I see you.
I see how every single day you just hope and pray that you’ll have a few moments of relief, of “normal.” When that anxiety animal is clawing at your chest and you have no idea why. Or when your emotional flashbacks make you feel afraid even when the sun is shining and all is well. Or when a day under the covers sounds so much better than getting up and going to work and doing the things.
I mean, really – how is it that we are still expected to do the things when every moment feels like electricity under our skin?
I see you, friend. And I know it is so so hard.
It’s hard to be misunderstood ALL. THE. TIME. It’s hard to try to find empathy and understanding in your dearest people’s eyes, only to look and see confusion – or maybe even rejection – which of course will cause that spiral to continue out of control, that tornado of panic to well up in your chest.
It’s hard to put on a smile when your kids are just being kids, but their playfulness trips your startle reflex and you have to try to remember to breathe to stop the shaking.
It’s hard to have a constant sense of shame like everything bad is your fault. Even when you know in your brain that it’s not true, you feel the shame in your body so deeply that sometimes it’s a challenge just to put one step in front of the other.
I see you. And I’m here with you. This is not how it was supposed to be. There is nothing “normal” about this, but this is what we’ve been given, so what do we do?
Sometimes, when I’m at my lowest of lows, or most triggered of triggered, I try to stop and think – what is the GIFT here? What is the beauty in this place?
Because I also know that for us, for we who have been given this unique lens of complex trauma, BEAUTY is a saving grace. So if I can find the beauty in the pain, surely there must be purpose…right?
So let’s collectively stop for a moment. Let’s close our eyes and breathe. In through the nose…1-2-3-4…out through the mouth…1-2-3-4. One more time – in through the nose…1-2-3-4…out through the mouth…1-2-3-4. Ok, dear one, open your eyes now and let’s track down the beauty together. Ok? Because we were created for a purpose.
Knowing what it’s like to feel anxiety claw at my chest – I have a deep drive to protect others. And when someone tells me that they’re anxious, my empathy is raw and real. If you haven’t experienced it, you don’t know. But if you HAVE, you know how it feels too long to be gently held and to be told, “I know it hurts so badly right now, but I’m here with you, and you’re going to be okay.” That is a gift I can give to the anxious ones in the world.
Because I know. I know what it’s like to feel trapped in the pain. And what it’s like to have a safe place to land in the midst of it.
What else? Let’s think…
Though sometimes we feel numb and cannot sort through our feelings, the truth is that we see things in full color. The color is so bright and vibrant to us that sometimes we get overwhelmed and change our glasses to the color grey. But we always, ALWAYS are aware that the colors are there, and we know that they’re not just real and diverse and beautiful, but they’re important, glorious, and alive. In fact, we sense the aliveness of the bright and nuanced color of feelings so deeply that we have indeed experienced LIFE a bit more lucidly than those who have not been through what we have. And that is our gift to the world…to be able to say, “Oh no, all is not black and white here. Come see the yellows and fuchsias and greys and lavenders with me. Don’t be afraid. Like Dorothy in Oz, the color may overwhelm you at first, but I will be your guide. This is where I grew up. I know it well, and I can keep you safe and show you the places of feeling that will open you up to experiencing life in a way you never knew possible.”
Yes, that is our gift. We get to see the beauty that comes only from having seen the hellish ugliness of abuse. There is a gift in the hurricane. A piece of promise and purpose in the midst of the thorns. I don’t know that it makes everything worth it.
If I could go back and be treated differently, I would.
But it does make it seem meaningful.
And what is life if not a quest for meaning?
So right now, in this moment, I hold space for YOU, my friend. I hold space for to you be safe and to see the colors and to feel the depth of your feelings and to know that you are not alone, you are not broken, but you are, in fact, a gift to me, to us, to the world. And you are so so beautiful.