Monthly Archives: September 2009

Jumping in with both feet

Many of us who are survivors of CSA, find it hard to just ‘let go’ and do things.  We are so accustomed to fading into the background to protect ourselves.  We have so many fears and triggers and the need for control can hold us back.  I know that I have often felt the need to tread softly and quietly, checking to make sure the coast is clear before attempting something.  And when I DID do something I would often not throw myself right into it but would instead take tentative steps.  Always checking.  Always making sure that it was okay.  Acceptable to others.  Safe.

Lately I have been just jumping in.  Starting Voice Found was a HUGE leap for me.  Posting the link to this blog on my professional profile was another big step.  I have recently embarked on other adventures and have been discovering that when it is right, when I truly listen to what is at my core, when my intent is good…..well – it’s okay to just jump the hell in.  Sure there have been a few missteps.  And yes, there are times when my steps are tentative.   Sometimes I take a baby step backwards.  That’s okay.  Not everything warrants jumping all the way in.  For the most part though I am throwing the bullshit to the wind, casting the stares (real and imagined) aside, quieting the voices that tell me I am not good enough….and I am jumping in with both feet.  Only when I do that am I fully experiencing life.  Some things can not be accomplished through half measures.

Give it a try.  Find something you are passionate about or something you have been afraid to do.  Maybe it is a personal call that you have been putting off or a new hair colour that you have been debating.  Maybe it is a walk around the block alone in the evening or sleeping with the light off one night.  Whatever you feel your ‘next step’ might be.  Give it a whirl.  Just jump on in with both feet.

Advertisements

Allowing

I was talking to a friend the other day and she was expressing frustration at being sad.  Feeling down and fighting depression.  As wonderful as life is – and it surely IS…there are times when you’re just gunna be sad.  Allow the feeling.  It’s when we deny ourselves to feel and squash things down inside that they fester and grow into something bigger.  There is something to be learned in every moment and in every emotion.   There is no ‘bad’ or ‘good’ or ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel.  Just feel whatever the heck it is and allow it to happen.

Bonus package – I have often found that ‘darkness’ proceeds a time of exponential growth.   So let the tears fall if they need too…let the laughter bubble up and pour forth…stomp your feet….dance…sing….FEEL.  Allow yourself to LIVE!

Allow yourself to feel good

‘Allow yourself to feel good’…..these are words that came to me via email from a wonderful friend yesterday.  She went on to say that while it was necessary for me to deal with all the pain and crap I am facing right now, that she wondered if I allow myself the opportunity to be happy too.  I was taken aback at first as I have always thought people saw me as a joyful, happy and mostly positive person.  In fact I felt almost defensive at first and then I realized that was my ego getting in the way.  The message was coming from someone who is genuine and perceptive and truly a friend.  There would be no intent for her to state this other than from a place of genuine care.  I let the words sit with me for a while and they have been a wonderful reminder to me.

Often times we are so much more familiar with negative thoughts than with those which bring joy.  We are surrounded by many sources of pleasure but yet rarely allow ourselves to focus on them.   Taking time to list the things that make us feel good in a single day is one way to be mindful of what brings pleasure to us.  The sound of a bird chirping, the feel of a gentle autum rain on our skin, the way the leaves look as they dance in the wind, the smell of chai tea, the taste of chocolate.  It could be a meal lovingly prepared and shared with a friend, a smile from a stranger passing on the street, the feeling of accomplishment when you pay a bill.   On any given day the list will differ in length and experiences.  What matters is being mindful of these items.

We have been programed to enjoy things through a screen of sorts.  We have dimished our appreciation of them.  It is now time to allow ourselves to fully experience good things.  Fully experience joy and happiness and pleasure.  It is our right.  Allow yourself to feel good.  Allow yourself to be happy.  It’s okay to do that.   Really.

Thank you my friend. 🙂

IMG_8609

Fear of the dentist

A lot of people are afraid of going to the dentist.  Needles and pain are usually the most common reasons cited.  For someone who has experienced CSA, the fear is often debilitating.  Many will avoid going and this causes them to have very serious issues with their dental health.

For me it has been the fear of upsetting my dentist.  He is in a position of power over me as I sit in that chair and they begin to recline it.  I fear he will be upset with me.  The whole experience is so terrifying that I put it off for years and then go and am scolded by the hygienist for not keeping up with regular appointments…and then the dentist has something to say about how I have now made things worse by leaving a relatively simple problem for too long causing it to become a major problem.  I often find myself in tears when I am in the chair.  It is so embarrassing and they must wonder what the f**k is up with me.

I also can not handle the anesthetic as my already over- alert body reacts with the epinephrine triggering panic attacks.  There have been a number of times where procedures have been halted for up to half an hour.  During this time I go from bad to worse as I struggle to bring myself under control.  It adds to my embarrassment and I scold myself for causing trouble at the dentists office.

I found a great article here that I wish to share.  As I read it, I found myself shaking my head in agreement.

Now I must communicate these things to my dentists office and spread the word to other offices. I’m sure that health care professionals will respond to suggestions and information provided by their patients…but they need to know what the problem is and HOW to help.

I will empower myself and share the information with my dentist. After all – I deserve to have nice teeth too!

take your time…

When I decided to share my secret with my therapist a few years ago, I thought things would somehow just get better.  Fast.  I had ‘no time’ to deal with therapy and working things through.  I figured there had to be a ‘fast track’ to recovery.  How wrong I was.  Healing  pays no attention to your self-imposed time-line.  It can’t.  It is a natural process.   You have to let things happen as they are meant to.  Sometimes this means taking two steps back and then three forward.

The journey has been – and still is- painful at times but I would not trade one moment of it.  Some of the moments of extreme angst revealed the greatest beauty.

One of the most important things I want to share with other women who are going through this is that you ARE okay.  You WILL be okay.  The sun will shine, the birds will sing and night will turn to day.  If you are willing to invest the time to heal… you will learn to pull the fragments of your lost self together.   As those pieces come together to form a whole you will love the woman you are.  It is worth every tear and every moment of extreme discomfort.

I wrote the following on a fall retreat.   It was a momentous occassion for me as I had never gone on such an adventure by myself before.  Rented a cabin near Algonquin Park and stayed all alone for 6 days.  I hiked in the woods alone (this was REALLY big for me because I was once raped in the woods)  I had just lost my job.  I was struggling in so many ways but felt the need to face some fears.  It was an amazing trip.  Sure I was scared skinny a few times.  I also laughed and danced by myself outside at sunrise.  I cried.  I just let things happen.

(ps….I won’t be offended if you find my writing horrible.   I don’t pretend to be a writer..I just do my best to express myself in ways that make sense to me at the time.)

Threshold

Hungry for the answer to questions not formed.
The fragments of words weaving through the labyrinth that is of me
Wondering if they will take shape to reveal the answers.

Quietly I listen to a symphony that has not yet been performed,
It’s perfect notes arranging themselves in the depths of my subconscious
Unable to translate them to the orchestra that awaits my music.

Speaking words of love with a voice that has no sound.
The magnificence of each vowel and consonant silent as they escape my lips
Aching for its tenderness to wrap my beloved with my acceptance.

IMG_8497


scary step

I just added the link to this blog from my professional profile on LinkedIn.  Most of my friends know about my journey and my work creating Voice Found and are very supportive.  Putting this on my professional profile – well that is a scary step.

I’m okay with scary.  I need to build this organization and to do that I need to continue to take risks and face fear.  Hell – I’ve been through worse!

So- to any new readers…look under the ‘my dream’ tab.  I’m willing to share mine – how about you? Is there something you are passionate about? A dream that you want to make a reality?  Let me know.  I’d love to hear your stories.  And if yours is similar to mine – maybe we can work together!  I need to put together a board of directors…and a website…and translate my handwritten ideas to graphics…and so on and so on.

Scary is fun!  🙂

Reading Material

I thought I’d share a couple of books that I have found to be useful in the healing journey.  As an aside – I am trying to raise funds now to go and visit a place in Saskatoon that is almost identical to my ultimate dream for Voice Found.  It is an actual, physical house- a place for women to heal.  Called ‘Tamara’s Place”.  I just about fell out of my chair when I found it and am hopeful that they will be open to a visit and sharing information to help me do something similar in Ottawa.

Check it out here:  http://www.tamarashouse.sk.ca/aboutth.html

Now- on to some books:

First and foremost is ‘The Courage to Heal:  A Guide For Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.”  Ellen Bass and Laura Davis.  This one book has been such a great resource for me and the exercises and workbook are highly recommended.

“Allies in Healing:  When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child”.  This is a good read for partners  of survivors.  Written by Laura Davis.

“I Never Told Anyone:  Writing by Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.”  Ellen Bass.  A note on this one though – it can be very triggering.