The shoulds, the musts and the little girl...

3.23.2016 -

A friend sent me this video she said she shared it with me about a year ago and I don’t remember watching it which makes me realize I wasn’t ready for it back when she sent it then. But when she resent it today and said you guys are part of my redwood forest and I sat and watched this video twice within the time span of a couple of hours, I was very ready for it this time. It couldn’t be more perfect timing. It's all about the fight lately with the shoulds and the must and I needed some practical ways to write it all down, process through and move forward without letting the fear, the shoulds, dictate what I know I need and want in the musts.It is all so relevant right now with myself and with Sam and I and our future.

But then when she gets to the little part where she talks about people asking the "well now what” and she said, “Call your mom. Or someone who knew you as a kid. So often our must is rooted in our childhood. It’s something we did very freely. We gave it away to everyone. We were putting on plays and running around in doodle bug farms and giving performances on pogo sticks. None of this was motivated by anyone but you. And if you go back to that place we will find clues and traces that will remind us what is seeded closest to our must."
And the faucet of my emotions turned on. The getting in touch with the child again...

This is currently what I am working on with my therapist. Last week we started dealing with the black holes of time in my memory where I don’t even remember years of my life. Working through the memories I do have and processing what was going on and what in those times I was feeling and why. It’s incredibly difficult and painful and the things that I have started to remember have terrified me of what else I will remember my brain has coped away that I am going to have to deal with. Until I process through and heal through my first connections, relationships, experiences, how I learned what I did and morphed from those things into who I became, I will not move forward and heal and grow in those things.
And now I have yet another reason for me to heal my childhood. I struggle with seeing the path in front of me. I struggle to see the direction and clarity in life, what I want, what I aspire to make of this life, because that little girl is not free. My must is blurry and begging and confused. That little girl has grown up in the confines and lies that she had to conform and change and she did that very well. The good inside this crazy vibrant amazing little girl that I know WAS there; I have to find her. I have to nurture her. I have to tell her she is good. I have to know her. I have to take the lies out of her head that were planted there and tell her no actually THIS is the truth….Who you are IS beautiful. It IS wonderful. You are a fabulous being. You are good. Your heart is not evil. Your strength is amazing. You are enough. Be you little girl. Be YOU! And I have to morph back into the little girl I was supposed to be and know that that was enough. If the little girl doesn’t heal the woman will never be all she was meant to be.

"That is crazy and doesn't make any sense!"

3.22.2016 -


First day back to school from spring break I thought would be rough for these two but they were way too hyper for me on a Monday morning. On any morning for that matter. I loved that they were having such an easy time with getting back into routines while mommy was having so much trouble. 

They both still had some leftover red and blue nail polish on their fingernails going to school today from spring break fun with daddy. In our after school talks today Conner informed me that one of the girls told him that only girls can paint their fingernails because that's the law of Jesus and Connor said he told her that that was crazy and didn't make any sense and he liked it so he was going to do it. And Caiden said a boy called them girls and he told him I'm a boy and I don't care what you say. 

Let me just say the emotion and pride that welled up in my chest was explosive. I held in the tears until I could escape to "go to the bathroom" and process the array of emotions that came barreling out. In the midst of all the shit storms and personal growth we are going through to have a moment to see my 7 year olds knowing their voice and using it, I can't put in words how that feels. How is it they are doing what I didn't know how to do or learn to do until I was well into my 20's. A sign to me that they are watching us. A reminder it's okay. Everything may look and feel devastating right now, fragile, unknowing but they are okay. You're doing okay. Just keep going. Proud, proud, proud of my little men and feeling a sudden surge of power and encouraging to keep on warrioring. Because the freedom for them to break boxes, explore, know their voice, love themselves, and not be dictated physically or mentally by what others say to them or about them is all my heart yearns and wants to lead an example of for them.

Because It's Okay

-
"Sleep doesn't help if it's your soul that is tired."
No matter how much sleep I get this week my body just keeps screaming for more. And I believe at this point it's merely responding to the weariness of a different kind of tired entirely. When it feels like it takes a weeks worth of willpower to be there emotionally and mentally for your kids to get them breakfast and off to school. To make yourself go on a run because it's the one healthy coping skill you have you can use. When you have to use that weeks worth of will power to force yourself to eat something. To stay away from the bedroom so you don't crash into bed again. To write emails to clients and to be excited about what deep down you are really passionate about but depression has for the time being stolen away from you. And when you can finally crash at night you wonder what you are going to do in the morning because you used up your already low tank into the negative over simple daily tasks and things that should be life giving. Why do I share these things? Share my darkness? Because I know it's okay not to be okay now. I know despite what I'm told or feel I am not alone. I know that while I'm afraid of the darkness I am not afraid to go into it and I know I will one day walk out the other side and be better from it. Because I am not wearing a mask and pretending life is amazing when it is not. Because I am not playing the games anymore I raised in and raised to play. Because I know vulnerability and human nakedness breeds connection and truth and unbreakable bonds with other raw and real souls.
"The middle is messy and dark but you have to go right through it. There is no other way to live. You must die a thousand deaths to live. I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of vulnerability. Of uncertainty of being emotionally exposed. I just know that if you are willing to go in there is beauty in it. And I know there are two choices. I can go in or I can stand on the outside of the dark my whole life and hustle and pretend for my worthiness. And standing on the outside in the dark I am not willing to do anymore." - Brene Brown

Just for a few fleeting days...

3.21.2016 -
Last week being spring break we started the weekend out with some family coming down to pick up Jared for a visit, which was a whole other processing stinging experience in and of itself, and when last Monday hit the boys and I completely shut off the world at home. I have had zero ability to cope and tolerate people and being in this town the last two months. My therapist says it’s because I am extra raw and vulnerable. The level of being able to put on the blinders and have tunnel vision to survive has gone tremendously down since court in February. I am triggered more than ever and have a barely there short fuse for things I see as wrong doings towards others or myself which is literally every time I go out here.

And I was soaking in it just being us 4, it just being the boys and I. I needed this. We played games and snuck out for sonic happy hour and hurried back home again with their favorite songs blaring on repeat for nap times and cuddles in pjs and underwear and more games and late nights and late mornings them coming in and snuggling into bed to sleep in with Mom. We mowed the yard and had picnics on the porch and talked about girls and what nudity means and nude beaches, and life, and good dreams and nightmares and found out Conner wants to live in China and Caiden wants to take a vacation to New York City. And we talked about religions and connections and spirituality and morals and good and evil and why there were bad people in the world and spiders.

I forgot about life, about people here, about my mess of a family, about the people that don’t understand or don’t care that support my abuser, about the pain, about all the crap Sam and I have to work through as individuals and in our marriage. I forgot…just for a few fleeting moments; hours; days.
And then with a trip to OKC, and upon bringing Jared back home and upon entering back into the routine of life we have here this week it has all hit with a vengeance once more. I want to stay hiding but I can’t. My bed begs for me to wrap me back up in comfort and ignore the undeniables for temporary fleeting time. My soul is tired and no matter how much sleep I get this week my body just keeps screaming for more. And I believe at this point it's merely responding to the weariness of a different kind of tired entirely. When it feels like it takes a weeks worth of my willpower to be there emotionally and mentally for the kids to get therm breakfast and off to school. To make myself go on a run because it’s the one healthy coping skill I have I can use. When I have to use that weeks worth of will power to force myself to eat something. To stay away from the bedroom so I don’t crash into bed again. To write emails to clients and be excited about what deep down I am really passionate about but depression has for the time stolen away from me. And when I finally crash at night I wonder what I am going to do in the morning because I used up my already low tank into the negative over simple daily tasks and things that should be life giving.

Why do I share these things? Share my darkness? Because I know it’s okay not to be okay now. I know that while I’m afraid of the darkness I am not afraid to go into and even though I want to shut the world off most times I don’t want to really shut off connections I could have with others. “The middle is messy and dark but you have to go right through it. There is no other way to live. You must die a thousand deaths to live.” - Brene Brown

Because I am not wearing a mask and pretending life is amazing when it is not. Because I am not playing the games anymore I was raised in and raised to play. I know being vulnerable can bring misunderstanding and hatred from some. But I also know and have experienced vulnerability and human nakedness breeds connection and truth and unbreakable bonds with other raw and real souls that do understand and love.

“I am not less afraid of the dark. I just know that if you are willing to go in there is beauty in it. I’m afraid of vulnerability and being emotionally exposed. But I have been in there before and I know the beauty of it. And I know the choice is going in or standing on the outside of the dark my while life and hustling and pretending for my worthiness. And standing on the outside…that I am not willing to do now.” Brene Brown

Process? WTF is that...

3.01.2016 -
These past 3-4 weeks have been the most confusing, exhausting, overwhelming weeks. That feeling of how could things possibly get any harder and then they do. The battle I just went through has been a long time coming and has left me with so much going on inside I haven’t been able to process anything on my own. Nothing. It’s just a mass mess of painful and overwhelmingness. It has scared me. I’m finding myself questioning everything and everybody.

I don’t know how in the hell I am supposed to feel. What I am supposed to feel first. What am I supposed to process first. What do I dare touch first.
There’s anger at my father for his obvious unchanging sickness. I am angry at my mother for not ever taking a stand, for not showing she cared, for taking the abusers side, for helping the abuser, for playing it cold, for still playing games with me now. I am angry at all the people that filled his side of the court room. For the people who said the abuser was the victim in all this. That the abuser deserved mercy because "his family has suffered enough". What do they know! I am angry that not ONE member of my family stood up against him. That they sat on his side of the courtroom or didn’t come at all and left me to fight alone. I am angry that they say one thing and do another. I am angry at the games and manipulation in my family. I am angry at the triangulation between siblings. I am angry I am still the scapegoat. And how the hell am I supposed to even process this shit again? Like what the hell does that even mean at this point. How do I process things that feel like daggers in my soul. All these people that show validations and empathy for the person who destroyed my body and mind.

And yet in all this anger I’m relieved I got to see with my own eyes at court where people actually stood. Relieved that I had a DA that fought like hell for justice and the team of people some I had never met that saw through the bullshit of my family and their friends. Relieved I am able to have the strength to step away and out of my family’s circle as needed without feeling guilt anymore. Relieved I had the army there with me I did have by my side squeezing strength into my fingers and wrapping me in comfort when my heart was feeling like it was being crushed and knifed by a dozen knives.

And the most unexpected emotion of the day was humor. As soon as my father stood to say his few words before the judge I felt this laughter of disgust and disbelief yet mixed with “not really surprised” well up inside me. The same old bullshit, the same underlined anger, the same manipulation, the same fake emotions that I could now see through…it was still him. The same monster disguised. The same asshat who snuck into the dark at night. The same groomer. The same manipulator. The same pedaphile. The same man hiding behind false humility and lies and "Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior”. He had been caught, I spoke up when he thought I never would, he had lost his power, and his games to try to walk out of that room a free man were in strong play. And I watched my aunt hugging my mother as he talked. I watched my brother sitting with his wife's arm around his shoulder patting his back. I stared at the back of my uncle’s head wondering HOW?! I watched his friends sitting in their seats their heads hanging. I looked at the rows and rows of people and my heart felt pity. Relief. Disgust. Humor. Not just anger. I remember being in their lifes just 5 years ago and it makes my hairs stand on end. Looking in from the outside I wonder now, how in HELL I ever survived as long as I did, and played those games as long as I did.

And so how. How. How do I process the feelings of panic I felt. The feelings of vulnerability in front of a room of people who’s actions where showing they had no empathy or care for anyone but the abuser. How do I process feeling like I was sitting in a lions den sharing the most painful and vulnerable gruesome parts of myself with my father sitting with his back to me, his nose in the air, his lawyer sitting there as if waiting to try and pounce on me. My body telling me to run, and never stop. My voice feeling like a thousand bees stinging my throat. Stumbling over words and sentences of a stupid damn 3 page statement. Trying to explain what your heart, body and mind has been through with something so traumatic.

How do I process one of my father’s character witness coming over after he was sentenced and handed over to the sheriff’s department and graveling at me feet, apologizing and saying he didn’t agree with what his friend did…well buddy your words and actions sure don’t match there. Did he ACTUALLY expect me to talk to him? To shake his hand in the middle of my panic attack and high emotions and desires to literally crawl under the seat and curl up in a ball? Did my sister who snuck up behind me and grabbed me around my neck and whisper I’m sorry I love you after everyone left the room expect a response from me after sitting on his side of the courtroom in the shadows of the back corner?

How do I process people actually feel sorry for my parents? That they can empathize with their “suffering” in this mess? Their “suffering” that has been caused by THEIR choices and THEIR actions not inflicted upon them by someone. How do I process the fact that my father stated he thinks he is owed an apology? That I started this, I got him caught, he was found out and they think I am still to blame? How in hell were there people there from our old church sitting in silence and gloom in the back of the room. How the hell is this a game, a pick a side gamble, choice? Why are some so willing to hold their arms open and continue giving chances to people who have done nothing but give worthlessness and distrust and have played games.

How do I process that I have to accept being the outcast in my family. That putting energy into my family means pain on my part. How do I process when I think something is going well, my sisters are healing and then everything blows up in my face again and it feels like I lost everyone once again. How do I process the betrayal of having not a single one of your family with you in the courtroom, or willing to stand up for what is right; how do I process the incredibly unimaginably painful. Having to keep on facing being the family loner, the scapegoat, the one that doesn’t want to be in the unhealthy triangulation and game playing and manipulation.

I feel like I am standing on the edge of a black abyss of emotions with no way around it to move forward but to jump in and crash at the bottom and break open into a million pieces and then heal those pieces and put myself back together again and start climbing terrified up the other side of the abyss. And I’m avoiding it. I stand at the edge my obsessive counting keeping me from dealing with too much, my mask wearing for my kid’s sake on point, my raw and real hiding behind it trying to peak out every now and then. Knowing if I try to jump in all at once or alone I will have a mental breakdown. So I cope. I wait…for my therapy sessions.

And so...I feel like I am currently standing on the edge of a black abyss with no way around it and to move forward I must jump in and fall and fall and fall and fall and crash at the bottom and break open into a million pieces. And then I have to heal those pieces, and get help, and find support and put myself back together again, heal, recover and then start climbing up the other side of the terrifying, seemingly impossible jags and steepness to get back out of the abyss. And I’m currently avoiding it. I know to what depths and magnitude I face. I stand at the edge and let my mind race and my repetitive counting cope my brain, and fight all the symptoms of PTSD as best I can. I put on my mommy mask when I need too for my kid’s sake my raw and real hiding behind it trying to peak out every now and then. And all the while feeling if I try to jump alone I will have a mental breakdown. I won’t be able to handle the years and years of pain and trauma that will overtake me let alone all of this currently. I try to keep surviving. I remind myself that my monster is behind bars. I need to process that first. Somehow, I have to fight through all the faces that were in that courtroom and get to that truth. The one truth for sure I can stand firm in. He’s locked away. He’s gone. So I cope through as best I can and wait for my therapy sessions. For the slow slide down the abyss and then stopping to cling onto a rock until I can slide down some more to cling onto another rock. For me its baby steps and that’s okay. Because I know and I’m moving and I’m doing the most I can handle in this confusing shit hole of hell.

“Don’t Quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.”

February Ipsy Review

2.23.2016 -

This year I started a couple of monthly subscriptions for the fun of getting packages and surprises to myself dropped off at my doorstep every month. I mean who doesn't love a surprise and "good" mail for a change. It's only two months in and I'm already hooked. One package I received sat begging to be opened on my desk for two days because I wanted to make sure I had the time to dig through and enjoy it when I did open it. 

My coffee shop owner friend told me about Ipsy and when I finally went to look into it I got curious and exciting about the $10.00 a month subscription and decided to try it out. I love the fact they find out your style and what you like and then customize what they send to you accordingly instead of everyone getting the same things every month. The lipgloss was the only thing I did not like in this month's package. Just because it's lipgloss...and I despise lipgloss. So that little beauty is going in my lil' gifts-and-surprise-mail-for-others box.
Otherwise I'm impressed. Good brands. Good sizes. And it's a fun treat to have mailed to yourself. 

You guys should totally go give it a try! - Ipsy.com

Karen

2.05.2016 -
Nothing makes me happier than going into a shoot with someone who is feeling down with life, struggling with circumstances, not feeling all that great and then getting them to feel like a million bucks again and empower them in front of my camera though my camera! It's my little slice of gold to put out into the world. Being behind my camera and bringing out the raw and real inside people, bringing out their lives and stories, creating stories together; it fills me up!