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Healing traumas

I don’t think it’s often you actually realize when you break through the barrier of old traumas and finally free yourself.

I know. Friday 9th of February, I was at Varkala North Cliff, state of Kerala, walking out of a white gate sometime between 4 and 4.15 pm, that's when it happened to me, when I finally put a stop to my "Oh no. I can't do that, I'm a survivor!" and turned it into "Hell yeah I can do that! BECAUSE I'm a survivor!" I took it back!

I had booked a massage with a very well known and, for the prices in India, very expensive therapist; he has an array of of therapies he uses with clients, and he came recommended from a friend of a friend. I’d had 2 massages previously and I was happy with the result - I’ve had issues with my hip and the deep tissue massage he was using, worked.

One thing I found a bit invading was, that I was completely naked on his table - but I understood the necessity as to access my thigh muscle and upper buttocks. When he got too close to my private parts I reacted and said - maybe shouted - "Not comfortable!!!!" and he assured me he wasn't up to anything, he just wanted to work! And, honestly, I was quite proud reacting - as a victim of sexual abuse I finally had the courage to say no. I felt safe.

After 2 massages I felt thoroughly worked through and happy as I felt the tension give in after YEARS! of pain! So I booked a third appointment. This is my story.

I came early - about 15 minutes - and I got the feeling he was stressed about something. He was very talkative - something he's never been before - and kept on talking about "I know you! You're a big teacher in your country" and seeing as I'm almost 6 feet, yeah, I AM big in my country, so in India I must seem like a giant! So, I laughed a bit (trying to diffuse the situation, as you do at a family dinner) and tried to calm the situation by saying that I was really happy with his work, and as for the outbursts - it was something I had to say, as I was sexually abused in my childhood, so I don't want to repress it when they come! But as said, I really was impressed with the work he did, and casually remarked: "and the friend who recommended you is really happy!" 

I was now on the table, face down, without glasses, and he covered me in cloth as to start the foot massage. He asked me who had recommended him and I told him. It seemed to upset him as he continued "You said you found me on google!" - where I checked him and the reviews to find out what he actually did. Something I would find normal! 

I kept quiet so he could work....... he still muttered, but I tried to breathe and let him calm down. I'd received a moxa treatment on my meridians the day before

and I felt my left side acting up a bit more, where my hip also is playing up - so of course I said to him that I would like for him to be a bit careful. "I don't like being told what to do!", he said. "Ok - I trust you!", I said, thinking he would take care - as all therapists - when there an issue with the client we work with. 

He started doing the foot massage - talking, muttering and asking about the friend who recommended him, why I hadn't mentioned it, "You think you're so smart!", he said. Again I laughed a bit, not knowing how to feel about it all, just having that creepy feeling that I wouldn't be able to control this..... whatever it was! I felt very vulnerable, face down, without glasses, totally naked, both physically and emotionally.

He stepped on the bed, getting ready for the foot massage, up on my legs, my buttocks...... and then my right arm. It felt ok - but when he stepped to my arm, left humerus, I winched and said "That's painful!", expecting him to take care. 

He didn't. Instead he dug his heel even deeper in and said "Don't tell me what to do!", while I felt my ligament move away from the bone, it becoming even more painful. And then he said: "You stay now. Either lie still and let me do my job - or leave!”

At this point I was feeling really out of balance, warm, short breath - I didn't know why he was angry, why he was so focused one me not mentioning my friend - and furthermore WHY he didn't listen to me when I asked him to calm down. It seemed as if the time stood still, but my mind was racing away with trying to find solutions. It seemed to last hours - and seconds - at the same time before I reacted; I pushed him away, he grabbed the barre he was holding on to - and I said "Fine. I'll leave - I think it's best."

I tried to find my clothes and glasses, in a panic. My heart in my throat, concentration on only myself getting out, while he started ranting about how I clearly "needed someone to massage my head" as I wasn't mentally there, and he "know everything about you and your life, the big teacher from your country” all the while opening the door out to the neighboring cafe, so I was totally exposed, naked, trying to get dressed, collect all belongings so as I didn't have to return. He laughed manically when he did this, so I felt as if he really enjoyed the panic and the situation, being able to disparage and condescend a foreigner - and on top of that, a woman.

I left - heart pounding and short of breath - only to realize he had locked the gate, the white gate, the only way out from his room. Maybe he always does this, it would make sense, but I just never knew - and I felt utterly trapped. "Please open the gate", I said while he slowly walked towards me in the narrow pathway to the open cafe, still ranting away while grinning of my panic. "Here you are!", he said, shoving 500 rupees in my face "You've clearly wasted your time, so here you are!"

"We've clearly both wasted time. I don't want your money - I just want you to open the gate!" I said under my breath. He didn't move, took a bunch of notes out of his pocket and said again "Here! Take the money - I won't open until you take the money....... or jump the wall!" He now laughed frantically, while I was calculating if I would be able to jump the 4-5 feet high wall. He was laughing now."No. I don't want your money", I said again...... and then I shouted "I WANT YOU TO OPEN THIS GATE!!!”

Finally he found the key and opened the gate and I left, heart beating - feeling extremely dirty and as if I did something wrong! Friday 9th of February 4-4.15 pm I walked through a white gate in total disarray, tears flooding down my face, every limb shaking, it took my all to keep on walking away without throwing up.

In the beginning I was thinking if I’d done something wrong; being in another culture, especially in one where women don’t count, and even more so if you’re a foreigner. Should I have acted differently? Done something to diffuse the situation? Should I have taken the pain of the massage? Should I have apologized? Should I have expected him to be a maniac?

All these thoughts and - and every combination of actions - ran through my brain as I walked to find my friend who had a massage somewhere else. I came into the praxis of the other therapist, calmed down, sobbed a bit, went over the experience again and again. When my friend came out I tried to not flood her with my experience and emotions, but when we were in the tuktuk heading for our residence, I cracked - sobbing into her hair, with her arms around me I told her the story with a voice that was almost gone.

When I got home I talked to the friend of a friend that had recommended me; she was utterly devastated. My landlord and yoga certification teacher said I had options, that I could go to the police and make a complaint, he could loose his license and not be able to work on the cliff anymore. I didn’t know what to do!

After my breath returned to an almost normal I found my thought pattern working differently; I suddenly saw that I had beaten the monster of my childhood trauma. I stood up to my aggressor, told him I wasn’t ok with what was happening and when he didn’t take my words into consideration, I acted.  I said “NO”, not only to him - but to the eternal mindf*ck it is to have been assaulted as a child. Because when you’ve been abused as a child you’ll always carry that with you, and everything will be measured from that trauma - even when you’re 50 years older and wiser…….

But I have now released this trauma - I’ve worked through that karma - and isn’t it wonderful that I have learnt it?

I realized that I do not want to apologize about saying no when he was touching me inappropriately. I do not want to apologize for not telling him about a recommendation. And I do certainly not want to apologize for asking my therapist - that I paid!! and paid 1000 rupees more than what the going rate in Varkala is - to take the current state of my body into consideration when doing a massage. No way!!

And I do certainly not apologize for leaving when he said that was an option! 

And maybe he was right? Maybe I do need some help with my head? I'm very aware that I'm not perfect in any way, and that I have issues! But at least I KNOW that! 

I thought about going to the police as he could have had his license revoked - but I didn't want his stupidity and egotistical behavior ruin my last days in Varkala, where I’d spent almost 6 weeks at the time. No. He doesn’t get to have that power over me!

So. Thats the story, The White Whale - about someone who really healed traumas, closed the circle, how Karma works!

When I have shared this story returning to Europe, a lot of people are really terrified, and even more so when they ask “So - your love affair with India has ended, then??” and my answer is  “No. I’ll be traveling again in 18 months time, and I’m exited to take a group of yoga people to experience it as well!”

Because India is indeed the country of opposites; the most beautiful, colorful, loving, and spectacular country….. AND the horribly polluted, smelly, old-fashioned and scary place in the world. It contains both. Also for me it contains the most terrifying experience in my life, AND the most beautiful I have ever encountered! It resides directly in between - as the yin & yang sign - the balance is there!

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