I’m a survivor of sexual violence and trauma. Quite an intense way to start an article right? Well it’s pretty relevant to the content of the following paragraphs so best to be honest from the outset, I guess. And one of the hardest parts of acknowledging that I am is also the realisation that to move through the healing from this, is to experience it all over again. Not literally, but physiologically and mentally. This isn’t totally new to me either. Having been through a long slog of various types of therapy during my recovery from substances, I was well aware of the affects resurfaced trauma did to me and my body. But as I peel away a new layer, this layer particularly, I have sat and wondered if it is really worth it. The pain is intense and lingering and at times debilitating. Because as the trauma is revisited again I feel like this is a yucky layer and this is coming out in the form of actual physical illness. Ironically enough its yucky illness’s. A reoccurring cold with nasty smelling snot, stomach upset with burps that actually smelt like rotten eggs and muscle aching fatigue like nothing I’ve ever felt before. But the fact that it is yucky brings me some hope. Because that’s how it felt to little Lucy when she was experiencing this many many years ago. Yucky. And perhaps just perhaps, this means that I am getting to a layer that has been untouched...that stone hasn’t been upturned yet.
So I am writing this from my bed with tissues all around me as I try to recover from yet another cold. And it’s tough. I want rid of this disgusting stuff I’ve been carrying around for so many years. I want to be free of the shame that was given to me by someone else who was shameless. But I’m also aware of the fact that anything worth having does not come easy. It seems counterintuitive to want to heal from something but suffering worse than I did before I started this process and at times I wonder what the fuck am I doing. Why am I consciously making myself unwell in an attempt to become well? But what I also know is that it is all part and parcel of wading through the pus to finally have some healing from the infection. And the catalyst for all of this? Finally having a daughter of my own.
When Ruby (now 17 months of beautifulness) was born I didn’t feel that overwhelming rush of love that so many talk about. It took me time to build my love for her and although this did make me feel all sorts of confusion, I now know that it was ok, that’s just how it happened for us. As I watch her grow she teaches me that I now have a responsibility to take control of not allowing this shame to shape my future. Because intergenerational trauma is a real thing people.
So when she falls and bruises her knees I watch her as she just gets herself back up again and carries on trying. I encourage her to keep trying and hold her whenever the trying gets tiring for her. And this also teaches me to do the same for myself. Because when I was in pain and lonely for many years I didn’t have anyone to do this for me. But I have also learnt that I can do this for myself now and this is a continuous learning process. And for as long as I have breath in my body, I will do everything in my power to make sure that my daughter does not suffer how I did, because I’ve taken back my power. Besides, bruised knees can always heal anyway.