Over my last two sessions, my amazing counselor, Bonita, and I discussed healing and what that means, looks like and feels like. She said something a few weeks ago that stuck with me because it was the first, to borrow a phrase from Oprah, “Ah-Ha moment” I have ever had in counseling. When I feel stuck, scared and powerless in this journey, Bonita told me to remember that “the intention of healing is powerful. “
As a rape survivor “powerful” is not something I am accustomed to feeling, no matter the circumstance or intention. With that being said though, I am beginning to understand what Bonita means more and more each day.
When you cross over from identifying as a victim to identifying as a survivor it is a truly profound moment. It is the moment in which you consciously decide that your healing must begin because living under the label of “victim” is no longer sustainable. It is the moment when you get the first glimpse of what life will be like when you fully reclaim your power. You begin to acknowledge that, yes, this horrible violation happened to you, but you are still here. You not only lived through the attack itself, but through the immediate aftermath – something that is a victory in and of itself. You begin to understand that your new normal is something that you have control over simply because you will no longer let the monster control you. As Randy Pausch says in his Last Lecture (if you haven’t seen it please go to YouTube and watch The Last Lecture, or go get the book), “We cannot change the cards we’re dealt, just how we play the hand.” This is the moment when you decide to change how you play your hand.
When I was a massage therapy student I practiced energy work. Being able to use energy to heal was one of the joys of my life. I used to be able to touch the palms of my hands together and feel it. However, over time I shut that part of me down. I never allowed myself to understand why until the other night. This was “Ah-Ha moment” number 2. During my last two sessions, Bonita has guided me through a sort of visualizing meditation. The first time we did this I was brought to tears because it was the first time in years that I was able to feel that energy again. It was a beautiful moment for me. Then, during our session the other night, it was back again, but this time it was back in the way I remembered…strong and powerful. It was a priceless moment. After the meditation part of our session was over I realized, clearly for the first time, the reason why I shut down and locked away this precious part of myself. It was so simple…The person who introduced me to energy work, and its beautiful power, was the same person who raped me and took my power away. In that brief moment of clarity, I realized that I had been wrong for a long time. I have been considering myself a survivor all this time because I made it through, but in reality I have been living my life as a victim. For me though, I think the moment I crossed over from victim to survivor was the other night, sitting in Bonita’s office, and finally understanding that he took my power in so many ways, and I have finally begun to take it back.