Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Before I get too far into this, I need to address the elephant in the room:
Writing is hard. Writing about trauma is hard. Writing about trauma, while still dealing and healing from traumatic events is even harder. A few posts brought up some horrible memories that I suppressed that I didn’t ever want to deal with. Memories I never wanted to acknowledged ever happened, and still to this day have never said to anyone other than myself and my psychotherapist.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Healing from trauma is hard. It takes every inch of your being some days just to get through the day. It takes every ounce of your soul not to break down and cry (which, granted, is sometimes the best thing to do). You do not owe anyone any sort of explanation for absences, for missed calls, for not responding, for not being active or engaged. Those who love you, and understand even a small fraction of what you have been through, will understand your bad days.
I have struggled with some major writer’s block for about a month now. I’ve struggled to figure out how to express my problems, and express my healing process. While 90% of the days have been good, I still struggle sometimes. If you’re still struggling, or you hit a roadblock, or a plateau in your mental, emotional or even physical healing, just remember this: It’s Okay. You owe it to yourself to be kind to yourself during these times.
Sometimes the best things you can do for yourself is to go to one of your favourite spots, with some of your favourite people, and just forget about your problems, even for a little bit.
I’ve hit a road block. I will admit that. I will acknowledge the fact that I haven’t been as active physically, I haven’t been as active with my blog, or my social media accounts. Do I need to apologize for that? No. Do I need to offer an explanation for my absence? Absolutely not. But I felt I needed to explain so that you, my dear readers, whoever you may be, if you’re out there, didn’t think that even though things are better, that life is perfect.
Let’s be real. Life is messy sometimes. Life is hard sometimes. Those are facts even without adding in a global pandemic, while trying to remember to bring a mask with you every where you go.
I’m grateful for this outlet, and I am grateful for those of you supporting me on this journey, while I try to help those who have been in hard places, and need reassurance that life is going to be okay. Just keep going.
In the words of Good Charlotte (totally aging myself here): Hold on if you feel like letting go / Hold on it gets better than you know / Don’t stop looking, you’re one step closer / Don’t stop searching, its not over / Hold On
Yup. You’re welcome for that.
At the beginning of this post, I admitted to still sometimes falling into old habits of ignoring problems without dealing with them. I acknowledged that there were some parts of my traumatic history that will never be told to those closest to me, simply because I couldn’t stand to see their reactions to what I have been through.
One thing that I learned: its better to acknowledge and let it be, versus letting it go.
Here’s what I mean:
A dear friend of mine recently sent me a video (pretty sure it was a TikTok, yes I am that old millennial who joined TikTok at the beginning of quarantine lockdown, and refuse to apologize for it). In this video the person was talking about the when dealing with trauma, or life events, it is better to “Let it Be” rather than just “let them go”. It was such an interesting concept; one that I had never really given much thought too. But it struck a chord with me and it became a new way of thinking for me.
When we experience sad, traumatic, hurtful, or anything generally awful, nine times out of ten, we will generalize play it down and say “whatever, it doesn’t bother me, I just need to let it go.” What the person in the video was talking about though, was that its better to let those things “be” instead of letting them “go”.
Let me break it down for you.
Let it go. When we let things go, we are basically saying “whatever” to the things that happened. Letting it go, is your brain not allowing yourself to acknowledge what has happened. It’s not allowing your brain to process. It’s shoving it under the rug or throwing it into the pressure cooker for another day. It’s choosing to ignore the situation rather than deal with it.
Let it be. When we let things be, it is allowing our brain to acknowledge what is happening. It’s allowing us to say “I see what’s happening, I see how this is effecting me, and I am just going to let it be.” We’re allowing ourselves to embrace what is happening. If we let things be, we are choosing to let these things be a part of us, rather than ignoring it.
At the end of the day, what we have been through, what we have experienced is forever a part of us. It shapes us into who we are. It changes us (hopefully for the better).
There have been so many things I have experienced in my short (yet feels like forever) 32 years. I have seen, experienced and been through some things that people well into the later years of their lives, could never even imagine. A large portion of those closest to me have never experienced these things. This is what caused me to stay stuck in trauma responses, this is what caused me to feel so alone and so hurt for so long. I was constantly longing for someone to show up and be like “I’ve been in your shoes, I know it hurts, but it will get better’. I wanted someone to do the work for me. I wanted to just let all of this shit go, and move on with my life as though it never happened.
Conceal, Don’t Feel. Put on a show, make one wrong move and everyone will know.
Those who know me well, know that my life is Disney (I promise this tangent does have a point). I have spent my life surrounded by Disney. My parents took us there as our annual holiday, we saw and owned every single Disney movie on VHS (again, I am aging myself). I’m actually surprised that my sister and I did not destroy the VHS of The Lion King, because it was our favourite movie, that we watched every chance we got.
What was my point?
This movie changed my life. But not right away. After dealing with trauma, after divorcing my husband, after beginning my healing process... it changed my life. I always joked that I was kind of ditzy like Anna.
Which I mean really... Aside from the red hair, 👆🏻 this chick is me.
But what I realized while on my path of healing, was that I was actually more like Elsa. Conceal. Don’t Feel. Don’t Let it Show. Just “let it go” was what I was trying to do with all of the horrible experiences I’ve been through. In reality? Letting things go, doesn’t solve anything. In my brain, it was me trying to tell myself that none of what I had been through was important, and none of what I have been through should affect me or change me, or be a big deal.
But here’s the thing: it is a big deal. It did have a major impact on my life. It did change me. And, I would expect that any of you reading, that have been through major life changing events, would agree. They change you.
Going back to Frozen. I spent a lot of time in quarantine watching Frozen, followed by Frozen 2. Also followed by the Making of Frozen 2 on Disney+ (if you haven’t watched it, do iittttt).
I felt that I clicked with Elsa. She’s kind of a loner. She’s been through some shit, and she denied who she truly was, and denied that she had this incredible power. But then she embraced it. She appreciated who she was, and took on life to find answers.
That’s how I am choosing to see my trauma, and my anxiety. They aren’t burdens. They aren’t something to hide from. They aren’t something to carry around like a weight around your neck. Embrace your power. Embrace your differences.
When I finally allowed myself to embrace my past, let it be, and acknowledge who it has made me today, it made me feel alive. It made me realize my calling.
I was put on this earth, to help. I was put here to spread to my message (as lame as it can be sometimes, I mean really... I just related myself to a cartoon character).
We can sit here and wallow in our bad times, sit here and throw ourselves a pity-party about all the bad things that have happened to us. OR! We could embrace it. Acknowledge it. Let it be. Let it be a part of us, and use it to grow, to learn, and to help those who have been where we used to be. We can take the lemons that life gave us, and use them to make the most delicious and best lemonade we’ve ever had.
Don’t forget to subscribe below, and follow my instagram page (@life.into.lemonade) so that you don’t miss any future posts. I promise to post more frequently now.
Until next time my dear lemons.