Sunday, June 28, 2015

Feeling alone in a crowd.....

It's overwhelming to me that in this day and age, many of us can feel alone in the middle of a crowd. Unable to speak or even smile at strangers, I sometimes feel that I don't belong anywhere in the world. I struggle to find a place where I feel at peace, at home, at rest with myself enough to relax. It's difficult for me to even connect with people I'm supposedly close to, or when those who've known me for years seem not to really know me at all. It's really disheartening to venture out on a Sunday only to realize that I've closed myself off for so long that I've almost forgotten how to say "hello" to other people. For a while in my life, I thought it was essential to close off my heart from other people, in order to protect them from what I thought was so dark within me, and anger and a need for revenge so deep that it threatened to blot out my very existence. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Just go with the flow....

I sometimes get in a hurry and and get frustrated when I feel like nothing is happening fast enough for me...I'm impatient. I expect change to occur right away. Then I realize that life doesn't work that way. I get tired. I'm overwhelmed with life. But recently I have been reminded that even the wings of a butterfly can cause change. Change can occur gradually, slowly, very very slowly...but it is still progress. And we are only human: how can we be aware of all of this change at once? Impossible! Being mindful that the need to control our surroundings can be a powerful force that's pushing others away when you need them most. For me, a gentle reminder by a close friend can bring about an awareness of the problem for me, which may help to bring about a sense of clarity. Taking a deep breath and starting over can also sometimes propel me forward when all I want to do is throw myself in the floor, kicking and screaming because life isn't fair. Maybe the key to being content with slow, gradual change can be found in the knowledge that even small changes and slow growth equals a net change. If you have a dream, prioritize what it is that you need to do in order to start the ball rolling. Don't forget that we were put in earth to be in relationship with other humans: no man (or woman) can do this life thing alone. ALONE... That's a quiet road, indeed, don't venture down the path with the idea that you need no one and so you won't accept any assistance from anyone else. Trust me, others need you just as much as you need them. There is no such thing as freedom in solitude. Not forever, anyway. We all just need to define healthy boundaries and remember to take time every now and then to carve out some space in which to comfort and pamper our own souls, in whatever way we find is most calming and soothing. 
So...what are you waiting for? Put on your grown-up pants and get out there and LIVE. Remember that even small changes are happening all around you, whether or not you see the effects. Relax and stop expecting everything NOW. It's going to be ok, just slow down and be good to yourself. what are you waiting for?

Monday, August 11, 2014

A heart for service

Recently it has been put heavily my heart that I am to feed and clothe people. As in a life mission. Please pray that my thoughts remain focused and my endeavors true. I was never meant to be draped in diamonds and covered in gold, and I am grateful that I have a heart for service. But my mind tends to wander and then get overwhelmed when I get philanthropic: I get excited about changing the world and I have trouble remembering that I need to take one day at a time, and take care of myself before I reach out to uplift others. It takes me longer to accept what everyone else around me knows as fact because I am stubborn. I am also a loyal and faithful friend. If I walk away from someone or something, it isn't for my lack of trying. Many times throughout my life, I have made myself physically ill with worry that I have either done too much or not enough. I have a great capacity for care and concern, and because of that, I tend to be very intense. For this, I am grateful, because though it can be lonely at times, I tend to scare people off who aren't up for the challenge of authenticity off, and I guess in the scheme of things, it helps to narrow down my circle of real friends. So today, I am putting it into the universe that I, I KNOW: that I am enough, I have worth, and I have purpose. Through God, all things are possible. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The total opposite of hell on earth....

Is happiness. Joy. Finally being able to be myself, after a lifetime of trying to be someone else that never felt like me. Trying to fit in for years left me with confusion about who I was, what I believed in, and where I was going in life. I didn't even have the mental strength to decide what I wanted to eat for breakfast without feeling guilty that I was choosing something unhealthy, so sometimes I didn't eat. I was totally adrift and couldn't see the shoreline to save my skin. I was terrified. All I could do was struggle to survive, to swim against the tide. And no matter how bad it got, somehow I knew if I just kept on swimming, or paddling, or kicking, or struggling for dear life, that I'd survive. I almost gave up, many times. That's what the resulting depression does to you, especially when you realize that the one you trusted the most is not only NOT a member of your support network, but is the main one who's been trying to drown you. It took being everything I had to keep from succumbing to the belief that I just wasn't strong enough, wasn't good enough, wasn't ENOUGH. But the fact that I never gave up means that my story isn't finished yet. The best part is that I have discovered that I am not only strong enough, smart enough, good enough, etc.... I'm awesome! I'm a loyal and compassionate person, with much to offer in the way of friendship. I deserve to be loved as much as the next person. Sure, I've been hurt, we all have. But I'm getting stronger every day. I love my life. I feel free. Free of all the judgement of the last decade of my marriage, and free from the uncertainty of the decade before that. I am enjoying all of the things that life has to offer, and I am facing the sun with a willing heart and an open mind, ready to meet any challenges that come my way. The biggest chain was the chain of fear.
I learned that if we ignore the initial red flags in an emotionally toxic situation, we begin to numb ourselves to the fact that we are in danger. If we do not act on our primal instincts of fight or flight, we can become confused and lost. We don't even realize what's happening or who we are in the storm, which can appear calm at times. The storm then becomes our "normal," while to well-adjusted outsiders, it is a dysfunctional nightmare. We tend to justify and excuse the abuse to ourselves and others. Sometimes it takes many many years to wake up and remind ourselves hat what we initially thought was wrong, REALLY is VERY WRONG. In my case, this has taken 3 decades. But God is good. There is hope. 
Reach out to those children and women (and men!) that you KNOW are hurting, are being abused, even if they deny it again and again. Do NOT ignore your instincts. We are designed to recognize abuse, but then we just try to excuse it away, thinking we can change it. Highly-emotional and sensitive people absorb the negativity projected upon them like sponges. It becomes our normal to be abused. Emotional abuse leaves as many scars as physical: it's the gift that keeps on giving. Until you leave and accept the apology that you will never get, you will never be able to move forward in many areas of your life. You will be stuck in a special kind of hell. You will continue to attract the same kind of negativity. Anyone close to you who doesn't believe your story has no empathy or compassion, and should not be trusted. Trust the people who knew you before the nightmare began, and those who refused to back down when you insisted everything was fine. If you have no one close to you, find someone in an authority position who will listen to YOU and support YOU and do what YOU need to help you LEAVE the situation. NOTHING is worth what you will lose if you stay: 
NOTHING. There is hope, there is support, and there is peace out there, I promise you.
Never never NEVER GIVE UP!!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Just go for a walk.

I started walking for exercise for the first time a little more than 4 years ago. I was 42. I was at the end of my rope. I was in constant pain from a second back surgery about 16 months before.  I had been told I would have daily pain the rest of my life and I was given muscle relaxers and painkillers that rendered me a babbling idiot--when I wasn't falling asleep while sitting in the car waiting for my kids to run into the store or when I was propped on the couch whiling away the hours between running them back and forth to school. I was in the midst of a separation from my husband of 20 years. I couldn't understand why everything in my life was going wrong. I was angry. I was scared. I was exhausted. Once I stopped taking all the medications, the pain came back with a vengeance. See, for some reason the bottom of my spine has a right angle in it, it looks like a capital letter "L" at the bottom. If I stand for too long without moving, I hurt. If I sit for too long, I hurt. If I bend over to pull on my clothes, I hurt. If I squat to pick something up, I hurt. Bottom line? I finally got mad enough to do something physical about it when my physical therapist told me I needed to move for 30 minutes a day. "Just go for a walk," he said. "You've got to be kidding me," I thought. If only it were that easy. Did he even know what he was asking? I have suffered social anxiety since before it had a name, more than 30 years. Many people close to me don't even know this, as I can act completely the opposite when I'm able to get control of my thougts, so for many years, if I went out socially, a sense of control could be quickly accomplished with several glasses of wine. The problem is that I'm sort of a lightweight with alcohol, so if I go overboard with it, it can turn into a bad situation pretty quickly. A massage therapist had recently told me, when seeing my naked backside, "Oh, wow, did you know you have no muscle tone in your butt?" Now that was embarrassing. All I could think of was that I would never again be able to have any man look at my ass (clothed or not) without thinking the same thing. Forget about ever having sex again. Forget about even putting on a swimsuit. I was convinced I was through. It was one of the most difficult obstacles I have ever faced, just to get outside and walk. I put myself down constantly in my head, and even when I worked up to a 4-mile-an-hour pace, I never congratulated myself. I didn't believe in myself. I didn't even like myself. I was resentful of the woman who had let herself get overweight. I didn't allow myself any break, no mercy, no nothing. I was not a friend to me, and to those around me, I had a short fuse and I ended up alienating many friends who stood by me during some really dark days.
Fast forward a few months....I walked almost every day, almost 4 miles on most days, and I worked up a good, healthy sweat. I wore sunscreen and a baseball cap, and big clothes so that my shadow couldn't taunt me as I walked up and down the dock where I used to live, which is close to a mile long. I began to allow myself to think about why I was angry. Was I any less angry after a long walk? Not at first, but as the summer came, I began to realize that I was feeling something else: joy. I didn't recognize it at first, because I was going through so much emotionally that it was hard to process anything but anger through tears. I finally had enough confidence to walk 45 minutes away from my house: yes, out on the sidewalk of a busy street. I listened to audio books or music that empowered me. After a few months, I decided that I wanted to try biking. At first, I was scared that I would fall. But I kept at it, and as I got more confident, I began to ride a few miles every day. I looked forward to the wind on my face. I took silly photos of myself after a long ride, and I posted them on social media, as I had a few close friends that knew what I was going through, and they were my biggest cheerleaders, texting me with messages of encouragement. Mostly, I just lived to ride. A year after beginning to exercise, I had probably lost about 20 pounds, and I felt better. I even carried myself differently. My nightmare divorce was over, and somehow, I had survived. I still wanted to ride that bike. I became addicted to the endorphins, the feeling of being in control of something for the first time in my life. I was able to ride as fast or slow as I wanted. I could ride in lazy arcs in empty parking lots. I blocked out the entire world when I rode that bike. I rode like the wind. 
Since that first day, my life has changed dramatically. I have moved 3 times. I have learned how important real family and friends are in a crisis. I have discovered what I don't want in a romantic relationship. I have realized how important it is for me to process things before making snap decisions or judgments, and that this is perfectly alright. Somehow, I have rediscovered the me I never became, the woman I had never before allowed myself to be. Don't misunderstand: I'm not claiming to be perfect, and I will readily admit that I still don't always make the right choices, and I'm still pretty hard on myself, but I have realized that I LIKE ME. I have discovered peace in the knowledge that even if no one shows up to pat me on the back, it's ok, because I know how to do it myself now, and it works. I don't have to fake it in life anymore. I can even go out in public without feeling self-conscious all of the time. Life can be amazingly beautiful when you discover the peace of understanding that everything is working out according to God's plan, and that He is in control. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sunrise, sunrise.....

Amazing view that I have every morning when I wake up.
Today is no exception.
Just can't seem to capture the colors with the camera on my phone.
Good morning.....