What Love Means

A few years ago, when I lived with my adoptive parents still, Zheila asked me what I thought love meant and what it meant to have a mom/what a moms role is. Wanting so desperately to have these things, I thought I knew exactly what it meant, yet I came short of an answer. I didn’t know what to say. I told her I didn’t know but that it wasn’t what I was getting/ what was happening. Two years later I can confidently answer her question and this is how:

Love is unconditional. It doesn’t judge for the little mistakes I make. Love doesn’t look at me as a diseased child. It doesn’t try to mold me into something that I wasn’t meant to be. It doesn’t care that I was abused for 3/4 of my life. Love see’s that I am trying my very best and accepts that. It is accepting and kind and walks with me on my journey. Love doesn’t expect anything in return. It picks me up when I’m in my darkest moment and helps me build stairs from the bottom of my well. It offers to sit with me on the bathroom floor as I injure myself just to feel something, even though it’s hard and then follows through. Love wraps me in its arm when I feel the most unloveable. It doesn’t expect me to be my age. And though I don’t have experience with an actual mom,  I finally know what it would feel like to have one. They are not my mom, but Bailey, Becca, and Grace (my therapist) encompass me in love every day and show me what I never had. They make sure that I am okay. They make sure that I am safe. Every day Bailey tells me good morning and goodnight. She reminds me that though I’m a broken, I am not shattered. She makes sure that I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge and offers kind words of encouragement towards my success. She makes sure to tell me often that I am loved and that I am a good person. She will pull me into her arms and rock me like an infant if I am unable to cope with the world and just need help. Becca sets me on a path of logical consciousness, helping me to survive every day at school. She too allows me to be broken and still feel loved. She doesn’t talk to me daily, but when she does she never forgets to let me know that I’m loved. Like Bailey, she offers me one of the greatest gifts–the gift of a friend (their daughters) who is much like myself. She will wrap me in a hug as I stomp my feet and cry. When I’m struggling in school, she sits down with me and walks me through and helps me to process what is going on.  Grace also checks in on me every day. She makes sure I have taken my pill for bed, that I’ve survived a day, and that I’ve completed everything needed. She offers me a deeper therapeutic relationship than the average therapist which allows me to have someone to connect with when my main support is  unable. She laughs with me and holds me when I cry. She holds many of my darkest secrets and keeps them safe while letting me know that she still believes I’m an ok kid. Like the other two, she offers me someone who thinks much like I do. She understands me at such a deep and emotional level that is both terrifying and satisfying, as do the other two. Each of these ladies offers me a love that is pure and kind. They give me a love that’s intentional and unconditional.  Each of these women have shown me in a multitude of ways that no matter how broken I am, no matter how many mistakes I make, they will always love me. They all three make sure that I have a roof over my head and that I’m eating. They sit with me in my darkest time and let me regress as far as I need to in order to heal. They wrap me in their arms when I’ve had a bad day.

Though these women, combined, offer what a mom is supposed to offer (unconditional love and support) it isn’t always easy. There are hard things about love and about having/being a mom. We struggle sometimes. I reject their love and after a while rejection is just plain hard and exhausting. I fight them tooth and nail when they try to help me understand that I am lovable and that I am worthy of love. Most times they fight right back. They fight my brain with me…but sometimes they lose it. Sometimes they yell. Sometimes one of them even screams. They take a step back and recoup and it’s hard! I don’t like it. But this is love and this is relationship.

These ladies aren’t my mom and never will be…but they have given me a sense of family and worthiness that I have lacked my entire life. They have given me relationship without stipulation. They have given me relationship without hurt (though I’m not going to lie, quite often relationship is pretty painful anyway, in a struggle kind of way.)

This is what I want my adoptive mom to know now. These are the things I would tell her if she asked me what love was and what it meant to be/have a mom. These are the things moms are supposed to do and this is what love looks like. I know she wouldn’t agree and that’s okay because for now, my “mom” fill is complete. I don’t need a mom and I don’t want a mom. I have love and I have three wonderful women and 3 of the most amazing friends who support me in all that I do. I’m surrounded in pure and unconditional love and trust and it feels right for me. It feels like what I need and for now, it feels like enough. Love is patient, but more importantly love is forgiving.

“Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who DO LOVE you…”

 

Silly Stress Sunday(s) #1

Okay, as promised, I’m going to post some funny (or what I think is funny) things that I, or the people in my life, have done in the past week (this week I’ll go back further, just to do a catch up) due to stress… Stress makes you stupid, and in my case the stupid is a soft blanket to land on during my overwhelmed/stressful times, because I have learned to laugh at it–most of the time.

  • A little back story: We have a friend here for the weekend who was adopted from Romania. He’s super sweet and funny and I have to say I’ve never been so okay having a new guest, especially guy guest, over. He fits right in with Zhanna and I…I think Bailey has wondered what got herself into a few times! 😀

So, Friday I had to present one of m finals for school as well as speak at an adoption conference in the afternoon. I hadn’t had more than 3 hours of sleep in more than 72 hours..and I was extremely overwhelmed and filled with anxiety. On the way home, Bailey, Zhanna, Constantin, and I were talking and all of the sudden I just kinda asked, “what language do Romanians speak?”

Zhanna, Constantin, and I were playing a new game on the wii. The game required us to collect these sock things, as a gnome. Not going to lie, it was fun…we laughed for like an hour and a half straight. Anyway the game was kind of hard and if you didn’t time it right, the gnome would die and make funny sounds… I just blurted, “When people die, does it really sound like this? Because if so, that’s kinda creepy” (had to be there moment.)

  • Change of topics. Now we’re headed to therapy land. My therapist rocks..just saying. She’s the first therapist I’ve EVER had that actually understands me and WANTS to understand me. Typically we play…but one day we decided to draw. While we were drawing, Leslie asked me a ton of hard questions about my mom and all of the yucky stuff that happened. They were super personal but my mind was so occupied on the drawing that I didn’t realize that I was actually talking about and she kept asking…

After therapy, Bailey always asks how it went. Usually I give the same answer, because usually it’s the same–it goes well and is “fun” but emotional. This particular day we had talked about a LOT of deep deep stuff so I was shut down. When Bailey asked how it was my response was, “Leslie asks a LOT of questions.”

Another week, I brought in Mr. Slammy (medicine ball used to get anger out) and we were using it as part of our play. I drew a face on it and said that it was Zheila. The ball is fat and Leslie started slamming it. She was like, “this is my dad and his big fat head. *instert another slam* This is carrie and her big fat head*Instert another slam* and this…” and as she was slamming, I just kinda blurted out, “Maybe all mean people are fat heads?”

  • Last for the night because I’m exhausted. My speech gets all wacky and I can’t talk straight when I get stressed or overwhelmed and shut down. 

The other night Bailey was getting ready for bed and when I was trying to talk to her I asked, “Are you going to teeth your brush?” (yes, happens often)

While giving my talk at the adoption conference this week, I was talking about Crazy town vs Normal town thinking (irrational/rational)… I didn’t know how to explain Crazy town thinking in a way that wouldn’t sound mean towards my bio/adoptive families so I just left it at telling them that it’s irrational vs rational. Later on in the talk, though, someone asked about caseworkers. My response was telling them to care…and then I gave the story about my first foster home and the stupid worker I had. When I told them that she told me to be thankful for living with a spanish family they all started laughing…and out of nowhere, I just blurted, “You DO get crazy town”

Okay…that’s enough for tonight. I’m exhausted. I wish that I could remember more right now, because they happen on a daily basis, but I’ve only slept like 8-9 hours in the last 4 days. So, goodnight y’all! Look for this again next week…hopefully! 🙂

Dreamland VS Reality

According to Yahoo news, because of the position I sleep in, I am a rigid worrier. ‘Tis true, I am. To be fair, I don’t sleep much anyways, but the rigid worrier is true.  Sleeping has never been my thing. I have gone days with no sleep and during my high stress periods over a week with less than 4-5 hours of sleep. In an average night, I usually get about 1-4 hours interrupted. When I do sleep, I dream…and often times it’s not a happy, merry dream. The majority of my dreams are repeats of things that have happened in the past, mostly sexual abuse, and at times have entered past abuse into the present. In addition to the already traumatic dreams, I dream vividly. It’s as if my dreams are my reality. So many times I have woken up and not been able to tell the difference between what I have dreamt and what is real. Sometimes I get dreams that don’t add up, dreams that don’t focus on the past but are still extremely real and extremely terrifying. Last night was one of those nights.

I dreamt that Unakite was no longer in prison and he and my mom were together again. I was still living with Basil and Zheaila but we lived in Utah. Becca, Bailey, and Zhanna came to visit and everyone except for Basil decided to go camping at my aunt and uncles cabin. Zheaila, in an attempt to connect with me and help me see that she cares, invited my mom and Unakite to come to the cabin. Once at the cabin, we decided to go to the lake. My cousins Fei and Livi, Jesliegh, Zhanna and I went on the boat and while tubing my mom and Zheaila started to argue. Because my Uncle Gavin was driving and there were no men, besides Unakite, on the shore to keep the argument under control, we were forced to go back. Once back on shore we decided it best to go home to the cabin and just chill. When we were getting ready to leave my mom told me that I needed to decide who I wanted to ride with–her or Zheaila–and I needed to decide at that very moment. I, out of fear, chose to ride with my mom. During the drive Unakite started to touch me. Soon the touching turned into groping, then kissing, and before I could get out he was on top of me, hurting me while my mom happily, without care, drove. When we got back to the cabin I got out of the car, opted to take a shower last, walked to the back porch and sat. Knowing this was an odd behavior for me, my Aunt Eliza came to talk to me but I couldn’t tell her. I shut myself down and everything in the world around me disappeared. I could hear her talking to me, the panic in her voice echoing with a quick rise, and then I could hear her calling Gavin, Bailey, Becca, and Zheaila in fear that someone else was going to get hurt. I kept trying to make out what they were saying but it was coming in mumbled, and then I saw it… Gavin had sat down with Unakite and was calmly speaking with him, my mom sitting 4-or-so feet away, and everyone else scattering to entertain the children, in an attempt to distract them from the happening chaos. As soon as Unakite could see that the children were in a different room, he got up and started running. Gavin stood up and with one pull of the trigger, shot him. He laid there, face down, with blood gushing all around him. My brain started spinning even more and my mom started screaming. Gavin calmly picked Unakite up, put him in the back of the jeep, and drove him to the hospital. Within minutes, everyone went back to what they were doing before there was any question of me being abused. Eliza, Bailey, Becca, and Zheaila sat chatting in the living room, Zheaila went back to playing with Livi and Fei, and I sat. Jesliegh was the only one who didn’t return to her prior activity, instead she sat still in another room. She, like I, sat wondering what happened and why everyone was acting as if all was right in the world. And then it hit me. I stood up, I stumbled into the room where all the adults and Jesliegh were and asked Jesliegh to drive me to the hospital. Knowing she couldn’t drive, as she is only 12, everyone just stared at me. In desperation, I asked again. Jesliegh walked up to me, grabbed my waste and started sobbing. I stood there, numb and emotionless, and asked one more time for her to drive me to the hospital. After the third time of asking, Bailey and Becca stood in unison and offered to take me. Zheaila and my mom started to get upset again, arguing that it is their job, as I am their daughter. My Aunt Eliza took Zheaila and my mom into the other room to calm them and ushered for Becca and Bailey to take Jesliegh and I to the hospital. Once at the hospital I found Gavin and anger took over me. I freaked out and started hitting him and screaming.  Then I turned to Becca and Bailey and started lashing at them. I lashed at the three of them for what seemed like forever because though my brain was telling me that FINALLY someone protected me, that these people helped me, I was furious that they had hurt Unakite. After I had settled, Jesliegh and I walked into Unakite’s room where he was finally stabilized and awake. Jesliegh standing beside me, her hand in mine, started sobbing again. I took the oxygen cord and started to kink it, in attempt to cut off his supply and kill him, when he muttered, “if I die, the ones you love die. If the secret spills, you will die. You are mine, tell anyone and you will die.” I panicked and in seconds was wrapped in the arms of Bailey and Becca, sobbing. Gavin picked up Jesliegh, closed the door to Unakites room, and we all went back to the jeep. When we got back to the cabin, everyone but my mom was dead. She had killed everyone. Gavin took his gun and shot my mom. Bailey, Becca, Gavin, Jesliegh and I stood looking around at a pool of bloody, dead bodies.

I woke up after that, panicked. Looking around my room, I could see the bodies of those I loved. My entire environment had shifted from what was reality, into what my dream had been.I shook the depth of it off…but the feeling stuck. My day was backwards. I was more shut down,  mean, clingy, demanding, and dysregulated than I have been in weeks. Days when I have dreams like this, or dreams that are repetitive of the past, I often have meltdowns and other behavioral issues. It’s hard for me to know that I’m having those issues though, because my body is still trapped in the vividness of dreamland.  I wish that I could capture the depth and vividness of my dreams and put them here, but I can’t…they are too real and too raw.

This is my process

Courage is doing something that scares the crap out of you, and doing it with conviction, determination, and will power.

I don’t know if I will ever fully understand the things that have happened in the last 24 hours. I understand Bailey’s side, but I struggle with it. Easter was a very difficult day for me, for multiple reasons. This holiday has always been my hardest and this year my past trauma really reared its ugly head. Saturday was a good day. I mean relatively, but it was. We had a great day. Bailey had a bout of irritation, but we both pulled out of it beautifully. Before bed we re-connected and had a very deep conversation. Instead of getting angry, I cried. I have had to learn to do this. I went to bed just fine, however, when I woke up I was completely off. I had a really bad night terror and woke up still in it. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I feel so helpless and out of control. Flashbacks in the middle of the day–no problem. Waking up in a flashback–horrible. I was in a “sulky” mood all day. I didn’t ask for help and I couldn’t pull myself out of flashback mode. Bailey told Zhanna and I that she was going out with friends later that evening…the flashback got worse. It’s like the whole world changed. All of the sudden I was in my moms kitchen watching her leave. She was promising me that she would be back even though she wouldn’t be. It was like Bailey and Zhanna were invisible and my surroundings were that of my childhood. I was little and powerless in my mind’s eye. Later, we started coloring Easter eggs and a lot of old Easter memories drowned me and then Zhanna and Bailey were leaving for a while. Once again I was watching my mom leave. When Bailey said goodbye and went to give me a hug I just stared into space, blankly. I didn’t want to see my mom leave again and not come back for days. When Bailey came home things spiraled. Not because of her, because of me allowing my past to control me and refusing to ask for help. She tried being loving, but I couldn’t allow it into my heart. I got upset and repeatedly slammed the door. Again, I’d turned into a much younger Ruby and Bailey turned into my mom, literally. I didn’t see Bailey, I saw my mom. I was terrified. All of the bad people surrounded me and just kept multiplying. I wanted them to go away. The last time I slammed the door Bailey insisted I go to the punching bag to let go off my anger; I refused. Little to her acknowledgment I didn’t know where I was and who she was in reality, all I could see was my mom yelling at me. I don’t remember much of what Bailey said but I know that she tried multiple times to redirect me. I got so mad, so scared, that I kicked a hole in the wall. Mind you this was after throwing my phone, laundry soap, slamming doors, and screaming at the top of my lungs that I hated the women I was staring at. Bailey, but in my minds eye, my mom. Because of my violence Bailey kicked me out. I collapsed. My whole world shattered. I felt like I was losing everything, again. I don’t know the feelings I was feeling but I hated it and still, feeling it now, am not a fan. I can’t explain it because the only emotion I have successfully been able to pin point are anger, sad, scared, and occasionally joy. But this feeling is not like any of those that I’ve been able to identify. I do know that I am sad and I am scared. I also know that this is the way my process is supposed to be. This is just the universes way of letting a stubborn girl know that it’s time to get her butt in gear and heal herself. As hard as this is, I know it’s true. I wasn’t allowing myself to heal very quickly. I was taking it slowly for sanity sake. I know focusing solely on healing cannot happen because I am an adult and I do have to support and take care of myself. So, instead I was giving each task only a certain amount of energy. I know focusing solely on healing takes more energy than I have as long as I have multiple other things to do as well. I was keeping my process at a pace that I knew that I could handle mostly on my own. I wanted the minimum amount of help. I still allowed, and most of the time desired, Bailey’s help in regulating myself. {IE: rocking, hugs, talking to the youngest me, and supporting all the other little girlies} I didn’t want to overwhelm myself, but I also didn’t want to ask for help. That wasn’t my life plan. I came into this world knowing that eventually this is the push that I would need. But, it’s hard. This kick out has been one of the hardest kick out’s I’ve ever experienced. Why? Because I know that it’s not forever. Bailey is not ditching me, she’s not leaving me, and she’s not giving up on me. She is simply creating a small space to allow safety. She is teaching me that I can be safe no matter where I am. it’s hard because I have the most amazing best friend who is not giving up either. I don’t have the excuse to not get better. Before, I did. Every other family led me to where I am, allowing me to have this excuse. None of them loved me unconditionally. None of them were willing to stick through the muck. None of them have faith that I can, and will, get better. I didn’t feel near as good with them as I do when I’m with Zhanna and Bailey. I have so much to live for, so much going for me. I have so many people supporting and cheering me on. I have a job. I have a house. But most of all, I have a “family” who loves me and wants me to get better for me, not them. I have healed so much in the last eight months. I know what being happy feels like and that is what I am striving for. This separation isn’t forever. Bailey and Zhanna still visit and we talk and text. We both know that safety is important and that is why this must happen. It wont last forever because neither of us want that. We want things to be our “normal” again. What I will gain from this separation: 2 homes, safety for myself and others, more love than my little heart will know what to do with, and a whole lot less anger. Now, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you any of this two hours ago. For the past 24 hours I have been in a place darker than any I have been in for a very long time. I was ready to give up on life. I didn’t want to be alive. Honestly, this healing business is hard and I couldn’t see any light in the darkness. I couldn’t see anything good in what had happened. I’ve had to sit in an unknown feeling and let my heart talk to me, something I literally never allow to happen. I had to reach out to multiple people for help when normally I’d just deal with it on my own. It’s scary. It’s uncomfortable. But above all, it’s satisfying to be able to see a light in something so hard. I also know that I won’t always be able to see what my heart see’s. I know there will be moments when my courage is hiding under a rock and my illogical brain will be the one antagonizing and beating on it, ensuring it doesn’t peek out. But, I won’t stay there because there is hope. I have hope that I will make it. I know that I will make it. I have hope that my future will be brilliant and wonderful and I won’t be trapped in anger and bitterness forever. I have come this far on hope…There’s no reason to stop now.

I miss my mommy

Something about my mom’s voice is so soothing. I miss it so much. I know that she has done so many things wrong, so many things to hurt me, but there is a piece of me that longs for her in times like this. It’s a longing so deep no one can fill it, not even Bailey. I have a few clips from my childhood and tonight I couldn’t watch it enough. I haven’t watched it in a really long time but it was like I never quite watching it to begin with. The goofy voices of my family, the dysfunction of the togetherness, the monotony of the tones all seemed so soothing. The lure to engage but lack of ability, the chaos, the distance of connection all seemed so familiar and in an instant it all seemed so real, like it was happening right here. And for a moment, I felt a piece of complex simplicity run back into my life. My whole reality diminished and once again I was in my Nana’s kitchen singing her a song. I was standing in the corner for something I didn’t do, my mom and dad were fighting and then asking who we’d rather live with, my mom was screaming at me and then pushing me into the wall, splitting my lip.  I wasn’t 21 anymore. I was in the midst of chaos and it felt good. It was so real. Then reality kicked in; that’s not my life anymore. My comfort should not depend on the anger in my mom’s voice or the goofiness of her high. It should come from the love and support that is surrounding me where I am, but sometimes it’s not enough. It is appreciated, and most of the time welcomed, but there are times when there is a void so deep that the love that surrounds me can’t reach. When that happens, I don’t know what to do! I fight. I refuse the love I do get from Bailey and Zhanna and sulk in my misery wishing my own mom was here to love me. I deny the affection of all who offer because I don’t like the way it feels. A part of me needs to be in the chaos of the past. A part of me strives for normalcy and healthiness but the other part refuses to allow the links of my past to diminish.

What is love anyway? So many times I have asked not only myself, but a multitude of people, this question. What is it? What does it look like? How do you know when someone truly loves you? The idea of love alone nauseate’s me. It sends my head into a tornado of old memories, but to actually feel it and talk about it brings about a whole new sensation. A sensation that I don’t know how to explain. It’s one of confusion, doubt, comfort, anxiety, jitteryness, and so much more. Something so inexplicable its frustrating. On my birthday I was struggling with the idea of love. I wasn’t really sure that the people surrounding me were doing the things they were unconditionally or with underlying reward/punishment. I wasn’t really sure if the love that was being poured on to me was sincere or forced. I was struggling with the fact that my mom was nowhere to be found; that on MY special day she still refused to acknowledge me. During Bailey and my nightly routine, I casually asked her if she believes my mom loves me. Her answer was both intriguing and very thought-provoking. She turned the question back and asked what my mom viewed love as; how she perceived it. My mom was born to an early teen mom and her dad ran off before she was born. My Nana {grandma} remarried to my Papa. According to my mom, she and Papa had a great relationship, but from stories I’ve heard, I doubt it. When my mom was a young teenager she spun out of control and started doing drugs, her life was based around her boyfriends. She sought love through men, and still does. If you look at love from that standpoint, my mom loved me more than words could describe. God forbid it all be sane; it makes sense. If I stick myself in my mom’s shoes and look at love the way she does, for even a sliver of a second, I can see the love and pride she has towards me. I can feel the intensity of hope and desire that is so deeply rooted in her. And though I know that this type of love is so wrong, it all makes perfect sense. My mom sought love through men, she turned to them to make her feel better, therefore she showed me love through men. She let those men do the things they did to me not because she despised me and hated me, but because she wanted me to know that she loved me. Twisted, I know. But it all makes perfect sense to me. So, what is love? Does it have a set definition? Does one person love more than the other just because they love differently? Does my mom love me any less than my adoptive mom or Bailey? I believe love is an interpretation of met needs. A child who is raised in a family where his or her needs are met, and met unconditionally, is more likely to show the type of love that is portrayed in society as acceptable. However, a child who is raised in a family where needs are neglected and abuse ensues is more likely to show the type of love that my mom did–just not necessarily to the same extreme. Love to me, growing up,was shown through abuse. Though I had a rough childhood I never once doubted, like I do now, if my parents loved me. The attention they showed me through sex and violence equalled love. When there was abandonment and neglect, I craved the attention more than any drug imaginable. The attention I was getting, when my mom and dad were hurting me, was like a druggy’s cocaine. I wanted to know I was loved. Let me clarify, I did not like the sex. I didn’t like the beating. I didn’t like the ugly name calling. I liked the idea that finally I was being paid attention to; finally someone loved me. I went through withdrawals when I was removed from my moms care. Still to this day, I sometimes crave the feeling of a hand balled, hammering my side. Yes, even with the natural love I am given by Bailey, Zhanna, and all the other amazing people in my life. Sometimes the love they show me doesn’t meet the intensity of the love my mom once showed me and I start to question if it’s really love. It is. It’s just a different kind. It’s unconditional and free. It’s kind and gentle. It doesn’t allow violence or disrespect. It offers hope and enlightenment that I once didn’t know. It’s just as strong as the love my mom holds for me. It’s just as sincere as my mom’s love. But its a different love. So, again I ask, what is love? Was my mom wrong for loving me through men? Was she wrong for not knowing what soft love, unconditional, tender love is? Is Bailey wrong for loving me like family? What about Zhanna? Just because they love tenderly, does that make them better than my mom? Love is love…no matter how it’s portrayed, but Love is not always equal. Some love is damaging and some love is rewarding. The love that is damaging is something different, something much more complex. It is something that I have no name for, so I settle for the simplicity of rigidity, fear, condition and complexity–and regress to call it love anyway, for the lack of better wording. Love is love no matter what. Love is LOVE.

Take a Clue…

The other day I had a major ah-ha moment at work. I have about twelve other post started, or ready to post, but thought I’d share this instead. I know the majority of my life is lived in fear, shut-down, or in between. I don’t have many days where I am able to just be, to just relax and feel peace. In fact, having those type of days is like a privilege, a burden, overwhelm, and a blessing all in one. I can count the times I have felt safe, relaxed, and peaceful, throughout the past twenty years, on one hand, literally, and that makes me sad. Something that I struggle with in, these moments and really always, is knowing my body language, emotion, expressions, etc. and how they affect or present themselves to others. On many occasions it has been brought to my attention that my body language doesn’t match my emotion or that my facial expression is displeasing, but I have never been able to grasp the depth of what that really means–until the other day. I work with a person who is not very exciting or enjoyable to work with. I don’t work directly with him very often but when I do I come home at least 10 times worse than on a typical day. He drains the life out of me in such little time. I have to work so hard to stay in an approachable mood while at work because of the environment. I work in a large building where people are constantly coming and going, the noise volume is at least an 8/10 on the noise-o-meter, and the smells are horrifying similar to the ones of my past-often sending me into flashbacks. This said, if you read the blog often and you know me, you know that this job is a very uncomfortable, dysregulating job for me. I keep it because a part of it is satisfying. Everyday I can come home and tell myself that I have conquered another day and that it’s only going to get easier. I have the satisfactory of knowing that I, out of 75+ people, was chosen for the job and that I am able to do the job well {dysregulated or not}. Now that you know that my job is taxing, let me tell you that I don’t come home happy most days. I come home and am tired, very dysregulated, shut-down, and a lot of times clingy. I come home and most of the time Zhanna and I just watch cartoons, draw, or play for a little while. It used to be that we were inseparable, and most of the time we still are, but there are times now that we just have to have space; it’s usually due to my body language, tone of voice, or facial expressions. This is where my AH-HA moment came into play. A lot of the reason that I can’t stand my co-worker is because of his body language and emotional cues. He is a glum guy. He walks slouched with his head hung low and a lot of the time he talks he is makes passive aggressive remarks. I suppose for visionary purposes we could call him Eeyore. The last three days I have worked with him directly and every time he talks to me he is sure to add a jab. A few days ago after I had finished a specific task Eeyore became really upset, or so his body language and voice tone portrayed, because he didn’t understand why I had done it. We have an area where we hold items for customers, for a short period, and it is to be cleaned out 2-3 times a week. It was overflowing so, naturally, I cleaned it. The things that are returned to our stock are the things with no name, date, or receipt on it. This has always been a rule. About an hour after I cleaned the area Eeyore came out to get something out of the area, that he put in there with no date or receipt, and it was no longer there. His voice became irritated and his body language was quite terrifying. I was upset. I couldn’t understand why he’d be so angry at me for doing my job the way I am had always been instructed. I just let it go. Yesterday I had a co-worker come to me to ask for a task and I didn’t really have anything for him. I told him to stand with me and we would chat and brainstorm at the same time. Eeyore overheard and came out and made a remark to the lines of, “aren’t you supposed to be being a role model” and then was rudely criticizing me. He later threatened my employment and that’s when I realized it really wasn’t about me because I haven’t done anything to disrupt my employment chances. The past three days I have watched him mope around, make snide remarks, and disconnect himself from the world. In the last 6 months I think I have seen this man smile a maximum of 25 times, keep in mind I work 30+ hours a week in the same proximity, and heard him laugh maybe 15. It’s sad, but I don’t think he realized how deep in trapped darkness {or whatever it is} he really is. He takes his hurt, his pain, his hardship out on others and he really doesn’t know he is doing it. I honestly, truly believe that he has no clue how hard he is to be around. A few nights ago, before these incidents, Bailey had this same conversation with me. She asked me if I realized how negative my body language and emotional cues are at times or if I knew that I made so many passive aggressive remarks. To be honest, I don’t. I feel normal in my body and my normal is negative. My normal is fear, anger, and frustration so even when I am shut-down my body language and emotional cues portray negativity and a sense of being trapped. I am hard to be around. I am passive aggressive. I am mean. I have lousy body language. None of this really made sense to me because I don’t feel these things. When I talk to Bailey or Zhanna, I feel that I am being perfectly approachable and okay to be around. I can’t see it because I have disconnected from my reality so far that it’s like I’m looking for the lighthouse in a hurricane. After realizing that I am so much like Eeyore and how un-fun he is to be around, I realized that I needed to change. It finally sunk in that my reality is not okay right now. I am NOT fun to be around and as safe as that is for me, it’s not okay. I don’t like hurting people or making them uncomfortable. Now, I hope to learn from Eeyore, to take note of the aura he sets off and make sure to change mine. Take the feelings I have when I am around him and let myself know that I too am that difficult to be around sometimes and change it. I need to take note of the things that need work and practice matching my emotional cues, body language and tone so they all portray what I’m feeling instead of having my body language look negative, emotional cues happy, and my tone clingy. Is it possible? Hopefully! Am I willing to do it anyway? Definitely!

Tempting Turmoil…

So many times I’ve thought I was over rejection and loss. That finally I’d become immune. But I’m not, and it sucks. How could I not be over it? I’ve lost more in my 20 years than most people lose in a life time, and I don’t say that for sympathy, I say it because I don’t understand how I’m not immune to it yet. I’m so tired of being picked last, being looked at weird. I’m tired of people choosing others over me. I’m tired of being the oddball out. I’m tired of being ME! I know that’s not okay…but I keep lying to myself and telling myself: it’s not me or it’s okay you’re that way for a reason and it is getting better, etc. When I’m completely shut down, none of this matters. I don’t care that no one wants me or that I’m not going to get the things I need because I’m too old. When I’m shut down, nothing matters because I can function and I don’t have to feel the pain around me…I don’t have to feel the rejection or the loss or the people’s jabbing words. I’ve struggled at my workplace since I started. I struggle for a lot of reasons, including: age, interest, maturity, developmental age, etc. I am able to blow it off most of the time, but not today. We just finished a busy three weeks and are now hiring a bunch of new people. I haven’t been feeling well the last week or so and my tolerance has been very low, today was no different. One of the girls kept touching me and talking in a very whiney, baby voice and I was getting very irritated. I was overwhelmed and tired. I was struggling to deal with the 7 customer line waiting for me, the other 24 body line waiting for someone to help, plus the 6 other workers asking me questions, all at once. One of my coworkers, who I have worked with for the last six months, noticed that I was getting a little “hot” and came over to me. Instead of offering some comforting words or asking if I needed a break, she jabbed, “Well, now you know how we all feel about you”. She rolled her eyes and walked away. I’ve heard a lot of things behind my back and, quite frankly, to my face–but nothing like that. I’ve known that no one at work is really fond of me, and honestly I’m okay with that. I don’t think I would be fond of someone who came in and was pretty much put in charge of me had they had no experience and I’d worked there for a year or two. But really? I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to work there. I don’t want to continue to listen to the rumors behind my back or the gossip that I’m not supposed to. But, I know that I’m blessed to have this job, so I’ll stay. Even shut down, I can only handle so much. Right now I have so many other things piled up on my plate and I feel that this is just that piece of Jenga block that knocks the tower over. I don’t know what to do. At least 90% of me is fighting to just give up and close my heart, again. To shut down and live life the way I always have. I’m tired of trying and it being rejected. It’s not just my peers that I feel rejected by, so I reject everyone else in return. I’m tired of trying and it not being good enough…trying and even though it’s my hardest I still lose the things I want or need the most. I’m tired of trying to open my heart, to learn love, only to be slammed again. A part of me doesn’t want to do it anymore. Bailey and I don’t really have a healthy relationship, Zhanna and I have a decent relationship, honestly I don’t have one healthy relationship in my life so my brain and my heart just tells me to give up. It’s so much easier to live life shut down than to fight for something you aren’t gaining or to fight to be better when it just keeps getting worse. How many times can one be rejected before their heart is stone? How many years does it take until that feeling completely dissolves and the moment someone rejects you, it doesn’t hurt? How many chances at learning love can one person have, and fail? How many? I’m not going to give up because there is still at least 10% of me that hopes that eventually I will be okay. A part of me that has hope of a more normal, accepting, future. I won’t give up because I refuse to become my mom, no matter how hard the pain! I won’t give up…but it’s tempting.

Fighting the Battle, Winning the War

When I’m trusting and being myself as fully as possible, everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously. ~Shakti Gawain

*CAUTION: Possibility of endless rambling about to ensue. Please forgive me in advance 🙂 

One of the biggest things I struggle with is being okay with me: just accepting me, for me. I have always been a fighter because a fighter is what I have always had to be, but now, being a fighter is hindering my healing. Deep down I understand that life would be much easier if I just let go and stop fighting–fighting everyone and everything–and relaxed into life. In a single day I fight myself, the little voices that tell me negative things, love, emotions, affection, Bailey, at least 10 little girls, the ability to stay present, etc. My life is a war. I’m constantly fighting many battles, all at once.  But for what? What am I fighting for, or against? I know that six months ago I had to fight to survive, but why now? My biggest, most difficult, fight? Myself. Why? I’m not sure. Six months ago I was fighting so hard to survive that I had no time to look into myself or to see myself for who I really am or needed to be…but now, now I have time and I don’t like it. Who am I? Right now I am a young child trapped inside of a young adults body. I am four. I am two. I am eight. One thing I’m not is 20. I am lost. I am alone and I don’t know where to go or what to do. I am responsible when I need to be, respectful when I can be, and fun to be around when I am trying to be. I am wise and compassionate {most of the time} and would rather be alone on a small island where no one would find me, because it’s safe. My thoughts are often improper or inappropriate. My behaviors at times qualify me for a nut house and my emotional age might classify me as a social outcast. I’m not normal. These are the things that I portray myself as, but is that reality? Is this me? It is, but why? It’s what and who I feel I need to be! I need to be a young child. I need to be four or two or even and infant because those are the stages of life I missed out on. Those are the stages I need to reach to be up to par with life’s standards. The things that I am are in place because of the things that happened to me in the past. I live in fear…literally, every day I wake up and my system is already in a place of fear: what if I don’t make it to work on time? Am I going to get fired today? What if Bailey decides I can’t stay with her anymore? Is today the day Bailey is going to give up? Will Zhanna still be my friend at the end of the day? What if my mom finds me? What if Unakite really does get out of prison and nobody told me? It’s hard to find any type of certainty in my day and that causes a lot of fear…and fear is the reason I fight myself so hard. I fight because, still after six months, I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel certainty. I don’t feel okay. I fight to stop myself from being an infant, a toddler, a child. I fight to stop myself from loving or accepting love. I fight to stop myself from accepting affection. I fight being okay. All because I don’t feel safe or certain. I know deep, deep down that I am safe and that my life is okay. I know that I am okay. I know that if I stop fighting all these things I will be able to heal much quicker and finally be truly happy. But it’s a fight, an urge, that if I stop then I feel I will die. It’s a fight so mighty that I don’t want to lose because losing means death. That’s how my mind is working at this moment. Logically, I know that it means that my life will fall perfectly into place just as the above quote states…but emotionally, my mind fights it. I can’t wait until the day I can feel that way…the day that I am able to fully trust in myself and my process. I can’t wait to get rid of this fight and win the war that’s been raging for years inside of me. I can’t wait to find happiness and to live, for real. I can’t wait to finally live life in peace, no battles and no wars.

Shame

I know we all have shame… but what purpose does it serve? Seriously?! Guilt I understand, shame I do not. I don’t know all the answers, and for that I am grateful… but sometimes I wish that it were more simple. Shame is a BIG part of my life. It kinda rules it, honestly. For example, sometimes (most of the time) when I get dysregulated* I become mean…like nasty mean! I give the person closest to me, Diamond, the “cold-shoulder”, the infamous death stare, and am just rude in language. You know, not fun to be around–at all! These times are a cycle for me. Not necessarily because I choose that cycle, but because shame gets ahold of me. I know that what I am doing is not okay. I know that I can do better and I know that I DON’T like to treat people so horribly. Knowing these things disappoints me, in myself. It is no one else’s fault that I am unable to communicate effectively when dysregulated. Because I know that it is no one elses to own I become ashamed of myself. I think it is common in many children/adults who have trauma–to be so full of shame. I don’t know why. I sometimes wonder if it’s because at some level we feel it is our fault that our parents didn’t want us… our fault we weren’t lovable–by them. I think that Shame has something to do with the fact that we were powerless in the decision of losing everything therefore we find some fictitious reason, caused by us, for our family to not want us. That for some reason we did something bad enough for no one in the world to want us at a specific moment; and because of that we carry the burden of everything on our shoulder. Whenever I am in one of my Shame cycles my whole world, literally, comes tumbling down. Because I give Bailey the blunt of all my madness and I am so ashamed in myself I feel that she too is very angry with me. That is one thing shame does to me–Falsifies reality. In reality Diamond is not mad at me. She doesn’t really like my behavior towards her and it sometimes hurts her, but that doesn’t mean she is mad. Seeing her as mad IS how I perceive her at the moment. My best friend, Zhanna, and I have been inseparable since we met. We are like two peas in a pod. It’s great. Though sometimes, when shame creeps in, I feel that she too is mad at me for silly things like not taking out the recyclable’s or not feeding the fish at a certain time. She is not mad at all, and we always work it out right away, but I perceive her as mad. Like I said before, I don’t know the answers–thanks God–but I’m okay with that. It’s through this struggle that I am able to heal. It is feeling the shame but turning it around and letting it go so that I can see the world through what is really there rather than my fictitious reality. It’s hard. It’s really hard! As mentioned above, a lot of times shame does control my life… it’s a great burden yet a wonderful blessing. One day I will understand. One day all of your kids, you or whom ever you are affiliated with, who is affected deeply by shame, will understand. But until then I think it is key to realize that shame does falsify reality, it hinders positive thinking, and is very unproductive! I wish that we didn’t have to feel shame. I think guilt is a plausible trade, no?

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

*dysregulated- impairment of a physiological regulatory mechanism

Another-words unable to get your body all balanced and stuff! 🙂