Igniting Your Superpowers: Taking Time to Heal
There has been an awakening. Although painful and traumatic, the gates have been opened. The New York Times and The New Yorker broke two of the most chilling exposes of mega producer, Harvey Weinstein. Countless women coming forward with their stories of abhorrent abuse, sexual harassment, and intimidation by this man and many were shocked.
Well, some were in shock. Women were not.
You see, this egregious behavior isn’t just a “Hollywood thing”. That’s too simplistic. That kind of thinking distracts from the systematic problem that is deeply imbedded in our society. Sexual harassment is something that women experience every single day of their lives to varying degrees, from the “you should smile more” to much, much worse. As the incomparable Emma Thompson said in a recent interview with BBC Newsnight, “This has been a part of our world, women’s world, for time immemorial.”
I personally have experienced sexual harassment: when I was involved in the ballet world, in church, in school, at every job I’ve ever had, in the improv/sketch world, and by people I thought were friends. This has been happening since the age of 12 and has continued onward up to today.
I think we are all finding support and gratefulness that these women are coming forward with their survivor stories and, at the same time, feeling overwhelmed and stressed because something we’ve read or heard has resonated in some way.
I also want to acknowledge all survivors coming forward. It’s important for Terry Crews, James Van Der Beek, and others to speak out. The more it happens, the more individuals will give themselves permission to tell their truth. It also may not be your time. If your experience is to raw and you’re not ready to share or speak out, know that you still have the support of all of us who have gone through the same thing.
How do we proceed? How do we navigate through the overwhelming trauma to stand in solidarity to change this narrative? What are the steps we need to take to heal?
My personal practice is to write. I get it out of my system. If I’m not ready to speak about something I’ve been through, I write it down. I can then let my body, mind, and soul detach and I’m not stuck in that fight or flight space. I also believe that community is key. I am someone who can isolate easily, especially in times of trauma, but it is so helpful finding a common ground with others who have been through the same or similar experiences, in finding that support to realize it’s not just ME, but that we’ve all been though it and that someone else has got my back.
Here are some other tips and suggestions by some wonderful professionals, you may find helpful. Whether you’re in an abusive situation now or the current state of affairs has left you feeling depleted, here’s some hope:
Dr. Janina Scarlet – Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a scientist, and a full time geek.
“First and foremost, when we have been hurt, we need to take some time to realize that we have been hurt. This might mean taking some time off of work, breathing, crying, surrounding ourselves with trusted friends or pets, or even taking a day to just stay in bed and do nothing at all. After a traumatic experience or after a trigger to a past traumatic experience, our bodies can become overwhelmed with adrenaline and other stress chemicals, requiring rest. This is necessary because we need every ounce of energy to recover and do what’s necessary later on.
The most excruciating part of these experiences happens when we suffer in silence. Reaching out to people that share a similar experience, whether you know them or not can be helpful, providing unity and support. If you are struggling, know that you are not alone. It is perfectly understandable to feel overwhelmed, angry, triggered, and confused. You can reach out and talk to someone who has been through something similar and who can offer help. In addition, organizations such as RAINN and crisis text line (741741) can help to assist us during a crisis following sexual assault or similar situations.
I find that ultimately we are likely to find peace by processing the trauma with others, in a support group or with a trauma specialist (i.e., psychologist or psychotherapist specializing in PTSD).”
Tammy Faulds is ICF certified coach, 500hr RYT certified yoga teacher, The Daring Way™ certified facilitator.
* I’ve been focusing on White Tara – the goddess of Sensitivity. Her message is “Acknowledge and honour your sensitivity. Take steps to protect yourself from negativity. Avoid harsh relationships, environments, situations, and chemicals. Steer clear of situations with loud noise, crowds, violent media, and other triggers.’
* I limit my exposure to social media, instead I get whatever I need to know from The Skimm – this way I’m aware of what’s going on but not engrossed.
* I meditate – every single morning when I get up I set my Insight Timer meditation app and focus on my breath, smoothing it out and exhaling any shit that I need to. Then I transition to chanting to release energy and focus on my intentions for the day and what I hope to attract/magnetize to myself. Then I’ll wrap up with some Om Shanti Shanti Shanti to give myself peace and to send peace to others. If I have a truly hectic morning (because…LIFE) I will do it on my commute to work.
* I trust in the process – and in the thought that the world itself is moving from 3rd to 4th chakra. The days of an imbalanced power centre (abuse of power) are leaving and moving us towards more compassion and love and understanding. And I do the same for myself…I heap on the self-kindness and self-compassion.
Hearing these stories triggers personal stories of sexual harassment so it’s important to prioritize these self-care rituals.
Trauma impacts not only those who were directly involved in an event; it also impacts those who bear witness. Now is a time to be mindful about your consumption of these stories. For those who want to continue to be a part of the conversation, it’s a challenge to find the balance between staying informed and not getting emotionally fatigued. If you find that the stories are triggering you due to memories from your own past, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.
Some other self-care tips:
Curate your social media. If there are people with whom you are connected who take more energy than they give, it might be time to remove (or at least silence) them so that you have fewer energy-takers in your feed. Now might also be a time to silence accounts that are posting a lot about the incidents, so that you aren’t surprised by news stories that you don’t feel ready to read.
Pick your battles. Whether online or IRL, there will be people who disagree with your point of view, do not understand the gravity of the current situation, and/or do not understand why the topic is meaningful or distressing to you. You do not need to change every mind. Give yourself permission to engage or disengage as you need. Remember this simple rule – you do not need to attend every argument that you’re invited to.
Get support. You do not need to shoulder this burden alone. Reach out to others whom you feel you can trust. And while it’s important to talk through your feelings around what’s going on, give yourself permission to find something to enjoy together. Engaging in a meaningful activity – or fandom – is important for healing.
Take breaks. It’s easy to become consumed by the news, which can lead to emotional fatigue. Give yourself permission to step away from your screen, or look at something light-hearted for a few minutes. And remember to breathe. A few deep breaths in a quiet space can reduce feelings of anxiety and help bring you back into the present moment.
Going forward with love and solidarity, we stand with you and together we will stand up against the bullies and predators, so that others don’t have to go through the same horror many of us have experienced.
As Diana Prince says in Wonder Woman:
And now I know, that only love can truly same this world. So now I stay, I fight, and I give – for the world I know can be. This is my mission, now. Forever.
I’ve got your back. Let’s heal.