Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Grateful Bear

I am grateful.
I am grateful, and proud of myself, for the hard work I have been doing these past ten months on my Healing and Recovery Journey.

Tonight, I REACTED instead of responding.
I felt as though I had reached a breaking point.
I was mad; stemming from sad as they would say.
Rejected by an original player in the games that have spun ‘round and ‘round inside of me.
Looked down upon, scornfully.
Provoked and belittled; poking the bear…
Poking the MAMA BEAR as the attack now threatens my daughter’s sense of self-worth and belonging.

I am now able to acknowledge that those harsh words and voices hurling towards me are part of the past.
I can recognize the depth of the turmoil that still has this individual drowning in pain as they continue to spew the very same hurtful words from childhood that created these storms to begin with.

These days, it’s much easier to accept these things for what they truly are/were.

It is easier to stand up for myself, to realize when I need to put up a boundary, or even a wall.

I know that I deserve so much more than I have allowed myself to believe I was worthy of, and that recognition has me far less tolerant of half-ass people in my life, and especially in my daughter’s life.
It pisses me off as I realize that the lack of effort shown by people that claim to care about us is the clear indicator of where we truly fit into their lives.

I am done chasing people.

It doesn’t matter who they are, or who they were.

If I, or my girl, am not “good enough” to be shown respect and kindness, then the door will close.

I am finished tolerating conditional, difficult, one-sided, phony relationships of any kind.

I may have “reacted” tonight, but more importantly, I stood up against selfish disregard.

I also responded.

I responded by assertively expressing my refusal to be treated disrespectfully.

I appreciate my growth, and am so glad that I am finally believing in myself, and beginning to command the respect that I am worthy of.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Anxiety, Gratitude, The Keeblers and Yahtzee

When I finally took the first, trembling steps towards my Healing and Recovery journey, trapped in the throes of agonizing anxiety among other things, "the team" gently began to teach me a little about breathing, gratitude, and grounding techniques. 

A potential problem of its own, (possible process addiction!!) Yahtzee is what I turned to. Phone in hand, chanting “Breathing in…. Breathing out…” inside my mind as I breathed deeply and slowly. I began using Yahtzee to calm me, center me, and ground me in the moment.                                                                                        
After some time, I began using the game as a practice arena for expressing gratitude. Every time I mentally crossed my fingers as the dice “rolled”, and my number came up, I would say thank you. 

And then I became sassy. LOL I UTILIZED my sassiness.

One day, I realized, with a chuckle, that I had created a vision in my mind of these little dudes, in a tiny room, looking at screens, buttons, flashing lights, and cheekily chatting away as they collaborated to run the Yahtzee game smoothly. I imagined them, watching as I reached a tough play, and chitter chattering as they tried to decide how to play next; considering who each player was, and who to reward.

 This little scenario has helped me to personalize the gratitude that I am extending. I picture these adorable, old, elf-like guys, whom I have recently nicknamed “The Keeblers” in detail. I talk to them, “C’mon… pleeeeease!!”, “Ya know ya wannnnaaa..!!”, “Pretty pleeease!!”, “C’mon Keeblers!” which is typically followed either by an “Oh. Ok. That’s ok. Thanks anyways. Maybe next time.”, and  “Eeeee!! Thank you! Thank you! I am so GRATEFUL for your help!!”. Then, I always receive a burst of “feel good” chemicals in my brain as I let out a giggle at the sheer nonsense I have just played through my mind.

Breathing-check. Gratitude-check and check. Grounding-yup. Humor-Check Check. Release of dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin, flowing through my body, aiding in my healing… Totally. Silly? Absolutely.

However wacky, THIS has been, and continues to be, working for me. Don’t knock it til ya try it!! LOL

 On this pathway of Healing and Recovery, there are so many different things, tips and tricks, that can help speed up the process, and make it a little less painful. Humor and laughter are truly healing and transformative, and I have realized they are the perfect prescription for me.

Sometimes we have to just let go, crawl out of our comfort zones and TRY something new and ridiculous to find that one little thing that helps us along. 

Truly, it begins with tiny, little baby steps...                                                                                             

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Release the Toxins!

Years ago, my boss sent me a few doors down in the posh, high end "Village" where we were located to enjoy a full body massage. I remember being so excited, never having experienced a professional massage, and initially, a bit intimidated and a little out of place, but once I relaxed and gave in to the moment, it was pretty fantastic! It was very intense, in totally good way, though I did have to instantly have her stop working on an area in my feet, which is linked with my back and initiated some serious discomfort, but aside from that, it was wonderfully peaceful and relaxing.

Until I left.

I was dizzy, totally nauseated, and just felt completely awful. It was explained to me that this was likely due to the toxins that were released into my body during the massage, and my boss promptly sent me home to rest for the remainder of the afternoon. Needless to say, I’ve never gone for another professional massage!

 It occurred to me today that all of this deep work that I am doing inside of myself is quite similar to that massage.

I’m working muscles I’ve not used before, or not recently, putting strain on them, and then attempting to make repairs and heal those muscles. I’m digging into thoughts and feelings that have been buried far below the surface for a very long time. I’m exposing them, bringing light and truth to them, so that I can find release and healing. (Sounds a lot like the physical aspects of that massage!)

My mind is foggy and I am feeling terrible physically. It’s just like how I felt when I walked out into the sunshine after that massage years ago. I feel drained, sick, physically ill, and just YUCK.

I see similarities in the then and now, which has given me the impression, a vision of sorts, that my process of healing and that massage really are quite alike.

 All this trauma drama that I am sifting through is literally toxic shit that has been stored inside of me for a VERY long time. As I have gently massaged, poked around, unearthed… stuff and thangs… I have opened up several “cans of worms”, emotionally, in the process; I’ve begun releasing the toxic shit. I think right now, what I am feeling, like the aftermath of that massage, is the toxins swimming around inside of me.

This is a good thing. It tells me that the process is fully in motion, and that I am actually healing mentally and physically.

I’m working on the sore spots, bringing some comfort, and easing the pain. This is causing things to relax in there, which is allowing me to begin letting go of the toxic shit. Now I’m currently in that next phase, the “feel the feelings”, walking through the feelings to get to the other side, stage. As expected, it feels really shitty here, like reeaaallly gross, but I know, I am closer than I have ever been in my life to truly accepting and letting go of all the chaos and pain that I have been carrying.

I recognize that this is the time for even more gentle self-care and patience with myself as I walk through this leg of my journey. I have a lot of absorbing and accepting to do inside, and it’s time to comfort, forgive and be truly honest with myself.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Catch and Release

I sit back with new clarity, and I can see the circumstances I have been faced with lately for what they are: more practice and testing of my skills and tools.

The same situations, people, feelings and/or behaviors continue to pop up because I haven’t learned my lessons yet, or still!! Despite the progress I have been making with loading up that cardboard box (from my containment exercise), they keep creeping out, “Hello!! Have you forgotten about me? I am still heeeere!! Pay attention to me!!"

As I type this, I realize that this, right here, is another example of my growth, my healing and recovery!
(And I am PROUD!!)

Awareness. The growing ability to “contain” them when necessary. The expanding proficiency that enables me to look them in the eyes and say “What’s up? What do you WANT? NOPE. I don’t think so! That is not true. It’s no longer allowed. SEE YA!! GET BACK IN THE BOX!!” The increasing prowess that allows me to see them clearly, walk through my feelings, reaching the other side, exhausted and weak, but of course, stronger for it.

Acceptance and letting go. That is a massive struggle. It has been the struggle as far back as I dig; I never seemed to learn to accept and let go of ANYTHING. Only the continual “What if?”, “If only…”, “It’s because they did…”, and “It’s because I did…”. I sit here carrying the tremendous weight of so many unnecessary things that weren’t even mine to carry, and I have done so for years. Things that have no relevance now, in my adult life. These things, people, behaviors were a part of who I was THEN. It doesn’t matter what that looked like, or how difficult as it might be to ACCEPT now, I must. I was who I was then. With or without the healthy skills, tools, self-awareness, acceptance, respect, and/or love, it just WAS. I can’t go back and fix or change any of it.  And that is OK.

I thought that I had already begun to heal those parts of myself. I now realize that I truly had not gotten close. I must deeply accept and own, that that person WAS me, that was my life, THEN. I have reminded myself, repeatedly, reciting Maya Angelou’s quote, “When you know better, you do better.”, and while I truly believe it to be true, my actions and self-talk have not matched up.

I haven’t fully accepted that young girl as she was then. I haven’t faced her, truly forgiven her, or completely disclosed to her any of the actual facts about anything; which would absolutely relieve her from the crushing burden of guilt and shame that she has carried. I haven’t genuinely allowed her to process, heal and move on.

It’s kind of like fishing. You’re sitting out in the boat on a calm and beautiful day, when suddenly you feel the familiar tug on your line. Without a clear vision of what is really on that hook, you begin to reel it, bringing it in for a closer look. You assume it’s going be a big one, what with the effort required as you struggle to bring it to the boat. There it is in the net. With gratitude and admiration, you inspect it, take stock, and maybe you realize that it’s not quite the fish you were hoping for, or perhaps you intended to set it free to begin with, so you then release it.

No tears. No anger. No bargaining. No guilt or shame. You just let it go.

My goal now, is doing the work to heal the Complicated Grief I have in relation to the oh so many events/situations, people, and of course, deaths that have been smothering me. I can begin to muddle through each stage in order to reach acceptance of all these things, where I will then finally let it all go.
I will finally find freedom. I will finally find peace.

The amazing and wonderful part is, I don’t have to look very hard anymore. I can see them. I can feel the cool, airy, weightlessness of liberation and serenity begin to swirl around me, tickling the hairs on my arms, and inciting a ripple of excitement, and relief.

I am doing it. I am well on my way.

It’s not a destination I seek however; the path will not end there. It is merely the doorway. The gateway to my authentic self, where my journey of discovery and growth will continue onto a bright, fresh and uplifting new chapter of opportunities.

My story is far from over.

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