Onwards and upwards

5 min read

It’s been four months since my life got turned upside down. (If you did not read that blog, you can read it here. This blog will make more sense if you do.) Four months in which I have been processing. And I still am. I’ve been quiet, because I had no words. Because I wasn’t ready to share. Today, not sharing feels like choking. In the words I’m not saying. The thoughts I’m not expressing.

Two weeks ago, I sent a letter. To the friends and family I wanted to share this story with. It was a very curated version of what has been happening. And it took weeks to write. Interestingly, I thought that after that letter this blog would be easy to write. I was wrong.

My blog has always been about sharing my journey.  To help others feel heard and seen in their most personal experiences. It always has been a balancing act. What to share, what not to share. How to be very intimate without being exhibitionist.

As time goes by, I am becoming more discerning. I’ve been writing this blog article for two weeks now. Crossing out. Rewriting. Letting it rest. Rereading. Crossing out, rewriting. Repeat. Sharing is still as important and relevant to me as it ever was. However, I am not yet in a place where I can readily share my story with you.

I am more cognizant of where my boundaries are. And of the fortifications that are still in place for my protection. Think of it as the East-German border during the cold war. There aren’t only fences on both sides, but watch towers, guards with automatic guns, border dogs, mine fields. Plus there is a lot of territory I’ve got to cover. And it holds a lot of potential for second victimization. So I’m going slowly. But I need to walk the distance if I want to be totally free. And this is the first step.

Mid-November, while writing my morning pages, completely out of the blue, there was a memory that hinted at sexual abuse. I had no recollection, whatsoever, of what I was seeing in my mind’s eye. With all my might, I tried to deny that this had happened to me. But to no avail. The gates of memory opened.  And I was immersed by a flood of physical and emotional memories. Big T Trauma.

I have been processing big T Trauma for over 10 years. However, I never had to go through anything of this magnitude. It was very unsettling and incredibly painful. Yet, at the same time, equally enlightening and empowering. I never knew how strong I am, emotionally and mentally, how resilient. Plus, my life never made as much sense as it does today. I have found great healing in this trauma already.

This experience has been part of who I am for a long, long time. It was hidden in a dark corner of my psyche. Surrounded by frightening monsters. Covered in the slime of shame. Part of healing is shedding a light on everything that is dark and murky. Owning all aspects of ourselves. This is a chapter of my story now. I will not hide it anymore.

I need to be open about abuse and shame. Not to show you the victim, because I am not. I choose to see myself as someone who experienced abuse. We all have in some ways. We all have been traumatized, be it in big or small ways. The abuse is context. It is a starting point. To share the gifts I am discovering. And the healing I am experiencing. To tell you that we can rise from the ruins.

Before I continue. Let me first tell you that I am doing well. I am doing really well. Life is good. It’s not always easy, but it is good! I am so thankful to be alive. Yet things are not the same. I am not the same.

Things are shifting. My sense of self is shifting. I have no clue what this will bring. I can feel that things are changing. But I cannot yet imagine what is emerging. I experience that it is easier for me to be me. I no longer need to pretend that I know WTF I am doing. I can now readily admit that I don’t know. I don’t know where I am. Or what will come. I try to be open to anything, however scary that feels. I finally realized that I cannot be anyone but me. And that I might as well enjoy this incarnation fully. That too feels scary.

In the time to come, I want to learn to flow like water. To allow myself to trust and be carried by Life. To have fun and follow my bliss. To move forward in my own rhythm. I want to try new things and mix things up. I want to explore and experiment. To discover and rediscover.  Until I have found ways of expressing myself that feel natural to me.

I don’t know what I will be writing. Or drawing. Or painting. Or trying. Or where I am heading. What I do know is that I hope you will join me to see where this will lead. Because of this I’m sure, this journey is better with you in it. 

Much love,

P.S. Comments are off for this blog.

P.P.S. I can imagine this blog threw you off. If you want to respond, you are welcome to do so by sending an email to hermien at hermienvos dot com, or you can send a direct message to me on Instagram or facebook. Here are some boundaries:
1. your emotional support is greatly appreciated;
2. toxic positivity, down-playing and dramatizations are not;
3. I loooooove hugs, both in person and virtually;
4. I don’t want to talk about it;
5. if you’re struggling with this subject, or this blog triggered you, please find someone to talk to.

If this resonated with you, then consider sharing it. Or maybe you know someone who could use it in their lives right now. And while you’re in the flow, you may want to subscribe to my newsletter as well. I’ll send you an email from time to time to keep you in the loop. Don’t worry, I won’t spam you. Scout’s honor.

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Image by me.