Body

You can heal your trauma & evolve your intimacy at the same time

The year after my divorce, I went to therapy weekly. I had so much to unpack. All I knew was - I never want to be the woman that I was in my relationship ever again. That woman was judgemental, emasculating, and not in touch with herself.


And truth be told, I was terrified of actually living in my body. I had lost a child right before the beginning of that fourteen year relationship, and I realized how much of a safety net this man had been to me, and so I also started to unpack the trauma in my body. I pretty much couldn’t even imagine letting another man into my physical or intimate space.


There are a LOT of stories I could tell you about that year - how deep I dove, how the somatic therapy taught me to unwind the trauma in my system, how I took my mindfulness and spiritual practices to next levels. I dove into my personal work like I was the only project that mattered - because, determined - I was going to get my Self back.


When I started to date, it was terrifying, and it brought up all the ways that I was still holding trauma in my body - physically, emotionally, spiritually. Trauma memory gets trapped in the soma and whether we remember exactly why or not, other people trigger our habitual trauma responses. Intimacy brings up SO MANY trauma responses for so many people.


And SO MANY people are trying to go ahead and be intimate meanwhile suppressing the trauma responses. Check yourself - you feel fear and suppress it in some way before sex. You back away ever so slightly emotionally or physically when someone approaches you intimately. You fear all the ways you’ll get hurt when entering into a relationship or when bringing up something vulnerable. It’s really common, but not so much talked about. (But I'm talking about it.)


When I started to date, therefore, I was not getting anywhere close to intimate, because it just didn’t feel safe to do so. It literally felt terrifying to expect myself to share connection with someone else. Many people are simply not intimate or they are bypassing their body's warning mechanisms that tell them to stop, turning off their hearts and the potential for deep connection.


What ended up happening is that I spent the second year after my marriage, after a year of working out the trauma on my own, in an absolutely safe relationship that taught me how to go to the edges of my vulnerability, and what it felt like to be met there. When you have trauma in your body, you shake, quake, feel anxious in the presence of another - even if when you’re at home on your meditation cushion, it would appear as though you’ve got it all worked out of you.


But intimacy is just going to reflect the CORE of our wounding. You can do some work alone, and then the truest available healing is in the safe and intimate connection with another. To be met there is something incredible.


Because of all of the blocks that humans have to experiencing their own fear and vulnerability, I fear and I know that all too often, humans are not accessing this potential. I talk to couples ALL THE TIME that are coexisting without actually ever touching these most important places of the heart and healing. (The body plays a HUGE part in this!)


I am who I am today because of my dedication to my own healing and to my Soul, but also I am who I am in my body because of this man and his ability to safely, steadily, and willingly diffuse my energetic shaking and quaking until I could come to safety, ease, and stillness. Only then is actual intimacy and connection truly available - when our whole systems are available to access it.


To be a woman carrying the trauma of women - intergenerationally, ancestrally, sexually - as we do, and to be met safely in the hands of a man, is life changing. It is life giving.


Relationships have the potential to heal the deepest rifts to intimacy. I can teach you this. Men, I can literally teach you how to hold this space and invite her true sexuality forward. And I can teach her how to soften out of her perfectionist and emasculating tendencies that are also barriers to connection.


Through my years of deep exploration and training of trauma recovery, presencing, intimacy, and gender relatedness, I have developed coaching for couples that actually heals trauma, by teaching you both to meet one another in the vulnerable spaces, and to do so differently than anyone has ever counseled you before. This is not a methodology of talking it out, or hashing out the past. This is learning to be present in the moment, watching what arises, approaching vulnerable topics (including trauma in the body) with safety, and committing to the exploration. In this method, both partners are called to their best, compassionate selves. In this method, your trauma heals, separation heals, and connection skyrockets.


After you’ve reviewed my website, please contact me for a consultation to see if my in depth couples coaching is for you. It works when both people are committed to healing the disconnection because you desire so deeply to experience the fullness of your relationship’s potential.

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Coming undone

I recently read, and then reread twice, an excellent article in Buddhadarma by Angel Kyoto Williams that had this powerful line: “You are not doing the work of liberation if you have not come completely undone. That’s where it begins. I have no idea where it ends.”



I know something about that. I recently came undone.



It wasn’t intentional or in pursuit of liberation. It was accidental and caused by a few things, among them a pursuit of shiny ideals, my own tendency to put pressure on myself when I’m afraid to fail, and a messy death of a soul-level love relationship.



It was the messiest I’ve ever been in my life. In certain moments, I still am. I cried yesterday on the way to the Courageous Heart church service, and cried there, and cried on the way home. After all that crying, I decided that what I needed was some soup and so went to the grocery store for the ingredients. While in there, a sweet stranger said, “Excuse me, are you Sarah Poet? Thank you for your contributions and vulnerability.” Why, yes I am. And to affirm your sentiment, look into my puffy eyes, kind man.



I have no idea how I’m being perceived. I have little idea what I managed to hold together over the last three months while coming undone and getting used to it. I said to a friend last week, “I’m back,” and he said, “Well, sister, then you bring quite an away-game.”



I sometimes wait for this to be the best thing that ever happened to me. By which I mean that I find myself anticipating some damn merit for doing this work of liberation. Oops. I watch myself in old habits expecting the big reveal of why things happen the way they happen, the meaning that makes it all worthwhile. The story with the beautiful ending.



I think that’s what got me into this mess and I hope now I’m wise enough to know better. I was thinking that if I worked hard, that if I behaved with integrity according to my soul’s purpose, that if I took big risk, I would be somehow rewarded. It would all work out. Love would win (you know, in just the way I thought it would and of course God would agree with my plan). Isn’t that what hard work and manifestation is all about? Wink.



I believe that the Soul does align us with the circumstances and partnerships that we need in order to learn and grow. At one moment it can look like one thing (bright, shiny, alluring) and the next moment it can look like the greatest challenge of your life. And then we have all those added personality and traumatic histories to add to the cocktail.



In this case, at one moment my life looked like my life partner and I had discovered one another and were both soul-level aware that we had come to do the stuff of soul-union together, complete with past and future life visions and affirmations from a shaman on our mutual soul purpose, and the next minute it looked like massive triggering and poor choices and loss. This as I was still in my not-yet-sustainable first year of business and stress was pretty high.



His voice that I loved so much started to yell, threaten, block. His care turned to power-over, betrayal, dismissal. He abandoned his Yes and then he was gone. It threatened my core, my core wounding. My body. Even my assets.



This is not a post about a man. This is a post about my coming undone. That was just part of the cocktail.



Soul-level relationships will challenge you, because your Soul came to grow and evolve. You might meet under the most incomprehensible conditions, you might see the potential way your life is going, and then, you might see that something else was in store. Or someone makes a choice that changes everything. When you want a romance, have a romance. When you want something real, be with a soul mate. And I will warn you now, get ready. It’s an initiation.



He had asked me one time, as friends, how I knew what I knew about men. From studying them, and studying my interactions with them, I had replied. And then I told him the stories of the men who had come before, who had touched something deep inside themselves in my reflection, and what happens as a woman when men are confronted with themselves, even in non-threatening ways. So over the years, I learned about how to tiptoe around men, how to listen and how to love, and I called it coming into my divine feminine. But that wasn’t how I described it to him. Back when I told him that, I didn’t realize how much I had been tiptoeing.



So I tiptoed, tripped, and fell right into this relationship with him. I was counting on him, in part, to hold me up.



I realized so many things in my coming undone. I realized that I actually had thought subconsciously that if I showed up as best I knew in front of a man, that I wouldn’t get hurt anymore. I actually thought that I if I said yes to following the Soul as it calls to two people in the same way, that it would inevitably mean we could work through anything. I thought that because he saw it too, and actually saw it first, that I could trust him fully, that he would be a safe man. I knew and trusted his Soul, and so I opened myself fully.



What a body does in a coming undone, a traumatic one, is worth noting. As a woman in a body, in MY body, I froze. I have done the fight, and the flight (though I’m mostly a fighter), and this time, there was no more fight. My nervous system didn’t have it. My feminine didn’t have it. I collapsed under the betrayal I felt. Under the loss, the grief, all the things it brought up in my life.



You want to know how I know what I know about men? I’m a woman in a body and I know what happens when a man begins to see you as a threat. From my father forward. I know what it is to trust and to open and to then find yourself susceptible to misdirected male anger, fear, and shame. It can be scary as fuck.



You want to know how else I know what I know about men? Because over and over again, I’ve chosen to forgive them. I grow because I transmute, heal, and learn. That’s the only reason this healing could happen as quickly as it did. Not my first rodeo.



The freeze response took hold in my head, neck, face, and shoulders. It took hold in stillness, confining me to bed and staying inside to process, process, process. In this trauma response, something I thought I’d healed, back came all the feelings of lack of safety. I didn’t keep moving like I probably knew to, because I was inside a trauma response. I wanted to be in water all the time, sometimes two or three hot showers a day. My hips clenched up, this sacred center confused by the sudden mistrust.



Today I danced in the shower, finally. Finally. It’s late March and bees are back to pollinating the flowers and my sexuality just came back online.



I went for orthobionomy and cried on the table. The invitation to unwind in safety is so important. A friend hugged me last week and I just asked him to stand for extra moments while my system took in the touch. Wondering, how did I become this woman again?



My body understands lack of safety. Inherently. It understands the work of unwinding trauma. I didn’t know what lived in the memory of my nervous system would be woken like this again.



All the understanding in the world, all the skills in relating or all the intentions won’t override the nervous system that feels the threat. I know what I know and bring it to Embodied Breath because I am a woman in a body. As a woman in a body, a woman who has lost a child and lost lovers and also found myself in the touch of others, I know that the body is really what’s in charge.



My coming undone was a pile, a mix, of body and emotion and loss and resolve. Of wonder and mystery and sorrow and shame and forgiveness. An identity crisis. A shame shit show. An initiation and karmic unfolding. Another opportunity to explore my own fear of speaking my truth. A humbling. Sometimes all at the same time.



We were told, he and I, that our mutual soul mission was to live in the courageous heart. (And yes, there happened to be a local spiritual movement with the same name at the same time, as I mentioned above.) For six weeks, I was in complete trauma & fear and couldn’t access my heart, let alone be courageous. In that fear, I watched some fo the constructs I’d built to protect myself and build up my world fall down. Because they were weaker than I’d thought. I stood in the rubble. I recognized that I’d asked for all of it, in one way or another.



And then I found my way back to my heart. Through deciding, receiving support, clawing for my own liberation, pounding the floor, wailing when needed, and doing what needs to be done. The trauma needs to be set free, healed, and then we can breathe again. But moving past the resiliency of trauma, and coming into our wholeness, we also access our hearts. A heart broken wide open, who loved another soul purely and has no more space for resentment or futility, is a beautiful space to witness.



It is the most beautiful space I’ve ever experienced, perhaps. I like myself better Undone, at this depth. I like myself better now, with so much less to prove, with such a humbled understanding of how we all try to get it right and how we don’t always win.



I am not blaming a man. I am saying that there was a catalyst in the form of a man I actually miss very much. A situation I chose, my Soul chose, and I participated in, and was designed for my evolution. I hope his as well. Brandi Carlile sings so damn beautifully in the song Every Time I Hear That Song: “By the way, I forgive you. After all, maybe I should thank you, for giving me what I’ve found.” That’s a little of how I feel. He would love that song.



I was still trying to hold up too much, to prove too much, to prove successful in ways that I didn’t even realize I was striving to prove, until I came undone. You’ve heard the phrase “a beautiful mess.” That’s this. I remember what I knew, why I came, what I’m doing. I believe in my mission and I’m regrouping to deliver something I couldn’t have delivered before. Something stronger and more real than ever. My client relationships have benefited from this. My heart serves my relationships now more than ever.



Liberation. It’s not a word that was on my mind before reading this article I mentioned above. But I think that’s this liberation of the heart. A liberation into truer and truer love. And freedom from expectation or condition. Freedom to live into an opening.



I used to have judgements about people who gave up. Now I know what it feels like to consider it. I used to have subconscious judgements about people who couldn’t pick themselves up out of their sorrow. Now I know what it feels like to stay there longer than you expect you might. I actually bought a book on sorrow in December thinking, “I need to better understand this in order to serve my clients who have trouble pulling themselves out.” And… queue life.



I’m sorry if you’ve come undone. Please ask for support if and when you do. The cracking open could be the opportunity for liberation. The way that my community wrapped around me in these months is nothing short of divine. Each of you is a divine gift. Thank you. The blessings that each of you provided are enough to bolster me for a lifetime (but keep them coming, because I want us exchanging our gifts for the rest of this lifetime). I came undone alongside some of you and our conversations have deepened. Our love expanded. I want to live this way.



I will also say that I love to look around right now and see that publically, I saw so many women owning their undone-ness. So many female public figures owning the mess. Right on time. Queue life. I don’t want a one of us to think that we’ve got it more together than another, or that another woman doesn’t suffer like we suffer. One woman said to me last week, “You owning your mess allows me to own mine.”



I always thought that I did this, owning my mess, as a person, as a woman. Then life served up one big ol’ mess to see what I was made of. The thing is, I still don’t know sometimes. It’s an investigation, a witnessing of Self. Sometimes I know I’m here and worthy and ready, and other times I hide because I’m still scared to bring my all. Sometimes I know how much I have to offer and I put it out there, and sometimes I still wait out of fear. Sometimes I remember my courageous heart, and other times I have to be reminded of it. I will continue to share the walk, the mess, the liberation.



I am now somewhere comfortably undone. I feel the fresh breeze of liberation. Freedom. As my body begins to release the tension, as the nervous system lets down and begins to heal, I feel a space again. A space to move my hips, a space to remember to do neck rotations, a space to breathe into what’s next. This is the space that allows for connection. I look forward to opportunities to share my heart, and again in time, my body. I am preparing to shift my living arrangements to allow for more space to come more fully, more willingly, more beautifully undone. The future is wide open. Liberation, freedom, is our invitation. As Angel Kyoto Williams said, “I have no idea where it ends.” Maybe that’s the point, to ever-more willingly release our grip on life.



Thank you for reading. Thank you for stopping me in the grocery store and reminding me to keep writing. Thank you for your hands on my back in warm embrace. Thank you for loving me even when I mess up or am a mess. Thank you for your humanity. Please, let’s keep extending it outwards to all. It’s the stuff of living, of doing the hard, good work of living and having a place to land. May I be such a space for you when you need it.

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fallow woman poem

Fallow woman

On Sunday she cooked chicken for the family,

and while cleaning up,

the smell of the fat in the pan filled her nose and when no one was looking,

she poured it into a glass and drank it back.


It could easily have been described as a gulp. Or a guzzle.


And then she recognized how truly hungry she had once again become.


The fat sliding in her throat and into the body not nearly enough to fill or truly nurture her feminine soul.


She steps back to look at herself, touching her fingers to her lips, her craving having just surprised her, to wonder how she found herself here again.


How she allowed herself to have been drunk from, and to be then again laid fallow, by a man.

A mother of two boys says to me, “You know, they just crawl all over your body, take from it, like it belongs to them.”


And I wonder, is she really referencing the young boys, or adult men?


She is the body of the mother, after all, and while we hope to wean them, babies turn to boys turn to grown men.

Is it not their right? They assume.


Ah, my woman, I am so sorry you have to turn to the kitchen, swallow the fat, and keep nursing the majority of them.

A wife in session alone with me turned on the imaginary waters above her head to cleanse her energy body, and gulped it instead.

“I was just so thirsty!” she said.


The water, the light of god, the body so hungry to be satisfied.


Replenished.


That is the potential of fallow land, after all, if not further depleted.


That is the potential IF the woman’s body is recognized by all as sacred ground.

A woman stood facing her husband in the connection exercises I provide, and in the safe distance between them, her body began quaking slightly.

She was unable to walk forward.

And he saw,

he saw how he had been taking.

And in her, every day, a fear of having to give over what was not meant for him. And finally she did not have to.

He had been taking from depleted ground.

And he stood, seeing his part in this responsibility, stood with his guilt and shame as it turned to care and concern. He saw, and he would not do it again.

The woman, the mother, each woman’s body, is the source of life.

How do we replenish a collective of women?

Thirsty, nursing, depleted, hungry queens.

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The turners of the tide

On being a woman and rising

Woman do not make excuses for him.

He is showing you what he can do.



Woman do not make assumptions of him.

You are sure to underestimate.



Woman do not heal for him.

You have been waiting on you your whole life.



Woman do not wait for him.

He knows where you are going and he’ll go with you if he chooses.



Woman do not carry him.

Not when the weight is disproportionate.



Woman do not threaten him.

He carries the fear of mothers’ threats forever as it is.  



Woman do not chase him.

It only leaves you further from yourself.



Woman do not betray him.

When you do you betray half of yourself.



Woman do not shame him.

Surely we do not need any more fear between us.



Woman do not give up on him.

If you do, your sons will feel it.



Woman do not lay down for him.

Not anymore. Not like this.



Woman do not stop loving him.

The heart of the world needs your love and he is in it.



Woman do not stereotype him.

You know better than to be unfair.



Woman do not hide your eyes.

Meet his. Meet mine.



Woman do not give up on love.

Your bitterness serves nothing.



Woman do not forget your divinity.

You know how to heal and nurture and forgive and rise again.



Woman do not stop. Do not stop.

Do not worry and do not stop.

Surely, surely, we know we are the turners of the tide.

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The grief at the core of me.

It’s important we allow ourselves to feel our grief.

When I lost my daughter at birth at the age of nineteen, I grieved alone. And in fact, grieving was not talked about. Succeeding was emphasized.



Get up. Do what needs to be done. Make something of yourself.



And this was the formula that I used for over thirteen years, until I consciously realized what I was doing - I was in a perpetual state of striving for proof of “being enough.” A state of inadequacy.



Nothing could fill it, as inadequacy at the core goes, although I kept trying to succeed. I kept trying to get it right in order to prove my enough-ness.



And this core wound that most of us carry, it dies hard. Actually it doesn't die, it transmutes when we face it. And this takes some conscious action indeed. Awareness is just the beginning. Undoing the traumas and the wounding and the automatic patterning is an effort in consciousness. But one worth making, as one takes back their life from the myth of inadequacy.



Last year, as soon as I stepped out to go full time with Embodied Breath, my deep love relationship ended. I had loved this man. I didn’t understand some of the circumstances, and he left in a hurry after I’d experienced the deepest love relationship I’d ever known. I could see some of the karma, some of the Soul reasons why it was happening, but here’s what I realize now - I didn’t grieve.



I did not let myself grieve, because I had just opened a business. So what did I do? I hid my grief, from others especially, and I kept on going. I kept on “doing it.” I kept on toward success and making it happen. I was putting myself “out there!” I was building something! And so I was striving to get things done, and to financially survive, actually, and so I took a “show no weakness” approach. I got to the fall and I realized what I had been doing, because I was tired, and I didn’t feel any different than I had in my career. I was hustling and not fully honoring my own Soul and Soul’s journey, which says, ultimately, that I should live out loud.



So I started a business originally for women, about reclaiming the feminine, and there I was… doing the striving thing. Which is an unhealthy masculine trait, inherently.



It’s the one most women are in.  (Whoa, defenses, it’s true.) I know because I live it and because I deeply observe. When we grow up in a society where our femininity is repressed, systematically, we learn to “act like men.” To get it done. To keep going.



Our entire society is currently built on these premises.



I love the path of the Soul. I love the mystery and the learning and bearing witness to the unfolding. I believe we are here on a Soul path, or I know I am, and that each “thing” that happens is my own Soul mapping it’s way. Sometimes this happens consciously, and most times it’s a damn mystery.



So another man comes into my life. Takes me by storm. Unreal scenario. Cosmic awakening. Difficult to embrace but we do it. We say Yes. We know it’s a Soul Union. We love one another deeply. And then, BOOM. I find myself within one week going from happy assumptions of a future together to an ending so similar to the last relationship that I’m not even as shocked. And I’m the common denominator here, so my Soul is clearly trying to give me some lessons.



What I’m sharing with you is vulnerable, and undone, because we are in it. This man is not connecting with me, sweet man, but we are in it, each in our own ways. Because we each triggered the Core Wound in one another, so far as I can tell.



When we trigger the Core Wound, it’s actually an opportunity. It hurts like hell right now, but I see where our Souls are, and I’m praying for each of our Souls’ evolution.



And so here I am, at the very beginning of 2019, where I did not think I was going to be repeating anything from that rollercoaster of a 2018, and then, BOOM, I am.



I am. Soul love, My King. Relationship identified TO US by the cosmos, one realized and recognized by our Souls before we ever felt anything emotionally. We said the bravest Yes we’ve ever said, and we said it again and again such that when it came to this point (because surely it would if the relationship is THE one - when two souls come together to learn together and grow past the Core Wound) - when it came to this point, and we broke, I never saw him pulling away.



And then he’s gone. Death.



And I’m sitting in my Core Wound of loss, of fearing loss of love, and especially loss of love when I voice my own truth. And something is pulling at me, when I’m telling myself to get up and be resilient and learn the lesson and just bear it, damn it, another harsh fucking lesson. Something is saying… just grieve.



Grieve as you grieve. Fall apart. Feel.



Writhe. Wretch. Die for a minute. Or a week. Or as long as it takes.



Don’t hide, don’t go away, don’t hide the grief, and don’t strive. Don’t force something that is not.



You see, loves, for eighteen years, I’ve been fearing this moment, in every action, in every decision. Loss. Loss of love, loss of love for my own inadequacy, loss of love beyond my control.



I feared it and again, I’ve received it. (See how that works?) I had all the self protections meant to ensure against this, but in the end, those were the very things that helped cause it. Our self protections are what keep us separate.



Such that I helped to trigger these events because of my own fear. (I am a Soul seer, so some of it I see, and again, some will be revealed. Other aspects, I’ll never know. And while it reveals, my job here is to not go to my head, to the story, to the rationale and the “well THAT was the lesson there,” and “Onward in resiliency!”



No. It’s not about that this time. And I’m writing this to model what it is that I am talking about all of us doing - I’m being raw on purpose, I hope that is clear.



I’ve been fearing this loss for eternity.



I know who this man is. It literally felt like parts of myself were in him, like I knew him, Soulknew, like we were made of the same stuff. He felt it too. We knew who we were to one another. So the BOOM, the BOOM is a divine BOOM. And the divine in my Soul is saying, grieve it. Grieve it and know what you know, love him, believe in each of you, but cry hard for as long as your body wants to.



And I’m not covering it up this time. I’m not making myself stand up and get it done. And guess what, this IS the process. This IS the feminine. This IS honoring what is. This IS what I’m offering in Embodied Breath - not the perfection, not the striving. I always say, “We go through.”



This man’s “Yes” turned into his “We don’t go through.”



We signed up for this. Our Core Wound karma, we believe, began with one another. We’ve come for this opportunity. We came for this. And we are in it.


My love, we are. We are going through. We are in the Core. I pray we each honor it for what it is. I love you.



I grieve that you can’t hear me.

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A little tattoo tale...

I got my first tattoo in a friend’s basement. I don’t think my mother knows that to this day. It was a simple butterfly, that I had drawn, with women’s lib symbols in the wings. I was 17.
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When I was in my late twenties, I covered that tattoo on my left shoulder with three large poppies. And, the guy doing the cover up thought it would be a nice ode to the old self to include a new butterfly. I’m glad we did.
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Just a year later, I got the peony on the other shoulder. My mother’s original rules for a tattoo were that I could only get one where no one could see it if I needed to cover it up for a job. So I was thirty two years old, a school principal, with largely inked shoulders. They barely showed.
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That same year, I was taking a tarot class on the side, trying to remember my intuition as a woman. I was a school principal that constantly lead with heart and was constantly “too much.” Criticized for taking intuitive leaps. Ha ha ha, the wild witch awake in me now laughs. My intuition is my craft. But I didn’t know it then. Where is a woman to find this until she nurtures it back to life in herself.
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I was always nervous. But a badass. I WAS a badass, authentically, I just always felt I had to fight for it, or fight, period, for me. My nervous system was fighting for safety my whole life and I was the intuitive woman following the rules of successful engagement, but never feeling myself. For example hiding these tattoos that were authentic expression.
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And so I was in this tarot class and something happened and I realized, holy shit, I’ve given myself armor. I have given myself self-protective, black, badass, don’t fuck with me armor. How’s that for #resiliency.😉
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I love my tattoos. But I don’t want armor and I don’t need protection. Not anymore. So I just kept decorating my body with more and more expression, letting out more and more skin, leaving the profession and creating a life that is 100% my own creation. My next tattoo is on the way. I’ll show it to you.❤️

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