How do you spell relief…
Y’all remember that commercial!?
Well this ain’t about heartburn. But it fits.
A little bit about me before I get into it, I am pretty straight forward, no nonsense, ignorance and mess averse. I grew up in a house where you were encouraged to say what you felt with respect of course. I had a hard nosed Grandmother who said WHATEVER was on her mind and didn’t care about your feelings or if you took offense. If you had a Betty Lou, you know you learn very quickly how to not only respond to foolishness but stand up in your own imperfection and own it. I often wondered what her deal really was… I recall my Aunt, her sister, telling me once “Your Grandmother needs a psychiatrist. Never forget that or let her forget it.”
I later learned exactly what that meant. At the time I thought it was funny, but as I got older she was basically telling me that I wasn’t personally responsible for managing my Grandmother’s emotions and insecurities and nor did I have to act like they were not there or like she wasn’t in need of a long sit down in the couch of her choice. Seeking mental therapy was normalized for me in that moment. I remember hearing my mom and even my Grandfather saying things that let me know Nana was not to be allowed to infect us with her unhealed trauma… whatever trauma it was.
So I got with Nana!
I’m about to get with you!
Earlier this year my closest, dearest, and bestest friend got really ill after contracting COVID-19. She was put into an induced coma, intubated, and spent two weeks in the hospital. When she was released home, she spent a very long time inside of the house and clearly afraid to go outside. The virus and it’s affects on her had left her with an acute case of PTSD that she couldn’t seem to shake, even a few months after being home. We were talking at least once a day… and each conversation her outlook on her physical healing got more gloomy and added another day in the house at the beginning of summer. So like I do, I said to her, ” Hey you might wanna talk to someone because your body and your emotions are traumatized and neither will get better if you don’t move around and start to reestablishing your daily patterns.” I let her know I understood that she’d feel different… your body IS different! But she was still in charge of her own healing… she could talk out ways to integrate some necessary changes into her life to establish a new baseline. She said something like… yeah I know. But soon after she told me she had started therapy, and next thing I knew she was at a social distance, outside event, mask on, but healing in every way. To that I say… Bravo!!!!
Normalizing therapy is important!
Life is a series of experiences… lessons and learning opportunities. Some are like Hamilton, you get schooled while folks rap and dance in costume. Others are like Saw, you get tortured in the process, but if you make it through, you can survive anything. You don’t get to choose how you learn. I believe it depends on the severity of your lack and importance of the knowledge… the path to enlightenment is paved in karma and curses you gotta learn to hurdle over. Jackie Joyner-Kersee them jokers!
But these are not unique to you. Sure your particular set of experiences and how they manifested in your life are uniquely yours, but be clear… people get cheated on, abused both emotionally and otherwise, stolen from, tricked, played, hurt, manipulated, lied to, lied on, misunderstood, and mistreated daily. That isn’t your fault, that’s based on the mental illness of the perpetrator. But you are responsible for how you handle those experiences and whether you choose to heal from them. That is totally on you. You can’t ignore it, push it aside, joke your way through it, or put a mask on it and call it something else… because it will find it’s way back, it will deposit itself on your skin, in your pores, in your heart, in your liver. It’s that starvation, insecurity, overindulgence, inappropriate behavior, nonproductive overexertion, lack of discernment, and fake shit. It will leak out from any orifice. It will infiltrate every good thing and rot it until it stinks like that old meat Langston reminded us about. It will pool around you until you drown in it… unless you save yourself from it. It is trauma. It’s worse than the most aggressive cancer or the most vile killer. That shit there is toxic and you gotta fix it. Or it will fix you.
Trauma is like quicksand. You knew the ground had gotten softer but you didn’t walk around it, and it sucked you in. Eventually it started to fill your nose, airway, and eyes with sand.., your last vision, feeling, thought, sound stuck at that last moment your eyes witnessed. You reach out your hand, but you’ll just pull them in too. No one wants to go there who doesn’t have the tools to pull you out from stable ground. But it’s possible to save yourself. It requires you to put on your big girl panties or your big boy draws, pull em up, and DO YOUR WORK … c’mon Auntie Iyanla told y’all. And in the process you must seek help from people who know how to help you help yourself. Most of the people around you simply aren’t equipped to manage your emotions. It’s not their job or responsibility.
In all seriousness, I leave you with this, My favorite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and he always has the most sage advice. He once posted on Twitter, “To heal a wound you must stop scratching it.” Anyone who has healed knows exactly what you must do… change your thoughts. We focus on what is and has been wrong, keep peeking under the band aid, scratching at the scab, to just reopen the wound. Instead you have to DECIDE to do what is necessary to let it heal. For a physical wound it’s usually to leave it alone. For an emotional one it’s to bust it wide open, scoop out the bad insides, look at them, trash them, and concentrate on the present. Most times, to do that well, we need some help. Therapy comes in many forms. If couches ain’t for you, get some spiritual healing. If that ain’t your bag, try some crystals, reiki, whatever you need to do in order to learn the lessons, heed the word, and exist in a state of vainglorious.
You’ll be alright, just get yourself together and get some T-H-E-R-A-P-Y!