As a trauma survivor, and as a person, I’ve learned through trial and error that I have to take care. When entering situations, or contemplating whether to remain in certain situations, relationships, or places, I have to decide what will be best for my emotional state. In many ways, I have to consider this more than other people do. My triggers can be unpredictable, unfortunately, so it is often a fluid thing. One day something may work for me, and the next it may be a disaster.
I look back over my past year and have found it to be a great experiment in learning how to take care of my Self. If I wanted to remain a victim forever, I would continue to hang onto the mindset that as a trauma survivor, others should take care of me. Instead, I’ve decided to grow up, to go past victim to become victor.
And this has come very much to the forefront of my life in the past week. Since August, I had been living in North Carolina on National Student Exchange. As a college student at certain universities in the US, you can exchange to another university in the US or outlying islands, while continuing to pay in-state tuition. This is what I embarked upon in August and I intended to spend the full school year in North Carolina, on the beach. I’d been planning it since January, as a move to take care of my Self. I felt I needed to be at the beach, I felt I needed to relax after going through a trauma, getting married, then subsequently getting divorced at the end of 2011. Having all of that happen within 4 years had taken its toll so I decided going to the NC beach was just the thing to help me relax, let go, not take things so seriously, learn to have fun again.
After a semester in NC, I decided to return to Colorado. This was really uncharacteristic of me, because if I plan something, I follow through with a vengeance and often, to my own detriment. In moving back to Colorado, I savagely claimed victory for myself and declared myself victor and hero of my own life.
You see, North Carolina was not all I had dreamed it would be. It was a rough, rugged semester. My roommates were chosen for me and were a complete disaster, with one incident of vandalism of my personal property. Because of my trauma history, the vandalism left me feeling terrified, invaded, and like an enemy in what should have been my home. On top of that, I had massive financial stress, more than I expected, and I was having to build a new friend base.
So, when I found myself dreading staying another semester, I did the most impulsive and ridiculous thing I’ve ever done in my life. I arrived back in North Carolina from Christmas break and within 24 hours, drove back home across the country.
And in my head I’m singing, “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIENDS!!!!!”
I feel valiant, because I learned the lesson. I am worth taking care of. I need taking care of. And I am certainly the one to do that. I can do what needs to be done for myself. And doing what needs to be done for myself means that I can take the easier road. I do not have to force myself to bear up under circumstances that could push me to breaking. No, I can simply breathe and the door will open.
I re-read that last sentence with tears in my eyes because it is fulfillment. I wrote myself a mystical poem (Rumi style) a couple of months ago. And now I realize that this poem is exactly what it means for me to take care. It is just that easy, and that’s how it’s meant to be. I don’t mean “easy” as avoiding pain; instead, I mean “easy” as an inner experience of letting go of attachment and letting God/The Universe/A Higher Power/Your Higher Self guide you into what is meant to be yours. It really is just as my poem describes:
You are not incarcerated by fear.
The key is in the space
between you and the door.
There is no distance between you and freedom.