“The first step to healing is to recognize that there is a wound.” – Unknown
No more truer could a statement be. Before I realized life was a journey, not a destination, I had to realize that I was on that journey. Before this realization, my life train was like one you might find in an amusement park, or on a toy set, it just went in circles. The lands began to look the same, the scenery, the buildings, etc. You get my point. Everything became a blur and I was existing in my life instead of living it.
It took me many many years to realize my trauma was a train that I was on and I was doing nothing but laps around my life. Running the same marathon, at a very slow pace on the same route with each circle around the sun. Then one day my life was upended and my journey began, or shall I say the journey was revealed to me, and it felt like someone had slammed me face first into an empty swimming pool. Okay, I really don’t know what that feels like, but I am pretty sure it hurts like a bitch.
Now consciously riding this train, I began to step off into lands that I hadn’t stepped foot in for years. Places in my mind that were abandoned and boarded up, discarded like a used box or broken shoes. They were places my heart had forgiven, but that my mind couldn’t let go of. I had tread those lands once and left them with a fragile state of mind and a once confused heart to go with it. I was shaken, afraid and thought that if I were going to survive my life, I had better board these windows and buildings of pain and confusion and fragility up and lock the gate, but as I stepped off the train I realized this was my place, a place I had once thought was safe, but also a place I gave up on. I will call this first stop self-love. I opened my eyes to the possibilities, as my heart tried to open my mind. This place is still a work in progress, but really it just needs continuing TLC and upkeep to maintain it’s new vibrancy.
My next stop, self-care. A run down place that shuttered itself, with no hope of being cared for, but I came back and reminded the overgrown landscape that joy comes from within, from the heart, from healing. It’s blossoming, starting to bloom in a way I never thought possible…and so it was that I stepped back on the train and stepped off in the new land of thriving.
Thriving was terrifying. Thriving meant creating a place, a place where I could look back at my trauma as nothing more than a haunted house in that far away land, the place that you go to remind yourself of how far you have come, and that you survived what now seem so scary, but I had to create the blue prints for this land and I am no life architect. So, I reached out for help and found people that knew what they were doing and they helped me design a beautiful place to start at, then I reached out to those around me and asked them to help me paint this new land of thriving, and they did. It’s a work in progress, but it is amazing. And it is amazing, because I let my heart take over the planning.
For far too long I let my brain run the show. The overthinking. The lack of self-love, self-worth, self-respect. It didn’t matter how positive I was for other people, I couldn’t find it in myself to be positive for me. My happiness was gained by doing for others, but never for myself. Now, that isn’t a bad thing, but when we do our best to make others happy, it should be because it’s a wonderful feeling, not just because it is the only way we can make ourselves feel happy. It’s like emotional eating, only you’re filling the void, with someone else’s happiness. It’s a tricky thing to explain, so I will try. I love to make people happy, but for a long time, it was how I would make myself happy, but like emotional eating, the feeling only lasted for so long and then it was back to trying to make someone else happy, or do nice things for the office, or individual people. It’s like a temporary buzz, then you plummet back to earth and you feel alone again.
When you’re already exuding your own happiness, sure those wonderful feelings still exist, but you keep feeling wonderful, because you’re doing it for that person to be happy, not just yourself. You’re not giving so much of yourself, because you can’t find your own happiness within. Like I said, this is a tricky subject and so hard to explain, but one day it will click and it will be an aha moment. I know this, because my therapist shared this with me and three years later it is clicking like a camera on sport mode.
Just this week I introduced my heart to my brain. They had never met. My brain was too busy trying to protect me while my heart waited patiently for my brain to come out of its fortress, to step out into the true sunshine for the first time in pretty much my entire life. The moment my trauma started my childhood became two halves, the wonderful childhood with amazing parents, and the other a secret I had to keep and keep it I did, for years and years. However, this became too much for my young self and my brain shut itself in and went into command center mode trying to fortify my life like Fort Knox, or the room in the Tower of London where the Crown Jewels are kept. No one was getting in and I wasn’t getting out, but my heart was patient and that patience paid off, because that trauma finally healed itself. I needed to allow my brain (control) to become pals with my heart (trust). Everyday is a work in progress, but that is the beauty of life.
The health choices I am making now aren’t made out of some weird idea that I have to look a certain way, it’s coming from a genuine place of, “I want to grow super old”. My dinged up mental state is balancing like never before and I am learning that not everyday will be a good day, but as long as my good days outnumber my bad days, it will be okay. Sometimes you just have to ride out the storm and remind yourself that your high-vibing self will return, it’s just “out to lunch”, “taking five”, or “on a break”.
The train route is open and it isn’t going in an endless loop anymore. The towns that were once shuttered are blossoming and growing and becoming beautiful places to visit. I am learning to take care of myself. I am learning that I am worthy of so many wonderful things, and I am becoming less and less timid about sharing my story, even in my Daily Vibes, because I know that somewhere out there is a person(s) who is traveling the same endless circle that my train used to be on and that they just need encouragement to jump the track and set their own course for a path they never thought possible.
Be kind to yourself. Practice Self-love and Self-Care and remember your heart and your brain should be teammates, not dueling partners.