I wrote this on Facebook but wanted to share here too. Fractal was created by me, and I named it “Opening up.”
Opening up to Healing
We are enough. Despite our trauma, no matter our trauma, we are always enough. These are reminders for myself, but maybe they will help some of you too.
I don’t have to engage people who continue to gaslight me. Who scare me when they speak of violence against people they perceive as wronging them. I don’t have to engage them. I don’t have to work with them. My activism does not require working with them or through them. They do not hold power over me. I can walk away.
I can find folks that DO care about me, who accept me where I am as I am. Who view me as enough and worthy of existence. Who accept responsibility when they cause harm and work to amend that and do better. Who allow me to accept responsibility for my mistakes and harms, where I work to mend and do better. To continuously do better. Where we engage in mutual communal care and supportive friendships, where we engage in consent throughout that friendship. Consent for hugs. Consent for discussing heavy topics that may require emotional labor. Where we practice healthy boundaries that are respected by each of us. I can work with these folks who respect me, honor me, and allow me to be my authentic self, where I in turn respect and honor them and support their authentic selves. Where we have mutual support and consent — I can work with these folks and they do exist.
My trauma brain can be very loud at times, but only myself and my therapist can discuss that. Folks can ask me questions about it (feel free to if it helps to understand); folks can ask for verification of what I meant or what I am feeling — especially if I am sounding panicked or upset to facilitate understanding.
I am doing my best to recognize trauma brain and say to trauma brain: “I am not you. You are a relic of survival, something I needed to survive the abuse, but I don’t need that anymore. I can relearn healthy patterns. You will not hold power over me at this time.” It is very hard retraining one’s brain. It is exhausting at times. Overwhelming. But healing is happening, even if I cannot always see it.
And the people that continuously trigger my trauma, despite me asking them to stop? I recognize the level of threat to my safety exists, but it is minimal because I can walk away. I do not have to let them hold power over me. I can put my boundary down, and I can say, “No more. This is my boundary. You hold no power over me. I can walk away. And I do have people who care about me. I am no longer isolated. I am no longer cut-off from resources.” Because I am not required to be their friend, to work with them, to keep them in my life.
I hope by writing this I can remind others that it is okay to lay down your boundaries. It is okay to decide who to keep in your life. Our trauma can be very loud because our brain was taught this was the only way to survive, but there are many ways to survive. There are many ways to be healthy, to learn new ways of existing, where we can thrive and exist without panic and fear. It’s a long hard road to recovery, but each day we take steps forward. Even if it feels like we fall backward a bit, we still are moving forward. We are enough
We are enough.
We are enough.