Friday, January 23, 2015

Share

I share here all the time. I share the good news, the bad news, the silly news, and the sad news. 

I share because it helps somehow. Passing off some of the burden helps me out, and sharing the good stuff increases the joy and reminds me of it when the bad stuff rolls around again.

What I've found is there is no authenticity to life if I don't share. And that means sharing it all -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. But it doesn't just go one way. I need to hear your good and bad and ugly as well. It's the only way for me to feel truly connected.

A man died this week. I'd known him most of my life. He was a good man, but he'd struggled, and I wish I'd known about it so I could have been there to help him carry that load. I'm not mad at him. Maybe I just wasn't one of the people he felt comfortable sharing with, but I would have loved being there for him.

It can be scary sharing. There's a lot of judgment out there in our world, and none of us wants to be judged. We just want to be accepted and loved. 

So share your stories, people, even if they don't wrap up with pretty bows. It's the only way to really live a life worth living.

Blessings!

linking up with Five Minute Friday


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Close Encounters

I had one of those encounters the other day that made me question my sanity and healing. Let me start by saying, this may not make sense to you. Perhaps my reactions are deeply etched in my psyche by the abuse, but that's part of the reason for putting it out here for others to see and, hopefully, comment on. 

I was sitting in the waiting room of a local business, reading my book (which we all know = my invisibility cloak), when a younger woman asked me if my basket contained crocheting or knitting. I told her it was crocheting, which then led to a discussion on the merits of each and my personal opinion that most people are either a crocheter or a knitter, even if they are capable of both. One thing led to another and as she was very interested in the pattern I was using, I handed her one of my cards and told her she could find the pattern on my blog.

I'm used to brief questioning when I share my card, as the primary topic listed is PTSD and child sexual abuse recovery. Most people move right on past that if they are interested in crafting or recipes. This woman sat and stared for a few seconds, and then asked, "What does this mean? Healing from PTSD?" I gave my quick and dirty answer -- I was diagnosed 14 years ago with chronic PTSD and the blog is a compilation of things I have found healing. She looked at me and said, "I'm going to cry."

I, of course, apologized for upsetting her (and felt my world start to tilt a bit). She said, she too had been diagnosed with PTSD, and she believed there are no coincidences in life. I felt my shell drawing in tighter around me.

This is the problem with being open about the abuse. I'm not always in a good place to share the healing. I've been going through some stuff myself right now that's taking a lot of my energy. I assured her she was welcome to check out the blog and garner what she could. Then I kept trying to figure out a way to get back to my invisibility cloak. Blessedly, her name was called and I was saved.

So here's the real issue, by the time I left, I couldn't shake that feeling that I had done something wrong, or left something unfinished, or worse yet, that I was now responsible for her healing (even though I have NO IDEA who she is!). Yes, I know it's not rational, but that didn't quell the words floating around in my head.

I shared a bit on Facebook and got some good support. I shared with my husband, and he didn't scoff or make fun of me. But I was tired. Rung-out, washed-up, fall-asleep-on-the-sofa tired at 4:00 in the afternoon!

And then, THEN. The next morning I went to a yoga class. A really good yoga class. Afterwards I'm talking to the instructor and she reprimands me for not having kept up with my yoga practice during the toughest portion of my healing. She too is a survivor, and it's what got her through it. I "should" have made yoga a priority. Somewhere in this discussion, I realized she didn't know my story and had no authority to judge what I'd done, but it made me so mad! I shared with her so she could better understand where I was in my practice, and she shat all over it (me). 

So I was rung-out, washed-up, fall-asleep-on-the-sofa tired by noon on Friday. Of course some of that could have been the class itself, or the fact that I fell in the mud afterwards walking to my car.

Nonetheless, I did survive. I'm not looking for approval (or maybe I am), but I do wonder why it matters so much to me if someone else can understand my reactions to these events.

Blessings!



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Scarred

I've been scarred. Both physically and emotionally. 

The physical scars are the result of surgeries or (minor) accidents. The knuckles on my left hand show white scars from a fall I took years ago on a sidewalk while heading into a class. I have scars from foot surgery and a Caesarian section when my daughter was born. For the most part, I don't think about these scars very often.

The emotional scars aren't visible to anyone else, but there are a lot more of them, and the scarring goes much deeper.

Unlike physical scars, sights, sounds, smell, and even comments can trigger pain in those places. Psychic reminders of the episodes that led to scarring. Most of the time no one else would notice the shift, but people who know me well see it. Often they know it even before I do. My husband will look at me and say, "What's wrong? You've got your hand over your mouth." Or I'll begin to fidget and look down. A location may be mentioned or a reference to abuse in a movie or book may come up, and my kids will look at me and say, "Are you okay?"

Often I don't even know the physical evidence is there. Sometimes I don't recognize the internal twisting and knotting until I'm well into the pain. 

Those scars have been triggered by movies and books and songs and the odor of cigars. The sight of a Jack Daniels' bottle can cause a catch in my throat. Wires and barns are not my friends.

Over time I've found that I can't make the scars disappear, but I can smooth them over a bit. It turns out that studying the scars, becoming familiar with them, has helped me not be sideswiped by them as often. Ignoring the scars won't dissolve them. I know. I tried. But looking at them, learning the contours of their outlines, their shading, and their depth, has made it possible to live with them.



Maybe that's part of the appeal of old things to me. Well-worn toys and furniture and books. They, too, are scarred, but they live on, serving their purposes, helping others, fulfilling their calling, scars and all.

linking up with Writer's Workshop


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY . . . January 13, 2015

Outside my window . . . it's another gray morning (cue James Taylor). We're covered in clouds and won't get out of the 30s today.

I am thinking . . . about the new devotional routine I'm using this year. I'm liking it quite well. I am using Celtic Daily Prayer for the morning and I've printed out the midday prayer and posted it on a cabinet door in the kitchen. At night, I've been using The Book of Common Prayer, reading the Compline after I get in bed. It is a soothing approach to easing my way into sleep.

I am thankful . . . for good conversation yesterday. My bestie, son, and I talked and laughed yesterday about a lot of different things. It was good for me.

In the kitchen . . . things are still a bit chaotic, but I did get the menu list made for this week.

I am wearing . . . variations on my usual theme.

I am creating . . . my beautiful afghan (this pattern from Attic 24, and a lovely set of DK yarn from Stylecraft). Still haven't done a row and stitch count lately, but things are moving at a slower pace right now.

I am going . . . to get all the Christmas decor put away or die trying!

I am wondering . . . about standing firm in times of stress. I'm a conflict avoider, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, conflict just can't be avoided. So I'm getting advice and learning some new techniques. And praying A LOT in my standing firm.

I am reading . . . I started Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott. I'm not much of a Civil War buff, but the premise of this intrigued me. So far it's quite engaging.


I am looking forward to . . . a trip to San Francisco at the end of the month! A long weekend to see a dear friend who moved there recently.

I am hearing . . . peace and quiet. Dh is gone to work and Ds has gone on a hike as his winter break is winding down.

Around the house . . . things are still not back to normal, but I'm continuing to work on it. I did get an improved workspace set up, though.

I am praying . . . for marriages and families who are struggling right now.

One of my favorite things . . . is doing something nice for someone else. Yesterday I took my bestie out to lunch for a belated birthday. A good time was had by all.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . therapy, grocery shopping, back to the chiropractor -- all the usual suspects.

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing . . .




linking up with The Simple Woman

Monday, January 12, 2015

Who Am I When No One Is Around?

Here's the thing about blogging about recovery. It's not a straight line, which can sometimes leaving me feeling as if people read and get really frustrated with me.

From the beginning of this path, one of my biggest fears was being judged by others. I needed EVERYONE'S approval, love, and acceptance. I suppose that was the only way I believed I could be safe. Of course the flaw in that concept is that it is impossible. No one is going to get approval, love, and acceptance all the time from everyone. It's not only impossible, it's not valuable. I suppose I had some sort of system in my head. There were people whose approval I knew I didn't need or want, based on their behavior. But I had a hierarchy that needed to be followed.

I still find myself caught up in the need for approval. I'll question conversations, text messages, or Facebook comments to see if I said anything I shouldn't have. Did I use the wrong word in that context, or worse yet misuse a word all together!

It's easier to let it go when it's via social media, but with people I see regularly it can be difficult, mostly because they are the one's who mean the most to me. The ones I want to love me unconditionally. 

I've been working on finding out my passions in this new year. Focusing on the things that bring me joy and help me feel fulfilled. Yesterday our minister asked us to answer some questions this week
 -- 1)Who am I when no one is around? 2) What breaks my heart? 
3) What am I going to do about it? 4) How will our congregation become more kingdom because of me? And then he read Exodus 24:7 -- Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 

He commented on the fact that the Israelites didn't necessarily understand why God wanted them to do all these things, but they agreed to do them, and then came to understand them. Sometimes we need to do the same thing. Practice God's word even if we aren't clear on the outcome. And nowhere in that does it tell me to make sure everyone likes me and approves of me. I'm told to obey with love for all.

So I'm working on that this week. Being in His word. Finding my passion in His kingdom. And following in obedience with love for all, myself included.

(You can listen to the entire sermon here.)

Blessings.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.