Sunday, October 21, 2018

Digging into the Why?'s, and Finding AMAZING

A while back, I had a particularly difficult day, following the break-up of my recent relationship, and I was re-playing all the old tapes, from the way back past, in my mind.

“Why does this always happen?”,“Why do they always hurt me?”, "Why do I deserve this?”,“What is wrong with me?”

I quickly caught myself.


I decided I was going to do some work. (I think I’m starting to get good at this!!) I decided that I was going to dig into this one. I was going to question my thoughts.

“1. What is wrong with THEM?! What happened to them to hurt so bad?   (I quickly scribbled THAT out!)
      Fuck you. You don’t deserve ME!!
 2. Why do I allow this treatment and give so many chances?
 3. What am I so afraid of? Why?
 4. Look at my history, patterns, etc. Question, question. Why? Why did I feel…? Who said…? Why?        Why?

Fuck, it’s not even about “THEM”. Maybe, it never has been…? I have wanted to feel…wanted, loved, appreciated, respected, “known/popular/heard of”, connected… Comforted and protected, comfortable… Before my marriage ended, it was all about the projected image. The illusion. I wanted to appear “normal”, and, following societal norms, I figured that meant that I needed a husband, children, perfect career, perfect family, perfect life, perfUCK IT!! LOL

I always thought I “NEEDED” someone else, a man, a protector, a fixer, just to be there, unconditionally…

But, that’s not truly what I’ve wanted, certainly not what I’ve “NEEDED”. I’ve stayed in these situations, friendships, relationships, and repeatedly put up with bullshit and lies, full well KNOWING truth, and still I would tell myself: “Well, I do deserve better, but…”, and of course, the rollercoaster of irrational thoughts/beliefs… “Tomorrow I’ll do something…”, “If it happens again, THEN I will…”, “He was drunk.”, “We were drunk.”, “Nobody would want me if they knew…”, “Maybe if I look/act/do/allow…”. It becomes “normal and comfortable”. SO NOT HEALTHY. (What I really "NEEDED", was to love, honor, protect, and respect myself.)

Losing track of myself here, rein it in girl!! Question. WHY? DIG! PEEL BACK THE LAYERS! WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?

I haven’t trusted myself, and I was scared. I thought I was weak and not “smart”. I told myself I wasn’t “strong enough, smart enough, able at all.” I didn’t “know how”.

WHY? WHY? ↓ ↓ WHY? ↓ WHY? ↓ WHY? ↓↓ WHY? ↓ WHY? ↓ WHY? ↓ ↓ WHY? WHY? ↓

I was always afraid. I was told it was because they were “drunk, and don’t remember”, but they would “never again”… I was told I was weak and stupid. I was told I could never, would never… I was told that I didn’t “deserve”… I was told I was bad, crazy, psycho, a whore, a cunt, a slut… fuck… it all became ingrained, burning so hot and deep, I was convinced that everyone could see it in my eyes. 

Maybe there was a sign on my forehead, or the “Scarlett A” on my breast… So, I would pull my famous move, the “Nothing Like a Simple Ostrich”: head buried in the sand, but hearing and feeling the rustling, shifting vibrations… They would consume me, but, still I would squeeze my eyes shut, cover my ears to muffle the sound of “THEM”, and wait… full of fear, shaken and worn, I would welcome the darkness, comforted and numbed, again in the company of INSIDIOUS.


It was always these message that I heard and felt, either at home, or from older siblings and extended family, “friends”, boyfriends, husband… People that I have trusted, and felt “safe and protected” by, “THEY” said so, for as far back as I can remember.


Just because “THEY” said it, doesn’t make it true or factual. Q.T.I.P. (Quit Taking It Personally) Chances are highly likely that these things, behaviors, actions were a reflection of their own pain and lack of self-confidence. They were trying to fill their own voids. They were attempting to make themselves feel better in the moment.


I’ve got my own back. I don’t NEED anyone. I’VE DECIDED THAT I MUST, I WILL, I AM GOING TO do myself right. I AM doing myself right. Why keep wasting my time, energy, and love in all the wrong places? Why waste time thinking that I am anything less than deserving and perfect just the way I am?"

And so, in answer to my typical, dramatic questions: “Why does this always happen?”,“Why do they always hurt me?”, "Why do I deserve this?”,“What is wrong with me?”, I say this: it doesn't, and WON'T happen again, and they won't EVER hurt me again. 

There is nothing at all wrong with me, and I didn't deserve any of that. 

I am amazing. It is time for me to start treating myself that way. I deserve the best, and I am going for it. 

I've been really working hard to move through my past and finally heal. I feel valuable. I'm allowing vulnerability to open me up to the real stuff. I've been learning, and practicing, forgiveness, letting go/moving forward, and acceptance, of whatever is, or is not.

I am enjoying my journey these days. Some days are grand, others tougher than tough, and some days just are. I am learning to feel, and I am starting to really get things!

I have likened this ebb and flow, the up and down, good and bad, living life on life's terms, aspects of life to the seasons. Sometimes it's spectacular and bright in our world, (like summer and spring) and we feel wonderful and warm. Other days (fall and winter), it's dark, gloomy, and pissing on our parade, but we survive. We do what it takes to stay warm, safe, and dry, because we know that the darkness, the storm, won't last forever; it might carry on longer than we would like, but we will see the light again.

It's getting better and brighter every day...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

"Mighty Mouse!" Takes on "Insidious"

I mentioned Insidious during check in at my last CAB session, and the facilitators, already familiar with him and his relentless and seductive ways, gently pressed for more detail. One of the lead facilitators sat, visibly formulating his strategy with each response I provided. He, who I shall name “Mighty Mouse!”, sat, rubbing his palms together in front of him, ominously, like an evil and menacing villain preparing to reveal his destructive master plan. He eventually turned back to me and asked if he might “try something” with “Insidious”. Eager to jump in and “do the work”, I instantly agreed. Before he went to work, dramatically setting the stage though, “Mighty Mouse!” had one final question for me, “Does “Insidious” have arms or legs?” The obvious answer? “No.”

“Mighty Mouse!” identified that he planned to use a Smart Recovery tool, DISARM (Destructive Images and Self-Talk Awareness and Refusal Method), which, in my opinion, is basically working with shadows. He said, “the point in using this method, basically, is to incite a riot between self and inner addict/demon/gremlin/etc.”

The moment I said “Yes!” to being under the spotlight, in the hot seat, panic took my breath away, anticipation about what would/could happen, and anxiety coursed through my body. And then I caught myself; I am determined to do this work. I immediately sensed a shift of vibration and energy in the room, and myself; a dark cloud descended upon the room. Amid cleverly placed pauses, loaded with deafening silence and suspense, “Mighty Mouse!”  had someone pull an empty chair up to the table across from me, at which point my fear peaked as I imagined myself facing “Insidious”. Slowly, like a painfully drawn out plot twist, he invoked a clear vision of ME sitting in that chair, with “Insidious” where I sat; I was going to be answering AS “Insidious”.

First came introductions, “So, you’re “Insidious”? Do you know Laurinda, over there? Oh, well, I am a friend of hers…so and so… Do you mind if I ask you some questions?”. Then came the very well-played interrogation, and the answers “Insidious” arrogantly and deftly provided, with a bloodthirsty smirk. “What do you think of Laurinda?”, “What do you plan to do to her? How do you manipulate and seduce her? What do you plan/desire to do to her goals/future? What HAVE you done/taken from Laurinda? What are your plans for her daughter?”. “Mighty Mouse!” unloaded an arsenal of deep questions, and the joy “Insidious” finds in torturing me, his beloved prisoner, was evident in every response. He wants to crush me, every one of my hopes, dreams, opportunities, and relationships; he wants to destroy my life. He happily acknowledged all that he has already taken from me, in the form of hope, time, peace, love, success, etc., and calmly admitted plans to lure my daughter into the same darkness of his lair. As was expected, “Insidious” had a lot of cruel and nasty things to say about me, and of his dark intentions for our future together.

The intensity of what I was hearing/saying became like a weighted blanket on top of me. I remember fully immersing myself, letting go of the fears around being vulnerable in front of mere strangers, and feeling the blanket fall on me like a heavy snowfall… Everything and everyone around me seemed to melt away, fade to nothing. There was only my awareness of “Mighty Mouse!” and “Insidious”, and the tears that slowly washed over my cheeks.

Next, “Insidious” was asked when he came into my life, and we both blankly pondered the “always” that flashed before us. (That’s a whole ‘nother journey!) He admittedly enjoyed how easily he did manage to take control of me though, “before she (I) even had a chance”. He wants to destroy me, simply because he can.

“Mighty Mouse!” further probed on how exactly it is that “Insidious” maintains his control over me, having “no arms or legs and all”. “So, the power that you have over Laurinda is based on what?” It’s based on the straightforward fact that I have believed his harsh and deceptive words and trusted his whispered promises of solace. I just do what he tells me. Then, “Insidious” was asked what one thing he did not want ME to know would be. The answer? “That she DOES have a choice, free-will, a mind and power of her own.”

“Insidious” thinks he’s keeping a secret from me. A secret that he knows, once I realize the truth, his game will be over. He is afraid that I will take back MY POWER.

His fear? His weak spot? Losing his control over me.

My triumph? My vow? His losing control over me.

The process was killer, and I dropped a lot of “F@$%” and “holy $#it” bombs during that session. I remember “worrying” a few times during the interrogation, certain that I would have to stop, but “Mighty Mouse!” led so well, it was almost easy to “stay in character” as the internal tension within me increased.

It was such a highly intense and volatile experience, and yet deeply cleansing and powerfully motivating.

“Insidious” has been a predator, a monster, in my life, but truly he is a weak and desperate NOTHING. I am not done with him yet. I have some table turning to do with him, and a couple more “letters” to address; each step I take, he falls a little further into the fire.

I will remain diligent and aware. His power over me does, and will continue to diminish every day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Death of "Insidious" : His Return

Insidious: “Alluring but harmful” 

That is one of three definitions found on Word Hippo, and a very good way of describing this particular “Insidious” problem of mine. MY personal definition: when something IS insidious, it is like a hidden system of veins, as it stealthily seeps its way in, and around its target. It begins as a mere trickle, but given the opportunity, it’s flow surges, gaining power, and it becomes a debilitating force in the end.

I introduced the monster on my back, "Insidious", in my previous post, Vulnerability, Values, and "Insidious". That day I (we) worked to truly put a face to him (our inner demons) in Day Program was, undoubtedly, an extremely difficult and draining process to get through, and thankfully, the second part to the work, was held off until the following day.

The writing meditation (we utilized different types of meditations each day, to expose us to something new, and to start firing some new connections in our brains, speed up some of our healing, by utilizing the creativity inside of us) that we did the next morning was prompted with “Write a Letter to your Gremlin/Demon”.

I gladly, and proudly share with you the letter that wildly erupted on paper (and YES, it is highly vulgar). 
(I am working on “vulnerability”, being open and authentic, true to myself, and, I also believe/feel that in sharing our stories, in the raw, we extend opportunities to inspire healing in another. We have the power to help someone, without having any knowledge of that fact, with our words.) 
I called him out, and announced his fate!!

Clearly, expending that kind of energy was an incredible procession through hell, and I desperately needed to have some type of closure to the process itself. I suggested, wheedled, and then successfully encouraged the others to join me in my request: I felt it would be extremely healing, and supportive of one another in case of overwhelming emotions, to burn our letters; to have a ceremony around the release of these gremlins.

We went outside, with a garbage can, and we each took a turn tossing our letters and pictures into the fire, uttering whatever words we needed in our own moment above the flames.

I felt so empowered in that moment. I felt lighter. I finally felt free.

Having identified “Insidious”, addressed him, and given him his walking papers, I still knew that these demons are relentless, and they really don’t like to be denied or ignored. I knew that I would have to remain vigilant in keeping "Insidious" away. I continued on with the daily grind of my recovery and healing, learning new tools, trying to continually be mindful and AWARE of my thoughts and behaviors, and tried to catch myself whenever I could sense his presence.

I really worked hard at being cognizant of, and catching my thoughts, AND busting "Insidious". I began to, have fun with it; proudly laughing at him, throwing him the finger over my shoulder and telling him: “Ha Ha Ha!! Nice try!! But, F@#% OFF!!” I enjoy it. I find it quite satisfying.

Recently though, in addition to simply having to deal with life on life’s terms, and “feel the feelings” (oh the joys!!), I just really began to feel off. Balance, self-trust, and self-care/self-soothing have all been a lot of work in trying to establish, and I’ve been practicing being kinder and gentler to myself. I really do have a very powerful propensity towards, an often twisted, sense of “perfection”, and I “have a tendency to be”, AM “extremely hard” on myself, but I really began to feel like I was being too gentle with myself. I found myself easily making excuses and avoiding little things; all of which begin/began to slowly pile up, with a little red flag sticking out the top.

I began to wonder, and paid a little more attention to what I was feeling vs. what I was doing, loudly questioning myself, my decisions and thoughts… I felt that Insidious had begun to move back in. Like a spider, he had spun his intricate, detailed, and well-planned web, again, and I, like a little bug, was becoming sticky, almost stuck.

“He’s trying to weaken me, keeping me home, feeling low, b/c “it’s ok to be gentle with myself right now”. He’s really done his homework, and he’s trying to use my new knowledge and skills against me. I say “Fu@% YOU!!” each time I catch him lurking, but he’s pretty sneaky these days. He’s messing with my motivations and sleep, he’s urging me into lazy and smoking a lot, he’s not wanting me to eat, and especially not healthily. He’s got me procrastinating, putting off, avoiding, making excuses, and rationalizing. Shit! He’s making a real go at trying to bring me down again! COMBAT! I beat him before, and I will AGAIN and AGAIN if I have to!! So, given what I know, I now need to make a plan! I need a safety, action plan to bury him!! I’m not playing with you INSIDIOUS!! I AM STRONGER AND SMARTER!!”

I wrote that last week, after the last, very powerful, Smart Recovery session.

The next day, at CAB, I had the opportunity to REALLY work with "Insidious". It turned out to be the most intense, eye-opening, WOW., experience that I have had so far in this journey of mine. (and it happened in a room full of mere strangers!! Talk about allowing myself to be vulnerable!!)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Vulnerability, Values, and "Insidious"

To say that it has been a long week, is, well, FEELS redundant.

There have definitely been some "themes" that have been arising around me, calling for my attention, and so I have been doing a ton of writing, pondering, thinking, questioning, digging, deleting, letting go, forgiving, surrendering; a lot of work happening during this personal renovation!!

Here's a snippet of some thoughts I had on Vulnerability:

"Tonight, as I wound down, I found myself coming back to “vulnerability”, and I felt compelled to watch Brene Brown’s TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability (which I absolutely LOVE, and I urge you to watch!!). I have now seen it several times, but with this increasing clarity and awareness I've got going on, I felt it resonate even deeper this time. I admire her wisdom, sense of compassion, and her strength. Her message is valuable, if not life-saving.

I am beginning to see how my lack of vulnerability has been the block in my moving forward, in anything, throughout my entire life. I have rarely, if ever, fully allowed myself to be vulnerable, in any relationship or situation. Fear of the ramifications to be found in "exposing" myself were felt too scary. Fear of the unknown. Fear of myself. Fear of others. Fear of judgment. Fear of failure; real or perceived. 

I didn't know how to be authentic, and really, that's probably because I myself have never known the "real me"."

The things I value in life is another area where I am learning, growing, and "getting it":

"Last night at Smart Recovery, we had our first closed group (smaller, more efficient and effective), and we are starting at the beginning! Point 1 – Building and Maintaining Motivation, which introduces the tool Hierarchy of Values (HOV). Many of us have made these kind of lists throughout our lives, and I'm sure some of you can appreciate how difficult they can sometimes be to do!! I have never enjoyed making them myself, and had a very hard time with it. In this past year, I've done SEVERAL different worksheets, and HOV's, and while they have gotten easier, it has typically still been a source of discomfort.

This time was different!

For the first time in my life, I joyfully realized, my list was EASY to compile, AND prioritize. On top of that, I proudly WANTED to identify MYSELF as something (of) I value. (The facilitators were also blown away, because in their experience thus far, I was the first person to think of including myself as a value while doing an HOV!) My perceptions and beliefs about myself have been growing substantially stronger in the face of different events recently, and I am truly beginning to allow myself to recognize and honor those things that are important to me, and in me. I am finally allowing myself to recognize how valuable, precious, and amazing I am!

This healing and recovery journey of mine, as I refer to it, has definitely been at the top of the list in recent months, but I had to re-examine where my "addiction’s” ranked on my list of values. It’s a struggle to accept that one as even belonging on my list of values, as I (anyone) don’t WANT to give any sense of significance or power to this negative monster in my life, and am working at moving past it. But, I/we have to realize and accept that, every time we CHOOSE our "addiction"(behavior, DOC, thinking, etc.), by default, we ARE choosing it, making it a top priority, over anything and everything else that is most important to us."

I had a lot of productivity, growth and progress, AH HA!! moments, curiosities and discoveries going on, and I enrolled to complete my Grade 12 English; which it turns out is now the only thing between me and my Adult Dogwood!! I also turned 40. (!!) So, yes, the week has been draining, in all the right ways. 

Underlying all of this good stuff though, I have felt a current of something dark flowing.

Which brings me to give you a brief introduction to my "Inner Demon", and the end of this post.


Back around February, I was working with my daughters counselor; she was DEFINITELY an amazing member of The Team. During one of our typical, empowering, and creative sessions, she prompted me to think about that mean and nasty inner voice, my inner demon; to identify it with detail, and give it a name. She opened the doors to shelves full of art supplies, and left me to create a representation. I immediately went to work, furiously forming various colors of clay, producing something dark, ugly and menacing. As we discussed this, thing, and I thought, described, and reviewed my negative thoughts and behaviors, the word “insidious” kept coming to me.

 And so became the name of the monster within; Insidious.

While in Day Program, one day we were given a stack of assorted coloring pages, from which we were instructed to choose one that represented our personal villain(s), demons, addictions; color it and name it. I had begun work on this guy already, Insidious, and so I knew exactly what I felt he looked like, and instantly found his picture.

(His appearance, paired with my description of him, and imitation of his voice and demeanor, seriously triggered some of my “group peeps”; he is insanely creepy, scary, and has a strangely strong sense of familiarity to others)

My apologies for the scary guy as an end, or start, to your day!!

Don't worry!! I have his number, his jig is up!!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Q-Tips, Expectations and Letting Go

This morning I came across, yet another of Jay Shetty’s inspiring video’s, -If You’ve Been Rejected
and it truly provoked an abundance of curiosity and thought surrounding the topic throughout the day. I thought about how it related to work (or job search), relationships, our negative behaviors or our “stinking thinking”, among many other areas… I thought about how we have a tendency, in the face of “rejection”, to cling desperately to the, wait for it…. EXPECTATION, the vision we created, the story that we made up and told ourselves. We are EXPECTING the job interview, or relationship, or whatever it is, to go our way, to fit into our “plan”, and when it doesn’t, we crumble.

We then allow our minds to become clouded, and we become paralyzed by a perceived sense of failure.

We forget that familiar adage about one door closing, and another opening. It also applies to that gate that just won’t budge, no matter how hard we push; it won’t open because it just isn’t our path. But, we take the rejection personally, like a slap in the face.

(Upon graduation from the Day Program, in our "safety/reminder kit", they added a Q-Tip as a visual reminder to QUIT TAKING IT PERSONALLY!!)

The rejection isn’t about us and it absolutely does not define us. If we can learn to let go, of the perceived internal and external EXPECTATIONS, it will genuinely free us.

Here are some more tidbits that presented themselves to me, and resonated with me today… Jay Shetty as he speaks, wisely, in his video, Learn to Let Go, and Jill Sherer Murray shares her story about the freedom and growth she found in letting go, in her TEDx Wilmington Women talk, The Unstoppable Power of Letting Go.

There were parts of today's daily meditation found in Melody Beattie's book The Language of Letting Go that also spoke to me:

October 3, 2018 Getting Through the Discomfort

“Surrender to the pain. Then learn to surrender to the good. It’s there and more is on the way.”from Beyond Codependency by Melody Beattie

“Our goal in recovery is to make ourselves feel comfortable, peaceful, content. Happy. We want to be at peace with ourselves and our environment. Sometimes, to do that, we need to be willing to face, feel, and get through discomfort.”

“When we do the kind of work we are facing in recovery, we are doing an emotional, mental, and spiritual surgery on ourselves. We’re removing parts of us that are infected and inflamed.
Sometimes the process hurts.”

I found this poem in A Sin Such as This by Ellen Hopkins quite powerful:

“Why Look for Meaning

In little things:
The murmur of a sparrow’s
Wings, questions
Asked of wind and seed
Lost in autumn grass;

The stubborn reach
Of surf, intent on whittling
Beach and arranging
Curls of seaweed
On driftwood statuary;

The copper scent
Of rain on prairies shoulders,
Bent by drought,
Slivers of creation, wet
In shallow reflection.

Why look for meaning
In little things
When monoliths stand
Square in your way
Area easier, by far,

To topple?”

And, lastly (because I found it empowering, and the book is just damn good, start to finish!!):

“Women must maneuver this world thoughtfully. Look pretty. Act sexy. Be a good mommy, a hell-raiser in bed. But don’t dare demand your place at the table. And should be offered a seat, expect less money and an uninvited hand up your skirt, and be grateful you were invited at all. It is heartening to see women step up, push forward, gather momentum, and earn the respect they so deserve. And we must honor those who paved the way-women like my mother who survived neglect, abuse, poverty, and war, and emerged kind, creative, and full of heart. Thank you, Mama, for gifting me with words, faith, and abundant love. I miss you every day.” 
Acknowledgements written by Ellen Hopkins in A Sin Such As This.
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