Amy and I asked you to send us your stories, to let us be your witnesses. You trusted us. We read, we cried, we breathed in your pain and courage and out love and peace to you. We signed every story. Your stories have been witnessed. It all happened. You are seen and believed. It all happened. It’s true.
We cried a little. Then we burned your pain to ashes. Your pain was so beautiful- going up in flames. Warming us, scaring us a little, even. Your pain was bright and it smelled like marshmallows. Then it was cool. Cool ashes can’t burn us.
These are our stories. Below are our words.
So that boy told me I was fat, and I believed I was fat. And then little by little, I did get kinda fat. I was teased mercilessly, and it hurt so much.
You let me down
When I found the courage
To tell you what had happened to me.
What these men had done to me.
What they took from me.
You swept it under the rug.
You never spoke of it again.
You never even told dad. I don’t understand.
IT STILL HURTS.
I would love to work with other domestic abuse survivors. I would love to one day tell my story without crying. One day I’ll tell my story and it will bring strength to others like me. God gives beauty for ashes.
It was hard to carry a baby expected to die. Everyone asks, what are you having? What are you supposed to say?
I don’t love my husband.
In fact I don’t think I ever did.
In fact, I’m certain I never have.
I learned how to give a blowjob at ten. By eleven, I was an expert.
Even now, all these years later, I can still feel his cold eyes on me.
I fear I’m weak. I fear I’m selfish. I know I’m a bad person. I know what the right thing to do is but God help me, I don’t want to do it.
I’m not sure I’ve ever written that word down before. God, how that hurts.
Thank you for this gift. I’ve been waiting for it since I was ten years old. Thirty-four years is a long time to wait.
I was a ten-year-old being put in a girdle. Now I wear Spanx. Please God, help me love myself.
For most of my life, I feel like I’ve been let down by people.
I guess what I mean to say is that I want to be the person I used to be. A baby I loved was taken from me. My body failed me. My community of support failed me. I wish these things had never happened.
Man, it took such courage for me to go see that damn counselor.
I honestly think I shouldn’t have had kids. It’s too hard. It’s just way too hard.
I think I’m addicted to my shame.
I have so much to offer the world. Mostly Love! A deep and true love for everyone I encounter. I don’t want to be famous, I just want to be respected and admired only at a level deep enough that it would make it worth something when I told someone that I care, I love them, I see them, and they’re not alone.
I listened to your Ted Talk while I drove my husband to rehab.
And all I can think of is that I shouldn’t complain. Other people have bigger problems. I’m going to send this anyway, though.
I’m afraid if I start crying, I’ll never stop.
Please burn this and pray hard for the children who suffer from this disease. And for their parents. And for the others like me who do our very best to make it all go away.
My husband and I are 5 months into therapy. I am painting. I am present. I know me and love me again.
I wonder when in my life I’ll be able to be ME out in the open. I fear the answer is never. I fear Christians.
“Come here,” she said, and beckoned me beside her.
I flew to her side as she moved the covers to let me snuggle next to her.
“Want to learn to sew?” she asked.
This is what heaven feels like.
The love of a mother.
It is both a blessing and a curse to feel things so deeply.
I started thinking of all the things to write in the shower after reading your post. Do all of your twisty thoughts happen in the shower, too?
All he does is get home and check out. All he does is play his playstation. I want to be seen.
She’s been dead for twelve years this February…and it still FEELS.
I carry mace in case my husband loses his shit again.
You know what? I just wrote a very painful three page letter to you. When I was done, I stopped crying. Then I burned the letter myself in my fireplace! And now, for some reason, I’m laughing.
I waited on him hand and foot. Then, by December he was healthy enough to start cheating again.
I was lost, hopeless, scared, hurt, and felt less than. Not anymore. The ashes are cool. And they can’t burn me anymore. Life is amazing.
You both are the only witnesses to this admission of mine. For this opportunity to be heard, prayed for, and transformed into cool ashes with the chance to rise again like the Phoenix…I cannot express my gratitude enough. From the bottom of my scarred, strong soul: thank you.
G, does God really love me? Does God see me? Is God real?
Letters are still coming in, and we are still reading. There is no deadline. We will read your stories every night through lent and beyond.
To ashes you fell and from ashes you will rise.
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
G and A
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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