Stronger

A confrontation of sorts

I used to be unafraid. I remember that. I’m trying to keep that thought present so that I can logically move through the things I face today. Although now, since I know evil personally, I understand the difference between having a lack of fear and being brave, strong. As so many speeches start…. “Webster’s dictionary defines the word ..” brave – as ….. ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.

It was less than five years ago that I thought I recognized someone from my past, someone that I knew was volatile and slightly fucking crazy. I didn’t want this person to know I still existed, much less that I was living back in Seattle. Looking back on that day I realize I did not need to be terrified, but I was. We were in a crowded Starbucks in the middle of Pike Place in Seattle, yet, I still snuck up to the barista making my coffee and waved her over urgently. I whispered to her that someone was in the shop that I couldn’t have hear my name, so could she please just hand me my cup when it was done instead of calling my name.

I remember the look on her face when I begged this favor of her. I know that my chest and neck had broken out in hives and that I was sweating and obviously, I looked panicked, but I could see understanding and sympathy in her face. She handed me my drink with a look that spoke of wishing me good luck and I hid behind a group of guys that were leaving on my way out.

Now, that was years ago, but I still avoid certain areas of Seattle and the Eastside based on when and where I know my abuser will be. Yet, when I drive down the interstate near his ext, I panic, I can’t help it. I can be focused on happy thoughts and when I see the turn in the road .. suddenly I can’t breathe and I feel that my death is impending.

All that to say, today, when I went to my regular gas station, I saw a vehicle exactly the same color, model, and year of his. My heart dropped and I expected the panic to hit me, but it didn’t, in that moment I only felt calm. I could see myself clearly, if he were to walk out and confront me, I wouldn’t run, I wouldn’t faint, and I certainly wouldn’t die because he was confronting me.

Do I know what I would say? No. Have I rehearsed it a million times? Yes.

I have run into this man a few times since I left him. An unfortunate circumstance of working in the same city and having to frequent many of the same businesses (incidentally, how we had met in the first place). Running into him after the breakup was a nightmare. I could feel the bruises that were no longer visible in my face and throat when I saw him, I felt the terror in my stomach. Those times that he came up to me, I forced a smile, I hid my shaking, and I stayed civil. He would smile his sick smile and I would count my breaths in and out waiting to escape the office and get to the safety of my car, with my locked doors.

Today was different though. It wasn’t him, no, but I didn’t have a panic attack when I thought it might be. That is huge for me. I feel stronger tonight for not having panicked, I feel that not only will I fight for myself, but I actually can. I wouldn’t classify myself as brave, but I’m a step up from hiding in a corner, so I’ll take it.

In other news, my macbook pro is still under the weather and I’m slightly devastated by this. Off to the apple school of wizards this weekend we will go.

 

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Limitations.

This weekend was pretty rough. I have issues with bulging discs in my neck and when there are flare ups, inflammation, and pinched nerves I get a lot of sensory nerve pain. Everywhere. It wages a strong war against my motivation to go, go, go, and I find myself feeling limited in every way. limitations

If I take a second to really think about it though, it is pain, depression, and fear that make me feel limited. It is the exhaustion from pain that makes me unmotivated and when these go together I have always crumbled. I felt a shift happen today though, I realized that I have been limited, I let myself be limited by the fear and the pain. No more though. Swapping “What do I have to do….” with “What do I get to do.”

You can decide within yourself how circumstances will affect you. Between what happens to you, or the stimulus, and your response to it, is your freedom or power to choose that response. – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

One thing I know to be true about myself is that in when hard times strike in life, I rally. Which is really strange considering how much a panic attack devastates me. The difference to me is that when tragedy strikes, or times are hard for people that I care about, I can put the war paint on and push as hard as is needed.

When Aeron abused me I didn’t think ::wow, I should leave him, what an asshole:: I would instead take the worst of what he said to me and about me and I would make a plan to be better, to be what he wanted, to be skinnier, prettier. This was the wrong type of rallying. I was fighting the wrong battle. I should have been fighting for myself.

Aeron was cheating on me, not only was he physically abusive, but the emotional destructiveness he wreaked was overwhelming. Every single time I found emails, chats, photos, and video’s of him cheating, I would try to breathe deeply and suck it up. I would go to the gym the next morning that much harder, I stopped eating, I started throwing up. ::not on purpose, but from the stress:: I stopped paying attention to what my body was telling me and I shut off my heart. I wasn’t even able to cry anymore. I thought I had to keep pushing to be better, that if I became what he wanted he wouldn’t do this. One day though, my body couldn’t take it anymore and I had a nervous breakdown. I fought the wrong battle. I should have been fighting for myself.

It is in the shelter of each other that the people live. – Irish Proverb

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be. – James Allen

The future is of our own making – and the most striking characteristic of this century is just that development. – Joseph Conrad

What I never saw when I was in a bad relationship was that I was fighting the wrong battle. I haven’t fought for myself until now. My future depends on the decisions that I make today and if the decisions that I make are for someone that treats me badly, even if I win, I lose.

Fight

Unstoppable

This week has been a blur. I’ve had appointments, meetups with family and friends, hardly any time at home, and it has been wonderful. So many changes are going on with me, and my family, that I find myself gazing into the future instead of this constant focus I’ve had on the past. What a relief that is.

Our character, basically, is a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character and produce our effectiveness…. or ineffectiveness. – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

My habits over the last seven years have been awful. Wake up in pain, focus on pain, eat breakfast, focus on pain and sadness, do hardly anything, focus on my past, eat dinner, drink wine, sigh deeply and dread tomorrow. The thing is, twice in the last seven years when I’ve worked at a job, my days were pretty great. Having a daily routine and having responsibilities didn’t allow me time to focus so heartily on my pain, sadness, or my past. Both of these jobs offered a respite from the daily onslaught of my bad habits. Unfortunately, by the end of most days, sometimes midway through I was panic-ridden, sweating profusely, slurring my speech, and simply trying to focus through tunnel vision.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been pushing myself to fight, to change my mind in order to change my life and this quote hits the nail on the head. My character, who I’ve been for the last seven years is completely made up of my habits. I stopped being outgoing, I stopped going out, I stopped talking to friends and family, I shut myself down tightly in order to protect what was left of me.

PrepostPre-

vs

Post

 

Comparing and contrasting my habits and my character from before ::and by compare and contrast I don’t mean my little stick figure example:: to what they have been for the last seven years is terribly sad. I lost my innocence, I lost the part of me that was mine to give, and I thought I had to bury the rest of me with it in order to survive, but that isn’t true. It’s a lie that seems to come with being abused, you believe the worst of yourself. You believe that you aren’t worth loving, and that the world is better off without you, but it is a lie. It’s worth the fight to rebuild yourself, and make yourself stronger. My next brick is simple, I’ll admit my innocence was stolen from me, okay, fine. As I no longer have that, I’ll rebuild where it used to be with strength and grit

It is satisfying knowing that for a brief point in time you made a difference. – Irene Natividad

 

Dreams are renewable. No matter what your age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within you and new beauty waiting to be born. – Dr. Dale E. Turner

New beauty waiting to be born, I love that. I think of my sister when I read this. She is in a place where the man she’s married to has stomped out the light, torn down the dreams, and filled her ears with negativity, judgement, and ridicule of her, and our family. I wish I could have a conversation with her where I say….  “hey love, your dreams, they are still there, they are still huge, and you can still chase them down, but not while he is crushing your spirit.”

She is an absolute beauty, but she has withered under negativity, I can see the pain of emotional hurt etched in her face. I’ve been there, I was in a relationship so similar and she was the one who rescued me from it, why is it, that I haven’t been able to rescue her?

When I left the last bad relationship my mom or maybe my dad said to me “ditch the zero and get a hero.” Same to you my twin.

The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. – Goetbe

I’m moving towards strength, rebuilding, and I’m scared,  but I’m not terrified of failure like I used to be. If I fail today, I try again tomorrow. If I fail tomorrow, I try again the next day. Success doesn’t happen without failure, consider how many IOS updates we get over the year. Kidding, but since I’m on that analogy I’ll just stick with it, my life is an iPhone: the upgrades make me better each time.

unstoppable

 

 

A little stronger

Yesterday was a hard day. A migraine that wouldn’t ebb was the leading cause but then I got frustrated. It is so exhausting, like, to my bones, to try to stay positive and hopeful when I want to crumble.

I forced myself to breathe, breathe, breathe through it and then I had a flash, I thought about the future, more specifically, future me. I could see myself coaching a kid’s soccer team, ::I have no idea the rules of soccer, much less how to coach a team:: and my hair looked great. I was blowing a whistle, smiling, and I could see that I was done with this dark mess that is inside me right now. It felt like less than 15 seconds that I went from wanting to call out of the day and take to my bed that I had a rush of what I imagine is adrenaline and I thought – keep moving forward.

Each of us has many, many maps in our head, which can be divided into two main categories: maps of the way things are, or realities, and maps of the way things should be or values. We interpret everything we experience through these mental maps.”  – The 7Habits of Highly Effective People.

Reading this, I feel like I haven’t been thinking hardly at all for the last seven years. I’ve been coping, just trying to get through a day. What is obvious to me, is that my maps direct me to avoid all contact with people for fear of getting hurt or humiliated. If I think about my realities from seven years ago versus the realities I experience today, there is a vast difference.

For example, seven years ago, I was isolated by my then boyfriend. He did not want me to have others in my life, including my family. I was to go to work, come home, make his dinner, put him to bed at 7:30 and clean for the rest of the night so that when he woke up his world was squeaky perfect. I could never clean well enough and there was always a list by the time I got home that needed to be done. A 30 minute lesson on how to vacuum to get the lines in the carpet correctly, then a shove into the wall afterward because I had wrapped the vacuum cleaner cord the way the manufacturer intended – but it wasn’t the way that he liked it. He was very convincing, I believed him that I was the problem, even though my heart ached that this couldn’t possibly be love.

::Something happens when you are in an abusive relationship… almost that if you are in it, you can’t see it. There is no logical explanation for why someone would stay when every day is a bad day, but it happens::

Leaving him was the best decision I had made up to that point in my life. The second it was done I felt free from chains that I hadn’t realized were on me. I cried from relief for weeks. My realities today need to shift to what is truly around me, not be based on what was my life seven years ago.

Just as there are no little people or unimportant lives, there is no insignificant work. – Elena Bonner

 

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. – William James – To Your Success

 

Your hopes, dreams and aspirations are legitimate. They are trying to take you airborne, above the clouds, above the storms – if you will only let them. – Dan Zadra – To Your Success

Not only are my hopes, dreams and aspirations legitimate. I am legitimate. Even though things in my past have made me feel like I am not. I have felt like I am not worthy of love, of life even. This is changing. I am. You are. All of us are. I have a dream to be free from my past, I have aspirations to do something great with this life. I don’t need to forget my past, but I do need to not live in it anymore. I need to dream of what I want and fight for it to take root. I will fight for this, for my freedom from the bondage of depression, panic, and pain. I will get stronger.

Get stronger. Be a fighter for yourself. Raise your arms and stand a little taller today. Fight with fervor for the right to make your life what you want.

Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend

When I was a kid my parents always had us help with chores on Saturday. Every Saturday for a couple of hours, all five of the kids and both parents would do a deep sweep and clean up the house. I was always bemoaning my fate because of those lost two hours, I wanted to be outside playing, but now, I wish it only took a couple of hours on a Saturday to get my house in order.

The destruction of my apartment over the course of the week is a bit ridiculous. I always THINK “on Saturday, while the husband is working on homework, I will scrub the place down.” This has never happened. I sip on tea, I goof around on some of my favorite websites, and before you know it the husband is done with homework and it’s time to relax together. I’ve always beat myself up on not keeping everything as pristine and perfect as I would like for it to be, but the time I get with my husband is much more valuable.

The Character Ethic, which I believe to be the foundation of success, teaches that there are basic principles of effective living, and that people can only experience true success and enduring happiness as they learn and integrate these principles into their basic character. – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I’m very sure that I need to read the book, not use a daily calendar with quotes from it, to understand the basic principles of effective living. However, I am pretty sure that I have barely any of these character ethics in place at this time. :Note to self, read the book:

You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life. – Zig Ziglar

My dad had that impact on me a lot,  My mom does too. So does my sister who is like my twin, but she’s the good one. My husband is always there with words of comfort and open arms. Am I ever this way to them? Have I given anyone a few sincere words that may have made a difference? I want to. I want to be there for others.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. – Peter Francisco – To Your Success

I hear this a lot from my husband, as well as “Doing the same thing over and over and  hoping for a different result .. is the definition of insanity” (or will lead to it.. ) I do not want to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I just didn’t see a way out before now. I can see now that I have to change my thoughts and everything I do in my day in order to move out of this slump. In order to change my thoughts, I have to change everything else, it is EXHAUSTING, but I’m starting to like it.

Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what the ought to be. – William Hazlitt – To Your Sucess

What things are versus what they out to be. My things have been hurt, depressed, aching, trembling, and panic-ridden for the last seven years. They ought to be thriving, vibrant, joyful, excited, exhilarated, enthusiastic, hopeful, and happy – just to name a few. My brain, my heart, my everything is yearning for hope. Hope that I can end this depression, hope that I can end the terror that I haven’t been able to shake, and hope that I can live this life to the fullest capacity. I know it has to do with making a choice because on the days that I force myself to CHOOSE meditation and a run over giving in to pain, I feel better, not just physically, but mentally too. I have hope that this will happen for me, I feel that I just have to work hard to get it. It will be worth it.

Busy

 

 

…. that went a long way from my diatribe about housework.