Alter Post: Mother’s…Daughters…Secrets & Confessions

Trigger warning…this post discusses what many consider a taboo topic related to sexual abuse. The post is written by alter personalities, uses a journal format, and is shared unedited.

I have a confession.
A secret not yet shared here on the blog.
One that I have accepted, am not ashamed of anymore, yet still have trouble talking and writing about anywhere.

I’m not trying to tease you by drawing this out. I am trying to be careful, considerate, and kind to myself as I write this and share it with you.

Have you ever heard of mother daughter sexual abuse?
It’s real.

So if you want to know learn more, use the “Read More” tag below.

Read More »

Recovery: 2018 Reflections – family & life

What a year it’s been…

So many changes and discoveries. Reconnecting with family. Enjoying time with family.

Creating new paths. Learning different ways to live and thrive beyond survival. Opening up to the wonders of the universe.

Finding a spiritual path & a way to make dreams come true.

CATCHING UP…

Last Week with Family

Other than typical air travel issues, the visit went well. My family and I spent quality time together enjoying each other’s company, giving gifts, and eating great food. My dad and I got to spend some alone time together and with the rest of the family. My brother and sister-in-law are happy; we hugged and talked and laughed on Christmas.

As for time with mom, we carefully started rebuilding the bridge again. It got tense at times, but someone was always around to help smooth things over. In the end, we shared contact information; this way she can reach me if she feels like it.

My mom’s side and I didn’t get to meet after all. Between the flight delay and busy schedules, 4 days became 3 days full of other activities. In the end, we promised to see each other next time I travel back east.

My dad’s side of the family hosted Christmas this year. Seeing my younger cousins for the first time in a while was filled with anxiety on both sides. We weren’t sure how to interact at first, but things got easier with time. We ended up laughing and talking by the end of the visit – that felt great.

My aunts and uncle and I spent some quality time together too. We talked and caught up with life before giving gifts. Things got a little tense with one aunt, but that was expected. Her way of coping with fear is to push people away. Some time apart (and maybe conversations with others) helped both of us work it out for a pleasant rest of the visit.

Finally, I got to spend some quality time with my grandmother. She wasn’t doing well on Monday – my first day visiting – and spent a lot of ¬†time sleeping. On Christmas Day (Tuesday), she was awake and more present – enough to enjoy opening gifts, talk, and eat dinner with us.

We had a chance to talk in private. I told her how much I love her and that she doesn’t have to worry so much about me anymore. I’m healthy and happy and safe, so she can focus on taking care of herself and doing what she needs to do to feel healthy and pain-free.

Milestones, Changes & Goals

For the first time, maybe ever, I completed all of my goals for 2018. That felt good and acts as a symbol of the many positive changes that happened this year.

Of the many changes that occurred this year, the biggest ones have to do with the transition from survival mode to living to thriving. Here are 3 on my list:

  • Open up to others in the outside world – making friends & connections; going to workshops; participating in events & activities at work – because I feel safe on every level of being (spiritual, emotional/mental, physical)
  • Change my self-image in order to be assertive at work and act on my dreams – job changes, go back to school, continue writing this blog, work on my spiritual practice
  • Find closure with my past by embracing my shadows and connecting face-to-face with family again

As for milestones, my biggest one is letting go of the fear that held me back for so long by finding my faith again and choosing to live a life rooted in unconditional love and acceptance. For every individual, finding that faith in a higher power; believing she or he is deserving of unconditional love and acceptance; then opening up to receive those gifts is a unique and difficult journey.

The New Website & Aromatherapy

My other web site and blog is in progress, but on hold for right now. Other priorities got in the way of completing the pages and starting the new blog, so it’s empty and will be for another few months.

As for aromatherapy, I’m still taking the online classes in between work and life. It’s slow going, but lesson 1 of 7 is finally finished. The aromatherapy blends work well and smell great. I used them to help with some cold and sinus problems that affect me every fall/winter season. Lesson 2 is in progress.

Questions for Guests

What will/do you reflect on for 2018?

How do you feel about the milestones, changes, successes, or lessons learned?

What will you leave behind or take with you into 2019?

Final Thoughts

2018 was an incredibly positive year. Many unexpected successes and positive changes tempered by some losses, more than a few lessons learned, and much confusion. I’ve discovered a spiritual practice that suits my solitary nature and allows me to believe in God and other wise beings or deities without having to choose a specific religion. The openness of this spiritual practice helps me develop my other gifts instead of fearing them and teaches me how to listen to my intuition too.

Feelings still confuse me. Being in crowds still has a negative effect on my memory. I am not (nor will I ever be) 100% comfortable or relaxed outside of my home, but I can utilize coping strategies to get at least 80% comfortable or relaxed now. Most important, I feel safe interacting with other people even when triggered or feeling severely anxious.

Personally, I’m looking forward to many surprises and possibilities in 2019 ūüôā

I wish all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous 2019!

Thanks for reading

Happy Holidays to All Who Celebrate!

As part of my traditions to reclaim the holidays, I send out holiday cards by regular mail and (only if I don’t have a mailing address) email to loved ones, friends and colleagues.

This year, as part of my “add creativity to life” self-care strategy, I created holiday post cards based on a theme of low-stress, fun times, and fostering positive relationships.

To all who celebrate – and whatever holiday(s) you celebrate…This card is for you.
Season’s Greetings & Holiday Wishes

Best Regards,

AlterXpressions

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Life Changing Moments: Home for the Holidays

Dear Guests,

This time next week, I will be back in my home state (the one where I was born) getting ready to celebrate Christmas with my parents, brother, and father’s side of ¬†the family for the first time in 7 years. Maybe longer. All of us will get together at an aunt’s house on the morning of Christmas Day to open gifts, hang out, and (later) eat a holiday dinner together. Dinner as in lunch…not the evening meal (aka supper).

I admit to feeling many conflicting emotions. Fear, excitement, guilt, joy, anxiety are a few of them. In terms of my immediate family, I’m excited to see my dad. We’ve been talking (FaceTime) and emailing regularly since August. He’s excited to see me too and has been keeping me updated about the rest of the family. I have mixed feelings about seeing my mom and brother (and his wife) again. We didn’t part on good terms, and my child parts are upset about being close to them again. But the adult parts of me are happy to see them again.

For my Dad’s side of the family, I’m excited and anxious to see them again. We don’t relate very well for a lot of reasons, so sometimes sharing space can be difficult. It’s part of why I choose to stay in a hotel or AirBnB during visits home. We love each other, but live completely different lives. And a lot of my life is not something many of my relatives on either side can acknowledge, approve, or accept. Other than some social topics or basic questions and answers, we don’t have much to talk about.

For my Mom’s side, the timing worked to visit with one group of cousins the day before I leave. As I’m only staying for 4 days, I’m grateful for that much and excited to see them. Yes I’m also nervous, but that’s mostly because it’s a new relationship with all of us being adults now. Luckily, we are all foodies and can spend a few hours chatting and enjoying good food.

Have you noticed the food theme? A lot of my family gatherings revolve around food – it was how different generations came together to prepare food, set tables, cook, share stories, and enjoy conversations while eating – as a party or event was often how my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents brought us together.

Why do  this?

The simple answer is closure.
I’m in a positive, healing place that allows me to open up and face some of the scariest parts of my past so that moving forward is less stressful. Plus, I do miss my family. I love them and want the best for them – best as in what works for and with their current goals and lifestyles. Closure allows my heart wounds to finally drain and start to heal.

The complicated answer is more nuanced.
I am going to visit my grandmother. She hasn’t been doing well since her accident back in January. If I can give her anything, it’s one holiday with all of us together like before. We can spend some time together, and I can reassure her that I’m happy, healthy, and safe even if I live all the way across the country.

I’m going for my father. Seeing him in person, giving and receiving a real hug is a gift in itself. We don’t have a lot in common, but we are interested in each other’s lives and actively listen, accept and respect each others choices. Besides that, my Dad is really funny and always finds a way to share his fatherly wisdom with humor.

I’m going for myself, to prove that I can spend time with them as an adult whose triggers don’t get in the way and cause problems. We can be ourselves, share space together, and enjoy the holiday time with less tension and negativity. I don’t have to hide parts of myself and can accept that different relatives will and do hide behind masks – but the hiding is not personal. And I won’t get in trouble for being me. Or cause problems by being me.

In doing this, I can

try to resolve my conflicting feelings about letting any family into my life and being part of their lives.

Conflict part 1: I am happy as I am now being connected again, was happy before reconnecting with any family at all, and am not sure how much I want to be connected with any of them. If I want to be connected at all.

Conflict part 2: I love my family and am happy to be peripherally connected to some of them. But I’ve left behind the dreams of being close with them or having a strong connection where we keep in touch regularly, etc.

In other words, I’m facing some of my biggest fears in less than a week. Wish me luck?

And luck to any and all of you who might be in similar situations with the holiday season.

Thanks for reading.

Family: Birthday Reflections

pink green and yellow ribbon illustration
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Birthdays always feel odd to me.

On one hand, I enjoy celebrating life and am always grateful for my second chance.  Every moment is precious, and all parts of me look forward to the day laugh lines appear on our face.

On the other hand, I feel extremely annoyed about all of the expectations that used to come with birthday celebrations. ¬†Parties, going out, being around people, and all kinds of activities that were meant to be “fun” ended up something else in my personal experience.

My favorite kind of gift is when someone close says “happy birthday” and means it. ¬†If the individual chooses to give me something too, that’s always appreciated and valued.

person holding inflatable decor
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Giving and receiving of gifts means a lot to many people. ¬†I have a hard time accepting gifts sometimes. ¬†It goes back to my past trauma, triggers, and fears. ¬†Wanting something and asking for it as a gift – didn’t always get me what I wanted. ¬†Sometimes it got me the opposite.

But these days, I can trust the people who want to give me gifts to give me something I will enjoy instead of something they think I will enjoy.

My best gift today was talking with my dad on via video chat.  We talked for an hour about so many different topics.  I got to see his smile and hear him laugh.  He passed the device around so I got to talk with my aunts and uncles too.

It was a great start to my day and brings out hope that things will keep getting better.

My last birthday wish (or hope) is for all of my guests to have a fun day or peaceful sleep after reading this birthday post.

Thanks for reading.

Anniversaries: Happy Birthday Mom

Dear Mom,

Today is your birthday.  I wish you all the best and a joyful day full of fun and laughter.  I love you and accept you as you are always.  You are my mother, a wife, an aunt, a sister, and a daughter to many.  To others, you are a friend, a co-worker, or some other label.

We will never be traditional mother and daughter. ¬†You don’t always like to admit having a full grown daughter, let alone one like me. ¬†That’s okay too. ¬†I forgive you for all that has happened between us. ¬†I forgive myself for sometimes hating what happened to both of us. Hate only gives me heartburn…but pockets still exist and need to be released.

I used to shudder and sleep through nightmares on your birthday Рliving in remembered fear of the past.  Now, I celebrate your special day with unconditional love and acceptance.  I hope some day you will accept me as I am too.

Your Daughter

Quotes & Affirmations: A Double Whammy – Family, work & change

I’ll be honest with you. ¬†This week has kicked my ass in many ways. ¬†I almost didn’t know what to share today because everyone had an opinion, but no one wanted to buckle down and write it out.

Double Whammy

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There used to be a game show on TV called “Press Your Luck” that featured a “whammy” cartoon. ¬†Every time a contestant landed on a “whammy”, her or his score was reset to zero. ¬†The contestant had to start rebuilding prizes through trivia, etc.

 

I feel like I’ve landed on two whammy’s this week. ¬†One with regards to my family. ¬†One with regards to work.

Family

As mentioned before, I’m talking with my dad via email again. ¬†We’re slowly rebuilding our relationship and working hard towards being part of each other’s lives again. ¬†That means, indirectly, going back to what broke me before from a different perspective. ¬†It means reaching out to other family and acknowledging them in some way.

My mother’s family received the email and wrote back to me after a few weeks. ¬†It was nice to get a response from them. ¬†Next on my list, and not something I do lightly, is writing to my mother and younger brother.

Why?

Here is where the second quote fits in.

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This is my way of setting an intention and giving something to fill an empty space inside of me.  By filling that space inside me, I have more to give to my loved ones and can help fill a similar space in them.

The next time I visit family, I want to enjoy time with them. ¬†Not have the experienced ruined through my mother’s (and maybe brother’s) negativity and drama tantrums. ¬†My grandma is 102; she’s slowly moving towards the next phase in her life. ¬†I miss my dad. ¬†In spite of everything, I love my mother and brother. ¬†Seeing everyone for a short time will bring a measure of peace and closure.

Plus, having everyone together again will make my grandma smile.

Work

In my day job, I finally got some career-related questions answered and addressed. ¬†Now, if I change my mind and choose to stay, there can be a path that allows me change, growth, and challenges. ¬†Along with that, some leadership and organizational changes are taking place. ¬†Our team is changing. ¬†While some doors are closing, others are opening. ¬†So now there’s a chance for me to get my “new job” within the same company.

The dilemma;¬†I’m ready to leave my safety net and fly. ¬†Does that mean I start a new job in a new company and pursue my other projects during off hours? ¬†Does that mean I take on a new role with new challenges and pursue my other projects on the side?

Decision: Keep my options open.  If the new role at the current company goes through, seriously decide to stay or leave.  If that new role gets shunted to the side by corporate again, continue with my existing plans to move on.

Why again these two quotes?

Quote 1:

In a way, I’m going back to what broke me.

I’m reconnecting with family and places that caused so much pain. ¬†I guess it’s a reminder that the person coming back is not the person who left. ¬†She/I/We are going back to visit FAMILY as a whole rather than individual people. ¬†Different perspective; different choices. ¬†Same potential pitfalls if I’m not careful.

I’m also listening to my intuition, creating art, writing, healing/helping others, and learning how to use/utilize/explore/work with my unique gifts for positive outcomes instead of negative ones. ¬†That means journaling, meditation, exercise/movement, bodywork, and learning from mentors who work towards good instead of evil.

The flashbacks are stronger; lucid dreams become nightmares; so many voices sometimes. ¬†But the experience is different this time. ¬†My parts and I, we aren’t afraid. ¬†But the potential pitfalls exist. ¬†And we all have to be gentle with ourselves.

Quote 2:

This quote reinforces my belief in miracles and manifestation of dreams. ¬†For many years, I’ve been working towards going back to my family and moving into a career that brings joy – one that feels like a vocation and something fun that transforms into a “hobby” or “activity” to keep me involved and active during “retirement”.

Honest truth is, I could not have done all of this work or achieved so much alone.  Throughout every phase and step of this Recovery journey, guides and guardians (human, spiritual, and other) have taught me how to help myself achieve these goals.  By guardians and guides, I mean: family, friends, loved ones, mentors, enemies, counselors, even the racist and prejudiced people who went out of their way to verbally hurt me taught something.

It started with changing self-perceptions and perspectives about “people” and “the outside world”. ¬†Next came working through the different challenges in the “real world” outside of my mind.

I started to “see” the world from a loving, kind, compassionate space. ¬†Instead of a scary, violent, dangerous place, the world was full of love, life, laughter, and friendship. ¬†During meditations, I started to see colors and shapes again. ¬†I started to feel safe from the inside out – ready and able to “go home” without fear – and began the process of reconnecting with those I feared most.

“Home” has two meanings here:

  1. “Home” means being part of my family of origin again.
  2. “Home” means living safely within my physical body and working with all parts of me to bring our body back to optimal health

Whatever your challenges and struggles, there truly is a a way for you to live the life you want.

I hope these quotes help you the way they’ve helped me.

Thanks for reading.

Recovery: Dad, family, letters = closure

Short post today. ¬†I don’t have a lot to write about and too many ideas percolating.

Last Thursday, I hand wrote 3 letters and put them in the mailbox for Friday pick up.

  • One letter to my Dad
  • One letter to family I talked to last December
  • One letter to the rest of my mother’s family

Handwritten letters felt more authentic and right than computer printed letters.  A blue mailbox eliminated the need to provide a return address.

It’s been 3 days since I sent the letters. ¬†Yes, I am still scared. ¬†Yes I am not happy about having to send the letters. ¬†Yes I wish I didn’t have to do any of this.

But our lives are going to mix again in the future. ¬†It’s inevitable since I am close to my paternal grandmother. Going back to visit friends and loved ones increases my chances of running into one of them by accident.

And that’s my closure. ¬†I wrote to them; gave them a means to connect if they want it; and kept myself safe so that this life can keep growing and changing.

What does closure mean to you?

Thanks for reading.

Resources: Options for coping with Bipolar Disorder

Neurofeedback and BioFeedback are Effective Bipolar Disorder Treatment Neurofeedback has been used effectively in the treatment of ADHD, bipolar disorder, OCD, and other mental health disorders. Utilize neurofeedback with a licensed practicioner. It helps you develop powers of self-control and concentration. It strengthens your mind, contributing to recovery. Neurofeedback gives you needed support from professionals,…

via Bipolar Disorder Self Help ‚ÄĒ Sad N Blue

If you or someone you know has bipolar disorder and is open to new options, please read and share.

Thanks for reading.

Quotes & Affirmations: Love as currency or something else?

The Quote

“Love you can spend like currency isn’t really love.”

From The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire

So what is love?

Not just romantic love, but LOVE in all of its forms.

I don’t know how to describe the feeling. ¬†But I do know that real love is:

  • Unconditional
  • Universal
  • Freely given
  • Freely received

Anything else is a parody, or worse a lie.

Why share the quote?

It’s a good reminder (for me at least) that love and approval are different.

Love can exist without respect and trust, but not without acceptance or compassion.

Yesterday this quote helped me maintain perspective when flashbacks of my family and former friends hit hard.  Maybe it will help you too.

Thanks for reading.

Anniversaries: Happy Mother’s Day to my guests

Mother’s day brings up a lot of flashbacks and bad memories for me. ¬†I can’t celebrate it, and even have a difficult time thinking of or remembering positive mother figures in my life. ¬†And I can’t think of anything special or interesting to write for this post.

Instead, I’m going to change it up this year.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL OF THE GUESTS WHO ARE MOTHERS AND MOTHER FIGURES!!!

Thanks for reading.

Coping Strategy: Medication for alcohol addiction too?

Extra post because April is Alcohol Awareness Month…

Article Link – Medication for Alcohol addiction?

Some Background

One of the scariest things I ever did was start networking on LinkedIn.  It meant taking pride in my professional self and celebrating success in the outside world Рextremely scary considering my fears around success.

BUT…learning to use LinkedIn, and especially the different groups, connected me to resources I never imagined possible outside of a paid journal subscription. ¬†One group I belong to now is called “Mental Health”, and professionals from all aspects of the Mental Health world along with other businesses write about how emotional health affects employees, employers, and careers.

Benefits of Medication for Addiction and Trauma?

One topic that interests me, but is hard to learn about, has to do with the benefits of medication as part of addiction treatment programs.  Many people have issues with addiction and trauma, so deserve to learn about all available resources. And maybe this information will help a guest find a successful path to her or his goals.

I read this article a few days ago, but didn’t have time to share it until now. ¬†It’s written by the CEO of the company that manufactures one medication used to help with alcohol addiction (article’s words). ¬†He discusses the potential benefits of adding medication by comparing statists to the opiate medication treatment programs and reflects on why this option is not as widespread or openly discussed in the recovery/treatment community.

The article DOES NOT promote its drug as a cure or something to buy. ¬†And I DO NOT endorse or support the purchase or use of this manufacturer or other manufacturer’s medications for treatment. ¬† However, why not explore options directly from the source?

My Reasons for Sharing now

While not something mentioned often here, I have personal experience with loved ones whose lives were changed by alcohol addiction and abuse of over-the-counter drugs. ¬†And lots of experience watching classmates I started elementary school with drop out of high school, die, end up in jail, or commit suicide because of drug and alcohol related problems. ¬†Besides that, April is a month of loss and grieving for me. ¬†One I wasn’t able to mourn in the past, but can mourn now.

My memories of past drug and alcohol use are coming back, have been coming back a lot this April. ¬†Like why I can’t stand the smell of pot smoke in my personal space, but cigarette smoke leaves a neutral impression. ¬†Or dreams of being forced to ingest/inject/inhale/absorb through my skin whatever combinations my owner and his people gave us before training. ¬†Then their anger and disgust when I passed out or vomited and then passed out because my body rejected the substances.

As you might guess, substance use and abuse is a sensitive topic for me.  I feel inadequate to write about the topic, so hope that you check out the article for yourself and make your own choices.

Thanks for reading.

Shame: Writing, regrets, mistakes, and grudges

Earlier this week, I listened to Brene Brown’s book¬†Rising Strong as part of my coping strategy to drown out the distracting ambient sound. ¬†Ms. Brown built on her premise about being in the arena, falling down, and rising up again – specifically the rising up and continuing after falling – in this book.

I’m really happy that I waited until now to read the book. ¬†If I had tried a few months ago or years ago when I first discovered her work, my mind and body would have been ready to learn what Ms. Brown shared. ¬†Especially not about the benefits of journaling, drawing/coloring/sketching, reflection, meditation, and writing one’s thoughts on paper in general.

I tried a few of the exercises as I listened to the audiobook and came back with some lessons learned.

First Lesson:
I feel and experience regrets, but do not want them to influence or take over my life any more than I want grudges or my past to influence my present and future.  So when I say that I live without regrets, it means that I am learning from and remembering what those experiences taught me, but I my intention is to not get caught up in them.

So the phrase “living without regrets” is a trigger for me and means something different than what Ms. Brown discusses. ¬†That’s okay too because I hope that someday I can change my opinion and live with my regrets instead of treating them like triggers or grudges.

Lesson 2:
I feel a lot of shame about my writing, writing goals, and career choices. ¬†That shame is partly fear-based, but also tied in with my sense of self. ¬†It’s part of what makes using coping strategies like journaling and art therapy so triggering. ¬†Writing is something I learned out of necessity because my voice was silenced.

But before the necessity, came a love of writing that had to do with story-telling and sharing information. ¬†Less about teaching and more about helping others learn to think, do, and act for themselves. ¬†aka independence. ¬†It’s something both sides of my family taught me from a very young age. ¬†And something I wanted to share with my younger cousins as soon as I realized how unsafe it was to depend on adults.

Lesson 3:
While I am good at offering help and giving to others, I’m not as good about asking for and receiving help. ¬†Receiving and accepting help is a lot less scary and stressful now than it used to be, but I have a long way to go before the residual shame and fear go away for good.

Beyond that, opening up and letting others into my world is not simple or easy.  One thing therapy has taught me is to be my authentic self always.  In that sense, I am learning to accept and be comfortable as a mostly-solitary introvert who is more often than not anti-social too.  Part of it comes from my own anxiety about being in crowds or interacting with people.  And part of it has to do with questioning my ability to cope with the prejudice and racism that often interferes with activities I choose to participate in.

In this, Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) is my role model.

Here’s an example of my notes from one exercise:

Shame and writing

I feel shame about writing outside of the blog.
I feel shame about being a writer.
I feel shame whenever I try to write a book or think about starting a book.
I feel shame whenever I take steps to change my career.
I feel shame whenever I think about where to take my resource website and blog.
Talking about regrets:
I want to live without regrets because every experience is meaningful to me.  In my mind, regrets are kind of like grudges.  I acknowledge regrets.  I feel the emotions related to the experience that led to feeling regret.  I learn from the experience and remember why I felt and/or still feel regret when thinking about the experience.  Then I let those feelings go for now.  My goal is to acknowledge, experience/feel, learn from, and then let go of those experiences so that they inform my present choices without directly influencing or taking them over.

My favorite part about Rising Strong:

Throughout the book, Ms. Brown acknowledges that mental/behavioral problems and substance abuse along with trauma add complexities to the concepts and learning path she shares in her book.  One chapter towards the end specifically discusses this and clearly states that the purpose of this book is for guidance and support purposes; it is not a treatment plan or supposed to be used as one.

I really appreciate this message because trauma, substance abuse, and mental/behavioral problems really do change how an individual experiences life and emotions.

My Darkness or Shadow self:

I am or can be rebellious, stubborn, bad tempered, slow to anger yet easily triggered (reactive), sometimes insecure, sometimes arrogant, curious, slow to make decisions, sarcastic, sometimes mean, often blunt to the point of rudeness, and type A personality among other things.  I often fight back and stand up when running is the safer option too.

And yet, each of these characteristics helped me become who I am now. ¬†As part of my healing journey, I had to learn that being strong, having boundaries, securing those boundaries, and showing confidence are neither good nor bad. ¬†How they are expressed and how I react to others decides how those characteristics are perceived. ¬†And part of Rising Strong‘s message has to do with embracing the dark or shadowed parts of oneself as much as the lighter parts and valuing all parts of oneself.

By valuing all parts of oneself, the light shines through the darkness, burning away the secrets and fears that feed shame and negativity.

Final Thoughts:

There’s a lot to reflect on after listening to one of Brene Brown’s books. ¬†In the correct frame of mind, her books are inspiring and thought-provoking. ¬†In a different frame of mind, her books could be (unintentionally) triggering.

If any of you do decide to read or listen to these books, please be cautious and mindful of how your mind and body reacts.

Thanks for reading.

Family: Writing to my dad this year

This time of year, I think about my family often. ¬†A lot of “firsts” happened between November and May. ¬†Including the first time my dad chose someone else instead of me. ¬†That choice left me feeling shamed, rejected, and hurt (physically and emotionally).

Perspective has taught me that, no matter what he said or did, my father loves me.  He has never chosen me or put me first, but he does love me and did try to take care of me as best he could.  In fact, I sometimes wonder if some of the things he said and did after I reached adulthood were his way of protecting me and ensuring I had the means to become and independent adult.

Self-Reflection over the past few months has taught me that I am truly in a better place overall.  I feel physically safe 99% of the time and emotionally safe about 80% of the time except during the rough periods.  My life is prosperous and overall happy.  Because of all this, I am in a position to reach out and contact my dad without the crippling anxiety or fear of discovery/intrusion into my present life.

So I am composing a letter to him.  Right now, the drafts are in my mind.  At some point, I will decide whether or not to type or hand write the letter and mail it in an envelope with only my initials.  No contact info or ability to trace anything back to me.

Why now?

I miss my dad.  I worry about him and his health.  And I worry about the responsibility he has in taking care of the egg donor.

Yes, I am still reluctant to call her “mom” or “mother”, etc. ¬†She didn’t raise me. ¬†And she never really took care of me. ¬†I only got her attention when I embarrassed, insulted, shamed, or offended her in some way. ¬†Or when she decided to “be a nice mom” and involve herself in my life to show how much she loves me and how little I appreciate her.

No I don’t want anything to do with her or my sibling and his circle of people.

Will this be difficult?  Yes because they all share a house.

Do I care?  Not anymore.

Wish me luck.  The goal is to have this letter written and mailed out by summer.

Thanks for reading.

Family: Reflecting on Changes & Possibilities

Air Plane Coping Strategies Part 2:

Yesterday, I couldn’t post anything. ¬†The flight was delayed Saturday evening, and I barely made my connection Sunday morning. ¬†Then, most of the afternoon/evening was spent with my family.

Here are some photos of what I used  to cope with the 2.5 hour delay, crowded air planes, and stress of trying to get to my connection on time.

On the positive side, the airport’s counter service and flight attendants were amazing and compassionate in helping me cope with the delays and flight changes. ¬†On arrival, the bus driver was helpful and kind; he asked questions and let me know when to get off the bus. ¬†And the hotel concierge got me checked in and settled without any issues.

Family

This time around there was less pressure on everyone.  Staying at the hotel gives me the space I need to take care of myself and feel safe.  Being close to public transportation means I can come and go as I please and be able to visit family for hours at a time.

We are all working hard to get to know each other as adults.  My aunts, uncle, and I are building relationships through open communication, compromise, and love for each other.  When we disagree, we talk about it and resolve the issues instead of stomping off and yelling and holding grudges.

They don’t feel forced to play host to a guest and entertain me all the time. ¬†I don’t feel forced to be talkative and entertaining all the time. ¬†We give each other space; do everyday things; and enjoy quiet time together. ¬†We spend time in groups or one on one; and this time around no one feels left out or excluded by accident or on purpose.

It feels really good to be able to come home to family and enjoy our time together.

Reflection Topics

News about my parents – their health is worsening. ¬†My aunts and uncle tell me that my dad worries about me; that he’s happy I am safe and happy too.

Reconnecting with mom’s side of the family – starting small with my cousins. ¬†Moving on with others as time goes on. ¬†But not sure I want to go back to the place I was raised.

Writing to my dad – My dad told his family that he heard from a cousin I was happy living in the Pacific Northwest. ¬†He also told them he was glad that I was safe and happy more than anything else. ¬†With my dad, there was a lot of good mixed in with the bad before puberty. ¬†So maybe it’s time to write to him…if I can find a way to do that and make sure he’s the only one to read the letter

Conclusion

I’ve changed since walking away in 2012. ¬†Seems like my family members have changed too. ¬†This trip, while unexpected, really brought home that family changes, people change, and sometimes a happy ever after does come true.

So it’s time to reflect. ¬†Time to reconsider what is possible. ¬†And what is not possible. ¬†I won’t ever move back here. ¬†But maybe I will budget and create time in my calendar for a yearly visit.

Thanks for reading.