I Did It

I did it. I made it through my week and am about to begin a new one. I honestly cannot believe I made it this far. Once in a while, almost every week, someone asks me how I managed to get where I am today. They ask me how I did it. They want to know how I can make it through everything. I tell them I put one step in front of the other, I cried a lot and I never quit. They say they could ‘never do that’, meaning they could never make it through what I’ve managed to do. This is so untrue. If I can be where I am today then so can anyone. The difference is not giving up and making the hard decisions. It’s reminding myself daily, sometimes hourly, that I am worth the effort.

I did it. It wasn’t magic, it wasn’t anyone sprinkling fairy dust on my life, it wasn’t an accident and it wasn’t luck. It was me. I did it. I made things happen. I made myself get up and keep moving. I made myself talk to people I didn’t know. I asked for help. I did it. I let myself cry. I let myself be vulnerable. I let myself breathe. I let myself feel. Me. I did it. No one else. No one made me do anything. I chose my path and I walked it. Me.

I did it. I’m not going to lie. It was f*cking hard. People think I make things look easy and that’s a mistake that I made. I didn’t let many people in. I didn’t let others see my struggles or hear about my fears. I stopped doing that, though. Now? Now ask me how I am and if it is true I will say that ‘I’m fine.’ If it’s not, though? I will tell you flat-out, ‘I’m not doing well.’ Then, if you want to know more I will tell you.

This is hard. This making a life that I love is hard. This living thing, that I started embracing? It’s hard. It hurts. It stings. There are many times where I want to quit, I want to give up. Times when I wonder how the hell I’m going to make it through the day, let alone the week. So many times where I wonder where I’m going to find the strength to breathe, let alone move. Letting myself feel? Wow. I did it though. I did. I chose to let myself be me and the best thing of all is that I now know that I’m worth it. I actually like who I am, what a concept. Me, just me, perfectly imperfect.

I did it, though. I really did. I made it this far. I fought for it, claimed it and took it. This is my life now and no one else’s. I’m worth the effort and so are you. You are worth it. Just be you, be who you want to be. Just do it. I did.

thanks for reading,

me

ps. Just this week alone: I worked at my rotation, I packed the rest of my things at my abuser’s house (while he was still there), I spent time at the hospital with my daughter who had a seizure, spoke with friends, went out with friends, met with people about my business (also friends), let myself be vulnerable, let myself cry, went to doctors’ appointments with my daughter, got up each morning and went to bed each night, watched some of the meteor shower, cried some more, packed some more, cried some more, was terrified but kept going… just this week… but I called my friends for help, and the key here: I let them help. I did it. No one else did it for me. It was me and I deserve the credit. It can be you too. You are worth the effort, too.

Elegance?

What is elegance? How does one show elegance? Is elegance achievable?

Miriam Webster defines elegance as “A: refined grace or dignified propriety. B: tasteful richness of design or ornamentation, the sumptuous elegance of the furnishings. C: dignified gracefulness or restrained beauty of style, the essay is marked by lucidity, wit, and elegance. D: scientific precision, neatness, and simplicity, the elegance of a mathematical proof.”

And Wikipedia defines elegance as “beauty that shows unusual effectiveness and simplicity. It is frequently used as a standard of tastefulness particularly in the areas of visual design, decoration, the sciences, and the aesthetics of mathematics. Elegant things exhibit refined grace and dignified propriety.”

What is it about elegance that calls for me?

I think as I write tonight that elegance appeals to me due to its simplicity, its calm, it’s poise all showing a lack of chaos. Chaos is how I’ve often described my life, my thoughts, even myself. I’m a storm, a thundering mess of noise inside. So elegance speaks to me. A quiet, peaceful, graceful beauty to be attained. I want elegance to be how I describe myself: I want it to be how others describe me. “She is the elegant one.; the one there who has no fear, no care for things but who is always peaceful and happy.” That sounds good.

Being elegant would mean that I would be noticed for my calm rather than the storm that I’ve brought with me. Or maybe I will be the calm before the storm? Or the peace afterward?

It’s an interesting place to be. I love who I am becoming and I love helping others to find peace and sanctuary in my writing. Yet, I am the storm; the hurricane has been me. Can I be both? Can I be the fury when needed and the calm when necessary? Can I continue to be who I am while allowing others the room to be who they are meant to be? Chaos, after all, is still beautiful. Should I tame the chaos?

I know the chaos well now. I’ve marked its passage through my life and I am intimately familiar with it. But have I now mastered my chaos? Does it rule me no longer? It is still there. I can feel it sitting, waiting to pounce. But does it no longer have the control it once did? Have I made chaos my friend?

These are some of my thoughts tonight as I prepare for bed. I entertain the idea of elegance, such that, maybe I may attain it. Yet, now loving myself, I no longer fear my chaos, my personal storms that have made me this way. Shall I truly transition from fear to peace? Shall I stand taller, quieter now that my storms begin to pass? Shall I be elegant?

thank you for reading,

me

Don’t Wait

I know I keep harping on this but it’s so true. Life is short. Love your babies, hug your parents. AND take care of yourself!

You can’t wait any longer. You need to act now. You might not have another year, or another month or week. Life is short. Love now! Go for it! Go do the things you’ve dreamed of doing. Don’t wait anymore. Go dance in the rain, go play with the dogs. Go run around the block, bicycle, walk, whatever you like to do. Get outside with those you love. Or by yourself. Whatever it is you need to do, do it! Just do it!

If you can’t imagine yourself being like you are this moment in five years, then change it! Just do it. Do it! If you can’t stand the idea of living like you do right now in five years, then don’t. Don’t! You have the strength to change, you do. Do it! Life is worth it! You are not meant to be stomped on, beat up, or put down. You are meant for greater things than this! Quit waiting. Just start. Do it! Do one small thing that will lead to another small thing and then to another…

You can do it! I did. I’m just a little person with a big heart and I started with nothing thinking I was nothing… but I’m not nothing and neither are you. You and I are both worth it! Live! Today! Not tomorrow. not next week, not next year… today! You might not have another. There will never be a good time. The only time you have is right now. So what are you waiting for? Safety? Peace? If you don’t have it now and you don’t act on it you won’t have it tomorrow either.

Change doesn’t have to be giant, the little tiny baby steps work too. Telling yourself good things to combat the bad that you hear is small but huge… Tell yourself this. Tell yourself “I am worth it. I am beautiful.” Say it in your head, say it out loud if you can, just say it. “I am amazing. I am smart and capable.” Do not believe the lies that others say. Do not let others judge your soul. You were created by God for a purpose and that purpose includes living, loving and being loved. God doesn’t make junk. Don’t wait.

Every moment that you are awake you can speak kindly to yourself. You can combat the negativity, you can do it. I believe in you! I didn’t believe in myself before but I have changed that. I used to think I deserved my punishments, that I deserved my silent treatments and that I deserved to die. I was wrong. No one deserves that. No one, not me, and definitely not you. I wanted so much to give up, to quit. I wanted so much to just go to sleep and never wake up. Instead? I never gave up. I thought for certain I was crazy, but I wasn’t, and neither are you.

You have a right to live, truly live. You deserve to be loved and cared for. If you aren’t then leave. If you can’t, then get help. I did. I’m worth it. It was hard, it was terrifying, but I was worth the effort and so were my kids. You are worth it too. Don’t wait. Just do it!

thanks for reading,

me

I Will Write

Write – 1. to trace or form (characters, letters, words, etc.) on the surface of some material, as with a pen, pencil, or other instrument or means; inscribe. 2. to express or communicate in writing; give a written account of. (Dictionary.com)

Create – bring (something) into existence, cause (something) to happen as a result of one’s actions (Google)

With a simple press of my fingers, flick of my wrist, using multiple muscles in an intricate and careful process, I have discovered my own ability to create.

In the beginning God created… and so, we, as children of God also create.  We create with our words that we speak and, if we find ourselves mute, we create with our fingers and hands by writing.

Being mute, I found myself my outlet in writing. And so, I write. I write when I cannot understand my emotions. I write when I cannot think clearly. I write when I have something I must say. I write when I cannot breathe. I write when I have no other desires. I write. I write when I fear that I have failed. I write when I want to give up or give in. I write when I have not yet decided to write. I just sit, touch the keyboard and begin. I write.

With my writing I have created a new life. I have found my voice. I have become a woman who once again believes in herself (maybe for the first time). My children bless me, they live and play and run and never give up, and so they bless me. Of this blessing I also write; write so that I do not forget.

My friends they bless me. They bless me with their time and their energy, with their spirits of determination, with their free gifts of love, and so of them I write. I write of them as an honor to them; I have no other way to thank them. I write.

Why write? Why? There is no other way for me. I may someday speak but not yet. I am no longer mute but I am biding my time. Waiting. And so I write. I write of stories of me, my stories. Stories of my trials, my failures. Stories of my pain and of my power. I write to give others voice. Others who are still mute, others who still have not found their way out. I write for them; for me. I write. I will not stop. I will write.

I write. I write for you so that you may know the wonders that I see. I write to share my story and my perception of this world. This world that is so hard and cruel, and yet so gentle and forgiving. I write so that you can see; write to give you hope. I write.

I will write.

thank you for reading,

me

Rotations continue

I have one more week and then this rotation will be in the books. As these past several weeks have gone by I’ve found myself discouraged. I know that hospitals are necessary, I know that many medicines are necessary as well. I know people get sick and people die. But. But how can I help? What difference can I make? Any at all?? I wonder how these became so sick? What happened? Some of them seem like they just don’t care anymore. When did they give up? When did they lose hope?

And then… am I being overly critical? Am I really any better? Sure, I’m healthy, for now. Sure, I think I have my act together. But really? Three years ago? Four or Five? Did I have my act together then? Not really. I had some who would ask me why I put up with so much? Why did I stay for so long? Why didn’t I leave when things went bad? I’ve been asked why didn’t I change things back then? Why?? Why did I stay 25 years with a man who couldn’t love me?… these questions are kind of like asking someone why do you bother breathing? Why do you bother eating? There’s no real answer except it seemed the right thing to do at the time… (Please don’t stop breathing or eating, by the way.)

So, an outsider, someone who hadn’t lived in my shoes, who hadn’t any way to compare her life to mine, would probably wonder why I didn’t change for so long. I wish I had an answer. I wish I did. If I did then maybe I could help another lady find the answer too. I know, in part, some of the reasons. For one, I loved him despite everything. For two, I had hope for things to get better. (It wasn’t until I gave up hope that things started to change.) Three, I felt like it was wrong to leave… no… matter… what. The church is very vocal about leaving a marriage. (And because of that, many, many women are still in abusive marriages, with no hope for a way out, thinking that somehow they can pray their husbands to treat them well… But that’s another post.)

And so I think of the patients I have met these past two months… Did they decide to quit? Or give up? Is it too hard to dream of better things again? Does it hurt too much and they just want it all to end? I see the man or woman who is my own age and at the same time I see them as they may have been as a healthy child… or if not a healthy child, as a child with hopes and dreams, none the less.  I guess, the hardest thing, is seeing each individual as a person, a creation of God, who, for some reason or another finds himself or herself in a lonely hospital bed staring at the ceiling with wires and tubes attached everywhere wondering what on earth to do next. I wish I could show them a picture of themselves when life was good and full of possibilities and dreams, so that I could remind them that they don’t have to give up. I want to remind them that they are worth the effort of getting well. I want to be able to sit with them and listen to them and to give them hope again.

How? As a student I have no power, and I have no permission to just talk to them. So, with determination, I move on, and I continue to dream. Partly to dream of the day when I am no longer the pee-on that I am and am able to do exactly that. Until then, I offer them a smile, a soft touch, or a gentle ear when I can.

thank you for reading,

me

 

Going it alone

“Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

I’m at a new crossroads. The one on the left is full of possibility, it looks bumpy but it could lead me to a place that is full of wonder and delight. The one on the right is predictable, it looks rough and rugged but I know where it goes. I have to choose. Left or right?

If I choose left I go on my own. I have to rely on me. Only me. I have to trust myself and my abilities to pull myself out of the mud. I have to prove to myself that I am capable beyond what I believe.  The possibilities of an amazing life and future follow this path.

If I choose to take the path on the right, I get more support. I get to stay in the safety of knowing things will be fine. I get to rely on others and allow them to help me make my decisions. This isn’t all bad. The path on the right will lead to a good future, one that is predictable.

But the path on the left? It could go poorly. It could lead me through many, many trials. Trials I have to pass on my own. Am I strong enough? I don’t know. I’ve made it this far.

The right? It might go poorly, but probably not. Except, I’ll never find out how great I can be if I choose that way. I won’t have to deal with the extremes and it might be better than the one on the left, especially if the left path fails.

The question is am I willing to settle for “fine” or “good”? Or am I willing to challenge myself for a chance of “great” and “excellent”? What do most people choose? Most people choose to do the path on the right because it requires no work. People have given up on dreams and are “too tired” or “too old” to try anything new.

I know which path I’m going to travel. I know that I cannot settle. Already my life is amazing compared to a few years ago there’s no reason it cannot get better. Instead of thinking I’m in my 30s or my 40s, 60s, 80s… try thinking I have 70, 60, 40 or 20 more years yet to live. I haven’t even lived half of my potential life span! Why would I give up now?  And yes, I said “give up” because settling is quitting. And quitting is giving up. If my heart is beating anyway, might as well make it worth the while.

thanks for reading,

me

PS. The path on the right is a lie.

Mom?

Today marks 8 years since my mother died. Over the last four months I’ve loved her, missed her, hated her, loved her some more, and just wished I could talk with her. I’m glad she no longer suffers and I’m glad that she didn’t have to see me go through the things I’ve gone through the last couple of years. She would have been livid if she knew all the stuff her ex-son-in-law put her daughter through. I don’t think it’s possible to never need your mom again. I’ve wanted to ask her so many questions. I’ve written her a letter that she’ll never be able to see.

There are so many things I would talk to her about right now. With my eldest getting married in a few days, I’d start with apologizing for how I behaved when she was planning my wedding without my help. That would be where I start. But, if we had time to sit down over a cup of tea I think I’d go back to where things really went wrong. I’d ask her why she disappeared when I needed her the most. I’d ask her to explain what was going through her mind when her husband decided I shouldn’t keep my baby. I’d ask her how she could have possibly allowed me to let someone kill her first grandchild. I’d ask her where she went, after telling me that she’d help me anyway she could. I’d ask her why she wasn’t strong enough to stick up for me. I’d ask her why she put up with my dad. I’d ask her a lot of things.

I’ve forgiven her for most, if not all of it, but I still wonder why. I know my father was a difficult person to live with and one that you just never argued with. I don’t know what went on behind in private. I do know that I learned that I was to be subservient to my husband from him. And at the same time I never once doubted that both of my parents loved me.

It’s interesting, when I look back on it. My mother tried to tell me to love myself, but she was late on that. My father? He still lives and I’ve mostly forgiven him for many things yet I still want to know why. Why did he make me choose death? I’d like to understand what possessed him to think that it would be better. I know my mother knew, there’s no way that she couldn’t. I know she knew because she had already given birth to three babies. She knew what I was going to have to deal with. She insisted I get help, help I never got until this year.  My father, though? Did he not realize that forcing me to go through that would end up with me hating myself for the next 30 years? Did he realize that for all but the last three months that I truly believed that I was a murderer? How could a father choose to put his child through that?

Then, there’s the other side… If I talk to him will that open new wounds? Did he understand the implications and just think that he needed to make it happen anyways? Was he trying to protect me in his own way? There’s forgiveness there for him. Still part of me wants to know why. Why did you let your baby girl out of your sight? Where were you? Why didn’t you protect me? So many questions. No answers.

Questions I don’t really want answers to, not yet. Someday? Maybe. Maybe I’ll sit and talk with him on it one day. I haven’t yet, but I might. What would you do?

Thanks for reading,

me