A couple of weeks ago, I stood by my table among many other entities seeking out interns at the MSU Earn, Learn and Intern event.
I felt awkward.
I am proud of my work. I believe that there is no end to what a student might learn working with me and my team of firestarters.
But I watch.
I say sexual trauma and children in the same sentence and I watch the recoil.
The step away and back. The inner shudder.
I know, guys. I know.
It’s hard words. It’s hard truths and ugly realities. I know it and if you work here, I won’t shield you from it.
When we go into the darkness, we go all in. There is no dipping your toe in. It is a full push into the muck. It is a deep dig into the dark to find the light.
A friend shared an article with me over the weekend.
It start’s out:
“Sometimes when the phrase trauma survivor is mentioned, there is such heaviness in the air, such hesitation and deliberate conversation that I just want to shout—”Don’t be afraid of survivors; don’t back away. They might be you and you might be them.” So instead of starting with what is challenging, stressful, and complicated about working with survivors, I want to celebrate our strengths:”
The article is called, “Survivor Strengths:” Excerpt from “Survivors on the Yoga Mat”
I read it and then thought, “Ah ha.”
You see, I don’t believe in convincing people to work with me. Not here. Not in my place.
I think you have to want to be here. It’s that good. It’s meant for you. Or it’s just not.
However, after reading these notes on how survivors exist beyond their trauma, my perspective began to shift.
Imagine: all of this good wrapped up in one person who has been badly injured.
A person that sees more for having seen less. A person who understands what you’ve been through and knows that silent compassion is the best medicine; today. It may be different tomorrow and that’s okay.
This and so many other things that survivors of all kinds of trauma hold out as true gifts refined over time.
Perhaps, my job is not to convince. That still rings true.
There are members of my team who are survivors. I am a survivor.
What if the lessons are in recognizing that survivors can be a source of inspiration, great healing and hope despite real, devastating tragedy?
What if the lessons are in not fearing survivors as a community?
I think I am going to print this off and pass it out whenever I hand out my internship positions.
I don’t have just a job. So why would I have just an internship to offer.
PS – Just in case you’re curious, here’s the link to The Firecracker Foundation Internship Opportunities.