What Healing Looks Like


His sun-leathered hands were tightening on my already bruised wrists as he was binding them to a beam of some sort. The pain increased the more I struggled. I was screaming ferociously inside as he bounded my mouth so a sound couldn’t escape from my bloodied lips.

He ripped my blouse with a small crucifix he pulled from beneath his virginal alb. With each button that busted, more and more of my soul was being defiled. Despite my thrusting around, he rushed a hand underneath my skirt and tore my panties off.

I was being raped.

By a “leader of God” nonetheless.

He Penetrated me. With every thrust, he laughed a maniacal laugh. He was laughing at me. The only saving grace? He would be finished in less than a minute. As he pulled out, I noticed he had a contorted look on his face that scared my inner sanctum and whispered, “The beauty of this, Sister Tammy, is no one will ever believe you. Ever.”


I wake up with sweat painting my creased forehead, my deep red hair stuck to my warm cheeks highlighted with tears from my oceanic-hued eyes. My heart feels like it’s outside of my chest, weeping from unspeakable hurt and my body is shaking from the nightmare I just had.

Yes, a nightmare. Not reality, at least, not anymore.

This is what spiritual abuse feels like to me; violent rape from an unapologetic, narcissistic, dangerous person riddled with power.

The power to cause devastation.

The power to cause unbelievable suffering.

The power to misuse a deity.

The power to manipulate.

The power to be an emotional thief.

The power to be cloaked in darkness.

The power to be a bigger threat than a, proverbial satan.

Thankfully, on this pain-stricken morning, it was just a nightmare — despite the heinous graphics, a way my subconscious plays out my internal pain.

Despite this triggering horror story acted out in a vulnerable nature, it’s a path to healing.

Healing looks like this.

It’s not always in a pretty, foil-wrapped gift, but it is healing.

It may not feel the best like,a Brazilian blowout, but it’s therapeutic in a raw way.

Healing is different for everyone and every circumstance — it’s as unique as our fingerprints.

This is what healing looks like.

It hurts; hurt people hurt people.

It writhes with pain.

It’s ghastly to stare at.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all healing.

It can be mentally draining.

Depleting physically.

Emotionally unnerving, yet it’s healing.

It may not happen in a way others expect, but that does not matter.

It’s healing for me.

This is what healing looks like.

It looks like a 16-month old curly-haired toddler draping herself across Kenneth’s chest as he swaddles her with his trust that his arms bring. Tucking her head underneath  his chin and embracing as all of her light with his.

This is what healing looks like.

Being candid about my spiritual abuse in an open forum without feeling the need to run and hide.

This is what healing looks like.

Watching a Robin Williams flick with your furry kid tucked at your feet embracing your emotions as his own.

This is what healing looks like.

Finding the crazy beauty in a group of war-torn souls.

This is what healing looks like.

Taking a deep breath from the chaos of PTCS and enjoying life even if it is just for a moment.

A moment of living.

A moment of rest.

A moment of camaraderie.

A moment of realization.

A moment of love.

A moment of anger.

A moment of unrest.

A moment of cynicism.

A moment of involvement.

A moment of laughter.

A moment of tears.

A moment of enjoyment.

A moment of sadness.

This is what healing looks like.

It looks like a rainbow that appears after a torrential rain.

It looks like Scottie licking my tears.

It looks like the paint splatter I hurl on a blank canvas.

It looks like my anger at the dysfunctional and abusive religious establishment.

It looks like a deep wound on my soft thigh slow to heal.

It looks like my beating heart.

It looks like the tangerine sunrise that colors the morning sky nestling between snow-capped mountains encouraging my healing for another day.

Another day of hope.

Another day of healing.

Another day of fulfillment.

Another day to evolve from this person stuck in this maggot-induced, flesh-eating, corpse-rotting state of life and morph into a person that has the knowledge of that corpse, but the hope of tomorrow’s promise like a child.

A child who has wide eyes to the roller coaster that life brings.

A child who gets back up after a tumble and brushed themselves off courageously.

A child whose innocence doesn’t discolor their worldview.

This is what healing looks like.

At least, to me.

I’m healing.


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