The How of Trauma
We all get it from a variety of sources: family, abuse, neglect, addiction, fear. Trauma hits everyone at some point in their lives…the younger it hits the harder it is to get over…
Like most things in life, it matters most what we do with what happens to us. And like most people in the universe, I have had some pretty awful solutions for a problem that I couldn’t really identify I had.
For the most part I have shopped it, dated it, fucked it, ate it, ignored it, exercised it and drank it. None of which really did anything to alleviate the underlying causes, only give me temporary relief which ultimately put me farther in the trauma hole.
Recovery was a beginning. But just a beginning. It was the start of me being able to see that my life as I was living it was never going to get me anywhere good if I didn’t deal with all the shit that came before. Like I said yesterday, trauma is something that usually someone else does to you, but once it is done, it is yours to deal with, manage, heal from…forever. For me that has been an evolving process. I seem to always find new ways that the past hurts are showing up in real time in my present. And I have to begin again to see it, deal with it and hopefully heal it. For me living each new day is a new opportunity to heal something, some aspect of the past. And that is a good thing. I do not personally believe that I will ever be done…and that is just fine.
Regardless of how we are traumatized it is ours to deal with, or not. And it seems like many, many people check the “I am just going to pretend like that didn’t happen!” box. And you can. You can walk through your life pretending like whatever horrible thing never happened: abuse, car accidents, absent parents, abusive parents, sexual assault, death, sickness, mental health issues. You can walk through life with a positive attitude and pretend that all that shit was in the past and should stay there…except it won’t. You take it with you. It crawls all over you, it infects everything you do and say. It alters every relationship you ever have. And it seems like it is insurmountable…
I am not going to lie. Healing from our past traumas is hard. It is gut wrenching but so is living with them running your entire life. The later strategy only perpetuating more trauma and hardship while dealing and healing has the power to set you and everyone you love free. How you get free is to begin. Anytime, anyplace…begin. And then simply continue. Rest when you need to but give yourself the best thing that you could ever give anyone, health. A healthy and life affirming way of living. One that isn’t constantly being burned down around you. One that is yours where you see yourself as you are and you find a way to love that very broken, damaged person and no longer perpetuate the abuse.
What happened in my past was horrific. But what I did to myself because of it was much more damaging. I fucked up my life over and over again because of something I refused to deal with, admit and heal from. And until I did, it controlled me. It owned me. And it almost took me out. Today, I walk around pretty free. Oh, I still fuck things up on the regular but now I am fucking things up on my way towards the light instead of the steady march into the abyss of darkness and fear. Today, I know where it all comes from…and that that is permanent. I will never get around or completely over how the trauma happened…there will always be some new variation of it, but I am strong enough today to deal with it and then move forward in my life.
The how of trauma is the touchstone of all spiritual growth, it is the place I am returned to over and over again and for me, that is such a gift. Because once I touch it, I can see it and once I see it I can begin to heal it. And that which I have done the work to heal can’t really ever fuck me up again…even when my head tells me story after story to the contrary. I know on the deepest level that the healing will lessen the grip and with a softer grip, I can and will change. And I will marvel in who and what I have become. And that is pretty fucking cool.