The worst has happened. If we let it be that is. What we do to ourselves is often nearly as bad as the original trauma. That child was abused, neglected, manipulated, beaten, raped, slapped, starved, silenced, or any combination of those. There are people in this world who are willing to transcend their own denial and stand with you. I say speak your truth. People may not agree. You’ll be told to forgive and forget, you’ll be advised against anger. People may surprise you and validate you, which is amazing. Most times, people want you to shut up so they don’t have to think about the reality of what you are talking about.
This is why we have to fight for ourselves. Monsters fester in the darkness of secret keeping. This includes secrets we keep from ourselves. Fight for the child you were, just as you would fight for any child. We do not have to listen to the voices of those who stand looking, ready to plow us down with their self-serving negativity and denial.
Actually, we can reap great joy from devastating pain. Beauty can emerge. She wants too. We have to allow her too. You are already a survivor, now you can thrive. You can flourish and blossom. Do it, effloresce, germinate. Do not shrivel or wither for anyone. When you are knocked down or when you knock yourself down, get back up. You can be a warrior. You already are. Open to your innate luminosity. You can ride the moon across the diamond stars: you can slay the demon, for you have withstood the storm.
“The winds of grace are always blowing, but it is you that must raise your sails.”—Rabindarath Tagore
I used to wince at the concept that I had any control,. But it is ok to not be able to feel completely empowered right away. It takes time. Do what you can, when you can. Control, true empowerment are two different things.
To do this healing, we must renovate our inner garden. We must propagate new beliefs and thoughts in our inner earth. Now we must beckon the pure moments, they need fertile loving. Our garden of joy is waiting.
No matter how dark or mangled your sense of self has become, you were once a child, and that child lives on inside of you. Bring her/him to the light and show her the path to the flower fields.
“From obscurity came forth a light and illumined my path.”—Kahlil Gibran
Call her name, lay her among the healings waters. No one can do it for us, though they can help us. Look for inspiration. At best, people can inspire us to be better ourselves. If you find fulfillment and healing in external places, use them by all means. When it all comes down, no one can do the work for us. Buddha can not make us go to therapy, Jesus can not make us quit drinking and start talking about what daddy did to us instead. That’s our job.
We all have truth, a personal truth, like a personal mission in life. Caroline Myss calls these our sacred contracts. We have more than one truth. The first basic truth I had to face within myself was that in my childhood, I was a victim of incest, a victim of rape, sexually abuse from three until ten-years-old. I have had to face clearly, my ‘family’, my original family betrayed me. They tried to silence me and did for many years. They made excuses for their inaction, their denial. They made excuses for my father. The women in the family fought each other instead of banding together against the man who abused me. Women will squabble over pseudo issues for eternity before they will look the patriarch in the face and say, “Hey, wait one god damn minute!” If the patriarch was not an abuser, but is unwilling to get engaged and connected to the process of healing and therapy, he is condoning it on some level. That’s the truth. Men gotta stand up and realize being a man is about connection, not disconnection. Whether WO-Man or Man, Hu-Man is the same. I know this is rampant in incest family systems. Incest family systems are akin to alcholic family systems. For me, I was told to “just be happy”, “don’t be so super-sensitive”, “Don’t be so overly-emotional”. The most common thing I was told, from the age of seven, after I first disclosed to my grandmother, was “not to dwell on the past.” The past? It’s still happening! And even after it stopped, after I was raped, how can we not dwell on something like that? How is that dwelling? Under rug swept.
I was told to “stop feeling sorry for myself” all the time. That was painful. Excuses for my father were, “it was the drugs.” I was being groomed for a state of total denial. They wanted to trivialize the enormity of what happened, and save face. To save their faces, not mine. Any threat to tell was met with, “She’s going to ruin us!” But I knew better. I believe we all do. We do.
“The only reason we do not open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident, and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.”—Pema Chodron
We are mirrors. People see reflections of their possible selves in us. They see who they are, who they could be. This may terrify them, however subconscious their terror may be.
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul.”—Carl Jung
The worst part of sexual abuse is that we believe sexual abuse is sex. It is the furthest thing from sex because number one, sex is supposed to be consensual. If it is not consensual, it is not sex, but rape, period. After we believe this, that sexual abuse is sex, we spend our lives inflicting our beliefs about ourselves onto ourselves. Some end up hating ‘sex’ when it is sexual abuse we need to reject, not sex that belongs to us. We then believe lies about ourselves. We believe we must be crazy, insane, dirty, bad, wrong, shameful, stupid, slutty, frigid, whatever our unique experiences illicit in us. This has been the most difficult thing for me to see, and to heal.
I believe that survival is not all there is. Thriving is the next step in healing our wounds and sending that healing to one another and into this world.