This is the 3rd and final part in a series I’ve written on Trauma.
We all suffer trauma throughout our lives. Actually we suffer micro-traumas everyday. We lose jobs, we are rejected romantically, we are hurt by a loved one, we suffer deaths, crimes, and an influx of negative media both real (war, rape, shootings, civil unrest) and dramatized (reality t.v., hyped up news stories, that one co-worker or family member who complains about everything). Granted some traumas are worse than others and can have life altering, lasting effects on the person who was touched by them.
There are a slew of Trauma Disorders : Acute Stress, Adjustment, Depersonalization, Dissociative Identity, Panic and PTSD. I won’t go into the specifics of each but, I assure they are very real and can be very debilitating for those that have them. Below are list of symptoms that Trauma leaves behind:
Emotional & psychological symptoms of trauma:
Physical symptoms of trauma:
Even years after, I was in the safe place I now call home, I carried these symptoms. Frequently some of these symptoms are treated with medication, which does absolutely nothing to treat the actual Trauma that occurred. As my husband says, “You’re just putting a Band-aid on a broken leg.” So, to follow this analogy, if you want to fix your broken leg, you must have it re-set which can be excruciatingly painful, but is completely necessary if you ever want to walk again.
I spent a great deal of my life trying to reset my breaks myself. Some I repaired and some I filled but, the cracks were always still there. I have been medicated in the past to treat some of the somatic symptoms but, that did not help my psyche or my soul. After my husband and I were married I found a great therapist named Cyndi who, (lucky for me) “specializes” in Trauma. In addition, she really cares; which, having been to many therapists over the years, I can tell you, not all of them do. She very gently walks me through my Trauma at my pace, on my time, when I feel like it and if I don’t, IF I say, “Wait! That’s enough pain to trudge through for today,” she respects that. For someone who has had their boundaries completely disregarded having them nurtured is very important. She has done amazing things for my mental and emotional recovery. Incredibly healing things but, that still left my soul somewhat shattered.
When I was younger, if I need some Soul work, I would just disconnect myself from those around me, place myself in solitary, and do the work. As an adult, in a relationship with another human, and mother to two others, that’s a need I couldn’t oblige. How can you take a pilgrimage when you are nursing a baby? How can you lock yourself away when for days when your loved ones need you? You can’t. You just can’t. And FUCK . . . I didn’t know how to be vulnerable in front of other people or how to tell them I was hurting. I’m an emotional ninja. No one sees me cry. Pfft, most of the men I’ve dated are far more soft than I. Moreover, why would I share the things that have hurt me most? It’s not like I want anyone else to have to suffer the Trauma I endured and to me sharing it was equivalent to dragging them through a mine (mind) field. So, I became comfortable numbing myself with food and television which led me to a reality show (a extreme rarity for me to watch) on Showtime called Polyamory: Married and Dating.
One of the primary people on the show is a woman named Kamala Devi who co-wrote a book* with a man named Baba Dez, titled Sacred Sexual Healing.
*I am the type of person who researches everything that I take in; t.v., blogs, books, authors, news reports, (even) my shopping purchases, etc. Upon discovering the show I wanted to know more about the “Queen of Poly” and how these people were able to open their boundaries to include others and still keep them intact in respects to themselves, which is how I came across her book. If you want to know more about her, visit KamalaDevi.com*
In the book, there is a lot about pain and boundaries but, at the same time I still felt disconnected from it. Yes, I was reading about these healing practices and gaining great information but, I was seeking more. I wanted to know how to be soft, vulnerable (more girly?) and through Six Degrees of Tantra Separation from Kamala to Baba to Reid to The Darlings (Nathan and Monique) to Lawrence I found myself at an Intro to Sexual Energetics class this past May (2014).
The title of class, in my opinion is bullshit (no offense guys) because it doesn’t even begin to convey everything that you learn. I suppose though that, How to Fuck Yourself to Spiritual Healing & Freedom and How to Tell Others Without Words to Go FUCK Themselves, doesn’t fit as well on the Facebook banner or flyers. I’m sure it also depends on what you’re seeking. I was seeking healing, which is what I stated when we did our awkward (for me at least) grade school introductions of ourselves the first night. When Lawrence asked what that would look like for me I said, “Staying present. I’ve been through a lot of Trauma and when I get triggered I just get lost.”
The class involved a lot of movement, tears, focusing, and breathing; which is something you forget how to do when you have been traumatized. Throughout the exercises, Lawrence repeated this phrase, “Give yourself some space.” What a novel idea? DUH. Why I didn’t think of that?! Because I (like most of you) have been programmed my entire life to give to everyone else. WHAT ABOUT ME?! When did I forget to give myself . . . space? Here I was, at 32, laying on the floor, crying with my eyes clenched tight like a toddler convincing myself that if I can’t see anyone else then they can’t see me; re-learning to give myself some fucking elbow room, some leg room, some boundary, and some freedom from the pain of the Trauma.
I was learning how to make love and give love to myself again. I was demanding space for myself from myself because I am my own worst (fr)enemy. I was going to back to those painful moments and memories inside my soul and escorting my injured girl out into the light. I didn’t do these hurtful things to myself, they were done to me, and now I was given a tool to “Close the Loop.” When Lawrence said those words during one of our practices, I felt an immense amount of relief because that’s what I was looking for. I wanted to stop that painful emotional, mental, and physical cycle that I couldn’t escape. I wanted the twitching, the headaches, the nightmares, and the fear to go away because as he said, “not much is happening, right now.”
It’s been 3 months almost since the class and a levity that was missing from our [my husband Ian and I] lives is now part of our daily existence. Am I still hurting? Absolutely. I have 32 years of space to make and a myriad of loops to close but, I don’t feel electric ALL of the time anymore. Some days, I get to be a gentle breeze or a light rain. Others, I give myself the room to be a goddamn hurricane if that’s what I need. I have given myself the right and the room to be soft in a world that is cold and hard. I have also been given tools to create a boundary that is only movable if I say so but, that can be very inclusive if approached with care and respect. I have also been given new, more loving “programs” to pass on to my own children so they may have a stronger foundation that I was ever given and so that they may create their space sooner than I did.
Really, there’s not enough words to explain how I feel and the gifts I received so I will just say this,
I’ve paid a penance for far too long, for sins, that I didn’t even commit and now . . . I’m just going to be happy.