It took many years for me to learn how to release the trauma from my body.
So many years, it lived there. Staining my thoughts, colouring my reactions, tainting my emotions. I tried to get help but nobody could offer me anything but words, and more words. They said I could fix my broken brain with my broken brain- but that was a blunt tool, and in the end nobody could help me. I had to learn how to save myself- and that starts in the body, not the mind.
I realised the body possesses a far greater intelligence than the mind when it comes to healing. When you are injured, there is no need to instruct your body how to heal- no need to explain to it with words- you simply allow the process. Your muscles hold the memories your mind has forgotten. And so I began to feel for those memories. I found the sore points in my muscles and slowly I released them. One by one. My shoulders, my neck, my chest and hips and legs and spine, all were full of secrets, and as I learned to spend more time in my body and less in my head I began to let them go. The pain was almost unbearable. Emotions began to surface, and images, and I wondered if I should have opened Pandora’s box. I wondered many times if I was really strong enough to survive the process- but I was powerless to stop it. My body took over. It was eager for release.
I felt what it was to be a child, frightened beyond belief; and it was all I could do to hold on to my sanity. For the first time in my life I felt connected to that child. I felt protective of her. I felt her pain, the pain that was just too much for her, and I knew why she had to dissociate. I knew why she had to fly through the ceiling. Why she left her body behind for so long. I felt what it was like for her to paste a smile onto her face when she felt like dying because nobody could know what was happening to her in the night. I felt what it is to be completely helpless in the face of evil, and to lie in bed awaiting the monster’s visit, and to hold your breath wanting to die. The only way to release secrets like these is to feel them fully, to acknowledge them, to meet them in the body as an adult, and this is the most exquisite suffering.
The pain was immense. I lay on the floor for entire days and nights sobbing, shaking, praying. Purging. I barely ate, I barely slept for weeks. I was consumed with my task. This is what it is to release trauma from your body. Memories floated up and into my conscious mind, and I watched in horror, and I felt the magnitude of it all for the first time. I cried, how I cried for that little girl who had no choice, no way out and no way to fight back. I felt the innocence go out of her. I felt her trust die. I felt her soul splinter, and crack, and shatter to a thousand tiny shards. I felt her heart break, over and over. Still I released. Still I breathed deeper and deeper into that pain. I felt her loneliness, her confusion. I felt her confidence evaporate. I felt the fullness of her fear. A terror far beyond adult comprehension. I felt it all. I had visions where that helpless child screamed at me for abandoning her, and I took her in my arms and held her as she cried, told her everything would be OK even when I wasn’t sure it would. I realised I was that child, and she was me.
Still I let go, I forged a path through the agony with a grim determination. Slowly, surely I felt my muscles relax. I felt my grip loosen and my heart expand as I continued to release. In the silent moments between the pain, I knew peace for the first time. I knew my own strength for the first time, for if I could withstand this, I could surely withstand anything. As the dawn broke inside my soul I reached states of bliss I didn’t know were possible. I felt the light rushing in to fill the spaces where the trauma had lived. I felt warm. I felt hopeful, even though there was no end in sight. Now, I had something to hold on to when the darkness took over again. I had myself.
And I stayed, and I stayed in my body. I felt it all. I stayed and I breathed and I hurt, I cried, I remembered. This is what it is to release trauma from your body. I hurt and I cried, I remembered and I felt and I made space, so much space for love, and that love rushed in and I became who I was, before. And that pain, and that love, it became my art. I found the sweetness in suffering, I made a home in it, and I knew I would stay in that sweetness always.