Those following me on my social media platforms know that the last 36 hours of my Dominican trip turned to Hell real fast, and I am very grateful my soul sister Krystal and I made it home to our loved ones.
To keep the story short and brief, there was a prostitution ring being ran out of the last resort that we stayed at. Being 2 young female travellers travelling alone, we were targets from the minute we checked in. We fled the resort at 2:30 am thanks to a local we had made friends with earlier in our trip who rescued us. Our intuition and feeling out energy as well as our local friend is what saved our life/saved us from becoming lost in the Dominican sex trade if they didn’t get the ransom they wanted.
The last 3 weeks have been an intense “use all the tools in your personal growth tool belt to help you deal with what the fuck happened in Dominican” and now that I am clear headed, feeling back to being me, able to talk about it without crying, I want to share some of my thoughts and what I learned in the process for any of those that are going through a trauma of your own.
First stage for me was shock: You spend your day in a fog, not feeling like anything is real. The trauma doesn’t feel real, and the normal day to day life that you are living doesn’t feel real. It’s like you are in an alternate Universe walking around in your body not recognising your own life. You almost feel like it’s wrong to be home doing your normal day to day things. You’re going through the motions but not really present.
Second stage for me was facing the triggers: An old man that I have known for a few years who I know is harmless, laid it on thick on how beautiful he thinks me and the lady I was with are, which sent me in a downward spiral of “don’t look at me, don’t speak to me, I don’t want to be touched, I don’t want to be looked at mode.” Hearing a song that came on the moment things started to make a change that night in Dominican, and having to listen to the whole thing without being able to change the song, freezes me in a moment that happened 3 weeks ago as if it happened just this morning. Doing a self defence course and the second you feel like you are put in a defenceless state while being taught how to get out of a hold, triggers something fierce in you. I spent the rest of the night after the course staring at the table or the wall, completely numb. The first 2 weeks after the trauma was trigger after trigger, that would snap into some of the thoughts I was having that night or even just inside the hotel room, wondering if I was going to be coming home. This 3rd week, the song didn’t trigger me or a compliment from a stranger, they made me feel uneasy, but not enough to throw off what I was doing.
Third stage: Trying to remember what it was that I do that makes me feel ALIVE and ME. For me, that’s chasing the sun as it dips below the horizon and watching the colours explode across the sky. Just me, my dog and my music, getting lost in the magic of the sky. This week I started to run at sunset again, rather than earlier on in the evening, and just stare at the sky as I ran through the field towards colours. The other thing that makes me feel so free and alive is dancing to every song that comes across my playlist. It’s what helps me embrace my femininity. This week, I tuned everything and everyone off, and I put on the songs that I get lost in, and I let go and just started moving my body to the beat. It felt forced at first, but by the end of a good half hour dance session, I felt that fire in me that had dulled since the incident start to burn a bit brighter.
Fourth Stage: Realising how badass of a warrior woman you are, and how proud you are of yourself for allowing yourself to feel what you needed to feel as it came up, for setting your boundaries with those that you love, and for allowing yourself to DEAL with it. My entire life I have been running on the pattern of avoiding emotions that hurt rather than dealing with them as they come up because sadness was programmed into me at a young age as weakness. I grew up with 2 older brothers. In order to hang out with the boys I had to be tough. This lead to the adult version of myself realising I had years of repression to heal from and I needed to learn how to deal with shit that sucked rather than pretending I was okay. This past year has been a shit storm of peeling back the layers one by one and healing them, and this Dominican trauma was a real test of how much work I have done with honouring my emotions and healing as things come up, rather than later.
Yes, I sat in a brain fog for days. Yes, I cried a lot. Yes, I had to lean harder on loved ones than I ever have had to. Yes, I had sleepless nights. Yes, I had bad dreams. Yes, I had to sleep with the light on. Yes, I would wake up and not know where I was, only to feel my dog next to me and realise that I was home and alive. Yes, I have had to admit that I was not okay. Yes, I had to admit that I was not myself at the time. Yes, I have had to admit that I was scared. Yes, I understand fully what PTSD feels like.
Will I still have triggers? Probably. The song Rape Me by Nirvana gets changed as soon as it comes on the radio. But, I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel, I didn’t run from it, I didn’t hide it, I faced it. The triggers are going to dissipate and I’m going to be able to keep my composure when faced with one.
I stepped into my feminine with this process rather than leaning into my masculine, I allowed myself to be openly vulnerable with those that I trusted rather than holding onto the masculine and telling myself to buck up. I had to swallow what the ego was telling me and be okay with saying I wasn’t okay.
And because of all of that, I can now say confidently that I am okay. I am 97% back in touch with that free spirited girl that I was the morning of May 1st before the incident happened. I may still have a few bad days here and there, and that’s okay. I just know that it’s in the rear view mirror now, I’m not living it still.