Where It Hurts: Part 1

When I was younger, I was very involved in the church. My mom and dad church-hopped a lot though. As soon as they settled into one particular church, I became very involved in drama productions, Sunday School activities, and many other things. I loved church because it meant that I could spend time with friends. I do remember enjoying the Bible stories in my classes though. I can’t count how many times I played the part of Mary in Christmas production.

When we moved again to another church, I think I was in the 6th. I became involved in puppet productions. I loved that. My dad had been in a gospel quartet and one of his friends went there. The guy he knew was maybe in his mid-twenties/early thirties. I remember they guy’s wife, who was significantly younger than him, calling me a whore because I wore a little bit of make-up. The blue and pinks were in at that time and I was experimenting with make-up. Not much, but I liked wearing it and I was allowed, so I did.

When I told my mom, I can’t really remember what happened. I do remember being in drama production in that church, too. These were adult drama plays; no more playing “Mary.” And of course the puppets made me really happy. We left that church, too. But, that was the first time I really remember being wounded by a Christian; being judged by my appearance, even though I was a child. STRIKE ONE.

The next church we went to was a community church and extremely corrupt. I became involved with that church as well, doing puppets and performing solos during services. I loves singing and took voice lessons, so I sang in front of the church without hesitation. I loved God. I began to understand that it wasn’t just about congregating, but it was more about a personal relationship with a higher power. Of course, I also remember being taught, hell-fire and if you don’t do “this,” you would go to hell.

There was a young man in that church who I really liked probably more than I should. He was significantly older than me, successful, and funny. We enjoyed being friends. I believe I was 15 or so. I didn’t have my license yet, I do remember that. When I did get my driver’s license, I still went to that church though. I remember being taken aside into a private “counseling” session with my mother and the pastor. My mother liked this guy. In fact, she was pushing for some sort of arrangement I think. I liked him, don’t get me wrong, and I really would have entertained the idea of dating him, too. See how messed up?

Anyway, during the meeting I was told that my association with the young man was not appropriate. Now, remember, I’ve done nothing physical with this person. He is a friend and that’s all. I’ve been allowed to ride in his car and he has spent hours at my mom and dad’s house with me. Nothing more. But, the “relationship” wasn’t appropriate. The church had another lady in mind for him and successfully arranged a marriage between them. STRIKE TWO.

My first thing was, what kind of God allows this stuff to happen. The plus was that I came out of that church with friendships with others who attended my school. I didn’t leave that church until my parents left yet again and attended another church. I even remember dating my first real serious boyfriend while attending that church and my second serious boyfriend while still going there. I admit, some of it is fuzzy. The one thing that isn’t fuzzy is the feeling of ostracism and hurt from being told I wasn’t good enough for the guy and when I asked questions about the Bible being told that I wasn’t allowed to have questions. I was just supposed to blindly accept everything.

My junior and senior year of high school we attended a very small church and I think we had actually been there prior to coming back. We church-hopped so much that I’ve lost track of it all. I also remember attending a Methodist church with my best friend sometime in there somewhere. I don’t really know. I think I’ve attended every church aside from the Catholic church, if I recall correctly. This is probably why I hate “religion.” I’ve seen too many sides of it and none of it really makes sense to me to this day.

At a young age, this is what I took away from the entire experience:

  • Hate gays
  • Hate lesbians
  • You have to date/marry someone within the church
  • Hate people with tattoos
  • Hate people with piercings
  • Hate people with “punk” hair
  • Hate anyone who isn’t a Christian
  • Christianity is the solve-all, end-all
  • All other religious teachings will send you to hell
  • If you lie, you’ll go to hell
  • If you have sex before you’re married, you’ll go to hell
  • If you steal, you’ll go to hell
  • If you don’t give money, you’ll go to hell and God will send curses onto you in this life
  • If you wear too much make-up, you’re a whore
  • If you don’t dress the way the “church” thinks you should, you’ll go to hell
  • If you don’t dress the way you should, you’ll be seen as “easy”

Not a very pretty list is it? Next time I’m going to talk about why all of this matters and where it all leads. This is an introduction. See you next time.

 

Piercing Journal: Entry 2, Getting Inked

13254651_10208648896213671_8968596509173433926_oSo, today was monumental for me for two reasons. First of all, my nose piercing has healed. The bump is gone. The skin looks healthy. I know that it won’t be completely healed for a while yet, but the chamomile tea compresses have certainly helped with the scar tissue. I am still keeping my fingers crossed and using wound wash in the morning and afternoon and a compress at night. I won’t ease off of that until week 14.

I got inked today; my very first tattoo. I’m 40. I have wanted one since I was at least 16. I was so nervous and anxious about the pain. On a 10 points scale, it was maybe a 2. It was more irritating than painful.  I am so glad I did it. I just need to take really good care of it. Because the line is so thin, my artist told me to keep it moisturized otherwise it will flake. I know you’re supposed to do that anyway, but apparently the thinner the line, the bigger the chance that it will flake off.

So there it is. I can’t believe it. I will get another either before the summer is over or next summer. I still want the semi-colon for mental health awareness.

As far as describing the experience, I used Reiki and meditation to step outside of myself. It helped me deal with the discomfort. I used my meditation app, too. If no one reading this has ever had a tat, eat before you go, drink plenty of fluids, get a good night’s rest, take a friend, and bring some music or soothing sounds. It does help.

Teaser Tuesday: The Fine Line

3d of the fine lineA week passed. Matt invited Robin to his apartment. When she arrived, she calmly walked to the door and knocked. She heard commotion inside and a little girl squealing. Quickly the door opened and she saw Matt with a beautiful little girl with curly blonde pig tails perched on his back.

“Hey,” Matt said breathlessly. “Wanna play?”

She smiled.

“Matt, you should have told me you had your daughter this weekend.”

“Oh shut up and get in here,” he said playfully.

She opened the screen door and watched him run down the hallway as the little girl screeched loudly. He let her down at the end of the hall and she ran toward Robin.

“I’m Olivia,” she said sweetly as she put out her hand to shake.

“I’m Robin,” she said as she knelt and shook her hand. “It’s very nice to meet you Olivia.”

“My daddy calls me Olly.”

“Oh, okay. Olly.”

“My daddy said you were pretty,” she said with a wide smile.

“That’s sweet. Well, your daddy is pretty handsome, too.”

“I know. My mommy said that all the nurses think he’s hot,” she blurted out.

Spiritualist Revelation

As most of you already know, I’m pretty liberal when it comes to spiritual beliefs and practices. I want to share something with you that is not only fascinating, but it is also unbelievable. Most would say that I’m crazy or having hallucinations, but I promise you I’m sane. I do not do drugs and I haven’t been diagnosed with anything that would promote hallucinations. So, as you read this, keep in mind that I have certain “abilities” that aren’t exactly conventional and cannot necessarily be explained through the teachings of the Bible. I do believe in the power of various ancient religions, however, so I believe that might help you make sense of this. Because this was such an awesome experience, I knew I had to share it.

So, I have been doing a meditation program for about a month. It’s an app on woman-meditating-21my phone. My goal at first was to master the ability to quiet my mind, lower my BP, and just relax. I started with a guided program to understand how to bring my mind back to center when it tried to wander off during practice.

I do a 10 minute guided lesson and then do 10 minutes of timed meditation all to myself. As I’ve practiced, the ability to calm and quiet has gotten better, but something happened during the first week of May that sort of changed the game.

My best friend is a Reiki master. He did a reading for me in the beginning of April and some of the foreseeable future was a little ominous. However, I discovered that by using Reiki as a healing tool I could possible change the outcome of the the future. So, he attuned me in May. At first it was no biggie. It just opened up some gifts that had been dormant. Before I was a medium. Now I can see glimpses of the future. Before I could communicate and be present with someone from long distance. Now I can feel when that person I’m connected to is upset or anxious. There are vast amount of other things that opened as a result of my attunment, but there is no way to even put all that into words at this point.

The moment I was attuned, my spirit animal showed up. My friend and I both saw the animal appear in the room (remember, we’re not on drugs). We don’t see anything with our naked eye. Everything is seen through the mind’s eye and through the use of chakras (you’ll want to look that up if you’re interested). My spirit animal is a grey wolf. I’m not necessarily surprised about this either.

485198177I had a dream about a grey wolf and a woman standing in a mirror. The grey wolf was beside her. I won’t go into that now, though. The point is that I was familiar with the wolf and recognized him when he came after the attunment.

The goal of my attunment has been to treat my dog’s cancer. Studies have shown that people diagnosed with chronic or terminal illness have shown improvement and have even been cured. My dog isn’t visibly ill, but he looks pregnant because he has a massive fatty tumor inside of his body. It isn’t attached to any major organs. It is encased in fat. The reason I know this is that we’ve already had it removed once and it grew back to the same size within 6 months of removal. He has carcinoma and was given a death sentence. He should have been dead in January 2015.

The day of my attunment I told my son because he has some abilities of his own. We agreed to work on the dog together. He was a natural at Reiki and turned it on immediately. I still had some trouble quieting my mind enough. So, our first session with the dog wasn’t very successful. The second session was a little better. The third session involved my husband. That was the last time we did anything and I’m about to tell you why.

If you research Reiki you will likely be paired with a guide of some sort. You can call it an angelic being or something along those lines, but you can really tap into the power of healing through your guide. I meditated alone for a few days and my ability to turn the Reiki on became more pronounced and much easier. I started by healing myself physically. My nose piercing was the first place I focused. However, Saturday, my healing ritual revealed that I was sick and by Sunday I was at the E.R. Nothing serious. Just a UTI/bladder infection.

During my meditation Tuesday, the most amazing thing happened. I met my guide. Her name is Iaya. She told me that the wolf’s name is Oakoe. Iaya has long black hair and came dressed in a white linen gown. She had very fair skin and crystal, almost see-through, blue eyes. Then I saw her change into the image I remember from the dream I had of the woman in the mirror. In an instant she was back in the linen gown.

She told me that Oakoe is simply my spirit animal and my warder. She told me that he serves as a protector. What this means is that whenever I’m attacked spiritually, he acts as a defense. I believe this is true. That connection ability I told you about; sometimes it is a double-edged sword. Whenever someone doesn’t like me or throws hateful thoughts my way, I can feel it. It drains my energy. Since Oakoe has been around, I haven’t had that problem.

Iaya also told me that she wants me to work on self-healing for 30 days. I will not be able to focus on and heal my dog if I don’t look inward and heal myself. She told that she wants to teach me how to heal my spirit and my anger. In fact, she put it this way, “If you don’t heal your own soul and your anger, you’ll be of no use to anyone, especially your dog.” The moment she said that, the scripture “Physician, heal thyself” came to my mind.

She told me that she was a sister to me in another life, but wouldn’t reveal anything else saying that her purpose is “the here and now.” At one point she stood, grabbed a bowl, and poured oil over my head. Most of the meditation, however, she sat across from me, her hands in mine. Oakoe was beside me most of the session as well.

isis2When I talked to my best friend, he told me to look up the order of the Magdalenes. Turns out they were an order of priestesses and it is believed that there is some association with the Egyptian Goddess, Isis. This made sense because I have been digging into my past life in Egypt. But, the Magdalenes were Gnostics, which I’m still learning more about.

And there’s my crazy reveal for today. I guess my point is this. In order to truly embrace life and YOUR potential you not only have to think outside of the box, but you have to be open to ALL of life’s possibilities. I have learned more studying ancient religion, relying on my own soul to guide me, and depending on my spirit to take me in the right direction than I ever did sitting in the church. I’m not knocking Christianity, mind you, but for me there was more to be discovered. I believe the teachings of the Bible are very important and I do believe that Jesus was the God-Man, but I also believe that we weren’t created to be indoctrinated into a stifled way of thinking.

If you adhere to science, you know that energy cannot be destroyed, but it can be changed. So, with that said, if you believe in a soul, isn’t that what it’s made up of? Energy? So, wouldn’t it make sense that we can reincarnate? It makes sense to me.

I know. You can call me a radical if you want, but I’m tired of keeping all of this a secret. I love being spiritual as opposed to religious. In fact, I’ve been happier away from the church than I ever was in it. I went down the Atheist path as well, but was then called back to the “spiritual” way of life.

My next set of books are going to recount each of my past lives. I may put it in a series. I may not. I am not going to hold myself to a time frame. I’m going to let my guides take me where things need to go and that usually doesn’t happen quickly. So, it’s going to take personal patience as well as listening to my inner-self to figure out what I need to learn and take away from this life experience as well as why I share with the world.

Piercing Journal, Entry 1

Most of my followers here are writers. However, I’m keeping a written journal here to document my body modifications. So, if this topic doesn’t apply to you, it’s okay. It might apply to someone and may help those with Diabetes Type 2 and super sensitive skin.

So, I got my first piercings when I was a little girl. Can you guess where? My ears. Those healed up with no worries. The metal was pure gold. In 6 weeks they healed and I have actually been wearing my starter pair all of my life. When I want to wear cheap earrings, I switch them out for the day and then put the starters back in at night.

The truth is I have always wanted to do body modification. Not extreme stuff, but I always wanted my nose pierced, my entire surface of the ear, including double and triple lobe. I didn’t want to do stretching or anything like that though. Just bling in my ears and on my nose. I even considered belly button, but and glad I didn’t go that route. Pregnancy would have really caused problems there and so would gallbladder surgery later in my life.

Tattoos were also on the menu. I wanted a “tramp stamp” and other various inked displays of rebellion. I came from a very strict upbringing where all of the aforementioned were non-negotiable. Piercing meant you were punk and tattoos meant you were trash. So, I never followed through with any of these desires.

In 2008 I decided I was well into adulthood and could make my own freakin’ decisions, so I went with a friend and watched someone get their nose pierced and she bled all over the place. I remember using some choice profanity and walked out of the parlor. However, I ended up getting the guts up enough to try it after all of the “approval” at work. I went to a shop in Richmond, Indiana and she took a lot of time with me explaining everything. The aftercare: wash it, use contact grade saline.

Keep in mind I had Diabetes in 2008, controlled by meds. However, I didn’t give a damn what I ate. So, I got pierced and within a few weeks the “bump” appeared. For any of you who have ever had a piercing on hard cartilage, you know exactly what this means.

When I called the parlor, the lady who did the modification was short with me and acted like she didn’t even want to talk to me. So, I took it out. It healed right up, bump gone.

In 2009, right before a cruise, I got the right side of my nose pierced. I thought, “Let’s try this again. Maybe the lady didn’t know what the hell she was doing.” That didn’t go well either. Within weeks, I got “the bump” yet again. After care that time included Bactine and contact grade saline rinse.

I gave up. Then I lost a bunch of weight. I got my sugars under control. I started realizing that I didn’t want to die or go blind or lose limbs, so I straightened up. I never lost the desire for a nose piercing. Ever.

I started teaching college in 2015. I got my left nostril pierced (yet again) in September. Seemed fine, but the jewelry was way too big, so someone changed me out before the magical 6 to 8 weeks was up. The bump appeared, it seemed to struggle to heal, and burned like hell. I took it out due to frustration. Aftercare: Dial soap and Sea Salt Soaks.

After going to my doctor and talking to her about what could be happening, she told me I was almost healed and should have given it more time. So, I did it again. Yes, the left nostril after a month of healing. Surgical steel is what they called it. Aftercare: Sea Salt Soaks. The bump appeared within 5 weeks. Skin burned. Horrible feeling. I contacted the piercer and he acted as if my problem was one in a million and as if I was an oddity; like no one every experiences “the bump.” I got pissed and took it out. The guy even told me that I “may even have to take it out.”

I was okay for a while. I got fake body jewelry. However, I couldn’t shake the desire still, even after all of that. I started doing research on jewelry types and found that surgical steel wasn’t always best. Nickel causes issues in some and since I’m allergic to everything known to God and man, that’s what I figured had happened before. Cheap jewelry. Poor placement.

I went with a student because she wanted to get her tragus pierced. I contacted the piercer and told him my history. He explained what the possible issues might have been and told me he used implant grade titanium, which is the best metal for piercings.

We went to one of the guy, who works at one of the best and most reputable places in Southern Ohio. This guy was exceptional. He had a very sterile environment. It reminded me of a doctor’s office and I stopped counting how many times he changed gloves and washed his hands. He was the most compassionate person and walked us through all of the steps. For the first time, there was no pain with piercing. When he went through, he went through the inside of the nostril and I didn’t even bleed. He chose the right side because of the trauma the left had experienced.

The metal he used was a snap-together, threadless titanium stud with flat back. This essentially means that to take it out, I would need pliers or he would have to do it. Aftercare: Sterile Saline Wound Wash and hot showers. No Dial. No Bactine. No contact saline.

Within a very short period of time, the burning started. I realized that I needed to clean the crusties (I know, gross, but you pierced folks will understand) because if felt like someone was stabbing me. My thought was, “Don’t touch it!”

I also started using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Baby Soap to clean my face. People said that they had success with this particular cleaning product, so I tried it. It dried me out a little more than I cared, so I switched to Burt’s Bees for sensitive skin. That was a bust. I broke out. Skin reaction. Imagine that.

My piercing looked irritated. Once I switched back to the Bronner’s it seemed to calm down. Then I read an article about Emu Oil. My skin felt dry because I was using Sea Salt Soaks to try and help the healing along. Yes, I know I was told only Sterile Saline, but it felt like it wasn’t getting clean and because I’m so prone to infection, I wanted to combat that any way I could.

First of all, my piercing hates Emu Oil. It didn’t work for me at all. In fact, it brought the red bump out. Things seemed fine until I tried that crap. I do believe it has good qualities for moisturizing skin, but for me, it made the piercing worse. It was supposed to moisturize and deal with scarring, but it just made things much worse. So, I quit using it.

The bump was small, but looked awful. I was told to use Chamomile Tea compresses. I started that yesterday morning. I am now using that in conjunction with Sea Salt Soaks. I will tell you, my skin burns. It just burns. I know that it is trying to produce new skin and that this is all part of the process, but I think that is the sensation that bothers me most.

This morning I woke up and the bump seems slightly smaller. I am worried, however, about the Chamomile because you aren’t supposed to do it if you have a ragweed allergy, which I have no idea if I do or not, but knowing my body and my luck, I probably do. I do not touch it anymore. I was cleaning under it, which I think started the problem. So, I do not do that anymore. The friction can cause the new skin to get really angry. I knew better.

I’m at 6 weeks tomorrow. This is the farthest I have ever gotten with a nose piercing. Here’s what I know. Scarring is normal for a deep wound and a piercing of this kind is exactly that. Everything I read tells me that the bump will go away with treatment and time. I know that it could take up to a full year for this thing to look normal and feel better. I know that titanium is the best metal and the lightest metal to use for a piercing, so I know that I’m not allergic to it. I know that warm Sea Salt Soaks seems to have been great for folks with this problem. I also know that if the tea compresses do not work, my last resort is adding Tea Tree Oil to the soaks. It is harsh and has to be diluted, but many folks have seen progress with the Tea Tree Oil and SSS. The Saline Wound Wash isn’t enough for me. My final self discovery: I am not patient and this situation is teaching me I have no choice.

So, I’ll do another update in a few weeks. Today, I’m dealing with burning skin and this little red semi-circle around my piercing. I am keeping my fingers crossed because I can’t take it out even if I wanted to. I might as well make this little piece of jewelry feel at home because I think we will be together for a while. LOL!

Teaser Tuesday: Blessing of the Elements

teaser2The clatter of metal echoed down the hallway and a guard appeared in the doorway. He led them to a meeting room in the South Wing. When they entered, Queen Osatam and her guests were already seated around the table.

Everyone sat in their designated chairs. Last to arrive was the general and the soldier; both dressed in metal armor, the breastplates bearing the kingdom’s crest.

“I thought I said I wanted to speak to you alone King Jyson,” Osatam said.

“I will not meet with anyone by myself. You are fortunate that I did not summon the entire council here,” Jyson stated bluntly.

Two Lives to Separate

Just a PSA… I am cleaning up my PERSONAL Facebook account. Please, please, please do not be offended if you find yourself “unfriended.” It’s nothing personal at all. I had someone get mad at me today for doing the sweep. The fact is, I have never met most of the people who were swept off. I probably communicated with most of the people who were swept in my capacity as an author. However, if I’m to be true to my quest of separating my two lives, then I must continue with the separation. My author page is welcome to all. My personal life has to stay that way… personal.

Facebook tends to be an area of stress for me. If it weren’t for the author page, I would probably deactivate the account altogether. There’s too much fighting and bickering and horror on that site. For someone with PTSD and Anxiety Disorder, it can be a little overwhelming. It has its pluses, such as finding businesses, keeping up with “pages,” and information about various other things. All in all, I think it plays a more negative role in my life.

I use this blog, sometimes, as a personal journal. That’s my right. This isn’t some place I go to read about people hating one another or smacking each other in the face for personal belief differences. If I want to view that junk, all I have to do is log into Facebook.

I have actually limited my presence on several social media sites. I’m off of Tsu and LinkedIn. I don’t really get on Twitter much either. I feel that if someone likes my books, they will look me up on Amazon or Createspace or Smashwords.

The truth is, it’s time for a break from writing. I’ve put out four books. I need time to relax and think and recharge. Holding myself to time frames for writing isn’t what it’s about for me. I did that for this last book. I didn’t like how it made me feel. I felt rushed. I need to write because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. So, this summer, if I choose to work on a book that’s great. If not. That’s okay, too. If I never put out another book in my life, that’s fine also. I wasn’t ever looking to be famous. I wrote those books because I enjoyed the process and the creativity, especially The Between Worlds Books. The fourth book, Blessing of the Elements, was more of a personal catharsis, which I’ve stated before. And now that it’s done, I feel free and sort of empty, but not in a bad way. It was a way for me to move on from all of the pain from enduring 2014.

So, again, do not be upset if you are not on my personal profile’s “friends” list. You can always find me on http://www.facebook.com/tracee.ford.author. I post there regularly and it’s usually inspirational quotes. I also have this blog hooked up to it, so when Teaser Tuesday goes live here, it goes live there also.

Have a peaceful Saturday. I hope mine stays that way, too.