I receive many emails and messages. The universe that’s opened up since I started to post on social media is wonderful.
I have some followers who I feel are already like friends because of how much we converse and exchange ideas.
The other day, in a post about something cool that happened with me while on the road Nancy Niss (who I also met through Facebook) commented “A lot of people know you through your blog and comment about your journey in conversations with their friends. It’s a slender thread that reaches out farther and farther, tying itself together into a larger and larger net, of beautiful complexity (…)
It’s difficult to have a real notion of the size of this “slender thread” that she mentions in her commentary but the following situation gave me some idea.
I received this message:
“Juli, you don’t know me, but last month I started to read your posts because a friend in Calgary told me about them. They’re great. Congratulations!
Your content has been very important to me and I’ve used some in my therapy.
I used to travel a lot but now I don’t travel anymore.
You’re near my city and I’d love to have you come stay here at the house, if you’d like, I live in XXX, will you come by here?"
Well, I hadn’t planned to go through her city, and to continue the story, I went.
Arriving there I met the entire family. Mother, father, 2 brothers, grandmother and her.
She’s 29 years old and she told me her story: When she was 23, right after graduating in nursing, to commemorate her diploma, she and 4 girl friends went travelling. Since they didn’t have much money, they hitchhiked through the United States and Canada.
She’d never felt so adventuresome and free! “It was wonderful,” she said, “we made a pact among ourselves that we’d never stop travelling that way.”
They all loved the same kind of music and because it was summer they took the opportunity to go to some festivals.
One morning, camped at one of these festivals, her tent opened. She thought it was her friend she shared the tent with and who still hadn’t come back from partying.
She saw very little, she was sleepy.
She was raped.
She remembers everything, except his face. And what she remembers is enough.
At this point, while she told me this, we were both crying a lot. I really wanted her to stop talking, but she wouldn’t allow it.
Six years later she still talks about it and rationalizes to herself that she did nothing wrong. She still asks herself if there was anything she could have done to avoid it.
I felt terrible. I went to bathroom to throw up. For a few seconds, sitting on the floor of the bathroom I felt like her. I felt rage. I felt pain. I felt desperation.
I asked why she was telling me all that and she said that she’d never talked about the subject except to a small circle of close family and a few friends. And after reading my post about the Highway of Tears and the case of Beatriz in Rio de Janeiro, she felt that she could speak out. She asked me, with shaking hands: “Would you write this for me?”
Pause here. I think my blood sugar had gone down during our conversation and I couldn’t respond. I was sweating a lot, sweating cold, I was feeling a little dizzy.
I asked her, why me? Why not her? I’d publish it, no problem. I’d help her if need be.
“Written words are forever, I don’t want to write something that I’d like to forget about but I feel I need to reveal, in some way, what I lived through. Will you help me?
Here we are. Weeks after the saddest day in my life.
It’s written, Hanna, for those that read me (us), to know that there’s a strong woman who is reborn every day and that will soon go out adventuring in the world again.
Don’t be mistaken, I was the one who came out more empowered from our encounter. Thanks for being a part of the way and the road that I had the fortune of taking.
Note: On the day I went to take her this text, she asked me could she perhaps travel with me for a day or two?… She said she was already riding around the city on her brother’s bike.
You’ll always be welcome, my dear! Thanks for trusting in me, Thanks for being so courageous! Thanks for transforming me so much!