I believe when a human is faced with extreme physical and emotional abuse, the soul can and will leave her body.
I believe this to be true, because I experienced it.
I don't know why it leaves. Perhaps it's for self-protection. I don't know how it leaves or where it goes, but I know that if you damage a human enough, she'll be left a shell.
The moment I decided to leave my abusive partner, there were no lacerations. No fingerprint bruises on my neck or arms. No knots on my forehead. This time the evidence could be washed out in the shower - the In-n-Out French fries, animal style burger, and coke that had been smashed on my face and in my hair.
That happened because I had asked him if he had paid the electric bill.
But these aren't stories of being beaten. Those facts are ancillary and only serve to tell you how I found my way back.
As I stood in the bathroom, staring at this person in the mirror, I was seeing her from a distance, as if she were an actress staring in the sad, Lifetime movie of my life. She had some of my features, but the eyes were dead. She wasn't the sweet-yet-cheeky, politically charged, opinionated-yet-quiet person I had grown up to be. She wasn't even the opposite of these things. She actually wasn't anything.
She was like that Edgar guy in Men in Black.
Some single neuron fired then, like the Big Bang in my brain, that let me know I was missing my very essence. And to me that was more of a betrayal than anything that I had experienced from four years of being trapped with a monster.
With my soul gone, I was sure that my body wouldn't be able to sustain itself, and I was right. I was perpetually sick, I was diagnosed with cancer, and no matter how little I ate and how much I worked out, I was still overweight as my body tried to provide the extra padding needed to take blows.
So, I vowed in that moment that I would do everything I could to extract myself, so that I could welcome back my spirit. It took a long time of fighting for myself: learning self-care, mindfulness, yoga, nutrition, talk therapy, dual-brain theory therapy, hypnotherapy, nature, nature, nature, create, create, create. All of these things made her know that I was once again creating a safe space for her. It took about four years for her to fully come back, but fifteen years after the In-n-Out day, it's still an ongoing process to keep her still, to keep reminding her that she's free and safe and she doesn't have to hide.
I never again want to feel the vacuousness that comes from betraying your soul, and so everything I do now is centered around caring for that quiet spark that lives inside of me.
In this blog, I'l talk about how I invited myself back, but those posts will be intermingled with posts about our silly, giant puppy, our cozy cottage house, my writing work, my steadfast husband who puts my safety above all else -- all of the things that I gained because I made a commitment to honoring my spirit above all.
Because it's important to know that if I can do it, you can do it, too. You can find your way back.
Also, this song is everything: