Realizing and Accepting Unrealized Feelings

“People will forget what you said.  People will forget what you did.  But they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”

When I began writing this blog it was to tell the story of my life, my struggles and share my feelings with those of you interested in following and learning about me.  I can’t believe what I’ve learned about myself in writing some of these passages.  I’m actually not sure that “learned” is the right word.  It’s probably more of an acceptance or realization as opposed to learning.  I’ve learned that I have been too strong my whole life because I had to be.  I’ve realized that I am angry about it.  I didn’t realize this before!  Did you bury feelings so deep you lost them?  I have always been the one to just accept what has come at me and move along.  Over the past few years that has been harder and harder. When my ex-husband left in 2009, I was hurt and I was angry.  I don’t typically talk about him and I won’t give details of our relationship, but let’s just say there is a lot more to the story than has ever been let on.  Wouldn’t you say so, ex-husband?  I find myself in several situations currently that could have been avoided had I made better choices.  Had I stood up for what I believed and what I wanted instead of doing what I’ve always done and let my need for people to love and like me rule my behavior.  Don’t rock the boat, someone will get upset.  Just go with the flow and keep the peace.  Well, that’s not realistic and it never should have worked that way.  I, unfortunately, have taught certain people how to treat me and also unfortunately younger eyes followed in those patterns.  This changed as of last night.  The final straw was placed on the camel’s back and I am DONE with that behavior.  I make my own choices, I make my own decisions.  Period.

In addition, and probably even more shocking to me, is that I have realized that I am angry with my parents – ALL of them.  My biological father and mother and both my adoptive parents who have passed.  Not a lot I can do about any of it, but I have to deal with it for the first time ever.  Growing up, I always knew I was adopted.  I was never angry about it with the exception of one short period when I was about 12 and that was more confusion and hurt than anything of an anger sort.  Now, I realize, that I am angry!  I have so many insecurities because I grew up believing I was not wanted.  My dad and one of my 3 brothers treated me with love – the others including Mom, did not.  This is where the abuse comes in and the pain I endured physically and mentally.  I have always said that I wasn’t angry with my biological mother because she did what she had to do.  I have always felt and shown anger toward my biological grandmother (who took her own life when I was about 3) for pressuring my mother to give me up.  Lately, I realize, I am angry at Linda too.  I have not yet discussed this with her and am not sure how to but will have to since I am making it public knowledge.  And frankly, she deserves to hear it from me directly so I hope she does not read this before we get to talk.  If you do, I’m sorry, I will explain.  The problem with this is that I haven’t figured out exactly how I feel about all of this yet myself, so how do I explain it to her?  How do I bring this up without hurting her further?  I know that giving me up was one of the hardest things she ever did, but she did it.  And while she was terribly depressed every year when my birthday rolled around, she wasn’t there.  Would I have been any better off with her?  Who knows.  I doubt it honestly, but we will never know, will we?  Being given away, being raised in a family where I was partially wanted created more insecurities and hiding than I can ever explain to you.  I cannot understand it all myself yet, but through reading, writing and therapy, I am learning to accept some of these feelings that I never wanted to feel, let alone share with anyone that might hurt anyone involved – even though I was dying inside and didn’t even fully know it.  I have always hidden from these feelings.  That’s not fair.  I deserve to say my feelings without being condemned or having to hear explanations or apologies or regrets or worst of all being made to feel bad about my feelings that are not self-inflicted.  My feelings are my feelings and I have been saying a lot lately – I am entitled to them!  Do you have people that have hurt you and you’ve never truly explained the damage they did to you?  I think we all have this to some degree.  A lot of these feelings have contributed to the inability to stabilize myself lately.  The past few months have been sheer hell and I can’t count the number of days that I have not even wanted to get out of bed, talk to another human being, or even eat for that matter.  Emotional pain is the worst kind of pain there is.  A bruise will heal.  The 6 inch needle that went into my knee a couple of days ago – it is already feeling better.  You can’t heal a bruised heart.  The heart bleeds until somehow somebody stops the bleeding, and if you ignore the bleeding – it never stops.  I want mine to stop.  I want to be “normal” for the first time in my life.  Like truly normal, not just pretending.

This is not easy, because in order for me to do this, I am going to have to hurt people that I love with all of my heart by telling them how I truly feel and what I have uncovered.  My prayer and hope is that they will understand and love me for my honesty and not make it about them.  I find so often that when I talk to people about things, it gets turned into something that is wasn’t meant to be.  Sometimes, you just need to say what’s on your mind and let it all process; then discuss further at a later date.  And WITHOUT alcohol, may I add.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.  My mother, my ex-husband or even my ex-boyfriend.  But these are the people (still living) who have hurt me the most that I can speak to about these feelings and move on.  I don’t expect to continue relationships with some, but Linda and I have been in each others lives now longer than we were apart.  With that on our side, I believe we will come through this with our relationship in tact and stronger than before because I will have been honest and can respect myself and her knowing that I said what I needed to say.  My ex-husband, I am not sure if that conversation will ever happen again, Lord knows I’ve tried.  We all know the definition of insanity.  My ex-boyfriend that I speak of in here, hurt me worse than I’ve ever been hurt by a man by walking out on me in a day, after nearly a year of what I considered bliss.  Out of the blue, 2 days before Christmas 6 years ago.  I was there for him time and time again afterward as his friend and he always ended up hurting me more each time.  A stop was put to that nearly a year ago and while I miss my friend, I do not miss the pain he put me through.  The fact is that all of these hurts have built up and formed a volcano that erupted and I am trying to figure out just how to get the hurt to stop flowing now that I have allowed it to start coming out.  Trust me, these are not the only people who have hurt me – in fact I haven’t even mentioned the worst one of all.  My brother Andrew, who is in prison where he earned a spot for life.  He has the biggest words coming.  Through therapy the past few months, I have realized more and more that went on that I had totally ignored or just didn’t want to think of.  Pain is pain friends.  Emotional pain is the worst.  If you don’t do something about it, you may never recover from it and you may never be able to have healthy relationships again.  Do you want that?  I certainly do not!

I have lived the first half of my life for other people.  Caring about who thought what and who would be upset by what.  The second half of my life – I intend to live FOR ME.  I pray every night and day for God to heal me.  Take the burden of the hurt out of my heart.  Allow me to trust, allow me to love again fully and help me to make the decisions I should be making for myself.  Teach me to be the person I used to be and to care and love others the way I need to.  I want to be a good mother, a good friend and a good girlfriend.  Lord, I cannot do these things without you!  I cannot be who you desire me to be without letting you in my sealed off heart.  I am working to break down the walls and those that don’t like it can exit my life with others that have gone before you – I don’t need you if you aren’t on my side.  I am sure you know who you are.  This is my time.  So many things are coming to a head in my life and I am nearly over so many humps in my life that I pray God will just get me to the finish line where I can start again and be and live healthy and happy.

If you find yourself in these same shoes, pray.  Our God is there for us and will lead us where we need to be.  My cousin, Amy, reminded me tonight to just take a moment of stillness in his presence and just “be”.  I am learning but it takes a lot of reminding for me.  I get overwhelmed easily and it takes time to settle me down because I am not trusting in Him to do this with me or for me.  Join me in asking for forgiveness, giving forgiveness and being true to yourself.  This is the way to freedom, I know it.  He is the only way we are going to reach it.  He and a lot of work from ourselves.

Stick with me, things as I say each time are getting closer and closer to better…happier. More coming soon, until then, goodnight.

Back to the Beginning, Why? Hope.

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  – 1 Peter 1:13

I know I said I was going to take a short break because of a couple of haters – but I feel like that is a cop out.  I don’t care about those haters, nor do I care about blocking them.  Their sad lives are their sad lives and have zero bearing on me or my life.  So I am back and ready to take this to the next level and back to where the original intention was headed.

Lately, my blog has taken much more of a negative and sad direction than I ever intended. My first inclination was to apologize, but I’m not going to. I am going to accept it and say that what I am really seeing is this: E+R=O. Event plus response equals the outcome. This is where I am and this is what I accept and vow to change. Depression, anxiety and pain have taken over my mind, body and ultimately my life. I have been trying, but it’s not easy. I’ve really lost site of why I started this blog because things went from bad to worse after I began.  So I am back to the beginning; how many times to we have to re-start?  Doesn’t matter as long as we eventually get running and move toward our destination and desires.  I’ve read through so many notes today looking for my own inspiration and so many quotes that I have written down over time and so many that applied to my recent journey.  We always find those things that are critical to us at the right time.

A few of my favorites today:
Blaming steals your control.
Free your victim.
What choices are not loving you back?
Be in a committed relationship with your happiness.
Worry is a prayer for chaos.
We either make ourselves miserable or strong. It’s the same amount of work.
If you’re feeling helpless or hopeless, help someone else.
Fail Forward.
Every thought is an affirmation and a confirmation.
Everything we want is on the other side of fear.
If you’re living in the past, you’re depressed; if you are living in the future you’re anxious and if you are living in the present, you are grateful.

Yesterday, I broke a promise to a close friend who has been trying to be there for me and help me through these hard times.  My problem – I isolate.  I don’t want to share my problems.  There is a difference between writing about them and truly sharing them one on one.  I was supposed to attend church yesterday, something I haven’t done in quite some time.  I don’t love the church I currently have and I miss my church on the other side of town!  So lazily, and unfaithfully, I just don’t go.  Have you ever read the book of Peter?  Know anything about it?  We all get something different from the bible, but I believe we should all be getting the basic same idea.

1st Peter is one of the most hope filled books in the new testament.  It talks about new (and seasoned) believers and their reasons for hope, even in times of hopelessness and persecution proven because Christ was raised and living, showing that God is at work in the world!  This book tells how to live your life in Christ and helps you to understand what it means to live faithfully among people who ridicule and harass them.  There is hope if you show your faith.   Jesus Christ’s life and especially his suffering is used as an example of how they are to understand and bear their own sufferings as they seek to do God’s will.  Leaders are to care for their congregations (family and friends), all are to humble themselves before God and resist the devil and God will restore and establish you at the end.

My best summary for the beautiful words of the bible that don’t do it any justice.  I write this from reading scripture, together with many other things I have read today because I have lost hope although I always believe I still have faith.  It’s hard to have one without the other though, they go hand in hand and one relies on the other.  I didn’t attend church yesterday because I was scared of what I was going to hear and feel and that I might actually move toward progression.  I know what I NEED to hear and feel, but the fear of the reality of it is mortifying.  I am a believer and my Lord and Savior will be forever my comfort.  There have been many times in my life I have turned FROM Him and many times I have turned TO Him.  I am ready to let Him back into my heart, I am begging him to come back into my heart.  Soften it.  I am ready to open it up and let it bleed and let Him mend me. I am ready to lay this at his feet and take the advice so many have been giving me and I have been refusing because plain and simple, I wasn’t ready.  I have wallowed in self pity and haven’t known how to handle the anxiety and depression on my own and have been so blind that I couldn’t see the answer that was in front of my face.  This won’t be an overnight fix, I know, but every time I have ever opened up my heart and prayed for God to come in and heal me, He does.  I trust that He will help me through this and will bring me back to the happy, loving, faithful ME.

I got a great piece of advice from a girlfriend tonight that I called for advice on a homeless gentleman that I have gotten to know during my volunteer time and she knows me so well!  Dammit – how do these friends I hide from get to know me so dang good??  Haha!  She advised me to work on only what I can control.  NOT to get over-wrapped in something else I have no control over.  Meaning, don’t go from one thing I couldn’t control – my relationship, to another – a homeless group that I want to save.  This takes me back to one of the sayings I wrote above:  If you’re feeling hopeless or helpless, help someone else.  Well, I have always been a bit of an overachiever and I will take that the nth degreel if I am not careful!  I have to control my feelings and only focus on what I can control.  Something HUGE to remember.  Stop being a control freak, let life happen.

This message has been on my keyboard tray for 7 years.  Phil 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Jesus Christ.”   I have read this daily for many, many years and this is literally my favorite scripture next to John 3:16 which is the scripture that allows us to enter into the kingdom of God.

I am on the rise my friends.  Maybe only an inch at a time, but like I wrote before this is about progress, not perfection.  My story is FAR from over and is not going to continue being the same sob story.  Don’t get me wrong – nothing is “fixed” and there will be a lot more tough times before the good ones come, but I am ready to fight again.  I am ready to be me, the fighter I was my entire life.  Not this pathetic whiner who can’t deal with life.  Life is life.  I will deal with it again.   I am seeing the path that I need to be following with my Lord and HE will heal me and get me to the right place in which I belong in my life.  Thank you goes to my family and friends.  Lexie Hawkins, Amy Bragaw, Brooke Berndt, Jen Theisen, Phillis Shimamoto and Erica Shields.  Your kindness, your support in each of your specific arenas in my life and your love is more appreciated than you know.  Thank you for sifting through the “crap” to get to a positive message and know that I am going to come out of this better than I have been, maybe ever.  I love you all!  God Bless!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loneliness is a Disease

“I still think that the greatest suffering is being lonely, feeling unloved, just having no one…  That is the worst disease that any human being can ever experience.”  -Mother Teresa.

Is this not the truth?  How many of you have ever felt unloved?  Lonely?  Completely and utterly alone?  This is something that I have suffered with for years.  Sometimes one, sometimes all of the above together.  The thirst for love is one that is not easily quenched.  Human beings were not made to be alone, God made us to love one another, to be companions for one another.  Yet, unfortunately a good portion of my life I have felt unloved and very much inadequate and alone.  The mind and heart are very tricky things!  You can KNOW in your head that you ARE adequate, you ARE loveable and what you deserve from others; yet in your heart, somehow, you feel something that causes you to accept things that you know are not ok.  I personally have allowed people to walk on me, to treat me with WAY LESS respect than I deserve for fear of being alone.  Being treated poorly was better than the alternative of being alone.  The fear of loneliness is paralyzing.

I have tried several times over the years to be realistic – knowing my relationship would probably never be what I wanted no matter how much I hoped and he promised.  I would try to meet other people in hopes I would fall for somebody that wanted the same thing I did.  It never happened, nobody has ever compared to Jason since the day I laid eyes on him.  That is to current day.  These people that I met, were just that – people I met.  Nothing ever came of any of it.  I exchanged phone numbers and then would never even return a text or a phone call.  Even years ago, when he lived with another woman or we were “broken up”, I felt like I was cheating on him.  I couldn’t and didn’t want to pursue anything with anyone else.  Boy did this annoy some of my friends!  Hahaha!  (Rightly so.)  And while we have had some amazing times, incredible passion and love like I’ve never felt before, he has also caused me more pain, anxiety, doubt and isolation than I ever knew possible.  I felt more alone with him that I ever did without him!  My love for him is much like an addiction.  I have not been able to walk away until now.  And even now, it’s going to be much like a rehab and I am not totally sure how I am going to do it.  Each day is hard, I miss my best friend.  I miss everything about him honestly, his eyes, his smile, his kiss, his smell.  It is hard to learn and accept that something you thought was for the rest of your life, is over.  I guess actually I shouldn’t assume what I, or our relationship meant to him, but the reality is that it’s over.  He could have stopped me from walking away but he didn’t – that said everything I needed to hear without a word being said.  I will tell you I am heart broken and this will be one day at a time.  And I will miss him every day for the rest of my life.  But what I will not miss is the misleading statements, broken promises, the distance between us in the closest relationship I’ve ever had, the hope that never came to fruition and being sad – and hurting.  When I have a decision to make, I always weigh the pros and cons.  Writing this list out was the worst pro/con list I’ve ever made.  It’s not fun to write negative things about the man you love.  Even as upset as I am, it still hurts and I still love him.  Keep your judgements to yourself, these are the facts.

This is not the first time that I have had a problem with trying to quench the thirst for love.  Most of my life has been a challenge with love, whether I wasn’t feeling loved or not accepting it. lt has made me crazy my entire life wondering why people don’t love me back. As a child, I was a very good child.  What’s not to love of a child; especially a good one?  I was scared to death that they wouldn’t want me anymore (because as discussed previously, that’s what abusers tell you) so I was an extremely well behaved child!  Now, as an adult, I am such a giver, still trying to please everyone and live by God’s word, even though I am far from it.  I love with all that I  have; I love with all of my heart.  My love is the biggest award I have to give to somebody, in my opinion.  Yet it’s like the elusive “A” that I would seek in biology class.  (I sucked at biology.)  You get so close, you may feel like you’ve got it locked down, but then poof.  It’s not what you thought it was; and you are suddenly confused by what has taken place, the crappy result that came from all of your efforts.  Here I am six years into a situation finding myself feeling this exact feeling.  What did I do wrong?  What is wrong with me?  How can these other people find what I’m looking for but I cannot?  I often doubt myself instead of just trusting.  I have so many amazing friends; so many people in my corner and an amazing maternal family.  I had a brother left, but apparently he’s decided to bail as well, so I have what I have and that’s that.  I will NEVER beg anyone for their love again.  EVER.  Love me or don’t, but dammit – I am amazing and you’d be luck to have me.  I am a good hearted, loving and giving person.  Those that want to read for the “dirt” on me for whatever reason and there are a couple of you that have contacted me – I feel sorry for you.  Get a handle on your own life, quit looking at mine.  If you started at the beginning, one of my conditions in sharing and being vulnerable with you was no judgement.  People have abused that, and think that they are better than me and a couple of messages I have gotten are unbelievable.  May God have mercy on your soul.  HE is the judge and jury, not YOU.  And believe me you will answer to Him.  To my caring, loyal friends and readers, I hope you’ll leave some comments letting those people know what this is about and what my sharing does for you.  Because that it is really why I started this.  How can the pain of my life be of betterment to somebody else?

This is a short blog post, I feel a lot of negativity from a lot of things that have been happening in my life lately and since I know there are people out there using this information against me, I will stop here for now until I get these IP addresses blocked.  I only have room for positive in my life.  If you don’t want to participate in that, you will hinder the progress for me and everyone that uses my blog as a way to deal with their own issues.  So you should be ashamed of yourself!  Do not bother me or get on my blog again.  You’re sad, sad souls and I want no part of you or your comments and I would bet you that my readers would feel the same way.  Until some clean up can be done and I can block some negativity, I take a SHORT break.  I shall return!  Soon!!  Thank you for all of my devoted friends that read my story and understand, empathize and relate.  I love you!  Your positive messages would be greatly appreciated so that these negative, pathetic souls know what damage they are doing.

Happy beginning of the holiday season to all of you – I plan for this to be my most positive holiday season is six years.  Period. This IS going to be amazing.  Watch, read and follow!!  Love to you!

Progress, Not Perfection

We all aim for perfection.  Some of us take action to reach for that perfection on a daily basis, some of us are paralyzed by the fear of never making it there and let it be our procrastination.  You can’t fail if you don’t try, right?  The only way TO fail is to NOT try.  This is the reality of life and it is incredibly difficult to face some days; but others, I’m seeing that life doesn’t look so gray and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I have had many struggles lately both physical and emotional; yet I’m trying to make the most of what’s happening in my life.  Let me be completely transparent with you in case you are just starting to follow me.  I went from being an athlete, competitive fitness, 2 hours a day in the gym to a promotion that took 70 hours a week and non-stop travel leading to chronic pain from my back problems and being totally out of shape physically and mentally.  I have been off work for ten weeks now, working on my body and mind.  Some see the problem and the value in my time off, some don’t get it at all…and that’s ok.  As long as my Doctors agree I need the time to get right, I will take it, I am up for the fight with the insurance company.  About 3 1/2 months ago, my work was out of control, I had multiple deaths in a very short period and my anxiety went off the charts, my pain increased and I started getting migraines which had only ever happened on rare occasion prior.  This is cyclical.  Depression comes from chronic pain which I’ve had for nearly 3 years, and stress increases chronic pain; they feed off of each other.  It’s so hard to get out of the cycle!  My disability consists of chronic pain, nerve damage, migraines, anxiety and now depression.  In spite of things happening, I am beyond hopeful that I will be better than my previous “normal” and better than I have been although still not perfect, I’ll never be perfect!  My goal is to improve day by day, week by week.  Last week is the first week that I have not been scared to leave home, the first week I have not had daily anxiety attacks, I was able to actually be a productive member of society besides a couple of hours of volunteer work!  (Although I love that work.)  I am improving.  I am feeling better!  I say that with caution, because here is my struggle…depression and anxiety is not like having a casted bone.  You don’t just immediately “recover”.  When you break a bone, your doctor reviews and removes the cast when it is strong enough to be walked on again.  My mind and my heart and my emotions…they aren’t ready for the cast to be removed yet.  A “cast” around me is the easiest way I can explain the treatment I am getting.  Do you think this is easy to share?  NO.  It’s not.  It’s actually incredibly embarrassing, humiliating and humbling.  I have been strong my whole life…I have taken care of myself since I was 8 essentially, but truly since I was 17.  I broke.  I was full…too much stuffing of emotions causes an overflow.  My doctor says if I don’t handle this properly and completely – the “next” time this happens, because it WILL happen again, it will be worse and it will be a much more difficult recovery.  I can’t handle more difficult.  I need to recover!  I NEED to feel better!!  I need to BE better.  Can I tell you what a scary experience this has been for someone that has always been accused of being a stone hearted person?   I never let things affect me.  I repeat – I WAS STRONG!!!  I still am strong, I am just a little defeated at the moment.  The great thing is, there is nowhere to go but UP from here.  I just want to be better than yesterday and the day before.  I want to be back to the place where I can help people and not be the one that needs so much help.  But gosh, can I tell you how much I appreciate all of the help that I HAVE received from friends, doctors and my therapists?  I am blessed beyond belief to have the people in my life that I do.  Even my shaky relationship – I am thankful for it.  I have made a lot of mistakes, as has he.  The bottom line is, there is something between us that hasn’t gone away no matter how we try for 5 1/2 years.  Someone recently said that they didn’t see a basis for our relationship.  That person is NOT part of our relationship and has no clue, nobody does but us.  There is a basis whether it works out or not.  That will be up to us and nobody else.

My relationship with this man plays a huge role in my recovery, make no mistake. Being loved and wanted is something beyond just affecting to me.  I have had a fear of abandonment my entire life.  I was given away at birth!  I was a “problem” before day 1.  I was a foster child.  My name was “Cynthia” in the hospital because I had no name until somebody took me home.  My adopted mom rejected me by 8 years old.  I have been rejected and hurt over and over again throughout my childhood, teen and adult life.  Losing love is the most painful thing on earth.  I will not lose this again.  I will fix things and make it right.  I wrote before about regrets…I have many.  Trust me, it’s not ALL  me, but I’ve done a lot lately that I’m not proud of and I am ashamed to admit it, but not too ashamed to own it.  Love is love.  Everybody just wants love, right?  My favorite love…my girl.  Alexandra Renee Hawkins.  The best thing that Keith Hawkins and I ever did in our relationship!!  The love of my daughter is the most pure, real love I’ve ever had in my life.  She is my world and I have not shown her that over the past few years because I didn’t know how.  That is the most important place for me to start with restoration.  I get hurt and I don’t know how to deal with it.  Anger is my defense mechanism, always has been.  I take things out on those closest to me and that is something I learned growing up.  So while I have a wonderful relationship with my biological mother and maternal family NOW, and I believe more in nature vs nurture, (because I am just like my blood that I didn’t know until I was 21!) there is still plenty to be said for nurture…or lack thereof.  No matter how much nature takes over, and so many things are inherent in us, nurture has a tendency to form us – whether  good or bad.  Don’t get me wrong, my life wasn’t all bad.  I have some amazing childhood memories.  But that is because that is what I choose to remember.  With therapy over the past 9 weeks, I have uncovered things I haven’t considered or remembered in many, many years.  This isn’t easy, but it is necessary.

I heard a talk today discussing how many tools we have to fight off things like depression and how to keep going, but not one way to go on truly “living”.  And, when it hurts so much you can’t breathe, that’s how you know you’re alive.  I hurt, with every breath.  I have pain from nearly every person I have ever loved because most of them left me, in one way or another.  But this isn’t the kind of life I want.  I want a life where I can take long, deep breaths and enjoy them.  I want to inhale, exhale.  I want to enjoy our beautiful mountain air, I want to live a life of happiness, peace and freedom; and I will achieve it!

I’ve learned that post traumatic stress is increased by not talking about it.  40 years ago, the trauma started and I have pushed it down, or “stuffed it” for all of these years.  What I have is just like PTSD.  It’s crazy to think of that, but it is!  You consider that in war survivors, accident victims, and trauma victims.  Most don’t know that I am a severe trauma survivor.  For 12 years at home I was abused.  Physically, mentally and sexually.  I survived trauma.  As my doctor said last week, the brain can only handle so much “stuffing” before you overflow.  I overflowed months ago and tried to keep going.  A series of events caused me to break.  I am not broken beyond repair…I’m just wearing an emotional cast for a while.  I pray to God that life continues to progress and I continue to recover.  I also pray that I will be able to take the time to become strong before being forced back into something I can’t handle.  When you get the cast off, there’s usually a walking boot for a while.  My emotional bone is broken, I pray that it improves daily, but I never expect that I’ll be perfect.  There was only one perfect person.

I am beyond grateful for this outlet.  I, as always, hope that my story brings hope and peace to somebody out there reading.  I know it is an amazing outlet for me and I plan to start VLOGs soon!  I am learning to not have so much pride…pride keeps us from getting where we need to be too many times.  I am ready.  I want to be better than I was yesterday, I want to be better than I was today.  And mark my words, I will be.

If you haven’t read my previous posts, please, please…start at the beginning and learn what I am about.  I love helping other people.  I am a giver, I love loving on people.  I love buying presents for those I love; I love making people I love feel good.  This gets me through my days and brings me much, much happiness.  I am ready to have the happiness reciprocated and feel some of the love I give.  I see light at the end of this long ass tunnel!!  I am not giving up on love, life or happiness and I pray to God you don’t either!

How Do Patterns Affect Your Life?

Each time I begin a new blog page, I look for a quote or saying to open with and be the guide of my topic.  Today, I knew what I wanted to write about, patterns – breaking old patterns, creating new habits, learning a new healthy way; because this is something that is mandatory for me right now!  So my quote today, is “Old ways won’t open new doors.”  How fitting is that?  I guarantee this doesn’t only apply to me.  Every single one of us can relate to this in SOME way, no matter how story book your life may be.  Have you ever lost those 5 lbs by eating a box of cookies and sitting on the couch?  Have you ever finished a work project by calling in sick or not showing up?  Did you get out of an unhealthy relationship (of any type) by allowing continuous disrespect?  Have you changed your life by continuing the same old unhealthy habits?   No.

This week I had doctor visits for my disability which I am required to do by the insurance company and frankly, I NEED.  My family doctor oversees my case and care.  I have seen him for 23 years, that’s over half of my life.  He has known me my entire adult life and has been my only doctor since moving to Denver in 1993; suffice it to say, he knows me.  He knows my history, he knows my habits.  He’s not a therapist, but in my 20 minutes with him I get as much input and advice as I do from my hour long therapy visits, also required by insurance, but again, much needed.  I am not ashamed to say that I need therapy.  I have lived quite a life.  Most people have no idea the details of my entire life!  Even the girls I grew up with through middle/high school years don’t truly know the extent of what went on in my house, even though they were right outside my door.  They have no idea what I went through at home during those years, or the years before.  These are just things that you don’t share.  I was already “the freak” because of my family!  I do know that many of them were not allowed at my house because my family was known as “that family”, the weird ones.  It was unfit, not safe, etc.  This was hurtful…and I was honestly clueless.  I had no idea that we were so different.  I was a kid; a clueless teenager and I just wanted to be part of the crowd (which I was) and be “normal” which I tried, but I wasn’t.  I believed it was me.  I thought my friends’ parents didn’t like me.  It wasn’t me…it was my family.  The problem was, I was part of the family and we were one.  There was no differentiation between me and the family.  This enhanced some very unhealthy patterns for me that I had already began to develop years before.

As far back as I can remember, I have always tried to please people.  I have always tried to make people like me, I have cared what people thought.  We should care what people think, but not to the extent that I have.  For years, I based my entire worth on what others think of me.  That is SO WRONG!!!  I know this comes from my abandonment issues, but it’s something we are exploring in therapy.  Inside, I know who I am.  I am a very beautiful, caring, capable and smart person.  When I say beautiful, I mean inside – outward appearance does not matter.  I know what my heart is.  I know how much I love people and how much I want and enjoy others feeling good.  The problem with this, is that I have often altered my behavior to create these good feelings for people and not taken myself and my own feelings into consideration.  Today, one of my doctors asked me how I am filling my days while I am off work.  I explained what I’ve been doing – volunteering, collecting donations for shelters, attending fundraisers, networking events; doing whatever I can to stay busy with positive actions and make a difference.  My doc says while that is awesome and productive, it’s not for ME.  He asked what I do for ME.  It turns out that I do not really do much of anything for myself.  It also turns out that I don’t know what I really enjoy doing for myself because I always do what others want to do.  So this begs the following questions…what DO I like to do?  What do I enjoy?  What do I want to do?  Good questions, right??  I wonder if we all know what that is.  I can’t be the only one that doesn’t take time for themselves and feels this way!

Recognizing the patterns that have put you in the position you are in is so incredibly important.  You cannot make the change if you don’t identify the problem.  This is not an easy task!  I talked early on about this very thing and having this conversation with my trainer, and creating a bucket list.  I have yet to start this bucket list yet I’ve been unable to answer this question of “What do you enjoy doing?” not once, but twice in less than two months!  That’s crazy.  I love to make others happy.  I love to do for other people.  It’s time for me to do for me, and my daughter.  I do a lot for her already, but I can definitely tell you that she has suffered over the past few years and paid the price for my own lack of fulfillment.  Doing for her makes me happy too.  I love her more than any other person on this earth.  BUT, still, this HAS to be about me right now.  No matter how selfish it may feel, if I don’t fill myself back up and start feeling worthy again, I won’t have it for anyone else.  Let that sink in you guys, FILL YOURSELF UP.  It’s not selfish!!  It’s mandatory!!  You can’t genuinely help anyone else if you aren’t 100%!  Nobody will value you if you don’t value yourself.

My challenge to you – I want to see your bucket lists!  Or at least a few things that you enjoy doing, for YOU.  Not like me, something you’ve done for others that makes you feel good, but truly things you do for YOU!  Here are a few things that I enjoy that I vow to do for myself over the next two weeks:

  • Workout – hard!  Time to find my motivation again
  • Yoga, empowering events
  • Crafting, sewing, making holiday items (I don’t want to hate the holidays this year!)
  • Travel, I want to take a trip for myself (besides our family trip)
  • Drive to the mountains and just enjoy the view
  • Spa day – work on myself!

I would love to see your comments, this is hard for me!  Ideas of things I like to do elude me at the time…your ideas may inspire me, remind me of things I forgot about!  And I would love to hear what you will commit to in the next two weeks.  Let’s do this together!!  I know if you are reading my blog, you must have some interest in the work I am doing on myself and also want to do some on yourself.  So join me, share with me!  I will be writing about each of these things as they come along over the next couple of weeks.  First thing on my list, tomorrow I am attending a yoga event at Red Rocks with an emphasis on empowering women – one of my very favorite things to do!!  Major work on myself!  Monday, my sewing machine goes to the shop for a tune up!  From there I continue…

I am changing my patterns, one way or another.  Things don’t happen on their own, you have to make them to happen.  Take a long hard look at your history; determine what has made you who and how you are, if you can, and take hold of your opportunities; move on them.  Nobody will care about you the way you want them to, except you.  This may sound rough or cold, but I choose to make a difference.  I’m tired of being disappointed.  I choose to break the pattern and “fix” my life for the second half.  I want to let go of the history and create a real future.  Who I love can participate or move on.  Period.  I choose ME.

Failure Is NOT An Option

It doesn’t matter how many times you fail, you’re not a failure. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right because you always have another chance to learn from it and try again.  No one is going to remember or care about your failures, and neither should you.  People are remembered for greatness and I believe that I am absolutely destined for greatness!!  I have no clue the number of failures I have had…nor do I have any desire to know!  It’s useless.  Failure is an opportunity to do better.  To that end, some days I think I should be a life expert by now!  Ha!

There are so many different arenas in which we can mess up or fail – it’s darn near impossible not to fail somewhere in your life.  If you’re not failing, I want to know who you are!!  Just kidding – in all seriousness, if you’re not failing in some areas of your life, you’re in a rut.  Guaranteed!  I know because that’s me and where I have been!  We should be out living life, failing daily.  You know why?  Because that means you’re out of your comfort zone trying new things; and when we try new things, we usually suck at them!  Things take practice to learn.  Practice makes perfect.  Don’t quit doing something just because you aren’t immediately good at it.  There are those people that are just “a natural” at everything.  They can play all kinds of sports, run fast, don’t have to study hard and have that winning personality.  Most of us aren’t that lucky – and you know what?   Most of those “naturals” aren’t that lucky either.  They try harder than others do!

In my health and nutrition business, and all of the trainings and conferences I have attended, the most important thing I have learned is that the only way to fail, is to NOT try.  This is the most simple, but profound statement I have heard in some time.  How true is this?!  How many times have you said “no” to something because you were afraid you’d look stupid and be embarrassed?  What’s the worst thing that is going to happen?  You might look silly; you might give people a good laugh.  BUT, you might have fun!  You will likely learn something and guess what – your “first time” is over.  NEXT time you do it, you’ll know what to expect, you’ll do a little better and maybe laugh at yourself next time around!  You continue to grow with each experience, and before you know it, you’re a pro and helping somebody else with their first time!  THAT is what it’s all about!

Failure is not an option for me because if I fail, I know how many people will not be blessed by the many things that I have to offer.  I have talents, I have heart and I have skills.  Most of all, I have desire; I have desire to share my experiences, my health, my hurt and my love with the world.  That’s what this blog is all about – sharing!  I know that there are people on their knees begging God for answers every single minute of every single day.  The answers they seek may be financial, they may be emotional, they may be physical.  Everybody won’t relate to me by any means, but I know I can relate to somebody on each of these levels.  That’s why I write.  That’s why I tell my story of pain, hurt, depression and anxiety.  I know that online I am going to reach people that I may not otherwise ever even cross paths with.  The internet and social media are amazing tools that we should all be using for our betterment.

When I first started to blog, (all of 10 posts ago) I had all of the negative self talk we normally go through when we try something new.  What if nobody reads it?  What if people think I’m crazy?  What if nobody relates?  Guess what – they were all false things I was telling myself!   I am writing this for two reasons, to help me and to help you.  If you’re reading this, then I hope it helps you in some way.  For me, it feels good to just put the words out there.  I know that I have answers for people.  I know that I have answers for myself.  Even a coach needs a coach!  I read motivational books, self help books, books to teach me how to be a better leader and a better person!  I go, I DO things that are going to teach me to appreciate what I have, I give my time to those that need help.  I have found some amazing ways to help my myself, and others, and many of these things are things I am doing for the very first time.  It’s scary!  It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary.  If we aren’t growing all the time, we are stagnant.  If we become stagnant, we are obviously no longer trying new things which means we aren’t failing which means we aren’t trying new things!!  Do you see how this all ties together?  It’s so important to put your self out there and just feel and experience things.  I’m telling you, you cannot fail unless you don’t try.

WOW!!  Can I just tell you how fired up that just got me while typing??  I wish I were doing a video of this one instead of just a blog post!  I let myself be stagnant for so long, crushed by corporate America standards and stressed out beyond belief that it just killed me inside.  This is how I am digging myself out.  Nobody is going to do it for me, I have to do it for myself.  And I tell you again, failure is not an option for me!  This is a battle within myself that I will win, and I will be better off when I do.  I will never allow myself to be in this position again.  I’m not out of the woods yet, but I know the clearing is up ahead of me somewhere.  I will never be so stuck that I can’t see an opportunity in front of my face.  Success is the only option for me, and it should be for you too!  Goodnight!

Happiness…What Makes It?

“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”  -Steve Maraboll.

If you’re a first time reader, welcome and thank you for being here to share in my story.  I want to preface this post, as I always do – this is NOT a sob story and this is NOT me crying about an awful life or looking for sympathy.  I have an amazing life and I have so much to be thankful for!  I thank God every single day for how blessed I am.  God is my savior, my lifeline and the one who keeps me above water.  That being said, there is a hole in my heart that needs to be filled.  This blog is therapeutic for me and I hope that it shows people that it’s ok to be vulnerable.  Telling my story shows that there is more behind a smile; and what you see on the outside is not always what’s going on inside.  Behind my smile, I am ashamed to say, is depression and anxiety which has recently taken over my life.  I have not wanted to officially share this diagnosis with anybody, until now.  I feel like it’s finally time.  I have nothing to be ashamed of, but really something to be proud of.  I am a fighter and I don’t give up.  Never have, never will.  I have had an incredible amount of loss lately and I am dealing with it the best I know how.  We can’t really know what is right or wrong when trying to handle these things, but just trust in God and pray you’re hearing the right voice!  God has been nudging me to just come out with it and I haven’t been brave enough to do it.  I find that when you follow the nudge, something amazing can happen, so here we go!

I’ve shared in earlier blogs a little bit about my history, where I come from and that my heart has been broken over and over throughout my life and this time I don’t know how to fix it. We all go through heartache, but my story is a little different right now.  This is more than just a little loss.  I have lost 5 people in 4 months (2 family, 3 friends) and the relationship I thought I would be in for the rest of my life.  The man that became my best friend through some unusual circumstances and who I now consider the love of my life.  Gone.  All while working an incredibly stressful job, going through a buy-out  (merger), not being sure from day to day what I would walk into at work or if I would be laid off at any time.  That’s a lot to handle for anyone, even experienced stress handler like me!  I have always been the person that just handled things that came my way and went on.  I’ve been strong, sometimes called cold because I was so strong it appeared as though I didn’t care.  The truth is, if I slowed down long enough to feel, I would hurt too badly and I never allowed that.  I didn’t necessarily “deal” with any of it, I just accepted it and moved on.  Now, I am having a very hard time dealing with the things that I should have been dealing with my entire life.  I think most of us have the best of intentions, and I believe that we make the best of the hand we are dealt.  Lately, I find this to be only partially true; and we have the ability to alter our path.  We have a choice to be happy or not be happy and this comes out in the decisions we make.  I wish I had known this earlier in life and understood the opportunities that truly laid before me!  I wish I had believed in myself enough to know just how strong and capable I was, and still AM!  I have spent so much of my life trying to make others happy that I never stopped to realize how unhappy I was.  As a young girl, my happiness wasn’t on anyone’s priority list, so I guess it never really made it high on my list either.  Until now!

How do you define happiness?  I’ll bet each of us has a different definition. My definition of happy is living a life of abundance, giving back to those in need, donating my time where it is needed most and sharing that with my best friend and partner in life.  Are you happy?  Is there a hole there that you try to fill?  I’ve spent a lot of time going over these thoughts lately.  The amount of loss lately is too much and because I lost that best friend that should have been there with me to comfort me through the losses, the changes, etc. I haven’t had great capacity to do it on my own.  My happiness, unfortunately just as when I was younger, wasn’t on his priority list either.  Yet I was more apt to endure that than to change it.  I didn’t want to lose him and what we had, even though to a lot of people it wasn’t ideal.  It took me 40 years to find what I thought I wanted in a man and the last 5 years have not been easy, but I didn’t want to let go.  As a young girl, we have our “ideal” man…what he will look like, what he will act like, what kind of a father and man he will be.  This man met all of that and then some.  Tall, dark and handsome, a great father, more passion than I’ve ever experienced.  He allowed me take down a lot of walls, I trusted him.  I’ve never been much of a girly girl, but somehow he made me one.  I’m different than I used to be.  He made me feel more beautiful and special than anyone else ever has, but ultimately I wasn’t his priority.  Period.  I tried to make him happy with acts of kindness, taking care packages when he was sick, buying him gifts, buying his children gifts, asking about the family…nothing worked.  He didn’t recognize it for what it was, he felt I was trying to control him when all I really wanted was to be a part of his life.  We all know that our perception is our reality.  So that was his reality and I cannot change what he felt.  I’ll never feel love like that again, he was IT for me and beyond all the recent loss, that one has nearly broken me.

This is just another example of the pattern that I followed of trying to get somebody who said they loved me to show me they loved me.  I have been chasing love my entire life.  The only person that loves me unconditionally on this earth is my daughter.  My beautiful, smart mouth brat – Lexie.  Haha, all joking aside, I have watched her heart break at what I am going through and I have not always been the kindest to her when she is trying to help me.  For that I have regrets.  I have allowed people and feelings get in between us and yet she loves me the way I have always wanted to be loved.  It makes me feel good, yet guilty at the same time because I don’t feel like the last few years have been ideal for her.  I’ve put her through a lot while I dealt with my own issues.  I am so thankful and grateful for her.  SHE gives me purpose, love and caring.  I love her with all of my heart and I could never make it without her.  Whether she knows it or not, she is my best friend and the one I count on in this world.

I have been thinking about all the “problems” in my life and placing a lot of blame (on myself and others), trying to figure out what to do, how to help myself feel better and be happy.  I think this is my million dollar question – what is it going to take to make me happy again?  Since I am currently on disability from work, I have been filling my days helping people, donating time to charities and spending time with amazing people that have hearts I admire and learn from.  That is amazing and I am so fulfilled while I am there, and even for a while after I am riding high!  But ultimately, there is still a hole and something is wrong.  My heart has been broken by so many people throughout my life and recently it has been compounded and so many old wounds have surfaced, I have had a very hard time even putting the thoughts into words to create my blog posts.  Things from the past have surfaced that have created even more emotional issues for me.  Some days the pain is overwhelming and some days I don’t want to get out of bed.  Physically I am feeling quite a bit better, although the nerve pain I deal with has been directly correlated with the anxiety and stress.  On high anxiety days, I am more likely to hurt worse. The migraines have become unbearable.  I get shots all over my head every 3 weeks to keep them at bay.  People don’t understand the truth behind anxiety and/or depression and when you have them together with physical pain, some days it’s easier to stay in bed even though that’s the worst thing for you.  If you read this and you are also struggling with these types of problems, I implore you to get out there, surround yourself with people that lift you up.  You know the saying – ‘fake it til you make it’?  Well, it’s right!  People reading my blog had no idea that I am struggling with these problems.  I will find a way to beat this, I will conquer it.  I will get my happiness back and it will be on my own terms, not somebody else’s.  I was told that I am not the same person and they were right…and I miss the old me.  I need the old me to return!  THAT is what is going to make me happy.  I want to be the happy go lucky woman that went with the flow and had fun – whatever we were doing!  Structure is important, don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing wrong with flying by the seat of your pants and having fun once in a while!

One thing I can assure you, my happiness will not be defined by anybody but me.  I have lost my way a bit right now, I have temporarily lost my ability to be the usual problem solver, a fixer and an unconditional lover.  There are so many factors that play into my situation currently.  None of us will ever be without problems in our lives.  It’s how we choose to react to them that will lead us.  I will be placing these issues on the chopping block one at a time and giving them over to God.  It’s easier said than done, but I know whole heartedly that when I need help and guidance, I know where to turn.  My good friend reminded me the other day, God’s got my back.  I know he does.  This is not an easy fight that I am fighting right now but it is one that I will win – that I can assure you!!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more…and remember, happiness is an inside job!!

Make a Difference with Your Story

If you are reading my blog for the very first time, WELCOME and thank you for being here!  Please follow me by entering your email address and you’ll be notified of my future posts!  You may be wondering what I am all about and what I may have to offer.  Why should you read what I have to say and follow me?  Through this blog, I share stories and lessons of my life.  Happiness, sadness, struggles, and pain.  Yet I show you that happiness and success and new life can be achieved.  It’s not easy to be vulnerable and put our most heart felt feelings out there.  I do it with the hope that it will encourage somebody else to keep going.  Life can be very hard and the feelings can get you down, but you don’t have to let it beat you!!  You can win this thing we call life!  Never be ashamed of your story, it can save somebody else…with that, I share a little more with you tonight.

The past couple of years I have had a lot of health issues and major back problems, nerve issues and chronic pain.  If you’ve ever experienced chronic pain, it can be crippling.  Beyond the pain, it can also be incredibly depressing.  It is life changing, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  I have been on disability from work since mid-August after rejecting my Dr.’s recommendations for months and working anyway, because that’s what I do.  I work.  I have always been dedicated to my job and the most loyal employee around.  But in light of growing anxiety with my job completely changing, going through a buy out/merger and not knowing what would change day to day, my nerve pain worsened and we couldn’t figure out why.  I finally took my doctor’s recommendation and am now taking some time off.  The theory is lessening stress will lessen the nerve pain.  It does seem to be making a difference!  Yay!  Unfortunately, this adds an additional stress because even though I pay in taxes for this exact kind of thing, they sure don’t like to pay when it is needed!  So I am currently going through the appeals process to try and get paid.  Just what I need…more stress.  But that is the least of my worries right now honestly, my health and peace of mind are what is really important.

You can probably deduce that recent months have been incredibly difficult for me.  Five weeks ago I started therapy to deal with the grief of deaths, I have lost 5 people in the past 4 months.  I also lost a relationship that has been a huge part of my life for the past 5 1/2 years.  The relationship has been off and on and never healthy, this is a hard, hard loss and I have never felt like this.  Frankly, the past few months, I have felt completely lost and I have not had the ability to reason properly.  I have had a lifetime of losses and being with a therapist I have really connected with, I learned that there are actually some much more deep seeded pains that I have ignored most of my life because I have always just been that “strong woman”.   Multiple deaths, the end to a long term relationship and worrying about losing my job = STRESS.. ANXIETY.. DEPRESSION.

People judge me daily, and guess what?  That’s ok.  Those people have not walked in my shoes, those people have no clue what is on the inside of me, what I’ve overcome and where I am at now.  They are seeing only the struggle, and the sadness that has been in my heart and showing through my eyes for months.  My friends watch me suffer silently knowing that I am doing everything in my power to change my circumstances.  I am not wallowing in self pity any more and that is the point of this post!!  You are allowed time to grieve, and that time frame is different for everybody.  There is no instruction booklet for grief  or anxiety.  There are, however, tons of resources that I have found useful.

The first lesson, be patient with yourself.  Nobody can tell you when you should feel better.  As long as you want to get better, you will.  Choose to stand up for yourself, make the change and take it one day at a time.  I get very overwhelmed when I think about the big picture, but I can handle day by day!  I made the mistake of going MIA from my normal routine, missing out on many events with my friends which only magnified the problem. The more I isolated myself, the more depressed I got. Trust your friends, take solace in time with them.  They care about you and that is irreplaceable.  I am not only getting myself back out there, I am donating a lot of my time to helping others.  I have met some amazing people and have really been feeling quite a sense of purpose in my life that I haven’t felt in a very long time!  I have actively and consciously been seeking out people and activities that will help me feel better.  I have accepted the things I cannot change and I have been working to change the things I have control of.

Don’t wallow in self pity.  (It’s soooo easy to do!!)  Don’t get stuck in the anger you feel; the helplessness.  It will eat you alive, it’s been eating me alive for months and especially the past few weeks.  That is the most helpless feeling in the world when you cannot control your own thoughts.  This goes back to being patient with yourself, but don’t stay there!!  It’s easy to be mad, upset or even to have no clue what exactly it is that you’re really feeling, just knowing that it sucks!  That’s ok!  Just don’t stay there.  Find the value in your experience.  Make it into something positive even though you may feel like there is absolutely nothing positive to come from it.  You have to search for it, FIND IT!!!  I am finding value in all of the turmoil in my life lately that will change me forever.  I am appreciating things I have taken for granted or completely overlooked.  I have bonded with old friends, I have created new friends and I have found where I can add value to others lives and make a difference which makes me feel great about myself instead of the self-loathing I have done most of my life.  Give back.  I can’t speak to that enough.  Donating your time, feeding the homeless, collecting clothing for shelters – none of this takes anything more than your heart and time.  You should live every day like it’s your last and you must nurture the relationships that you have.  Appreciate every day that the Lord gives you!  Make something positive out of whatever situation you’ve been going through.  I am so thankful for my followers and more importantly my amazing friends, my support system and my sweet daughter Lexie that has had to put up with my ups and downs.

The bottom line, the point of talking to you tonight is to help me, and to help you.  I want you to know that it’s ok to grieve over rough times, I have done a lot of it lately.  It’s ok to cry, to be angry and feel lost.  The most important lesson I have learned is that there is something positive to come out of everything.  Find it.  Don’t let yourself stay stuck.  I have been stuck for a long time and I have a long ways to go, a lot of exploring of my entire life to learn why I handle things the way I do and why I continue the same patterns.  So my journey is just starting but I am really exciting to be taking these steps to change my life for the better, for the rest of my life!  As always, I hope this is helpful for you and I hope you will sign up to follow me and read and share my posts with anyone that you feel could relate.  Goodnight.

 

Know Your Power

“Never underestimate the power of making someone feel special.”

As a blue personality type, and being a “fixer”, this is second nature to me.  I enjoy making people I care for feel special.  Whether in a relationship, friendship or just an acquaintance.  I have always had a knack for giving the right gift or saying the right words or being there for someone at the right time.  This is something that has always made me feel good; I enjoy doing for others.  How do you get that way?  Are you born with your personality?  Is it genetic, or learned, or a little of both?  I have thought about this a lot lately and my conclusion is we are all born with certain tendencies, but behaviors are learned and change throughout your life.  Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse!  But the real conclusion I’ve drawn is that we treat people the way we want them to treat us, often to our disappointment.  We cannot influence others behaviors with our own, no matter how much we want it.

I have been forced to take a hard look at many things in my life lately that I really didn’t want to look closely at.  (Hiding from reality seems to be human nature.)  One of those things is how I treat people and why I treat them the way I do.  Some actions I am really proud of and some, I am sad to say, I am not.

Simple request:  “I want to feel special!”  A few weeks ago I said this to someone who had no idea what I was getting at.  This seems like it should be obvious, right?  Well it’s not obvious to everyone and in fact I believe there are some people who may have never heard this concept!!  In all seriousness, we are ultimately in control of our own feelings and we choose the way we react to situations in our lives.  We cannot control how others treat us, and we cannot expect them to treat us the at way we want to be treated.  But, we can absolutely control how we react to their treatment.  This is something I have not excelled at.  It, in fact, has been very hard for me to accept the treatment that I have received because it was much like my upbringing…too little, too late.  Harsh.  Inconsiderate.  Like it or lump it.  I can assure you I never liked it, but I learned to deal with it.

As a young girl, I learned the hard way that I was in charge of my own life, my own happiness, my own care  and my protection.  Sure, most of the time I had a roof over my head (not always) but if I wanted something, I had better work for the money to get it.  I spent the majority of my high school years working and doing whatever I could to stay away from home.  I spent very little time there and often lived with my oldest brother due to instability and fighting in my home.  I didn’t feel safe in my own home and I wasn’t protected or cared for.  I can recall turning to friends parents when I was sick or hurting because I had no care at home.  One particular mom used to take me in, give me ibuprofen and a hot bath and rub my back until I went to sleep when I was sick.  Something my own mother should have done, but never, once did.  I will forever be grateful for the kindness other people showed me, even though I was looked down on because of my family’s situation.  Even through the humiliation, I felt more love than I did at home.

As always, I don’t say these things to start a pity party – this was my reality.  This is something that shaped me into the strong woman that I became.  I left home 2 days after graduating.  May 16, 1989.  I may have only moved 4 miles from home, but I was gone.  I was on my own and I was happy and felt safe for the first time in my life.  I turned 18 that summer and a year later at 19, I moved to Colorado because I couldn’t get far enough from that small town that was smothering me.  I worked, I went to college, I paid my bills, I took care of myself.  I was extremely resourceful.  I learned things by 19 that most don’t learn until they’re 30.  On the up side, I learned independence; on the down side I learned I could only count on ME.  I was the only one looking out for me and honestly, it’s been a very lonely life because I rarely let anyone in.  Truly “in”.

In hindsight, as tough as I act, I wish I would have had someone to take care of me, nurture me and protect me the way I have done for my daughter.  She is my everything.  We butt heads like sisters and sometimes people just shake their heads at our relationship, but she knows that I am in her corner and would die protecting her.  Nobody will ever hurt her without going through me.  I never had that.  Today, at 45, I long for that.  I am tired and the little girl inside wants somebody to take care of her and love her unconditionally.  I thought I found it, but I was mistaken.  I am right back to feeling like a little girl and hiding out with anxiety and panic and scared to go outside because I am at risk of being hurt.  I don’t trust, I don’t believe, and I don’t allow myself to love or be loved in the unconditional way I want and deserve.

What I have learned about this, is that I am the only one that has the power to change all of this!  I am learning to love myself, unconditionally, which I have never done.  I have always been the first one to see every flaw that I have.  I am very critical of myself and I haven’t given myself credit for half of what I deserve.  With the life I was exposed to, it’s a damn miracle I am even half way normal!  (Although normal is relative…)  I am learning to appreciate myself, my abilities and everything that I have to offer.  I practice daily telling myself that I am a chosen child of God, I am loved, I am special and I am perfectly imperfect.  And so are you!  Don’t judge yourself, don’t judge others; that is God’s job.  We can only love ourselves and one another and praise him for what he has given us.  This is not an easy thing, I know.  It literally takes daily practice.  But if you’re like me and have been in the habit of self-loathing – this is a practice you need to be doing daily.  Pray every morning.  Pray throughout the day, pray every moment you struggle.  Thank God for every breath and thank God for every thought, whether it is negative or positive.  It’s not easy to thank the Lord for a negative thought we are having, but I can assure you that it will quickly change your way of feeling and thinking.  Ask God to take your burdens, to change the thoughts in your head and show you the beauty in things around you.  Ask him for forgiveness in your heart for those that have hurt you, take the anger and bring you peace.  It is sometimes hard to hear Him beyond the clutter and madness in our own brains, but if you can take a moment and find the calm in the storm of your mind, it will help you and eventually, we will find the love, peace and forgiveness that we seek.

Again, I remind you…only we have that power, along with God of course, to change our mindset and our thoughts.  When you find a way to change these habits, you’ll find that everything around you begins to fall into place.  The people that you attract will change, the business you seek will flourish and the love you desire will appear.  Your heart will be content, even if not from a significant other, but just yourself and God.  So remember the quote we started with – “Never underestimate the power of making someone feel special.”  Start with YOU.  Make yourself feel special, love yourself and know the power that you hold within your heart!

If I don’t remember, it didn’t happen

Thanks for coming back!!  I must be saying something that interests you.  That’s great!  I hope you’ll keep following me because as I promised, this will be quite the story!

So in one of my early posts, I told you that I was very grateful for most of the memories from my early years.  Some I was not so happy about, some that are coming back to me – I didn’t even remember (subconscious protection I’m sure)!  For many years, I lived by this rule: If I don’t remember it, it didn’t happen.  Anyone else ever tell yourself that?  Well guess what – it isn’t true!  It, whatever “it” may be, DID happen and chances are, there is a lasting affect on you whether it be positive or negative.  We do this to shield ourselves from many things in life – it’s our defense mechanism to “deal” with whatever has taken place.  It’s just a way of hiding out!

The real you cannot come through when you’re living in a false state of mind.  You’re doing yourself and those around you a disservice by hiding what’s inside of you.  You are loved and cared for as YOU.  The circumstances surrounding your life are what make you who you are, but they do not define you!  I am living proof of that.  So let’s pick up at a place in my life with some of the unlocked memories that have shaped me.

My favorite house ever – Mtn Grove, MO, about 60 miles south of Springfield, MO.  I started my school years there and attended Kindergarten, and part of first grade where I had my favorite teacher ever – Mrs. Coats.  She was so sweet and caring and she knew I didn’t have a normal home life.  I wasn’t with her for long before we moved.  I was the little girl who brushed her own hair in the morning because Mommy was sleeping.  Over my school years, Mom was notorious for getting up on the first day of school and doing my hair, but then never again.  She slept until noon every day.  My dad got me up every morning and fed me breakfast and then I walked down the hill to the bus.  I always wanted French braids or other cute things girls had, but instead I learned how to do my own hair barrettes evenly and this is probably when my OCD started!!  I would stand in the mirror until they were perfectly even on each side.  I eventually learned to do my own pig tails, but that was a little more challenging since the part HAD to be straight down the middle of the back and that was not easy for a 6 year old!  I learned to become quite independent at a very early age.  My mom liked to say that I was strong willed, but the truth was, I had to be.  I had not other choice but to do for myself and be strong; she wasn’t doing it for me.

In Kindergarten, I had my first boyfriend, Sonny Mead.  I chased him on the playground and kissed him on the forearm when I caught him!  I remember it like it was yesterday!!  (I’m pretty sure he let me catch him.)  This is also when I got my first pair of glasses!  Four eyes was a “fun” name!  Ha!!  Actually, it didn’t bother me – I was just learning that things were difficult and my insecurities were just about to be learned…luckily they weren’t embedded in me yet.  Not sounding so bad, really, right??  Remember, I said there were good and bad memories!  Some of these funny, some not so funny.

This beautiful, awesome house we lived in sat atop a hill on many acres with so much awesome wooded area, I loved exploring or going to the field with Dad or my middle brother Brian.  Dad began an addition to the house and I got to pick the colors for my room.  Pink paint for the walls and blue carpet on the floors.  Unfortunately, this home is where many of the worst memories of my life began.  This is also where my title comes from, and I blocked things out…if I don’t remember it, it didn’t happen.  What became ongoing abuse began at the age of 5.  I have one memory of abuse in the house previously at 3 years old, but it’s hard to know if what you remember at 3 is real or not, but I’m pretty sure it was, especially after talking to my cousin last week.  Which means that 2 out of 3 brothers abused me.  There were a lot of mental instabilities in our house, clearly, nothing was really normal.  I would get so excited when we were having company because our family would “play normal” for the visit!  And this was just the beginning of the lack of normalcy!

There were also a lot of blind eyes in the house.  My oldest brother graduated and moved out, leaving 3 kids.  By 5 years old, my abuse was from one brother 11 years old, consistently.  I was threatened, as all abusers do, that if I told on him that I would be the one in trouble.  Mom would be mad at me and they would not want me anymore.  My parents were very religious and he would talk me into doing things I knew were wrong so he would have something over me.  I remember one day coming home and hiding behind a mattress leaning up against the wall in my room out of fear.  On the bus home that day, I put up my middle finger (although it was instigated by him and covered by my other hand so nobody saw except him and me) on the bus ride home.  He immediately told me he was telling Mom and Dad what a bad girl I was and she wasn’t going to want me.  Story after story, time after time.  Different scenarios all the time, but my abuser put fear into me that I was the bad one and I could never tell because then HE would tell on ME and again, I was the bad one.  This abuse went on until I was 8 years old when my family had severe trauma which I will also write about one day, but it put an end to the abuse for the most part for the next 3 years.  And guess what – I blocked it out.  I didn’t like my brother very much, but I didn’t think about all of the things that he had done to me for 4 years because I was a child and I was just happy I could play and not worry about him!  It didn’t resurface until I was about 15 years old and I will talk more about that another day as well.  But the point is, I blocked it out, and to me it didn’t happen for those 7 years.  When it came back, it hit with a vengeance!

To this day, manipulation is a difficult thing for me, it infuriates me.  I have no tolerance for manipulation or for liars.  Yet, somehow, I allowed one of the most manipulative people I’ve ever met into my life and now I am struggling to change it because of the stories.  With all of the difficulties I have had lately, this person chooses to manipulate me daily rather than support and love me and I am no longer allowing it.  I cut my mom out of my life 3 years before she died because she refused to support me and constantly did things that hurt me – on purpose.  I am finding this situation even harder than that to deal with, but I am dealing with it the best I know how.  The heart is a complicated thing, it argues with your head and you don’t win the battle within yourself until you really examine what is taking place, figure out what is true and what is false.  What is serving you and what is limiting you?  Do you feel good or do you feel bad?  Let yourself be aware of what is right and what is wrong.  When your gut tells you something is wrong, it probably is.  I knew as a child what was happening to me was wrong, but I was too scared to do anything about it.  Today, the situation is similar but different.

Please understand, this is not a venue to air my dirty laundry, or tell horrifying stories of abuse in my childhood or about poor choices I make in my relationships!  It is, however, a platform from which to take a stand and let people know that they should always believe in themselves, trust themselves and go with their gut!  Don’t doubt your intuition; whether you’re a child, an adult or indirectly involved in a situation.  Trust yourself, don’t adopt the theory “if I don’t remember it, it didn’t happen” like I did.  Don’t block things out!  In addition, don’t ignore what’s right in front of your face!  Past, present and future – believe in yourself, believe in your knowledge and make that your power!  NEVER let anyone tell you that you’re crazy for believing that, or you’re exaggerating something or that it’s not a big deal.  If it makes you feel poorly in any way, it’s not ok and you need to change it.  We all have intuition, trust it.  You’ll thank yourself in the long run no matter how difficult it is now.

I hope this is taken in the way it is intended, for knowledge, power and healing.  My best wishes to all of you on your own journey in self discovery and remembering/dealing with things that may come to you.  God Bless, I’ll be back again soon!