I can never erase what has happened to me. It is a fixed point; a rule. What I can do is unwrap and detach the injustice that lives in my skin from those fixed points; those rules. This is where my privilege begins, and it is with that privilege that I am invited to not swirl around my 18 years of daily and hourly fixed points of abuse until I become dizzy, but turn to the child, the little girl, the pre-teen, the teenager, the woman who experienced those injustices and listen to her instead. To hear her experience of these fixed points allows me to pursue the work I am, through education. It is with that, even in the most agonizing season like this one with my declining health, that I reclaim my autonomy from the valid victimhood by believing her.
It is that statement alone that allows me, permits me, to do the work to recognize that I am experiencing almost constant misery, but I am not miserable. I am experiencing, believing, living out the residual impacts of my trauma in my body, but I refuse to allow the fixed points to be the destruction of me. My soul remains intact, even though it may be traumatized, and my soul is what guides me in this life. I crave, desire, and long for some form of relief from the physical misery, but I also make peace with it when I am able. Invite myself, through the authority of my autonomy, to speak to my body's pain as if it is the little girl.
I was doing dishes the other day and my thumb cramped into the palm of my hand and pain shot up into my elbow. I dropped the dishes into the sink, leaned over, and moaned in agony. It lasted for a while, but eventually, I regained access to my hand. Because I am stubborn, because I have been trained in survival, I attempted to continue washing the dishes and again my hand cramped up. It placed a boundary on the survival, and said "No more."
Due to the privileged work I have been able to do inside my soul, within my healing, I am reaching spaces like these with humility. Where my hand cramping tells me to step back, reevaluate my authority in this pain, and tell my little girl I believe her instead of just force myself to finish the act. Where I fail exams and self-advocate to drop the class instead of trying and spend hours in the day I don't have to catch up on missed work. Where I recognize I am waking with negative spoons in my physical health every single day now, and I have to make choices that interrupt old survival patterns in order to choose life and not further destruction.
My fight or flight will most likely never leave me, but this new addition of humility, of grace, is partnering with it. In friendship. In guidance. In power. In compassion.
My trauma is fixed, but my role within it isn't. I have the privilege to take these residual impacts and shift my response to the injustices, through and by the act of self-belief. Self-belief that warrants the use of survival, when necessary, without shame or blame, and also makes space for new realities like pausing in the midst of panic to kneel down beside my self...and look at her instead. Ask her what she needs, and be both a student to her wisdom and an anchor of guidance to her youth.