About a year and a half ago I pitched my story to The Mystery Box Show. They knew that some of it involved my memories of being sex trafficked, but I didn’t know how to tell my story. Should I give details of the abuse? Should it be educational, since so many don’t understand what sex trafficking is? All I knew was that I wanted whatever I shared to involve my healing.
So the incredible team at The Mystery Box worked with me, coached me, and helped me narrow down the specifics of what to share. The process was exciting, but when it came to seeing the show so I’d know what to expect (see my review here) and scheduling my appearance on stage, the dread started.
The biggest issue with sharing my story on stage was that I’d be telling on abusive people in front of an audience. Doing this had always been a no-no. I’d tried to tell individuals before, but that didn’t always go well. My fear would kick in and often I’d not make any sense as I slowly began to disassociate. At the root of my response hid complete and utter terror at what would happen if anyone found out I was telling.
Finally, the day of my show arrived, and I was shakily in the green room waiting for others to show up. There were food and beverage, comfy couches, even mirrors for fixing my hair, and I felt relaxed. It was a warm atmosphere.
Then came sound check, when we were finding out what order we were presenting in. I figured since my story might be triggering for some, I’d likely be in the middle.
First, they called up naughty storyteller Dirty Lola. Then comedian Bri Pruett. Jason Rouse from Live Wire Radio. And that’s where I began to panic… Because now there were only two of us left; me, and Dan Savage from Savage Lovecast.
I knew I’d mess up. Part of my story included a troubling memory, and I often checked out while telling that part. So the thought that I’d be either just before Dan—or far scarier—after him, mowed me over.
Then they called the next person. Dan Savage.
I trusted the wonderful folks at The Mystery Box Show, so I knew they’d not have set it up that way unless they were confident with their decision, but it was still hard. I had to wait several hours, listening to all of the other stories before I would share my own. The suspense was killer.
Thankfully, the other storytellers had engaging stories. Dirty Lola’s and Jason’s had me rolling with laughter. They were all great, which served as a helpful distraction for the first half of the show.
Then it was my turn. I stood at the edge, hidden behind this big block of black, and until that point, I’d still felt like I could back out. If I got too triggered, I could sneak out the back door, or I could get on stage and change my story entirely.
The answer I came to was, yes. I was done hiding. I was done protecting people that hurt me and took my power. I knew that getting on stage would give me back a level of power that I’d not get from anything else.
I took a deep breath and walked on stage.
The audience was warm and accepting. I did struggle a little when it came time to share my abuse memory, but I got through it. And as the story progressed and got into the fun sides of my healing journey, including how I’ve used BDSM and submission to work through trauma, I felt a sense of freedom and joy I’d not experienced before.
Since I was last, I didn’t leave the stage when my story wrapped. I waited for everyone to join me back on stage and we all took a bow together.
I looked out at the audience and back to the other storytellers on stage, and I felt free. Safe… I’d told, and in doing so—in choosing to have agency when it came to my life, my memories—I’d shifted everything for myself.
If there’s one thing I can say about this experience, I’d say that there is power in sharing your story. There’s a freedom we gain when we decide to live our life and not ask for others’ permission to do so. Telling my story, my way, without holding back, returned my power to me.
Do you have a story you'd like to share? Leave a comment below or email us at email@example.com
Sienna Saint-Cyr writes erotica and blogs about kink, poly, body image, and most things relating. Follow her on her website or Twitter @siennasaintcyr.
Images courtesy of The Mystery Box Show
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