This life has taught me
To tow the line quiet
Surrendering into time,
Because incidents rewind
With a mind of their own.
And so sturdy, we row the
Rapid patterns of the
We stay in tune with each
Separate quest. Observance.
Steady. Doing the work
That leans against the
Thick breath of the herd.
We are divergent, ominous,
Everything formed in us,
Powered by a self love so
Infinite that it becomes a
Hurricane of pounding rain.
Pay the penance. Confess
The wicked deeds, on your
Knees, in Biblical instruction.
Make a list, to remind you
Of your confession. This is
Your way. You must ask
For forgiveness. It is not
For us to be freely giving.
Reckoning has many faces,
Unexpected veils and illusions
That become intrusions
Appearing in most leaving
Unprepared affected, the
Egoist off kilter, inside the
Self righteous fodder of an
Imaginary, sadistic Father.
Fear the fray that is sewn
Back together, for it is able
To bear the weight of many
Lives. It turns swiftly, gaining
Strength and paving ways.
When this thing is unleashed
Like water slathered on polished
Floors it is impossible to cross,
Breaking bones in the falls, we
Will shatter lies like falling logs,
Because we are The Walk,
In our own Body, always on
The Move, distantly watching you.
With un-shattered minds
We will fully rewind time.
As I have lived my own survivorship and spent the last few years deeply connecting with trauma survivors, I see three distinct phases of the journey.
Thriver (and for some, Advocacy/Warriorship)
I think one of the most difficult breaks in the healing process is moving from the victim to survivor state. The victim state of mind sees the downfall with everything in life. Solutions aren’t on their minds, they can only see everything bad in their world. Any solution offered, the victim stage will say they’ve already tried it or give a reason why it won’t work.
When I was in the victim stage, I recall having a fear that if I healed, I would have nothing to spawn my creativity. I was so incredibly wrong. As I have healed I have created so much more and so many amazing things. The fear was a farce.
The Survivor stage includes a mindset of knowing we have survived and believing we can still survive. Survivor stage is a small exhale and sometimes the longest stage as we are learning strengthening and practicing wellness and self love. In the survivor stage we face our anger, fear, hurt and deep pains. This stage is a boundary setting stage and a period of strengthening our minds. In the survivor stage we are starting to see the world around us as a place of possibility. We are embracing our ability to heal and determined to do so.
The step from survivor to Thriver is a smaller one. When we reach the state of thriving we have come into a place where we have embraced that our past is actually the past and we don’t have to live there now. In the Thriver stage we don’t see obstacles, but instead, opportunity. As Thrivers we take our horrible situations and tend to barrel through them because we realize that all things do pass. We tend to write out and create through our moments of pain instead of projecting them on others or drowning in them. We have no issues enacting our boundaries and don’t care who gets mad about it, as we understand our right to put ourselves first.
In Thriver stage we are empowered to know that healing doesn’t mean we don’t still have impairments from our abuse, but that we can absolutely get through it. We don’t have to stay in it. As Thrivers we embrace that our thoughts will set a course for our days and we learn that positive perspectives and energy will change and often make rectifying problems much easier when our thoughts are rooted in solutions, acceptance and great possibilities. We accept moments and people as they are. We aren’t as easily offended. We learn to be and let be. We fight for things that matter and let inconsequential situations fall by the wayside.
For those in differing stages of healing, please know that it can take years to get through these processes. Please be patient with yourself. When you take the step out of victimhood into survivorship, congratulate yourself!! That is a MASSIVE step!
I used the processes that I introduced in my interactive journal “Becoming Gratitude”, to move from feeling like a victim, to feeling the success of changing my world view and the perspective of my own existence and surroundings. It absolutely re-wired my brain for the better, in just a short five minutes a day.
You can check out the journal here:
Another amazing book that, if the writing processes in it are followed, will help a survivor really begin to embrace their emotion freedom is “PTSD: Time To Heal.” When I found this book I was ecstatic. It confirmed to me that all the handwriting processes I had done were absolutely on point. Handwriting our pain is not only crucial, but the absolute best process to follow, as the brain must slow down to process through our pen. This book gets into the physiology of why handwriting trauma is a crucial part of the healing journey. You do NOT have to be a prolific writer or speller to do this work. You just have to actually DO the tasks!
You can check out this book here:
Processing trauma isn’t easy. Neither is holding it inside. To be afraid of healing is akin to willingly drowning. Two major components exist in the survivor stage.
1. Being willing to do the work, WANTING to do it and reveling in moving towards being a Thriver.
2. Accepting and creating solutions and boundaries.
I believe every victim can become a Thriver. It is simply a matter of choosing to do the work that brings us there. I was sick of being in pain all of the time and tired of only seeing the negatives in my life. I grasped onto gratitude like a lifeline, and it absolutely changed my world view in just a few short weeks.
I hope you will give yourself the gift of healing. You deserve it. You CAN do the work, and you will be so much stronger for your fight and your life! Being a Thriver has empowered me in so many ways. I believe in you.
It has been five years since I published my first book, a collection of poetry entitled “Dusted Shelves”. I went into the studio with a great local producer in Seattle, WA, Lance Randall, and recorded Dusted Shelves Poetry C.D., complete with scoring and sound affects. The same year, 2013, I published an interactive journal, “Becoming Gratitude”, designed to reconnect ourselves with mindful awareness of our life. I published these two books while I was writing “Cult Child“, which I published in 2015.
When I reminisce on my writing processes recounting my childhood trauma through the pages of “Cult Child“, I realize I was writing it all inside of a very deep emotional triad that my brain was using to keep me balanced.
“Dusted Shelves” was spilling my emotions through organization of poetry written when I was in trauma. “Becoming Gratitude” was helping me every day, stay focused on a positive mindset while I was writing out childhood trauma.
The ability the brain has to work in sync with itself is amazing to me.
Marketing has been a challenge. It has been a process of trial and error, testing and most of all, learning where I will make connections which contribute to my greater good as a person. Having been online from its conception in the early 2000’s, I have, in the past couple of years, felt myself begin to spin with the arrival of fast moving applications like Instagram. Twitter’s fast rise and the plethora of apps being thrown at me to market my writing likewise can overwhelm me. Things seemed to be speeding up faster then I really even felt an inner desire to keep up with.
I set out to understand where I was connecting to my readers. Who could understand me and emotionally feel my writing?
Since my memoir is based out of growing up in a cult, I first gravitated toward the cult advocacy society, where survivors of cults and other mind control groups, tended to congregate. Outside of a few connections who have turned out to be gems, I learned over time this was not where I was finding the scope of authentic connections I longed for. I walked away from my time in that community learning that the content of my book does not dictate its audience or who will connect with it.
In my explorations, I chose to do a short podcast series entitled Survivor Voices Show. I interviewed strong voices like popular author and marketing expert, Rachel Thompson, owner of Bad Redhead Media and founder of Monday Blogs on Twitter. M Dolon Hickmon, author of bestseller, 13:24: A Story Of Faith and Obsession, Liz Ianelli, artist Survivor993, Cathy O’Brien, best-selling author of Access Denied: For Reasons Of National Security and PTSD: Time To Heal, and my fellow cult survivor, Glori L. Stiner, founder of Move Forward, a cause dedicated to exposing the abuses we children endured growing in Sam Fife’s Move of God cult. I wanted to cover as many mind control and generational abuse based stories as I could. I am pleased with series and am considering doing another one.
I spoke with author Matt Pappas, popular podcaster, sexual abuse survivor and owner of Beyond Your Past. I learned something extraordinary from everyone I talked with. We all had differing experiences when we broke down how our abuses were enacted. We all were even on differing paths in our healing journey. Yet still we all dealt with similar bi-products of the abuse we endured. We experienced Dissociation Disorders, cPTSD, Anxiety, Personality Disorders and a very long list of every day impairments left behind by our abusers. Amazingly, so many of us are thriving and supporting each other as we all are healing.
These experiences taught me that beyond the fences of my journey in this life is something important; that I am surrounded by those who are traveling the same road as me for one reason; because the destination leads to Healing. In the interim of all that I do, this matters to me more than anything.
People who have suffered childhood poly-abuse (sexual, physical, emotional) have the most in common with veterans of war. Yet, the difference is, children shouldn’t have to go to war.
There is no one arena or mold where I fit. I greatly respect and relate to those who have seen the horrors of war and the horrors which can be wrought on a child. I have read many a marketing post about finding my “target audience.” Yet, as I share my journey, what I have found to be an absolute for me is when I stayed rooted in an intent of connecting with survivors, instead of hunting down an audience, I felt the best. It changed my direction. I realized I could funnel small amounts of marketing funds into boosting posts while using my personal energy to really foster positive connections with other survivors from all walks of life.
I believe that as I gear up to release Rise of Sila next year I won’t change much about these connections. My peers will continue to understand me, as they have had the same struggles of abuse even in their teenage years. My story is still the voice of many a survivor, and it is for them, and my own mental health, that I finish this duo-logy.
I usually hunker down between the months of November – February. They are the months of holidays and taxes. I avoid social networking and pound out work. Leading back to the original topic of whether you are running in the right circles for your work, I leave you with this consideration.
Remember you are not just your content, you are also your intent.
Is your content fueled with the intent to connect with those who will understand what you are sharing? Are you rooted in the originality of who you are? Is this shining through your work and connections? If you are struggling to understand who you are, remember that we evolve, and part of who we are is constantly figuring out who we are! When you come into an acceptance of your now, I promise you’ll find your people.
Meanwhile, pound the pages, the canvas, the pavement, whatever you do to purge, create and express. This is the root of your creative intent.
I spent the last couple of evenings sifting through CDs of writing going back almost 15 years. This poem was written in 2005. It really took me back to the cusp of my pain. In those days when I felt deeply haunted, poetry was my soul’s literary life saver.
Do You Want To Know Why I Won’t Let You Get Close? [circa 2005]
You want to know why I wont let you get close?
Because the last one I chose
Made me cry.
That is why.
You want to know why when you speak of love I run?
Because this is what I’ve become
Torn by pain
Dying in the rain.
Do you know why I am hardened and disenchanted?
Promises are always recanted
Broken and discarded
Cannot finish what is started.
This is the aftermath of fires that become ashes,
Of personality clashes,
Of unwillingness to change
And the attempt to put on chains.
I sleep alone with my fear in the night.
No beams in my window from the moonlight.
Stop smiling at me in the way.
I hear you, yet you have nothing to say.
Bitter growls disguised as precious words,
But you represent to me silent hurt.
You want to know why I’m turning my back?
I cannot view the qualities you lack.
A part of the common population
Do not ask me anymore questions.
This is the meaning of rejection.
I say no, you ask why,
And then I cry.
There are ghosts in my view. I am traveling hallways. We are coming back for you. Your breath quickens as you wait. Will your heart give in to the ache; the secrets you hold? They rot your insides, you know.
We are your shadow self.
Every deed, word, blow and theft of innocence lurks inside the remnants of your biological cells. You never considered that hell would come from those you desecrated.
When we come, we are a pack without a leader.
We have no need to follow, holding hands side by side, we yell, “Red Rover, Red Rover, come on over!”, and we smile. You taught us to rip at each other’s wrists, remember? Danger as an entertainer. That was your pleasure.
There were the games we played in secret, away from your judging eyes, sneaking moments with quiet giggles. We reserved our spirits from your shattering, scattering into life, struggling through its mores as we held ourselves in fetal positions to survive. Now, we rise.
We have gathered the ashes of our pasts, reconstructed our wings, and we are prepared to fly.
We are the children of your terror. We are the outcasts and sinners, scar bearers and wayward waifs. We are the tattooed tyrants, birthed from your horror, walking our own paths against your wrath. We color our hair bright. We carry ourselves Light. We know each step with precision as we enter this fight.
We are not mercy. We are strength. We are not bitterness. We are valiance.
We are turning your worlds inside out, releasing the doubt you preach from pulpits and podiums and classrooms to children and vulnerable humans. We are Dragons, gathering in the night.
We have been watching you a very long time. You see, you taught us well, but you failed to keep the tide from turning. Now we take everything you forced us to absorb, the intel and verbal hell, battered bones and dissociated minds, childhoods left behind, never to be relived, and create a mighty hurricane, gathering speed every time another survivor speaks their abuser’s name.
We release shame. It is not ours. It belongs to you. Your time to be burdened with your own deeds is long overdue.
I am a lurker in the darkness, mystic of the floated corners where the view is clear up here. I see the past and futures merging. I see the sadness and the pain purging. I feel every heart hurting, from the wicked to the wounded and my eyes can only focus on the cries of the affected, injected by decades of apathetic sociopathy using human flesh in the deadliest fashions.
For those who have a passion for hurting others, it is you I watch, even those who cloak themselves in the mask of mirrored goodness. We are keenly keeping our eyes focused. We are passed hoping. We are ready for war. Are you? How fast will your knees buckle when the first blows come? How long before your run?
No more will we be ruled, organized or contained. No more will we remain silent or compliant.
Associations and organizations meant to capitalize on those who’ve almost died inside and outside are crumbling at their feet. Too long you have preyed on the weak. Your time has come to an end, and no matter how much you pretend, keeping an illusion of control, you are quickly slipping into a sinkhole.
Even as your wrinkled fingers hold the purse strings, we sing.
Even as you watch us still, spinning tales of the ones who tell truths on you, we laugh as your ropes fray. It is your day. Your reckoning has arrived. We have been released from the hive, a swarm, marching with precision. Welcome to your new religion.
One must wonder about the abusive adult whose mind is so oblivious it cannot rationalize, that what you forced us to internalize would return to watch you burn. Yet, into the flames you will run, because the thought of combusting will feel less painful than the torture we will enact. Every item accounted for. Every brick will be removed. Each stone you drove home to build your wall will fall, and in the end what will be left, are more humans, free from your invisible chains, living in happiness.
For now, you shake beneath the hands of a mighty earthquake. In this surge, graves are unearthed and after years of holding still, we now run swiftly, legs strong, to destroy the villainous ones.
You will relax, forget to watch your back, and we will attack, because you deserve to be fought. You deserve to be tested with unrest.
Welcome to the Resurrection.
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.