Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Chasing butterflies

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher

I started working on "The Courage to Heal Workbook" by Laura Davis (coauthor of "The Courage to Heal", the bible for adults who were sexually abused as children) last night. I am liking it so far. It is made to write in- it starts with a page to do your own table of contents with your favorite sections, and a dedications page where you and your friends can write encouraging notes. It's kind of exciting to be writing all over this book. I took the first quiz (why are you reading this book) and crossed out parts of four of the options and rewrote them. How many self-help books have a passage like this:

"As you move through the workbook, there may be moments when you feel inadequate, confused, or unable to proceed. There may be ideas that are new to you or that aren't explained adequately. That means there's a flaw in the design of the book, not in you. At other times you may find that your particular set of circumstances or feelings aren't being named or acknowledged. That's not because you don't belong; it's because of an oversight on my part." (page 9)

I'm already so attached to the book that I found a bag for it, with a pocket for my pens, pencils and highlighter, so I can carry it around with me. It's not that this book doesn't terrify me. I get a rush of anxiety when I pick it up, as I do when I look at my copy of "The Courage to Heal." I'm afraid it will be like "The Courage to Heal", which I keep trying to read and can't get farther than 22 pages. The workbook has sections to help you remember repressed memories, and I'm afraid of what I might remember. But I want to remember. I hate that part of my memory was taken from me. That is part of my life, a part that affects me but that I can't understand. I'm in a strange position because there is the sexual abuse that I have no problem remembering (my great-uncle) but I have repressed memories of what my dad did to me before age 7, that my mom threatened to leave him because. So when I read the book, a lot of different parts relate to me, except the parts for people who aren't convinced the sexual abuse is affecting them as an adult.

I don't know why it's been so hard for me to stick with "The Courage to Heal", but it is hard to go from reading, to doing writing exercises, back to reading. I seem to drift away in the transitions. I like that the workbook is mostly interactive. There is reading, but more exercises. I like writing. I'm already learning about myself. I did the exercise on safety, and learned that I feel the safest when I'm wearing black clothes and have my hair covered. I don't really know why, but it makes me feel more solid and contained. So now I know some ways to feel safer.


Mechi Badb said...

I understand the reason for dressing in black and wearing a head covering. Perhaps unconciously you're trying to hide or make yourself less noticeable. Consider many Muslim women who wear full body robes, to hide themselves from the prying eyes of men. It's not because somehow these women are "bad" but because the men can't control their urges. Perhaps the men should be made to wear blinders? I myself like dark places and feel safest when I wear clothes with hoods, to hide my face and baggy clothes. Although I know that this really doesn't help and many people are abused regardless of what they wear.

Tealrat said...

I think you're right on about trying to be less noticeable. In a sense, when I wear black I feel like the clothes, or style, is noticed but I am hidden behind the clothes. It feels safe in a strange way to be lumped into the goth or punk category and have my individuality overlooked. It also scares off people who are turned off by the dark side of life.

~~A said...

Perhaps if you studied one of the martial arts you would truly have a sense of safety. Many women who have been attacked feel that they are not vulnerable and can effectively take care of themselves after studying the martial arts. Go for the "black" belt. ~~A

Suzie said...

Yes, that's what What Not to Wear would say about the black too. Trying to look invisible. Or scary to keep people at bay so you don't get hurt. They are deep, I tell ya!