Thrive · warrior · Whole

How I know I’m a Warrior

How do I know? How can I not know? Miles from what I thought was me. She’s gone now. My old self. Gone is the pleaser, the “it must’ve been me” girl, the girl who stayed quiet. The one who allowed others to overrule her thoughts. The girl who believed that she didn’t have needs. How could she ever get needs met? Having needs somehow took away from others and was self centered. Mean. That’s what they told me. That’s what I believed. She’s gone now.

The girl who just wanted to be happy- no matter the cost. The young lady who kept secrets so vile – so others wouldn’t deny her truth or be moved to action, or, worse yet…think SHE was the problem. Swallowing shards of pain for too many moons, too many seasons. The young miss who starved herself in an attempt to kill the beast within. She who flirted with ending her own life as a second grader. Yes, my warrior was hidden deep.

She who finishes last hurts most. The suffering stuffed inside her little body, tucked in every crevice, tissue, every body system. The mini me opening and reaching for support. Then retreating when the flames scorched her opening heart. She was likened to an invasive weed, her desire to live fully anyways. Gathering my scattered pieces, discards, the parts of me that could not stay. Then. Now held in the safety of truth, she’s crawled back, taking back.

Adding to my healing resume, I was. My ground. My worth. This felt right, felt write. Healing through the pen. Words reflecting misery and agony of emotions held. Yet, these words were the very voice I so greatly needed to mend the soul of me. A healing prescription, wrapping the ugly in gorgeous gift boxes. Gifting earned resilience, grace and perseverance – to myself. This is me, the warrior. Yes, please.

I didn’t know this was correct. Following what felt right, I was my own healing mentor. I didn’t know I had the power to change my own life. Excising those who disrespected my essence. Eradicating those who used me for their own pleasure. Ejecting those who snuff my fire. Evicting those who will never be allowed in again. Gates closed. Admission revoked. This is how I know. I am warrior.

Old trauma meeting Wisdom. War. War within myself. Me doing battle with the invisible. The parts of me that knew better – speaking at last. Hard work keeping my inner wisdom silent. The knowing, the wisdom, became the boss of me, eventually. This is how I live my warrior.

Mental Illness

You Were Missed

This pic reminded me of my tiny child self trying to carefully bond with the insanity.

“You were missed” and seventy thousand other things you said to keep me in check. Like a beautiful bouquet of flowers infused with shattered glass. You made it clear, I was your possession. Made to serve you and feel less. To remind me of my lower rank. My uncaring heart. Anyone else might feel warm and loved hearing “you were missed” – imagine that…I was missed! people really missed my presence. They were even genuinely saddened that I couldn’t make it. How beautiful a sentiment. If only.

If only it was credible. If only it wasn’t delivered by you, my maternal influence. If only you didn’t poison everything with your degradation. If only.

A big family gathers for many diff functions – birthdays, funerals, showers, going away parties, weddings, retirements, etc.. and we were expected to attend all things. Expected. Not welcomed. Not because we wanted to. Not because it was fun. Not because it was the right thing to do. But because NOT attending was promised hell. There was no room for NO. Weren’t allowed to have a NO. About anything. Ever. Trusting my own judgement was sketchy. Discouraged.

Conflicting plans? Something you had to do, somewhere you had to go? Kick and scream, especially as teens…silence from her. Silent annihilation. Because I was such a hard-headed prick of a gal i’d eventually end up attending MY event or obligation. Sports, clubs, events with friends…but no fun was had because I could never land gracefully in the contentment and satisfaction only my choosing could bring. Like a biodegradable trophy. Erosion and disappearance of all that was joyfully earned.

The torture I brought down on myself was meaner that anything she could dish. I learnt well. I learnt how to keep myself in a place of suspension. Spanning between confidence and slaughter for feeling confident. Whatever I wouldn’t let her unravel I tore down myself. Eventually. I so wanted power over her. But I was just a child.

Not attending family events felt just as gut wrenching as HAVING to go to them. Well, making my captor proud by succumbing to her control OR having a life, separate from hers then being shamed for it …hmmmm tough choice. Either way the guilt, hate and gag order were all consuming. Constant battle waged between my heart and head over her silent, contemptuous feels for my existence.

After said missed family event the wrath was thick, oh the wrath. I had to sit and listen to what a wonderful time ______was and how I “was missed”. Well, by now I knew exactly what that meant. It simply meant that I had deeply embarrassed the beast. You don’t ever deeply embarrass her. You just don’t.

Loosely interpreted, by not agreeing to be used for her gain I had held her feet to her self absorbed, convoluted fire. She was put in the uncomfortable position of explaining MY absence. She had no container for feeling a lack of control such as this. Oh my! Friends and family might think her mothering was substandard. How terrible! Lmao

After all, Godly mothers have children who are selfless. Children who obey. Children who don’t ask why. Little girls who respect and cherish their moms. Or else. Children are not equipped for such psychological warfare and will give up on themselves just to have their mothers love and approval.

Wrong family. Wrong fairytale. Wrong daughter. “You were missed” was code for – you fucking asshole! How dare you make me look bad in front of everyone? How dare you have needs? Who told you you could have a life outside of what I present to you? How dare you, mean girl! You’re nothing but an embarrassment. You cannot be counted on. I don’t care about you unless you’re doing, thinking and feeling in ways that directly benefit me and serve me.

“You were missed’ turns out to be pretty profound. Pretty on the mark now. I have missed every event over the past 10 years. I’ve been busy. Simplifying the distorted, complex web you wove, the tangled innervation of insanity. I am missed for sure. Haha. You miss me as the kick dog. The lost sheep as you so affectionately call me. As the golden child, the prize, your namesake, the most difficult one to break.

How proud and accomplished you must have felt when you stripped me of my individuality. But I’m here to tell you… I’m proud too. Proud that I’m missed for the right reasons. Removed from the insane mind fuck. You must miss my heart. You miss my beauty, inside and out. You miss the tiny bond I severed. I would love to say “you are missed” to you but I can’t miss what I never really had.

Joy

Who am I?

Meet Gerlind -named after my PenFriend
(1978, Germany)

I drive down the road in the seat of luxury and wonder… who am I really? Who am I to be seated in this power, warmth and fancy? AUDI fancy. Steering wheel solid and cool. Decisive and direct. Too cool for my meager roots. The feels. The power. Brilliance. Kinda like me… All of what I’ve had to keep hidden. All of what I’ve never let myself fully have. Until now.

I was forever seated in lack and want. In the back. Seat. Disgusting. Making do with less, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Hand-me-downs, free lunches, government cheese and discount milk from the gentle eyed milkman. 8 tiny children wild n hungry. We were lucky to barely have the essentials. Free Summer camp, programs for underprivileged youth and bags of clothing from the church. Too many mouths to feed with not enough dollars to make a difference.

Depending upon others for some joy, something memorable. Living and accepting less being less felt like home. Fabulousness squelched by my inner joy stealer. Habitually feeling flawed and unworthy – blocking honor and reverence. It was a comfortable cruxifixction of my magnificence. Poverty of the pocketbook and my young soul.

But now, in the literal drivers seat. Leather seat. Wait, what? I’m suddenly queen of the highway. The power and potential colliding under my bottom. Seat warmer welcoming me with open arms. Allowing the melt of my “sale rack” exterior. I deserve this. I work hard for this right here. Right now. No apologies. None.

I feel like the smaller parts of me disappear in this auto. Automatic re-configuration. Auto correct. Auto-manic smoothing out the highs and lows of my achy, frozen past. I am reborn, repurposed, recycled into comfort and acceptance and reality. The reality of joy for just being. Joy for how I’ve not only survived but thrived. From hand outs to hand ups.

I wasn’t supposed to make it to this. They didn’t want me to succeed. I have so much gratitude for the government assistance, kindness of church people, school programs, psychologists, extended family members and complete strangers who took the time to notice a struggling family, needy children, gems that needed a good polish. I thank you all! Now excuse me

I’m Audi- here.

Human Spirit

All The Things You Never Said

As a Lotus, I rise from the muddy waters. Anyway. Pic belongs to afishnamedkaren

The things I needed to hear. To feel real, validated and seen. Human. When I was not wanting to live, I could have used some reality. But let’s be honest. Seriously, you’ve buried everything. What you’ve done mummified, locked away. Of course, in the likeness of what was done to you. Someone ruined your lives so you then turned that on me. The damage you three have done. Shattering any chance of normalcy. For me. History repeated, when no one was looking. Default, complacency, asleep.

But still, there are all the things you never said. All the things I was starving to hear. All the things that might have changed my sad life, allowing me to feel instead of just surviving. To thaw my frozenness…

Imagine hearing – I’m sorry you hate your body, we did that. I’m sorry you need hyper vigilance just to feel safe, we did that, we never let you rest. I’m sorry you feel transparent, like everyone knows what you’re thinking, we needed to keep you feeling exposed. We apologize for pressuring you, never letting you rest- for if you rested you might have gathered courage and strength to outsmart us or tell others what we were doing. We’re sorry you fear assault will come any moment. Keeping you fearful kept you compliant. We’re sorry you cringe when you hear whispers in the night, we didn’t want to wake anyone. We’re sorry we ruined everything for you and aren’t sorry about it. We’re sorry we treated you like you were nothing, insignificant and insane when you confronted us. We couldn’t let others see our crazy. We still can’t see it ourselves.

All these things you’ve never said, running through my head, running through my head, running through my head. But it’s all ok. I say them. I tell that precious little girl inside me, who is growing up now because I’m in charge. I apologize to her for you, despite you, in defiance of you and for the love of me. All the ways I love myself. All of the love that I am, that I have to give. Anyways.

You never destroyed me. Never took it all. All along, I had the golden goose. My army was just waiting…My Spirit watched from afar as I soaked up all your bullshit wrapped in a pretty package of care and family. While I lived as a shadow, on the periphery of even my own life. While I tried to not exist at the age of 7. While I would hardly speak and just watched others most of my younger years. While I would never bring anyone over to my house because it was evil but everyone was smiling – you(s) and I could never have known the slow burning fuse had been lit.

I was meant for greater than I could ever have imagined. I am this. A private joke that keeps delivering. A smile so deep into my core it’s engraved into my soul. The smug smile of knowingness. I am that. Of overcoming. Of pity for you tinged with a hint of compassion – yes I said compassion- for your (still) inner turmoil and lack of awareness.

I have walked. Far. Never to return to you. For you are invisible. Because you could never say that you’ve tried to destroy me. That you wanted to destroy me. Because you were destroyed by your abusers. You’ve never been honest. You all can’t be. I understand. I understand everything now. Thats why I’m so powerful. So powerful.

Oh! All the things I CAN say now. And I do.

appreciation

In Love #20

I’m in love with sleepy smiles. Gently spreading east and west. Following a long night’s rest. Transforming the expressionless. An open invitation to hang out deep as shoulders sag. Head tilt welcoming each moment without expectation.

The glistening morning sun sweeping across my tired face, caressing my smile with golden warmth. I lie still basking, breathing, planning. Nothing. Existing fully in my expression. Of pleasantry, of nothingness, in the space between thoughts.

The gentle childlike energy swirling amidst my unassuming grin. Keeping me whole. Wanting me present. Between my lips, gracefully ushering in the newest, sweetest oxygen. To be ushered out in turn, discarded purposefully. Taking with it, everything challenging the grandest of facial postures.

I love sleepy smiles.

human condition

Love Note To My Inner Child

Photo credit – Back to Nature

I see you. I see how you had to pretend. Pretend to be thriving, happy, excited, loving, forgiving and alive.

I see you. I see how you had to be invisible, well behaved and all accepting. Without rest. Without safety or love or comfort. Without comfort for your deep sadness, your betrayal or terror. Without a place to hide to get some rest, to be anonymous.

I know how hard it was for you to live in survival mode. On auto-pilot. I see how lonely you were, blank, rageful.

You stuffed it all down. Storing/carrying it all away for another day. You had the wisdom to know if you unpacked it all you would not survive. You would not be able to keep it together and lead a normal life outside of an institution/hospital. The only option you knew was to keep playing, keep going. I thank you for this.

Years, empty years stacked together like 5 mins, like a long nap. A nap of safety, skimming insanity. Shocked but no signs outwardly. Terrified, but with a smile. Rivers, oceans of sadness underground.

Now we’re tapping in, once again, we’re here, together, my inner lovely. Both alive, feeling, hurting – lifetimes of hurt. It just comes. Day after day. Without obvious invitation. But the soul knows the timing is perfect.

We will rise, with more depth, available heart. Widening the range between despair and joy. To feel and experience everything in between. Fully. This time, you are not alone, I see you and support you like a good mother would, like she should. My promise to you.

gratitude

Mud, Mountains and Tears

Today I am so thankful to lead a normal life, messing up things as I go along. Getting angry with people or things or circumstances. Expressing my anger, stuffing it in or bending someone’s ear off about it. I’m a mess. A beautiful mess. A beautiful mess filled with gratitude.

Thankful that I am afforded a functioning brain to process info. Thankful that my heart is privy to the underlying truth of what is/what has been/what will be. Thankful that my body moves precisely, immediately, and with strength.

I’m normal in an abnormal way. I’m ridiculously inadequate and over reactive and just too sensitive. And that’s perfect because life is to be experienced. Mud waded through, clear water floated on, impossible mountains traversed -while wailing- and park bench seated while the warm sun holds my thankful, tear streamed face.

Bring the love, the rage, the guilt, the grief, the elation, the fullness, worry, and pride. All allowed. All present anyway. All rich with information, lessons to unpack. No returns. Just integration into ourselves one way or another. Trust, one way or another.

I’m an unmade bed and that’s ok. Not perfect. Shit’s gunna happen, sometimes all in one day. Sometimes all in 5 minutes. Life does suck. Then it doesn’t. Then we can’t even imagine saying it sucks. Dig deep and muster GRATITUDE even when LIFE feels like a dirty trick. Even when it feels like someone might be filming you. Even when everything you touch turns to shit. Even when.

I am flirting with gratitude and grief this morning. Grief and gratitude. The grief I feel for the losses in my life – some who have left this realm, others who have moved to the outside of my circle. All circumstantial, lives playing out, people on their paths – yes, everyone has a path!

Gratitude though. The kind of gratitude that has you smiling just because you are breathing. The kind of gratitude that comes with full body chills of grace and warmth with the realization of connectedness. The kind of gratitude that moves you to tears when you see a good Mom in the grocery store. Or when you realize that life happens exactly as it should for your best growth.

May you make room for GRATITUDE. If just for today. I’m gunna try like hell.

gratitude

My Darling Gratitude

Today I am so thankful to lead a normal life. Making mistakes and laughing to others about it. Knowing it’s ok to be an unmade bed in a sea of “seemingly” perfect beds. It’s ok. Not perfect. I have gratitude for my awareness of…Shit’s def gunna happen, sometimes all in one day. Sometimes all in 30 minutes. I’ll be fine. I’ll fix it, or maybe it doesn’t need fixing. Maybe I’ll have gratitude for Spirit orchestrating things just the way life SHOULD unfold…

I feel gratitude for the folks on my path. Teaching me more about myself and how to BE in the world. I know most people I meet are caring and supportive and generous souls. I feel thankful that I can be real and messy and quirky and forgetful and have that be ok.

If these are the only issues today – it was a damn fine day. I feel thankful that I can dig deep and muster GRATITUDE even when life feels like a dirty trick. Even when it feels like someone might be filming me with a hidden camera. Even when everything I touch turns to shit. Even when. Gratitude lives here. Everyday.

What are you Thankful for?

Joy · resilient

I met a child

This week I met a child. No ordinary child, you see, she was extraordinary. What made her extraordinary you wonder? Well, really nothing and everything. She, unknowingly, touched some of my unhealed shadow. She was able to stir up some of my long held, restricted, outdated beliefs…her presence so magical, playful and open hearted.

So rooted in the moment, she held my hand and started to dance, spinning around, motioning for me to dance with her. In a public place. We danced and twirled.
I complimented her “purse” as I referred to it. She quickly, confidently corrected me, “My satchel”. “Oh!” I said, amused, “Of course, how silly of me”.
She added, “Do you like my dress?” I replied, “Yes, it’s amazing, the flowers are so pretty.” She is usually adorned with the most fun, colorful, feminine, alive dresses and proudly displays them where ever life takes her.

Everyday for this child seems exciting, like it’s her first and last day on this earth – all rolled into one.
Excited as hell to be here, experiencing, tasting, feeling, making the most out of each social encounter, showing up as is, beautiful. Simple, no complications. A gift to everyone around her.

Where has OUR sense of honor – for our own existence – gone? Did we grow out of it? Was it shamed out of us a long time ago? Hers is alive and well, on display for all to see. No apologies, no minimizing, she is fabulous and it’s palpable. Why do we save our “ “special items/clothes/shoes/perfume/jewelry/colorful accessories” – for an event that seems worthy? WE are worthy – WE ARE THE EVENT. We ARE what we’ve been waiting for.

Even in the most mundane days/tasks the raw material for fun, joy and connection is waiting for us to notice. I share the experience here, with this extraordinary child because she truly is “special”.
In a society where the highest academic achievement is still king – I find it to be a bit shameful that infectious joy, compassion, aliveness, presence, spontaneity and heart are not as prized as report card marks.
I became the student this week. She, just living in the light, is a natural teacher.

resilient

It’s Friday, You’re Invited

This morning I woke with a dozen things to worry about. Some things I can’t even put a thought to, just general anxiety. This time of year I especially find myself living too far into the future, out of this minute, this hour, this day. Ruminating about what might happen, what I might not be remembering, what I might not get done, how I am wasting time thinking about how I might get all these useless thoughts evicted from my head….

Then, it hits me, so simple. I have decreased my alone time, my self nurturing, forgetting to gaze into the trees and grass, less twisting off the tips of an evergreen and drinking in the fragrance, less flower and petal rubbing. Left only with stealing quick sips of this cool morning air we have been blessed with lately.

I invite the anxiety to come along with me today as I keep meeting this moment and the next and the next. The present standing still long enough to be noticed. I’ll breathe through the crazy that surfaces. Aware of the path the air takes into my body and visualizing oxygen reaching all of the places my worry lives. I may just discover the lessons the anxiety is keeping me from…
I wish you the same presence and intention for your day.