Tell us a little bit about yourself where you are now in your life (what do you do, what you do love, what makes you, YOU etc)
I describe myself as a copywriter, word-weaver and story spinner, but what I really do is help difference-makers to write concisely, creatively and clearly. In my day job, I work as a copywriter for an international natural health product & sports nutrition manufacturer. Outside of work, depending on who I’m talking to, I variously describe myself as a walker of crazy distances, a friend, a partner, a sister, a daughter, a dedicant of Aphrodite, and (just for fun sometimes) a high priestess of the Church of Joss Whedon.
Sharing only what you feel comfortable with, tell us what prompted you to find healing in your life (here is where you can tell us some of what happened to you as a child)
I experienced two obvious points of trauma when I was a child. The first was sexual abuse that occurred between the ages of 11-13 at the hands of a family “friend”. The other was watching my mother succumb to breast cancer that she was first diagnosed with when I was 14. She was treated with chemo and radiotherapy, and at first we thought the treatment had been successful. Unfortunately, two years later, the cancer came back, and her funeral was on my 17th birthday.
Losing my mother, in some ways, was the easier trauma to deal with. There was grief and loss involved, yes, but it was something obvious and open – something I had people who loved me to support me through when I needed it. And it was something that – quite clearly – was outside of my control. The abuse was far more insidious. It was hidden, and I went through it alone. But more than that… despite understanding intellectually that sexual abuse is NEVER a child’s fault, some part of me never “got” that on a gut level. Which is why, nearly thirty years later, I still occasionally realize I’m yet again beating myself up for never having actually said “no”, let alone never screaming, yelling or fighting back.
What are some of the paths you have used on your road to healing? (writing, art, therapy, body work, energy work, etc) Tell about your healing journey.
A big part of my healing path has revolved around writing: journaling, poetry and fiction. But I’ve also been through a few rounds of counseling, and done a lot of spiritual and inner work. Some of the work I’ve done – especially the spiritual stuff – hasn’t specifically been aimed at healing, but it’s had that effect because everything is connected to everything else. Plus, I’m the kind of person that sees a lot of life lessons in fiction. So watching fictional characters deal with the same things I’ve been through and seeing them heal has helped immensely (and still does, sometimes).
What has been the hardest or most challenging part of the healing process for you?
Ooooh, great question. It’s hard to identify just ONE thing, to be honest. If I had to pick one though, I think I’d say starting – that very first step along the road. Just admitting to yourself that you have to heal, and that YOU’RE responsible for your own healing is a huge thing – or it was for me. I really did want someone else to rescue me from my own thought processes and internal wounds for the longest time. It was incredibly difficult to finally realise that no-one else could, even if they wanted to.
If you could find a wisdom, a gift in your childhood wounding what would it be?
Hmmmm… I actually think there were many gifts, but it took me a long time to accept and recognize them. I had real difficulty initially with separating out the concepts of “finding the gift in a situation” and “condoning the situation that gave rise to the gift” – especially around the abuse. It’s taken quite a while for me to untangle those ideas in my head. I think THAT is maybe one of the gifts in itself right there: learning how to untangle unrelated concepts that have become messily entwined with each other. Or at the very least, recognizing that different concepts CAN be messily entwined with each other without equating to each other.
That all sounds very up-in-the-air and theoretical when I put it like that, but in practice, it’s the difference between saying “If something good came out of what he did to me, then I have to accept that there was nothing wrong with him doing it” and instead saying, “What he did to me was totally wrong and shouldn’t have happened… but I’m smart enough to learn, develop and grow stronger in response to it”
What is your take on how people heal?
I think people heal individually. I don’t believe there’s any one right path that everyone follows. I don’t believe the specific tools that worked for me will necessarily work for anyone else, although I’m happy to share them for other people to try on the basis that they might. I also don’t think that there are any specific steps or processes that everyone HAS to follow. I know there’s a lot of research around healing, but my own lived experience and observations of the people around me is that it’s a completely personal thing.
The closest thing I’ve ever come to a universal around healing is that it’s an ongoing process. It rarely happens in one go, and you don’t have to be completely healed to live a joy-filled life that allows you to appreciate the beauty in yourself, the world, and the people around you. I actually find that some of my favorite fictional characters are the ones who manage to be supremely competent in one area of their lives (often their jobs), but almost-broken in other areas – often because of past traumas. I love that archetype of “broken competence” because it reinforces to me that you don’t need to heal completely to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.
What would you most like others to remember on the healing path?
I’d like them to remember that however much it may feel like it, they’re not alone. And although no-one else may have experienced their exact trauma, there are still people out there who’ve healed from something similar enough – or with similar enough effects – that they’ll understand.
Other than that, I’d like them to remember that it’s OK to feel the past breaking us down sometimes… even when we think we “should” have healed from it by now. It’s OK not to be dealing with something perfectly right now, no matter how long ago we thought we’d finally sorted it out. It doesn’t invalidate all the healing work we’ve already done if something we thought we’d moved past suddenly rears its ugly head and bites us again. Wherever we are right now is just… where we are right now. Getting my head around that was a huge breakthrough for me, so I’d like to share it.
Please include one or two pics, links to your blog, site, facebook, twitter.