March 6, 2020

Healing is Still Happening even on the Sh*tty Days.

And I think this is how it is with trauma.

We don’t always forgive and we don’t forget.

But somehow, we heal.

In spite of it all, we heal.

It is not always loud. It is not always obvious, even to us.

Sometimes, it feels like the tiniest centimeters when we wish the progress could be bounding and fast, going 70 on the highway with wind rushing through our fingers.

We want to get better immediately, because it hurts so much.

It can feel like hell, I know.

People don’t often understand that trauma doesn’t just end when the event is over—oh, no—it’s in the wake, it’s the aftermath. It’s the smashed pieces from the storm that we are picking up days, weeks, months, and years afterward.

They don’t understand the strength we summon, just to survive.

But healing is still happening.

It happens in those quiet moments when we feel just a little bit brave and reconnect to ourselves, our breath, our bodies, our voices, our wants, needs, and capacity to be here.

Yes. Here.

In the world.

For awhile on this jagged path forward from the wreckage, maybe the anger blinds us. The flames can feel hot and comforting, like sheets we can tuck ourselves into, because rage makes so much sense.

Because our anger is powerful.

We have a right to feel it, to know it, to let it breathe wisdom into us.

Then, the tears come. Sadness, regret, and shame pour down our cheeks, damp like a cold night.

We wrestle with the demons of confusion, wondering if it was our fault.

It wasn’t, of course. But we wonder.

We wish so badly we could reach back and delete those chapters, to let them go once and for all—and just be free.

But even through the fires, gentle sprinkles of ash remain.

We don’t have to avoid the pain.

We can integrate the memories, sensations, and experiences.

We walk toward them—one steady step at a time.

We can take it all apart and see and feel that trauma does not have to overshadow us for the rest of our lives

It may always be with us, yes—but it is not bigger than we are.

We do what once seemed unimaginable—we make sense of it.

We take responsibility for our healing, drop by precious drop.

We befriend ourselves in a brand new way.

The waters of pain part, just for a moment, and something mysterious occurs.

In subtle tones, in whispers, in the neurons that crackle with static electricity, and the certain shifting of something old.

Slowly, we are no longer so haunted.

The past hurts, but it’s no longer a graveyard.

Wounds fade, scars remain, and heck yeah, they’re tender—but they no longer define us. They no longer shape our days or limit our lives.

Healing happens in the unseen layers beneath our skin, beneath the muscle and fascia, beneath everything.

So it’s not just the thud of rock-bottom and fierce rising up, the often sought-after end result of thriving.

It’s every damn step we take along the way.

Every breath, all the hard moments and vulnerability and uncertainty and tears combined with the surprise that we still have the capacity to love, to smile, to feel joy.


It’s finding safety again.

It’s learning to sit with the really hard feelings like a warrior as they wash over us.

It’s learning to trust another person again.

It’s learning to trust ourselves again.

It’s learning to trust life again.

It’s knowing that we made it through hell.

We made it.

We learned so much. We would have never wished for this learning. It was dark. It was gritty, the shadows clung to our skin, and danced on our bedroom walls. It was not glamorous at all.

This healing is not found in the glaring shouts of the obvious.

It lives in small cracks and openings, tiny flickers of light and crescent moons.

And this is how it is with trauma. We don’t always forgive and we certainly don’t forget.

But somehow, we heal.

In spite of it all, we heal.

The wounds scab over and peel, revealing pink skin underneath that bursts through.

A bud that sings of wholeness. Of how damn resilient we are.

And yes, it hurts. It’s not linear. It’s frustrating. It’s unfair. It’s uncomfortable. It’s so messy. There might still be tough days where we get triggered by floods of feelings and it seems like we’re failing.

But healing is happening. 

Trust this. Know this. Breathe it in on those sh*tty days.


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