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Walking Shoes

Was feeling myself today. First, I thought it must be the shoes, then I realized it wasn't what I was walking on, but what I was walking in: God's purpose for me. This afternoon, I had the opportunity to share my story of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survival with the United States Secretary of Veteran's Affairs, Secretary McDonough, Congressman Bobby Scott and Congresswoman Elaine Luria. I spoke my truth: the ways in which I overcame, the way Top, David Bower, first told me he believed me and then pestered until I was ready to seek help through Veteran's Affairs, the resources the VA afforded me which led to and keep me in a space of healing. Never healed, always healing.

I evoked the name of Specialist Vanessa Guillen, the ways in which her murder retraumatized, the many servicemen and women drowning under the weight of victimization, dishonorably discharged when dishonorable things had been done to them. I told them I am one of the lucky ones and that is the true tragedy, that only a few of us get to be lucky ones.

After I spoke, I looked around that room and thought, "Lord, what did I do to get here?" I mean, my physician just called me up two days ago and said, "I just knew you'd be the person they need to meet." Out of all of her patients, she asked me. I am more convinced that I am being led, I am being called and that is why I remain in a constant state of preparation, to be where and what God needs me to be at a moment's notice.

Thirty years ago, ya'll, when I was an eighteen year old girl, trying to figure out how to keep my drill sergeant out of my bunk, when I was on the phone with my momma crying and she was threatening to call some congressman to get me out of that mess, I could never have seen the woman I was today, walking in her truth, wearing some banging shoes. But I now know, I had to walk that walk, so I could stand here proud, Army strong, a survivor thriver today.

I share this because I don't know what you all are walking in today. I just pray you continue to work toward a healing, toward purpose, so your truth can pave the way for someone else in the future. Love y'all.


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