I hike so I can access my feelings, feel them, and release them. And after a whole week of doing that around Utah (see my stories on Instagram), I feel empty.
Empty because a lot of the stuff that takes up space in my brain goes away when I hike. I hike it out, cry it out, and write it out. I wake up at ungodly hours and lace up my boots and let my body do the work while my brain takes a break. I've gotten really good at the hiking feelings part and I'll unpack my #traumapack all day every day on the trail, but I'm still getting used to how WELL this process works for me.
Because on days like today, after I've hiked it all out, my anxious brain scrambles to find more bullshit, to keep me comfy in my struggle.
I've been in so much pain for so many years, that it feels weird to not have pain to hold on to, to snuggle with, to feed.
Add this layer: it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this week I have three back-to-back talks in Denver, sharing about how hiking helped me heal my mind and body after 11+ years of silently holding the trauma from the sexual assault I survived.
My inability to ask for help in the moments after the assault carried over into every facet of my life.
I am still unpacking a decade+ of obsessing about independence while also being a Grade A People Pleaser:
I took on extra work to feel valuable because I couldn't value myself.
I sought validation from everyone else because I couldn't validate myself.
I ate and drank my feelings and had a sweet tooth that just wouldn't quit because I couldn't face myself without numbing the pain and I couldn't give myself the kindness (sweetness) that I so desperately needed.
So in the absence of all of THAT, I sit here with this open space in my heart and brain and body and being.
I'm protective of this space.
I have firmer boundaries, less walls.
Softening in places where softness is safe.
I don't have it all figured out, but I'm present AF, grounded AF, and ready to allow myself to be seen.
I don't know who is going to be in the audience this week, but I'm calling in folks who are ready to heal, angels, warriors, bright lights, and future chosen family.
Let's do this.