WednesdayWisdoms: Releasing the Negative

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When shitty things happen to you, and they will through the course of your life, you have two clear routes to take. As discussed in the previous post, you can turn to whiney victimhood, or to raw vulnerability that helps you move on in an organic way.

But before you get to this fork in the road, there is a long stretch of grieving. Some of us know how to grieve, in fact, we’re seasoned professionals. Some of us others, however, would rather push the grief down or aside until it takes the wheel as an act of rebellion,  and we’re forced down the road of panicky, inconsistent victimhood.

So for all of the events, people, pets, homes, jobs, or traumas you never got to grieve, I have an exercise in purging some of the anger that leads us down the back alley of victimhood.

We’re going to write down everything we wish we could have said “no” to.

I suggest Post-it notes or index cards. You want to write each specific event on a card of it’s own. We aren’t making a list, we’re giving individual space to each shitty life event.

There is no need to journal on this either. Give your event a title, and as you write it down, imagine what it would look like if you could have said “no” to this particular event.

Then, for each card, I want you to burn it (safely!) over an open flame. As you do, say the following:

“I cannot change the past, but I can re-route my future. I accept the reality of the present, and release my anger towards ___________”

This should help to begin a revolutionary healing process. Acceptance is the final stage of grief in the Kübler- Ross Grief Cycle. But we must move through the other six stages in order to get there.

What I find people hang on to the most in grief is guilt and anger. This ritual should alleviate some of those feelings so you can continue your journey inward, and then onward. Stay strong, and, as always, stay witchy ( *)

Why Your Sexual Fruit is Sacred, but There’s No Shame in Sharing Some of the Juice 


My relationship with sex has been a complicated one. It must have started out with the pressure of losing my virginity, because I slept with a boyfriend of four days “just to get it over with.” This kind of set the pace for devaluing my body, and I didn’t even know the power and sacredness of my sexuality.

It also didn’t help that I caught that boyfriend cheating on me with his neighbor. This incident created a haphazard idea of sex. That it just didn’t matter.

The road became more and more cluttered when I realized that I so desperately wanted, NEEDED, male attention. I was craving love of any kind, so I would drunkenly throw myself at men and then become puzzled as to why they weren’t in love with me. Like, why isn’t this like in the movies???

Further down the line, I would try to pretend that my unsuccessful tactics, and the inevitable outcomes, didn’t bother me. I was just going to Samantha Jones myself through life and hope someone respected me along the way. But sex or not, I didn’t respect myself. See whats wrong with this picture?

Then, as you know, I was raped. What a freakin doozey that was in my sexual landscape. That turned everything upside down, flipped it, and reversed it (thanks Missy.) Now fear was a factor. How was I supposed to land a man if I couldn’t let him touch me?

And lo and behold, who is there to pop up? But my infamous ex. I felt comfortable around him, got drunk, and took him home on the first night. He stayed for the next three days. And rather than questioning if he should be at his job, I let our insecurities click and the rest is history.

So all of this leading up to my turning point was synonymous with the message of The Devil. I was ruled by obsession and trauma, rather than intuition, respect, and just plain logic. I gave away the whole fruit and couldn’t satisfy myself.

Nowadays it’s a whole different ballgame. I have done the work and thoroughly respect my body, but let’s be honest, we all need a little pleasure in our lives. I do not want a relationship right now, but I’m not above a hookup. The difference here is that I understand what I want, I communicate effectively with a potential partner, we are both 100% consenting, and there is no grey area of sadness and depression.

The Lovers describes a union and an alignment of values. That is the important part, and what I was missing the whole time. Trying to drunkenly (and half-assededly I might add) seduce a man into loving me and then cry when he doesn’t is idiotic. Being up front about what you need in a partner and seeing if your values align gives you a choice, and if you choose to give your body over to someone who doesn’t want what you want, you’re putting yourself in a compromising position. You’re setting yourself up for hurt. And to do it over and over and over again expecting different results is insane. You gotta revolutionize your sexy little world to find that happiness. Cuz it’s hiding on the other side of the bed.

Sex might be a plush display of love in a steamy relationship, or a taboo icon that is used for selling t-shirts and hamburgers, but it is also a necessary way of life. Sex is sacred, yes, but it is also fun and pleasurable and NATURAL. You don’t have to wear a chastity belt for the rest of your life in order to protect yourself. You just have to get to the root of your needs. If your needs consist of a sweet and quick release, then by all means sugar, get yours (while staying safe.) And if your needs consist of a relationship, get to dating! Communicate that you are looking for a partner and don’t settle for less. You can’t change his mind with sex. It has never happened and never will. Align your values before you get busy.

So sex wisely, my kittens. You’re worthy of a good time. Just be sure you protect your heart first, and stay witchy ( *)

Where Are You In Your Journey: Episode 4

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witchywisdoms.com

Episode 4 is live! I’m coming to you solo today to talk about the podcast, a short version of my journey, and overall witchiness.

 

Listen below and subscribe on iTunes!

 

Where Are You In Your Journey: Episode 3

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witchywisdoms.com

Episode 3 is live! Here you’ll meet Kia Graves, a New York based producer, actor, and writer, who shares about her rape trauma and journey through healing as a single mother. If you’d like to follow up with Kia you can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and through Mountain Moving Studio.

Kia Graves Headshot

Trauma Resolution

 

After rape, feeling safe isn’t easy to come by.

And through some interesting research and my favorite podcast, an idea was brought to my attention. You feel unsafe for surface reasons that are obvious, but also a deeper biological reason that isn’t so: you haven’t finished your fight or flight response, and so discomfort is an underlying feeling in similar situations. And this covers all forms of trauma.

The Tower can symbolize trauma. A card of disaster and upheaval, this card from the outside looks like doom. However, like all things in the tarot, and all things in life, there is ALWAYS a way to move through.

Trauma stores in your body like a parasite. And your fight or flight responses, your mammalian brain, always tries to rectify that. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I personally have slept with many a drunk stranger trying to correct what I thought I did wrong. And I always woke up feeling guilty because I couldn’t remember if the choice was mine or not. I was trying to rectify a sexual trauma with promiscuity.

In my case, my trauma (having happened while I was near to black out drunk) lives in my body and tries to mirror my traumatic situation in order to complete its fight or flight response. That means that, when out partying when I was not getting help, I would go up to strangers and flirt, using my mammalian brain to recreate a similar situation so I can fully act out my fight or flight, quenching the animalistic need to do so.

It’s almost like when you reboot a computer, but an application is still running so it won’t let you do so. That application is still trying to finish its job, but can’t move forward because you’re trying to shut everything down. By ignoring the application, you’re actually doing harm to the system and slowing down the progress, aka, your end goal.

What needs to happen, on the other hand, is addressing the situation head on. If you have lived through any kind of trauma (and that could look like anything, be it a divorce, rape, death, or something that isn’t textbook traumatic but simply made an impression on you) there needs to be an acceptance of what happened before you can move through it.

But what if you don’t know if you have trauma? What if something is holding you back underneath the surface but you don’t even realize it’s there? You don’t even realize it’s traumatic? Well I suggest this first: if you are engaging in unhealthy behaviors consistently, I ask you to dissect the context. When do you reach for that drink? When do you shop to numb out? When do you clean excessively? When you get curious about your habits, you will embark on a new mystery: solving the case of the root and not the symptom.

This is where you are guided by The Star. This is a card of transformation and healing, a reminder that you will always have the universe surround you and that you will never be alone in this world. Use this as your guide through the pain and into a lighter and brighter future.

Get curious. Address your feelings. Do not be afraid to indulge in your sadness, pain, or fear. They exist because you are human and you are a survivor. But in order to heal and move through, in order to rectify your trauma, you must ask the tough questions and accept the truth you find. Find your truth and stay witchy ( *)

 

Codependency in a Vacuum

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More than an article to provide advice, this blog post comes to you as sort of a realization piece, courtesy of my recent trip and a conversation with my sister. Hopefully this can additionally add insight to someones life who may need it, however, this is meant more to be an exercise in self exploration.

Here at WitchyWisdoms, I write about my relationship with a heroin addict at length. I also use to word “codependent” to often describe myself and my struggles. But reflecting away from the self-help jargon has actually brought me to a different understanding, and it is becoming more and more clear that I am not a definitive codependent, but was one in a vacuum.

Let me elaborate: as a person who has struggled a lot with self love, self acceptance, anxiety, and depression, I have had many instances where I would exhibit reckless behavior to get attention. However, my happiness growing up was not contingent on that of another. My happiness was lost in the shuffle, and I would look for it in many different forms of addiction. Where codependency is more of a trait than an isolated incident, it was not ever something I embodied until recently.

After my rape, I felt used and unwanted. I felt as though I should be discarded because I was tainted. And at that very moment, my knight in shining armor, or rather a sheep in wolf’s clothing, stepped in and made me feel like I was deserving of love. This is where the vacuum begins.

Through a seemingly necessary dependence on him, because I now owed him my life and happiness, I could not risk losing him. And he played the game very well. Rich with manipulation and emotional abuse, he guided me through a very codependent moment in my life. But once I sought out help, did some digging, and did the work, it almost seemed crazy that I ever fell for his games. It seemed like he had dated another person entirely.

And that is what usually happens in recovery. Once you look back at the person who you once were, they seem unrecognizable to you. But in my case, and what my sister, who has seen me grow up in various stages, helped me to realize, is that I didn’t struggle with codependency before him, nor do I now. This isn’t something that is a hurdle for me to jump over. But given my circumstances and a perfect storm of feeling alone and down-trodden, I exhibited text book codependency.

Now this is not to serve to look down on anyone who is codependent. I have my very rich share of troubles that I continue to work on, but this just isn’t recurring. It is helpful to see what your journey looks like from a realistic angle, because spending time working on something that isn’t an issue for you is not beneficial. And while, at the time, group meetings and books on codependency helped me tremendously, it helped the symptom of the underlying issue, which is most certainly trauma from sexual abuse. This year I will be searching out trauma counseling, and I look forward to sharing my progress with you all. Stay healthy and happy witches ( *)

Shock, Trauma, and the Awesome Feeling of Acceptance

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Straight from the mouth of my favorite website, biddytarot.com, “The Ten of Swords reversed indicates a painful ending which must occur for there to be growth and regeneration.” As you can tell from the bulk of my content, this is a very relatable concept for me.

However, even with growth and regeneration, there is some trauma left behind from the painful ending. While that is normal, it indicates the need to heal.

For example, the other day I ran into my ex on the street. Yup, the one I always write about. After making a pact with myself to stop obsessing over his social media, I thought about him less and less until I kind of forgot how close he lived to me. It seemed like he fell off the face of the earth. Well my earth.

Anyways, it was a completely unavoidable collision at this point. Our relationship, while tumultuous, ended even more dramatically, and in all fairness my participation was, at times, just as dirty as his. So we DO NOT TALK. And seeing him a hundred feet in front of me with no where to go was like seeing the accident happening before your eyes and just preparing for the crash.

I quickly diverged. Eyes on my phone, frantically trying to keep cool and like I didn’t even notice him. But the physiological response of a pounding heart and racing thoughts looked like anything but cool from the outside. I tripped over my bags and held my breath, and once we passed each other I high-tailed it, praying that I could keep my head from looking back.

So now I’m like, why the hell was that so difficult? Shouldn’t I be over it by now? I got out, I’m free, my life is big and beautiful now, why am I freaking out???

Well, it’s because of the associated trauma. My mother, in all of her wise motherly ways, told me that I should be happy because he lost out and messed up and I’ve moved on in a healthy way. That I shouldn’t get hung up because I won. And although that is true, pain is energy, and that really never dies. It just depends on how you transfer it; and that depends on if you even know it’s there.

Right before he and I got together, I was sexually assaulted by a stranger. I had to go to the police, the whole shebang. It was completely and utterly traumatizing, and instead of reaching for help, I got black out drunk.

Then I met him. And on our first date, I blacked out as a result of my pattern of behavior, and basically drank my way through our relationship too. I hid an original trauma in drinking and codependency, and then gained new trauma from being totally emotionally robbed by someone I thought I loved.

I never healed in the first place, so I had compounding traumas being tamped down by alcohol. What a damn party.

So this small instance of basically a millisecond of walking past my ex stirred up years of trauma and pressed my anxiety button. The fact that I couldn’t breathe and could barely put one foot in front of the other was a sign of my scars.

My point is, I guess, that emotional wounds are like physical ones. The deeper they are, the longer it takes to heal, and the more likely it will leave a scar. And you have to be OK with the fact that you have a story. My gut instinct was to beat myself up and say “Why did you react that way?? Aren’t you over it??” But in reality, even if I am, it is still not fun to be reminded of trauma’s past. This is why your tribe is so important. My mother, my sister, and my friends got me to a point of exploration and curiosity, and then a step further to acceptance. And you’re always going to need that human connection in your life to help make sense of it all. Keep your coven close, be kind to your scars, and stay witchy ( *)