The definition of "heal" is to make healthy, whole, or sound; restore to health; free from ailment. It is a verb which means it's an action word, there is effort required to go from a damaged, hurt and/or unhealthy state to one that is more complete and renewed.
As I make my way (at times tentatively while at other times boldy) down this lifelong self-care journey I have learned that healing is vital to our survival, sanity and wellbeing. Unfortunately it took me a long while to understand just how important it is.
Healing is a huge deal. It's life, understanding, awareness, often times painful and tender to the touch, even super scary at times. The things is though that once you get to that place of restoration and wholeness, or at least partially into the process, you start to feel a great shift.
I remember when I was a kid I ended up falling on the playground which resulted in the "Black Girl Knee." You know what I'm talking about? That shiny scar on the knee that is smooth to the touch because skin had been ripped away. For several days I limped around, scared to put my full weight on my leg or to stretch it out because I knew that it was going to hurt. I was inhibited from running around at full force, scared to put one foot in front of the other, and playing tag was certainly out of the question. Part of the process that I hated was the sting of the alcohol as my mother dabbed at my wound. It was unfair (to me) but necessary (to my mom) that the wound be kept clean.
Eventually my knee healed up better that ever and I was able to resume my normal kid duties of playing and running amuck on the playground. I trusted that my body was fine, and it was because it was given the resources needed to heal. And though my knee was great and I wasn't afraid of the pain anymore I never forgot what happened. It was a reminder for me to try and be a little more careful. Lesson learned.
That's the thing about healing: Even when it's all said and done it doesn't automatically mean that you forget the incident or pain that happened. This is important for me because I used to think that I couldn't possibly heal from past traumas that occurred in my teens, 20's and 30's because I still remembered these hurtful things that happened to me. I've come to the realization that healing does not mean that you forget. You don't dismiss the traumatic events, you just flow around them differently. You may have a scar from the trauma but that doesn't mean that you can't be restored and complete in a new way. Healing doesn't mean you forget. It means that you survived and can look back on what happened without it wrecking or obliterating you to pieces.