Just Write–First Edition

This is my attempt at contribution to the awesome idea of Just Write . With the way things are with me, this very well will be the only post.  But I love the rules.: The fact that THERE ARE NONE. Because that’s exactly where I am at with my blogging. If you were to look in my archives you would notice that my blogging is often well researched, thought out, my arguments backed up as best as I can.  But I am just not there a this point in my life. I am desperate to get the fleeting thoughts in my head out. Outside of myself. And so this experience is exactly what I need. I don’t want to censor myself, check my spelling, give backstory and context etc.  I just want to get my thoughts out of myself. My own thoughts that belong to me, no matter how trivial.  So here we go.

I went to a meeting on “Mentoring” last week. I went thinking that I really really  want to be mentored in some way. As hard as it is to admit, I have many needs. Not even just needs “right now”, I just have needs. I’ve spent hours contemplating what I would like to grow and improve, and in some ways fix.  And how could a mentor pour into, or speak into that?  Then I walk in the door, and I say. “I am not sure if I need mentoring or if I should be doing it”.  And I really feel that way. I’ve had some out of this world mentoring in my life in the past. I am much of who I am today thanks to people that have poured into me. But it’s been many years since I’ve had any real mentoring. I am in a very different place now, and I am filled with questions. I could think of a million things that I could be taught, that I could learn by becoming an”apprentice” of someone else. I am desperate for someone to ask me “How is it going?”  It’s so funny that with dozens of social media outlets out there, people are “Checking in” everywhere.  But when’s the last time you asked someone, “Hey, how’s that thing going that you were talking about? Have you made any progress? Is that getting any better?” Why are people only superficially engaged these days?”  I would love to be able to say to someone sincerely and with a mix of vulnerability and confidence, “I don’t know what I am doing here. Can you guide the way?”

interestingly enough,I it’s been about 4 days since the meeting, and my hunger to both give and receive is gone. Just going to the meeting satiated something with wanting to be mentored. If I have to be honest, I am afraid of being rejected. Of someone telling me “You have more needs than anyone here could match”. I am afraid that I can’t narrow down one goal that I would like to tackle the most.

However I also need to be pouring into other people too. I really believe I have at least something to give. I can pour-in too.

I am falling asleep “justwrite” ‘ ing this. My job is on a mission to kill me these days.  I will have worked 13 days in a row with no day off coming up. But my blogging thoughts never flow during the wakeful hours.  I even drank a Diet Coke. It has no effect.

I desperately need a vacation. Maybe someone can mentor me to not allow work to swallow up my life. Making me tired, bitter, cranky, no fun, and feeling like I’m just surviving my life.

I want to write more the next time I am awake and coherent.

 

I love love love the welcoming to JustWrite.

 

 

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Blogging Blues

I’ve been meaning to blog for weeks now.

  • I’ feel like I’ve been experiencing more anxiety and depression in the last month or two then  I have in a very long time. This is itself is both discouraging and puzzling. I always feel somewhat “defeated” when I begin to wrestle with this condition, but here are some of the signs I know it’s back
  1. I am requiring greater amounts of caffeine just to feel “focused” and get through the day. Many costly Starbucks drinks;cases of Diet Coke. All outside my usual habits.
  2. Im feeling great physical anxiety in my body, to the point that several times since…May.. I’ve had to take tiny tiny tiny crumbs amount of old, old Xanax just to manage the physical tensions.
  3. I am feeling more affected. A few people in my life that are really just assholes, and don’t like me, and tend to talk shit about me to other people I know. I refuse to react in front of them, but internally I do feel it.
  4. My to-do list just gets longer and longer, despite having no more “busyness” than usual. It takes often days for me to cross of just one item.  Fortunately, there is much drive and motivation to get to my job. I think my psyche is well acquainted with the fact that my job is my livelihood and how I survive. ( I also have a new job, which while not the job I wanted to get, is better in many ways from my last one).

This next point is a bit of a story.

About one week ago, I was cleaning my range on a Sunday afternoon. It beyond needed it. My range looked like the health department needed to visit.. but I digress.

I was finally getting it clean. Taking all the burners off, and returning the range to the white color it is. Understand that as just mentioned, I have been feeling more depressed than usual. And it wasn’t just occurring around my menstrual cycle. I went to take one of the burners off—and there is a reason they call it a ‘burner’.  One of them was still really hot. But I didn’t realize this. So I grab it with that determined, “Im cleaning!” grab.  Owie, Owie, Owie, Owie!!!!

But that’s not entirely how it went down.

I was completely aware within seconds that the adrenaline that surged when I touched that hot burner almost “boiled away” my depression.  This is not a great sign.

Yes, it hurt. Yes, I had to soak my hand in ice water for a solid hour before I was okay.  And yes, I am totally fine.  But I think back to all I’ve read and know about intentional self-injury. The relief that it brings to people.  The pain literally “feels good” due to the endorphins it releases. The natural “morphine” your body produces to protect you. I believe those people.  That stuff is real. As a young teen and into my 20s I had an affection for body piercing as well. That was also the case. I think that was how I could keep piercing and re-piercing.  It didn’t hurt as much as it felt good.

All this leads me to believe that my brain chemistry is just not functioning as well as it ought to be. Why would it take pain to feel better than you usually do? Like someone took a defibilator to my brain and jump started it for an hour.

I am starting to grow concerned that I will need to visit my physician regarding these issues soon. Back to that whole feeling of defeat again. The last time I saw my physician regarding these issues was January 2009. So I have felt like I’ve had a lot of victory. I’ve started eating healthy food, joined the gym, and started taking fish oil (which was suggested by my physician) and other vitamin and mineral supplements. For over 19 months, that’s been enough.

Which is why I start to argue with myself and beat myself up. What has changed, what is different now? What’s been working for nearly three years that’s not working now?

Then I start to wrestle with the feeling like my life is stagnant. I just mentioned I have a new professional role. That is the opposite of stagnant, right? That’s new. But I feel so often so behind my peers. Im never sure if it’s gratitude or patience I am lacking more.  I never quite feel like I am moving into a new stage or phase.

Continued later..

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Mother’s Day

Oh, Mother’s Day…  how to organize my thoughts on this.

I guess you could say I always expect this day to be somewhat difficult.  Too many feelings a little too close to the surface that I would rather suppress. Today was not so bad. It actually went pretty well.

It started out with church this morning. A beautiful service. An even better sermon on “Fear” from Romans and 1 John. The “beginning ice breaker” was a video montage (My church has an artsy, beautiful video for everything–it’s what we do) of children from the church saying what they love most about their moms, their favorite food that mom cooks. It was full of humor of course. I nearly cried at that.

What I thought was an unexpected but EXCELLENT addition to the service was taking a moment out to pray for those present where this day is a day of pain or difficulty. They didn’t give examples, but I know that this day can be a very painful day for women suffering through infertility. I know about a handful of my peers that have struggled with this to some degree. Or those that have lost treasured parents.  I found myself thinking of parents that have lost children, and the person that all they think of is pain when they think of their mother. I don’t, actually, put myself in that latter group. I do remember snapshot moments of goodness with my mom. When we were whole.

Where my mind seemed to be parked at today in the service however…. was thoughts of last year. How 365 days ago, to the best of my knowledge, my child was alive. One year ago today, to this date, I was just weeks into the adjustment to reality that I would be having my own child by the end of 2010.  I remember how my feelings were a mix of ecstatic and nervousness.

If I recall correctly  , near this day last year, I had begun to experience some cramping and bleeding at work the previous days. I remember thinking there would be smoke coming out of my MacBook with the hundreds of pages I “Googled” on “pain and bleeding in early pregnancy”. Page after Page after page I looked at trying to educate and be and informed. Trying not to ask for help, but handle this in my own.  Wondering if this was normal or if I should be  worried.  At one point at the urging of the baby’s father, I went to the emergency room. I realize, not the best choice, but I hadn’t even had a normal doctor’s appointment yet.  All the emergency physician was able to do was confirm  I was pregnant, but my “numbers” were low. Pretty low for where they should have been by that many weeks. But there is no set number there. I was told that “it wasn’t looking good”but the numbers would have to triple by the following week, most likely, for the pregnancy to be viable. I was also told not to stress out (that can’t help things) that bleeding and cramping may be normal for many in early pregnancy. I was given the name of a high risk obstetrician in the area to follow-up.

Long story short… things didn’t improve. On May 12th, on a hard cold, paper lined table at that specialist’s office, I learned my baby, my first, sweet, dear baby  was not living. No heartbeat could be found.

..And that last sentence still labors my breath.  The end. My motherhood ended barely after it began. I blinked and missed it.

Only about five people total even knew that I was ever pregnant at all. I would guess that four out of five of those people now wouldn’t even remember that fact. It was so short,There was no comforting afterwards, and no one asked me how I was coping, etc.  Like it hadn’t even happened.  But I know it was very real for me. Which makes things difficult. No one would ever guess the thoughts and feelings I would have about this on this day. The sermon I mentioned was about “Fear” and how there are no more commands in the Bible more than “Do not Fear”. There is no need. But somewhere deep in my soul I fear that was my only chance. There will never be another baby.

Now I have to deal with the ramifications of everything that changed my life. I have to admit, that pregnancy, as fleeting as it may have been changed so much for me this last year. That I know for sure. I have changed my feelings, and beliefs, and even my behaviors (CBT, anyone??) heavily due to this issue.

My Facebook feed today was over the top as usual. Feeds just running with status updates and comments about Mother’s Day and congratulating Friends on Mother’s Day. It appeared that even my coworkers went around to all our mutual coworkers and wished them a happy mother’s day.

I am just going to say it:When it comes to the issue of Mother’s Day, I feel like I’m looking into a glass window or box from outside. I can see everything happening, but I don’t experience any of it. It’s very one-dimensional. That’s about more than just my failed pregnancy. But also about my own broken relationship with my mother.

The positive parts of this day were that I did send several cards this year to women I respect and care about. I did nothing out of obligation, but just out of honoring the wonderful people they are.

I am looking forward to going back to our regularly scheduled lives and most importantly… Facebook feeds tomorrow.

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Filed under Authenticity, Christianity, Family, Holidays, Life

What I Want You To Know: Incest Left Me Abandoned

On a popular blog I frequent, the conversation often turns to orphaned and abandoned children. What I want people to know is I consider myself both orphaned and abandoned. This is not to minimize those that have been abandoned or are truly orphaned by tragedy. But it is true that incest took away the only family I ever knew. While many survivors are left with a “non-offending parent” or other relative to care for them, every relative from my own mother, to my grandparents, to my aunts and uncles chose to turn away and not believe me. While my biological mother was not my abuser, she accused me of “stealing her man” and ruining her family. She cut me out of her life, unless I would recant my story and say it never happened. I wish people understood more that I can’t just “reconcile” with my biological parents. It’s not safe physically or psychologically for me to do so. Not only was I victimized before I became a legal adult, but when I tried to “bury the hatchet”and “put it behind me” I was attacked again at 22 years old. Incest took away my family. Now as a 30 year old, I wish people knew that I feel rootless in my life.I feel like I have no “soft place to fall” as people say when they think of “family”and “home”.

Holidays are some of the worst. Despite the many people I know and interact with, most knowing my situation, I have almost never gotten an invitation to a holiday. On some level I even understand that. Nobody really wants an outsider at their table. Family is intimate. And there’ that whole appropriate boundaries thing. This is one reason I’ve chosen a career that forces me to work on holidays, so I can keep busy and try not to think about it. It is hard for me to admit that at my age that I desperately want a family. I miss being told “I love you”, or getting a regular hug. That phone call at the end of a long hard day of “how was your day?” Looking forward to going “home” for a college break or holiday. I desperately want that place to belong.To know that someone is waiting for me somewhere.

As I look to the future of starting my own family, I grieve that I will not have grandparents for my children. But I also want them to have a sense of family too. I want my child(ren) to have aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Sometimes I fantasize about who will play “adopted family” roles. However, will those people agree to fill that role? In dating relationships, I fear that the issue of “family” and my past will come up. Why I moved to one of the biggest cities in the US as a teenager, where I knew not a soul is already a complicated conversation. “How did you just wind up here?”” they ask. Forget about the “When do I meet your parents?” question. I expect my wedding looking very different from the traditional big family ceremony that they have in the movies.

Family is who you choose it to be. At least I believe this. I feel like people are still much too hyper-focused on needing to be related by blood and legal relationships.I know that my experiences have shaped who I am. Everyone that knows me understands I have an open door policy if we have a relationship. If you need food, I will feed you. If you are about to be homeless, as long as I have a roof over my head, I will be sure you are not on the streets. I think of it as treating others as I’ve hoped to be treated. To me, it is what Jesus would do.

People of faith need to understand that “forgiveness” is not the band-aid or the clean slate to start over. Recently I was told, “It’s never too late to try again” in regard to a relationship with my mother. I have learned to believe that God does not want to see me be hurt. This is sometimes a daily affirmation that I have to say in the mirror Stuart Smalley style. I can love and honor her better at a distance then standing before her. Forgiveness is accepting that in her current state of brokenness, she cannot love, believe, protect me like she should have. It’s not that she acting maliciously, she is simply not capable with her heart and soul in the state that it has been. I am not the enemy.

What I want you to know is when people say, “I don’t have any family” perhaps think of how hard it is for them to say that. What deep pain led to that? There might be fear that you might assume they are perfectly happy being a “lone ranger”, or judge them in some way. Instead, say, “I understand. Is there perhaps anything I can do for you?” I do not want anyone feeling sorry for me. My circumstances have made me the strong, brave woman who I am But I do want you to know that you can help ease the pain.

That a person can be 30 years old and still want to be part of a family.

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Filed under Authenticity, Family, Holidays, Relationships, Therapy

New Thoughts & New Beginnings

So, I’ve abandoned this blog for about two and a half years.Much has happened since then. And just the same, things I’ve waited to  change any moment haven’t changed at all. I’ve recently had many thoughts and I am seeking an outlet. Blogging unfortunately has been mostly forgotten by everyone due to this little website called Facebook. Those that blog now are known as bloggers. They get sponsored to go to fancy themed conferences. They are also sent new products for review on the blog whose readership is in the thousands per day. Those that in many ways begin to cater their content to their readers, and to what topics get the most readers. Alternatively, what posts drive down the readership they seem to cut down on.

Anyway. I feel like I have much to say. But don’t know how much courage I’ll have to put things here. Even though Im sure hardly anyone will see this.

So, Im thirty now. This has been a big milestone for me for many reasons. Part of me doesn’t really believe Im 30 yet. It doesn’t help that I physically look only as old as 22 or 23 as said by most people. I realize that it’s probably going to be a good thing in 5-10 more years.  But I have always felt like people don’t take me seriously because I appear to be so young. I find myself frustrated much of the time that I get the “So, are you still in School?” question.

Now  I know it’s not a big deal. No. Im not in school. I’ve been out for 5 years. But what people do assume about me is that I living with my parents (whatever!), people are paying my way, that I really don’t have real-life anxieties and big things to be concerned about.

Just today, I was scrolling through Facebook on my way out to my car (iPhone! 🙂 Didn’t have one of those the last time I blogged!) I noticed that today, two of my Facebook friends announced they had closed escrow on their homes. Of course I am happy for them. One of them is a single mother of a pre-schooler whose husband an affair for several years with the wife’s closest friends. She is now thousands of miles away from him raising the child alone, working a professional job and raising a boy. She deserves this house!

The other is a married couple that recently moved out of California and in the last 2 years put down twenty-two offers AT ASKING PRICE OR ABOVE and were outbid by investors.

But what I’m really thinking/feeling is, “What is wrong with me? Why are some of these people YOUNGER than me, and have these things? Really, is there something wrong with me that I don’t have these things yet?  

I really had envisioned a much different script for my life. I have to keep in check how often I think about whether I made a rogue left-turn in life somewhere.  Even though my mind pretty knows pretty confidently, my heart has more trouble getting on board with the fact that God has this all figured out already. I don’t need to stress about it.

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Understatement of the Year, Perhaps.

Society Does Not Understand Child Sexual Abuse.

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Healing Holly

I am attempting to get the word circulated to help Holly. Please pass this site on to anyone you can, or to any non-profits or organizations you can think of that could help Holly.  I believe that we can. Yes. We. Can!  –Thanks.

Holly emailed me, offering help on the new website.  After checking out her online community for women, healing and feminist blogs, I could tell that she knew what she was doing, so I accepted her offer.  She added those cute little buttons so that you can now forward the show to your friends on myspace, facebook, stumble it, digg it, or post it on delicious.  Check out what she did at StirringUpTrouble.com.

IMG_1557.JPGHolly sent me an email telling me that the site was live and apologized for being out of communication for a bit.  She said that she’d been sleeping an unusual amount and felt groggy.  I, knowing some of her story of child sexual abuse, asked her if she was using sleep as a coping mechanism.  I suggested that she write about that on her healing blog and I would put it on the Survivor Manual since I am interested in sharing all things having to do with healing, wholeness and getting off the Trauma Train!

But the reasons for Holly’s unusual sleep patterns go much deeper than coping.  It turns out that Holly has Periodontal Disease, which is a gum disease that swells your gums up to the point where they become inflamed and hurt very badly.  Periodontal Disease releases toxins through your gums that you swallow all the time. The reason Holly has begun sleeping so much is because these toxins are beginning to get worse and are making her nauseous. I looked up Periodontal Disease and found that if it is left untreated it can lead to a seizure or a heart attack.  Recently Holly told me that she has been feeling electric-like surges throughout her face.

The reason I’m writing this is because this all began with child abuse.  When Holly was a young child, not only was her mother selling her to men for sexual favors to be able to afford her drug addiction, but Holly’s mother was also violent.  She pushed Holly into the street one day when Holly was about 3.  Holly fell, hit her face on a street curb, and all of her front teeth pushed into her gums.  She had to get them surgically removed.

Holly’s front teeth didn’t grow back in until she was around 8 and when they did, they grew in extremely crooked and her mouth produced more teeth than would fit.  Holly’s wisdom teeth are coming in now and one of them is all the way grown in and another that is growing in now.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Because Holly is uninsured and cannot afford to get any of this fixed.  She has tried getting on welfare, free clinics, and sliding scale clinics, and every time they either don’t have enough oral surgeons for all the help she needs or she makes too much or too little money.

I know what it’s like to not have insurance and not be able to pay for health care.  A few years ago I had such an intense asthma attack that my friend Aly rushed me to the hospital.  Because I was unable to breathe, I was rushed right into the emergency room.  It was after I was put onto a breathing machine and stabilized that I was brought all the paperwork to sign.  I began to cry when the nurse asked which insurance I had.  Not only was I not insured but there was no way I was able to pay for a hospital bill.  The nurse had seen my documentary and knew who I was.  She was an angel in my life and erased any trace of me in the hospital and I never received a bill.  She also provided me with some free inhalers before I left.  I don’t know what I would have done at the time if Aly and that nurse had not miraculously shown up.

I wouldn’t tell you about Holly if she wasn’t a warrior and a hero.  Just like people have helped me along the way, I am going to help Holly and I am asking for your help.  I’m asking that all of us pitch in and get Holly’s teeth fixed.  I realize that we’re in a financial crisis and because of that we are all going to need to bond together as a community more and more in the future.

The gist of Holly’s story is in an interview she did for her local newspaper in 2007 here : http://www.thetimes-tribune.com/articles/2007/01/08/top_local_stories/17682154.txt

If Holly doesn’t get the Periodontal Disease taken care of, she could die from a seizure or a heart attack because of all of the toxins her mouth produces.  If I had not had that angel for a nurse and the angel Aly Drummond, I would have died.  So I want to help pay my gratitude for life forward.  Healing Holly is not going to solve all of the problems in the world but it will be one amazing story with a happy ending that I personally really want to see. And I will throw a DANCE PARTY!!

IMG_2037.JPGPlease be one of Holly’s angels! The many procedures she needs are going to be very expensive so any amount helps.  If everyone who gets this gave a little something – we may save a life! The donations are gifts and not tax write-offs. If you or someone you know is part of a non-profit willing to collect and donate the money as well, please help.

Please go to paypal.com and send money to givelove@angelashelton.com or use this button:

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