Happy early birthday to cissa, lifecollage, onezumi, and yakavenger!
Hello to new reader diego001!
...my ass is dragging, you guys. A whole day yesterday on my feet - my muscles are still tight!
State of the 'song
I manned the Clothesline Project for eight hours yesterday. Hundreds of people passed through South Station and were moved by the shirts; easily over a hundred talked to us. I spoke to dozens of people yesterday. Only three were defensive or inappropriate. Most were just shocked to the bone, moved to tears.
Probably about two dozen disclosed to me. I spent the day listening to stories. One man in his 60s was looking at the shirts from a distance for a while; as soon as my conversation ended, he swooped in. Without preamble, he said "I was raped when I was eight." And he wanted to know how to help; he wanted to volunteer.
We signed up about a dozen potential volunteers - one woman was in nursing school, so she wants to be a medical advocate. Perfect fit! She was also excited to hear about the SANE nursing program, training ER nurses specifically to do evidence collection. She would never have known about that had she not seen us yesterday.
One of the newer volunteers was surprised at how many people opened up to us. "We're safe," I said. "This sticker" pointing to the Proud BARCC Volunteer sticker we all wore "makes us safe. They know we're trained to listen and help. And also? They never have to see us again. It's not like telling a coworker or a friend, where you have to see them the next day. We're safe."
There's a quote I like from Erma Bombeck: "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me"."
Yesterday, I used everything I was given. I came home shaking and scooped out inside. "I have no brain left," I insisted to Mark. "I used everything."
My supervisor at BARCC raves about me; she had the new volunteers following me around like goslings to learn from me. "Shira is so engaging," she says. I can start a conversation with anyone. And they will not blow me off; they will hang out and talk to me about rape and sexual assault. This is a difficult thing.
I did this from 11 AM to 2 PM, then from 4 to 7. (Thank you, thewronghands, for the lunch break!) I used everything. Everything I had.
I spent the last half hour, 45 minutes talking to two women. A mother and her college-age daughter. They were both rape survivors. And the mother kept saying "I'm glad you're okay." And kept hugging me. Because they needed to know - both of them - that they could be okay. That it was possible for there to be life after rape.
Because it is possible. And they couldn't see it yet, from where they are. They had their faltering faith that eventually they could be okay; they had to. You can't live without that. But they didn't *know* it.
"I'm okay," I said. "I really am."
I wish that I could say
Hey Elizabeth, y'know
I'm doing all right these days...
Feed me some links! I've been offline.
Wearing: Sock monkey pajamas
Reading: Deathwish by Rob Thurman; next up: The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint
Writing: WTD, "My Empire for Ashes"
Planning: There's a Girl Scout thing this afternoon that I may or may no go to; I'm so exhausted. Tomorrow, BU's production of "Much Ado About Nothing". Sunday, having a few people over for board gaming.