hello... i have long put off joining a forum, let alone writing a personal intro post - but i truly feel it is the most important step i can take in my life at this moment. it has always been my safe zone to be present for other people in their healing, to encourage them and support them, while i myself hid in secret mounds of pain. so i am here to uncover myself and be honest with all who will listen, and am grateful to likewise support the honesty and truths of others i am here because the rest of the world seems unreal to me now. because people who have not experienced this depth of emotion seem estranged from me. because i know there is so much more to the human spirit and heart than most of the people i meet and feel lonely in not being able to share it. this experience of sexual trauma has given me a range of emotions and a scope of philosophy that is so far beyond what the world is used to, i feel almost like i have no place on Earth. most people consider my day to day feelings dramatic and faked, whether extremely high or deeply low - and yet i know they are deeply real. it didn't occur to me that i wasn't insane until i started uncovering more of my sexual trauma history and learning that many other survivors of this sort of experience also felt that their rawness, depth of feeling and newfound strength were seen as 'too much' for most average people. it's been alienating to feel the real me, but it's been even more alienating to pretend i was someone else, trying to fit in with people who were not compatible with my experiences. it exhausted me so much, i spent half of my life on the verge of suicide, because i was perplexed at the idea of having to 'keep it up.' then one day, i was pushed up against the wall, and really felt like either i'd have to choose to curl into a ball and kill myself somehow or find a way to become absolutely who i truly am, in front of the world, unapologetically and unconditionally. my joining AS and sharing my feelings here is a key step in this journey. i know that if i can begin by challenging myself to share who i really am with other survivors, then one day i can share who i truly am with anyone and everyone - this is my true dream for myself. even my parents can only handle parts of the truth and this has been a deep heartbreak for me. but now i'm finished with heartbroken feelings. and i instead want to channel my energy for empowerment, healing and loving resilience toward people and voices who want to hear what i have to say - not just people who are politely tolerating it. i want anyone who feels like me in this way to know that i think - you are beautiful you are wonderful you are perfect you are powerful you are loved you are appreciated you are celebrated for your raw, real, truthful self. and i thank you for being here with me while i learn to love myself for all of who i really am, even if no one else ever has. thank you!