Warning: This blog post contains content around sexual trauma and assault.
Imagine you’re walking down the street, on a Saturday night, by yourself. A man approaches as he is walking in the opposite direction. Immediately, you begin making note of his race, height, features, clothes, etc....why? Because if this man attacks you, you want to be able to give a description of the person to the police - just in case.
This was me. I was the girl who would immediately begin considering that I was in danger simply because a man walked past me. I didn’t realize how ludacris this was until I shared it in my spiritual class on Sundays. I was speaking to a woman who had also been sexually assaulted, twice, and she did not have any of these experiences that I was dealing with. It told me one thing: the paranoia was 100% self inflicted. It also told me that I could make it stop, if I wanted it to.
It was an important epiphany for me to realize the constant state of fear I was living in. I was reliving my sexual assault everyday, many times, multiple times a day. I knew that if I wanted to live differently I would need to reprogram my mind around the idea of safety and the type of impact I want my sexual trauma to have on me. I had to get clear.
I began journaling mantras like “I AM safety”, “All experiences I am granted are for my growth” and my favorite “I don’t need safety, I attract it.” I also began practicing more mindfulness in times that I wanted to flee or began having fear based thoughts. It was challenging but with practice and accountability partners, I was able to feel more safe and release these false beliefs that something would happen to me.
Most of all, when I still felt unsafe or was in fear, I would forgive myself and understand that I needed more time. I began to welcome opportunities that presented itself for me to practice my new found belief system: that I am always safe and that I have nothing to fear. It’s been a challenging, rewarding and freeing process.
All of us have experienced trauma but we have the power to say what kind of impact this life event will have on us. It’s our responsibility to harness that power for our own mental wellbeing.