The Hard Lessons – Shame

Third post in this series that started this morning with a mid post breakdown.

I mowed the lawn after the last (second) post. The cortisol moved through my body, I sweated heaps, showered and vomited, and after my shower, I felt cleaner and the cortisol had subsided enough that I knew taking time out and just being, with some meditation later on, would bring my body back to balance. Oh, and eating food with nutrients. Plus a coke or chocolate (this part is not nutritionally sound and a habit I need to break – just not today – don’t judge).

I have worked hard to dissolve the actual abuse triggers. I realised this as I pushed the mower through the grass. This isn’t about the sexual abuse itself. I am grateful to those people for my abuse; I have posted about that before, and this trigger hadn’t changed that. This is about the impact that the trauma of my childhood made. This is about my automatic reactions to things and having to work through every trigger as it comes up.

And that’s okay. Three hours after the incident, I am lying on the lounge, feeling much better, empowered and fully feeling that my mission to empower others is my soul work for this lifetime. So, I’m good.

I want to talk about the shame though. Receiving those messages made me feel like I had done something wrong.

Maybe I shouldn’t have replied. Maybe I said the wrong thing. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough.

Intellectually, I know otherwise. Trauma is a funny thing though. And trauma is not intellectual.

Posting my initial Facebook post yesterday made me feel vulnerable; I was worried that people would judge me, blame me, hold me responsible. I was worried that people would say, and I shit you not, that I am ugly and no one would look twice at me, how many tickets have you got on yourself. I posted anyway.

I wasn’t letting irrational fears guide my choices – this is real growth for me. Trauma is fear based and very hard to ignore or move through. It requires feeling the vulnerability and dealing with the shame.

When people, out of love and kindness, pointed out that George was probably a bot or a Nigerian catfish scammer, my brain told me that I was stupid and I should have known that (how, I don’t know). I felt significantly more shame. I am still unwriting this shame narrative. It will take time.

I think my belly weight is the shame manifested physically. This is really important for me to realise because that knowledge will empower me to lose my excess weight. I thought it was the abuse that caused the weight. I think it is actually unresolved shame. I think my underlying narrative is a strong shame narrative that I fight against.

I now own that I’m an amazing teacher. It took me years to not feel like I was being conceited and to stand in that truth. When I said it to some people, they tried to shame me out of it, but I refused to be shamed.

I now own that I’m a very attractive woman – and the belly twinges – I am, I argue with my belly. I’m not model beautiful, but I’m gorgeous. I am me, wholly and proudly, and shame only has the power to make me buckle, not drop.

Trauma is insidious. It told us we weren’t valuable, we weren’t important, we were disposable, unworthy, undeserving. Trauma is wrong though. And my trauma and my healing is the legacy I will leave this world.

There is more to say. I’m not sure what it is at this point. But I am so grateful for being able to express my self, grateful for having a medium to express myself in, grateful to have the courage to acknowledge the shame publicly, and grateful that I empower myself to stand in my truth.

Oh My. Healing the trigger.

If you have read my last post, you were witness to a triggered reaction/break down from unwanted male attention. I had to stop writing and responding to comments, and move away to process what I was experiencing.

I felt shock at first, as I realised the extent of the violation because I connected it to my childhood sexual abuse. I have always known that my weight issues were connected to unresolved childhood trauma and the subconscious desire to protect myself. I have been wanting to resolve that – ask and you shall receive – as I roll my eyes at myself.

After the shock and the realisation I was breaking down mid post, I felt sick in my stomach and my shoulders tightened. This is where I usually carry stress. I walked through my house and fed my pets. Made the bed, opened the blinds and turned on my salt lamps.

Amidst that, I started to unravel purpose. I need to resolve more layers. I’m good with that. This is a healing opportunity, and a teaching and learning experience. That’s the purpose.

Then, to gratitude. Find the gratitude in the discomfort, Tina. What am I grateful for?

I am grateful that I am still healing, for I am human and I love learning. I am grateful for the immediate support I received, and for the love and solidarity that was so strong in their comments and messages. I am grateful that I have a voice that empowers and enables me, and hopefully others. I am grateful that I am strong and that I am resilient. I am grateful that as I write this, I can feel the cortisol that was coursing fast through my body, start to abate. I am grateful that I am taking deep breaths and that I know to do and how to do that. I am grateful that I know this is temporary. I am grateful for all of my past healing. I am grateful because this will not destroy me, not ever. I am grateful that I have grass to mow. I am grateful that I can apply all that I have learned, including self-care. I am grateful for my ability to help others. I am grateful for the intensity of the experience and for the ability to feel my body’s response so that I can empathize with others to become a better healer. I am grateful …

These are my first steps. I will take the time today to continue my work on me. I will give myself the space to do that. I will walk the talk.

I will cancel my commitments today. I will mow the lawn and water my plants. I will make a nutritious breakfast. I will focus on me. I will Demartini the experience and look at the benefits and drawbacks which I’ve already started to do.

The beauty of having done so much work is that I feel already that I’ve got this. This will work for me. I needed to do this. I will model what others can do.

Funny thing – I’ve been blocked bowel wise since this happened yesterday and I rarely get blocked. After this, my body let go. Something in that for all of us I think. Our bodies hold our trauma and our grief. That isn’t healthy.

The Representation of Weight

Whilst I was in India, my different selves started to integrate. As a result of the wonderful and beautiful women around me, I started to see myself through eyes other than my own. What was being reflected through them wasn’t any different to what my friends and family say here, at home, but maybe I was just ready to really hear it or because it came from people who didn’t know me, it was easier to hear. Maybe a combination of both. 

I stopped wearing make up, liked how I felt in my own skin, could see beauty in and through me. 

I have battled with my weight my entire adult life. As a child and teenager I was told, continually, that I was overweight. I believed the words. 

My sisters were thin, blonde and continually told how pretty they were. I was darker and not quite as thin, a different shape, and allegedly not pretty. I never questioned whether I was pretty. I just thought I wasn’t. I was smart and I focused on that. 

When I left home for university, far from home, I started processing the trauma of my childhood, and weight started to come, mostly to protect myself and comfort myself. I still wasn’t massive in real terms but I believed I was. Our brains are powerful instruments that allow us to believe the information we feed it. 

As a teacher, I think this is the main motivation in me not permitting, empowering, enabling kids to put others down. I have no tolerance for bullying and pride myself on kids feeling safe in my presence. I’m sure there are exceptions but mostly … 

Teaching really empowered my wit to develop. Before I went to India, I believed I was intelligent, shy, unattractive and hilarious. Coming home from India, I believed I was intelligent, hilarious, not shy and beautiful. Quite a mind/perception transformation. 

Like with any massive change, there is always processing time when your world is turned inside out and you become sad/scared/insert appropriate word here, and find yourself challenged. 

My weight is that for me in terms of beauty. After all, society and media continually tell women that beauty comes in a specific package. Forty plus years of low self-esteem with regards to beauty is very difficult to overcome. My brain believes I am beautiful but my eyes see weight. Interestingly, I don’t see my dreads or tattoos detracting from my beauty, or my glasses. It’s all about the weight, in all likelihood, my only flaw šŸ˜‰. 

In March last year I attended an information session with Dr Zarrouk in Park Central with a close friend. That night I became sold on the Gastrectomy Surgery (cutting part of the stomach out to inhibit food consumption). I checked out my insurance the next day and changed my plan. 

Not for one second have I doubted this surgery choice. I have tried a lot of diets. The most successful was the Juice Reboot but I couldn’t sustain the diet (not healthy to do so) and the weight gradually came back. This has been the story of my adult life. Even with relentless exercise and healthy eating, I just can’t/don’t sustain any loss. 

This year, the surgery is on my to-do list. I see it as my outer starting to reflect my inner, and my selves integrating physically. 

I think it is important though, to acknowledge  that my mind has shifted. When I look at photos of myself, I am not repulsed. I used to be. I don’t necessarily adore the extra weight but I also no longer have an unhealthy attachment to it or focus on it (outside of this post lol). I no longer see it as the totality of me, it is just an aspect of myself that I am going to change. 

I do have a little bit of ‘something’ lingering that I am working through, where I wish I could do it without surgery, but I also know that whilst I can, I can’t sustain it. It’s almost like a shame I feel that I have let my weight defeat me. Completely illogical. And nonsensical. Ridiculous even. And possibly attached to the remnants of sexual and physical abuse memories – ghosts that need to be put to bed entirely. 

A lot of me though, the rest of me, is excited about a new potential for my life. An integrated, empowered, strong, resilient, beautiful woman standing in her truth, inspiring others to do the same. 

Yep, that sums it up. 

Health and Weight Loss

I decided to shift my perspective from losing weight to getting healthy. I bought a treadmill and I started yoga. I’m mostly watching what I eat but eating normally so that any success can be maintained. 

I occasionally have been receiving comments like it looks like I’m losing weight. Talk about emotional obstacles. I appreciate the acknowledgement of the results of very little real effort; shift in focus/attitude mostly. But I end up eating crap every time. My brain wants me fat. What is that about!

Moving on, hoping that internationally stating it will fix it (fingers crossed). I am starting to like my physical self though. And that’s the yoga and the wonderful instructor who sets such a tone of acceptance and inclusion. I wore something I once wouldn’t be caught dead in and I didn’t hate myself. I dug deep and found courage and then acceptance of my body as it is. I was still a little self-conscious but only temporarily. 

Bizarre times.

I’m sure it’s the yoga. I get home and love my face – clear, open, fresh, beautiful. 

Huge growth happening here folks. 

Might even find some worth in myself soon hehehehe. 

LessonsĀ 

It has been a massive couple of weeks for me – thanks Brene lol. I go back to work next week and if I wasn’t travelling, I think I would be excited. This is going to be a good year. 

Over the next couple of days, in the middle of the ocean, sailing home, without Internet, I am going to write out some plans for myself to help me achieve my goals for this year. 

One of the biggest obstacles to my success in anything is myself. Go figure lol. I am resolved to not being so this year. And one of my most important goals for myself is to lose some weight. 

I realise that my weight is how I keep telling myself I don’t think I’m worth very much. Intellectually I know I am exceptionally valuable but emotionally, not so much. My weight clearly tells me this. Somewhere in my psyche I am stuck in my past. I need to find out where (I have some ideas) and work through the shame issues that are attached to this. 

In terms of diet, I was using the optifast shakes at the end of last year and whilst they are sort of working, I can’t maintain it. Juicing has also worked temporarily in the past. 

But I need to move from temporary so I am opting to just watch what I eat and add some regular exercise. I am ultimately aiming for health, to stop emotionally eating or at least minimise it by becoming more conscious of it. I’m hoping that by putting more nutrients in, expending a little more energy, and working through the shame attached to my weight, I may be onto a winning formula for me. 

I can only try …