Lessons from a Wispy Spider

This short essay originally appeared on Breaking the Silence for Women a year ago today.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.”

This morning while I was in my workplace bathroom, I noticed a small and wispy spider climbing the wall.

Her mission was clear: To rise. And she was determined, I could tell by her speed.

Every inch or so she lost her footing, and with that, a small bit of her progress. She would not be discouraged, however. I was witness as she regained her grip, never slowing, and pushed onward many times over.

That’s what healing after abuse is like.

We are challenged by the process, just like our leggy friend, and affected by factors we have no control over. We also get to choose, as she did, whether we’ll give up when triggered, or hunker down and keep going despite what tries to deter us.

Our friend tells us this, too:

*Pay no attention to your audience. I was three feet from her and she didn’t care. She was on a journey for herself and didn’t let me stop her.
*Big-picture progress is more powerful than any individual measure. She may have slipped countless times, but guess what? She still made it up the wall.
*It’s okay to rest. I’ve been back to the bathroom since our encounter and there’s no sign of her. She’s found herself somewhere to hide out and take a break. You’re allowed breaks, too.
*Only we can define what our healing looks like. Maybe she didn’t yet know her ultimate goal, just that she needed to move forward; that she couldn’t remain immobile or stagnant. Maybe she’s figuring it out as she goes.
*Our potential—where we’re headed and why we’re going—is bigger than our fears. I have arachnophobia, and yet I chose to watch and learn from this little spider, nothing more.

She was fierce.

You are fierce. You are brave, no matter what your healing journey and progress look like.

I’m with you,
Janna

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