“Its been a journey to find my voice, my heart, and my passion. I found great freedom in being able to write things down.”Laura Staley
Laura Staley, author of Live Inspired, a guidebook for the experience of life, was our guest this past Tuesday. It was certainly an inspiring book to read, and an inspiring experience to talk with her on the show.
Laura came from a tragic upbringing. In her book she shares the lessons learned from these tragedies, and how we can apply them.
A “trauma bond” had to be broken with her abusive mother so Laura could be free to do the deeper work of healing. This healing journey included learning to talk to all the other parts of herself and accept that many were imperfect and flawed.
“I had great capacity for love at age 10; to be able to speak from my heart. However, I didn’t have a safe place in which to do that. All those voices are now inside me, and I can reach in to them, and set them free.”Laura Staley
Laura had to disconnect from, what she called, the bully “that lived in my mind”. She began to recognize the voices in her head were not hers. They were recordings of what other people had said to her.
Laura set about “shredding limiting beliefs”.
Laura tried hard to make her mother accept and love her. The opening story of her book illustrates to the reader the very struggles she had in that mother-daughter relationship her whole life:
“My sister and mother played the piano beautifully. My mother would be joyful when she played (despite all the other cruel characteristics I witnessed from her constantly), confirming to me that my mother had capacity to feel such emotions. I wanted to be the person that brought her joy.
I thought to myself, ‘Maybe if I learned to play the piano…’
‘You’ll never play like your sister’ my mom would say, but she finally relented and found a willing piano teacher.
On my first lesson, after my mother left me alone with the teacher, an awful human being emerged. She took my hands and smacked them with a ruler. She disparaged me for crying, and throughout the lesson I attempted to play through tears.
Once home, my mother continued the cruel micromanagement begun by my piano teacher. While I played, my mother would whisper into my ear, ‘you’ll never play like your sister’.
Finally, in despair I shouted, ‘I’m not ever gonna take lessons again. I’m done!’ Then came the awful words from my mother: ‘you’re an ungrateful, selfish, bitch’.
It took me years to learn I was not a worthless piece of $%#*, as I was told.”
As an adult, Laura would become enraged with her own children. She recognized her behavior was not helpful and, in fact, terrifying to her children. In her book she names this characteristic of herself whom she calls Lois:
“Lois wasn’t me, but an act, a front, a pretense, a grotesque inside-out costumed character. She raged with the F-word, a word forbidden in my childhood home. For years she simmered with many flavors of fury deep in the lockdown pot of my body. She bubbled, vigorously boiled, and blew the lid right off especially in the early years of mothering my children. Lois splattered hurt all over these precious ones I treasured the most. Had I created her to cope? If I had, I succeeded in making one nasty creature.
Even through this psycho bitch rage, Lois oddly fueled a distorted sense of courage for which I felt pride, I carried deep shame too, realizing only cowards or deeply troubled people lash out at small beings. When you don’t know the pathway out, reacting like a madwoman fools you into feeling powerful. Lois took over my body at the slightest provocation; when something in my immediate environment looked or smelled like a trigger from the past. I didn’t invent her. She was my body screaming, trauma lives right here!”
Laura stated, when people overreact it is likely because their life is feeling threatened. Our mind reflects on a real experience when our lives were threatened, and it triggers a physical response.
Laura’s stories will make you feel empowered; feel seen; and brave about your own vulnerability. It will also help you have compassion for others on their own journey.