Monday, April 30, 2012

Counseling or not....

I learned that counseling is an interesting relationship with another person.  It is never straight forward as people may think.  Shopping around for the right counselor for you can make all the difference.  It also means the counselor needs to be able to work with you.  Counseling with KavinCoach started out mild and fairly straight forward marriage counseling that became confused and troublesome when my responses kept coming back muddled.  KavinCoach would talk to me on my own then talk to just DH and when he compared the two conversations he felt like he was dealing with two different people when referring to me.  I didn't help having no memories of my own.  Marriage counseling switched to me counseling.  Then six months into it, KavinCoach totally reassessed my diagnosis.  He told me at the time that if he had known earlier the type of problems and experiences I had he would have recommended me to someone else.  He also recognized how fragile I was at the time and the stress of starting over with another counselor would have been extremely difficult for me.  He realized that he would need to commit to years of working with me.  This is when I realized that the counselor specializes in certain kinds of work.  If the client doesn't fit how they work, it is best for everyone involved to work with someone else.  That change came 7 years later.  I was stronger.  I had integrated.  I was talking about coming less often.  KavinCoached moved.  I transitioned to NewCounselor, who after a year and a half, isn't so new any more.  Again I recognize that both the client and the counselor need to develop a relationship where healthy boundaries exist, progress will be made, and understanding occurs.   My job once required me to talk to a counselor through work to "turn me into a supervisor".  (My personal opinion was that if I couldn't supervise myself I had no business supervising someone else.)  In two sessions she realized that my problems were way more than she knew how to work with.  Finally, decided to change my position to one that did not require supervising workers.  The counselor chose not to work with me.  I was Ok with that too.

I also learned that the dynamics of working with a counselor can change through the working relationship.  A few weeks ago I worked through some memories from my childhood.  Memories from that period of time are extremely difficult, fearful, and physically draining.  Ended up needing to contact NewCounselor on the weekend.  Several phone calls and text messages ensued to help me stabilize emotionally.  I became extremely angry with NewCounselor.  He apologized for upsetting me so badly.  I reassured him that me being angry with him meant that I could trust him with my emotions.  For me, I felt safe enough to vent my frustration in the form of anger because I knew NewCounselor would let me talk it out until I was done and not retaliate.  I trusted him.  I didn't always feel that way.  Trust takes time for me.  The dynamics of every counseling relationship depends on both the client and the counselor.  Now I am becoming more healthy and once again I am talking to NewCounselor about what I need to accomplish to be ready to 'graduate' and function on my own.  I am excited by my progress and look forward to going solo.  Just not quite yet.  There are a few more things I need to work out that are important to me and my choices for living.  Counseling can be terminated by either party.  Both parties have responsibilities in progressing in the work involved.  I know from reading other blogs that counselors are not all healthy or they don't always have their client's best interests at heart.  I feel blessed to worked with two excellent counselors.  I also know that a lot of the work is on my shoulders.  I study, research, practice, let down my guard, feel vulnerable and do what I need to do to change in a direction that is healthy.  Any one that takes on this process from either position take on a challenge of creating an environment of change.  I am looking forward to being done.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Facebook opened my world to a bazzillion posters online that are posted by several people.  This is how I stumbled on to this site

I learned about it from this poster:

I used posters when I was a teenager to encourage myself.  I used them to express a thought or a feeling that I didn't seem to find the words for.  Now I have a steady supply.  I agree with Zig Zigler encouragement  and positive self talk needs to be done daily. 

I like this idea of treating myself with kindsight.  I already do this for other people but I judge myself harshly.  I also need to remind myself that sometimes if you start out at the back of the pack like in a Boston Marathon it takes awhile to get to the starting line.

I complained once to KavinCoach about how long it was taking me in counseling.  I wanted to know if I was starting to just use counseling as someone to talk to.  He assured me that when I was just chatting he would let me know and show me the door.  He then reminded me that when there is a lot of neglected damage it takes a while to get through so much junk.  I tried to cram a childhood of learning into just a few years.  Childhood to adulthood takes 20 years.  I am trying to cleanup and catchup all at the same time.  I figure that once I feel comfortable in the counseling office then it is time for me to be finished. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bubbles and Waves

At the beginning of counseling I was trying to figure out emotions.  Being disconnected from any feeling left me the ability to examine them like I would a dead frog in biology.  I was detached, curious, and untouched by most emotions.  This is when I read Life's Uncertain, Eat Dessert First.  I enthusiastically shared the book with KavinCoach.  I thought it was awesome.  He was kind of dismissive and said it was about fun and light happiness but didn't come near joy.  I was a little disappointed but not too much because I learned that I like to have fun.   Happy feelings make an ordinary day lighter.  We discussed joy and moments of time when I may have felt it.  I puzzled over the difference for years.  Since that time I have felt like I had fun, felt happy and experienced joy.  Wow was KavinCoach right; there is a vast difference between happy and joy.  I struggle with getting a picture in my mind to be able to see the difference.  I finally hit on the right visual for me. Happiness is like a bubble.  You need all the right conditions and somebody else can bust your bubble.  Joy is like a wave.  It sweeps in and carries away all fears and distress.  It brings along peace and can last for hours. Looking at my children raising their children, I feel joy.  Eating chocolate cookies with chocolate milk, I feel happy.   May your day be filled with joy.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Say Cheese :)

Highlights first...

In some ways this week was awesome.  One of the fun highlights was talking to my sister's writers club about getting their picture taken.  All authors need professional photographs and many authors hate having it done.  I had some interesting experiences when I did a series called "Innercleavage." It was photographs of 19 women that don't normally see themselves as models.  I learned a few things about how to get a good picture.  A good photographer is a huge step but the photographer can't do it alone.  So I gave some tips on how to get the best out of a portrait photograph.

Camera's see everything in shades of gray.  White is gray and black is gray so do yourself a favor and don't wear white or black close to your face.  Extreme contrast is impossible for a camera to cope with.  Working with the camera's limitations improves your chances for an amazing photograph.  I mentioned Jimmy Thomas, a model for many book covers, how he loved the camera and the camera loved him.  They make a great team.  Jimmy knows how to work with a photographer for a great photograph.

 I then assured them that mad dogs and cameras can both sense fear and bring out the worse in us.  The camera captures a split second in time and if fear flits across your face that look gets frozen in time.  The thought...'I hate getting my photograph taken'... is plastered across the photo.  To help alleviate the fear factor, I recommended that they imagine the photographer as their most sexy hero.  If it is too large of a stretch of their imagination, then imagine their hero standing behind the photographer and you are anticipating being with them.  What your mind is thinking really does show up on the photograph.  Saying 'cheese' results in a cheesy smile...thinking about what you love softens your face and invites the viewer to see what you see.

I gave the women black dots to tape on their bathroom mirror so they can edit their face.  Being writers they all understand the hours of agonizing over the exact word to pull a paragraph together.  However, they give no thought of examining what their face will look like to the camera.  The black dot is to remind them of the unblinking eye of the camera staring at them.  The challenge to edit their face to look how they want it to look.  I also recommended watching a uTube video of the best self talk session I have ever seen.  Jessica's "Daily Affirmation" Feeling confident in a photographic session brings out the best in yourself.

I also reminded them that not one model or magazine photo does not receive some expert attention from Photoshop.  There is nothing wrong in allowing this magical software to enhance your inner beauty.  Besides the whole world is accustomed to faces being touched up.

I finished up with the importance of a good relationship with your photographer.  If you photographer is ticked off your best picture won't happen.  I told them about a photo show I went to that is was very obvious in every picture that the photographer loved the professor.  I was relieved to find out that the photographer was the wife of the professor.  It was the moment in time that I learned that a photograph shares as much about the photographer as the subject.  Working together as a team the photographer and the person getting their picture done can bring out the beauty of each person. 

Me capturing me.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Sometimes when I get ready to write a post I have considered the words all day.  The thoughts tumble around until I take the time to let them all pour out.  Other days, the words seem to be crashing around in my brain and the pattern is to jumbled to explain in words.  I struggle with thoughts and feelings so long dormant that when they awaken it takes a while to order them enough to share in a blog.  This week was such a week.  Thoughts, feelings, doing, and brooding all tumbling together.  My sister shared two wonderful things today.  One was her post.  It is part two from this story that I read years ago and still think about its meaning.  Not often do I cry but this week the twists and turns of the week added a lot of extra pressure. 

The other one was an awesome facebook post of Daffy Duck announcing that he has

P.M.A. ~ Positive Mental Attitude. 
I'm Positive
I'm Mental 
And I know I have 

Judy, awesome.  So much to write and so few words to express.  Thanks for prayers and encouragement this week.  I will share soon all the going ons in hopefully a somewhat coherent post or two or three.  Yup, a very hectic week. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Raining on my own parade

What is wrong with me?  I had a great evening last night talking to a bunch of women on how to get a great photograph of themselves.  I talked for 10 minutes and it went really well.  I came home and felt completely awful.  What is with that?  In my childhood I would have had someone else rain on my parade, now I do it to myself.  Tonight is round 2.  I talk to cancer survivors tonight about the emotional changes of having cancer.  It is a subject that is dear to my heart and very personal.  I would appreciated prayers or chants in my behalf.  I read about this in books.  Abuse survivors are afraid to succeed and feel good about themselves.  I think I'm beginning to understand.  It feels just so darn weird to feel good.  I start looking for what I am missing that is wrong.  I am still in the stage of trying to accept that nothing is wrong.  Weird just plain weird. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
To be content with little is hard; to be content with much, impossible.

Contentment is something I was always able to feel from time to time. With my ability to dissociate from all emotion there were times when I just felt nice.  Not sad, not wildly happy, just content.  One of those times is when I make jam.  I make it the old fashion way with a pot of boiling fruit, pectin, and sugar.  The smell is wonderful.  The steam coming off is like a hundred dollar facial.  Once all the jars are filled I wait for the telltale popping sound that says, "This jar is sealed."  I never made jam growing up as a child.  Strawberries were considered a treat and not to be mangled and mashed and boiled with sugar.  I learned how to make jam when we lived in a small town with a huge garden and access to fields of strawberries.  I enjoy squishing the fruit and watching them swirl in the pot as I stir and wait for the boiling to begin.  The rhythm, the smell, and the anticipation of what is to come I feel content.  I will plan on  a cool day to bake bread to go with the jam.  Warm crust of bread, dripping with butter and slathered with homemade jam is pure contentment to me. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Quote from Facebook...person prefers anonymous she has encouraged me in every way.  I am thankful she keeps speaking up.

We all have a right to set boundaries, but 1st we must believe ourselves worthy. Value yourself, and remember: NO ONE has the right to mistreat you, physically, mentally, or emotionally. ~Yours Truly
Self-respect starts with me.  It is an inside job.  If I don't respect myself, it doesn't matter if anyone else respects me, I will still feel inadequate.

One of the most amazing things about KavinCoach was from the very beginning he respected me.  He would compliment me at the end of each session.  The first 4 years I totally doubted him.  Slowly as I began to believe in myself, I started to believe him.  In these early years of counseling, I complained that my boss was mistreating me.  KavinCoach asked me why I let him.  I was stunned.  No sympathy.  No 'I am sorry you are being hurt.'  Nope, he put the responsibility squarely on my shoulders.  How could I be blamed?  I was the employee...he was my boss.  Now, I know what he means.  Took me years and learning to respect myself to understand that by my behavior my nasty boss felt it was acceptable to treat me any way he wanted.  I didn't understand that standing up for myself started with believing I deserved to be treated with respect.  I was blessed with several people in my life that simply respected other people.  I was able to observe up close what it means to respect someone else.  Every single person that showed respect for others respected themselves.  It is like the more you have, the more you can give away.

I did do something for my kids.  My friend was appalled that I would beat my little kids at board games.  She told me that I was damaging their self esteem by beating them all the time.  I told her to be patient and watch.  Yup, eventually they beat me.  For the next 10 minutes they danced around the house crowing that they beat Mom.  They believed in themselves.  When I told KavinCoach this story, he asked, "Then why don't you understand, having respect for yourself?" Wow.  I suddenly realized the disconnect between what I knew my children needed and what I did for myself.  Just like I would make sure that they went to sleep and got enough rest but then stayed up all night myself.  I still remember KavinCoach getting me to finally understand how I needed to treat myself.  He told me to take the situation that I was in and pretend it happened to one of my kids.  Give them advice on what to do, then follow my own advice.  I knew what to do I just didn't accept that I was worth doing these things for me.  I was worth caring for.  I was worth treating with respect.  I was worthy of being treated with respect.  It is truly amazing what a difference feeling like I am worth parenting with the same care that I parented my children.  Speaking of which...I need to get to sleep now.

Good night....Remember being good to yourself, begins with yourself.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Learning to respect myself

My daughter persuaded me to join her Zumba class.  Before each classes she reminds all the students to respect their body.  If we have a previous injury, take care when we exercise that part of our body.  Listen to what the pain in your body is telling you.  Remember "No pain is No pain."  Over this past year I am working at respecting my body.  I am working at being aware of what I put in it.  Make sure I take my medication correctly.  In short, do all the things my body needs to thrive.

This week I was frustrated with myself because I wasn't accomplishing much.  I spent two late nights emotionally beating myself up for being such a slacker.   Today, my brain came to a screeching halt...What if I respected my emotions and mind like I do my body.  This week I was stepping into new emotional territory.   I was pushing past fears and speaking up.  The emotional strain is huge.  I grew up in an environment that was emotionally severely damaging.  I was hurt, a lot.  What if instead of getting angry with myself I acknowledge the previous injury.   Recognize the emotional strain I am feeling right now.  Easy up in other areas.  Stop punishing myself for not doing more than I am doing right now.  If I expect others to respect me, I think I need to start with me respecting me. 

Free to soar.

For Kiki's Party

A New dawn to celebrate life! Check out Kiki's (Re) BirthDay Party

Friday, April 20, 2012


When women are depressed they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country.
Or if they are like me I play computer games that require no thinking but allow me to sort information while the logical brain is kept busy. Dumb things is the scores a super low since I am not actually paying enough attention to the game to do well. I don't care either. I am learning that each person has a way to pull back and recoup. Someone else watching them can not understand the rhyme or the reason of why it works for them. Hiking during the day time works well. However, I stopped walking at night. I accepted that it isn't really safe to be out late at night roaming the streets in a large city. I am trying to learn to be patient with myself when I get in these shut down times. I feel sad that I don't feel capable of doing more but it is like all the stuffings are clumped together in a rag doll. Then I remind myself that I took on a major challenge that left me limp and tired. Tomorrow will be better. I think I will plan for a nap. Sleep is good and I should be doing some right now. Dear readers....Would you be willing to share what you do when you are recuperating? I am curious what helps people feel like going forward is ok after a rest. What is restful?

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Opened up an email with the word of the day and this was it. After this weekend, I now understand it.

Definition of DARKLE

intransitive verb
1a : to become clouded or gloomy b : to grow dark
2: to become concealed in the dark

Origin of DARKLE

back-formation from darkling First Known Use: 1800

Rhymes with DARKLE

This weekend my mood darkled, tonight counselor helped put things in perspective and my heart sparkled.  

I spent so much of my life dodging and weaving around depression that I recognize it quickly.  I also noticed that it was only a matter of days instead of weeks or months to be back on the up swing.  I also learned that depression for me surges to the forefront when I am feeling like I am out of control of myself.  After years of counseling, I was totally unsurprised when NewCounsleor asked me why I let it happen.  The first time KavinCoach asked me a similar question I went into a week long tail spin.  Now my first thought was, "Dammit, I shot myself in the foot again."  I now understand that not maintaining appropriate boundaries and defending them, I relinquish my precious freedom to someone else that is often careless with what I need and this is not good for me.  As a child, others controlled me.  Not hard when a child fears and wants the love of the adults around them.  As a teenager, I was in full out survival mode.  Do what ever is necessary to keep my head above water.  No time to take control of my own life and rebel like I needed to do.  Marriage before 20 and beautiful amazing kids.  KavinCoach pointed out years ago that I missed some steps.  I had a choice.  Take the steps I missed or retreat further into insanity.  I chose to move into the missed steps.  Awkward and graceless I felt confused and frustrated with what I needed to do.  I recognized the symptoms of being a teenager after raising 6 kids.  I was blessed with a couple of years of unemployment to kind of get my feet under me.  Now I am working at a high school surrounded by teenagers.  I can spot that kid could really use some counseling.  Nope that kid is fine they are rebelling just as they should.  Oh man, that one has slipped away into the fog of drugs.  Bright, talented slips away into a glassy eyed stare.  I am faced daily with challenges of understanding how I can set and protect my boundaries.  How I can become the me I believe I am capable of being.  The person that God meant for me to be.  God knew the end from the beginning.  He knew what I would be facing.  He also allowed me to make choices along the way that taught me what I am made of.  I am stronger than I ever believed.  I am also softer than I ever understood.  My challenge now is to mix the strength with softness.  I need to be stroft.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mental slavery

Tumbling into the future
Somewhere at some time, you made a choice to sacrifice some part of yourself in exchange for something else of value: acceptance, money, security, affection, love — and it is time to be honest with yourself about that exchange, and begin to stop treating yourself as if you are only some kind of market commodity that can be traded away. We all need to make compromises in life, of course. And we all need to make a living doing something, not always what we would choose necessarily if we had total power to choose, but there is a line over which we shouldn't cross, where compromise becomes death, where too much of our soul and spirit is traded away. It is very very important to know where that line is.
By B L I S S I I M O

Clicking on 'Tumbling into the future' takes you to the link on facebook of the amazing photograph that goes with this quote.  I am not sure who BLISSIIMO is but the page is worth a bit of time browsing.  I notice that when something is really bugging me I am treated to some of the most amazing photographs and quotes.  I accept that I don't trust my own heart so hearing something I need to hear from another source is my inspiration.  I felt like my friend in Australia posted this just for me.  I know she heeded her heart and her heart touched mine.  

I hit bottom again.  The nice thing about landing here at bottom I know the territory well.  I know that I need to exercise, study my scriptures, pray, plan something creative, sleep, and stop playing mindless computer games to get myself back on track.  Why do I know this works?  Because I keep needing to do it and it works. I thought that once I integrated that these backslides would stop.  Deep sadness to realize that I couldn't switch to get out of the hole I am in.  Then, I remind myself that the reason I ended up in counseling in the first place was switching wasn't working any more.  I felt sad and overwhelmingly depressed in every personality.  I had switched so much I was loosing myself in the shuffle.  KavinCoach threw a life line to a drowning woman, me.  What he offered was different than what I wanted but it is better than I ever dreamed possible.  But integration doesn't keep me on the 'happy trail' all the time.  I still have ups and downs, frustrations and triumphs.  Now I know who's doing the doing.  I also figure out more and more of why I react the way I do.

I also had another story tossed my way that happens to be a favorite:

A man was sleeping one night in his cabin when suddenly his room
filled with light, and God appeared.

The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a
large rock in front of his cabin.

The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with
all his might...

So, this the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from
sunup to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold,
massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might!

Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling
that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan)
decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man's weary
mind. (He will do it every time!)

"You have been pushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn't
moved." Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was
impossible and that he was a failure.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.

Satan said, "Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving
just the minimum effort, and that will be good enough."

That's what the weary man planned to do, but decided to make it a
matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.

"Lord," he said, "I have labored long and hard in Your Service, putting
all my strength to do that which you have asked.

Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a
millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

The Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when I asked you
to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push
against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done.

Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it.
Your task was to push.

And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you
have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself.

Your arms are strong and muscled, your back shiny and brown;
your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become
massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your
abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven't
moved the rock.

But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your
faith and trust in My wisdom.

That you have done. Now I, my friend, will move the rock.."

At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own
intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what God wants
is just simple obedience and faith in Him.

By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that
it is still God Who moves the mountains.

When everything seems to go wrong.................................Just P.U.S.H.

When the job gets you down...............................................Just P.U.S.H.

When people don't do as you think they should.................Just P.U.S.H.

When your money is "gone" and the bills are due..............Just P.U.S.H.

When people just don't understand you..............................Just P.U.S.H.

P = Pray
U = Until
S = Something
H = Happens

I checked several sources and so far author is unknown but the inspiration source is.  Have a beautiful day.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Getting things done...

There are three ways to get something done; do it yourself, hire someone, or forbid your kids to do it.

Or Not...

Having kids at home usually motivated me to do things that now they are all grown I just look at it and I don't care.  I know that is all the wrong feeling but sometimes my get-up-and-go got-up-and-went.  I feel like going to work is a major chore and I don't hardly have anything to do at work.  I am doing research on the internet to keep me from falling asleep at my desk.  Then I come home and there are a billion things to do and I just don't care.  (Heavy sigh)  I know these symptoms well...I'm depressed.  But I learned enough to know to start hunting.  Why?  Physical problems...not sleeping, symptom not cause.  Thyroid, new medication seemed to stabilized that situation.  Eating properly...check.  Exercise...oh yea 1-2-3-Zumba.   I think that is one of the best parts of my week.  Ok emotional well being.  Ding..ding..ding...... Crap. I am suppressing anger... Anger is a secondary emotion what is hiding behind the anger....Wait for it... BAM...hurt and frustration and I allowed a boundary violation again.  Growing up being disrespected makes it hard for me to recognize and process when I am being disrespected until it is too late.  If it feels normal to me, I am probably not standing up for myself about something.  My sister sent an article that I am thinking over and will probably run past NewCounselor.  Rabbi Daniel Lapin writes a newsletter like an email blog.  He asked his readers to consider if they are still in Egypt?  For a bit of history, Jews celebrate passover each spring.  Celebrating and remembering Moses leading them out of Egypt and slavery.  Rabbi Lapin commented that after 200 years of slavery the Israelite people didn't know what it meant to be free.  I wonder if that is the issue... I don't really know what it means to be free from being disrespected.  I am going into uncharted territory of recognizing and acknowledging when I am treated how I want to be treated.  I learned from long history that I can tolerate abuse.  I just don't seem to know what to do to change how I am treated.  If I am respected by someone, I really enjoy it.  But I keep hitting this wall of how do I get respect from someone that doesn't show respect?  How do I verbalize, I don't like how you treat me, if I don't realize for 3 days how I was disrespected?  The long delay of figuring it out makes rebuttal seem odd when I bring something up a week later that bugged me.  Research, learning, and I suspect the main step is to finally do something about it.  Stepping out in faith is putting your foot out into the darkness without seeing the first step.  Unfortunately, I seem to still be putting the shackles right back on myself to feel like things are 'back-to-normal.'

Keep running into Dead-ends

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pulling back

James Branch Cabell
The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.
James Branch Cabell

I have noticed that when I start pushing past my self subscribed limits, I can get messed up really fast. The reason I put these self limits up in the first place is because there are scary things roaming around in my mind just waiting to pounce. I spent hours blowing up little jewels in a game to bring some overly rambunctious thoughts into order. I also ran across an interesting thought in my reading about depression.  Did you know that creativity helps alleviate depression?  The problem being when severely depressed creativity seems to be the last thing on my mind.  I tried an experiment.  I enjoy creating things for my grandkids.  (I would have done it for my kids to but no energy and no money. )  Today for Early Childhood Education I wandered out on the internet looking for easy inexpensive projects for preschool kids.  There are a lot of creative people out there.  I found my troubles slipping to the back of my mind as I thought of, found, and created ideas to share.  One of the interesting things was a time out bottle.  A bottle filled with water, gel, and glitter.  Shake up the bottle and the child has 2-3 minutes of watching the glitter settle back to the bottom.  Watching the glitter helps to calm the child while sitting quietly in time out.  I thought this was a cool idea since the reason the child was in time out in the first place is they were functioning in hyper-gear and not thinking before acting.  I think I want to make one for myself.  I need time out, too.  Of course, now I can't find the same page at home.  I will add the correct page when I get to school.  I liked the one at school because it had the brilliant idea of super gluing the lid shut so the child can not open the bottle.  Hurray for super glue.

Go it....

The links show the general concept of sensory bottles.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I am fascinated by new words.  This one, individuation, was used in a discussion by NewCounselor.  I wanted to get a better handle on what he meant.  Words and vocabulary come with each field of work.  This word is used by philosophers and psychologist gives a word to the process of integrating oneself in to a "stable whole."

In developmental psychology - particularly analytical psychology - individuation is the process through which a person becomes his/her 'true self'. Hence it is the process whereby the innate elements of personality, the different experiences of a person's life and the different aspects and components of the immature psyche become integrated over time into a well-functioning whole. Individuation might thus be summarised as the self-formation of the personality into a coherent whole.

I am fascinated that there is a word for what I did.  The whole process of integration I found to be ongoing.  When I integrated 4 years ago, I thought I had arrived.  I was shocked that all I did was get all myself headed in the same direction.  Before this, I had an internal tug-of-war contest going on inside all the time.  Kind of like a six-legged running contest with no clear goal as to where I should be going.  Integrating the 5 personalities into one I thought for several years I would fall apart again.  (Some multiples that integrate do separate again after integration.)  After two years and some very painful experiences that I was wishing I could be a multiple again, I decided that when I integrated it became a 'stable whole.'  After integration, I discovered that I had a lot to catch up on about understanding how to function in the world.  As a multiple, an event would happen that stressed me and I would switch to the personality specifically suited to deal with that situation.  For example, Maria was the extrovert and went to all the parties and social events of any kind.  She loved to be with people and chat and be the center of attention and you get the idea she was perfect for being out with people.  She also didn't care about rules, didn't want to study for school, and usually very irresponsible for any task.  Marie took care of all task that were stressful.  ruth nurtured and mothered everyone she encountered.   Now however, all these different functions are all done by me.  After integration, I needed to learn how to balance and juggle all these different responsibilities.  Yes, I did share my frustration and fury with KavinCoach that life after integration wasn't the Nirvana, place of being free from suffering, I was expecting.  NewCounselor pointed out to me that when Christ resurrected he still had the scars in his hands from the Crucifixion.  Christ is perfect, therefore keeping scars as indicators of our individual experiences does not make us less than perfect.  My past experiences do not define me but I do not need to make them disappear to be whole and perfected myself.  I thought about a project that I did with film photography that I called imperfect beauty.  It was pictures of plants showing that many were considered beautiful with their scars from past experiences.  I also thought about the fact the 'flawless' diamonds only meant that the flaws could not be seen with a 10x magnification.  Diamonds are created by coal under a lot of pressure.  Flaws are inevitable with that much pressure.  Under extreme stress in life, scars are inevitable but I am learning it doesn't detract from the beauty and perfection of overcoming great difficulties.  I like the idea that individuation is an ongoing process and the scars from my past do not make me less but instead are part of my inner beauty.   

Friday, April 13, 2012

Small stuff

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

This goes along with the Facebook quote that by listening to a child's small stuff, they are more willing to share the big stuff when it comes along.  I find that I test people out with little bits of information.  Depending on how they react to the little stuff, I decide to share more.  On the same token if some one lies to me about little stuff, I am less likely to trust them with big stuff.  I was chastised by my teenage children years ago for lying all the time.  I was devastated.  I asked them to explain.  "Well you tell people you are 'fine' when you are holding on to the shopping cart trying to keep from passing out."  From these humble beginnings I started on my quest for truth.  Like any quest, I started out small.  I started out with, "Today I am vertically challenged.  It is a challenge to stay vertical."  From this point on in my life I searched for my own truth.  The quest began so simply and over years of searching for truth my past was exposed for the grotesque lies I lived in.  For a child to be abused on a daily basis, a web of lies is created to cover this horrible truth.  When my counselor asked me about my childhood, I told him what I thought the truth was, "We went to the park and the zoo."  That was true.  Then he stopped me and confronted me with, "Tell me an average day."  I had told people this short version since high school.  I helped to protect my abusers by denying what my life really was.  I didn't just tell a lie, I lived a lie.  The hardest thing about counseling was ripping the blinders off my eyes and taking a hard look at myself.  I was sad, disgusted, frustrated, embarrassed, shamed, terrified of what lie behind me.  Leaking sewage touched every part of my life.  Clean up started immediately.  The most complex was sorting out what was done to me and what I had done.  This was complicated by things like the Stockholm Affect, PTSD, multiple personalities, and missing memories.  So many times, I wanted to give up.  So many times, I would go back to picking apart the small stuff.  I felt if I could pull apart the small stuff than the big stuff was just a bunch more small stuff stuck together.  I started to learn to recognize patterns of thinking.  I started to recognize truth where ever I found it.  At first I was constantly asking KavinCoach, "What does this mean?"  "Is this accurate?"  "Is this the truth or another version of the lies I was raised with?"  I am becoming healthier.  I am starting to form my own opinions of what is my truth.  I am accepting that for a few people I know when they are lying...their lips move.  The truth shall make you free, but first it will make you really miserable.  However, cleaning out an infected wound completely makes all the difference in the healing process. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I wish someone had told me......

I read this from a suggestion on Facebook.  Thank you to whoever shared it.  I was crying by the time I got to the end.  Life doesn't have an edit undo.  However it does have, change from today onward.


I didn't have a mom like this.  I worried about too much of all the wrong things while I raised my kids.  Hopefully the next generation will better understand that things, projects, perfection, and other busyness isn't what kids need.  Some is nice, but parents that focus on what each kid needs is really what makes a better world, one child at a time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Truth becomes a part of me

When truth is nothing but the truth, it's unnatural, it's an abstraction that resembles nothing in the real world. In nature there are always so many other irrelevant things mixed up with the essential truth.  Aldous Huxley

I pondered this quote for awhile.  I thought about the glass blowing I watched at the Renaissance Fair.  Silica is used to make the clear glass.  Silica looks like sand.  Sand has silica in it but there is a lot of other stuff.  There are few absolute truths.  Gravity is present around the globe yet bumblebees and jets can fly.  What is truth to one person is not so true for someone else.  Perspective can alter how the truth is viewed.  Yet, most people search for truth.  Others lie no matter what.  It is like truth has not bearing on their reality.  I lived most of my life as a multiple.  Each part of me saw her own truth.  But they were all me with different flavors and styles.  The truth that hit me hard was that I functioned in fractured pieces.  My view of the world and myself altered again when I integrated.  One of the truths I learned was that I was abused as a child.  This truth was denied at first by my parents.  But I stood firm and again stated that these events happened.  I continue to define myself by my understanding.  The more times I recognize and defend my truth the stronger I feel.  I no longer accept the lie that I misunderstood their intention.  They didn't mean too.  Excuse me, they looked around first to make sure we were alone first.  That is intentional.  Am I still lied to?  Absolutely, now I recognize the lies because I know my own story.  I know where I have been and what happened to me.  Their lies now sadden me but no longer make me question the validity of what I know.  I don't like what I see of my past.  Forgetting it for years had some advantages.  I have learned to sift out my truth from all the dust thrown at me.  Trying to explain to someone else the web of lies I was raised in is difficult at best and impossible at the worse.  But I no longer need to convince any one else.  I know what happened for myself.  I gather and glean my truth from amongst all the particles and pieces that hold no relevance.  I am learning that I can refine my truth.  I can accept that others view things differently.  But some one else no longer defines who I am.  I do that.  It is something beautiful to know that I found truth and it is not an unnatural abstraction but a component of myself.


Heating and Shaping

Silica Defined

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


It is not possible to fight beyond your strength even if you strive.

Adrenalin was not known to Homer.  This substance stored in the adrenal glands can boost human strength into super power levels.   Reports of feats due to burst of adrenalin encourage athletes to pump up their own levels of adrenalin to get the 'light your after burners' pizzazz performance.  Unfortunately, there is a down side.  Adrenalin puts a lot of wear and tear on the body.  Hans Selye spent a life time studying our bodies pep drug released by stress.  Adrenalin causes a buzz.  The body is amazing at adjusting to whatever is thrown at it, so a bigger risk is required to get the same buzz.  People can get addicted to it and take bigger and bigger risk to maintain that buzz. Then there are those of us that simply going to sleep drops us into a heart pounding terrifying place.  Solution...don't sleep.  Adrenalin gets does the body.  Deep into sleep deprivation I can snatch a few peaceful hours of sleep.  Too much sleep and the nightmares kick in.  This was one of the things I thought would be solved with integration.  I thought being a multiple personality caused the extreme nightmares.  I integrated and the dreams were still there.  Crumbs - crumbs - double crumbs.  I know that adrenalin is not the real enemy.  However, the body doesn't seem to know the difference between a tiger in the wild and a tiger in my mind.  My body reacts the same either way.  Tonight on facebook I read an interesting quote: "Everything you want is on the other side of fear. (posted by With All Your Heart)"  My comment: 'Embrace it, absorb it, let it flow through you then the fear doesn't matter any more.'  One of my parts could do this.  NewCounselor suggested to me several times to use all my strengths that I learned through my experiences.  One part felt no fear.  (Didn't feel anything else either.)  What if, I tap into this ability to stop adrenalin rush when fear steps in?  Would I then be able to sleep?  Have dreams?  And let the fear flow through without it causing the adrenalin to kick in?  Homer needed to come face to face with a fear that kicked him into over drive...then he would know that we really don't have a clear understanding of what our strengths are until under extreme stress.  


Monday, April 9, 2012

My Dream

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!”
― Audrey Hepburn

What are your dreams? Not the scary ones, those aren't dreams, those are nightmares.  When I was a teenager, the time when dreams are built and plans set in motion, I was told repeatedly that what I wanted was unworthy.   Not OK.  Not good enough.  "You are too smart to have such a low expectations."  When I entered college I studied for an 'acceptable' career.  Engineering.  Science is a wonderful thing.  I loved studying things with rules and magical things like light and electricity but it wasn't my dream.  It wasn't my passion.  I did the work.  I married and easily left it behind.  Raising 6 kids I dreamed of sharing how wonderful motherhood was.  I didn't take into account that either people already knew or weren't interested in knowing.  Then my own world seem to spiral out of control, I barely functioned.  I loved being a mom but couldn't stand up long enough to do the dishes.  I humbly accepted help from my amazing children and husband.  Hardly the "wonderful" example of motherhood that I imagined for myself.  Long term illness beats a person down to the most essential.  I wake up.  I am in pain.  Therefore, I am still alive.  Damn.  Nope, things in my life just did not pan out the way I wanted at all.  I rebuilt my health by making 7 simple changes in my life.  I studied and learned about more things health wise but I learned nobody wanted to hear about that either.  A million health gurus will tell you how to get healthy.  Then I had cancer.  What a shock.  My world tilted on its axis.  Next, I entered counseling and my world spun out of sight.  I was shocked again to find out that I functioned as a multiple personality.  The healing began.  Integration was my dream.  Then I accomplished it and it wasn't what I expected at all.  Two years ago KavinCoach asked me about my dreams.  What did I dream to be in this life?  I went back to my childhood dream that was rejected... I wanted to make posters that people could put up to remind them about life is possible.  I even made a few.  But my enthusiasm was easily squelched.  Because it was a nice dream but not a passion.  Now NewCounselor asked me the same question.  I freaked.  Not in a good way either...No dreams...or did I?  My friend asked me to come take pictures of her jewelry.  While I shot the pictures we talked.  She is also a friend that had cancer.  She wanted to take her experience and make a difference for someone else.  She started sewing heart shaped pillows just the right size to bring comfort and hope.  She wanted to do more.  She persuaded her friend to let her have space to have a seminar for women with breast cancer.  She invited me to speak.  I accepted gladly.  With tears in my eyes I replied, "I want to teach women that they are beautiful on the outside and the inside no matter what scars they may carry."  There it was my secret passion.  (Men need to know the same thing but I have no experience with being a man.)  This is the reason I wrote my book We Are One.  This is the reason I write this blog.  This is a dream to take what I experienced and build a bridge for the next person to see...Life is Possible.  I have a dream and I am already living it.

 Neil Diamond My Father, We Dream Video

Quote of the day: A dream or a goal isn't made by magic, its made by dedication, persistence, hard work and determination."

Walt DisneyIf you can dream it, you can do it.  
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible. ... do the impossible.”

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He is Risen....

Easter morning I am filled with peace.  NewCounselor presented an interesting idea.  The resurrected Christ is perfect and He kept the scars in His hands. 

Christ chose to keep the evidence of his sacrifice.  Another place I read was that when Christ was crucified we were on His mind.  He took time to make sure His mother would be cared for.  His life showed the way to share love and joy with those around us.  He did not doubt who he was or what he was sent here to do.

I thought of the scars I carry.  The scars on my body from cancer and other injuries. The scars on my spirit from abuse.  In counseling, I work hard at healing the broken places of my heart.  I still feel scarred.  Perhaps it is not the imperfection that I thought it was. 

Earlier in this blog I shared the story of The potato, the egg, and the hot chocolate.  I believe that we can not control what happens to us, we can only control what we do with the experiences.  I split to survive.  I was taught how to take control of my life and my thinking.  Fear still kicks in.  I learned how to work with that.  Anger is still there.  I learned how to use anger as an indicator that my boundaries are being pushed.  I still feel shame.  I am learning to sort out what belongs to me and what was projected to me from my abuser.  I feel peace more and more often.  I feel love for my children and grand children that far accedes anything I believed possible.  I believe Christ did exactly what He said He did.  He is risen.  For me, that has made all the difference.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bunny Hop

At the grand age of 4 1/2 years old I was enrolled in kindergarten class at school.  I remember my mother filling out the form and she asked me if I wanted a nickname.  Mind you the adult is asking a little girl that has never gone to school.  At the moment in time, my favorite animal was a bunny rabbit.  Since I thought a nickname was a requirement to get into school.  Fortunately, bunny won over monkey which was another favorite.  By second grade, I hated the name 'bunny' and used my metal lunch box to silence those that persisted in using that name.  Fast forward 50 years.  Yesterday, at the preschool I got to be bunny, The Easter Bunny.  Head to toe pink fur with a full head mask.  The teachers planted me outside and let the children that wanted to come up to me.  One little girl flew across the school yard for a hug from the Easter Bunny.  I hopped, talked in a squeaky voice, fended off a future hoodlum trying to poke me in the eye, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I was very impressed with one of our students in the learning about early childhood education he's a 16 year old that knows he is a cool man on campus.  One of the small students wouldn't come near me unless he hugged me first.  I was so impressed that he gingerly hugged me then encouraged the 4 year old to do the same.  The atmosphere was gentle and any child that wanted to stay away could.  There were no tears and delightful fun.  I am a great believer in the Easter bunny, colored eggs, hunting for eggs and lots of candy.  I loved living in Washington, we could hide candy filled eggs all over the yard, even in the snow.  In the snow the colored eggs actually made the snow glow lovely colors to match the eggs.  The kids would re-hide the plastic eggs over and over.  I love coloring Easter eggs and checking out all the things that can be done with peeps.  I'll add a few links to a few of my favorites.

Peeps Diorama

Easter Jokes
My Butt hurts

Do you know why the Easter Bunny hides the eggs?
He doesn't want anyone to know he is dating a chicken.

Easter Eggs

Found it!  Bunny hop

A little more serious
The Empty Egg (I need a tissue for this one.)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Amazing Friday...

For those that do not want to read about my belief in Christ enjoy clicking on this link to awesome Peeps pictures.  I love what people think to do with Peeps.

Each year on Good Friday I spend much of my day thinking and considering my faith in Christ and how do I feel about my relationship with Him.  Last week I was given an assignment to create a picture of myself before all the abuse happened.  I tend to go overboard on such assignments.  I decided to download the song "Music Box Dancer."  Then using iMovie I put together a 3 minute video of my own pictures featuring baby animals, ducks, lizards, flowers and other things that to me portrayed the innocence that existed before.  After I completed the piece and reviewed it several times I noted that the only reference to Christ was Christmas decoration pictures.  I pondered on how my intense connection to Christ being my Savior did not come during the light, exuberant, innocent days of my life.  Christ became my connection to life during the dark fear filled nights of my abuse.  In high school, my friends that knew me for years decided to 'save' me from my unChristian religion.  I listened to what they had to say.  I attended church with them.  I heard them out as they bashed my religion.  Then they told me that because of the church I belonged to I wasn't a Christian.  I do believe this quote, "The line between the righteous and the unrighteous is always drawn by the self righteous."  I changed my friends.  KavinCoach was surprised by such a drastic decision at 16 years old.   I will agree with anyone that at age 16 I was already a mess.  I didn't know how big of a mess but I knew that something was very wrong with me.  It was in this time of deep despair that I learned that if you have but a mustard seed of faith you can build a relationship with Christ.  By that early age, I connected with Christ as my Savior.  Because I did not want to stand before Him and tell Him that my life was too hard by committing suicide in my teens; I lived to show Him I could.  Here my friends were mocking and making fun of my life line.  I asked one of them why they were doing this.  "Well, you get so serious."  I ended the conversation with, "It is the only thing I am serious about."  When you have just one precious thing in your life, going overboard to protect it is not a surprising outcome.  I was accused of following blindly.  Not so.  By that time, like every teenager in the world, I doubted everything I was told by my parents.  (I later understood that I should have doubted them more.)  A teacher from church encouraged me to study and learn for myself.  I did.  This wasn't some light undertaking for me.  When I became a young mother and struggled like every young mother does trying to raise her precious babies the 'right' way, my connection to Jesus strengthened as I stumbled and failed by my own brutally high standards.  By the time I was 32 years old, I was almost completely bed ridden.  I could barely take care of myself let alone the precious children in my home.  I was devastated.  I pleaded with God to be released from my nightmare called life.  At this time laying in a darkened room I felt in my heart that God said no.  He wanted me to live.  Christ became my constant companion as I struggled to get out of that hell hole.  Medical doctors had no answers for me so I started to study and pray for my own answers.  I learned for myself the power of the Holy Spirit teaching the truth of all things.  I learned through having cancer that there are professionals that can help when the problem is bigger than I know how to handle.  I was led to a therapist that had the expertise to recognize my problem and teach me what I needed to know.  Through all this, the poem "Footsteps in the Sand" stayed on my refrigerator.  I know by my own experience the depth of meaning when I think of the times when Christ carried me.  Artist portrayed through the centuries Christ carrying a lamb on his shoulders.  Always the lamb is a pristine white and Christ is neat and tidy.  Not my image.  Imagine Christ with his arms and legs scratched and dirty, clothes tattered and ripped with a bedraggled lamb limply hanging in his arms.  His triumphant smile as He recognizes the precious life still existing in the damaged lamb.  He tenderly washes and anoints the lamb's wounds and binds up the broken places.  He nurses the lamb back to health.  I am that lamb and Christ is my Savior.    

Thursday, April 5, 2012

To Dream...

Pearl S. Buck
There are many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream - whatever that dream might be.

I was all psyched up to discuss some more painful things from my past.  However, needed some closure to last weeks discussion.  Thanked NewCounselor for listening.  I appreciated him giving me the opportunity to clear out the file called, "Old Garbage to be taken out."  I felt awesome knowing that there is nothing left there to haunt or make afraid.  I still feel sad...I grieve my lost childhood but that doesn't send me into a blinding tail spin.  I thought tonight I would be dissecting another unfinished part of my past.  Instead, we discussed how I was before pain entered my life,  how I felt during the time it happened, and how I felt as a survivor.  I felt frustrated a couple of times trying to explain that I didn't have a master controller personality.  I had three that worked as a tag team each with their specialized set of skills, one for school, one for friends, and one for home.  The conversation did not have quite the results he was looking for.  On the other hand, he broke down some of my impressions of how I felt during those different times.  He showed that from each of these challenges I developed different strengths.  He then talked about creating an image that combined all the different strengths.  The project sounded more and more interesting.  Then he dropped a bomb shell...

"You can dream...."

Squealing of brakes as my mind crashes into that one phrase.  Full panic in 3 words.  Grabbed the stress toys that I have and started rotating them in my hands.  Back and forth, round and round, the action of the toys matched the whirling in my mind.  For me, dreams = NIGHTMARES.  Not what NewCounselor meant at all.  He soothingly talked about what kind of person do I dream of becoming.  First off, I had never thought I would live this long in the first place.  Secondly, I can have dreams?  Really?  Me?  I am trying desperately to listen.  Keep my mind focused on what he is trying to say to me.  Instead, I feel a ripple in the underwater a crocodile entering a swamp or some mysterious creature waiting to destroy.  The image his words create in my mind is an image of open meadow with receding clouds on the horizon, morning sunlight touching the dew drops glistening on petals of marigolds and roses.  Not one bit of swamp land in sight.  His words created a new image...can that image really be mine?  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shame and Abuse

So unfair.  On top of all the trauma and hurt there is a layer of shame felt by a victim of abuse.  Questions like: why did I let it happen?  I should have said no?  Am I to blame? The perpetrators of abuse set the victim up for the fall if anyone finds out.   Judy and roots2blossom both share their combined views.  I am studying the affects of abuse and how to over come the feelings of worthlessness and shame.  Victims are 'groomed' by their perpetrators to accept what happens to them. Sometimes taking months before taking the abuse to the next level.  The victim is the one feeling shame.  The perpetrator feels none.  Either complete denial or blaming the victim are the mantras of the abuser.  I learned 7 years ago that my past was not all that I wished it could be.  I still struggle with feelings of shame.  I must consciously remind myself that it all started when I was 5 years old.  I look at my little granddaughter and remember that I was younger than her when my childhood ended.  Sometimes I regret remembering.  But the feeling of shame without any memories of why I felt that way were just so overwhelming sometimes.  I needed to remember to gain perspective of my own behavior. 

Here is a list of emotions commonly felt by adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse: (she is used in the text but sexual abuse happens to boys also.) Sorry, I don't have the name of the original author.

Confused about identity
Angry at self and others
Guilty about everything she has ever done, about everything that has been to them, or thought about.
Difficulty separating what she's done from what's been done to her
Afraid of men; doesn't trust women
Frustrated and uncertain about life and goals
Depressed, but doesn't know why
Doesn't trust her own judgement
Believes the world would be better off without her
Hurts all the time; exhausted
Can't keep up with everyone else
Feels everyone is looking at her and can see right through her 

I felt 12 out of 12.  No small wonder that KavinCoach immediately recognized me as a sexual abuse victim.  I am a walking cliche.  As I go through the healing process I am feeling more and more relief from these emotions and feelings.  Then I have a little incident and all this rips through me like I have done any work at all.  Kind of like a tornado coming back around for another pass.  Sometimes how I feel just sucks... then I have time with my kids and grandkids.  I cuddled up to one of my granddaughters and rocked us both to sleep.  Cuddled together with this precious little person restores my soul.  Winston Churchill said it right, "Never, never, never, never give up." 

Monday, April 2, 2012


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Talent develops in tranquility, character in the full current of human life.

Sometimes a quote is a maybe.  I developed my photographic talent in parallel with my counseling.  Sinking into the painting with light, the process, and discipline of photography helped me cope with the upheaval of counseling.  I decided counseling is much like a rock tumbler where everything is crashed together ripping off jagged and ill formed places break away to reveal the smooth clean rock below.  Whereas, photography can be like a still water.  Non silver photography is a slow methodical process requiring many hours to complete one picture.  Counseling on the other hand can rip my world apart in 45 minutes or less.  Some concepts are so difficult to process intellectually and emotionally that the rest of the body shuts down.  I learned that hearing goes first.  Really quite odd to be watching my counselor talk, I can see his mouth move but no sound reaches my mind.  The spirit seems to retreat inside the body until the body can no longer function on its own.  I noticed both of my counselors are way less than impressed when this happens.  Ultimate hiding is hiding within yourself until you don't even know where you are hidden.  Psychology describes this state as catatonia.  It is not a separate condition or state but a symptom that can be triggered by either mental or physical distress.  A level of stress so high that the body is incapable of continuing normal functions.  I reached this state on several occasions.  I learned to recognize the early symptoms and stop pushing myself for a time.  Other times it is similar to falling off a ledge and tumbling to a plane of chaotic stillness that allows time to suspend.  Telling some of my secrets triggered this response.  Memories that my mind reluctantly released with good reason.  Learning that I was an object to be maliciously used for someone else's perverse pleasure left me in such a terrible state.  At a later time, I could define no single emotion that was connected with this state.  More like a splashing of violent colors against a black screen.  Much like a finally of fireworks exploding inside my mind until all I see is the blackness and the flashes.  I work hard not to reach this state of confusion.  My thought is character develops with every decision that I make and talent develops as a counter balance to character.  One without the other leaves me off balanced.  Together, character and talent, help me to find a way to keep me from spinning out of control.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Finally speaking up

Quote of the day: "Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself."
Harvey Fierstein
*PS I met Jimmy Thomas one of the most sought after male models for covers of Romance novels.  He was kind and a blast to take pictures of.  Eyecandy in 3 D is always lovely.  

I spent most my life hiding the truth from myself and in the process everyone else.  Now, I am finally accepting my past and recognizing I don't get a different one.  I told my parents and they asked why didn't anyone say anything.  Fear is powerful.  The person that told was murdered.  This wasn't a one off in a back room but a premeditated attack on the children in the neighborhood.  The strange thing for me were the people that denied what happened once the man was arrested, convicted, and sent to jail.  The conspiracy of silence actually extended to people not directly involved.  I can only guess that they refused to believe anything bad could happen in 'their' neighborhood.  The illusion of safety in a 'nice' neighborhood was some how more important than the harm done to their children.  

I encountered another bully in a boss at the university that I worked.  I spoke up.  HR actually told me that if I didn't like my boss get a different job.  I went to Equal Opportunity and they recognized my boss's name.  Their file on him was huge.  The problem was he bullied everyone equally.  They informed me that it is not illegal to be a jerk.  Finally, his boss asked me to write an email describing what he had done wrong.  I asked them if they wanted it with or without documentation.  They were shocked when I sent them a 6 page email of his nasty behavior and a second 30 page email with documentation.  They gave me another boss.  Eventually, I was laid off when the opportunity came.  One of the "in-the-know" types informed me that the higher ups considered me a trouble maker.  The victim is blamed for the poor behavior of the bully.  Then, people wonder why people stay quiet about bullies.  The ones most likely punished are the victims and not the bullies.

In the zero tolerance schools, students are not allowed to fight back when they are picked on.  The rule of expelling everyone involved in a fight, leaves kids vulnerable to bullies that are sneaky and cleaver about their tactics.  Social media became a new avenue for attacking another person.  Then when the rage finally boils over people are wailing how did this happen?

I am learning that speaking up about bullies and abuse has a risk of its own.  Everything from denial to an increase of bullying, becomes possibilities.  I do believe speaking up is important.  I also recognize that sometimes someone else needs to speak up for you.  Not backing down from the truth about bullies is difficult when you are repeatedly told, "You misunderstood."  "They didn't realize that would bother you."  "Why are you so sensitive?  You need to have a thicker hide."  I actually heard a parent justify bullying his own children to toughen them up for the 'real' world.  I don't think bullies will ever go away.  I did teach my children that sometimes you have to fight back to get your message across that their behavior is not acceptable.  Bullies are often proud of the fear generated in others but almost all of them are cowards at heart and specifically pick on those that they consider weaker than themselves.  I learned a lot from Gandhi on how to stand my ground peacefully.  It is never easy but in my opinion totally worth it.