“Don’t assume you know what anyone else
is feeling unless you’ve been there, too..”

** Trigger warning, please continue
with caution. **

If you spent one day in my childhood shoes, you’d understand why I do the things I do. Why I try so hard to help others when — and as best — I can. But also, why I know there’s a line I have to draw in the sand. A line I can’t cross without risking my own well-being. My sanity. There’s a reason I can’t look too closely at the news, or march in rallies. Or speak out beyond my means.

Try walking one night in my childhood shoes, and you’d know what it’s like to feel the sting of a slap on the cheek, a punch to the gut. Or kick by a steel-toed boot to the hip. What it feels like to be degraded continuously with words. Debased into nothing.

And then feel — not just witness — through my childhood eyes what it’s like to be ravaged, to have your innocence stolen from you over and over again. To be taught before you can read how to please a man with your mouth, or how to move your hips the right way.

Now, imagine walking in those same shoes on a daily basis for years, and tell me I’ve not cried hard enough, or endured more than my fair share. Tell me I’m wrong for spending every moment trying to stay calm and not panic, while the rest of the world crumbles.

Just because I can’t do more than empathize, doesn’t mean I don’t give a shit. So don’t think for a second that you know what anyone else is feeling unless you can put yourself in those shoes.

© Sarah Doughty

Everyone comes from somewhere.
Not every story is a pretty one.



“She is what legends are made of —
something you cannot help but love.”

She is what legends are made of — the sunrise on the beach, searing the horizon with oranges, reds, and yellows with the brilliance of her smile. She is the green mountainside on a warm spring day, peppered with blue bird laughter that echoes for miles. She is a silver moonlit ocean of eyes shimmering with secretive waves. She is the wind in winter, carrying away those salty tears. She is the call of the majestic eagle by day, and the hunting owl by night, ever watchful. She is the anger of rumbling thunder, the static synapses of heat lightning in summer. But, if she is gone, she remains, beating within your broken heart, and pointing the compass to lead you home. Because she is the light of stars glittering in the darkness.

© Sarah Doughty

She is the light of stars.



“No matter what you’ve been through
you’re not the only one there.”

There’s two sides to every situation, but there’s often a middle ground. You have the ability to place yourself anywhere you want on that spectrum. Be a victim, be a survivor. Be somewhere in between, if you’re not certain. Just know that no matter where you land, you’re not the only one there.

© Sarah Doughty

No one is ever alone
in their struggles.



“I am yours, and you are mine,
and that alone is enough.”

You refract my dreams into the night sky, illuminating this dark oblivion with stars. Those constellations spell out everything I ever needed to know, reminding me that I’m so much more than I ever considered possible. I am yours, as you are mine, and that alone is enough. But you were never satisfied with enough. You pushed me to chase my dreams long past the moon, and though I still have many light years to go, you continue to prove that daring to live amongst the stars is not only possible, it is a reality. And the best part? They put my monsters to rest.

©  Sarah Doughty

I am so much more
than I ever thought possible.


Wild Light

“You gave me the strength
to overcome my demons.”


You showed me
that my past
doesn’t define me.

You give me strength
to recognize my demons
and overcome them.

You are
the wild light
amongst the darkness.

© Sarah Doughty

There is always light
when I think of you.



“The only thing that kept me alive
was my determination.”

The only thing that kept me alive was not through his allowance. It was my steadfast determination to one day outlast the pain. My entire childhood, my body, and my mind were at the will of a madman. He tried to break me, but I held on.

© Sarah Doughty

He couldn’t break me.


Anything Else

“Pieces of me died, little by little, over the years.
Little bits of my innocence at a time.”

Pieces of me died, little by little, over the years. Little bits of my youth here. Shards of my innocence there. All those fragments of my soul were cast out into the world with a bandage that looked like peaches and cream skin. But if you counted all those freckles and scars, you’d see the reflection of all those pieces that died over the years. Would you still think I’m anything other than a walking corpse?

© Sarah Doughty

Those little deaths
do not define me
as I am today.


Stay Bright

“Dearest one, this façade doesn’t fool me.
Don’t you see how much we need your light?”

Oh, my dearest one, this façade you’ve built doesn’t fool me. I see the pain in your heart, the cracks in your soul. I see the light dimming in your eyes, while the rest of the world is too blind to see the truth. If I could count your tears and replace every one with something beautiful, would you see how much this world needs your light?

© Sarah Doughty

I always see the light in you.



“We all see more flaws in ourselves
than we do in others.”

I know, because I do the same thing to myself. My inner critic is always there, whispering in a low voice. It always knows what to say, where to strike where it will hurt the worst. But, instead of giving in, I choose to ignore it whenever possible.

© Sarah Doughty

Don’t be too judgemental of yourself.
Even you deserve a reprieve
every now and again.


A Little Longer

“I remember the people that love me.
And that gives me the strength to keep fighting.”

Boulders are shackled to my legs and I’m being dragged to the bottom of an icy ravine. The deep blue water envelops me and I see the moon twinkling through from above. The pressure rises in my head and all I can do is pull against those restraints. Knowing that it’s a futile battle. Knowing I won’t make it to the surface. For a flicker of an instant, I wonder if the world would lament my loss. But then, I remember my son. Each time he smiled at me, gave me a hug, and tried to make me smile. I remember my husband, and all those times he looked into my eyes. Every touch. Every promise. I remember the people that love me. And that gives me the strength to keep fighting. To pull against those shackles until they break. To hold my breath just a little longer so I can swim to the surface and be with them again.

© Sarah Doughty

It doesn’t matter the reason.
All that matters is
that we keep fighting.