Saturday, April 1, 2017

blue ribbon -- an annual post

every april I pull out my blue ribbon and pin it on my shirt. 
the first time I did it, I worried about what people would think/say.
I worried they would ask what it meant.
I worried they wouldn't ask what it meant.
I worried about what I would say.
I worried about what I wouldn't say.
each year that I have worn the blue ribbon it has become a little easier to set aside the worrying -- to expect nothing -- to be happy with a good conversation -- to set aside the discomfort of others.
it hasn't gotten any easier to have them look away though.
as I was having blood drawn at the doctor's office, the technician said, "what's your pin for?"
"april is child abuse awareness month. I am a survivor."
"oh", startled, she looked away, and I felt it again. the guilt and shame. 
what did she think of me now?
should I have kept my mouth shut?
not worn my blue ribbon?
there was no more conversation and little eye contact. she drew my blood, while I dealt with the pain of the needle in my arm and the accusation in her looking away. I was damaged goods all over again. I was at fault. I was less than.
I read a post about seeing people.
all I want is to be seen for who I am. a grown woman who is still 5 years old inside, wishing someone would intercede for me. wishing I didn't feel guilty and ashamed for others' actions.
but every april I pull out my blue ribbon and pin it on my shirt.

(this post was originally published April 13, 2012 -- I repost it every April in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month / Child Abuse Prevention Month)

Friday, March 10, 2017

five minute friday :: abandon

abandon -- give up completely (a course of action, a practice, or a way of thinking)

It's been a rough 18 months for me. There have been major life changes, a lot of hurt and worry, stress, anxiety, and guilt. Maybe I'm beginning to come through on the other side.

I've had to abandon some dreams and recognize false assumptions. And that's really difficult. I can be idealistic at times. Always the optimist, I'm likely to keep giving people chances long after any reasonable person would.

I really want to believe the best of everyone. I want to believe that each person wants to improve and change as much as I do. That everyone is willing and able to work as hard as I have to overcome adversity. Optimism is a great approach to life until it becomes tainted with unrealistic expectations, and then it can lead you down some rabbit trails that will make you dizzy and sick until you acknowledge the need for a new start.

Abandoning unreality is a good thing. I tend to have a negative connotation of the word abandon, but the reality is the word is neither good nor bad. It's all about context. No, I shouldn't abandon my children or those who are truly in need. I will never abandon my faith, and there are friends that I know will never abandon me. But I can't really abandon something that was never there or is no longer there.

I'm changing my perspective on that word (because I'm all about words!) and moving forward in realistic optimism and possibility.

linking up with Five Minute Friday

Friday, February 3, 2017

Breathe -- Five Minute Friday

I've been trying to catch my breath for the past 5 months. Lots of changes in my world. Lots of obstacles -- physical, emotional, and spiritual. 

I have asthma, and stress makes it worse. So there's been trouble both literally breathing and figuratively breathing. 

I've double downed on my spiritual and emotional work. I've tried to keep the house clean and not to be too hard on myself for struggling. I got some new meds and adjusted some activities and behaviors (I hope temporarily). There have been times I've thought this was just the way it was going to be for the rest of my life. (I can be pretty black and white, absolute in my thinking!)

A couple of weeks ago I realized I was breathing easier literally and figuratively. I tried not to over analyze it. When the opportunity arose for a long weekend at the beach, I didn't think about it. I just grabbed it.

That's how I find myself sitting on the balcony of my condo with a view of the beach breathing in salt air and practically watching some of the stress melt away. 

Trusting in God is like breathing. Sometimes it's harder than others. 

I'm just glad for the opportunity to trust . . . and breathe.


linking up with Five Minute Friday

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday Musings

It is Sunday morning and I'm sitting at my kitchen table with my computer and a mug of Cranberry Blood Orange tea.

I overslept so I won't be making it to worship this morning, but that's really just a convenient excuse. I'm struggling this morning with all the changes in my life. I want to pour it all out here on my blog, but there are issues with that. I want to be writing every day, but I don't like feeling constrained by the need to be vague. But I'm not comfortable baring my soul just yet.

So I sit here typing vague and random words and phrases because I believe that if I can't explain why I'm feeling this way, then my feelings are invalid. I need to explain why I feel these things so that everyone will understand and agree that my feelings are appropriate.

Convoluted? I suppose, but it's how my brain has worked for so long that it's more automatic than rationally thought through. 

I like my new place, but there's still a lot of work to be done. I worry that I'm being by judged by those around me for not having gotten more done. For wasting time that could be used to get things in order so I can "get on" with my life. I make lists and start out well, but as the day wears on I run out of emotional steam to get things done. I begin to wonder, "What's the point?" and "Who am I doing this for?"

I know the "right" answer is I'm doing for myself. So I can have a comforting, inviting place to call to home, but I've never been very good at doing things for myself. When I have been able to, it often leads to guilty feelings that I am just a self-centered person. 

Understand I'm not looking for pity here, but I am trying to work through some feelings and coping skills that I know aren't in my best interest. But I'm tired of working so hard. I'm tired of feeling as if I may be a burden to those around me. I'm tired of being needy. I crave normalcy, but I don't even know what normal is going to look like now. 

I have no answers except the repetition of phrases I've been using for years to deal with the lasting effects of abuse -- be kind to yourself, rest, eat as well as you can, get some exercise to help with anxiety and depression. 

As this day progresses I will do those things to the best of my ability with the knowledge that, even though I believe at times I am the only one struggling with these things, the reality is I am not alone. Hopefully by sharing my struggles I can help someone else who's feeling the same things I feel today.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

What I Did Today

Every day is different lately. Today was no exception.

I got up and followed my somewhat usual routine which now includes trying to empty one more box. I chatted with my son and my daughter. I made the bed, showered, dressed, and ate breakfast. 

The afternoon was a completely new and different experience. Several weeks ago a friend told me she had applied to work the election polls. I was intrigued because I've considered it myself in the past. I called the election commission and got signed up to work. We went in together to turn in paper applications. I apparently volunteered both of us to help with change of address on election day. I didn't think it would be a big deal. My friend wasn't as enthusiastic as I was.

So today I went to my training class to learn how to deal with changing addressed for voters and some other unusual circumstances that sometimes come up. It's not rocket science, but it is a fair amount of detail and paperwork. 

What interested me the most was how much I enjoyed listening to the instructors talk about their jobs and the significance of the election process. I take my vote fairly seriously as a rule, but I also admit I've missed some opportunities over the years to get out and vote. Today reminded me how important it is to part of the process. No, one vote probably won't change the final outcome, but it's important to remember how many people don't have the opportunity. 

Now I'm officially trained in how to change addresses for registered and non-registered voters, and on November 8th I'll work from 6 AM to 8 PM helping other people get out and vote. It will be a very long day, but when all is said and done I will have helped a lot of people (I hope) take advantage of the opportunity to share in the future of this country . . . and that's pretty cool in my book.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Day 5 (Yes I Missed Day 4)

Well, it didn't take long for me to miss a day!

One of the things I promised myself going into this series was kindness.

Tuesdays are generally my busiest and sometimes toughest days. I have therapy on Tuesdays for chronic PTSD. With all the changes in my life right now, it's a good thing, but can be tiring.

Then there was an attempted errand that fell through because of my own forgetfulness, followed up by a trip to the chiropractor as the pinched nerve in my neck as been acting up again.

When I got home, the delivery man was waiting on my front porch to bring in some furniture I'd recently had painted, so there was quick rearranging to get pieces in the right rooms at least. My son called wondering what was for dinner. 

Once the delivery man left, I took a few minutes to place tables in the living room and even set up a little decor just to give me another #smallvictory and #oasisofcalm.

Then there was a call from my daughter and dinner plans with son and his girlfriend. And somewhere in all of that I collapsed in the big comfy chair and turned on Netflix.

I had good intentions. Rest and regroup and then go write a blog post. But every time I thought about it I was just sooo tiiirrreeedd.

And then I fell asleep in the chair.

So I missed a day (in the first week) but life goes on and I will continue to strike order in this messy world of mine while seeking out #smallvictories and the occasional #oasisofcalm.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Finding Routine in the Mundane

I have no routine right now. That is neither good nor bad. Just different. 

I have a love-hate relationship with routine. When it's working for me I love it; when it's not I hate it. Maybe that's a truism. 

This morning I woke up at more or less my usual time. I got up and had my tea, puttered a bit, handled a few phone calls, finally ate some breakfast, and made a list of things to attempt accomplishing today.

My best friend reminded to find "small victories". I had a nice rambling chat with my daughter. I organized the laundry closet and did some laundry. I talked with my son's girlfriend (how nice that she stopped by to pick up some stuff and made time to talk!).

I paid some bills and organized some paperwork. Answered a few emails. Checked Facebook and the news. 

All of these mundane bits and pieces did something unexpected for me -- I found myself. I felt a little like Sabrina in the movie of the same name, except of course she "found" herself in Paris. Somehow it's fitting for me that I found myself in the routine, mundane activities, because in truth that is who I am. I'm not interested in flashy events and behaviors. I'm not belittling myself here. Quite the contrary, I enjoy my mundane routine. 

So those are my ramblings for today. Nothing exceptional or amazing, except that finding myself felt pretty exceptional to me!