Here’s to providing a positive influence on our tomorrow!!!

So what is this healing thing? Can we accept who we are now? What about accepting what we have either done to others or how we have impacted the lives of those who love us?

I’m thinking about where I am now, who I am now; mainly because of building the Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery project. I’ve been looking inside myself and trying to find the real me inside the damage for about five years now. It’s been hell!!!

The constant doubting myself and my ability to be me without all the mess attached; trying to get it all back together again and believe that I can help make a difference somehow. This is the struggle of people like us. This is our daily reality, it sucks!!

As I watched one of my most favorite movies this morning, “When a Man Loves a Woman” with Andy Garicia and Meg Ryan, it dawned on me that the process of dealing with an addiction, such as alcoholism as Meg was facing, and seeing how it played in her family life touched a part of me I didn’t recognize.

‘When a man loves a woman’ Meg Ryan, Andy Garcia, directed by: Luis Mandoki–Phenomenal

We’ve all done horrible things and we all have at least one thing we are ashamed of, so does this make us all similar in life? In many ways it does. Each of us has our own mess we are struggling with to keep our heads above water. Each of us is human and we all make mistakes we have to face and forgive ourselves for doing? Each of us is influenced by the ways of our childhood lessons and what we’ve learned in our adult life. To me this makes each of us more like the other than we want to admit sometimes.

At the present, I’m building my dream of providing some form of understanding, support, help for others like myself. The hardest part is believing in my ability to succeed at this and how I can build it into something really amazing. Of course I understand this cannot be done without a huge amount of support from the public. It is another huge step for this survivor and I do pray I won’t fall on my face in the process.

I’m not a perfect person and have never claimed to be one. In fact, most often I am my own worst critic and can be my own abuser. Like the millions of others who have felt this, it is darkest to see what we have done to others throughout our lives and how the choices we’ve made have impacted them. I’ve over celebrated events, such as this past 50th birthday, and then I reason away my stupidity. I’ve inappropriately yelled at my children with an undeserved voice, especially as they were growing up and stressing me out. I’ve taken and popped them upside the head when they did something senseless or talked back. However, slapping them and yelling at them can also be reasoned away as a broken parent who was merely stumbling through life not having a clue how to function in a ‘normal’ world.

‘Does this make the bad we’ve done OK, simply because we can reason it away? Can’t we reason away almost anything?’ 

Thankfully, my kids have all come to me separately and told me I didn’t abuse them so I can give myself a break for this, but that doesn’t mean that the choices I made and decisions to stay didn’t upset their world. My chaotic behavior brushed off on them and its taken longer for them to become functioning and stable in their world.

‘Oh how I hate what my parents created in me!!’

When I published ‘My Justice’ it was my public apology to my children; explaining to them how it all fit together and why it all matters in the big picture of who they are today and how they cope through life. It was admitting all the dark secrets I had been carrying, the guilt and the shame over what happened, but also for how it passed forward into their world.

If they could have seen inside me at 37 years old, making the decision to build a life on our own, walking away from all that had been so normal to me and a man I sincerely loved; perhaps if I had let them see me break down they too might have been able to release what was going on in them; to open up their wounds and allow them to break free from the darkness as well. I fell to my knees in our house when they went on weekend visits with their father. This was after we left their drunken stepfather, got away from the drunken boyfriend, and we were on our own.

Therapy was breaking me into pieces and everything was falling all over the ground. I was like a child trying to pick up all the jacks that had been kicked around for those 32 years. Every time I thought it was alright and I was going to make it; I would start dropping them again, losing one here or there as I went along trying to pretend I could handle all of it. I was a complete wreck. Didn’t realize it was the first time I’d ever FELT about anything that had happened, it was my first mental break down!! Work was a bitch and I under bid myself in pay status so horribly; due to my lack in self confidence and having to prove to myself that I could succeed and break out. This meant we were barely able to make it by, in fact, I had worked my way into a heavy debt trying to make up for all the bad, but I was determined to change their world. If I hadn’t gotten so sick with first the hysterectomy and then the pulmonary embolism, we might just have made it through. However, then I would never have come back to Illinois and would not have met the most wonderful man I have in this present place.

‘There is a purpose for all things; even those we do not understand”

Recovery to me is being able to see all of it for what it is and what it has done to influence the person I am today. I believe that through understanding these wounds and the horrible choices I’ve made, the problems any of us have caused others; we see ourselves in the true light of what is good in us. We don’t have to be perfect. In fact many of us will never be able to get close to that status in society, but isn’t it what we carry inside that matters most?

If we try to keep struggling to meet the standards of others and accomplish only what they expect out of us, how can we ever build our own standards and see the good we’ve accomplished in ourselves?

Recovery is being able to see your good and accept your mistakes, own them, learn from them, understand where your perceptions and mind set was when you made them and then see where it sets with you today. Do you feel the spark of a peace within? Do you have respect for yourself and the fight you’ve put forth to build something better within yourself? This is the beginning!!!

When we understand the how and why, when we admit to our imperfections and how we have been stumbling around in the dark; this is when we begin to see the light ahead. We begin to feel our soul come together as one good human being. We learn to see our reflection as the beauty within rather than the scars we carry. When we reach the point of feeling our present life instead of reacting to our past, this is our baby steps at learning how to live again. We can see the new person coming to life and we have the ability to change what we don’t like in them. We have torn down all the walls protecting that person who was battered. It is now they can begin to spread their wings. We are learning to be a new person and to believe in our possibilities. This is when we have reached the other side of the mountain and have finally been able to grow into who we were intended to be.

If you are at the stages of seeing all that has happened and being sucked into the darkness of your pain and the guilt of harming those around you, this is a dark place for you and I get that completely. You don’t have to stay there however, you can do what’s needed to come into your own person; the good person who huddles inside that block wall. Don’t worry, each of us has our own imperfections and this is who we are. Accepting them for what they are allows you to see past them and you will see the good in you as I have. You will become a new person a person you know is good and would never harm another living soul. A person who shines from within and simply puts her best foot forward each day. Will we slip and drop our jacks, of course we will? Do others have to live life constantly combatting themselves from within? I believe on some level yes they do.

Take a second and close your eyes. Think of who you were just five years ago. Think of all you’ve done that might have negatively impacted the lives of those you love and put them in danger. Now open your eyes and see who you are today, right now!!! What do you see? Would the person you are today make those same choices again or would they try to do it differently and turn it into something more positive? I believe, that most of us would do the later. This is the new person coming to life inside of you. If you like this person build on what you see in their good. Keep making it stronger and challenging yourself to do things a better way. This is how we begin to change the world, one healing survivor at a time. Every painful action matters because each one has influenced the life of another.

Remember, this is the point where every good action matters, because each one will influence the life of another!!!

Here’s to OUR new beginnings and building the person we want to thrive in our world today!!! Here’s to providing a positive influence on our tomorrow!!!

Calling on Your Angels…..A Great Coping Skill!!!

***Warning: May cause triggers, but I’m sure many will find this particular blog uplifting and hopeful in many ways!!!***

This is a lighter side of the blog “He’s Back Again…”, which you will find below. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve been here, somethings been flying around that I couldn’t quite get a grip on, but here it goes anyway.

So, as I shared in the previous mentioned blog, I have been sucked back into the darkness a bit and actually went running to my wonderful therapist Marjorie for some help to get through. She’s been a blessing in my life at giving me coping skills to stay in my present and work through the darkest of moments, so I couldn’t go without her expertise; I just wouldn’t be this far without her in my world.

As I sat in her small, but quaint decorated office, with pictures of Oriental Art placed about and hung on her walls. You can look into these works of art and wonder about those who created them. They tend to pull you into a world of opening up your spirit and touching base with what lies within.

Many times, as survivors of child sexual abuse, we carry a feeling of extreme violation in our hearts. This can only be described as evil but your soul still carries the innocence of a child. There is and will be a life long impact from child sexual abuse. It does rewire your perceptions; re-align your normal behaviors; it will be scorched into your memory never to be forgotten. You will have periods in your life when you feel surrounded by the darkness and you may even feel your life invaded over and over with the fear from these particular events.

“This is normal. You are not insane. You are one of the many who’s lives have been impacted by the very personal violation of child sexual abuse.”

These remembered events are the darkness that hovers around us, it challenges us, cages us. When these events are play out in our heads, we become that panicked child all over again. Often, as we grow older, we are distraught with the ups and downs of re-living these horrific acts. None of us ever forget these moments!!!

A victim who has gone through such attacks will often go through a cycle, which I commonly refer to as the Rollercoaster of Memories. You may have those off and on again reactions that seem to haunt. At time we think we cannot conquer over them, we fear not being able to just live and exist in the present; appreciating all of the small moments of joy that have crossed our paths.

Recently this is what’s been going on in my head. I feel a bit overwhelmed; flashed back into the memory of when stepfather used the shotgun barrel to rape the little girl. My head has been swarming with a vivid motion picture of that horrible night. I’ve questioned, cried, stomped and prayed; all trying to extract the remembered emotions of terror. I have been in the huge spiral of a downward racing coaster.

As a survivor who puts forth a continued effort to help empower others and inspire them to chase after the life of happiness they deserve; this leaves me feeling like much the hypocrite since I couldn’t seem to help myself. However, I’ve been blessed with some pretty amazing folks who have showered me with prayers, love, little jokes, and tons of well wishes. Still the Demon would not leave me.

The other evening I did the best I could to help myself break through the dark storm. Going to see Marjorie was the best I could have done for myself, as I said she has played a huge part of where I am today and helping me to gain some sense of peace in my world. She has kept me living in the present and filled my soul with the belief I can indeed help myself, so long as I use the coping skills and truly focus on what I aim to achieve.

“Don’t we all have to do this in some way? Isn’t this a very common place of self-doubt that every human endures at times? Isn’t this the basics of living and achieving? If we do not focus on the end result, on the goal at hand, how will any of us ever battle against what holds us back?”

These past two years, since truly being happy and with finally finding my voice; also relating with so many other amazing advocates and survivors, I have found one common strength between us all.

“We all have a belief in some greater power that has kept us alive and guided us to where we are.”

My particular belief, my hope, my continued strength to battle onward, comes from faith. Faith there is a God and He did not intend for my life to be stripped away by the evil of my parents. I believe the few who have loved me, who now exist as Angels, are still around me and will protect me. This is the power that helps me hang on and move past this dark storm. The aura of stepfather with the gun, the pain of him tearing me apart as I lay there silent on the royal blue quilted bedspread; this is my most darkest haunting and I’m sure you each have your own particular event that seems to never leave.

So what is the amazing coping tool that my dear Marjorie has given me this time? The power, the belief, to CALL ON MY ANGELS!!!

My particular Angels are the three main people in my past who have loved me, but who God has taken.

The first of these is the one I feel closest too, the boy who came to live with us at fourteen and suffered through many of the outbursts of rage from stepfather. His name was John and he did all he could as a young man to try to protect me, show me kindness, and be more of a brother than my real blood brother could have been. He was and always will be the brightest moments of my life from age twelve to twenty-five. He never let me down. He distracted stepfather many times from getting to me with those raging fists. If it weren’t for John, I would have been killed at a very young age.

The second of these Angels is my Grandma Ellen. I remember still the power of that last beautiful hug she gave me. I can still feel her arms wrapping around the small child and letting her know that she meant the world to her. Grandma Ellen was given my baby crib, for why I’m not sure, but she kept it in that old ragged farm house on the top of one of the many mountains of Southern Missouri. The road to her house was a golden red gravel and it went up and down a series of five or six hills to get to her drive way. The farm house was made of old tattered barn wood and the linoleum floors were worn. The last night I spent in that house with her was on my fifth birthday and she still tried to put me in my crib. I remember telling her that I couldn’t fit, even though I was very small, there was no way I could sleep without fearing falling through the bed. It’s a funny pleasant memory that I hang onto and one I use to fill my head when the dark seems to threaten my day.

The next and last of the Angels I treasure is my father. I don’t have many memories of him, but those I have are all pleasant and I know he would have rescued me if he had known that such evil was murdering the little girl he created. He didn’t CHOOSE to leave my life. In fact some of my memories are of him coming to visit after he and mother split up. He’d swing me in the backyard, he’d pick up mother, brother and I to take us for drives in his beautiful red convertible. I’d get to sit on his lap while he drove and he’d work the pedals I couldn’t reach. I got to go watch him drag race and he was a winner with that car. When he’d win I got to keep the trophy, but my collection disappeared when stepfather moved us into the house he wanted.

This is my spiritual coping tool. You see stepfather has me somewhat terrified of even my afterlife. A part of me, no matter how silly I think it is, still believes that somehow he is going to be waiting for me there. He is going to be there and keep me from having peace. In reality I know this is very doubtful, but unfortunately, the fear of having to face him again; the fear of the evil he spoke coming true, this is part of my dark storm.

So now as I chase out the feeling of this demon once again, I know in my heart that these three Angels are fighting with me, circling me, protecting me and they will indeed carry me through to my afterlife. They will get out their powerful swords and conquer the dragon that swoops down to grab me. My Angels will protect me and I know if you think of your Angels, they will swarm in, circle and protect you, carry you through to the life of peace and happiness you deserve.

I hope as you read this you feel the power of connecting with those you’ve lost but who were most special in your life. Feel their love for you. Remember the happy moments spent with them. Allow them into your thoughts and see how they chase away the bad, the evil, the demon can no longer control, there is no space for him now. In this battle you have protectors and those special protectors will never leave you. They are always with you. They will create a castle of safety for you to spread out your wings and fly with them to the magic of your life.

Feel the magic of your Angels!!!

**In closing; if you do believe in the power of spiritual healing, I want to give you the other half of this coping skill. As you bring in your Angels to circle around, think about what power the demon has in your thoughts. Once you’ve got hold of it, throw your arms outward and say to yourself: “Me and my Angels now chase you away. You (say the name) have no more power here. You are banned from this castle and you will not return.** If you are one who believes in the aura of a bad spirit hovering around you. This coping skill gives you control over that aura and you can banish it away whenever you feel its presence. The power and control belong to you, the living, not those who hover around in our thoughts or who make their person felt in our homes. It is our safe castle and we say who crosses over the moat and who is banished to be eaten by the gators below if they return.

This tool has given me a renewed sense of strength. It allows me the power to push away any bad and call my protectors in to circle. Give it a try for you, hope it gives you that same sense of being in control.

Good luck, peace within, always in strength & in spirit!!!