"The first people to benefit from your healing is your ancestors"...That was the message I got from my counseling session on April 12th, 2018. I woke up in need of talking to my therapist who explained the major planetary shift happening in the world today that is driving me to break the co-dependent loops I have created with people, family, and friends. It's a karmic debt that is being paid off, is what she said. For me it feels like an intergenerational trauma being broken and a past being forgiven towards an opening of my heart that will have me finally loving, belonging and staying connected to all those I love while at the same time having the healthy necessary boundaries to put myself first, she finishes explaining.
Its been a long 20 something years of healing to get to the other side of me. Its taken the most shattering of moments, the biggest sabotage's of my life, the heart-wrenching heartbreaks of love lost and finally the most hurtful detaching and wounding of my spirit as I cut the cord between me and my own daughter so she can grow up while at the same time the little girl in me lets go of her mother's womb to finally give birth to herself. I am writing this from my hammock in the Dominican Republic inhaling freedom and exhaling fear of liberation from people, places and things I have held on to save my life.
Junot Diaz, recently wrote a piece disclosing his story of sexual abuse and its impact, "Trauma is a time traveler" he says, "eventually the past finds you".
Every little girl has a story, an intergenerational story, a historical trauma, her mother's story lives in her while she becomes her future daughter story, a woman already born with a legacy of violence and trauma and its impact. My past found me many times on beaches, in sacred spaces, buying my first car, in between the legs of my first love, when I celebrated dreams come true and when had my own daughter. That is what trauma does it finds you when you finally "make it".
I have crossed mountains and borders, lands and oceans running to, away and from myself, from love, and intimacy, from being seen and even being successful. I would think, what if they found out I am a fraud and don't know anything. What if all this time I have been an imposter and I have been lying and I am not who I said I am. What if I am not worthy of sitting at the table with those people. What if they see the little girl inside of me forever lost, abandoned, abused, broken, in need of mending of love and care despite how much it might hurt others.
I texted my therapist the day before to set an appointment after spending a week with my older sister. Its the second time in my 42 years that I spend time with her and I struggle with the innate love that comes when spirits find each other and the fear of a child has when its told to hug a family member that they have never met. Our mother past away, two years ago, its the one thing we have in common and oh the fact that when I look at her I see myself. This past week has been hard, I am finishing my first year of my PhD and in between powerpoints and papers I sit and listen to my sister plead with me her case. She was there when I was born and she had no power to keep me, she was only ten but has not forgiven herself. She wants me to know how much she loved me and never forgot me. How there isn't a day that goes by that she doesn't think of me. She wants me to know my mother left her too. She wants me to know she has a story too.
She tells me of broken hearts and abuse and self-sabotage, abandonment and sexual assault. She shares the story of my younger siblings on drugs and in jail and every chance I get in between pauses I breathe, trying to not internalize everything she is saying and I thank god that I was able to get away. I breathe as this person, a mirror image of me, another little girl with another story of violence tells me about the missing pieces of my life. Over the past two weeks, I have spent time defending my story, my experience and the impact of my mother's abandonment. I too share stories of domestic violence and child sexual abuse. I want her to see the essence of my life as I have experienced it, so I share my own story with her in an attempt to get her to know me better beyond the story she has created of me in her head. She is my big sister but has never asked how I am, how was my upbringing, what happened to me, was I loved or abused?
We are exactly 10 years apart and as adult women still in search of the mother who abandoned us. I am vulnerable in her presence as the addiction of caretaking wants to jump at the opportunity to find my mother in my sister and take care of her instead since I didn't do it for my mother but I remember my therapist words and remind myself that this opportunity is about boundaries and love. I am cautious to not create yet another codependency with her as my heart breaks every time she tells she doesn't have money and shares with me her dreams. I listen and explain that our mother's story has impacted each one of us in different ways. That in her absence she is not our mother. I process her feelings with her, I give her space to talk, I listen, I affirm and I let her know I am sorry and I love her. I apologize for our mom and tell her I have already forgiven her. I don't blame my sister for anything. I don't blame anyone
She wants to learn how to create an altar like the one I have with pictures of my ancestors and our mom. I tell her to declare that we are safe, that our mother's choices are not our fault and to light a candle for the little girl still waiting for her. We break bread, we go to the ocean, we dance, we laugh and we sing karaoke. We give each other life, love, and belonging. I take pictures of her, trying to capture time cause I don't know when I am going to see her again. I want to hold on to her forever. I feel at home in her presence, I stop searching. I grew up as an only child finding sisterhood in every woman I loved or created a community with. As a survivor of childhood trauma, I was always in search for someone to protect me. For the moment she becomes my protection and all is well in my life, I can breathe, I can be still, I am at peace, like a missing puzzle piece I now found a place to fit. I am complete!
We do what sisters do, we share clothes, we get on each other's nerves, we dream and we share stories only women who are victims and survivors can tell. We inspire each other and it feels like together we can do anything. But we know the time will come to say goodbye and we will go our separate ways. We are grown but we dread the dark. We know the loneliness of childhood abuse and abandonment will find us. Sadness and fear will creep into our beds at night and we will weep for our mother once again and we will search in different faces for love and intimacy, for belonging, worth, and protection.
But for now, we are family and our connection is healing the intergeneration wounding in our family. Our ancestors are happy, they have been waiting for this reunion for a long time. When little girls in search of their mother find each other instead and teach each other about love, belonging, worth, and forgiveness.