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What If Yesterday Never Happened

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on March 4, 2018 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been different if the things I went through never happened. If I had never met those who hurt me the most in life, if I had grown up in a more loving family, if I had never gone through the abuse that I did, if I would have pursued another path in life, followed other dreams, who would I be today? How would life look for me today if certain events and circumstances that were beyond my control never took place? But I know I cannot think about what if because there are no do overs in life and you don’t get a chance to go back and change the past. You can only turn the page forward to find out what comes next and you can only take a step forward to see where the path you are on will take you.

I may still face challenges from the past, I may still be left with memories I don’t always want to have, I may still fight battles from the aftermath of what I’ve survived, and I may still bear those scars in those battles fought, but it is not the past that defines me. It is not the life I lived or the life I came from that defines me. I am the one who defines the person I am today by who I chose to become as a result of the things that happened yesterday. To change even one event that I went through would be to change everything about my story and alter the person that I am today.

Every challenge I had to overcome, every struggle I went through, every battle I fought showed me more of who I was by bringing to surface all the strength and courage within me that I never knew I had. For me it isn’t about wondering what if but it’s about finding out what can be by building more on what is. It’s not about having it easy in life but it’s about knowing I have made it this far and earned my way through life by working hard and refusing to ever give up on myself or the hope that the best is still to come, that this isn’t how my story ends. For where the past ends the future begins but it starts with me living in the now, living in this moment and making something more of this life I have been given. Maybe I didn’t choose to be born into the life that I was but I do know that I am the one who chooses how I am going to live it and what I am going to do with it.

It’s not a question of where is my life going but rather where am I taking my life. The past has no say and does not determine how the rest of my story will play out. That is up to me to find out by continuing to do the best I can in making the best life I can for myself. Who is to say what my life would have been like or would be like today if yesterday never happened. I do know this, if yesterday had never happened, I would have missed out on becoming and being who I am today and I would have missed out on knowing some very wonderful, amazing people in my life who have helped to change it by being there for me. What if yesterday never happened? Then the person I am today and have become in my life would not exist. For the only way to become the woman I am today was by first being the girl I was yesterday.

-Jenna Kandyce Linch

What If It Was You, What If It Happened To You

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on March 4, 2018 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

 I wrote this because unfortunately not all survivors and victims are heard by those in authority when we find the courage to come forward and speak out. I’m one of those survivors that broke my silence, was within the statute of limitations and whose voice went unheard because the people in charge didn’t want to do a thing about my case. In fact one detective told me "good luck with dealing with the demons from your past and what happened to you" and the deputy who filed my report falsified it, too.  Then the advocates team for survivors with the sheriff's department in Escambia County refused to help me out and never replied back to me about my case. I think if it was someone they loved and cared about that it happened to or if it was them that it happened to, they would see things so much differently and fight to do so much more. Well in the same way, those of us who have broken our silence should not be forced into silence again but should see justice served because we do deserve justice as well for what happened to us

Dear You,

I thought you would believe me when I finally broke my silence or at least show some sign of empathy for the traumatic experience I had survived. Instead the words you uttered were “Good luck with dealing with the demons from your past and what happened to you,” definitely not the words I expected to hear from someone in a position of authority to do more. After hearing those words, and not having anyone to help me get the justice I deserved, I thought to myself how you have no idea the demons we sexual assault survivors face, the challenges we go through, and the battles we fight from the aftermath of what happened to us. It is the most traumatic thing we could ever go through and it changes our lives in more ways than you could ever possibly know unless you stood in our shoes. There is no way you can possibly begin to understand the pain of all the emotions and feelings we keep locked inside for fear of no one believing us and instead, making us feel as if we are the ones on trial for the crime committed against us.

Do you know what it’s like to live your life looking over your shoulder because you no longer feel safe in your own life? Or how about having your self-esteem shattered into a million pieces when your innocence is taken from you? Do you know what it’s like to look in the mirror every day and despise the person looking back at you because the person on the other side reminds you of the scars you bear from what happened and since you don’t want to be reminded, you can’t bear to look at your own reflection staring back at you. Do you know what it’s like to fight to block out those unwanted memories that continue to haunt you and all you want is to forget about those events. You just want to wake up from the nightmare and the cold, harsh truth that this isn’t a dream but that yes it did happen.

We as survivors can never get back what was taken from us. We can’t go back and undo what was already done to us. Believe me, if we could, we would change that part of our lives, making it where that chapter in our lives never occurred. No one protected us back then, and often we are forced to fight these battles by ourselves. Do you know what it’s like living your life in silence, afraid to tell those you love and care about the most what happened because you are not sure how they will react or how they will take it and you are afraid that they might think less of you or look at you differently, that they might not believe you but judge you instead. So you hide those emotion, keeping them locked away, trying to ignore them as you shove them out of sight. Do you know what it’s like to be afraid to let another person close to you, thinking there is no possible way someone would want to be with you after what happened because you fear if they know the truth they will think you’re nothing more than damaged goods. You think to yourself how could anyone possibly love you after what you have been through.

These are the demons I have dealt with, the challenges I have faced, and battles I have fought as a rape survivor. That one event, that one turning point in my life, changed me in ways I never imagined for I never thought it would happen to me until it did. Maybe you do not realize it, but it takes a lot of courage and it takes being all kinds of brave to come forward, speak out and shatter the silence that kept us imprisoned in our lives. It takes so much strength to make the decision to put ourselves out there like that, knowing we may get judged, we may be looked down upon, we may be criticized, we may not be understood, and we may not be believed when it comes to our stories.

Let me ask you this. What if it were you, what if this had happened to you? Wouldn’t you want someone to believe you, wouldn’t you want your voice heard, and wouldn’t you want to receive justice for what you suffered and endured. If it was someone you loved and cared about that it happened to, would you not fight harder for them to make sure justice was received. I know that if what happened to us happened to you or anyone you loved and cared about, you would see it so much differently and your whole perspective would change. We survivors are not just strangers; we are not just faces without a name that these traumatic horrifying events happened to. We are someone’s girlfriend, someone’s boyfriend, someone’s brother, someone’s sister, someone’s child, someone’s parent, someone’s spouse, someone’s family, we are someone’s something, we mean something to someone, too and what happened to us was very real. We’re not the only ones affected by what happened, but those we love and care about, our families and friends, are affected by it as well.

Don’t we have the right to be heard, don’t we have the right to receive justice? Ask yourself next time what you would do and how you would react if it was you or someone you loved and cared about. You would not want the person who hurt you or hurt your loved one to walk free or get an easy sentence. Then why would you not fight for us just the same as you would fight for yourself or fight for those who mean something to you? For do we not deserve protection and justice as well?

From A Survivor Who Refuses To Remain Silent


It's Ok To Not Be Ok

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on March 4, 2018 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

It's ok not to be ok. It's ok to not always be strong on your own and it's ok to break down and show your emotions because tears are those hidden emotions and unspoken words inside us that are released on the surface when we allow ourselves to expose those feelings and it's through our tears we begin to heal a little more. It's ok to grieve for who you were and for what you lost. It never makes you weak to show and express emotions or to need help or to need others to be strong for you but it makes you even stronger and braver for reaching out and exposing that more fragile side of you because it takes courage to let others see that side of you that has been scarred, bruised and wounded and to let them be there for you to help you fight those battles that sometimes you just can't fight on your own.

Thought of the Day: There Are Times

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on March 4, 2018 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

There are times in life when we are going to face challenges and be tested by struggles that we go through. There are times that we are going to hit rock bottom and have to work hard to climb our way back to the top again. There are times we are going to fall apart and have those days where we get all emotional. Some days are going to be harder than others but remember that those challenges and struggles are showing you how strong you really are and teaching you who you are by revealing the courage you have within and those times you fall apart are the times when you are building yourself up that much more from the tears that you cry from those emotions you express. Don't give up, don't give in, but remember that as a survivor sometimes overcoming obstacles in your life means that you have to fight a little harder to get to where you want to be but it doesn't mean that you won't get there eventually. Start though by giving yourself a chance, by being gentle with yourself and being kind to you and by loving every part of who you are because it's through self-acceptance that you begin to love yourself again and it's through loving yourself again that you begin to see your true self-worth which is what makes you so beautiful and extraordinary.

A Survivor's Affirmation

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on March 4, 2018 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I am fearless because I have known fear and faced it; I am strong because I have turned my weaknesses into my greatest strengths; I am victorious because I have risen above defeat, overcoming obstacles I thought I couldn't and making a break through in order to achieve my own comeback; I am brave because I have dared to do what others thought couldn't be done; I am courageous because I have pushed myself to go above and beyond the challenges I've encountered; I am confident because I believe in who I am; and I am perseverant because I have withstood the tests and trials I have been through, building myself back up again and continuing forward in life. Most of all I am a survivor because I have not let the past define who I am but I have defined myself through the life I now live, I have kept my pride and dignity intact choosing to be proud of the person I am and have become, I have not let past experiences break me but have put together the pieces to see how beautiful I truly am, and I have done more than just survived, I have thrived by believing in myself and not backing down but fighting back for someone I know is worth fighting for, myself. To be a survivor is to be a warrior and to be a warrior is to be a champion and to be a champion is to be a hero and if I had not gone through what I did back then, I would not be the person I am today, the one who inspires others around me to fight back, love who they are, accept themselves, and enjoy the life they are living. Survivors, we are not as fragile as people think we are, but we are those diamonds in the rough that shine today because of the experiences of the life we've lived that have polished us so the world can see how tough we truly are.

 Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch

The 4 Most Important Ways To Help Survivors Heal

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 7, 2018 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Sometimes it can be tough for those who have not been through abuse to know what to say or do to help those who have been abused. Often the thought that crosses a person’s mind is “well since I haven’t been through it or I haven’t been there in my own life, then is there really anything I can do to help or make a difference?” To me the answer is always yes, there is always something you can do to help someone, whether or not you have been through it yourself in your own life. I believe in some way we can all relate to each other because if you think about it, everyone is a survivor in life for we’ve all been through our own share of pain and had our own share of heartache at one time or another. Yes, we all have different stories to tell because we all come from different backgrounds but that doesn’t mean we can’t help each other to heal from the things we have endured in our lives. Below are the four most important ways that I think one can do to help a survivor heal.

  1. Listen to us. We are not always looking for advice on how to deal with situations we are going through or have been through. Sometimes no words are necessary when it comes to us telling you what we have overcome and what we have survived. It isn’t easy to talk about the abuse, so when we come to you, needing to talk, what we are actually wanting is for you to listen while we talk about it. We want to know that you are listening to us because after living in silence for so long, we need to know that our voice is being heard. Sometimes listening is the best thing you can do for us because when we see that you are listening, it encourages us to open up more and share what we have kept hidden away and buried for a long time.
  2. Be there for us. For most of us survivors, the silence we lived in and abuse we endured made us feel isolated and alone. During those dark times in our lives we did not have anyone there for us for we were afraid to talk about it or we didn’t know who to go to or where to turn for help. It takes so much courage on our part to come out and say how we feel as we express ourselves. Trust does not always come easy for us so when we do take that chance to finally come forth and let you know what we are feeling, we want to know that you are going to be there for us no matter what. The last thing we want is for you to walk out and leave when you find out the things that happened to us.
  3. Support us. It is so important for us to know we have the support of our family, friends, and loved ones as we fight these challenging battles we face. Even though we are survivors and no longer victims, we still are affected in different ways by the aftermath of the abuse. Not all scars are visible and there are so many emotional scars we bear on the inside. There are so many memories we have from those traumatic experiences. We don’t always want to hear to stay strong when we go through difficult times. Nor do we always want to hear how strong we are for having survived what we did. We know we are strong because it took so much strength for us to break free and begin a new life for ourselves. Sometimes though we have those times where we fall apart, where we feel lost and alone, where we are hurting more than you know, and it’s in those times that we need you to be strong for us. It’s your love and support that helps strengthen us again as we build ourselves back up. It is your love and support that gives us hope to keep holding on for it’s from your love and support you show we are reminded that we are worth fighting for and that life does get better. Don’t tell us to get over it but help us to get through it.
  4. Last but not least, believe us! We really need to know that you believe us. Often our stories go untold and voices go unheard because we feel that no one will believe us if we come forward with the truth about what happened. It’s a huge risk we take in exposing that fragile side of ourselves and making ourselves vulnerable in shattering our silence and confiding in you. We don’t want that trust betrayed where we feel we are being judged and being the ones put on trial for a crime committed against us that was never our fault. Society labels us enough as it is, treating us as if something is wrong with us and doubting us on the validity of our stories. We want to know that you are on our side, that you don’t doubt us, and that you believe us.

As survivors we go through so much more than people realize. We fight battles that others don’t know about. We face challenges that we have to work hard to overcome and we have our good days and our bad days. But being a survivor doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with us. It just means we have survived, suffered, and endured pain from tragedies that changed our lives in ways we never expected. When we have people in our lives who listen to us, who are there for us, who support us and who believe us, it does make a huge difference to us for we know that we are not alone and we don’t have to get through this on our own, either. Instead we find hope again that we will be all right and everything will be okay again because we know we have people in our lives who truly do love us and care about us which is more than enough to help us begin to heal more. Your love, compassion, care, and understanding is what helps to put back together the broken pieces of our hearts.

Jenna Kandyce Linch

Stay Awhile

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 7, 2018 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

So many memories play through your mind

Remnants of a past you thought you left behind.

All those secrets kept hidden and buried

As alone the truth inside you carried.

You look at the scars on your skin

Reminders of the pain you released from within.

No one ever told you it wasn’t your fault so you felt the shame

Just another face to them, they didn’t know the story behind your name.

Life caused you to grow up too fast

In a horror movie you felt you’d been recast.

You tried to speak out but your voice went unheard

Believing you were to blame, your heart you emotionally tortured.

People left when you needed them the most

In their absence remained the memory of their ghost.

Why couldn’t and wouldn’t they love you

Was it because who you were was too much to handle that from you they withdrew.

What did they truly have to gain

From hurting you and causing you so much suffering and pain.

Now in the darkness you fight to survive

Searching for a reason to stay alive.

I’ve been there in that place

Wishing the past I could erase.

Sometimes I wondered why in that life I had to exist

But if I had not lived through it a better future I would have missed.

Many times I struggled to understand why these things happened

It was as if this was a nightmare from which I couldn’t be awakened.

Every battle fought seemed that much more intense

Of just what good could come from all this I couldn’t make sense.

But something good did come from my pain

I found courage in the strength I started to regain.

From that courage I overcame the struggles faced

In each victory, restored in me was the confidence I had misplaced.

I had to look beyond who I used to be

So the woman I am I could begin to really see.

I couldn’t have become the me today if I had not been that me first

The girl from yesterday paved the way for the woman I am today by having survived the worst.

Life isn’t about ripping out the pages of our past

It’s turning the page forward to find out how the next chapters compare and contrast.

Your story still waits to be lived and told

Onto hope for a better life don’t let go of but continue to hold.

You are more than enough and someone worth believing in

Inside your heart your source of strength can be found within.

This life still has so much more waiting for you

So stay awhile because to this life you give meaning and add value.

‘Stay Awhile’ Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch

Thought of the Day: Fear's Greatest Enemy

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 7, 2018 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)

If fear has something to be afraid of then I believe it's hope because it's hope that gives one the courage to be brave enough to face fear and fight it head on for it's hope that keeps the fire burning within as it motivates and inspires confidence in oneself.

Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch

But I'm Still Me

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 5, 2018 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I sat in the waiting room, looking down at the paperwork in front of me, wondering how I was going to get through some of the questions on the form. Before now, I had never thought I needed counseling because I had always managed to be the type of person who fought my own battles, hid my emotions, and locked that part away so no one could see the fragile side of me. I could smile and make everyone around me believe nothing was wrong, that I was fine for if it was one lesson I had learned in life, it was to bury away secrets of my past and remain silent about the scars I bore from the aftermath of the battles I had fought and somehow survived. Sitting here at the rape crisis center, going through the questions to answer for the forms I had to fill out, I suddenly found myself feeling all those emotions I thought I had managed to ignore and push away for good.

If I thought filling out the forms was hard, my whole interview at my intake session proved to be even tougher. I was asked questions about my past and things such as the domestic violence I went through in my previous marriage, my battle with self-infliction, my suicide attempt at 23, along with the night I was sexually assaulted by my ex-boyfriend 6 years ago, came up. I found myself being forced to confront emotions I had not dared expressed out loud about how I felt about what had happened and the war I had been fighting against my own self for the past 6 years. That war being the one with the girl in the mirror, the one I always looked at and despised, hated, wished I could change or hide out of my sight for good because every time I looked at her she reminded me of the pain I felt from what happened that night 6 years ago.

I had always been viewed as this incredibly strong person by everyone around me and as a result of always being told “You got this, you’re strong, stay strong, be strong,” etc., I tried to continue to maintain that whole strong, invincible persona. My thoughts were if I let my guard down for one moment, then people would see right through me and see how fragile the girl on the inside really was. To me, if I exposed that side of me by sharing my true emotions and feelings, then I was exposing not just my fragility but also my vulnerability. Then people would think less of me and suddenly this very strong person they thought I was would be seen as a fraud, as someone weak, or at least that is what my mind told me.

I think because my report had been ignored by the Escambia County Sherriff’s Office 3 years ago when I had finally broken my silence and reported what happened to me upon finding out my ex-boyfriend had been arrested for sexually assaulting an 8 year old child, and because they never bothered to take it seriously or get back with me, I thought that I might as well just forget about it all together. That what happened to me didn’t matter after all and I should just get over it. Thus I did my best to pretend that nothing was wrong, that it was no big deal, when in fact it was a big deal and it did matter because beneath those scars I was left with were screams the silence was covering up and wounds that ran so much deeper. For so long I had lived in my own emotional prison because of the pain I was holding onto and living in from that night in 2011. I had pushed away loved ones, friends, family, and I had been punishing and judging myself all these years, believing that if people knew the real me, if they could see beyond those scars, then they would see and think of me as someone completely different, viewing me in a different way. The last thing I wanted was people to look at me with pity or see me as someone broken and damaged and think that I wasn’t the person I’ve always been or the one they had always known.

I didn’t want to feel differently about who I was due to what I had survived. But the pain I felt inside did anything except numb those feelings and emotions that were still there within me. If anything, the more I kept quiet, the more I tried to fight battles on my own, the more the pain intensified those feelings, bringing them to the surface, challenging me in its own way to confront them rather than ignore what I felt. My heart had been locked away along with all those untold secrets and unspoken words because I thought that no one could love me for me, the girl who had been used and thrown away in life, and when I looked in the mirror at the girl staring back at me, I wondered sometimes if she could ever know love and happiness again in her own life or if she was just too far gone.

As I sat in the room talking to a counselor and going over the forms, having my intake session interview, I think something inside me began to break. Those walls started to come down a little bit. They didn’t fall down right away but a dent had been made in those walls. A couple weeks after finding out I had been accepted as a client to receive counseling services at the rape crisis center, I went to see the movie The Shack. It was during the movie The Shack, a movie about forgiveness, love, and letting go, that the walls finally came down. I went away from watching The Shack feeling completely different on the inside because after watching it, I realized that God does not see a scarred, broken, damaged person when He looks at me but He sees the beautiful person He created.

My past didn’t leave the chance of a better future in complete destruction but instead, my life is under construction from the pieces being put back together again to build a more beautiful life that will give me a better future. What I went through doesn’t mean nothing, it does mean something but it doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to know love or happiness again. Yes, everything I survived changed me in some way, but it didn’t change the person I am or always have been. The people who hurt me could never take away who I was and they’ll never be able to take from me who I am. I may have my scars, but at the end of the day, after all I have been through, I am still me and part of being me are the challenges I face, the battles I fight, and the struggles I go through but that doesn’t make me any less of who I am and have been. It doesn’t mean I struggle with who I am; it only means sometimes I have to fight harder to overcome obstacles in order to rise above them. I’m not broken, I’m not damaged, I’m not too far gone, I’m not ruined or destroyed, but I am that girl in the mirror, the girl who is inside me, the one who is worthy of love and the one who will know what love is because I love her and I am happy to be her, proud of her and not ashamed to say that she is me and I am her.

If You Could Only See

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on January 5, 2018 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Looking in the mirror you see nothing but a shattered reflection

The image there is distorted beyond all recognition.

Here and there are pieces that have been broken

Left behind from the past as a remaining token.

What you would give to just forget

To erase every memory of a cruel fate you met.

Yet the scars remain and the memories last forever

With all your strength, overcoming these challenges you endeavor.

In your time of need you wonder where everyone went

Shielding them from your pain, outside the walls of your heart them you sent.

Could they handle the truth if they knew

Would they even understand the war inside you that’s begun to brew.

Hiding your feelings, your emotions stay invisible

You don’t want to risk being viewed as vulnerable.

You start to wonder if on the wrong side of life you were born

Because from you, you’ve seen every dream torn.

To protect your heart, around it walls you’ve built

But those walls don’t always keep out feelings of shame and guilt.

Is there anything more left to this fight

When you’ve only known darkness, sometimes it’s hard to find the light.

Yourself you harshly judge and criticize

As every scar, flaw and imperfection you scrutinize.

Into someone else you wish you could change

As those broken pieces you attempt to rearrange.

You never asked for any of this to happen

About who you are it left you feeling uncertain.

A battle against yourself you have fought

No one ever asked you what you wanted or thought.

The person in the mirror you don’t need to erase

Because you are not a disgrace.

Beneath the surface lies so much more

For it is bravery and courage that can be found at your heart’s core.

You are more than the scars you bear

Of your own beauty you’re not even aware.

Like a diamond, the struggles you underwent polished you to shine

Who you are the past does not define.

Look beyond the reflection staring back

Your future the past couldn’t ransack.

This life you have is far from finished

So the person within you by you should be cherished.

You are worthy of your own love

To the side yourself don’t shove.

No matter what you’ve been through, you’re still you

The only thing that changed is how much stronger from it you grew.

You are beautiful just the way you are

Have confidence in being who you are and the belief in yourself will take you far.

If you could only see who you have yet to become and what your life has in store

You’d see someone extraordinary destined to live an even better life than before.

‘If You Could Only See’ Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch