• Dawn Tintari

Forgiveness + Healing = Positive Vibes.

I don't know if it's because I've opened up to the internoodle about my journey or what, but I've been noticing so many people speaking out about their trauma. I don't think I was as receptive to it before, because hearing these stories would make mine real and I wasn't ready for that. Pain + Shame is a hard thing to look at. It feels like when you're shopping for a specific car, and now all of a sudden all you see is that car. I really love that I'm hearing so many stories and seeing so many people connect over wifi about their suffering-- it's so cathartic and uplifting (the connections, not the suffering, obvi. lol). I know it sounds cheesy and cliche', but knowing you're not alone really is comforting. Like, we all have a past and we are all living with that. No judgement. It's okay. For the first time, nearly at the age of thirty-three I realize I don't have to be defined by my trauma, and my identity doesn't need to be so grounded in my anxious and chaotic history. I am separate from that now. The little girl inside doesn't correlate with my reality, and I have learned to stop believing she does. I am a grown ass woman now and I'm taking every possible step that I can to evolve away from this suffering and damn, I am proud of myself. I believe I am a kind, strong, generous, understanding and beautiful woman. I have never EVER been able to say anything positive about myself without feeling bad about it or questioning it... but you know what? I don't care. I'm good. And it's great. lol. It's been a challenging and deeply emotional (& rewarding) journey but I really feel like I can move on for the first time in my life, and I don't have to flood my daydreams with flashbacks and what-if's. I'm learning to adjust my default. And I can see the light at the end of the damn tunnel, even. It is FORKIN' GLORIOUS.

Since March, I've been in therapy and my toolbox is nearly full (at least for where I'm at now), which I am incredibly grateful for. I have been looking at my fragmented self over the past year and have been piecing her back together in her new light. She is a mom now, and she is whole. She is no longer broken, but she has the scars. Flowers grew there & now she can finally live presently in the garden she helped to create. We all endure so much through our trauma and it truly is a gift to feel so light again. Which brings be back to the light at the end of the tunnel. It's here. It's now. It's happening.

I've been speaking to my Dad a lot recently. Basically from barely at all to everyday. He lives in another state and told me he tested positive for Covid the day after my last post. It really felt like a message from mama universe. lol. I was worried about what would happen to him and found that I was really stressed out about it. "What if something horrible is going to happen to him?", I thought. I wanted to set things to a positive tone, and I made an effort. Normally I am just avoidant... and I used to not want to speak to him often because I was trying so hard to forget all of the messed up memories from my early life (even those that he wasn't present for... ) and every time I spoke with him the memories came back to life.

I realized a couple of positive (maybe even random) things when speaking with my dad so much on the phone and via text over the last week.

One, I happen to love his laugh (it's a belly laugh that sounds hard to control. lol) --and that I remember loving my dad's wild and free-spirited side as a child. I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin and allll the classic rock, and I just had some positive flashbacks of us driving through the Colorado mountains when I was a little girl, with the windows down-- perfect temperature, radio on loud. I was happy in those small moments and I have my Dad to thank for that. I plan to focus more on these more when I reflect back to my childhood. It was in these moments where I felt the most like I had my Dad. I will hold on tight to these positive notes.

Two, He tried.

After becoming a mama, I've been able to metaphorically meet my parents as human beings and not just as parental figures (well, not my mom really, because she and I haven't spoken in years... but to some degree, I've still been able to "meet" her). It's honestly such a beautiful thing. I've let go of so much sh*t, because I can see the reasons for said sh*t from so many different perspectives now. Just because I can see doesn't mean I'm justifying their actions... I just understand now and understanding why people are the way they are makes it significantly easier to cope. Nobody is perfect and we are all on this weird ass journey called life, together. We are all dealing with trauma and it affects all of us differently. That. THAT is an enlightening thought. And a beautiful one.

Three, Sh*t happened. And the world kept on spinning.

After talking to him, I realized I wasn't cycling back into scary memories. I was able to let go! He had really bad anxiety about what the virus was going to do to him and almost went into a panic attack. I told him to think of one of his happiest memories from childhood and start to name things from that memory until he was submersed in it like a daydream. A grounding technique. He told me this memory. When he was 3 and living in Germany, he and all of his siblings were sleeping in bed and they awoke to a beautiful rainbow outside, after rain had fallen. The sun was out, the window was open and his mom (my late grandma- GOD, I loved her-- she was my mother figure) was with them and everyone was happy. He said he felt like there was such a positive presence around them all and told me it felt like Angels were in the room with him. Just then, I met my dad as a baby... and having a son of my own just made me view him differently. Through kinder, understanding & motherly eyes. In that moment, I embraced that warm memory he shared with me and I created a new one that I will cherish forever. He told me it helped him, and that made me happy.

You know you're on the mend when you just want everyone to be happy. Everyone deserves good things in their lives. Everyone. Well, maybe not murders and psychopaths. But you get the drift.

I am still torn inside and my childhood wasn't perfect. In fact, it was no where near the same vicinity as perfect. I just know that going forward with my life, I will always forgive... but I will never forget.

My theme going into 2021 was along the lines of this: I will do my best to continue on my positive path and embrace this new beginning of self-care, self-appreciation and self-respect. Mama is grown, ya'll. Just like a flower.

(I made this, one week after lockdown in March 2020.)

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