Cry Cycle

Every 28 days or so, with the shift of my body’s tide, I have a major cry.

Before birthing little bubby I experienced the intense emotional upheaval that comes with shifting hormones most women experience during their body’s monthly cycle. Back then, I did so with complete disconnection from myself.

For most of my life this experience, that is actually very natural, has felt anything but to me. It has felt scary, unnatural, and wrong. As a result,  I have spent most of my life either in a wild spiral or fighting against being sucked into that spiral. Either way I have not allowed myself to experience the healing release that my body and female spirit need.

Last month my moon cycle started flowing again for the first time since becoming pregnant November 2017. Once again my emotions swelled, and once again I fought against the wave. I was reluctant to give in and allow myself to experience the ecstasy and relief of the release.

I cried and fought and resisted one whole night until the wee hours of the morning at which point my husband, unsure how else to support me, encouraged me to show up for myself however I needed to and then rest. He agreed to take care of little bubby and go into work late the next morning so I could sleep to recover.

I stopped fighting and allowed myself to cry. I allowed myself to flow through my emotional state freely, without fear or judgement. The next morning I slept and that day, after waking slowly and quietly, I was gentle with myself.

This was a different experience, and it felt better.

I had allowed myself to surrender to the release and much like menstruation itself, I was able to shed all the emotional debris that I had collected over the course of that month (and truthfully the 16 months prior).

Last week I felt the familiar build up as the wave of emotions started to peak. I knew I was scheduled to begin my next moon cycle and all of me was crying out for release.

Last month’s cry cycle was dedicated to my mother. This month’s cry is dedicated to my body and everything she has held; life, pain, lies, physical and sexual abuse, joy, love, all of it.

I have decided I am done fighting against my divine feminine nature. Each moon cycle I will allow myself to flow with the changing tide. As I begin to flow so will as many tears as are needed to release what my body, heart, mind, and soul have been holding from that cycle that are ready to be released. I will not fear this flow, I will not fight it. I will allow myself to be held, I will float. I will not sink, I will not drown. This is natural, this is sacred, and I am safe.

Each month I will be gentle with myself. I will rest. I will honor this sacred time and hold myself sacred and worthy.

Love is so different on the other side of healing. Love is so expansive when everything is allowed to exist as it is meant to; together, in connection and love.

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Belonging

There are places you belong, where you will find your belonging. It will be in arms, in love, in hope, in security. Sometimes it will be in people, sometimes in places. One thing is clear – you NEVER belonged there.

You the know the there I speak of – the place where the pain is.

In the bed of the man who raped you. In the hands of your brother as he attempted to squeeze the breath from your body. In the church that told you every Sunday how wrong you were. In the car bleeding. The clinic having life removed forcefully from your womb.

You NEVER belonged there.

Yet there you were. Putting on your brave face. Struggling to survive it. Abandoning yourself to save yourself.

There is no shame in our efforts to survive.

I know where I do not belong now. I will not go back to those places now that I am finally saved from them. I will not stay anywhere I am not meant to belong. I was never meant to be long there – I have already stayed too long; in my pain, my shame, my struggle. Too long.

There are places I want to be long – there are places I want to be forever. I am off to find my belonging and I am sure at this moment it is deciding that it is off to find me too.

invitation art

What is Holding Your Pain for You?

A major part of my journey towards growth and wholeness has been unlearning, or as I call it, Unraveling.

Over the years I have coped with my pain in harmful ways. Harmful to me and harmful to others.

I had trouble holding my pain so I tried to gift it to others through projection.
I have had a long affair with food as a way to numb pain.
I used alcohol at times but it was never my numbing agent of choice.
I also dabbled with certain drugs, again, not my go-to though.
After I was raped I actually used sex to numb because I thought it would help me feel back in control, it didn’t.
My number one harmful coping device was shopping though. Above all else I LOVED to shop.

Shopping was great because it did the job of numbing the pain so I didn’t have to feel my feelings AND it is a socially acceptable action so no one would be trying to intervene and raise concerns. Yep I flew under the radar for years, I was just another woman with a closet full of clothes.

My shopping addiction had been riding shot gun with me for years by the time my husband came into the picture. This is when it started getting complicated. He was the first person to ever energetically hold up a mirror and say, I think we have a problem here.

I had been avoiding that mirror for over a decade – Now this guy shows up and wants to love me and care for me by telling the truth? Who the hell does he think he is?

Even with his compassionate honesty and my coming to terms with a really uncomfortable truth, it still took 6 years to get a handle on my unhealthy relationship with shopping. What I learned in the process is that it wasn’t just the act of shopping that I had to address, it was my deeply unhealthy relationship with money in general.

Since the age of 18 when I got my first job I had been using money to hold my pain for me. Just like I used food, and alcohol, and drugs, and sex, and even other people through projection. I was doing everything I could to run from my truths and NOT hold the pain they carry.

Last year I worked on my relationship with money, that work continues, and it has changed everything. It is part of what got me to the place of actively wanting to hold my pain, I know now this is the only way to the other side.

I have had a few epiphanies since unraveling my relationship with money. One being that less stuff actually brings me more joy and peace. Another a-ha moment was paying attention to what I spend money on when I have a more connected, intentional relationship with money – art supplies. It is not clothes or shoes or bags or anything to impact my appearance, it is art which is one way my soul communicates.

So, like the alchemist I am, I am turning my pain into something beautiful to share through art. My healed relationship with money is going to support me in this venture, so are my own words from this blog. I understand now that nothing and no one is meant to hold my pain for me AND it is okay to allow myself to be supported. Money can support me, my writing, my art, those whom I love – they can all support me as I hold my pain.

I believe I am stepping across a threshold into the life I was meant for.

This is BIG.

I am grateful for the knowledge that love heals and I no longer have to run from myself. I can hold my pain and all of my truths in love and be WHOLE.

 

what is holding your pain

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.

 

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.