My new age therapist once told my BHH, during a joint session, that the thing she admired most about me was my sheer determination to overcome what had happened to me. I was just learning how to receive (compliments, gifts…love). Even though I didn’t see myself as unusually determined, my heart clung to that high praise from the tough woman with the cool glasses and the funky shoes and the proud posture which screamed, “I live in Middle America but I earn just as much as my male colleagues.”
But my head was more ambivalent. It was aware that I desperately wanted a fast escape out the door which read ‘therapist’, regardless if her shoe collection grew more interesting with each session.
That original therapist also taught me other valuable things about myself. She taught me what it meant to be accepted. And just to be entirely sure of her total acceptance of me, I unleashed all of my unusual-ideas-even-amongst-other-Christians in plain sight of her shiva-mandala-labyrinth decor.
Thereby I learned that I could be myself and still be respected, and even helped out by, someone who didn’t agree with everything I said.
I still had my doubts though, that she wasn’t just saying that nice compliment about my determination just to be nice. But in the end, I find that I can’t argue with ‘signs from God’…
See, at the time our yard was full of blue jays. I’d never in my life so much as seen one, prior to them arriving en mass into my broken life. I didn’t have any bird feeders out. So it was truly strange how jays kept showing up, daily, making a bunch of noise and fighting with one another in the pine tree outside the living room window.
One afternoon the thought ‘what do you suppose blue jays signify?’ wouldn’t leave my head. So I googled it… blue jays are thought to symbolize clarity, vibrancy, allegiance, curiosity, and determination… there you go. Blue Jays represent determination. Maybe God really is trying to show me something about myself?
The blue jays eventually headed south for winter. The following fall I heard them making noise in our trees again and I put out feeders with peanuts and suet–which is what it usually takes to draw blue jays to a yard. They stayed nearly all winter, thanks to the food.
Again this fall, I can hear their distinctive cries on the golf course, and on neighborhood walks. They are somewhere nearby, but in hiding. So I have filled the feeders full with all their old favorites.
Sadly, I still haven’t spotted any. Likewise, I feel I am lagging on determination right now. I can hear it crying out in my thoughts, but it hasn’t been showing up in a real way.
When I first set out to try and recover, I was probably about half determination and half ignorance. Now: well, I’d say I’m down to about one part ignorance. Perhaps more, since none of us can shed all of our blind spots this side of Heaven…and not knowing what lies ahead can actually help fuel you forward, (temporarily anyway).
Point being: now that I have so few illusions left, about how devastating sexual assault can be to the human mind and soul and spirit, it will take even more determination to fuel me forward. More lifestyle changes that rely on determination may be in store for me.
Per yesterdays post, I researched something called ‘the melt method’ as I think it can help me with some lingering physical pain issues. So far I’ve learned that it is a slow method, which takes only a few minutes a day yet can take a long time to see full results, it cannot be rushed, and it is not a technique wherein you can ‘push’ through the pain. You must stop at once and go even slower if it is painful. Which makes it not very exciting, although far more credible, knowing it ‘isn’t a quick fix’ method, but a lifelong, slow and steady, change-your-life-bit-by-bit type of thing.
The fact that there aren’t any ‘quick fixes’ or magic powders or special teas that ‘reverse’ trauma, has to do with neural networks. Superhighways in the brain. Trauma quickly builds those kinds of deeply entrenched roads in a brain. They don’t disappear over night and new roads aren’t built immediately. Just like real world road construction lasts far longer than any of us want: building new roads in a life is extensive and hard.
Oh sure I’ll try that (diet, exercise, book, CBT technique), my desperate brain would think, way back when I started this journey. It will work, because all the signs are pointing me this way now!
And I felt better, for a bit, until I realized that many times I was being supernaturally led there in order to let go of another lie, see through another blind spot, or educate myself through another point of ignorance, all of which I had originally clung to in an effort to try and lessen the pain.
‘How long until I can expect to FEEL better, how long does it take to notice any real and lasting changes from all this therapy work?’ I would ask weekly, of my current therapist, the Christian one that I sought out after I felt I had gone as far as possible with the original therapist.
I kept asking anyway, in desperation, hoping she’d stumbled upon some magic thing that worked more quickly since last week’s session. Every time, she gave the same response: ‘recovery will take… as long as it takes.’
Indeed. It sure does. Recovery also takes blue jay sightings and other miracles.