to love & hate Octobers…

I both love and hate Octobers. For maybe the first time in almost 8 years I’ve lived in Colorado, we have actually gotten brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges as the foliage has changed with the season. I actually didn’t take pictures of the fiery red and yellow trees I passed by at least twice a day every school day the past two weeks. My phone’s camera can’t do the colors justice anyway. Despite heavy grief and shadows lately, every time I saw a particular set of trees, my heart would lift and I couldn’t help but smile as I drove by. Every time I drove by the vibrant trees, I began noticing their colors were beginning to dim with every single time I drove by. I thought a lot about how the vibrancy of the colors were only for a limited amount of time before the leaves finished their life cycle and would drop to create delightfully crunchy piles of leaves. Crunchy and dead, because that’s the circle of life and the leaves’ deaths adds the beauty of the coming spring.

When I was much younger and living on the east coast, the vibrancy of the season change was even more brilliant and sudden. It often felt like catching one’s breath before taking the plunge into the darker seasons of winter. And as much as I loved that pull into the seasons, the last three months of the year were always heavier and darker of the soul than other times of the year. I may not have had the verbiage or understanding why I felt things shift as soon as the weather turned towards autumn, but I knew enough to understand these three months hold hard memories for me.

Given the type of physical memories that come up during these months, and the return of several other clearer memories, I believe that the first real rape/full blown sexual abuse happened to me during October when I was about 4. It was also one of the first memories to come through when my memories returned 5 years ago. Hence the both loving and hating October in particular. I love the reminder of how fragile life is, and the nod to making the best of the time you have, and also how obvious the seasons are that we all pass through. But my younger selves know that I have spent many autumn seasons feeling uneasy in our skin, unable to eat, losing way too much weight, feeling the nightmares and ghosts of his hands on our body.

It’s taken a lot of intentional shadow work and showing up for my younger selves to say that I love octobers more now than I hate them. The shadows are still there, and sometime they rise up and suffocate me still, but when I have access to my brain, I can see how much work I have done. And as the present spiraling begins to slow down, I can really see how much I have done and how much I have worked through. It is defeating when one trigger [okay but one that was horrifyingly destabilizing] breaks so many things and causes me to feel like I’ve fallen all the way back to square one.

That’s the annoying directness of trauma though. When there are memories and situations in your brain that have not been integrated into the timeline of your life, those memories when triggered make your brain feel as if it is currently happening. Even if more than a decade, two decades, has gone by, the brain has the ability to snap you right back to that moment and you will feel everything you felt when chronologically speaking it happened. There are multiple theories and applied exercises that have both worked and failed miserably with attempting to reintegrate those memories. As we know, every brain is different, and even the types of trauma that cause the frozen memories are different. So it makes sense that a singular type of repair work won’t work for everyone.

I truthfully only have a few memories that are still frozen. Although the most recently spiral was one I didn’t even know existed, it is merely one of maybe 2 or 3 memories that are still stuck outside of the timeline of my life. I can’t access the other memories, and frankly I don’t really want to try to access them. Those memories come up when they have been specifically triggered, and they’re so specific I’m not going to try to trigger myself like that. If they get triggered, I will work on them, but the time being, no, it’s not necessary. I still have many black holes in my memories, but I don’t believe I’ll ever get those memories back. They are the results of having been drugged and literally unconscious.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I got blindsided by this latest trigger because I simply did not give myself space to expand and grieve. I refused to slow down and stop and acknowledge even the things I knew about but wasn’t holding space for. I have my theories as to why things happened the way they did, but also, I know exactly why a few things happened too. I’m a little tickled that astrology speaking the timing couldn’t be better for what it is that I want to accomplish over the next three days.

We are sitting under a new moon in Virgo this morning/tonight. And then tomorrow morning in the wee hours of the morning, there will be solar eclipse in Scorpio. New moons are not only a beautiful time for release and resetting intentions to restore and rebuild, but eclipses of any kind are magnifiers of that practice. Eclipse energy is the fire that burns away the old, and preps the ground for the new to burst through. It is not meant for impulsive or sudden movements, it still is good to be intentional, slow, and purposeful with what you release and turn away from.

That being said, I feel the deep need to create an intentional ritual around my shadows. I failed this past month because I did not pay attention to the things my spirit was whispering and needing. To hopefully prevent such an out of control situation again, I want to build on to the awareness I have now. I feel instinctually it needs to be on a new moon each month, and sooner if needed, depending on what comes through.

My heart feels the calmest it’s been in a month today. And I am grateful for that. I added up how many words I’ve written since the 12th of this month, and with the addition of this post, I’m over 18,000 words. I’m almost stunned by that, but I am more hopeful than anything else. My words are back, and I have been greatly missing them for several years now. I feel the tugging need to let go of multiple people. It is time to review who brings light to my life, and who is there because I only feel obligation to them. The lack of stress with not being on social media has been relieving, and that makes this part even easier. I almost feel strange not living with an outlet to instagram sharing pictures and little stories, and yet on the flip side, look at how many words I’ve been able to write. The choice to leave [temporarily?] social media was not for the sake of drawing attention to myself. It was because I truly desperately needed space. I needed to breathe and find myself. Somewhere along the way I got lost and there were too many pieces of myself scattered out of my reach.

I have spent the past week in particular slowly and carefully and painfully pulling myself back into my bones, sitting with the parts of my spirit and soul that are still shuddering and grieving. I am not completely back into my body, but I’m at least halfway there. I can feel the grounding I’ve been begging for finally starting to show up.

This popped up in one of my mystical apps this morning and it felt so applicable to where I am currently. I know that I will be walking into my therapy session tomorrow with a much clearer head than two weeks ago. And I am relieved by that. I have multiple things I want to bring up and I need her perspective on. One of those things is how do I keep from putting myself into situations where I end up trapped, spiraling, and with no way out. This has become a pattern now and is no longer happenstance. I expect her to say that I need to put my needs as a priority and speak up BEFORE I start to feel the panic and triggers. Because the people pleaser/fawning side of me comes out a lot when I’m afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing and losing someone who means a lot to me. The solution to this seems to be that I need to prioritize myself, and whoever sticks around after I’ve voiced my needs is who’s supposed to be there. Simple? Yes. Painful when people leave because my needs are more than they want to deal with? Also yes.

Okay, back to the ritual I was talking about earlier. I am a fire witch, I work with sigils and symbols as the source and grounding of my power. My current choice for fire magic is carving sigils into a candle and then burning it bathed in an oil that boosts and magnifies the intention of the spell. But for this shadow work, I need to do more than just candle fire magic. I imagine writing and journaling of sorts is needed for this ritual too. More often than not, when I am aware and present with my trauma and shadows, those shadows just need acknowledgment and releasing, no more than that.

I’ve been shattered for too long, I lost multiple people in 2020 that broke my heart and my spirit in more ways than one. I have still been putting myself back together from that this year, and I finally feel like I am understanding who I have become through all of that work. It is time to recognize and honor all parts of me, the not so great, the lonely, the broken, the whole, the loyal and true, and the glued back together parts that are barely holding on. I am grateful for those who have held this space for me when all I’ve been able to see of myself has been the broken and harmful and hurting parts. They have reminded me of who I am, the whole of me, not just the parts that are triggered and traumatized.

I need to create a new sigil. This one will say “I honor my shadow self” and I have a feeling I need to draw it on my own body as well as on a candle. I need and want to make an anointing oil, something to hold the intentions of honoring and validating every part of me. I am committing myself to stepping back and withdrawing when I feel things starting to spin up, rather than continuing to push and trying to be present. This all feels like very important work for me, and for taking care of myself. I think it’s necessary and vital to my growth and being true and honest to the things I have already fought for and barely won.

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