It’s fitting that I’m writing this right before Easter because part of my psyche is starting a brand new life. For twenty-some years my high-school trauma has been a huge, stultifying influence, and I’ve finally begun to transform and heal away from it.
Last week was a rough one. Though I was already planning to transfer to a safer, more respectful school, the way my principal decided to officially notify me of her decision to force-transfer me was this:
Two years of giving it absolutely everything that I had, of tears and sacrifice and love and Sunday workdays, and all she thought I deserved was a form letter with seven words. I felt that familiar being-nothing feeling for a night, but as always the kids and the actual work took me through to solid ground again.
I can’t imagine why my soon-to-be-ex boss thinks I deserve so much contempt, but I decided that the way to say FUCK YOU to her without derailing my goals is to do as many kind and loving things for myself as I possibly can. So on Friday night, I went to a Yoga Nidra/Kirtan event at the yoga studio I was enjoying last summer. The Yoga Nidra part was an all-savasana guided meditation geared toward body awareness. It was an entire hour long. The lovely yoga teacher said a lot of things, but my favorite part was when she was focusing us on our chakras. When she said “heart chakra, green” I felt it and saw it and I’ve felt it and seen it on and off all week.
I spent Saturday in a fancy garden, further unwinding from the school week. As I walked among the topiaries and fields of tiny blue flowers, as clear directive came up inside me: “Let things change.”
Therapy was on Sunday, right after church. Each week, I’ve been telling her the Bad Thing story and each time my anxiety levels have lessened, like magic. This week, she had me focus on just the part where the rapist is inside me, the part that’s always been the most difficult to articulate.
I started off with the usual anger and fear but as I talked, something changed. I want from harsh, stubborn emotions to pillowy sadness. Behind my closed eyes, everything inside me went a lovely, soft spring green. I cried relievingly and gently for the fact that I hadn’t been kept safe, for the deeper abandonment that led to me being at that party instead of in a safe, loving home, for the fact that both he and I had to go through something so inhumane, so disconnected from our divine selves. I tried to address him but as I did, he just…evanesced, floated up off me as foggy green light and was gone.
I opened my eyes and blew out the candle, full of kind sadness and relief. I got there. After twenty years of holding on, all of the kindness and support and adventure and work had finally allowed me to let it go. The badness and horror I always thought was an essential part of me was moved to something outside me, something else.
The Bad Story was all about integrating with my inner teenage self, and I went on talking after story time, I landed on the next character who needs attention and care: little me. For the next part of therapy, I’ll find ways to connect with and heal the child in me, who is still stuck in fear and abuse. I get to care for her and get her all situated, and now I know I can do it.
To that end, on the way to my family’s today, I’ll stop and take a walk at my rural childhood home. I’ll look at the flowers and birds and hear the quiet. I’ll go to the small town where we did church and groceries and go to the drugstore where my brother and sister and I used to get our allotted 25 cents worth of penny candy every week after church, and I’ll get Little Me whatever she wants, probably something sparkly.
The best update of all is: last night I had a little gig! The Cute Church couple had me read some poems at their adorable music night, and Cute Church Guy backed me up on stand-up bass. Friends came and listened, and I even sold a couple of books.
I started with a poem that has a singing epigraph:
“There is more love somewhere.
There is more love somewhere.
I’m gonna keep on
‘til I find it.
There is more love somewhere.”
Hearing my whole voice telling me the truth, in a gorgeous historic room with my adorable friends, I started to believe it. I am not the nasty things that happened to me. I’m love all the way through, and the more I can admit that, the happier I’ll be. This feels like the end of a story and I’m so, so grateful for everything that got me here, especially, dear reader, you.