Writing is an art form where many find strength and freedom, but it can also sometimes feel like emotional armageddon. The past meets the present and there is war between the realities that ground my sanity.

Writing shakes me and I don’t always know what’s going to fall out. That’s both liberating and terrifying beyond what words describe.

I write my heart and truth, and trust them to the universe with full understanding that they will be met with judgement and defense. As a trauma survivor, I recognize these aggressions, because they are what begs me to keep quiet. It’s what hides behind the doors I know better than to open.

It is the anger that stands over us while we lick our wounds, begging us to never forget how it feels — how powerless we will always be against it. That anger feeds on our sense of powerlessness, fueled by its own fear of exposure. And so we learn the dance. We embrace the fear and anger as a part of life; the consequence of who we are.

Shame mutes us without caption, and makes it impossible to communicate honestly with anyone. It stifles our voices and drains the well of hope. Shame tells us we will never escape. No one will care. They won’t believe us anyway. Maybe we deserved or unknowingly asked for it.

Those voices become our own and build paper thin walls around who we think we are. Just outside, holes are hollowed by those who wish to bury us with the truths and secrets we keep. They throw dirt laced with shame and guilt; just heavy enough to weigh us down and shield us from the light.

If we’re lucky, at some point we realize the secrets and dirt are not ours to hold. We don’t have to continue accept them. It becomes a choice. If we can find our balance, we can begin to reject the shame and guilt being thrown in our direction and climb out of the hole.

However, when the only air we’ve ever breathed was gifted in the soil, escaping the only life we’ve known — however oppressive — can feel itself like suffocation. The fear of which can lead us back into the dreaded pit; if only for the constancy of those paper walls and the illusion of safety.

The journey home after trauma is never easy. It is exhausting to sort through each brick thrown to determine which we can use to build the foundation where self-love and acceptance can grow.

We are worthy of this road and deserving of support while we repair our clipped wings.Our shame can either separate or connect us in ways nothing else can. The stories that bind us replace those paper walls with brick and mortar. Within those walls we find the strength and power to heal — to take back what was stolen.

Shame does not have to be the enemy of joy. It can instead be a vessel. Together we can climb out. Together we can choose life after trauma.

Shame brings us to the ledge, and if we share the weight of our pain, we can take flight.

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[…] my need and inevitably settle right back into the sick routine, and I would find myself holding the bag-o-shame. I felt guilty because I couldn’t live up to her expectation or shame because I wasn’t […]