Friday, September 30, 2011


 My evaluation of myself also includes what I still don't have, self-confidence.  One of the quotes I encounter I really liked at first: 
"Self-esteem is your responsibility – that’s why it has the word ‘self’ in it. As a result you and only you can build it and nurture it. Stop looking for other people and external sources to do what ultimately starts and ends with you." ~Baggage Reclaim - Thanks mulderfan for passing it on.
My dilemma, I have no idea where to start.  I like the idea that self-confidence and self-esteem begin and end with me because that means I have control over it.  I especially understand that I am not going to get it from outside myself.  Even if I do get a compliment, I minimize it or turn it aside.  One experience can illustrate why I struggle with this.  When I graduated from high school, I did so in the top 5% of a class of over 500 students.  My mother was quick to remind me that I may have graduated in the top 5% of my class but I wasn't as smart as my brothers.  She assured me it was only because I worked harder, like hard work was some sort of dirty underhanded trick.  I was so hurt at the time since I believed that finally I would be praised for something.  WRONG!  There seems to be some unwritten rule of narcissistics that all scapegoats must be ground down to emotional and mental nothingness.  So how does someone become like the Facebook status shared by my friend?
My friend's 10 year old son, "The only person in the world who is awesomer than me, is my future self!"

 Kiki asked the same question I did.  How do I get self-confidence?

Please read the comments too.

She continues with the poem and song shared by her readers.

Then today is her declaration of Awesomeness:

I appreciate her sharing her progress.  I do recommend you follow the link to her awesome new haircut.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


There is no gravity. The earth sucks.  Graf Fito

This week I am evaluating my past compared to my present. I hit several mile stones that indicated to me the progress I am making. I am not 'out-of-the-woods' yet.  That's OK.  I know in my heart I will make it. 

This week I pondered over PTSD*, DID**, my childhood and my survival.  I realized that PTSD did not cause DID.  My childhood from hell caused the splits as a survival mechanism.  Elaborate, powerful, and unlike what most people do.  By openly writing a book on integration and blogging about being a multiple, I am getting to know others that used or are using this powerful survival tool.   DID wasn't the cause of PTSD.  Both are symptoms of severe abuse and a reaction to things my mind still refuses to remember.  I now accept that God's greatest gift to me was to forget.  Only my body didn't forget.  My mind repressed and depressed my memories but all it took were some triggers to cause eruptions.  Some of those eruptions were violent flashbacks or nightmares or mind floods of memories.  Unfortunately, the information was scrambled into shards too small to glimpse the image until more and more of them were piled together.   In my book (link at the bottom of the page) I tell the story of my counselor assuring me I was like everyone else.  I bring in my puzzle pieces and we sort them out.  I felt such relief until KavinCoach finished up with, "You just happen to be a 10,000 piece puzzle."  I worked hard in counseling and integrated my fragmented parts of myself.  Shocked me to realize the PTSD was still there.  Only I didn't have the powerful survival tool to make it through my day.  Instead, I am cramming a childhood and teenage years worth of learning how to function into a few years.  I am finally starting to catch up.  I learned that DID controlled me.  Yes, I survived.  Yes, I could control PTSD but I didn't have many choices on how to behave in a situation; DID took over first.  Like the type of reflex you have when your knee gets smacked by the little hammer by the doctor.  It simply happened on a primitive survival level.  I feel the DID was such a blessing in my life to keep living.  However, a major trigger occurred over 20 years ago and PTSD smashed DID.  Instead of helping me, my multiple personalities kept me from solving problems differently than when I did as a child.  20 years ago I had a 'Shadow Warrior' that beat me daily, destroying my body, my mind and my relationships with those I love.  That 'Shadow Warrior' has a name now PTSD.  Unfortunately, DID stopped being an effective survival tool and became part of the problem.  I was no longer in an environment that warranted full body armor.  I needed to learn new tools of negotiation, assertiveness, boundaries, and other tools that I learned from KavinCoach and NewCounselor.  DID interfered with me learning these new lessons.  I am thankful KavinCoach taught me what I needed to know to integrate.  I am thankful for DID, my 5 personalities and my mutes, for making it possible to survive long enough to find a teacher that could help me.  My epiphany, I am thankful for splitting into multiple personalities and integration. 

*Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
**Dissociative Identity Disorder 

10,000 Puzzle Pices

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Living is Good

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.

I am continuing the evaluation of then and now. 20 years ago I pleaded with my Heavenly Father that I not have to live any more.  I am now thankful He didn't listen to me. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Evaluating progress

Yesterday, I wrote about how much fun I had at a dance/exercise class.  Some people would say..."Big deal, you had fun at a dance class."  Lets say you had Arachnephobia  intense fear of spiders.  Now, imagine you just let a big hairy tarantula walk up your arm and dance on your shoulder.  Yup, that is about what I did last night.  In the first five minutes, there were 4 major trigger situations.  I could not have done last night's class 2 years ago.  I would not have been at the studio 5 years ago.  I would not have considered any dancing a possibility 10 years ago.  About 20 years ago I couldn't stand up more than 20 minutes a day.  Last night was a triumph over PTSD. 

20 years ago


Does that help to make a little more sense why I am so over the moon that I had a great time in dance class?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Too much input

Audrey Hepburn
Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it in all at once.

Today, I started out by reading one of the blogs I follow and thought wow I need to share my poem about being like shattered glass and how stained glass windows are made out of shattered glass.  Then another blog had a favorite poem "Do it Anyway." Then another wrote about someone telling her that only soldiers get PTSD.  From this burst a whole new bunch of post about all the misunderstandings and myths about living with PTSD.  Medical people aren't much better than anyone else in understanding how this disrupts your life.  Then I thought about my friend that felt discouraged that the PTSD didn't go away.  More and more input and I need to sort it all out.  Today, I will share with you my evening adventure.

My talented daughter teaches Zumba class, which is a fun and wonderful way to really get a work out.  She encouraged me to take the class and reminds her class to respect our bodies.  I love her class.  She is going to be having a baby in the next few weeks and Zumba was put on the list of things she can't do for awhile.  I have experimented with other classes offered at the dance studio.  Tonight I thought I was attending the same type of class I did last week.  Surprise the teacher was getting yoga training and dumped me into "Awkward Dancing 101."  I am not kidding.  That really is the name.  I saw my daughter in the studio and asked her what it was.  She hmmed and hawed and finally said that the teacher was good and to "keep an open mind."  Not totally reassured I went into class.  The teacher sits us in a circle and starts to explain, "This class is just what it is about those Awkward feelings we have inside."  Well, I certainly have bucket loads of those.  Next, she explained that we were NOT to run into the walls.  Seeings that one wall is mirrored, I would say that is a brilliant idea.  I did note that she did not clarify whether or not we would be running into each other.  She asked us not to do anything that would require giving CPR or an ambulance.  Good thing the only lights on are twinkle Christmas lights or they would have seen the color drain out of my face.   Just before getting up to start dancing she gently reminds us that we can have fun just about anyway we want to and to keep our clothes on.  I am now putting my trust in my daughter.  She knows that I can totally freak out.  After all these dire warnings the music begins and I had the best time ever.  I felt like I was about 10 years old again when I would sneak down stairs and dance all by myself.  I had a blast.  I didn't get as much of a work out as I do in my daughter's class but I am certainly looking for this class on the calendar to sign up again.  What an adventure.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In Mourning

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:-Knowing when to come in out of the rain; - Why the early bird gets the worm;- Life isn't always fair; - And maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies, don't spend more than you can earn and adults, not children, are in charge. His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. Common Sense began to lose the battle for his health as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility, and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights,I Want It Now,Someone Else Is To Blame, I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, do nothing.
A post of a post from Facebook.  Thanks to whoever wrote it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mistakes, Errors, Oops

Elbert Hubbard
The greatest mistake you can make is to be continually fearing you will make one.

One of the hardest things I do is overcome my fear of making mistakes.  If I made the slightest error growing up, there would be a full blown discussion on how to avoid every making said mistake again.  People in my life pointed out if I dropped a spoon.  Well, somehow I noticed but they felt a need to make sure I knew it.  KavinCoach was astounded by my intense fear.  He encountered many people that were afraid of making mistakes.  What puzzled him was my intensity to the point that I would get sick over the slightest error.  Oops of course were totally and completely unacceptable.  This intensity made me very good working with computers since with a computer you can't put a space in the wrong place.  The computers demand for absolutely perfection and zero tolerance to error is not new to me.  KavinCoach spent many sessions helping me to reduce my anxiety at a perceived error.  We had many more discussions after I integrated.  The interesting thing was that after integration my anxiety actually went up in this area since I had a separate personality that dealt with all errors.  She had no emotions so was never hurt by criticism.  She expected perfection from herself and others.  She made life miserable for my kids and coworkers.  One place I worked called me "Dragon Lady" behind my back. Now, I am responsible for my behavior and I learned that mistakes from myself and others are usually 99% of the time fixable and if not fixable there is a work around.  I am also accepting that mistakes, errors, and oops are part of the human condition.  However, I still wouldn't want to hear my doctor say, "oops" when I am in surgery.

Added by mulderfan:
In AA, we say "Progress not perfection." and I love it!

Added by Laurel:
The original language in which the Bible was written defines perfection as being complete or finished. It's possible to do something imperfectly by the World's standard, and be perfect by God's standard.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Doing the opposite

Katherine Mansfield
The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be.
Katherine Mansfield

One of the tough situations in my childhood comes from an early memory around 5 years old where I am instructed to take care of my mother.  I was 5, isn't that supposed to be the other way around?  When I started raising my own children as much as possible I tried to do the opposite of my mother.  I do not have documented proof but my sister, Judy, on her blog went through each and every attribute of narcissistic behavior and my mother matched them all.  Judy recapped all the ways my mother was unhealthy.  I suggested in a comment, very late that night to write the opposite.  I wanted to see what healthy looks like.  I was delighted the next morning and there it was.  This amazing post that I happen to know she wrote before my comment.  She chose to post it separately.  Enjoy what to me is a list of healthy choices that can be turned into goals of improvement:

I really like this list.  It encapsulates many of the things that my counselors have spent years trying to help me understand.   I want to thrive but it is hard to do when I don't know what it looks like.  Like trying to describe a rainbow.  No matter what you say it all seems inadequate to actually experiencing it.  Thanks for an awesome post Judy. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Official

This week I had some awesome highs that were wonderful.  See last Saturday's post.  Then the past few days with PTSD triggers exploding left and right I was having a really rough time.  Today, I had my counseling session with NewCounselor.  It is official, NewCounselor is awesome.  He helped me recognize that I did really well for the weekend and that I can celebrate my successes.  He let me not talk about stuff that was too much.  And then right at the end he helped with the stuff that is coming up that I want to do right but feeling a bit adrift on how to proceed.  He helped me gain perspective and let me explore ways to solve the things that were bugging me.  Added bonus I was feeling a bit worse for wear and the building he has his office has a lovely garden area that I can relax before tackling the drive home.  Plus close by was an ice cream place with wonderful chocolate ice cream.  Chocolate works great on the demetors that were attacking my mind.  I finished off the evening talking with my friend and getting email and fb messages from others that I care about.  Very eventful week.     

Keeping a sharp eye on things.


Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

Sometimes I am just so overwhelmed by too much.  I know some people like the new Facebook.  I tried figuring out the changes but the constant changing bits and pieces are like tiny explosions in my mind.  I do not think quick on my feet.  I mull things over.  Process all the ins and outs then I can answer.  The way I did it was switch to the view that listed posts from now to the last entry I made.  I skim over some and read others.  Commenting when I think of something fun or just hit a like or a share.  The constant feed of more and more and more information leaves me unsettled and is not the relaxing time of touching bases with people I am learning to really enjoy contacting.  I like my friend that is super pro animals and encourages me to adopt more pets.  I know my limits but I so appreciate her enthusiasm.  I have an internet friend that is a writer.  She lives in the same area but we meet on facebook well after the time that 'Emily Post' considers a time to visit.  I hear from friends and family around the world.   Facebook rattled my cage.  Thanks Judy for the really funny pictures.  My favorite was the lady pointing a gun at the computer.  I laughed when I saw but had to go to your 'wall' to see it.  My world gets shook up like a snow globe and I struggle to keep my footing.  Something that people say is so 'minor' messes with me so completely.  Like the last drop of water in an over full cup.  Running over with frustration is not what I was hoping for.  Just sayn'.

Tangled Thoughts


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Facebook Stomps a Trigger

One of the fascinating aspects of PTSD you go buzzing along and suddenly someone or something STOMPS on one of your triggers.  (KavinCoach assures me I am loaded with them.)  Your heart jumps into hyper-drive.  Adrenaline is pulsing like a tiger is chasing you.  All because some human at Facebook wanted to improve things Their way.  I was dragged kicking and screaming on to Facebook in the first place so I could keep in touch with my kids.  I eventually liked dropping bits and pieces of information.  I am keeping in touch with friends through out the world.  Tonight I opened up an email from  Facebook informing me that they are going to change my settings again.  D***it I like my settings.  That's why I set them that way.  So, I start off ticked.  Make sure all my settings are back how I like them then wham they have changed the whole freaking thing and took away my button that lets me switch to the view I prefer.  I repost the I HATE FACEBOOK page.  Furious because they stand between me and keeping in touch with people I care about.  FB announces at the top they are going to decide what my top stories are.  HEELLLLOOOO!!! I HATE SOMEONE ELSE MAKING MY DECISIONS.  (Yes, I am fully aware that all caps is shouting.  If you feel offended by my shouting...go play on Facebook.)  Two weeks ago my job was totally revamped with out any input by me.  Now Facebook is telling me what I think is important.  I am pissed.  I have MAJOR issues with control and they just slapped me in the face with how much they have control over my information and who they allow me to contact.  I hope every executive, programmer, engineer, or designer that had anything to do with this change all get flat tires so they can feel as frustrated as I do.  Don't mess with my settings. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Enough is Enough

I enjoy reading and following several blogs.  Sometimes I comment and share my perspective.  Today I read one that was so thought provoking I thought I would share here with permission.

How often do you hear you are doing too much _____________. Fill in the blank.

Brash World collected a list and shared it on her blog:

I read her list several times. 

After my last child was born, my body did an all mighty crash.   I could only be out of bed and up for about 20 minutes a day.  Back then putting away the dishes could be too much.  Today, I started my morning checking my email.  Checked my blog then had breakfast.  Left a few minutes late for work.  Stayed very busy all day.  Went to the bank on the way home.  Got home grabbed a snack then off to the store to do weekly shopping.  Back home grab another snack, hung up laundry, then headed for dance/exercise class.  Picked up water on the way home with a brief visit to my sister but decided hunger was winning out.  8:30 PM ate dinner.  Caught up on facebook, emailed a few people and now catching up on blogs.  Compared to what I used to do I am tearing around now.  There are still times I am so tired I can barely stay awake if I hold still for more than 20 minutes.  I think too much is relative to each person.  Taking 1000 pictures in one day most people would be howling too much.  I am disappointed that I ran out of space on my two 8 GB memory cards.  One lima bean is TOO MUCH.  A fellow photographer is out of work and now has too much time.  Another friend is having problems with people not doing their job and has too much frustration.  Too much seems to attack from every side.  Einstein preached that all things are relative.  "When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours that's relativity." -- Albert Einstein   You know, I think he was on to something.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Emotions Dark and Light

September 11, 2001 marked a terrible day in the history of this country and the world.  It was also the day I recognized that I cut myself off from all emotion, all fear, all terror, all sadness, all compassion, all happiness, all joy.  I learned that I could not feel, zip, nothing, nada.  I knew at some level of my conscious mind that this ability was not common.  I was in a room full of people horrified, angry, and scared people as they watched the horrible events unfold. I looked on with hardly any curiosity.  It took me a week to feel anything.  I blamed it on my fear of cancer.  I later learned that it was the tip of the iceberg.    About 2 years later, I finally ended up in counseling with KavinCoach.  I told him I wanted to learn how to communicate with my husband better.  He started commonly accepted ways of building  better couple communication.  The results came back totally not what he expected.  After several completely failed assignments, he asked me about my childhood.  I replied cheerfully, "It was a great childhood.  We went to the park and we went to the zoo."  He was skeptical with good reason.  He pushed, "Tell me an average day?"  Of course I couldn't because my memories before high school were completely gone and the ones in high school were very sketchy.  So began the odyssey into my mind.

Darkness covered much of my thoughts.  To try to get some idea KavinCoach had me read other people's stories.  Book one was a Child Called It.  He asked me what I thought about it.  With no emotional reaction, I responded that bad things happen, what do you want me to learn from it?  The next book was about a more severe case of child abuse, still no emotional reaction.  The third book still no reaction.  The forth book was Victor Hinkl's book on the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning I told KavinCoach, "What do you want me to learn from this, is the wrong answer."  What KavinCoach learned was how completely I had turned off all access to my emotions.  Slowly he tread the precarious journey into the dark-side of my mind.  Unleashing of the emotions starts with the darkest most terrifying ones.  Terror increased.  (Isn't counseling supposed to make you feel better?  Not at first.)  Memories started leaking through the awesome barrier that kept them at bay.  Fear trickled through.  Guilt like a noxious gas.  Pulling down the barriers in my mind revealed a seething mass of emotion raging to be turned loose.  KavinCoach tightened up the counseling sessions to allow only a small amount at a time to leak through to help give me coping skills and time to process the sludge boiling over from my past.  Then came Black Christmas.  No Christmas tree.  I refused to sing a single Christmas Carole.  No decorations.  Bah Humbug would have been a cheery greeting that dark terrible Christmas when echo voices in my mind said all this horror was my fault.  The pain washed over me in waves.  KavinCoach threw me life line after life line keeping me barely afloat.  One of the valuable lines was the information that part of an abusers method of attack is to convince the victim that all these horrible things happening to them is their fault.  The abuser justifies their heinous crimes and gloats as the victim suffers both in body and mind.  Time and time again I repeated to myself, "I did not deserve what happened to me.  I did NOT deserve what happened to me."  I didn't not believe it that first dark Christmas.  Slowly with time and continuing healing I finally believe that I did not deserve what happened to me.  Then yesterday I spent with family and friends sharing advice with my daughter who will be giving birth to her little boy next month.  The joy I felt in sharing the love I feel about being a mother and the challenges involved and my belief that her becoming a parent is a wonderful thing.  I now know the light and beautiful side of these things called emotions.  I am now thankful that KavinCoach taught me to unlock my dark world.  Like Pandora's box, if I had closed the box too soon I would have missed out the hope that was in the box too.  I know how hard it is to believe in light when the darkness is so thick.  However, the smallest pinprick of light pushes back the darkness.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Magical Day

Ever had a magical day that you just wanted to tie up all the lovely feelings and keep them to look at when life isn't so magical?  That was my day today. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

End of a rough week

Katharine HepburnLife is hard. After all it kills you.

Came home from worked and crashed/slept for 3 hours.

I did accomplish several good things this week.  I dropped out of the workshop on Mental Illness in the Classroom.  I decided that I am very grateful no one knew in high school what I did to survive.  Plus they only help students with mental health problems that interfere with their school work.  Being a multiple, one of my people was capable of hyper-focusing on school work.  Really came in handy since she didn't worry too much about the raging high school hormones.  Simply a non-issue when there was work to be done.  Another weirdness I realized that school was the safest place for me but the way the schools now 'help' students would have put me in greater risk situation.  I am really thankful for several truly amazing teachers I had back then.  I still remember several and the way they touched my life in a very positive way.

On another note, I earned 4 gold stars this week.  ✭✭✭✭  It helped that the teachers got together and decided I can help in photography during advisory time.  Amazing how a little bit of give in the schedule satisfies me.  Still challenged but I am trying to be more open to positive possibilities.  I am learning that I am really much better than I ever imagined at organizing things.  Now if I can just get motivated to do that at home.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Sometimes the decisions which seem hardest to make, are the ones that will eventually make us happiest ~ have a great Sunday peeps ♥

Thanks to my friend for this thought for the day.  About this same time, I came across this article posted on facebook.  I took the time to read it and felt glad I did.  I am working every day on feeling a greater level of acceptance of who I am and where I am at right now.

Thank you to people leaving comments on last night's post.  After thinking everything over, I have decided to drop out of the workshop.  I decided that I like NewCounselor's ideas on healthy living.  I like his homework.  He is teaching me how to have better relationships.  I am very enthusiastic to learn how to enjoy the people I love more.   Exciting things coming up.    :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Now I know

I attended a workshop about Mental illness in the schools.  I always wondered if my life would have been different if I had gotten help when I was in high school.  I learned tonight that they only help students that the mental illness interferes with school and their progress.  Since being a multiple helped me in school, they wouldn't have helped me at all.  Plus, when they do help students they lump all the emotional disability students together, predator and prey all in the same group.  I have my answers now I am wondering if I will continue the class.  I AM SO GLAD NO ONE REALIZED WHAT WAS HAPPENING WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time to think

10 years since cancer and 9/11.  While driving to work, I thought about how difficult this anniversary was for me.  I pondered about how I survived cancer and my heart still grieves for others that suffered or died that terrible day but I discovered a new layer I hadn't paid attention to before.  I realized that morning the events of 9/11 and my total lack of reaction was the first strong indicator that I did not react like everyone else.  The personality that was present at the time felt nothing, no connection, no sorrow, no sense of horror.  I looked around the room and recognized that my reaction was extremely different.  I would say in that moment of time I was the definition of extremely dissociated.  Some one asked me what it was like to be dissociated.  That would be it.  You feel nothing.  No connection to people or events either past or present.  In a room full of people you feel utterly and completely alone and you don't care.  I recognized on an intellectual level that I should feel something.  I wasn't connected enough to know what I should pretend to feel.  I didn't get into counseling for another 2 years.  My reaction troubled me but I had nothing in my experience to explain what was wrong.  I also didn't know I had multiple personalities.  I just felt like I must be a terrible person to not feel anything that tragic day.  9/11 was a wake up call to the nation that this world was not safe from people dedicated to destruction of others.  It was a wake up call to me.  I needed help but didn't understand enough to form a question.  I started counseling a couple of years later wanting to know more about how to communicate.  I had no idea what I was walking into.  I am thankful for Heavenly Father's guidance to KavinCoach.  I have had quite the journey.   

Monday, September 12, 2011


You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. Mark Twain

I realized today that I am feeling very out of focused.  The ten year anniversary of 9/11 and my cancer took a bigger toll than I thought it would.  Enjoy one of my pictures.  I love the way the light shines through. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Morning sunshine beating down on my head, sweat trickling down between my shoulder blades, clear indicators that desert survival means I brought my water bottle.  Hiking boots support my ankles as I pick my way up the path through the broken rocks and mountain shrapnel tumbled onto the Squaw Peak trail.  I respect the desert.  I call it home.  I was born in Phoenix, more than fifty years ago, and I grew up hiking amongst the cacti, sage brush, rocks and lizards.  Raised in the desert, I know how lethal forgetting water or getting stranded alone can turn a hike into a death march.  After moving around the country I returned to Phoenix in poor health.  I could barely finish the grocery shopping without sitting down to rest.  I craved hiking the desert but didn’t want to tackle a desert trail alone.  I appreciate the fact that hundreds of people make the Squaw Peak pilgrimage, so I can hike alone without being alone.   

I started my first climb at a sedate stroll with more determination than energy.  Wooden signs remind visitors that the trail is not suitable for dogs, horses or mountain bikes. Looking at the cholla, saguaro, and barrel cactus it doesn’t look like it is suitable for humans either.  People take up the challenge for a thousand reasons; for me, if I could make it to the top, I would be getting healthier.  The first day, I never made it to the first quarter-mile marker.  I rested against a rocky outcropping at a bend in the path.  I felt discouraged that the mountain so easily defeated me.  

The following week, with more determination than sense, I again tackled the rocky trail.  I started to pay attention to the cholla condominium next to the trail.  I am amazed that some intrepid bird built right next to the path in the middle of the spikes of the cholla.  The nest is certainly safe from humans, since no one would reach their hand into that menacing environment.  Further along the trail, I notice a man-made retaining wall about knee high.  I am curious about why it is there, amongst the rugged rocks.  Years later, I discovered that the little wall kept the mountain from washing across the path and creating a mini flash flood during the rain.  In Phoenix, rarely encountered rain wreaks havoc on the exposed trail.  I focus on the ground as I pick my way up the uneven steps and loose rocks.  I watch powder puffs of dust poof out from under my feet.  The dust settles across my shoes, spreading the grayness of the trail over my shoes and pant legs.  This time, I make it past the quarter mile mark and a good ways to the half-mile marker before my legs feel like ten-ton appendages.  I retreat back down, planning to attack the mountain again, the following week.   
O-dark hundred, the sun only shows an eerie glow on the horizon.  I pick my parking spot, grab my water bottle, and I tackle the trail again.  The bottom part becomes more familiar with each trek.  I take my time, picking my way up each switchback.  Every turn takes me up higher and slowly around the mountain.  The shrubs poke their spindly arms out into the pathway.  Scrawny and brittle, I brush easily past them.  Boulders provide a spot of shade to rest behind.  I pass the quarter-mile marker, the bench at a third of a mile, and finally reach the bench that sits in the shade of the mountain at the half-mile marker.  I rest awhile, swinging my feet while a pleasant breeze scoots over the saddle of the mountain.  This is the dividing point.  One path does a circuitous route around the base of Squaw Peak and the steeper path heads for the summit.  I am heading for the summit.

Determination, more than strength, drives me to continue up the steep path.  Only half way up and already civilization takes on doll-like proportions.  The mountain drops off to the right, giving me a view of the parking lot full of matchbox cars.  I am struggling to keep going.  Each new step seems like the last leg of a marathon.  I am determined to make the summit.  At the mile-mark, I am hit full force by the sun again as I top the edge of the mountain.  I collapse onto another bench.  I realize I am just a quarter mile from the top.  Adrenaline pushes me back onto my feet.  The last part is mostly in the sun.  Sweat covers my forehead and the wetness feels good, my own personal swamp cooler.  As long as I am sweating, I am OK.  

The top of the mountain is playing hide-and-go-seek behind the boulders and rocks that impede the path.  I encounter a sharp incline up a rock.  I struggle up more rocks.  The final stretch is steep and treacherous, but the summit is in view.  I hoist myself up the last little bit and perch on top, with the sun beating down on me.  Crumpling on rocks that feel like the softest cushions in a ritzy, hotel lobby, I rest my exhausted body.  It feels so good to be on top of my world.   I look down the mountain sides.  Ranks of saguaros spread out in every direction.  Ocotillos sway in the breezes. I am aware that I am not alone at the top.  The chatter around me is more like a party than the end of a brutal climb overlooking the freeway to downtown Phoenix.

The next four years, I tread my self-appointed pilgrimage, almost every weekend.  I was thrilled as I progressed to not only once up to the summit, but I actually started doing it twice in a day.  I watch the seasons pass, from the dusty grays and browns of summer to the dustier grays of winter, followed by an amazing riot of color each spring.  I changed jobs but not climbing the mountain. 

I started to have trouble climbing the mountain.  I figured it was just fatigue from working a more demanding job.  September 2001 stands clear and ominous in most people’s minds.  The reports of crashing planes barely infringed on my depression.  I stare at the computer monitors in the photo lab; the images repeated over and over.  My mind doesn’t seem to grasp that I am watching people die.  The grayness in my mind doesn’t lift.  The week before 9/11, I was diagnosed with cancer.  My world rocked.  I stared numbly as iron and concrete buildings collapsed.  None of the chaos in New York broke through the fog in my mind.  The following Saturday, I retreated to my desert to climb.  

I was too tired to attempt the summit.  The tiredness wasn’t from the cancer but from the depression brought on by the word.  I didn’t know a single word could create such a level of despair that the first time I uttered the words, “I have cancer,” I passed out.  I was only forty-four years old.  I was already scheduled for surgery, in less than a month.  My mind was reeling.  Thankfully I switched to automatic pilot to trudge up the mountain.  I pondered on the tragedy of planes crashing in three different locations in one morning; so many suffered terrible losses.  Families ripped apart, in a matter of moments.  I am despairing over surgery with a 98% chance of recovery.  The cholla seems more ominous than usual.  The mountain seems to grow with every step.  The bleak landscape seems like a suitable environment to ponder so many deaths, and the fear I feel about having cancer.  My world was shifting; only the rocks beneath my feet seem solid.  My mind and body ache as I trudge, one foot in front of the other.  I know I won’t make the summit.  I want to find a shaded retreat to sort out all that happened in one week.        

I climbed past the three-quarter marker to the shady side of the mountain.  I noticed a flat boulder large enough for me to sit on and look out over Phoenix, with its own mini skyscrapers.  Sitting there on the rock, I was face to face with the most battered saguaro I had ever seen.  Two thirds of it had hundreds of bullet holes and dings where people had used it for target practice with guns and rocks. I could see the rocks still stuck in the cactus.  It was still green and still growing.  I sat and stared at the scars on the cactus. “What is wrong with me?  The cancer was caught early enough that I only need surgery.  No chemo, no radiation.  I am going to survive.”  Then my heart broke for the thousands whose lives ended in an hour of terror.  I sat for a long time.  I thanked Heavenly Father for having the scarred cactus teach me that having scars doesn’t alter who I am.  Having cancer was only temporary.  I would survive.  Thousands of others did not.  In the desert, there is a toughness that I have never found anywhere else I have lived.  In the desert, there is survival.     

      My sister's tribute is beautiful.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Change in a Heart beat

Ten years ago on September 11 terrorist declared war on the world.  Many people can tell you exactly what they were doing the moment they heard the news.  They remember how they felt.  They remember so much about watching in disbelief what occurred.  I was in the university computer lab where I work.  With in minutes, after the first person came across the news every monitor in the room switched to a news website following the horror in Washington DC, Pennsylvania, and New York Twin Towers.  The video footage of the crashes happened again and again times 20 monitors.  Every where I looked there it was with people huddled around the monitors talking in hushed horrified voices.  I looked on the scene and felt nothing.  One of the powerful things about being a multiple is having one of the alters that feels nothing.  No pain, no sorrow, no horror, no sadness, no hope, nothing reached me that day.  I went about the day as if nothing could reach me.  I had been that way for almost a week.  The week before I went to the doctors office to find out the results of my biopsy on my left breast.  I was only 43 years old.  I thought I had nothing to worry about.  In less time then it took one of the jets to hit the Twin towers I was told, "You have cancer."  Time it.  It only takes a fraction of a minute to say.  The woman that helped me set up my surgery was so impressed at how calm I was about everything.  Not a tear, not even a whimper escaped from me.  Surgery was arranged for the first week of October.  I went home and my daughter asked me how the appointment went.  I answered, "I have cancer," and promptly passed out.  So much for being calm.  At the time, I didn't know about being a multiple.  I didn't know about dissociation.  I didn't know about my childhood.  I thought cancer was the worse thing that ever happened to me.  I was wrong.  The Saturday after 9/11 rocked the world I climbed my favorite mountain and had a heart to heart with a battered cactus that was more scarred than I thought I would ever be.  I struggled with prayers because Heavenly Father and I had a few things to work on.  He knew it, so let the cactus do the talking.  Reached through the gray fog that enveloped me.  I realized that on the morning of 9/11/2001 thousands of people went to work and didn't go home that night.  I was whining about cancer taking part of my body.  The cancer was caught early.  I did not have to have radiation or chemotherapy.  The most dangerous thing I was facing was the anesthesia.  I was going to live yet thousands died that day because of the hatred of a few that felt it was their way of sending a message.  Dear terrorist the way you send a message is to send a letter.  What you did was declare war on the world.  The following week I bought People magazine.  The entire magazine was devoted to telling the stories of the survivors and the amazing people that stepped up to help their fellow beings in this terrible moment in time, firemen, policemen, chefs, nurses, construction workers, New Yorkers from every walk of life, people that are not invited to the official memorial came and worked around the clock.  Then I cried.  Page after page I read through my tears.  A few years later, I listened to the photographer, Joel Meyerowitz, share his story of documenting the clean up.  I cried again.  The terrorist may have spread their hatred through out the world and nations have reacted with fear, security that keeps everyone imprisoned, and war.  However, individuals went home, took their kids out of school just to spend time together.  People reached out to each other.  Helped each other more, encouraged each other, and made a vow to never forget.  But people do.  They get busy with their lives.  Memorials are an important way to remember.  In the city where I live every September they create a field of flags, one for every person that died that day.  Soldier boots by the flags representing those that served in the military, biographies of each person that died, and teddy bears by the flags that were children.  I have a scar over my heart reminding me everyday that life can change with a heart beat.  There is a scar in the heart of the United States that remind us every day to be ever vigilant lest hatred gets the upper hand.      

Hug someone you love just because they are there.  Help someone in need just because you can.  To me this is how we will beat the terrorist.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Oh dear!

Yesterdays rant clued me in that something was terribly wrong with my little world.  The switch in my job has put me in contact with a Queen Bee (QB a narcissistic female that can not tolerate anyone else having an idea without her permission) and a passive-aggressive subordinate that behaves one way when QB is there and quite differently when she's not.  My hyper-sensitivity to these type of situations has me freaking out.  My DH trying to calm me reminded me that I was lucky to still have a job.  I retorted that being in jail for doing bodily harm to someone else still meant unemployment.  Then I thought long and hard about how I have used depression in my life to calm me down when I am angry.  (Which is a lot when I encounter QBs.)  Depression is a powerful defense with a dark consequence for me.  I dislike being depressed.  So what are my options?  I don't want to use depression to cope with a difficult situation.  I remember my NM bragging when she was a teacher that she gave herself a gold star when she went a day with out some squirrelly kid driving her up the walls.  Hmmm.  Possibilities.  I like pedicures.  Perhaps each day I go through the day without getting sucked into their unhealthiness I get points towards a pedicure.  (I discovered a few years ago when I was working full time that I really like these but haven't indulged since I chose to go back to school after being laid off 3 years ago.)  The plan is hatched.  In the next 4 weeks if I can accumulate 15 stars (15 work days with out resorting to anger or depression to cope) I get to have a pedicure and will post pictures of my fancy feet.  (I did apply for the other job and will keep job hunting but until things change I want a plan.)  So there you have it.  One reason why depression is such a challenge for me.  I am addicted to its sedative proprieties.  Working backwards I consider anger which is a secondary emotion, before anger is fear, hurt, and frustration.  I am not afraid of them.  I don't believe they would hurt me.  That leaves frustration.  I will need to consider what causes the frustration and what I can do to let go those things that frustrate me.  I have a lot to think about before Monday.   

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No Scars

I debated doing this today.  Therapy days are tough and trying to share my views on triggering subjects is touch and go.  But the deal is, both mulderfan and Laurel commented this morning on how much easier it is to get sympathy if you could point to the scars and say "they cut me here."  Or I could show them a mangled and twisted leg and say "see how they hurt me."  But that's not what happened.  People in the same house didn't see the strange things that happened behind closed doors.  The cutting remarks that caused my heart to bleed.  The invalidation and gaslighting until I didn't trust myself.  The starvation when there was plenty of food in the house.  The doctor found the bleeding in my stomach from years of not getting the food I needed until I didn't know that my stomach wasn't supposed to hurt like that.  Medication in my 40's I found out that your stomach hurting constantly is not normal.  I still flinch when some people walk past me.  But I have no scars to show.  I have no physical evidence to say, "see here where they hurt me?"  I was told that I exaggerated.  I was told no one likes a fat girl.  I only weighed 125 lbs.  at 5'5".  I was told that I needed to smile and stop feeling sorry for myself.  I was told how I was just not as smart as the others in the family.  But all those things I was told, never showed up with scars where people could see.  Emotional abuse destroys a person from the inside out.  I knew a person that wanted to kill a palm tree while it was small.  She poured boiling water down the center.  She was just watering the plant and it died. died.  The cruelty of emotional abuse left me wishing I could die.  No scars does not mean I wasn't wounded.  I am thankful to KavinCoach for being the good 'emotional heart' doctor that he is.  He also reminded me that my faith in Christ was an important part of my healing.  I knew.  I appreciated him keeping things in perspective.  When I thank him, he would remind me that I did all the work.  I did work hard in the healing process.  I also believe that through spiritual promptings I was led to him to relearn how to live.  To help me to tear out the rotted foundation and build a new foundation where I could thrive.  I am seeing the changes.   I am feeling the difference.  I am rebuilding myself.  I am thankful to my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Hard to explain the connection.  It is that belief in Christ and His love for me that kept me going when giving up was so much easier. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Perspective Adjustment

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
Isaac Asimov

First day in the Early Childhood Education department.  Please understand that I believe the early years of a child's life are extremely important.  Problem is not how important this is but how schools teach what is happening.  It is only my first day and their topic of study was "What is abuse?"  One of the students answered when a leg or something is broken.  It took a considerable amount of depression to keep down the internal explosion.  I wanted to scream at the fluffy teacher that identifying only this small segment as abuse that hundreds and thousands of people suffer abuse because after all it is not a broken bone.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  No.  The tragedy is the cutesy little sayings like, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me."  I changed this to "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will rip my heart out."  My counselor helped me piece part of my memory together.  He helped me grasp that I was severely abused but they never broke a bone once.  I was totally out of sorts.  I checked out my sister's blog: 

Some things speak for themselves...

Sometimes violence is the only defense against man's inhumanity to man.  Reading this article put my day back in perspective.  I had a lousy day.  I was taken from a job where I am competent and my help is desired and wanted, moved to a situation where if I really spoke up I would probably be fired.  Instead of sharing knowledge I quietly seethe and babysit teenagers.  I was an X on a spread sheet that was moved at the whim of some high paid administrator that only counts the people and has no idea what those people do.  Same complaint as the soldier, only my X wasn't the cross hairs of a sniper rifle.  I am disappointed that at the new job I feel just as useless as I thought it would be.  My discouragement eased as I read about the soldier.  My struggles are not less just back in proportion.  I am also looking at yet another milestone.  Instead of being sucked into despair, I planted new flowers in my flower garden and turned in an application for a job with computers at an elementary school.  I may not get any more respect but I will drive a shorter distance if I get the job.  :)     


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Children's Bible in a Nutshell

My Dad gave me a copy and someone else kindly posted it so I don't need to retype it.  :)

Children's Bible in a Nutshell

A child was told to write a "book report" on the entire Bible. This is amazing and brought tears to my eyes. I wonder how often we take for granted that children understand what we are teaching???  Through the eyes of a child . . . .(Tears of laughter for me.  Just say'n)
In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one, but I think He must be a lot older than that. Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did. Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden. Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his broth er as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable. God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti.

Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's stuff. Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother. One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed upon the shore. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of the New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn, too, because my mom is always saying to me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?' It would be nice to say, 'As a matter of fact, I was.')

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Republicans and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Any way's, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.
This is too precious not to forward....... Pass it on!  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Depression Definition

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
- Anais Nin
 I am working on a project that I am trying to come up with as many different ways that I can for describing being depressed.  'I am feeling blue.'  'Not so good today.' 'Discouraged'..... What I am hoping is in the comment box add a few ways you describe feeling depressed.  If you don't want your comment posted just say so in the post or use anonymous. 
One of the big hurdles I experienced was that what I thought depression was didn't match my medical doctor's.  He said that I was depressed and didn't know it.  I had been kept up for 4 days and not feeling in the least bit reasonable and yelled back that I knew what depression was and I wasn't depressed.  Years later KavinCoach redefined depression for me.  I had considered despair boarding on suicide as depression.  
KavinCoach gently asked, "Have you ever felt angry and then didn't do anything about it?"   
"Of course," I replied.
"That is a form of depression.  You are depressing your angry feelings." KavinCoach.
"Oh crumbs I feel that way every day."  I knew the feeling but the name just didn't match.  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Accept who you are....

Someone Special.  
From Judy- Posted on Facebook....
I might not be someone's first choice, but I am a great choice. ♥
I may not be rich but I am valuable. ♥
I don't pretend to be someone I'm not, because I'm good at being me. ♥
I might not be proud of some of the things I've done in the past, but I am proud of who I am today. ♥
I may not be perfect but I don't need to be. ♥
Take me as I am, or watch me as I walk away!!! ♥
Post this if you're proud of being you ♥
I think this makes a good continuation from yesterday's post.  Acceptance is a huge part in thriving. It was also a huge part in my integration.  Before integrating, I learned to value all my separate personalities, learned their value in my system and accepted that all parts of me were special.  Self-acceptance became a key element in the integration process.  I also think it is a key element in thriving and feeling peace.   

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fork in The Road

Today's inspiration comes from Facebook - Fork in the Road:

The trouble with life is that other people sometimes don't do what we want. Or we don’t meet their expectations. Don't think less of yourself because of what others say and do. Look deep into yourself, the core of your being, to what the Creator made. It is a place filled with light and love. It is you. Everyday tell yourself that you are deserving, you are worthy, you are special...because you are.

On so many different blogs I read people's stories of trying to be enough.  Took me a long time to internalize that I am deserving, worthy, and special because I am me.  My past doesn't matter.  My wealth or lack there of doesn't matter.  My clothes don't matter.  My lacking of _______ (fill in the blank) doesn't matter.  I am special now and always have been.  Believing it is something I can do for myself.  

Friday, September 2, 2011


Margaret Thatcher
If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.

My world tilted today.  I am back at work at a job I love helping a photography teacher.  I was talked to for 15 minutes starting Wednesday I will work at the same school in Early Childhood Education.  Don't get me wrong I think this is VERY important.  It is just not what I want to do.  I am job hunting again.  Not quitting the day job but I feel like if I am always accommodating someone else's wishes I will not arrive where I want to go.  I am liking negotiations a LOT and I wasn't given any wiggle room.  Need to look at my options. 

Quick side note.  I had an idea that change was in the air and I chose to go with the flow for now.  About 6 years ago I had a similar switch in jobs and had almost a complete melt down.  Now, mildly annoyed and looking for options.  I am very excited by yet another milestone in just one week. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mile Stones

Mile stones are those defining moments when you realize you are finally going somewhere besides in circles.  They mark the path leading to....where ever it is you are wanting to go.  KavinCoach suggested a path called Thriving.  I had no idea where it would lead me.  The first thing I found out was I was walking with 4 others.  You know those three legged races where it is kind of awkward because of being tied to someone else.  Now imagine 5 people cuffed together trying to move forward.  Way hard.  (Some people that split into multiples choose to stay together for reasons of their own.  I have read enough other stories that I know this is a choice for some people.)  I chose to integrate.  I felt that I was born in one piece and I wanted to be back together in every sense of the word.  I hit that mile stone and realized all that did was now having me running through the same muck on the same path and I still wasn't getting where I thought I should be.  Discouragement.  Then I was taught better tools for living like assertiveness, healthy boundaries, negotiations, and many other skills that switching kept me from learning.  I have always imagined that I am trying to get out of a dark cave.  Too many times the light at the end of the tunnel was a train or an orc with a torch.  Either way I would get creamed.  Today for the first time I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and NewCounselor confirmed there's a light up above.  I can see it, I can feel its warmth, I feel terrific.