Acceptance, Beauty, Depression, Dreams, Fear, Help, hope, Love, mental health, public speaker, Relationships, Strength, susie reece, Susie Reynolds, susie reynolds reece, Thoughts, Writing

I’m Sorry.

I’m sorry.

I struggle with these words to this day.

Not because I can’t say them when they are merited. Not because they can’t be felt deeply in every cavernous crevice of my spirit. But because they were my cage for so long.

I remember being clumsily coerced to apologize to those who ridiculed and hated me. I was compelled to apologize to those who had false impressions of who I was because they never took the time to get to know me. I recall being commanded that I needed to accommodate the feelings of everyone else and continually disregard my own for their sake. Because they mattered.

I’m sorry was my apology for existing. I’m sorry was how I begged to be overlooked so as not to intimidate or unintentionally make anyone feel less than me. I’m sorry was my forced anonymity in a world that erases those who don’t stand up for themselves.

You thought I looked at you harshly. You felt I was judging you.

You felt intimidated by my being a person, no matter how small a person I was.

Why should I be sorry for any of those?

Don’t be a person. Don’t be me. Don’t be. Be sorry. Be less. Be invisible. Because you are sorry and nothing more. You sorry little nothing.

These words choked me into the fetal position and urged me to be unconceived. Because this habit wound its way into my vernacular and decided it belonged. It slipped seamlessly from my tongue time after time. Often still, I say those words before I realize they have been said. To this day, I find myself apologizing for my existence. I find myself asking for forgiveness for my being. For who I am. Allowing others to lessen me so they aren’t forced to grow against their will.

Why should I apologize for my existence? Why should I cower down so you can feel bloated beside me? Because you are not empowered in this. You are not triumphant in this. You are falsely made to feel as though you have won some battle against me. Yet, I was never fighting you in the first place. I was never out to usurp your imaginary power.

I was simply living. Tasting the moments I was blessed to know. Relishing this harsh reality in any infinitesimal way I was allowed because none of us will be here forever and far too many of us are gone far too soon. Far too many memories are never made because we forget the cruelty of time. We forget we are all small in the scheme of things.

Today I tell you all, I love who I am.

I don’t love every regrettable decision I make. I’m not fond of every misstep I muck my way through. I don’t always cherish the experiences that ensnare my world and leave me feeling helpless.

But I love me.

The child who cowered and prayed to be unseen for far too long. The human who waged wars unlike anyone else ever could on myself in the hopes of defeating my existence. The woman who clawed her way through her own skin until I wore it, truly fucking wore it. This woman. This Fearlessly flawed creature who knows I will only ever be this me Today. I will only ever be this young and naive in this moment. I will only ever know this feeling for as long as I hold my breath around it. I will only ever have this chance to do something worth remembering now.

I’m sorry may slip through my lips from time to time. It will land exactly how I intend it to when I have done wrong. But it will never again be used to make me feel less so another can momentarily feel like more than me.

I am not sorry for this Susie. Never again will she be less than everything she has fought to become.

#sorrynotsorry #SFA #stellar #fierce #astonishing #SouthernFriedAsian

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Acceptance, Beauty, Blog, Depression, Dreams, Fear, Love, Relationships, Strength, Suicide, suicide prevention, Thoughts, Writing

Why Do We Stop?

For emotion. 

Because of emotion. 

Without emotion.

We stop to feel. Perhaps we find ourselves lost in a moment, like when the butterfly happens magically across our path. Its dance sparking calm within us. It speaks to our soul and we bask in its serenity. Sometimes we listen to understand. We have thrown question after question into the void and now we wait for it to answer. There are times we pause in the hopes of shutting out the world and all its deafening noise. Because we see them, the beautifully broken, surrounding us and it shreds our ever feeling hearts to pulp. We ache to close our eyes and hearts so we can stumble through our world with some semblance of sanity left in tact. 

We stop because our emotions command us. They give us no choice. We are lost to their tumultuous waves and fall timidly into their powerful force. They steal our breath and focus our minds on our absence of control. Capturing us against our will. We fall prey to their hunger to consume our breath. And no matter how we flail against their waves, we find ourselves floating willingly as they drown every ounce of who we are. 

We stop because we have lost ourselves without the ability to feel. Perhaps we ignored what living should be in the hopes of finding what it might be in a future that never came true. We held our breath for so long that we forgot the necessity of air to our lungs. We’ve lost hope to what life would never be. For too long, we’ve overlooked the small glimmers. We forgot to steal back our simple joys. We failed to create gratitude in an all too ungrateful universe. 

Some of us failed to recognize our own worth. We expected too little of ourselves to allow us the chance to grow and flourish. Time slunk up around us and ticked away the life we deserved to savor while we starved ourselves on wishes we failed to reach for. 

We stop because we keep going until we cannot go any longer. We have pushed ourselves beyond our breaking and foolishly felt we were beyond a reasonable point to be fixed. We stop because we do not lean on others for fear. We fear their judgment, we fear their gaze. We fear being vulnerable and broken open to criticism and callousness. Our pain and pride give us this sense of necessary isolation that slowly eats at our will and destroys the image of who we should be. The image of who we think others feel we should be. We stop in spite of life all around us because we no longer see the world in vivid color. Our lack of hope has greyed our ability to dream or even recall the taste of possibility. 

We stop to be built or unbuilt. You see it’s in the lulls, the quiet moments we settle into, when our hearts are broken open to fully feel. That’s when we happen. That is when we are built and strengthened and fortified. That is when we break apart. We find ourselves on pause so when we begin again, hopefully, we are vigorously renewed. 

Life is chaos. It is simple, complicated, dark, and delightful. Each moment around us builds upon the moments we’ve intertwined with before. And that is when we become ourselves. 

We stop to be. 

We stop to become. 

We. 

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Book, Depression, Dreams, Help, hope, mental health, national speaker, public speaker, Published, southern fried asian, speaker, speech, Strength, Suicide, suicide prevention, susie reece, Susie Reynolds, susie reynolds reece, Understanding, Writing

Parked in Pain

This post contains brief triggering content displaying a child abuse event and explicit language. Should you feel you need additional support you can connect with a trained volunteer at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-274-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting ARK to 741741.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of child abuse, you can find additional resources at childhelp.org or by calling the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) As always, reach out to local resources and supports in times of need.

I can’t remember how long she left me in the McDonald’s parking lot that day.

 

I shouldn’t have been shocked. It had been a good day. Good days were the worst because they made you forget. They made you drop your guard. They brought false hope and having hope was a huge mistake.

We were walking out of McDonald’s. Before I reached the car door, she looked to me and said I needed to go back and wash my hands. I immediately did as I was told. That’s what happens when you are abused, you become compliant. You hope it will save yourself from unnecessary pain. It didn’t occur to me as I walked back in that she had never cared about me washing my hands before.

When I came out, she was gone. My heart jumped into my throat. I walked around the entire restaurant looking for her. She was nowhere. Our good day had just been another lie. I hated myself a little more for falling for her lie, for having hope. 

I hid near the back of the building beside the dumpsters because I didn’t want anyone to know. If anyone saw me, they might ask questions. Questions could get her in trouble. If she were to get in trouble, there’s no telling what she would do. I hid. I cried. And I prayed that she would come back for me. It’s all I could manage.

I don’t know how long I sat waiting. The sun had been out when I realized she was gone and by the time she came back it was dark. As time progressed, my silent sobbing had grown alongside my fear. The sobbing sharply stabbed my stomach and had me choking for breath. I used all the energy I had to muffle my sobs so no one would hear me. 

She pulled into the parking lot and I rushed to the car so she wouldn’t have to wait. It’s ironic looking back. I climbed clumsily into the passenger side still shaken, trembling and softly sobbing. Her first words to me were “shut up.” I tried. I desperately tried to calm myself but I couldn’t. She screamed, “stop fucking crying.” As if that would calm me. I could sense her anger growing as she drove, but by this point, there was nothing I could do to stop. My fear was growing because when she was angry I never knew what she would do.

It’s odd, the things your mind clings to through the years. I remember walking to the car, hiding, and the tree. I can’t recall the color of the car, how long I sat there praying, or so many other details but the ones I do remember will stay with me forever. It was black out by this point. We were on a two lane road as the car slowly climbed up a slight hill. I looked through my tears to my left and saw this enormous tree towering over us. The branches and limbs reached slowly beyond the edge of the road. It’s trunk large enough to seemingly withstand any force. I saw stories in my head around that tree. Imagining happy children playing underneath it. I don’t know why my mind went to that tree like it did. Maybe I was trying to distract myself. Maybe I fell too often into my own imagination when I was afraid. I don’t know. But it has stuck with me all these years. 

As the car neared the top of the hill, she stopped suddenly right in the middle of the road. She turned to me while we sat underneath those gnarled grasping branches. Her face bright red and her eyes full of hate. She shrieked in my face, “get out of the fucking car!” I did as I was told. 

Still sobbing, I grabbed the door handle and put one foot on the ground, the other still inside the car as she began to drive again. I screamed out, “please, please stop.” Frantically I wailed. My hands turning white as I held on with all I had. She kept going. By this time both my feet were outside the car. This little 8 year old girl begging, pleading, screaming for mercy but nothing made her stop. My heart was pounding inside my chest and ears. I didn’t know what to do. Should I try to get back inside? Should I just let go and hit the ground? Before I could figure out what to do, she slammed on the breaks and I slumped forcibly against the door. I stood up quickly, confused, panicked. Blood rushed to my eyes and for a brief second the black night became a blinding light. She said, “get in the car and shut the fuck up.” I did as I was told. 

It worked. You can’t deny that. She scared me silent. I didn’t say a word the rest of the ride home. You see, I was taught not to cry. Tears were unacceptable. Had I been quiet when she picked me up, I wouldn’t have been dragged behind the car. It was my fault. Just like it always was. This lesson was etched into me over and over in hundreds of different ways through the years. Crying is for the weak. Crying deserves punishment. Crying is never allowed even while you’re being dragged outside of a moving vehicle. Tears were not allowed. 

I remember the first time I openly shared a fraction of the experiences I have endured. I sobbed the entire time. My words and hands shook as my eyes read over the notes that guided me. I shared about my loss. How it changed my life. I shared about the meaning I searched for from pain. Those moments of openness left me feeling humiliatingly vulnerable. Tears fell unwillingly against my cheeks and that little girl screamed inside. Even though I was no longer a child, I was still waiting to be punished. Punished for speaking about the things I was taught not to acknowledge. Punished for crying so openly. 

As difficult as this story may have been for you to read, it can be even harder for a person to share something so intimately personal. I have never spoken publicly about this specific incident because to this day the thought of doing so cuts deeply in ways I cannot describe. When I share, I do so intentionally. Not only to help others understand but to never leave myself so vulnerable that I unintentionally hurt my own heart or healing process. I’ve learned the importance of safe storytelling the hard way over the years. Some stories are powerfully purposeful when shared with the public. Some stories leave us overwhelmed and confused as to what we should do. There are stories that would be most beneficial when shared intimately. And some may always need to stay locked within us. Only the storyteller can decide which of these options is right for them.

Our stories are a part of us. They help define pieces of our souls and can set us on a fulfilling path. Sharing takes courage and will. If this is the journey we want to embark on, we owe it to ourselves to be ready, to have safeguards, and to incorporate care for ourselves. 

Oftentimes after I have spoken to an audience, people who want to share their own stories ask how they can begin this journey. I realized long ago that a few minutes is simply not enough time to teach them anything of value. So I developed a training program from my experiences and lessons learned so others won’t need to struggle through the painful process of coming into their truth on their own. Thinking beyond my program, I crafted a guidebook that could work as a stand alone tool for those who want to know more but may not be ready to participate in the program. 

This book can walk any person through the basic components of safe storytelling creation. The purpose is to make my hard earned lessons more accessible to everyone.

What happened to you doesn’t determine who you will be. What you do with what happened to you can.

 

 

Find the Art of Safe Storytelling Guidebook on Amazon today.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1078164215/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_he6jDbBH2KRH3

For a short overview you can find 7 Tips on Safe Storytelling the eBook on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07V5D35ZS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_NiwjDbYVR3K6X

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