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i became a survivor tonight. i became me. i won't forget that. as i ended my night of secretive website editing, i searched for a sign. as i stood to retreat to bed, the sky opened and so many hailstones like frozen night-pearls dropped, and blew against my house. i collected a few, dissolved them on my tongue. i have flown my cocoon. emerged.
written december 8, 1998, by butterfly.

emergence. i remember choosing the name for this page, suddenly, after juggling with so many other possibilities: butterfly's house. a safe place. stop the violations. but then, when i found the name, nothing seemed to even come close compared to that one name. emergence. still, nothing comes close. that is exactly what i needed. exactly what i had chased for so long.

i've been studying butterflies and moths for a long time now, and for as long as i can remember, i've admired their unique ability to change. and after that, their ability to fly. they always looked so carefree and innocent, fluttering through the garden where i spent my silent year. there was, surely, nothing in the world that worried a butterfly, at least not in the window of my young mind.

my goal, in creating this place, was to free myself, discover my own voice. and now that i have, my goal is to help as many others as i can to make the transformation, the metamorphosis, from victim to survivor.

the victim mentality, so frequently enforced by society, is something we have to get rid of as quickly as possible. the image of the weeping damsel in distress, lying broken and neglected across her bed, wishing that she could be rescued, must be dissolved. granted, we all have our moments, our hours, our years, when we feel helpless, alone, pitiful, when we cry and scream and numb ourselves. it's true, we do need to be rescued from the horror of sexual violation, but it's time that we realized we can rescue ourselves. we all must realize that we have lived through this, we have survived the unspeakable, and therefore we all deserve the right to identify ourselves as the strong, resilient, beautiful, triumphant people that we are. we need to take off our masks of tragedy and allow the world to see our wisdom, our courage.

we deserve our freedom, our right to blossom. to emerge.

the weaver

i celebrate a mother god
gently weaving, working carefully.
i celebrate the hands of skill, creating beauty within me.
i celebrate the working of the loom, reconnecting myself,
weaving a tapestry that picks up the threads of pain and anger and
grief and loss, and power and courage and strength and grace.

here are the broken threads. this should have been solid here.
this innocence should have continued on, this openness should
have come through here, this pattern of trust should have been
right here, making a design that all would see
and say, "what beauty!"
but these threads were broken, ripped from the fabric of me, and
i was afraid to show anyone the tear,
i thought it was my fault, that all would look
and say, "what horror!"
now we pick up this broken thread, my weaving god and me.
now we do the work of repair, and as the fabric is made strong
i look in surprise and say to myself,"what beauty i reclaim!"
out of the torn places, i reclaim wholeness.
out of the broken places, i reclaim strength.
out of the shatteredness, i reclaim power.
out of the horror and the shame and the pain, i reclaim
openness, innocence, courage.

the weaver will not be discouraged or deterred.
we weave a fabric which no one's violence will destroy,
and i discover the beauty of me.

catherine j. foote, from her book "survivor prayers."