Creating Space For Healing Through Sharing

Saying the words out loud terrified me.


I thought that is all I would be known as. That it would take over my existence and make the rest of me disappear.


That may seem silly but it felt like that is all I was for a long time. That is who I made myself be for a long time.


A sexual assault survivor.

A victim.


I didn’t want to be seen like that so saying out loud that I am a sexual assault survivor terrified me. BUT I didn’t know how to live without that identity.


I didn’t want to be known as a victim.

I didn’t want to lose myself even though I had already done so.

I didn’t want to have people to feel sorry for me.

I didn’t want people to question what happened.

I didn’t want those keyboard warriors telling me that I was wrong in my own story.


It took intentional choices every single day and it still does.


WHERE TO BEGIN WHEN YOU JUST DON’T HAVE THE STRENGTH


If I had a piece of advice for someone who is currently in the darkness it would be…


Feel it. Get to know it. Start to understand this darkness that you are in because when you begin to do that, you can begin to work your way out.

I remember the days of sitting in my bed, unable to leave my apartment because I just didn’t have it in me. I didn’t want to put on a fake smile and pretend that my life was okay. My apartment was safe. No one could come in there and take away my little piece of safety.


I didn’t think I would make it out of that apartment. There were days that I didn’t want to make it out of that apartment. I also knew that I didn’t want my parents to find me and so I would lay in my bed, hoping that the pain would end without me having to do anything about it.


Instead, the darkness grew inside until I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. There was nothing left for me to fight for. I lost that apartment. I stopped paying my rent. I stopped showing up to work. I was frozen. Unable to move forward.


Those who loved me thought I was just rebelling. They knew something was wrong but I wasn’t willing to tell them and so they had to think that it was just 19 year old Samantha fighting back. I wish I would have had the guts to tell them what had happened back then.


I didn’t want them to feel the anger and the hatred that I felt.

I didn’t want them to look at me with sadness and despair.

I didn’t want them to see me as a victim.


I would rather them see me as a rebel than as broken.


There are days when I wish I would have written during this period of my life. To truly remember what was going on in my head, my heart, and my life. To remember the pain and be able to see it in words. To be able to look back at it and see how far I have come.


I gave up writing though. That was a piece of the old me and I couldn’t let her back in. I had to hide her and her pieces.


So where can you begin when you just don’t have the strength?


You take your life moment by moment.


You lay in that bed and cry until you can’t anymore.

You grab paper and write out everything that is going through your head.

You lock yourself in your house and stare out the window.


Moment by moment is the only way you can live when you are in the midst of darkness. Please, if you need to reach out to someone, reach out to me. I will be here to listen. I will always be that person for ANYONE because I didn’t have the strength or courage to do that myself. If you are thinking about suicide, please reach out to one of these numbers (Canada and the United States) The world needs you even if it doesn’t feel like it.


SHARING, HEALING, AND THE STEPS TO BEGIN


There is nothing more powerful than looking your trauma in the eye and embracing it.

There is nothing scarier than looking your trauma in the eye and embracing it.


I allowed him to take 11 more years of my life.


By not sharing what had happened, I gave him ALL of the power.


11 years of power.


And I can bet that he didn’t think about me after he left that dorm room. I had no power over him. He held all the power.


It took moving across the country to finally say enough was enough. 11 years after.


11 years of self-hatred.

11 years of avoiding photos.

11 years of self-doubt.

11 years of feeling like I wasn’t good enough.

11 years of pretending that it never happened.

11 years of avoiding my feelings.

11 years of questioning what I did wrong.


Oh, that list could go on and on. 11 years is a long time to have someone else control your life.


It was when I looked at my kids, knowing that I wasn’t giving them the best version of myself, that I began to realize my life needed to change. I needed to heal and take control of my life.


I want this list of steps to be different. I don’t want it to be a step-by-step guide because let’s face it when it comes to healing, there is no step-by-step guide that will work for everyone.


I want this to be your moment of time when you decide. You decide that your future is more important than your past. That your story is worth sharing. That you can now reclaim YOUR power and YOUR story and change how it ends.


ONE| DECIDE TODAY THAT YOU ARE WORTHY OF YOUR OWN TIME

This is going to be the hardest step. Deciding that you are worthy of your own time. How often do we give those around us the benefit of the doubt? How often do we give those around us more time than we truly give ourselves? That is going to change.


By deciding that you are worthy of your own time, you are putting your needs, wants, and dreams at the forefront of your life.


This may seem scary. Especially if you have been giving and giving to those around you for so long. I want you to remember that this doesn’t mean that you need to stop giving to those around you. It means that you need to decide that you are also an important person in your own life. To give yourself a chance to heal, you need to have time.


TWO| MAKE A PLAN

This may seem silly but this is going to help. You are probably thinking…


A plan? How do I create a plan to give myself time to heal?


You schedule it in.

You write it on your to-do list.

You make it one of your top three things to do every single day.


This plan is going to look different for everyone. What can you do to give yourself time?


Meditate?

Journal?

Yoga?

Intentional movement?

Bath?

Walking outside?


What is it that can give you a chance to feel what you are feeling, notice how your body is reacting to your environment, and begin to embrace it all? Without finding what works and making a plan for it, you are going to give up and decide that feeling less than is much easier than working through the emotions.


THREE| IMPLEMENT THAT PLAN

Take it day by day. Moment by moment. There is NO shame in taking small steps every single day. Creating space for your healing is going to be made up of small, intentional steps every single day until one day, you realize how far you have come.


What can you do today to implement that plan? For me, today I meditated, I did yoga, and I journaled. Later on, I will be doing a silent meditation before bed.


You don’t need to make a huge commitment to begin to heal. Take a small step today to implement your plan and build on it tomorrow and the next day and the next day.


FOUR| WRITE THINGS DOWN

This is an important step in the healing process. I love journaling and I think that everyone should do it. Even if it is just for a few minutes per day. Before you go for a walk or meditate, quickly jot down how you are feeling and then do the same thing when you are done. Do this for a week and see what the differences are.


Journaling doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be pages filled with words. It can be a short list like the above. It can be drawings. It can be whatever works for you. This is a really great way to track your progress because while you are in the middle of healing, you don’t realize how far you have come.


FIVE| START A BLOG

You might think I am crazy but the thing is, sharing your story is powerful. Sharing a story that you are currently working through is even more powerful. You are going to connect with those who need to hear what it is like to live and work through what you are going through.


They are going to get a real-time glimpse into healing. I am not always looking for someone who has things figured out. I am looking for someone that I can connect with and who knows and understands me. I would rather see their real-life moments, struggles, and triumphs than the shiny outcome.


SIX| EMBRACE THE MESSY PIECES

Healing isn’t pretty. It isn’t magical. It is messy and it is complicated. As a society, we have made it seem as if healing is this beautiful transformation in the moment when in reality, it is anything but.


The transformation can be beautiful but not while you are in the middle of it. You are going to want to give up. You are going to not want to look at those dark pieces but to truly heal, you need to embrace the dark pieces. Hiding them isn’t going to help you to heal.


Learning about them. Listening to your triggers and recognizing them is going to make you heal on a deeper level. You can’t get to the beautiful without looking into the ugly first.


SEVEN| THERE IS NO FINAL DESTINATION

Another misconception is in healing is that there is a final destination. That someday we will be magically and fully healed and life will be this picture-perfect creation.


WRONG!!!


Sorry to burst your bubble in fantasyland BUT this is just not possible.


Life is always throwing curves at us. It is always allowing us to heal on a deeper level. There is no final destination for that picture-perfect life. We need to embrace where we are currently and begin to love the life that we live. Life is meant to be imperfectly beautiful. That is the beauty of it.


Stepping into your story and beginning to heal is going to be scary. You are going to want to give up but don’t. Keep moving forward. Keep listening to that little voice inside and listen to the cues that your body is giving you.


If you are ready to start sharing your story through blogging, my Blog to Heal group coaching program begins on April 18, 2022.


The reflection in the mirror is waiting for you to put yourself first.

Someone is waiting to hear your story to know that they aren’t alone.