Rewriting Harmful Narratives: Love and Creativity Turn a Trigger into Source of Empowerment

(More pics below, please scroll down and look at the captions!)

A little over a year ago, someone intervened with my mental health by using hypnosis and BDSM to try to have me to adopt a “submissive/slave” lifestyle full-time to help address my “past trauma” after I had expressed an interest in BDSM.

The story in and of itself is a big one, and while I do not wish to delve into the details here, I will say that this is something that I have been working out extensively in weekly therapy. I’ve also had three psychiatric hospitalizations since this person harmed me with his methods. Something I never needed previously.

The point of this post is not to talk about everything this person did or about how dangerous it is to practice medicine without a license (newsflash: it is), the point of this is to talk about the love and healing that came with regards to a specific image this person had used against me.

When I was in a deep hypnotic trance, or highly suggestible state, he used frightening imagery on me. Specifically, he said I was a “gazelle” that he could “sink his teeth into.” This imagery of a lion and gazelle became a huge trauma trigger for me.

A short while after he did this and after he had put me under hypnosis without bringing me out of trance (which is not safe at all), I woke up feeling like a gazelle.

I was scared.

I wanted to run.

I was prey.

Gazelle with Fihankra Symbol by M. Scott Hammond
“Gazelle” with Fihankra Symbol by M. Scott Hammond

My husband was so confused as to what was happening to me. I kept talking about feeling like a gazelle and being scared. I talked about it so much that he even drew a picture of a gazelle with a rock with the West African symbol Fihankra (meaning “safe” or “secure”) to try to alleviate my fears.

As time passed, and after a couple hospitalizations and therapy over the course of several months, a dear friend of mine, Tammy, offered to help me address the issue I had with the gazelle/lion narrative that was still haunting me and my thoughts.

I don’t literally believe in magic per se, but my beautiful friend Tammy is a wizard with her photography. She empowered me by finding makeup artists and dressing my husband and I up as a lion and a gazelle.

But in our little story, it was the gazelle that needed to be feared.

Not the lion.

In high school I took a drama class. I have always loved theater, so this opportunity brought much joy to me. I’m going to share some of the photos from the shoot. Please consider visiting my friend Tammy’s photography facebook page and “liking” it. Her work is amazing and she recently started her business.

Now on to the photos! (Check it! I even made a story using captions on the pics!)

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I’m laughing a little now, because recently, someone tried to bring up the gazelle/lion narrative I had been dealing with as a mean-spirited way of casting ad hominem on me and trying to gaslight me.

What this person fails to understand is that that narrative no longer hurts me. It gives me POWER.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is a prophetic film, and the Magic Book that the characters use to rewrite their realities is, I believe, a real and an available tool within us all. We are all capable of rewriting the harmful narratives that others and (more importantly) we tell ourselves.

Magic Book from SpongeBob Out of Water
Source: http://spongebob.wikia.com/wiki/Magic_Book

Also, I love the shit out of my friends, and once a drama geek, ALWAYS a drama geek.

THESPIAN PRIDE FOREVA.

(I love you, Scott and Tammy!)

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“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is an experience. Morgenstern does a magnificent job creating Le Cirque des Rêves (Circus of Dreams) and the characters that revolve around it. Descriptions of the smells and visuals are so enticing and magical that it left an impression on me. Continue reading ““The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern”