We are excited to welcome a guest post today from Timalee Nevels, Certified Soul Restoration Instructor from Tucson, Arizona. You will love her radical honesty and wisdom!
Friends- I have a bit of confession to make. When I came to Brave Girls Camp, I kinda felt like I had all my stuff together and I didn’t really know I was coming for a healing ‘curriculum’. I had done my time in therapy healing from childhood trauma which I talked about at Symposium last year. I spent my whole adult life up to age 26 hiding behind a cardboard cutout of myself, pretending everything was normal… nothing to see here folks. I swore when I had completed 2 years of hard work in therapy that I would never life a fake life again.
At camp, I did Soul Restoration and discovered that I still had some things to work on in my Soul House. My work at camp revolved around the need to let myself feel like I belonged… to be seen. There’s no one better at helping you feel ‘seen’ than the folks at Brave Living and I was so grateful. It was such an amazing experience that I wanted to become a Certified Instructor. Since camp, I’ve been cultivating my own little business building on the 35 years I have spent at Girl Scouts learning to lift up women and girls and all I have learned from Brave Living.
I’m working at building a business that is all about living your most authentic life. In all transparency, I’ve been struggling for about six months with feelings of disconnect and depression and it’s been affecting every aspect of my life… health, work, marriage, business. Here’s the thing about healing from childhood trauma…and it might also be true for other kinds of trauma that you might not know– it’s cyclical. I did really hard work with a great therapist years ago. I thought I was all healed up. But we often come around to the same thing again, but from a slightly elevated/different viewpoint the next time. I have long known that’s true but I didn’t think my current relationship issues had anything at all to do with my childhood pain.
When I hit rock bottom about 2 months ago, I finally reached out for help. I got on an anti-depressant and found a great therapist who, after the initial ‘get to know you’ info, immediately zoned in and asked me additional questions about the abuse I had suffered and my responses to it. When I asked why, she said it seems perhaps that you have some coping mechanisms that served you well as a child, that are at play in your life now in your primary relationships that are NOT serving you well any longer. I had no idea what she was talking about. She asked me if I thought there might be things that I didn’t let myself know and again I had no idea what she was talking about. But I am a brave, brave girl and I’m willing to find out. I’m willing to go there and explore the things I’m not letting myself know, not facing.
I’m feeling so blessed right now because the Soul Restoration Reboot and therapy are starting almost at the same time. It’s a perfect timing for me as I again explore what lies I’ve believed for years. This time though, I’m not looking at direct lies exactly, but situations I accepted and believed that now don’t hold up as true/real and how I have dealt with them for years by just not allowing myself to know or look at the truth. I am reminded about that dress that was an internet sensation. I saw it as gold and white again and again and again, until I didn’t. Now, in therapy I can suddenly see things in a completely different light than I have ever seen before. It’s powerful and disconcerting at the very same time.
This week, after relating a story to my therapist about how I regularly manage a toxic relationship in my life (by basically pretending things are normal and just fine), she said to me… “Where did you learn to do that?” And then… suddenly in a flash, I could see the dress was a different color. I said “Oh. my. gosh. I learned to do that as a kid, when I had to pretend everything was normal when it was anything but normal. And I not only do it all the time with this person now, but I do it at home with my husband also. I immediately started to cry. “How did this happen? I swore I would never live a fake life again”. My therapist gently asked, “how could you possibly have learned a different way? As a child, no one in your life was living the truth. Thank God you learned how to do this, and it may not be serving you well now.”
Without even being aware of it, I have returned to (or maybe I never left) the habit of living behind a cardboard cut out in some of the relationships in my life. I was stunned. Living an authentic life is so important to me, and I’ve been living in this fake way in two important relationship in my life for at least a decade. No wonder I slid down a slippery slope to hit bottom. What other outcome could be possible in such a situation?
I’m exactly where I need to be… in therapy and in the Soul Restoration re-boot. I’m willing to go in and do the hard work. I’m looking forward to the journey as I look at it all now from a new perspective, stronger certainly from having done the work I did years ago. I look forward to sitting and sharing with you around the red carpet in cyberspace as we witness and honor the lives the others in the circle.
Let’s be brave together.
Love you Sister