Trauma is a messy beast. And not only do we have the trauma of our own lived experience swirling within our bodies, we also, in our very DNA, have the trauma of our ancestors.
None of this we asked for. None of this we consented to. None of this we said yes to. None of this we were ever given a choice about.
Regardless, it’s there, within us.
And it our choice, and I believe our sacred responsibility, to process, to heal, to dislodge it from our bodies and being.
I have my own experiences with trauma. As a young child I was abused physically and sexually and psychologically. In my teens and again in my 20s I was raped. I have been in physically abusive relationships. I have been gaslighted by people who were supposed to love me, from parents and grandparents to partners to mentors I trusted.
Many of you have had similar yet unique experiences to mine. Sadly, these experiences are not uncommon, they are not rare. Sadly, these experiences are the norm. The statistics tell us this. Our lived experience tells us this.
I share with you that I’ve had these experiences to also share with you that I have done my own share of trauma work. And am still in the process of doing it.
At the beginning of every single appointment with my therapist I tell her that I don’t want to do this work. I have told her over and over that I am tired of my trigger responses. That I am sick of living with PTSD. That I want all this shit to simply go away. Because I am D.O.N.E.
Processing our trauma is difficult and uncomfortable and messy. It is the complete opposite of fun or enjoyable. It is something I personally had avoided doing most of my life. Because, seriously, who wants to do with this shit? Certainly not me.
As I have slowly, so slowly, and quickly, oh so quickly, come home to my own body, connected to her sensations and whispers and screams, listened to her stories and memories, I came to know that truly, I need to work through the fear and terror and avoidance and process through the things that were done to me, that I never once consented to, that I never once asked for, so that I can be present and available in my own life, with my children and husband and sister and friends and greater community and world.
That while I never once asked for any of these things that were done to me I have a responsibility to those I love, including myself, to find ways to process and heal.
And in this processing and healing, I connect even more fully to my consent; I connect even more fully to my boundaries; I connect even more fully to my body and her knowing and her sensations, pleasurable, painful and everything in between and beyond.
Even if you are one of the very fortunate (and rare) people who have never experienced trauma in your own life, my guess is that you still carry within you the markers of trauma passed down to you by your ancestors in your DNA.
Trauma is unavoidable in our culture and time.
And while unavoidable, we can process it and heal it and not pass it on to the next generations.
I talk even more about trauma and it’s relation to consent and boundaries in the video below.
This essay and video are part of my new series Consent, Boundaries, & Trauma. There are three essays total and you can read the essay on consent (with the embedded video) here and the essay on boundaries (with its video) here.
These essays and video series are in part to share with you the topics we’ll be unearthing, examining, dislodging and embracing in the six month circle Body of Consent. We begin on March 1 (the video says February, we changed the start date to March). If you are interested, you can learn more and register right over here. xoxo
If you enjoyed this essay, I invite you to subscribe to my weekly love letter right over here.