It was exactly six years and two months ago that one of my soulmates entered my life. You may know that a soulmate is anyone in your life who speaks to your soul and helps you to grow… they are not always a romantic partner, but sometimes, if you are really lucky, they may become a life partner… one soul you would choose to have at your side through all of the ups and downs, highs and lows of this great journey we call life.
She was kind of a mess at that time, but you wouldn’t know it to see her… as she was a master of disguise, much like many survivors of childhood abuse. Whether it was my empathic gift or our souls’ recognition of one another, she had the great courage to remove her mask whenever we were alone. The very first time she came to my home, we sat together on the couch and she looked at me with fear in her eyes, because she could not believe that she was confessing to me all of her deepest, darkest secrets of her childhood horrors. She said that it had taken her eight years of weekly therapy, to get past the crushing silence and tears of her shame to speak of these things to a professional… and there it was, spilling forth from her being like a flood gate had opened. It was a great honor to me that she trusted me with her truth, especially since she didn’t actually know me, at that point in time. Here’s one thing I know for sure, if you have the courage to go deep with someone, to share your truth, be authentic, and vulnerable… you will have no choice but to become bonded. Know that I am not betraying her trust by writing of my courageous, warrior soulmate here, because she has given me permission to share.
Here’s the really amazing, wonderful, miraculous thing about my joyful sharing of this piece of our shared history… my beloved friend and soulmate, who once would go fetal at the mere thought of her abuser, or who would lose her shit over a tragic anniversary, or who might punish herself with self harm of any sort, because she was drowning in the tidal wave of shame, fear, and self-loathing… is now completely healed. It wasn’t a spontaneous lightning bolt of healing, it was several years of dedicated hard work on her own behalf. She saw a therapist at least twice a month, and every week, if she needed it. She took her medication religiously, and never stopped her practice of self-care with her daily vitamin regimen. She sought and engaged a therapist who practices EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), which is pure magick that reprograms the way the brain deals with trauma and PTSD. She is Christian, and so she engaged with groups at church that were focused on healing and coping. And most of the time that she was really struggling… she would reach out to me, and we would talk through it. When I asked her to see a psychiatrist to help with her chemistry, she made a promise and followed through. It wasn’t easy for her to do all of these things. Even making a phone call, or answering the phone was a hardship, at times… but she always found the strength and courage to accept that lifeline.
One of those days that she reached to me for assistance was when her group therapist assigned each survivor of childhood atrocities to write a letter of loving support to herself. Though I have no doubt she could have done that for someone else, at that time, she simply could not find the words for herself. So, she engaged her friend with a gift for words. This is the letter that I wrote for her. She told me that she shared it with her group, and that another member of the group asked if I would write one for her… and so she took my letter and adjusted the greeting. It went like this:
Have I told you lately how very proud I am of you? You are a warrior woman, goddess incarnate. The word victim has no place in your personal vocabulary, for you are a survivor. Heartbreaking atrocities occur every day, but it is not every soul who chooses to stand up and fight for her freedom from internal conflict and for wholeness. YOU are that woman.
At times, as you face these nightmares from the past – with your inner child, you may feel alone and helpless. The truth is… you are never alone, for we are all one. When you are in the midst of darkness, I shall be your torchbearer… shining a light on your truth, that you are whole, worthy, valued, loved, adored, and perfect – exactly as you are, until your own light is able to shine more brightly to illuminate your path of enlightenment.
I, too, have been through the darkness, in my own small way. As you know, I dwelled in self-loathing for over 25 years. Until, one day I decided that I deserved to be treated with loving kindness and respect, by myself as well as by others. It takes constant vigilance to choose the right words for one’s healthy self-talk, instead of the negative, nasty words we learned from others. It is absolutely worth the energy, time, and commitment to ourselves. We deserve what we accept… and we teach others how we deserve to be treated by our own actions… by what we tolerate. Never, ever tolerate abuse, disrespect or a lack of kindness… especially from yourself. Ask yourself, when you are speaking to your own reflection – would I ever say “this” to someone I love? If the answer is NO, then you MUST replace that thought or statement with something loving and kind. This is what I learned, and how I continue my own practice of self-respect and loving kindness.
With this important work you are doing, with such commitment and dedication, you are moving beyond being a survivor… you are becoming a THRIVER! Darling, precious, sacred friend… I can see your light and I look forward to seeing it shine more brightly. Go on – remarkable woman of strength and healing… SHINE ON!
Here’s my challenge for you… I dare you to make yourself feel as loved by you, as I do. I know that you have it in you, because you make me feel valued, appreciated, loved and adored. And the truth is… you deserve your own love and compassion more than anyone in the universe.
Love, blessings, and awe…
If this letter resonates with you, I hope you will fill in your name where [Friend] is written. The one for whom this letter was originally penned no longer needs it, though I know she holds it among her healing treasures. One day last winter, she received news footage of her childhood home, and the room that was hers… a virtual hall of terrors for one beautiful little girl, had burst into flames. She sent me the footage, and told me what I was seeing. My reply: “Oh, wow! Do you know what this means?” Her reply: “Yup!” This image, the symbol of her childhood trauma engulfed in flames, was her sign from God (the Universe) that her healing was done. That wounded past was being cleansed and purified… like when the forest floor is set alight to clear away old debris, and allow the pine cones to break open and spread their seed of new beginnings. Today, she no longer struggles with depression, and as of this morning, she is off of medication, after months of weening with her doctor’s and therapist’s guidance and support. She is my great symbol of hope. In her new beginning, she has become MY torchbearer. She has informed me that if I never give up on myself, and if I am willing to remain committed and focused on attaining my goals, someday… I might just become a writer. 😉