Hello and welcome to Episode 17 of This Little Light Of Mine. My name is James Powell and I’m glad that you’re able to join me for today’s episode, ‘In the shadows’.
Before we get started with today’s episode, I want to be very transparent that this is my first ‘explicit’ episode as this part of my story contains content that may trigger some survivors. In today’s episode I will be talking about sexual assault, rape, trauma and dissociation. I encourage all listeners to be gentle with themselves and to proceed with loving intent as they listen, knowing that it’s okay to stop and/or take breaks.
If you are a survivor of religious trauma, sexual abuse or assault or are a person facing mental health issues related to today’s conversation I strongly encourage you to be extremely gentle with yourself and to reach out to a mental health professional that specializes in trauma.
I am terrified about sharing these next few story episodes with you. Ever since starting TLLOM I’ve been pushing these episodes to the back of my mind by telling myself… they are months away… just focus on the episode in front of you. And now we’re here.
I’m not sharing these stories to be salacious, to call anyone out, or to shame anyone, in fact, that’s why I’ve never shared much of today’s content with anyone. I’m sharing this part of my story because I want to reduce shame. Shame reduction starts when you welcome light into the shadow parts of your life. I’m also sharing because I want allies and those who continue to inflict spiritual abuse on our LGBTQ2S+ children to understand what happens when you teach a child that they’re not allowed to love.
Authentic sharing is the antidote to toxic shame. Fear, disconnection and hiding in the shadows is what fuels the cancer of shame. I know this fear all too well. In fact, I’ve only been showing you the parts of me that I think are socially acceptable.
This is how I’ve operated for most of my life, I’ve been hiding behind a mask… but there are other parts of me too… it’s only been through decades of extensive therapy and intensive trauma therapy over the past year that I’m starting to see some of my protective parts. Parts of me… not the whole me.
Growing up in a fundamentalist background I was never taught about ‘parts’… I was simply taught that I was either good or evil, a saint or a sinner, of God or of Satan. It was this type of harmful thinking that taught me that I was completely broken, a forgotten sinner and an abomination in the eyes of God. It was this type of toxic theology that drove me out in search of nourishment... but the nourishment I found nearly starved me to death.
It's time for more of me to step out of the shadows.