‘What happened to your face?’
Updated: Jul 7, 2021
This question has haunted me for most of my life.
43 years ago I was mauled by a dog. For 42 years I had never been able to remember more than a few vague scattered moments. Me reaching up to pat the neighbour’s dog, and then my face being held under under a tap. A vague memory of hospital. That was it. I’d always been told by doctors & therapists that because I couldn’t remember any of the events that I was ok. I was unaffected. And yet somehow I knew that wasn’t true. There was a part of me that knew that I shouldn’t be terrified all the time. That there was a very real part of me that did remember. That had recorded & stored every second of terror & was desperate to forget & find safety. For years that safety was sought in food, exercise, distraction & numbing. It was wrapped up in moments of intensity, in shitty relationships, late nights, dance floors & blackouts. I found it clutching at highs & in the lowest of lows. In starvation and binging, in late nights, purges and overwork.
And then I found it in moments on my yoga mat, sitting with women sharing their own stories, in the study of mindfulness & brain chemistry, nervous system regulation & energetic healing.
My constant seeking of knowledge, desperate to make sense of my own experience.
Until last year (2020) when I witnessed a dog fight while waiting for a coffee. In the moments that followed I was flooded with flashbacks. Sights, sounds & emotions that had me sobbing & shaking.
Biting. Tearing. Snarling. Searing pain & white hot terror.
The 13 months of intense EMDR & trauma recovery work that followed have allowed me to process much of that terror, and rewrite many of the beliefs & stories that I decided were true in that moment 43 years ago & the years that followed. One of which was a deeply held knowing that I was broken. Scarred. The attack had resulted in 52 stiches to the right side of my face. The scars that resulted were the only way that most people could tell my twin sister & I apart & so it seemed as if I was branded. Labelled as the twin with the scars on her face. A helpful & visible way for people to tell us apart. I hated that every school photo was taken from that side & how people would feel so entitled to constantly demand to know what happened to my face.
My parents assured me that I could have surgery ‘to fix my face’ once I was 16 & my face had stopped growing.
I knew I was ugly & flawed & that seeing my face upset them.
My scars are faded now & most people don’t seem to notice them anymore. (I didn’t have surgery.) It’s not lost on me that my hair tends to cover much of my face & until recently I have worn foundation EVERY DAY. (Even when I’m at home by myself.) In the past months I have stopped feeling the need to constantly wear make up.
Last week I had an EMDR session to further release the story of being ‘broken’ & any trauma that had been tucked away related to this. How interesting that the next day when getting my eyebrows tinted the beautician (who has been doing my eyebrows for almost 2 years) blurts out ‘What happened to your face?’
The exact same question that has previously served as a reminder of my own brokenness. This time however, the charge wasn’t the same. I didn’t feel broken or guilty or pulled towards a world of overwhelm. Instead it was just a question. A question I could choose to answer or not. A question that didn’t mean I was broken, or ugly or anything other than a woman with some stories to tell.
There was space & time to breathe.
And that is how my healing continues to show up. As the ability to make choices. To feel what is present without collapsing time & having my emotions overwhelm me or my nervous system overreact to try & protect me.
As her question rolled over me there was a deeper sense of integration & ease. A devotion to writing my own story, from this new perspective. A reminder of the perfection of timing & the nature of healing & my commitment to share my own learnings, resources & support with those who desire to regulate their nervous system, temper their emotional overwhelm, celebrate their sensitivity, release stuck emotions & reclaim their own stories.
HEAL starts on August 11th. DM me to learn more about this 4 month journey to support your own healing…
Together we’ll explore:
Trauma & your nervous system
Loving, healthy boundaries
The art of navigating tricky conversations
Nervous system regulation & completing stress cycles
Vulnerability, safety & managing uncertainty
Beliefs about being ‘Too much/Not enough.’
Embodiment, Body acceptance & positivity.
Slowing down & self nurturing.
The nature of this work is deeply intimate & will take place in community with fortnightly zoom calls over 4 months. Places are strictly limited.
You’ll experience deep holding & the healing power of being witnessed & held by soul sisters. Group calls will include elements of coaching and energetic healing.
Over our time together you’ll also have access to 2 x 1:1 calls with me to receive coaching & energetic healing to further support your own process.
This process will support you to metabolise nervous system responses, soothe frayed nerves & hyper vigilance as you experience feeling safe in your own body & reclaim your sovereignty. To allow your nervous system to repair & navigate new ways of relating to your body. You’ll experience the best kind of homecoming (to your deepest, most intuitive self) & experience profound shifts in your perspective, relationships, spirituality, ability to experience pleasure & move towards wholeness, integration & thriving health.
***Ps, you don’t need to have been mauled by a dog to have experienced trauma! 2020 with all of it’s intensity, fear & instability has been been received by most people’s nervous system as trauma. ***
$1,111 paid up front, or by payment plan over 4 months (+ any fees associated with payment plan set up & processing fees.)
Credit card available +2.2% merchant fee.
Like to know if this is a fit for you?
Let’s chat ☕️