Re-position Narratives: Healing

Police cop: “That’s what you get when you have beauty and brains.”

Attorney: “What he wrote was repulsive, he is a creep.”

Neighbor: “Don’t talk about it too much, you don’t know what other people will say.”

Indian Uncle: “You’re too nice.”

Through all the commentary, I would react at times. At other times, I would silently eat them up. I didn’t realize that these remarks would store within my memory – a part of my journey forever. Instead of seeing the wrong in the actions of what had happened, I was placed under the light. I questioned so much of my character during these formative moments. I wondered, do I really come off as too nice? Do I give too much? And as a process of self-realization, I have been socialized to be generous with the needs of others, factoring others requests over my own well-being. This is common among women of color. However, the judgement underlining these comments was a narrative that I disliked. It positioned me to welcome such behavior, as if I did something to ask for it. I needed to build boundaries for self-protection.

As a form of protection to move on, I immersed myself in studying for graduate schools. Instead of coping with the root of the damage, I believed that pushing it into a portion of my brain where I couldn’t find it would be better for me. This was a form of dissociation. I wanted it to be completely unrelated to my story. This was not healing. It was like placing an adhesive bandage upon the wound. Instead of finding wholesomeness, I found pieces and fragments of my identity. And it was anxiety-inducing, so I stayed away from the self-work. I was afraid to come to terms with how deep it had hurt me. I deleted all social media in response and constantly feared my sense of safety. I didn’t want to share it with everyone. Additionally, studies have found that survivors of trauma are perpetually suspended between the impulse to reveal and the desire to conceal their traumatic experiences [1]. The concealing process negates their ability to heal, form mechanisms to cope with stress and adjust to their surroundings in a healthy manner. But life isn’t about portions and pieces, it’s about a unity. We live as a unit and we are a unit.

When some form of trauma occurs in our lives, there’s a tendency for people to say “move on,” “get over it,” “it’s not a big deal, people have it worse,” or “at least your health hasn’t been impacted.” But these are all minimizing factors for the in depth damage that such instances have upon someone’s feelings and emotional well-being. And it is a part of your health. Rather than engaging with the truth of such damage, one is told to cover it up. With that, voices of these challenges become covered. And healing is stopped. When challenges arise again, we forget how to reason with it. Instead of facing it, we seek to quick solutions. But, this only hinders the process of authenticity. Intentional understanding and self-awareness of the triggers that commit us from engaging in self-harm. Authentic self means understanding the deep meanings behind how we see and perceive ourselves in moments of turbulence. If we don’t take time to reflect, we let go of the necessities that nourish our bodies to work cohesively.

Living in unity is harmonious. Living in the narratives of others is harmful. Inciting your own narrative is important. To reach authenticity, we must work to find the voices of those unheard. Piece together the silenced.

[1] Richman, S. (2004). From Hiding to Healing: A Psychoanalyst’s Narrative of Personal Trauma. NYS Psychologist, 16(3), 2–7.

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