Reflection on Growth.

12 years ago this week I was assaulted. It was an incident that shook me and shaped me to do what I do.

Post trauma I threw myself into work and faith. My life became isolated from nurturing relationships between family and friends. I spent more time with strangers on their own journeys rather than pay attention to my own journey. If asked to pray, or to sing, or to speak, I would do so. These actions were my outlet. Fulfilling a purpose, that gap, or need in my life that the isolation created. Yet they were somewhat empty as I didn’t deal with my own trauma.

Within a few years, my friends had dwindled down, since I didn’t trust many people outside of family. The incidence of my assault, my friends were blinded by a manipulative individual who took advantage of their kindness, and in my case, unknowingly put me in harms way.

I never considered myself depressed, but I also wasn’t happy. I was stuck somewhere in the in between where I knew what my talents were, but there was a loneliness that created a dark space within me. I didn’t know how to minimize that dark space, but I knew how to keep it at bay, not to grow and take over my mind and heart.

Around this time, I remember attending the death of a young man who on his death bed wished for a name. Together with local elders a name was given to him before he passed on. I remember thinking that my life was becoming a routine of prayer, death, ceremony, beauty of ceremony. This young man had no regrets. This confrontation with my reality was a hard one. Within a 12 month time frame, we had lost 7 members of our community that were homeless, tragically. In that time, I was to go and work with prisoners who requested spiritual guidance. My not dealing with my own baggage had started to weigh me down. How can I help people through their own grief, nurture growth in others when I have not dealt with my own? My reality needed a lesson, space for growth.

It was slow starting, but I reached out to my family, blood and adopted for healing. I didn’t tell of all my pain, but just being in the presence of people who cared, allowed for the space for my own healing to begin.

Post traumatic growth. Few people who experience a traumatic experience start to become stronger, happier people. Even with the pain of the trauma, the suffering is manageable.

My sisters and mentors were fundamental in my healing. Rocks who nurtured the me they thought I could be. Being a part of their lives I had a new sense of purpose in life. Community, family, the value that we all do better when we all do better. That I’m not alone.

Most of my healing has happened through conversations. The space created by family and friends who have helped me make meaning of my experiences and to feel emotions. Show me someone who feels their lives and I’ll show you what strength is.

It has been 12 years and a lot of growth has taken place. I am closer to family. It takes me a while to nurture friendships, but the friends I have, I can’t imagine not having in my life. I understand myself better and express a grateful heart every day that I am surrounded by the people who have helped to minimize that darkness that kept me at bay.

I am so thankful. If I were to never open up and reach out, there would be so much knowledge I would not use. There are whole other ways of thinking that have added to the richness of my life.

When I needed you most, you showed me who you really are. I am grateful.

I’m excited to continue on this journey, meet people, have new experiences and understand my own happiness.

I am better because of people who believed in me. Whether it was a moment or more, when someone believes in you ~ it means the world. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for accepting my kind of weird.

Make peace with yourself and share it with the world. ~

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