For most of my life when I read the word ‘Healing,’ it was followed by a first aid kit. Packed with band-aids and alcohol wipes. Somehow I was supposed to use these things to seal in these wounds scattered around my body like birthmarks; scattered around my mind like stars. This is where things got complicated because I never actually saw blood and sometimes there were no scars.
How does one begin to heal something they cannot tangibly grasp? How does one heal what they feel?
The process to untangle the mess of what I felt seemed intimidating and long. It was and it is. It seemed like the easiest way to deal with the mess was to sweep it underneath my skin, bury it underneath my blood, veins and the little muscle I had.
The problem with that is that the mess eventually floats up to the surface, hides right behind your skin, waiting for your walls to be down, just to consume you and weigh you down. The world felt heavy. The world feels heavy.
I couldn’t use a band-aid anymore.
I’m not a professional, but I’ve swam in depression and had dinner with anxiety. I..think...I’ve figured out what works best for me.
Healing, for me, demands time, patience, and attention. It demands for me to be active. More importantly, it demands shedding.
What the Hell is Shedding?
We all change. That’s natural and at this point, almost expected. People shape people. Music shapes people. Environment shapes people. Experience shapes people. Trauma shapes people. It’s only natural that who you are now isn’t who you were when you were five. Shedding is about going back there, taking it to the beginning, to when you were a kid.
How did you like to play before you got paid? What did you do to make yourself feel good?
The thing about kids is that they’re selfish. Babies cry when they're hungry, dirty, needing attention, no matter what time it is. Then, they are taught that sharing is caring and social norms like when the sun goes down we sleep or say ‘Bless you’ when someone sneezes.
Kids are curious about the world around them. They want to know why things are the way they are. They believe they can be anyone or anything. They believe they deserve the best just because they’re human. They do things because it feels good in that exact moment and they don’t care about having a ‘purpose.’ They are untouched. They don’t know how complicated the world truly is. I admire that.
At what point did we stop being kids? Legally, it’s 18, but sometimes I think it’s earlier than that. Sometimes people never got a childhood.
Did I stop being a kid when my parents wouldn’t stop fighting? Did I stop being a kid when I told my stuffed animal, “I wish they got a divorce.”? Did I stop being a kid when I hid my mom’s alcohol bottles from her? Did I stop being a kid when I had to clean my dad’s bloody foot? Did I stop being a kid when I got home from school and saw an eviction notice taped to our door? Was it then? Did I lose Baby Xen?
I believe the act of healing is to let go of what the world told you about yourself and to let go of what your family told you about yourself. Start over. Start fresh. What do you like to do for fun? Start small. Reread Harry Potter, draw dinosaurs, and sleep with your stuffed animal again.
The cool thing about babies is that they naturally let go, because they don’t know how to hold on yet.
Letting go is more than a Disney song, it’s a journey, it’s a detox and it looks different for everyone. For me, it looks like yoga, shadow work, dancing, singing, laughing and having fun.
I believe our life’s purpose changes with us and some of us may have more than one. Right now, my life’s purpose is to enjoy it, to find the joy in the small moments and the big ones.
So, try taking it down to the roots. Get to know Baby ‘you.’