Don’t call me a victim.

…And I don’t like the word ‘survivor,’ either.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines ‘victim‘ as:

A person who has been attacked, injured, robbed, or killed by someone else

A person who is cheated or fooled by someone else

Someone or something that is harmed by an unpleasant event (such as an illness or accident)

And while some of this may be true for me, I am so much more than just a victim. To me, a victim surrenders. A victim needs to be rescued. A victim takes whatever the villain dishes out and doesn’t fight back. A victim is helpless.

But I don’t want to be called a survivor, either…because that’s all they do: they survive.Β 

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary even defines ‘survive‘ as such: “To remain alive: to continue to live…exist.” Just like in that ridiculous reality show, a survivor lives through whatever hardships are thrown to them and they overcome them; at least enough to maybe tell their tale. They defend themselves as needed, but because of their instincts. They react. A survivor is like a rugged shell: They’re just there.

A warrior is strong. Warriors don’t go looking for trouble but they will kick its ass if it finds them. Warriors survive…and then thrive.Β 

Warrior: A person who fights in battles and is known for having courage or skill.

Again, that’s the simple definition from Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. Unfortunately, the full definition is not entirely gender-neutral…but I suppose I’ll let that slide.

I am a warrior.

I’ve been through some shit. I’ve been the victim before and I’ve put up with it. I’ve been the survivor: I’ve kept my head up and pushed through the hardships I’ve been thrown. But not this time. This time, I’m more than that. I’m fighting back. Even though my emotions are running rampantΒ like a herd of wildebeests, I know that I’m okay. I’m not hiding anymore, I’m pulling myself up and being courageous. I’m empowered because I’ve learned my lessons from being a victim and a survivor. I’ve learned and more importantly, I’ve overcome my struggles and have moved on. I’m stronger now.

What’s happening now…it’s hard. I’m not going to downplay that. But crying isn’t weakness and talking about it is more than okay – it’s necessary. Writing is one of my coping mechanisms, and while I don’t feel the need to publicly disclose everything, I do want anyone reading this to know that whatever issues you’re facing…it’s okay to get help…and don’t ever let anyone think that you can’t talk about your problems.

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