I am Going to Write Something True.

secret chapter

Let me first clear the air about the title of this piece. Me sitting down and saying I am going to write something true does not mean that everything I have written before this post was false. Tonight I felt the familiar tug to write and when I sat down to start this is the title that flashed across my mind. In that moment I knew it was time. I am ready to be seen in a truth I have not shared.

In this post I am going to share a chapter of my story I have never read out loud before. I have held this pain, I rescued this piece of myself many many moons ago, and now I am ready to share this small piece of a guarded part of my soul.

When I was 23, almost exactly this time of year 10 years ago I was raped.

I was raped by a friend. I did not call it rape, I called it complicated.

Complicated in that I blamed myself, complicated in that I knew him personally so who would believe me?, complicated in that when I told one of my best friends the very next day she also blamed me and minimized it – you should have known better, you know how he is.

He was excused and I was blamed. I never spoke of it again. I threw away my ripped shirt and bra, I made peace with the fact that I was never getting that missing earring back, and put healing ointment on my ripped ear that the earring had been torn from.

I got tested a month later and every month after that for 6 months to ensure my body was safe from what happened. He used a condom but still, this felt like the one way I could control something when everything else that had happened that night made me feel powerless.

By 23 I was so skilled at disconnecting from my body in times of trauma that it did not take me long to adjust and “get back to normal” as if nothing ever happened.

As if nothing ever happened is the lie I have been telling myself since childhood, I knew how to play this game.

I don’t know what my feelings are towards him. He shared his darkness with me that night, AND I know he is more than just that moment, he is more than just that darkness. AND I do not ever have to be okay with it.

I can know all of this AND I am not obligated to forgive and forget. My healing does not depend on my forgiving him or forgetting anything. My healing does not depend on him at all. My healing happened when I finally went back to that moment and rescued that girl who I abandoned that night when I was scared and in pain. It happened when I allowed myself to finally hold the pain, and shame, and fear, and rage I had spent a decade ignoring.

I am one of countless women who have experienced sexual trauma. We each narrate and make sense of our story and experience in different ways. This is the first time I am sharing this piece of myself so openly and while I am not sitting in shame about allowing myself to be seen in such a raw form, writing it and this sharing feels clunky.

Many of our stories we tell so often that they have a natural flow and ease rolling off the tongue or falling from our finger tips. My truth is: trauma stories rarely do. They feel clunky and misshapen, sometimes uneven and without that flow. I believe that is because these are our unspoken truths, we have never given these experiences words so when we finally try I think it takes time to find the words that fit, and sometimes there just aren’t any words for experiences – that is okay too.

This is my raw, unfiltered truth:

I was raped by a man who I know now was never my friend. I was shamed into silence by myself and (knowingly or unknowingly) by my friend. It may have taken me a decade but I went back for myself and I saved that girl. I took that shame and like an alchemist transformed into love. Nothing that I have ever done or that has ever been done to me in this life has made me unlovable. I am love.

 

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Emotional Sun Burn

I have been talking about how overwhelmed I feel by this work around my sacral chakra and solar plexus chakra. I was telling my therapist that it feels intense like an emotional sun burn so we started talking about what my sunscreen will look like as I do this work to keep from getting burned.

After therapy yesterday I stopped by a nature trail that I used to go on as a child. I knew in my mind exactly where I wanted to go to meditate on some of what we had discussed.

When I got there the trail had changed, 25 years of weather and use will do that. The spot I wanted to get to was not easily accessible anymore, there were down trees and overgrowth. I was not deterred. I crawled under slanted oak trunks, and over fallen pines, and down an embankment through the mud and weeds to the bank of the creek. I was stunned when I got there and saw the water, it was orange and yellow, the colors of the sacral and solar plexus chakras.

bear creek

I had forgotten this from my childhood, once I saw it I remembered. I understood in that moment why I felt called to meditate about this at my old creek.

I sat down and watched the yellow and orange water gently flow and tried to visualize the energy of the water flowing through me. I watched as fish swam tirelessly against the current and realized that is how I feel. This energy wants to flow naturally in me as it is meant to but hear I am constantly fighting it, struggling against it. Inevitably the fish would surrender to the current and be carried gently down stream. I watched one fish and held my breath while it struggled because that is what the struggle feels like, it feels like that burn in your lungs from holding breath for too long but the burn is spread all over your body. The power inside me is a fire and unharnessed or disrespected it will burn me to the ground. When the fish finally surrendered so did I letting my breath go, letting the feelings of relief blanket my entire body.

When I was walking back up the hill through the mud and weeds onto what once was a path I decided I wanted to put my feet in the orange and yellow water to feel the energy, to prove to myself that I could handle these colors and not be overwhelmed.

As I climbed back over the pine trunk I cut my ankle, not enough to bleed but enough to take the top layer of skin away. I brushed it off and kept walking, picking up red and yellow leaves that called to me along the way.

When I came to the bank at the mouth of the trail I put down my bag, took off my yoga sandals, and walked towards the water. When I got close both feet became completely consumed by mud and I began to squeal in shock as the earth gave way beneath me (this holds a different kind of symbolism for me). Once I regained some footing I shimmied down a fallen trunk into the yellow-orange creek. As soon as I stepped in I felt a burn, it was coming from my ankle where I just been cut. This was my epiphany moment.

bear creek1

I expected to step into this water and although it is orange and yellow, these colors that symbolize emotional overwhelm and intensity for me, I knew I would not get burned because it is water, water is soothing and cool. I was wrong, I did get burned. What I realized is that even things that would usually be comforting or soothing can feel overwhelming and burn you when you have an open wound.

The reason I feel burned under the intensity of sexual healing work is because I am covered in open wounds. In order to make peace here I have to address each wound and heal. It is not the color or the topic that feels too intense, it is the pain. It is not just one wound, it is hundreds of varying sizes.

This does not make the work feel less overwhelming but I did gain insight. I feel like I have a better understanding and can proceed now knowing exactly what my work is.