Scars – we all have them, but what do we do with them?

Scars – we all have them.
Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual….

Some we can live with and others we abhor with intensity.
It is how we embrace them that matters.
1. we can cover them up and be unaccepting of ourselves and our self perceived ugliness.
Or
2. we can be completely unabashed, and unashamedly display them.
The first is our natural instinct
The second takes work, a hell of a lot of work.

When I was quite young I had an altercation with a barbed wire fence.
It left a raised horrid scar on my upper inner thigh.
I hated that scar with a passion
for years
But now I barely ever think of it
It is still there
still the same as it ever was
it is not a concern to me anymore
Time has healed.

I have other scars
hidden soul scars
Too many of them
I chose the first route for years
but there was so many toxins festering beneath them
I finally realised if I didn’t choose the second route I would never ever heal completely.

I have only recently chosen to confront and display my scars
And in so doing am coming to a place of positivity
And a place of content peacefulness.

A year ago I had a most fortuitous encounter with a lovely woman who has since become a friend.

Sera lit up my life 🙂
That encounter unleashed so many opportunities.

Looking back I love seeing the unfolding of chance encounters.
Is it really chance?
Karma?
Fate?
Coincidence?
We used to say that a ‘coincidence is just a miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous’
Whatever way you look at it
that meeting was the beginning of so many positive things for me.
Sera was wearing the most wonderful jacket.
Being someone who loves mixed media I was immediately drawn to it and to the message it was portraying.
Be Still My Sacred Heart
That resonated so loudly in my damaged and vulnerable soul.

That jacket and it’s branding is the baby of Amanda Betts
She began Bridge the Gap Project to support and empower young victims of abuse.
The Heartspeak Collective allows victims/survivors to tell their stories through art and fashion.
I was so inspired and absolutely delighted to finally meet and spend time in Auckland with the dynamic and enthusiastically energetic Amanda a few months later.

I then began communicating with Sera about creating my own garment with her.
When I began talking with her about Heartspeaking a garment it seemed a natural progression to use my tattoo as part of my creation.
My phoenix is in a fairly private part of my anatomy
Only comes out in summer 😉
My eldest son reminds me often that scars are the tattoos of the brave.
The Phoenix is my Brave rising from the ashes of my abuse and heartbreak.
Perfect!

I also loved Sera’s cocoons so decided to combine those two loves.
We physically connected a few weeks ago and began working.
We spent the day choosing, cutting and piecing fabrics.
It was so much fun working with her on the project
I was so in my element
Back in my happy space that I haven’t been in for so long
It was feeding my creative mojo and incredibly therapeutic

I had to leave Sera to finish it as I needed to return home.
The following week I was transiting through Auckland airport and Sera delivered the finished garment to me.
I was blown away
So rapt
Ecstatically happy with the results.
It is absolutely perfectly Me 🙂
Thank you Sera
And Thank you Amanda
You have touched my heart and helped towards the healing of my soul
 Each Heartspeak garment has a heart tucked in it somewhere.
Mine is the large orange flower – of course 😉
And the words in the banner – also from my tattoo
illa alis volat propriis 
(She flies with her own wings) I was also delighted to hear Amanda exclaim that the blue/orange flames were cut from one of her old dresses.
So I feel like am carrying a piece of her and Sera with me where I go.

Turning Wounds into Power

This year has been one of immense growth for me.
I have finally found my voice
And now that I have, my wounds have become words that hold so much strength and power.

Since I came completely out of my closet back in May life has really gained momentum
There’s been some really hard times but the positive things are outweighing those.

Early June I was interviewed by the lovely Megan Bowers-Vette 
She was wanting to portray abuse survivors not as victims but as people with renewed strength & life
The US Project was begun with a photography exhibition in Whangarei
Then released in the most amazing heart rending book
I am so proud to have been able to work with Megan in this project
She has done a brilliant job depicting 50 people in NZ & Australia who are daily living with the consequences from the experience of rape, and other forms of sexual abuse.
She has now published The Us. Project Book of Stories
It is a tremendous book portraying so much heartache, and yet so much strength.
Such a powerful communication
I would encourage you to buy this book
Read, pass it on, share it around
Open peoples eyes to truths
Where so many refuse to see and choose to stay blinded.

I was interviewed by UNICEF a couple of months ago.
It was an incredible privilege to work with Shelley on this project.
To be able to speak out on behalf of other children
Children like me who are being silenced
Not by violence
But by emotional headfucking
Which is more silencing
Because of the lack of ability that people have to see and understand what is happening
The support which has come from the video and article has been huge.
My hope is that it reaches and helps many young ones to speak out and find help and to prevent so many more from experiencing what I did.

I know that this is a really tough subject
It is very confronting to so many
Especially those who are connected in a vicarious way to a victim
But what has to be remembered
When dealing with this type of trauma
Is that the victim
Is the victim
and
The victim
should not
is not
to be blamed
or shamed
or accused
or doubted
No matter how difficult it is for you to process

You have to stop
and think
and just listen
and actually
hear
their pain
hear
their truth
because it is their truth
and you cannot dispute their truth

You have to stop
disbelieving
victim blaming
victim shaming

You have to stop
supporting
encouraging
allowing behavioural continuance
to the perpetrators
Just because they appear to be
so good
so important
so squeaky clean
so -‘oh they would never do anything like that’

You have to stop
questioning
why didn’t you disclose earlier
why didn’t you say something at the time
why did you wear that
why did you go there
why did you drink that
and the worst one of all
why didn’t you confront your abuser?????
Seriously???

Unless you have lived the pain
You have absolutely NO IDEA
of the why
to any of these questions
You have absolutely NO IDEA
of the re-traumatising that happens
from your questions
from disclosing
from the doubting
from the demands
You put on us

Please just stop
and love us
hold us
and give us space
and time
to heal
in our own ways
in our own time

We so need you
If you can do this for us
We can heal
We can become strong
We can face the world again
And we will totally kick arse and become even stronger than before!

Therapy

Therapy
-a treatment that helps someone feel better, grow stronger,
-the act of caring for someone

Origin

I used to think therapy was the difficult stuff
the hour long sessions spent with my therapist
But
it’s not

Therapy has
many colours
many forms
many shapes
many times

Therapy
for me
is writing
is meeting a friend for coffee and and one on one time
is time & fun with my children
is taking the dog for a quiet meander along the river walk
is impulsively popping in for a chat with a friend
is sweating up a steep hill track and taking in the spectacular views from the top of my achievement
is impulsively shopping
is leaning into the arms of my closest tribal members and sobbing my heart out
is allowing them to feel my pain
is receiving their love and encouragement
is watching movies that make me cry, and laugh, and think
is sharing my innermost soulful thoughts with my best friend
is spending a day in bed with Netflix just because I can
is messaging my lover in the early hours of the morning
is sharing belly laughing crazy wine drinking sessions with my tribe
is creating art
is accepting the love and understanding of my man
is being held safe in his arms
is sitting at the beach and soaking in the sunshine
is planning my garden
is clambering around slippery river rocks with my children
is walking beside others who have also experienced my journey
is creating something joyous and wonderful and beautiful
is dancing wild and free
is making love
is gloriously wonderful food
is coffee

is orange :-)Therapy is caring for me in a way that restores my soul
But
I find
it tends to come delivered on a roller coaster
I delight in the parts of the ride that are slow
easy
soothing
cruising
but
while I am enjoying them I don’t tend to notice that the car I am riding in is beginning to climb…
Until I am perched at the top
rocking
waiting
then….
horrifyingly
the ride it gets to be screamingly scary
Situations arise
Events happen
my carriage plunges
down
down
down

and the therapy becomes
brutally intense
it makes me writhe in pain
I feel as if I am being torn apart
the anguish of the years
comes pouring out of my eyes
without permission
and when I think
I just cannot bare another moment,
when I am totally emotionally spent
the roller coaster reaches the bottom
and quietly cruises again
I gasp and gulp and reel
from the carnage wrought on my soul
I nurse my bruises
then realise
I made it through
that time
I begin the gentle soul soothing nurturing
knowing that this time
I have been made stronger
so that the next time my carriage reaches its peak
the pain won’t be as raw
the screaming not as loud
the ride down not as intense
nor as long

Nayyirah Waheed expresses it so well

recovering
healing
from abuse
is not an easy journey
it is wrought with hard seasons
but it is not an impossible journey
if you are willing to reach out
and accept the hands
who want to love you
but the hardest thing of all
for us
is

Continuum

For too many years I was frozen into silence by shame
Shame that was not mine to carry
I was also silenced by loyalty
Family loyalty
But I know now that was all bullshit
Because the only one that was being damaged was me
And I was the one
In my child’s mind
Protecting everyone else
Because don’t you know
Family has to stay loyal
Family has to cover up the dirt
Family is more important than the abuse of a child
But now…
I am saying enough!!

I am sick and tired of being the victim
Tired of being victimised
I will not be shamed into silence again

For too long I was under the impression that I was the only one
But as I have broken my silence I am hearing more and more from others who were victimised by my father
It is daunting and horrific
And I am sickened by the extent of his depravity
Yes, I know he is dead and gone
Yes, I know he cannot defend himself
But I know that as an adult I personally challenged him and he never denied a thing
All he said was – as he brushed it under the carpet
‘Its all in the past’
All in the fucking past!!
Yeah Nah!
You cannot abuse a child for over 10 years of her childhood and think you have left her unscathed.
It doesn’t work that way.
It will never be in the past
Yes I have worked on my healing
Yes I am still working on my healing
Yes I am on a new journey
And Yes I am in a really really good place now
But the damage he inflicted will never ever be forgotten.
I will not allow myself to be swept under a carpet again.
I know now that I am far too valuable for that.

My childhood memories are not all scarred with depravity.
I am the first one to admit that there were some great times along the way.
My grandmother was a true feminist, way ahead of her times, and I loved her for that
I spent many holidays with her and my ‘not so much older than me’ uncles who I adored like surrogate older brothers
She was a strong influence in my formative years
My mother was educated, a teacher, always a teacher – I understand that because she passed that trait on to me
She provided me with a wonderful understanding and appreciation for music and culture and the arts
I will always be very grateful for that
And for the sacrifices she made to ensure I received those piano lessons, the precious books, the records she could ill afford.
From both these women I inherited the love of words and the ability to express myself passionately in my writing.

Unfortunately my memories of the great times are pretty much all tainted by the undercurrents of what I was experiencing under the covers, behind the doors, when no-one was looking, when no-one was seeing
On the surface everything in the garden was very rosy
It was beneath the surface where the rot was lying.
And when there is rot it eventually weakens the foundation and everything collapses.
It took many years for this rot to work its way to the surface
And now I am burning it out and rebuilding my foundations with new wood.

I do have many happy times that I recall
As a preschooler my mind casts back to a carefree spirited little girl
and I see snapshots of me pre the age of 7 that easily spring to my mind
In those snapshots I see myself, but I also see my carefree little granddaughters reflecting in their similarities to me
I just hope and pray that my little girls will never, ever, ever, have to endure what I did.

By breaking my silence
By bringing the rot to the surface to be dealt with
I am allowing discussion and freedom to talk openly
I have had so many friends and family come to me in the past weeks saying
‘Thank You’
‘Thank you for sharing’
‘Thank you for opening the door to allow us to talk’
‘Thank you for giving us the ability to share our pain’

It has taken every ounce of strength I have to come to this point in my journey
The emotional exhaustion from writing has been immense
I began to spiral down the tunnel again last week
I allowed myself a day of recovery time
I was tended to by empathetic friends
But I knew I couldn’t allow myself to fall too far
I will not let myself go there again
I woke the following day with resolve
I put my armour back on
My warrior self kicked the black dog fair out the door
And I faced the world again
Brave
Courageous
With my smile
I will not allow my smile to be stolen from me again

This is my story
My journey
My truth
and in front of me
is
My future
And I am writing it myself
I will not allow anyone to corrupt my shine ever again

Warrior & Wild – but today & maybe tomorrow, can I just be plain tired?

“The wild woman has nothing to do with doing wild things, it is all about embracing your true natural self. For one that is loud and “out there” and for the other that is silent and introvert.. and everything in between.. and maybe even at the same time 
It is the woman who wants to break free from all the strings society has placed on them to find herself in the heart of love and compassion.”

I have been riding a fairly high-flying wave of awesome energy lately.
Emotional levels have been extremely high
Life is treating me well
Being loved just rocks my socks off
On personal, business and emotional levels everything is just so good

But occasionally I wake, and a small altercation tips me over before I’ve had a chance to put on my warrior armour.
It just flips me over and I find myself back, tiptoeing through a swamp of feeling just a tad sad, just a little below par.
But actually tiptoeing is vastly different to drowning!

On reflection I realise that even warriors need some time to just stop, climb down off their horses and rest a bit.
When you’ve been entering the fray and doing battle for so long you just get so used to fighting
And then when you do take time out to heal your wounds
And you regain your strength
And you work really hard to not just regain
But to renew
It is just such an marvellous place to be
It is so fricken awesome!!
I am so loving being in that place.

Along the way I have learnt to honour my soul in that place and know that not every day is going to be riding along the mountain tops
There are still some valley journeys too
What I am finding these days is that my descents into the valleys are now a lot more bearable to live with as my understanding of self increases
In fact they could even be somewhat, just ever so slightly, enjoyable
They give me time to just stop and reflect
And absorb the wonderful reality that I have healed so much
That I barely remember the darkest valleys I was walking in before.

So when the clouds close in and block my sparkle I just wait a while for them to blow on by
Knowing that despite their shading
I am still shining
And the sun will soon return
And my freaking supernova will sparkle again!!

Freedom – is being You without anyone’s permission

Here’s the thing!

Damn right it’s not selfish to take care of yourself!
So why do we constantly put ourselves last.
Especially we as women as wives and mothers
We are so used to having demands made of us
It’s pretty much 24/7
We get into the rut of being last in the equation
I know I certainly did
For years and years
Why do we have to get to breaking point
Or actually break
Before we Stop!
And evaluate and realise
That we are a priority
We have to be No 1
We shouldn’t be just surviving
We should be living!

We also get ground down by the expectations of perfection
Shoved in our faces by the media
But also our own minds play games with us
we second guess ourselves
we accept our feelings of inadequacy
we sell ourselves short
Throughout my life I have had misconceptions about myself
that have affected me in so many ways
-how ugly certain parts of my body were
-how I related to others
-how I resultantly would dress
-how I perceived myself
-how I treated myself
-how I spoke to myself
-how I spoke about myself
I know without a doubt I am not alone in this

It breaks my heart when I see & hear people being so self critical
especially the precious young ones
who have so many years ahead
which they should be enjoying in the freedom and knowledge
that they are so worthy
and perfect
in who they are
as themselves

I love Mahalia’s sign on her mirror
It is sadly too true
WARNING:
Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of ‘beauty’.

A year ago I was told that I was pre-diabetic
I was stressed to the max
Still shouldering a huge burden of grief
I was unfit
I was carrying an excess amount of weight
all of which was causing my health to deteriorate
I had not found my freedom to be Me

It has taken a while
But
with support and encouragement from Sunniva & Cally in particular
and of course my long suffering therapist 😉
I have managed to lessen my stress levels to a manageable level
I started exercising
I lost weight
I began using Isagenix products to assist my health journey
I have done heaps of self evaluation
Trading lack of self worth for worthiness
I talk to myself more positively
I am more confident in myself
I treat myself better physically & emotionally
I cut myself so much more slack

Physically I am feeling
Absolutely
Bloody
Marvellous
I do not need anyones permission
I own my own Freedom

And today I have just discovered that my BMI has dropped from the ‘heading towards danger’ area at 28
down to the more healthier level of 24
Yaaaaah!!!!
I have minimised the risk of diabetes by a huge amount
Yes, the 12 kgs+ that I have lost helps considerably

More than that though
My emotional and mental Me has developed and begun to shine
My inner person has grown
I have learnt to accept who I am as a woman
as a human being
as an equal
If any of my preconceived flaws pop into my brain
I just stomp on them
apply the order of the boot
and kick them out of my life
I have no need of them!


It is a difficult thing to really really look at yourself in the mirror
and not to criticise yourself
To actually see You
Marvellous
Astonishing
Wonderful
You 🙂
Take a moment or three
Stop and look
You are fricken awesome and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise
Including that small voice from within
Silence it immediately!!
Look at who you really are
wonderful you
amazing you
uniquely you
Who cares if your eyebrows are not on fleck
or your nose is slightly off centre
or your hair is ‘not right’
or you are a cuddlier model
or you are a slimmer machine
or your boobs are too big
or too small
or your post baby tummy is lovely and squishy
or……
or…………..
It doesn’t actually matter
There are seriously no fucks given by anyone except yourself!!


Yes
Like each of us
I have a story
Some of that story is fucking awful
But there’s also a hell of a lot that is brilliant
Through learning to love myself
I am choosing to be brave and own my own story
And by owning it
I can now write the the next chapters
And they are going to be AWESOME!

Living with PTSD

Back on the day 6 years ago that I was finally diagnosed with PTSD
It was such a relief
To know I wasn’t crazy
I was just broken
a traumatised soul
But
In the identifying
and the confronting
and the search for answers
I had no idea what lay in front of me.
I knew what was behind me
And I wanted no more of that
So I turned forwards
started the healing
facing the demons
But as I did they would attack with greater ferocity
biting at my heels
attacking with force the closer I got to identifying each one
Sometimes it felt like one step forward and ten back
I would break
and fall apart
thinking what was the point
it is all just way too hard


But finally
I found my courage
I sourced that inner strength
that had maintained me throughout those traumas
I was able to embrace the education of my mind
and was ready to face
and retrace my nightmares as each one surfaced


Being able to identify triggers
is essential
to not just surviving PTSD
but
to actually living with PTSD
In the past
triggers would escalate me out of control
I didn’t understand what was happening
And therefore
was unable to process
My normality which allowed me to cope
was
to be in control
have total structure
OCD to the max
keeping so busy so as not to remember

Today
I understand
I do have PTSD
I will always have PTSD
You cannot endure as much trauma as I have
and escape unscathed
But I am identifying the triggers
much more quickly
and in identifying them
I can deal to them

I haven’t quite got to identifying them
at trigger point
prior to the reaction
But I am processing
so much more quickly
I am also able to verbalise the situation ‘much more better’
Which for me
helps the processing
builds my emotional strength
allows me to understand
and share my self more easily
And lessens the feelings
of inadequacy
of hopelessness
of neediness
of ‘crazy woman status’

Over the past months
I have had several ‘meltdowns’
which I have been able to confront face on
Each trigger a reaction to different traumatic life experiences
Activating a neurobiological response from my amygdala
I go into instant ‘fright’ or ‘flight’ mode
I become anxious, frightened, out of rational control
But thankfully now
that is only for a short time

The reality of living with PTSD
is the ongoing
underlying
‘just have to live with’
stuff –
the sleeplessness
the inability to focus
the fluctuations
– emotional numbing
– emotional excess
the hypervigilance
the adrenal fatigue

Through my many many sessions with my therapist
(I still cannot believe she has never given up on me!!)
my work with other abused & traumatised women
and researching the ways trauma effects the brain
especially a young developing child’s
learning big words 😉
like
amygdala
hippocampus
ventromedial prefrontal cortex

I have learned to manage, conquer or control many of my symptomatic responses
-the intrusive thoughts of unwanted memories
-the flashbacks
-the mood alterations
-the shame, blame, persistent negativity
-the avoidance
-the depression

When I get gutshot by a PTSD trigger
I can now
identify it
deal to it
let it go – (why does that want to make me burst into song 😉 )
and use it to help others

The Becca Lee poem at the top really speaks from and to my heart
She summarises me perfectly
If you have managed to read through to the bottom of this
please go back and read about ‘me’
I’ve written previously about my phoenix rising from the ashes
this rebirth of mine
the growth from the pain
which has made me the woman I am today
I would gladly have traded all that pain whilst enduring it
But now
today
where I am right now
I can honestly say
I am ok

In fact today
I don’t just think
I’m ok
I know
I am doing
Absolutely brilliantly!

But if you are with me on the days when I am not doing quite so brilliantly
Please be a just little forgiving xxx

Discovering my Phoenix

Wow!
Just realised it has been a month since I last wrote a post.
I really have claimed my freedom!
For over 10 years I updated on a daily basis
And to have now given myself the freedom to write when I want and not feel any pressure is amazing.

One thing that people closest to me know is that I am inclined to be rather spontaneous.
Some may call it impulsiveness 😉
So I do have to curb myself at times.
I have learned over the years to take a big breath before responding to things, to hesitate long before pushing the Send button – often leaving a response until I have calmed enough to Bin it!
But I have also learned that spontaneity is a marvellous thing.
It can take you places you never dreamed of and would never go if you thought twice.

Over the past months I have had a desire building within to do something
Just for me
It is something that I have never before ever wanted, and was also quite opposed to for years.
It did seem somewhat impulsive at first
But I held myself in check, addressed it cautiously over a period of months

The desire came from a place deep within.
From the depths of my survivors soul.
Something to mark my rite of passage in a way.
I have spent months and months thinking it through
Discussed it only recently and very tentatively with one or two closest to me.
I decided that it would be my birthday present to myself.
It was going to be a one time forever thing so I had to think long and hard.
Ensure that what I did was absolutely right
And the person who did it had to be empathetic to this tattoo virgin.
After several enquiries I finally found Pete upon recommendations of several friends.
I met with him and we talked it all through.
He was so lovely, sensitive to my needs and wants.
After some discussion he set about to draw my design for me and sent me home to sort out the script & font.

The appointed day arrived and on the 26th January I rocked up at 9am with a excitement & anticipation, and a just a wee tad of trepidation.
2 hours later I left
Absolutely delighted with the results

I am ever so grateful for the hand above that held mine throughout the process
Yes, it did hurt – at times
And that hand was squeezed incredibly hard – at times
But it wasn’t unbearable because I really wanted it.

I chose the phoenix because it is representative of transformation
My personal transformation from victim to warrior

It is a symbol of my renewal, strength & power.

The words I thought long and hard over
Finally deciding on this Latin line
Illa alis volat propriis 
which translates as
She flies with her own wings

I have spent years on this journey
I have learnt and in fact am still learning to fly with my own wings
It is a daily process to brush off my feathers
Spread my wings
Project myself into new unknowns
Rising up with renewed strength each day

It is so joyful to be able to be happy
To be completely unconcerned as to what people think
To finally be so in tune with myself and my body
That at this age
My age
The number I was so freaked out about attaining
I can be myself at the beach with my young beach babes
Be unafraid of the camera lens
In fact I can be proud of me
Cuz actually
I have decided that I am pretty damned awesome 🙂

 

Measuring growth

exposing vulnerabilities
scary stuff
really scary stuff

but in exposing my own vulnerabilities I am growing
and in growing myself I allow others to grow

So I am going to go right out there in this post and tell it…

I have been working hard over the past few years to heal
It’s been damned hard
But the growth I have experienced in the past few months has been immeasurable.
I have been flying on all cylinders
It has been an amazingly exhilarating ride

So….. recently when I experienced some health issues and I went into total meltdown over them I was like WTF?
This can’t be happening to me
I can’t do this over again
I am over all this
I’m in a such good place now
Why?………

After the 3rd thing in less than 2 months I marched right on into my therapist’s rooms this week and announced that she needed to help me unfuck my head!
In retrospect I know that in itself is a sign of immense growth for me because normally I spend my sessions duckshoveling and talking about everything and anything except me!

So here goes…..
She talked me through what was happening –
I learned that it is perfectly normal for any of us to imagine the worst when hit with a medical issue.
Absolutely normal!

But anyone like me who has PTSD will go there way more severely.
When you have experienced trauma and personal loss the fragility of life makes you so much more vulnerable.
There is…
-incredible fear
-losing control
-feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under your feet
This is something that PTSD sufferers fear greatly
Having no control over what happened to us at the time of the event/s is the cause of the triggers when we lose control in the now.
Being in control is how we feel safe
Hence OCD is often symptomatic of PTSD

These past two weeks I have had a couple of events which triggered me severely.
I visited a skin specialist because I figured that at my age and stage in life, with my skin type, and living here in New Zealand it was a wise thing to do.
However, I was unprepared for having several ‘things’ cut off of me and even more unprepared to hear that one of them was ‘of concern’.
The area of concern was on the back of my thigh.
My head immediately took me back many years when we lost a friend to melanoma – and yes his began with a spot right there!
Instant meltdown
Tears for hours as I processed
Thank God for friends who don’t mind damp shoulders

Six days later I was sitting at the computer early in the morning chatting with my daughter online when I began to feel something strange in my face.
Eilidh came in a few moments later and looked at me…
‘Your face is swollen’ she commented in a puzzled tone
That was the beginning…
The left side of my face went puffy, and hot, and numb, and the vision in my left eye went blurry, like a haze was over it….
I was feeling very weird
Nothing I could pinpoint specifically, but I was beginning to freak out.
My mind was taking me places again, places I didn’t want to go, but because of association with my father’s strokes etc, it went there real fast.
I had to go pick up Azzan and when I did he was ‘Mum go straight to the Dr. Don’t take me home, just go to the Dr’.
So I did.
I was seen by the nurse.
All vitals were fine.
I was feeling like a total drama queen.
She referred me straight through to the Dr – stating that obviously if it was serious enough for me to walk in knowing there was something wrong, it was serious enough to see the Dr.
Validation felt good.
Saw the Dr and he eventually diagnosed shingles.
Whew!
That I can handle.
The strep throat that had taken me a month to recover from pre Xmas had obviously lowered my immune system enough to allow the virus to activate.
I asked him what would’ve happened if I hadn’t come in?
‘You could’ve gone blind in that eye’ he said.
Woah!!
Ok!
More validation that I know my body and in future not to doubt myself.
But I had crashed emotionally – again.

The next day I received reassurance from my therapist that I was not going mental, I was not losing it, I was not regressing, was in fact doing a very healthy thing.
I was allowing myself to feel.

My normal PTSD response in the past has been to feel hopeless, collapsed, stuck, to have a knee jerk reaction when things hit the fan.
This is absolutely the norm to those of us stuck in the Drama triangle.
I know this.
I know it too well from far too many years of being stuck in there.
So for me now it is a NO GO ZONE.
It is Not Safe there
It is a place I Don’t Want To Go anymore

By taking ownership of my emotions
By naming my vulnerabilities
I am learning skills to live in a positive confronting way
I will not hide
I am exposing my scars
They are my tattoos of bravery
I am a Survivor!
I am a fricken badass Winner!

Talking through my needs
Helped me to see why I reacted the way I did and do…
built knowledge
built positivity
built strength
Because I have suffered sexual abuse during my childhood my trust was broken at an incredibly vulnerable time of my life by a person who I should’ve been able to trust.
Because of unreliable and inconsistent support in the past I have built barriers.
I have put up walls to protect me.
Because of the trauma of close loss and grief I am lacking the one thing I need
The one person who would hold and comfort me at times like this
That exposes my fragilities and vulnerabilities even more
It is downright scary stuff
When I am wounded my initial reaction has always been to go curl up in a corner like a wounded puppy, snapping and biting at any hands who dare to try help me

I have to learn how to let people in…
I am learning now how to let people in…
safely
I am learning to identify my needs
What does my fragile self need in these situations?
– honest support
– acknowledgement that it is scary
– validation
– to be heard
– to be reassured
– to feel safe
I have been building a door in my wall
I get to choose to open that door
to let in the trusted few

Thank God for trusted friends I feel safe with
I have built a small strong tribe of very special people in my inner sanctum
Some of whom have been there for me this past week especially while I have been in freakout mode

Phillipa you have always been my bestest friend, I don’t know where I would be without you
You have held me during some of the hardest times of my life
We have shared so much these past 25 years – I think our shoulders are equally wet and our laughter equally joyous

Spending time in the sunshine with Eilidh over these days has been so therapeutic as she has helped to blow away my fears
Love this girl – we are therapy for each other

And this guy
This spesiale strooijonker vfriend
(Who’s gonna laugh his arse off at my puny attempt at Afrikaans 😉  )
Who listens for hours on the phone
Who can handle my tears as I soak my pillow
Who always has an objective view
Eddie my man, my best mate – you are just one super cool dude and I thank you for being a part of my life
Thank you for making me laugh
Thank you for bringing the music back to my soul

And Renata – my beautiful forthright unreservedly outspoken and delightedly honest friend…
thank you for letting my cry all over your sushi this week
thank you for your support and and your love and your laughter

I’m past caring who sees me cry these days
If you can’t share my tears then you don’t deserve my laughter

I am growing through this
And so can you….
I will never be the same
You will never be the same
Trauma changes us
True story~!

If you are a PTSD sufferer
then take my advice
Find someone safe
someone you can trust
someone who understands your fragility
someone who can empathise
someone you feel safe with

But ultimately
Allow yourself to FEEL
Allow yourself to be BRAVE

Young woman, Precious girl

Young woman
Precious girl
I see you
I see your trembling lip
The uncertainty in your eyes
The small tear escaping
I see your strength
I see such courage
I see you
And my heart is breaking
My heart breaks every time I encounter you
because I know
I know exactly what you are feeling
What you are thinking
because in you
I see me
I see Young Woman me

Your life has been changed
in a moment
a moment you did not choose
a moment that robbed you of so much
of your innocence
of your trusting
of you

Young woman
Precious girl
I encourage you to stand strong
to speak out
as loudly as you dare
knowing that I stand
I stand beside you
to hold you until you are strong enough to stand
beside the next
Precious girl

Because I know
we know
there will be more
there are so many more
too many more
look around your friends precious one
the statistics tell us
that 1 of every 3 of your friends will be sexually assaulted before they are 17
the statistics tell us that living in New Zealand
the place we call Godzone
is one of the most dangerous places for you to be
Sexual assault in New Zealand is endemic
a far too silent epidemic
the silence is deafening…

Young woman
Precious girl
I understand your need for silence
in your silence you find normalcy
when something so heinous
so evil
so invasively devastating to your inner being
happens to you
you crave in anyway possible for everything to be ‘the way it was’ before

Precious one
if your silence is for normalcy
then be silent for as long as you need
be silent while you build strength
be silent and know that I am walking with you

But
if your silence is because of shame
then my Precious One
this is so NOT right
This burden
this shame
Is NOT Yours
Do you hear me?
I will shout this from the rooftops if I have to
Do NOT carry the shame of another
It is NOT yours to carry.

Young woman
Precious girl
be brave
take courage
knowing that we are walking beside you
we are breathing fire
as we fight for you
until you can breath your own fire.

Young woman
Precious girl
my heart is breaking
I love you