Time stops still so many times within a life, within a generation. War crumbles the soul, erodes the surfaces of intuition and succumbs us to a different version of ourselves. We can choose to be hardened, or we can choose a different route. What is meaningful about the act of healing is that: despite the internal resistance against it, what rallies up from within is a deeper part of you. When we can stand up for what is good it can transform into a powerful moment of self-remembrance.
So much started to make sense about my life the more I had space from the total rupture of it. Suddenly, with time, it became a deep resource to me—this memory and site of the trauma. The more I walked away, becoming clearer about my own destiny, the more I was able to understand why certain things had to happen the way they did. I don’t condone the violence done to me, but I understand it. I understand how a child’s innocence can be rapturous to another; how, like nectar, it can be a thing wielded, controlled, never protected nor admired—only ingratiated, lured upon, extracted. I now understand how precious I was, how holy I have always been. But it took being denied humanity to uncover my own for myself.
This, reader, is a different kind of hero’s journey.
I always felt like I’ve been a person that others wanted to break. I have never known why, but just like my mother threw my body around with no cadence, I’ve allowed plenty of others to do the same. I know because the first original sin of parental violence forms a gateway into the soul. When boundaries are transgressed, the cycle churns and you continue to hurt yourself. That was one of my biggest realizations. I didn’t need to be a keeper of other people’s damage. Instead, I could free myself of this Earthly punishment of being everything to everyone all of the time.
I suddenly had to see myself very clearly. This meant knowing I was not my own enemy. I love that line from Zora Neale Hurston,
There’s something powerful about reorienting yourself and focusing your gaze on the structural, not just the personal. When you realize the real enemy is the system, not an individual—and certainly, not yourself—patience arrives more steadily.
Still, this perspective needed fine-tuning.
I don’t know if that place was first imagined, but after doing EMDR with my trauma therapist these last few years, that place feels real. A place where I am transported, and protected, where I am a warrior like Diana, who was the goddess of the countryside, nature, hunters, wildlife, childbirth, crossroads, the night, and the Moon.
Like Diana, I protect myself with shields of nature. I think of Astrology almost as a navigational tool built in within one’s chart to decipher and decode themselves with constellationed compositions. I am a Cancer Moon in my first house, so I am ruled by the moon. I think of Diana the Archer, often depicted with a bow and arrow, a warrior. Sagitarrius rules archery. My Mars, the planet that rules war and work, is in Sagitarrius, I have an archer tattoo on the right-hand side of my back.
In order to face one’s own needs, desires and, ultimately, one’s self, one must also know that the only way out is through; the only path forward is one of integrity. As a child, I was obsessed with dignity and overly-eager to read about all the venerable saints and esteemed members of society. Joan of Arc was a huge obsession, as was King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the tales of Rumi and Shams. I wanted to learn how to be principled. The more this became a necessity for me to pursue, the easier it was for me to be able to imagine something clearer for myself and how I wanted to be. The more that path revealed itself, the more I followed. I think to remain principled you always have to pursue the path less travelled, but more than anything, you have to let yourself direct you to the source.
Go back to a former self. Allow the ease you were never afforded as a child reach a younger you gifted by an older you. In that lost lonely moment of an old self, in that spaciousness of a long lost memory, you allow yourself to heal the difficult wounds.
Going to those places demands a certain emotional elasticity, will you fall apart from the grief of it all, or will you rise up and demand your attention to, and for, yourself? There is something heightened about witnessing yourself amidst it all.
The more I run my hands through these parts of me—emboldened, strengthened and accepted parts—the more I come into myself. A soft ritual that moves me forward; where I’ve braided these segments of myself I once thought were frayed. With that etching and carving and braiding of my own life—of all the realities I’ve lived and the people I’ve been— arrives something more pronounced and realized.
I am not a stranger to myself and I am a person worth defending, especially to myself, and to my own mind’s deception at times. The more I become a person held together by all the parts of me, the less I reject versions of who I have been out of shame, and the more I arrive at a version of me more real and more whole.The elasticity of time travelling can propel you into so many different dimensions, parts and beings. It is with grace you get to collect them all, harnessing them into your own tool-kit, because now you understand that all the parts of you have always been welcome, and that there’s wisdom in your very being. All you have to do is sit down, pause and listen, and trust that mighty voice that comes out from the very depths of you. All it asks is for you to sit down and pay very close attention.