Life in the Fast Lane

Sometimes everything in my life blurs just beyond my immediate view, like staring out the passenger window during a road trip. Moving so quickly, distinct features fade into hazy generalities. Flash of orange. Rising and falling gray. Fuzzy depths of ambiguous green.

I can guess what those things are… a road sign. A concrete barrier. Trees. But all the details fade with the rush of travelling at 60 mph. Right now my world feels a little like that, emotionally, and I have to consciously ‘pull over’ to stop and examine what is going on.

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The road goes ever on and on…

Revelations are curious things, and sometimes the most profound of realizations to some are ones that are so obvious to others. But I suppose, the path to understanding ourselves is more about the journey to the destination than the destination itself.

A recent run-in with my ex, who decided it best to get arrested rather than obey my protection order, left me opening mail from the Domestic Violence Advocate and the Prosecutor’s office. In it, was a request for a Victim’s Impact Statement.

Although the request sent me to my Google Docs and I wrote several pages on several different days, none granted me the words I wished to use. I wanted to achieve a few things:

  1. I wanted to be cognizant that anything I write will go into the public record.
  2. I do not want to be weak, but I want him to understand I will utilize my protection order to the full legal extent I am allowed.

Though I still don’t have anything down I feel comfortable sharing, I discovered some things about myself through this process.

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Rest Stop

Sometimes I forget it is not possible to be in control of everything, all the time. Or that, even if I am in control, my choices do not always lead to the best results. Or, even if my choices don’t lead to ‘the best’ results, who determines what is best and worst? Me. And sometimes those determinations are a little arbitrary, or based on other peoples’ expectations.

The last few weeks have brought with them an overflow of information, a few realizations, an incident with the ex, the Flu, a heart to heart with myself, time with friends, preparation for a long-planned minor surgery, and some heavy considerations regarding my priorities, relationships… pretty much the whole nine yards and then some.

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I’m a Liebster, How about you?

The Liebster Award is an online award given to new bloggers or those with less than 200 followers. It’s a way of promoting your own blog, other people’s blogs, and support the blogging community.

belleblushh.wordpress.com_

I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Samantha at “The Other Side of Counting to 10!” This was over a month ago, but life has been so up and down and busy I am just now getting to it. I love reading her posts, and am happy for her as she just got married! (Congratulations Samantha!)

 

 

 

The Liebster Award rules for 2016:

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.
  • Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.  Images you can use for your 2016 Liebster Award can be found at http://theglobalaussie.com/the-official-rules-of-the-liebster-award-2016/ .
  • List these rules in your post.
  • Answer your nominator’s questions.
  • Give 10 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers.
  • Create 11 questions for your own nominees to answer.
  • Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

Samantha’s Questions:

  1. Which of your Blogs is your favorite?
    I think my current blog is my favorite, simply because I can stroll back over the past eighteen months and see how far I’ve come. There have been challenges, valleys, peaks and switchbacks – and not only have I explored many of these things, but I have also found many of a like mind here on wordpress. I think the supportive community and encouragements here help keep me writing, mostly because I follow folks who help me learn more about myself or the world around me.
  2. What is your favorite quote?
    “Friendship doubles your joys, and halves your sorrows.” – Anonymous
  3. What is your favorite smell?
    I love the smell of a crisp fall day, with the sun baking the drying leaves and the chill salt-water tinged breeze tickling my nose.
  4. What inspires you to write?
    Life. Pain. Joys. Emotions. Questions. Observations…

    Writing is how I take my experiences and process them, and sometimes it is a way of validating myself. Saying, “this is what I feel.” It’s a place where I can confront my fears in either a free-form essay format (which I share in this blog), or my creative writing that I keep much more private.

    In my creative fiction, I will often highlight character traits in a setting and explore what those things mean. I’ve explored abuse and recovery that way, with varying mindsets in varying characters. The more I read and understand about myself, the more stories begin fluttering in my head, and the more I want to read, and the more I need to write.

  5. What would you change about yourself?
    It is very PC these days to say “I’m happy the way I am, I wouldn’t change a thing.” But, to be perfectly honest – there are things I would like to change about myself. Most of them are in process, and I don’t expect them to happen quickly, but I am aiming for the quiet change of growth. Mental and Physical wellness, essentially, would be the overarching theme of what I would like to change.

    More particularly, however, I would like to change a lot of the thought processes that hold me back.To stop the inner refrain of self-critique that echoes what a few people in the past have told me. I struggle a lot with anxiety and feelings of short-coming, especially relating to writing. Having an anonymous blog helps me get past those things. Recognizing that my writing isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay, helps me get past those things.

    But I would love to change those limitations I put myself. We’ll see how that goes this coming year. 😉

  6. If you could invite anyone to lunch, who would it be?
    I would probably invite Brene Brown to lunch, simply because I have been so impacted by her writing, and a conversation about life and counseling and shame resilience and overcoming… I just can imagine she has so many wonderful experiences to share that I would greatly love to hear more of.

    Alternatively, I would love to meet Jenny Lawson of “Furiously Happy” for lunch. We would either sit in utter silence filled with mutually induced social anxiety, or have a wonderful rabbit-trailing conversation that would someone cover cats, taxidermy, the craziest things we’ve done in the name of anxiety, and more.

  7. Where is your favorite place to visit.
    As a young girl, in times of great distress, I would walk the three blocks to this tiny little park just down the street from home where a small lake lay shrouded by trees. The hum of vehicles seemed otherworldly there, and I would climb up onto the worn fence railing and pray my sorrows and joys to God, the ducks, and the weeping trees.

    I’ve always sought peace in the great outdoors, places where time stands still as the water of a quiet lake, or rushes forth with the vigor of tumbling waves on the beach.

    So my favorite places to visit? Ones with water, for they grant me a little of the peace I need when surrounded by the busyness of life.

  8. Name one thing your are proud of about yourself.
    When I first sat and talked to my counselor, I couldn’t meet her eyes. I sat trembling on her couch with one of my best friends putting her arm around me as the only way I could choke out my story. Even just breathing, was difficult. (Isn’t it strange, how anxiety makes your whole body lock up sometimes? How you have to physically remind yourself to breathe?)

    I still have a long way to go, but I’m proud of myself for staying in counseling, for working hard on the things I can control. Sometimes it is overwhelming, and sometimes I don’t make the right choices, but more and more even in my dark moments it is way easier than the last few months. I’m making progress. I am paying attention and noticing the things that trigger me. I may not always know what to do with the things I am growing aware of, but until we have that awareness, we can’t produce change.

    Being ‘proud’ of myself is something that feels – almost arrogant to me. So I have to work hard to celebrate my successes, and I have to remind myself it is okay to build up the good points of myself.

  9. If your had a super power what would it be.
    If I had a super power, I think it would be the weaving of illusion, a way to craft pictures, scents and and sensations. I love storytelling, and would love the ability to craft the stories I see in my mind for others to see just how I do.
  10. Solitude or companion?
    Either one or the other, depending on my mood. 😉

    Truly though, I can tolerate pure solitude far more readily than the constant wear of another person. I’ve learned to find joy in solitude, to amuse myself, to find freedom and peace in solitude. But with the right people, who respect my need for occasional solitude, I enjoy companionship.

  11. What is one piece of advice you would tell your 16 year old self?
    I think this is a good ‘letter’ for me to write as a blog-post. See something in the next few days. 😉

Ten Random Facts About Me:

  1. I love God, the Christian God. Not always a big fan of organized religion, though. I think there is a narrative about women’s place in the church that needs to be addressed.
  2. I’ve learned some of my best life lessons from the feminine heroes in fantasy novels.
  3. Music soothes my soul.
  4. I sometimes use some of my favorite ‘easy-listening’ audiobooks to soothe me to sleep, a combination of a familiar story and a familiar voice sometimes helps me relax when my mind whirls too quickly.
  5. I love it when my friends post baby pictures, and love spending time with babies, children and even teens. I miss having relationships with kids of all ages, the world is so fun through their eyes.
  6. My new guilty pleasure: Lactose free vanilla ice cream, lavender honey, and fresh fruit.
  7. I’m a gamer. Board games and console games, though I’ve not had much time for the latter due to school.
  8. My favorite colors vary, depending on if you ask me to wear it, adorn my living space with it, or put it on a shelf. (Teal/Green, Blue, Red – respectively).
  9. Sometimes when I’m stressed, I want to hop in my car and just start driving and figure out where I will end up later.
  10. I have been pretty insecure about my weight, as it’s going in a bit of the wrong direction. However, I’m trying to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can, and work on embracing my curves!

My Nominations 

 

 

She is Hurricane Heather – Heather

The Moments Between – LoveLi

Life as a Garden – Michelle Anderson

The Warrior’s Guide – Havoc

Brea’s Air – Jen

My Questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite blog post (that you’ve written) and why?
  2. What is one thing you would tell a friend going through relationship troubles?
  3. Green tea or peppermint mocha?
  4. What are the ‘little things’ someone could do or has done that just makes your day?
  5. Are there any books (or other creative media) that have stayed with you over the years?
  6. Picture yourself in your perfect place, would you tell me what that looks like?
  7. Do you have any tricks or things you have discovered that make life easier/more efficient/less expensive?
  8. Chicken or the Egg, which came first?
  9. Do you enjoy playing any games, which ones? If not, what other social things do you enjoy?
  10. Do you have a treasured possession whose story you wouldn’t mind sharing?

 

Wistful Unrealities

Some dreams hit so vividly they feel like life, inexplicable as they might be. This dream from last week has stuck with me. I always wanted children, but besides my ex not exhibiting much rational judgment, I have some health difficulties that may make it troublesome. A bit of an outlier of a post, considering my content so far. 

But I wonder, what dreams have stuck with you? Do you attribute meaning to them? I usually can trace the thought processes that are my brain working out problems in my sleep, if I put effort into it. My dreams have always been extremely vivid, and I’ve only recently realized that isn’t always standard. Anyhow. Sometimes the muse demands I put words to page, so here they are.

…..

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Nightmares

Despair greeted me when I awoke this morning, opening my eyes to the light pouring in the window. My heart pounded, and it took a little time to place the objects in my room.

No ex.

None of his things.

None of the rooms present in my dreams.

Although I immediately relaxed from that state of near panic, I’ve been on edge all day. For a few moments, I thought everything of these past 18 months had been but a dream. In it’s place, the actual dream placed me back with my ex. The location, however, was the house I grew up in. We had his niece staying with us, roughly 9 years in my dream, and another teenage girl. I returned home from work, and found them both uneasy. The older girl was supposed to stay with us, but had called to be picked up, even though it would take a few hours.

We all moved on eggshells. Me, as I didn’t want to subject the younger girls to my ex’s verbal diatribes. I don’t recall what happened next, but my ex followed me about the circular house, screaming his anger at me.

I eventually turned around, and stood up for myself. At the least, yelling back that it was not alright for him to treat me in that manner. His response was to become sulky-angry, and he stormed off to hide in the office.

The older girl went out the front door to wait outside for her ride. The niece looked at me with wide eyes, and I heard from her that my ex had been vocalizing this kind of anger while I was gone. I started gathering things, and quietly told the girl that if my ex came out of my room to just go out to the car. She wanted her things first, but unfortunately they were in the office where my ex was.

I went to try and retrieve them, and my ex opened the door when I got there, staring at me with his cold death stare and a freezing anger. The kind of anger that led to things breaking, while I held my breath and wondered if, this time, I would be next.

That is when I awoke.

I have been trying to shake that dream off all day, with little luck. I can’t focus. Can’t study. So I decided to write it down. Try and put it into words in an effort to dump it from my mind.

I am safe.

I am out.

He can’t reach me now.

I just wish my nervous system would get the memo.

A New Leaf

When I started this blog, it was a way to process my fears, hopes, struggles the best way I knew how. Through my words.

I didn’t know what I was doing.

I had no answers.

I only had a story. My story. A story that I had kept bottled up behind many different masks for nearly nine years. The good Christian wife mask. The happy daughter mask. The slighty-weary-with-life-but-handling-it mask. The helpful-friend mask. Now, I don’t really feel that a blog about ‘masks’ really fits me. I am considering changing the name, but want to really explore different ones that fit.

For weeks before writing, I scoured the internet looking for blogs, articles, and anything to help me better understand where I found myself – a woman facing divorce, living at home, recently emerging from a situation of domestic violence. I was lost. And struggling. I saw a lot of articles about abuse, but I didn’t see many that showed any one person’s personal journey. I’ve always connected most to a person’s story, the path from brokenness to redemption. So, I decided to share my own. A flawed, struggling work in process.

A year ago I was preparing to face my abuser in court, hoping to be granted a protection order. (I was). I had no car. I was drowning in bills. I was paralyzed by fear – of my ex, of the possible judgments of people around me, that my struggle to focus at work might ultimately lose me my job. Sleepless nights were not uncommon, and my health was poor due to physical pain as well as stress and anxiety. I hardly smiled. Anxiety followed me as closely as my own shadow.

A year later? I am up for a promotion. I’m writing again, creatively. I’ve met someone, who respects my boundaries and isn’t rushing me. My counselor and I are tackling more than simple coping strategies. One of my best friend’s is a new mom, and I get to be an auntie. I’m returning to school in a month, to finish the last few courses of my degree. More than one person has mentioned that even my eyes are smiling now. I am physically stronger and more able than I have been in 4 years. Hope has found its place in my heart: hope for the future, for health, for my career… for an identity I thought I had lost.

If you have only recently found me, these are a few of the posts that I think convey my state of mind throughout this past year. I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve come out ahead, I think. Early on, I shared so much with so little confidence in myself, and reading through the many posts I seem to hear the growing confidence, determination and certainty as the months go by.

My turning point:

Healing is definitely a journey, and a process, and I have a long ways to go. But just think, if I’ve come this far in just a year – while still battling through a messy divorce – how much farther can I go?

Nightmares

My counselor suggested I start recording my dreams. I think I can see a lot of the behind the scenes processing that went into this one. It was long, and vivid, and I don’t know that I capture quite how distressing it was.

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It’s hazy, and yet other things are distinct. I can see the pebbled grit of old pavement and the faded paint stripe beneath my foot. The building behind me bears the peaked roof and tall narrow windows of the church where we married. Yet when I look up, glance beyond to the road that runs alongside it, just past the beauty bark and letter-board, it disappears into an indistinct fog to the left and right. He’s there with me.

[I wake up, and fall asleep again, sliding right back into the dream but every time I do so, something shifts.]

I’m not sure why, but I climb into the passenger seat of my Ex’s vehicle. It’s the little blue car he first owned on the outside, but inside it’s bigger, with a Subaru wagon type trunk. I feel nervous, and wary, but he is pleasant and chatty and easy as he always is on his best days, fingers tapping an easy, fidgety tempo on the pleather wrapped steering wheel. Continue reading