by Janet J. Seahorn, Ph.D
The big movie (at least for many women) seems to be Fifty Shades of Grey. Not having read the three book series or gone to the show (as of yetJ) I decided to check with my sister who has read all three. As she described the main character, a Mr. Grey, I asked her to tell me about the number “Fifty”. What the “Fifty” supposedly refers to is what I expected…. Fifty shades of one’s personality, including some erotic sexual preferences. Now I probably have some of your attention…
Yet, it is what she explained after my title question that was most intriguing. You see, Mr. Grey, being a brilliant, wealthy, handsome billionaire had a pretty troubling childhood. That early experience made him more than a little narcissistic and unable to have true, intimate relationships and feelings for others. What Mr. Grey displayed in his life and personality is what we all fall into, albeit, in different scenarios and reasons. So here is where we all can relate to the Fifty Shades of Me or Fifty Shades of Post-Traumatic Stress.
Each shade of ourselves is colored by the time, place, situation, and prior experiences of our lives. When we are calm and things in our daily lives are going well we are in that green, blue, maybe even lovely lavender zone. If the triggers are under control and the demons are taking a short nap, we are content, happy, and can go about our world looking fairly normal.
It is when all the crap hits the internal emotional “fan” that the colors of ourselves can change – pretty drastically and swiftly. When our triggers are on edge from prior traumatic experiences, our emotive colors display very bright shades of crimson, reds, oranges, yellow… The many hues of these shades have a huge impact on how we internalize the external world and all of its inhabitants and barriers.
In Post-Traumatic Stress, the weaver and tapestry are even more complex. There is no one way, right way, or best way to experience trauma and its aftermath. There is no singular impact that is 100% the same for each person’s prior experiences. Individual experience will shape the impact and actions of the trauma.
The only thing that remains similar for most individuals is the anguish and uncertainty of how long the emotional pain will last.
Remember the adage, “What one resists, persists”. Dealing with intense emotions that have shaken one’s very core takes time to heal.
Our personalities contain many different colors and various shades of each. Like Joseph’s Amazing Colored Coat, we too wear an array of colors depending on what is transpiring in our lives both past and present. Our coat of many colors, our Fifty Shades of who we are came from each experience of life. The colors represent the tapestry of our history, our individuality, our temperament.
A multicolored life is far more interesting than a bland, one color existence. However, to display these beautiful, brilliant colors, we have to be unafraid to live each day with the courage to recognize we are clothed based on our experience.
Therefore, celebrate your fifty shades of who you are…. You earned each and every one of them.