A Survivor’s Secret: from Shame to Freedom

 “I’m a survivor”. This was a new thought for me. “Serious sexual trauma”, she called it. The words rang in my ears and landed in my soul. Like rocks to the bottom of the ocean. “Survivor, me?!” I kept repeating to myself. Almost like she was informing me of a new reality. 

My back stiffened and I held my head high. “I’m a well adjusted business owner. I’m here to share my story and inspire them. Your ladies. These women who lived in hell.” A hell I was sure I knew nothing about. In that moment I realized, she was me. The woman in front of me. I am her. We, we’re sisters. Now I find my own past volcano erupting. Realizations happening like a pop up story book. 
You see, I’ve never written down my story. This is my pain. I mean, was my pain. Perhaps if I share it with you I’ll heal a little more. Maybe we’ll both heal a little bit more. It began at 9. I was little. I’ve tried not to remember. I can hardly say it above a whisper, that I was molested by a family member until 15 years old. I never talk about it. I didn’t realize until today how I daily make sure that I’m covered and nothing’s hanging out. That I don’t attract too much attention. I even tell people coming to my yoga classes about attire. I’ll say, “Wear whatever you like as long as you feel comfortable and covered.” I didn’t realize until now that comfortable and covered was my life. I’ve been trying desperately not to be seen. Even though I’m seen by hundreds of yoga students and life coaching clients weekly. This seeing is of an intimate nature. You are now seeing my past pain and that feels raw. 
I’ll let you into my life back then. After he’d be done with me I’d take the hottest shower possible. Trying to rinse the dirty feelings off. The dirtiness of being molested that is. It didn’t matter though, they subconsciously stuck to my soul long after the soap washed off. Now I know now why I love scarfs. They keep me comfortable and covered. I can wrap it around me and feel safe. Not used and exposed against my will. I learned early to control everything in my environment. I was and still am defensive if I see a man even look at a woman in a creepy way, because at one time I was her. 
You see I was little. I didn’t know. When I was old enough to know. I felt shame. Deep shame. It was a secret. Kept me silent. I felt dirty, a rag and worthless. My guard was up. Thought of myself as a target. Thinking that people were out to get me, especially men. You see I was little. Innocent. I didn’t even know what sex was. Molestation was foreign to me. Thank God for my sister! She woke my parents up to what was happening. I thought it was my fault, even though he was older than me. I didn’t know how to stop it. 

My shame was so deep that I even yelled at my sister for telling my parents. I was scared of something bad happening to her or even me. “Don’t swing your hands, wear long shorts and don’t be alone with him” they said. Which was hard, because he was at the house a lot. “Did he apologize? they asked. “Yes? Okay, then that’s all he can do.” My Mom, said I could yell for help. “How could I scream when his actions were my fault?,” I’d ask myself confused. 
Like I’d tempted a young man into using my body for his pleasure even though he knew it was wrong. The conversation left me feeling like a dirty secret. Like I was dirt. I was something to be hidden and silent. I’d been conditioned for silence and silent I stayed. Sitting on my hands. Mouth zipped by paralyzing fear. I grew into a young woman who knew how to sit down and shut up. I don’t remember all that was said in the whistleblowing conversation. I just remember walking out feeling like it was my fault. For not being a better girl or yelling or telling them. Or something! 
My parents did the best they could. I bet they didn’t even know what to do. They knew it was wrong. They didn’t know how to stop it. It didn’t stop. Once it was out, I felt worse. An even dirtier secret. I needed my parents to believe and comfort me. A hug. A friend. I needed protectors. I didn’t feel safe around him. I wanted to know I wasn’t alone. Maybe they told me that, I don’t remember.
My experience taught me, abuse occurs from people close to you. Family (like me), close friends and even partners. Shame secrets cannot grow when exposed to light. I’m placing my shame in the light. To parents and guardians of children, the best thing you can do it create an open loving relationship with your kids. So your sons and daughters knows they can come to you with their shame. Live in a way that they know they can talk to you, about anything.
Well, I’m grown now. A woman. I’m still healing. I’m not my past or my story, it doesn’t define me. I am who I choose to be. I chose to be brave and vulnerable. To live free! I hope my story empowers you. I hope it rings in your soul. Everyone needs respect. To feel safe at home. Stop sitting on your hands. Stand up. Speak up.

 Sarah Suero is a Certified Effectiveness Coach for women and Yoga Instructor. 

My passion is empowering women! On and off the yoga mat. I love co-creating fresh possibilities with women who dare greatly. Transforming the past stories into bold brilliance. I also latin dance, cook yummy food and enjoy coffee (all kinds of coffee). Reach out to me at ://sarahsuero.wordpress.com/ or email me sarahesuero@gmail.com

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Be Here Now – Lessons in Being Present

ImageIt’s easy to be hard as a rock. It’s take guts to be vulnerable. To share your heart even if you get rejected again and again. It’s easy to create the most beautiful outfit and hair. It takes courage to create a beautiful soul. It’s easy to tell stories (believe me I’ve told many and so have you). It takes courage to tell the truth. There’s only a couple things in life worth laying it all out on the line for. I can count them all on one hand.

No, it’s not your cell phone. Quit treating it like your lover. Go kiss your lover! Hold him or her dearly, press them close to your heart. Let her feel you! No, it isn’t your flat screen t.v. Be mesmerized by the people you love. Look for their beauty, their smiles and laughs. No, it isn’t your iPod or radio. Listen to the music, the music is their voice. Hear the deep tones, the high pitches and breaths between words. Hear the silent pauses and hesitations. Their heart is in their words, whether the heart is warm and open or cold and closed.

Not everyone is looking for advice when they call you. Sometimes they just need to know their not alone. They called because they want you to listen or invite you to share space.

Think about this…when was the last time you listened instead of just waiting for your turn to talk?

How a Homeless Man Helped Me Get Home – Keys to Being Alone & Not Lonely

ImageHave you ever had a mind full? Thoughts whirling through your head like a tornado, round and round? Yeah, that was my mind tonight. Everything from groceries to life changing questions. They wouldn’t go away. Worry, doubt and fear slowly started creeping in. Frustrated and in an effort to clear my head of the thought tornado I decided to go for a run.

Keeping it light the only thing I took with me was my house key tied it to my shoe laces. I chose the scenic route, the river. Peaceful. Nice breeze. Relaxed pace. As my pace quickened my thoughts dropped onto the pavement. With each step my mind was becoming quieter and quieter.

I fell into a pace. Soon all I heard was the pounding of my feet on the pavement. Then the rhythm of my breathing was the only thing I heard. My mind became clearer and clearer. I forgot everything else. It was a dance between my feet and my breath. I was so engrossed in the dance that I didn’t even notice my shoe laces coming loose. Unknowingly they loosen more with each mile until it was too late. Clink! Tripped over my laces and face down in the pavement.

“Perfect timing” I thought to myself, “I don’t where it is and it getting dark”. I searched all over the sidewalk, grass and even the cracks between the sidewalk. No key. Worry began to set in. Woman, alone, in the dark city, without a key and no cell phone. Not a good combo. I kept looking. Now it was dark and still no key. Crouched on the ground nearly eye level with the pavement an older shabbily dressed man on a bike rolled up. His  front basket was full of odd things I couldn’t identify. Dirt was all over his face. I knew instantly the bike was his home. Yet, something inside of me told me it was okay to talk to him. This is how the homeless man helped me get home.

He got off his bike and asked if I was alright. I told him I was looking for my house key. Quickly he joined the sidewalk search. He pulled his head light of his basket of odds and ends and handed it to me. “Here”, he said shoving it in my direction, “a bright light helps in the dark”. Together this man and I searched. Finally between the sidewalk and the grass, I found it!

Happy, I placed my hand on his shoulder. “Thanks! You’re the reason I’m gonna make it home safe tonight.” He told me he was homeless and asked for $1. I would have given him $20 if I’d had some cash on me. Smiling he placed his hand on his heart and said gently, “Young lady I’m glad I helped. Many people have helped me before. I’m just glad to return the favor.” Tipping his hat, he jumped on his bike and took off.

The encounter made me think. I ran alone tonight. I could have let loneliness set it. Being alone and lonely would have been easy. I could have let the fear and doubts from my tornado mind swirl me into feeling lonely. Lonely wants to focus on what you don’t have at the moment. Like I didn’t have a running buddy.

What I know now is that I did have running buddies. I just couldn’t see them, because they were flying next to me. Angels, I must have had angels watching me, because there was no one else around. No cars. No other people walking or even biking. I learned that the key to being alone and not lonely, is to remember that there are unseen forces working for you and with you for your good. To give you help because you’ve helped someone before. I couldn’t have planned this man’s arrival. It was perfect timing!

I had no idea that me loosing my key would remind me that I’m not alone in this world. That there are many people that I’ve helped along their way to finding what they needed to find. This stranger became a friend because he asked a question and helped me when I needed some light. His time and kindness touched my heart. I’m sitting here at my desk. Safe and warm, because he helped me find my key. A man with no home and no place to sleep tonight helped me get home.

~ Sarah Suero

How to Make Your Dream Happen – Be Simple

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When you want something go get it. Period.” – Will Smith

This hit me between the eyes this morning. I realize it’s easiest to give up on an idea when the money is low. When you’ve lost your train of thought and you haven’t been able to find it for years. What I love about this line from Will is that there’s no conditions in it. He didn’t say go for it for 10 years. When you get tired then stop. He didn’t say, keep going until the going gets tough and then stop. He said it’s simple.

The power is in the simplicity. If you want it, go get it. It rings true even to the weariest of souls. Sometimes we want to make things complicated, because why would it be that simple? The choice is that simple. There’s freedom and boundless energy in that choice. When you know what your prior commitment is, it makes life easy. This is my dream. I’m going for it. All in. We just have to wait for the world to see the vision. The late and sleepless nights don’t matter. The amount of time it’s takes to make it happen no longer matters. Who thinks it’s a bad idea sure doesn’t matter. It’s the small voice within that powers you up out of bed. Feet hit the floor and you do whatever it takes because it’s that important. You hobble sleepily to the coffee pot. You read the same sentence 15 times over because you don’t want to miss a thing. Passion.

It’s that passion. Choosing (again) your dream. When the bed seems to wrap its arms around you and when the comforter is tucked under your chin. Your dream has you throw your covers back and it’s on! The day begun. It’s the drive to continue even though your toes are sore and your head fuzzy. It doesn’t matter, nothing else matters, because from fuzzy determined heads brilliant dreams are born. Companies are created. Lovers united. A finished line crossed. Yes, even within fuzzy is brilliance. I love how Will brought it home, “If you want something go get it. Period.” Single focus. Raw. Determined and making it happen.

How to know it’s your intuition vs. logic

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Ever rationalized your way into a decision even though your intuition said, “Ah um, don’t go there?!” When was the last time your intuition steered you wrong? This was a part of a hot topic between a friend and I today. I came to the conclusion after our lunch that, the head, usually sounds like this, “Well, if you think about it you’re probably just being silly. If you look around everything is as it should be. On paper…” You get the hint. If you listen to your self talk you can clearly hear it. Logic rationalizes. Looks for evidence and being able to measure things. Intuition doesn’t think. It doesn’t measure people, places and experiences. It whispers. It speaks quietly and with clarity. Confusion is from the head. Intuition speaks from the heart.

Think of intuition as a friend. Let’s make it personal, a girl friend. Let’s call her Sophia. She doesn’t yell. In fact she whispers softly. Kindly she will keep repeating herself until you listen. She is probably the softest and most gentle friend you’ll ever have. She won’t leave you, ever. No matter what you do or how many times you ignore her. She’s faithful. Right there inside of you if you’ll only just listen to her. She’s smart, courageous and has your best interest in mind. She’s willing to try when no one else will. She’d have the guts to design a marathon from inside of a broken woman’s body in the war torn country of Lebanon. She’s the one who pulled through 32 surgeries and two years in a hospital so she could walk again. Not only did she walk, she created the largest marathon in the middle east. Teaching thousands the love of running and creating peace. Intuition kept on even when the doctors told her she would never walk again. She was the small voice inside of a broken body that changed thousands of lives.

She whispers. She speaks your truth. She’s the courage to begin again and the words when you have none. She’s your hope when your heart and bones are broken. Logic thinks. Intuition feels. Logic measures. Intuition says, “Go now”. Some of the greatest mistakes of my life were ones that I talked myself into. Some of the best decisions of my life are the ones that didn’t make sense to anyone except for me. Stop moving and start listening to that little voice. She’s not gonna go away anyways. Believe me I know. It could be said, “Move aside head. This is a job for the heart.” Go ahead! Dare greatly and follow your intuition.

Law of Attraction: who do you say you are?

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We attract what we are.

Yes, we attract what we are, not who we look like. Since I believe this to be true, the statement begs the question, “Well…who are you?” That’s not a big question, right, ha?! Yes, well what if it isn’t a big question at all? What if you don’t even need to know? Perhaps you can declare who you are without evidence.

Start by noticing what’s here now. Become an observer. Being an observer will show you who you are and what you are attracting. Look around at who and what’s in your life. Notice everything. What and who’s here now will tell you what you’ve been attracting. It’s easy to observe and judge. Don’t judge, just notice.

Typically when I ask my clients, “Who do you say you are?” They tell me who they were or what other people think. I’m not interested in who you were or what people have told you, you are. What I’m interested in is, “Who do you say you are now?” Tell me who you are becoming despite who you’ve been in the past. You are not your past. Since you are not your past let’s not focus on it.

Focus on what you’re noticing. Is it lining up with who you say you are? If it does keep going and if doesn’t perhaps a few changes are needed. This law of attraction is working, usually it’s behind the scenes whether we recognize it or not. Yes, even if we work with it or not. To work with it line up; who you say you are, with what you’re thinking and what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid. You can do it. Go ahead, tell me, who do YOU say you are?