Last night I had an art therapy session scheduled for 6. I got to Dallas about 5, so I sat at the biggest Half-Price Books in the world and read until 5:45, and then wended my way to J.’s office. When I arrived, she was still in session with another client and was running late. So I sat down and opened up Chakras and Their Archetypes by Ambika Wauters. I’ve been reading on this off and on since Saturday. After a moment or two yesterday afternoon, I arrived at this exercise:
Recall an experience in your life where you felt like a Victim. This would be a time when something happened to you which was out of your control and left you feeling hurt or unsure of yourself.
When I was 13, maybe 14, a grown neighbor up the street molested me. Some of the specifics around the incident are blurry–I don’t remember his name. I seem to recall that he and his wife had grown children who no longer lived at home. But I know that they always welcomed all the kids in the neighborhood at their house. They let us play pool on their pool table, served sodas and snacks, and were just really fun to hang around. One day I was there with some of my friends. His wife wasn’t there, so it was just him. My friends left, and I was about to leave but he wanted to talk some more, so I stayed. He molested me that day. I left his house feeling filthy, dirty, terrified of him. It reaffirmed my feelings that I was a bad person. I never dared talk about it in direct terms. I tried telling my friends that he wasn’t a very nice person after all, and I never went there again. I don’t know if any of them believed me, and I hope he never did that to anyone else.
The first time I ever spoke of it again was earlier this year when we did a cleansing ceremony at Jehara’s flat. I wrote a letter to everyone who sexually used me, and as I was writing that letter decided it was time to address him as well. I still remember how I felt reading that aloud, how angry I was–not just that he had harmed me, but that I had let him continue harming me by keeping the incident bottled up inside and allowing myself to feel guilt and shame over something that wasn’t my fault.
What are your feelings about this situation now? Are you angry, enraged, sad, grieving? Are you willing to tell yourself more about how you feel regarding this situation? Be willing to take the lid off your feelings and experience them as they are.
When I read these questions, I asked myself how I felt about it. And I felt nothing. That seemed very peculiar to me, so I closed the book to allow myself time to ponder the question. I skimmed through a few magazines and a book, but still couldn’t feel anything. J. was still with the previous client, so I went into the room with the sandbox.
I got some dolls down–a Chauceriangirl doll, an Amazon warrior doll, a Buffy doll to represent Izzybella, a red-haired buff doll to represent Amethyst, and a buff black-haired doll to represent Jehara. Then I picked an innocuous-looking male doll to represent the man who molested me.
I acted out the scene with the me doll and the him doll. After the incident was over, I sort of buried the incident away, so I threw sand all over the me doll to symbolize the shame and guilt and hiding. And I sat the him doll in a corner of the sandbox.
Then I acted out the scene at the cleansing when I told Jehara, Amethyst, and Izzybella about it, and I remembered the rage I felt then. I buried the him doll in sand, but no matter how hard I tried, his head was still sticking out above the sand. My sister dolls hugged the me doll, and I started shaking the sand off of the me doll. My Amazon warrior doll told me that I have always had the strength to deal with these things, and I didn’t need her anymore, so she went away.
Then I started wondering about him. I don’t know what his life was like. I don’t know if he ever regretted what he did to me, if that was a sole occurrence or if he molested more people. And I knew that I understand it wasn’t my fault. And I forgave him.
As I went through all this processing, I just never once had any feeling toward him. No hatred, no anger, no hurt, no tears, no resentment, nothing. I have somehow been able to let go of it.
There is another thing in my past that has caused me incredible amounts of guilt and shame. I first admitted it aloud about a month ago. Since then I’ve talked about it with J. several times. So last night I thought about it too. And the shame and guilt are gone from that as well.
In another book I read recently, the author says that lies are toxic. I’ve been lying to myself for many many years by burying all these things and not facing them. It was like I thought that if I admitted it, then it would make them real and would mean that I was a bad person. But when I did finally talk about them and admit them, I was able to realize that while they did happen, and nothing can undo that, I am not a bad person. I feel like the toxicity is leaving my body.
I told J. the first night I met with her that I just think it’s the right time for me to do this. Last night we brought that up again, because I’m making so much progress so quickly. It is the right time. I’m reclaiming my Amazon warrior. I’m reclaiming a sense of myself as a good person. I’m no longer allowing anyone else to run my life, whether by active design or by default because I bury my head in the sand and permit it to happen. When I brushed the sand off of my chauceriangirl doll last night, I brushed it off of myself as well.
I’m clean. I’m whole. I’m complicated. I’m real. I’m honest. I’m good. Processing will continue.
And processing of another kind–I love, Love, LOVE our new juicer! When I got home last night, Joe made me some apple carrot celery juice. And it was just as delicious as it could be. The juicer’s a little bit of a pain to clean, but nothing difficult. I’ll definitely be using it. Yay for the juicer!