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Feeling Safe Enough To Begin Again

“Our life force can never truly escape us, but it can be withheld until our bodies feel safe enough to begin again.” – Brianna Wiest.

When I want something, like really want it, nothing will stop me from getting it. I will move mountains. I will do whatever it takes, there’s a deep burning desire within that knows it’s mine, that I’m meant for it. I’ve believed for a long time that what is meant for me won’t miss me. Dec 2021 proved this point ten fold.

I was reading an excerpt from Brianna Wiest’s new book The Pivot Year and it struck a chord with me. In Nov 2021 I got vaccinated, albeit extremely reluctantly. I tried to look at what was going on from many different angles and none of it made sense to my logical brain, let alone my emotional brain. This vaccine hit different, the tyranny, the crazy lies and deceit, the wild governments in both NZ and Australia. I felt like I was trapped in this dystopia that I would never be able to escape from. There were QR codes on the toilets in the middle of the remote wilderness (“Sign-in. Stop the virus”) and I was beyond bewildered by how fucking inconsistent this all was. I really couldn’t get my shit together, I couldn’t regulate my emotions, I couldn’t function. I ended up in hospital with a vaccine injury. I had heart palpitations, panic attacks, I’d never experienced this level of bodily distress. It freaked me the fuck out. All I knew at the time was that I had to get out of NZ. I thought getting out of Australia 3 months earlier was the answer…

The day I decided to pull the pin and get vaccinated (because I wanted my ‘freedoms’ back so badly) I went to the lake in Queenstown to journal and feel into what was present. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I didn’t want this. I also didn’t want to suffer like this anymore, either, so I tricked myself into believing that I was ‘facing my fears’ and ‘how bad could it be’. It’s only in the last 4 years that I’ve known how to love myself, trust myself and do what’s best for me in any given moment. On that day, I self abandoned more than I’ve ever self abandoned before. I drove to the pharmacy, parked my car, walked in with tears streaming down my face. The staff were unbelievably kind and the pharmacist that administered my vaccine was encouraging and willing to answer any questions or hesitancies I had. When the needle penetrated my arm, the emotions I experienced were a flood, like a dam had just been released and I completely lost all stable footing.

I got into my car numb, I called a friend and said “I feel like I’ve just been raped”. As the days went on, it became clearer that I had to leave New Zealand. This was not the country I grew up in and it was absolutely not a country I was willing to stay in. I booked a flight to LA for Christmas Day, I found a doctor that would give me a medical exemption for the second dose, I filed a vaccine injury claim to the Ministry of Health and I got the f*** out. At the time I thought I was leaving a dystopian country and government, what I was presented with 2 days after landing in LA was that I was moving into safety so I could process the very real experiences I had as a child. Those very real experiences were childhood sexual abuse.

The shame, paranoia, chaos and fear that ensued was nothing short of harrowing. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t eat, I had NO IDEA that this had happened to me until I knew it had happened to me. It turns out finding out well into adulthood is really common for sexual abuse survivors. This morning, as I read that quote by Brianna Wiest, I smiled. My life force escaped me this past year, I thought it would never come back. The healing and self trust journey I’ve been on is helping my body feel safe enough to begin again.

The pandemic and the vaccination experience were the catalyst I needed to uncover what had really happened to me and why I was living in perpetual fear. It’s been the hardest experience I’ve dealt with to date. I didn’t work for 10 months. I gave up two stable homes I’d created for myself and I have redefined what family means/is to me.

All forms of child abuse are heart breaking. In my experience, sexual abuse carries a disproportionate amount of shame, guilt and external scrutiny. I’ve been in therapy weekly for 6 months and I’m still fighting the internal battles of self hatred, disgust and confusion that go along with this experience. I am so grateful I have the means, the time and the support to come out on top. It’s going to be a forever part of my journey but it absolutely doesn’t define me.

To anyone that has been shamed, blamed, ridiculed or not believed – I see you and feel you. I’m shocked at the unreported statistics and I’m also shocked at how our psyche can lock shit in a vault for millennia to ‘keep us safe’. I’m shocked that men do this to girls. I am shocked at how common it is. I am also here to help myself and others love themselves out of shame and guilt spirals.

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