But still I rise; {Letters, Introduction}

Source: billboard.com. Image links to source.

I won’t just survive
Oh, you will see me thrive
Can’t write my story
I’m beyond the archetype

– Katy Perry, Rise

When I dropped out of college they wrote me letters.  When I moved away from home they wrote me letters.   They still write me letters sometimes.

Friends, family members, acquaintances, classmates, friends of my parents, and others – people who decided to try and write my story for me.  People who wanted me to fit the image they had of me in their minds.  People who were not comfortable when I began to discover myself.  People who wanted me to go back into their little boxes – the boxes I had always allowed them to put me in.  The boxes I thought were me.

I won’t just conform
No matter how you shake my core
‘Cause my roots—they run deep, oh

Oh, ye of so little faith
Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Victory is in my veins
I know it, I know it
And I will not negotiate
I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it
I will transform

Some letters came handwritten, with beautiful flowing script.  Others were typed out and sent through Facebook.  All of them hurt.  More than one person asked where the “cheerful, happy, old you” went.  They cut deep.

When, when the fire’s at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They’re whispering, “You’re out of time,”
But still I rise

My goal is to share some of these letters with you alongside of my thoughts, comments, and responses.  This will help me process through them, and maybe help you with similar letters or messages you’ve received from loved ones.

This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in
Think again
Don’t be surprised
I will still rise

I will make it through this.  I will rise and I will grow and heal – despite what people think and say to and about me.

Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Oh, oh, oh, oh
You know it, you know it
Still rise
Just fight it, just fight it
Don’t be surprised
I will still rise

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