Cover Art_Black Letters

Grief and Rising

by Julie Smoot

Missing the innocent girl I was
Miss the trusting girl I was
I miss the girl who chased her dream to serve
her country
Thinking that the six guys and chain of command had
killed her,
Just go through the motions
Afraid to trust
Afraid to feel
Dissociate because that is what she was taught
Sometimes I have thought, “why did you not fight them and make them kill you, why did you just lay there, why did you not jump when you had the chance”
Sometimes I have wanted to get rid of this body, to hide this body
so that men would not look at me or hurt me again
But the belief it happened because of what I was wearing and that
I was too drunk came from society, not me.

It is time to unlearn everything that society has taught me,
Time to learn to feel, to stay present, to cry, to be angry, to laugh, to sing,
to dance, to dream, to tell my truth.
I am learning every day that there are more threads to me
That I have been rising and changing, rediscovering who I am
becoming who I want to be
putting the broken pieces back together and becoming an arrow
continuing to rise into the light.
Shining light on the things that I have never told anyone
letting go of old habits, old ways of doing things
I will become who I want to be and the world is going to hear me, ROAR!!

I will speak my truth, and they will hear me.
I do not care what they think
No more excuses! No more abuse
I am back! I have the little girl back. She is stronger
She is beautiful. Yes she is changed, but she is complex, caring,
compassionate, understanding and she is faultless

She has brought with her: Patience, Truth, Anger, and Empowerment
She is not alone and together we will rise.