March 18, 2015

Public Healing

Why am I so public with my story?
Well, for healing.

Sharing my story is a release. There is a weightless freedom that comes when I am open. The ability to turn into words all that is spinning inside of me is a powerful detox. And the potential for my journey to reach others who may be silently suffering is so very healing to me. We are all connected. One heart. One beat. One pulse. One rhythm. And this story is not just mine. It is all of ours. To learn from. Grow from. Gain strength and passion and wisdom from.

I have shared so much of this story throughout the years. The tone of which has morphed over time as my perception has morphed. Always drawn to a public release. Trusting and Knowing that it belonged out here, among all of us. But I also kept pieces of this story hidden. So very hidden. So much shame. So much self hate. So much fear.

I was afraid of everything. But mostly; I was afraid of judgement. I was already judging myself so harshly, for all of it. For staying in a relationship that caused me so much pain. For my own codependency and misdirected guilt over causing him to cause me pain in the first place. For my want to "fix everything" and find our happy; happy with the least amount of baggage; the least amount of judgement. And more then anything, I was so very harshly judging my Mama'ing. I couldn't bare to hear any of that validated by others. And I couldn't bare to hear the judgements that others may feel about Nick, either. I didn't... still don't want to hear people talk badly about my husband. Or ex husband, if that's the path we decide to take. And the comments on my Mama'ing, ooooh boy, those ones are the toughest for me to absorb. Even the comments that are expressed so very gently, and from a place of obvious love, even those ones feel as though someone has just punched me in the throat and all of the air is escaping my lungs. Fear has let that be enough to stay quiet. Deal with all of this silently. And alone.

I expressed this to a friend recently, and I realized that I still feel that fear of judgement. It's there. Strong. Really strong. Twisting my stomach into a knot. And causing my thoughts to return to erratic and angry. But I am stronger then that fear. So much stronger. And I am finding my breath. And my light. And my truth. And my village full of gentle, kind, love based words that I am learning to accept and embrace; rather then shield and block. So it's taking less and less time for the knots in my stomach to loosen. And for my mind to slow. And for my heart to remember that I am lights love. I am no longer willing to let that fear of judgement prevent me from stepping into my light, and sharing my heart. I’m no longer willing to be tethered to my own judgements. Part of this process is owning my reactions. My triggers. And really, that's all that judgement is. Reacting to a situation based on a past experience; a trigger. And I can choose to create separateness, rather then become entangled. Ask myself “where is this thought or belief coming from”. I can sit with that question, free of judgement and cynicism, and trace the belief back to it’s root. I can feel that root. And I can determine whether or not that root is serving my light. My life. I can release the roots that were never mine; as well as the ones that used to be mine, but are no longer relevant. I can create a new experience; a new perspective; a new root

Judgement … the very thing that was keeping me silent is helping me to open fully into my being. I can make a different choice. I can see through fear based actions and lean into the love that is at the core of me. The core of all of us. And I can release THAT out into the world for us all to learn from. Grow from. Gain strength and passion and wisdom from.

For us all to heal from.

And that's why I do it.

March 17, 2015

Breathe Into the Waves

Oooh Mama Ocean; you teach me so much. The strong emotions of grief, of trauma, behave very much like you. Your waves. Coming in slowly at first. Calm. Steady. Gradually the pressure builds. Intensity increases. You rise up higher and higher. Fierce. Intimidating. Darkness with no end in sight. Ultimately you reach your highest point and ... you recede. There is calm again. And light.

When we're caught up in emotional reactions, it can feel so crushing. Permanent. Fight or/and Flight is our instinct. Our body arms itself with everything it needs for protection from this seemingly endless darkness. Our muscles become tight. Or breathing turns shallow. Our judgement irrational. But if we can remember to just breathe. Deep. Create some separateness between this reaction and our reality. Feel the sensations of the darkness. The emptiness. The hurt. Telling ourselves that these sensations will pass. The light is still shining. Behind a storm cloud, perhaps, but that storm will pass, and the light will be felt again. Love, not fear, is at the center of us all. We just need to breathe. Breathe into the storm. Breathe into the waves. Rise up. Strong and Powerful. The calm is just beyond this crest. And the light is shining bright. Always. 

March 13, 2015

Peeling Back the Layers ... Abuse

This recent instagram photo led me to write ...

"I've been ashamed of pieces of my story for far too long. A story that includes enduring abuse and infidelity and abandonment. Feelings of shame, of embarrassment, of misplaced guilt & self blame left me feeling powerless and alone. I am slowly peeling back the layers and exposing these dark, hidden, scared places within. I am strong. I am brave. I am opening. "

I had plans to write a blog post that day and link to it in the instagram photo, but that short little exert into my heart proved to be enough. In fact, it felt like too much. I unraveled after releasing it, and spent the next two days in a haze. Going through the daily motions of Mama-hood. And also crying. There was so much crying. And yelling at trees. And throwing rocks and lettuce ends, with all of my might, into oblivion. And being full of so so SO much anger. More then I knew I was capable of. I tapped into some really deep, raw, vulnerable pieces inside of me, and I was feeling the effects in every cell of my body. And even though it felt like "too much", there was also a sense of calm within, telling me I was okay. I was ready. I was ready to dig into the darkest of the dark, the scariest of the scary, and find my way through it. I cursed that calm. And argued with it. And insulted it. And when I found myself late last night sitting in a dirt pit down the trail from my home, sobbing into the tall grass, and nearly dislocating my shoulder from the force with which I was chucking rocks, I decided to lean into that calm within; and ... it caught me in such a soft embrace. The anger I was feeling immediately dissipated. And the recurring vision that had been haunting my daytime suddenly had more depth, more softness, more ... love.

And so today, as the last bruise from our latest encounter fades, and the sun is shining bright and warm, and the sounds of woodpeckers and morning doves fill my spirit, I am feeling the air around me begin to thin. Lighten. I am breathing easier, again. My heart feeling more open, again. Options, rather then "have to's", are becoming clearer, again. And I find myself stepping into my center and wanting to peel back a few more layers. I am safe and I am ready.

Abuse is not a word I throw around carelessly or dramatically. I grew up in an environment where abuse was prevalent. Abuse perpetuated on me from numerous adults in my life, but today I'm talking about the abuse I witnessed my Mama enduring from the men in her life. So much pain, on every level, to include the big, scary, nearly killing her (often) kind of physical abuse that you see in Lifetime movies. And I was the one calling the police. And screaming for him to stop. And trying to pull him off of her. And getting thrown into the wall. Sex, and Drugs, and extreme Domestic Abuse made up much of my childhood.

When physical abuse entered my own marriage; I knew immediately what it was. I knew immediately that it was wrong. I knew immediately how to defend and protect myself... and boy did I, with gusto. But I also had such a strong point of reference when it came to physical abuse, and the contrast between what I grew up witnessing, and what I myself had just endured, was so stark. So, so very different. I eventually convinced myself that while it WAS abuse, it was a different kind of abuse, and it would be okay. I could help him work through the fear that drives him to see me as the enemy. The enemy from which he must escape, by any means necessary, even when those means were literally bulldozing & trampling over me on his way out. He wasn't evil. He wasn't out to hurt me. HE was hurting. I could feel his hurt. I could relate to his hurt. I wanted to help him. I wanted to take his hurt away. I wanted to make him feel okay, and loved, and safe. And in turn, that would make US okay and loved and safe. I was convinced I could do it. And it was all going to be okay.

And then it happened again. The same bulldoze & trample kind of abuse. Police were involved this time. And my children blurry witnesses. And my whole body shook with rage and fear and sadness over what my children had just endured. The difference between my own childhood and now theirs was seeming less and less stark. In fact, it was looking identical in that heightened adrenaline moment, and with that vision, something in me snapped. My guilt grew to an unbearable size. How I could I have let this happen. How could I have given them the exact environment I was still healing from. How could I do this to them. And then ... how could I have let him down like this. I told him I would help him. I told him I would be here for him, I told him it was going to be okay, and I failed. How could I let myself fail. No! No! I would NOT let his fear win. Or the military win. Or the goddamned fucking war win. No! I would just work harder!

And then it happened again. Bulldoze & Trample, again. And it involved police, again. And my children were witness, again. And this time ... it put me in the hospital. I knew I couldn't help him alone. I knew it was bigger then me. Or him. He needed so much more then I was capable of. I didn't want to be his support anymore. But reinforcements weren't coming. He pushed everyone else out of his life; and they went. And then cancer came. He had cancer. And he had noone. I felt a sense of obligation. Of responsibility. My husband, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, the thought of leaving him when he was so desperately in need of support made me sick. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to help. I didn't know where to turn. I grieved for Tony. My sweet Tony. After my Mama left her string of abusive husbands and boyfriends, she started dating Tony. A man with his own set of demons, but oh so gentle and loving and kind. He was so special to me. So important in my life and so so loved. He killed himself after my Mama left him. I was mad at him at the time; wasn't even speaking to him. So mad that he and my Mama were fighting again. So mad that he wasn't getting help for his demons. So mad that he may have just ruined his last chance with her, and I'd never see him again. I figured I'd stay mad for a while. Not speak to him so he would REALLY understand just how mad I was. Fully feel the absence. And then I would reach out. Only it was too late. He was all alone; and then he was gone. And it was too late for me to reach out. To remind him of my love. To lend support and help. It was just ... too late.

No! I wouldn't let that happen again. It wasn't too late for Nick. I wouldn't make that same mistake. Not to Nick. Not to myself. Not to my children. This cancer, thyroid, likely played a huge role in his lack of self control and emotional turmoil. It gave me answers to the Whys. And comfort to the guilt. It was cancer. I could blame cancer. And it was tangible. It was something that we could see. And feel. And FIGHT! And so I rallied. Again. And spun myself inside out looking for different resources and support for him. Staying up until the wee hours of every night researching new techniques. Booking appointments, and making calendars, and setting alarms, and driving to and from drs, and therapists, and acupuncturists, and, and, and. Going toe to toe with the military big wigs when they tried and tried again to kick Nick out, dishonorable, with no financial compensation. All the while having a deep fear of him. Scared to be alone with him. Scared to talk with him. And he felt that fear, causing him pain, and then anger. Which caused me to be more afraid, with more walls. Round and Round.

Those 3 incidents all happened within a year or so; it's been almost 6 years since that 3rd one. And then it happened again. Just over a week ago. We'd already been separated a month. We thought maybe we could work together on this separation with the goal of reconciliation at some point. Him seeking some serious alternative healing options; and me lighting up the home front while he was away focusing on him. A happy reunion at some point in our future. But he couldn't figure out the steps to take to get there. And I was no longer in a place to want to map that out for him. So then; fear won.

I still see the love inside of him. The light. The kindness.
And I still see the fear, not evil, that drives him to act out of a war based mentality.

But ... Abuse IS abuse, different as it may look, or seem, or feel.
And abuse is bigger then me.
It's bigger then any of us alone.

I can still see the love inside of me. The light. The kindness.
And I now see the fear and guilt that drove me to fall into a very unhealthy codependent role.

I can't see what our future holds;
but I am seeing our past more clearly,
and that, I know, is my salvation.
My light.
And I'm going to keep leaning into it.
Open and Safe.

March 8, 2015

Sunday Songbird ... Gunpowder & Lead

Yoga is my lover. Hand in hand, together, we find Peace. Breath. Center. Calm. Balance. Strength. Foundation. Open. We find Self. Yes, yoga is my sweet, sweet lover. But super angry chick music is my best friend. A friend that so passionately sums up everything I am feeling. Offering rhythms, words, and energy that I can blast. And scream sing with. And pump my fists with. And dance out everything that is raging inside with.

I'm not a huge country fan. Nor a big fan of "hit music". Also, guns, I'm pretty sure you people know just where I stand on those. But this one. Oooh this one. Right here. Right now.

On a travel day. As the kids and I prep everything that needs prepping. And we doing it so well. And fast. I knew it could be done fast. And I'm feeling determined. And then a plan needs to be made. And I realize I've been holding my breath this whole time. Busying my mind. Intentionally not thinking of the logistics of this next step. And I lose it. I scream and cry and fall apart. And then anger washes over me for being put in this position. After what I've been through at the hands of a man; I just want to be in pieces right now. Not strong. Not holding it together. Not packing up and driving this fucking house by myself. I want to be held. And comforted. And taken care of. And I cry some more. And scream some more. And then get mad some more for feeling like a victim. And then I blow my nose. And wipe my eyes. And I yoga back to whole. And I hook the truck up by myself for the first time. And high fives fly all around me in celebration. And I feel empowered. And then my best friend shows up with a lyrical version of the best whiskey I've ever tasted. And I know I've got this. I've got this so hard!

"I'm gonna show him what little girls are made of"

And while, no, I have nothing to show him.
I am sure going to show myself!

Oh hell yea!!!

Gunpowder & Lead ~Miranda Lambert
County road 233, under my feet
Nothin' on this white rock but little ole me
I've got two miles 'til, he makes bail
And if I'm right we're headed straight for hell

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead

It's half past ten, another six pack in
And I can feel the rumble like a cold black wind
He pulls in the drive, the gravel flies
He don't know what's waiting here this time

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead

His fist is big but my gun's bigger
He'll find out when I pull the trigger

I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of
Gunpowder and, gunpowder and lead

Gunpowder and lead