As time has gone on I've found my voice has gotten louder, my confidence has gotten stronger, and I have continued to heal and grow.

But there's this part of me that's still very much wounded.

There's this awful dark place in the back of my mind that I can't bare to look at. I don't think about it, I don't touch it, and quite frankly I sometimes even forget it's there.

Until a trigger hits.

Then like a tsunami, this horrible feeling takes over. I feel all my happiness being sucked into this black hole, and I have to fight with all my might to keep myself grounded.

I plant my feet, I hold on to my happiest memories, and I fight with all my power to stay standing.

Sometimes that isn't enough.

Even with medication, sometimes I need my people.

This place in the back of my mind is kind of like the Shadow Lands. (If you don't get this Lion King reference - you need to stop what you're doing and watch the Lion King.)

And while I may rule the Pride Lands, the places where the light doesn't touch, is somewhere I only visit when I have to.

If I don't have to be brave I'm not.

But in order to heal, I can no longer choose to ignore it.

And I suppose I always knew this was coming, but I didn't realize it was coming so soon.

I mean for the past five years I've been building so much strength and courage, but it wasn't until recently that I discovered what I was really preparing for.

I have come to terms with what happened to me in a general sense. I can say it out loud, I can talk about rape, abuse and assault, and I can have candid conversations with strangers.

But what I haven't done is dissect it.

While talking this through with my therapist we discussed the fact that the next part of my healing journey, is to visit this place in my mind in a safe space. So that I can see and experience all that it is, all that it will ever be, and allow myself to grow comfortable enough with it so that when I am triggered I don't collapse into a pile of rubble.

My first go at this will be with painting.

I wrote a post quite a while ago on my personal blog www.nataliacamarena.wordpress.com about battling our monsters. Taking them out of the closet to size them up, examine them and really get an understanding of what they are.

Because in reality the things that scare us most, are the things we don't know or don't understand.

So I'm going to try this. I'm going to set up my little art 'studio' get myself ready, and in that safe place I'm going to visit all my worst memories. I'm going to examine them piece by piece and paint what I feel. I'm going to size them up and get it out there.

It's time for me to take the next step.

If you're already there and ready, take it with me. If you've taken it already, then take a bow you wondrous, and courageous being. And if you aren't even close to being ready yet, know that with each step we get better, we get closer to healing, and we get stronger.

-Natalia Camarena

Published by Natalia Camarena