The groves created and reinforced in the my mind: “It was your fault because of how you dressed, how you looked.” “You actually caused him to do that.” “If you didn’t look so good, it wouldn’t have happened to you.”
And then I stop, and counter. “Wait a minute. I didn’t MAKE anyone do anything to me.” “What was done to me was WRONG.” “I am allowed to be thin and pretty and beautiful.”
I am working on filling the grooves in my mind and creating new ones.
How about you? What thoughts does your mind default to?
Did you ever feel like you had so much to say, but couldn’t figure out what you wanted to say, or, you knew what you wanted to say but couldn’t find the time to get it down?
My problem is the latter. Time, among other things.
My husband asked me recently “What are you afraid of if you say what you really want to say?” I flippantly told him I was afraid of nothing. But I think I must be afraid of something as I have been very good at having so much to do that I have no time to get anything down.
I have been silenced for so long that it is continuing to affect me physically.
I truly believe in the body/mind/spirit connection. I believe our bodies are barometers for what is REALLY going on inside of us. Our bodies are the gauge for how we are REALLY doing. I have a massive headache now as I type. The kind that is making me nauseous. The kind I had in high school. The kind my body manifested after I had reached the limit of how much sexual abuse I could endure at the hands of my father. The kind that stopped after he finally stopped. Finally stopped after 11 years. And then denied.
Well, I said it. My dad sexually abused me. Over and over and over. Most I don’t fully remember, but my body does. Every time I try to talk myself into saying nothing happened, I can feel my body literally screaming inside. Those who have experienced sexual abuse will understand what I am talking about. I have a fear of masks because one of the times, he was waiting in my closet after fighting a fire and he had soot on his face which made him look like he had a mask on and all I could see were the whites of his eyes. I also used to check all the closets in a house when I was home alone. The first thing I did when we moved into this house 11 years ago was to check all of the closets. I thought that was an odd thing to do, until I made the connection what happened 24 years prior. There are lots of other things that I still have to process and deal with decades after the abuse finally stopped, but my head can only handled a bit of pressure release at a time or I might explode. I do know however, that I must keep letting the pressure out and finding the words or I will literally blow apart. I have learned to pay attention to my body and what it is trying to tell me to address. Now I must be more diligent to follow through!
Gaining the benefits of Reflexology and an Intuitive Energy Session with Joy Klein, she said that all the abuse that I have subjected my body to made my organs feel like slaves in Egypt who were already battered and worn and continuing to be whipped expecting greater productivity. That what I have been doing to myself for pretty much 35 years. Yep. I said it. 35 years. Between the bulimia, self abuse and beating, taking weight off, putting it on, starving myself, engorging myself…The list goes on and on. Fellow sexual abuse survivors can relate I am guessing.
So it’s time for me to treat myself with respect, gentleness and love. Me- treat me like that? Yep. It’s time. It’s actually long overdue.
I actually marvel amazing how healthy I have been considering the devastating circumstances I have endured. And this is another step in my recovery. Stop “whipping” myself and let my body function the way it was created to function. I am a temple of the Holy Spirit after all.
I have heard multiple “holy,” “religious,” people talk about Jesus offering a life of abundance, yet they are same ones who talk about carrying the burden, suffering and sacrifice as the central message of salvation. But it is built into our human nature to avoid pain and go toward pleasure. I think it is important that we properly define pleasure. One definition reads: “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.” Some people think things will bring us that happy satisfaction that will come from stuff. Others try to gain pleasure from people. I think pleasure comes from having our basic human needs met. According to Tony Robbins, we have 4 basic needs that, when they are met, mean we survive and 2 more that when they are met help us thrive and feel fulfilled in our lives. The 4 basic needs are: our need for certainty, our need for variety, our need for significance and our need for love. If any of those needs aren’t met, we are in pain, so, as we are hard-wired to avoid pain, we find something to escape that pain.
My something has been food.
Food physically helps me stop thinking how we cannot pay another bill this month, how we bounced another check, how we cannot do that thing because we have no money, how I feel when I remember some the things that were done to me. Food has been my escape. Food helps me takes my mind off the pain for awhile and it brings me pleasure. So in my healing, I need to repurpose the role food has in my life. Food is nourishment. So the question I am asking now is “How can I enjoy providing my body the nourishment it needs while trusting even more God and His plan of sheer goodness for me?” (why not kill 2 birds with one stone?)
I USED TO THINK: Food was the easiest, best way to escape the pain I feel in my life.
I NOW UNDERSTAND: Food is nourishment that my body needs. If I am feeling so much pain that I need to escape, I need to stop the pattern and figure out what I am believing that I feel my needs are not being met.
So I was given another metaphor involving plants. This one came from Louise Hay.
When we see a tomato plant with a bunch of tomatoes- you know the one- wondering if we planted enough at the beginning of May , then looking for more people to give away the ripe tomatoes to in August and September. Well, when we first plant, it is a seed, or seedling, not bearing ripe fruit at all. But when the water and sunlight enrich the roots, we are happy to see even a bit of growth.
Yet when we plant new seeds in our minds, seeds of positivity maybe, and we see just a little growth, why can’t we be encouraged like with the tomato plant?
Well, speaking for myself, I expect perfection and pretty much squash new positive growth if the “plant” isn’t instantly full grown. So I try to think positive: I am slender and healthy. Yes I have a ways to go- see right away, I am squashing my positive growth! Let me try again: I am happy to see the little sprouts- yes, I am slender and healthy.
Jeff Cavins really gave us something to think about at Bible Study this morning! The hardest part about being a Christian is forgiveness. But we are called to do that. Jesus showed us the way. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a choice of the will. It is okay to acknowledge when we have been hurt and even to bring it the offender’s attention. But then we need to forgive and release. Offer the suffering up in union with Christ and His suffering. Just as God has released us, so he expects us to do that to others. Hmm, I wonder if take the time to process this for anyone that I feel I am holding a grudge with, that muscle spasm in my back will RELEASE.
I love Karol Truman’s book “Feelings Buried Alive Never Die.” If you haven’t read it, she suggests that most of the physical ailments we have are a manifestation of the emotional pain that we have buried. Since I pretty much ate my way through this past Christmas, I would like to highlight the condition of Overweight.
She suggests that being overweight may indicate feelings of insecurity, feelings of self-rejection, wanting to protect the body, seeking love and fulfillment, attempting to fulfill the self, feelings are being stuffed inside, unexpressed, mis-perceived and inappropriate feelings. Well, some of those sure resonate with me. Anyone else? Since I was sexually abused as child during the Christmas season, I am thinking that is why I engorged myself this past yule. And the results of that binge are nasty considering I am co-founder of a wellness company that promotes an amazing Weight Release Program. I should walk the walk, right? Well, I am all the about “WHY” and I want to make my weight release permanent. My goal is to have food be my fuel, not my tool.
So I need to dig deeper. And if you know anything about digging deep, sometimes, it is shitting and smelly. Well I am done burying the pain. Step by step, bite by bite, I long for an “effort free Phase 3.” ( For those not familiar with our program, Phase 3 is regular eating, limited sugars and starches, nothing off limits, but when hungry and in moderation.) The good news is even though some times are dark and difficult, I can always get up and move forward.
Have you had an experience of digger deeper to get to the cause?
Each path the Lord leads us on prepares us for the one that follows, but always remember it is a journey closer to Him.
I have to smile as I compare this journey with the game Chutes and Ladders.
Some acts of healing, behavior changes and progress get us closer to Him quickly but just as easily, if we are not careful, we can slide down and fall back. One good thing though, we are all winners and can reach him. Some of us just take longer, that’s all.
So when I started this lenten journey and even before that when I named this blog “shedding my second skin” I thought it was about losing weight and being comfortable with me- not needing to be protected with physical fatty layering.
Well, I am discovering that my second skin was somewhat made of plastic. Very sturdy, impenetrable material.I took a risk writing personal reflections on my Lenten journey and am allowing pieces, sometimes pretty big pieces of my plastic shell to break away. I feel vulnerable, and human. And people are responding much more to my lenten journey blogs than the ones I wrote to be specifically motivational. Ironic that I decided to just write reflections and not worry about motivating folks- that people are actually finding my reflections inspirational. Who woulda thunk it? Not me, that’s for sure.
The more vulnerable and human I am, the more plastic skin I allow to chip away, the more positive response I get. Thanks.