So, for the last few days, I’ve been making everybody cry for the most part. I’ve read all your comments and I’m so humbled that my experiences resonate with you. It’s been a bumpy road to where I am now, but I try to find healing and growth wherever I can.
Today, I want to lighten the mood, but still talk a bit about trauma. I find inspiration in the weirdest places sometimes. I am new to writing (publicly) and up until now, I have kept my writing and art to myself for the most part. I guess I just figured I had such an intense point of view that people would liken it to “whining” about this or “victim mentality” that, and that’s not really who I am.
I figured a long way back that the karma police were after me. I mean lets face it, why does all this REALLY INTENSE stuff keep happening around and to me? What on earth did I ever do in a past life to deserve some of the situations I’ve gone through, or the lessons that I’ve had to learn?? When I met my beloved almost three years ago, I warned him about my ability to somehow always find myself in the middle of a really intense upheaval. I honestly never go looking for it, it finds me…like I said, I have no idea what I ever did but…
My beloved laughed it off, and alluded to the fact that now that I found my true love (see? it isn’t all doom and gloom, and happiness did find me) that my life would calm down and I would find a happy medium. I also warned him that anyone who comes into my orbit tends to go through major life changes when they meet me. He was so sure of himself, and smug, thinking maybe I was a princess to be rescued. My daughter, who is just like me, knew better, smiled and didn’t say a word. She’s awesome like that.
After two years of living together now, he has learned his lesson. He went through some major upheaval around some childhood issues he had, has gotten a good old dose of perspective shifting, and is actively learning more about himself than he claims he ever has in his whole entire life. In fact, he now has a nickname for me. I am the “Change Agent of the Universe”. Everyone who meets me is transformed in some way, he says.
The term “Perspective shifting” is a way of describing what I do when I go through my old journals. I pick a random one up every few months and I read it like it’s my first time. You can learn a lot about yourself post trauma, but only if you are really invested in finding out just what makes you tick. That’s a tough one for many. I like to speak metaphorically. It helps me get things out if I can visualize it in my head as I say it, so bear with me.
Trauma can be an illusive thing. You can experience it, deal with it, and think it’s gone. You can go on with your life as though nothing ever happened (because that’s what your telling yourself), or you can stuff it (and cause yourself all kinds of health problems). After stuffing it in one way or another, for most of my life, I have learned a few things.
Deep trauma is something that can be stored in the cells of your body. When you are re-traumatized, the old trauma can be “re-triggered” and manifest as a symptom elsewhere in your body. See an article here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/somatic-psychology/201004/the-connections-between-emotional-stress-trauma-and-physical-pain This is why, many birthmothers (I can’t speak for adoptees, because I’m not one, but if you are please chime in!) over time develop chronic health problems. Depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and gynecological issues to name a few. I am not exempt. I’ve had a long history of these issues myself that started ONLY AFTER I experienced adoption loss.
Roughly 2 weeks ago now, I was in a minor fender bender with my partner. No one was hurt, but the front of my truck was damaged. My partner, who has a list of Jack of all trade stuff under his belt longer than my arm, decided he could fix my truck. So there we are out there today after getting a new radiator support, and hood from the auto wrecker. The rad support had been stripped from my truck, we transferred all the little bits that needed transferring over to the new one. As we were working it hit me, that this truck is a great metaphor for unresolved trauma.
You see, my truck is ironically the same age as a good chunk of my trauma. (24) The body looks pretty good for its age.(I’m in my late thirties) The engine is worn( I’ve had two children, and emotional/mental health issues), but upgrades here and there have happened to keep it running(I’ve had lots of therapy and done lots of self-reflection). However, when you take my truck apart and go digging UNDER the hood (going deep inside that hurt place in me) there are rusty bolts that don’t want to turn(resistance), There are places so rusted out, I’m not sure they can be saved, there is dirt, grime, and any number of plastic pieces that snap in the cold (my defenses) that cannot be seen when my truck has the hood down.
When the new parts were ready to go in, we worked together (a supportive partner) to install the pieces carefully. We lubricated all the bolts (love makes everything easier), and then installed the new hood (a fresh perspective). When we were done there were smiles and high fives and we stood back to admire the hard work we had done.
I got in my truck and I started her up, success! Up and running again! (trauma resolved). Or so I thought. I turned on the window wipers to clear the bird poop from my windshield (my families perspectives on who I am), and found that my window washer fluid didn’t work. My partner goes under the hood again (because I trust him) to hook it up (because I know he’s got my best interests in mind) and I try them again. It doesn’t work. (OK, so I work on family issues another day.) When I turn on the headlights….my left turn signal, and window wipers turn on as well, and won’t turn off unless I turn the headlights off!! My partner was so dismayed, and yet, I just couldn’t stop laughing, because hey, lets face it, when you do deep trauma work, sometimes you find trauma in places you’d least expect!
And so It is with me. This last few days I’ve has all sorts of mini little complaints in my body as I release this trauma by giving it a name, and by writing about it. I ask that tonight you ponder where in your body you might be holding trauma. Take a really good look at where some of those “mystery” symptoms may be hidden. It may be your body’s way of letting you know, it’s time to go under the hood.