Healing Struggles

During my healing process, I feel as though I’ve struggled with several things. The struggle began with the external. For a long time, I would cry or panic whenever someone touched me or when I was expected to touch someone else. It was very detrimental to both my friendships and relationships.

For example, feeling safe and comfortable with hugging people, touching people and being intimate in my relationships felt practically impossible. But that took a good deal of learning to establish and recognize my personal boundaries (and let people know when they needed to back off from those boundaries!) as well.

I also found a lot of help with that through the yoga studio I practice at most frequently. They emphasize partner work during their classes. Being in a safe and secure setting and being touched in ways that are not sexually charged and are really just for healing and yoga and stretching on a consistent basis really helped me to feel more comfortable with my body. With what was going on inside and around my body. And with learning when to say no, and when to say yes, to safe and loving touch.

Learning to trust myself has been another enormous struggle. At first I thought the problem was learning to trust other people. But then I realized that in order to trust other people, we have to trust ourselves first. After all, if we can’t even trust ourselves, then who else CAN we trust?! Again, I felt like yoga was a huge help here. If I could master a new pose and trust my body to support me, and trust myself to make the right decisions for my body and health, then I could trust myself in other areas of my life as well. Travel also cultivated this sense of adaptivity and trust in myself. When we move outside of our day to day circumstances and see what we are truly capable of, we can literally astonish ourselves.

Because everyone should watch this

I watched this Ted Talks just now and I think the speaker makes some wonderful points. I broke into tears in the middle of this video. In order to end gender violence, we need to change our ideas about some things. As bystanders, we need to speak up every moment we see or hear sexist, racist, or bigoted comments. We can’t just stand up for people in the event of abuse, the development of abusers starts long before that. As a culture, we need to change our attitudes. After all,

“In the end what hurts the most is not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more true statement. What broke me most throughout my struggles with abuse and violence was not the actual abuse itself. It was watching as so many friends turned their backs on me and walked away. Whether they called me crazy or played my story off as me being overdramatic, I felt shattered by their complete disbelief in me and my experience. After my abusive ex, I lost nearly every “friend” I had. Every male friend anyways. I even felt betrayed by my best friend, who continued to hang out with my abuser afterwards. Even she thought that I exaggerated. That I stretched the truth. I sometimes feel like I will never recover from that.

But I can say this much. I never would have spent so many nights completely alone and without company if my story were not true. I could’ve just denied it. Could’ve just assimilated back into my party crowd of friends like nothing ever happened and pretended like everything was okay. Many people do just that.

But my story is true, and I will never deny that again.

I never would have watched as all my so-called friends walked away from me if my story were not true. I would not have spent four straight months of crying every day if my story were not true. I would not have spent months in counseling, years blogging, undergone treatment through yoga therapy, changed my phone number, moved away, cut off all ties with certain people and traveled for months at a time in pursuit of some shred of hope and happiness if my story were not true.

This is not just a woman’s issue, it’s everybody’s issue. Help break the silence:

http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue.html

Hello Again

Hello dear readers,

I know. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here. A long while, in fact. In fact, I’m not even sure when the last time I published something on this blog was. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been doing a lot of my writing over here recently: http://searchfortheperhaps.wordpress.com/about/. Be sure to check it out if you’re interested in how my healing process has progressed since I first started on this site.

I also wanted to share with you all an interview that I did a while back with one of my readers of both blogs. It summarizes quite nicely I think (of course, I’m biased) my struggle with the healing process and sort of how I went through the toughest part of it all. You can find the original interview here: http://iridescentmemories.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/her-search-for-the-great-perhaps/.

Check it out! I hope it brings you hope and I hope you all are living life in a beautiful, healthy and happy way!

Coming back home

As some of you may know (those of you who’ve been following my other blog, anyways) I’ve been out of the country for a few months.  I was living in Costa Rica, the tropical land of mosquitoes and mañana.  After the past couple of years, it felt so refreshing to be in a place filled with entirely new energy.  A place where I was never concerned that I would run into my ex.  A place where I never had to be reminded of the heartbreak, run into the people who were once involved in my previous negative encounters.  Each moment, each place, each person was a new and fresh experience.  A chance to start over.  A chance to run away, to be free.

And the freedom was amazing.

But now I’m home.  I’m back to the place that I love, filled with the people I love, but also filled with some people I wish that I could forget.  My last few days in Costa Rica, I was terrified to come home.  I was so scared, so filled with doubt, fear, and uncertainty, clutching so tightly to the last fading moments of my “exotic” life abroad, that it took every ounce of strength I possessed to put myself back on the plane to come home.  But now I’m back.  And it feels right to be here.

It’s taken so many years.  So much counseling. So much yoga, yoga therapy, biking therapy, meditation, conversations with people I love, with people I can’t stand, more flashbacks than I can count, more confrontation within myself than I could possibly imagine, but I finally feel it.  That enormous conviction within myself that everything is okay.  Because, finally, after more tears, more stress, more fear, more hurt, more worry than I thought I could possibly ever endure, I’m better now.

Wow, that feels great to say!  I’m better now.  I feel like I could shout if from my front porch with all the neighbors staring and just laugh out loud from joy.

I’m better now.  And guess what that means?  That means that one day, no matter how dark things look right now, no matter how scary it may be to return home, to point your gaze backwards to that bandaged place…you can be better too.

Now that’s an encouraging thought :).

Learning to look up

For most of my life, I’ve walked with my head down.  Mostly as a preventative for tripping, but also due to a lack of confidence.  Lack of confidence in my ability to walk, lack of connection to the ground beneath my feet, lack of having any awareness in my feet, for that matter.  But also just for a plain, good old-fashioned dosage of self-deprecation.  If I looked down, maybe no one would take notice of me.  No one would make fun of me, and I wouldn’t be able to see the stares of people as I transitioned from my ugly duckling phase into the body of a pretty lady.  First seeing stares of disgust, and then stares of desire, both energies that I felt equally uncomfortable with.

I thought that maybe if I hunched enough, I could just disappear.  And in one sense I did disappear.  I disappeared into the space behind my eyes.  Looking at the ground, I withdrew into myself.  Into my thoughts, my daydreams, my emotions.  My fantasies for what my life could be like instead of what my life actually was like.  The space behind my eyes was a magical world, full of endless possibilities, not limited by my physical body when it experienced so many injuries, so many months on crutches.  Not limited by my emotional body, which kept me guarded from people, from relationships, from life.  In the space behind my eyes I was free.  I was strong.  I was so very different from the person who I saw when I looked into a mirror.  From the person who I felt that others saw in me.  So I just avoided looking.  I looked down, I looked away, I avoided making eye contact with my true self out of fear of what I might find there.

Until I came here.  Until I had a moment, where, in an instant so suddenly felt that my head snapped, I finally learned to look up.  When I finally wanted to look up.  When I finally felt grounded enough to trust my feet to hold me and to feel their way through space.  To trust them to guide me wherever I need to go.  To take the time to look at my present surroundings and to enjoy each moment.  Each moment of safety.  Each moment of beauty and of life.  Each moment of enjoying that I am a part of each enjoyable moment that I experience.  Slowly moving, drinking everything in with my eyes as I watch the sepia tones of sunset dance off leaves my size as they curl their protective arms overhead.

I feel like most of my life has been a journey towards learning to look up.  Towards learning to look myself in the face, in the soul, in the eyes. No more looking at the ground, Lauren, waiting to trip, scared to fall. I finally have the courage to face my life head on.  Head up.  Eyes forward.

Be Kind to Yourself

Recently in the blog, I’ve been exploring the idea of forgiveness.  Of forgiving yourself, and of forgiving the people who’ve hurt you.  Here’s something to keep in mind as you struggle with the issue of self-judgment:

“My beloved child

Break your heart no longer.

Each time you judge yourself you break your own heart.

You stop feeding on the love which is the wellspring of your vitality…

Let go.

And breathe – into the the goodness that you are.”

Post that above your bathroom mirror, so that every time you see yourself, you’ll view yourself with kindness.

Check out my new blog!

Hey everyone!  So before I go any further, I want to let you know that I will DEFINITELY continue to update this blog, but I wanted to share with you a link to my new blog.  This blog is (I like to think) a little more humorous, and more geared to my life after my experience of abuse, and is more about finding my sense of humor once more, and teaching yoga in my current location of Costa Rica. Check it out and let me know what you think!  Hope you enjoy!

http://searchfortheperhaps.wordpress.com/about/