Anxiety, Again

It happened again.

Anxiety wrapped me up so tightly I must untangle myself with scribbles that you are kind enough to read.

Socializing leaves me aching with regret for the words I said wrong and the words I didn’t say.

I feel like a failure, even though I know that is a harsh conclusion, I feel it still.

I feel inept, like no matter what I do I won’t ever feel comfortable in social situations.

Even though I have undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder, as is more common in females. Even though I have worked painfully hard to hide my differentness, my social awkwardness rarely stays below ground for long.

In the game of whac-a-mole, the moles keep popping up no matter how many I whack.

Self-love, self-compassion, forgiveness, humor, perspective, reassurance that I belong in this human family, in this world, that I am enough, that I am worthy of love, as we all are: these are the treasures I have gathered along my journey.

These are the treasures I hope you find and cherish as well. They must be carefully cultivated, nourished and loved.

May you feel nourished and loved.

May you rest on the shores of peace.

Inhale what you need. Exhale what is no longer serving you.

All is well, even when we are under cloud cover, the clear sky remains above all.

For the duration of my whole life, the sun has never stopped shining- there were only times that I couldn’t see it.

The moon is a reminder of what I don’t see.

Maybe everybody feels this way sometimes, and it is normal and ok.

May I remember that I am blessed beyond measure even during the uncomfortable moments of this human journey.

Storms will rise, then pass.

May my breath be my anchor to weather me through until I see the sky of blue again.

Triggerfinger

I wish I wasn’t so easily trauma triggered
It doesn’t take much to push me out of touch with feeling safe
A slightly raised voice makes me lose all choice but to
freeze and collapse
The physiology of my stress response takes over
Though I try to stop it, my heart races, my pulse pounds, a heaviness crushes my chest, suffocating me, it feels like I can’t breathe
How long has it been since I last took a breath?
Now I make a conscious effort to unclamp my rusted-shut jaw from my tongue but the battle is not so easily won
Years later the everyday trauma tape continues to play on loop I feel like I’m still in those moments when I didn’t know what to say, the epic fail drags me down into a pit of mental battering and spirit shattering
‘Good enough’ remains just out of reach
I hold the tension in my body and the voices of my aggressors echo between my ears
I’m caught between anger and tears                                                                                Regretting the past and fearing the future
I worry that if I ever get married or have a baby, my ex-partners will come after me in fits of blind jealousy
The ex’s that have expressed ill-will and death-wishes to me,                                                the ones with guns, violent tendencies and criminal histories                                               God, will I live my whole life without ever feeling safe?                                                    Mental abuse is physical abuse: you can see it, feel it, measure it in my body                       It is detrimental to my health and wellbeing                                                                                    I meditate on being held in a sphere of protective light                                                          and pray that I won’t have nightmares again tonight                                                      Healing the mind is not easy                                                                                                               I am humbled at how quickly I slip into depression and anxiety                                           my constant companions of which I am never truly free                                                       The next time my trauma gets triggered, which will happen soon                                      May I relax the grip of my fingers and remember that I am held in safety                      even when it feels impossible to believe                                                                                          I find peace in remembering that not even my trauma,                                                      which seems to be at the very core of me                                                                                      Is mine to keep                                                                                                                                   All things end eventually

My Secrets

Here are some of my secrets:

I was abused as a child in every way                                                                                      Though my family is easily mistaken as near-perfect to this day                                                The worst repercussion is that the abuse robbed me of my voice                                              Left me without a sense of power or choice

After puberty I found that sex work fit seamlessly with my skill-set                                         It was the most livable wage I’ve earned yet                                                                                   But I didn’t feel like I was living when I only lived for money
As an adult I entered and survived a series of unhealthy relationships                                    Though it took abortions to help cut the ties                                                                                    I still fear that my exes will come after me                                                                                     And have nightmares about them at night

I feel like I’ve dodged a whole battle-field of bullets
Because I am happy at the moment and not pregnant
I am grateful that I don’t have any kids
Because I am just now learning how to take care of myself
I am stunned that I’ve never had an STD
At least that I know of, although the jury is still out after my latest round of poor decisions (unprotected sex: what is wrong with me? Oh yeah, I’m recovering from a brutal upbringing that trained me to please others in order to survive; I shut-down in silence although I want to scream ‘NO!’).

Insert compassion here, and self-observation without judgement.

I remember thinking, ‘there must be angels in my vagina’ when I tested negative for HIV
After half of America had had sex with me without condoms
I was a staunch atheist at the time
But the miracle awoke in me a sense of the divine
I feel like I swam through miles of sewage and came out clean on the other side

The secret that I am searching for
Is how to heal my mind
I wish I could forget all the traumatic memories from my life
Because they get in the way
Resurfacing at inconvenient times when I am trying to get through the day
There are so many traumas

All I can do is breathe into them when they arise
Observe them for what they are
Listen to them, and learn from them

But damn, that’s a lot of trauma for one life
Remembering it is the worst part
Because the pain perpetuates without an end in sight
And my heart goes to the races every night
I try to tell it, ‘Whoa, slow down’
But the gun goes off and there is no turning back,
thundering around the track

The secret is, there is no secret that I know of to recover from trauma
I only hope that the amount of rape I’ve endured in my life means that I’ve taken a hit for the team, so that other women experience it less, as it no secret that, ‘one out of four women will be raped in her lifetime.’  Which I believe is an under-estimate.
In my case, most of the rapes involved unspoken non-consent
Or lack of ‘enthusiastic consent’, which is a term I recently learned and want to share.

Evening is falling now
And calling me with
Smoke and fire crackers and divine secrets

Now I know that whenever I have a PTSD flashback, I must remind myself that I am safe, loved, and worthy.

My sense of being loved by the universe will outlast all my doubts and panic attacks.

Take what you no longer need and offer it to the divine.

Give back the toxic energy that people poured onto you, and take back your own beautiful, sacred energy.

Cut the ties which bind you to that which you never wanted, so that you may more fully feel that which you desire, which is within you, which has always been within you and always will be.