I moved this weekend. It has been a challenging transition, as I have had to go through an arduous process for acceptance into my new residence. I was down to the wire with my time window. My anxiety was peaking. I didn’t have a way to have a back up plan for my plan. I had to contend with myself. So, I moved through the process in the following ways.
Tip One: Acceptance
Accept that whatever situation you are in is, in fact, an anxiety causing situation. Don’t deny yourself that truth. Don’t feel ashamed about feeling anxious. Everyone was telling me that it would all be okay. They were right. It was. Yet, in that moment that it was NOT alright, I had no guarantee that it would be. So, I just said “Yeah, you’re right, it’ll be okay.” But I didn’t mean it. Inside I was very anxious.
So, I accepted that yes, this was a stressful situation, and my feelings of worry were valid. Things weren’t set in stone yet. That’s an unsteady feeling for anyone, much less a trauma survivor. My first step of dealing with the transition was to accept that it absolutely was a valid situation to feel anxiousness over. I did not war against this emotion in me.
A step beyond acceptance is radical acceptance. This is when I have accepted that there is nothing I can do to change the current situation. It is in this moment that I breathe a lot. I stay very inward focused on my physical body. I stay aware of tenseness in my muscles, a sign my agitation might be growing. I listen to my heartbeat. I pay attention to my physical feelings as well as my emotions.
Tip Two: Self Soothing
It is great to have people we can vent our worry out with. Yet, I find that most often, doing so can cause my anxiety to rise. For me, the act of too much discussing of my worry and anxiety is almost a fueling of it at times; especially if it’s not a solution based anxiety, meaning there is no specific solution. Only patience is the answer. Now I must carry myself through this act.
During self soothing I focus on my thoughts. I avoid negative thinking like:
- Nothing ever goes right for me
- It’s probably all going to fall through
- Do I pack?
- This is too much chaos!
- I’m freaking out!
Instead, I live and think as if it is already happening. I packed. I imagined myself in my new space. I jumped on Pinterest and looked at some ideas for my new space. I envisioned the pallet I was going to create. I imagined my art in the walls. I saw myself finishing the sequel to Cult Child and making more art with new surroundings and inspiration.
I had a message telling me for sure I was approved, just a few signatures needed to be finalized. I just didn’t want to have to be left with just two days to move everything. I knew the many trips and hauling in a short time would leave me sore. I knew this was the root of my anxiety. So, I sat with that. I asked myself.
What is the worst that can happen? Sore muscles and back? I listed the ways I would soothe; baths, resting, laying down, hydrating, taking it easy unpacking. I focused myself away from the worry of being left to move in a short time to the fact that even if I get sore and exhausted, it passes and life continues on. I thought about how lucky I am to have a great friend and family to help me.
When I was a child, I wasn’t held when I worried or cried. I didn’t have anyone to tell me that it’s going to be okay! So I can forget to reassure myself.
I radically accepted that this transition was not going to go exactly how I wished it to go. I accepted that I would survive moving with IT, instead of it moving with ME. I breathed and said okay, I’m stepping into this change. I left complaining behind for reveling in the joy of a transition I’ve been waiting a very long time to make.
Tip Three: Celebrating!
When the change is over, absolutely do NOT forget to celebrate yourself. Not in a, collapse on the couch and and say “whew, I got through THAT!” kind of celebrating. No. Take time to sit and really revel in every moment when you wavered and worried and kept going. Laugh with it. Tell yourself, damn I’m amazing. What seems like a small step to some is a major step for us. We deserve to celebrate.
Order some take out if it’s been a while. Buy a new shirt; go Goodwill hunting. Write about it. Make something new as a gift to yourself. Something. Anything. Pause to take a moment and really truly celebrate that you got through that thing you worried so much about.
When I was a little girl, no one ever said, “Good job! Wow!” I wasn’t asked about my hopes and dreams. I wasn’t told I was exceptional in any way. Because of this, I can forget that it is okay to humbly celebrate myself.
How we trauma survivors are able to move through change, or sudden change, is centered within the confounds of our own thoughts. We learn the art of self mindfulness and awareness. We learn to put our needs first in a way which keeps us healthy.
Acceptance. Soothing. Celebrating.
Remember that it is perfectly acceptable to take care of you. Do not shun yourself. Love yourself.
I soothed myself through my transition. Now, as I write this, I am peacefully soaking in my new living room view and the beauty of my city.
In battle, small platoons take hold positions. Their leaders converse and strategize. It is neither a battle they plan to fight nor a war they wish to start. It will be a complete conquering, and this must be a smooth sweep.
Such things are not decided upon quickly. Every angle is inspected thoroughly and repeatedly. This takes skill and strategy. The aim is to hold awareness of the whole. Forward movement of this kind must be slow.
The building of momentum need be quiet and reserved in a space of occasional observation. Each step should be focused on, momentarily pushing others aside until their turn arrives. This the weaving of human life.
There are targets to decide. Which ones hide and which ones are irrelevant? In this battle the score is the core. Straight in. No diversion. Implosion. Precise decision.
Wait and wonder is a skill that works in sync with timing. When the unknown is contained, let it view itself free. Then enact the deeds piece by piece, strategically.
The way of the warrior sees all. It holds integrity and passion. It surveys the landscape quietly, momentarily, while dancing still in movement. Invisible, the warrior slides into position, hidden and becomes the all of what is to come. They each arrive alone, gathering to become the storm.
Where do I go when I float?
Away from the frayed tentacles
Of memories and ligaments,
Strained from twisting, turning,
Child, they said, this hurts me
More than it hurts you. No.
I go back to moments and sit,
Quiet inside the hopelessness it’s
Good to remember this; to never forget
Lest I leave behind the reasons why
I fight until my brows ache.
You got lucky if you didn’t get raped.
It takes the soul away; flight, it
Wanders in dark nights and mires,
Like quicksand, it is the hand of
Every time we were violated
Again and again and again.
Rock with the sadness, my loves.
Hold it bravely in your tender arms,
Like a baby you can re-love the child;
The defiled despair living there
In the core that is shattered and torn.
Fly with the visions, sweet thrivers,
Take back your mind. Release the ghosts.
You are not that anymore; not the
Forgotten child in the chains
Of monsters and madness. No.
You face yourself in the mirror;
Command the past and swaddle
It into the depth of your soft heart.
I am heady from the smell of ocean. I walk slowly to the vast, rolling surges of white foam. My son, the cinematographer, snaps photos of my bliss, following silently as I dance and skip. Life becomes different when I am with the sea. It is humbling for me. It is reminding me that I am small within the realm of infinite reality.
I am surrounded by my family. Babies toddle about, smashing sand into hollow, plastic turtles, their faces giggling. This joy that has emerged from the depths of my ancestral traumas and struggle, has instilled in me a deep appreciation for the small nuances of life. You see, this journey has been a scattered learning curve filled with crashes and burns. I have been into the depths of its darkness and risen into the brilliance of its light. I will not fall again.
I press my toes into the sand, aware of the soft scrub of the grains against my feet. I enjoy the firmness of this beach, impacted, forcing me to dig into and be present with the awareness of this feeling. Grounded inside the sensation, I let the earth infuse with my skin, sending her energy into my spirit. She is soft and firm. I am safe above her. There is no rumbling of engines or honking of horns. I am here in this moment completely alone.
The wind lifts my dress. I am in surround sound with the soft roar of the waves. They are a symphony rising and falling, reminding me that in an instance, swells can turn. She reassures me, that even if pulled into here tidal arms, sleep will be cool and peaceful. I feel every cell filling each drop of her endless depths move inside my skin. We resonate together, as even the seagulls crying out to the fish become a faded echo. On this shore, I see dimensions I’ve never traveled before. I see possibility. I see me in the sea.
I wonder what happens inside of the mind and spirit when a human just walks into the sea? Eventually the body becomes numb from the dropped temperature. I imagine there is scramble and a struggle against the pulling of the waves as the limbs lose the ability to fight. An acceptance washes over when the mind realizes it will never return to shore. The eyes close and gulping in the salt, the waves become one with the spirit here. Inside this liquid world, beings exist, the same as me; different environment; Otherkin. It is not a walk I desire. It is a wonder, a curiosity, a movement of my mind.
I am grateful for my life. It is big within this smallness. It is filled with surviving and thriving. It sings the songs of promise. It tells me to hold on, keep fighting and stay strong.
I stand inside this diminutive yet immense piece of planet; one so beautiful, yet filled with abominations beyond the imagination. I must return to the reality of my mission; my dedication, to make a difference. But just for today, I escape, just me and the waves. I am infused by the sea and my family. This is where I am balanced; when all is calm; where there is no storm; when we drift gently and in harmony with the tides.
“You loved me,” I said, “when I was at my lowest. Yet, I didn’t quite know you were loving me. I was in tears so many days. You held me. Together we traveled the tunnels of rewound memories, finding ourselves sometimes on clouds and others in quagmire. Through these times, these deep struggles, you were always there, even when I wasn’t aware of your presence. Now, as I look into your eyes, clear and concise, I am elated that you were patient. You waited. You got to know each part of me explicitly. We have grown into one moving energy, crafted through the moments I struggled to find you, calling you to please come to me as you were wandering. Today I am grateful. Today I say thank you. Thank you for returning to me; for finding me and being inside my wholeness.”
“You’re welcome.” Replied the girl in the mirror.
‘Hey, V, don’t forget me when you reach the top.”
The top of what? The top of the end of child rape? The top of the Eiffel Tower? The top of the end of mentally ill people creating more and more victims? The top of my bed to get out of it on a Tuesday morning to drag myself to counseling? The top of the next chapter of a book taking years to write? The top of making it to a conference to educate some people on child abuse?
THE TOP OF WHAT?????
I get it. You’ve mystified me because of what I choose to let you see online. Don’t do that. Disappointment guaranteed. GUARANTEED!
If I had cameras 24-7 blasting from my tiny living space to the World Wide Web you’d say, “Oh, gosh. Well, okay then.” It would be akin to stopping to see a wreck.
Alright, maybe not that bad. You’d see me dancing around to BeeGees music, meditating and doing soft yoga, boringly writing (she’s STILL writing?), making art and then binging on crime documentaries and cosmology shows while I relax in my bed and write blogs like this.
You’d have periods of staring at my cat while I escaped to the woods. Then when I returned you’d say, “Babe! Look! Look! She’s talking to herself/her cat again!” You don’t even know and you won’t, nosy ass!
I can tell you one thing I have had to forget. Time. Because there isn’t “enough” of it if you start measuring how damn busy life becomes, the more you choose to keep pushing yourself out there.
That is how people get “forgotten”. Not because they don’t mean anything to us, but because we become stripped of our time. When down time becomes less frequent, it’s often reserved for immediate family. You pop in our heads. We get side tracked.
I hate that stupid saying that if someone cares they’ll make time for you. Not true. If someone cares, they’ll respect someone’s lack of having extra time.
This statement of “don’t forget me” has always baffled me. What does that mean? Send money if I get rich? Remember that most of the people who say this to me never share my work or support me in any way. I won’t forget you. I usually don’t forget the people who tell me not to forget them as if they’re entitled.
I’ve never said this to an aspiring or established creative. Maybe because I am a creative, that I understand the ridiculousness of this statement. Instead I wish them well and may we meet again, and I’ll do my best to explore their work.
I’ll be alone dancing you know it, baby, and I don’t care if you forget about me. Stop putting those expectations on us.
Look, you think Gaga hand writes all those printed letters that get sent to her little monsters? No. She has assistants who do that. Now, I’m not comparing myself with LG, I’m just saying, busy is busy.
So, as you who use this statement, in return I say this. Don’t forget me now, and I’ll be less apt to forget you later.