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I was sure the tears that knew everything about my childhood sexual abuse would carry me out to sea. I couldn’t imagine it was possible to wade in the emotions asking me to cry. The pain was too deep. Betrayal was too agonizing. Guilt, confusion, and fear were bottomless.

But as healing took me to my truth, I became stronger. One day, my tears recognized I was ready. They came to me when I had a quiet afternoon to myself. I didn’t resist though I was convinced my kids and husband would arrive home to find nothing but a still-sobbing puddle.

I discovered tears aren’t the bottom of the sea where I would drown. They are the waves. In a moment of welling emotion, they might carry me like a tidal wave, but they are always heading for the steady shore. In my healing journey, crying became as constant as the surf, but I was never pulled out to sea.

When I was no longer afraid of the tears, when I embraced their value, I discovered they came to support me. These tears did not come to rub my wound. They brought relief so my injuries could heal. They didn’t come to wash me away with a memory. They brought insight and clues about my experience so I could change my life. In my sea of black tears, I found could swim toward the day when my abuse no longer defined my life.