A Letter About Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse (repost)

“Because then I knew it was over.”

Dear Survivor,

That’s what most strive to feel about the lingering effects of childhood abuse, although not about the actual events. Those are long gone, and often dissociated from awareness.

Rather, most want to end sleepless nights and startled awakenings; feeling as if they live in a parallel universe, outside the world inhabited by ‘normal’ people who lack histories of abuse; intrusive images, feelings, sounds, and smells; the desire to drink, smoke, toke, shoot up, sex to oblivion; the avoidance of intimacy because of a seemingly endless reserve of anxiety simmering below a brittle surface of civility; or fighting because the rage never seems to dissipate and you just want to push back, because the planet is not big enough to hold all your hurt, let alone the emotional needs of another person.

At the first inkling of the wish to heal, some try to barter with themselves as a way out of this paradoxical life of repetitive chaos. This often starts with a naïvely made promise with oneself to be good. This promise usually starts with the belief that by being good and trying really hard, one day life will finally, if not miraculously, turn out differently. This is not an easy promise to let go of; even when it’s obvious you are failing miserably at keeping it.

Even so, there will still be a part of you that keeps the promise. Why? Often because of the secretly held wish that if you finally get it ‘right’ the love that wasn’t there will materialize, or your savior will come and magically change everything (releasing you from both effort and responsibility), or the opportunity for revenge will become available, and there you have it: the transformative moment you have waited for has arrived.

This I can tell you is a colossal waste of time and the imagination. Even if the perfect love, the ideal savior, or the opportunity for the most humiliating payback becomes available, you will never become who you might have been had the abuse never happened, or get the time back that you have wasted waiting for your personal Godot.

You might think I am giving you that old song and dance about picking your ass up off the curb, brushing off the dust of trauma, stomping its dirt from your shoes, and manning up to life’s inevitable trials and tribulations. Not at all. Rather, I think childhood abuse is so life-threatening that it might as well be the antimatter to thriving and creativity, and vitality’s dark matter. But because I know what it takes to heal — mainly courage, love, and lots of time — I’d rather not see you waste yours.

I grew up in Texas, in the middle of the Bible belt. My early mind stewed in New Testament ideology. It was impressed upon me, with great fear I might add, to avoid sin at all costs. As children in an Episcopalian Day School, we learned to hold our breath when we did something wrong, to look around and make sure no one was watching, to produce the image of being good for the fear of reprisal, sanctions, and shaming. If your childhood was anything like mine, it’s no wonder that for many of us the effects of childhood abuse linger in our psyches like a bad case of Candida, and only the strictest diet of goodness gives hope of salvation. But the truth is: it wasn’t your fault, and no matter how good you were or become, it still would have happened. Start loving yourself now.

Sometimes it helps to acknowledge there are a few ghosts hovering about that interfere with overcoming the impact that child abuse has had on your life. Who are these ghosts? The person who hurt you. The one who didn’t love you. The savior who didn’t come. The bully you are still afraid of. We all fight battles in our heads that our bodies never could defend against. Some of these battles are our own, others we’ve inherited from our parents and our ancestors. Sometimes simply through the act of belonging to a group we inherit ghosts. Humans are pack animals. Our psyches are permeable and inseparable. Sorting out was is yours and what is theirs is a big part of the process.

You know trauma by what it does to you. And there is an entire story I can tell you (and often do tell) about how the body responds to fear, how the amygdala gets activated, how the frontal lobes shut down, and a lot of other stuff gets tripped off, which is all true and matters if you want to get your life back on track.

But what often lingers long after the traumatic stress dissipates, or becomes manageable, is the confrontation with good and evil that child abuse initiates. What do you do with the reality that people can be so damn mean and thoughtless, selfish and cruel? What do you do with the reality that as a result of being abused you too have acted in ways for which you are not so proud, and sometimes deeply ashamed? For it really isn’t until we can hold our own humanity in its widest sense, and acknowledge the potential for good and evil in all of us, do the effects of child abuse fully relinquish their hold. And when you can fully accept this realization, then you are also able to give yourself the unconditional love that is your birthright and you will know that, whatever happened, you managed to keep your soul.

© 2014 Laura K Kerr, PhD. All rights reserved (applies to writing and photography).

And If I could write about his soul it would take me to the moon

It is sprinkling like wafts of air
It touches my nose
Covered in butterflies
My head
Your Toes

I am a butterfly

What is the clutter on the ground
Dripping water like dew on trees
A song for the blackest bird

Imagining the clouds in air
They hover delicately
Drinking raindrops from me

I lie underneath the tree listening
To the sound of raindrops falling on my skin

Leaves in the night, they glare beneath the moon
My moon, a syncopated code I long to know, which stays with me even when I sleep, I dream to know

The meaning of what I need to know, each dull flap of my butterflies wings

Body in mind
Earth in soul
Falling in the rainstorm

A cold mountain

When you make art as a way to sacrifice your soul to the sun

Screen Shot 2017-12-24 at 1.48.55 PM

 

How do I make my spirit go?
The taste of unrelinquished things
Dim my unsettled heart
Like light seeping through the trees
You are my art
This must be a dream world
One where I am dead
You’re in my head
You’re in my head
A friend can’t see the things I’ve seen
How do I make my spirit go?
Solitude is my tortured friend
How do I make my spirit go?
How do I lay my dreams to rest?
In the summer your heart is thick as gold
Nail this body down, don’t let me go
Paint me a sunrise
How do I make my spirit go?
A world without you is so cold
The tiniest sense of peace slipped through my fingers
Light on a tree refracted back to me
I never should have pulled the trigger

 

She Waits Patiently Through The Storm for a Life She Deserves in Her Heart

When God isn’t There.

Sometimes there is that one thing in your life that you need to heal.

It will come and rock your world and show you why everything up until this point has been the way that it is.

Sometimes that thing can be horrifying.

Sometimes that thing will break you into a million little pieces

Those pieces will be the jewels that will eventually put you back together

stronger

more whole

more complete

Sometimes waiting patiently through the storm will bring us the life we’ve always deserved

Because after the storm you’ll understand things differently

You’ll understand compassion

You’ll understand grace

You’ll be brave

You’ll be strong

You’ll understand a truth that only the cracked can see

 

The Wind and Leaves – We Wake Up As Angels But Fall Asleep As Demons

Man must see that nothing really is, but that everything is always becoming and changing. Nothing stands still. Everything is being born, growing and dying. The very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline. The law of rhythm is in constant operation. There is no reality. There is no enduring quality, fixity or substantiality of anything. Nothing is permanent but change. Man must see all things evolving from other things and re-solving him to other things, a constant action or reaction, inflow or outflow, building up or tearing down, creation or destruction, birth and growth and death. Nothing is real, and nothing endures but change.

The Kabala

 

The purpose of Buddhist chanting is to remind us of the sacrifice the Buddha made for his people in order to achieve nobility or enlightenment. Every Sunday, I bow to the Buddha in reverence for disciplines he has shared with me and others all over the world. Buddhist chanting also helps us become more connected to ourselves. During chanting and taking refuge within the Buddha, we’re able to see that all living things are constant. That aging is inevitable. That you’re accountable for your own actions. That you’re all things in this universe and you give thanks for creation and life. That hurting and killing is wrong and you love and cherish all of creation. The Buddha teaches us how you might lose yourself to find yourself. You’ve got to lose your mind to find your mind.

 

We Wake Up As Angels and Fall Asleep As Demons

 

A Buddhist monk once said,

 

“We wake up as angels, and fall asleep as demons.”

 

This is because of our wanting… The monk calls us demons because of our desire for ultimate security. Struggling with the desire to acquire more is probably one of my biggest vices. We’re constantly collecting things – people with influence, clothes, cars and more. We learn this behavior from other adults who are too addicted to security and affluence. Money has become more than just a tool we use in order to survive. Living beyond our means has become a lifestyle choice and it is a choice I readily and eagerly play into by defect. According to Buddhist philosophy, money is nice but it is not necessary for a fruitful life. I think this is the greatest teaching I can learn.

 

Because the truth is, the more we have the more we want more. And when is enough, enough? When do we stop honoring ourselves in order to achieve security?

 

But it doesn’t even end with the wanting of security. We’re constantly seeking different highs. We don’t want to feel our suffering because we’re used to numbing our own pain.

 

In every moment we have the potential to choose ourselves for a greater good. But do we really choose ourselves, our highest self? Within the thousands of possibilities, there is essentially only one that is union with you and your highest self – or god. Buddhist believe that this choice is only possible through getting rid of all superficial feelings and possibilities of being and thinking without contemplation about executing all things that hinder you from your highest potential. That’s a mouth full to swallow. The truth is, I am just a seeker of enlightenment, and I hardly, truly live by any of these principles. But I work on myself every day to be a better person.

 

That is why I become aware

 

In order to be able to be closer to your highest self and god, you must become aware of your thoughts, actions and presence. To be aware –

 

To be aware of beauty

To be aware of life

To be aware of growth

To be aware of pain

To be aware of people

To be aware of flowers

To be aware of trees

 

To become aware of our personal desires and how they shape our perceptions and actions. Becoming aware allows you to open your mind to experience, think and feel! Begin to experience the world and don’t be ashamed of it and accomplishing your dreams. That is the beginning of accepting the Buddha into your life.

 

That is the beginning of becoming conscious of our wanting.

The is the beginning of realizing you’re a conscious, evolving, growing human being.

When Space for Existence Becomes the Only In-between in The After Life

 

The movement of water

like ice in my bones

lies beneath the lid of your eyes

stagnant water

melts the pines

needles coarse

he says, “we don’t have time”

he says, “why can’t it be simple”

I’m complicated

like a bird

I float like water

stagnant in breath

moving in motion

matter

Ravens are birds, blind in soul

they fly over me

above me

below me

watchful

I’m a bird

A rabbit

A swollen chord

directions to no where

I’m a bird

you’re a raven

I fly

that’s the only reason why

 

100 lessons learned in two years

Hello,

I am writing this letter to you because I want you to know the lessons you shared with me. And the unconditional love, appreciation, and respect I have for you as a human. The last two years of my life were not a mistake. They were the years I grew and evolved the most.

  1. You taught me about resilience
  2. You taught me the weight of my words
  3. You taught me about respect for men
  4. You taught me about control
  5. You taught me about respecting an individual’s boundaries
  6. You taught me about the ins and outs of green tea
  7. You taught me to follow my dreams
  8. You taught me strength and perseverance
  9. You taught me dedication for the things I loved
  10. You taught me creative expression
  11. You taught me vulnerability in the face of adversity
  12. You taught me yoga
  13. You taught me meditation
  14. You taught me to never raise my voice
  15. You taught me to seek help
  16. You taught me patience
  17. You taught me to overcome
  18. You taught me to dance
  19. You taught me to sing
  20. You taught me to listen to the music
  21. You taught me about Phish
  22. You taught me about Alcest
  23. You taught me black metal
  24. You taught me the lessons of waiting
  25. You taught me the lessons of hearing
  26. You taught me the lessons of speaking
  27. You taught me to the lessons of commitment
  28. You taught me to never cuss
  29. You taught me to never yell
  30. You taught me to hold my tears longer
  31. You taught me to face my fears
  32. You taught me to laugh
  33. You taught me to search and to look at my issues
  34. You taught me to face my fears
  35. You taught me to climb mountains
  36. You taught me to love greater
  37. You taught me to tell the truth with love
  38. You taught me to stop fearing men
  39. You taught me to see innocence
  40. You taught me to forgive
  41. You taught me to believe in myself
  42. You taught me to listen – I hear you
  43. You taught me to communicate
  44. You taught me music – you showed me music
  45. You taught me what it means to stick with someone
  46. You taught me what real friendship looks like
  47. You taught me empathy
  48. You taught me compassion
  49. You taught me to understand others greater and with more compassion
  50. You forced me to love myself
  51. You taught me that greatness is easy
  52. You taught me that fighting for what you believed in is noble
  53. You taught me that strength is internal
  54. You taught me that words are daggers
  55. You taught me that your intentions were pure
  56. You taught me that men don’t want to hurt me
  57. You taught me culture
  58. You showed me science
  59. You showed me compassion
  60. You taught me that I had to become my own teacher
  61. You taught me that no one is inherently evil
  62. You taught me the kind of man I want
  63. You taught me what it means to stare someone in the eyes and know their soul
  64. You taught me that lessons come and go
  65. You taught me to let go
  66. You taught me to move forward
  67. You taught me to respect others
  68. You taught me table manners
  69. You taught me the importance of trust
  70. You taught me the importance of communication
  71. You taught me playing mind games is wrong
  72. You taught me controlling others is wrong
  73. You taught me supporting others is essential
  74. You taught me loving your partner through everything is essential
  75. You taught me that resentment is real and damaging
  76. You taught me impulsivity and anxiety are the antithesis of commitment
  77. You taught me that my education is primary
  78. You taught me about silence
  79. You taught me togetherness in separation
  80. You taught me to NEVER take for granted someone who gets you
  81. You taught me to dig deeper than I ever dug
  82. You taught me to lift weights and exercise
  83. You taught me my desire for peace
  84. You taught me that I never want to fight with another person again
  85. You taught me fighting is painful and horrible
  86. You taught me talking can help you
  87. You taught me I didn’t have to protect myself
  88. You taught me the difference between a flashback and reality
  89. You taught me to walk away when it is time
  90. You taught me to fight no matter how painful because you know that there is something beautiful
  91. You taught me that love takes work
  92. You taught me to go slow
  93. I learned my life passion
  94. You taught me to pursue art
  95. You taught me to create more and more and more
  96. You taught me to keep my word
  97. You taught me to never threaten a man
  98. You taught me jealousy is worthless
  99. You taught me insecurity will ruin your life
  100. You taught me to travel

 

When you feel love, act on it. Speak your heart. Be truthful. Remain open.

When you feel love, act on it. Speak your heart. Be truthful. Remain open.

 

The spiritual relationship

 

The spiritual relationship can give space for others to grow

The spiritual relationship does not seek to cling

The spiritual relationship love through infinity, time and space

The spiritual relationship is always grateful, always happy for others successes

The spiritual relationship is two children who grow up side by side

The spiritual relationship does not expect or complain

The spiritual relationship can cause deep pain and suffering

The spiritual relationship is a mirror of our darkness

The spiritual relationship seeks to heal

The spiritual relationship will challenge you and make you grow

 

We cannot identify with others until we have identified wholly with ourselves. The soul knows no bounds to the infinity of the nature of our own internal beauty. Love is intelligent and aware; it knows you better than you can seek to know yourself.

 

The Path to Love – Deepak Chopra

 

Proving loves existence is as simple as believing in the power of grace. Unifying our spirit with love will bring joy and peace beyond our wildest dreams. Giving up on our personal sagas and relinquishing fear for the potential of love is what everyone deserves.

 

Love is meant to heal

Love is meant to renew

Love is meant to make us safe

Love is meant to inspire us with its power

Love is meant to make us certain, without doubt

Love is meant to oust all fear

Love is meant to unveil immortality

Love is meant to bring peace

Love is meant to harmonize differences

Love is meant to bring us closer to God

 

This is my path to love:

 

I want to heal my past sorrows and emerge like a butterfly afraid of the betrayal and torture that was acted on me. I want to walk in the streets and feel bliss without the worry of a man attacking me in cold blood. I want to heal all past love. I want to renew my love for myself and the person I am meant to spend the rest of my life with. I want to renew my passion for the world. I want to feel safe with other men. I want to believe that men are meant to be creatures united with women. I want my love to be powerful, true, strong and real. I want to fall in love with someone who sees my true beauty. Someone who truly believes in me. This person guides me and ushers me in like a ray of light. Whenever we’re together he makes me laugh. He allows me to be my complete and total self. He is centered in Christ and faith. I want to adventure the world with someone who will drop everything and just adventure and explore with me. Who will do anything to try new things with me. A man who respects me and values my worth. Someone who will take on the world with me in full-force. Who isn’t afraid. Who is strong in his convictions, real and true to his word. A man who believes in change and growth and will climb any mountain with me. He believes in creating beautiful art and music. He can see beyond himself in any given situation and practices gratitude and peace. I want to feel love at all times.

 

I pray for love. I pray for self-love. I pray for hope. I pray for life.