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Question are you braver today? Are you strong now because of what you’ve been through?

Braver? Stronger? Or am I just becoming comforter able in my own skin?

The badges of survival.

The badges of survival.

As I become stronger I am sharing more. These ar the scars of my life and testament to my survival. The lower scar was from my rape the upper from my suicide attempt. I used to spend a lot of time covering scars before going out. I used to cover them all, edit pictures to blur them out.

Today they show what I’ve survived. There are still a few scars I can not bare to the world. But they are growing fewer and fewer as days progress.

Each scar tells a tale of survival, tragedy and triumph. They tell a tale of victory through trials and hardships. They tell the story of the grace and love that saved me. They tell a story of glory, honor and love.

Each of them I wear proudly now and when asked I tell the world they mark my survival. They are my trophies that I won despite the odds and despite the challenge. These two scars tell not of my suffering but of the stubborn and willful survival when I was supposed to die. They tell of the hand that protected me from death and the victory above the challenges.

The bottom one I suffered as they raped me. I struggled against the ropes and the flesh was removed in the effort. I wouldn’t quit fighting and that scar is the merit badge of survival. That scar tells of a girl who wouldn’t give up and against the odds, the pain and the tragedy fought for her life.

When all hope and fight left me it reminds me of the hand of God himself that came and ended my trial. That scar is a merit badge. It is Gods badge that says my daughter fought until I arrived and in her fight she became victorious and I am proud of her.

The upper scar was caused by the rocks as I landed so hard the force ripped my flesh and it’s never fully healed. Today it still has pain to the touch sometimes though I’m told it’s psychosomatic. When I allow someone close enough to touch it I shiver when it’s traced or touched. Perhaps it’s all in my head as they say or perhaps I’ve yet to learn the lessons God wished me to learn.

This badge of survival is the same scar Sarah likes to trace and the same she traced on the love boat. I am not covering them any longer when I go out. I will not ask Sarah to touch them up or allow me to cover them before she takes my picture. They have faded some and most say they barely show any longer.

To me they are as awful as the day I earned them. The only difference now is I know they tell the story of what I’ve survived. These scars trace the story of my ultimate redemption and I will show them to the world.

Am I braver today? Perhaps in ways and in others no I’m not. I’m braver today because my creator has shown me the truth. The truth in the markings he allowed for the purpose to remind me of my triumph, of his glory, and of survival against stacked odds.

Am I stronger? In ways I am much stronger and in other ways I’m still reeling from the events that caused them. God alone has made me stronger, not yet strong enough to accept them fully but strong enough to accept they are mute testament that screams the honor in survival and his ultimate plan for me.

I accept today he hasn’t let me die and reminds me I survive because of him. I am stronger in my faith, braver with my words and yet much remains broken. Someday I’ll live as is intended and someday I’ll be brave enough and strong enough to face the world head on without the need of a pack.

These scars are the way to that acceptance. These are the reminders not of what I endured but the triumph and victory of survival and continued living. They speak with a voice I have not known for myself until I learned what they really mean. They mean victory.

~Michelle Styles