Throughout April, Rest for Resistance is proud to feature writing by LGBTQ+ people of color for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The following content discusses surviving abuse.
I believe in haunted places,
and I believe in you.
I believe that one day
this world will ache, and shuddering—
open, a hungering maw
swallowing itself from the inside.
It will probably hurt— and I know,
we've all hurt enough.
But there are only so many ways
you can pick at a scab, and our
cords are all worn thin
by our own screaming—
because sometimes, there are stories without
princesses at all, only sad girls in small rooms.
is what happens when the world
decides to slowly devour someone,
one finger, one word, one blink at a time.
The body remains, the tower smoldering, but
the person becomes the place.
I believe in haunted places, because I
am one of them. I have always been
a mouth with a thousand teeth,
this body a million sharp stars.
I have always been a kind of evil,
scratching my eyes out at night.
And every morning, I grimace, wicked
and alone, shivering, trying
"I won't look", I tell myself,
"I won't look."
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A yellow dirt path is surrounded by bare trees, with fallen sticks lining either side. The sky is a pale blue fading to white. The trees in the foreground are large and looming, but there are no trees off in the distance, just the sharp line of the horizon where the earth meets the sky.
About Elle Wong:
Elle Wong is a Taiwanese American trans woman from Lexington, KY. A graduate of Lexington's School for Creative and Performing Arts, and a Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts alumnus, she has been published in Still, Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts and Culture, and Bigger Than They Appear: A Collection of Very Short Poems. She has also been a featured poet at the Holler Poets Series in Lexington, KY, and the Treehouse Poets Series in Hazard, KY.
More of her work can be found on Instagram @officialskypiglet.
I’ve finally allowed myself to be honest with myself. And as a result, I’m able to be honest with my partner.
I proceeded to tell them what happened. I didn’t have much in the way of details—believing that’s what they wanted to hear—but what I did share left them in a state of slack-jawed shock. They asked me to imagine for a moment if I had done to her what she had done to me, where I might be at that very moment.
I know few get the opportunity to heal. That’s the motivation that drives me to do healing justice work. But in offering community support, I often forget that I’m part of the community too, that I deserve access to heal from trauma. And those “I don’t deserve _____s” are all giving voice to my survivor’s guilt.
Past experiences of broken confidence held me back, and I had even less confidence that I would be able to find a queer competent, POC identified behavioral health professional with sexual assault experience who was worth investing time, money, and trust in.
Communication is super, super important. Yet no one really taught me how to communicate about sex. I’ve begun to ask myself why I am so afraid to be seen.
Often, I wonder if I love women because I’m tired of being hurt by men. In effect, I have the same question many queer survivors have: am I queer because I was abused?
I’m not doing it on purpose, I promise. But when I’m in the bathroom alone I look at myself in the mirror and I go to a dark place within my own body, somewhere that I haven’t yet exorcised and burnt incense in.
It took me a long time to adjust. To re-adjust. To redefine. The moment I started to speak in a language for myself, that was crafted around the way I want to understand myself, the clock began moving at a pace that felt eternally sacred.
When we heal, we are able to be more to each other and ourselves. And not in that way where it eventually makes us good productive workers. We become more invested in ourselves, and we have more of ourselves to utilize in the ways that bring joy for everyone, including us.
Whether you have a little privilege or a lot, it’s easy to feel helpless when considering the scope of systemic oppression. Growth is always possible, so once we accept the need to change, the only question is how.