June 23, 2017
A young women approached me at the @vamuseum and asked if I wanted to partake in The Migration Collective's Living Library. The group was connecting refugees from all over the world to speak 1:1 about their stories to break down stigmas and foster understanding. The organizer introduced me to Tracy (above), who told me her story. Her parents were murdered in front of her in Zimbabwe before she was nearly beaten and tortured to death. After being in a coma for more than 6 weeks, she was helped by "some Church people" to escape. She left her daughter behind and was sent to London (via Mozambique and Malawi), but was immediately sent back to South Africa. With help from Desmond Tutu and some organizations, she was again flown to Europe, this time Holland, where she did not speak the language.
Eventually, Tracy was brought again to London where she received medical treatment to rebuild her crushed forehead and heal over the last decade, both physically and emotionally from the trauma. At the end of our deep chat, she said, "Now I want to use my scars and stories to help other people. I tell my stories to heal myself and hopefully to make one other people feel less alone." I teared up when she said those words I have said thousands of times and shared the highlights of my story. I said, "My story seems trivial in light of yours (there was so much more to her triumphant story of survival), and she said, "Trauma is trauma. We all have our own stories."
This is the thread. This is the universality of Last Cut. We all have our own tales, traumas, journeys to healing and renewed chances to live. When we open our minds and hearts to the telling and connecting, we feel less alone and so much more inspired to keep going. This woman's bravery to tell her story to a total stranger renewed my commitment to doing the same. I am now eager to come back to London, to properly interview my new friend Tracy. We hugged and said, "Until next time." #chooselove