A Story of Rape, Forgiveness and Compassion

I wrote the article below for The Guardian’s weekend Family section (it’s published anonymously), but had always been resistant to posting it on my blog/website. Part of my issue was not hurting those closest to me; the ones I love the most. I’ve now spoken with them in the last week so I cannot use that as an excuse any longer.

This morning I saw a post from Leonie Dawson on Facebook – ‘Make no mistake, your story needs to be heard. Your gifts need to be known’. So, there it is….My Story and The Gifts from it.

I’m no longer defined by my past and I’m certainly not looking for sympathy or pity. For me, it’s about coming to terms with what is, coming into my power, and moving on to live my life in the Fullness that is my right.

It’s been quite a journey over the last nearly five years, and I would acknowledge the huge part that Gillian Alexander, of Sacred Touch has played; the safe and sacred space that she has held for me to fully engage and integrate my experiences, and her consummate skill in knowing when to push and when to hug – thank you. Thanks are also due to Mary, of North Ayrshire Rape Counselling – her skill as a rape counsellor made it possible for me to finally acknowledge that I had, in fact, experienced rape. And, of course, a huge thanks to my family for sticking with me and loving me through everything.

 

A Letter to………………The Man Who Raped Me

 

I was sixteen when I came to work for you. At sixteen I knew everything – and nothing. I was the middle child, never felt that I fitted in and never felt that life-affirming love from my father as I was growing up into a young woman. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was desperately looking for someone to love me. You were over twice my age, thirty-four, and married. You had travelled the world with the Navy and regaled me with stories of your adventures; you seemed so mature, wise and knowledgeable; you had a great sense of humour and your eyes sparkled when you laughed. You took me out at lunchtimes for runs in your sports car; sometimes we would stop off for lunch. It all felt so grown up and romantic. I truly believed that I was in love with you and was sure that you were falling in love with me. You never said as much, but I was sure it was turning into a real Relationship.

Oh foolish me – it was many years before I realised that all you were doing was grooming me. I’ve spent years trying to remember how it changed from a ‘love affair’ to brutal, sustained rape. I’d never had a boyfriend and wasn’t sexually experienced, and so I assumed that what you did to me was love. It sounds so silly now. It was violent and it went on for many months. What gave you the right to do that to me?

Part of me knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t tell any of my friends about it as that would prove that I wasn’t as grown up as I thought I was. I was too scared to say anything to my parents. I was so confused and upset that I did nothing about it; I guess part of me was still fantasising, that everything was alright and that you really did love me.

The situation was taken out of my hands when I discovered that I was pregnant. I didn’t know what to do. So I did nothing. I didn’t tell you, nor did I tell my parents. Maybe I hoped that it was all a bad dream. Anyway, my parents found out and that was that. They wouldn’t allow me to tell you myself, so I never saw you, or spoke to you again. Did you ever wonder, just for one second, how things went for me after that, or what became of the child you had fathered?

When my child was born, it was taken from me. I wasn’t allowed to see the baby or, heaven forbid, touch it. A few weeks later I signed the adoption papers, and that was it. Gone. It was never talked about at home. I didn’t receive any post-natal care, and I was encouraged just to get on with my life.

I started distrusting men, then not feeling safe around them, and then I began to hate all men. In reality, I was scared of them; scared they would notice that I was a woman and come after me the way you did. Did you ever stop to think of the long-term consequences for me? So, I spent the next forty years dressing in clothes that hid my shape, I cut my hair in a masculine style, and I behaved in such a way that no-one would want to get close to me. Oh, and I drank……..and drank, and then drank more. Sometimes when I got drunk, I felt such violent rage in my body – if you had been around I would have killed you. You weren’t around though, so I had to content myself with self-harming and smashing up my home.

A few years ago, I decided that I couldn’t live like this any longer. I had to change or I would die. I found someone that I could work with and embarked upon a profound, and prolonged, and immensely intense journey of recovery, bringing my trauma into the open, healing and finding the gifts in my experiences. The biggest gift is my child. We finally made contact with each other and we enjoy the most wonderful of relationships. The second gift was finding love and compassion for you. I never thought that would be possible. It was necessary for me if I was to move on with my life. It took a long time, but I forgave you first, then I found love for you, and eventually compassion. I hope that you now have a sense of how your actions impacted on my life and that you can now find forgiveness, love and compassion for yourself.

With Love,

Anon. x

2015 – My Year

I’ve just opened my 2016 ‘I Can Do It’ desk calendar by Louise Hay and the first affirmation is ‘As I begin this new year, I let go of the past and become a ‘now’ person. This month marks a fresh start for me, and I welcome it with open arms’. I am happy to leave 2015 behind, not because I haven’t enjoyed it (I have very much!!) but I do want to reflect on the gifts I received before I say goodbye.

In January, I was delighted to be offered a space on Gillian Alexander’s Sacred Touch Massage training. I’ve done a huge amount of work with Gillian over the last couple of years and it really has transformed my life; I’ve dealt with traumas, engaged them and then released them, and then have found the gifts within those experiences. Without doing all that work, I simple could not have engaged with this training. A sense of the Sacred permeates Gillian’s work and this was particularly obvious during this training.

And I’m so glad that I’ve reached this space because I know at every level of my body and soul, that this the work that I’m here to do. When I engage with a client I drop into the Priestess role – I am here to serve in a deeply loving and honouring way. I hold sexuality as Sacred and feel that it is a huge gift to be to connect with another in such a tender and intimate fashion. I now offer sessions in my own Temple Space in Prestwick; from time to time I also offer four-handed sessions with Gillian.

In essence, therefore, 2015 has been about developing my work and offering it to the wider world and I now feel much more comfortable and confident in doing that across all aspects of my work – from Sacred Touch massage to Sacred de-armouring, and from dejunking to accountancy. I’m building up a lovely client base and I would offer deep gratitude to those souls for coming to work with me and sharing their gifts with me. Thank you all.

I have found time to travel in my beloved Scotland and in February I was blessed with a truly amazing visit to my spiritual home of Barra. I went with two dear friends and we enjoyed a week of fabulous weather – very cold with snow and ice for the first couple of days, brilliant sunshine and no wind at all. We walked up Heaval in fresh snow and delighted at the views from the summit; we took the ferry to Eriskay and walked over the high ground, saying hello to the ponies on the way; we walked from Beinn Sgurabhal over the hills to Traigh Eais, walking the length of that glorious beach in sunshine. We had lunch at the south end of the beach and we were lucky enough to watch an otter as it moved from the sea to the dunes – heaven!

I rediscovered my mojo for the hills this year and decided that I would like to do all the Corbetts (hills over 2,500’/762m with a drop of 500’/150m all round) over the next few years. The year started off well with a fabulous week in Pitlochry at Easter – sunshine and blue skies, no wind and great views from all the summits. Unfortunately, April was the last time I sat on the summit of a hill without waterproofs, hat and gloves – 2015 must be one of the wettest, windiest and coldest summers I’ve experienced since starting on the hills in 1979. Still it’s fun getting out and I did manage 14 new hills; and it’s always a joy to visit new parts of Scotland.

Another joy throughout this year has been discovering and awakening to my feminine side. I love wearing my skirts and dresses, and I so enjoy how I feel when I’m wearing these clothes. I’ve also continued the fabulous journey with My Hair. I shaved my head in October 2014 and haven’t cut it since then, so it’s now longer than it has been in many a long year. I love brushing my hair, I love the feeling as it blows in the wind, I have such fun playing with different hair bands and clips and I even managed a mini ponytail last month!

I have been so blessed with the wonderful folks in my life over the last twelve months – I learn so much from you and have received life-changing gifts. My friend’s daughter is just over two years old now and I have felt it such a privilege to be part of her life, to watch a wee one look at everything in her life with such joy and wonder. And I just love when she calls me ‘My Carole’! Thanks also to Tom for my simply wonderful new fence – it fills me with joy whenever I see it, and my neighbours love it as well! The colour scheme was all Tom’s idea – I’m not sure if I would have had the nerve! It does highlight how we can turn the mundane into sheer fun and that really is a lesson for life.

I shed a lot of stuff at the time of the Winter Solstice – destructive belief patterns, negative thoughts and the long-held belief that I’m not quite good enough. I am and I intend to step into 2016 fully in my power!! I look forward to engaging with you in some capacity in the year ahead, and I also look forward to new lessons, opportunities for growth and fabulous adventures!

Thanks to all of you who have shared in my journey over the last twelve months – it has been a joy sharing space and time with each one of you.

What I Offer The World

I was in Dundee over the weekend for the 33rd Mountain Film Festival – I’ve been attending for 30 years, always come back feeling inspired and this year was no exception.

How could I fail to be inspired by two men who decided to row across the Indian Ocean (3,500 miles) despite the fact that they’d never rowed before; or by the guys who thought it was fun to highline across the towers in The Aiguilles Du Midi – one guy without a safety line! The attached link gives a taste – http://www.petit-bus-rouge.com/

I was really super excited when I saw a film of a guy being fired across a field from a trebuchet – my whole being went ‘wow!’ Unfortunately, the company doesn’t do that any longer………………….

As well as inspiring me to do fun things and plan hill trips for next year, the speakers and films inspired me to get my butt in gear and start doing the work I came here to do. I have a passion for my work and I do know that it is good, but I don’t tell anyone about it. So it’s time to stop hiding, start writing and let the world and The Universe know that I’m here and ready to serve.

My work is diverse, but the thread that holds it altogether is that I create space in other people’s lives – space for them to be creative and work with their passions. I offer sessions in Sacred Touch Massage and Shamanic Healing. I also offer a de-junking service, accountancy work for both individuals and small businesses, financial awareness courses (Money Magic!) and a Peace of Mind Programme which allows you to organise all your personal affairs.

The intention over the next week or so is to write a piece about each individual offering and I am looking forward to doing that. I’m not just looking forward to doing it, I’m excited by it!!

Should you be interested in anything that I written so far, please get in touch – it would be lovely to hear from you.

2014 – My Year

2014 – My Year

I’ve just returned from a wonderful walk along the beach – a glorious sunset over Ailsa Craig, a full moon illuminating the sand dunes, a pair of swans feeding at the Pow Burn, the plaintive call of oyster catchers breaking the comfortable silence. This time last year, I was watching my dear Mum getting ready to leave her body – I loved her very much and was so glad that she timed it before pain set in. In memory of the happy times we shared down the beach as a family, we scattered Mum’s ashes along at the dunes end – and tonight Mum was very much there for a chat, so I told her about the my year.

Thirteen hours after Mum died, I set off for New Zealand – convinced that Mum went when she did so that I could go. I’d planned the trip so that I could do some more training – a repeat of Awaken The Sacred Body followed by Deepen The Sexual Shaman – with Leanne Edwards of the Earthwalk Project and Matt Schwent of Unique Tantra. Their work is incredibly challenging, and led me to some screaming hissy fits and temper tantrums, but the benefits were huge and helped me enormously in this year of profound change. I loved New Zealand – a wee bit like on Scotland on speed. I so relished the energy and power of the land. I had a few days at the end of the training, so treated myself to some coastal walking in the Golden Bay area – Farewell Spit is a stunning place of huge sand dunes, thousands of sea birds and a fabulous place for paddling in the Tasman Sea. Heavenly.

I’m very aware that I get so much from being near the sea and the hills. In June, I had a stunning week on Colonsay then went onto Barra – my spiritual home. I love everything about the islands – the peace and quiet, the energy of the sea, the birdlife, the seals and, if I’m incredibly lucky, dolphins and whales. Later on in the year, I had a fabulous week in Orkney – tremendous cliff walks, visiting Papa Westray and sitting beside the 5,000 plus year-old Knap of Howar, crawling into The Tomb of the Otters down at South Ronaldsay, walking round the Ring of Brodgar and being so totally energised. It is humbling to sit and be with those who have been here before.

In October, I went to Mexico to take part in the Earthdance Ceremony and it was absolutely amazing – meeting the Grandmothers, honouring the moon and the sun, experiencing rebirth with the sweat lodges, dancing in sacred patterns, listening to the drummers and singing, semi-fasting and swapping tales with some incredible individuals. A very deep experience and one that I’m immensely grateful for.

During this year, I’ve also discovered the fun of make-up, skirts and dresses, fancy leggings, bras (other than sports bras!!) and the sheer joy of being in a female body. I had fun dying my hair purple. I felt hugely liberated when I shaved my head – no more hiding, what you see is me without disguise or pretence. I met the gorgeous baby daughter of a dear friend and my heart sang when I saw the unconditional love in her; a huge blessing and privilege. In June I made the choice not to drink alcohol and that’s been hugely beneficial.

It’s been a year since I left salaried employment and I don’t regret it at all. I’ve done some truly amazing, hugely healing work with Gillian Alexander of Sacred Touch. Undertaken my Reiki 1 and 11 training. I’ve been on many workshops and have assisted at some as well. I’ve assisted at a week-long residential retreat. I have some wonderful clients that I enjoy working with and I plan to expand my offerings in the coming year.

Roll on 2015 – the year I truly step into my power!

Workshop, March 2014


>Home now from a long weekend at Newbold House, Forres – got so much from it and sitting here with awareness of just how fortunate I am to have so many opportunities and experiences. I love staying at Newbold – the house is beautiful, the community is so welcoming, the food superb, the energy has the wow factor, they have a swing in the gardens and the beds are so utterly comfortable!

Findhorn Beach is a 10 minute drive away and on Friday afternoon it was incredible. Dry and sunny, but incredibly windy – sand devils were racing across the beach and it looked for all the world as if the ground was moving – disconcerting to begin with but very exciting once I got my head round it. Walked for a couple of hours, collected some amazing stones and experienced the most intense exfoliation ever! Found my voice as well for a roar with the sea.

Over the weekend, I was assisting Gillian Alexander of Sacred Touch on her Sacred De-armouring workshop and it really was the most rewarding experience. I know from personal experience just how utterly liberating this work can be and it is a privilege to help others share this work. Profound thanks for Gillian for asking me and trusting me – I’ve so grown into this work and still marvel at the release and growth that flows from it.

One last experience to share. I was sitting, with others, witnessing a young man. Just sitting by him, connecting with him, feeling his strength and his vulnerability. In one moment I felt such a deep and pure love for this man – the feeling of being connected with him, of being connected with all, that we are all one. Powerful, profound and tears of happiness.

Journey To A Sequinned Dress

Last Saturday night, I went to Kyle Mountain Club’s Dinner and Ceilidh. I wore a sequinned dress, black patent peep-hole shoes, a sparkly scarf, a jewelled black cardigan and enormous silver earrings. I also wore make-up – with sparkles of course. And I felt so utterly comfortable and at ease with myself. I spent the entire evening chatting with friends, some that I hadn’t seen for years, and I felt completely at home doing that. I didn’t feel the facial rictus that I’ve had before when talking to friends who I was pretty sure didn’t really want to speak to me. I didn’t resort to the default of trying to be the funny one, i.e. they won’t walk away if I keep them laughing. And I did all of this without one alcoholic drink passing my lips – no, it wasn’t injected either!

I did this by letting go of the past and finally coming into my power. I now recognise that I am an incredibly strong, powerful woman and I’m so proud of that – out and proud of Carole!! I have hidden so much of me for such a long time and it’s an absolute joy to let go of that hiding and be able to celebrate being me.

I would also acknowledge that I absolutely loved the compliments! I revelled in them and really enjoyed being recognised as an attractive, desirable female.

For many years I tried to hide my femininity behind a wealth of disguises and behaviours. I was scared to be seen as female, so hid my body shape behind baggy T-shirts, sweatshirts, tracky bottoms and jeans. My hair was spiky short and the thought of make-up never arose. I was very aggressive towards most people – not because I disliked people, but because I was too scared to let them in. If I let them in, they might see behind the disguise and the thought of that happening was unbearable.

And, of course, I drank………..and drank ……………and drank…………….and then I drank a little bit more for good measure. In social situations, the first couple were for courage; the next two would be for pleasure; all the others would be to blot out, to hide and to numb the pain of issues I could not bring myself to face.
Over the two and a half years, I’ve dealt with most of these issues – hard, hard work but so incredibly beneficial. And for the last five months, I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol. I don’t even think about drinking any longer and certainly don’t feel any issues in social settings, I chose not to drink – end of story.

My journey with clothes, hair and make-up has been challenging, intense and scary at times, but it has also been so very rewarding. Lots to talk about, so I’m going to make that into a separate blog.
I recognise that I am the one who has done all the hard work, cried all the tears, screamed in frustration and also smiled when I made a breakthrough – I’m so proud of the fact that I kept going. I would, however, like to acknowledge the incredible help and support that Gillian Alexander of Sacred Touch has provided on this journey – her work is excellent and I would recommend her without hesitation.

The last words of thanks go to my glamorous twin sister – I called into to see her on the way to the dinner and she was fulsome in her joy, said I looked gorgeous. When she asked if she could borrow my sparkly dress at some point, I knew that I looked good!!