Little Words of Kindness Campaign

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Celebration and Transformation of A Survivor

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on May 4, 2018 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

My life is not about where I've been but it's about where I am going.



I don't let others determine my worth for I know that being who I am is what makes me so beautiful.


I am strong because I have found the courage to be brave by living my life again.



I found the courage to be brave by overcoming the obstacles and challenges life threw at me.



I overcame the hard times because I was brave enough to rise above the ashes of the past.



I rose above the ashes of the past by having faith that I could have a better life, one of happiness and love that I deserve.



I discovered the power of having faith when I held onto the hope that I could make my dreams come true and turn my life into what I want it to be.



I held onto that hope when I began to believe in myself.



I began to believe in myself when I started to love and accept myself again.


I gained back and renewed confidence in myself through loving and accepting myself and not using labels such as broken, damaged, and shattered to define me.



I became fearless through having confidence and thus started to see that there is nothing ordinary about me for everything about me is what makes me extraordinary.



My fearlessness has led me to become victorious in the battles I have fought, thus helping me take back control of my life.



Through every victory gained I mark another milestone in my life that deserves to be celebrated.



Every milestone passed is another way of showing me that I have accomplished and achieved yet another dream.



Each dream I make happen and turn into reality comes from the passion I have for living life to the fullest.



The passion I have for living my life is a result of the will in me to never give up or surrender being ignited from the fight I have left in me to keep on surviving and to make something more of this life.



That will in me to keep going grew within me through every experience lived and every lesson learned from everything I've been through.


Every experience lived and every lesson learned along the way has motivated me to push forward and move on, showing me that even the most fragile parts of me remain unbreakable for I have found my way out from the darkness and into the light.



What I have learned through all this is that as a survivor and as a thriver, I am extraordinary because I am unique and I am unique because I am beautiful and I am beautiful because of who I was born to be and meant to be in this life I've been given and I am someone worth celebrating as are all the moments that have helped to impact my life, helped me to change and become a better person, and helped me to see who I really am by helping me see that all the strength, courage, determination and bravery has always been there inside of me.



'Celebration and Transformation of A Survivor' Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch

 

Dear Me, I Love You

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on May 4, 2018 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear Me,

As I looked at you standing on the other side of the mirror today, I thought about everything we’ve been through together. My mind wandered back to the times I didn’t always like you and how I sometimes struggled to love you enough because I was ashamed of you. To me you served as a reminder of a girl that everyone else wanted to change, a girl that they wanted to be someone else and someone better, a girl that wasn’t good enough because she didn’t live up to their expectations and a girl that according to them didn’t have what it took to make it in life. All I wanted was to forget those painful memories which is why I tried to walk away from you.


Too many times I tried to rearrange you and change you, thinking it was the only way for them to be proud of me or to really love me. I know I criticized and judged you time and time again, saying mean things to you because I only saw you the way those who hurt me saw me. Your reflection showed me the scars left behind from situations and circumstances that were beyond your control and were never your fault. If only I would have really looked at you, really seen you, I would have seen the pain in your eyes. I would have seen that longing and yearning you had for being loved for who you are rather than seeing you as someone I greatly despised and blamed for what happened.


The truth is I should have been there for you more. You were never to blame for the people who walked out on you or hurt you. Yet I punished you for their actions, tearing you down even more after they had torn you down enough with their own words. Instead of being your best friend, I became your worst enemy. I tried to numb the hurt and pain by finding ways to take it out on you as I made you pay for things that were never your fault. Deep down inside, I know you felt lonely, scared, and sad even though on the outside it never showed underneath the smile that hid those emotions so well. I should have protected you, shielded you and helped you to heal through those hard times instead of hating you and trying to destroy you. I was the one person you needed to be there for you the most but just like those who hurt me, I walked out on you, refusing to look at you as I desperately attempted to leave you behind for good.


Today I thought about what I really want to say to you. I don’t hate you, I don’t despise you, but I love you and I am proud of you. You could have given up after everything we went through but you chose to keep fighting for us even when I wanted to stop fighting. You pushed back, refusing to be ignored, because the will within you to live was so much stronger than the will to disappear forever. Through this journey of recovery and healing you have transformed into someone so much stronger, braver, and more courageous than I ever imagined you would be, proving to me that we do have more than what it takes to make it. It was your courage, strength and determination within that kept us going because you wouldn’t allow me to give up. It was your voice that whispered “keep going, it gets better” as you continued to believe and have hope that we could have a better life. That belief you had in us is what kept me hanging on during the darkest times in our life because it was your light shining through to show the way, guiding us back through the darkness.


So to the inner me, to the girl that’s always been inside my heart, I want you to know that I’m not leaving you behind but I’m going to be there for you no matter what. I am proud of who you’ve become because I know not every battle we’ve fought, every challenge we’ve faced and every struggle we’ve been through has been easy. Thank you for showing me and reminding me of who I am by having faith and confidence in us from believing in who we can be and who we already are. To the girl on the other side of the mirror, you are not just a reflection of the past but you are a beautiful part of me that now every day reminds me of how far I’ve come in life, how much progress I’ve made, and how much I’ve healed from the scars that remain. I promise you won’t be alone because we are in this together and I promise to be the person you need me to be, the one who loves you, cares about you, and wants to be there for you the most. You are that person I want to get to know more and to meet again because I know there’s so much to learn from you still. So dear me, I want you to know you are worth fighting for and living for because I love you, every part of you and always will.

Don't Tell Me To Get Over It, Help Me Get Through It

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on May 4, 2018 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

“Just get over it. Move on. It already happened and it’s in the past so just forget about it.” How easy it is for people to tell us this when they haven’t been in our shoes, felt the pain we’ve felt, or walked the path we have. If I had a dime for every time I heard this phrase I would probably be rich by now. According to Google search, the phrase “Get over it” means to accept that something happened in the past and to move on. But when you tell a survivor of abuse to get over it, you make them feel as if what they went through was not important at all. The absolute worst thing you can ever tell a survivor of abuse is to get over it because if they don’t feel that what they went through is important or that it doesn’t matter then often times they remain silent and continue to hold it all inside.


It is hard enough for survivors to come out and talk about what happened to them. People do not realize how much strength and courage it takes for us to break our silence. In their minds, since it already happened and since we can’t go back and change what happened to us, there is no reason why we should not be able to just move on and forget about it as we put the past behind us for good. Just because we are not victims anymore doesn’t mean that what we went through doesn’t still affect us. Even though we survived a traumatic experience, we didn’t escape the aftermath of those effects left behind from what we endured.


Yes we made it through those times but not without it leaving scars on us. Long after we have broken free, the memories continue to linger on. However, remembering what we went through, talking about it, and venting about it does not mean we are dwelling or living in the past. There is a difference between living and dwelling in the past and talking about it in order to allow ourselves to heal from it. I have had people accuse me before of dwelling on the past and living in it still when I have shared my story. When survivors share their stories, it is never because they are dwelling or living in the past, but it is because they need to express those locked up feelings and emotions kept hidden inside for so long in order to begin healing from the scars that remain. Silence hurts us more than it helps us for some things really are not better left unsaid or unspoken.


For a long time I remained silent about what I went through. I kept so many secrets buried deep inside for fear I would be judged or criticized. A few times when I did try to speak out, I would hear how I should just get over it or that I was whining about my past. As a result, I thought I had to hide that side of me from everyone else because I thought no one wanted to hear about what I had been through or what had happened to me. The last thing I wanted was to come across as someone who was feeling sorry for myself or looking for pity for what I had survived when really that wasn’t the case at all. What I really wanted was for someone to hear the voice inside me, to listen to me, and to tell me this wasn’t my fault and that I would get through this, that everything would be okay again. The more I ignored what I had been through, the more I isolated my feelings, the more I put on a smile and pretended everything was okay when really it wasn’t, the more I hurt inside. By pushing all those feelings to the side, I was denying myself the chance to heal as well as the right to be myself.


Do not tell us survivors to just get over what happened to us. That is not what we need to hear. Imagine how you would feel if something traumatic happened to you, leaving you feeling vulnerable, broken, fragile and exposed, taking from you a part of your life and a part of who you were, and having people tell you to just get over it. It would make you feel as if you didn’t even matter and make you feel no one cared about the pain you suffered. Even more so it would make you feel very alone, too. For us it isn’t about getting over it but it’s about doing the best we can to get through it in order to overcome the challenges we face and the battles we fight. It’s about confronting our fears and insecurities as we open ourselves to express those hidden emotions so we can heal. Do not silence us because we have been silent for long enough.


What we really need the most is to know we are not alone and that our loved ones, friends and family will be there for us, will believe us, and stand by us in what we are facing. You may not be able to fight our battles for us but you can fight them with us. The traumatic events that we have survived and the pain suffered from what we endured often does leaving us feeling more fragile and vulnerable than you know. Sometimes it is hard for us to find the right words to say when talking about it because sometimes for us there really aren’t any words to describe the horror we went through from the nightmares we escaped. Please don’t tell us to just get over it but understand we need your love and support the most during those times we feel we are breaking down and falling apart. We need to know we are not alone, that it is going to be okay, that it was never our fault and isn’t our fault. No we don’t need to always hear that we are strong and will make it through or be told to stay strong because sometimes we need you to be strong for us. So before you tell us to just get over it, help us get through it first!

Your Own Kind of Beautiful

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on May 4, 2018 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I know you don’t always see in yourself what I see

But from my perspective the pieces of your heart fit together beautifully.

You won’t say everything you’ve been through

Yet I see all the little things for others that you do.


 

A warm welcome is your presence

Because it’s from the pureness of your heart and soul that others feel its radiance.

Never do you ask for anything in return

Helping those you love and care about is your main concern.

 


When you’re around your light leads the way

Letting people know things will once again be okay.

In their time of need no one do you leave behind

It’s in you that a safe place they find.


You think I don’t notice the parts of you that you hide

Standing on the outside, I get a glimpse of the real you inside.

There’s nothing about you I would ever want to change

To me the pieces of your heart you don’t need to re arrange.


By who you all ready are I’m inspired

From the very start it’s what you’ve overcome that I’ve always admired.

Your strength and courage never waver

When I look at you I stare in awe and wonder.


There’s so much more to you than meets the eye

Of the courage and strength to rise above your scars testify.

You may not say what you always feel

But how extraordinary you are your character does reveal.

 


You’re far from being simple and plain

When things in my life got tough, you always chose to remain.

Through every struggle and challenge you’ve been there

Reminding me how much you truly care.

 


In me you help bring out the best

Challenging me to grow more from life’s every test.

In who I can be you believe

Showing me a better life isn’t impossible to achieve.


You’re not just my friend, you’re my hero, too

In this world people like you are far and few.

Our paths were meant to cross for a reason

Know that to me you are very much someone.

 


If I could tell you just one thing it’s that you make a difference

This life is more amazing because of your existence.

Never stop being who you are

It’s your own kind of beautiful that makes you such a star.


‘Your Own Kind of Beautiful’ Copyright (c) Jenna Kandyce Linch



 









It's Not What I Lost, It's What I've Gained

Posted by Jenna Kandyce Linch on April 26, 2018 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I believe when it comes to healing, it is important to focus on what we can gain from what we've been through and look at where we are now and not just dwell on what we lost and where we used to be. Are there times that I wonder what my life would have been like had I not have gone through the abuse I suffered or had I not been raped, yes I admit there are times that I do wonder that. But at the same time I know that everything I went through made me stronger in the way that it took a lot of courage for me to finally speak out and break my silence, to fight back for me, and to not let those who hurt me continue to have control in my life by choosing to not live my life in fear because of things that happened. There's no telling who I would have been if these things had not occurred but I do know that I am proud of who I am because of who I chose to become despite the battles I've fought, the struggles I've endured and challenges I've faced. I'm not going to dwell on what I lost during those times but instead I will focus on what I have gained from getting through those times which is the courage and strength to continue even when I thought I couldn't make it and the courage to not let it change the person I am but become more of who I want to be by growing more from it. I won't let the past leave me feeling shattered and broken. Sure I may feel fragile at times but fragile does not mean I am broken and shattered. Healing is a step by step process and the more I heal the more I begin to see that maybe in some ways I am a different person than I was before I went through the things I did but I am only different because of who I have chosen to become because within me still beats the same heart that has always been inside me and who I am and always has been is what they could never and will never take away from me. I've been through some life changing experiences but from those life changing experiences I've been able to help change others' lives because of the hope I can give and because of the light I can be from the darkness I went through in my own life.


-Jenna Kandyce Linch

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

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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


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