I have been absent the past two months from providing weekly content for the RLV blog. And I must share I have felt extremely guilty. But I feel now is the time to share where “I” am in my healing: 8 transforming months later.
RLV was a journey that began with releasing my voice as a survivor. And it has beautifully evolved into listening to other lost voices and sharing their story with the world. With the hope that-together-we can be part of history and begin healing for an empowered future. And while RLV began with my story of violence I wanted to share with readers the stage I am at in my healing journey.
I have been thinking about this idea of “identity” the last few weeks. We all want to feel connected with a person, a group, a cause. But what happens when we only allow ourselves to “identify” with a particular group or a cause? For instance I identify as a survivor, but I also identify as a woman, healer, athlete, writer and a vegan. I’m a survivor, but that’s only one group that I “identify” with.
For many years I “identified” myself as a victim. I questioned people’s intentions and fell asleep to millions of frustrated and confused thoughts. I would be awoken from my vivid nightmares on a daily basis. I not only feared my past, I feared understanding how to live not as a victim. Because I allowed myself to only be seen as a victim, I lived my life that way too.
But now that I “identify” as a survivor my life has completely changed. Not only do I not fear the world around me, my life has been filled with optimism and positivity. And I am slowly discovering what peace feels like. I never realized that until I took the opportunity to slow down and reflect myself that I could move forward. But first I had to break down the walls of shame and guilt to understand the world around me. And I had to learn to not allow my life to become consumed by feeling the need to “identify.”
I’ve also had to learn new ways to cope emotionally. And now I face new questions. Who exactly is survivor Ruth? But maybe, most importantly, I started to ask myself, “Who is Ruth?” Our experiences will continue to change and transform us as human beings, but it doesn’t have to define us. Now I choose to “identify” first as human being before my name, before I call myself a survivor.
And that is why I took a leave of absence from the blog. I needed to fully understand where I was at in my healing so I could empower others to move forward in their healing. It was not easy, but it had to happen. Sometimes we lose ourselves in the process of helping others, but we must remember that we must never forget to love ourselves. We are all living our own journey, but we must take time to be content on our own first.
But I have also not been on this journey alone. Although I have taken a non-medication and non-traditional therapy approach to my healing I’ve had countless friends and mentors walk with me during this “identifying” time. I’ve healed through laughter, nourishing my body with healthy food and constant positive self-reflection. Because I have allowed myself the time to understand what my body and mind need to move forward I feel not only rejuvenated, but liberated too. And I understand my healing process will be a lifelong commitment.
And thus I have approached it in a way that it holds true to myself. And allows my life to move forward without the fear of a relapse. I’m not perfect and I have accepted all I can do is give my best. And allow myself the acceptance to take a seat back when needed.
We can never trick our minds or body from what it really needs. First we must nourish ourselves with the basics. And allow the mystery of love to guide us as we heal through our pain.
And remember that we are human, we are unique. And we should approach life in a way that allows us to self-identify to what we desire to be. We all have a story to share and we are all the authors of our story. Don’t be afraid to take the time to cross out and write a new chapter. Make the commitment to discover your potential today. And most importantly-take time to be human.
“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”