Last night, I made the mistake of eating a bit too much chocolate before bed (it was worth it) and lay awake for awhile.
My last post got me thinking about “Survivor Pride” and how I might incite it. “Incest Survivor Pride” has the wrong ring to it, I think, since I’m certainly not happy or proud that incest was inflicted upon me. I am, however, proud of how I’ve responded. People seem to get all sappy about veterans, how about “Incest Veteran Pride”.
Victor Frankl was a man who to me has ‘survivor cred’ about choosing a brave and resilient response to injustice, being a holocaust survivor who turned his experiences there into a theory and practice of choosing one’s response to suffering and making meaning of it.
He has some interesting quotes:
If a prisoner felt that he could no longer endure the realities of camp life, he found a way out in his mental life – an invaluable opportunity to dwell in the spiritual domain, the one that the SS were unable to destroy. Spiritual life strengthened the prisoner, helped him adapt, and thereby improved his chances of survival. – Man’s Search for Meaning. An Introduction to Logotherapy, Boston: Beacon, ISBN (Okay, sexist title, but I’ve read it and I forgive him for it.)
“What is to give light must endure the burning.”
“Everything can be taken away from a man [sic] but one thing: the last of the human freedom — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.“
There was also one I couldn’t find a direct quote for, but which has been paraphrased as: “even within the narrow boundaries of the concentration camps he found only two races of men to exist: decent and non-decent ones. These were to be found in all classes, ethnicities, and groups.”
I wasn’t thinking last night about meaningful, literary quotes, although, with the caveat of the sexism, I support all the above in relation to incest and sexual abuse.
Last night I was thinking about t-shirts. Cheap, popular and visible, gay people have used them to come out publicly and make statements for decades.
In my mind I designed a t-shirt with a circular medalion on it, kind of a coat of arms, with my tai chi sword crossed with a thumb-width stick. Above it the lettering would say.
Child Sexual Abuse
May We Outlive them All
and below it it would say
And Dance Upon Their Graves!
Other shirts would say:
I’ve survived much worse than this. I can do anything!
This is a good day…
to dance on my abusers grave!
To suffer – is human…
To survive…. is a lot of damn work!
If you think I’m bloodthirsty – you should meet the bastard I survived! (this one needs work, I think…)
Where were you all when I was being tortured?
Your fear won’t protect them. Abused children need strong communities.
I went through hell as a child and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!
I only look underfunctioning when you make my obstacles invisible.
I survived incest in childhood. Where’s my trophy?
You get the idea – I’d welcome any others (or refinements on mine) in comments.