Updated: Apr 10
This wasn't my first time. About 6 months ago, I celebrated my healing journey with 8 significant women in my life during my birthday weekend ( I'll share more about this in a later post). I was surrounded by love; my sister, my cousin, two of my childhood friends for over 15 years, and some of my best girls from college. During this weekend of celebration, we took a pole dancing class and had a BALL! I was so empowered and inspired afterwards. So much so, I wanted to go again.
Immediately after my birthday, my husband and I packed up our first home and moved back across the country to the state where we met. To my surprise, I found a pole studio less than 10 minutes from my house. For 6 months straight I said that I would check it out. I talked about it all the time to my husband, and he eventually realized this was something that I really wanted to do. So, for Christmas, he bought me a 10 class pass to check it out.
I was tempted to call a few of my girl friends who live relatively close to join me for my first class. I felt I needed a sense of security. After much thought, I went alone. It was the best decision I made. I was the biggest woman in the room. I felt insecure the moment I walked through the door, so I smiled and greeted everyone as I do to ease my nerves. There was another class in session when I arrived, so on my way to put away my coat I encountered two women waiting for the intro class to start. Their arms were crossed as if they were hiding their bodies. They greeted me, and proceeded to ask if this was my first class. I shared my experience for my birthday and also acknowledged this was my first class at this particular studio. They went on to critique their bodies, what they were wearing, and expressed their nervousness. It was in that moment that I realized, whether you are the biggest woman or the smallest woman in the room, we all have insecurities. Insecurities that have been formed by a standard of beauty that has perpetuated our society for decades. In that moment, I made a choice to truly live in my healing a wholeness. To stop bullying myself and judging myself with a rubric that someone else created. This, is MY body.
Once class began, I no longer cared about being the biggest woman in the room. I was confident, sexy, and filled with so much self love. Pole was a fun and liberating experience. I focused on me. I focused on my power. I am grateful I stepped outside of my comfort zone to do this alone. Though I have been intentional about my healing, this moment reminded me that there will always be times where I don't feel my best or good enough for "x". It is in uncomfortable moments such as these that shows us how far we have come. Though I felt insecure in a moment, I dismissed those negative thoughts that could have had me walking back in the direction I came from. Healing is not linear. We will always have moments where we are taken back to a place that doesn't feel so comfortable. What makes the difference is when we heal, we become equipped with tools to handle situations differently. We are able to use our power to overcome situations that once would have broken us. When we heal ourselves, we become better for us, and those around us.
If you've come to a point in your life, where you understand your need to heal, here are a few tips to help you get started:
Have an understanding on what healing is and why it is important after traumatic life-events. Understand healing not linear and has complex layers.
I like to use the example of a physical trauma wound. Physical trauma refers to a physical injury to the body. I like to use the definition of penetrating trauma because it is most like psychological trauma. Penetrating trauma involves piercing the skin or the body, generally creating an open wound. In order for that wound to heal, there are a number of things that can occur for treatment depending on the depth or severity of the wound. Similar to psychological trauma, which is an emotional or psychological injury resulting from a stressful or life-threatening event, you have to know or begin to understand the impact of the trauma you experienced, to determine how to best heal the wound. Just like a physical wound, which has many layers of skin, the trauma we experience has many layers and the impact cannot be seen with the naked eye. Assessments have to continuously be made to reveal what the impact was and what methods are best to heal the wound.
Prepare yourself for the journey.
Healing is hard work. Similar to physical trauma, open wounds hurt and sometimes the process to heal it is painful. Ensure you have a support system to help you through this process. Seek out a therapist to help you work through your emotions. Therapy provides an opportunity to work through your trauma with a trained professional who is non-biased. This is significantly important because healing can be very difficult and a professional can help you process your emotions in a way your closest friends may not. Therapy also equips you with tools to manage your emotions beyond the session to handle tough situations that may emerge as a result of your healing journey. You may seek out a therapist but never underestimate the power of true friendship and sisterhood. My friends helped me through my journey without even knowing it. Build a tribe with genuine people and don't be afraid to share intimate things with them. You never know how they can support you.
Feed your soul.
Never under estimate the power of prayer and meditation. Healing takes a lot of energy. We handle situations best when we are grounded. Set a time before your day has started or after your day is over to feed your soul. By this I mean, do a morning or evening devotional. You can find great devotionals on Amazon. A few of my favorites are "One Day my Soul Just Opened Up" by Iyanla Vanzant, "Healing the Soul of a Woman" by Joyce Meyer and "Beauty for Ashes" also by Joyce Meyer. You can also find great devotionals using the Bible App. You can even go a step further and begin to journal your thoughts. The key to this is taking intentional time to quiet yourself to practice inner peace, which is essential to healing.
Engage in Self-Care Activities
Self care involves more than getting a pedicure or taking a bubble bath. Self-care requires engaging in intentional activities that will improve your overall wellness. There are 8 dimensions of wellness. Practicing self-care involves doing pleasurable things to improve each area. Some examples would be, scheduling an appointment to the gym to take care of your physical body or making a budget to follow at the beginning of the month to avoid overspending and improve your finances. When we take time to improve our overall wellness, we make room for healing at our optimum potential.
Be patient with yourself.
As I said earlier, healing is not linear. There will be times where you feel like you are back at square one. One thing that has worked for me is keeping a journal. Keeping a journal helps to track your progress. It also is a way to safely process your emotions. Give yourself time, do not rush your process, as you will do more harm than good. Safe healing involves knowing your triggers and when you can and cannot tolerate going back to a traumatic experience. Your healing process is for YOU, and you decide what that looks like. Just remember, healing will hurt, but I promise you will thank yourself for sticking through the process.