Nothing compares to the connection between survivors. How it feels to be together. The opportunity to just ‘be’.
No masking, no hesitating- no hiding.
Acceptance, understanding and recognition.
Mostly we laugh. Maybe that sounds strange, but it’s not to us. There is a lot of laughter, even about the things that aren’t really very funny – our hypersensitive startle reflexes, for example. A siren, a door slamming, shrieking exclamation from the table behind, fuck, that made me jump – but we’re not ashamed. We laugh.
Maybe it’s the relief.
The conversations. The intensity. We want to talk… and talk and talk – because we were silenced. Everywhere else we are still silenced because we have to be careful, always. To consider our words. It is always at the back of our minds. Always. Scrutinising the expressions, the body language. The imperceptible shift in atmosphere.
Have I crossed the line? Have I said too much? What will they think? Am I safe?
Until we are together and we can speak, our barriers down, our words untethered; only then can we be ourselves – can we just ‘be’.