Memory Series: My Story
I wrote that last night, well early this morning, as I woke up to the sounds of my little girl screaming within my skin.
That's all I could write. It's all I could think. It's all I could do.
I hadn't been triggered into a memory in many years, but the beauty and tragedy of my life is that my body wouldn't feel it...if it wasn't actually safe enough to.
My body would not feel the trauma if I was actually in danger.
But fuck did it feel like it was.
It was 2:50 am and I was so beyond tired and I couldn't do what I had learned to lead myself to. I couldn't open my hands and feel the abuse like I normally do. But I needed to, so I shook. I sobbed. I half vomited into my mouth as the pain wrecked me and broke me, and I couldn't even acknowledge it in full.
I just felt the fear.
For hours. And hours. And hours.
I tried to stand. Move myself to the other room. Get up and breathe. Touch my skin and remind it that it was here. Now. Safe. In the present. And I believe it.
But as soon as I stood, I knew I wasn't going to make it far. It felt like I was being torn open. Like I was swollen and bruised and beaten. I could at listen listen to that.
I could hear the slurred speech, feel the hot breath, smell the alcohol stained environment.
I knew where I was because I had been there before, but I still lack clarity in the memory. As my body twitches in response to the words and my skin aches. Pounds. It will come when it needs to. If it does.
This is the result of my trauma. Veronica says it's so powerful to witness the days I wake and enter the house and I am me, solid, unwavering...and the days I enter the house and I am her. The little girl who was hurt. When the electricity of "Please don't hurt me" hangs in the air. As I shed layer after layer and I choose to, but simultaneously don't have a choice to. Because this is the reality of my life. This is my freedom and it isn't all strength and dancing in water. It is knowing. It is being afraid. It is holding myself even when I push my own hands back and sob. It is devastating and empowering. It is real. It is sacred. It is more honest now than ever.
I sit here, after answering the questions in truthful vulnerability..."Skyler, are you okay?"
"No. No, Im not.
But I will be."
I trust myself, even when I'm scared. I trust my foundation, even as I fear that I could somehow be pushed back into survival. I could work on top of the work I live out day after day...I have so much to give, but I can never ever ever put this down. I realised that here, by the Irish seaside. That even in all I have to give, this part of me remains. So, I stay. Here. In this powerful brokenness, and speak.
I am not separated because I am not separate from the trauma. I am not the abuse, but I am the child who endured it. And I hear her.
I walk this out till the end for her. I walk this out because it's my life. I choose this because I have to, but also because it is the only way I can stand.
Walking the Irish pathways today, feeling the winds on my skin.
This skin is my skin.
These bones are home.
This truth is mine.
I am present to myself...even when I hurt.
"What is it like to go through your memories? How do you know it's real?"
I walk out the memories differently in my brain than I do in my skin.
To feel it in my skin is heavy, exhausting, and undeniably powerful. Embodying the trauma (when you relive the trauma, in your body) is similar to the experience of what it feels like when your body sends your brain signals that you're injured. Recognising the sensation when you cut your hand vs when you are frightened. Embodiment for me is a relearning of sensation, because most of my trauma left me desensitised and numb. So, when I embody trauma, I feel it like it is happening in present tense.
During this, especially in the beginning, my brain would try to understand it and formulate a story around it. Which, for the most part, I have learned to acknowledge as not fully true. Sometimes my brain will make it worse. Sometimes, what I have so horribly learned, is that what my brain tried to pre-understand is far worse in reality. And thus, it has been only by full surrender to the embodiment that I learn what actually happened to me. When my brain goes quiet, and all I am is feeling. All I do is feel.
The aftermath of such an experience reminds me each time why (and how truly important) it was for my brain to formulate a story and cease feeling. Because I would have not been able to survive it. It has taken years to learn how to hold it, now.
But I do. I hold me now better than anything else has ever held me and that is because I hear. I feel. I surrender.
When it's a memory of surroundings- as in a memory that is more than just rapes or molestations or beatings-how I experience is usually dependent upon what age I am. If I'm young, the table that lay in my childhood home looked like a mountain. If I am a toddler, or teen, or pre teen, my emotions are a lot more wild. Walking out so many memories has taught me to focus on the sensation of my body, rather than the articulation...or understanding/conceptualisation/imagery. To hold space for the re:development to occur and to know that when I experience that memory from that age, my whole body wants to respond with that age. So patience is fucking key. Even when I hate it and get stupid annoyed with myself.
It's like my brain tries to push me through the memories. So it speeds up the experience to save me the grief. To keep me surviving.
And my body, and the surrender I have to hold, slows it ALL the way down.
Like walking through honey.
I hold my ground in my own self and repeat "I believe you. Even if we have made it all up, I believe you."
And sink back into the honey like mud.
Where it all comes. When I need it to.
My body is still tender from the experience I had on my bed a few nights ago. I hear it, even when I want it to go away. I hold space for it, even when I want it to not exist.
I used to break teeth, as the embodiment of the memories surged through me. Clenching, contracting, fighting. I am building up the strength of my body again now, as I do with each release. I am shedding and becoming more of me, each day.
I have learned how to lay down, with my hands up, and breathe. I cry, silently. I often say "Please, no". But I feel it.
It's why the embodiment comes with such clarity now. Because I don't force it, or even invite it, I surrender to it. I hear it. I hear me.
All the time. Every single second of every single day.
I don't cling to memories. I never walk through them, once clear, more than once. I have too many to do so.
I don't live in my past, but in order to stand in my present...I often have to hold space to know both.
The work I do is intuitive. Deep within me lies a woman who knows.
Deep within me lies a child who has endured.
Deep within me, I am.
It's not easy when my own hand on my leg hurts, but I understand why it does. And I have learned to love me in this present, just as much as I believe me in that moment.
Because even if I made it all up, I choose to believe the little girl in my skin who crawls up on my chest and sobs over the pain she whispers into this body. I believe her.
And I fucking always will.