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5 Things I’m Packing in My Trauma Recovery Journey ‘Suitcase’

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I am a trauma survivor. Each traumatic experience I have had and its ripple effects have made me feel further disconnected from myself.

I am autistic. I have a rare neurodegenerative neuromuscular disease. I have an autoimmune disorder. I have a mental illness. I have chronic illnesses. At many different times, that flow in and out I have felt further disconnected from myself.

I am a part of multiple marginalized communities. Navigating the stigmas, stereotypes, inequities, exclusion, discrimination, and more have made me feel further disconnected from myself.

Feeling so disconnected, I decided two years ago to embark on a journey. I remember the fear I had that day. And in that fear, I moved forward along the way while remembering it’s a journey where I am choosing me.

It’s a new day. My suitcase is packed. Just five things, but that’s all I need. Together we’re about to embark on a journey. A journey to me.

1. My past.

It takes up a lot of room in the suitcase. Sometimes the rest of us wonder why it is there. Because there were good memories I don’t want to forget. To remain connected to my ancestors and their stories. To continue to heal and grow from it, to let go of the shame we have from it. And to remember, I am strong and able to overcome any obstacle that comes my way.

That’s why my past has a place in the suitcase. That is why we shook hands, knowing we had to take the journey together.

2. My lifelines.

Art, writing, music, movies, natures, water, creativity, photographs, quality time, my wife and my family. There is no question about it. I wouldn’t be here today without them.

This journey needs them. They are my helping breath and light along the way.

3. My belief that I, myself, am sacred and holy.

A space in the suitcase connected to wonder and desire. Yes, sacred; yes, holy, so that I may value and prioritize self-care. Self-love. Kindness. Gentleness. Self-esteem. My body. All aspects of my being are held as nothing other than holy. I wonder what it would be like to reach the end of this journey, I wonder what it will be like to fully believe in myself. I wonder what fully valuing and loving myself will look like.

Right now, it seems so far away. But I believe it’s possible because we are already on our way.

4. Voice.

My voice. Because I know what it’s like to not have one. To not be able to use it.

To not be heard when it is used. I never want to go back there again. A journey to me without my voice is not a journey I want to take. It is not a journey leading to me. It is settled; my voice is coming. No negotiations.

5. Belief in healing and a brand-new day.

A belief that brings me hope, joy, possibility, chances, growth, self-discovery, connection, freedom, liberation and a belief that continues to lead me on this journey to me.

Getty Images photo via Rawpixel

Originally published: August 4, 2020
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