Late last night, this morning as dawn was approaching I kept mulling over the idea of processing emotion. Lately I’ve become aware of this iron core that sits within me, it is a source of iron strength, it props me up as if an iron rod runs right through my body my chest puffed out and solid, my face emotionless and stern.
I visioned myself while in meditation a few weeks ago, as a warrior. Burdened by armor and standing tall with sword in hand resting and gazing out into the distance with not an inch of softness in sight. Although the armor was both laden with blood and majestic in nature, underneath it I saw the wounds from previous battles. I stood and stand metaphorically as a warrior completely hardened by life. The battles fought , won and lost.
For most of my life I have conditioned and rewarded this warrior self for helping me to survive. The iron core is a product of living in survival and response to the experiences in my life and the environments that have housed me. What I am realising now, is that she is no longer needed. That actually, instead of wearing the armor, it is time to take it off and rest. To tend to the wounds. Sometimes when you wear something for so long, it molds to your skin, your body….. It is difficult to remove, and when eventually it does come off – you no longer can identify the body from which it came.
I am here.
Discovering my body. Discovering that I have reached a place in my life where I can finally remove each piece as I feel safe to do so. And in these moments inspect what is underneath.
For so long I have learnt to keep my mouth shut. I have conditioned myself and it is the most complex thing to explain. In my openness I have kept my mouth shut, and held in the truth because of how it makes me feel. My mind has blacked out the traumatic experiences in my life in order to protect me, but as I remove the armor and slump and curl up the memories and feelings begin to arise.
I am having trouble at the moment. Expressing emotion. I feel cold, numb and a little distant…… even though I know that there is stuff there. I desire to unpack it. I desire to meet it. I desire to let it go, but not by coming to acceptance but by feeling and by letting it pass through me, knowing I am safe. Knowing it is my right, to finally feel and think and allow that to be part of my process without shame. It is my right to be honest to myself. To be honest about feeling angry, to be honest about feeling shame. To be honest about feeling disappointed in how I was not protected as a child, and as a result of that having to deal with the consequences now. What I am trying my hardest with here, is feeling and acknowledging all of that and stopping myself from justifying.
I am noticing that I constantly…..justify why things happened. Instant acceptance in a way. Instead of validating myself, and feeling that being sexually abused was not OK, I look at it…. with the lens of “it happened, there is nothing I can do to change that” or move towards trying to find the silver lining. A strength of mine which I can appreciate. I do appreciate being able to see the good in even the most horrific experiences. My suffering has been a tremendous source of growth and strength for me. It has gifted me so much. And that is fine. But….. hardly ever have I just sat with the feelings…..and said…..that was not OK. I feel sad, I feel angry, I feel ashamed, I am enraged that I had to go through that….. without feeling that I need to look at the glass as half full.
For many years that attitude and perspective got me through the most difficult situations and flashbacks. I have sat wanting to kill myself, I have been in the arms of death waiting to take my last breath, and somehow even in those moments…..I was thankful. And I sit here shaking my head in disbelief, at how I can ever forgive such atrocities. But I do.
I have no control or power over the past. But I do have the choice now. I have power over my healing process……as much as sometimes it feels it has power over me. It comes as surges…..and painful reminders….without warning sometimes. But I am here choosing to heal. To let go. I do not want to be a victim, but I DO want to reclaim myself. My power. I want to reclaim my voice and my body. So what is next ? in this moment….. it is remembering and acknowledging, and owning my experiences. Owning and talking with a strength that is vulnerable but without guilt, without shame, without feeling like I need to apologise for my difficult existence.
I lay in bed late this morning as dawn was rising, and I was realising what a miracle it is that I am alive and that I choose to be this kind of person. That I can come from a place of love , and do my best to understand. To inspire myself.
I was thinking, and I’m not trying to compare here……. comparison is not right. But I was thinking that, some people are raped or assaulted once and that is enough to ruin them. The scars and impact from that one particular experience is something that they will never forget, and may replay for years to come. As I type this I have guilt already for saying what I’m saying because their experience is no lesser than mine…… no human should ever have their bodies taken advantage of against their will. Her e I am justifying, to get my message across. MY point is….. that when I think of my own experiences, I am mystified and overwhelmed because I was sexually and emotionally abused for 11 years of my life….. in fact probably a lot longer than that but my memory is blacked out. And in those 11 years ….that I remember….almost every single fucking day had an event in it that affected me. How on earth am I to process that? Some memories are much stronger than others….. but even the most subtle of things…..are sometimes the most disturbing to me.
Then I remember, being asked to become aware and mindful of what is going on in my body when these thoughts come flooding through. My chest is beating, my stomach in knots….my head hurts, my palms are sweaty….when I become body aware of the discomfort I am in so much pain. And I understand why I have medicated myself so often over my lifetime thus far. The difference now is that aside from food and gaming/internet time I do not self medicate with drugs or alcohol. The occasional red wine. To celebrate the sanctity of life.
I am proud. Because I want to feel, I want to sit with these discomforts and acknowledge them. To give them a voice.
As I lay in bed early this morning, one of the first memories I had was when I caught my abuser spying on me. He had gone to great lengths to create a double sided/see through mirror in order to spy on me in my room. In fact he had built my bedroom, and in hindsight it has become an image of my own personal prison where I could be controlled and taken advantage of without even being aware. Anyway, this one day I caught him….. and he ran upstairs. I chased him into the kitchen, and I took out the biggest kitchen knife I could find and I yelled at him with so much rage he was startled. He wasn’t smiling. I think it was a moment of terror. In that moment I was waving this knife around threatening him and telling him what I think. My memory is patchy…. I felt so incredibly done. It was the very first and only time that I EVER fought back after all the years of being in his predatory vice. Every single inch and moment of my so called private space and life had been violated. Every single aspect. And when I finally caught him using his spying methods I couldn’t believe, or understand why someone would go to such lengths…..
Sometimes people’s illnesses just make no sense. It doesn’t have to. It just is.
I guess I wanted to share this. In some ways I am really pleased that this is the memory surfacing. Taking my power back, and opening up to fighting back and using my voice to say “hey! what you are doing is not OK”. I will not tolerate this anymore.
I just want to be honest. With myself. I’ve held onto these secrets and memories my entire life. Almost no one knows details of my experiences. Because I cannot physically utter the words needed to describe them……. but I am learning to find my voice.
This is my story, and I want to be able to tell it without shame….or without guilt of how it may make others feel. I no longer want to feel as if I have some kind of responsibility over how others react to what I may have to share. My truth is my truth. I just want the strength and courage to tell it how it is……..to be honest.