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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Even Wonder Woman Needed Saving

WonderWomanWonder woman had put down her cape. The rain poured. Life had knocked the wind out of her. Drenched, her eyes filled with tears. Focused on saving others she forgot to save herself. She threw her hands in the air. Who knew that even she needed a bit of saving herself?! “I don’t know how to do that,” she thinks as she stands looking at her war torn cape

Up to her knees in disappointment. Wonder Woman realized that even though she may not know how to save herself. She can try again. She can scrub out the dirt. Throw it in the wash. Toss it in the drier. She can grab a needle and thread. Stitch strength and courage back into her cape. She can ask for help. Even though her cape isn’t brand new it doesn’t matter.

She isn’t the super-hero the world told her she should be. She totally messed up and life socked in the stomach. Yet she is a brave woman who wakes up the next morning and tries again. That, ladies n’ gents sounds like Wonder Woman to me. She can still be proud of the cape in her hands. The stitches tell stories of pain and hurt, of winning some and losing some. The real story is about the woman underneath the cape and that makes her a super hero.

She is stronger now. Sliding the red cape proudly around her shoulders she stands tall. Her fingers carefully tie the string around her neck. Her cape is bright red from being washed in the rain. Complete with stains and stitches. This cape tells her story of resilience.

Standing in her house. She walks to the front door and throws it open. Her feet planted firmly into the ground, shoulders back and heart up. Experience laden red cape around her neck. She’s ready to face the world again. To save those willing to be saved and yes, perhaps even save herself.

 

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?