Trauma was and has been the dominant experience of my life, first because it was so very, very, early, maybe in utero, and secondly because it was a violation on multiple fronts, physical, sexual, verbal and even mental, and thirdly because it was non-stop for a long time. These were my formative experiences. They formed me, programmed me, dominated me, as all formative experiences do. Mine just happened to be not very loving or supportive.
In my present day life, I have been attempting to bear witness to my every action and reaction hoping to deconstruct why I do the things I do, why I have had the life I have. I want to understand myself, to remove the mysteries. Of course this is a very protracted endeavour and many days I fail miserably at keeping track of myself, it is so difficult to focus on the witnessing when a maelstrom beckons 24/7. Yet this witnessing practice has borne many, many fruits and I am so much more aware of my life then before. And yet there is always “further”.
Being constantly on guard due to trauma has understandably derailed my many tens of thousands of attempts at self awareness. I was always suspicious that there was something out of place but could never get enough distance from the storms to glimpse a larger view. Yet in recent years I was able to soften the intensity of my hyper-vigilance just enough to see that there was something wrong with my perception of the world. This was the crack that let some light in (to paraphrase Leonard Cohen). This light became an ally in the war to solve the mysteries. At the time, however, I had no clarity on what the hell was happening to me. My own personal world war was raging within, I was both protagonist and antagonist, I was the fuel and the flame, I was the aggressor and the victim. Even when I was home I was lost.
I do not feel a conscious need to remember and give voice to the nasty things that happened to me as a kid, but it is apparent that my body has other plans. This body remembers it all, it has been trying to give expression to the violations in ways I am only just barely beginning to understand. My body’s “voice” is thunderous, relentless, and demands to be heard and my challenge is to be present for it, to listen and allow, to witness and to feel …. my god, to feel.
This continues to be my challenge, to be present for the pain. It will not pass otherwise.