What is justice?
Dearest Doodle Soupsters,
I am happy. I am content with my life. What a simple pair of statements — so why doesn’t it feel simple?
These are the questions roaming, roaming, roaming my mind:
How could I move on? How could I just move on, knowing the people who sexually abused me are still out there?
How could I not do everything I can to stop them from hurting anyone else?
Why do I get to be happy? When so many die and get lost for far longer than I have before getting the right support, why do I get to be happy?
How could I still feel the urge to protect the people who did such despicable acts? And after all this time, why am I still scared of what they’ll do to me if I don’t keep their secrets? If I choose to call them by their names?
How do I move on? How do I live my life, knowing what this world is like for too many people?
I don’t want to be seen as a victim. I don’t want to accept the fact that systems of “justice” aren’t designed for people with PTSD. Aren’t designed for so many people. Sometimes, I just wish there was someone I could tell and they’d ensure no one ever goes through what I did.
I’m trying to teach myself that I’m a human being, that I deserve peace and comfort as much as anybody else. Yet, how do I do that when I just … can’t take knowing that other kids and adults are out there right now going through what I went through and I hope to God they get all the support they need and deserve, yet I know many of them, too many of them, won’t?
Sometimes, I hate statistics. Because when I see a percentage, a one in whatever number this happens phrase, I see what’s not there: the names, human beings in the flesh, their stories, their passions, their quirks, their dreams, who they are inside. And I want to see them, I want to see them — not some number.
I am tired of numbers. I am tired of feeling like you probably won’t believe me. I am tired of giving lines because I am too tired of being hurt to tell you the full story with the full emotion of how I really feel.
I am tired of keeping secrets that are not my own. I have nothing to hide. And as much shame as I’ve carried for them over the years, I did not cause what my abusers did. I was made vulnerable from a young age by my own family and other people took advantage of me and my lack of protection.
Kids aren’t supposed to have to kick their teacher off of them. Kids aren’t supposed to stay up late worrying about how to protect their family and friends from threats their teacher made to them. Kids aren’t supposed to watch an animal be tortured because that’s how their teacher chose to intimidate them not to speak up. Kids aren’t supposed to learn how cruel and lonely the world can be from the people who were supposed to love and care for them. Kids aren’t supposed to learn to keep adults’ secrets.
But what do I do with that?
I need to respect my body, my heart, the fact that I have enough wounds and I don’t want more …
I’m not made of titanium. I am flesh and blood and soul. I’ve been through enough — I know that. I also know that the questions I listed at the top of this post — they’re all really normal questions to have as a survivor. These are all feelings that makes sense and don’t have to lead to any particular action. I know that.
I also know that it shouldn’t fall on survivors to be the world’s saviors. I am human. I deserve to feel human and treat my body as human. I am already grieving. Why do I feel such conflict about … I don’t know.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … I don’t have answers right now. I have countless questions. And I could spin myself in deeper and deeper circles trying to figure out how I could not be running, running, running to stop these abusers …
Art, music, writing: these are my ways of standing up for what I believe in, sharing vulnerably in the hopes it’ll help others too … this is how I take action while protecting my peace, honoring my needs, respecting how I feel in my body …
Yet, there is a part of me that is afraid that this is not enough and how could I just stand by? And right now, I don’t know what to do with that part of me.
I’m trying to find the words for something … how my happiness brings up a part of me that doesn’t want to wait for the world to change …
What is justice?
I really don’t know. Because what I want is to be myself, spend time with trees, cuddle and laugh with my husband, experience new things and explore … I want to sing, make art, write … I want to share who I am … to get to live my own life the way I want to and keep out the people who’ve abused me and the people who don’t get it, that’s justice for me.
But what about justice for the people I know are still out there being abused? How could I not fight for them? What do I do when justice for me seems to conflict with what justice means to me when it comes to the issue overall?
For right now, I just want to express this. I just want to share how this feels. And I know there are other survivors who feel these conflicts and don’t know what to do with those feelings too.
Complicated, conflicting, confusing feelings — I know that they’re nothing to be ashamed of … we don’t need to hide how heavy it can be sometimes to feel so many different things at once.
It’s hard. It’s hard to separate out how we feel and sometimes, it all globs together into a confusing mess that just feels like yuck and ugh and oh no.
So this is me … releasing myself from the shame that’s not mine, separating out my feelings and naming them, acknowledging to myself and to you that none of this is stupid …
At times, I tell myself it’s stupid because the truth is that
there aren’t clear answers
this sh*t takes time
life is complicated
there are many truths co-existing
sometimes all the feelings overlap and intertwine and sometimes the feelings are stuck together and I have to give myself space until I can separate them and that feels very sucky and frustrating
being a survivor isn’t easy
being happy and content doesn’t take away my other feelings
I still have complex PTSD and I don’t want to be affected by my past
I never asked for this grief and heartbreak and trauma and I still made the choice to heal and take responsibility for myself and my life anyway …
ALL OF THE ABOVE AND MORE … yes, and I’m sure I’m not the only one wanting not to feel something and feeling it anyway and feeling conflicted about my own feelings … yes, I deserve happiness and peace. We all do. And I don’t want to accept how often life is unfair and people don’t get what they deserve …
Still working through my feelings, feeling less alone and less shame,
Nicole Sylvia Javorsky
P.S. Today’s reflection questions:
What does justice mean to you? For yourself? For the world?
Do you have conflicting feelings? How can you give yourself more compassion in those moments when you need space and you’re not sure how to make sense of what you feel?
P.P.S. Music Corner:
Related music for today’s edition of Chicken Doodle Soup … my song, “so heavy on me” … as always, under my alter ego music name Alice Celeste … listen on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, or search for the song wherever you listen.
Plus, “Waiting On the World to Change” by John Mayer … some of the lyrics:
“It's not that we don't care
We just know that the fight ain't fair
So we keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
And we're still waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change”