Happy 1 Year Anniversary
March 21, 2021
Today is a big day for me. I’m doing something I’ve never really done before - I’ve made decisions for something that I know will make me happy and I’m not afraid. I’m currently sitting on cement steps, hearing the ocean beat against the shore, in a foreign country by myself. While I’m not in the country by myself, I’m visiting a friend who lives here, I’m exploring by myself. I’ve never really done that before. I’ve always made decisions to do things if other people went along. I was never sure of myself, never confident enough. Heck - I only went grocery shopping solo because I live alone and needed food. I’ve always just done things with other people, waiting, standing behind…getting guidance.
At my last therapy session when she said, “Ok, so this will be our last session. We won’t continue. Think of it was a graduation, because I cannot continue on with you.” I began to panic, who was I going to talk to now? What if I was triggered? We’ve been through so much together, how can I continue on? “This happens with this kind of therapy,” she continued “it’s common for people to trauma bond with their therapist and become dependent.” Ok, now that made sense to me. I thought to myself I was strong enough to continue without her. I could do this, she taught me skills, I had extra pieces of paper - I could just do the worksheets on my own. By that time too I had started to write and post about my experience. I decided that was my new therapy.
At first it was great! I was so happy, I was living life - excited and going forward. The blog was doing great and I was writing all the time. As time went on though, things started to slow down and real life started to settle in. Things would happen where I felt triggered and that I didn’t know what to do. I sometimes went back to a worksheet and worked it out and other times I fell back in to old disassociation habits of watching TV and doing nothing. See, that’s something people don’t tell or share about all of this - the after.
What happens when you do all that work, dig out that old nasty sticky black shit in your soul and you’re left with a hole. Reflecting back it was like - ok now what? You become aware of how you respond to situations because it was trauma based. The over caring for other people, the people pleasing and the fear of using your voice to save the comfort of others and get yelled at for the simplest thing. It’s all centred around all that shit I had been carrying for years. During the time in therapy we focused on the single event, but when I was at home doing those worksheets everything spilled out. I got to see everything and start removing all the other sticky black shit stuck to me. Essentially I was leaving myself looking like Swiss cheese - all full holes, all different sizes. But, I didn’t have anyone to talk to and I knew another therapist wasn’t the answer. For me therapy was a way of discovering the sticky black shit, it was never about filling in space left behind. Soooo now what? Yeah sure clearing everything out was great, yeah sure coming to a point of understanding was great - but as I sit here typing I can’t help but wonder, who the f am I?
In a way it kind of felt like being a new born child. This past year has been about learning the basics. How to talk and walk again. It all kind of hit me recently that this was what 2021 was like. I was sitting with a bunch of friends in December and we were reflecting on the year and our greatest accomplishment or what we were most proud of - I mentioned therapy because if you ever heard me talk in 2021 that's all I brought up. Someone remarked how proud they were of me and I couldn’t help but cry - I still can’t help but cry. The comment is so kind and means a lot to me, I also can’t help but feel like the Swiss cheese part of me comes out. This sense of being lost and confused and no idea who I am anymore. It’s been such a big learning curve. Getting comfortable with feeling awkward as people expect you to perform the way that you had in the past but you on the inside want to show up differently. Discovering that how you were showing up was mostly trauma response based. You see, people pleasing can be a trauma response. The need for people to like you and you'll do anything to chose their comfort over your own. You make yourself small just so you can participate, just so you can be a part of the "gang". And when you start to change, people get uncomfortable with that and they react to that - because you're no longer choosing their comfort over your own.
When I look back on these last 35 years, I notice that I was never really stepping out on my own as a common theme. I let other people take the lead. I can just hear some people saying, but Sasha in your job you step forward - yes because I have to. Because I know I can shine, because I know that’s what I’m there to do. So why can’t I bring that forward in my everyday life? I feel like I often let other people tell me I can’t do something or be something. That I’m not knowledgeable enough or I have to wait to go somewhere with someone so that when I’m confronted with something that wasn’t supposed to happen, even the most minor inconvenience, I can step back and let someone else deal with. All the while feeling small and and like I’m stupid - or “blonde” (if I have a nickel for every time I've used that excuse as a joke to pass off an awkward moment, oy I'd be a millionaire).
That’s what this past year has shown me. That’s what I feel like I’m wanting to change, to grow from. If I’m supposed to be a lion and you’re supposed to hear me roar - I can’t sit back anymore and let other’s dictate who and what I am supposed to be. I feel like the majority of my life I have been told that I’m too bossy, too sassy, too much…well from now on if I am too much, there's the fuckin' door and you can leave.
Once again I found myself on January 11, 2022 taking a step in another direction - it’s crazy how time can work. This all came to a rushing head: all the sticky, black soul sucking stuff is gone and I’m now left with these holes where it all lived - mixed with this idea that I’m tired of not showing up for me came to a swirling boiling point as I listened to people talk during a conference. Once again, I found myself reaching for a new guide to take me through this process and went the route of a life coaching and we scheduled a self discovery session.
This is now what I needed. Not someone who will listen to problems and make you look at things from a different perspective. Not someone who is there to help you through taking out the black sticky stuff but someone to fill that space now with light. That’s how I picture it all - light, to make things grow.
After the session it was like a new breathe of fresh air. This uncovering of where I have been hiding this whole time.
I really had this expectation that everything was going to be fixed and that I could just get on with my life - the whole “I”m now a beautiful butterfly emerging from a cocoon, all pretty and shit.” But I’m not! It’s almost like the last year has been spent weaving the cocoon and now I’m sitting in it, trying to figure shit out. I know it's not time to fully emerge yet. I've got more work to do, but it's very different than this time last year.
April 3, 2022
I left this writing to stew inside of me for a bit. This seems to be my process lately - let things come out and revisit at a much later date. I want to be thoughtful with my words, intentional to make sure that what I say comes across as it's intended. The struggle is real and it's another learning curve to add to the growing list: don't be reactionary, and think before you speak. Reading this back in the chair I spent months dissecting my life in, I'm transmuted to the place where this writing started. I can hear the ocean hitting the shore, I can feel the sun on my back and I am reminded of why I was choosing to write this.
That it is time to fully let all of this go. It is time to move on.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my posts over the last year (its crazy to think this blog is a year old). I want to thank you for all the kind words and messages you have shared with me over the past year. I feel so very blessed that you have taken the time to share in this journey with me and come along with me. I am feeling grateful for the conversations that have occurred because of this blog and the stories people have shared with me in return.
I want to keep a conversation going. I plan on sharing the journey that is happening now - emerging from this cocoon and becoming a lioness. Navigating this road of finding acceptance for myself and live beyond what I thought I could be or who I should be.
I want to reintroduce myself not just as a multiple sexual assault survivor, but as...Sasha, a head strong woman who embraces herself and moves as one with herself.