Dr Laura McGuire
|| It's April, and I Invite All Survivors to the Spring
But healing, like growing, takes time and patience
by Dr Laura McGuire
|EDITOR'S NOTE: We're delighted to present Dr Laura McGuire, a NAASCA family member who recently made the first of what we hope will be many appearances on our "Stop Child Abuse Now" talk radio shows. A sexologist, she's also offered to write occasional articles for our web site on the topic of child abuse and trauma.
April is a very special month for myself and my community. Spring has arrived, the world is blossoming and reminding us that life will always renew itself.
For many, this celebration is matched with Easter celebrations as well as two of the most important awareness months- Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention. I do not think it is in anyway a coincidence that the world is being refreshed and renewed at the same time as we take a moment to pause, discuss, and highlight such dark and painful topics.
The famous young adult author, Madeleine L'Engle, once said, “The great thing about getting older is you don't lose all the other ages you have been.” The sentiment behind this is beautiful, that we keep the joy and innocence along with all our gained wisdom throughout each chapter of our lives. This can, however, be equally a painful sentiment for survivors.
Our lived trauma and abuse is also woven into the fabric of who we were, are, and shall become; we cannot take out the strings of our suffering without unraveling the entire fabric of who we are.
We, as survivors, are still the five-year-old child too young to understand what was happening, the fifteen-year-old blaming themselves for catching a predator's eye and calling it love, the twenty-five-year-old who didn't call it abuse because it was so familiar to what they grew up with. All of those ages and memories live inside our bodies- at forty, at sixty, at ninety-five sitting in a nursing home still holding on to this pain.
Most people can't see it for what it is, they might call us shy and withdrawn, or avoidant and bitter, never seeing past the survival mechanisms that once were the only thing that allowed us to live through our own personal hell. Those moments, those ages, are our winters- when everything seemed dead and cold.
Even the sun itself was hidden behind the snowy gray skies of our lives. For some survivors, this was an arctic tundra winter: one that never seemed to end and whose frosty biting cold still stings in their day to day lives.
This April I invite all survivors to the spring. Our winters are still a part of the seasons of our lives and for the rest of our time on this earth those arctic winds will still blow in and remind us of where we have come.
So often during our discussions around child abuse and sexual assault we focus on the immediate crisis, the terrible things that happen in a moment, but forget the long-term fragments of those abuses that will color a survivor's experiences for the entirety of their lives.
We can discuss this as a loss and a shame to have to bear or we can focus on how we can heal and redefine the future for ourselves, because of, not in spite of, what we have survived.
Let all the pain and trials you have walked through fertilize the soil of your life creating flora that grows all the stronger because of it; let it be the dark matter that allows the points of light in your existence glow all the brighter.
Healing, like growing, takes time and patience. The harvests of our labor are hard won, we cannot hope to see personal evolution in a short period of time. But little by little we can transform and burst forth from the permafrost as new creations of our choosing.
It is my great honor to be a guide on the journey of healing for many survivors of childhood abuse and other forms of trauma.
This April 27-28th I will be doing a two-day workshop on holistic healing for survivors of all forms of trauma at the Jung Center in Houston. We will walk through the journey of defining and releasing what healing looks like for both ourselves as individuals as well as our communities.
If you are unable to attend this special event I personally am available for one-on-one, small group, and organization-wide consulting around this important topic.
No matter how you chose to embark on this path of wholeness and renewal make sure you have a supportive group of guides to aid you on this journey.
You are worthy of your healing, you are worthy of a new day, you are worthy of your spring.