I said goodbye to a dear friend yesterday.  It sucks.  I’ve said goodbye to a lot of people in my life and society tells me that I’m supposed to say here that it never gets any easier but I don’t think that’s entirely true.  I think it’s your first real goodbye that’s the worst.

You’ve had no previous experience to built up emotional calluses at this point; you’re heart is exposed and set up for pain.  You’ve not learned the protective measures of building walls, or guarding your emotions.  You’re probably young and throw yourself fully into life.  Everything is phrased in terms of “This is the best!”, “It was the worst!”, “She’s my bestest best friend”, “I love him sooooo much.”, “We’ll be together forever.”  Your life is a life of extremes.  Not yet have you been taught any different, so it’s that first real goodbye that sets the trap of relational distance in motion.  Maybe like me you’re harmed by a family member and you say goodbye to your trust in them, or, one of your dear friends is killed and you say goodbye to her company. You see, a “goodbye” is just a loss, the beginning of a grief process, that’s disguised in a conversation.  Maybe it’s something as seemingly simple as the deep rejection of a peer group because you don’t look like they do.  Your first goodbye triggers new thoughts of “I’ll never trust again” and “I don’t need people” and such…

I quickly became Queen of this belief system.  I think I said too many goodbyes too soon in life.  The walls around my heart went up in record time and at record heights and my second, third, fourth, and fifth goodbyes were much easier that that first one.  (It all made me the perfect future worker for the sex industry.)  I refused to attach myself to real relationship so cutting off a connection wasn’t terribly painful.  I refused to feel pain any longer and did what I dare to say every trafficked girl does who survives… I numbed out.  You have to.  Survival = numbing if you’re in the life for any length of time at all.  Another level of your sexual purity is taken, you block it out and go back to work.  You’re friend is beaten and disappears, you shrug it off and move on.  You’re betrayed by another, you burn up their pictures and pretend that they never existed in the first place.

The trick, like I’ve mentioned before, is finding a healthy balance.  Since I’m one of the amazingly fortunate few to have survived this horrific Game*, my life is now about finding balance.  I truly became a master of this thing called disassociation.  I would let nothing touch me then, but I’m working desperately hard to learn how to let the good things come close to me now.  So, when I say that it sucked to say goodbye to a friend yesterday, I guess it really was a good sign for me.  Life is loss; it happens and that’s OK.  People will make their own choices and circumstances out of our control will occur, but I have to let life touch me again.

Goodbye Jess, I love you so much and hope to see you again soon.  I hope you have much happiness and safety in the months of life ahead of you.

*”Game” here refers to the workings of the sex industry and is often how pimps refer to their lifestyle: “I’m pimping, I’m just playing The Game and I aim to win.  I’m gonna own the most hoes in my stable (brothel). I’m gonna make more money than any other of the players out there– I play to win!” Sickening isn’t it?

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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