I read this beautiful post by Sara last week. What Sara wrote reminded me of my own approach to my daughter's questions. But it also reminded me of something else. Something that darkened my door for most of my life. I looked at the calendar and noted the date. I searched my Sent box for emails to confirm my suspicion. Yes, 2 years. Two years since I reached out for the very first time in my 3+ decades of this life and asked for help. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I couldn't take any more of the same recurring nightmare, feelings of foreboding, keeping up a facade and generally not feeling like I could move forward. The nightmares terrified me. When I was in that 'dream' scape all I could hear was static noise. I couldn't scream, I couldn't move, I was trapped. I had no voice and I was paralysed and there was no one there to help me. I do not know who or what was there in my nightmare but the feelings paralleled a real life situation in level of fear, hopelessness and voicelessness. This is the first time I've written anything about my nightmares to more than just a trusted few. The nightmare crossed into reality and I could hardly even move to wake myself up. I felt like I was completely awake wherever I was. My husband would wake me, after hearing muffled whimperings and I'd be in tears from frustration and fear. It took me a while to connect the dots and realise why these nightmares were happening. Two years ago I had a gutful of it. I took the recurring nightmares as a sign that they would never end unless I asked for help. What was it? A traumatic experience from my early teens which had cast a dark shadow over a huge chunk of my life.
You don't realise until it happens to you, or someone you love, that not confronting a traumatic experience can grow and fester into something that just won't let you go. I was too young to know any different.
I intended to write this for quite some time but I had no idea how I would approach it, or even if my blog was the place for it. As I type I feel incredibly vulnerable. Like I'm uncovering something that needs to remain hidden away. Not out of shame or embarrassment, but because it takes a lot of trust and faith for me to open up, yet I am here breaking open.
Are you a walking talking contradiction too? I have had a piece of writing about vulnerability sitting in my Drafts for over a year yet I shared a part of my story in Sprout Magazine at the end of last year. It was everything you would expect from me if I have allowed you beyond my boundaries. What started as a few points about lessons I learned transformed into a personal and raw account. I knew it would resonate with the readers of the magazine as I had read so many touching stories by others within its pages. I felt vulnerable, but I felt lighter too because I was offloading baggage I didn't need anymore.
My journey towards healing began 2 years ago and it hasn't always been easy. In fact it has been a daily struggle at times. After I sought help in 2012 I made a little bit of peace with myself. I no longer blamed myself but I didn't keep up with talking to a professional because I thought I was done. Turns out I wasn't done, there were other traumatic events to recover from, so 2013 was a challenging year professionally, personally and creatively. I required more healing and a huge dose of self-forgiveness had to be administered to truly move forward. A story for another time, perhaps?
As for the nightmares? Well, they have decreased in frequency and I cannot even remember the last time I had one. What a relief.
Today I ask you to be present and show gratitude for where you are now and honour yourself. Look back for just a moment on how far you have come through difficult times, harsh experiences and tough lessons. If difficult, hard or tough lessons haven't been a significant part of your journey, I ask you to take a moment to reach out to a friend or family member and remind them that you love them and you value the path they have walked and they never have to be alone.
I truly believe that sharing life's trials and lessons can help others and that's what I aim for in this space. I don't believe you have to have had precisely the same experiences as someone else to be able to show them compassion or to 'walk in their shoes'. I think a willingness to walk in someone's shoes for just a moment is the sign of a generous spirit.
You have come so far already. The journey continues. Every step in the direction of your future looks brighter and brighter. Shine on.
Photo source: Mystera Magazine
Hello, I'm Sharyn: Founder of of Gutsy Girl and Gutsy Girls Will Rule The World. I am the Creatrix of Sacred Circle Leadership Training and Gutsy Mantras.
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