I was always that girl that was the mama bear for all her friends, that would rather have the pain and suffering poured on myself than anyone else. As an empath I feel it deeply when others are in pain and I felt like I was strong enough to carry it for everyone.

A few years back I found myself in a situation. There was the end of a tumultuous “relationship” and an overwhelming sense of wrongness in the place that I worked. They called it sexual harassment, but to me it was more of this sinking feeling on a daily basis. The worry that comments would be made degrading my or anyone else’s body. After almost two years of this, my anxiety was on high alert. I was seeing a therapist and on medication but already my adrenal glands had given up. I had given up.

Thankfully I had a friend, let’s call her Grace. She was there for me through those days that I felt so alone, the ones I wanted to stay in bed. She was my savior in the darkest days, someone I could talk to and vent to, someone who understood what I felt. I knew what I had to do.

I spoke up.

I shared the story of what was going on, how it made me feel and how there were days that I would rather be sick at home than to show up at work. I knew that there would be a backlash and I was okay with that. I knew that there were others who were afraid to speak up at the wrongdoing. Who were quietly afraid and sickened by what was happening but their terror of speaking up was louder. They called it “pervasive” sexual harassment when I finally shared my story. The days and weeks I had tried asking for help with nothing being done added to the comments made about my own body. “Pervasive,” I will never forget that.

Then came the fire: the stares and the comments, the retaliation, all of it. Sure, there were days that I would hide and cry in the bathroom because people didn’t understand what I did and why I did it. They thought my reasons were impure, they thought I wanted to hurt someone. Few knew and believed the truth. I was isolated and felt so alone, that no one could understand me or my reasons for speaking out except the ones who had gone through it with me.  The ones who stayed quiet and yet, deep down felt relief.

When you do something that you know is right, for the right reasons- in your SOUL you know this. Your motivation for speaking up and speaking out is always your own, but when you have someone beside you who you are being strong for, and who in turn is helping you BE strong, that is a gift. That is what matters. Digging deep when you think that you can’t take any more pain and suffering, knowing that the reasons you did this were to help give voice to the voiceless to call light to something dark. There were days that I was terrified, woke up screaming in the night that I thought this fear and anger and sadness would never end. But I had a hand that held mine and I felt stronger.

Trauma brought our friendship closer than ever, Grace helped me survive the worst of it, and then, like the phoenix reborn; we rose from the ashes of tragedy and stepped into who we were meant to be. We were forged in this fire together and no matter what life brings us we will always have this. We are the armor; we are the warriors.

I can survive.

You can survive.

If you have ever felt like I have, alone, afraid of speaking up; know that you are the warrior woman. You have so much strength inside you, you do NOT have to put up with being the dumping ground for someone else and YOUR story matters.

Speak truth to darkness.

You are the warrior.