Healing Trauma with Yoga – via happiness.org

My article on healing trauma through yoga. ❤

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According to the Yoga Journal, there are 38 health benefits to having a daily yoga practice. They range from physical body health, like flexibility, draining lymph nodes, increasing circulation, lowering blood pressure, to the mental aspects of better focus, finding your calm place, and the Yoga Journal isn’t alone in their claims. Places like the American Osteopathic Association and Psychology Today share their views on yoga in relation to physical and mental health. Read more here

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Happy Surprises

christopher-sardegna-1735This has been a rough week. I had intense oral surgery that left a gaping hole in my sinus cavity (okay, it’s probably quite small, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way) and it’s taking twice as long to heal because of the complexity. So I’ve been on painkillers and antibiotics and been trying to rest as per the surgeon’s instructions, and that’s been hard. I have a lot to do right now and don’t have time for this level of slow healing. Yet it’s what’s necessary. So I’m dealing, but it’s frustrating.

I also had an interesting time in therapy yesterday. It seems I’ve had a habit of attaching myself to people with high anxiety in the past and it’s been a huge problem. I (as well as my therapist) have seen this habit shift in these last couple of years and when someone has high anxiety combined with some other personality disorder or issue, I’m recognizing it faster and quickly making my exit. But unfolding why I’ve allowed these people into my life to begin with wasn’t an easy thing to talk about.

As I said above, it’s been a rough week.

Then a box of chocolates arrived in my mailbox filled with my two favorite flavors. I didn’t know these were coming. They were a surprise and completely brightened my day.

I also got to watch magic happening for a young couple today. That was amazing. I’m seeing this level of self-awareness amongst young people that is so refreshing. They get who they are. They’re willing to fight to be who they are. They aren’t full of the sexual shaming that so many adults I know are. It’s wonderful to see. I have hope for the youth.

I’ve also been watching the Prison Break series while I’m resting and as I was watching, I began to see something happening in the series. The main character—Michael—starts off on this small journey. His plan is to break his innocent brother out of jail before he’s put to death. He succeeds, but in doing so, opens a whole can of worms he didn’t know was there.

I’ve just started season four (yes, I speed watch) and he’s no longer the man that simply broke his brother out of prison. He’s gained knowledge running from very bad people. He’s learned new skills. He’s learned to fight in different ways. He knows now that ALL is possible, that he can achieve what others deem impossible. And it reminded me of my journey.

I didn’t want to be an expert on sexual topics. I didn’t want to have to be an expert on consent. I wanted to be the fun, young adult sci-fi writer… But here I am, putting everything in my life into this vast collection of information on sexuality, healing, trauma, consent, and so much more. What I do helps people. It matters.

But I didn’t set out to become an expert. This is where my life took me. I can and have achieved things others deemed impossible.

And this is a great place to be.

I know that while I already feel so far on my journey, there is still so much more ahead too. I will keep learning new things. I will expand my knowledge and reach. I will do so many wonderful things and they will add to all I’ve already done.

So at the end of this day full of pain and frustration, what I’m left with is that I have amazing people in my life. I’m learning to listen to doctors and actually heal properly. And I’m an expert in areas I never thought I would be. But I am.

I’m good with this.

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Know Thyself

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Today was a massively productive day. Which is bizarre considering my youngest was puking for most of it and I’ve been caring for him, and that I’ve had somewhat of an emo—though in a good way—day. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. The things I’m choosing to do regarding my physical and emotional health are hard work. So having an emotional day isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s good because it means I’m understanding things about myself, my habits, and my connections to others that I’ve not until now.

Most of what I processed today wasn’t fun, despite being necessary. Coming to understand things about ourselves can be so fucking difficult. For me it is anyway. Especially when I have firmly in my head that something is one way and I later discover that it’s really complex and multifaceted. In some cases, the opposite of what I thought.

Know thyself. This is an important thing to do. I remember watching The Matrix for the first time and having that pointed out and thinking, this is important, but I don’t know why.

Now I do.

Humans are complex. Knowing who we are seems both complicated and simple as simple can be. In some ways, I know through and through who I am. I’m confident. Sure of myself. Then there are areas where I still don’t know. And there are the areas where I think I know and find out I’ve really been in denial. Knowing who we are isn’t easy when it comes to the things we lie to ourselves about.

But lying to ourselves means two very important things:

One, it means that we will never know who we are. And if we don’t know who we are, we can’t really love ourselves. To love who we are we must first embrace who we are, free of judgment, and accept even the things about ourselves that we may not like. Lying to ourselves only creates internal conflict that cannot be resolved.

Second, it means that we won’t grow. When we lie to ourselves, then we don’t own the things about ourselves that need improvement. And this leads directly to the blame game. People that blame don’t grow. They don’t have a chance to live healthily and thrive because they’re so busy pointing the finger at someone else that they forget there are three pointing back at them.

Lying to ourselves doesn’t serve us as humans. Yet we do it all the time whether with conscious awareness and intent or not.

My day today was about getting to know myself. I suspect because I was taking care of a sick child and because I was reflecting on the dreams I had all night last night, I was more open to seeing some things that have been hard to accept. Because when I’m fully focused on caring for someone else, somehow it becomes easier to see myself clearer.

I’m not really sure why that is, but this isn’t the first time that I’ve been very intently focused on taking care of someone and suddenly, I’m able to see things I’ve been avoiding seeing.

Avoidance doesn’t help anyone.

I’m glad this has been a productive and thought-filled day. I’m glad that I’m seeing these things that are bothering me—more filling me with equal amounts of rage and sadness—because now I can find ways to work on or through them.

And the rage, while uncomfortable to feel, is really beneficial.

I’m really not sure how it is that I got so much done today even with taking care of the kiddo and feeling and thinking and processing. But maybe it’s because I’m present. These things I was feeling weren’t pulling me into the past. They are things that I’m feeling and dealing with in the now, even if they may have stemmed from the past.

I think being present allowed me to do what needing doing today, including processing all of this, while also getting other work done. Maybe this will be my new norm. It’s hard to say. All I know is that in the past, if I were to be feeling and processing all the things I did today, I’d not have gotten anything done and I’d have ended up a ball of stress unable to eat anything by the end of the day.

Instead, I’ve eaten well. I’ve even napped with the kiddo. I’ve gotten all of these things sorted in my head. AND I got a lot of writing related, org related, and school related stuff completed today.

The more I know myself and accept myself, the happier and healthier I will continue to be. I keep reaching this point where I don’t think my life can get any better—aside from winning the lotto (just sayin…)—then it goes and gets even better. And it gets better because the moment I realize I’ve not been honest with myself or that I’ve seen something about myself that I didn’t before, I fucking change it. Right there. Right in that moment. It may take me practice to maintain that change, but it’s implemented instantly. This is what letting go of my stubbornness and pride has meant for me.

More happiness and more joy.

Off to bed now as I have truly had this crazily busy productive day. But I had to get this out because this is the first time when feeling this much and processing this much hasn’t prevented me from getting the things done that needed doing. In essence, it didn’t shut me down. And that is amazing.

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My Toxic Relationship With Money

Money and I have a hate/hate relationship. Or at least we did. Money has always caused me anxiety. Spending it, having it, thinking about it, and it’s just this little piece of paper. But it’s a paper that holds so much power.

I didn’t know I had this toxic relationship with money until yesterday. I’d gone to see the surgeon and could hardly breathe at the cost. The people at the counter talked about it like it was chump change. No one else there batted an eye either. They were quoted high amounts and some were choosing to pay an extra $400 to go to sleep during their procedures, a thing in which I can’t do.

“It’s all about your comfort,” the Doc said.

But it’s not.

My comfort would be having a pleasant slumber and not needing to pay extra for it. Comfort isn’t an option for me. I don’t have the money it takes to have that option ‘added on’ to my bill.

This enraged me. I was so pissed I could hardly talk yesterday and it didn’t make sense to me. I’m getting it done. I’ll be numb. I didn’t get why the comfort factor enraged me so much aside from not being fair.

Now echoes of voices from my past are bouncing in my head spewing, “Life isn’t fair. Get over it.”

I also couldn’t afford one aspect of the procedure and someone that cares has offered to pay for it. This should have made me jump for joy. Yet it made my stomach hurt instead.

I know this person loves me. He thinks I’m worthy of a good foundation. His help will make a difference. Yet my pride…. It was getting in the way.

Or was it pride?

I told him I was angry that I couldn’t have the comfort of being asleep during the procedure. I shared that I was struggling with his offer of help, despite it being something that I really should have done. And that I wasn’t happy that his offer of help was bothering me. I wanted to feel grateful, not unhappy.

We spoke about it and as I began to unfold why all of this was bothering me, I began to see so much under the surface…

First, money was something that I saw change hands during sexual abuse. I only have two firm memories of this, but that’s two too many.

Then as I got older, I began to see people use money to punish others. Often times that has been directed at me, though it’s just as bad when it was directed at someone I love. Money was used to reward then later punish. It always came with strings attached.

I began to hate money.

While I understood in my logical brain that a gift was a gift, when the story changes and a birthday or holiday present becomes a ‘you owe me’ or a ‘you take advantage…’, guilt builds. More hatred of that little green paper builds. And as I’ve written before, guilt is horrible for me. Even when there was no need to feel guilt, I’d feel it because I couldn’t understand that people were using it to abuse me.

I thought I’d done something wrong in the ‘accepting help’ part. Not that they’d done something wrong by using a gift to later punish me.

When someone offers help now, I panic. It’s almost not worth it.

Except this time it is worth it.

The more this turned over in my head, the more it bothered me. Money seemed evil. I hated it.

I thought of all the evil committed for money. Spanning my entire life. I thought of the people I’d connected with in other countries and how they had even less than I did (which also added guilt). I thought of the times money was used to punish me. How it causes me so much illness every time I have to make a decision around it…

But I eventually came to the issue not being the money itself. Money really is just paper. Paper with power, yes, but money can’t do anything on its own.

It’s humans.

We are the ones that give the paper power. We are the ones that abuse it. We are the greedy assholes that throw others under the bus and harm and kill for more numbers in our bank accounts.

The more I began to see money as a tool and the problem being humans, I began to see that so much of my struggle with money is that I don’t want to be one of those greedy assholes. I was seeing having money as greedy. If I had money in savings it was because I wasn’t being a good person and giving it to my fellow humans in need.

The bible verse, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God,” would repeat in my head. Except having a small savings isn’t being rich…

I was thinking about money all wrong.

It’s like the instructions you’re given when you get on a plane. That you must first put on your own oxygen mask, then you can help others. If I give everything I have away, then I can’t take care of myself.

Or my family.

While I still don’t love money, I’m at least a point where I don’t hate it. I understand money is a tool. It’s not bad to have. Nor is it bad to accept money for jobs (yes, still a thing I struggle doing). And it’s not bad to accept money when I need a medical procedure done and can’t afford to do all I need to.

All my life I’ve struggled not to be like those that used money to hurt me and others, and by hating money so much, I’ve continued the abuse that others began. Which was certainly not my intent.

It’s time I stop hating a piece of paper. It’s time I stop fearing money. My hate is real but it’s not paper I loathe so much. It’s all those that use money to cause harm rather than help.

So I’m going to accept the help being offered with gratitude and appreciation. I’m going to stop this toxic relationship with money. And I’m going to keep my rage and disgust directed at the greedy humans that deserve my disdain.

One day, money and I will be friends. But it will be a tool I use to help myself and others. Not a tool I use to punish or cause harm.

Tonight, I’m breaking up with this toxic relationship and I’m entering into a new, healthier one.

And to think… all of this came out of a simple little box I could check for a mere $400 of added comfort.

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Being Healthy Means Being Honest

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A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in my therapist’s office explaining how I really needed to get to a dentist. She’d previously promised to help me find one that had knowledge on the bacteria in my mouth and she’d found a dentist! Which was fantastic. But as she was telling me, the panic set in. I’d have to schedule an appointment now. I’d have to explain everything to this dentist. AGAIN. And I hated doing any sort of explaining because each time it made me feel my trauma and then I couldn’t focus on getting the work done.

I must have looked visibly uncomfortable because she told me that she could talk to the dentist first if that was helpful. All I needed to do was sign a waiver giving her permission to legally discuss my situation, then she could.

I was shocked. I asked for the waiver right away, read it over, and signed it.

Then I set my appointment, she spoke with the dentist first, and when I arrived, everyone that needed to know my situation was prepared. Because the staff was in the know, it was much easier to talk about all of my issues, trauma, and PTSD. I wasn’t embarrassed or shutting down.

I found the communication so helpful that I asked if the dentist had a waiver as well so she could communicate on my behalf with my therapist around her treatment plan.

She said yes, and I signed that one as well.

I found the entire exchange so useful that I decided to leave the waivers open so that when I see the specialist I need to see or my regular MD, that I can put them all in touch if need be. As well as keep my therapist in the loop for all of them.

Essentially, I’ve given ALL my healthcare professionals access to one another in order for me to get the best care possible.

I think about how much better everything will be with all of them in touch, and I wonder why I never did this before. While I didn’t know my therapist could speak on my behalf or with other medical professionals about me, I did know docs could. I’ve done it before, only it was for very specific things.

The more I thought about it, the more all of it made sense. Because now, I want to be as healthy as possible. And this wasn’t always the case.

It’s taken years of therapy to get this point. Therapy and action. Therapy alone wouldn’t have been enough. I had to act. To actually face my trauma and work through it. To acknowledge what happened to me, to heal how I needed to heal, to speak my truth and use the methods that worked best for me, and it’s not been easy. But I’ve done the work and have been doing it for years.

Having done my work, I know why it’s so important for me to get all my medical professionals on board with my care plan. The bacteria in my mouth has caused me other health issue because it affects my throat and palate, which have affected my sinuses, and that constant drain on my immune system has caused issues too…

I need these people connected. Especially if I ever start disassociating again. Because I won’t remember what they tell me needs to be done if I disassociate.

I know that some of my readers might be cringing right now. I know the thought of all my healthcare professionals talking would have been a nightmare for me before I began therapy. It would have felt invasive, and threatening. Even now, I have to ask myself why that is? Why is it scary for people that can heal me to be connected and on the same page?

The only answer I can come to is that at one time I didn’t want to heal. I wanted to stay in the cycle of trauma and pain because that was all I knew. It’s what I was comfortable with. Being healthy wasn’t for someone like me…

But all of that has changed.

Submitting to D has taught me a lot about health. One of his biggest rules is to take care of myself. Which means seeing a doctor when I’m not well, or calling my therapist when I’m struggling, and giving my history to my medical professionals. The latter a thing in which I haven’t done until recently. And it’s because I haven’t always felt trust with my doctors or dentists.

Trust is a tricky thing. Submitting to D took a great amount of trust building that we both earned through honesty, integrity, and accountability. And that’s how I see healthcare too. I need to be able to trust my doc but I’ve been to doctors that don’t really care. They wanted to put a band-aid on me, to treat my symptoms but not look at the cause of my pain or ailment.

When I was complaining of this to D, he said, “These people work for you. If they aren’t intent on healing you, then you find someone that is.”

This made sense, but it wasn’t until I saw the difference between when I shared and when my therapist—as a medical professional—shared, that I understood what D meant. Because I got a completely different result.

By connecting my therapist and new dentist, they both knew I was very serious about my healing. Otherwise, I’d not have opened that door and been so vulnerable with them both. Connecting them shifted it from me going to see a therapist and a dentist separately into, my therapist and dentist are working together to make my life better…

In essence, they are working for me!

The beauty of having all my medical professionals connected is that it also offers us accountability. A thing in which I need too because there were times when I did have a good, caring doctor and I wasn’t forthcoming.

By everyone being in the know, we are all on the same page and know what needs to happen to get me as healthy as possible. Then we are all on the hook if one of us is falling short. It builds trust because of the accountability. And that trust means healing.

The healthier I’ve gotten, the less I’ve needed to keep my health issues and trauma siloed. There’s nothing to hide. No shame. No denial. Just truth and healing. It’s refreshing and freeing.

I’ve come to the understanding that when I don’t disclose everything about my health, it’s easy for me to find reasons to blame others for my lack of healing. Non-disclosure leaves room for excuses and a lack of action, and that’s not a place I choose to be.

I choose health.

Though I’m still dealing with anxiety around these appointments I’m lining up, I’m also excited. Because I know this means healing. This means less pain. It means that I value my life and want to maintain my physical health as much as my mental and emotional health.

And that is a wonderful place to be…

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God is in the Rain

Everyday my body’s response to triggering stimulus changes. I was triggered today, yet my body’s reactions were so minor compared to past triggerings. In fact, I thought I wasn’t triggered at first. My only clue was that I couldn’t obey an order from D today (okay, a couple) and that was my tipoff that I was actually triggered. But this feels so different.

My body is slightly shut down. Not completely though. And while I’m sad and feeling like I just want to sleep, I’m not running down the pathway of ‘I must now kill myself’.

I haven’t even been in that ‘must off myself’ place in a while either. I’ve been doing pretty well.

I’m still enjoying yoga. I find the combination of that and dancing very healing and good for my muscles.

I’m also finding my submission deeper than ever. I finally understand what it means to fully let go. The trust and pleasure that comes with that isn’t anything I could have ever imagined.

Even with so much goodness, though, I still hit a snag today. I thought it was one thing, then another, and while those things did bother/upset me, it was really my brain jumping to potentially meeting someone that went through the same sexual abuse I did that triggered me.

I don’t know what this person’s experience is yet, but my brain panicked when I realized we had similar enough experiences. I’m always worried about running into one of the girls that was in the attic with me. And I don’t even know why. What’s the big deal? We could maybe talk and heal… Why the panic?

But it’s because I’m talking. And it’s also humiliating to think that one of them may remember something I took part in. Like they know my dirty little secret.

Except I’d know theirs too.

So I don’t fully understand why this bothered me so much. I’ve already met others that have the same memories as I do. They went through the same training process and had the same expectations put upon them. Yet this bothered me today.

Since nothing else is really working to get through this trigger, I decided to write about it since it always seems to help.

Triggering is something that people with PTSD can’t control. I can face things that trigger me until they no longer do. I could take meds or get other types of treatment to mellow out the symptoms. I can talk and work through my triggers when they pop up and send me down a path based on reaction as opposed to action. But they will still happen.

The difference now is that I’m so used to being present and in the moment that when my body is trying to live in the past, it’s like a fight inside me. A conscious one though, and that gives me power over it.

So today, I dealt with being triggered.

Tomorrow will be better (today actually, since it’s past midnight!). I will do what needs doing. I will find joy in yoga, in being me to my fullest, in living in the moment, in my ability to be obedient to D, and all of the other things that will occupy my day. Only it will feel different because I’m in a different place in my healing.

I’m sharing this song above because right now I feel like a stranger to my body’s new responses. In the video, there are several people looking lost. Until everything slows, and the rains come, and suddenly they’re present, standing in the rain. I used to talk about what it meant to be awake but I’ve never understood it in the way I do now.

To be awake is to be just as self-aware as I am aware of what’s going on around me. It’s to live in such a present moment that all exists in harmony, even when I’m in the middle of a storm.

This isn’t easy to explain, but if you’ve ever stood in the rain—head back, eyes closed—just letting the rain hit your skin, you might understand. When you’re present, you feel every drop as it hits your skin. The impact, the damp, the cold or warm, the speed of the drops…

In the V for Vendetta film, Evey runs out into the rain and yells that God is in the rain. This line always meant so much to me, though not in a religious sense. To me, it meant freedom. It meant embracing who we are fully, letting go of fear, and being.

While I may still be slightly triggered, I will feel the raindrops on my skin, feel their lovely ability to pull me present, and I will know that I am in the now.

This new place is only a new place this first time. Next time I will understand what’s happening in my body and I will have even more tools for dealing.

That’s all I have energy for tonight. This has been a very long day and I really need to get some sleep. But I needed to get this out first because I know it will help.

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Illusions of Control – via Fetish.com

My article on Illusions of Control is on fetish.com right now. Check it out!

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When in a D/s relationship, who is really in control? Some will say the Dom/Domme, while others insist it’s actually the submissive. I feel both are in control but in different ways…and both are powerful in different ways.

Read more at fetish.com… (Please excuse the wonky formatting, we’re working to fix the missing text for the trauma link!)

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