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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Nelsonian Knowledge

I am alternating between two books right now, both from the little free library near my home. Both Sides Now was my book of choice last night mainly because I accidentally left my other book in the car and I was not in the mood to go retrieve it in my nightgown.

Both Sides Now is an enthralling read, it is the kind of book that makes you lose time because you are so in it, AND it is intensely anxiety producing for me. Last night I could feel the palpitations wanting to start, my levels of panic rising with each mini chapter I would complete.

It is a memoir that details the intimate moments of excruciating loss. Loss on a level that most of us hope and pray never to experience. Loss that we do not want to even recognize can exist because then we have to see a truth no one wants to face: if it could happen to them , to could happen to me.

This morning I woke up thinking about how I do it, the thing we all do. I sit secure in the knowledge that I am going to live to see the end of this day, that everyone I love is going to live to see the end of this day. That my health will be with me for years and years and years to come because I am only 33 and have my whole life ahead of me.

I do know better.

I have worked with individuals and families that had their lives uprooted by a new reality when death and illness came to their doorstep in unexpected ways. I have been of the front lines of a cancer diagnosis, I have been in the fox hole with the families and individuals during certain aspects of treatment, I have co-facilitated caregiver support groups for other terminal illnesses, I have experienced the fallout – sat in the emotional aftermath of loss with family members and loved ones.

I have also experienced much of this first hand in my own life with family and friends.

So I do know better.

I know better because I have sat in the hospital room with my 20 something year old family member who was about to undergo treatment when just a few days before the news came that the cancer was back. I know better because I carry the stories of a close friend who lost all her hair because of the meds she had to take, I know better because time and time again in my young life I have witnessed and experienced my own suffering stemming from this broken illusion of time, and control, and certainty in a future that none of us have ever truly been promised.

Still, I sit in my willfulness ignorance as often as possible because I am not ready, and I am not sure I ever will be ready to face the truth: All we have is now. That is all we ever have. This exact moment. That is it.

This morning I sent my husband to work with a silent prayer on my lips that the Universe will bring him home to me this evening. I prayed for this today and that everyday this will continue to happen until we are old and ready to face our mortality with many happy full years behind us. I said this silent prayer to the Universe all the while secretly knowing that there will never be a time in my life that I will feel as though I have had enough, I will always want more from life no matter my age or experience.

So I will go on making plans, and planting gardens, and dreaming dreams of things to come. I will look to the future with hope and certainty AND I will be thankful right now, this very moment, for all that I have. Love, connection, the privilege of knowing what it feels like to be wrapped in my husband’s arms, every experience I have had in this life of mine because none of it was promised, not one day, not one minute. To argue with my husband is a privilege that I take for granted while another person might be willing to give up everything to argue with a loved again. When we both return home tonight I will remember this and I will  be grateful.

Sitting with this uncomfortable reality, allowing myself to set down my willful ignorance about life’s harsh truths, makes it so clear just how truly entitled we all are every single day. One of life’s fundamental truths is that nothing is ever promised yet we walk around every moment of every day so sure of the next.

now

 

You’re Not Having a Good Day

That is what my husband said to me after I experienced my 3rd major calamity of the day. I agreed. While I was having a rough time my clumsy alter ego, Calamity Jill, was really living it up!

It all started this afternoon.

I drove across town, roughly 35 minutes, to meet with a new family I will be working with and unfortunately the appointment did not take place. I got stood up. No big deal, sometimes wires get crossed. I left a voicemail after waiting outside their home for a bit and once they get back to me I will reschedule. Since my schedule was suddenly open I decided to pay some family a visit who happened to live nearby.

When getting out of my car at my family’s home I turned funny and managed to spill my entire La Croix into my play therapy bag of toys and books. Good Grief!

I went inside with my play therapy bag and spent time catching up with family while I cleaned out and Lysol wiped the contents.

No big deal, these things happen (especially to me).

The real mess took place once I got home.

I let Lu out, brought her back in and started working on some documentation for work. About an hour later I was done and started picking up around the house. I went into the office briefly to grab a canvas and to put away some work documents and went on about my business for the next hour until my husband arrived home.

Upon his arrival he called out for the dog which struck me as weird because she ALWAYS meets him at the door. Maybe she is sleeping in the bedroom and didn’t hear him? We both started calling for her: nothing. My husband asked me if I accidentally left her outback. I panicked! Oh God I hope not! It had rained- hard- in the last hour since I saw Lu, there is no way I could have left her out in the rain.  I opened the backdoor, desperately trying to temper my rising anxiety and terror, and starting whistling and calling for her: nothing. In the background I heard  my husband still calling for her in the house. The terror was really starting to grow. Did she get outside? Is she running the street with no collar and no microchip? Is she dead in a gutter? Where is my baby?

Just as I was reaching the point of hysteria she came bounding around the corner and jumped up to kiss me hello. Oh dear God Lucy where were you???

My husband came around the corner and said I needed to get a take a look in the office. This is what I found:

office

I didn’t even see her follow me in when I had been in the office an hour earlier. Luckily some ripped up paper and a destroyed pine cone was of little significance compared to what she could have gotten into while accidentally locked in the office during a thunder storm for an hour. My poor baby. This is what anxiety looks like. I felt like the worst mother on earth. I can only imagine the panic and abandonment she was feeling. I got on her level and we cuddled for a few minutes. Then I declared the rest of the night The Night of Lucy! to make it up to her (or at least try).

The night of Lucy started with a nice big puppy dinner. Then she and I went for a walk at the park just the two of us where we chased frogs and played in mud puddles. When we got home I carried her into the bathroom and placed her in the tub to wash her muddy feet. After her foot bath she got a treat AND a new toy. My husband and I have a bag of toys that we bought on sale a while back and there are tucked away for Christmas. A screw up like today definitely warranted a early Christmas present.

Lu was thrilled. She and I played chase and fetch and then.. catastrophe. I was ramping up to throw her new toy down the hall for her to chase after and she got a bit to excited. This resulted in Lu jumping on my husband who was minding his own business eating shrimp ceviche on the couch. Lu’s foot landed right in his bowl of fish and vegetables dumping the whole thing into his lap before she ran off down the hall to get her toy.

My husband just sat there in his fish staring at me. He said nothing. He didn’t need to, his face said it all. I quickly saved him from the soggy fish blanket (that thankfully saved him from fish REALLY landing in his lap), got him a new throw, and cleaned up the rest of the mess. He just looked at me, laughed, and said You are not having a good day.

No kidding. I can’t get anything right today.

Suddenly Fuel lyrics flashed across my brain:

Spilled her coffee, broke a shoe lace. She smeared the lipstick on her face. Slammed the door and said I’m sorry I had a bad day again.

Some days that song is my anthem.

Later I sat in my husband’s lap, tears rolling down my cheeks; do you think she loves me even when I get it wrong?

Yes.

Do you love me even when I get it wrong?

Yes.

I am going to get it wrong. I am going to fail. I am still loveable.

While writing this post and sitting in my shame and embarrassment even while trying to minimize these feelings by finding the humor in the situation (a favorite defense mechanism of mine), I thought of Virginia Woolf. More specifically I thought of what Virginia Woolf said about women who tell the truth:

A feminist is any woman who tells the truth about her life.

I am a clumsy, forgetful, sometimes all together absent minded woman. I am woman who gets it wrong and sometimes hurts the ones she loves most in the world. I fail and I get it wrong and experience excruciating shame as a result from time to time. AND I stand in these truths and love myself, even when I feel so incredibly unlovable. This is my power. This is my strength. Love. My ability to stand in my truth and love myself there.

 

Getting It Wrong: Shadow Work

A week or so ago I wrote a post that I was so embarrassed by after the fact that I deleted it. First time ever in all my years of writing that I straight up deleted something. This is not the first time I have felt embarrassed by myself after the fact.

I have a whole other blog that holds five years of writing and you better believe I evolved quite a bit in five years, the early stuff is embarrassing to the point of nightmarish. I never deleted any of it though because that is who I was at that time and I will not dishonor that girl by hiding her, that was my truth at the time, I own that, for better AND for worse.

So fast forward. I got it so wrong the other week and I was almost so completely destroyed by how wrong I was that I deleted a post. I started to go in and edit it to correct my mistake but I realized that didn’t feel right, I also realized that I was not comfortable leaving it up as is SO I decided to start from scratch, write it over with my new truth included.

So a week or so ago my husband called me in the morning after he left for work to inform me that there was a gopher tortoise in the road that needed help before it was run over. I immediately started putting pants on.

As I walked outside, still on the phone with hubs I asked him if he was sure it was a tortoise because I know better than to mess with turtles, some are mean, especially the snappers we have here in Florida. He was reasonably sure it was a tortoise and when I saw it I knew for sure it was NOT a soft shell snapper (which are no joke with their aggressiveness) so I went along with this assumption of it being a tortoise.

The thing is, I wasn’t just going along with the assumption of it being a gopher tortoise, I convinced myself that it was a gopher tortoise and that it was a sign from the universe because I had just had a meditation a few days prior where I identified the gopher tortoise as my animal totem for my root chakra. Now suddenly one was appearing before me a few days later (after I had not seen one since I was a child). I got so caught up in my spiritual place the truth is I was not actually experiencing this interaction with this animal from a place of grounded realism.

I was able to help the little guy over to the park next to our home, which was the direction he had been heading, and once we got there he was trying to get past the fence that circles the pond so I helped him get there and he quickly scooted off into the pond.

Here is where I got it wrong, devastatingly wrong!

  1. My sign from the Universe was not in fact a sign from the Universe. This was not a gopher tortoise, it was one of the painted water turtles that live in our pond.

Now this is an absolute blessing and I am BEYOND grateful for this fact because:

2. Gopher tortoise cannot swim!

Legit, if my turtle friend had been a tortoise than my “helping” would have literally killed him.

I have never EVER been so fucking thankful to get anything wrong in my entire life. The way I figured all of this out was a few nights after helping my little friend I started thinking about the gopher tortoise’s from my childhood and realized: Wait a second, they live in burrows in the ground, I never saw one near the water, can they even swim?

A quick google search confirmed what the shadows of my mind already knew: no, they cannot.

My brain exploded.

Oh my God I killed it! It drowned and it is all my fault!

I was beside myself. I was sick with shame and guilt.

I spent the next I don’t even know how long researching every kind of tortoise/turtle that resides in the central Florida area. It was apparent almost immediately that my little friend was not in fact a gopher tortoise, nothing about the shell shape, texture, and coloring matched (thank goodness I took photos of him so I had something to compare to the pictures I was finding). This fact did little to ease my mind however. I needed to know that whatever he was he was able to swim. It wasn’t just that I didn’t want to kill a gopher tortoise, I didn’t want to kill anything!

I finally found my match and with relief my husband confirmed my picture to the picture online. The little friend I helped was in fact a turtle, a turtle that swims, the same kind of turtle that lives in the pond next to our home.

The moment I was able to finally breathe knowing that I had not contributed to the drowning of an innocent creature it was time for me to take a hard look in the mirror and address how wrong I got this situation and how to be more mindful and aware in the future.

  1. As well intentioned as I was in helping the turtle get to where I thought he wanted to go, I should have stopped at getting him out of the road. That was enough. Getting him to safety was enough. I should not have interfered past that point.
  2. This speaks not only to my shadow piece around arrogance but also to my shadow of denial and spirituality. I know, and have always known, that gopher tortoises cannot swim, I grew up next to their burrows, I know they are land dwelling creatures with claws for digging, not fins for swimming. Yet I allowed my “spiritual moment” to completely cloud this knowledge I possess because I thought I was having this profound moment with this animal.

Wake the fuck up girl and do no harm! This is a perfect example of why it is important to have your enlightenment and spiritual awakening AND keep yourself grounded and tethered to the earth/reality. I was arrogant to not only be so sure I knew it was a tortoise just because I wanted it to be because if it was that would mean something, but to also ASSUME I knew what was best for the animal. I was in denial to not make these connections sooner; that tortoises do not swim and that is wasn’t even a tortoise. And this is all true because of my shadow around spirituality. Lesson learned.

I clearly do not have a well established relationship with my shadows of arrogance, denial, and spirituality because now that I am facing these truths I am sitting in shame. I was in an absolute shame spiral when I did start to put all this together. I got this so wrong and I am absolutely ashamed of myself. The phrase that keeps flashing across my mind is: You should have known better. That is the worst!

I really need to have a I show myself love moment right now.

I show myself love when I get it fantastically wrong.
I show myself love when I feel ashamed.
I show myself love when I do not want to see the truth because the truth is painful.
I show myself love when I dare to be honest about my mistakes and failures and be seen as the imperfect being that I am.
I show myself love when I am doing my best to love my shadow pieces and invite them home.
I show myself love when my good intentions fall short and injure others.

You are okay girl, you are doing okay.

all parts welcome

 

So Sure So Wrong

Have you ever been sure of something? You were absolutely positive about something, your mind was made up, this is the way it is. Have you ever been wrong? I have. A LOT.

When I was 6 or 7 I was absolutely certain that I had the ins and outs of human digestion figured out. I remember standing in the dining room telling my brother while he ate his lunch, See this is how it works; you eat your food and then it travels through your body down to your knee where there is a trampoline, the food bounces off of the trampoline into your tummy and that’s the end. Then my Mom walked in the room and complimented me on my vivid imagination as she explained how tummies actually work. I was quite disappointed to learn there was no food trampoline in my knee, my body seemed so much more exciting with a secret knee trampoline.

I just asked my husband, who is laying in bed next to me doing his math art on his laptop, if he had a funny anecdote about getting it wrong he would like to share. He reminded me of a situation that took place not too long ago.

A few months ago my husband had a so sure so wrong moment regarding the blankets in our home. My husband is from Illinois where they have real winters. When he and I moved into together I realized this man comes with a lot of blankets. They are all from back home where in the winter they are needed, here in Florida where it can get in the 90’s on Christmas, not so much.

So a few months ago, on a particularly cold day, my husband and I were making our blanket burrows on the couches and getting ready to watch one of the Harry Potter movies together. My husband comes strolling out of the bedroom with my quilt at which point I immediately objected; Hey man, lay off my quilt, I was going to use that for my nest. My husband proceeds to tell me that it is not my quilt, it is his quilt, as he begins making his burrow with it.

At first I thought he was just being an ass and telling me to deal with it that he was going to use my quilt. My inner 5 year old started having a tantrum, she did not want to share her quilt, and my inner feminist was ramping up to verbally kick his ass; no man is going to take my shit and get away with it! When I opened my mouth again in protest I realized he wasn’t being an ass, he was being serious, he honestly thought it was his quilt.

In his defense this mistake could be easily made for someone who is not being super observant. My husband has a quilt that was made for him by his aunt which has brown, green, and tan box pattern on it. I have a quilt made for me by Target which also has a brown and tan on it. Mine however has turquoise as the third color and is a paisley design rather than the boxes and rectangles of my husband’s quilt.

So now I am explaining to my husband, No honey look at the pattern, this is my quilt yours looks like X,Y, and Z. He was not budging. He was absolutely adamant, so much so in fact that he did not even believe me that I had a quilt. He thought the two quilts were one in the same and that there was only one brown quilt and it belonged to him.

At this point I bet him a dollar that I was right. My husband knows what this means, most people who know me know what this means. I only bet a dollar when I am 100% certain of something and I almost never lose a dollar bet. For me the dollar bet is the equivalent of swearing on the bible. He knew I meant business. Usually when I pull out the big guns on a debate and bet a dollar he immediately folds because he knows he has lost, she knows the truth and I am only guessing, time to surrender. Not this time. The man was sticking to his guns.

I was done talking, time for action. We halted all prep for cozy movie day and I made him come with me as we searched the house for his quilt. While we searched I told him the story of how I bought that quilt online in my early twenties with two shams and a sheet set, he still was not convinced. Low and behold we found his quilt tucked away in the armoire in the guest room. Needless to say my husband was eating humble pie the rest of the day.

Sometimes we get it wrong and it is not cute or funny. Sometimes it is humiliating, sometimes it can be a very real problem.

Like being certain that it is clear and safe to change lanes when driving to then discover a car in the blind spot that we nearly collide with, terrifying.

Or any scenario where we are so sure and then so wrong in front of people we would never want to be that exposed in front of; like at work or with our in-laws.

There is certainly a shadow present with certitude and that is when our assurance of something crosses into arrogance. I was thinking about this when it comes to truth speaking. My truth is a mixture of belief and opinion, it is what I personally have decided is true for me in my life. When I speak my truth I feel liberated and bold, I am a lioness standing my ground. And this is all well and good AND it is always important for me to remember that my truth belongs to me. No one is required to agree or validate me in my truth just like it is not okay for me to assert my truth onto others with the expectation of this.

While in a group recently I noticed there was a lot of truth speaking going on which is beautiful AND it occurred to me that those standing in their truth may have actually believed that their truth, that belongs solely to them, was objective fact. I saw this as a sign for me to step back and acknowledge where in my life am I guilty of doing the same. I see my shadow of arrogance, I know where my work is with this shadow.

Always thankful for messages and mirrors that hold me accountable for my work. Tonight I welcome this shadow home, I am sure I will have much to learn while building my relationship with this part of myself.

I Show Myself Love When

I went on a really terrible walk today. It is the second time in a week where an attempt at self-care has gone wrong.

This morning when I was getting ready for a client appointment I put on the pants I had picked out only to discover they would not close, at all. These pants that fit with a little extra room two months ago are now so tight I was no where near buttoning them, it was a total lost cause. I almost cried. I tried to make myself feel better, It is okay that you have gained a little weight, what matters is how you feel, not the number.. You washed these pants recently, maybe they shrunk.

I got myself through that moment and moved on with my day.

By this evening I still felt the cloud of self-loathing hanging over my head. I did not want to turn to food to fill this feeling of emptiness so I went for a walk with Lu. I always feel better when I meditate at the park, out in nature I would find my connection and come home feeling more balanced and grounded.

When we left the house I heard my neighbor across the street scream-talking to another neighbor. Oh God, No… I am not a big fan of the scream-talking neighbor. She seems to have trouble with appropriateness and has done things in the past that have made me uncomfortable. Luckily she was very engaged with the neighbor she was talking to so I just waved and walked on.

When I got to the park Lu pooped. Good girl honey. I took the poop bag from her leash and bent over to clean it up; while I am doing this I have both my cell phone and her leash in my other hand (I was wearing a dress and had no pockets for my phone). Right as I am bent over her poop Lucy pulls on the leash which results in me losing my grip on my cell phone, with that my cell plopped into Lu’s poop pile. This is my life folks, I could not make this shit up if I tried.

On a normal day when I am not under an emotional cloud and feeling more myself, I would laugh at this. The phone can be cleaned off, it is not the end of the world, it will make a good story. Not today. Today I wanted to cry. That was not very nice Lucy.

I picked up my phone, wiped it off on the bag, and proceeded to dispose of Lucy’s poop.

After the poop debacle we went over to our bench. It was sunset, the ducks were swimming in the pond, I could already begin to feel myself relax. I started my breathing to help clear my mind and sink into my meditation. Just as I am starting to drift away into nature I feel Lucy go rigid on the leash, a dog was coming towards us with its owner. I asked Lu to sit, which she did, and thought nothing more of it, Lucy is dog friendly and usually has good manners. Not this time. I have NO IDEA what got into her but she lunged and barked and acted like a lunatic. WTF Lu, seriously?

That was it. Clearly meditation at the park was not meant to happen. Lu and I walked home and when we came back by my scream-talking neighbor’s house she came outside. I do not want to rehash the entire situation because it was exhausting enough the first time but the long-story-short is: She asked me if I was pregnant, I said No.  Then she told me that I haven’t looked happy lately and that she can tell I have gained weight.

This woman does not know me. I was literally sitting there analyzing my recent behavior as I have been getting into and out of my car in the drive way because that is the only time she sees me. Have I looked any less happy as I get into the car? It is not like I was ever skipping and singing to begin with. Not to mention the comments about my body. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!

I was so hurt, her timing could not have been worse. Really.

And as awful as all of this was, the worst part, the part that really broke my heart the most is that I did not show up for myself. She injured me so deeply, she said very personal things without right to do so – to be clear, NO ONE has a right to speak to me that way- and I not only took it, I agreed with her. I AGREED WITH HER. Yeah well I have gained a little weight and I did just start a new job, maybe I am a little stressed, maybe that is what you picking up on. THAT IS NOT MY TRUTH.

I have gained weight AND my body is no one’s business. I have been stressed AND it has had nothing to do with my new job. I have gained weight AND I have been stressed AND I am happy AND none of it is anyone else’s business.

I wish I could go back and say exactly what I needed to say to protect the part of me that she was hurting: That is a really personal question I am not comfortable answering.

I came home, let Lu off her leash and went into my closet and cried. I don’t feel like I loved myself well today and I am having a lot of judgements.

It is not too late for me to love myself. Last year I wrote one of my favorite pieces of writing I have ever done: I Love Myself Most When. It is all about celebrating the parts of myself that I love deeply and feel connected to AND it is a reminder to show love to the parts of myself I have a complicated relationship with and feel disconnected from. So now I would like to sit in that energy and love myself well.

I will show myself love when I feel out of control in my relationship with food.
I will show myself love when my clothes do not fit me the way I think they should.
I will show myself love when I am putting the feelings of others before my own.
I will show myself love when I feel abandoned.
I will show myself love when my attempts to show myself love do not go as planned.
I will show myself love when I want to give up.
I will show myself love when I feel empty.
I will show myself love when I am afraid to speak my truth.
I will show myself love when I back slide and lose conviction.
I will show myself love. I will show myself love. I love you.

Already I feel so much better. My well being does not depend on the weight I lose and gain, it does not depend on the messages I receive from the outside world, it does not depend on whether the ways in which I attempt to perform self-care are successful or not. My well being depends solely, exclusively, 100% on me. How I feel about me. When I am not loving myself well every part of me feels that. When I am loving myself well every part of me feels that.

Tonight I am grateful.

i will love myself

Me Too.

shame

My self-care is at an all time high. My boundaries with family are healthy, I am doing work that feels meaningful, I am making strides in my own personal work, my husband and I have plans for travel not to mention our relationship grows deeper and truer all the time, I am involved in multiple women’s circles right now that bring so much healing connection into my life AND I have enough freedom right now to actually breathe this abundance in and truly sit with my gratitude.

I was sitting in my gratitude for all of these outlets this morning while talking to a friend. It is not that my life is perfect, I am absolutely sitting in some struggles as well; the beauty is that right now my support out weighs the struggle making the struggle feel so much more manageable.

This morning one of the women from one of my healing circles texted us (the women in the group) and shared a struggle she is currently having.

Here is the thing I love about being part of these groups that allow us to take off the mask and be seen in our darkness, our light, and all the gray that makes us who we are; we find that the thing that makes us feel the most shame, and the greatest disconnection is actually where the true connection lies.

She shared her story via group text and shared how shameful she felt. She was waiting for our judgement, judgement that did not come. What came was the most healing sentence a person in pain can hear: Me too.

My boyfriend gave me an STD; Me too.
I was emotionally abused and aware of it and did nothing for years; Me too.
I took him back; Me too.
I am weak; Me too.
I am humiliated; Me too.
I just want to hide; Me too.

I know your pain. Your pain is my pain. What if the thing that makes us feel the most unlovable is actually the very thing that will invite our greatest love in.

Here is one of my shame stories to help anyone struggling to stand in their truth:

I once left a partner after years of emotional abuse. I self-medicated for months, red wine and Benadryl every night, then I numbed in other ways- tanning beds, exercising, shopping, hair appointments. I knew it wasn’t over, somehow I knew there was something left there. I was right. Less than a year later he reached out and we started back up. Two months later I went for my annual and was told I had an STD. When I confronted him about it he admitted what I already knew. That was it. That was the last straw.

Lying, control, making me feel less than. I was so small then that I thought I deserved this. I drew a line at my physical health though. I finally told someone what was happening, the truth was I needed someone to hold me accountable. I was lost. For years and years I was lost. I had no idea who I was.

It took years for me to process the experiences of that time of my life. Emotional/mental abuse is hard to heal because of the confusion it causes. It took a really long time for me to be able to find my truth in our story. I was blamed for everything. I was lied to and then called a liar, I was betrayed and called the betrayer.

As women when we come together and share these stories we are opening a door for other women to then feel safe to walk through. If I had been honest sooner about what was happening and someone had said Me too and shared their story maybe my story would be different.

I see now the importance of this darkness though because I am sit next to women in a circle who bring their darkness and in places where they feel most alone I am able to show up and say Me too. That is powerful. Yes I have experienced darkness, yes I have brought darkness to others. This is all true AND I am grateful for it every time I can sit with a woman in pain and say Me too.