I am certain you have heard the phrase “You are not your trauma.” I disagree with that phrase. I am my experiences-ALL of them (even my trauma). I would not be who I am today without all that I have lived through. I was a victim of childhood and adulthood domestic and sexual violence. Through that, I am now a survivor with tools to support and empower other victims and survivors. I used to make self-destructive decisions to drink too much, to stay in an abusive relationship. Through that, I am now more self-aware and use self-care in taking care of my body and in entering into relationships. I lived in poverty, not eating sometimes so my children would have enough. Through that, I am very resourceful in helping myself and can relate, empathize and help others in need. My past trauma and experiences were not simple to go through or to heal from. I carried with me the burden of fear, doubt, anger, inadequacy, not feeling loved, low self-esteem and shame. I had carried these negatives with me, but could no longer move forward with that amount of weight bringing me down.
One spring day, when outside was sunny, my home inside was dark. After one of the many times my boyfriend at the time took out his bad day on me, I was staring at my bruised body and fat lip in the mirror, finally having physical proof to prompt me to leave the relationship. On four other occasions, I saw a love and a light I had not ever seen in the bright eyes of each of my children looking into my eyes, their tiny hands grasping my finger, the hush of their cry the moment I held them after they were born. Moments of enlightenment like these were the inspiration and validation I needed to move forward.
These are the 4 steps I have taken in my healing process, each of them taking faith, commitment, strength, determination and continuous evaluation as I walk my path in life.
- Self-reflection (What is weighing you down?)
- Build a support network (self-care, friends, family, church, community resources, leave a comment on this page).
- Put the burden down and take the weight off (and dance to your favorite song).
- Keep the weight off by sharing with others your gifts, talents and knowledge from your experiences.
The creative in me sees this: I am walking through life on this path with stones of different shapes and colors (my trauma and experiences). I took the stones off of my back that were weighing me down and placed them under my feet in order to build this path I am walking. The trees, plants, flowers along the path are a result of the growth and of the positive experiences. Grace and love cement the stones together, keeping them on my path, keeping them under my feet, keeping the past behind me as I walk forward with each new step, dancing in the freedom and light of each new experience.