I am safe and rooted because I am loved by God and grounded in life.
This was my affirmation.
My spiritual friends and mentors kept telling me to work on grounding – that I’m not grounded.
“What does that even MEAN?” I kept asking. I never really got a good answer out of them and I just felt more and more frustrated. I wanted to know why I wasn’t “grounded.” This was my daily prayer. The funny thing about prayers and affirmations is that they often come true.
It was like shaking a 2 liter bottle of soda vigorously. I was shaking my soul, telling it I wanted this. I have a lot of energy, so I was shaking it HARD.
I kept trying to let the pressure off. “Psssssssssst.” It would fizz, and some would leak out, so I would tighten the cap and wait for a moment. Then I would try again. I had small energy releases. Tears, yelling, more running, more lovemaking, more soul vibrating.
True to who I am, though, I said “eh, what’s the worst that could happen?” And I took the cap off to my soul anyway.
My soul soda went EVERYWHERE. It’s on the cabinets, counters, floor, me, and just about every person in my metaphorical “soul” house. My soul exploded. Quite literally, I think. And I’m standing here in the aftermath saying “oh, shit.”
What else can I do, but pull out the mop and sponges and start diligently cleaning up? It is a mess. A huge mess. This forum is me opening the broom closet to my soul. I’m cleaning up the mess of my soul explosion.
How do I even begin to explain where I am? I am sitting in a chair at Starbucks. I’m waiting until my hair appointment. I have court in a week, and if there is one thing I’m good at, it is looking beautiful. I’ll stick with what I know I can do well when life is confusing.
I have two suitcases in my car that I’m living out of. I’m sleeping wherever I can find a roof, bed, and shower. I have three grocery bags of fruits and vegetables in the passenger seat of my car. My life is a flurry of driving, crying, and surviving.
I asked for it, though. I asked for this and it came to me with the same force as getting hit by a truck.
“I am safe.” This was the kicker. I AM safe.
I have a good husband. I have lots of family and friends. I have, through my husband, financial security. I have two degrees. I’m heavily employable and able bodied. There is nothing keeping me from being safe, right?
That’s what was so confusing about my spiritual friends telling me I needed to work on grounding. I mean, I have the life people DREAM of, and I KNOW it.
Why do I not feel safe and grounded? Why didn’t I have that feeling? What else could I possibly need or want? I have it all. I know I do. What was missing?
I have worked through the logical, therapeutic basis of my trauma history. That was one of the reasons why I chose the educational path that I did. I have worked through the body aspects of trauma, in how our thought processes are reflected in our body.
If you don’t think trauma gets trapped in our cells, I’m here to tell you that it does and this experience proves it to me. I started this journey to release all the negative in my life to help my soul unfold. That includes releasing the trauma trapped in my soul. The trauma that I didn’t even know was there, that I thought I had already dealt with.
I hadn’t. Not by a long shot.
My parents were physically and emotionally abusive. I’ve come to terms with it as we are all doing the best we can. I have no doubt that they love me with all that they have. They speak with me openly about it now anytime I come to them. I’m blessed to have this experience and it does help release that pressure build up.
That’s part of what brought me here, but not the most significant piece because I can talk with them. That is very healing for me.
What has hidden dormant within me, is the physical and emotional abuse I experienced with my ex-husband. I have forgiven him and myself. My son even lives with him and I feel like I have a pretty good relationship with his wife. I trust that they both care deeply for my son and have his best interests at heart.
I never healed the trauma, though, and it was very traumatizing to me. I had therapy. I had years of therapy. I went to school to become a therapist, but that trauma remained in my cells. I hadn’t released it from my body. It existed in the deep recesses of my mind.
I met my current husband 18 months after I resolved to leave my ex-husband, but that alone was a traumatic experience. It was very difficult to break free from my ex and neither of us behaved well. We were both children. I was just 19 and he was 22.
I had no intention of falling in love with my current husband. I was up front about this even. I knew I had a lot of healing left to do.
But, God, how could I NOT fall in love with him? He was so handsome. He was a phenomenal lover. When I laid in bed next to him, I felt safe and happy. But I was dependent on him for that sense of security and safety, which creates co-dependency. In that co-dependency, there is a lack of personal and emotional safety.
My ex-husband gave me a severe concussion. That was the moment that decided it was time to leave. There were lots of things before that. The whole thing was incredibly unhealthy. We were both far too damaged to really be able to exist together in a healthy way.
Don’t get me wrong. It takes two in any situation like this, and sometimes walking away is the greatest thing you can do. I have no doubt, this was what was best for everyone.
But still I have the trauma. It is deep in there. I exist well most of the time. I don’t really feel like it comes up often, if ever.
I went on Prozac after the trauma. I’ve stayed on it pretty much since. I’ve tried to go off of it as I’ve done work, only to pretty immediately go back on it. I would open the cap and some of the soul soda would start pouring out. I would tighten it back up, and go back on the medication.
Leif, my youngest, has severe food allergies. My holistic health self postulated that it was likely caused by being on Prozac throughout my pregnancy, but who knows. I don’t take birth control and simply follow my cycles, and should I be blessed with an unexpected pregnancy, I wanted my system clear of the medication.
I didn’t know the trauma was still there. I have been trying to go off of Prozac since this summer. I have been trying to manage through diet, exercise, meditation, etc. I kept going back on it when the soul soda started fizzing out and making a huge mess. In February, though, I told myself I didn’t need it and I wasn’t going to go back on it. I could do this without it.
But I didn’t feel safe and I couldn’t. I had unresolved trauma. From February to April our marital arguments escalated. We have been married 6 years and lived together prior to that. We have been blessed with a pretty great marriage the majority of the time, until our traumas overlapped, which is bound to happen from time to time. The worst that has happened was the last time I went off of Prozac, I threw and busted a mason jar in our driveway. Which in the grand scheme of bad arguments, that isn’t all that bad, and it only happened once. I went back on the Prozac.
In April, almost a month ago, I opened the cap to my soul soda, though. I’ve been plenty angry at him before. I’ve wanted to hit him. I’ve wanted to run away and never come back. I’ve wanted him to just disappear so I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore. I’ve wanted these things, but only momentarily, because I knew that above all else, I wanted him. I wanted us. I wanted our family. So any of these things would dissipate almost as quickly as they came and nothing terrible or insurmountable ever occurred.
Until now. I have been going over this and over this and over this. I have been trying to make sense of it. It is so entirely out of character for me, for us, for our family. It feels almost surreal. Even typing it out, I’m shocked. Saying it aloud feels like I’m talking about someone else. And, in reality, I am. I am talking about myself who has stepped outside of her rational brain and into her “old brain.”
It wasn’t until 3 therapy appointments, 1 psychiatric appointment, and 1 doctor appointment later that I was able to piece this together.
My ex-husband was holding my wrists, inches from my face, screaming “JUST LISTEN TO ME” before I was thrown down onto the concrete of the driveway.
I’m not a big person. I’m about 5’3” and 135 lbs and I was about the same size then as I am now. It doesn’t take a lot of force to do a lot of damage. I was knocked out, and I only remember bits and pieces of the aftermath still.
When my current husband said this same sentence to me, my fight or flight was activated and my safety center was ripped out from under me. My prefrontal lobe completely shut down and nothing but fear flooded my entire body.
I slapped him. Hard. And then I ran away. I ran to my car and drove off. I headed for Kentucky, my childhood home. He called the police. I spent the night in jail.
The bad thing is that this fight or flight just flooded me and I took no time to evaluate or heal. This was right before our vacation to Boulder that we had planned. Just 2 days before. He wanted to go. He said it would be healing. I wasn’t convinced, but I trusted him.
I made the mistake of not immediately going back on my medication or bringing it with me.
So, there we were in beautiful Boulder, CO trying to come to grips with an awful situation. We had a highly sensitive 3 year old that wasn’t adjusting well to his first vacation. We were in a house with a weird energy, and then there was a snowstorm which would block any escape route I have because I’m a southern girl and a lot of snow just adds to my fear. I was miserable.
I tried to keep my calm by reading and meditating, but it was awful. I felt trapped, powerless, unsafe, and like I couldn’t escape. My fear built and built with each additional negative interaction. I kept asking to fly home early, and he tried to oblige. There were no flights because of the snow.
And I lost it. My fear was so massive that it just overflowed. My soul soda finally escaped and spewed everywhere. Everywhere.
I pushed him. I shoved him. My sweet baby saw it and shrieked. I still can hear his cries. It pierced my consciousness. My poor husband grabbed him and went into the other room and shut the door.
But I was lost. Everything had shut down. I was screaming. I was raging. I was trying to be as big and scary as I could be. I’m small, but I can be fierce. I wanted to be as threatening as I could possibly be, so everyone in the vicinity would know not to mess with me. I threw things. I pounded the walls.
But all I could see and feel was the feeling of my wrists and body being held. All I could see and feel was the complete level of helplessness I felt. Everything within me was screaming “I AM NOT SAFE.” Even though I was. I was safe.
Our brains are funny. They do weird things to us. We often block ourselves from the best possible outcome. I was resisting my safety that I already had because of the unresolved trauma.
He called the police again. I went to jail for quite awhile longer this time around. And, well, Colorado took this a bit more seriously than Tennessee. Their laws require no contact with the spouse or child. I haven’t spoken to either of them in over two weeks.
All I can do is take a deep breath and pull out the mop to try and clean up the soul soda. It is a huge mess to clean up.
I’m grateful all the same. I’m lucky to be able to see the mess I created and how it got that way. I’m grateful that I’ve not had to go hungry or sleep in my car. I’m grateful I’ve had nothing but love and support from so many people, even though I only told pieces as I’ve tried to figure this out.
But here is the whole truth. Exactly as it is. This is exactly where I am in this moment. I am sitting in Starbucks with my life in my car waiting for a haircut and not real certain where I will be sleeping tonight.
But I have the broom closet open. I’m pulling out the mop and the sponges. I am working on cleaning up the mess. It is a very big mess that has left a sticky soul soda residue on many, many people.