I last wrote about my experience of sexual trauma. Days later I began to see the first #MeToo posts, first on Facebook, then on Twitter and Instagram. Articles are showing up about the viral explosion of people talking about their experience with sexual trauma on social media.
A year ago it was #NotOK, although this year it seems an even greater number of people are responding. I am sad, but not terribly surprised to see the number of people coming forward to share what they’ve lived through. Tarana Burke, who created the #MeToo movement, noted on Twitter that 1.7 million people in 85 different countries have responded to this movement across social media.
If there are so many of us, then how do we begin to help one another heal? How do we begin to dismantle a system that not only enables rape culture, but at times seems to revel in it? A system that protects, sometimes rewards serial abusers, while calling those brave enough to speak of the trauma they experienced liars.
At times this task seems so monumental that it feels impossible to do anything more than offer comfort, sympathy, and warnings about which predatory men to avoid.
Discovering yoga in 2003 changed my life. I began practicing because it was the only thing that helped with the pain from degenerative disc disease in the bottom of my spine. I’d been diagnosed in 2000, with my three lowest lumbar vertebrae affected. By the time I tried yoga, even swimming was causing me pain.
Becoming a teacher in 2005 deepened my yoga practice enormously. Over the years yoga has changed from being the tool to help me manage chronic physical pain. It is still how I help manage my back pain, but now it also helps me manage the anxiety and depression that arise out of living with complex PTSD. My practice informs my daily living in ways I would have never expected when I anxiously went to my first class with lots of other people who’d made resolutions to move more in the New Year.
My practice is what sustains me as I continue to move into acknowledging the trauma I’ve experienced and finding the strength to not turn away from the truth. It is the tool that is helping me learn how to step outside of the shame I struggle with.
Now my yoga practice is what has lead me to join in the voices that say “Me too.”
I am here and ready to offer my knowledge and my heart to help others heal, to work together to find tools to soothe and restore us, and to dismantle the belief that we are broken by what we’ve experienced. Instead that wounding, I’ll share the knowledge that we’re all already whole and complete, just as we are.