My Origin Story: How My Deepest Wound Became the Soil for My Roots to Grow
Trigger Warning: Content includes sexual assault, childhood abuse, and substance abuse.
When my parents caught me in 7th grade, making out with a boy, my punishment was to write a 5-paragraph essay on why pre-marital sex leads to STD’s, pregnancy, and of course, hell. Later in life when I tried to talk with my church community about being romantically interested in women, I was told there were demons inside me that needed to be exorcised so I could be healed of this sin. I grew up in a loving Christian family that gave me all they could, and I respect them and their care immensely, but because of their own upbringings, they didn't know another way. My childhood mentors shamed and (literally) demonized my body in an attempt to keep me "safe".*
Moving from stifling spirituality and sexual trauma toward free expression and acceptance would prove to be one of my most formative journeys as I grew into adolescence.
Early in high school, I was questioning the very fabric of the universe my parents had sewn for me. Is there a God? How do we impact our own experiences of reality? What is our purpose? Because my questions isolated me from my family’s faith, I started partying to cope with uncertainty and to find meaning. However, life spiraled downhill fast after a one night where I got too drunk to fight back and lost my virginity to an undergrad I had just met. This is also known as sexual assault. I was 16. The salt in the wound was truly feeling like I couldn’t tell anyone, for years, because I was supposed to be a virgin when I got married, and now I was “damaged goods.” Even though I was bitter at my religious upbringing, and not even convinced there was a God, this shame ran deeper than my logic could. It was poison spreading through my core.
I found myself closing in around the pain. If I tried hard enough to distract myself, I could pretend it didn’t happen. I was in denial but it was draining the life from my heart. As my experience grew more grey and dismal, I searched for relief. I began looking to the outlets of disordered eating, over-exercising, alcohol, and prescription drugs to make life less painful, but there was no escaping the truth. I was becoming severely depressed.
Somehow during the deepening numbness, I held steadfast to my pursuit of spiritual truth. Amidst the chaos, a friend introduced me to the Law of Attraction for the first time. What you focus on multiplies and shows up in your life, and what you resist persists. Did that mean I was responsible for my own terrible experience? Not exactly, but it did mean I could take responsibility to not repeat those experiences again… And that gave me a way to start turning things around. With different mantras and intention practices, I began forgiving myself and creating a life that felt closer to whole again. A new world of abundance was opening up.
But when I was assaulted again, and again, several times over two years, I finally asked the Universe WHY? I was ready to find out why I was choosing to put myself in the most painful and victimizing situations I could imagine. I cried out to that Thing I had relationship with – that Voice - Higher Self? God? Universe? I didn’t know. But I know I asked, and an answer came.
The very next morning, I awoke from a terribly vivid and real dream: I had witnessed blocked memories of my lineage of child sexual abuse in my family and myself. I had deep trauma in my bones that I had been running from my whole life without knowing it, that my family had been running from for generations. Now, all of it sat raw and naked before me. There could be no more running, so I did the only other thing possible. I wept. I mourned. I cried out again to the Voice I had relationship with, “What do I do with this?!” And the voice said one thing. “Dance.”
Confused, with no dance background, I blinked. What a strange request. But the beauty of total desperation is that we are willing to try anything, and I was. So I danced. I cried and moved in ways I never knew before. I felt anger and rage in my stomping feet and punching hands. I felt grief in my wailing body. I felt chaos in my shaking. I didn’t know what it was for, but I trusted it, because it was the only thing I had to trust. This dance began the journey.**
Shortly after that, I was blessed with the terrifying opportunity to stand up to and offer deep forgiveness to my childhood experiences in one of the most synchronistic experiences of my life (but that story is for another time). A year later, a beloved mentor and coach worked with me on my core beliefs around men, masculinity, and my own safety and worth. As I got clearer on renewing those roots, I found I finally could have immensely loving and positive experiences for the first time.
I remember looking into the eyes of an incredibly loving partner and realizing just how far I'd come on my journey of healing, loving, and trusting myself. Listening to my inner voice slingshot me into steps that would reshape my ability to love myself fully, reclaim my own sexuality as beautiful instead of shameful, and interact with men as fantastic and powerful creatures to be danced with instead of feared.
Over the past 9 years since this story happened, I’ve continued living out its chapters deeply. I’ve learned how to feel and work proactively with emotions through movement. I’ve reshaped many old core belief patterns to better serve me.
Now, the next chapter has begun to unfold. I am mapping out the healing paths I have discovered for myself as I hold space for others to claim their wholeness as well. If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that each one of us has everything we need inside of us for healing, but it takes some listening, trust, and community. As I more fully offer support to women who are ready to dive into those things, I find a greater sense of truth and connection to my purpose. Sometimes our deepest wounds become the soil for our roots to grow.
*I want to add here that my parents' LOVE for me was unending, and that the beliefs they raised me with were the very best they had to work with at the time because they wanted me to succeed. They are incredible humans who have given so much support in every way to my life, healing, and success. It is only because so many other areas of my life were full of joy and a privilege to grow up in, that I have had the resources to discover my soul's journey and now offer it out to others!
**Since my intuitive experience, I've learned a TON about trauma in the body, dance therapy, and somatic experiencing for healing. Please consult a professional for trauma support.