Updated: Jul 28, 2022
It takes time to learn what safety, softness and healing feel and look like. For those of us that continue to grapple with the effects of childhood trauma, it can take years of intentional effort to reimagine, relearn and feel our way through to create safety, softness and healing in our lives. These concepts can feel so abstract and foreign to someone that has never experienced this before.
For many years I felt like safety and softness should be innate. I felt that there was something wrong with me for not knowing how to care for myself. I carried so much guilt for feeling so needy and difficult. For years I punished myself for not knowing better. I always sought out ways to improve, ways to be better and do better. After many relationships and years of intentional self-exploration, I entered a phase in my healing that felt like a thawing. This all started when I was introduced to body-based practices and I was finally able to meet my body where it was. I was finally able to look into the spaces of myself that had been abandoned due to overwhelm and fear. This was a starting point for me. It was the beginning of a long journey filled with feeling…feeling everything I had never felt.
Truthfully, I couldn’t have imagined that it would be so painful to thaw from childhood trauma. One thing I learned early enough was that I didn’t have to follow anyone else’s plan or pace but my own. You see, we all have our stories and lived experiences. Our bodies hold so much. Our bodies hold all of our unique stories and they remember everything that leaves an impact, even if we can’t yet acknowledge it consciously. This thawing that happens when we begin to heal takes time. It takes time to learn and imagine new ways of being and it takes time to unlearn what no longer works for us. As we’re on this healing path it’s important to remember that healing does not have a finish line and we are all on unique journeys, with unique capacities and circumstances. We can only show up as we are able. Hopefully, this perspective can soften the experience of healing just a little bit more and allow for us to lean into the discomfort of thawing in our own ways. It won't always be graceful and nice, it often is not. Healing can be confusing, messy and so hard. I always make an effort to remember that even in this messiness of it all, we deserve to be free and we deserve to heal.
I’ve noticed that on this path I have traveled through many different phases, each phase preparing me for what has come next. I could not have imagined this space I am now in 10 years ago. I could not have imagined this far ahead. What has kept me steady and showing is remembering that it takes time and that in each phase there is softness and space for me to rest and recover. We don’t always have to be hard at work. In fact, part of the “work” is to include plenty of time for rest, recovery and integration. Perhaps this is a very challenging part of healing, too.
It takes time to get to know ourselves outside of our trauma and what has happened to us. One thing I’ve learned is that we are worth the time it takes to find safety, softness and healing.
Eve is a survivor of childhood incest and has been using expressive arts as a way to tell their stories fro nearly 20 years. They are a fierce advocate, parent, sibling, teacher, artist and survivor. You can find more about their work and community offerings on their website eveandry.com.