It’s My Healiversary

I’m following / quietly now / trusting / eyes closed / holding Your hand / feeling You move mountains / I hear your silence / “trust Me” / fists unclench / I’m ready / releasing control / I follow

series

In fact, today, August 9, is my 4th healiversary! What’s a healiversary? Well, it’s the anniversary of someone’s healing, this person’s healing. It’s the anniversary of the day, month and year that I took extreme action to change the course of my life. I grabbed the wheel of this sinking ship that was my life and steered it out of the miry clay, well more like a blackhole vortex where I was being sucked up and would vanish from this world. I created my healiversary because I don’t remember the dates of any of the trauma I’ve endured (and honestly I don’t want to), but I will always remember the day I took the biggest risk of my life in hopes that I could save myself. Now I hope that by sharing my story, I can encourage others to do the same.

In 2015, I hit rock bottom. Hard. My final moment of clarity came while leaning on a 4th floor fire escape with some random stranger in my neighborhood, drunk as a skunk and high off of…God only knows, I can only guess. I had the “what the F am I doing” moment. It became even more clear when I finally made it home that night at the break of dawn to my husband of 1 year and he told me to get out. I get it. I wouldn’t have put up with that shit either. It wasn’t the first time I had casually strolled in after 2am blacked out drunk. As I stumbled along for the mile it took me to get to a friend’s apartment (pre ride-share days) the creeping morning’s embers were starting to break through and they lit up a fork in the road, one path ended with me dead in a ditch, the other, an arduous path of dealing with demons that I thought had been locked away and “forgotten” about.

I’m still not sure what exactly triggered my downward descent on fast forward in 2014-2015, what I’ve coined my “dark period”. It wasn’t the first time I spiraled out of control in my life, but this time was different. The behavior was worse and having recently committed to building a life with someone else, it was seriously affecting their life as well. I believe it was a culmination of three things that escorted me to my bottom. In 2014, I had begun a daily practice of yoga, mediation and writing, so I was opening a channel and hearing in a way I never had before. Come to find out, marriage can be a huge trigger for unresolved trauma, especially sexual trauma. Lastly, I began volunteering with a budding nonprofit, More Than No, whose aim was and is to champion consent-culture through artistic activism. I thought while I quietly helped others, I could help myself, without actually talking about any of my own deep-seated wounds. Without being conscious of it, I had activated an internal volcano.

You see, (inhale) I’m a childhood sexual assault survivor, from ages 7-14, I was sexually assaulted and raped by 5 different people. I never talked about my past or let myself think about it. I believed it was something that happened, it was over, so I needed to move on. I pushed it to the deep crevices of my body and brain where I trusted it would accompany me to the grave. But, honey, let me tell you, secrets make you sick and what you repress gets expressed. That is 100% truth. 

Through my daily meditation practice, I began to hear a clear voice in my stillness and it went on repeat for months. Every morning I would receive messages like, “you need to leave”, “you need to be alone”, “you need a space of your own”. WHAT?! No. That was crazy. Who leaves a new marriage, where was I going to go? How would I afford to go out on my own in Los Angeles? What would we do with our apartment? And all the how, why, what questions that I could possibly populate. The more I ignored it though, the louder it got and me trying to drown it out showed up in the bottom of liquor bottles, beer cans and wine glasses all across the city. It felt like I was living life moving against sandpaper. I shared these thoughts with maybe 1-2 people that I thought I could trust and they also confirmed that this was nutso and not a possibility. I even shared the idea of me getting my own place temporarily with my husband, but he was obvi not a fan. He told me if I left, it was over and I knew he meant it. I didn’t want to end our marriage, I just needed to be in silence and solitude. So I stayed and the voice got progressively louder therefore the drinks got stronger in order to drown it out. That is until an opportunity like no other came along, a sublet in a friend’s apartment fell in my lap at the exact same time that a family friend was coming to visit and needed a place to stay. I worked it out with them to stay in our home and pay my 1/2 of the rent. I needed to leave, but I wasn’t going to leave my partner without stability.

On August 9, 2015, I sacrificed & risked everything I had. I left my husband, my home, my possessions, my entire life and I moved my things to a sublet in an undisclosed location. I waited for a weekend that he was out of town, not to be sneaky, he knew what I was planning, whether he believed I’d do it or not is a different story, but I couldn’t bare to move my things while he was home. I was knowingly breaking his heart and he was adamant that I was the one ending our marriage. The fear of that kept me home longer. I tried to sell it as a sabbatical, that I thought I would return, but he wasn’t having it and honestly, I didn’t really know what the result would be once I left. I stayed as long as I could, slowly killing myself and torturing him. By multiple miracles, I picked up my broken heart, my suitcase, my dog and I left. Let me tell you, that was hands down the hardest decision and biggest risk I’ve ever taken and as I recount this time in my life, I’m brought to tears again. I had to leave in order to save myself, but no one could understand why. Not even me! All I can say was it was a strong knowing. I had no explanation or knew what would happen, I just knew I had to trust myself and go. I told no one know where I lived, I didn’t talk to anyone, including family for two months. I fasted, I stopped going to any and all social activities, got off of social media, I went to work and therapy only. In the apartment I did yoga, meditated, wrote, read, wrote some more, cried, so much crying. I did as much intensive therapy as I could afford, I chose therapy over food. I was doing double sessions, multiple times a week sessions, I was committed to stopping this fast track to destruction that I was on. And do you know that once I was able to voice what had happened to me 20+ years earlier the negative behaviors ceased. I stopped drinking, I stopped feeling the need to numb myself and blackout. That was all it took. I mean, it was a lot of intentional dedicated hard af work, but saying what had happened to me out loud and sharing with a trusted person in a safe space was the key that unlocked my healing journey. 

I had to risk everything I was and loved to look in the crevices of my own dark corners to become who I am now; a healthy content women whose able to make conscious choices and not ones based out of old survival patterns. 4 years later, I’m so grateful. I’m in the healthiest relationship that I’ve ever been in, by the grace of Spirit, my husband was receptive when I shared with him the details of my past and he was willing to go back to counseling with me as we rebuilt all that was lost in the fire. We were able to purposely procreate and because of the work that we’ve done together, we are able to be conscious gentle parents to an almost 2 year old. For the first time in my life, I believe that I am worthy and that I matter because I exist. Having a healiversary reminds me of how far I’ve come, that I have agency over my life and I am mother-effin strong! Happy Healiversary to me! 

Important sidenote: The photos I used for this healiversary series on IG, were taken under the tree where I was first assaulted at just 7 years old. A couple of months ago when visiting family on the east coast, I asked my husband to go with me to my old neighborhood. It was completely out of the way and we would have to rent a car, but I needed to go and I wanted my family to be with me. I had only lived at this place for maybe a year of my life but I remember everything about it like I had lived there my entire life. I didn’t go there to relive the trauma, what I was hoping for was validation of the accuracy of my memory. I had distinct details burned into my visual memory, but after repressing something for 20+ years you question yourself and your own credibility. What’s even real? Could I be wrong? Did I make it up? And on and on as we survivors do on the same level that we blame ourselves. This pursuit of mine was healing on a variety of levels, especially having my 1 year old son there with me, he helped show me what innocence looked like in that space. What amazed me the most was that after all of these years, everything I remembered was 100% correct, everything minus some updated playground equipment. From the path I used to walk around the playground on to the wooden 2-rail fence to the tall oaks that I used to  catch helicopters from and most importantly, to the tree that I was assaulted under. Through this experience I gained a trust for myself that I had been lacking my entire life and a more profound belief in all survivors’ memory recall #ChristineBlaseyFord. We were there for maybe 20 minutes when the heavens opened up and poured down on us as if saying, you don’t need to be here any longer, you got what you came for. We left, in peace and the rain ceased as soon as we got back in the car. The whole experience was emotional and surreal. Thank you for holding space with me by reading my story. 

If I can impart anything to you, dear reader, if you’re in crisis, find a trusted professional resource like a therapist, there are sliding scale spaces. Also, turn down the outside noise and listen to yourself and what you need, our higher Self is always trying to come through if we just listen. 

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin

RESOURCE SHARES

Books: (PS. these books are available on kindle! I didn’t want people knowing all my business while I was healing, I wasn’t planning on sharing my secrets ever!)

The Marriage Sabbatical

When a Woman You Love Was Abused

The Courage to Heal + The Companion Workbook

Online

A guide to help you figure out how and where to find a therapist

Southern California Counseling Center– low cost and sliding scale services, this is where I began my journey.

RAINN– is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and they have a 24/7 confidential free hotline. 800-656-HOPE.

Pandora’s Project– a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support, and resources to survivors of rape and sexual abuse and their friends and family. They have an online anonymous message board that was uber helpful for me to talk about my experiences and read about others who had similar experiences, this is where I learned that marriage can be a trigger for survivors.

Sunlight Survivors Retreats– I went to one of their retreats in Southern California and I learned and healed so much. They take very good care of survivors. Created by a survivor that I personally know.

More Than NO– is an outreach and educational group. Created by a survivor that I personally know.

Trauma Queen– a podcast series that hosts conversations with survivors, therapists, partners, educators, and experts. The goal of TQ is to normalize talking about assault and healing for us all. Providing a free resource, each episode will highlight active and productive steps forward for survivors and allies. Created by a survivor that I personally know.

– xOx

Yoni Eggs I

God lives within me and she is a fierce lover. She is spiritual, she is sexual, she is confirmations and contradictions. She is the living well of life. 

Ahhh one of my favorite topics! Mainly because I get to talk about vaginas, spirituality and self-love with a big ole heapin tablespoon of solo play!

A quick sneak peak into my personal yoni egg collection and practice!

Yoni is a Sanskrit word meaning “source, sacred temple, womb” in other words…our VAGINAAAAAAAA! Yoni eggs are holistic vaginal weights, used to strengthen our pelvic floor muscles, aka “Kegel” muscles which most people are familiar with, but Kegel was a dude gynecologist and I’d like to keep the man and his name off my vag and the internal practice we were already doing before he stuck his pole on our property! (All puns intended).

I’ve been using yoni eggs almost daily for over a year now, but it def wasn’t my first rodeo with putting weights in my vajajay. I’ve worked in the sex retail industry for over 2 years, I’ve used my own muscles, metal ben wa balls, glass and silicone weights, but when I found yoni eggs on a late-night internet rabbit hole as I was looking for more ways to aid in my recovery, I knew I needed them stat! So here’s ALL the reasons I fell into yoni eggs and why I stick with my daily practice!

  • 1. Physically/Sexually: the actual mechanics and strength building of having something weighted in your vagina and what that can do for sex, for giving birth which I’m in prep to conceive, for solo play, to prevent incontinence. You can totes do vaginal strengthening sans weights, but it’s just like working out at the gym with and without weights, you’ll get more results and quicker! Plus it’s fun to grip up on things with your partner to show off your strength! Can you feel me now?!
  • 2. Holistically: I’m a hippie. I love rocks and crystals. Yoni eggs are made from precious stones from the earth, I just intuitively trust them more plus they carry their own healing energy.
  • 3. Emotionally: Emotions are energy in motion and the stones really do hold and share energy with us, letting us release blocked emotions and as a sexual trauma survivor they’ve been very powerful as a tool in my own recovery and healing. I wear one or a combo of 2 to therapy quite often.
  • 4. Spiritually/Ritualistically: I feel very connected to ancestral healing, so I was drawn to the history, sisterhood and feminine spirit within the practice. I love the feeling of oneness and connectedness with a generational tradition that I can learn from and carry on to other women, like maybe my own daughters one day! *Yoni eggs were used by Taoist royalty thousands of years ago, this is not a new practice.*

Anyhoo…in a nutshell, yoni eggs, for me: turn me on, amp up my orgasms, connect me to my body, to the Feminine Divine, other vagina owners throughout herstory and on a practical level they keep my chocha lubed up and tight a’ight!

I’m trying to keep these v/blogs Snappie, but dangit if there’s not soooooo much yoni goodness! I used to host 1 hour yoni egg conference calls with newbies all over the world just to guide them into their practice! It was the bees knees and I miss it, so I could legit talk about this topic all day, like how to insert them, how to release them, how to clean them, when not to wear them and YONI BREATHING, omGAWD yoni breathing…oh and having sex with them in and vaginal reflexology being a thing, and, and, and! So much, too much for 1 post….so you know what that means, there’ll have to be a Yoni Eggs II in our future!

– xOx

Couples Counseling

And it is messy // But it is a blessing // Because when it’s open and exposed // There’s no more throwin ‘bows // Waving white flags to foes // The wounds are scabbing up // Small scars I’ll bare // To live the life I dare. [excerpt from My Muse]. 

About a year and some change ago, the boo and I started couples counseling. We both wanted to be committed to this marriage, but to be honest we were in a pretty rough and tumble place resulting from the deep dark dank hole I seemed to be stuck in. It was a pretty scary time for the both of us as we had no idea what was to become of us, individually and collectively. We were on the verge of separation, I even hesitantly threw the word divorce out into the ring. I’m a product of parents who have both been through multiple divorces, I never really had an example of a healthy relationship that made it through hard times. On the hub’s hand though, his parents have been together for 35+ years, so there was never even a consideration for divorce on his end. To this day, I am so unbelievably grateful that I have a life partner who checks his ego for the good of the whole and isn’t too “manly” (whatever the F that means) to go to counseling or read books on issues that deal directly with what we’re going through and to better himself. Because of our commitment and super duper freakin hard work and a whole lotta tears later, we are now in a place that I never dreamed that we could be. We are closer, more in love, better at communicating and I have experienced true intimacy for the first time in my life. Wow! It’s pretty mind-blowing. Without pursuing counseling, we would never be in a mentally and emotionally stable place to bring a child into this world, thus continuing cycles that were meant to be stopped not recycled! We broke them invisible chains baby!!!

And oh how I love that he humors me by being in my silly Snappie Hippie vlog!

Love me some he.

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RESOURCE: If you’re a sexual trauma survivor and you’re in a relationship, one of the #1 books that really helped us; him understand my behavior and me start to recognize my learned coping patterns was, When a Woman You Love Was Abused. It’s a great couples read, eye opening and healing.

– xOx

Therapy. Yes, Please!

So I digest it and compress it, minimize it and repress it // erasing the bruises and the cries // Press on, my brain’s on a loop of ping pong. [excerpt from Phoenix Rising]. 

*potential trigger warning*

That’s how I lived for 20+ years, never talking about my childhood trauma…until 2014, when a range of rapid fire triggers attacked me like a swarm of killer bees. Sting! Becoming a newly wed. Sting! Seeing a short film on rape. Sting! Being asked to work with a sexual assault survivor advocacy group. Sting! Thinking about having kids. Sting! Drink, drink, drankin! Sting! Sting! Stangin! The very onset of the memories sent me into a out of control downwards, backwards spiral cycle. I restlessly and breathlessly crawled and scraped my way into a counseling center. Desperation, depression and stress, the stank smell on the hem of my breath. Tears straying, praying this grace could be my saving and that my life would not fall to waste. Without therapy (and the massive amount of work that I’ve put into it-  cuz ish ain’t easy!), I know that I wouldn’t be writing this vlog blog right now, let alone still have a home and definitely not working on creating a family with the love of my life, (whom can only be described as God-inspired and super humanly-strengthened to have me as a wife), a person who has stuck with me through the worst toxic mess, and he’s never loved me any less. I give him so many props because he said I do, way before he knew.

  • Micro-vlog episode #2 is up on YouTube, Therapy. Yes, Please! 65 seconds of truth! Mental health is REAL! Let’s all take care of our minds more than the media wants us to worry about the way we “should” look, okay?!?

Today, I am the Director of Outreach at More Than No, a non profit and anti-rape campaign, aimed at championing consent-culture through artistic activism. There was a time when I couldn’t even fathom the life I have now, it was so dark and I was so lost. Everyday, I am grateful for the light and the THERAPY! Straight up, intense, ongoing therapy. It’s the best choice I have ever made and the hardest I have ever worked at something. I wish mental health was one of the most important things taught to us, I hope that I’m able to impart some of this knowledge onto my babes and anyone really.

One thing that prevents people from seeking mental health is the financial cost, DO NOT LET THAT STOP YOU!! If there’s a will, there’s a way! Here’s a couple of resources for finding a therapist in your area. You are the most important thing in this world, your presence is needed here and you’re here for a reason. Like the airplane oxygen mask instructions, put your healing first.

PS. It’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, so let’s be gentle with ourselves and each other, because we don’t know everyone else’s story.

– xOx

 

 

Consciously Conceiving: Baby Prep

I began planning for *hopeful* conception about 10-12 months before my *ideal* gettin dat bun in the oven date! Whaaaa?! Planning? What a concept. Definitely something foreign to me, as I grew up around a lot of “Oh S%@T! I’m pregnant” unplanned pregnancies, including myself. So this time around, if planning was an option, I wanted to make sure me & my partna got our mental, emotional, physical and financial health in order! Here’s the checklist list I created on my notes app in January 2016.

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Here’s a 60 second snappie video!

Now, that list broken down with LOTS of helpful links!

  1. Therapy! I knew that this was something I needed to do for me, and it was long overdue! I had a lot of suppressed sexual trauma/shame/guilt/denial/an alcohol problem and I knew that I needed to deal with allllla that first before I could ever be the wife, mother, family member, friend that I wanted to be and GUESS WHAT?!?! IT WORKED!! Therapy is the ish and if you’re willing to put in the work and get real uncomfortable for a bit, you’re entire life can change. Your relationships can change. I had put it off for decades b/c well, I didn’t want to deal with my demons and I didn’t think I could afford therapy. But GUESS WHAT ELSE?! There’s places that have a sliding scale based on your income which was my saving grace two years ago! Then couples therapy, I mean I am trying to co-exist and grow with another human, but that’s for a future v/blog! This article is chocked full of resources for finding mental health help on a budget!
  2. Financial Peace University was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken and hereby do declare that this course or similar, should be in every high school across the country! In 362 days, we have paid off all of our consumer debt, 3 outrageous credit cards and rebuilt our emergency fund 2x! Cuz, well, we had an emergency, buuuuut we were able to use our emergency fund instead of putting anything on a credit card! Hollllaaaa! Dave Ramsey, this financial genius, has a daily podcast and youtube channel!
  3. Yoni Eggs or holistic vaginal weights made of crystals were not only a part of getting my chocha right and tight, but also a part of my healing process in combo with intense therapy. I started out with the three traditional Tao eggs, Jade, Obsidian and Rose Quartz. Now I had been working with vaginal weights, but they were like the old school metal ben wa balls and these were healing crystals, so I was all in! Today I have almost 20 yoni eggs of all sizes and variety of crystals! PLEASE for the love of Holy Mother, just make sure whatever yoni eggs you buy are GIA-certified, there is A LOT of fake crystal dealers out there, effed up I know, especially when it comes to Jade. This is your precious temple we’re talking about, so don’t be cheap, get something that will make your kitty purr and heal.
  4. Let’s give it up for Planned Parenthood y’all! They have kept me baby and cancer-free my entire post-college adult life?! It’s called PLANNED parenthood for a reason! Thru these angels, I got the non hormonal, copper ParaGard IUD, which basically kung fu chops semen, at least that’s the visual in my head! These IUDs have a lifespan of up to 12 years and are immediately reversible. Now it hurts like a B going in, but for 6 years, not feeling it at all, my partner not feeling it all and NO pregnancy scares, it was so worth it! The removal is not a day at the beach either, I’m not gonna lie, but it’s hella quick and easy, which was surprising since my hypochondriac self swore it had definitely embedded itself into my organs. Nope! It’s outta there!
  5. Garden of Life mykind Organics Prenatal Multi baybeee! Literally for me and my baby, pre, during and post pregnancy for milkie milkie time! They’re still big as hell, but they don’t taste so bad going down. They also have a dude’s multi which baby daddy has been consuming to help with that healthy sperm game.
  6. I’m a hard core vegetarian whose a wanna be vegan most of the time…like 89%. Skinny Bitch Bun in the Oven and Kind Mama are my go-tos when making sure Imma be getting the proper nutrition to me and bae during conception and during preggo time. It’s also my go-to when I need to hit the naysayers upside the head with my kindle for poo pooing on my lifestyle choice of not eating potentially poisoned and rotting flesh, which is fine if that’s what you’re into. To each her own, I’ll leave your steak alone, if you leave my greens alone, capisce?! PS. Rando Fact: Alicia Silverstone wrote Kind Mama and is also responsible for the mykind line at Garden of life! Get it Alicia and thanks!
  7. We had a pre-baby vacay for our anniversary and spent a month in Italy this summer doing as the Romans do…when in Rome… straight debauchery! Vino, gelato, vino, food, vino and umm…whatever happens in Italy stays in Italy! Needless to say, we had us a good little cleansing when we got back, a vegan liquid cleanse- juice, smoothies and soups minus the vino! It was womb prep-time for the future tenet.
  8. Living in SoCal, I have a bunch of beautiful, natural-living, ahhhmazing Mexican amigas who hipped me to sobadoras. A sobadora is a masseuse, one that massages a woman’s uterus. Our ute can get all kinds of out of wack from sports, babies, carrying heavy ish, TRAUMA and plain ole stress. If the ute is not in the correct position it can F with implantation. The super amazing sobadora that I found specializes in Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy. Marcia is a gem and her website is True Healing Bodywork, tell her The Snappie Hippie sent you so she knows I love her and am in eternal gratitude.
  9. Yogaglo (at home) and Silverlake Yoga (in studio) has amazing prenatal classes, partner classes and baby and me classes…swooooon!! The great news for this very vain workout addict is that I found out I can pretty much continue with all my regular scheduled workouts like hiking, elliptical and swimming throughout my pregnancy, F yes! I am however going to take my outdoor cycling off the list, since it’s already hella dangerous on these LA streets and I’ll be pedaling for 2. Might have to cool it on the pole when I get too big to swing around or invert. Already thinking of when I can get back to working out after pregnancy and I’m not even pregs yet…oy.
  10. The midwife and doula search is ON like Donkey Kong! I’m SO grateful that there are soooo many good reproductive resources here in Los Angeles! Somewhere along the way since my epidural-heavy , pain-free first pregnancy, I’ve decided that I want to have a natural at home water birth…whaaaaa, never have I ever! I want that spiritual mama to babe soul connection on my terms, plus I heard there’s such a thing as an orgasmic birth and I’m gonna research the hell outta that! Masturbation while giving birth anyone? Here’s the midwife search thus far:

And dasss it (hella long tho, huh?)! My first post will be my longest post *promise* but I want to share ALL the goodies I’ve been collectin!

– xOx