Reflections and forward thinking

Here we are again at the end of another year; another year of the “new normal” has come and gone, and I know I’m not the only one who’s over it. Still, I wanted to try to end this year on a positive note. It’s been a while since I’ve written in my blog, so I thought “Why not?”

This year, as most before it, has been filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and lessons. I ended a 3.5 year relationship at the end of September. I am embracing the true meaning of healing. My dad almost didn’t make it through the month of September due to heart problems and surgery complications. Thanksgiving was not exactly as I’d hoped due to dad being ill. Christmas made up for it, nevertheless. I have made new friends and leaned on old ones. I am still suffering from a major case of writer’s block, so no new stories or books just yet.

But what of the lessons in 2021? I am learning to live in the here and now. I’m trying to learn not to stress about the future or what may be. All we’re promised is this very moment. Nothing more, and nothing less. I’m trying to understand that I deserve good things in my life.

I’ve learned through not only personal experience but also through education that mindset is the key to almost everything. Cognitive Behavioral practice teaches us that if we change the way we think, we can change the way we behave. Our thoughts dictate our feelings which then dictate our actions. If we can get a hold of our thoughts first, we can change everything from there. Thoughts don’t have to produce the outcome. Anxiety and CPTSD/PTSD have a way of coloring our vision. Those of us who deal with PTSD/CPTSD have a terrible habit of building things up in our minds. We do it in such a way that everything feels worse than it actually is. The mind can create a completely fictional horror story that takes us down the rabbit hole. If we can stop the train before it derails, we can center and ask ourselves, “Is this reality, or do I just think it’s reality?” Easier said than done, I know, but each day we have the chance to wake up with a fresh perspective. We can rehearse daily affirmations that tell us we are worthy and able to overcome whatever life throws at us. We are good. We are capable.

With all of that in mind, nevertheless, it’s important to recognize signs and signals that are real; the evidence that things aren’t alright and that you aren’t in your head or in your feelings. It’s important to be able to tease apart what’s real from what you’re creating with your own thoughts. Remember that we can manifest our reality, whether that is positive or negative. Still, if the physical evidence is pointing in a certain direction, it’s okay to take a step back. It’s also okay to address situations that hurt you or that make you feel uncomfortable. Boundaries are extremely important in general, but especially for folks with PTSD/CPTSD. Some of those boundaries are directly linked with triggers. When sharing your boundaries and/or triggers, if the other party(ies) want you to compromise those, you may want to take a hard look at what’s really happening.

This year I learned the true definition of gaslighting. It is a terrible type of abuse, too. I didn’t realize how horrible it was and that I had fallen victim to it for over 15 years. “Did you really remember that?” “I didn’t do that.” “That’s not what I meant.” Red flags flying… and more than likely, when they are flying, they have been there long before you arrived. Sadly, they will likely always be there.

We all have imperfections. We have all been through things. We’ve all been hurt. There is a difference between red flags and faults. Faults can mimic red flags, that’s true, but what helps us figure out the difference is to listen for and recognize repeated patterns of behavior. Listen to someone’s life history, and you’ll quickly be able to see any red flags. Nonetheless, reading energy is also just as important. If you’re empathic or sensitive, you can usually pinpoint whether you’re dealing with a person who has simply made some bad choices or someone who has a chronic problem. There’s an important question to ask as you analyze and reflect. Did they learn from their choices, or did they continue to make those choices hoping for a different outcome? Everyone should be afforded a little grace, but listen to what they do and watch closely. Remember, none of us are perfect, and the longer we’ve walked this earth, the more mistakes we make. We shouldn’t persecute someone for their mistakes. We should be mindful of their growth. With that said, we should also be aware of the realities that surround us.

Looking forward with my own personal journey, I’d like to start writing again. I joined a private gym in February, and I have tried to stick with it. It was based on a two year commitment. I have dealt with some illness and injury throughout the year, but I will not quit. Mind, body, and spirit… it all has to be nourished. Sadly, I lost sight of my spirituality for a time, but big changes can deepen your faith. I came back to a place where I want to grow spiritually and start practicing again.

My mind also requires healing. That will take much longer than any other part of me. PTSD/CPTSD physically changes the structure of the brain. EVERYTHING in the brain is modified when someone experiences trauma. So, healing that part of ourselves takes time, therapy, affirmations, finding our own safe place, and so much more. The nature of PTSD/CPTSD is that you never feel completely safe. So, achieving that can be an uphill climb. I have to believe, however, that healing is possible. I couldn’t be in the profession I’m in if I didn’t believe that healing was achievable. I know that it is. I also feel that I have done a lot of healing this year, but much more is needed.

So, in closing, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year! May 2022 be another chapter of new beginnings, welcomed opportunities, healing, and success! May you find peace and prosperity in the coming months. May you embrace your blessings and successfully navigate the challenges.

Love and light to all!

“Get into the box!”

Have you ever felt like you were being shoved into a box, metaphorically of course (or at least I hope it’s metaphorical)? Right now there are so many things going on in the world that it can be difficult to keep up. One of the many things I keep my eye on is the use of politically correct language. It seems to me that folks are afraid to say anything. Everything has become so polarized and politicized by the mainstream media and cancel culture, that we are starting to forget how to have a conversation. Saying certain words can get someone thrown into Facebook jail or lectured for an hour about how you might be trying to disrespect someone.

For instance, I recently discovered that using the word “female” is offensive. It’s better to say “person.” I also discovered that everything going wrong in the world lies on the shoulders of white males. Triggers, triggers, triggers. While I understand the sentiment, I think things are going too far.

Is anything ever going to be normal again? Are we ever going to be able to have a conversation without fear? The problem is that once these ideas are radicalized by things like critical race theory and other WOK curriculum, it is extremely difficult to walk that back. It’s almost like Pandora’s Box. Once that box is opened, nothing will ever be the same.

I am a white female, and I don’t feel labeled or categorized by my gender or color. In fact, I feel like others are asking me to feel guilty BECAUSE I’m white. I feel like I am required to apologize to everyone for being born with pale skin. The problem is that I don’t even know where I came from. I don’t know anything about my origins. My mother was adopted. My father’s family is from Europe, but that’s about all I know. They settled in Virginia when they came to the Americas. I don’t know if they owned slaves or not. Why should I have to apologize for the ignorance of an entire generation that I had absolutely no part of? I can say that I am sorry that anyone was bought and sold like livestock. I don’t think that is right at all. It makes me sick. Still, I had nothing to do with that kind of oppression.

The point of this entry is to just reflect on what is happening to our world. I do not see color. I do not see gender. I never have. I see souls. In every single facet of my life I have shouted this from the rooftops. We are entities of light wrapped in skin. We all share the same source. We are all the same. Hate is taught. We aren’t born to hate. Yet, according to many of the WOK doctrine out there I am biased and can fall victim to using microaggressions. Essentially, we’re all hopeless. I think this is an extremely cynical and negative perspective. I am being put into a box and told that I am basically a bigot. I take major issue with that because I pride myself in being open, accepting, and empowering!

Another issue that was recently brought to my attention surrounds religious believes. A friend of mine has been required to take a class on equity. In that class she was asked to share something that made her feel marginalized. She shared that she wore her cross necklace to work. She was asked by administration to remove it because it was offensive. The trainer chastised her because Christians are not marginalized. So, let me get this straight. Because she wanted to wear her cross instead of some other religious symbol and was told to take it off and she shared that in the training, she was demonized in front of the entire learning group? When is enough enough?

As most of you know, I am not a Christian. I am spiritual. With that said, nonetheless, I believe all people should be able to express their religious views, wear religious symbols, and engage in freedom of religion unless they are doing it to hurt people. For example, Jim Jones leading almost 1000 people to an isolated part of the world under the guise of religion isn’t something I support. On the flip side of that coin, someone who wears a shirt saying “Keep Christ in Christmas” shouldn’t be told to take it off and never wear it again. He/she isn’t hurting anyone.

Why can’t we all agree to disagree anymore? Is that too much to ask? What happened to intelligent discourse? As Jimmy Steward said in It’s a Wonderful Life, “Can’t you see what’s happening here?”

Again I ask, how do we put the Jeanie back into the bottle? I am for women’s rights. I am for EVERYONE’S rights, but WOK-ism is causing more harm than good in my view. I’m sure someone will get angry at my “senseless rantings.” I’m still going to speak out as long as I have the right to do it. In fact, if you don’t agree, I’m perfectly fine with that. The differences make us wonderful. Embrace those intricacies and celebrate who you are. Be proud of who you are. Do not allow yourself to be categorized as an oppressor or a victim because none of us belong in a box! NONE OF US!

Stability and Comfort

It has been a VERY long time since I have written in my blog. The chaos of life takes over and consumes my time. However, I am thankful for that. It means that I don’t have a lot of downtime to be anxious or depressed, although that creeps in all too often.

Abraham Maslow was a Humanistic Psychologist. He gave us the Hierarchy of Needs. He believed that if we hit the wickets on the hierarchy we could achieve self-actualization. In laymen’s terms self- actualization is the ability to reach our highest potential; our best self. However, that can be impacted by one or more of those steps in the hierarchy becoming disrupted. So, in the quote, he is saying that in order for an individual to be happy, he/she needs to work towards achieving the best possible outcomes in this life. If you half-ass it, for lack of better terminology, you will be miserable.

Far too many people are seriously unhappy. It is easy to see why. The world we live in is in total upheaval. There is a great deal of judgement floating around. That makes it much more difficult to find balance. On top of that, we just experienced a worldwide pandemic that locked a lot of folks down for over a year. In fact, some people are still on lockdown. Couple that with job loss and other stressors, and you have the perfect mix for declining mental health. So, where does that leave us, and what do we do? Can we achieve happiness in such an unbalanced world? That question is difficult to answer. Is it possible? I believe it can be.

May is Mental Health Month. With that in mind, maybe it is time to take an internal assessment of where you are with your mental health. Many are struggling right now, understandably so. Always know that there are professionals who can help when you need it. Telehealth has been a wonderful tool in such a crazy time. You can connect with mental health providers who specialize in areas of expertise without even leaving the comfort of your home. Medications can often be shipped or even delivered in real time now. There are ways to find happiness by achieving balance in your mind and body. You have to be brave enough to do the heavy lifting, but your efforts will be rewarded.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Don’t drown. Someone has a life raft. Suffering in silence will surely disrupt the climb up the hierarchy, but with the right support you can navigate through the fog of uncertainty and find the sunlight again!

The Country I Love

Each day I wake up to a fresh hell via Facebook or MSM.  This morning I learned that another statue had been vandalized via decapitation.  One of my favorite movies is on the hate list (Gone with the Wind), Paw Patrol is under attack, and The Dukes of Hazzard is in danger again.  I have never seen tensions this high in my lifetime.  I have never seen people going to these extremes.  Six city blocks decided to engage in anarchy because police abandoned their posts.  What the hell is happening?  People have lost their damn minds!

The enormous double standard is sickening as well.  I just don’t understand how we have arrived at this point.  I think we are all failing.  I don’t think it’s one person or one political party or once incident.  All of us have a duty to keep history fresh in our minds to avoid repeating the sins of the past.  By tearing down monuments, we are stamping out our history.  History is what reminds us of where we’ve been and that going backward isn’t the way to make progress.

I am hurt for what’s happened to members of the black community.  With that said, I’m saddened to see all of the uprising and discord across the entire country.  The hippies were onto something, I think.  It seems that our great nation has its priorities completely mixed up.  What is it going to take to bring us back to center?  What’s it going to take to bring back balance?  I am even afraid to see the answers to those questions.

Compared to What?

This is going to be a bit of a rant, but with everything that’s going on in the world, I don’t think my tiny little voice will matter much.  However, I have always found that blogging makes me feel somewhat better. As someone with mental health training, I recommend journaling to any of my clients.  Blogging, I think, is much like journaling.

In the last week or so, I have been stirred by the double-standards that I continue to see among men and women.  Politics is taking on much of the same characteristics. The middle ground is being lost while extremes on one side or the other are seen as acceptable.

This post is going to be about body image and attraction. So, if this isn’t something you want to read, then I won’t be offended. Here goes…

I am a curvy woman.  I will never be a stick figure.  Even when I was at my lowest weight, I still had curves.  So, being compared or trying to measure up to swimsuit models and everything else society throws at me is a little overwhelming at times.  Many people ask me why my appearance matters to me. Well, for obvious reasons it does. Whether you want to hear it or not, the package attracts. I tell my students this all of the time. What happens when too much emphasis is placed on outward appearance? The answer to that is you disorders like anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder, gender dysphoria, and a host of other mental health problems. Those issues have a direct effect on interpersonal relationships.

As a young girl, popular media showed me what was expected of me.  I needed to be beautiful, smart, desirable, and fit into a mold.  This perception didn’t just come from what men wanted. Rather it was driven home by women in my life; peers.  We have been told by the masses that we, as women, should hold one another up and rejoice in each other’s accomplishments. While I believe that is something we should most definitely do, we have been trained to devour each other. We have been taught to push one another down to rise to the top. Is that right? No, it isn’t. Is it reality? Unfortunately, yes.

All of my life I have tried to fit a certain standard because it was expected of me.  As a result, I was anorexic. I suffered from body image issues and low self esteem. I have had to struggle all of my life to be attractive enough, skinny enough, nice enough, smart enough, good enough.  It is exhausting!  This week it came to a head for me.  This isn’t the first time I’ve reach a boiling point on this subject, nonetheless.

On Facebook (I know.  There’s the first problem), there is a feature that allows me to like pages that others have liked. I happened to see a page of a half-naked chic who had been liked by MANY of my male mutual friends. Seriously though, who could blame them? This girl was a famous Sport Illustrated swim suit model. Tongues wagging and pants tight, of course men are going to click the “like” button. Still, it pissed me off because I thought, “Here we go. And people wonder why women feel like garbage about themselves.” Even though this situation shouldn’t have triggered me, it did. It went through me. The mantra played inside my mind: “You’ll never measure up to that. You’ll never be that. So, that means that you are unattractive and undesirable.” Those self-defeating messages have been thrown at us, both men and women, since we were children: If you don’t fall into this category, you’re worthless. I get that it’s a free country, and we are allowed to be attracted to whoever we want, but holding each other to this unrealistic standard is not helping anyone. In fact it’s damaging. It’s kind of like porn. Porn is not real. It doesn’t accurately represent healthy, sexual relationships. Nevertheless, young people who aren’t being educated otherwise will embrace the fiction of porn as truth, and they may perpetuate that onto their partner at some time or another.

Science tells us that there are certain features that we find attractive. As a species, we tend to like symmetrical features. With that said, I think that media stereotypes drive what we find attractive. For example, there are paintings from various points in history featuring women who have some meat on their bones. At that time, women who were curvy were seen as attractive. In today’s society it seems that the thinner you are, the more desirable you are. Evolutionary theorist would heartily disagree with that. Still, media seems to drive everything, taking away our ability to think for ourselves.

Another feature that has always been desirable are big breasts. Those breasts have to be perky and just right, otherwise, according to media, they are not desirable. Full, implant grade breasts are preferred over all else. Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $10,000 to get a boob job.

So, when you start to feel the insecurity settle into your mind, and bring that to someone’s attention, and you are dismissed or told, “No, that’s not what I want.” My question to that is: Then why do you idolize individuals who fit that description? That goes for both genders.

I detest body shaming. I do believe we should be seeking out health above all else, but I don’t think anyone has the right to shame someone for not fitting the universal standard of perceived excellence.

I also understand this involves unrealistic standards for both men and woman.  I know females aren’t the only ones who are impacted by it.  So what do we do when we go down the rabbit hole?  I wish I knew the answer.  I think it’s about fighting the good fight.  Some days are going to be worse than others.  I also think it’s about accepting each other without trying to set the bar so high that we are set up to fail.

Pride Month & Speaking with Love in Our Hearts

Hi everyone.  I hope everyone out there is safe given the predicaments we have found ourselves in during this year.  A Pandemic and then mass riots/racial tension is not what I think any of us had in mind for 2020.

I have to say how sad I am to see such division in America.  It makes me sick.  Seeing national monuments being trashed by rioters is hard to stomach. I never thought I would live to see our country be torn apart like this.  I know my ancestors probably said the same thing, and they made it through.  However, with the invention of instant technologies, I think we are at a disadvantage.  While the internet and social media are a force for good a lot of the times, it has also become a source for perpetuating division and discord.  Gone are the days of healthy debates and agreeing to disagree.  Now if you have a differing opinion, you risk being demonized.  What ever happened to respecting the opinions of others as long as no one is being harmed?

I am a human rights advocate.  I believe all humans matter.  Nonetheless, I didn’t understand the idea of white privilege until my boss educated us.  I never saw myself as having “privilege,” but I am starting to understand it.  I don’t have to worry about being followed around in a store if I have a hoodie pulled up over my head.  In fact, there are many things I don’t have to worry about as a white female.

I am straight female also, so no one is going to bust my chops for my sexual orientation.  Still, there are members of the population who will always be ostracized for their orientation.  I don’t quite see how anyone should be shunned for loving someone.  We are souls wrapped in flesh. I’ve said that for years.  So in honor of PRIDE month, I want to wish everyone out there love and happiness.  Be who you are.  Love is love.  Embrace your strengths, and rock on!

Stay safe and happy my friends!

When It Isn’t Okay

Everyone makes mistakes, but when do those mistakes become a pattern? Our brain is built to gravitate toward patterns, which is why we tend to see faces in everything. So, it stands to reason that we recognize patterns in human behavior. The importance of this isn’t just recognition, but taking action once the distinct pattern emerges.

I posted something on Facebook today, and I really feel like writing about it may help someone. If nothing else, it may help me through the healing that I am trying to achieve.

Sometimes we care about someone so much that we want to tell ourselves that their actions are simply a result of ignorance. “They hurt me, but they didn’t mean it. They couldn’t have.” Or “Surely they wouldn’t hurt me like that.” Be careful! People will show you who they are if you are just open enough to see and hear them. There is always a pattern. We just have to find it. One of the hardest things to do is accept when someone you care about is hurting you intentionally.

As a PTSD survivor, I’ve learned that there are many things that trigger me. In fact, I can’t even keep it all straight most of the time. Someone who is supposed to care about me actually told me that it was hard for them to keep track of everything that triggers me. I know that’s true. I can’t imagine trying to be supportive of me when I’m at my worst. With that said, I think it is important to understand the triggers of someone you love. I also think that work needs to go into avoiding them. Sometimes there’s no winning, and I realize that. With that said, if you decide to have a heart-felt conversation with someone about a trigger and the person chooses to make a decision that provokes that trigger, do they really care about you? Did they hear you? Did they listen? The quick answer to that would seem to be no. I am a firm believer that actions and words have to line up. If someone is nodding their head in agreement or understanding and turns around an engages in an action that is linked to your trigger it would stand to reason that one of two things have happened. They either didn’t listen or they didn’t care.

So let’s take the first one. They didn’t listen. In any relationship, whether it is familial or otherwise, listening is key component to communication. The sad part is that most people communicate to be heard. They don’t actively listen to what’s being said. They are waiting for their turn to speak. In the process of all of that, what you say gets lost. So, nothing gets internalized.

The second possibility is that they didn’t care. Unfortunately, I know too many people who allow their ego to get the better of them. Sadly, most of them are men. I am not beating up the male gender by any means, but nine times out of ten a man, especially young men, allow their ego to make some pretty irrational decisions. That’s not to say that women are any better. I know some pretty terrible females who simply do not care who they hurt in the course of their conquests.

Back to the, “they didn’t care.” This is where you have to dig deeper for a pattern. Has their bad behavior been consistent? Have you told them that it hurts you? Does the behavior continue even after you have voiced your hurt? Have they tried to blame YOU for their poor behavior?  If the answer to these is “yes,” it’s time to do some soul searching and decide if the person has a place in your life.

Everyone hurts. Everyone gets hurt. Everyone hurts someone else. That is just human nature. Nevertheless, when someone repeatedly hurts you, that is not okay. You have to learn what is best for your mental health and move toward healing, even if it means cutting certain people out of your life.  This isn’t something that is simple nor easy. It’s hard. It’s terrible. It makes us feel as if we are constantly losing at this game called life. Someday, however, we will be able to accept the situation for what it is, call it by its right name, and move on. Until that day comes, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Mental abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and/or sexual abuse have a way of rewiring the brain, which will change everything down to your core personality. Stop beating yourself up for things you didn’t have anything to do with, and don’t let anyone blame you for your abuse.  Don’t allow someone to use your abuse as a scapegoat so they can be blameless.  That is another form of emotional abuse.  Furthermore, stop allowing others to have a go at you.  Stand your ground.  Be true to you.  Call people out.  Take back your power.  Just because someone hurt you doesn’t mean you have to continue to be a punching bag for their poor decisions, their ego, and their lack of empathy. Always be true to you.

I am in the process of trying to believe the aforementioned paragraph.  It’s easy for me to tell you these things; what actions to take and how to do it.  Still, it isn’t so easy to execute that plan in my life.  It is difficult to heal.  It takes strength, and sometimes you won’t feel all that strong.  It’s okay to say, “I need space.”  It’s okay to say, “What you did to me was wrong, and I am angry with you.”  It’s okay to say, “The way you’re treating me isn’t fair.”  It is okay to acknowledge your feelings.  From what I understand as a practitioner and a patient, those are the first steps to trying to put your life back together.  It is an uphill battle every single day.  The important thing is to never give up.  When you see a pattern, recognize it for what it is and act accordingly.  Take that lesson with you so that you will be able to avoid it in the future.


The journey

The last 16 months has been a lot for me to work through and understand. In the process I have hurt people, but I’ve also been hurt. However, there comes a time when we have to look passed our hurts and rise above all of the things that have tried to tear us down. Walking away from an unhealthy relationship can be a culture shock for just about anyone. When you’ve been out of the game for as long as I have been, dating can be quite shocking as well. Working through getting to know one another can be a tedious process. Unfortunately, learning how to function in a healthy relationship can take time.

Based on my own personal experience, it is going to take a lot longer than 16 months for me to figure myself out. Some days are much worse than others, but for the most part, at least lately, I’ve tried to enter each day with a better attitude. I want to be better. I want to find myself. I want to be healthy. Wanting and doing can be difficult.

Cutting certain people out of your life is almost a must. Loyalty means a lot to me, and when I feel like someone has betrayed me it is really difficult for me to find trust in them again. I’m not mean, but my ability to fully believe or have faith in anything that comes out of their mouths is challenging. Although I don’t believe this is something I should or even need to let go of, I do believe that I must make strides to forgive and move forward. I think that’s the hardest thing: forgiveness. I have found that the hardest person to forgive is myself.

I pity the folks who have watched me torment myself for the last year and a half. It has had to be an excruciating process. I have hated myself for so long, I don’t know how to do anything but that. Nonetheless, I am learning that I am can be strong. I am learning that I am worthy of love and peace. I am intelligent and hard working. I have raised a great son, and I have so much to be thankful for. I think in trying to become a better, more centered person focusing on my blessings is the best way to go. It takes the emphasis off of feeling sorry for myself and puts the focus on all of the wonderful things in my life. It assists in an attitude change.

It is perfectly okay to take the time to get to know yourself again. That is exactly what I intend to do!

Is happiness a choice?

The simple answer to this? Yes. Every single one of us has gone through things that hurt. Some of those things impact our overall mental health. Some of those things just leave a few lacerations that eventually heal.

Since my last post, I have been working diligently to overcome some of the insecurities I have. It isn’t easy. It is an excruciating process. However, I believe that a choice has to be made to be happy; to pursue it willfully. This choice isn’t always easy to make. Why? People and past hurts.

All of us have demons. Some of them walk out of the closet, stand before us, and are unapologetic in their approach. Some of those demons are triggered by events during the day. Either way, stopping and thinking about how we will react isn’t always easy. Humans are very easily conditioned. Our responses come from years of associative learning. If we have spent years dealing with abuse, our responses will reflect this. If we have been treated fairly, the responses will reflect such treatment. With that said, there are many mental health disorders that are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Those mental disorders can amplify perceived gestures from others. However, keep in mind that trauma chemically changes everything in the brain.

So what can you do to embrace your choice of happiness? A little magic always helps. Each practitioner has a different way of doing things. I don’t typically follow books. I look into my heart and listen. To help me clear out the pain of the last 20+ years, I was directed to do a releasing ritual. That included burning a white candle to call in positive energy, love, self-forgiveness, and light. I burned lavender incense to call in peace, calm rest, and relaxation. I burned dragon’s blood to amplify the intent of the prayers. I did this for three days, morning and evening. Do I feel better? Somewhat. Nonetheless, it is a daily task to hold myself accountable for my own destiny, and with that, my own happiness. Happiness is a choice. Despite the pain all of us have gone through, there is a light that we can see if we focus long enough. Once we see even a sliver of that light, we have to make the decision to walk toward it. It’s the sun shining down through the darkness of pain, suffering, abuse, and anger. Let the sun heal you. Let the possibilities that lay before you give you the hope you deserve!

Love and light to all of you. Have a great week!

The Hell of Insecurities

Insecurities. We all have them. The reason I’m writing this today is because it has been a hot topic among my peers lately. Sometimes writing helps me makes sense of things, so perhaps typing this out will serve that purpose.

I believe that there is a tremendous difference in the way women and men handle personal insecurities. From what I’m gathering men tend to recognize insecurities, but then they promptly stick them in a box. They acknowledge the issue, but they quickly bury it and move forward. Women, on the other hand, seem to laser focus on them. We rip them apart, analyze each piece, put them all back together only to tear them apart again. We continue to focus on them until we get on everyone’s nerves. The problem is that we don’t mean to do it. We’d rather not even recognize those insecurities, but it’s not as easy as mind of matter especially when those insecurities are tested on a continuous basis. It’s like a cut that keeps getting infected. No matter how much we try to prevent the infection, somehow the bacteria sets up shop and will not stop until we take a round of antibiotics. Unfortunately, there are no antibiotics for insecurities that are a direct result of trauma and abuse.

For those who are survivors of abuse, whether it is childhood or otherwise, you know that it is easy to feel a little broken. Sadly, those around us often bear the brunt of our trauma. Most of that trauma is channeled into deep-seeded insecurities. They come out at the most inopportune times. This is a fact I am painfully aware of. However, no matter how much I would like to stop the cycle, I can’t seem to get a grasp on it.

A distinct lack of trust is born from those vast insecurities. While that hurts the ones we love, we can’t seem to stop ourselves. We make someone else pay for the sins of others. We are triggered by the damnedest things. Our feelings spiral out of control, and we feel like we may never reach secure footing. Even when people offer a hand, we don’t know whether to take it or not. They may hurt us.

Let’s go back to the continuous open wound. Working through insecurities and distrust takes a massive amount of time. We may make tremendous progress, but all it takes is one thing to reopen those nasty wounds. It can be something as minor as a word or it can be as big as someone’s actions. Typically, it’s both. This is where I’m at right now. I am trying daily to stitch myself up only to have the stitches ripped out continuously. My first instinct is to shut down and turn away from the thing that’s causing me pain. Yet, I keep at it because most of the time the pain is accidentally inflicted. It doesn’t mean that it hurts any less. The scar tissue doesn’t even have the time to form before those stitches are torn out again. Hell, I can’t even build up a scab let alone a scar.

I have a psychological background, so I know about mental illness, trauma, treatment, recovery, and therapies. Nonetheless, I can’t seem to find my own healing. It isn’t for a lack of trying either. I find that I just want to be a recluse and push away people who can and do cause me pain even if they don’t mean to. It’s easy to exist that way, but that’s no way to live. It’s a catch-22.

The thing about easing insecurities, jealousy, and rage is that we must feel in control, but control is an illusion. None of us ever truly have control. The loss of control fuels the anger and frustration which then feeds into the other negative feelings we battle. Again, a catch-22.

A lack of control seems to trigger me. I get really angry and want to throw up my hands. It’s easy to walk away, but is it really? Sometimes I believe the answer to that is “yes,” while at other times I believe it’s a hard “no.” It isn’t as simple as saying, “If it causes me pain, then I need to get away from it” because when you have suffered trauma, everything causes pain. The littlest things can cut very deeply, but no one seems to understand that unless they have been through something similar. However, I’ve seen people minimize the trauma of someone else. That isn’t right either.

I thought that by writing this I might find some answers, but it turns out that I haven’t. All I see is that my insecurities seem to continue to torture me no matter how much I don’t want them to, but on the flip side of that, I also realize that in some circumstances I am being set up to fail. So, is it really my fault? Or does the blame lie elsewhere? I wish I knew.

Maybe this will get a discussion started. I don’t know. What I do know is that facing my demons on a daily basis is exhausting, and it becomes even worse when other people are reinforcing all the pain that I already feel. When you know that others are working against you, then you feel like you have very little chance of even attempting to rise above the darker parts of yourself. That isn’t where I want to be, but it isn’t as easy as saying, “Well then change.” It is so much bigger than that.