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bloody gardenias

we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
-e. e. cummings

this section of emergence is dedicated to a particular area of healing, that which involves romance, love, and sexuality. this is one of the hardest areas of healing for me, i know, and many others have also expressed this. there are those of us who feel so worthless and broken that we flit unhappily from lover to lover, pretending not to care about them or us, trying, trying never to care again. there are those of us who have lovers we don't care for, saying, "if i can just make love to/kiss/touch this person without thinking of my attacker/feeling dirty/having a flashback/zoning out, then i'll be healed!" there are those of us who shut down, refuse to be lovable, refuse to think about it, scoff at our friends, our parents, our peers, say, "loving me would be impossible!" and hide ourselves from the possibility of becoming vulnerable in someone's arms and eyes and hands. there are those of us (like me) who cling to an impossible dream of perfection, believing that somewhere, there is someone who can say, "you are healed," and it will be so, with no further questions. the flashbacks will disappear, the shame will fade, the memories will be whisked away by a glorious beautiful fog.

love is something we all want, a feeling, an emotion, an experience everyone desires in their own way. it is in itself a staple of humanity, a gauzy-winged creature no one truly wants to live without. some of us may want someone to sleepily eat cornflakes with on saturday afternoons, some of us may not be satisfied with anything less that twenty-four perfect red rosebuds and a candlelight dinner every tuesday, some of us may just want to be held and cherished, just once, and just long enough to dry the tears. no matter what the specifics, we all want love, in some form or another.

there are those who love us. as hard as it can be to believe that at times, there are people who will cherish us, admire our courage, desire our kisses, hold our hands, defend us from slander, respect our wishes, dry our tears, listen to our dreams, accept the crosses that we bear, and assure us that we bear them with bravery. we are worthy of that love, each and every one of us. we fully deserve someone who will hear us when we say no, wait for us when we say wait, and love us for who we are, inside, complete with all of our flashbacks, inhibitions, fears, habits, and bad hair days. we are all deserving of love.

the lovers of survivors who i've spoken with express feeling helpless, like there's nothing they can do to help. they write heart wrenching poems, make heated threats against attackers, wish with all their might that it was "me and not them," cry into their pillows at night. our lovers, in this way, become a part of the healing process. the people who love us need to heal, too.

i'm creating this page in hopes that survivors and their lovers will together attempt to heal. i need all of the input i can get, so we can cover as wide a range as possible. if anyone just has a paragraph they could send me to post here, about their problems, triumphs, or thoughts on love after violation, it would be very helpful.