Trauma sucks. It sucks our life energy. It sucks our joy. It sucks our soul. It sucks us away from our community.
It’s not fair. Experiencing trauma, especially as child, at the hands of an adult who is supposed to love and protect and care for you – it’s not fair. It’s not fair that the impacts of trauma lasts for decades. It’s not fair that even if our minds forget the events, our bodies won’t. It’s not fair that we have to pay the price of what others have done to us, pay that price for years, for decades. Pay that price with our mental, physical and spiritual health.
I had surgery in September. It was to remove some endometriosis. I also have adenomyosis and we’ve been tracking down some auto-immune issues too. I’ve been researching how childhood trauma and cumulative trauma can impact our health as an adult. I wrote a paper on it. I’m working on writing an ebook. The idea of how the pain endured over three decades ago at the hands of people who were supposed to love me, who were supposed to protect me, people who I trusted with my life – literally – how that pain has manifested itself as illness is as much a part of me now as the illness and the trauma itself.
I’m not the only person on the planet who has suffered at the hands of people who were supposed to care for me. I’m not the only person on a path to healing, holistic healing, searching for release, searching for joy. I’m not the only person who comes to places in my life where I think I’ve finally let it all go, only be pushed back with the reality that there is more work to do, more play to do, more healing.
Peter Levine says: “Trauma is a fact of life. It is not however, a life sentence.” I believe him. I believe we can heal. I believe I can heal. I believe in joy, love and hope. I believe in grace. I believe in you and me. I believe in the beauty of helping each other, holding space for each other. I believe in healing in community.
I have battle scars. Scars from a surgery when I was 18. Recent scars from my surgery a few months ago. They are battle scars. They are reminders of how I have fought to take back my body, to take back me. They remind me that I am a Warrior. They remind me that I could have given up, oh so many times I could have given up, and I didn’t. They remind me of the work I have done and have yet to do.
I am grateful for these scars. I am grateful for every single event in my life – the good, the glorious, the icky, the horrifying. I’m grateful because without the accumulation of all these events I would not be who I am today. Without the ick, I could not appreciate the beauty and joy. Without the pain I could not appreciate the healing release and relief. Without grieving I could not have found hope.
I am lucky I can wear my scars on the outside, on my skin. I am blessed to have the visual reminder that with every act of violence inflicted upon me, I can heal.
When I had my first surgery at 18 my only concern for the surgeon was whether I would have any scars. At 18 I didn’t see the beauty in scars. At 18 I didn’t fully appreciate or understand the life long fight of taking back me. I had two little scars from that surgery – one faded long ago, the second now wiped away by the recent surgery.
Twenty-two years later my greatest concern about the surgery was that it be scheduled as quickly as possible, so the ick could be physically removed from my body, so I could heal. The surgery itself was a traumatic event – planned, wanted, and still traumatic. My body reacted with night terrors and anxiety. Once I gave my body love, once literally touched it and said, “This is my body. I am safe. I will heal.” the night terrors and anxiety practically disappeared.
I’m thankful my body calls out to me, tells me it needs love. I’m thankful I can hear my body’s cries, screams, and even more grateful I am able to come running to it and give it love, reassure it, give it what it needs to help all of me heal.
I have four scars from this recent surgery. I should have a fifth, however that fifth one – the one that is really two scars from two surgeries, is invisible. It has healed completely. This lack of scar gives me hope I can heal the rest of me completely.
I am who I am today because of all I have experienced – from the moment of conception (or possibly before) to this very moment. I am thankful for all of the moments. I am grateful for my healing journey. I am grateful to all those who have hurt and all those who have loved me. I am grateful for all the Warrior Hearts who helped show me the way. I am grateful for all the Warrior Hearts who let me be a part of their healing journey. In community we will heal, we will overcome, we will find ourselves again.
(I am dedicating this post to Red Zorah, who is a Warrior, who has a Warrior Heart, who has, since I was 16, taught me how to access my own Warrior Heart. This post is dedicated to all the Warrior Women out there, each one of us fighting and releasing and finding our healing and our joy. I love you all so much. <3)