i know your ghosts

i know your ghosts

Originally posted on Rebelle Society 1/29/14.


I’m gonna try to get to bed early tonight.

No wifi, no cell phone, just a room in the mountains of Malaysia. Helping with a camp for kids, for their education and for their confidence as future leaders. I like not having a phone. I don’t feel pressure anymore. I have what I need in front of me and what I don’t have I realize I don’t need.

All the times in my life when I was supposed to be emotional I’ve completely blanked. Deaths, funerals, divorces. But sometimes it just sneaks up on me and it grabs me and I’m flooded with suffering and pain and joy all at once. I cry inexplicably and I yell a little because there’s too much to keep in and I pray to god that I will feel this way again.

It’s strange when kids talk about losing a family member, when someone was picked on in school, when someone has to spend a holiday alone, or if they’re poor but barely realize it and still feel happy and are grateful just to see a smile in a day.

{Photo: Kirk Hensler}

When other people suffer, I suffer. I don’t know why, something in them comes over to me and it’s my pain to feel. I don’t need to know them, in fact it’s better I don’t. Less awkward.

I can’t say I’ve had any traumatic experiences in my life. I was always different but I was pretty well supported and taken care of. My middle class family was well off and even though I’ve worked since I was 12, I didn’t need to for survival. I did so because I wanted purpose.

All that aside, when I’m in a room full of women at the YMCA, who come from abusive relationships, homelessness, in protection programs, drug rehabbers, when I hear their stories I burn inside with so much pain and insane fire that my teeth crack from the tension in my jaw and my hands cramp from white-knuckled fists.

I teach them about self-defense and even a lot about personal value and health because it’s all related. I teach them moves, elbows, kicks, choke defense. I teach them the moves but we all know they are still at a huge disadvantage. We all know that if they get into that situation, the odds are not in their favor, even with all the defense moves in the world.

So I teach them about attitude. I tell them that if a man tries to hit you or rape you, then you make sure you are the nastiest motherfucker he ever tried to lay hands on. You come from a place so fierce that the look in your eyes alone will puncture his soul. Break his fucking will. And I feel it and I burn.

And they look at me and know I’m not some bitch just doing outreach to feel good about myself, but that I’m doing it because at some point across the scope of history I have been them, I know their pain, and everyone else’s pain who has ever suffered, and I carry this pain with me in every step, every day, and I will fight for them because it means fighting for myself and what I’m worth.

If you suffer, if you’re seeking truth and feelings and salvation from ghosts you have never met or ones that you have, I will fight with you.

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