Understanding

I do not get to write many blogs these days.  Between my education, my children’s, the house, and life, there are not many extra minutes.  I extend my education beyond academics by watching YouTube videos to pull in additional information while exercising.  On occasion, I have time to read a book while healthily balancing science and spirituality.  I just heard the astrophysicist Brian Greene say something along the lines of, “understanding provides the latitude for experience of it.” This understanding of all things has been vital for me in my life.  Understanding how my behaviors were created and having the tools to shift those has created beautiful experiences in my life.

Although many people disagree with my lifestyle, I have created everything I have always dreamed of.  I have the most amazing children, a supportive and unconditionally loving husband, a home of which we made beautiful through hard work.  I have even made a couple of quality friends along the way.  Yes, life is good, from my perspective.  Through understanding, I have been finally able to create the experiences I desire. 

It took some research, time, and understanding, but I finally discovered I was attempting to have relationships with individuals who were not emotionally available.  When the relationship did not work, I would internalize there was something wrong with me.  As a matter of fact, I continuously allowed others to shame me for my behaviors.  However, this last year, I have discovered exactly who I am and have found what boundaries are and where they need to be in my life. People-pleasing learned during survival periods when I was young did not allow for boundaries. Fuck, I did not know what a boundary was! Finally, I have discovered what boundaries are and where they belong, and wow, what an improved difference application of healthy boundaries has brought into my life experience. 

Accountability and responsibility are so essential to me.  When individuals take responsibility, they lessen the projection of their issues onto others.  I began by taking responsibility and recognizing the part I played.  So much healing has been achieved through this approach.  No longer bypassing one thread of experience has positively reshaped my reality. After a lifetime of suffering, I have healthily found peace.  No longer bypassing the issues but going in-depth, understanding, and taking action to make a change. 

My personality is different; my perspective is almost always different than those around me.  For most of my life, I internalized I needed to change who I was to fit in, again, that something is wrong with me. By understanding shame and how it was wielded, how I internalized it, I finally shifted how I related to shame.  I have finally experienced standing in the power and energy of who I am without shame.  Not the shame projected onto me by others or the shame I took on through experience. Everything has shifted, and I am experiencing something new. I love it! Finally, I have discovered myself! And I no longer apologize for who that is.

            I continue to shift in many ways. With my approach to life, it has been an enjoyable ride.  The balance I needed between the spirit and body continues to unfold.  The black and white thinking has dissipated, and now I can view things as “this and that,” rather than “this or that.”  Ken Wilber’s integral theory describes a development where we transcend and include.  Previously, I would reject old ideas as I moved on to new ideas, but now I understand the necessity for the scaffolding of information.  It all has its place. I am not sure what created the black and white thinking; it appears to be tied to trauma. Through hard work, I continue to rewire my brain, which has changed my perception, resulting in new experiences. 

            So, yes, Brian Greene, including quantum physics, understanding how things work does change our experience.  It has been vital to my life; I have discovered much about myself through exploring and understanding.  I have been able to reshape my reality to create experiences I prefer.  I know who I am and have boundaries protecting and honoring my energy.  The deep dives into exploration on many scientific and spiritual topics over the last fifteen years have influenced my behaviors and my choices in navigating this life experience.  Armed with this knowledge, I create and experience the life I desire.

Beyond dual

If you want to read the thoughts of someone who will sugar coat or pad your worldview, I am NOT your girl.  However, if you desire to openly and honestly explore ideologies and behaviors without judgment, you are in the right place.  I must have been a sociologist in a past life!  My natural stance is to ask questions and explore the programs associated with this reality we have collectively created, raised in a western culture that is the only perspective I can safely share.  While I am educated on many other cultures, I may never observe without my native cultural lens. I do, however, see the links between beliefs and behaviors from a multicultural perspective. I am a product of my experiences. By observing those experiences and beliefs, I have explored my reality and the collective reality in greater depth.

We are never stuck; we can choose to take a more in-depth look and actively shift.  As a collective, we are continually changing.  When we are open with awareness, it can be a very fluid process.  The essential factor I recognize is moving beyond dual thinking, the binary systems of belief. This cognitive process and way of thinking are very limiting.  I realized it in myself a few years ago.  I am not sure if it was the trauma that caused my brain to be wired like this or if it is a result of cultural programming. It is probably both, no more this or that, but I move towards this AND that thinking.

Last summer, I started a discussion group sharing and respecting each of our diverse perspectives. My goal was to learn to hold my own space without the energetic push and pull we experience through confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. One of the things that I recognized was this behavior of rejecting ideas that are not supportive of our current thinking. Could I embrace new ideologies without rejecting the old?  The tendency was black and white thinking, but everything is very multifaceted and multidimensional. I have set out to determine if the current black and white thought can be transcended, and so far, it is a big YES!

Everything in our reality is showing us the necessity to move beyond duality.  We see it in more people embracing their spectrum of sexuality and gender and breaking away from the socially constructed binary system.  Moving beyond race to understand that race is not even real, it is a social construct that we enforce with our agreement. We see a two-party system’s dysfunction, observing how our relationship to this binary system can keep progress and assistance from emerging. We see the toxic secondary emotions of shame, blame, and guilt associated with the identities taken on by the socially constructed systems of belief, keeping us locked into behaviors that do not serve us. There are too many expressions to name here, but here are just a few we have become aware of that allow us to begin to shift our beliefs from dual thinking. The bottom line is we are a spectrum of experience. AND we have neuroplasticity! Just because this is the way we have always thought does NOT mean this is the way we always will. 

Just by opening to new ideas outside of our current beliefs, like the discussion group I started last year to exercise our brains!  The discussion group has shown me so much as I observe myself and others.  I am forever grateful to those who show up fearlessly with a willingness to explore in radical honesty and authenticity, attempting to move beyond the projections.  We have had participants come and go, unable to hold the space without confirmation bias.  The ability to understand perception has been a great gift for me.  I do not make their choices personal; I know why they see things the way they do because I once saw things the very same way. 

I have worked with many alternative healing modalities over the last fifteen years.  From EFT, Theta Healing, to hypnosis and regression, you name it; I probably tasted it! But what I finally discovered was that if I was not taking the time to go within and smile, love myself, and process and understand my emotions in real-time, I would not acquire the desired results. This practice is akin to diet and exercise if you want to have a healthier life experience. Once I moved beyond this or that and incorporated this and that, everything changed!

I am not here to say you are wrong, and I am right!  I am saying that our behaviors and cognitive processes need to change to be inclusive instead of rejecting new information. It is time to exercise our brains.  Yes, alternative practices give us the go-ahead to explore outside of the boxes mainstream had trained us to maintain.  But careful NOT to create another box!

So much of what we do is based on belonging and a sense of safety.  Sometimes to do this, we create us versus them structures, an ethnocentric mentality.  Or we may even still be submersed in an egocentric way of thinking.  The ability to pull back the layers and self-assess is essential, recognizing that we may have blind spots, which is okay.  The awareness and willingness to explore those is the key.  There should be no shame in observing our behaviors and beliefs; while we cannot change the past, we can change today by finally learning from it.  I am still working through this myself and have tremendously more desired changes in my life. I continue to rewire my brain through practice and belief, just as it was originally wired. 

I am not sure if this is evolution; it sure feels like it to me.  By opening my mind to transcend and include old information, I no longer view things as black and white and grow.  As I change, so too do my experiences.  I will not focus on toxic positivity or bypass any emotion, feeling, or experience any longer.  It takes great strength to challenge your thinking processes.  It is just too easy to look for a practice that creates more of the dual perspectives. The practices that develop more boxes.  It is far time we start to learn to live as the multidimensional humans we are by evolving our minds beyond the dual.

Social construction

Several years ago, I began to recognize and explore what I then called programs but now have learned are called the social constructions of reality.  Everything we believe and how we interact is based on this social construction.  It is only a reality because we believe it, and we agree to it.  There really is no race, gender, or the myriad of other identities we have come to accept as our own or that of the others.  Every piece is a social construct that we have agreed to.  I mention this because one of those social constructs is at the forefront for me recently.  That is the ideology surrounding negative and positive and how things are supposed to be—this idea surrounding positive and negative emotions and our perception of them.

Western society has created several acceptable versions of many things.  We hold up what is deemed a healthy thirty-year-old as what we should look like, no blemishes, perfect body, healthy minds, and most importantly, successful; all believed as positive and socially acceptable norms.  Most of us are striving and longing for this moment we measure up.  And for me, I see the behaviors and beliefs extracted from this social construct is what makes me believe I am not quite good enough.  I understand where these behaviors and beliefs formed and wish to make changes to create new experiences.  I want to stand firm in my energy, knowing I am okay, even desirable as a friend, spouse, and professional.

It is so interesting how our perceptions are created—the journey to opening to look at our bias allowing us to become aware of them.  The last week I opened and allowed myself to be vulnerable by sharing a small part of the trauma I had experienced.  We all have this relationship to our experiences that have shaped us.  The environment we grew up in and those relationships impact our behaviors and current relationships.  These behaviors were formed there during that time, in those places, and it is our responsibility to reshape those behaviors if we desire a new experience.

Interestingly, I had several reactions to my vulnerability—the reactions of others a testament to their own experiences, which have shaped their perception.  I faced my anger and rage with courage regardless of the reactions of others.  And I continue to go against the norms to raise some awareness and deeper questions. There is a deep shame I continue to work through, a shame that I am not the perfect unblemished, both physically and emotionally, superwoman society says I am supposed to be. 

I stimulated toxic shame, blame, and guilt in others with my sharing.  I am looking further at why this is such a typical learned response.  Most people do not want to venture here; it doesn’t feel good.  And in this social construct, we do not desire to experience things that do not feel good.  Many of us a so focused on avoiding anything that makes us uncomfortable we have created lives built in lies and lack of authenticity.  I say THIS is the problem.  Instead of looking at what we can do to make things better, why don’t we look more in-depth at why these things are happening at all.  It takes a great deal of courage to face these behaviors, taking a more in-depth approach at the social constructs, and understand our perceptions.  

It only begins with us, each of us, with a willingness to step away from the toxic blame, shame, and guilt that have kept us, prisoner.  Feeling good might eventually be on the other side of the discomfort this process initially brings.  Change is sometimes uncomfortable at first but brings a new experience. It is taking responsibility for our part in this socially constructed reality.

Exploring

I find trauma so interesting, the behaviors it creates.  People have learned many responses to trauma; some shove it down, others attempt to erase the memories and some disconnect.  Realizing it or not, trauma impacts our everyday lives and touches most behaviors.  It can show up in so many ways.  It isn’t just the behaviors most discussed like addiction, violence, or weight that might be trauma symptoms.  It is expressed in everyday decisions and actions, some with negative consequences and some without.

Since beginning to openly discuss some of my trauma as part of a cathartic release, Mr. Freud, the jury is still out on that one. It brought up more responsive behaviors.  First, I felt like I should be ashamed of my trauma.  Somehow discussing my trauma is a negative thing I should not be doing.  As I expressed myself, I realized this view of myself as damaged and not good enough.  By allowing others to see my trauma, my feelings are that they will view me in a negative light.  Instead of having compassion and respect for the strength that it takes to openly share such deep parts of the self I had disconnected from, I felt more toxic shame.  Like I need to hide these parts of myself and pretend the experiences never happened.  Just keep swimming, is what I say. 

This response is two-part, one is what trauma taught me in my experience and how I internalized what that must mean about me, and the other is how society reacts. My writing is an attempt for me to release some very deep and intense anger.  My anger is multilayered, and I observe the struggle created within my daily life. The lack of accountability for others’ actions and within that is the reversal of toxic shame onto me. I am tired of how trauma is processed and perceived by society in general, especially for women.  I can think of many examples of women whose lives were destroyed, yet for the men who took advantage of them, they never experienced their actions’ ill effects.   Society does not seem equipped to deal with trauma.  There are these automatic responses we view as expected and that no longer sits well with me. 

After writing yesterday’s blog, I did get to discuss a few things with my sister.  Honestly, I did not realize she read my blog or that anyone really reads it, for that matter.  I rarely receive feedback, which is probably a good thing because I am so insecure, always trying to measure up. Mind you; we haven’t spoken in a few years, interesting that the blog triggered a response.  But after talking, we came to an agreement.  My sister wants to repress and erase all memories of her childhood.  This response is how she has chosen to deal with it, and I respect that.  However, for me, I want to understand why I have particular behaviors.  I asked her, don’t you wonder why we have such a problematic relationship? How was this created? Or why you have this specific behavior and belief that is impacting your relationships?  I desire to understand myself and make the changes to my actions to create the life I desire, which is one of compassion and deep connection.  To do that, I have to reframe how I look at trauma and revisit what I once detached and erased from my mind. 

Erasing these things or removing these experiences from our minds, often accompanied by stating I cannot change the past, does nothing for my current situation.  With this approach, we stay in our current relationship dynamics and struggle with the same issues over and over in a repetitive cycle.  Only by courageously looking at and reframing our experiences can one bring awareness and a depth of understanding, creating a space for possible change.  For so many years, I was numb, numb from disassociating as my primary coping mechanism. And I found ways to bolster that disassociation and escape.  After years of being fully present and allowing myself the space to feel, I feel everything and very intensely.  I am learning to work through these emotions and to understand each one without judgment.  I step back and observe how connected experiences are to my behaviors and relationships.  I choose something new, no longer accepting a particular experience as a necessity. I’m reminded of the saying “it is what it is,” IS IT?

My feelings of being overwhelmed are beginning to dissipate as I pull the layers back and take a deeper dive with radical authenticity and honesty.  I am learning to observe with compassion, looking at each piece and part of me with new eyes. I deserve to be at peace; I deserve connection and to experience fulfillment.  And while I have created those things in my life with my husband and immediate family, I feel there is so much more.  I am in gratitude for all I have and recognize I have only accumulated this through my willingness to take a more in-depth look at myself and my beliefs. Even with all this active awareness, I still struggle with confidence and self-esteem issues.  These issues can only shift when I understand where they stem from and how to shift them.  Because while awareness is the key, it is not quite enough to bring change. 

I am still deciding what and who I want to be when I grow up.  It is time to build my legacy.  In part, I want to look at the social constructs that keep society locked into particular ways of thinking and behaving.  Through my work here, I get to explore, and I certainly am an explorer.

It is that bad

I was reading a novel the other day.  A pair of sisters were walking, and a van came up behind and grabbed one of them to be abducted.  The other sister who did not get captured jumped into the van because she did not want her sister to suffer alone.  I thought to myself, jeez, my sister would have shoved me into the van and then told them how awful I was to ensure my suffering. I have never had people I could trust who supported me and provided safety until I met my husband. Every time I felt safe, I was quickly shown why I was not. Attachment is clearly one of the issues I continue to work through.

I have not had the luxury of feeling a mother’s unconditional love or the support of a sister or best friend.  Every relationship was based on conditions and lack of communication.  My sister slept with one of my boyfriends. She and my mother got some joy out of hurting me.  For some reason, I was a threat to them, and they needed to solidify their place in the world through these actions. Time and time again, my mother would enter my life with false promises, and I would excuse her actions with open forgiveness only to be hurt all over again.  Some of the most traumatic pain was inflicted by the woman I was supposed to provide safety from but instead created pain.

I remained in these types of relationships for most of my life. Perhaps this was because I could always see the light in others.  Yes, even when I knew my betrayed me, I looked at her and understood why she made the choices she did.  I could never hurt someone like that, especially my sister, and for some reason, I never blamed her. Time after time of being hurt by these two women, I continued to believe the next time would be different.  If I continued to love them unconditionally, perhaps, they would wake up and do the same.

That time NEVER came.  Instead, in a repetitious cycle of abuse, I was pained over and over by their actions.  When I did not give them what they wanted, they would lash out with some action which showed me how alone I was. And my other relationships were no different; they were plagued with betrayal, abandonment, and rejection.  Eventually, I ended the cycle by ending these relationships.  Even with all the pain, my desire for a genuinely authentic and compassionate connection remains, and I believe it IS possible. 

The last week I have been taking another look at my experiences and releasing some energy that may have been hidden in the layers of weight that I continue to shed.  The social constructs surrounding trauma and pain might need a more in-depth look.  I recognize how I have used toxic positivity and bypassing all these years under the label of healing. The spiritual communities provided the perfect haven to escape from the pain temporarily until one recognizes the same behaviors with these individuals. It is no coincidence most of the people attracted to these spaces are all traumatized to a degree, and the relationships within demonstrate this fact.

In this realization, I am allowing my wounds to resurface without shame as I work through them from a new perspective.  I had learned to be ashamed of my wounds through these communities.  No longer lost in the cults and echo chambers, I see things in a different light.  There remains this push for us to heal or to move beyond our wounds. My actions are different from ten years ago. But I ask, why push those around us to heal to this acceptable and specified degree?  I have recovered to a degree where these experiences do not create unhealthy behaviors; isn’t that enough? I am not healed enough because I am speaking up about trauma? Perhaps it is time we look more in-depth at these wounds, not run from them.  There is a belief within society that we must push through and beyond, “it’s not that bad, or it could be worse, be grateful for what you have.” The best is “the gift of our experiences!” But maybe it these perspectives that keep the trauma from ending by making it okay. No one is responsible for their place in the cycle. There is no accountability, just more bypassing, which creates more trauma. 

Maybe it is time to say it isn’t okay, that it IS THAT BAD, so sorry for your suffering. We have created a whole society that uses distraction and escape to cope.  Most of us are uncomfortable around pain and suffering because we have not dealt with our own.  We fear it, and thus we must escape it with toxic positivity or projection. It might be time for a complete overhaul of the social constructs and programs that keep us avoiding the real issues. We are a society that bypasses feeling and emotion. Most individuals are not aware of their emotions and feelings.  This lack of awareness is what causes more behaviors that compromise our desired happiness.

I understand why my sister made the choices she did.  She was ensuring her safety and approval from my mother.  She pushed me into the van more than a few times. I forgive her for that. But it has taken me a long time to discover my boundaries, not allowing myself to pushed any longer. I finally found a template for boundaries I have never had before.  Within the past year, I have discovered more of who I am.  With this knowledge has come my boundaries.  While yes, I can see the light in everyone, I will no longer make excuses for them.  By holding people accountable, I end the bypasser’s game.  

Perhaps my choices will reflect into the collective, and we will begin to look deeper, pulling the layers back of the status quo.  Maybe society will begin to look at and explore its shadows without the secondary emotions of toxic shame and guilt.  I am practicing a new approach to healing, one filled with self-love and compassion, by stepping up and saying, YES, IT IS THAT BAD.

Changing the lens

In my last blog, I shared a few significant trauma experiences that I felt shaped me.  But the reality is my life was a constant traumatic situation until my thirties where it slowly shifted into more positive, healthy experiences. Everywhere I turned during my youth was surrounded with environments ripe with disfunction, which would breed more traumatic experiences.  I think the worse part was that I never told anyone.  I didn’t have anyone to tell.  My mother was mostly dysfunctional and continues to be to this day. To find peace, I made the conscious choice to end my relationship with her years ago.  And EVERY other person was abusing me on some level.

Just a simple sleepover at the girl’s house, the apartment across the way, with whom I spent most time from five to twelve, resulted in her sister sexually assaulting us nightly.  From the child’s perspective, it was great, no adults.  From the adult perspective, wow, it was terrible, no adults.  Even the adults were so sick with the untreated trauma they could not be relied upon to protect or support the most innocent of us all.  The trauma cycle is real, and it’s time to end the stigma; we must begin talking about and making changes.

As an adult, I had constantly been looking for an escape.  And my behavior before the last ten years represented that. I was looking for a job, relationship, situation, and environment that would allow for my escape.  I desired to live a healthy and happy life far away from my trauma. And many times, my choice was close to suicide, the ultimate escape. But over time, I discovered there is no escape, and that might be the ultimate purpose. There is no pretending it isn’t there or a part of you with the spiritual bypass. Choosing to protect yourself with escape as a workaholic or alcoholic by finding the right person or situation, none are the answer.  The answer comes when we face our experience as a piece of who we are, and it is okay to be angry. It comes when we feel safe enough to share our story like I am. 

I do not have many happy memories; only within the last few years have I been able to show up and experience life through a new lens.  My trauma has touched every relationship I have had.  And thankfully, I have a couple of people who extend to me the grace to feel and express myself without rejecting me like most of the relationships throughout my life. 

The trauma had me so raw that it has created a highly sensitive person, and I have learned to be okay with that.  While I am improving in these areas and gaining self-confidence, any interaction where there is resistance is like touching a third-degree burn repeatedly.  Over the last two years, I have allowed myself the compassion to observe and heal.  I reject the idea that I am a wounded individual and so am toxic, to stay away.  Finally, I understand that has less to do with me and more to do with someone else. My vibration is not low, and we all have shadows.  I am honest and authentic in every moment because I have had a lifetime of bypassing, stuffing down, and disassociating.  Through my healing, I have made the promise never to be quiet ever again. None of us should be silent any longer.  We cannot make the necessary changes unless we look deep into the issues and uncover what has been hidden. We are the ones who hid it in our fear.  Humans are resilient as hell when we apply ourselves. 

Looking at and understanding our emotions is something that has been at the forefront for years.  Over the last ten years, I have played with many healing modalities. They provided a permission slip to look deeper by bringing awareness to the underlying issues. But at the end of the day, honesty and authenticity with the self were the keys.  Understanding my emotions and learning to process them in a healthy way healed me in ways that eliminated the need for other healing modalities.  My relationship with the self was the master template that would reflect into all other relationships.  By openly exploring who I am, I healed my environment and my physical body.

If you’re reading this, thank you for providing the space for a cathartic experience.  We could all use that support from time to time, and it is perfectly okay. Let’s embrace our experiences and sift through them, understanding the layers of emotion they have created. We are taking a deeper look at what we have all learned to bypass; how we feel.  My goal is to change the stigma surrounding emotions and understand them for the messengers that they are.  By recognizing that all emotions are a part of us, and each should be respected, not only those that feel good.

Today I will enjoy the beautiful friends and family surrounding me, celebrating my willingness to find this place through my courage to do what made others uncomfortable. 

Today was my best friend Tod’s birthday. He died more than twenty years ago. I regret many things regarding our relationship. This feeling is grief, and it is okay.

Losing weight

Last summer I had decided I wanted to live more.  That quote, “die with memories, not dreams,” began to replay in my mind.  So, in June of 2020, my husband and I went skydiving for the first time. That first jump brought an awareness of my relationship with control and would open the door, bringing an understanding of the many layers and beliefs that create my behaviors.  My bucket list is long, and many of the items require me to be physically fit with endurance and a general sense of wellness. On January 1st, I began a journey to return my body to a healthy state. 

It is so interesting how we set out to accomplish a goal, and it shows us so much more about ourselves.  Twenty pounds since January, many layers of belief surrounding my sense of self have been exposed. One of my personality traits is to decide I want to do something and not waver until I do.  I have a discipline I did not realize I had.  When I reflect on my life, I can see where I have settled, this behavior was certainly learned through trauma, and then I have enough and make a change.

When I observe this behavior going back, I recognize it began from the time I could interact with the world.  Those first eight years of life would form the behaviors and beliefs that created atmospheres of bare survival.  The most traumatic was at five years old, although it began before then, where I learned to sexually satisfy a thirty-year-old man as a means of survival. For several years, this situation continued until I had enough and could no longer endure one day.  I was eight and had learned that sex was a tool for survival.

AS my pounds fall away, so too does my shame. I only have a few classes left until I complete my BA in Psychology and begin the journey through graduate school.  Some memories have surfaced, one, in particular, that seems to have triggered a series of remembering where I had learned to disassociate and compartmentalize. About a month ago, I recalled asking my mother for the $50 for my original application to Youngstown State University when I seventeen, living in my second apartment with my first child.  At that point, my parents still claimed me on their taxes yet did very little to support me.  My mother responded that she would not waste her $50 on me because I would never graduate from college and would always just be a whore. Well, bitch, look at me NOW I say in my most gangsta voice!

Granted, I am 45 years old, and it has taken more than ten years to begin to pull the layers of my trauma back enough to start the depth of healing that I require.  I could never have done this had it not been for my husband Ian and his unconditional support and love over these years. Ian has compassion and a lack of judgment I have never found in another human being, and I am forever grateful for the atmosphere he provides that allows for my return to self-love.

I wish I could say the trauma I experienced ended when I decided I was no longer going to be an eight-year-old concubine. This situation was just the first experience setting the scene of a cycle that would repeat throughout my life until 2011. In 2011 I set out to understand my behavior and heal. It has been a long road of recovery, recovery of the self I never had the chance to know.  The self who was always made to feel ashamed of who and what she was. 

This memory of my mother’s response to me has me looking deeper at shame and its relationship to the layers I am shedding.  For the first time in this blog, I am addressing the aftermath of the results of that early sexual abuse. It made me hyper-sexualized, and even though I had not participated in consensual sexual activity, I was constantly called a slut in school. Until I was thirteen years old, again I got tired of it and decided I would have sex with someone of my choosing; later, I would recognize this as an act of control in a life that was so out of control.  There was nothing romantic or beautiful about it; I simply wanted to overcome on my own terms something that plagued my life.  I was a master at disassociation and continue to work through being present.

While that act was empowering, it did nothing for my self-image, and I began to circle the drain with behaviors that would create environments that brought me closer to abuse. On one evening, still thirteen years old, I was at a woman’s home for who I used to babysit, it was dark, and I needed to walk to another part of the apartment complex.  We lived in the projects; my father was a raging alcoholic, and my mother was already plagued with abandonment and abuse issues. Trauma really does repeat generationally if we do not treat it. This woman, “friend,” as long as she benefitted, her husband offered to be the knight who would walk me safely there.  Only on the way, he physically assaulted and raped me. I kept this to myself, and when I showed up at my destination wore the smile everyone wanted to see.  Over the years, this woman was on again off again with her husband; all I could say in support was that he wasn’t a good person.  We see here where time and time again, I learned to disassociate. I already knew what happens if I confided in someone.  I would be the problem.  I had this proven to me time and time again when I shared my perspective or experience, how those with greater power would belittle me and continue to push me into my place.  A girl who lived in poverty with an adoptive black father and a terribly wounded and codependent mother.  Who the fuck did “I” think I was? I should be ashamed of myself.  

And this shame I carry, which has been projected onto me through social constructs, continues.  Until now, as I lose this weight.  Not just the body weight, but the weight of what I have been holding inside for as long as I can remember.  I learned sex was a job, and it was a job I needed to perform to survive—just one of the social constructs created around being a woman. With men or women, sex was a way to get what I needed in life. It never felt good; something happened to my cells that I could no longer feel—each piece of me a master at stuffing, shutting, and disconnecting any FEELINGS. 

After that rape experience, I would go on to “date,” which was just having sex with a man, yes not another teenager but a twenty-one-year-old man with whom my mother completely supported, and I would become a teen parent.  He used me for sex and set the stage for a lifetime of the emotional abuse I would accept from men and women.  He used me as his little toy for more than five-plus years, and the men that followed were no better.  In each relationship, I believed that there must be something wrong with me; why couldn’t anyone LOVE ME.

The relationships were all physically and emotionally abusive until I finally met my current husband in 2007. And because of my shame, I almost sabotaged this relationship. I had met nice men in the past and pushed them away; this time was no different.  But he stayed, he supported and loved me, unconditional real love, and wow, I didn’t even know how to identify it. When I was in my late twenties, I found out my adoptive father watched us girls shower.  I shared it with my sister, hoping to find some sort of healing from the betrayal I felt about someone I had put on a pedestal.  Instead, I was treated as if I was the one with the problem for even speaking about it.

Shame, I will release you this year.  As I get closer to understanding you and myself this year, I will lose you as the layers come off.  My goal is to find the confidence and self-love that I should have experienced when I was a child. Many of the relationships and groups I have been a part of over the last ten years would look at these experiences, always preaching to let them go, stop carrying them, and find the gift.  That toxic positivity is what I had been doing my entire life.  However, I am pro at it; showing up and standing in my truth regardless of the reactions of others was not my specialty; I had learned to people please and talk about what others wanted to hear. I know my authenticity scares you, and I finally understand why. It is because you have not healed your wounds; you have disassociated and bypassed them just like I have.  You have not fully processed the pain and emotions associated with your own wounds, only shoved them to the side or taken them out when it is convenient and can benefit you. 

More importantly, we live in a society that has taught us we do not need to discuss these things.  It teaches us to look away.  That it cannot be that bad, you could have it worse! Be grateful.  And for many years, this was my approach.  Today I say, NO MORE.  None of this was OKAY! Yes, I AM ALLOWED to be ANGRY, and I do not have to satisfy you with my fake smile and balanced demeanor.

Wow, what a workout! I just lost the emotional twenty pounds to match the physical twenty pounds! As I am that much closer to my goal. Like when I was eight and when I was thirteen, then again in 2011, I decided I had enough.  It is time to be healthy in the way that I desire to be; not the way society has proclaimed. It might make you uncomfortable, and maybe YOU should look at why.

Living in memes

I have been considering writing this blog for months, and now it is time. These last few months, I have been very reflective of all the relationships in my life.  From my therapist, associations, that “friend” from social media I had accepted as so to connections, I have been exploring at a greater depth the interactions and experiences surrounding my relationships.

My authentic nature has always made it challenging to connect and maintain a healthy relationship with others.  Until recently, I carried the weight of each of these relationships, still believing there was something “wrong” with me. The shame that accompanied these differing relationship experiences exasperated an already wounded sense of self. Each time I felt I needed to fix something about myself.  This response is a learned perception from childhood where my trauma began and continued to compound, only beginning to lessen in the last couple of years as I have started to heal the lens of CPTSD. No different than most children, I carried the burden, because of course, it must be “me.”

I have found myself observing others the last year, their assumptions and choices.  After all, these behaviors affect me, and why shouldn’t I understand them? Perhaps if I comprehend others, I might understand how I feel and navigate the world at greater ease. Perhaps understanding others will assist in my sense of self as I determine what role I play.  Honestly, I continue to struggle with confidence and approval. I ebb and flow in the self-compassion so very much deserved, my interaction with the world a constant reminder of the social construction of measuring up.

In the last few months, this observation and emotion exploration have finally exposed an underlying current I had not previously been aware of.  I finally recognize just how projection works within our relationships and how pervasive it is throughout society.  See, I have carried and taken all of the relationship issues personally.  And in this meme society, I recognize that we must move beyond the glossy phrases and words that create the ultimate bypasses. Even though we say do not take others’ perceptions personally, pointing it has nothing to do with you but only them, we bypass the fact that these perceptions affect us all.  The perception of others may not affect us if we are not connected, but if we are, each other’s perceptions do indeed affect us. 

This experience all came to a head for me a few months ago.  Suddenly I became aware of the avoidance tactics I had been using for years.  The sayings that make life a bit more bearable many within my circle all seem to live by. Like “everything happens for a reason” no longer helps me cope with a much more multifaceted and complex reality than the current dual thinking allows me to comprehend.  We can not use this bypass as an explanation for these complex relationships with ourselves, others, and our environments; I can no longer use this explanation anyways. That might be why our relationship is at an impasse.

For years I lived by experiencing life through this rose-colored glasses bypasser’s code.  The people I surrounded myself with did the same; they were my birds of a feather.  However, as I began to expand my mind and explore beyond the box I currently resided, I found conflict with those surrounding me.  I wasn’t in conflict; I only asked we explore more and further.  But those questions I raised were too much for those I had considered “friends.” 

I use the word “friend” loosely.  Because if I cannot seek comfort and support when my dad has a major heart attack because you fear I will “lower your vibration,” you are not my friend. Or if something was said or happened, that didn’t sit right, and you didn’t communicate but instead distanced yourself you were not my friend. For too long, I have had weak boundaries and limited understanding of reality’s complex nature and our relationship to it.  No one lowers anyone’s vibration; what happens is you are incapable of processing your own emotions, and that is why when I express and share mine, you do not know how to maintain. 

I finally see the projections and understand them.  For the gentleman who perceives me as a dictator or the one who sees me as this dark villain feeding off of others’ negative energies, THAT IS YOUR PROJECTION. For too long, I have carried these perceptions as if there was something wrong with me.  Now I completely understand where I learned those behaviors as a very young child with my grandparents and mother seeing how this has exponentially grown into adulthood.

Finally, I see where my radical authenticity is a threat to you.  I am open to exploration and navigation, curious, and willing to inquire again and again until I find the happiness I deserve. My willingness to show up and explore my emotions and processes is a threat.  It is much easier just to find today’s meme, spiritual practice, or the next distraction to get me through the day.  But this is not what I choose.  They say I am a doer; what does that even mean?  I do what I set my mind to.  I have even heard delusions of grandiosity, but the fact remains that what I decide I want to experience, I continue to move my life in that direction, always working towards its attainment.  Now I understand why that is so uncomfortable for those I have relationships with; it isn’t easy to watch that when you are not happy with yourself and do not dare feel the complexity of this path’s emotions. 

So, keep focusing on your peace while bypassing every upsetting circumstance that shows up.  Do not learn and explore beyond the socially constructed boxes.  But I will NEVER carry your projections as my own again.  I am not responsible for you or how you navigate life.  You should only be so lucky to have a relationship with someone like me.  And this, my “friends,” is how we learn to love ourselves, navigating with compassion as we transcend the wounds that keep us in the cycle of abuse. 

Thank you for the relationships and connections; you have facilitated my growth. Be the change, live beyond the meme.

Measuring up

It has been quite some time since I have written a “Perspective of Now” blog.  Naturally, my perspective has changed.  Each step and choice made shifts my perspective.  The one thing that has grown exponentially is the realization of my worth.  The last year taught me to attach and live in the full energy of who I am and practice it every now.

The current social experiment has created an environment that teaches me something new daily.  Homeschooling my two young daughters, one who is on the autism spectrum, having what is consider learning issues, and the other I am discovering has similar learning issues, has been the greatest gift.  I learn about myself through them.  Their actions, their perspective opens the door for me to question the status quo.  I see the standardized model simply does not work for them; they will not measure up to what the world says is normal. And I have learned to celebrate them in their perfection!

A few months ago, I was watching a movie with my husband when my six-year came to my bedside, requesting that she be in a dance competition on a stage when she turns sixteen.  This request was so unusual, especially from her.  Several years ago, I think she was four; we went to an overnight stay at an indoor waterpark.  That night, a pajama dance party, where my daughter was going at it, was oblivious to the world around her, totally enjoying herself.  Suddenly she looked up and saw all of the parents watching the children have fun, and she completely broke down.  One of her behaviors is to react with complete embarrassment when people watch her.  I am not sure where she learned this; she never had an incident that would have taught her this shame and embarrassment. I can say it is something I suffer from and have fought to overcome, but I thought I had taught her differently. So naturally, her sudden request to dance in front of thousands was not typical. 

My eight-year-old heard my daughter’s competition request.  An extreme reaction overcame her, accompanied by tears and anxiety.  She begged me not to let her little sister compete, you know, in ten years. But for her, it was something so dire as if it was occurring tomorrow.  What came next was shocking, and it taught me so much.  My older daughter told her younger sister that she does not want her to compete, that the experience was awful.  She said, “they look at and treat you differently if you do not win.” My poor daughter has had so many traumatizing experiences at the hands of the public school systems and sometimes even her grandmother because she is “different.” Ultimately that is why I began to homeschool several years ago.  These experiences started in preschool and carried on to first grade. I removed her after being publicly embarrassed in front of a whole auditorium of adults by a teacher who made a mistake. Instead of recognizing her needs, she was sent off to a corner to deal with her anxiety with no direction.  She was taught there was something wrong with her by these people outside of my home. She sees the world differently, and I, for one, learn so much from her perspectives. My children are my greatest teachers.

I am learning about my worth through my children.  They are little reflections of me, showing me so much about myself and my beliefs. Through them, I began to recognize a culture that focuses on measuring up.  In every area of life, within the spiritual communities, within academia, and relationships, we are pushed to measure up.  This practice and ideology are in every aspect of our lives. If we do not, we are looked at differently, just like my daughter stated. The toxic shame perpetuated through this system results in a loss of self-worth. My daughter taught me to no longer let others’ beliefs and ideals negatively impact me.  Through realizing my worth, it no longer matters to me if you are my friend or if you approve.  I am done measuring up to anyone’s ideas of how I “should” or my children “should” look, act, and behave. I lead with love, acceptance, and compassion in my every now moment.  I know who I AM, and I have value. Let’s learn to celebrate the unique perspectives each of us carries.  If we are to measure up, let us measure up to that!

Pressure

The communication from my higher aspects has been working overtime. OR she is always communicating; I am working overtime in hearing.  OR There is no actual work I am returning to zero point, and everything is NOW, perfectly balanced and flowing!

These feelings began this last weekend when I began to observe pieces of the puzzle coming together.  I felt very tired, almost depressed, but I was not depressing any emotions.  My chest began to hurt, as it does on occasion.  The communication from my aspects was about everything being connected, and the necessary concentration inward on balance, love, and embrace of the self with complete acceptance.  A few hours later, I would find out my father was ill and had been taken to the hospital.

My chest began to hurt even more, and my dreams were of my father and me on a ship.  The seas were getting very rough.  The other people on the boat did not seem to know what to do; everyone was running about as the waves came over the side, filling the boat with water.  My father and I knew to go to the center of the boat. We were calm and never got wet one time. Until we got to the center, there was a small set of stairs, maybe five. We opened a door, a small rush of water came out, and ran down the stairs, and we entered this safe space. There was a vessel there that would allow us to stay balanced and detached from the storm. “MESSAGE!”

The next day I discovered my father had a heart attack and would need surgery because the right side of his heart was blocked 100%.  There is something very interesting with my father; first, he is my biological father, whom I did not have much contact with throughout my life.  Our relationship was on again off again until this last year.  Even though I was adopted and did not grow up with him around me, we have some of the same likes, dislikes, and behaviors.  Sometimes it feels like we are extensions of each other.  I am just the younger version. 

It took my dad several life-threatening incidences to awaken.  He thought I was crazy since 2011 when I really began living a different awakened and aware lifestyle.  Until the last year two years, he had a life-threatening situation, and he was awakened. He finally got what I had been talking about and started shifting, healing his wounds, and looking at life through an entirely new lens. He broke out of the programs, and it changed everything, including my relationship with him. 

I felt as though my father was not going to make it through the surgery.  My higher aspects said it was something else, puzzle pieces coming together that would allow me to see something.  He was in surgery for hours and did pull through.  Something else happened; the blockage in his heart was connected to a blockage in my heart.  The blockage that kept me from seeing and loving myself fully was connected to him. We created these dynamics together for the sake of our own growth.  And a massive block would be opened to have balance and flow within.  

My guidance continued to play the David Bowie and Queen song Pressure.  My aspects communicated that time is being compressed. WE are feeling the PRESSURE. Many of us are experiencing what may appear to be difficult, judged to be negative, or even traumatic experiences to shift our state of being.  Some of us do not make through the shifts, there is an option for an exit point, and some choose to leave the game. Some of us are learning to experience this energy in a different way, recognizing the intent. My father is a piece of me, and his healing heals generations, including me.  As I heal, I do the same. 

The compression of time is creating an environment that appears as if everything is crazy and full of negative drama.  YET when we are awakened, aware, with eyes to see, we know it is something else entirely.  It is the experience needed for some to open their eyes and the choice to express and experience in new ways.  The universe gets louder and louder until we hear it. For me, it was time to heal and shift the energy of old wounds that, even though I consciously said I shifted, still lived within my unconscious and where felt and expressed from time to time. They clearly were causing a blockage.

Everything we are experiencing is reminding us to return to the heart center, the be balanced, and to express compassion.  The situations being expressed within the world may or may not affect you.  If they do, there is always a communication; the experience is allowing for choice.  How will you respond?  Will you enter the ship and move to the center, find a place of balance, love, and allow, trusting the flow to take you where it will?

This year, my experiences have been about returning to the core of myself and attaching to this energy. It was about trusting and having compassion for every piece and part of myself.  Standing firm and balanced in the energy of who I AM.  Letting go and trusting, I will ALWAYS have everything I need. I am taking actions that lead me closer to my excitement. AND when emotions come up, allow them to flow; they are my great communicators.  Let go of the judgment and need to measure up to anything but the love of who you are. 

Though my father did not die, I feel that like the blockage in his heart, was an energy that opened up and was shifted so it might flow in the direction of love. He and I are both recovering.  We are recovering the experience of our wholeness in balance and love, in the flow.

My guides continue to say, just as they did back in March the fall and winter is going to be quite the ride! AND time is continued to be compressed, so what would take us years to create is happening within months.

~ Ladies and gentlemen please make sure your seat belt is tightly fastened and please you keep your arms and legs in the ride at all times (enter the heart and remain balanced in compassion). HERE WE GO!