$%^&*@! Mornings

A glimpse into what my typical morning used to be in the midst of my trafficking situation:

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! SLAP! Groan…  $%^&*@! 

I hate alarm clocks.  I hate alarm clocks.  It’s 5:30 am and I didn’t get back from the John’s house until near 3:00 that morning.  The hours in between just aren’t nearly enough to allow for adequate cerebral function. $%^&*@! School starts at 7:00 am.  Yes, school… I am living a life of forced prostitution and I still go to school.  I slide out of bed, eyes still closed and trip over last night’s heels.  I take a quick look in the mirror hoping that my face won’t take too much repair. $%^&*@! There’s a bruise on my neck… that’s at least an extra 5 minutes of makeup application.  I’d taken a shower as soon as I got back last night but I can still feel that sticky creep on my skin.  Besides, my hair smells like cigarettes from the drive home… can’t have that walking into honor’s English.

The shower water stings through new cuts and washes away old grime.  I feverishly brush my teeth and grab an open bottle of beer to rise. $%^&*@, that’s gross… but I take another swig anyway to help swallow a handful of pills.  I need to be numb.  Now, what to wear?  I’m not worried as much about fashion as I am about sleeves that won’t catch on my rough and healing cuts.  I grab blue eyeliner as well… it helps mask the fatigue in my eyes.  I trade out last night’s mini skirt for a pair of wide leg jeans and take one last look in the mirror before– $%^&*@!  There’s a bruise showing on my lower back when my shirt moves.  Wardrobe change… I’m never going to make it to a single first period this semester, am I?  My stomach growls loudly and I realize I must be hungry.  I snag some peanuts out of my secret food stash. 6:52 am now…

Splash! Gasp!  A freezing class of water is thrown in my face.  “What the $%^&*@ are you still doing here?!”

“I’m going!” I retort and then catch myself.  I change my tone to something much meeker as a hand draws back in my direction, “I’m sorry, I’m going.”

“Make sure you come straight home – you’ve got work to do today.  You never do anything for this family!  You’re nothing but a…” I tune out the rest because it’s always the same speech anyway.  I’m worthless, I’m dirty, I’ve got a guy I have to see tonight…

My lips whisper a quick prayer while rushing outside. God, please help me.  Be my sanctuary.

$%^&*@! There’s no gas.  I’m never going to make it to school in this death trap unless I’m pushing it.  I consider just walking but then remember the threat to get home quickly today after classes.  The John must have to get me in before his wife gets home.  I sigh and start digging for change.  $3.15 found.  Good, that should be enough to get me there.  Now I just have to finish some homework.  I should really come with a “Kids, don’t try this at home” label… Driving with my left hand, I copy down a few definitions from my Science textbook with my right.  7:15 now. $%^&*@!

By the time I sneak onto campus it’s halfway through first period.  There’s no sense walking in now and the painkillers I took earlier have finally kicked it.  I ride out the next hour in a yellowed bathroom stall, dreaming of traveling to some far corner of the earth.

Beep! Beep! Beep! That’s the second alarm of my day.  End of first period.  I make my way to the class I just missed where my teacher greets me with a sad smile and a note about today’s assignment.  “So sorry Ms. B…”

“I know, I know, you tried.  I’m not going to keep covering for you if you won’t tell me what’s going on.”


“I’m fine Ms. B, thanks.  Just overslept because of the medicine I’m on.  I’m sorry – thanks!”  I force a bright smile her direction and run off to make my second period class.  Another wave of exhaustion hits and I grab a few stolen coffee beans from my pocket to snack on.  Let the day of lies begin…

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


Medically Unable to Love?

I have a lot of friends who are having problems with allergic reactions, intolerances to medication and autoimmune diseases. What’s supposed to be normal or good for their bodies is backfiring and causing them great trouble.  Recently I’ve seen my community pour love into my life in a larger than normal way, and it’s left my terrified.  I’m now realizing that I have something in common with my friend’s medical issues, but my issue is with love … or care, or affection, or pretty much anything else that’s warm and fuzzy.

This is a loose metaphor so bare with me… I used to say to myself that I was allergic to LOVE, but I think the category of autoimmune is more accurate.  Now I’m no doctor, but with an allergy your system is usually reacting to an external substance that enters your body and causes an irritation.  Your body is on hyper alert to kick the bad back outside to the curb where it belongs.  With autoimmune though your system attacks healthy cells that naturally occur inside your body. It marks the obvious good as a threat and sets out to destroy vital biological systems that allow the person to function and live.

I thought I was allergic to love because instead of feeling pleasure when it’s expressed towards me, I feel pain.  Anytime I experience a sincere endearment it physically feels like I’ve been punched in the stomach.  The knots that build up in most people’s guts when they have to give a speech – I feel those when I receive a compliment or someone tries to do my a favor.  I become fearful, and protective and sometimes even angry, very angry.

My problem though is autoimmune.  Whether I like it or not, love is already inside of me.  It’s a naturally occurring part of my system and is necessary to the overall function of my life.   However, it is being treated like the ultimate enemy.  Like many survivors of trafficking, people who were supposed to be safe were the ones who actually harmed me.  So, like your body would with an autoimmune disease, my experiences cause my spirit to overrule my desire for love as it says, “Oh no! You’ve been deceived!  You don’t need that– that’s the enemy in disguise!  We must destroy it.”  My experiences have told me over and over that love is really pain and so I must reject love.

The most frustrating part about all of this is that deep down I have a desperate desire for love.  The hope comes in realizing that it’s not other people’s acts of kindness that harm me.  The issue isn’t with the well-meaning doers in my circle.  I must learn to take the power back from other people because the issue is with myself.  I will continue to reject love until I recognize that what’s inside of me is good.  The love that God placed there when He created me is good.  I am good.  If I can’t see this than I’m done for.  If I can’t see this than love from healthy people in my life will remain painful.

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

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