Am I Really That Dysfunctional, Or Is It Unresolved Trauma?
We hear a lot about Trauma Informed Care: Instead of asking WHY did you do that; we ask WHAT happened to you? The most up-to-date agencies actively use this philosophy in the care of clients. It doesn’t mean a person is free from responsibility for harm done to others. It does mean that the harmful behavior (to ourselves or others) JUST MAY come from unresolved trauma. I wrote Hollywood Endings and How to Get One because I realized I HAD used movies to learn from. I used “the movies” to jump start my imagination.
Allow me to offer myself as a case study. I was about five when I realized no one could be trusted and I had to raise myself. I did not do a very good job. By the time I was in third grade I had a complete meltdown and missed six months of school. I developed an Anxiety Disorder that manifested as Compulsive Eating. By third grade I weighed more than another child in the entire elementary school. The doctor said I was morbidly obese. Third grade is an educational window for reading and math. Missing six months of school that year left a big void in my head for numbers. In fifth grade I was told I had to learn to write right-handed or underhanded. My anxiety grew and so did I. I was one of the “big girls” in school. I was a slightly below average student, I was quiet and uninvolved, BUT I was not a behavior problem, so I was ignored. I fell through the cracks. From elementary, to middle, to freshman year in high school, I went to five schools in six years. I lost weight during my junior year in high school because I discover diet pills. These became known as black beauties. Today it’s known as speed. I skipped most of my junior year in high school. I did graduate as a C student (luckily years later, I did go on to college, averaged 4.0, and have been a thriving student of life since then). I got married at 19.
I was one of the lucky ones. At nineteen, not having any idea who I was, I married a wonderful guy and he helped me mature. He had a very stable upbringing (honesty, responsibility, hard work, kind heart) and through him I was able to become more stable too. My weight went up and down, it did not stabilize.
In my thirties, I got out of college, had my son, began my first career. Protect and serve became my moto. My job required I stay fit and of a certain weight. I managed that but was confused, uncertain and often unhappy. A friend suggested I go to Adult Children of Alcoholics. I got it. I started to understand. I got into therapy. I made real progress, but my eating did not. I handled my weight with exercise and began powerlifting.
I had an accident at work and months later, after the injury healed, I was still in chronic pain. The Physical Therapist suggested I see a Feldenkrais Practitioner®. I did, and that changed my life. For most of a whole day, suddenly I was without pain. If it happened once, it could happen again! I didn’t know what it really was, but I knew I wanted to learn how to do it. Little did I know that I was also learning how to think in options, how to use my imagination and intention to re-connect parts of myself I wasn’t even using: both brain and body. I learned to be more flexible in both movement and in thinking. I became more aware!
By my 40’s, I left my life behind, moved to the country and spent three years building a house in the woods with my son (another blog post completely). I began a new career, using the principles of the Feldenkrais Method with children’s behavior. I worked with children who had been traumatized in their early years and their behavior now was harming others. I documented my work, published articles about my work and learned how to make movies with the children as the stars. They learned new behavior and filmed it just for the movie. They wanted to watch themselves in their movie - over and over. They began to spontaneously do the new improved behavior in daily life.
Now I am on a new career path, my final one, I think. Though in the book, the chapter called NATIONAL VELVET is about the moment the Universe opens up to show us what’s possible. So, I look for synchronicity.
Hollywood Endings contains many of the things I learned from a multitude of sources, all about connecting brain and body in new ways. It’s also about how to unravel the habits developed from past experiences. Most readers will have their whole lives ahead of them to learn awareness, new ways to think, to do things, excel at things and to heal from old wounds. I don’t. I’m in the third act of my life. I would truly love to be free from this compulsive way I deal with anxiety. I still read this book, I watch movies, I learn, and I do several Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lessons a week. I am convinced that I will figure out a way to undo my compulsive eating pattern. What I am doing compulsively will not get me a Hollywood ending in this part of my life. Do you have an area of your life where you can see it is not on the trajectory of a Hollywood ending? Are you ready to figure yourself out? Join me. The movies can make it more fun and adding the Feldenkrais Method® can increase the speed. For fun and to learn, go watch SPEED. Watch how a past injury, trauma and injustice fueled Dennis Hopper’s rage – so he took matters into his own hands.