Thursday, August 4, 2016

Goddess of my Own Damned Life by Trista Hendren

"Goddess of Deliberate Creation" by Arna Baartz

An excerpt from Hearts Aren't Made of Glass - out today!

“The past must be examined closely, I believe,
before we can leave it there.”
-Alice Walker

One might wonder why I chose to publish this book—particularly after reaching a good spot in my life.

I had planned to wait until my children were grown and try to put all of this behind me in the interim. However, even after nine months of bliss in Norway, I still was not feeling well.

I kept reverting to old patterns, long after I knew intellectually how to live better. The past, it seemed, wouldn’t die without me taking a good long look at it.

Upon reflection, I realized that I had often chosen (on some subconscious level) to be around dysfunctional people who created constant drama. It was my way of avoiding the trauma in my childhood—and dealing with it.

When I came to Norway, there was no more drama. Anders is practically a saint, having never said one unkind word to me or my children over the last five years. Even when I tried to create an argument with him, he would respond with love.

I no longer had any distractions; so I plunged myself into my work. I self-published four books and a calendar within my first year in Norway.

While working on New Love, I had some painful realizations and unblocked some of my repressed memories of childhood abuse. I burst into hysteric sobs several times on Anders' shoulders. I began doing some critical reading of my own—some of the same books I was recommending to others via my work. The Courage to Heal, The Body Keeps Score and Trauma and Recovery were a big help to me.

If I were to write out a narrative from my twenties, it would be quite lively and long, but none of it would have any particular meaning or make much logical sense. I had a lot of fun, if you can call it that. I lived out of a premise that I was “liberated” from my fundamentalist Christian background—by what I don't know—I suppose you could call it “liberal feminism.” I theorized that I was taking back my body from those who had tried to steal it from me in my earlier years. Giving it away to everyone else certainly wasn't reclaiming it for me though. I had to find ways to repossess myself in ways that truly were liberating and healthy.

My great grandmother used to tell me, “If you don't have any regrets, you haven't lived!”

I have plenty of regrets, and I've certainly lived an interesting life thus far. (Sometimes a bit too interesting.) But I have learned, and grown, and died and bloomed again.

I regret deeply how I treated my first husband at the end of our marriage. Although he forgave me long ago and encouraged me to forgive myself—I often wonder now how much I was punishing myself all those years in the karmic belief that I somehow deserved to pay.

There is no logical reason why I should have ended up with my second husband. We never fit. Even if I was terribly misinformed about addiction and naive about drugs, people were always puzzled about how we ended up together. Some have theorized it was about the money. I don't think so. When he was at his best, he treated me like a princess. And there was something completely irresistible about that.

However, being a princess is a trap. It is only by discovering the Goddess within us that we can heal and thrive.

Raising my daughter caused me to re-think everything about my life and how I had been raised. Five years ago, sick with “princess culture,” I angrily wrote on my Facebook wall:
Do you want your daughter to be a Princess or a Goddess? Princesses usually have no mother, are forever submitting to their father and spend all their time looking good for and finding “Prince Charming.” Goddesses are powerful in their own right and can do whatever the f**k they want! #ChangeHowYouSpeakToYourDaughter
Painting by Arna Baartz

It took me a few years to transfer that to myself—and realize how deeply ingrained princess culture was for me growing up in the seventies and eighties.

Despite decades of feminism, every sort of self-help book, an MBA, and a strong career, I remained trapped in a view of myself as helpless. I was still waiting for my Prince to come save me.

That belief only buried me deeper into sinking sand.

Becoming the Goddess of my own life was about stripping everything away and starting from scratch. I left my money, my credit, my “good looks,” my career, my house, my car, my cell phone, my pride, my core beliefs, and every toxic relationship behind.

In short, it was over a decade of hell.

I spent a lot of nights crying myself to sleep and divorcing myself from people, places and things that no longer served me. What emerged was my Goddess-essence. I can't say that life is always easy or perfect, but I am finally in a healthy and loving relationship—and my children finally have an opportunity to heal and thrive.

When Adrianne Rich said, “You must read and write as if your life depended on it,” she was certainly speaking to me. There was a least a year that I did little more than the basics of caring for my children. The rest of the time, I spent reading everything I could—and then cried my eyes out writing out my pain and loss.

Working with Arna on New Love was a healing journey for me as well. I come from more of a radical feminist perspective while she gets me to embrace some of the more woo-woo stuff that helps with my own healing. While we were finishing that book, I realized I needed to go back to my past and un-bury some of the trauma I had stored in my body.

I went back to an anonymous blog I had kept as a means to leave my second marriage. I was shocked at how much I had blocked from my memory.

I thought I had written perhaps about 150 pages altogether on my blog. Going through it and taking out the highlights, I ended up with more than 800 pages. My mind was blown away at all the things I had blocked out.

When I began this book, my back literally felt as if it were breaking every day.

I wrongly assumed that writing it would be a simple, cut and dry process. It was the hardest of all my books for me to complete. I cried a lot. I lost my shit several times. I realized that I truly am a warrior Goddess.

Mona Eltahawy said that,“The most subversive thing a woman can do is talk about her life as if it really matters.” Claiming this is harder than one would think. My life does matter—and so does yours.

This book is dedicated to anyone who has been affected by alcoholism, addiction or abuse. It is my attempt to break the cycle that has plagued me most of my life.

I release this book, not with malice, but with the hope that it will help other women get out of hell sooner than I did. Abusive relationships cause immense suffering to the body, mind and psyche long after they are over. And we do not help our children by passively remaining in them.

May we all heal, grow and prosper. And may our children find better ways to celebrate “this thing called Life.”

-Trista Hendren, an excerpt from Hearts aren't Made of Glass: My Journey from Princess of Nothing to Goddess of my Own Damned Life - out today!

Trista with first massive 'Proof' Copy

Brief Description: Trista Hendren candidly shares her journey from "Princess of Nothing" to Goddess of her own life. Hendren exposes the perils of traditional recovery programs to women and gives her own anecdotes on how to blissfully recover from abuse, codependency and patriarchy. 
320 pages.

"Trista Hendren's story, grounded in the particular details of her life, transcends the personal, and beautifully.” -Donna J. Snyder, author of The Tongue Has its Secrets

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