Gallery

Post-Traumatic Growth: Transforming Pain into Power

 

IMG_0271.jpgI believe in the power of vulnerability and this means sharing my truth on  social media which is sometimes a scarily distorted version of reality. I feel inspired to share in hopes that it reaches someone needing a boost of self-compassion. You are not alone.

Jocelyn teeth gap 2.jpg Dress Up    IMG_7725-1.JPG  2017

If you’re human like me, you probably get lost in old stories about who you are. I like to remind myself on an annual basis, especially when critical voices of the past pay me a visit. This happens all the time! For instance, two people’s whose opinions I wish I didn’t care about have recently made comments that have made me feel very small and unworthy. My first response was to feel misunderstood and hurt. But now, I’ll take a moment to reflect on who I actually am and want to be. What I know about myself and how I treat myself matters most and maybe I won’t choose to be around them or discuss certain topics.

I’m obsessed with babies, quotes, puppies, ice-cream and chocolate. I’m a good listener. I can be fearless. I am open-minded. I love learning. I don’t shy away from challenging people and being challenged. I am beautiful because of my presence and spirit. Because of my intensity. Because I am thoughtful and resilient. I am dependable. I am adventurous. I can be clumsy. I love travel, hiking, playing soccer/basketball, hosting dinner parties, spending quality time with loved ones (especially my niece & nephew). I am curious & chatty. I am a seeker. I am creative. I am silly. I love flash mobs and karaoke. I am a loving & generous daughter, sister, Aunt, and friend. I am a survivor.

IMG_2214.JPG

Bolstered by the privileged parts of my life, which are never more apparent than when shit hits the fan, I feel fortunate to identify post-traumatic-growth despite surviving various violent experiences. Even though I have developed positive ways to cope with trauma, over the years the impact of it has affected my education, housing, work, and my health as is so often the case. As many survivors have stated, the aftermath of trauma is often more painful than the event itself, shared most recently by a survivor of rape quoted by Sheryl Sandberg in her new book: Option BEven though I been working to help others in their healing for a over a decade, I’m still learning how to ask for help. IT’S HARD! Trauma makes you feel helpless. It is confusing and paralyzing. It makes you doubt yourself. Plus, I was raised by someone who equates asking for help with weakness and incompetence.

quote_360.jpg

What I want to tell you, fellow survivors, is to reach out & ask for help. People will show up. In fact, people LIKE helping. You are loved and there are people in your life and people you don’t know even know who would be honored to be there. When people make you feel small, let them project their shit onto you, but don’t give them your power. They are too consumed with themselves and their own image to see or hear you. (Shout out to my dear friend, Hope!) Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. Find the people who can cheer you on as you grow stronger and do the courageous work of healing. 

17991941_760304127495627_8160641111814479305_n.jpg

These past few months have been difficult & triggering for me personally, to say the least. What’s helped fuel me, in addition to ramping up the “self-care,” having good boundaries and supports, are the encouraging messages (excerpted below) I’ve received in response to my survivor advocacy work (podcasts, workshops, social media campaign). Note to Self: Use your voice! Do what you Love! Share what’s on your mind! 

74509_1418471856981_4987254_n.jpg

Introducing Voices Raised in Power @ The Fred in college.

I am sharing these words because I am moved, inspired and emboldened by the badass, brave survivors I connect with every day. Whether I’m leading a therapeutic group or getting my hair cut or my car repaired, I hear your hopefulness and strength in how you live your lives. I see your pain, your grief, your loss. You are so beautiful and brave. 

IMG_1168.JPG

Ubuntu, originating in South Africa, means that a person is a person through another person, that my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. You are me and I am you. I am you and you are me.

These are my wishes for myself and for you, and for beings everywhere: I deserve to be at home in my body and mind. I am worthy. I am forgivable. I am enough. I am safe. I am loved. I am powerful. I am allowed to make mistakes. Healing is not linear. 

2209_1121415910768_961_n.jpg

At a rally shouting.

Thank you for the encouragement to keep sharing and doing what I love. I am lucky to have such a powerful community of colleagues, survivors, friends and family. Thank you for the laughs, invitations, blog comments, texts, calls, cards, visits. The most difficult experiences of our lives seem to clarify what matters most.

17904317_4504940936779_8597742225283358514_n.jpg

Facilitating a therapeutic writing workshop for survivors about self-compassion

“You created a remarkable healing opportunity on Saturday with your facilitating of the Healing Through Creative Arts workshop. I looked around the room to see the wide range of participants and appreciated how skillfully you affirmed our shared purpose of healing from sexual trauma.  When you stated it simply and clearly I felt you ground all of us in the courage of that common intention.  Then the tone you set of respect, generosity, loving kindness, honesty and nonjudgmental acceptance gave us all permission to write with honesty and vulnerability.   This tone combined with your thoughtfully sequenced guidelines and prompts created an afternoon filled with beautiful moments of support, appreciation and powerful writing.”
“i saw your post about sexual assault awareness month. i’ve thought so many times about the speech you gave i guess like 8 or 9 years ago now…and i’ve wanted to go back and read it again. i was wondering if you have a blog online or something. thanks again for sharing. It made an impact on me and i was very proud of you.”

Great resources, thanks for sharing.  This gives greater awareness to the global phenomenon of sexual abuse as New Zealand has a high proportion of victims compared to most developed countries.  It was encouraging to see the openness and willingness to speak on this topic as it is very taboo here in New Zealand still and met with great resistance.”

“You just have a very profound way of being so real and sharing. You have so much to offer.”

Thank you Jocelyn for sharing your podcasts with me. I listened today. I appreciated all the different information shared and definitely could relate with all the topics mentioned. What touched me most was hearing your heart and experience and voice of care for other survivors. I heard your voice of your own divinity coming through within it and it was beautiful and touching. Thank you again for sharing so many resources and your experience and well wishes for all. The birds are singing here. Such beautiful nectar :)”

IMG_5576.jpg

IMG_7731.JPG

@ Vessel Van Der Kolk’s incredible Trauma Center enjoying some healing energy.

   If you or someone you love would like help connecting with local resources and services to begin or continue your healing, please don’t hesitate to reach out! 

 

 

Advertisements

Celebrating a decade of advocacy work.

“…I saw your post about sexual assault awareness month. i’ve thought so many times about the speech you gave [in college] (i guess like 8 or 9 years ago now…) and I’ve wanted to go back and read it again. i was wondering if you have a blog online or something. You explained how you felt so eloquently. Thanks again for telling your story back then – it made an impact on me and I was very proud of you.”

“You created a remarkable healing opportunity on Saturday with your facilitating of the Healing Through Creative Arts workshop. I looked around the room to see the wide range of participants and appreciated how skillfully you affirmed our shared purpose of healing from sexual trauma.  When you stated it simply and clearly I felt you ground all of us in the courage of that common intention.  Then the tone you set of respect, generosity, loving kindness, honesty and nonjudgmental acceptance gave us all permission to write with honesty and vulnerability.   This tone combined with your thoughtfully sequenced guidelines and prompts created an afternoon filled with beautiful moments of support, appreciation and powerful writing.”

-Healing Arts Workshop Coordinator, Survivor Theater Workshop & Teacher tumblr_oir0pxQGPh1sz0omqo1_1280.jpg

This past week, I led a healing- arts writing workshop for survivors through the Survivor Theater Workshop @ the Cambridge Women Center.17309460_4460534826654_7108000988534932529_n.jpg

At my first American Group Psychotherapy conference in New York meeting new inspiring colleagues. March 2017. 13406756_4062022864104_6612211373539402086_n.jpg

With my mentor at MASOC’s annual conference in April 2016. I am grateful for her example and showing me the power of writing groups.

When to Be Vulnerable

In the past I’ve always longed for “intimacy”, deep, meaningful conversations, strangers turned friends. Then why do I suddenly find myself hyper-aware of others’ need to disclose their inner-lives so quickly? Before I’m ready or wondering if they’re ready for what I might share.

I used to feel like people needed to know about my life experiences to know me. I wanted them to see my scars right away so I could feel seen and accepted. Now, I’m being trained in a profession that focuses on intentionality and mindfulness. We must ask ourselves: WHY are you sharing, for WHO are you sharing? These questions along with a stronger sense of self have me thinking twice about sharing and how vulnerable I am with people.  I feel more patient with the time it takes to build relationships and earn trust. I feel more guarded in a healthy way, protective of myself. We can’t control how people react to our stories, our disclosures, our wounds, but we CAN control who we share them with.

I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone. I know what I’ve been through and those experiences may not be written on my face but they live within me and inform everything I do and everything I am. I never thought I’d say this because I’m a big fan of vulnerability and still love connecting with people through sharing meaningful experiences. Yet, I’m noticing how others choose to share and why. I’m wondering if they feel these experiences define who they are or if they too see that they are SO much more than what’s happened to them. We are so much more than what we’ve been through.

7439dd5d3d945411f3b878501ad8fcba

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

We ask ourselves: Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.

10409244_1015540375127738_7272070994860212557_n

This morning my friend reminded me of the wonderful interview between Krista Tippett and Brene Brown. I relistened to it at the gym (embarrassing? It gets my heart rate up!)

Here are some of my favorite take-aways:

  • “Most of us are brave and afraid in the exact same moment, all day long.”
  • “When i meet you vulnerability is the first thing I try to find in you and the very last thing I try to show you in me. It’s the glue that holds connection together, it’s all about our common humanity. When we own our stories and share them with one another and we see ourselves reflected back in the stories of people in our lives, we know we are not alone. And to me that’s the heart of whole heartedness.”
  • “It’s the long walk from what will people think to I am enough. I think it is recognizing if courage is a value that we hold as important, then vulnerability is the only way in and through.”
  • “It starts by an openness to see ourselves and how we are protecting ourself from vulnerability.”
  1. Standing my ground, valuing my time and contributions, in a negotiation
  2. Asking someone for a second date. Going on a date. Period.
  3. Reaching out for support.
  4. Reaching out for a friend to get her more support.
  5. Going to a community event by myself and going up to the moderator after to thank her for her comments.
  6. Asking for help with a new machine at the gym and then responding confidently when the person commented on my “sun tan.”
  7. Setting boundaries with my ex.

Share your stories with yourself, a friend, or below to honor your strength and encourage others in your life to take some emotional risks!