Fly Away

Posted: May 1, 2012 in kind of like news

I don’t need words I need the pain to go away.
Don’t tell me I need to speak and not fight
I am a bird and I will only take flight.
I am a Raven forever more.
Not only a name, something I have always searched for.
He can still haunt me.
But he can no longer hurt me.
– excerpt from Fly Away, Raven, Fly Away (by Ravyn            )

 Ravyn prefers to fade into the background.  Dressed mostly black, she hides the only bit of color on her t-shirt with her long, brown hair.  An animal print skirt tiered, with a slight ruffle, smooth the edges of what might be considered a harsh, gothic look.  Ravyn’s co-worker described the first time she met her, “She sat by herself.  Her hair was stringy and covering her face, like she was hiding.”  That was a year ago.  Today, her silky hair is tucked neatly behind her ears; reddish highlights emphasize the pewter eyes and pale skin.  Under the shade of trees on the Starbucks patio, she sits.  Crossing her legs and bringing them tight against the chair, she tells her story.  It is thick with fear and pain but like any good story, there is a savior who changes the plot line of an otherwise dark tale.

Ravyn                   is the self-published author of “                         ,” a fantasy book that tackles the issues of modern day slavery.  A topic she is well versed in and an advocate against.  She writes articles for her website, “                                  ” as well as “                                    ,” often giving voice to kids who are abused or in slavery.  Ravyn is 25 years old and one of the youngest members of the Arizona Authors Association.

Ravyn started writing poetry when she was 11 years old.  It was her outlet. She would write about dark things, being alone, feeling stupid in school and monsters that come in the night.  But underneath her stories, there was a cry for help.  Her poetry was praised by her peers and certain teachers, but the content of her poems where never questioned or deemed inappropriate for her age.  Because of this, Ravyn began to question if her fears where legitimate.  Maybe her father’s anger towards her was ok.  Her mother’s bruises, the holes punched in the wall, and the monster that visits in the night must all be ok.  Her cry for help went unheard.

Ravyn looks at the ground or to her left side as she talks about the past that still haunts her.  “I’m sorry; I’m not very good at eye contact.  That’s something my counselor is telling me to work on.”  With that, her gray eyes settle on mine for a brief moment, then fix on the ground as she begins to speak of her uncle.

After the divorce, Ravyn and her sister split their time between their mother’s apartment and their father’s house.  Their uncle moved in with her father about this same time.  Her voice becomes quiet as she tells how he would visit her late at night, at first, just to talk. “I don’t know how old I was when he started touching me.  It’s hard to remember ages.  Maybe 10 or 11 years old,” Ravyn says.  Like most people who live through a trauma, there are fragments of memories, little pieces that don’t fit together.  Ravyn told her father about her uncle’s early morning visits, about how he touched her in “the bathing suit area.”  He didn’t believe her and was angry at the accusations.  “He’s your uncle.  He wouldn’t do something wrong,” Ravyn remembers her father saying.  Her father’s temper made it clear that her silence was expected.

Although her home life was full of fear, she continued to write.  Through her stories, this shy girl that felt so alone, made new friends.  They liked her for who she was and encouraged her writing.  She began to build a life.  Ravyn, with growing confidence, tried to write what she was going through with plain, graphic words.  She couldn’t do it.  Reliving the horror was too much for her. This time, she found her hero in the form of a new character, “Hunter.”  “He is my saving grace,” she smiles and catches my eye.  “It seems weird to even talk about things like that . . . I understand he’s not real but at the same time, he was always there for me.”  Hunter gave her strength.  She began to write about what was happening to her, but it felt like Hunter’s story, not hers.  She no longer felt alone.  Hunter was strong and fought back.  He was fast.  “He was everything I had ever wanted to be,” Ravyn says.

As her writing progressed, her teacher and school counselor began to ask questions.  What are these monsters that come in at night?  Did something happen?  And finally, after so many written words and hidden meanings, Ravyn was able to tell her own story and get the help she needed.

Ravyn’s father and uncle are no longer involved in her life but the monsters still haunt her.  Her counselors continue to work with her as she faces her fears on a day-to-day basis.  When asked what word she would use to describe herself, she replies, “Warrior.”  She spoke of other words, victim, survivor, recovering . . . but it is “warrior” that makes her feel strong.  It is ‘warrior” that is synonymous with the character Hunter, who is her self described “guardian angel.”

Today, Ravyn fights against the issues of child slavery and child sex-trafficking both in her stories and in life.   She volunteers her time at a safe house for sex-trafficked girls called, StreetLight USA, here in Phoenix, AZ.  She feels a bond with these girls who are misunderstood, alone and abused by the people who say they love them.

Ravyn fights fear every day but is thankful for the blessings her writing has given her. Through her blogs, website and public readings, her stories have given her friends, a purpose and the love of a special young man she met through her online writing.  He is someone who knows her story and has been a constant for almost 10 years.  Today, she looks forward to a future with someone to love, and a guardian angel that continues to watch over her.

*                        are used for privacy in place of names.

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