Please Share and Support

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This is a wonderful project. It is domestic abuse awareness month, please share to raise awareness. The data is overwhelming:

  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.1
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.1

Amazing work to highlight survivors and their stories.

https://m.facebook.com/ElishaDasenbrock/photos/a.10152510306783775.1073741827.156121543774/10153239116038775/?type=3&source=48

The Next Act

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I noticed it beginning a few weeks ago and it is proceeding with a fury. I even wrote a spot about it and thought I should begin my retreat to protect myself, my heart and spirit. But I made the decision to fight my survival instinct and stay open, to be present in the world.  Having spent decades being reminded of my shortcomings, having my faults slung at me as if they were ammunition in some war, even being held accountable for things that were not mine to bear, I was adept at shutting off, at accepting the barrage of painful assault and continual condemnation. The decision to stay present went against all I have known for so long.

So now I am unsure how to proceed. Last night a close friend was enraged with her husband and began ranting, as she proceeded through this I grew increasingly uncomfortable; she clearly was struggling and in pain and I felt for her but once the name calling and belittling began, I could not remain silent. I know how detrimental that can be, the pain words can inflict can result in scars that remain forever. In her anger she said she was finished, ended the friendship in haste, deleting my from all social media and blocking my number so I cannot even check to see if she is doing alright.  A few days before another friend, someone who taught me the importance of being open, someone with whom we had each shared so very much  told me they were uncomfortable with me sharing what was upsetting and painful for me; having spent a lifetime filtering my needs and minimizing myself I am still unsure how to respond from me heart.  So that leaves two in my circle, one of which is moving for love very soon and the other which I have not heard from in days.

Was it all some false existence, some charade? Although I struggle to hold to my empathy and compassion, have I lost all worth to these people I held close?  Years spent living isolated, alone while life proceeded alongside of me, unconnected people wandering through their days with only shallow interactions I grew to believe life was meant to be lived alone until someone convinced me otherwise, taught me that we are not intended to navigate life in isolation. Was I believing in something that is not to be, something founded in hope that cannot come to fruition? How does one continue to bear the blow of disappointment that not everyone, cares as I do, is empathetic or compassionate as I try to be, nor do they value loyalty as I do. Maybe living without something makes you hold it in higher regard.  I have never asked for anything from anyone other than an occasional ear, honesty, and for people to be true and authentic; self-reliance was at my foundation because I never learned to trust in the stability and consistency of others so why ask for more.  I have reached out of the darkness a few times recently, trying to find something, to get my bearings, to hear a kind word, some sense of normalcy, someone to invalidate my lack of hope but have only felt the cold emptiness of nothing. Maybe it is time to draw the curtain to prepare for the next act. Let’s hope I have the courage to face the possibility of some sad monologue.

“Sometimes you have to move on without certain people. If they’re meant to be in your life, they’ll catch up.”  -Mandy Hale

Kept in Confidence

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I am a thinker, those very few people close to me know I try to understand everything I come in contact with.  My therapist actually told me that not everyone thinks about life at the depth I do, so try not to expect people to understand it at that depth. So this weekend afforded my time to analyze my life, where I came from, what I went through, the people that are in my life, those who may weather the storm and those who are deciding to leave me at this point of my journey. I think it was a time for me to consider the gifts I have had and regrets I carry since the point my life began again.

Throughout the night my thoughts kept drifting back to what I have shared; having spent my entire life trying to hide the pain through the past few years I opened up and parceled out my past. Although I am a deeply private person having only mentioned a tiny portion to a few people, that shallow acknowledgement, I kept my stories buried deeply until a few came into my life, people who had some shared experiences, who understood the pain, who listened without judgement, and never pried for my details. Unconditional acceptance and lack of criticism did allow me to assess my past and its impact on my present; how it limits my trust, how it restricts my ability to be vulnerable, and my fear of certain closeness.I opened up and apportioned my past with the trust that it would be kept in confidence. Now I am working to collect those pieces, place those stories back into their makeshift tomb.

So as I retreat, how do I secure my stories I cannot collect? How do I approach the topic of privacy? I do not want my secrets shared in a fashion that can undermine my struggle or be used as a means to minimize me for I have spent a lifetime negated. Is this just a concern based in my struggle to trust; the time I did will it be validated or dismissed? I know when one shares their story, their struggle, their past,  I treat it with the utmost respect for I was trusted enough for one to disclose. I would never share the story, never violate the trust by besmirching their truth, in a light that be disparaging, as a means to justify my behavior or choices?  This is quite possibly a fear based in my experiences with people for I have seen this done to others, been a victim, stories used to displace accountability, vilified for no reason.  How does one even broach the topic?

“Confidentiality is a virtue of the loyal, as loyalty is the virtue of faithfulness” -Edwin Louis Cole

Lost in Translation

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At times I detest text messages and although I am not a fan of talking on the phone so much more gets lost in translation with a text. Think of the difference between a conversation over a cup of coffee and over messenger.  I wrote a message the other day, when I was in pain and struggling and my pain was interpreted as anger. So here in lies some of life’s challenges. As I wrote this, I am learning to advocate for myself, trying to be honest with someone I trust about my feelings. I struggled to ensure I was clear and honest with full disclosure.  In learning to advocate for myself, to speak my voice, I did not consider the past of the recipient. They have known a past of anger and hostility in those close relationships so irrelevant of my wording the interpretation was into their framework. For this I carry regret.

This coupled with another conversation with a different friend about me not being angry with my present situation has really started the gears turning. Anger is an emotion I work to control. Having experienced the damage anger can inflict, I choose to identify the root of my emotion and work to respond as opposed to react in anger.I believe anger is truly a misunderstood emotion such as frustration, disappointment, or being overwhelmed. If I can take the time to identify the reason I am beginning to feel anger, I  can identify the cause and strive to mitigate the issue, identify my culpability in the situation  and take the appropriate action; explain, apologize, etc.  While anger is a natural emotional response to some conditions, it is rarely the real emotion underlying the situation and is never beneficial.  Maybe this is a skill I have learned from a bad situation, something positive from a long list of negatives.

 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  ― George Bernard Shaw

The Pain of Realization

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Realizations can be magnificent, when you solve some great perplexing problem, when your research makes an impact, when you find some inner truth that guides your path yet they can also be quite a painful slap in the face. Over the past several weeks, I have been asked the same question in different forms, essentially how I view myself, something related to my self-esteem and worth to which I reply I really don’t know for I never look at myself in that manner. So therein lies a question that has been bouncing around in my thoughts. Why do I never look at myself? Why do I avoid considering my value, my beauty, my worthiness…..?

This has perplexed me off and on for some time. I never look at myself in a manner that others may see me. By saying that I am not implying I walk through the world self-centered saying to hell with you and all your opinions. I do consider how my interaction will impact others, try to analyze things from all sides to ensure my living with kindness and compassion has only a positive impact. It is more like I never consider the light others may see me in, for instance I do not consider if I am pretty enough, smart enough, caring enough, or attractive enough; I usually only consider if I am giving enough, loving enough, kind enough. While that may be considered liberating to some, after the recent questions I have arrived at the conclusion I do not consider this out of fear it would validate the word others have thrown at me, as if looking at my abilities and attributes may confirm the painful cruel things that have been said. I suppose not considering is a coping mechanism that I have carried through my entire life, this avoidance as a means to maintain since my childhood. Words hurt and the closer to your heart the person saying them is the more pain they inflict;

I have arrived at a realization which bears a herculean weight.  Trying to learn to consider myself, I now understand my worth it. I work so diligently to be supportive of those I care about, try so very hard to always be there, to be kind, loving, and generous. Since I was blessed with my life, my freedom to live as I want I have strived to give the people in my life things I have gone without for I know the pain of having no one when you need it the most, the struggle to face another hopeless day without care, to feel so lonely when you struggle to gain your footing after the world knocks you down. I cannot think of but a very few times I wished for a place to take respite, I do not need some knight in shining armor but having arms to give a supportive hug, a gentle voice to offer a few kind words, or even a hand to help me up would be the reassuring blessing I need. This week I fell into the muck of life and it is just too much to try and stand up, too difficult to move forward in that moment so I just stayed there. Crying myself to sleep last night I arrived at the realization whose weight crushed my soul.  I may not be worthy, not worth the effort for someone to care, not worth the time for someone to offer a hand up, not worth being loved because of all my sharp edges and missing pieces.  I suppose this is something I have known for most of my life, the reason I avoided looking.

 

 

 

“A person who truly loves you is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while everyone else believes in the smile on your face.” ~ Anonymous

 

Crisis of Faith

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I am felling the weight of my brokenness much more than normal as of late. I don’t know how else to describe it. I feel like all the piece of me I have fought so long to keep up with are becoming too difficult to carry, some of them are jagged and painful and keep gouging me…

I believe we are all broken, we all have some crack or ding, some scar. Maybe we caused the damage ourselves, maybe it is something we have been carrying since childhood, maybe it was caused by someone else and quite possibly there are many of them. Sometimes I think that is where our beauty grows from the courage to continue in our brokenness. I often wonder if that is the source of our empathy and compassion. I believe our imperfection is what makes us impeccably suitable for life, for one another; from our damage we can heal, from our mistakes we can learn, and from shortcomings we can grow.

So why do we fight so hard to keep our brokenness concealed, why do we chose to not embrace our vulnerability but strive to hide our struggles? In my heart and soul I believe you are the exact right person in this moment, you are who you need to be for the purpose of now, you are who you were intended to be. So why am I struggling with that belief? Why this crisis of faith?

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” –Ernest Hemingway