When I booked my trip to PHL in July to celebrate my dear friend’s 40th birthday, I had no idea how serendipitous the timing would be nor how impactful the time away would be. It was booked solely to celebrate her, yet in the space of that gesture I gave myself a bigger gift: time away at a pivotal moment.
Last year, I chose to protect certain aspects of a journey that broke me. The journey was not a secret, but I chose not to share it super publicly. I also chose to end it in a way that felt right to me at the time. I wanted out and I knew what it would take to end it quickly and swiftly. I still feel confident that the way I ended it was right last year.
The fact is that I did not account for the recovery from the PTSD of a life that was not mine. Before I left for Costa Rica for my new beginnings trip, I stacked away clothes that held negative memories. When I returned, I intended to coordinate an event to create new beginnings for the clothes that covered bruises or were attached to memories that I did not want to carry with me to next.
I arrived home from Costa Rica and needed to get rid of all of the clothes ASAP. I donated them, of course. I was not ready last year to stand up for what was right and good there. A few months ago, I started planning this event anew with a dear friend.
I am stoked to be working with Sojourner Center to create a meaningful event.
This week several times over, I was able to share my story with women who are still in the depths of recovery from PTSD. It’s not an easy journey, hell no, it’s the furthest thing from an easy journey. I am not nearly done in recovering and this year has bubbled up all that I had not yet healed.
I am tremendously blessed to be surrounded by a tribe that supports me and allows me to feel the depths of the pain as I continue to navigate next.
Following my gut has been a new lesson in the last year. There was something about sharing a friend’s birthday that sounded like it was propagating all that is right and good in the world, so I chose to show up for her.
Little did I know that showing up for her would mean showing up for myself. Today akin to how I left Panama, I knew I was just where I was meant to be.
I complimented a woman on her butterfly broach then showed her my butterfly tattoo, which she responded in kind and showed me a beautiful rose tattoo on her bosom. She had a scar (clear to me from a bout with breast cancer) and she wanted to create something beautiful out of the scar.
My tattoos are each trying to create something beautiful out of the scars that I created sharing a life for 16 years that broke me.
Then I grabbed a cheesesteak before my flight home and serendipitously sat next to a girl traveling to Phoenix for the first time as well as another woman who was returning from trying to heal her PTSD at a treatment center.
In the treatment center, she was made to feel ashamed of her body. WTF. How in treatment are we perpetuating the stigma of sexuality?
A week at the Shore with my framily enabled me to compassionately respond to her and let her know that she would be ok and that she would never need to feel ashamed again.
I know this much is true: I have a voice and I will be ok.