Loves, I’ll tell you right now that this is not an easy post to write, and you 100% do not have to read any further. My “backstory” has some gross, ugly parts to it, and maybe yours does too.The shit I’m about to share here is highly sensitive and may be painful and/or triggering, so please know that I love you and I do not wish to cause any harm. This is Me, sharing my truth. This is Me, casting a light on the darkest parts of my story. This is Me, standing up in VICTORY over the deep hurts of the past and being OK with uncomfortable memories. I know that I can only do this because I have released my need to hide in a prison of guilt and shame. If, in my sharing the worst parts here, I can somehow help you to release your own pain (through seeking therapy and doing the work), then here’s to our continued healing. XOXO Michelle
The Icky Prequel
…Okay, but here’s where all of that damage originated: On a quiet, suburban cul-de-sac, nearly 5 decades ago, to a happy little girl with sparkly green eyes and lots of freckles. My earliest memory of being molested was when I was around 3 or 4 years old. I was riding my little red tricycle up and down the sidewalk on a perfectly lovely day. I stopped to play with a neighborhood cat, when a group of older kids at the other end of my block thought it would be funny to hog-tie me, gag me, and make me try to walk on my tiptoes like a cartoon. When I couldn’t do it, they took turns spanking me and kicking me in the stomach. I don’t remember why they stopped, or if someone else stopped them, but I remember being released and running home as fast as I could, crying all the way. I left my trike behind.
When I ran home to my mom and told her what had happened, she was LIVID. I remember her hugging me tightly before marching down the street to the Big Kids’ house to give them bloody hell. She came back with my tricycle in hand and forbid me from ever going to the end of the street without her. It wasn’t long after that incident that their family moved away, but unfortunately I would soon learn that there were other predators who were living even closer to home.
There was the neighbor across the street- a grown man with a lovely wife who was my mom’s good friend- who would later lure 6 year old me into his garage to feel me up, expose himself and try to make me kiss him.
There were the Big Boys on the block who wanted me to be their “patient” whenever they wanted to play “doctor” and the Big Boys who liked to pin me down to the ground and tickle me all over until I peed myself and the Big Boys who made me touch them “down there” and the Big Boys who made me act as their “lookout” on that one awful day that they thought it would be funny to pick on and molest a couple of kids littler than me, swearing me to secrecy and making me complicit in their “game”.
There were the church youth leaders and high school club leaders who used their charisma to build up a sense of trust and intimacy that they would then exploit to satisfy their perversions.
Then finally, there was the favored family member, a relative (now many years deceased) who couldn’t keep his hands off me or his dick in his pants from the time I was 11 until I was 17, making each holiday spent together or extended family gathering a time I dreaded and felt conflicted over.
Throughout Jr. High, High School, and my first attempt at College, it seemed like I was on an endless loop of being someone’s victim and plaything. I just wanted to be loved and cared for by a good boyfriend, but without realizing that I kept attracting, settling for, and somehow reverting to the old familiar patterns of abuse + silencing. So much guilt. So much shame. So much anger. So much pain.
It wasn’t until much later in life that I began to get help, do the work of inner healing (a daily practice!), and create for myself a new life path of empowerment and freedom.
If you’ve already read Parts 1, 2, and 3 of my story, you know that I took some pretty dramatic twists and turns before becoming The Blessings Butterfly. A big part of that winding road of pain is because for all of the trauma and drama I suffered, I was not keen on seeking out counseling. The mere thought of it freaked me out! I was afraid of going to therapy and I was afraid of telling my ugly secrets. I was afraid of feeling dirty and used and vulnerable all over again. For WAY too long, I would rather keep repeating the negative patterns that I had become so familiar with instead of trying something different. I was afraid of hoping that there really was a chance for a better life, for fear that I wasn’t good enough or deserving of it. I want to encourage you now, that if any of this feels familiar to you and you have not taken the step of getting the help of a skilled and professional therapist- PLEASE do yourself a favor and go for it. Give yourself the gift of therapy!
Getting a support team in place is key to your success in any area, but especially when it comes to taking on the hard and often messy work of healing your soul’s pain. Some folks you will want to invest in having on your team include a good therapist, a life coach, and mind/body practitioners (acupuncture, chiropractor, yogi, and/or massage therapist). Look around, check out different masters and modalities to find the people who you connect with and resonate well with you. Join a support group. Take some classes that get your body moving and sweating (think dance, yoga, swim, cycling, martial arts) to help move out stagnant energy and get out of your head.
You really DO deserve to live a life you love and experience healing over your past!
Forgive and Heal
I am 100% not responsible for the awful things that happened to me as a child. It has taken many, many years to forgive the people who hurt me and the adults who let me down. Honestly, in writing about this early trauma I find that I have to actively practice forgiving many of them again so that I don’t hold on to the pain, guilt, anger and shame. As much work as I’ve done and as vastly different and beautiful the life I now live is, I still feel some spiritual nausea and physical queasiness whenever I tell this part of my story. I am reminded that I must also forgive myself for the mistakes I made, and for my part in any bad decisions that led to more pain for myself and my loved ones.
In recent years, I’ve taken on the beautiful practice of gratitude, forgiveness & self-love as part of my healing process. It’s where my books, The Blessings Butterfly and The Blessings Butterfly Companion Guide came to life, and what has led to me offer my private Empowerment Coaching (living the life that you love) and my body-positive program The Cocoon (learn to love the body you live in) to women around the world. The most magical thing that takes place when you begin healing, is that you are then able to help someone else begin their healing journey, too. My primary purpose in sharing my story and being open about the pain is to guide people who have faced similar struggles to take the steps forward that they need to in order to heal from their past and begin living the life that they love, the beautiful life of abundance and love and joy that they truly deserve. <3