Recovering from Trauma is Like a Rubik's Cube

I am a child of the 80's.  I was born in the 70's and the 80's were my glory years.  Dude, like the Rubik's Cube was totally gnarly to the max!  I'm a giant nerd and I could solve a Rubik's Cube in lightning speed.  I knew all the tricks to do it. 

Recovering from Trauma is Like a Rubik's Cube www.ptsdchick.com

After my rape, I felt like this:

Recovering from Trauma is Like a Rubik's Cube www.ptsdchick.com

And I thought to myself "I can solve this."  I set out trying to get my mixed up Rubik's Cube back to solid colored sides.  I tried lots of things to help.  I tried self help books.  I read over 100 books on rape recovery, self improvement, personal development, positive thinking, etc.   

I tried examples and mentors, I followed their step-by-step instructions EXACTLY, but my sides wouldn't line up...

I tried seminars.  I went to dozens of seminars looking for a simple solution to fix my jumbled up soul.  I got some short term relief and my colors on my Rubik's Cube looked a little better, but I wasn't aligned.  I was increasingly frustrated because these "experts" told me everyone I knew could solve the Rubik's Cube in 20 turns or less.  You see, a "normal" Rubik's Cube can be solved in 20 turns or fewer.  That's a real fact from the Rubik's Official Website.  No matter how messed up.  20 turns or less to solve.  No matter how many times I twisted or how hard I worked I could not get my internal Rubik's Cube right.  And imagining that everyone else could fix themselves in 20 turns or less made me feel more broken.  I had twisted myself thousands of times trying to get fixed.  

I tried adding confidence, optimism, the power of positive thinking, sweating the small stuff, awakening my inner giant, thinking myself rich/happy/fixed, learning the secret, becoming highly effective with 7 habits, moving my cheese, and every positive power tool UNDER THE FREAKING SUN!  I felt better about my messed up cube.  For a bit.

I grew increasingly frustrated.  "Screw it with solving the cube" I said.  And I looked for other solutions besides twisting it.  I tried to cover my screwed up, unsolvable Rubik's Cube.  I decorated it, I painted it to look like the other cubes. 

"This will fool them" I thought.  Look at how well I fit in.  But I knew it was an illusion, and on the inside I was still messed up.  It was a lot of work to keep the illusion of all my sides the same color.  And then a Brand New Method promising to solve my crazy mixed-up world would come out and I'd throw money at it and clear my schedule to attend...

Extremely frustrated, I gave up trying to solve my Rubik's Cube and set about to destroy it.

I was especially skilled at self hatred and self destroying.  I wasted a lot of time and energy trying to destroy my Rubik's Cube because I felt I was unfixable.  I was on a path to numb, destroy, and sabotage myself.

When numbing didn't work, I'd hide my color, isolate, and try to make myself go away.

Or I'd dwell among the damaged.  And we'd commiserate about how screwed up we all were and wasn't it a shame that we were always going to be like this.

And then a new program would come out.  It was usually Top Secret, or SUPERCHARGED, or cloaked in ancient wisdom.  GUARANTEED to be a quick fix, or a magic pill, and a simple solution.  And off I'd rush again.  Handing my messed up cube to whomever was leading the program/group/seminar and expect them to add a few twists that I had been missing and hand the cube back to me fixed.

And one day I stood, alone,  feeling totally broken.  I was sick to death of the horror and the depression and the running and the broken pile that had become my life.  I was done.  I couldn't do it another day.  And in my brokenness and blackness I had an epiphany.  It came to me.  My solution:

Stickers!  I could create a new color scheme on my soul like putting new stickers on a Rubik's Cube.  I stopped trying to twist myself back into the form that I was before the trauma.  I realized I could use stickers to rebuild my pattern.  I could be anything I wanted.  There was no going back to what I was.  Back was gone.  But forward was still totally an option.  I'd been so busy trying to "fix" it, that "creating" it had eluded me.

So I began to create. 

And do you know what I discovered?  If I apply stickers one at a time, I get my Rubik's Cube closer to normal with each one I apply.  I get stickers from all over.  Some I get from myself.  Some I get from books or workshops or conferences or experts.  Instead of wanting someone to fix my whole cube, I get a sticker from them and fix the cube myself.  One block at a time.

Each sticker I collect and apply gets me closer and closer to recovery.  I've moved from victim to survivor to empowered to healed.  One sticker at a time.  One block at a time.  One layer of trauma at a time.  Slowly.  And I do the work myself instead of looking for an expert to "fix" me.  I allow and seek experts, books, mentors, and seminars to teach me to fix myself.  Then I add the sticker over the top of the mixed up part and invite it to line up in a new way.  I create my alignment from my current position. 

These days, my Rubik's Cube mostly looks like this.  I am high functioning.  I consider myself cured.  PTSD, rape, and trauma do not own me or run my life.

rubik2.jpg

When I do get scrambled (because a bad day can scramble anybody), I can quickly bring myself back.  Life is like a Rubik's Cube; full of twists and turns. Some people seek to solve it in minutes, or hours, or days.  Some will give up totally and won't even bother.  But if those who try are patient and give it time, then they will discover through time and tears and trials that fear disappears and they will be gifted a beautiful opportunity to create themself.

Here's the morale of my Rubik's Cube story: The important thing about a problem is not the solution, but the strength gained in finding the solution.

Photos in this post purchased from 123RF, Pexels, Stockphotos, Photolater, Photo To Go, and taken by me.