Stretching 

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters 

1.

I walk down the street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I fall in. 

I am lost … 

I am hopeless. 

It isn’t my fault. 

It takes forever to find a way out. 

2.

I walk down the same street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I pretend I don’t see it. 

I fall in again. 

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault. 

It still takes a long time to get out. 

3.

I walk down the same street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I see it is there. 

I still fall in … 

it’s a habit. 

My eyes are open. 

I know where I am. 

It is my fault. 

I get out immediately. 

4.

I walk down the same street. 

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 

I walk around it. 

5.

I walk down another street. 

-Portia Nelson

Stretching is getting comfortable with and pushing the edges of something uncomfortable. I’ve recently realized this in an emotional and physical sense. I discovered this because really, in order to grow, you have to push hard enough within and without yourself to be uncomfortable.  You can’t learn if you recoil at the smallest discomfort. 

The challenge is to do this physically first to allow your mind to adapt so that when an uncomfortable feeling hits you emotionally (something that would make you close up or pull back), you will learn to embrace it as a phase and keep pressing on. Life is full of challenging moments and I know often times in my life I’ve taken an easy approach despite my tendency to learn things the hard way.

So start with a physical stretch and when you start to feel uncomfortable, stay there…breathe through the feeling and consider each muscle and fiber or your being and you acquaint yourself to the feeling. Do this more and more and if you are like me and you are building muscle, you do this at the gym by increasing your weights and thus forcing your muscles to tear down. As you lift, slowly, ease into the slow burning and tearing down of your muscle knowing it will be stronger as it builds back up.

I am going through some mentally tough things right now and I despise change…yet it LOVES to seek me out and force me into uncomfortable situations. I want to curl up in a ball and cry, which I often do at first. Then I have learned to resolve to overcome and be a better person despite the new circumstance. 

I hope you find this challenging and enlightening as a first post to my blog in 2018 and in a long time. 

Betraying Myself

"My demons mock me as I walk in the cold from class with tears stinging my eyes."

I haven’t written much lately. I have been so consumed with school and my business and family. I don’t know who actually reads my blogs or not nor do I really care as long as in the end some good can come of it. Sometimes I write what I do just to get things off my chest-like my blog is my best friend. I know, I can tell God and heh, believe you me I certainly do tell Him…many times. I cry to Him and yell it out, sometimes begging Him, and always praising Him. Of course, how my life has turned out isn’t His fault but all good is in spite of me and in His glory.

Rambling tonight already…

Basically, I heard this song awhile back from one of my foster kids. It hit a chord with me, especially now this time of year when I feel alone, or at least away from my own parents, and siblings. I’m not necessarily close to any of them. In fact, I have a few friends out there who have stuck with me through everything and lately, things aren’t going well for them. Maybe everyone goes through these feelings of wishing life was something it wasn’t-like a memory mixed with fantasy, because of course, I’m sure in my memory, I’m forgetting all the bleak and dark moments I’ve been through.

My main professor in my major (Criminal Justice) accurately pegged me as having anxiety the other day. He said I spend too much time over-thinking sometimes, especially about the past and the future and that I need to spend more time in the present. Haha, I know that I don’t spend time wishing I could change the past or create some fantasy-filled future though. I do look back on those connections I’ve had in my life and the why as well as the meaning and impact on who I am as a person. Without each person who has been in my life, I would not be this living, breathing, constantly-breaking, yet stronger than super-glue, kind of human being. I am capable. I am strong. I am courageous. But I fall, I fail in my weaknesses, giving into my fear so often. It’s like I’m this walking betrayal of myself; an oxymoron in every way.

Funny, but I remember when my parents took us as kids, through personality tests, I would always be almost identically strong in two areas and they were always seemingly polar opposites. How. Is. That. Possible? I thought, secretly, I must be schizophrenic or something. I always felt like I needed to hide part of who I was because I would seem crazy. Now I embrace my crazy and reflect inwardly on who I am and if there is a deficit somewhere that I can “fix” so that I don’t keep repeating my mistakes in life. Trying is what I do, to a fault. I don’t give up easily, despite being accused of that in marriage several times. I have learned SO much about me these past few years and especially this last year. It’s like every year for the past few years, I feel like I have figured myself out the most. Clearly I am a crazy and complex person-I don’t know how the pieces even fit together. It’s like God dumped out the pieces of a dried up desert and watered them, forcing them to soften and fill in the cracks, connecting into one entity: me.

So how do I keep going seeming like I am this walking contradiction of myself? Am I soft and vulnerable on the inside and tough on the outside? Well, I disagree. I don’t care about the exterior as much, although sometimes I make myself up all pretty. I couldn’t survive the harsh world around me, and the lashings that life has dealt me without being strong inside. My outer shell betrays me-sometimes showing my soft and empathetic heart. My heart is molten and bleeds, erupting in more love than I want to show. But my mind is skilled and tricks me into questioning my feet and where they wander, seeking justice, and truth in all that I do. Is it possible to be a caring person and be in law enforcement? The violence in my past-being beat and raped, then re-victimized in the trauma center is something I still have to face and get over. I have still haven’t written about what happened in 2013, which indicates to me, as a writer, that I haven’t faced it and put it behind me as well as I was able to do with the past.

My demons mock me as I walk in the cold from class with tears stinging my eyes. These insolent “children” who haven’t experienced loss or trauma as I have, that laugh and make light of the rape scenario our lab class is going through. Like tiny needles tapping the rawness of what I went through. The assault I experienced wasn’t the only loss I suffered. Waking up in tiny fragments of time and space and screaming in my head for my daughter, with no one paying any attention to me, not knowing if she was okay. Being told they were keeping my clothing as evidence, what little I had left of being cut off of me. Pounding in my head with searing pain, unable to move or speak-just let tears roll down. My internal anguish from the heartbreak I had just suffered, having my family torn apart, was far worse than not knowing what happened to me when I blacked out-when I was almost killed. The irony of my first ride in a helicopter being me laying strapped down to a hard surface, vibrating my throbbing head against it as I was lifted to a larger scale hospital. Then laying on the large table with a bright light above it. I felt like I had been abducted by aliens, only the ones photographing every inch of my naked and vulnerable body were human. The rape kit inconclusive and the speculations of the deep laceration into my forearm from a knife. The MRI flew by in between blackouts and concluded that I had suffered an unstable spine injury and wouldn’t be able to do anything on my own for awhile-only, all I had was my 4 year old daughter, who I had found out had slept through the whole home invasion (even through the alarm I was able to hit) and found by police in her bed.

I am convinced that had I not gone through a domestic violent relationship, given a child for adoption, left for dead in a hotel room trying to stand up for what I believe, not had cancer, or any of the other less extreme trials in my life that God has slowly strengthened me through, I couldn’t have gone through all this so easily. I did move away, and so facing it wasn’t the same as if I had stayed and advocated for myself. But it drove me to chase after my kids in the town where their dad had moved to. I realized my life has flashed one too many times before my eyes and that I need to spend the rest of it giving to my kids and to those around them who can make it safer and better for them. I am strong and I am a fighter-I will get through whatever God helps me with.

So, here I sit, contemplating why I feel like I’m one soldier in my battle, realizing that even if my life can impact just one person, then my life was not in vain. I am not going to betray who I am and choose the soft sweeter side above the rugged-edged, wild and determined side of who I am. I am going to embrace my past and help anyone who has walked the steps I have with love, showing them that in Christ, all things are possible.

 

3 Days and Counting


Some people are uncomfortable with a person who is depressed or see it and don’t hold their hand out. Those of us who are depressed and hurting want to cry with every word you say to us but fear of you ask us if we’re ok, we’ll fall apart in front of you. The pain is in our eyes and our quiet demeanor. You will know it is “that bad” when the usual chatty person is barely heard and escapes quickly to her seat in church, making as little eye contact as possible. When you’re in the midst of depression, you are like a broken vessel smashed to pieces on the floor-there is no magic fix and no way you can just put yourself together without any help. We need you. Just one person is all it may take and maybe one word reminding us we can’t do this but God can. We will grasp at that tiny shred of hope even when we feel like that’s unreal. It may be the one thing that keeps us alive-I’m not actually joking. 

I pray I will never be this person who goes un-noticing  to any of my friends. When you’re in pain (physical or emotional or all of the above), reach out your hand and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even if it’s just something vague. Be real about your pain-someone else has been there, I promise you. 

Thank you to my friends who have been there in my darkest moments. It’s been 3 days…. (Took the picture above during my darkest moment while trying to look “together” on the outside.)

I posted the following to my Facebook page this morning (something that is uncharacteristic of me-I don’t like to air out my filth on Facebook but rather put my prettiest side forward):

“Failure-it’s something I’ve finally come to terms with and have admitted to those closest to me about how I’ve felt for 10 years. I completely broke-to my kids, to myself, to life…and everyone. 

I’m reading through a study called “Working Through Failure” (because after so many failures, I have learned there’s nothing I can do but fail). In my study today, this stuck out to me:

“It’s not human nature to be happy despite our circumstances; we want to be happy because of our circumstances…. In his book, Winning Smart After Losing Big, entrepreneur Rob Stearns echoes this perspective regarding his own failures. Stearns writes that there’s a big difference between experiencing a failure and being a failure: “You are the same person after your loss as you were before your loss.” It is strength of character that enables us to get up and keep moving when we’ve failed.”

The verse that coincides with this thinking is this: 

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:11-13 NLT

http://bible.com/116/php.4.11-13.nlt

Indeed, when everything else in the world fails you and you can’t trust yourself not to fail, that is a great place to be because knowing only One who can intercede in the only thing we need-He is enough. 

A friend reminded me yesterday (you know who you are) that it’s not that God won’t give us more than we can handle-We aren’t supposed to be able to handle it and that’s the point. We need to be able to give our burdens to the only One who is strong enough to carry them.”

“I know where I’m at

I’m standing at the back

And I’m tired of waiting

Waiting here in line, hoping that I’ll find what I’ve been chasing.
I shot for the sky

I’m stuck on the ground

So why do I try, I know I’m gonna fall down

I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?

Never know why it’s coming down, down, down.
Not ready to let go

Cause then I’d never know

What I could be missing

But I’m missing way too much

So when do I give up what I’ve been wishing for.
I shot for the sky

I’m stuck on the ground

So why do I try, I know I’m gonna fall down

I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?

Never know why it’s coming down, down, down.

Oh I am going down, down, down

I can’t find another way around

And I don’t want to hear the sound, of losing what I never found.
I shot for the sky

I’m stuck on the ground

Why do I try, I know I’m gonna fall down

I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?

I’ll never know why it’s coming down, down, down.
I shot for the sky

I’m stuck on the ground

Why do I try, I know I’m gonna fall down

I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?

Oh, it’s coming down, down, down.”

Feeling Again

Fingers frozen
Thoughts dancing wild
Inside
Chest is tight
Pulse rising
Can’t touch the keys
With the war waging
Tearing down
Layers of pain
Struggling
Fear is fighting
Trying to conquer
Protecting
My fragile heart
Beating louder
Shattering
Silence
Growing
Now echoing
In my ears
The chorus of life
Remaining
Within my soul
Resonating
Memories
Fading
Blurring the walls
like raindrops falling
Wet ivory now moving
Teaching
My heart to sing
Again

 

Portrait on the wall

The sun shines brightly

Grass green and flowers blooming

Picture perfect, portrait on the wall

We function well

Carrying on this disillusionment

And then one day

A glitch in our system

The facade falls from the frame

Shattering into a million pieces

Leaving behind the nakedness

Truth is life’s ugly

But we cover up our lives

With pretty things

Keeping our world full

Constant activity

Children and what looks like God

But what happens?

When the portrait’s facade falls away?

When life’s rawness revealing

Our imperfection to all

Comes into focus

Only One to know us

To pick up the pieces

And carry us through these hardships

Let everything go

Let it be real and imperfect

Cry and tell Him you’re hurting

And let Him work it out

Or you can

Buy another picture

Cover up the bleeding

And continue basking in the sun

Of your picture perfect life.

 

Take a Chance

“What if…” “If only…”

Such an elusive way to think.

This is me.

Someone took a chance on me.

They trusted and freely gave

And then they forgot

Their reasons fading away

Like water through my fingers

They left me alone

I couldn’t decide which thing I must have done wrong to have deserved it.

But I thought, “what if I had…”

And in the end, I now know it wouldn’t have made a difference.

There are many things in my life that I think to myself that I would change if I was given the opportunity, and yet, I am happy for the wisdom I have through it all.

Yet, I still go through this constantly.

Teeter-tottering on the concept of failure versus success.

Someone else took a chance on me.

I was tough now-more secure.

They accepted me and I them.

But I wasn’t enough in the end.

I found that out through heart-ache and tears.

Head and heart beaten to pulp.

Loss and…failure.

I had lost, again.

I wasn’t looking in the right place.

If ONLY someone who I already trusted was with me, it would be different.

But this time I wouldn’t get so deep.

Another chance-

Another heart-ache…what is wrong?

With me?

Like a rag doll…once a cared for possession but tossed aside.

I longed for it,

But grew to trust only me.

Then it happened!

My long lost ONE!

I took a chance.

I rocked my world and went all in.

Full throttle into the life I thought was right.

I wanted him to take a chance on me too.

I thought he did, but still undecided.

And then wavered…

He couldn’t give me the chance-it conflicted with the life he desired.

And again, I was alone.

More alone than ever-and broken.

But what is broken can let in more love-more hope.

I trusted and I found one.

No chances taken-I just said let it be, whatever it may be.

Don’t take a chance, but believe in me.

I have a few friends who have taken that chance on me-they have believed in me when others wouldn’t.

They watch me fall flat on my face…

And get back up each time-tear stains down my dirtied cheeks.

But they LOVE…they ACCEPT the inevitable ME.

They don’t know my outcome and they’ve seen (or heard of) my so-called “failures.”

And yet, they still took the chance on me-they counted on me to pull through.

*****************************************************************************

My challenge to you is to take that chance and continue to have faith in someone even if and when it is not what you expect.

I am preaching to myself right now because I want the “what if” and “I hope” to work itself into reality but the fact of the matter is that it is me putting expectations on someone and that isn’t fair.  Hope is good-unconditional love is BETTER! Acceptance in SPITE of someone’s outward appearance or maybe a stigma-a label.  It’s hard to walk in someone else’s shoes.  And that is why I am happy I have had so many unsuccessful relationships in life, because it has taught me all of this-Love is eternal and people will come and go.  (Yes, you read that right.)  I have been torn and tattered.  I have been abused in almost every way in my past and who I am-how I am is too much for most people (family, spouse, friends included).  I have lost much, but I have not lost ME-and GOD has never lost ME.  HE loves ME-for ME!  HE knows where I am going and what will happen and HE takes a chance on me and that I will follow and love Him and do what HE says (definitely not because it’s popular).

When I was climbing, I learned to trust each hold and each path I chose.  When you lead, in rock climbing, you literally “commit” when you reach out and put all of your weight on a crimp or a smear and you “commit” to that route (you usually can’t go backwards unless you fail fall).  It’s so similar in life-you have to take that chance, trust, and then commit.  It’s actually a pretty simple formula.  Then if you fall, you try another route and eventually…hopefully stronger in the end, you make it to your destination.

I don’t like sounding like I’m preaching and I know if you are like me, you won’t just read this and learn it-you’ll have to live it just as I had.  If you don’t take a chance on someone, you may never know how amazing they are or will become. And you will never know how their ripples will affect you.  This may be on a loved one, lover, child, parent, co-worker, friend.  I don’t know, it may actually be that you need to take a chance on you.

Whatever the case, you are thinking of something right now that you need to take that chance on…something you just need to know. Maybe you won’t and you will never know.  Sometimes I think to myself with a smirk that I have come such a long way and done so much more than anyone who had taken the chance on me and then given up would have ever thought possible  But I don’t do these things for them…they’re because it is just the path I’ve walked.  No, I haven’t always “walked in the path that God willed” I’m sure…but He knew before the world was in motion that I would walk this path and He promises in Jeremiah that “For I know the plans I have for you…plans of good and not evil.”  We just need a little perspective to see how God equips us for those hardships and brings forth the best in each of us if we let him.

Ok, haha!  I got a little preachy and I’m sorry.  I guess I was having a moment looking back at some old poems from the past and realizing just how much I’ve come through-all which I would never have had the strength to go alone.  I struggle a LOT (hey-no one said this is easy), with who I am and why I was never “enough” for those who supposedly committed to me.  I have high expectations sometimes-more for myself than others.  And when someone does seemingly take a chance on me now, I have a hard time trusting.  I push them away and don’t talk to them much because I am afraid of not being what they “thought” and then feeling disappointed when they leave my life.  I will share an experience from my younger years that has stuck with me for a long time.  When I was in 8th grade, I was living in a 5th-8th grade girls dorm in a tiny boarding school in Bolivia, South America.  The prior year I had been in a large public school in the US (my parents went to the US every few years for a year “furlough”), so I knew none of the rules at this boarding school for this age.  Well, within weeks, I was breaking (pretty innocently) rules and my dorm parents sat me down in their office.  Their words will always sting-they told me they had expected me to be an angel since they knew my parents and they were disappointed in me.  WOW!  That hurt…and I believe that was the first of many disappointing moments in my life.

Anyway, take the chance, trust, and commit.  That is my challenge to you-to myself.

Glass Heart

Reflections of the moon ripple gently along the dark liquid mirror
A symbol of perfection like a polished glass heart smiling up at the night sky
Serene and silky, seducing all the senses, fooling those who gaze upon her
The slow churn of water under the surface is subtle and obscure
A forbidden abyss of mystery and danger
But the magical beauty lures and deceives those who mistake her
Those who have fallen through the crevasses of the icy surface
Only to know the strong current of what lies beneath, pulling deeper
Entrapping any who dare to pry behind the barrier of light
The frozen emotions on the surface so thick and strong
But the bold and bright sun bearing down warms and caresses her icy exterior
Exposing the torrents of water beneath
Just enough that her waves start to transform into a cool transparent spring
And the vulnerable waters of her soul shine brightly from the deep
Then a surge of light and deep rumble loudly piercing the calm air
Striking the open waters and forcing the vibrant chasm closing in and icing over
Stifling tear drops under the surface of the shell allowed to momentarily melt
As the dark clouds overhead beat down rain, bouncing off her icy shoulders
Now heavy laden with layers of protection from a storm until the sky clears
And then with sultry admonition, she shines from below the frozen exterior
Knowing the chaos stirring underneath is lost inside her glassy heart of ice.

Reflections

Sitting here atop this peak I’m on

Looking down at the beauty beneath

Wondering how I got up this high

Knowing there is no where else to go but down

Inevitable collapse

The waters below show me where I’m at

They reveal where I’ve been

The reflections of my journey here

I see love and laughter

Hope of things to come

Anticipation for the future as we climbed together

All the multi-pitched trust and determination

Giggles of children playing below

Watching and learning wherever we would go

We climbed and hiked this route

Anchored in deep so as not to fall

Or so we thought

But the anchors were loose

Aged from time and climbers falling hard on them

Knowing a safe climb down is not possible

Letting go of the rope that binds us

We jump head first

Not seeing the other

Falling headlong into the deep waters below

Breaking the reflections of our past

They will be no more

Drowned out now by currents of new life

Looking up at the peak from whence I fell

Will I climb that mountain again?

See my reflection in this mere puddle I’m in

Maybe…time will only tell

 

So, I wrote this little blurb this morning based on my mood, as is my custom.  I mentioned previously that I’ve climbed some pretty mighty (metaphorical) mountains during my lifetime already.  I feel like I am at the top of one now, looking over the edge and ready to jump-freefall if you will-into the unknown.  It is a scary time for me and yet exciting.  Part of me thinks, yeah, I can handle any mountain now! And the other side is saying, no…I can’t handle the difficult journey or the fall again.  I have been waging a war inside and outside with what has been going on in my life.  It is still too raw to share details, but suffice to say, it is the largest thing I’ve ever gone through-the most devastating to me, however, I know that because I have an amazing God who promised me He would never leave me and promised good for those who love Him and follow Him, I know that I will still stand and be okay.  I won’t drown in my sorrow or crawl around in desperation.  I am a child of the King and He knows how beautiful I am.  I am thankful for all the past I’ve been through that has strengthened me thus far.  I may not be strong enough otherwise.  It is true…”What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” And also there is a song out that says, “He might let you bend but He will never let you break.” Yep!  My soul and my heart is His!  He also entrusted me with a beautiful little girl, 4 years old right now, that is a ball of energy and light! I love her with all my heart and in this time of free-falling…I know I have to bounce back quickly and be there for my child.  She is resilient and even though this mountain is a journey she also took, and she is feeling the repercussions of such a high fall, I am praying that God can use me in her life to show her that there is something/someone higher than all of this that is worth living your life for! She doesn’t understand yet, and she will always remember this timeframe in her life, but God will reign in her-I have that hope and prayer.

My next post is going to be my story of my first multi-pitch climb (in Red Rock Canyon, just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada), called “Cat in the Hat.” Stay tuned!!!!