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Dying to Wake Up The Child Within

Saturday, September 22, was the 3 year anniversary of when I was raped… most recently. Let me explain. This was not the first time. I have a long history of surviving these experiences, starting as early as the ages of 3 and 5. And this is not uncommon. Many people, especially those who started their lives as victims, are victimized again. Predators have a keen sense of who would be a good victim, and those who were victimized in their formative years know no other way of being. It has taken nearly a decade of intense therapy to unlearn the things that I was taught as a child victim.

I hear a lot of people substitute the word “survivor” in place of “victim.” In the years that you are just surviving, this is very accurate. You’re a victim when it happens, and a survivor in whatever you do afterwards to keep yourself alive, moving forward. I developed addictions, an eating disorder, and other self destructive behaviors to survive. My brain could not cope with reality. How could it? Reality was a living nightmare. Pure hell. These are the things I did to survive. To kill this thing inside of me. To get by despite it all. I thought I was doing pretty well. I didn’t realize the extent to which these experiences were destroying my life, until my behaviors came to a head. It was life or death from there. Keep doing what I was doing and let it kill me, or fight and as a result, live. My problem was, I didn’t want to live. I had no interest in it whatsoever. Which is why I nearly died numerous times. But there was some sort of secret spark in me. It was the bane of my existence, and it wanted me alive, when every other part of me wanted to die. It was my incurable hope. And thus, this blog was born, to document it. To explore it.

Today, I don’t see myself as a survivor. I am beyond that. I use the terminology, because it is what people are familiar with. Today, I am a thriver. My life, my success, my flourishing, is my big “fuck you” to everyone who hurt me. Though, today, I’m not angry or bitter. I let that go. It was too heavy. I punished myself with it long enough, believing that I was somehow punishing them by doing it. All I knew was someone had to pay. But I forgive myself for that now. I didn’t understand. I forgive most people, but contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not necessary for healing. Some things, only God can forgive. I am only human. Today, my heart hurts for that little girl, for every little girl still living and suffering. Not just those who are still being abused, but those who are now grown women, with little girls still trapped inside, reliving it daily. Punishing themselves for the acts of others.

Look, I’ve come a lot further than a lot of former victims ever do. I’ve been blessed. But I do know this: I am supposed to share my experience so that the others know it is possible to not just survive, but to thrive. To use the pain as fuel. To live your meaningful lives. These are things you CAN overcome. As a matter of fact, there’s now even a name for that: posttraumatic growth. And you can achieve it. I promise you, you can.

I don’t want to make it seem like these these things won’t affect you for the rest of your life. They never go away. They will always hurt. At times, they still haunt me. But it is possible to get to a place where they no longer control you. Where they do not shake you. Where you can observe them from a distance that will prevent you from broken by them every. single. time. You’re heart can hurt for the child within, but you will be equipped to comfort her with the compassion you never received. You. Can. Heal. And you can help others do the same. Once you find that love for yourself, you will want to share it with others. ALL of us who were victimized deserve that.

The shirt I made in treatment in 2012 for The Clothesline Project.

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My Sister and Me at a local suicide prevention race. 🙂

Hey You

Stop trying to hack my blog.

A Day Like Any Other

Something shifted today

And I could feel it

Ever so slight

Like the way you can feel fall

Approaching

In the tint of the sunlight

Or a simple breeze

When warmer days

Are still close at hand

And I can feel myself falling

Like the autumn leaves

Away from you

Into the arms of someone new

And this heart feels torn

Between the wild

Unbound spirit of a stallion

And the well-trained

Companionship

Of man’s best friend

And both have their perks

And both have adventure

And safety

And danger

The warmth of an embrace

As it keeps you steady

Or draws you in

Like inhaling the smoke

From a summer campfire

Both burning

And warming

And taking you back

The scents surrounding you

But I don’t want the summer to end

I never have

Because I’ll never get it back

You can never get it back.

But isn’t this exactly

What the trees whisper to us

In their wisdom

Each year

As they show us how to die

And be reborn

Into something new?

And I will forever be

Something new

And this cycle

Shall never cease

Ku Okoa Ana: Seven Years Sober

SEVEN years…. wow.
 
You know, I never really sought out recovery. I didn’t know I was capable of a life like this. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wasn’t capable of living like THAT anymore. Either something had to give, or I had to die. I just always assumed it’d have to be the latter. 
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I had been depressed for so long, I used to kid that my first words were, “I wish I was dead.” I also told people the most ironic job I could ever have was motivational speaker. Today, it has been seven years since my recovery began. Today, I can’t even remember what it was like to live like that. The only times I get glimpses are when I meet someone first starting their recovery journeys. And today, I have been a motivational speaker. I’ve spoken in meetings, and gone back to my treatment center and spoken there. That could be a legitimate career path for me.
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I would say I stumbled into this life, but the truth is it was chosen for me, and I was led into it. I’m so grateful that, at a point when I was so blind, I was still able to follow God down the path to what I had been meant for all along. My heart breaks for those who never answer the invitation. It wasn’t easy, but it was simple. I’ve been given directions, and I’ve followed them. Not perfectly or right away, but nonetheless, I’ve followed them. Those I’ve accepted guidance from have yet to steer me wrong. 
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Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

My story now is one of endless gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion, not only for others, but for myself. I am able to see how our choices and actions have a history behind them. They aren’t random or meaningless, they tell our story. How people love me or hate me; embrace me or reject me; speak to me or silence me; says so much more about them than it does me. I don’t always make the right choice, but I am far more swift to clear up the wreckage, if ever I leave any in my wake.
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Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

Spiritual growth is never painless, but my God is it mighty, mighty rewarding. Some days, I revel from my view from here, wishing others could see it. Most never will. Most people go to their graves harboring bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. There are things they never said, or things they wish they hadn’t, and they die with that hidden in their hearts. There’s a list of things they always wanted to do, but never did. I don’t have to hold on to any of that anymore. I am perfecting the art of letting things come and letting things go, riding waves, and conquering my bucket list. I am free.
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At the end of July 2011, I got a glimpse into hell. I died and was reborn. I was caught in a tug of war between satan and God, and I witnessed it all unfold. I was unconscious, but the moment I came back to myself August 1, 2011, I realized a great truth about our existence. When I woke, I wrote these words, “Dearest father, from the depths of my soul, I yearn to know that those days have ended; that each gift you so graciously present me with from here on out will be welcomed with an unmatched gratitude.” I ended it with, “Allow me to use the gifts you have granted me to share your endless love, hope, and acceptance to all in this dark world who feel forgotten and forsaken.” I gave my very story away to be written by a different author. And this is the story he has written since.
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For Shane

Trees

by Joyce Kilmer

I THINK that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

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And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

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Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

Turn The Light Off When You Go

My eyes are very green today

And they reminded me of you

The way they billow in like smoke

And lie about the truth

 

Truth is…

I’ve written just as many poems

In your absence

As I did when we first met

 

They were exciting then

Adventurous

Telling tales

Of hikes in snow

 

And resting there, by waterfalls

 

And all that I have written now

Is about the way time has shifted silently

In the days since you’ve been gone

How the aching in my hollow chest

Is working its way out

Through the surface of my skin

 

And today…

My eyes are just as green

As the path that I refused to travel down

On our way that day

To our swimming hole

That I’ll never get to swim

 

When really, they should be gray

Like the days have felt

Without the color seeping in

And my eyes smiling shut

In the blinding brilliance

Of your love

Our Soul Mission and A Lifetime Alone

The other night, I asked God to explain to me in a dream exactly why I’m destined to spend my life alone. I asked for the dream to be thorough and clear, and for the ability to remember all of the details.

 

This is what followed.

 

I woke up at 4:40 am remembering vividly the two different dreams I had just had. Though I remembered them so thoroughly, that I felt the need to write them down immediately, I also felt very intensely, like I needed that last hour of sleep. I went to the bathroom, and when I lied back down, I prayed, as I quickly found myself hovering in a space between both awake and aware, and also in an REM state. As I prayed in that state, I asked for the ability to remember the details when I woke, if I was still in need of sleep. And I did.

 

I woke just after 6, and needed to start getting ready to go run. I prepared and as I drove there, I made a voice note recording the dream. This is my first time writing it down. I knew it must also be written, in order to be both fleshed out and processed.

 

The first dream began as I entered the apartment of a couple I am friends with. The apartment was old and filthy on a level that was beyond cleaning, but they obviously took very good care of the place, to make it was as nice as it could be. They were cleaning up after dinner and preparing for winding down for the evening. When I walked into the apartment, for what must’ve been the first time, I noticed the old wall next to the door had, at some point, been dug into as though someone were trying desperately to either get out, or get to something inside the wall, or perhaps just out of sheer madness. I noticed three specific layers in the wall. Maybe paint, plaster, then brick. Even the brick had been carved at, but not penetrated. And I was amazed by the fact that, as old as the building was, and as hard as that mystery person had tried, the wall was still fiercely resilient and standing strong. It also struck me that, rather than building the door there, the builders had decided to build the door right next to this individual’s feverish digging. It kinda seemed sadly ironic, and also a like a slap in the face to that person’s hard work.

 

As I sat in the kitchen, talking to my friends, they had moved on to doing things in the other rooms. Their cat proceeded to walk into the kitchen, stop right in front of me and sit, watching that area of eerie wall. It sat completely still and just watched for the longest time, and I thought to myself, “its as if the cat is watching the person who is still digging, after centuries, never realizing that the years had passed.” At that point, I was pretty thoroughly convinced that the place was haunted.

 

I followed my friends into their living room and sat on a loveseat perpendicular to their couch, chatting with them. I mentioned the unusualness of the cat’s behavior, and my friends rolled their eyes, as though people had commented on it before. As I moved my hands while talking, and tucked my hair behind my ear, I kept feeling a third hand on me. The hand wasn’t aggressive, or chilling, but rather, offering my hands support. It was trying to help me, as though it were my own, third hand. Totally creeped out, I mentioned the feeling and stood up. I moved to their couch. My friend then stood up, all huffy and annoyed. She said, “I don’t appreciate what you’re implying about our home. I know all of the superstitious things you believe, but you can keep that to yourself.” She also expressed offense at my suggesting that they’d make their house sitter who was coming soon stay in haunted environment. Obviously offended by my comments, I apologized frankly, and shut up. That pretty much had killed the conversation, though. And as awkward silence took over, that scene closed, and another began.

 

Dream number 2:

 

In this one, I seemed to be in a commons area of a church. It was hard to tell if it was a small church or a mega church. Two of my pastors were there. My female pastor from my most recent church, and the only pastor of my church in North Carolina. My female pastor was explicitly ignoring me the whole time I was there, which was hurtful and very similar to one of our last interactions in real life. As my North Carolina pastor pulled me aside, my other pastor pulled aside someone else.

 

My NC pastor spoke with me, checking in to see how I was doing. As we talked, the conversation of a group of men from my North Carolina church was starting to drown us out. Now let me say, the men in this church were the kindest, most polite, gentlemanly, and respectful men I have ever come across. In my dream, however, they were shootin’ the shit like a regular group of guys. I was generally ignoring them, but when something totally inappropriate was said, my pastor reminded them that I was in their company, to which one replied “well, she’s a bitch.” He said it very articulately and spitefully, making eye contact with me as it came out. I was totally unaffected by the comment.

 

The guy who was leading the disrespectful conversation sticks out to me. It is someone from that church who was a serial dater. He was one of those people who goes from relationship, to relationship, and so on, ad infinitum. They never lasted terribly long, and he ended up dating almost every woman in the church at some point. He recently became engaged, and as far as I know, that relationship still stands. (He seems to have deleted most of the people from our church off of his Facebook friends list, including myself. Which is cool, because I don’t have to worry about his seeing this. I guess things get awkward when you have a history with every woman in a church. Haha—I’m not included in that list though. Just sayin.)

 

Anyway… While this was all going on, the guys were around a coffee table, playing a strategy game. The game was a series of stacked circles, 3 or 4 to each row. The board was actually reminiscent of the mat in Twister. I watched closely and diligently trying to understand how the game went, as they had invited me to play the next round. I was almost able to understand the game, when it ended.

 

In real life, playing new games is one of my biggest anxieties. Despite being a gifted writer, everything else has always been difficult for me to understand. I suck at reading comprehension, and the number of repetitions needed for me to understand a concept, far outnumbers most people. Even the most basic concepts are like a foreign language the first 38 times I hear or see things. So, games are always stressful for me, as I fear my inability to understand the rules will reveal how utterly stupid I’ve always believed myself to be. The only game I’ve ever excelled at has been scrabble.

 

So, just as I started to learn the game, it ended. And that board disappeared, and a new one appeared. These circles where in an oval, curving, kind of resembling the outline of a lake. Apparently, the board changed with each round. My stomach dropped, right when the guys decided they were done playing for the night anyway. At this point, a wave of relief washed over me.

 

Reflecting on this part of the dream, the pastor from my North Carolina church feels like a very Jesus-like figure to me, which seems accurate. He was listening carefully, engaged, and invested in what I had to say, though there wasn’t much. I think it is interesting to consider, knowing that, the fact that I paid him very little attention. I was too focused on the guys and figuring out how to play that damn game. Sooooo, that’s an interesting side note, that means so much more when I read it back to myself. Yikes.

 

It has been days since this dream, and I have had a lot of realizations since. I’m not sure whether to include them here, in a new post, or at all, as they might be revelations best left to my book.

 

I will say this, the next day I went to have a reiki session after a yoga class. In the session, two Netflix shows came to mind, which both feature a group of people intensely connected, whom are on very important missions in the world. One is Sense8, about a group of spiritually connected people who can pop into the lives and experiences of each other. The other is Travelers, in which a group of time travelers have gone back in time to, of course, save the world. Both of these groups are fighting powerful evil forces, and are deeply, fiercely connected. But what they both most importantly have in common are their soul missions on this earth.

 

Similarly, during the session, my practitioner got the image of two energies, one being my own, and one being another. At first, these energies were raised up on a platform together, but then they split off from each other, going in opposite directions. She said that she got the word “mission” as if these two souls were parting to go serve and important earthly mission, but she said she got the sense that they would reconnect down the road.

 

What she reported seemed very interesting, as I had not told her of the question I had asked to have answered in my dream the night before. Only that I had asked one, and it was answered. I gave no indication of what the question had related to. The vision she received seemed to pose the possibility that the question itself had been based on a falsehood. It seemed to be a confirmation that my belief in a lifetime alone was wrong. That being said, I cannot really say whether these souls will reconnect in this life, or realm, or another. Only time will tell. Unless, of course, I ask another question.

 

Honestly, whenever I have a question for God, I have simply asked for an answer, and He has consistently offered answers to what I have asked. I truly believe, He will tell you anything you want to know. All you have to do is ask.