My best friend died of cancer a number of years ago. Before she passed away, her sister brought her over to see me. Her sister waited in the car. I was upset. I have no idea why I was upset that night. I can’t remember at the moment. All I remember is Laura was dying of cancer and she was coming to see me because I was upset. We were sitting on the couch and I was talking when Laura just pulled me to her. She pulled my entire body into hers. I rested my head on her and she enveloped every part of me in her arms. She rubbed my back with both of her arms. She held me so securely that I still at this moment remember what it felt like. Other than my husband and daughter, no one has ever held me in their arms like that. Fully embraced and held me with all of their being. Holding me wanting nothing from me but to give their 100% love to me. Oh I have had a pat, a side hug, but never a full pull me in embrace like what Laura gave me. Laura gave me permission to be vulnerable and she made me feel like she would be right there as a safety net, as a guardian, as a shield, so that I could have that moment. She gave me a great gift. She was, herself, fighting cancer, and I would lose her only a few months later, but SHE HELD ME. I love her with all my heart for that. She will always be my hero. Right before she went into a coma she called me to tell me she loved me. I think I will miss her forever because our love was unconditional and pure and rare.
She held the 8 year old me, the 25 year old me, the 40 year old me.
In therapy this week we spoke about fear, and lack of safety that are common in trauma victims. It is hard for me to feel safe. It is hard for me to break through the fear that anxiety, PTSD, and flashbacks cause. When fear is instilled at such a young age it is hard wired. Fear was never followed up by a Laura embrace when I was a little girl or as a teenager. Fear just sat there and brewed and stewed and spun out of control.
As a little girl I snuck down the hall and slept on the floor next to my parents bed and STILL I was afraid. I never felt safe. Abuse was around every corner. I sought comfort, I sought safety, but the child molester always found me. I needed thousands of Laura embraces from everyone to replace what was stolen from me as a child. But those didn’t come. When I told my family about what happened, what really happened, they simply, very simply, walked away. When I was assaulted in a garage 10 years ago and I finally after 3 days told a friend, I was not embraced. Telling was never accompanied by my head on the chest of someone who loved me telling me that everything would be okay. Which is why I stayed silent most of my life. Blame, shame, guilt, came with my voice.
Which is why when my words to Laura resulted in her loving embrace I was a tiny little bit closer to healing.
Therapy is very hard. My therapist is brilliant. She is helping break the barriers that my 8 year old brain put up as a coping mechanism. Therapy is extremely difficult but I keep going. I keep going through the exercises to help me understand, release, and heal from the traumas and voids.
Today a story I wrote of sexual assault I experienced 10 years ago was posted on youshareproject. A comment was immediately made on that post. The man asked why I hadn’t just let it go. I was married now, he said. Why can’t I just let go what happened 10 years ago. Ah buddy if you think 10 years is too long then how about what happened to me when I was 9? Haven’t let that go and it was 34 years ago! That man is one of the reasons I write this blog. Education. Truth. Transparency. Raw. Real. If child abuse victims, trauma victims, adult rape victims, could just “Let it go, ” WE WOULD! If we could “let it go” then PTSD would not even be a diagnosis would it now. The act of letting go will not heal me. It is just a sentence that has no bearing on what my body knows to be far different. Anyone that can tell me to let it go has never been held down, against their will, petrified, and then had an object stuck into their body. And if they have, and can still tell me, just let it go, then they are either 1. Super fucking enlightened to a level that real life doesn’t even exist. Or 2. They are super fucking insensitive.
I write my life story, my experiences, good and bad, to be the truth. I write to connect. I write to break the silence. I write to break the stigmas. I write about hard and vulnerable and unbearable experiences because I KNOW others have been there too and have been told to “let it go” when what they REALLY need is a “Laura” to pull them into their arms and tell them “You are okay now.” Every time I write, I release a tiny part of those chains that others put on me. So if you want to call that “letting go” and that makes the “let it go” people feel a little better then go for it. But I’ve wasted enough time on the one liner fixers of the world. My blog is not about those people.
For me, Healing is not about letting go. Healing is not about forgiveness. Those 2 things focus on the other person. They focus on an act and a connection to the perpetrator I need to do in order to recover.
For me, healing is in truth. Healing is in walking through the fire.It is about epiphanies that come from reflecting, being mindful, accepting the wounded parts of myself. Healing is breaking the silence. Healing is rediscovering the me that was stolen hundreds of times by a child molester and a rapist. Healing is about loving my body, listening to my body, embracing who I am. Healing is about overcoming the shame someone else tried to put onto me. Healing is regaining safety, overcoming fear, and learning techniques to get through daily struggles.
Healing is remembering when Laura embraced me and really feeling that into my bones. Reminding my body that it is worthy of love and safety. I know that recovery could be years away. I haven’t put a time limit on it. I chip away at the memories. If we only had a world of Lauras…
Most of the TRUE support I get through the recovery process in this last year is right here on this blog from understanding empathetic people who understand because they’ve been through it. My long distance Laura embracers. I appreciate you.
This journey is hard. At least we aren’t going through it alone anymore.
May you be blessed with one Laura that holds you, really holds you, like you always should have been held, and lets you know, even for just this moment, you are safe.
For me, healing will come by pure love. Laying my head on my husband’s chest while he strokes my hair, that helps heal me. When my daughter came in earlier and hugged me and told me she loved me, that healed me a little more.
Letting go won’t heal me.