The hard part of all this healing work is actually implementing it.
Saturday was a full day of the most amazing epiphanies. In our training, we were learning about so many wonderful things. I learned a lot about truly listening (it’s not about offering advice or input, but rather it’s about subtly steering the talker towards finding her own ideas and solutions). I learned about honoring our emotional responses (tears, panic, anger, etc), because they have a purpose: they help us survive, they help us maintain bodily equilibrium (have you ever seen a mouse that has just narrowly escaped from a cat? after the initial instinctive power-drive that enables it to escape, and once it’s back in relative safety, the mouse shakes and quivers for several solid minutes — its body doing its work to bring the energy back down to normal — biology, y’all). So we shouldn’t be ashamed of the ways our body and our mind deal with trauma. Instead, we should realize that it’s our body taking care of itself. I also learned about breathing techniques to help restore calmness (and help me fall asleep!). Stress relievers. Centering practices.
I left at the end of the day floating on a cloud. Not only did I feel equipped to be a counselor for others who have experienced sexual assault, but I also felt equipped now to be aware of and forgiving towards myself. I left feeling empowered, on a yellow brick road to soundness of self.
And then I crashed. I had plans with mi’lady directly after the training, but she was running behind and so she didn’t come over until an hour later than we’d originally planned. In my empowered, floating on a cloud state of mind, I was all, “I’m so going to have an awesome conversation with her about why it’s hard for me when she doesn’t stick to our plans; I’ll be reasonable, and direct, and honest, and look her in the eyes, and not be irritated, and will make I-statements, and and and” and and and…
It didn’t quite turn out that way. It’s hard to come out of something so theoretically brilliant and then realize that real life is messy, and there’s no magic fix. It wasn’t that our conversation was bad, per se. It was fine. But instead of *poof* making the issue disappear, in a way it just magnified it. It made us realize that we have a pretty colossal difference of style, in terms of how we treat time. (“At least,” said my best friend, when I spoke with her about it by phone, “at least it’s a style difference, and not a value difference,” and she’s right, because style differences are so much easier to compromise on.) And when the conversation was winding down, I just… crashed. I couldn’t stop crying. I was exhausted and drained and hurt and frustrated and bewildered. Why didn’t it work? It was supposed to work! I thought I was fixed! Where’s my solution?
I guess it will take a while to figure out how all this lovely pretty soundbyte healing theory will integrate into the complexities of living and the complexities of my dynamic relationships. Maybe I’ll end up leaving some of it. Maybe I’ll take all of it. I don’t know. But if I’ve learned anything, I know that I need to accept that the crashing was a natural human response to a state of elation, and so I will let go of my feelings of frustration and failure that I didn’t just fix anything. And that, at least, is a good start.
*Coming soon: I’ve been tagged by the illustrious Em the Femme in the Honest Scrap… so be prepared to learn some scintillating secrets about yours truly!*