**Music calms my soul and allows me to feel deeply, so I have decided to always include a song with each blog post.**
I have a Master’s Degree in Publishing, yet I haven’t written a word in years. Sure, I’ve written a million lists, which happen to contain words, but nothing creative, nothing free, nothing for my soul. As I sit here in my office, I’m paralyzed with fear. I’m afraid that what I have to say will be irrelevant or worse yet, pored over, analyzed and deconstructed. Those of you who know me, know that I’m very honest and open about my anxiety. It’s an ever-present demon that I try to ignore, but sometimes it’s too strong and bubbles to the surface. When my anxiety is in control, I react in one of two ways; I either freeze, so the anxiety monster doesn’t know I’m there, or I run. I move through my life in a frenzy, not really paying attention or being mindful. It’s also called Survival Mode.
Anxiety and fear are paralyzing instruments, and happen to be the result of trauma. I have had plenty of trauma in my life, but I’ve worked really hard to overcome my fears and anxieties. I don’t want them to define or control me, but it’s a work-in-progress. This new identity that I’m building, the work as a Life Doula, is incredibly empowering and fills me with a bright, white light. It’s an idea and movement with infinite possibilities – a way to use my fear and anxiety as a teaching tool for others. On the other hand, it’s terrifying: putting myself out there invites the criticism of complete strangers.
There are many paths and avenues that bring fear into your life. Some people have traumatic body memories that resurface, seemingly out of nowhere; whereas others have experienced emotional and psychological bullying and abuse. It doesn’t matter what your fear, anxiety or trauma is or where it came from – all that matters is finding a way to overcome the sensation of drowning, by clawing your way to the surface. Those of you who have experienced trauma, loss or grief know exactly what I’m describing. It’s an open wound that never truly heals, but changes as time goes on. Fresh trauma oozes with a bright, blinding pain, but it (thankfully) doesn’t last forever. It slowly becomes less intense and might create a dull ache in your soul. It’s a place where you make space for your loss. You’ll never forget it, but it’s no longer the first thing you think of in the morning.
Autumn is hard for me. It’s a time when I make space for my dad, who died when I was 15 years old. He died in a tragic car accident which left me, my siblings and my whole family breathless and broken. As you can imagine, life changed dramatically after his death and I am still trying to work through the trauma of losing a parent. Becoming a parent myself reopened all sorts of thoughts and body memories, triggering my two biggest anxieties: being abandoned or left behind by someone I love or leaving my children too early. I know that these are common fears and that I’m not alone, but they are so deeply ingrained that I sometimes struggle to push them to the periphery and move on with my day.
So let’s get back to this day…right now. Despite my fears and anxieties, I’m writing. I have written something for my soul. I’m a writer.
What I’m currently reading: “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma,” by Bessel van der Kolk.