100 Days of Healing – Day 30

I’ve been pushing against the walls of the past that confine me, and I’m disappointed, scared and angry that they exist. It’s like I’m struggling to get out of a cocoon or a restrictive jacket, and I haven’t managed to tear my way out yet.

Apparently, this is called Day/Act/Part 2. It’s the middle.

I’m thankful that Brené Brown went first and did the research and self-application that have given me a path to healing. I’m listening to Rising Strong now, and the timing is good. God-thing good. She describes a curriculum in which participants go through an intensive three-day learning process. Day Two – the middle, the part about vulnerability and blame and shame – sucks.  And you can’t skip Day Two.

She connects this to the Hero story. Act two is the part in which the Hero tries every easy way around the problem, only to climax at the realization and engagement with the hard truth that there is only way through. Act Two sucks for the Hero. Act Two sucks for us. I am in Act Two, and it sucks. But I can’t skip it. I can’t ignore or skip or evade the discomfort, the struggle and the frustrating constriction, and I’ve come too far to turn back.

But hey, at least I have a name for it and I’m not the only one.

100 Days of Healing – Day 19

I hurt everywhere. My muscles, my joints, the fibers in between that I don’t know enough to name… it all hurts.

I know that the body stores trauma in connective tissue. I had body work done shortly before I started therapy. It was nearly unbearably painful, and I cried for the first few sessions. Nearly three years later (ok wow it’s been a minute) I’m thinking I need to have that done again. After processing so much trauma, I’m feeling like it’s trapped in my body and needs to be released. Even an injured finger joint that doesn’t normally hurt feels swollen and hurts. And I feel like I’ve reached max fat – I feel so puffy and tense and painful that I almost don’t recognize myself.

It’s discouraging to experience this after I’ve been working so hard, but maybe it’s necessary?

100 Days of Healing – Day 8

I spent the entire Summer Solstice inside, and most of it in a dimly lit room. I’m grateful that I have so much room for improvement. Yoga was not helpful yesterday, it was activating. So I stopped.

I started listening to Brené Brown’s book The Power of Authenticity yesterday. She’s a shame researcher and a delightfully authentic human. In her work she’s found that we experience shame the same way we experience trauma, and I want to heal from shame as much as I want to heal from trauma. I’m starting to understand why they often go hand in hand.

I wanted to do a yoga session and thought that would be within my bandwidth today. 11 minutes in, I realized I was getting activated on my way to a trigger, I was hot and sweaty but not in an “I’m exercising” way, I wasn’t enjoying it and was actually starting to be rather miserable.

I wanted to push through, because yoga is supposed to be a good thing, it isn’t supposed to be activating, it’s supposed to help me connect to my body, I didn’t want to be a quitter, it wasn’t even a hard practice…also I am too fat to get into some of the poses, I can’t believe I can’t do this right now, I’ll never be able to get my life on track…

Ah. The shame gremlins she talked about. The thoughts that make me = bad and wrong and not good enough.

I stopped the session. Yoga wasn’t right for me yesterday. Maybe because I was in the process of learning about shame and realizing how much shame I feel about my body. Maybe because I needed more rest (I hiked for two hours the day before). Maybe because I needed to experience recognizing what is good for me and what is not good for me and acting on that for myself, not because someone else said that was the way to do it.

Wear the Bikini

“Body be bangin'” is not a phrase I’d use to describe myself. The trauma weight gain, the lack of exercise, the uneven tan lines that are definitely not from trying to tan, the cellulite, the glow in the dark pale of some of me…I’m not bikini ready.

My therapist’s blunt but change-provoking comment a few weeks ago that I don’t love myself has now manifested in me changing my attitude about that bikini. I date a guy who loves the water, and summer is here, therefore we need to be in the water. He enjoys the water so much that he can’t keep it to himself, I need to enjoy it too, not sit on a rock on the side of the river or the side of the pool or on the boat dock – or anywhere that lets me stay in the relative safety and comfort of a cover up.

I haven’t bought a new swimsuit in…maybe 7 years? So mine is losing its elasticity, I realized, even though the material has held its color, and it was and still looks like an expensive, cute bikini. The stretching has kept up with my stretching, so it still fits somehow and it will work fine until I can find another one.

Side note: to fit my boobs in swimwear, it’s a trip to a high end retailer or two or ten, and I don’t trust shopping online. And while a lot of stores are carrying styles and sizes that are much improved for curvier women, it is hard enough to find a bra, much less a swimsuit, that will work for my body, so finding a new one is (was?) way low on my list of priorities until the one I have comes to pieces.

So here I am not confident in my body, knowing I’ll spend the summer around people who are much more cute and slender and fit than I, being expected to join in the water-based fun and do so in swimwear. And I’m facing this right as I’m informed that I don’t love myself.

I did one of the bravest things I’ve done in a long time. I said to hell with it, I’m not going to feel bad about myself, I’m going to enjoy the opportunity to get outside and have fun with people I like hanging out with and I’m going to let my boyfriend push me out of my comfort zone, which he also seems to really like doing. So I dropped the cover up on the table by the pool last week and on the table on the boat dock yesterday, and stood there like I had every reason in the world to feel good about myself. And I did feel good about myself, for the first time since probably the first year I owned that bikini. And I feel better about myself today, having done that.