Thursday, June 22, 2017

What do I do with my feelings?

I like watching NCSI.  The particular episode had to do with Tony saving a young boy from a burning building.  The fire collapsed part of the building and he was unable to save the boy's 4 year old sister.  He made a choice.  The boy grew up to become a fire inspector.  He resented Tony for not saving his sister.  The fire inspector had a situation where he couldn't save a witness to some arson fires.  He needed to have Tony point out to him that sometimes we have no choice as what happens to us.  We do choose what we learn from it and where we go from here.  I know the episode and seen the ones following.  The fires were set by a man that lost his son to a far caused by faulty wiring in a Navy ship.  A problem that was known but people made excuses as to why not to repair it.  The father wanted others to suffer as much as he did.  The boy that grew up to be the fire inspector wanted to make a positive difference. 

I can't erase my past.  Even when I forgot most of it, I responded from that pool of hurt and rage.  I didn't understand why I acted the way I did.  I felt crazy, depressed, and unsure what to do about what I was feeling.  I entered counseling.  Took my counselor years teaching me to believe in myself, connect to my feelings and recognize that I decide what to do about how I feel.  I don't deny my feelings but I choose which ones to act on.  I decide if I am going to spread the suffering I experienced or help others find their healing path.

I took the class about bullies last week.  Again the issue is do people make excuses for the bully pointing out their hardships or do we expect bullies to be held accountable for their behavior?  Right now the climate is blame the victim and coddle the perpetrator.  So messed up.  They trot out cliches like , "Hurt people, hurt people."  Excuses such as they had a rough childhood so they hurt others because they are hurting.  BS.  Yup....everyone in the world is hurt by somebody at some time.  This is Earth life on this planet.  Gravity pulls you to the grown.  Splat you are hurt.  A bully knocks you down the victim is hurt.  When you get up do you learn about gravity or blame the Earth for having it in the first place?  Does the victim get blamed or do you look at the situation and see how relationships are repaired? 

One of the definitions of explaining the difference between being human and a bully.  A person hurts someone else accidentally and apologizes and tries not to do it again is being human.  A person that hurts someone else on purpose and doesn't apologize is mean.  A person that hurts someone else and does it again and again and again is a bully.  There is a pattern of abusing others.  They perpetrator gets something out of it and wants that again.  Feelings of power, satisfaction in hurting someone else, and a variety of other feelings remorse not being one of them.  A victim to the bully is the object and the fact they were scared, hurt or embarrassed was the goal.  Bully's behavior is not about the victim.  I wish people would stop rallying around the bully, making excuse but instead set up a plan to change their behavior.  Some will change, others won't, the like it too much. 

I remember several incidences in my life that I was mean to others.  I said things or did things or lashed out.  My main focus in my counseling is to become the person I wanted to be kind, concerned for others, caring, able to control my temper, willing to look for win-win solutions.  That is who I wanted to be.  Accepting my emotions and recognizing which ones I reinforce or act on is 100% up to me.  Yes, I have sent myself to my room because I was not behaving reasonably.  Good.  If my children were acting the way I was they would be sent to their room until they figured out how to address a problem without hurting others.  I still give myself time to feel, process what I feel, and they choose a line of action.  When I do this I am much happier with the out come then when I allow some deep dark emotion take control and act out hurtful thoughts.  Yup, there is nothing like a well placed time out to improve relationships.  I emphasize a time out.  Meaning what I feel needs to be addressed but I want to be in control of how that discussion is going to go.

I am thankful to my counselor that reconnected me with my emotions. Then took many sessions to teach me how to sit with them, process them, and make choices that improve my life.  Living with emotions is a learned skill.  I can practice and get better at making healthy emotional decisions.  What I do with my feelings is my choice.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Restorative Justice

I work at a school and to move up the pay scale I take more classes or workshops.  If I am going to spend my time in classes I want it to benefit me in some way.  I spent two days reviewing how to protect students in the classroom.  Most of the first day was review.  Reminded again to learn student names.  I am learning from Lumosity how I can do that.  Second day, today, they talked about procedures in place for reporting abuse and other criminal acts by students against other students or teachers.  I heard of restorative justice but didn't have a clear understanding of what all was involved.  Today they explained it so I understood and we practiced it comparing it to the old standard of crime/punishment. 

Basically, the student that offends others identifies who was offended and what needs to be done to resolve and heal the offense.  That is what I got out of it.  For instance if a student disrupts an entire class one of the choices may be an apology to the class instead of a trip to the principals office.  Mediation is part of the process in situations between two people.  Or bigger offenses may involve parents or others that were involved.  Part of what I like about it is the offender is required to take ownership and responsibility for their behavior.  I found a couple of links that I plan to go back and explore more fully.

Wikipedia link:

Edutopia has multiple links to examples of schools using the process. 

What I really like about this format of conflict resolution is when a student graduates from high school they can take the ideas with them to college or family life.  I am very enthusiastic about trying this out in the classroom next year. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Aroma Therapy Heaven

Aroma Therapy is a light touch with essential oils with music.  My friend is awesome and learned how to share her oils in a healing way.  I consistently feel much better after each 45 minute session.  Today I feel asleep amidst soothing touch and amazing smells.  I felt so mellow today I fell asleep.  It was awesome.  I spent the rest of the day feeling relaxed and happy.  Thank you friend, you make a difference.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

Survival tool but

....not a living tool. 

People pleasing is how I survived the insanity of growing up in a home with a demanding mother.  By jumping through her hoops I got fed and fewer spankings.  However, People pleasing has a negative impact for living everyday.  If I run around trying to please everyone else, I don't meet my personal self care and life goals.  I essentially give the reigns of my life over to someone else.  In abuse situations giving up that freedom to your abuser may mean the difference between life and death, literally.  Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning written about his experiences in a concentration camp illustrates how prisoners survived by people pleasing.  However, I'm no longer in contact with my mother.  I am no longer in the neighborhood where I was terrorized.  People pleasing now is a stumbling block to self-care and meeting my goals.  Of course, I still do things for other people.  Service is not People pleasing. 

I found a definition of People pleasing that comes close to what I mean:

A People Pleaser is a person who believes that they are less then most others on the planet and have the need to hide these beliefs from all whom they come in contact with. They feel so low that they typically behave like a doormat and frequently put themselves in situations where they are treated as such. A people please will do almost anything to keep others in the dark about what is going on within. Dishonesty, deception and lies are the primary tools used by a People Pleaser. Within the context of an intimate relationship, a People Pleaser will frequently paint illusions that depict what they believe their partner wants to see all the while never disclosing who and what they really are. People Pleaser's also have the tendency to frustrate their partner to no end with this insidious behavior. A People Pleaser's goal is always the same which is to keep anyone from knowing just how crappy they feel about themselves and they will strive for this goal at any cost. A person afflicted with this "disease to please" will typically tell more lies over the course of a lifetime than those with other mental illnesses. People Pleaser's can come in the form of men but are typically women as they are more emotionally based.
When a People Pleaser dies, the see the life of someone else flash before their eyes.

 Other aspects of a people pleasing behavior, they have no opinions of their own.  The other person's goal is their goal.  They take the blame for anything that goes wrong, no matter who's fault it might be.  They will do things for other people without any regard for themselves.  They put their happiness on the other person's shoulders.  A people pleasing person is only happy if the other person is happy with what they have done.  They tend to give all their decision making and happiness to someone else, making the other person responsible for their well being.  They blame those close to them if they are sad.  They blame fate or circumstances on their drifting through life.  A people pleasing person gives away their personal power to anyone else. 

Why do I know all this about people pleasing behavior?  Because I did this.  Counseling taught me to take back my power.  I learned to have an opinion and that my opinion matters.  I was retaught how to take personal responsibility for my own happiness.  I learned slowly because People pleasing was my go-to survival tool.  I struggled with setting my own goals but I am doing it.  I struggle with finding my 'Why' for living but with plenty of encouragement I am becoming the person I was meant to be in spite of an abusive childhood. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

In Spite of......

I am a huge fan of Dale Chihuly.  I love his art.  Glass blown and shaped into a symphony of form and color.  He shared in an interview his challenges with depression.

News articles disappear so I will share the article here.  This is not to say that you must follow his footsteps but to encourage and share that depression/mental illness/PTSD is part of what makes you who you are.  Live with it and thrive anyway.  

The private studio of glass artist Dale Chihuly reflects his long obsession with collecting. Sheets of stamps cover one table; pocket knives are marshaled on another. Carnival-prize figurines from the first half of the 20th century line shelves that reach the ceiling.

Amid the ordered clutter, some items hint at more than Chihuly’s eclectic tastes: a long row of Ernest Hemingway titles in one bookcase, and in another an entire wall devoted to Vincent van Gogh — homages to creative geniuses racked by depression.

Chihuly, too, has struggled with his mental health, by turns fragile and luminous like the art he makes. Now 75 and still in the thrall of a decades-long career, he discussed his bipolar disorder in detail for the first time publicly in an interview with The Associated Press. He and his wife, Leslie Chihuly, said they don’t want to omit from his legacy a large part of who he is.

“It’s a pretty remarkable moment to be able to have this conversation,” she said. “We really want to open our lives a little bit and share something more personal. ... Dale’s a great example of somebody who can have a successful marriage and a successful family life and successful career — and suffer from a really debilitating, chronic disease. That might be helpful for other people.”

Chihuly, who began working with glass in the 1960s, is a pioneer of the glass art movement. Known for styles that include vibrant seashell-like shapes, baskets, chandeliers and ambitious installations in botanical gardens and museums, he has said that pushing the material to new forms, creating objects never before seen, fascinates him.

Even in the past year he has found a new way of working with glass — painting with glass enamel on glass panes, stacking the panes together and back-lighting them to give them a visual depth. He calls it “Glass on Glass,” and it’s featured for the first time in the new Chihuly Sanctuary at the Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha, Nebraska, and at an indoor-outdoor exhibit opening June 3 at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

But the flip side of that creativity has sometimes been dark. He began suffering from depression in his 20s, he said, and those spells began to alternate with manic periods beginning in his late 40s.
“I’m usually either up or down,” Chihuly said. “I don’t have neutral very much. When I’m up I’m usually working on several projects. A lot of times it’s about a six-month period. When I’m down, I kind of go in hibernation.”

He still works but doesn’t feel as good about it. His wife noted that if he only went into the studio when he was up, he “wouldn’t have had a career.”

Asked what his down periods are like, Chihuly took a long pause. “Just pretty tough,” he said. “I’m lucky that I like movies. If I don’t feel good, I’ll put on a movie.”

Leslie Chihuly, who runs his studio, is more loquacious about the difficulties his condition has posed in their 25-year relationship.

They’ve tried to manage it as a family with various types of counseling, medication and a 1-to-10 scale system that allows him to communicate how he’s feeling when he doesn’t want to talk about it, she said.

Chihuly gave up drinking 15 years ago, and it’s been more than a decade since he was “life-threateningly depressed,” she said, though he’s never been suicidal.

“Dale has an impeccable memory about certain things, but there have been certain periods of time when he’s been hypomanic, as we call it, or depressed, and I’ll be the keeper for our family and our business around those difficult times,” she said.

She met him in 1992 after a mutual friend set them up. He was in a near-manic period, talking about an idea for bringing glassblowers from around the world to Venice, Italy, to display their art in the city’s canals. He had no plan and no funding, but she was eager to help him realize his vision — one that would eventually be depicted in the public television documentary “Chihuly Over Venice.”
Six months later, they traveled to an exhibit opening at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.
“It was like the lights went out,” she said, choking back a sob. “All of a sudden the guy who was interested in everything ... that guy wasn’t there.”

Dale Chihuly remained quiet as his wife described that moment. A tear fell from beneath the recognizable eyepatch he has worn since he lost sight in his left eye in a 1976 car crash.
Though the mood swings were new to Leslie Chihuly at the time, they were familiar to the other artists Chihuly worked with. Joey Kirkpatrick met him in 1979, when she attended Pilchuck Glass School, which Chihuly founded in the woods north of Seattle in 1971. It was a small summer workshop; the students constructed their own shelter. She and her partner, Flora Mace, spent many hours watching movies with him during his down periods.

“What amazed me about it is his persistence at picking the thing, his creative life, that would pull him along or keep him going through those times,” she said. “When he was up, he could call you up at Pilchuck on a Sunday night and say, ‘Meet me at the airport at 10 tomorrow, we’ve got a flight to Pittsburgh to go to some demonstration.’ It was always exciting. When he was down, there wasn’t that. It was quieter.”

Chihuly said the message he’d have for others struggling with the condition would be to “see a good shrink” and to “try to live with it, to know that when they’re really depressed, it’s going to change, before too long. And to take advantage when they do feel up to get as much done as they can.”

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Why can't I just be?

TW wrote me: Ruth, do you ever "have time" to just BE? Think you can do that?!

Nope...absolutely not....I do try.  Thanks TW for reminding me I am enough.

 There is a bit of history to this one.  Childhood was not a time for relaxing for me.  I was either turned totally loose to go and do what I wished any where or I was tightly under my mother's thumb.  I never knew which way a day would go.  The days of extreme control I craved to just be....for me that was so not happening.  If I appeared to be doing 'nothing' more work was heaped on me.  I learned to function at a frantic pace.  Didn't matter what, just something. A poem my mother used to chant.

If you got too much to do and you don't know where to start
And you start to feeling blue and you're quickly loosing heart,
Don't be a dumb thing,
Start something.

Evil poem....chanting of a slave driving inner critic that valued doing over being or doing something useful. 

On my other blog I shared the 11 forms of self abuse from Lilly Hope Lucereo.

 The two that drive me are 'Working too hard' and 'Lack Of Self Care & Lack Of Healthy Boundaries'.  I also spent over 3 years in bed.  I didn't know it at the time but I had a complete break down but I had kids to care for while my husband worked on the road.  I kept moving but lived a twilight half life.  I have 10 times more energy now than I did when I was 35 years old.  I have so many things I want to do and I want to do them all right now.  I was playing Happy Acres on Facebook, I became so competitive that I wasn't eating or sleeping trying to do everything.  Yes, I was trying to do everything in a game designed to allow me to pick and choose....oh no. I had to do everything.  When I started to play at work, I knew I was in serious trouble.  I was an addict.  

People forget the drugs and alcohol are not the only things people get addicted to.  I feel driven to do things.  The sit back and relax thing doesn't happen.  Watching TV I usually watch two shows and either crochet or work on Sudokus.  Just sitting and watching doesn't happen.  We went to the movies.  I bought popcorn and kept eating one piece at a time to keep my hands doing something.  I schedule break time but often work through it.  Playing a game is not relaxing either.  TW thank you for reminding me that going at a frantic pace is not required.  No one will give me brownie buttons for working harder than any one.  In fact, more than once I was reprimanded for working too hard and too fast.  The boss at the time thought I was trying to show him up.  He didn't realize I only had one speed R for RACE.  

One of my coworkers was assigned to help me change over computers in a computer lab.  30 computers to be changed out.  He moaned and groaned complaining it would take all week.  I asked him why?  I pointed to the other side of the room, "You start there, I'll begin here, and meet you at the back."  I worked silently and intently.  Took a break for lunch.  I met him at the back at a little after 5 PM, mandatory quitting time.  (They threatened to fire me if I worked over time.)  The coworker was astounded.  We completed the lab in a day.  He turned to me and asked, "Do you always work like this?"  My answer, "You mean there is another way to do it?"  He had to reassess his opinion of what he heard about me.  

At one point in my marriage I worked 3 part time jobs.  When I went to school I would take crazy difficult classes.  DH and I had an argument and he accused me of always having to get an A.  I thought seriously about this.  I demanded so much more out of a class than the teacher expected that I got the A as a byproduct of my own expectations.  I realize now, I drove several teachers crazy with how much I did in class.  In counseling, my therapist restricted me to one hour a day working on why I functioned the way I did.  He told me to fire my MEAN BOSS.  That mean boss is me.  Still tend to be a bit of a slave driver.  

TW....this summer I will set a goal to sit and be for at least....I don't know how long I can keep myself still before I jump up and go again.  Work in progress.  Thanks TW. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Body image

I shared research with someone that was talking about self image and how many people struggle with how they view their body.  Parents say things that hurt kids when they try to do this or that to make their kids look better.  Braces and diet suggestions can improve looks but sends an underlying message, "You aren't good enough."  I remember as a teenager being told I needed to go on a diet.  I was 5'4" tall and weighed 125 lbs (Metric 162.5 cm tall and weighed 56.7 kg).  I was told I needed to loose another 10 lbs to look good (Metric 4.5 kg).  To me, of course, the implication you don't look good.  Heaven help me if my father made the mistake of complimenting me then the criticism became more caustic.  I knew I didn't want to get sucked into the yoyo diets my mother obsessed over.  I could ignore my weight for a lot of years then old age and poor eating habits caught up with me.  My daughter set the example for me on how to regain a better relationship with my body.  She purchased a dance class at the studio where she worked.  Got me to get up off the couch and try to exercise.  Mega challenge when I still passed out a couple of times a week. She repeated every class, "Ladies, honor your body." About 2 years ago I went the route and lost weight.  It worked for a long time then my life at work went crazy and I was a substitute teacher for 4 months and my self-care went out the window and I gained all the weight I lost plus 20 lbs (Metric 10 kg) more.  I weigh more now than I ever did.  I yo-yo'd.  Well past that 125 lbs of my teenage years.  No, I don't like how my body looks.  After the car crash a month ago, I don't like how my body feels.  Self-care is at the top of my list for summer activities.  If I loose weight fine, but my main goal is to feel healthy.  Things I know help: tracking what I eat, choosing more vegetables, sleeping more, exercise in moderation, weighing myself no more than once a week (reminder I would weigh less if I went to the Moon,) essential oils, and the list goes on as to what I know helps me.  Now the challenge is to care for myself.  I don't set an alarm yet I'm awake by 6 AM.  I work at my computer and remind myself to get up often and move.  I like walking at the park.  Why is self-care such a chore to me?  There are these negative tapes in my head going off that each thing I do isn't good enough but logically I know they work.  I have the essential oils close at hand but I neglect to use them.  How is it the very things I need to do to care for myself seem so hard?  My favorite diet book was  Richard Simmons' Never-Say-Diet Book – October 1, 1980 by Richard Simmons
I actually used his suggestions when I raised my kids.  I left the food on the counter instead of on the table.  I didn't restrict kids eating, I allowed seconds if they got up to get it.  My exercise program is videos, walking, and karate.  Not doing much of any of these since the car crash.  I'm starting to feel much better but my neck still tells me it didn't appreciate coming to an instant turn and abrupt stop. Today, I opened up Myfitnesspal for the first time in over a year.  Do I do it?  Or am I setting myself up to fail again?  Heavy sigh.  Being human is such a chore some days.  

Monday, May 29, 2017

Remember those that fell

In comfort of home and eating bar-b-q's and picnics, it is hard to remember all those that fell before us.  Sometimes when things are far away people forget how real it is every day.  The parents, spouses, children missing their loved one that didn't come home from a war.  So many.  so sad.  Some say, "let's just get along."  Showing their ignorance of tyrants, hatred, and evil that is part of this world.  I am thankful for those that went where no one should ever have to go and didn't come home.  I feel deep sadness for those that went and came home broken and hurt both body and soul.  I am blessed to know veterans that served.  I live a life knowing that War will be necessary as long as people try to crush, destroy, control, and possess other people.  It isn't going away any time soon.  Thank you soldiers, living and dead, serving or veterans, the thin line between us and tyranny. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Jump into Summer

I jumped right into summer school class on line.  I am learning more about how to use different reading strategies in the classroom.  In my job, there is no up.  I can take classes to step up but I am at the top of what I do.  I love the teachers I work with.  They are amazing and dedicated.  I enjoy being part of a group of people that want to see students succeed.  It is enjoyable to see students graduate and move on with their lives.  However, I'm delighted to have a break.  I already have a list of more things to do than I can possibly accomplish. I'm looking at my to-do list to make sure there are plenty of people time.  Friends, family, and time for myself.  Recently I read an article about a mother that lost her son.  She saw him in a dream and asked him what he learned in the after life.  His response stuck in my head.  "I learned that relationships is the most important thing."   Marley's ghost said the same, Jacob Marley: BUSINESS? Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business!

As I write my to-do list, I want to make sure I spend time with people.  It is great to take care of chores and items on my list of things to do but spending time with people is the most important of all.  I think that is one of the things I watched happen to my mother.  She was so obsessed with her things to-do list that she totally missed living a life filled with love.  I watched her scream and rage her hatred at me.  I walked away.  Now she asks my Dad why I don't want to see her.  I ponder and ask myself, "How am I doing on putting people first?  Am I getting obsessed with doing projects instead of spending time with people?"  One of the interesting things I learned in another summer school class called True Colors, that I am an introvert.  People time takes a lot of energy.  I blamed my PTSD but learned later that introverts react differently to the World.  I want to make sure people time is included with recovery time so I enjoy it.  Complex planning but so worth it. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Run Run as fast as you can

You can't catch me - I'm the Gingerbread Man....

For those not familiar with the story here is a link:

I sometimes feel like if I can run fast enough I will stay ahead of the massive list of things to get done.  But sadly that willy old fox eats me up every time. 

I'm still recovering.  Almost 3 weeks ago I was in a car accident.  The bruising faded.  The car is replaced.  However, I am looking up what whiplash does and how long does it take to heal.  Yup, the news is not good.  I try to do the easiest exercises and I am in pain.  Crumbs.  I always way underestimate how long it takes to heal.  My doctor son pointed out that everywhere I had bruises they expect there to be broken bones instead.  Recalculating.  A broken bone would be 8-10 weeks recovery or more.  Slow down.  Readjust expectations.  I am getting other things finished.  I painted a table at school for next year cutting table.  I cleaned out one desk.  One more to go and helping the teachers get finished up.  One more day.  Walking exercise doesn't hurt.  I can do this.  Baby-steps work because it forces me to slow down to a pace that works. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

5 days and counting

I only have 5 more days of school.  I am feeling like one of the prisoners that marks off each box toward the final day.  I have a ton of stuff to do.  I am also planning summer school classes.  The best way for me to get paid more is to step up by taking classes.  I chose classes that talk about teenage mental health and development.  I am excited about planning fun days mixed in with work days.  Right now I am trying to remind myself not to beat myself up for not healing faster.  It is 2 weeks since I was in a car accident.  I remind myself that broken bones take 8 to 10 weeks to heal.  I did NOT break any bones but the massive bruising is still connecting the dots where my seat belt went.  I noticed today that I can't grip my water bottle with my left hand.  It kept falling out.  When I opened and closed my hand I realized that my elbow is sorer than I thought.  Apparently now that the major bruises are healing I am noticing other damage that also occurred.  I need to get back on track to getting things done and caring for my health.  Reminder, one step forward and two back is a cha-cha. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crap Happens

Today I talked to the fashion students.  I explained why I didn't go into fashion when I was in college the first time.  The 1970's were still steeped in the image of Twiggy.  Pencil thin was in.  I looked into the business and decided it wasn't worth wasting my time on it.  The appearance over personality ratio was lethal in my estimation.  I tried costume design and construction, after staying up 3 days making last minute changes for a director, I decided that was slave labor.  I still plan to design and construct costumes some day when I retire but until then I am teaching students interested in fashion how to cope.  Raising awareness of how brutal fashion business can be.  I teach them if they don't like their life, change it.  My basis, I did it.  Crap happens....on the job, at home, with our health, you name it; crap happens in life.  It is not what are you going to do if crap happens, it is when crap happens what are you going to do?  How are you going to cope?  Coping is a skill.  We learn it.  Most people learn it at home.  I didn't.  I learned it in counseling.  Crap happens.  I have a whole tool chest of coping skills.  They came from my counselor.  Seven long tough years he trained me, taught me, and encouraged me to look at the World differently.  More powerfully, he gave my coping tools so when he moved away, I kept growing....Thriving. 


Over the next few days I will be sharing my experiences with high school students that I work with.  Two classes are studying abuse in relation to being teachers and reporting abuse.  One class is a fashion class and I will discuss what I call the slimy underbelly of the fashion world.  I am praying that I stay in tune with the students needs.  This time I told the counselors that I will be having this discussion.  In years past, one or two students end up at the counselors office realizing that they are experiencing one or more forms of abuse.  Recognizing the behavior of the other person is abusive is the first step to getting out of it.  Some people are willing to change when you set boundaries and tell them they need to treat you better.  Other people, not so much.  I feel my job is to bring awareness and give them access to tools to help cope with prickly people.  It is going to be a long 3 days.  One class each day, fashion, early childhood education, and education professions.  I want them to walk away feeling like abuse is not the end of the world.  There is an amazing world waiting to welcome those that break the chains of abuse.  Sometimes walking away from what you think you want is the best thing you can do to create a healthy way of living.

Friday, May 12, 2017


Last week I was having a perfect day.  I needed to find Christmas lights and I did in May that worked at a thrift store.  I found and collected everything I needed for the Fashion Show last Friday.  I turned on to the street to go the last mile to the school and a car careened into me.  The officer asked me what I saw.  I said, "I drove into the middle lane since the right lane merged into it.  I was going less than the speed limit since I wasn't in a hurry and traffic was light. Then my whole world exploded."  Yup all 3 airbags.  The seat belt tightened up and held me fast.  Everywhere my seat belt was, there are bruises.  Now in varying shades of blue, purple and yellow depending on the depth of the bruise.  I also passed my bone density test.  The fireman that poked and prodded me was impressed that I didn't even break my collar bone.  I later learned from my doctor son that the type of accident that I was in usually causes a broken collar bone, wrist, ribs, and sometimes hips.  Yup, there are bruises in all those places but I walked away.  A witness stopped and told the police what happened.  The driver of the other car got to me first to see if I was ok and make sure the car wasn't on fire.  There was a lot of smoke in the car from the airbags exploding open.  I looked at the tree, wall and stop sign that I missed.  I felt deep gratitude that this could be so much worse.  The other driver was shaken but will walk away too.  He talked to the police.  My DH came, he had the day off, and visited with the other driver and the officer.  I feel deeply relieved that things were not much much worse.  The teacher was able to pick up the supplies for the fashion show.  Sadly, I missed the fashion show.  Perfect days can disintegrate in a split second.  I am pleased with how I handled myself.  I felt what I felt in the moment.  I allowed myself to go home and rest.  I am healing and DH bought a new car that he will pickup tomorrow.  I'm nervous driving but not so much that it is hindering me from doing what I need to do.  Overall the emotion I am embracing is gratitude and praying for the other driver.  His day was really rotten. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Amazing Teachers

I'm always looking and reviewing new research about several subjects crocheting, memory, PTSD, coping, and anything else that I believe can improve my life.  Sometimes I am blessed with a time to be.  Today I enjoyed a concert at my granddaughter's school.  I felt what the music teacher was doing was fantastic.  She used plastic buckets for drums, plastic tubing for making alien noises, and other instruments that made the concert fun and learning fun too.  I am fortunate to work with amazing teachers.  Teacher appreciation month reminds me how many remarkable teachers I had and worked with.  I am also aware that some teachers give other teachers a bad name.  My best teacher was my counselor.  He spent years teaching me how to go beyond survival to thriving.  I am so grateful for amazing teachers. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Let kids say no

A friend posted an article on line about allowing her daughters drop out of ballet because they were uncomfortable with the dance.  It was not ballet.  Wiggling their butts at the audience is not dance.

The mother decided to let her daughters quit when they explained they felt embarrassed.  I thought about all the times I was asked to do things like kissing a stranger that I was related to but I didn't know them.  I did things differently for my kids but I still made plenty of mistakes.  We live in a culture that expects every person  to be a dynamic extrovert or should be.  Saying no as a kid is not acceptable in so many places.  I believe that the basics of a kid learning he/she can say no is when they are kids.  My idea with grandkids that they need to get to know me and should only hug me if they want to.  If they don't want to hug me, for any reason, then they shouldn't have to.  I also believe in meeting them at their level by getting down on the ground or sitting down.  Choices are important.  Knowing what is happening at school, in dance class, or other activities is important.  We can't protect kids from every situation but we can up their chances by how we treat them.  Let the kid say no. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I left

I actually got up and walked out.  My mother is almost 90 years old and diagnosed with stage 4 dementia.  To me, she treats me the same as ever but now she treats everyone else the same way.  Today when I visited her in the care center, she immediately launched into her demands to go home.  I am confronted with the demanding mother I remember from my teenage years.  Her threats then of suicide if she didn't get the help she wanted then. In high school, I felt like I was running a constant balancing act of school, caring for mother and watching out that my mother didn't turn on my younger siblings.  They are adults now.  They can take care of themselves.  Mother informed me today that she only used the threat of suicide to make us let her come home.  Irony, it is her threats of suicide and unreasonable demands that are keeping her in the memory center.  Today, after 15 minutes, she made move to get up, I stood up and left.  It was a weird relief to hear her say, after all these years, the threats were idle threats used to manipulate me.  Her emotional abuse succeeded when I was a teenager.  Today, I left. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Others views

I am fascinated when other people post or write about the same things I am.  This week in a post from the Better Man Project, Evan Sanders shared this:

When we end the war we have with life our heart begins to open to everything as it is.

It's this idea of "things shouldn't be happening this way" or "they should be happening this way"  that causes so many problems. We never truly accept what is occurring and continue warring on.

I learned early on with my counselor that accepting myself and where I am is key to getting my feet under me so I can move in the direction I want to go.  Whenever I think about thriving I remember the line from the Cheshire Cat

Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
(Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 6)

Some days I remind myself to keep walking....I'll eventually get somewhere. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

High Expectaionts

increase misery.....

I am watching someone else going through a rough time because in their mind certain things should happen.  They have high expectations of what their life should look like.  90% of their misery is tied to unmet expectations.  I used to beat myself up for not meeting unreasonable goals.  I had to lower my lofty expectations to ground zero.  How many times I heard....
It has been X amount of time, you should be able to do ________________.

Have you heard it?  Have you said it to yourself?  I do have goals.  Some mighty lofty, however, my awesome counselor pointed out that beating myself up does not get me any closer to my goals.  I need to think baby steps.....lots and lots of baby steps.  Long term goals need shorter goals.  Back sliding is not a reason to put myself down.  Two steps forward and one back is the starting of a ChaCha.  Reset my expectations to more reasonable goals.  Moving forward again.....getting results. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Growing up there was a childish game of holding down your opponent and they had to say Uncle to be released. 

Free dictionary Idioms tells the story:

to admit that you have been defeated
Usage notes: In children's fights, a child being held down had to say 'uncle' before being allowed to get up.

I was good at refusing to say counselor told me more than once that I need to pick my battles and concede defeat sometimes.  He told me to lose my Do-or-die Attitude.  I looked at him very calmly and replied, "Without that attitude, I would have died."  He thought about the experiences I finally was able to tell him and he agreed, I would have died.  I am looking at different battles and I am selecting one or two to concede defeat and let myself fail. 

Do you know what?  I didn't die because I failed...hmmmm who knew?  One of the stranger struggles I endure is knowing when to let something go.  When to walk away from a fight.  I loved the quote, "You don't have to join every argument you are invited to."  Walk away.  Many battles are not worth fighting.  Save my energy for the things that are worth fighting for. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Blessing

Easter is a time to contemplate my blessings, so many shower down on me.  Counting them starts putting a limit on what God can bless me with.  Thanking Him opens my eyes to more and more blessings.  I am thankful to my DH for so many things.  One thing he did was studied research on my joint complaints.  He learned that coconut water helps joints.  He shared the information with me.  What a blessing to easily walk up and down stairs when before I would walk up four stairs in our house in agony.  I am thankful for gainful rewarding employment.  I am thankful for kind people on the freeway that get out of my way when I make a mistake or let me merge into traffic when lines are long and tempers are short.  I am thankful for a variety of foods to eat.  Food channels to enjoy watching others make amazing dishes and Facebook to give me a new place to eat donuts....super yummy. Blessings big and small, tangible or felt, every day or once in a while they come in all sizes, shapes and varieties. The greatest of all He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to atone for my sins and bind up my wounded heart.  I am blessed. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Rebuilding health

I am slowly rebuilding my health.  I am disappointed with how long I neglected myself and didn't do the things I know will help me feel better.  Surveyed the damage.  Putting routines back in place.  Not holding a grudge against myself.  Reassuring myself I can make healthy choices.  I believe that sometimes in our desire to look on the bright side we refuse to look at the damage in our lives.  Until I recognize the damage, I can't repair it.  I stopped watching a house buying show because the house showed stress cracks in the upper house that hinted strongly the foundation was damaged.  The guy bought the house anyway and the show was trying to get me to sympathize with the idiot for buying a badly damaged house then he is whining about how much it would cost to repair extensive damage.  Duh!!! He refused to look at and accept the obvious damage.  I think I was super irritated because I am refusing to look at my personal damage I did to myself for neglecting myself for the past year.  I need to pray for my enemies....I would be praying for myself because I am my own worse enemy. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Holy Week

The week before Easter starting Palm Sunday on through to Easter is a time when I turn my thoughts more frequently to my Savior.  I also juggled with feelings deeply injured by those that used religion to hurt and harm.  I glanced over a few chapters on a self-help book about emotional abuse.  The author started ranting about this religion or that.  I learned through many years of my own personal research that there are good and bad people in every religion.  Some religions actually attract predators that see church members as sheeple, easy pray.  Abuse survivors share horror story after horror story of those that used religion like a cat-o-nine tail.  Spiritually beating people to death.  Religion becomes a tough subject to share.  Offenses and hurts by those that are offended by an offer to pray for them.  However, put that offer into the context of their experience and I recognize that when I am offering a silken cord they see a coil of barbed wire.  How do I know this?  Because this is how I described it to my counselor.  I knew he was trying to encourage me and give me strength but put into the context of my experience what he offered felt lethal instead of healing.  I went back to basics, tore out all the past lies, and worked through my own beliefs.  I started with, "Do I believe Jesus is the Christ, Son of God, Resurrected living being?"  Yes.  From there I rebuilt my faith from the ground up.  I started over with basics.  I read the scriptures myself.  I put well known scriptures back into contexts.  I sorted through the opinions spouted as facts.  I came to my own understanding that works like an unbroken thread that keeps me moving forward.  God is love.  He sent His Son.  This week I reflect and strengthen the basics. Many abusers see no point in believing in a God that would allow such horrible things to happen.  I think about what happened to His Son and He knows horrible things happen.  The understanding I came to was the Living Christ can heal me with a touch.  I am whole in His sight.  To Him, I can present a broken heart.  I am still working on the contrite spirit. 

I like the New Version of Footprints in the Sand:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Enjoyed the day

I had a lovely day with grown children, in-laws, grandchildren, sister and Dad.  It was relaxing and fun.  I enjoyed digging around through books for the grandkids to find books that fit their school assignments.  One of my grandkids hugged me and told me how much he missed me since I was sick for several weeks.  Such a wonderful feeling.  A blessed reminder that today is what families are all about.  Peace, joy and sharing can exist in a family.  I am happy tonight. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Weakest link

I learned long before counseling that I often reveal things about myself that I didn't realize myself until I share it.  My mother is in a care center.  A hip replacement started the ball rolling but the final decision was based on her increasing dementia.  I tried to visit her several times a week but the visits were getting more and more difficult.  I shared my opinion with my siblings about the issues involved.  I wrote that I would be reducing my visits since she saw me as the weakest link and badgered me more and more each visit.  I pondered why this seemed to happen.  Didn't take long for me to remember incident after incident after incident where I would give into to what she wanted.  I was raised with the 'peace at all cost' mantra and 'take care of your mother.'  The expectation was never that mother should care for me.  I was her care giver.  Designated provider of happiness and meeting her demands.  If I didn't, she would threaten, whine, demand until I gave in and I did give in over and over and over again.  I would set a boundary she would ignore it.  Before she broke her hip, I was going no contact with her as much as possible.  I reduced seeing her to about once a month and sometimes less. I was doing pretty good.  I liked how little I saw her.  Then she broke her hip in a bad fall.  I felt a ton of guilt.  I also struggled with my definition of who I was and what would I do regardless of my mother's behavior.  My sister and daughter categorically informed I was nuts for going to see her.  I did it anyway.  Weird, huh.  Then an incident came up with a formal complaint against a nurse.  I happened to visit the day my mother lodged the complaint.  The nurse was professional but didn't put up with her nonsense and constant demands and counter commands.  Yes, she would tell the nurse one thing then as soon as the nurse did it, mother demanded the opposite.  The nurse walked away.  I almost cheered.  The complaint was lodged.  I was able to explain to the nurses supervisor about mother choosing favorites and lying about those that are not favorites.  The complaint was reconsidered.  A different nurse was assigned.  We had a meeting with the doctor and he stated, "One person has your whole family in turmoil."  I needed to hear this from an outside source.  It was a relief to me to have someone else 'see' the insanity of 7 people running around frantically trying to appease one demanding person.  I learned at a young age that she would say, "He that's doing to doing does it their way."  However, the consequences are "do it my way or there will be hell to pay."  I walked on egg shells constantly jumping when she said jump.  She expects me to do the same now.  She expects me to volunteer to care for her, like I have always done.  The best years of our relationship was when I lived a 1000 miles away.  Over the phone we had a decent relationship because I still didn't know that my mother can talk the talk but doesn't walk the walk.  I decided for my own self-preservation I must reduce my visits with her because every kindness, every gentle gesture, in my mother's perspective is one more piece of evidence that I am the weakest link.  Her badgering, complaining, and tantrums are getting worse with me.  The longer she stays in the care center the more desperate she will become.  To her, I am always the weakest link.  They call it tough love for a reason because when you have a tender caring heart, it is tough to listen to her pleading and still say no.  No is the healthy loving answer even when she rejects it. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Slowly resuming life

Allergies high-jacked my life then complicated it making me susceptible to some nasty infection that I finally gave in and saw the doctor.  He took one look at my eyes and declared me a mess explaining that the gunky eyes were just the tip of the iceberg.  I am sleeping in a recliner so I can be mostly sitting up.  I have the energy of a moldy limp dishcloth.  I finally got back to work but couldn't make it to karate class.  I am bummed to feel so lousy.  Tonight I read a friends blog that described her virus attack and I thought....hmmm mines not so bad after all.  Nothing like a comparison with something worse to be thankful for what I have.  I feel like I am starting to regain my interesting in anything besides breathing.  Amazing how important breathing becomes when you feel like you can't bring in enough breathe without having a coughing fit.  I am also trying to reawaken my interest in anything else.  Medication is good, breathing is awesome, thankful to be on the mend. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Change is essential

My sister wrote that Change is Inevitable, embrace it.  I reached the point of change or die.  Melodramatic?  Passed out driving yesterday.  Hitting the curb jarred me to consciousness.  Guardian angel put on the brakes.  I stopped nose to nose with the neighbors parked car.  I have to admit that allergies are kicking my butt.  Struggling on to meet obligations is not doing myself any favors.  Putting myself in the middle of a shit storm is not helpful either.  I don't have the emotional reserves to weather the out pouring of rage dished out by my mother.  I haven't seen her for 3 days and I am finally starting to balance out.  Change is essential to my survival.  I drive an hour or more a day on the freeway....passing out driving on the freeway instead of a residential street could be lethal for me or somebody else.  Sometimes with health issues, PTSD, and other challenges it really is change or die.  Sadly current statistics estimate 20-25 deaths per day because of PTSD.  Over-whelming thing for me is what do I change?  I like my job, but they are asking so much from me now.  I love karate but feel too sick to go.  I love my kids but feel unable to visit or have them over for dinner.  I love DH but I sit down to visit and fall asleep.  Not looking good for me.  One thing on my list causing the greatest distress is visiting my mother.  I think I need to reduce the number of visits for my health and well being.  Taking turns does not mean I need to go every other day.  Backing off is a healthy choice, now I need to convince my 'mean boss.'  Yup, my counselor pointed out years ago that I have this awful mean boss that expects me to go above and beyond to a ridiculous degree.  Go to work early, stay late, visit your mother everyday, clean and cook dinner that is delicious and nutritious....exercise, do this do that....yea, that nasty boss is me.  Fired her once, I can fire her again. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Miserable Misunderstanding

And over thinking, put me through a very tough week.  I thought DH answered a question in a way that rocked my world.  I spent all week thinking over and over and over how to handle what I thought happened.  I remembered from YEARS of counseling to not go into a discussion with an assumed end.  Share how I feel and watch what shakes out.  The conversation went sideways and upside down when I realized what DH thought I asked was totally different than what I asked.  After clarification of what he thought I said.  I put that together with his answer.....TOTALLY DIFFERENT meaning.  We ended up covering a lot of information that went a long ways to mending several misunderstandings.  I am thankful to counselors that taught me a pattern of communication of using I-statements, asking for clarification, and accepting answers that I don't expect.  Look for misunderstandings - don't simply assume the other person understood what I thought I said.  This whole communication thing is tough but with 90% of the people I know if I take time to use I-statements, express how I feel, invite feedback, and a tentative plan for a solution with an openness to accept other solutions amazing conversations can happen. 


Repeat back what I think the other person said to me.  (Feed back) Invite the other person to share what they think I said.  (Would have helped if I did this on the first conversation.)  Work in progress. 

Own how I feel.  Not the other persons fault that I feel the way I do.  By owning my feelings, I control them.  (Very cool once I figured out how that works.  Still a work in progress but old ladies can learn new ways.)

Conversations can be stickier than walking through cob webs. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Slippery Slope

I'm not in a good place right now.  I'm on a slippery slope but not yet in free-fall. Depression is a solution to anger which hides all my other emotions that I don't want to deal with.  I'm working at sitting with my emotions.  A technique introduced by my second counselor of staying with what I feel and allowing myself to feel it, instead of squashing my emotions with depression.  Sometimes it is easier to feel depressed then some of the other ugly emotions like rejected, used, jealousy, disappointment and a whole freaking long list of emotions that are freaking uncomfortable.  Depression is easier. 

I looked up 'sitting with your emotions' and Mr. Google sent back this link:

Time to refresh my memory on the importance of sitting with painful emotions and not brushing them aside or depressing them. 

Times like these.....Grumpy Cat appeals to me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Changing and unchanged

I spent 10 years working with counselors to change how I function in the World.  Yet with all that work there are still parts of me that remain unchanged.  My counselors often spoke about my core.  The very essence of who I am.  My Spirit, unchanging and eternal.  I was born into a home that maintained the facade of loving bliss and harmony.  Threats, shaming, and deliberate lies maintained this front.  People still believe it.  Every once in a while I encounter a person that tells me how lucky I am to live in such a loving family.  The rage instantly rises, lately to boiling over with a single comment.  I changed so much within myself but outwardly I still do some of the same things.  Reason and thought behind the actions changed but some behaviors remain the same.  I question myself, "Did I actually change? So much remains the same."  Refer back to my core.  It didn't change.  Finding that core and honoring my values, that changed.  I learned at my father's knee, 'Peace at all cost.'  By my teen years, I knew that would cost me everything, my values, my honor, my very soul must be compromised when seeking 'peace at all cost.' A chameleon hides itself by blending into it's surrounding.  One is never quite sure the actual color of a chameleon the change is almost instantaneous.  It adapts, always. Try to confuse a chameleon with a multicolored surface, no problem it will adapt to that too.  Stopping adapting necessitated figuring out what are my values, what is honor, and who am I.  That changed.  I don't adapt quite so easily.  People that were accustomed to pushing me around call me mean and unreasonable since I no longer do their bidding.  I found my backbone.  I chose my color.  Counseling taught me to live, a human being with rights and privileges of living.  Took 10 years to scrub away layers of garbage to find my soul.  That changed everything.   

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Catching Up

So hard to do.  People point out that if I kept up in the first play I wouldn't need to catch up.  I smile because I know this comment comes from a place of ignorance.  A person that experienced that knocked down flatter than a pancake feeling understands that after a time of complete chaos you finally get your breath and catch up takes a bit of time.  I also learned about let go and my favorite MIND OVER MATTER....Yup:

If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.  

Truly this works.  I was sitting in the living room.  My kitchen sink was over flowing with dishes.  My DH asked how I could just sit there knowing all those dishes needed washing.  I smiled serenely.  I knew if I stood up to attempt to do any of the dishes I would pass out.  I didn't mind the dishes sitting their quietly.  They weren't being rude.  They weren't leaping off the counter.  They were minding their own business and I figured we would all be happier if I just let things be.  I didn't mind, so it didn't matter. 

Thank God For Dirty Dishes

Author Unknown
Thank God for dirty dishes;
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry,
We're eating very well
With home, health, and happiness,
I shouldn't want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God's been very good to us.

I am now blessed with a House Elf that blesses me by helping me with dishes.  I am thankful and feel loved.  Thanks.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Burning bridges

There are some bridges that once you cross, they need to be burned.  This prevents one from going back to that same place.  I remember a photography student I worked with years ago.  When he worked on a piece he never saved versions.  He made one image made changes until he was satisfied.  I asked him why he didn't save something to go back to in case something didn't work out.  He shook his head.  He declared, "Life is like a river ever moving onward never back."  So many times people are told not to burn their bridges.  Save the past, no matter how rotten.  Save the relationship, no matter how abusive.  Sometimes the bridge needs to be burnt. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Shared Beauty

I love my Facebook friends.  They share beauty, music, and lots of good stuff.  Thank you.

Michael shared this.  He had a heart attack last month so his photography was curtailed.  He shared beautiful music instead.  I enjoyed it so much and found links to many other beautiful videos. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How long can you tread water?

This is how I am feeling right now.  I am treading water.  I am not moving forward but I don't appear to be moving backwards either.  I am in the waiting pattern like an airplane waiting to land at a closed airport.  I am substituting frivolous fun for real effort and work.  Tried to change that yesterday.  Paying for my foolishness today.  Not exercising with lunges for a year it is a bad idea to think I can pick up where I left off.  Allow myself to back up and try again.  My health is improving.  Knowing the real source of my swallowing problems is an eye opener.  I hadn't realized I was afraid to exercise in case I made my internal problems worse.  Now, I know that it had nothing to do with my muscles and everything to do with being allergic to something.  Not sure what yet.  Other people assured me that the blood test would take a while.  Trying to be patient and I am still bad at it.   I am noticing that my head feels clearer.  I am getting back into doing my karate and actually feeling better about my efforts.  Preparing for the next level tests. That is one part of my life.

The other part that is consuming time, energy and pushing me way out of my comfort zone is visiting my mother after hip replacement surgery.  I stop and visit on my way home from work.  I am trying to use my training from Early Childhood Education and observe what she does and say.  I am also doing a bit of research on Alzheimers.  People are saying mother's behavior is caused by old age and possibly Alzheimers.

I am accepting that my confusion is, to me, she isn't acting any differently then she has for the last 50 or so years.  The main difference is now she treats everybody like she treated Judy and I.  She still has her favorite nurses that get effusive thanks and praise and the scapegoats that are blamed for her discomfort, usually female physical therapists.  I am a piece of furniture or a person to order about.  If she doesn't like the conversation she is too deaf to continue.  But sometimes she talks so softly I can barely hear her.  Some conversations make no sense then the next time I talk to her, the past conversation never happened.  Same as I've always known.  I am struggling with accepting this is simply the devastation of old age.  To me she would have had Alzyheimers in her 40's. 

What I learned that I think is helpful-

Top five tips
  • Try not to take behaviors personally.
  • Remain patient and calm.
  • Explore pain as a trigger.
  • Don't argue or try to convince.
  • Accept behaviors as a reality of the disease and try to work through it.
    Read more:

    Basically what I learned with the help of counseling....her behavior is not about me.  Whether it is a disease eating away her brain or maggoty fears triggering her behavior, it is still not about me.  Interesting how this knowledge takes a burden off my shoulders.....all she is, not about me.  I can't change her, fix her, or make things better.  Daily I remind myself, her choices and behavior are not about me, ever. 

    Still waters run deep

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pondering or sulking

Counseling started over 15 years ago.  I reached the point where everything was gray....little or no emotion.  Counseling was a desperate grab to get out of my personal twilight zone.  My counselor poked, pestered, and prodded until I exploded and found anger.  Then we peeled back anger to find hurt, fear and frustration.  Digging and cleaning out the hideous sludge I found happiness, contentment and joy in bits and pieces.  I learned that feeling only one emotion is a bit odd so only happy is almost as weird as only gray.  I am learning to identify and cope with a wide range of emotions.  Lately, I am in an odd mood.  I am trying to identify what it is.  I am thinking..... a lot.  Hence, I am believing it might be pondering.  But I also have tinges of resentment and discontent so perhaps I am sulking wanting to call it pondering because that sounds better to me.  I know I am not angry.  I am tired but that is more physical than emotional.  I am not really happy, not excited but I am not grumpy either.  You know, gray is confusion about what I am feeling. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Verbal abuse

Buried in my drafts folder I found this link to Judy's blog.  Her post is a response to this link:

I needed this today.  I I was verbally abused by a student that used 12 of the 15 different types of verbal abuse.  I got frustrated and I could hear it in the intensity of my voice.  However, I didn't loose my cool.  I kept things even.  I did call security and had the student removed from the classroom.  I am reviewing the situation as to what might happen in the next few days.  My job is to stay as far away as I can possible get.  Fortunately, the student is not in a room that I work on a regular basis.  I don't need to tolerate abuse from anyone.  Thanks to Judy as I recounted the incidents and let me talk through all that happened.  I was verbally abused today.  I don't like it.  I don't need to tolerate it.  Hmmm.  I'm glad I dropped Judy's link in my box about 2 years ago.  Very helpful today. 

Things I can do tomorrow to avoid this student. 
1.  Arrive in the room after she leaves. 
2.  Stay away from the corridor where she walks to another class. 

If I do encounter the student,
1.  Observe her behavior
2.  Say hello only if she speaks first. 
3.  Remind myself that it is not my in my job description to tolerate verbal abuse. 
4.  Walk away. 

1.  Make sure Security phone number is easy access on my phone.

Plan ahead; follow my plan. 

Do not accept spider's invitation.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Inspiration Motivation

"Don't drink the Kool-Aid"

What do these three things have in common?

For several weeks I've struggled with what to write, so I spaced out my scribblings hoping something would come together.  Yesterday I read Roots2Blossom awesome blog on getting motivated right now.
Sometimes I feel so getup and go, got up and went without me. 

Another post by someone else was inspirational, probably my sister, but I didn't save the link.  My heart felt lighter.

Then the third one wrote about making choices and not just following the crowd like lemmings.  Only the guy did his homework to find out that lemmings leaping off the cliffs was a Disney hoax, for which they got sued.  Immediately what came to mind was "Don't drink the Kool-Aid".  This was news when I was a teenager.  A bunch of people followed Jim Jones to their death by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid.;_ylt=AwrTcd1RsZpYFGAAXConnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByNWU4cGh1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--?qid=20101219173652AAuoOIm

What a combination. 

What do I get out of this?

Choose carefully who inspires me and what motivates me and make sure that someone isn't giving me funny tasting Kool-aid. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017


I shared on my other blog my progress I had from a post I had on this blog 2 years ago.

It was interesting to write the post and realize I came along way.  2016 was not an easy year.  I failed some things.  I did some other things that I feel ashamed about.  But I also did somethings that were good, fun and amazing.  I traveled with my daughter and her kids to visit those kids living out of state.  I helped some students in a big way.  I discovered some health problems.  I gained back the weight I lost plus some.  I survived.  However, looking at 2 years of change or 5 years of change or 15 years of growing.  I am amazed at where I am at now compared to where I was then.  My emotional growth, healing, and changes I feel light years from where I was.  I think one of the values of blogging for myself is I have a record of what I was doing and thinking at the time.  I am thankful for the growth and many many fellow travelers that share my journey.  Thanks

Progress not perfection. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hollywood did it again

Hollywood decries putting down groups due to race, religion, or gender preference but has no problem ridiculing those that are over weight by their standard or mental illness.  These groups are fair game in the movies to turn them into victims or monsters.  A grade B or in my opinion D movie came out called "Split."  The main character is a multiple personality that terrorizes 3 teens.  REALLY.....I am sick and tired of Hollywood twisting the truth to their convenience and to line their pocket books.  I will gladly help them pack to move anywhere outside this country. Sending them clear off the planet seems reasonable.  (Not a death threat but tickets on the next space stuttle need to be handed out in Hollywood.)  Fortunately, there are websites that demystify the twisted truths.  The people over at Trauma and Dissociation gave a quiz on what really happens when a person splits into parts to survive.

Yes, I did get a 100% on their dissociation quiz. I didn't check every page but what I read coincided fairly closely to what I experienced.  I lived with parts for over 40 years.  My kids figured out first that Mom was a bit complex on how I handled situations.  Took a lot of years of counseling to integrate and learn a new pattern of solving problems.  My aunt that worked in a mental hospital also recognized my behavior for what it was, a complex coping structure that consisted of 5 personalities that kept me functioning in an insane world.  I worked very hard to bring down the barriers within myself.  I also had people and jobs that cut me off from their association because I was the problem.  Here's the deal.  I was the same person they liked before they found out how I functioned.  For me, there were black out of time, loss memories and confusion.  Who kept moving my clothes to the back of the closet? And who's clothes were they in the front?  I knew that I could write something then later not recognize my own hand writing or what the note meant.  I felt stupid and scared and confused and I withdrew more and more.  Counseling was my last resort.  I was terrified, glitches, and behaviors were becoming more noticeable.  I was blessed with an amazing counselor that understood who and what I was.  He guided me through acceptance then taught me coping skills.  I was determined to bring myself together.  I was born together and I wanted Humpty Dumpty together again.  A daunting task that I would not brave alone or without prayers....lots of prayers.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

Need to Play

Rush rush rush...

Rush to talk
Rush to walk
Rush rush rush

Rush to school
Rush to learn
Rush rush rush

Rush to grow up
Rush to graduate
Rush rush rush

Rush to work
Rush to deadlines
Rush rush rush

Rush on the freeway
Rush on the way home
Rush rush rush

I work with Early Childhood Education program at our school.  Part of the lessons teaches high school students the importance of play for children.  As I work more on growing healthy, adults need to play too.

Link to article about children need to play:

  • playing helps children expand their understanding of themselves and others, their understanding of the physical world, and their ability to communicate with others
  • recreation creates the basis for a great foundation in all areas of life
  • play teaches the basics that every person needs to know for the real world, things such as:
    • You don’t always win
    • Good Sportsmanship
    • Take turns
    • Colors
    • Reading
    • Strategy
    • Math awareness
    • Cooperation
    • Memorization
    • Creativity
    • Self Confidence
I know that I needed to build self confidence, unleash my creativity, improve my memory, learn to cooperate,  yup, right up the line I benefit from play.  I am playing an online game.  Sudokus and crossword puzzles are part of my routine to healthier brain.  I decided to try Lumosity.  However, I have to set some boundaries.  I put time limits on how long I play.  I allow myself to make mistakes in the game or puzzle without condemning myself.  I am practicing cooperation on Happy Acres.
I'm having fun. I'm adding painting abstract and drawing to my activities.  I am learning to slow down the rush and enjoy events, people, activities and living. 

For Moms

Found on facebook....thanks for sharing.....simple reminder to Moms

To the mom hiding in her bathroom, needing peace for just one minute, as the tears roll down her cheeks..
To the mom who is so tired she feel likes she can't function anymore and would do anything to lay down and get the rest she needs...
To the mom sitting in her car, alone, stuffing food in her face because she doesn’t want anyone else to see or know she eats that stuff…
To the mom crying on the couch after she yelled at her kids for something little and is now feeling guilty and like she is unworthy…
To the mom that is trying desperately to put those old jeans on because all she really wants is to look in the mirror and feel good about herself…
To the mom that doesn’t want to leave the house because life is just too much to handle right now…
To the mom that is calling out for pizza again because dinner just didn’t happen the way she wanted it to…
To the mom that feels alone, whether in a room by herself or standing in a crowd...
You are enough.
You are important.
You are worthy.
This is a phase of life for us. This is a really really hard, challenging, crazy phase of life.
In the end it will all be worth it. But for now it’s hard. And it's hard for so many of us in many different ways. We don't always talk about it, but it's hard and it's not just you.
You are enough.
You are doing your best.
Those little eyes that look up at you - they think you are perfect. They think you are more than enough.
Those little hands that reach out to hold you - they think you are the strongest. They think you can conquer the world.
Those little mouths eating the food you gave them - they think that you are the best because their bellies are full.
Those little hearts that reach out to touch yours - they don’t want anything more. They just want you.
Because you are enough. You are more than enough, mama.
You. Are. Amazing.
By: Bethany Jacobs

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Another explanation

One of the challenges of sharing my experience with dissociation is how I experienced is different than how other people experience the feelings.  It is difficult to describe something that I barely understand myself.  I came across an article that attempts to explain dissociation disorders.  I read the link and found that some parts are very similar to what I feel but others are quite different.  Treatment used with me was a combination of techniques honed by my counselors 30 years of experience and a PhD.  I was still able to surprise him from time to time.