that… at least not when I’m in the type of mood I’m in now.  I know their comments are coming from a supportive heart but all I want to respond back is, “Shut up! I don’t feel strong. Stop telling me I’m something that I’m not! Stop putting pressure on me to succeed when all I’m attempting to do is survive.”

If I’ve learned anything in this life, it’s that very little reality is black and white.  The grey is that I’m a survivor of sex trafficking, working to help other victims and survivors, and I still have so much healing to do.  I call myself royally screwed up, my friends call this a rough patch.  The grey is that every survivor is different but we will all share a undeniably tough road.  The grey is that some people do reject freedom, that criminals are also wounded and that you may never understand me and I may never understand you.  There is so much grey to life…

I write to you today with this very numb heart.  It’s not even sad at the moment, it’s just numb.  I try to write with honesty because I feel I owe that to myself and to the other broken people reading these posts.  So in that very honestly I say, f%$& pain and f%$& reality–  instead, here’s to hearts like mine that are beating with faith that hope will bring a better tomorrow.

May this blog serve as an education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as an encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

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  1. Hey girl….sent you an email – just checking on you. I know how bad the holidays are – just hoping to hear that you are safe. Thankfully, December is not going to last forever. Praying for you.

  2. Nik

     /  December 11, 2011

    Ok, I won’t tell you that you’re strong or brave or that you can make it because YOU can’t, on your own. You’re weak and you’re vulnerable and you’re in a bad place and I nor anyone else on this planet can help you, despite how much our hearts may burn for you. But the truth is, you offer great hope for others who are in a very similar place. To some of them YOU are their only hope. YOU are the only one who can give them a certain level of peace which is unattatinable from anywhere OR anyone else. YOU offer them something they’re not going to receive from anywhere else because it’s YOU and YOU only who can offer them…you.

    You may not like all the positive affirmations from those like me who know nothing of your experience but here’s the truth of the matter…you have what it takes to beat this thing. You have a heart, a big heart, and you have compassion. You’re a sensitive and carrying person. Yes, yes and yes again, life has dealt you a horrible blow but God has walked with you all the way and didn’t allow this LIFE to kill you. He loves you beyond measure and HE’ll see you through.

    So no, you can’t do it, you can’t save yourself..but HE can and the only way to make it through each and every day is on your knees and in the Word for there’s a beautiful and wonderful place for you just around the next bend in the road. It’s called Paradise where there will be no more tears or fears and you’ll find abundant peace and love in His widespread arms.

    So hang in there kiddo, it really won’t be long before you’re sharing Heaven with the Author and Creator of all that is, ever was or ever will be and both of you will have abundant peace and joy together because He greaves along with you now and HE looks forward to meeting you face to face.

  3. It’s awesome to see the “awareness” that has exploded. It’s great to see organizations springing to action to “rescue” girls. It’s an improvement that there are a *few* places that have opened their doors to walk people through the rest of the nightmare.

    But the stark truth is that the LONG, dark road that we travel AFTER the rescue is just as hard as the road we traveled THROUGH the nightmare. Survivors desperately need people to understand this.

    Rescued does not equal healing. Time and talking don’t bring healing by themselves. And there is not one glamorous thing about the crappy, awful road that must be traveled to find true healing.

    I cringe when I read people blog about a rescue and they talk about how the little girl is playing happily at the safe home the very next day. People comment on how resilient children, and humans in general are. I want to scream, “She is NOT O.K. and she is not going to be O.K. for a VERY LONG time!” People mistake our survival skills for healing. Just because the little girl can compartmentalize her terror does not mean she is ok.

    I SO know the wanting to give up thing. Most times I have hung in there only because there was NO other option, or all the other options were WAY worse. It’s not heroic, it’s just stinking survival.

    Praying that you can find one TINY piece of truth to grab onto today that will bring just enough rest to you to continue the fight.

    • Amen sister! 🙂 This is spot on the way I feel too. “Rescue doesn’t equal healing” and “It’s not heroic, it’s just stinking survival.” So, so true. Thanks for this Steph, I needed to hear today that I wasn’t alone in my thinking.

  4. Adele

     /  December 9, 2011

    I love that you are being so brave to share your story with others. I’m praying for you girl; for continued healing, hope and eventual happiness. 🙂

  5. Wow. Great honesty. Thanks for being real. Just remember that God is your home.


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