He who tried to rape you will try to ruin you.
History tells us this again and again.
But you know what else history says?
You are more than what he tried to make you. He tried take what wasn’t his to take. He tried to make you into an object. He, the subject, tried to conquer you, the object.
Maybe he did more than try.
But you were never meant to be an object.
You are a conqueror not a conquest. You are a survivor though you were once a victim. You are a force with whom to be reckoned, not the dirt to be dug up for someone else’s confirmation hearing.
You are an embodiment of hope.
Hope. Sometimes I hate that word. Sometimes I love it. Hope and I, we have a fraught relationship.
But hope is what makes us different. Hope is why we get out of bed. Hope is why we stay in bed but don’t end it all there, because hope believes there will be another page to the story. Hope is what allows us to not crumble at the weight of the world, and hope is what meets us when we do and feel like nothing but mere crumbs.
Sometimes I hate hope.
I am more comfortable naming the pain, cursing the wicked, fighting the storm, living into whatever fierce meme some random PTSD profile has decided to post that day. Do you see this wreckage? I scream, the violence of my voice making my vocal chords hurt for days afterward. You say you’re starting to smell smoke, but we’ve been burning for ages. Now you start to shout fire, but for what?
There is nothing but ash here anymore.
I weep. I hate crying, but I weep anyway. I don’t know what to do when my activism of a life has been ignored so that by the time those in power feel tepid and then a bit toasty, dental records are all that are left to identify the lost souls.
But then there’s hope. Fucking hope. Hope shows up again, as a breathing tube reinvigorating me to speak, to fight, to care, to hope another day. That throat, sore from screaming, rubs raw as the life-sustaining tube goes in and comes out, breathes in and breathes out, bleeds in and bleeds out.
Our industrial revolutions have made homes tidy and healthcare machine-driven and help outsourced and hygiene widespread… but hope haunts those places. Hope is a comforter to those who need comforting, but she’s a damn ghost to those whose halls have too long hidden away rooms of torture. These are rooms where you can be a justice placing his hand on her mouth, a president boasting of other places his hands can go, a lawmaker whose hands can be tied and silence bought by the highest bidder, and a group of high school boys held unaccountable for decades. These rooms are places where hope is terrifying. Hope haunts those whose horcruxes are embedded in the status quo.
But you, dear one, you have nothing to fear from hope. Hope is a guide, a light, a sustenance, a bridge… for you. Hope is a golden middle finger to those for whom hope paints a future in which they, not we, are the ruined ones, but hope is the thing of miracles for us.
Hope brought us this far. May hope also show them the way out, because their time to ruin us is up.