. Finding The Grace Within – I am on a journey; a journey to heal through my voice – surving life after sexual abuse

Finding The Grace Again . . . .

Its been quite a while since I have written in my blog – I am reminded of that every day when I see all those who still read my blog, and ask me “when are you going to write more about your therapy process and healing?”It warms my heart to know people out there miss reading the process of my journey.

Well I have decided to take that step again and begin writing again as I continue this amazing journey of healing I am still on. It will take a while to step back into the routine of writing about all that I have walked thru this year – the good, the hard, the struggles and yes, even the grace!

I thought I would begin with a small step back into it and see where the words lead me as I make this a part of my routine like it used to be. I have to admit, its vulnerable to step back into what was once my comfort.

For those who have asked, YES I am still in therapy and blessed to be so. I am still working along-side Andy, and have been now for 11 years. The journey in therapy has only gotten better – more trust, more openness, and the best part – more acceptance! I am truly blessed for all the wisdom and support and connection he brings to me and our work together! He has truly helped me thru many struggles this year (which I will share as I continue to write more in the coming days and weeks ahead).

I am finally at a place in my healing in therapy where I am open to the inner child within and working hard on her now that I accept that part of me is here. As you all know from my past writings It took me a long time to really accept that part of me. Andy has truly helped me to embrace that part of my healing and using that in all places of this healing journey, not only emotionally, but physically.

Go to where the silence is and say something

So for those who have asked how I am doing in my journey of healing, my answer to that is “its good, its hard, but its rewarding in many ways”.

I do have to say, taking a step back into the writing has been a huge challenge for me over the past year, so taking this step is (as my therapist would say) “A BIG DAMN DEAL”  – so I hope this first step is what pushes me to share more of what I have been working thru, and how I have over-come many challenges and struggles I was faced with ion the past year or so.

My writing and this blog has truly helped me along the healing journey for many years, and I hope that I can continue to find the grace to do that, and to connect with others which has always been such a blessing.

So, as the subject line says, I am “Finding The Grace Again” .

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11 years to connection

It all began with a touch to the finger that started this “now 11-year” journey in therapy. Today I have found what connection truly means not only to others, not only to my story but to myself.

Today marks 11 years I have been in therapy with my therapist Andy and I can’t even begin to express how truly honored and blessed I am to be working side by side with one of the most caring and kind-hearted people I have ever come to meet.

When I began this journey in therapy I walked in with already one foot out of the door; sitting in the chair closest to the door just in case I wanted to run. Today I sit side by side, sometimes shoulder to shoulder, on the same couch with my therapist. Trust is not even a wonderment in our work, it’s now a staple in our work, and we continue to use that trust as way to be more open to the steps.

Andy has taught me so much about connection which began with his fingertip touching mine to show me that this journey begins with trust and safe touch, and trust is what these 11 years have been about.
He has helped me to see that I am worthy of connection and that I can trust others if I allow myself to accept that I am worthy of love and connection.

Therapy is hard hard work! I have gone through many hard moments in the process of our work. There have been some ruptures, some disconnection, but unlike the people of my past and unlike the abuse I endured, I was still loved and cared for in those ruptures. We NEVER gave up on the hard work or each other in this process.

I am truly blessed for this journey I am on. I am still learning, I am still finding ways to heal the hurt and pain that resides deep within. The difference is, Now I am learning on different levels, and that is another thing my therapist has taught me on this journey; that healing happens on different levels of where we are on our journey.

I have learned so much from him and still do, and recently he shared with me that he learns just as much from me as I do him and that would have been something I would have never believed 11 years ago, but today I truly believe I can be and take up good space in others lives as well; even my therapist.

I continue this amazing journey as I am in the process of writing my book and taking my big steps back out into my life after a hard couple of years. I am honored for this journey.

I want to end this blog writing with a few thoughts right to my therapist, and I want to say:

Andy, you are truly an amazing therapist, an amazing person I have come to know these past 11 years. You have truly changed my life and helped me to see the light in the darkness and to find connection out of the disconnection from the pain of the past. I am so blessed to be on this journey with you. Thank you for being that person the little girl in the closet prayed about when I was just 5 years old, I couldn’t have come this far without you and our work, much love to you

For those reading this, I want to say to you “keep on your journey, don’t give up and trust that connection is also worthy for you as well, you just have to accept it.

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We are important too!

When I saw this months cover of Time Magazine’s “Person of the year” – The Silence BreakersThe Voices That Launched a Movement” it not only struck an angry nerve for me, but it made me sad and frustrated!

For YEARS people have been speaking out about sexual assault, sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, rape and so on! I am not talking about just celebrities; I am talking about your everyday mom, wife, daughter, sister, father, husband, son, and brother.

People have been speaking out more and more about sexual assault, sexual abuse, and even rape! I believe it needs to be heard louder, and it’s not given the proper attention it deserves.

What made me upset about the “Time Magazine” article was this quote:

While the concept of #MeToo was started in 2006 by activist Tarana Burke, its use became part of the national conversation in October after celebrities on social media used it to share their own sexual abuse stories in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal

It only became a worldwide conversation when “celebrities” stood up and spoke? What about the millions of people who write books, write blogs, spread awareness around their own stories? Why did it take the voices of well-known, high paid, wealthy celebrities for the #METOO movement to be seen and recognized as much as it has this year?

Are the voices of everyday people not credible enough for this movement to be seen for what it truly stands for; only when celebrities began standing up to it?

YES, Time Magazine did include a great spread of photos around the everyday people who have also come forward – but that was not brought to the forefront, or noticed until popular celebrities began voicing their truth, and telling their stories of the sexual assaults they endured.

Lets be honest, had the celebrities not spoken out as they did – we “sadly” wouldn’t be having this conversation right now – because to society and the media, the every day people are not as interesting, and it doesn’t pay and that is the sad truth in all of this.

It makes me angry, and it makes me sad that we are not hearing the voices and the stories of your average everyday people who dare to speak, and have the courage to be seen.

The “METOO movement” which began in 2006 sadly wasn’t heard-of as loudly until recently when popular celebrities took their stories to social media! I struggle with society and the media not paying attention to it until it brings in revenue or its high standards of the celebrities to make it stand out and worthy enough to pay attention to. it saddens me!

I am however hopeful that the movement is pressing to the everyday people to speak more – I am in awe anytime anyone speaks their truth, but I will stand by this belief – this DID NOT start with the celebrities who stood up this year and took a stand – it started WAY before that, it just sadly went un-noticed!

When I saw the magazine cover, the first thing I thought of was “this isn’t new” “this isn’t new news” – look between the lines and you will see that stories have been told – voices have been spoken – people have been courageously talking about it for YEARS by thousands of people – sadly the media and society chooses to highlight it when it benefits them!

I hate that something so important as the “metoo movement” or the stories written by others stood stagnant until the popular media heard it through celebrities!

Whether it’s a story told against the popular Harvey Weinstein, or the actor Kevin Spacey, or the average man/woman living next door to you, it’s a story worth telling and hearing! No one “story” or “pain felt” should be treated any differently whether you are a celebrity or not.

Thousands of courageous bloggers and writers out there have been telling their story for YEARS; using their voice to bring awareness to a topic that is so shielded by society out of fear of talking about it.

I myself have been writing for years on my blog; writing about the story of my past, and the healing journey I have taken in therapy from my past around the child sexual abuse I endured from the age of 5 until I was 11, and then raped at 13 by a “friend” of the family.

I work hard in my journey, and I write about it in hopes it gives others the courage to stand and tell their story! I love connecting with others and truly have a heart for those who find that courage within.

I am not saying that Time Magazine didn’t focus on the everyday people, and I am absolutely not saying that the voices of these celebrities are not important – because EVERYONE’S VOICE MATTERS!

What I am upset about is that we live in a society that money and fame speak louder than your everyday person whose voice is just as important – but unfortunately not as noticed.

EVERYONE and ANYONE who has courageously spoken their story deserves to be seen as “person of the year” – and I will say, if this highlights the movement, even more, that’s GREAT, but lets stop giving all the credit to the celebrities – because I truly believe it started with those who hide behind the fear – those who are NOT seen in the limelight.

We need to bring awareness to all woman and men who have a story to be told! Let’s give credit to this movement to ALL who speak and use their voice to the truths around sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape.

You matter, and your voice matters! Stand tall against a society that chooses to focus on what will sell the story – because, in the end, no amount of money can equal up to the courage it takes to speak your truth.

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crying wake ups – what does it mean?

Those who do not weep, do not see.”  – Victor Hugo

I’m sleeping soundly, and then I find myself crying in my sleep, and when I realize this, I am wrestling and struggling to wake up out of the dream – and when I wake, I have tears rolling down my face and the emotions build even bigger as I continue to cry.

I then realize, WAIT I just woke up out of a dream, why am I crying and why am I so sad?

Sometimes I will stop crying right away, sit and think about it, feel puzzled on what just happened! Then other times I will continue to cry out of my sleep, even sob and feel completely sad about whatever it is that I may have seen in my dream that made me have tears.

Sometimes the crying wake up is so bad that it leaves me feeling out-of-place all day, and it sits within me wondering “what is going on, and why does this keep happening to me”?

As some of you may know, I have written about this a few times on my blog, but for a few years now I have gone through bouts of crying as I wake up out of my sleep. It’s the worst feeling in the world because as our bodies sleep, our body is paralized, but the mind and emotions are not, therefore you truly feel what it is your feeling.

This has been a huge topic in therapy, and when I tell my therapist “I had a bad crying wake-up” he knows what that means. He understands the depth of how that makes me feel, and the struggle I have had with this for quite some time now. He will ask “did you continue to cry when you woke up, or did you stop it right away?” because there are times I will keep crying because I feel so incredibly sad, or I will stop it out of anger that it hapened again and why??!!

SO what does it mean and why does it happen? There are many theory’s written online like, “repressed emotions having a space to open up when you are at your most vulnerable (sleeping)”. But for me, I believe it has to do with the young inner child within – – showing her emotions when I am least likely to stop them.

Its no surprise that I fear having emotions. I have struggled with this my whole life, and this fear showed up most in therapy when I began expressing my emotions! I have a fear of showing emotions, therefor maybe that is why they show up in my sleep.

I’m not sure the reason, but I hate it and it feels horrible when it happens. When it happens it takes me out of my sense of self that whole day – even DAYS will go by that I struggle with the dream / crying wake up, even to the point of projecting.

Just this past week I had such a hard week in therapy since the crying wake up – I was projecting my feelings onto my therapist and in the room, but I can’t help it, this is what happens to me and it sucks.

SO for now, all I can do is pay attention to these cruyingwake up’s and work with them the best I can until I really get an understanding around them, but for now, its something I struggle with and I have no understanding around it and that is OK because it means something.

Does anyone else struggle with crying wake ups or crying out of your sleep

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finding new light and darkness

“I stopped looking for the light and decided to become the light instead.”

This quote is so true to what I feel is going on inside this past month.

Even as I sit here and write this blog, it feels different – there is a newness of this writing and the process of being open with where I am.

Like I shared with my therapist in session last week, “this past month has been the most healing in all the years of being in therapy.” I look forward to what this new light will bring to me as I continue to take steps; allowing myself to be the light, rather than finding the light to lead the way.

One of my biggest struggles in the 10 years I have been in therapy is being open and truthful when I am really going through a hard time, or really struggling with something! Well, doesn’t that sound contradicting seeing that therapy is “made” for helping when you are struggling and going through hard times?

Well, for me, as far back as I can remember, I have only allowed myself to be open about whatever struggles I am going through if I have come up with how to fix it or make it better, and then I ask for support and help as I move through it.

I have always had this fear that if I allow myself to be seen struggling, that I will be rejected or I will be punished or pay consequences for talking about how I feel.

I am a FIGHTER, and I like to show that side of me – not the side that struggles or needs help.

When my therapist and I work together in therapy, we work TOGETHER! I rarely allow myself to say “I need help, and I don’t have it figured out.”

This past month I came to this realization that there is more light in allowing myself to be who I am “in the moment” and allowing others to see me in that light.

I made a decision this past month that allows me to be authentic to the moment instead of always raising a wall to the hard and only allowing the wall to come down once its OK enough to be seen.

The same goes for my writing, a lot of times I wouldn’t write a blog unless there was a resolve or an understanding of something. I would write a blog about positive things that I have overcome rather than letting people know “HEY, I have struggled and I don’t have it all figured out and hey that’s OK.”

What I have come to realize is that, healing happens even in the moments that are not fixed, or don’t feel better. Healing can happen in the hardest of all struggles, and its OK to ask for support in that. I don’t have just to be supported when I have figured it all out – that I am loved, cared for “SEEN” in the darkness.

The past couple of weeks in therapy have been the most healing, the most supporting, the most open, and the most vulnerable I have ever experienced because I have allowed myself to be in both light and dark.

I am finally seeing myself taking steps back into the things that once used to be a huge part of my life. Like the church, writing more, being around my once close friends, and not because I have found the light, but because I have allowed myself to see the dark, and heal in the dark.

I am open to what is next. I am hoping that I am going to write more by allowing others to see not just the good healing steps in my life or the good healing steps in therapy, but being open to the struggles it took to take those steps. Even in the moments of saying “this is where I am, and I don’t have it figured out, and that is OK because I am supported.”

This is such a HUGE step for me because I never allowed myself to be fully seen or supported without me putting up a partition wall to the struggles until It was ok for others to see. This is such a new space for me and I look forward to seeing how it brings me to the places I long to be.

I look forward to writing and connecting with others more in this space and seeing what it does for me and how it heals and meds and where it leads me.

I look forward to writing the blogs that say “I am having a hard day, and ITS OK” or showing up in my life no matter where it is open to the dark, and not just the light knowing healing can happen in both.

So I hope you will all walk with me in both the light and dark and both Good and Hard as I continue to take steps on this amazingly un-perfect journey.

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decisions

As you all can tell, I haven’t stuck to the 31 days of writing challenge! I felt so much pressure around making the daily posts that It made me shut out my writing all together, and to me that is not what I wanted this challenge to stand for.

I thought time and space would allow me to do the 31 days of writing this month! I was ready for it, I was wanting to connect to all the wonderful people on this same journey, but each time I went to write, I would notice how many days I was behind and it was discouraging!

I then thought about it more and said to myself, “is pushing myself to write every day a true way to connect to others and my writing?” The answer was no, and I think I realized this time around that the 31 day challenge is not for me as much as I wish it was. It made me sad!!

I don’t want to force myself to write just because that is what the challenge requires. Does forcing myself to write to meet a daily deadline healthy for my mind? I think it stresses me out, and I’m reading more and more about others who feel exact same way!

Writing for me comes from a very deep place, and when I write, it comes from a place where I connect to myself, and to what is going on inside. I can’t just sit and write to write, it has to come from something – a feeling, a thought, an experience, a certain energy within.

This challenge was too demanding on the way I write, so I decided to stop the challenge and go back to what it is I love to do, and that is writing from the journey I am on, and choosing times to write when I really feel it; not just to force myself daily to meet the daily writes.

Its a great challenge, don’t get me wrong! I respect and love what this challenge is about! I thought it was going to be ok to miss a couple of days here and there, but it got too overwhelming and I don’t want it to take away my true love of writing and why I do it. I dont want to get so burnt out that is takes the love out of my writing.

SO, right now? I re-focused my energy back to writing the way I love to write, and I also decided that I am going to make a new look to my blog! I am working on a new layout! I am truly excited about it, and I cannot wait to share it with you all.

Thank you to all who were on this 31 days challenge with me! I admire those who have done this challenge thus far and succeeded, but its not for me, and I want to re-focus back to what this blog stands for me. I am excited about what is to come for this blog and my writing.

Thank you to all who conitnue to support this journey and my writing – I love all my writing friends.

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Another Door Open

For years now, I have been in and out of the process of writing my book. I was so close to making it happen a couple of years ago; even got myself a publisher. The moment I began writing, I got triggered and began struggling to move through the process of writing about the past.

Recalling memories from my past were too painful to write about, I thought I was ready with already years of work with my therapist talking about my past – but something was missing and I wasn’t ready yet.

I decided to put it aside and work with my therapist on “inner child work” – – you have seen me write about accepting that I have an inner stuck child within and we have worked really hard on that the past year. its been hard work, but good work.

I began really trusting the memories without feeling I was actually back in those moments to the point of being able to talk about it without getting lost or disconnecting. Sometimes its still hard, but I believe I am ready to take this step.

When I got the denial letter for the retreat it hit me really hard, but I truly believe this was Gods way of saying “your ready for something bigger” . .so I thought about it and decided to take another chance at writing my book – sharing my story on a bigger level. I asked my therapist in session yesterday if he would help me and the young part walk along side this story to start writing and his response was nothing short of supportive, caring and compassionate. His words were “I would be honored to take this step with you in our work” ..

So even though just last week I didn’t believe in “when one door closes another one opens” – today I believe that the money I would have spent on this retreat in February, is just what I need to make this bigger step happen.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”- Brene’ Brown

I may not be able to be with a bunch of people on a retreat to talk about my story, or to hear amazing wisdom from other poets and writers, but I can take the step into making my story happen, by using my voice to write this book of my past.

As many of you know, I have already chosen the name and the cover of the book, it’s the inside that is the hardest – and I am ready to this step.

The name of my book will be “Alone in the Closet” ..

So it begins, again – one door closed but another door is open to this journey of writing about my past – writing my story so that I can connect with others to show them that life can happen afrer abuse. You can heal from childhood sexual abuse, and you do have a voice to be spoken!

Its a big step, it’s a vulnerable step, but a step I know I am ready to finally take. I couldn’t do it without the support of my husband, my family and of course this healing journey and my therapist who has walked ths journey with me for over 10 years now. I am blessed!

So – as I write this today – I truly believe that when one door closes, God is awaiting with another door open. Take that step through.

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3 DAYS – LIFE HAPPENS

The one thing I told myself when I agreed to do this “31 days of writing” was not to be hard on myself if I missed a day of writing, because “life happens!”

life gets in the way of time we have to ourselves sometimes. Life gets in the way of our thoughts, and our means to have a moment to ourselves, and that’s what happened to me yesterday.

I actually had a very vulnerable session yesterday in therapy! I talked about some things that were hard and allowed myself to sit with my emotions, and sometimes when that happens, it takes me out of my sense of self because I am not one that does very well with showing or feeling emotions.

When I came home from a hard but GOOD healing session, I had no energy left in me to put any words to this blog – – and then life happened and the day got away from me. By the time I realized I didn’t write, it was this morning! At first I felt disappointed in myself, and then I remembered the purpose of this 31 days, it’s about letting life be, and the writing working around my life, not me working around the writing.

So, as I sit here tonight writing Day 3 and 4 together, it’s a good way to say this is life and if you miss a day, or you have to let life come first, its OK .. at least we are still making the effort to be vulnerable to this amazing challenge.

I wont let it stumble me . . . I am here and letting life be what it is, and letting my writing coming along side of it.

For those who are brave enough to take on this challenge of the 31 days – keep in mind, life gets in the way, the days come and go and give yourself the space needed to write when you can.. let life happen just as your writing. If you miss a day, its OK .. keep going forward, I am in awe of everyone who takes on this difficult vulnerable challenge.

Be kind to yourself.

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