I’m tired of watching abuse. It happened to me, it happens around me – it’s the reason I can’t run away and escape from my past. The reason I can’t forget, the reason with every core of my being I become so angry that I lose words and start to breakdown.
In 2005, 2006, and 2007 I was a blogger, an NCFCA-er, a Rebelution moderator, a Regenerate Our Culture board member, a Student Project campaigner, and a TeenPact Alumni – if you recognize any of those (*except NCFCA outside region 8 prelims, I didn’t get far), then my name, Kierstyn Paulino (or variations thereof) will ring bells. I contributed to the amount of hurt I and many others who grew up in this radical/evangelical/conservative/christian subculture endured and continue to endure. I’m sorry for that, and ashamed. A large reason I don’t write about it here, and am vague at best is because I’m so ashamed of my past and who I used to be. I didn’t know any better, I was 15 and growing up in a spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally abusive environment. I was trying to do the “right” thing, to be a good girl, to be approved of, and I was. I was looked up to, and even World Magazine acknowledged noticed. I succeeded for a while, before it all fell apart.
I am not that person anymore. I’ve spent the last 4 years of adulthood learning things most people learn in their late teen years, trying to heal and reach a sense of normalcy, trying to discover who I am because I lived a charade my whole life just to survive, grieving for everything I’ve lost, putting the pieces of myself back together with my best friend who’s been beside me this whole time. I have grown and evolved. I’m not whole, or healed, or perfect, or awesome, or anything. I’m still remarkably borked, but my past keeps casting a shadow and I’m so tired of being quiet, scared, and ashamed. It happened, it was wrong and abusive on so many levels, and I can help it stop.
I am a geek, artist, actress/filmmaker, and activist. I am a paladin, a champion, a defender of the defenseless. I am strong, determined, defiant. I am a protector, a safe place, a warrior, a sister. I am done being silent. I will fight to help the scores of us who are coming out of the woodwork to right the (unintended) wrongs and heal the fellow broken souls. Maybe that will help me heal too.
I doubt that I’ll ever be able to be completely normal, to live a life without the pain and reminders – because my past is a part of me, and it’s the reason that I rage at injustice, and it’s the reason I’m so strong. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll get better at balance, and I’ll be able to embrace all of it and accept the things I’m ashamed of, and help the ones who need it, and live an epic life.
Right now, I just need to cry.