Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Good and the Bad


I promised that I would talk about it all here…the good days, the bad days, the days when I am inspired and positive, and the days that I just want to curl up in bed and be left the fuck alone.  Today is definitely one of the “I want to curl up in bed and be left the fuck alone” days.  

I had another great session with Bonita last night.  She has warned me that as we begin to get into the core work it may get worse before it gets better.  She added that I may start to have weird or intense dreams because we are stirring up my subconscious, and it will not be happy with me. I am happy she reminded me of that or else waking up this morning with my head a bit of a jumble would have been a bit more startling.

I have been sitting here, staring at a blank page for almost an hour.  I want to say something helpful, something hopeful, but right now nothing will come out of my head that is even close to those two things.   Today was painful.  Today was exhausting on every single level.  Today was a day I didn’t even want to be in my own skin.  I know there will be days like this.  I know that I will have bad days as I go through this process.  I just wish I could write about them a bit more eloquently tonight.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be happening right now.  All I feel like doing is curling up in bed and staying here for a while.  I feel like there is a battle ahead of me and, while I know it is one I must fight once and for all, I am scared to fight it.  I am scared that I will reach my breaking point and that I will not have the strength to go further.  I am scared that I won’t be able to keep going because it will get too hard.

I have full faith in Bonita.  She has helped me so much in just the few sessions I have had with her.  Just in the meditation portion of our sessions alone I have felt more like myself than I have in a decade.  I am beginning to feel healing energy in my hands again.  I could heal with my hands.  It was one of the gifts I treasured most about myself.  Then slowly, bit by bit, it disappeared.  I didn’t know why it disappeared, but it did and I mourned the part of me that was lost.  Now that I understand why it disappeared, Bonita and I are working on getting it back.  Bit by bit I feel it coming back.  Each session it is a little stronger than before.   So far I have only been able to replicate it during the meditation portion of our sessions, but knowing that it is still there and still a part of my being is priceless to me.

As bad as today was, I know that tomorrow is a new day, complete with new chances for something to go right.  If I take it all hour by hour then I have 24 chances for something to go right tomorrow.  That sounds like a good plan to me.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Acceptance of My Worth

Imagine a piece of fabric that is all at once extremely delicate, yet able to withstand the most intense pressure.  Fabric that is both light as air, yet as sturdy and protective as a suit of armor.  Something that is magnificent to gaze upon, yet weathered and worn from experience – complete with tears, holes and frayed edges.  How would you begin to repair it?
This is the image I have in my head each time I step foot in Bonita’s office for a session, except the fabric in question is me. We are in the process of identifying all of the areas in need of repair.  Slowly moving on to a plan of delicately mending the damage – choosing the right thread and the perfect stitch so it can never come undone or be destroyed again.  With every session, every “ah-ha moment,” I feel the needle pierce my spirit with a soothing pain that only healing can bring; its thread binding together the torn pieces with precision and strength. With each stitch I am starting to feel stronger, more alive, and closer to the me that I was before it all. 
Maybe this is what my healing journey will be like; each step marking a stitch of repair in my spirit.  I am starting to truly understand that each step, each stitch, while painful, is meant to make me stronger, brighter and whole again. 
I can’t remember the last time I felt truly whole.  The idea of it feels like a foreign concept because I have felt broken for so long.  Worse than feeling broken, though, is believing you are broken.  This is something I have believed for a very long time.  I have believed that I am broken, shattered, damaged beyond repair.  I have believed that the rape and abuse made me worthless, damaged goods, someone that no one worth having would ever want.  Because of this belief, I listened to those who said they loved me, yet proved differently every single day, instead of listening to those who truly love me and see the best in me. You can’t hear what you aren’t ready to accept and I have been completely deaf. 
I have believed for so long that I don’t deserve good people, friends and lovers alike, in my life due to some fucked up notion that I am unworthy of their love.  While I have an amazing group of friends, I have kept them at a distance because I felt unworthy of them.  And even though I grew up with the most amazing example of what a relationship should be like, I have been attracted to men that are toxic and bad for my physical, mental and emotional well-being. Men who are manipulative, treat me terribly and do everything in their power to make me feel worthless so they have complete control.  Those have been the people who have felt safe to me because I didn’t let myself believe that I deserved better.  I have gone so far as to repeatedly push away and run from the good guy, good friends and good things that attempt to come into my life because, to me, they are the unknown and truly terrifying.    
That ends now.
I am working on changing the recording in my mind, heart and psyche.  I don’t want to be the girl who pushes the good guy away because I don’t think I am good enough for him.  I don’t want to be the girl who blindly accepts what has been as the only thing that can be in my life. I am starting to realize and understand that I deserve better.  More importantly, I am starting to accept that I deserve better.   I guess this is the next step of the journey: The acceptance of my worth.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crossing Over


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.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes - EVENT

Please join me on May 4, 2013 in taking a stand against gender violence! 
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is benefiting Laurel House Shelter of Norristown.
I am honored to have been asked to speak at this extraordinary event.
Come out to walk, meet Preston Elliott from the Preston & Steve show on WMMR, and have fun in the process of supporting a worthy cause!

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®
The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® is the international men's march which encourages men to walk one mile in women's high-heeled shoes to protest rape, sexual assault & gender violence. Our Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® event will be held May 4, 2013 at Farm Park in Norristown benefitting Laurel House Shelter of Norristown. 
Laurel House has been providing a safe and secure refuge for victims of abuse and their children for the last 33 years. By focusing on the positive aspect of a community coming together around this topic, the Walk strives to empower individuals to take a stand against gender violence!
Event Details
Date: Saturday, May 4th, 2013
Venue: Farm Park, Norristown, PA
Check-in: 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Opening Remarks & Kick-Off Ceremony: 10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
              **Preston Elliott from the Preston & Steve Morning Show will be our 
                 official emcee!
Walk Begins: 10:30 a.m.
              **Entertainment will be provided by Nick & Jason - check them out!
                 http://www.facebook.com/#!/nickandjason
*Everyone is welcome to walk, but ladies - feel free to wear your flats/sneakers!
**Children under 16 do not need to register, and can walk with you the day of the walk!
If you would be interested in volunteering for this event, please contact us at: philly.wam.girls@gmail.com
For more information on Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®, please visit: www.walkamileinhershoes.org
For more information about Laurel House, please visit: http://www.laurel-house.org/
Laurel House is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, charitable organization as defined under the Internal Revenue Service code section 501c (3). Tax-exemption entity ID: 23-2172743. The official registration and financial information of Laurel House may be obtained from the PA Department of State by calling toll free within Pennsylvania 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.