Sat at my desk yesterday and was thinking, “I have to get back to work.” I was having so much fun reading articles I love, emailing back and forth with authors who have inspired my healing and activism and speaking with bad ass change makers on the phone, that I started to feel guilty.
And then I had the moment,
I am at work.
This is my job.
This is my work.
I am the luckiest woman alive.
Three years ago in March, I started Heal Write Now: How to Live On Earth When You Were Raised… and two months later learned about the ACEs study and research. Both things were life-changing.
I stopped waiting for some other person, woman, parent, writer or activist to speak about living with post-traumatic stress from childhood trauma. I stopped looking, hunting, searching and waiting.
I started writing, signing my name, standing up and even speaking about living, loving and parenting well, or trying to, after being raised in hell.
I would have done that without learning about the ACE study and ACEs science. But two months after I started Heal Write Now I learned about the ACEs study, test and science and it fueled my work.
I learned that childhood trauma and adversity impact huge numbers of people and despite this fact, many people still feel utterly and entirely alone.
That’s huge and I’ve written about that, a lot and recently, so won’t detail it here. Today, I just want to say how grateful I am.
Grateful for our community, here, at Heal Write Now, but also the wider community.
There are so many survivors of trauma gutting it out or getting through and also reaching towards and back and forwards to connect with others to make the journey easier.
There are so many writers, bloggers, truth tellers and silence breakers who share hope, validation, facts and resources. It’s wonderful.
There are so many organizations and individuals who support, partner with, listen to and learn from trauma survivors as well as guide, train and give hope to us. That was not always true.
Professionals often spoke for us in the past.
There are many with good hearts working to spread safety, kindness, and recovery, working to create safety and healing and to allow people to experience community – sometimes for what might be the very first time.
I feel hopeful, often, which is freakin weird.
The last three years have been hard. They’ve been filled with ups and downs. I have been anxious and fearful stepping into a new career and moving in new directions. I have been nervous about being so public about my trauma in my creative and professional life.
There’s been so much help and support.
There have been opportunities and attempts and things that came together. Friends who helped me and professionals who took a risk and worked with me even in my start-up newness.
They have been disappointments and things that fell apart or went nowhere even after I’d put in weeks of work. A story series that got granted and killed. Checks that needed to be chased or didn’t come. People who got afraid of liability even when talking or writing about trauma.
And sometimes it’s just felt hard and vulnerable. I have even wondered at times if I risked too much on big and little levels.
What have I done to my career, reputation, and finances?
Have I embarrassed those who know and love me?
Will people ever want to talk about sexual trauma, childhood adversity and the long-term health impacts of abuse, neglect, and dysfunction?
Sometimes, the weight of knowing there’s no way to un-send or un-say or un-speak has been heavy. Will it impact job prospects and my career – or friendships, family and love interests?
And sometimes hearing from so many other survivors has been hard. Many people are in deep despair, still, right this minute and feel invisible or alone or silenced. The work feels so urgent it’s sometimes hard to do anything else or to take a break.
So I’m always still learning.
I know that there’s healing just in sharing the truth even when we don’t have all the answers, solutions or information about how and what to do next.
I know I feel more real, whole and transparent. I used to feel like I was “passing for normal” and hiding a secret. I didn’t realize the impact of that until I stopped.
Until I put it down and let it go.
I feel like my true self now. I’m doing the work I’m supposed to be doing, personally and professionally.
And sometimes it is vulnerable but so is being human.
I get to do creative, personal, feminist work.
I get to do recovery, advocacy, and parenting work.
It’s not this or that. It’s all connected. It’s my life work and my life’s work.
I used to think we couldn’t talk about trauma or healing or traumatic stress until we were 100% healed and perfect and no longer struggled. I don’t believe that anymore. I think we help each other by being real about the process.
While in the process.
If and as we are ready.
Today I am grateful. Grateful. Grateful. Grateful.
Grateful. Grateful. Grateful.
You Matter Mantras
- Trauma sucks. You don't.
- Write to express not to impress.
- It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
- Breathing isn't optional.