Failure of Courage-

For the second time I’m watching Super Soul Sunday with author Sue Monk Kidd. This woman is speaking to my soul about being a writer. But she’s said something that I completely disagree with; “Becoming a nurse, for me was a failure of courage.” I will agree that for her this may have seemed like a detour on her path to becoming a writer. That she chose a safe, traditional path because becoming a writer seemed scary or impractical to her, but I don’t see that as a failure at all.

I am a writer. It is my calling to write stories about survivors.

In my own life I’ve chosen many different paths away from becoming a writer in the traditional sense. I didn’t go to college to become a writer, until recently. I didn’t choose jobs that allowed me to primarily write, until recently. I didn’t choose to be of service as a writer in all my volunteer positions, until recently. Yet I have always been a writer. There was never a time in my life that I didn’t write-even if no one ever read it. What I believe about my path is that I never detoured from being a writer. I was born to be a writer. My path wasn’t a straight line from birth to writer, it was a winding path that lead me through so many different experiences, places and relationships toward finding my voice.

I am a writer. It is my calling to write stories about survivors.

I couldn’t write these stories if I hadn’t experienced all the places, relationships and what some may call failures. I had to become a survivor, I had to learn to survive, I had to be surrounded by survivors in order to be worthy of telling these stories. If I hadn’t been raped, I couldn’t write about rape survivors. If I hadn’t been in the military, I couldn’t write about military survivors. If I hadn’t been in abusive relationships, I couldn’t write about abuse survivors. If I hadn’t followed those “detours” toward becoming a writer, I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

I am a writer. It is my calling to write about survivors. Beyond just writing these stories I’m meant to share them with others. The times I’ve felt most connected to myself, to others, to the world around me is when I’m sharing the moments that connect us all. I remember studying acting in college. There were times when I was on stage and it wasn’t Amanda or who I knew to be me, but the character who was present. It wasn’t about setting myself aside in preference of being someone else, although that did happen, it was deeper. It was preparing myself through practice and hard work to connect the character’s story with the audience. It was as if I was connecting the energy of Amanda, with the playwright’s concept of the character, to the audience. It is an intimacy that can’t be easily described if you haven’t experienced it. It is as if at the core of each of us, there are emotions we all feel. We can label this as empathy- when you feel what I feel we have a moment of empathy. But there is something deeper than empathy that I believe writers, actors, artists, musicians, anyone who creates in that space connects with that can heal us all. The true power of survivors is in connecting that energy to others which causes healing.

I am a writer. It is my calling to write about survivors.

I am gripped with fear. I struggle daily with the thought that I am not worthy to tell these stories. Some of them aren’t my stories. Some of them are my stories and I’ve hurt others in the retelling of them. Survival is filled with fear, weakness, doubt, insecurity and anger. But survival is also hope, love, vulnerability, responsibility, laughter, and happiness. You can’t have one without experiencing the other. We all fear the negative emotions-I especially fear being stuck in the negative emotions. I’ve heard and said myself-I’m afraid if I let go of this pain, if I start crying about it, I’ll never stop. When the reality has been for me that until I let go of it, I don’t have room for anything better. I can’t go back and change my past…but I can reinterpret, I can forgive it by being someone with the courage to write it out. “The keys to your happiness are no longer in somebody else’s pocket from the past, they’re in your own.” Adayshanti

I am a writer. It is my calling to write about survivors.

That statement that I keep repeating is important. I can flower it up and say, I’m a writer, I’m called to give voice to the voiceless, power to the powerless, hope to the hopeless. But what I’m meant to do is very simple. I am meant to tell a story, that shows someone who may feel voiceless, powerless or hopeless that it is possible to survive. I may not change the world. I may not become a wealthy author like J.K. Rowling. I may not even get everything I write published. But I can’t stop writing. I can’t stop trying to connect those stories with the people who need to hear them. That is my calling- that is my purpose- that is who I am meant to be!

My courage has not failed, but my path has not been straight. I AM A WRITER. IT IS MY CALLING TO WRITE ABOUT SURVIVORS!

there-is-no-failure-ralph-smart

All the world is a stage-

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. William Shakespeare

A friend and I were having a conversation recently about- when is enough, enough.  We both have dealt with or are dealing with spouses that suffer with PTSD. My best advice to her was, “When you feel that you are unable to grow or that he is keeping you from growing, then it’s enough.”

In my relationship it became obvious that my spouse felt more secure and happier when I wasn’t striving to make a name for myself or to become the person I felt I was meant to be. I have come to understand that when you are in a relationship with someone who suffers from a mental health issue, their misery loves company. If you strive to have something, do something or be something that doesn’t feed their addiction, their need to be the center of attention, then they feel acutely lost. On the surface they seem supportive, but when you actually count on that support it’s yanked out from under you by behavior that puts the focus back on them. This made me think of the theatre- how I made the choice to be the stage manager of my own life.

You see I think I made the conscious decision long ago that I wasn’t worthy to be the star of my own life’s play. I was much better suited to be backstage, making sure everyone else in my life looked good, got the applause and was appreciated for their accomplishments.  I took satisfaction in the idea that by being backstage making sure everyone remembered their lines, didn’t miss their cues and made scene changes quickly and quietly, that the applause they got was mine as well- it wasn’t and I became resentful.  The problem is that you can’t reasonably function in your own life as someone else’s stage manager- because when they forget their lines, miss their cues or don’t make scene changes that failure becomes your burden because they won’t take credit or responsibility for it and it’s been your job to fix it, so it becomes your fault. It’s a vicious circle because you can never take credit for their accomplishments and you can’t take credit for their failures because it all belongs to them. The problem I faced was that I was in love with someone who blamed me for the failures and worked against any success I tried to help him achieve.  He wanted to be small, miserable and taken care of- and I was all to willing to accommodate.  It wasn’t completely his fault, he was responsible for his choices and I was responsible for allowing his choices to dictate mine. This pattern began in childhood for me… and it hasn’t stopped.

When you spend your life making someone else look good, it’s really difficult to stop. What makes it even harder is the person you’ve always done this for, expects it to continue. Unless you can find a way to grow into a more balanced relationship, chances are good the relationship won’t last. The problem of course is to address the behavior, both of you-have to address the behavior. The balance comes when you learn to trust that you can both have a staring role in your lives and that neither one of you has to be the stage manager all the time. Sometimes you’re the star, sometimes you’re the co-star… but being relegated to stage manager in your own life… that’s not a healthy place to be.

So if you are like me you get help and try to stop doing for this person what they are capable of doing for themselves.  And that works for a little while, until you start helping other people in the same way. This is what some psychology texts would call displacement-substituting the person but not the behavior. And the behavior continues. Until at some point you say to yourself or because of a conversation with others- Enough is Enough!

Well I’ve said, enough is enough. The problem is that recognizing the behavior and changing it, is easier said than done. So I’ve found myself feeling very depressed lately. That was when I found this quote;

We can view depression as a profound and very misunderstood state of deep rest, entered into when we are completely exhausted by the weight of our own identity. It is an unconscious loss of interest in our story. It is a profound call to let go of the old, and plunge into the new…~ Jeff Foster

So for now I feel as though I should rest. And be okay with this state of rest. I think at some point something will wake me up… but for now-for now I rest.

Monogamy

I’ve heard a lot of discussion lately about monogamy. It seems that there are celebrities out there who simply believe that no one is capable of being monogamous, that it’s an unnatural state of being. Some of these celebrities have gone as far as to state that everyone cheats-so why get upset about it? 

According to this logic, it’s a natural imperative for every human being to have sex with anyone at anytime, and the unnatural constructs of marriage, family and fidelity should not be affected by this natural imperative. So-in another context, everyone poops-so why get upset if someone poops in another bathroom aside from the one you and your mate usually poop in. Because according to this logic, you shouldn’t be penalized for pooping somewhere else, because you just can’t hold that in! Right?

Well here is my personal opinion on the matter- it isn’t about the act of sex or the natural imperative to have sex, it’s about the values we place on it that cause the upset. In other words, you can poop anywhere you want, as long as you aren’t betraying any agreement you’ve made with me not to poop where  you’ve said you’d never poop. 

I understand that sex is a natural imperative. I understand that some people don’t feel they should have to control their urges, some people feel that multiple partners is more satisfying, some people are only comfortable with one partner.  I’m not expecting anyone to curtail their natural tendencies, if what turns you on is acceptable to your partner and it doesn’t cause anyone else harm-go for it! 

Here is the part that I think most people misunderstand about cheating… it’s not just about the sex. For me adultery, it’s no more about sex than rape is about sex. Adultery, like rape, is about one person controlling another. Maybe for some people it is about the sex, the idea of their partner being with anyone other than them is one they can’t tolerate. I have a more practical approach.

I’m comfortable with my partner being involved sexually with another person-until they promise monogamy.  Once that promise is made, anything other than sex with me and only me is a betrayal of that promise.  If my partner came to me and said-I’m interested in being sexual with this person, and we discussed how that would affect our relationship deciding as a couple the outcome of it, I could see myself continuing a relationship with my partner if we determined together that our relationship could survive-before it happens not after. I don’t subscribe to the school of “Better to ask forgiveness rather than permission.” For me it isn’t the sex that would cause me harm, it’s the sex that is lied about, hidden and destructive to the trust we’ve built as a couple, that causes harm. So when a celebrity says something stupid like, “Everyone cheats, why get upset about it?” They’re obviously the ones doing the cheating and expecting a free pass. 

When you enter a relationship, as a couple you come to terms with the parameters of that relationship. If you and your partner make decisions concerning your sexual relationship, it’s nobody’s business but your own. If you betray the parameters of that relationship you can’t dismiss it with a simple- “Everybody cheats.”  Not everybody does, some people feel that trust, fidelity and honesty are more important than the urge to have illicit sexual affairs.  

So for me, adultery isn’t about sex, it’s about the lack of communication between partners, and that comes from one partner having a lack of skills. If you can’t express your needs to a partner who is willing to accommodate them within their own needs, then you don’t deserve that partner to begin with.  

Remind yourself to be HAPPY!

Yesterday I forgot that I’m happy.

I forgot that I’m a good person. I allowed someone else’s opinion of my actions to let me forget that I am happy. I allowed this person to convince me that the stories they’ve been told, the half truths they’ve been allowed to see, and the very limited communication they’ve had with me is the truth.  The truth is that because I’m happy, I have no need or desire to make someone else unhappy.  This person however is very unhappy.  This person is reaching out to something and someone they think will make them happy, only to realize it’s actually making them miserable. And because they’re unhappy, they want me to be unhappy.  It took me a moment to realize this because I was just as unhappy not too long ago, and it’s easy for me to slip back into that unhappiness… but I’m not there anymore.

Yesterday I forgot that I’m happy.

I forgot that I have a right and an obligation to myself to be happy.  That standing up for myself doesn’t translate into I’m hurting someone else, because that’s not who I am. I’m allowed to be happy.  I’m allowed to be safe.  I’m allowed to be treated with respect. But I allowed someone to convince me for a second that I don’t deserve honesty.  I allowed someone else to manipulate me into letting my guard down. For half a second, I actually considered it my obligation to help them, after all the hurt I’ve endured from them. But when I allow myself to be happy, I can get honesty, respect and safety. I let myself be drug down the rabbit hole of manipulation, lies and abuse because that is familiar territory.  It’s so cool that I’m not there anymore.

Yesterday I forgot that I’m happy.

I forgot how miserable I am when I let my anger control me. I let myself feel all the anger, the hatred, the raw emotional scars I’ve been working very hard to heal. I let my anger take me places I never want to go-EVER.  Because when I’m angry, it’s never directed outward, it’s always internal. I don’t blame the other person, I blame myself for letting myself get angry. The anger spirals into something morbid and I end up wanting to hurt myself for being so stupid, so easily manipulated, so vulnerable and so blind.  But it was in those dark moments that I remember what a useful tool anger can be when it’s directed positively toward protecting myself. My eyes are open. I can see that there is a path in front of me and that every time I take a step backwards, I’m going to end up unhappy.  So I take a step forward, happy not to be there anymore.

So today… today I remember that I’m happy.  I remember that happiness is a choice.  I remember that I control my own happiness. I know someone is going to read this and think- she’s in denial.  But maybe my denial was thinking that I could change the forces that were feeding my unhappiness. Maybe the denial was thinking I could cure what was wrong. Maybe the denial is thinking I’ll ever get an apology or understanding or even honesty from certain people.  Happy is knowing that none of those things matter.  I’m not delusional, stuck in a Polly-Anna attitude, with a fake smile plastered across my face. I’m walking into my new life with my eyes wide open. I’m not focusing on repairing my past or getting revenge for those who’ve wronged me. I’m focused on what’s here, now and within my power.  I’m happy.  I’m happy to be alive, awake and aware. When the obstacles come, and they will, I know I’ve been given the tools, the strength and the knowledge to overcome them.

I’m ready to be showered with happiness! I’m ready for doors to be opened to me.  I’m ready for good things in my life.

BECAUSE I’M HAPPY!

An Open Love Letter to — ME!

I believe with my whole heart that we’re brought into this world for one reason and one reason only.  That reason is to love. To be loved, to love in return, to find love, to lose love, to discover love, to miss our chance to love, to revel in love, to despair in love, but above all to be LOVE. It’s not an easy path, being human and knowing love is our purpose, especially when everything tries to bring us away from love. But if we embrace love in all it’s forms, we can know our soul, our God, our purpose.

I was put on a difficult path when I was born. The love that surrounded me came from people who were broken, beaten and bruised by love. I felt that my task in love was to love them back to wholeness. There were people who misunderstood my love, experienced my love by hurting me the way they had been hurt.  I know now that they didn’t understand how to love any other way. Their darkness, their pain, their abuse was their way of expressing love. Without me in their life, they would never have known love could be something else. They were a gift to me, just as I was a gift to them. And that kind of love has taught me some of my greatest lessons. The best lesson has been that it is my choice to either live in the darkness, the abuse and the pain–or to rise above it in real LOVE.

My dear friend, someone who loves well, Alisa suggested that I write myself a love letter. To remind myself of the loving things I have accomplished. Her exact instructions were; “Remember all the good times you’ve had with your self. Tell yourself what you appreciate about your self, mention your talents, qualities, anything that makes you smile. Then make some plans for your self. Talk about your aspirations, dreams and hopes for the future. Buy your self something she really can cherish, a lasting reminder of what a great person she is.”

The truth is I always follow Alisa’s instructions because she is a very wise and beautiful woman! So here it goes-

The good times I’ve had; There have been so many good times, it’s hard to pick just a few.  I’ve had a really good life. Despite the trauma and losses, my life has been filled with laughter and love. The best times I’ve had has been in making new friends, traveling, and working hard on things I’m passionate about. If I had to pick the top three happiest memories of doing something with just me, they would be; Dancing alone in the street at Valley Junction, visiting Blarney Castle in Ireland, and meditating at Parliament park in London.

My friend Darren and our friend Mike went to Valley Junction years ago. We stumbled upon this street festival with a band playing The Guess Who songs. I wasn’t familiar with their music, and they started playing “Undun”- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLMF5GM0Kt8  I got so caught up in the moment, I found myself dancing like no one was watching! I was one of the few people who just started dancing in the street where they were playing- which caused a bunch of other people to join in. I have never felt so free–so carefree really.  Nothing and no one mattered, it was just me and the music.

Blarney Castle in Ireland was a revelation. It all came together because I relied on friends and family’s help. I was deployed for Bosnia. As my birthday approached I made tentative plans to take leave and go to Ireland. I didn’t expect that this long held dream of visiting Ireland would come to pass. Getting military leave was difficult, it was going to be expensive, and I’d be doing it alone. Three strikes against me. But my leave came through. A friend had won an airline ticket to London that he gave me which cut the cost in half. With everything conspiring to send me, I decided to go alone. I spent my 30th birthday in Ireland, kissing the Blarney stone. My happiest memory to date is lying on the branch of a tree in the castle grounds. This tree is ancient I’m sure, probably as old as the castle. Several of it’s branches are large enough to hold a full grown person, so I lay on one near the ground and just stared up. It was so peaceful and beautiful–I’ve decided when I die, my ashes should be spread in that exact spot.

More recently I found myself in Victoria park near the Parliament building. I was having an existential crisis, feeling as though I were adrift on the sea of my life. Not sure where to find safe harbor or what would anchor me in my new reality.  So I decided to meditate. I had just learned Vedic meditation and thought I might be able to get some answers through it. There is a statue there by Rodin called the Burghers of Calais. I’ve told this story so many times, but it truly inspired me. As I’m looking at this statue, the faces are so hauntingly familiar. I begin to realize the reason they’re so familiar is they are the same faces of the men and women I know who’ve been in combat. When you ask for a sign, don’t be surprised when it comes. I had meditated and asked for a sign. The sign I got was a beautiful poem left at the feet of this haunting statue. That poem, along with the statue, inspired me to write a play. One I hope to get produced very soon.

So there have been some really great times, alone.

Which brings me to my qualities I admire in myself. I’m not perfect, by any means. But I believe in my good qualities and I’m working on the not so good ones. I’m smart, book and street smart. I easily adapt to new situations and keep calm in a crisis. I’m beautiful, in my own way. I have a positive attitude about most things. I’m a great mediator–my greatest skill is being able to see things from all angles and using it to bring people together. I’m an awesome cook. I’m artistic and can translate that into practical things like decor, costumes, words, and photography. I’m a hard worker. If you give me a task to complete, I always do my best and don’t quit until it’s done. I’m capable of great passion, compassion and love. Most importantly I do my best to see the good in everyone and make sure they see it too. I am or have been, a good sister, a good daughter, a good cousin, a good wife, and a great friend. Not always perfect in those roles, but I’m pretty freakin’ awesome!

I have made plans for myself–tomorrow. I’m calling it “Take Back Valentine’s Day”. It’s always been a traumatic anniversary for me that I’ve spent years ignoring. So instead I’m going to start embracing it, for me. I’m going to rise early, take the dogs for their morning walk. Either go to my favorite restaurant for breakfast or come home and make myself breakfast in bed. Then I’m scheduled for a manicure, pedicure, massage and haircut. After that I’ll have a relaxing afternoon watching my favorite romantic movies. Then I’m taking myself out to a murder mystery dinner. Which I’m really excited about!

As far as my future; I still believe it’s possible to find my soulmate. Yes, make fun of me, but I believe in soul mates. I don’t believe and I’m not waiting for someone to complete me. I’m complete as I am. I’m waiting for someone to be better with me and make me better. I’m waiting for someone to make me laugh more than he makes me cry. I want someone to remind me everyday that I’m beautiful, passionate and worthy of honesty. I want someone to dance with. I want someone to cook for and who will do the dishes after the meal. I want to wake up every morning for the rest of my life knowing that the person lying next to me is honest, caring, and thinks of my needs as equal to his own.

So Happy Valentine’s Day to me! Despite being alone, despite going through this messy divorce, and despite it being a traumatic anniversary, I’m going to take it back. Valentine’s Day is going to be for me to show me, how much I love me!

bright and shining heart in the trees

bright and shining heart in the trees

Debriding my Past

I’ve been trying to think of an analogy for what I’m attempting to do right now, and debridement came to mind.  If you don’t know what it is and have a weak stomach, skip to the next paragraph.  Debridement is when dead tissue is removed to allow healthy tissue to grow in its place.  I’ve heard of and seen this process for severely burned patients, it’s not pretty, it can be painful, and it’s really gross. The process is done in one of three ways, the most common is to bound the wounds with gauze, soak the tissue with liquids and then remove the gauze along with the dead tissue.  The painful part is that the tissue that is healthy is left exposed and raw.  Imagine your worst sunburn ever, and having to wear a wool sweater over it.  You get the picture.

So I’ve decided instead of dissecting my unhealthy relationship, it might be better to debride my past.  By looking at my past, forgiving myself and those involved, I might uncover some healthy tissue.  One of the ways that I feel I can debride my past is to start with my grandparents.  My grandparents raised my parents, and their behavior toward my parents has influenced how I was raised. How I was raised directly influences the way I make choices now and how I react to my family.

Every Sunday I talk with my parents- no matter where I am or what is going on, there is always a Sunday phone call between us. Quite often these conversations end with me being very angry with my mother for some thoughtless comment she’s made or that she’s “overprotective” of me at 46 years old. Today before the phone call I stopped myself and said, “Today, no matter what she says or thinks, I won’t rise to the defense.  I will listen and try to understand.” I’m proud of my accomplishment, because it took everything in me to just listen.

I wanted to find out a little more about my grandparents.  I suspected that both sets of grandparents were alcoholics and that my parents were subjected to that uncertainty in their childhood, which would explain their behavior toward my brother and myself.  I am the oldest, so the brunt of the offensive behavior fell on me, and still does.  What I learned today, helped me to understand my mother a bit more.

My mother was sexually abused as a child by an alcoholic neighbor.  Today she told me that the reason the neighbor had access to her was because my grandparents typically left her on Saturday nights to go out drinking.  She further explained that when she got the courage to tell my grandmother about the abuse, my grandmother thoughtlessly accused my mother of making it up to keep my grandparents from going out on Saturday nights.  My mother had a hard time proving the abuse medically and felt as though her mother doubted her. The next incident she brought up was years later when my mother went for therapy. As many therapist suggest, she was told to confront her abuser. When my grandmother was told that my mother was going to confront her abuser, her response was-“WHY? He’s an old man, what if you give him a heart attack?” My mother said that really hurt her, and despite my grandmother calling later to admit that she was wrong and shouldn’t have said it-she couldn’t forget it.

One of the things that struck me so hard about this whole conversation was that I could have easily reminded my mother that my grandmother’s behavior toward her, exactly mirrored her behavior toward me. I was sexually abused by an alcoholic neighbor. I lost my virginity to rape. I was sexually assaulted while serving in the Army.   I then married a man who abused me and committed adultery quite frequently. You would assume that my mother would understand, could commiserate with me. But she didn’t.

I don’t remember the first abuse very well, because we NEVER discussed it, so to survive I blocked the memories of it.  When I was raped my mother’s first question was-“Did you at least use protection?” When the doctor she took me to after the rape told her there was damage, she conceded that it might have been rape. It still took me a year and a suicide attempt to admit it to myself. I didn’t tell her or anyone about the abuse in the Army, I was very lucky to have had witnesses that took up that charge for me. When I found out about my husband’s infidelity I remember calling my mother from Germany asking for help. I had been married for three years at this point, would have been forced to leave Germany with nothing- no money, no means of support and no job. All I wanted was a place to live for a few months until I could get back on my feet. Her “help” came with conditions I couldn’t live with-she wanted me to leave behind my dogs with a man I hadn’t told her had been abusing me since our wedding night. So she further advised me that, “Marriage is hard work, why don’t you try and forgive him.  Go to counseling and try everything you can before giving up.”

So I spent the next 16 years trying to make it work. Every time I decided to leave I knew it would take great commitment on my part.  I would leave knowing I’d be doing it alone, without help from my family. And just as I resolved to go it alone, my ex would attempt suicide which always sucked me back in because I had my mother’s voice in my head urging me to work hard. Of course if you ask her about this now, she denies that she ever suggested such a thing, that I should have left years ago. And from her point of view, I should have known better. But it becomes a do as I say, not as I do situation where no one wins.

Recently she asked me some rather hurtful questions, questions that felt like she was blaming me for my ex’s infidelity.  I had to wonder why, until today when she shared some info about my grandparents’ marriage.  My mother loved her father very much…to the exclusion of her mother I suspect.  The truth about my grandfather is that he cheated on my grandmother. When I said something to that effect today, she said,”Well she drove him to it.”  That took me a moment to process. I couldn’t understand how someone could blame her mother for her father cheating on her. She further said,”She kept accusing him of doing it, getting jealous when he’d dance with other women. So it’s no wonder he cheated.”

As if my grandmother suspecting that my grandfather was capable of infidelity was reason enough for him to make that choice. She couldn’t fathom the idea that her sainted father made a choice, a morally reprehensible choice that ended his marriage. He broke his vows.  I can’t say that my grandmother didn’t make choices that affected his choice, but in the blame game- my grandfather is mostly to blame. But now that I understand my mother’s position on the adultery that directly affected her, I can accept that she will occasionally take my ex’s side. My ex reminds me very much of my grandfather, which is probably one of the reasons I was attracted to him initially.

I think it’s also possible to assume that because my abuse took focus off of her own abuse, that she tends to be jealous of me, just as she accuses my grandmother of being jealous of her. I don’t share any of this to place blame or accuse my mother of being heartless… but when damaged people raise children, they often create damaged children.  I can choose to dwell on all of this damage, dismiss my faults as being because of how I was raised or I can do what I hope I’m doing which is to be aware.  If I’m aware of where the damaged started, I can make better choices to end the cycle of damage.  So far I haven’t done that…

Today was the first step in ending the cycle.  I didn’t allow my mother’s abused mentality to feed my own abused mentality.  Instead I examined her statements and actions from a distance. Where was this coming from? Is it coming from concern for my well being or from her own survival instinct?  I can’t fix what happened to her. I can’t fix what my grandparents did to her or even change her beliefs about them.  I can only act from a place of freedom from the abuse, a place I hope to reach by debriding my past. It will be painful and probably gross at times. But if I want to find peace, this is the way it will have to happen!

 

The end of the 30 Day Challenge-

Some of you may remember that I challenged myself to 30 days of photos… to find the beauty around me.  I used my phone to upload all of these photos to Instagram, (http://instagram.com/acherry67) Here is what I found beautiful;

IMG_20131224_112920 IMG_20131224_154728 IMG_20131225_113348 IMG_20131225_130125 IMG_20131230_122530 IMG_20140103_144323 IMG_20140103_145312 IMG_20140104_082703 IMG_20140105_114026 IMG_20140106_112011 IMG_20140109_095934 IMG_20140109_185450 IMG_20140110_193129 IMG_20140111_141026 IMG_20140113_104426 IMG_20140114_194419 IMG_20140116_203611 IMG_20140117_094031 IMG_20140118_191852 IMG_20140119_080010 IMG_20140119_132538 IMG_20140122_111948 IMG_20140124_161522 IMG_20140124_162406 IMG_20140125_172934 IMG_20140125_185730 IMG_20140127_104357 IMG_20140128_164847 IMG_20140129_103051 IMG_20140129_111618 IMG_20140130_095436

The really great thing about this challenge was that it forced me to really look for the beauty in my life.  And when you find beautiful things around you, your life feels filled with beauty. Even on those days when it felt really ugly, just finding that one beautiful thing made me feel better. The law of attraction at work! So as a new month begins I’ve decided to try a new theme.  Since it’s February, I’m thinking my theme should be LOVE.

Starting tomorrow, I will be taking photos of Love… which I’m hoping will help me bring the love back to my life!