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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Procrastination and priorities

To the tune of Anticipation, by Carly Simon… “Procrastination, procrastination…. Is makin’ me late… Is keepin’ me waitin’.”

Something I wrote a while ago keeps coming back to me, and it has to do  with this feeling of fragility. Intangibility. Perhaps it is kin to that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Kin to the feeling of balancing many spinning plates on the ends of long sticks. Everything is going well, really, but sometimes I still feel the anxiety of being one unlucky tip away from shattered glass at my feet.

(Upon writing that sentence, the snarky part of my mind suggested that maybe it was time I started using heavy plastic instead of glass. Then that led me to rabbit trail down the practical considerations of whether or not plastic (however dense) might spin comparative to ceramic. All up to the point where I reminded myself, this was only intended as a visual example. I share this, because it shows how abstractedly distracted my thoughts have become, lately. Maybe you’ll get a chuckle; I know I did – sometimes all I can do is just laugh at myself and move along.)

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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?

 

Numb. Because life isn’t Complicated Enough.

Most people, when they see rolling hills and wide grassy expanses feel a sense of joy and relief in the beauty of the world. In reality, I can entirely relate to this and even crave the peace and quiet and regenerative qualities of the great outdoors.

Yet, with anxiety, the emotional counterpoint of those rolling green hills takes a darker turn. Beneath that beauty, lies a minefield, and if I’m to function, I have to find a way to cross it.

Fun! (Not.)

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A voice worth hearing

 

Some times it is still difficult to find the words that lay closest to my soul. To be truly vulnerable. To be truly myself.

But it is getting better.

Saturday I met some of Guy’s friends for the first time, the first part of the day I hung out and studied. The second part I played a few games. The last third of the time at their house we discussed the world at large, concepts of personal responsibility, thoughts on the issues our society here in America are facing. We didn’t always agree on the solutions, but I think the essence of our motivations were similar enough, and understood enough, we were able to have a genuine conversation.

One that I immensely enjoyed, for the first time in nearly a decade. Continue reading

Benchmarks

A year ago today, I didn’t feel whole. Instead, when I looked at myself, I saw something resembling a shattered window. All the glass reflecting bits of me, refracting light every which way, but nothing whole.

Jumbled. Confused. Broken.

I wish I could reach back in time, and wrap the woman I was in a big, long hug. To tell her, “Your journey is worth it.” Because it is. It has been. And it continues to be.

There are days I still wonder if I’ll ever be fully healed again, moments of irrational fear and obsessive thoughts that lead to anxiety. But instead of derailing my day like they once did, I am able to start moving past them. Being able to write and process life and struggles and perspectives here has been such a blessing.

I am starting to come back.

Promotion at work. Slowly getting my finances in order. Starting back to school. Spending time with friends. Working on healthier habits. My own car. Renewed friendships. A healthy relationship.

Life doesn’t often allow us to stop and reflect. I still have a long way to go, and I am still cleaning up a lot of messes that happened when I was overwhelmed, anxious, and lacking in funds. But if I’ve come so far in just a year, where could I end up in another?

 

 

Insecurity, lurking around every corner

Nothing brings your emotions to light quite like the enforced seclusion of keeping germs to myself. Each night this week I’ve lurched home, dropped my things on the nearest flat surface, and found a corner to coil up in. It’s left me surprisingly little human contact, and allowed my mind far too much space for rampant play.

My rapid forward progress in the healing process was bound to hit a few little roadblocks on the way.

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Love Letter to Me

An article I read recently, while sitting in my therapist’s waiting room, mentioned that it takes 5 positives to offset a negative. Apparently our brains our wired to process negativity, perhaps as a coping mechanism, perhaps as a stimulus to change or avoid the things that cause negativity. I recently read a post by Hurricane Heather, where she openly shared a list of those negative things she struggles with and feels vulnerable about. I could relate to so many of those items, but challenged her to write a similar list describing the awesome things about herself. And she did, and challenged me right back. Follow up to Letter’s I will never send (but already sort of did): Dear J. Response: Dear Heather.

Heather? Challenge accepted.

So here goes – in letter form. A love letter to myself, because if we can’t love ourselves, how are we going to be able to love others?

Not normally my kind of music, but this Fifth Harmony song, “Brave, Honest, Beautiful” is pretty inspiring.

My challenge to you? 50 things that make you you, and make you awesome, OR a love letter to yourself. If you accept, please post here and link your article so I don’t miss it. 🙂

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Foundation Stones

You look at any older buildings at the campus near where I work, and you’ll likely find one of those large, cubic blocks that form a cornerstone. A foundation stone.

Right now, it feels almost as if I’ve pulled apart my life right back down to it’s foundational basics. Now I have all these heavy stones and a new plan to put them to use. Some of my materials are cracked, others the corners have been sheared off. Still others, all the sharp edges have been worn smooth by tempermental ‘weather’.

There is something both exhilarating and yet daunting when I look at all the pieces of my life, knowing the future is mine to build. A new year, my maiden name, and freedom from a decade’s marital quagmire have allowed me to begin a fresh start. Something all of my own making, whether I choose to invite others in to help me or not.

To be honest, I have a few people along whether I invite them to or not, and I’m kind of thankful for their loving nosiness. But I am even more blessed that, even if they demand to be a part of this rebuilding phase, they are still taking a step back and allowing me to design the schematics myself.

It’s a wonder what happens, when you try to have healthy boundaries… and people respect them. Continue reading

“I get knocked down, but I get up again…”

I’m all better now.

THUMP. Hard to see the sunny, blue skies when my nose keeps ending up pressed to the pavement.

Ok, made it past that hurdle. Life is great! It’s awesome!

Can I just hide in bed for today?

Found my silver linings, it’ll all work out.

Oops. Hi there floor, haven’t seen you in a few days.

And so on, and so forth. Overall life is doing great. I’m slowly whittling down the piles of bills. Been seeing Guy (after this many months, calling him ‘New Guy’ doesn’t seem quite appropriate). Finalized my readmission for returning to school in April. Have an interview for an awesome job that would be suitable for the next stage of my career – that is next Wednesday (the wheels of bureaucracy have never spun so smoothly).

I can’t decide if my anxiety is cropping up now that I have the mental space to pay more attention to it, or because my PTSD is trying to warn me that THE OTHER SHOE IS GOING TO DROP, GET OUT OF THE WAY STAT, IT’S PAST TIME FOR MORE SCARY SHIT TO HAPPEN ALREADYOr even, perhaps, I just have no idea what to do with all the good things in my life. I feel like I’m missing something, some monster that is stalking so close behind me that I can’t see it no matter how quickly I try to turn and catch a glimpse of it.

Oh, right. That’s essentially what anxiety is, isn’t it? Continue reading

Through the storm

“His lawyer needs to see this.”

My attorney’s voice sounded tinny on the other side of the phone, and my sudden fierce determination not to be bullied seemed to have revitalized her after dealing with an obnoxiously resistant other lawyer and my ex.

After months of waiting for the other side to get their act and documents and time together, our attorneys had finally met. Hashed out a few details. And promptly improperly mathed the retirement funds of my Ex as they related to our 50/50 split. Having only had the documents for a handful of moments before they discussed, it was not until she was writing up a suggested final papers that my lawyer recognized the difficulties.

His lawyer seemed annoyed at the discovery, and reluctant to even deal with my ex. Having been married to the man for nearly a decade, I can’t say I didn’t blame him.

“He is going to go Ballistic.” Came the immediate reply. “I already told him he was out for no more money.”
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Work In Progress

There is that moment, when crocheting, or knitting, that you look down at your work, and notice something wrong. Sometimes you’re almost to the very end. Maybe you keep going, hoping you can adjust for the mistake. But after a time, you realize the project and pattern have become so distorted, it isn’t anything that resembles what you hoped.

So you have to make a choice. Do you keep going, knowing the flaw is there? Do you pull out the stitches until you get back to the error? Continue reading

“Getting to know you…”

A song from Oscar and Hammerstein’s musical, ‘The King and I‘, has been running through my mind all day. In addition to being a catchy tune, some of the lyrics run as follows:

Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.
….
Getting to know you,
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you,
Getting to know what to say
….
Haven’t you noticed
Suddenly I’m bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I’m learning about you
Day by day.
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Midnight Revelations

One of the promises I made to myself, before embarking on this new relationship, was to prioritize my self-care and healing needs. In essence, I didn’t want to look towards this relationship as a short-cut through healing, but rather as something I could use to force myself to recognize what I need to change to be healthier. And a place to practice those new healthy behaviors.

I needn’t have worried, because simply having another man in my life provokes comparisons, questions and random revelations. My last relationship was so long-standing, and traumatic enough, I don’t want to find myself back where I began. Besides, if you haven’t noticed already, I have a tendency to endlessly mull over things in my life.

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Ownership

While I never sought to be abused, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that need to be addressed. Whatever spurred me towards selecting the man who would cause me so much emotional turmoil is yet to fully heal. I was vulnerable in my own damaged way before, and now I have the years of marriage to deal with on top of that as well.

There were good moments. The cycle of abuse, which ebbs and flows throughout the passage of time, helped bind me even midst the darker minutes.

Perhaps, as well, there was a little bit of arrogance. I took pride in the sacrifices I made, early on. Perhaps it was because there was so little else for me to take pride in. Something in me, based on my childhood of caregiving for my family and siblings, felt uniquely qualified and prepared to be in a relationship like ours would be. I needed to be needed.

My mistake was believing he cared about my needs, too. Continue reading