You Are The Light

By Nicole BellApril 16, 2015

The following post contains themes of sexual assault. Please take caution when reading.

If you have experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse, you know the resulting darkness is pervasive. It is a fly on the wall that won’t stop buzzing. It is the hum of your mind that keeps you up at night. It is the negative thoughts that threaten to destroy every chance at happiness.

The darkness is what has allowed you to “cope” with the memories of the abuse. It offers you a safe place to hide when you feel the shame of all the things that have happened to you. It hides you from the world and keeps people from seeing you.

The darkness is a comfortable place. Being there is like being in a love-hate relationship. You love the security that it offers, but you hate that you want to get out and don’t know how.

The darkness is the friend that constantly talks about you and doesn’t care about your life or your future. It is the friend that gets on your nerves, but you deal with it because it is the only friend you have. The darkness is your best friend and your worst enemy.

Oh, the comfort of sitting alone in a room and letting the tears fall—relishing the release of lost dreams, bad choices, broken promises, and fear. The pain of the darkness is palpable. The comfort of the darkness is tangible. It has manifested itself in every area of your life.

You look in the mirror and see the darkness reflected in your eyes. You are living and breathing and dying and gasping for air at the same time. You sit alone with your thoughts and repeat the same scenarios over and over again, wondering when something is going to change.

The fear of the light is real.

We’ve all had our moments in the darkness. Some have lasted hours. Some have lasted days. For some, the darkness has lasted for years. We’ve all been there together, but we just couldn’t see each other. We were blind.

Have you ever heard of someone being blinded by darkness? No. Eventually your eyes adjust, and you’re able to see. What blinds us is the light. The light is too bright to look at directly, and we think it will burn us if we dare fly too close to it. The light that is within us that blazes like an eternal flame . . . and we are afraid of it.

And so we sit in the dark — comfortable and uncomfortable, raging and praying, laughing and crying, rarely realizing the truth: You cannot have darkness without light.

For what is darkness but the absence of light? One does not define light by darkness.

So . . . the struggle is to remember who you are — you are a spirit having a human experience in mind and body. You are the light. You were born into a dark world, and you have to constantly remind yourself of who you are and the power that you possess, even when you may feel powerless.

If you can return to your spirit, you can overcome the pain of what happened to your body, and you can change the thoughts of your mind. You have to remember who you are: You are the light.

Your journey is not just about coming out of the darkness, for darkness is all around you. Your journey is going back into the light. Shift your focus inward. Renew your mind. Strengthen your body. Remember who you are in spirit.

The light within you is the very reason you are still here. The darkness tried to take you out, but you are still flickering. You are still looking for that gust of fresh air that will fan your flame and cause you to shine brightly and dispel the darkness.

Before someone hurt you, you were the light.

After someone hurt you, you are still the light.

Your flame has never completely gone out. After all, you are still here. And since you are here, there is still time to fan the flame and strengthen the light within you.

In light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we’re working with RAINN to highlight survivors and their stories. If you need help, please visit our FIND HELP page or call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. You can also find RAINN’s online hotline here

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Comments (14)

  1. Nicole M

    This is beautiful. And a needed reminder, that I am more than my abuse. I am more than those words said to me, to make me feel like less than human.

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    1. Dani

      I completely agree.

      Reply  |  
    2. Nicole Bell

      Indeed, you are much more than your abuse, Nicole. You are a warrior of light. You are still here and stronger than you know. God bless you on your journey.

      Reply  |  
  2. b.e. noll

    Thanks for this, Nicole. I needed to read this. I’m going to be carrying some of these sentences around for a while.

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  3. sandra

    wow thank you for this!!!!

    Reply  |  
  4. Rebecca

    As a therapist working with surviors of abuse, I find your words to be truely inspiring and heartfelt. They are words of courage, strength and hope. I will be sharing your blog post with my clients.

    Reply  |  
  5. Salem

    Thank you for posting this article… it speaks so much to me, and the struggles that I have had. It makes me feel less alone in my own struggle, and lends a voice to my thoughts and feelings. Thank you for continually giving me hope

    Reply  |  
  6. Maria

    I use to say. Depression is like a big comfortable chair. I can relate and agree with your post. Clearly from the heart. I am not only a survivor of sexual abuse. But have also been healed for 20 years. My healing came at age 32. Up until then the darkness was thick, and the mire deep. I had hit bottom. And must say gave up on the idea of healing. Since I was one that tried everything to heal myself. Except drugs and alchohol. Which is a miracle in itself. Your words reminded me of how it felt. You captured the essence of part of the battle very nicely. The lovely thing about remembering is the absence of the sting. Darkness has lost its place within. It may lurk about in the corners. But it has been stripped of the power it once had over me. I am not perfect by any means. I have other struggles to deal with indeed. But the pain no longer swallows me up into its pit. I am not a religious person. But thank God for this miracle. Because that’s what it was. I would like people to know it is possible to live in the light. It does happen. It happened to me!

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  7. pm

    Some times the pain is all that reminds you that you’re alive. The light ?

    Reply  |  
  8. sierra

    This is beautiful. I was raped by my stepfather for three years, and this is so beautiful. Thank you <3

    Reply  |  
  9. Maria

    Alone is to be
    Lost in a sea
    No entrance no may gain
    In a world full of pain
    With emptiness to bare
    As no one could care
    Tossed about in the storm
    Is a hell without form
    Alone a cup to taste
    Of pain and shame and waste.

    Reply  |  
  10. Kloui

    this made me cry. i didn’t realize i was still so emotionally attached.. thank you for posting this… I needed this light today..

    Reply  |  
  11. Adam

    I thought if I could just control the darkness, I could find peace and happiness. The real truth is, the more control I had, the darker life became. It took another major, dramatic life event for me to realize that I still have the potential to go back into the the light of life. Every day is a struggle but I will never give up!

    Reply  |  
  12. Nicole Bell

    Thank you so much for sharing your comments and stories with me. Every day is a decision to live in the light. To find out more about me, the blog, and my mission to help people who’ve experienced sexual assault and abuse, visit me at I’d love to keep the conversation going. God bless.

    Reply  |  
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