I’m spiraling. I feel I’m in a carnival mirror house.

The #MeToo movement this week has unearthed some painful memories and has bonded me with women in ways I never expected. In fear and anxiety, I posted my stories here and here. I only intended them to be on Twitter. Since I only have around a dozen followers, I felt relatively safe. Panic set in when I realized my tweets are linked to Facebook. In that realm, I have almost 400 friends and a large chunk of them are close family members and friends that have never known (and have never wanted to know) the details of my trauma. Wide-eyed, heart pacing, rapid breathing, sweaty palms… do I delete all of the entries? Should I limit the details? Pacing through the house… perseverating questions… Was this a mistake? What is my purpose in posting? Am I creating more harm than good?

And then the responses came flooding in. Gratitude for bravery and sharing light and love. Inspiring words. A connection with an aunt and a cousin whom I’ve longed to have connection. My cousin and I messaged for hours through Facebook, “I had no idea we share this story…”, “I’m so glad you shared…”, “… so glad we connected…”, “I love you.”

A former student I mentored contacted me with questions, “How did you get out?” She worked for several years with an L.A. organization seeking to help women find reprieve and freedom from their life of sex trafficking. I shared my story and miracles abound. I feel a renewed desire to find a local place to transform my story for the good in helping other girls like me.

Peace and validation were immediate. If only to break my aunt and cousin free, then the terror and panic was worth it.

But then the aftermath… so much of my story, my trauma, includes lapsed memory. So many vivid details intertwined with confusion. Where was the park bench I slept on? What baseball field dugout was my overnight shelter? Where did that robbery take place? Where was I brought? Where was I sold? Where did he choke me? What laundromat did I call to be free? Hours searching maps and trying to pin locations and find mugshots and seek closure and knowledge. But for what purpose?

I long to fill in the gaps… to have the whole picture, the whole puzzle put together, so I can move on. But are the details important? Is the whole story, my timeline of trauma, needing to be revealed and organized in order to move on?

I’m spinning. I feel I’m walking through a maze with dead ends around every corner.

I’m desperate to find meaning. I’m longing to make peace with the horrible things done to me. How can I take what “he” meant for evil and turn it into something beautiful? My daily life feels so mundane and my reach so limited. How can I change the world with my story? How can I make waves that knock ignorance out of the picture? How can I break open empathy and compassion? How can I charge people to fight for the oppressed? How can I support and hold the faces of the brokenhearted?

I continue seeking to know the right questions to answer.