I have spent the last almost two months knocked on my bottom; primarily by an infection that moved from one part of my body, to my skin, to my blood. All caused as a result of a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that some of you know I battle. There are many such disorders and you might be familiar with a few of them: fibromayalgia, lupus, crohn’s, arthritis (various forms), and many others. These diseases, such as lupus, fibromayalgia, chronic migraine disorders, and others, are three times more prevalent in women of color (Native, African, Latina, etc).
And yet, like abuse, sometimes we remain silent, bearing internal bruises, batterings in silence.
Survival is something to be proud of, it is triumphant-- but triumph is not always pretty. It is not always some thing to be boasted and put on display. The things one does, or the histories of survival, triumphs over erasure are not always stories of celebration, sometimes they are ugly, sometimes people do what they had/have to do. Some scars we carry in pride, some in shame… And while we should surely celebrate those stories of triumph with grace, we should not forget or pretend those ugly histories do not exist. Like any trauma--- to cut it out--- to erase it, is to negate something that makes us, us. Who we are, who I am. I think pain, trauma, acts of survival, graceful and foul must be lived through, acknowledged, and grown through, it remains a part of you. To erase it is to never allow growth or healing or proper knowing of the self.
I am an Indigenous descended / Mestiza woman with chronic illness. Native American women are at an increased risk for autoimmune disease, including lupus, arthritis /RA, and 3x more likely than whites to suffer. I am also a survivor of not only histories but a statistical survivor of violence and sexual assault. I am not ashamed of these things anymore. I embrace my survivals and their keloid scarring for the beautiful weaving tapestry of resistances that they are. I do not lay down and I do not surrender… I may have stepped out for a while, but I like persistent dandelions I come back. And look it up. Dandelions are not weeds to pulled from the lawn, they are edibles, they are medicals they are dyes. Survivors not disposables. We rise. We remain.