[ r e s p e c t ]
I got this free shirt from a campus committee called Love Pono back at Leeward. This group focuses on building and maintaining healthy relationships through education, counseling, intervention, etc.
Whenever I wear this shirt, I go through a roller coaster of emotions and feelings. I'm proud. I'm ashamed. I'm powerful. I'm weak. I'm resilient.
It's a welcoming reminder of my past. Odd as that sounds, I'm reminded of the times where I felt depressed, lost, and unworthy of love, but I'm also reminded of my strength to work through these struggles.
For years, I've been silent about my experiences with sexual violence. I was so embarrassed, like it was my fault that these men took advantage of me. I was afraid that no one would believe me. I was a child and teenager and I just didn't know any better. Or that I should have stood up for myself and it's not considered rape because I was in college and he was my boyfriend. However, days like this, remind me that it's okay to speak up.
Some may think of my daily exercise routines as nothing special, but exercise and taking care of my body are huge parts in my healing journey. For a long time, I hated my body. I often wished I could be disconnected from it because I constantly felt violated. I'm learning to love, appreciate, and respect my body through exercise, eating well, and practicing self love.
It's not always easy, but life is too short to not find the good in every situation.