i spent a good portion of my life thus far trying to cover up, bury, cloak and avoid my past. for years, in my longing for control, safety and normality I employed perfectionism and being bossy pants to mask any little bit of weird that might slip through the cracks and expose me for the odd, damaged, freak I thought I was. i knew it was my job to be the secret keeper, a role heaved on me without my consent, due no doubt to the mortification truth-telling would unleash in my mouse’s view of the world, then only seeing what was right in front of me. that was before soaring…before embodying the eagle’s gesture and flying high with a wide open view from above.
from an eagle’s vantage point, the expanse of space is vast, unrestricted and capable of holding all kinds. who am I then, while eagle incarnate, to keep my story and experiences to myself, if through tender transparency I might be able to comfort another wounded sister? it has been a long hard road, as they say, a struggle to survive my past and arrive at the point of wanting to expose myself, to throw it all off and become naked and so new. unearthing, digging up, excavating and going public with our personal stories of living wounded from experiencing trauma is not selfish, it’s self-care. and it’s sister care in that telling our stories, crafting our personal narratives, are our greatest tools in healing, for ourselves and those who listen. i am not the only one who has been there, with the deep throbbing scars of a survivor, working out the kinks of our pasts. we all experience trials, hit bumps in the road, and our healing involves feeling our pain, embracing it, naming it, having a grief ritual for it, and then shedding and releasing it, starting a new chapter, a new story, a new page about ourselves. when we shine light in the dark secret corners, we set ourselves free. the telling and sharing and owning become a portal to healing, transformation and change, where we awaken to the deep truth of who we are.
i am done with the business of living wounded.
i am fermenting my past by sharing a previously published piece of mine here on this page now, letting the alchemy of it nourish and tonify us all. this “going public” is part of the ritual, part of the unraveling and reclamation that gets me to my next step of Make-to-Mend, where in community we support one another in a rhythmic daily practice of creative self-expression, Making to heal the wounds of developmental trauma and adverse childhood experiences. in the telling, the sharing, the writing, the making, the crafting, the deep soul dive. i am free. we are free. wild and free.
wild and free
by the time i was 4 years old my mom had married a monster, unbeknownst to us all at the time. we didn’t know he was a monster at first, because he didn't look like one. he didn’t appear scary, mean, nasty or vicious. he didn’t present hideous skin, oversized appendages or snarling teeth. this monster passed off like a gentle human, smelled clean and fresh, faithfully attended church and lived a moderate middleclass life in the suburbs. no, visually, your eyeballs would have never registered monster, or even crazed lunatic. but those amazing globe-shaped orbs inside their sockets cannot always ascertain sly, sneaky, cunning monsterishness by observing an outward appearance. this person was a deviant, conniving, covert monster on the inside. a putrid, sick, less than human, life-sucking leach, of the lowest form. yes, he most certainly was. he was a child molester and i was his darling, tricked, sweet, confused target for 7 long years.
i am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.don’t feel sorry for me. just see me where i stand. behold me.i tell you this in an effort to take back my power: to become empowered, to become real, to shed the prickly cloak of secret keeper and rebirth myself anew. i tell you this to lean into and live up to my calligraphied arm tattoo:" i choose authenticity. i am brave, vulnerable and imperfect. i am enough." i tell you this to be seen: honest, bare, revealing. i tell you this to cultivate my own shame resilience: ordinary courage, dream weaver, creative wise woman . i tell you this because i have survived, sometimes barely intact, more often than not hanging on by a thread, yet alive, and living with the battle scars, bruises and bewilderment of being knocked the fuck down, so to speak. i tell you this to do something big. yes, this is my truth.and yet. still i journey. still i dream. still i seek healing. a wanderer, always and ever spiraling inward and outward, grasping elusive bits of star dust and slippery magical moon beams. me, burning bright, shining, electric, pulsing, reaching, soaring, stretching. but always, always, furling back again, folding inward, dark solitude, a hot mess of fear, questioning, angry, rageful, blaming and untrusting. temporarily defeated, the wall goes up, old wounds fester and seep, vulnerability sprouts wings and vanishes while i choose smallness and jealousy, in a wicked shame spiral of despair and humiliation. this one beautiful life: seemingly stolen, subverted, mangled, ruined, corrupted.
and yet, i refuse to let it have me, to own me, to work me like a puppet.i am giving myself permission to fly because i have been told there is life outside the cage.don’t feel sorry for me. my life is not horrid. i have had many years worth of smiles, belly laughs and high times. I am college educated in the arts, i am a trained community centered herbalist, i have two beautiful sons, and a partner who continues to allow me to grow, die and be reborn again. i have submerged myself in a community of women and friends that i can trust, feel safe with, let see me and be real real with. I am an artist, a maker, a studio and vintage shop owner. Boho-Naturalist styling, decoration and design is my gift and prayer. i am a honeybee keeper, a mother-ocean loving surfer, a horseback rider and a wanna be world traveler. and here i write. i am a writer, a weaver of words and a teller of truths. i am me and here i am: aspiring to live and love with my whole heartthis one beautiful life was cobbled together on a marathon, a running, if you will, away from and back to myself, depleted, over and over again, tired, cyclical, exhausted, a pattern. Therapy, and therapy, and more therapy. tiny bits of me unearthed and exposed, little by little, dusted and shined but not always lovely. a crystal in the rough. in fact, rather mostly hard to look at, the shattered edges, the sticking stinking mucky grime, unbreakable, unuseful, old protective modes, wounds that won’t rest in peace, sending me running from myself again. untimely attempts at shifting the energy leaving me sprinting like a rat on its wheel, wondering when to jump but instead just hanging in there, one more round, utterly thirsting to run into myself, me, myself, hoping to find me, myself, like an old friend waiting with open arms. but no, the running went on and on and on.but now it's done. i've crossed the finish line of this 39 year marathon. i'm jumping off the wheel. and i'm two things. I am thirsty and i want to fall down. hard. and i want the running me to splatter on a surface that will crack me wide open and let all the dis-eased, unfulfilling ,broken down bits of me scatter to the healing eastern winds. and i want to drink up, gulp down and cultivate the pieces of me that serve me, the seeds that help me serve others, the bits that give me purpose and light and freedom. i will grow, nourished and fed, ever reaching, thickening, becoming succulent and juicy in my new skin, tendrils finding their hold. i will live and love with my whole heart and i am hot-damn determined to reclaim what is rightfully mine and be fully selfish in my loving myself, tending my inner fire, stoking a life that is abundantly full of star dust and moon beams. there shall be no end to me, just wide open space and affluence, glowing and radiant. beauty, love and passion.so blame it on my wild heart. it has been broken and busted flat yet it won’t give up. it just keeps asking the questions, searching for answers, growing stronger with each veil lifted, with each step toward the signs that reveal answers, to a hoped for understanding, a making sense, a wanted deep knowing of direction, path, meaning. what to do with this one beautiful life and this incessant mocking awareness? what is my convergence? where will my skills join a valued need in the world so i know how, where and in what form to give. Catherine Deane Moore says, "Your calling is at the intersection of your joy and the earth's deepest need." where is my joy? what is Her deepest need? i'm investing in me because being the best me is the gift i can give the world today. my preferred self, me breaking inherited patterns, me taking flight.
this is my gift to me.
And this is my gift to you.