Reclaim Your Voice: Post-Traumatic Growth Event

Telling your story is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination. I am so used to telling my story via writing, and when I tell it orally it’s typically recorded and shared later. But, speaking to a LIVE audience? Weeeeeee-ewwwwwwwwwwwwww. My goodness, that is a different experience indeed.

Healing is a funny thing. When I was rehearsing for the Reclaim Your Voice: Post-Traumatic Growth Event I was a guest speaker at this past Thursday, November 25, I knew exactly which spots were my sore spots emotionally. I knew where my voice would quiver. I knew where a tear might start forming in my eye. I knew the speech backwards and fowards as an emotional journey.

I wanted to give a basic idea of the true trauma I have been through, just so that the point that I had healed to the extent that I have was not only possible but was right in front of them as evidenced by my speech. And I believe in that respect, I definitely succeeded for the most part, except the only person in the audience that I wasn’t expecting to be there was me.

About an hour before the event I did my nails. As I sat there waiting for my Insta-Dry glitter polish to dry (a process I’m notoriously bad at) I began to have some sort of outer-body experience. I recognized it as such, and so when my hands were dry enough I made some tea, and just sat on the couch, relaxed and waited for the event to begin.

When it did, I felt ready, exceptionally calm. Upon reflection, maybe even a little bit too calm. Kind of like a child who is too silent. And then, after the introduction, when I began speaking, I still felt 100% ready to speak.

And ready I was.

But I was an active observer of the things that I was saying while I was speaking. Reclaim Your Voice events are special. They’re hard to explain, although over the years I have definitely attempted to put words to something you need to experience with your own being.

I have written about many of the things I had spoken about, but some were namely stories I am saving for my 2nd book. I touched on certain subjects in my first book, but not with as much detail as I spoke at the event, and so my emotions went on a ride with the audience.

Which is kind of like breaking one of the 10 Crack Commandments. You see Biggie says, “never get high off your own supply.” Well, I was up in the clouds, looking down at myself, but I knew that I was still ready.

I hope that fact that I showed that much emotion as I spoke will help others when they have moments where they are vulnerable without choosing to be. Emotions can overcome us and that is okay.

Since the event, I have been processing having spoken all of those things out loud. And, it has been a beautiful, but also raw process. I believe that is normal. When I applied to speak at the RYV event I was elated when Jungle Flower then invited me to share my story. I knew that it was more than an opportunity. Speaking my story out loud is something that is necessary both for my growth and advocacy, and I wanted to begin that journey at a Reclaim Your Voice event specificaly. And, I did.

To everyone who was in attendance, to the beautiful souls who participated in sharing that energy, I appreciate you more than words can describe. There were so many things I wanted to say during the Q&A but without responding to specific questions I will make this general addition to that portion of the event:

My healing is in process, as it will always be. Life after trauma, is life. It’s very different post-trauma, but it can get better. It’s okay to take a step back to take 10 forward. But the main key term I did not utter which is a huge component of any healing process is: baby steps. Baby steps are the most essential movements that you can possibly make in your journey, because everyone begins with crawling. None of us came out the womb walking (although that would be lit). We all have to crawl in order to eventually sprint. Any healing process is the same.

I want to thank Jungle Flower again for having even created a space like Reclaim Your Voice. I am so grateful for the work that you continuously do. You inspire so many people, myself included.

Lastly, I want to share with you all a quick story. When I was 10 I moved to Calgary from Montreal and I found myself shy all of a sudden in social situations. I had the exact words and responses to things in my head, I just wouldn’t say them. Finally, one day after school I was walking home from the school bus and I was staring at the sidewalk when I made a promise to myself. I told myself, “Say it. Whatever it is, say it. I don’t care if your voice shakes. You’re going to say it.” And, a couple of decades later, y’all know I stay true to my word.

Thank you to all attendees again, I know I thanked you multiple times at the event, but your engagement was so beautiful to me. While telling my story was so important, the way that you responded to it was one of the main reasons why I applied. And, even a couple days since, I have already learned so much from you.

Sending love and light,

Arielle London

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