It is a rare occasion when I will quote another person’s words, but it was this young woman named Victoria,a woman with whom I am only familiar in a Facebook kind of way. Yet, her post this evening sent my being stuck for words a bit of a kick in the ass, and I know what it is that I wanted to tell you all, and yes, it relates to all that we have, as survivors, been through.
Regaining our sense of trust in others begins with our own ability in our sense of Trust, not only in ourselves, but also with the Soul, with the Spirit which guides us and with the idea that everything in the world, other than what you see materially, begins with a thought, and this does include those things which can be counted as ‘intangible.’ It would be cliche’ for me to write something about Christmas, but in trying to keep with the whole holiday spirit, I guess this would be an attempt at my reminding people that we cannot know how to give anything to anyone until we can first give ourselves a chance to grow. If we do not allow ourselves to grow, we will not be able to heal, and if we cannot heal, we cannot trust, and if we cannot trust, we can never really truly know how to Love again, no, not even ourselves. While this is a very ugly thought, it is the truth of the matter.
It took a lot for me to trust, as well it should have, because trust is the thing that is the hardest for people to rebuild within themselves. Mistrust is where doubt is created, and the first person we doubt is never someone else, but only ourselves, and we project it out onto other people, this feeling that we cannot let go of, at least not right away. It is too hard to let go sometimes, because we know that the risk is too great. Risk is what got us into the messes that we found ourselves in and it will be the trust that we will rebuild within that will help us to climb out of the despair that has enclosed us in a shell that might look like us, might act like us, might technically be us, but it is so not who we really are.
First, you must remember
The first thing that you must remember is that you learned how to mistrust people and that just as you learned how to do that, like much else, you will have to relearn trust. It is a sad truth that abuse survivors end up going through more than we bargained for when all is said and done, but the beautiful part in all of this is that you get to pick how you want to come back, and you get to practice talking to people, practice not talking about you so much that you give away more than you even have for yourself. It took me these last three years to come back to me, to know and to reinvent me, and it has been a bitch of a time doing so, but it has also been a great time that offered me the opportunity to grow into this outrageous, fiery, passionate person who is full of Spirit and is deeper than the very recesses of the Soul within. This is who I am. This is who I have always been, and I Love Me, just as you should also be so inclined to Love You.
“…don’t you even worry pretty darlin’, ’cause you’ll find Love again, I Know…” (Tesla, “Love Song”)
The thing that I am asked all the time by other survivors of domestic violence is if I am scared to Love another person, and to that question I simply explain that I never lost Love for people and that Love is the thing that will carry you through everything and anything and will always be the thing that you will find will heal you faster and better than everything else.
When a person is abused by another person who has promised to Love them and that person chooses to fracture the trust that an abuse survivor has built up, it is hard to imagine that there is any Love there at all, but there is, and the Love that remains is the Love which has always been within ourselves. If we continue to believe that the Love we deserve is outside of us, we will always be chasing it, and we all know what happens when we chase something or someone – they run. They run like fire burns old newspaper – fast. The reason that we chase is because there within us is the person we were the last time we thought we had to go out into the world to find what already lived within us. We were made from Love, which means that we do not have to chase it because it exists within us and never will die.
Love does not die, even the shattered remnants of what it was that we were told and shown was Love from someone who themselves could not fathom Love because to them Love equals ownership. Love and trust are not borne out of a need for someone else to control who we are – yes, I said need. We seek the approval from someone outside ourselves to validate us, and all we get is the version of ourselves that someone else wanted or wants and is never really the person who we know we are, and the person who we know we are is the best person we can hope to even think to be because it is ourselves in our truest essence. There is nothing quite more beautiful than a person – a woman – who knows who she is and who is confident in herself, who Loves all of herself, even her quirks and the little things makes us who we each are.
It is not only the Romantic sort of Love that I am telling you about
Love is the highest form of respect that anyone can show another person. It was a long time before I could even think to tell anyone that I Loved them, but these days, after a whole lot of work on myself, it is a daily thing for me to tell someone that they are cared for, that even if it seems that they are unlovable, that I Love them, and when I say it, I mean it.
Yet, being able to tell another person you Love them takes a lot of trust. You must trust that you can give that piece of your Self away and you must trust your Self not to get hurt when they do not say it back – not everyone is comfortable or feels safe saying that they Love someone, anyone, and even if they don’t say it, you know it because like Ms. White posted, Love is very much like the wind- you cannot see it, but you can surely feel it, and that is what matters the very most. It is important that we realize this about us, that we are able to Love, and that we are able to Love from the moment that we are brought into this life. Because someone else takes away the Love that we have for them, chips it away by being horrible to us, it does not mean that the Love within us dies. Love does not die. It is like Light – you can have all the darkness in the world and it can engulf you, but once the tiniest sliver of Light is shone, there is no more darkness. This is what Love does.
Love illuminates our Selves, and with that illumination we are able to Light the world with the flame within which is our true selves. Once we have illuminated who we are and once it is that we have seen, through that illumination, our own flaws and imperfections is when we can know within that we have reached a point where we never thought we would ever be again. While there will still be much work to do, and while it will be that no one but us can reclaim that piece, it is a freedom like no other to no longer fear that we are not able to Love or to be Loved.
Being someone else’s victim hurts in many ways, but being able to come back to who we are is like water for a thirsty person. Love drenches us in its healing nature and brings to the surface the ugliness that we have allowed to rule us and it sets the standard for who we want to be and who we want to grow into. Being abused makes us shrink into ourselves, makes us believe that this is all we will ever be – defeated, bruised, Spiritually maimed and scarred in the soul. Yet knowing that scars mean that healing has taken place is the salve that brings us back to Life, back to who we are, and makes us know that everything is going to be alright.
If we can believe that we can trust ourselves to do anything, then we should also believe that we will be able to Love again, in every way imaginable, and that what we asked for in the past has come and gone and now we can Love the person we have grown to become. We can take the ugliness, the hurt, the anger and the pain and turn it into the beautiful thing that we have become. We can turn someone else’s trash and the rubble of what was and what became of us in to a beautiful piece of art, original and raw and primal and screaming from the inside, out.
We can choose to be who we are and we can choose to Love who we have become, and we can do all this all on our own. Yes, it will take time, and yes, you will cry like a woman in mourning, and yes, you will feel cleansed and brand new. One day you will wake up and just know….
One day, you will just know…it is like the wind…you know it is there, and you know it because you can see the evidence in the birds which fight it in flight, and even though you cannot see the wind, you can feel it.
So, too, is the nature of Love. You know it is there. You cannot see it.
You can feel it.
I Love You All …
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. send an email by clicking this link . Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com)