Now is the time for self-care. The world may not understand, or even call it selfish but what do I have left if I crumble and fall away? I give everything to you, dear readers. I turn myself inside out and lay my beating heart in your hands — again and again. I do it for a cause. I do it to shake the powers-that-be. I do it in solidarity with my fellow survivors. I do it because sometimes it feels good to scream into the void.
I am strong — very strong. This is a demonstrable fact after all I have walked through, every bruise healed, every trace of blood wiped away. My mettle has been tested on a kind of battlefield and I survived. Some don’t make it. I very nearly didn’t make it out myself. The ancient strength of the warriors before me lifted me up and carried me out. Loved ones, friends, counselors, and even strangers have taught me great lessons, helped me heal, and given me the most precious commodity of life — hope. There is no love without hope. And so I am eternally grateful for the gift of hope because without it, I am sure my humanity would have drained right out of me.
But I have limits. In my stubbornness, I sometimes ignore those limits. In weaker moments, I tap into the old reservoir of rage, like an addict falling off the wagon. Rage is easy. Rage is almost comforting because I lived there for a long, long time. Rage is like going home, in a way. But it’s not home. It’s not even sustainable. It’s destructive. And it’s exhausting.
This is why it was easier for me to almost quit being The Sin City Siren than go on. (Fear not. That is not what this is.) I didn’t think I could maintain what people have come to love about this space — my willingness to be honest, raw, and yes, raging — because I’m emotionally empty. There is, of course, more to me than that. I am not a rage-aholic. Those who know me in real life might even describe me as a bit on the shy side at times because I have to push through my introverted nature to be “on” and I find it extremely taxing. I’m a homebody. I don’t even have a favorite drink because I so rarely imbibe, not because I am a teetotaler, but because I just can’t be bothered. My favorite thing in life is to hear my child giggle. Indeed, I am actually a person quite prone to loving too much — as I do my husband of nearly 17 years. I care too much, which is why The Siren exists. I am not content to just complain or write a check. I want action. And I have been willing to create that action, if necessary. All of this is really my deep love for community and, perhaps, my deep desire to belong after growing up in a home so utterly broken, in a family so lacking in even a fragment of sustainable love. The Siren is an expression of my inexplicable belief in the good of people and our collective untapped potential. Because, God help me, I’m a fucking optimist.
So here’s the deal: I can’t keep going on as The Sin City Siren in a way that depletes me so completely. I need to take care of myself as much as (or maybe more than) I take care of you, dear readers. I love you, but you’re killing me. I don’t blame you, because I created this space and I have set all the rules here. I only have myself to blame. That’s all the more reason why I need to change them now, because I can. I’m going to keep showing up here and I’ll still be just as passionate as always. But the one thing I can’t be is Sexual Abuse Survivor Blogger. I can’t keep writing about these fucksticks and I can’t keep being this naked truth-teller without consequence. There have been consequences. I have been ignoring how deeply I have let my personal triggers manifest. I know better. I’m smarter than that. And yet, I did this to myself — because of the cause, because of reader validation, because the pain can make you blind to how much it is hurting you.
I’m not saying I will never write about being a survivor of sexual abuse ever again. And you can certainly still count on me to be a fierce advocate for survivors of any form of sexual violence. I just need a break from how personal things have gotten. There’s plenty in the archives. It’s time for me to take care of myself — just as I encourage all of you to do. I need to take my own advice.
I’ll be taking some time off this week to recharge and to administer some much-needed self-care. I won’t be gone long, a few days. And I’ll still be sharing things on social media, so stick around.
And because it features Tori Amos playing two pianos while wearing an Elvis-style red jumpsuit with a visible black bra … actually, ’nuff said: