Art Stop – “A Prayer For The Trafficked”

I was directed to this painting recently by a friend who said it reminded her of me… not sure if it was a physical characteristic or just the simple fact that she knows my heart to end trafficking.  Either way, it reminds me of me too.  There’s something about her face that’s hurt, but determined, sad but strong…  I can identify with that.  The image really seems to represent well the amount of jumbled thoughts and information that a trafficked girl has to process all at once.  Regardless of explaining it to death though, just take a look for yourself and tell me what you think.  Personally, I can’t wait to buy a print for myself.

“A Prayer For the Trafficked” by Scott Erickson – 36″x48″ acrylic on canvas, an auction piece for an anti-human trafficking fundraiser (Click the above image to be taken to the artist’s website.)

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.

(Post originally written 4/26/12)

Hug O’ War

"Hug O War" by Shel Silverstein

I battled with myself about whether to write this post or not because I predict that’ll it’ll evoke feelings of pity, and please understand that that is the LAST thing I want here.

I have this deep ache to be hugged. Either my primary love language is physical touch or I just didn’t get enough “good touch” as a kid, who knows… (That sounded like a bad Lifetime movie.)  Regardless, it’s a desperate longing that has been with me since I was a young child.

I would never admit to this desire of course because to me it felt trivial and meant that I was weak.  To long for something so seemingly childlike was embarrassing. Infants wanted to be held and I was not an infant– I was capable.  I could take care of myself.   Still though, in the most intimate moments of private prayer I found myself begging for this kind of affection.

I’d plead with God to send me someone to hug me in a nice way.  I must have journaled down a couple hundred times a yearning for someone to walk up and hug me– that somehow God would supernaturally tell certain people to embrace me.  I sure as heck wasn’t going to ask for this sort of thing, nor was I going to admit my desire for it.  Besides, it might seem to contradict my point but I’m also incredibly picky about who these embraces come from.

Of course, in every classic neglected kid way, this led to me finding a lot of my fulfillment in the affection of men.  Sadly though, I would have honestly been all the more pleased with a pat on the shoulder from a friend.  I lay here tonight, single and alone and reminiscent feelings of that physical longing return.  What I would give for someone to sit next to me, with their hand on my head as I try to sleep.  What I wouldn’t give for the long embrace of a friend.  As I’ve prayed a million times before, Lord, please hold me as I rest.  Please nestle up against my heart to keep me safe, secure and comforted by Your love, by Your sweet physical touch.

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.

(Post originally written 4/25/12)

Crunchy Cotton

Stiff white sheets of thing cotton rub up against my naked body.  With every pulse of this gross man into me I am reminded of the rough fabric’s connotations… cheap hotel sheets implies an equally invaluable me. The startch of the fabric almost seems to chafe my heart, my ego, my worth…

It’s so interesting the things that trigger me.  I don’t like sheets on my bed because it reminds me of crappy hotels.  I never had sheets on my bed at home and so the only time I came in contact with them was when I was being prostituted somewhere.

The other day I was driving and turned to check my blind spot.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed my sleeping bag sitting in the back and in a flash it reminded me of years ago.  I used to frequently travel with a sleeping bag and overnight kit of sorts in my car, because “you just never know.” It’s the first time in a long time that I’d had it with me again to hang out in the back seat.  This time I was just carrying it to sit with at a baseball game, but the trigger was still evident.

Probably one of the most common triggers I hear from other survivors is that of a certain vehicle.  Maybe it was their pimp’s car or a similar model van as that of a particularly violent john.  One of my vehicle triggers is a blue pick up with a topper.  Most times I see one of these trucks I get a little sick to my stomach and my breath catches as if I’m waiting for permission to move.

It feels so trival to allow an inanimate object that kind of power over your emotions, but until time and healing passes, it’s an unfortunate reality.  Until then… there will be no sheets on my bed.

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.

(Post originally written 3/21/12)

Pulled Over Again

WARNING: The following is not entirely rational, merely “reaction-al”…

I got pulled over again tonight and it just triggered this horrible flood of memories and feelings.  Yes, police officer, of course pull me over because my head light is out.  Yes, fine… but in the same breath I want to scream, “Where the hell were you all the OTHER times?!”  Where were you when I was getting raped? Where were you when I was running for my life, afraid a man was literally going to kill me and you STILL gave me a speeding ticket?  Where was your Mr. Protect and Serve attitude when you hit me with your gun and called me a “dumb whore”?  Where was your compass of ethics when you agreed not to take me in for prostitution as long as I agreed to toss a couple “freebies” your way?  Where were you when I knew I didn’t have a choice?

Why is it for the majority of my life that I’ve not looked at cops as the good guys? I SHOULD.  I should look at you as someone I can trust but all and all I don’t.  I look at you as a man who triggers all kinds of horrible protective feelings.  Even today, you make me feel like the old me… like the one who’s still outside the law, running scared and running for her life.  It’s not right.  Why didn’t you protect and serve ME?  Why instead for all of those years did I see more of your abuse of power than anything else?  It’s not right.  It’s not right that I get pulled over for a simple thing, that yes is my fault, and I still am terrified– down to the bones of my soul, terrified that something really awful is about to take place.

I’m bet that this officer who pulled me over tonight isn’t pure evil, but I still can’t help but feel distain for him.  It’s been almost an hour and I still can’t help the huge tears flooding down my face – and I hate that.  I hate that this is still such a strong trigger for me.  I want to scream, I want to hit something… I want to replicate the destruction I feel on the inside.

Probably didn’t help me case but asI was digging for paper work to hand the officer I came across a brochure on trafficking and asked, with a smile, if he wanted to learn about it.  Of course he said no.  Whether he meant it that he didn’t care or he was just annoyed at my attempt to be conversational it still struck me like a metaphoric punch in the gut.

Step up law enforcement – step the heck up!  It’s YOU who are here to protect and serve the innocent.  It’s YOU who missed about 30 instances where you could have intervened in my trafficking situation.  When I’m in a better mood I grant people a lot of grace for not being able to act against what they don’t know exists.  In this moment however I’m just going to say STEP UP.  Be the men and women of honor that you’re supposed to be– prove my fears of your profession wrong!

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.

(Post originally written 4/15/12)

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