I am delighted to welcome my friend Shea Atkin as a guest blogger today. This post started from a simple Facebook exchange about the fact that healing is not linear. I asked her to expand on that idea, and she did so beautifully. Thank you so much, Shea.
Why is 500 words of my own story so hard to write? I mean, it’s my story, but where do I start? How do you succinctly craft 500 words together to tell the journey of what feels like a million nights? And what is the texture and content of authentic–and how does it and feel and taste inside this body that I’ve been given?
My authentic heart feels free now, but the process has been messy and I can’t count how many times I wanted to just give up and say fuck it. But sometimes I would say it, and keep on walking and not giving up. As a survivor of sexual abuse and a lifetime of alcoholism and addiction, sobriety was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was also the hardest because I had to take personal responsibility for my healing, recovery and actions (past and present). That will introduce you to true humility and freedom–but with no anesthetic. Raw and unfiltered and interwoven with a lot of grace.
I’m a big believer in synchronicity. I stumbled into massage school at 19 because I was already failing out of community college. My mom said that it would be best to get licensed in a trade so I could at least start making money if I couldn’t make it through college. She gifted me a massage for my 18th birthday and I remember thinking how amazing it must be to have a job where you could make people feel that good. It truly felt life changing. So I started massage school.
As I started giving and receiving massages, emotions and flashbacks started to occur. One day the rape (that I blocked out of memory for 7 years) surfaced fully and unapologetically. That was the defining moment that I knew a) that memory was stored in muscle and symptoms present psychosomatically and b) I wanted to dedicate my life to healing others from this as I continued to heal from multiple layers of trauma.
I continued to transition through 7 more years of active addiction until I finally let go and got sober.
The real work of finding my authentic self really started when I put the drugs and alcohol down. Only then was I able to truly process, grieve and accept the things that happened to me and the things I did to others while caught up in active addiction. I’m still amazed that I was of any use at all in those years but that’s the thing about grace and mercy–it’s free and everywhere.
I was used as a vessel of healing despite my weaknesses and struggles–that is truly a humbling reality. It was at the point when I found out about trauma touch therapy that all the pieces started to come together and I felt like I finally had a little direction on what the next part of my journey would be. As I received my own session of trauma touch therapy and practiced on others, more healing continued to happen.
That’s the thing about numbing–we can’t selectively numb. If we push down and suppress the negative, we also cut off the positive. Sadness and joy can (and should) co-exist, because that is the nature of being human.
All in all, it’s been a wonderfully terrible awakening–but everything that is worthwhile is bittersweet. The light cannot exist without the darkness. Both hold equal importance and until we can accept the “Good” and “Bad” aspects that co-exist inside these amazing bodies we’ve been given–we won’t be free.
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.