It’s been a while since I’ve traveled to these fair parts and for that, I apologize. I’ve missed the warmth and kindness that the OMHG community overflows with and it’s nice to be back.
Like many of you, I was deeply moved by Jessika’s open and humble call for support. Both she and her mother have been nothing but gracious and hospitable to me, making me feel welcomed and necessary, whether in the forums or during the #omhg chats and beyond. With that said, how could I not want to contribute, in some way, toward Stephanie’s recovery efforts?
It goes without saying that many of us have suffered various forms of trauma in our lives. These challenging days we live in are full of moments that test the limits of human endurance. For me, the journey into adulthood has had the unfortunate shadow of past child abuse as an unwanted companion. I was fortunate that, at an early age, a trusted mentor assisted me with a lot of the interpersonal work that we intuitive feelers are willing and eager to do to try to ‘fix our brains’. What a fortuitous blessing that was for a much younger me, for which I am eternally grateful.
When you start the process of rebuilding your view of your self, one that had been systematically striped of value by a parental unit, it seems that one can never imagine how long the process can take. But I did the work and really believed that I had resurrected a huge part of my identity; that I had become more than an abused child whose body and soul was the punching bag of a man whose life centered on so much anger and pain. I could feel myself become ME.
However, there is another side to abuse that is often unexplored and discovering this unseen territory has been a great awakening for me as I settle into my fourth decade of life. While many of us focus on the mental and psychological effects of trauma, few of us examine and discuss the long-term physical effects. It wasn’t until, after years of doing volunteer work and helping so many others make dramatic changes in their lives, that I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Simply put, my body decided to stop playing along with me. I used to be able to absorb and store my anxieties and those of others quite securely in the center of my body, my intestines. One day, my body clearly declared: “Enough already!” I lost a ton of weight and could barely eat a thing. Long story short: I had worked on my mind without remembering my body, and my body had finally had enough.
Thanks to a treasured friend, I was introduced to essential oil therapy and a book (Waking the Tiger by Peter A. Levine) that opened my eyes to the need for the body to release the pent up energy that comes from years of physical trauma. In the process, I’ve also discovered the power of positive affirmations. What a helpful tool these have been! My body is slowly releasing years of stored energy that occurs when our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism goes unfulfilled and I’m beginning to rewrite the messages that were reinforced in my brain. The inner voices manifest themselves as pain, sometimes so subtle that we ignore their presence until they the grow into larger chronic health issues. It’s a journey, but sometimes the journey is the destination. It needs to be savored and cherished so that each step forward is seen as a victory, each new morning is an opportunity for the glory of being alive to shine and radiate until you can stand still and say I AM WANTED, LOVABLE & WHOLE.
With that in mind, I’ve designed a line of posters, pillows and more and opened a little shop that I call I AM SAFE. To help with Stephanie’s recovery efforts, I am donating all profits from the I AM WANTED, LOVABLE & WHOLE print to Stephanie and her family. Pick up a copy for yourself or someone in your life who needs a reminder that our worth begins when we believe in it. Thanks for reading and for all you do to create beauty in your life.