This Is What It Feels Like When You’re Healing From Trauma

*trigger warning: sexual assault, PTSD*

No one really told me how often I will think of his face, even long after it happens.

His hands and the tightness of his fingers curling around my trembling thighs. My dry mouth and closing throat. How, years later, whenever someone touches me, a part of me believes it’s the Devil again, finding a dirty way to devour me. 

No one really told me how hard it is to navigate intimacy when I have trauma sitting heavy on my chest like the Devil on my shoulder.

No one really told me what it’s like to look in the mirror and see my body as a cathedral.

How badly I want to be good and holy and open. How badly I want to believe that maybe if I wait long enough and pray a little harder, someone will finally get punished for their sins.

I believe there’s a difference between sex therapy and using sex as a means of therapy, but whatever it is, I’m still learning how to heal. I’m still learning how to come to terms with the fact that crying after sex isn’t the prettiest thing I’ve done, but that’s okay, and letting someone in is a means of coping, and that’s okay too. 

When someone new comes along and touches me where it happened, all I can think about is bodywork, a healing practice for recovery, for undigested trauma. There’s a connection between the mind and the body: our brain remembers moments we want to forget and forgets details we need to remember in order to heal. 

Some days are harder than others. I find myself breaking down into full sobs–body shaking, face aching, tears streaming down my face. I can’t stop thinking about the agony of sex, being both a heavy burden and a means of coping. 

I know that recovery is far from easy.

I know that each day is a moment of healing.

I know that one day, I won’t feel like this anymore.

Every day, I am learning to be kinder to my body, but pushing it out of my comfort zone. I am learning to forgive myself for how often I cry. I am letting myself feel what I feel. I am learning to feel comfortable in my body with someone else’s. I need to remind myself You’re okay. You’re safe. Trauma is a heavy burden. You’re healing.

Brooklyn-based poet, writer, avid coffee drinker, and music lover.

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