My safe place: An Introduction

My life a few years ago consisted of rock climbing, hiking, pole dancing, crossfit, and backpacking. I was passionate about fitness and vitality. I felt alive and unstoppable. Of course I had struggles but they were manageable. Ultimately, I was content with where I was in life.

Then I got a job in a very toxic environment. Long story short, it triggered some past trauma in me that I had buried so deep I almost convinced myself wasn’t real.

I was sexually abused as a little girl and kept it a secret from age 6 to 23.

Keep in mind, keeping quiet was not how I regularly dealt with my feelings as a child. I was definitely the type who spoke up when I felt I was wronged. But this? This was different. It made me feel powerless, and that made me feel ashamed. I held so much shame around this attack that I literally never told anyone.

Then I got that job, and I felt those same fearful emotions that I hadn’t experienced in so long. I started seeing a therapist to help me figure out what to do about my job. I thought I would see him a few times and have a confident decision of whether to leave or stay. If I were to stay, maybe he could help me to identify how to change my work environment or at least how to respond. I’d soon find out, I had bigger fish to fry.

In my first session, I told him what was going on at work. His response took me by surprise.

“Have you ever been sexually abused?” he asked.

I clenched my fists, my chest grew tight, I felt my body became hot as my blood rushed faster.

Why is he asking me this? I thought. How could HE know!?

I wasn’t prepared for that question, and I was angry that he could see right through me.

I took me a few minutes to really process what he had asked, but I literally COULD NOT find words to answer him. Then I remembered why I was there. I remembered why he was there. He could help me. This was my chance.

At first, all I could get out were tears. I wept harder than I think I ever have in my life during that session, realizing what was ahead. Then I broke the silence of my secret for the first time in 17 years.

That day, he drew a connection between how my boss was behaving toward me ( which is called grooming) to the sexual abuse I experienced as a little girl. He bridged the similarities and I left my job.

Don’t get too excited yet. This IS ultimately where my life started to shift, but things didn’t get better there. Not yet.

I left that job, I shared my experience with a few people who I was close to. But years of damage and habit takes time to heal and change. Here I am, three years later since first speaking of my attack, only just beginning to really pick up the broken pieces. What followed that session was baby steps in the right direction. I can see that now. Life these past few years were dark. I was trying to learn how to be different. A shaky, but necessary transition.

What that therapist helped me to do was to no longer silence my truths and I had other truths to face.

I was in an unhealthy marriage, I was depressed, my priorities were all out of whack. I realized I was lying and had always lied to myself to feel safe.I came from a very rocky childhood. My parents split when I was two. My dad was (still is) a drug addict, and my mom brought home prison junkies. I was NEVER really safe. That is the ugly truth that I have rationalized and tip-toed around my whole life.

In January of 2018, I left my marriage. I experienced a short-lived sense of self-respect, but I had more work to do. Over the past year I have attempted to talk to a few family members about the past. I think I was looking to heal some resentment. What I learned from that is healing comes from within. No amount of accusing or finger pointing will bring peace. Learning how to let go is what will allow for the pain to end.

I am definitely still here. I am learning what it means to let go.

I had a sort of wake-up call when I stepped on the scale in February if 2019 and saw 215 pounds. ME. The girl who loves cooking healthy food, hiking with my dog, swimming in the lake, and being outside. Three years went by and I had lost that part of myself while trying to find the other broken pieces.

I now know that you don’t have to compromise. I am no longer compromising my physical health to focus my mental. I now know that they are one-in-the-same.

Fast forward to NOW

I have been listening to podcast and it has SIGNIFICANTLY shifted my outlook on health. I look at health through a more holistic scope now. I’ve realized that we need to empower ourselves to become who we want to be. We need to become our own personal trainer, and our own accountability partner. We need to EDUCATE ourselves so we can make the BEST decisions for our own bodies. Who knows your body better than you? Mine better than me? No one.

Once I realized that I can take control, I’ve felt pretty unstoppable.

My health was rapidly declining until recently.

The Model Health Show has given me so many tools to take matters into my own hands to start balancing things out.

Over the past few years, I have gained 70 pounds, fell apart, and learned how to patch myself back together again. I couldn’t ask for more personalized life lessons.

I never thought I’d feel such a deep gratitude for the discomfort I’ve felt over the past few years, but here I am thanking the universe, or whoever for making me stronger.

Today I signed up for and I completed my first assignment.

My goal is not solely weight loss. I hope to gain life-long tools to keep me grounded, sustainable routines to keep me strong, and confidence in eating to keep me energized and healthy. I am not trying to just drop the weight I have gained; rather, learning how to avoid ever allowing this to happen again.

I plan to track my journey on here as I progress and grow into a better version of myself. This is my safe place.