When I started the therapy process, I was hesitant to admit any of my past wounds. I wanted to focus on the present–find strategies to overcome all of the panic and anxiety I had been suffering from.
However, my amazing therapist had other plans. She knew that the reason I was experiencing panic and anxiety in the first place was because I had some kind of underlying trauma–even if I didn’t want to go there.
And then, despite all my hesitation, my panic led me there. I wanted to run and hide, but the expectation of possibly having to spill out my past threw me into a whole new level of panic. I found myself back on the phone, back in her office, much more quickly than I expected.
The trauma–the past–began to ooze out of me. Slowly, at times. Like an erupting volcano at others. Angrily. Sadly. Unexpectedly.
It was quite the transformation. So much denial, in the beginning. And then a total and complete eruption of pain, memory, and wondering–why me? It was so unfair.
Slowly, a recognition. Slowly an embrace of my own vulnerabilities and worthiness.
Always, the inability to quit. The desire to get better was way too compelling. Leading me forward, even on those hardest days.
Throughout this process, I became aware of my wounds. In fact, in some ways, I became my wounds.
I became that broken, sad, lonely, traumatized child. Sometimes, I needed people to know that that had once been me. Other times, I sat, listening, while others talked about trauma and teaching and felt all these flashing red lights exploding in my body.
Sometimes, I still do.
I’ve come to realize, that for awhile, I have been walking around with an open wound. I have cleaned the wound, so it is no longer infected and constantly making me sick. I have bandaged it up. But, it hurts, and oozes over.
This year, I have really struggled as a teacher. I have students of all types, but for the last two years, I have had two different little girls coming from traumatic homes. One was in foster care. The one this year is not. She is neglected. Loved–yes, but her parents are not doing their jobs.
Each day, on her face, she has the biggest smile.That smile hides so much of her pain.
The problem is–this open wound of mine? It fills in the blanks. I imagine what this little girl feels. I imagine what goes on in her home. I imagine what it is that the smile is hiding.
The imagining? It makes it worse. I am sure of that. It triggers my own, internal little girl. She rises up and remembers all of the pain and the fear and the what ifs.
And, it makes that wound bleed just a little more.
The frustrating thing?
My wound can heal.
I do not have to walk around with it.
Most importantly, it does not have to DEFINE me.
I have been letting it.
I have been the traumatized little girl who hurts and is scared. She turns into a frustrated to teacher who is crying and mad at the unjust system and broken world. The lack of control and her inability to JUST. STOP. THE. TRAUMA.
Is she real???
But is that it?
You see, that traumatized little girl became something. She became a strong, empathetic and caring woman. A woman who, despite all of the crap and the trauma and the pain, found a way to overcome it.
I am also the strong, brave little girl.
The resilient woman.
So, while it can be difficult to remember this, I must.
I am not a walking wound.
…I am so much more.