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  • On being single and demisexual

    I was out with my lovely friend Amy the other day, and we got to discussing dating and being demi. I don't really have many opportunities to talk about it with good friends who get it, but Amy gets it. I am SO GRATEFUL for the opportunity to verbalize to her what's been going on inside of me, because putting my thoughts into words often leads to things becoming clearer and me understanding something about myself that I'd had trouble getting my head around. Yes, I need to write more. Writing is great but also rather hard for me. I'm working on it, so here we go. I'll also be putting this up on megg.us but i'd rather type it here than link.
     
    ...
     
    I talked to her about how much I've changed in the past ~4 years, and how it's been difficult to adjust to this new normal. I talked about having difficulty dating, and before that, having extreme difficulty being sexualized post-trauma. Or even just having people noticeably find me attractive. While I still have some issues there, it's not to the extreme it was (there were times it made me literally vomit). We discussed how my view of myself has changed. Gaining self-esteem, self-love, self-worth, and confidence has been amazing, as I did not have that for most of my life. I actively hated myself. I insulted myself all the time and even self-injured. That urge isn't there anymore—the habit is gone. There's still times when I call myself a dumbass in my head for forgetting something or making a mistake but it's not often, and when I do I notice it, correct myself and replace it with a kind/gentle thought. I'm pretty amazed by this. I tried to change this for a long time, but the root of it was hidden so deep inside that I couldn't reach it. My brain just buried it all in self-defense. Trauma shook just about everything loose. It was horrific and extremely difficult, but when stuff came up I was finally able to face it and deal with it. I don't know that I'd label that as a "blessing" or a "benefit", but I am certainly thankful for the outcome.
     
    I've come to realize how distorted and dysfunctional my relationship with love and...well, relationships was for a long time. I didn't feel confident about myself, didn't love myself, didn't trust myself, and didn't value myself. There was a big hole inside me when it came to self-worth, and so I relied on others' opinions to fill it in. That of course is a precarious position to put myself in, not to mention the people I love. It wasn't just self-worth I sought in other people, either. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I was also searching for my identity: who I was as a person. Sometimes even my personality. Relationships became my self-expression, became my identity. Who I was changed depending on who I was with, and because I put all this stuff (consciously and unconsciously) on my relationships, they struggled. The hole inside me gaped. I tried to fill it with people, I tried to ignore it with alcohol. My relationships were unstable and so was I. They struggled and failed and so did I. I hurt a lot of people and I hurt myself.
     
    I'm not going to say I'm ashamed of this stuff, because I'm not. I'm not going to shame myself anymore. I've spent too much of my life shaming myself for everything and it's been unhelpful and destructive. Through my healing I did come to recognize that what I was doing was unhealthy and hurtful, and when I finally did come to that realization I worked to change it. And change it I have.
     
    I don't *need* relationships like I used to. I was a serial relationship-ist for a long time. Being alone was frightening. I needed the attention and affection I wasn't giving myself and sought it out in others. I needed the stability and solidity of relationships to function. When I became single, I immediately started dating and hanging out with friends w/benefits so I didn't have to face that gaping empty hole inside me. These days I give myself attention and affection and love, and that's changed everything. I'm not indiscriminately seeking people out to gain affection or intimacy. That sounds bad—I did have some level of discrimination, but I generally let emotion lead me, and it led me into a lot of uncomfortable and distressing situations. I wasn't listening to my inner knowing, or to anything rational inside me. I just felt shit and believed it (whether true or not) and then did shit. Emotions can reveal a lot but they're just not truths, and while I did have some good experiences, a lot of them were anything but.
     
    In my years of healing I've learned that I have ME to rely on. I'm working on that and getting stronger every day. PTSD forced me to have to learn how to adult all over again: how to take care of myself, how to manage day to day shit, how to communicate with people and listen to others. How to be social. How not to be awkward in social situations. It's thrown some serious curveballs at me like brain fog, issues with memory, stuttering, muscle and joint pain/stiffness, all of which flare up if I'm triggered. I get overwhelmed a shit-ton easer when I used to be the multi-tasking queen (not that that's something to be proud of. My skill at multitasking came from an anxious, fearful, overly analytical racing mind) I've had to adapt and cope with this new stuff. Some things I won't get back and I've had to learn to live with it. I'm setting reminders to set reminders. I step away from situations when they start to get me worked up. It's hard, and it's not all good, but I'm doing it. I'm settling into this new life and I'm doing it all myself. I feel PRETTY DAMNED AWESOME about that, too.
     
    Now don't get me wrong, I do get lonely. Last year was really bad due to the circumstances I was in, but this year has been so much better. I'm not isolated. I have [a] real job[s] with guaranteed income and free time. I get to socialize with people on a daily basis. Loneliness doesn't consume me. It doesn't make me want to curl up into a ball and implode. I can spend time with myself and enjoy it. I enjoy it a lot, in fact! I love myself.
     
    I LOVE MYSELF. I can say that over and over and over and know that I mean it. I feel it deep in my gut and my heart as a truthful statement. I HAVE worked very hard on my healing, and I'm continuing to work very hard on my healing. I don't shame myself anymore when I recognize my negative behavior. I acknowledge it and where it's hurting me and others, apologize if necessary and possible, and work to change it. I don't rely on anyone else but myself for my own stability or for my sense of self worth. I don't rely on anyone else to save me. Funny enough, I had so much trouble asking for help in the past because I saw it as shameful, and yet things would inevitably reach a boiling point inside me, explode, and I'd end up getting that help. I do try my damnedest to help myself first, but have gotten so much better at recognizing when I *do* need help and then asking for it. Doesn't mean I always get help, but I can ask now.
     
    So on this "meh" feeling about dating: I'm not having to seek out other people to validate my self-worth and provide me with a sense of stability. I have that now, independent of anyone else. In my head, I'm not constantly putting myself on display for others or wondering if I'm attractive enough. I'm not rating everyone I meet in my head on their attractiveness and suitability as a partner. I'm not constantly evaluating others' interactions with me to determine if they're flirting and/or if they think I'm attractive (ok TBQH I still do this with some women but only because the line between no homo and yes homo isn't always clear to me o_o I am clueless).
     
    With that in place, my demisexuality has popped out and said OH HEY. There's a lot of beautiful people in the world, but I don't feel sexual attraction to many (most) of them any more. I don't even think about it, really. That happened on its own a couple years ago, and it's so completely opposite of how I used to be that it's been hard to adjust to. I thought I was broken for a long time. I most definitely had (and still have some) trust issues, but I worked on them in therapy for a long time. After a while, I felt inside I was willing to try. I enabled my OK cupid profile and messaged people. I downloaded some other dating apps and made profiles there too. I've had extended conversations with a good handful of folks , and yet have been so noncommittal about it. I'm sure this has probably pissed some people off and/or made them nope the hell on out, but I don't know. I can take it or leave it right now. To some extent I'm still afraid of getting close to other people and being disappointed, but after my conversation with the lovely Amy on Tuesday, I've realized that's not what's driving me.
     
    I'm just ok being by myself. If someone comes along and the stars align and we hang out and I feel that deep emotional connection and it goes from there, that's great! I don't *need* it. And I don't *want* to need anyone, platonically or otherwise. I don't want anyone to make me happy, make me a better person, always have my back, or save me. I want that from MYSELF, and I have it and it's getting better every day. I have old friendships and new friendships that benefit from this. Perhaps eventually I'll find someone in that same place, fall in love, and our powers combined will enhance all of it in each other and make it Even Better. These days I don't *need* anyone else to be happy and secure and stable anymore. I just need me. And I'm SO OK with that.
     
    Thanks Amy <3
  • learned helplessness

    have you ever heard or read something and it flipped a switch, turned on the brain lightbulb? 

    it happens to me a lot. a lot of times i have a concept, an idea, a knowing bouncing around in my head, and while it's there and I can concieve of it and fully comprehend it in the abstract/in imagery, that knowing doesn't make an impact on my life, behavior, or choices. It's like a seed of a concept of an idea of a breakthrough, and i'm seeing it in its foetal stage, not yet fully formed. 

    then, somewhere, I'll read something (as is the usual lately) and the light goes on, the legos snap, the magnets click together. Verbal connects with non-verbal, and suddenly the dream imagery of a breakthrough becomes tangible. A thing with substance, an entity, a reality. 

    That happened to me today when I read the words "learned helplessness." Today's click was palpable. I felt a burst of energy tingles, i felt that warm light around my heart, and I knew. 

    So many of my struggles to accomplish have been me butting up against learned helplessness. IT'S THAT FROZEN FEELING. can't move. shut down. closed off. a statue, a mind without body. an observer without a mind. THIS is what i've been struggling against, and now I understand why it was so difficult to overcome. I needed the right strategy.

    And now I have it. I've been a victim of learned helplessness. But I'll be damned if I'm going to shame myself for that or let anyone else shame me for it. No one can solve a problem they don't fully understand, except perhaps by chance. 

    Oh, chance! You elusive beastie. Your visit is welcomed and appreciated.

    It's 4 AM, so the details will have to wait until tomorrow.

  • i want a dyke for president...

    my gay non-binary afab self is crying cos I'm terrified by this election and everyone screaming and no one listening. i have only just begin to understnad. and my heart is breaking for me and for those who have lived their lives facing prejudice and racism and hate every day (longer than I have been alive), who are forced to live with low- or mid- or high-level fear, who are harassed and assaulted and jailed and murdered for their skin color, their religion, their race, their gender, their orientation. my heart is breaking for all of us who in this moment feel hopeless and terrified and distraught and confused. my heart is breaking for everyone who has fought so hard, many longer than I have been alive, for basic human rights and respect and recognition and equality and a living wage and an escape from poverty...right now it all seems to be sliding back and the level of fear out there in the world is palpable. it is a hard night to be an empath. it is a harder noght for many many more, and so much harder for that multitude to face the day tomorrow. Please, let's find each other, all of us, in every moment of the coming days and get through this. together. 

  • mo anam cairde

    ...being an anam cara requires of a purposeful presence — it asks that we show up with absolute integrity of intention. That interior intentionality, O’Donohue suggests, is what sets the true anam cara apart from the acquaintance or the casual friend — a distinction all the more important today, in a culture where we throw the word “friend” around all too hastily, designating little more than perfunctory affiliation. But this faculty of showing up must be an active presence rather than a mere abstraction — the person who declares herself a friend but shirks when the other’s soul most needs seeing is not an anam cara. Maria Popova, writing for brainpickings.org

    The phrase "anam cara" became significant to me in 2008. I had "mo anam cara" engraved on the ring which I gave to J at our first handfasting. I added John O'Donohue's Anam Cara: A Book Of Celtic Wisdom to my wish list as well, but never acquired it. It may be time to do so...the phrase and what it means recently popped up again like a lit billboard - rather synchronistically in relation to some encounters I've had in the past few days.

    In [that book which impacted me enormously and which I often mention] The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck speaks about genuine love in a similar fashion:

    Because genuine love involves an extension of oneself, vast amounts of energy are required and, like it or not, the store of our energy is as limited as the hours of our day. We simply cannot love everyone. True, we may have a feeling of love for mankind, and this feeling may also be useful in providing us with enough energy to manifest genuine love for a few specific individuals. But genuine love for a relatively few specific individuals is all that is within our power. To attempt to exceed the limits of our energy is to offer more than we can deliver, and there is a point of no return beyond which an attempt to love all comers becomes fraudulent and harmful to the very ones we desire to assist. Consequently, if we are fortunate enough to be in a position in which many people ask for our attention, we must choose among them whom we are actually to love. This choice is not easy; it may be excruciatingly painful, as the assumption of godlike power so often is. But it must be made. Many factors needs to be considered, primarily the capacity of a prospective recipient of our love to respond to that love with spiritual growth. People differ in this capacity…It is, however, unquestionable that there are many whose spirits are so locked in behind impenetrable armor that even the greatest efforts to nurture the growth of those spirits are doomed to almost certain failure. To attempt to love someone who cannot benefit from your love with spiritual growth is to waste your energy, to cast your seed upon arid ground. Genuine love is precious, and those who are capable of genuine love know that their loving must be focused as productively as possible through self-discipline.

    There was a time when I bent myself backwards trying to do nice things for others and help people as much as I could, to a fault. Most often at my own expense. I tried my hardest to see the good in everyone, but often used this as an excuse to ignore issues, to ignore important-but-uncomfortable discussions. There was a time when I wanted to be liked by everyone, when I did everything I could to avoid conflict because I was afraid of it. I compromised my integrity and ignored my values and intuition in the interest of not creating waves or upsetting others. I held my tongue when people did or said something that hurt me, or brushed it off instead of having a conversation about it: "Ahh no worries! It's nothing!" Worse, I convinced myself this was the right thing to do. This lead to being hurt again and again, and me swallowing my emotions and looking the other way. I allowed a lot of unexpressed hurt, anger, and resentment build up inside me, and it chipped away at my well being and integrity. 

    I still see the good in everyone and I still do my best to help others when it's appropriate and if I'm able, but there's a great importance to carefully selecting where I focus my love and attention. It's not that I don't hold love for many things & people, because I most definitely do. Being thoughtful about where and most importantly with whom I extend myself, my energy, my time, and the fullness of my love is key to my well-being and success. 

    I'm a human being with a lot of value and worth, and if someone I love upsets or hurts me, I owe it to myself (and them) to speak up about it. It's taking some getting used to, this being assertive of my needs, so I take a step back and roll things over in my head and heart before proceeding. As much as it's important to speak up, it's also important to pick my battles carefully.

    I'm a human being, so I screw up a bunch while trying to figure things out. Instead of taking every mistake as a grave error and evidence of my worthlessness, burying my head in the sand, I recognize mistakes for what they are: they key to growth and change. I recognize that I have value and worth, and I owe it to those I love who also have value and worth to acknowledge the hurt I've caused, offer my apology, and work with them to make amends. I've realized that making peace sometimes means walking away and allowing for loss without contempt for what's no longer there. 

    I have limited resources. I choose to preserve them for those who are anam cairde.

  • i'm just a baby, ma'am

    I've come to understand my path to be one of a healer and teacher, but above that I'm a perpetual student, and above everything else I have an obligation to myself first. I've been through hell in a lovely little hand basket with blood red ribbons, and moved on from that to the dark night of my soul, and am still here. I don't ever wish to repeat that, but one thing I've gained from it is an ability and willingness to put myself first, to address and deal with whatever the hell is wrong with me first, and to present myself as 100% me, wherever I'm at. What I refuse to do ever again is put on a happy face, put on a guise of OK or being wise...I may have been through x and y but I'm still a freaking baby and I expect to be so until the day I die. 

    Some might find that annoying or something to avoid, but I don't care, tbqh. If I'm not being me, whether that be the light or the shadow at any given moment, then there's no point. There's so much MORE to learn, always, every day, but as much as maybe sometimes people can learn from me, I refuse to stop learning from everyone else and freaking life itself, and that is priority one. I'm dedicated to presenting my authentic self, whether that be pissed off or happy and joyful or in pain or annoyed or whatever, and whatever it is I know I'll learn from it, from those around me, and through discovery. Beware those whose ego is so immersed in "helping others" that they lose sight of the first step in doing that, helping themselves. Beware those who poop out knowledge and wisdom in easy little nuggets, but who have not challenged themselves enough to be advising others.

    All that said, right now is a time of profound personal change and spiritual growth, and i'm still in recovery. I hurt, I am hurt, I learn, I grow, and you are a huge part of that, people. Learning & growing most importantly, and so thank you for being here.

  • the anger of healing

    Recently, I was approved for disability benefits, retroactive to 2013. I was approved without having to appeal a denial, which is pretty unheard of when it comes to disability. Initially it was a huge relief, but as time has gone on I've found myself mad as hell. Mad as hell at all the people who shoved happy thoughts up my ass as the solution. Mad as hell at the people who couldn't seem to accept that yes, it was THAT BAD. MAD AS HELL at the selfishness of certain Very Important People in my life who convinced themselves I was just putting on an act/being manipulative to get what I wanted.

    Frankly - and I'm about to be frank and honest in an upsetting way here kids - frankly you'd think that two suicide attempts and one at-risk hospitalization would have made that clear, but it didn't. Frankly, you'd think that people who were well aware of this wouldn't accuse me of making someone suicidal because of something I'd posted on Facebook, shortly after an almost-suicide that left me unconscious for two days. You'd think that having a diagnosis of PTSD would be enough to convince those who claimed to love me the most and who I loved the most to try to understand and be supportive. Except it didn't.

    I've been branded all sorts of horrible things. I've been held solely responsible for conflict stemming from not only my but others' issues, even while working very hard to own my mistakes and meet in the middle. Treated without any consideration for my status as a living, breathing human being with feelings, recent severe trauma, and recent history of suicide. I deserved no consideration or compromise, just blame. Such a horrible person, deserving of being ignored when asking for companionship by those I thought were friends, hurt by this but it being brushed off by multiple people as "everyone’s got their own shit to deal with."

    Guess what, I'm legally disabled. GUESS WHAT: my shit was REAL, serious, and deserving of the same consideration, compromise, and compassion I gave you for yours.

    When I'm told specifically that I'm a danger to Someone Else's health and well being, that any contact from me could damage their progress, I have to wonder: Why, then, are you wearing the bracelet I had made for you, the one that says "<3 love you [pet name] <3"? Honestly?? You weren't unable to work. You weren't declared disabled. You spent a few weeks in an IOP and learned...something, I guess. How to blame others for your issues maybe. And then went right back at it. Not that I think you have no issues - believe me, you do, but that YOU painted yours as more debilitating and dangerous than mine, therefore excusing the horrible treatment you showed me? No, just no. 

    There's so much anger in me over this treatment by people who claimed to be friends, who claimed to love me so deeply. Every damned day I have committed myself to working towards forgiveness. Reconciliation isn't possible with most of them, some because they have cut off contact in their own anger, some because I am still grieving and hurting and not there yet myself. Some I have simply let go, because I know that in the grand scheme of things I am better off without certain people and the energies they bring in my life. And blessedly the universe has seen fit to fill those holes with new, fantastic people and even skme new dimensions and directions in old friendships. For that I couldn't be more grateful.

    And yet here I am, still angry and still working towards forgiveness and freedom from those past hurts and bad situations. It's certainly not because I hate these people for what they've done. Just the opposite, in fact: It's because I love them so much that makes thia so hard. Letting go isn't easy. I strive for reconciliation but I also look out for myself: sometimes walking away from takers is best. Sometimes you want to reconcile but those you want to do so with refuse to acknowledge their hand in the hurt. All this destroys trust, and for me right now, in light of everything that's happened, breaches of trust are incredibly painful and difficult to heal. Trust cannot return when you are denied reconciliation, when another's denial prevents any acknowledgement of their own role in a conflict.

    I'm angry, and sad and hurt and lonely and brokenhearted and still not ready for intimacy and relationships and aching physically, while at the same time having made huge strides personally, emotionally & spiritually, having overcome obstacles I thought were impossible to overcome, having changed myself, my emotions, and my behavior in ways that I never thought were possible. And I'm proud of me.

    And if there's one thing I have now that i never thought would be reality, it's the voice in my gut that reminds me everything is going to be OK, that everything will work out. I have faith and belief in that voice, and it has yet to give me reason for doubt.

    Still sad though, still stinging from unloving, uncompassionate, and cruel actions and decisions of others, despite their motivations which in many cases I think have validity. Their actions? No. Not at all. Denied reconciliation, and my heart aches and I still weep, regularly.

    I'll be ok eventually because I am determined to continue working towards forgiveness, and because i *know* I will. Which in no way excuses anyone's hurtful actions, but merely says "I release this conflict. What you did wasn't ok and never will be, but I love you and I don't require anything else from you anymore."

    I'll get there eventually. There's no time limit or deadline, no rush to do anything other than heal and be the best me I can make.

  • the struggles of forgiving and being forgiven

    The biggest challenge I've faced in the last 3.5 years is forgiveness. At the end of 2011, I was deep into a book which spoke on living life with love and from the heart. When I came upon the passages that delved into forgiveness, a light went on inside of me. I had held on to so many resentments for so long, and at that time in my life was holding on to an enormous amount of pain and anger from a betrayal. I'd carried it for almost 6 years. As that light went on, I realized that what I needed most was forgiveness. A day later, I contacted those involved in that betrayal. We began a dialogue that ended in a morning tea and peace found between all of us, which still exists to this day. What I realized, in terms of these people, was that the reason there was so much pain and anger for me in this situation was because I loved and cared about them very much. For years, I told myself I hated them, that they were awful, heartless people, and in doing so denied not only the truth about these people (because as Mr. Rogers says, even good people sometimes do bad things) but also the truth about myself and my own feelings and actions. Their actions may have been the first to occur, but in the years following there were plenty of times where my own words and actions in response to my powerful emotions were also hurtful, abusive, and cruel. While I'm sure that my offering of forgiveness had an impact on the ones I chose to forgive, by far the greatest impact this had was in my own life. The lightness and freedom I felt at allowing the chains of anger and resentment to fall away was both significant and immediate. Most importantly, forgiveness allowed me to look at the larger picture of the situation, and finally offer an apology for my own actions. The understanding of just how important forgiveness is has never left me, and as difficult at it always is, it’s something I’m dedicated to reaching in every situation. 

    Difficult indeed. There are many situations in which forgiveness seems impossible. There are many situations, including several I’m dealing with in the present, where apologies will never come. It is absolutely possible to forgive without ever hearing “I’m sorry”, but in those moments where you find your mind, body, and spirit wracked with pain and anger, when grief encloses you in a cocoon from which you feel you’ll never emerge, it’s hard to imagine forgiving someone who carries no regrets for their actions, or who firmly believes they have nothing for which to apologize. Indeed, when the pain, anger, sadness, and grief you feel are so great, it’s often hard to offer forgiveness even when the other person has already offered their sincere apology. 

    Several months ago, I purchased The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World, written by Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho. I’ve recently experienced betrayal and abandonment by the people I held most dear in my heart. Once again I found myself filled with anger, pain, sadness, and a deep grief. I knew from my past experiences that forgiveness would ease the burden and the pain and so I made the conscious decision to forgive the ones who had hurt me. What’s been the most difficult for me is that even having made that conscious decision, forgiveness hasn’t turned on like a light as it did in the past; in fact, quite the opposite. It sputters on and off like a loose bulb. My mind grapples with this daily, knowing of the immense freedom and peace that forgiveness brings, yet finding myself, day after day, unable to reach that point. For me, this adds yet another dimension of pain and anguish to a situation: being angry at myself for not being able to offer forgiveness. It’s a terrible catch-22, knowing that forgiveness will free me, knowing that everyone is deserving of forgiveness, knowing that I too have hurt others and want to be forgiven, yet still not finding that place inside where I am able to let go. I have no problem understanding and accepting the desire for forgiveness in my mind, yet my heart and my gut feel and know that I have not yet forgiven. It is often incredibly difficult not to be angry at myself in the face of these circumstances. 

    Tutu’s book outlines a fourfold path to forgiveness: Telling the story, naming the hurt, granting forgiveness, and renewing or releasing the relationship. Well before setting eyes on Tutu’s book, my heart understood these steps and I was able to follow them in a number of situations. The situations I’m currently facing, however, are significantly more of a challenge due to the nature of the relationships and deep love between myself and the people involved. Forgiveness in these cases is neither easy nor immediate. It is a long, painful, and difficult path that winds back on itself, taking me in what often appears to be the opposite direction I want to be. I’ve found myself having lost the path altogether at times. Bishop Tutu makes it clear that this is normal. Forgiveness isn’t a linear progression, nor is it always instantaneous. We will and do find ourselves stuck on one or more of the steps as we attempt to free ourselves. There is no time limit on offering forgiveness. So long as we are committed to that goal, we have the ability to get there - getting to that point will take the time it takes, however long that may be. Every day I remind myself of this fact, even though I struggle with it frequently, even though I’m faced with anger from others at not being able to forgive “soon enough”, and faced with anger inside myself towards others at not being forgiven.

    I am determined to keep following this path, no matter how long it takes or how difficult it may be at times. I do not love lightly or foolishly, and those who are dearest to my heart have become so for significant and valid reasons. Conflict does not erase the deep love I have for them, regardless of any present circumstances. Neither does the anger, pain, and resentment I feel towards these people. Indeed, if I didn’t love them as much as I do, the pain would not be so deep and difficult. That, I feel, has been the biggest realization of this journey: The ones we love the most are the ones able to inflict upon us the biggest wounds. My healing will not come from holding anger against those who I feel have wronged me, nor will it come by dismissing them and/or attempting to deny the realness and depth of the love I feel for them. This is not an easy path, by far. Bishop Tutu stresses that “…the preference is always toward renewal or reconciliation, except in cases where safety is an issue.” I am very much in agreement with this, even though it is not an easy choice to make. Pain can and will inhibit our willingness to work towards renewal; pride and our persistent need to be justified in all that we do will insist that we immediately choose release. I currently face a vast number of challenges manifesting physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and am well aware of how these challenges are affecting my journey down the path of forgiveness. There’s not a day that goes by when my gut screams at me to release, to run away, to avoid any more difficulty, but I know that in the long run this does not honor those whom I love but who have hurt me, nor myself, nor the trueness of the love I feel. I will not be making this decision for quite a while. I will continue to follow the path I have chosen, wherever it leads, however difficult it may be, because I know the immense power of the freedom the journey brings. 

    “There is no magic wand we can wave to go back in time and change what has happened or undo the harm that has been done, but we can do everything in our power to set right what has been made wrong. We can endeavor to make sure the harm never happens again. We all need forgiveness . There are times when all of us have been thoughtless or selfish or cruel. As we have said earlier, no act is unforgivable; no person is beyond redemption. Yet, it is not easy to admit one’s wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. “I am sorry” are perhaps the three hardest words to say. We can come up with all manner of justifications to excuse what we have done. When we are willing to let down our defenses and look honestly at our actions, we find there is a great freedom in asking for forgiveness and great strength in admitting the wrong. It is how we free ourselves from our past errors. It is how we are able to move forward into our future, unfettered by the mistakes we have made.” - Tutu, Desmond; Tutu, Mpho (2014-03-18). The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World (p. 167). HarperCollins.

  • La da da da dee

    I take the sharpest shears, 
    A ball of twine
    Cut a string for everyone in my life
    To my belt loops I tie each string so tight
    And attempt to hold on
    But did you think its a spell for letting go?
    I cast a spell for letting go
    Oh...
    At the end of each string
    The souls of my loves I bring
    To the bridge (to the bridge)
    I might set them free
    A symbol of all thats haunting me
    Their names are la da da da dee... 
    Their names la da da da dee...
    La da da da dee...
    In a desperate attempt
    A will that I left
    In a river from that heart of stone
    As my fate approached
    I felt a pull on those ropes
    I looked up and saw those souls
    Oh thank you la da da da dee...
    Thank you la da da da dee...
    La da da da dee...
    So easily I felt I freed myself
    Cutting strings one at a time
    Goodbye, la da da da dee...
    Goodbye, la da da da dee...
    La da da da dee...

  • just hold on just hold on just hold on

    SWF seeks an exit from PTSD, grief, and depression after 1.5 years in. Been digging a tunnel out, but my shovel is dull, my hands are covered in blisters, and there's still 10 feet left before the surface. Wizards, magicians, angels, magic wands, and miracles accepted. 

    I've stopped comparing myself to other people. I'm not exactly sure when that happened, but I noticed it shortly before Christmas. There's no one to hold myself up to except myself, there's no one to emulate except the person that I am inside. I took the time to introduce myself and we're getting to know each other well. She's pretty great, and I care about her a lot. I think she has a lot of potential. She's wicked smart, compassionate, talented, insightful, and funny, with a huge heart and a lot of interest in serving others. 

    I love too deeply, too much, and I don't know how to let go or move away from it. I'm trying but it won't leave. There's something automatic, instinctual, that's taken over. Some frightened animal in the corner that snarls and growls when I get too close, and all I can do is sit and stay calm and wait until it calms down enough for me to get close to it. 

    There's only so much pain over so long a person can take. I come too close to my threshhold too often. I was given a second chance, twice. There won't be a third. Recovery isn't a straight line, it's a rollercoaster with dips and turns, and when those dips come, it scares the hell out of me. How much can one person be expected to take?

    I'm doing this on my own. There's no one here but me and a couple of cats. Maybe some ghosts too. Being responsible for my own well-being when working through a disabling illness isn't anything I'd wish on anyone. Honestly, I wish I knew someone else in this situation, just so I could take care of them and have something else to focus on. 

    I've had enough grief and enough pain, but I don't have any choice but to face it and work through it. I'm scared. I'm scared because I love myself, but I've hurt for so hard so long, and I need it to lift. I want to move forward, but afraid I don't have the stamina to get to the point where it's easier before cracking again. I'm afraid I'm pushing things down again, and that didn't do me any good before.  My cup is already filled to the brim. Add anymore and there's gona be a huge mess everywhere. I'd just like this to be over now, please? 

    This is my prayer, Angels. This is my prayer. Lighten my load, lighten my load.