Churning, Turning, Swirling

The definition of Churn fits my mood & situation quite perfectly in this moment.  For those with any kind of experience dealing or operating within the legal system, with each motion, communication to your lawyer or anticipation of communication to opposing counsel the liquid in your stomach becomes agitated and no matter how much peppermint you ingest, there simply is no cure.

In the meantime, all the possibilities and ramifications of each choice and stop churn about in your mind and all you can think is that a dark quiet space with  no technology is really the best option for the moment or next many moments.  In spite of all the deep breathing exercises and self care moments you take or do, there never seems to be a way to settle what is churning around in your mind and heart because as an abuse survivor, especially in situations of prolonged exposure, you continually fight the battle of trying to figure out if what you are feeling is your feelings or what your abuser trained you to think.

Today’s Challenge:  Take just 5 minutes to BE STILL.  5 minutes doesn’t seem to terribly long but when you have been physically, emotionally and mentally agitating/churning, that 5 minutes can seem like FOREVER!  Try it though, I dare you.


Patience and It’s Fine Lines…


The first thought that popped into my head was that there are all types of patience and then that there is a fine line between patience and procrastination.

Let me explain…

  1. Patience & the Legal System:  For anyone who participates in the legal system for any reason (because I am sure what I am experiencing is not specific to divorce), will understand that this is prime time for a person’s level of patience to be tested.  The fastest part of my divorce to date is the day I walked out of the house and submitted and was awarded an ex parte.  For what ex parte orders involve, these have to move fast.  After that though, things move a lot slower at least for my case.  I know it is in part because of the protection piece of the order put in place while everything for the divorce gets ironed out but, HOLY SMOKES people!!!  Should you ever have to work within the legal system for a divorce, especially one involving mental, verbal, emotional abuse and marital rape, be prepared for a Marathon because that is what it is.  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
  2. Patience & Your Abuser:  During the 1 year of dating/engagement and the 11 years of marriage, many times I excused behavior with the following thoughts/theories/etc: “I love him and this is just how he thinks”; “He feels this way about family because of having to move while his parents were in the Marines”; “His group of friends when he was young made fun of him for an injury and that’s why he feels the way he does”; “He just wants to keep me safe”; “He’s just looking out for me and the boys”; “This is part of marriage and working together”; “He knows best”; “Let him decide since he works in an office while I am home with the boys during the day”.  The list could keep going.  The point being that after rationalizing his behavior for so long and listening to him put me down in very subtle and controlling ways, I realize now during recovery, I extended all levels of patience, grace and mercy to a man who did not love me for me.  Ever.
  3. Patience & Relationships:  I realize now just how patient my immediate family as well as extended family was during the time of my marriage and now during the process of divorce and recovery.  My support network is large and not one of them have judged or criticized how I handled the past and the present.  I remember my paternal Grandmother and the abuse she was subjected to and her lack of support due to the isolation she was subjected to as well as the hands off, don’t ask, the wife belongs with the husband don’t interfere culture of the time.  For that, I know that I will never truly understand how she not only survived with non existent support but limited financial resources and six children.  To you Grandma, I extend all my love and overwhelming need to try to live up to the loving example you set for my dad and all his sisters and brothers.
  4. Patience & the Mind:  For any survivor of a traumatic incident, you know just how delicate this balance in your mind plays out.  Mental recovery is not like physical recovery.  I remember from reading in a book that with a physical injury, there are set steps someone can take to get better.  There is a well documented process from the time of the injury to full recovery and maintaining that health post recovery.  This process works for everyone.  If you follow the steps and are patient with yourself, then you will get there.  Recovery of the mind does not work quite the same.  For person A, they can follow steps 1, 2, 3 in order to reach the end but for person B, maybe they have to do 3, 4, 1 to recover and even then the recovery is not guaranteed.  With surviving a traumatic incident, there is any number of little or big triggers that could change your mood in a second.  And yes, it happens just that fast.
  5. Patience & Offspring:  I think that pretty much covers what I could say.
  6. Patience & Yourself:  For me, I struggle with this a lot.  Because some days I do well and other days, I feel like I am swimming up stream.  Other days, I feel like I am using being patient with myself as a crutch to take a break from getting things done not just for my boys or myself but to help me reach who I want to be and what I want to accomplish for myself and my boys.

With all that being said, Patience is one of those words bandied about quite readily by just about everyone.  But for each individual, patience looks and means very different things.  Amazingly, patience can create all sorts of fine and not so fine lines in your life.

Today’s Challenge:  I know this may be hard but take a few quiet minutes to ponder just what Patience means to you and what that looks like in your life.  If you can’t seem to find a few minutes to ponder it, than just let the idea roll around in your brain, or draw a picture, or write about it or as I like to do a lot these days with my 3 boys, make up a song about it.


Wrinkles, Wrinkles Everywhere

Wrinkles, Wrinkles Everywhere

Wrinkles in my hair

From here to there

From there to here

Wrinkles are everywhere

Thank you to Dr. Seuss for everlasting inspiration especially since I am adult and because I am so very tired of adulting.

Wrinkles are those pesky things that not only show up on your body but make appearances in every aspect of your life.  From parenting, to work, to self-care, to recovering from abuse of any kind to simply trying to function from one day to the next.

It is especially evident in any kind of divorce proceeding especially when your ability to co-parent is hindered by your child’s other parent and their need for control, always being right and their belief they have done nothing wrong and that everything that went wrong is your fault but when you express this idea, you are being melodramatic and the phrase, “Do you want a little cheese with your wine?” comes from the other’s mouth (or some version of that).

Then while the wrinkles of the legal system involving divorce with children make themselves apparent, the survivor deals with the wrinkles of recovery.  That not every day is great but all you can measure it by is that may today, you had no panic attacks or that you were able to shut the abuser’s voice in your head down or at least recognize it for what it is and what it is not.

Eliminating the abuser from your life regardless of how long you were involved with them takes time and patience and forgiveness towards and for yourself more than anything.

Sometimes, you hear something, it may be the first time or the hundredth time but for whatever reason, in that moment when you hear it, it takes root and truly hits home.

That happened for me this past Monday when a fellow survivor told me:

“The best thing about right now is that you can reinvent yourself and be anything you want.”

I did not just understand this in my head as understanding what each of those words means.  I understood it in my heart and with my gut.  Now I am pulling out of my 6 week funk and have a sense of urgency and emergency to move forward with something positive for me.

Today’s Challenge:  It’s easy to say and hard to do but:

Be Patient with Yourself.  You deserve it.

Serious thoughts I wish I didn’t have…

There is no picture to go with what is circling through my brain.  All the news surrounding #MeToo and dealing with the day to day of going through a divorce leave me frustrated and tired.  The energy required to keep putting one foot in front of the other seems overwhelming and beyond my capability.  Making sure my boys are taken care of pushes me through each day.  Trying to stay one step ahead of what needs to be done even with help from family seems daunting.

Realizing that things within my marriage were so much worse than I knew 3 1/2 months ago when I left makes me mad.  Why did I stay?  Why did I let him do what he did?

Red flags as I think about our 11 years together become plentiful but looking back is always 20/20.  Admitting that what he did was abuse is hard to take.  Admitting that it pervaded every area and every room in our house and followed me everywhere is almost breaks me into pieces all over again.

I felt like I had been moving in the right direction and getting better and I am getting better.  It’s the random  moments like now where different things hit me and I realize that abuse from a spouse is so much worse than anything else but is probably believed less by those told of the abuse than of other types of abuse.

I used to think it would be easier if he just hit me.  In my mind it seemed like that would make things clear cut and simple.  Except that when your married, sometimes the hitting is more like “hitting”.  It’s the snide comments and constant rhetoric spilling from his mouth that eventually wore me down.  I don’t think I made eye contact with myself in the mirror for at least the last your of our marriage, probably longer than that.  I had not thought about what that meant until after I left.

His voice still rolls through my head, especially as I type this because adjectives like dramatize, crazy, bitch and selfish are popping up and I know that it’s his voice saying those things because near the end those were his go to words to describe me when we argued.  He always had an arsenal of go to catch phrases that still steam roll through my head and make an appearance in my behavior.  I know that nothing gets better overnight but what has hit the hardest is that at the base, most physically intimate connection you can have with your significant other is where he hit home the most.

He would get mad because I wouldn’t initiate an physical intimacy with him but how can you feel desire for someone who spends most of the their time with you telling through their actions that you can’t do anything right, even keeping the house clean.  Even when I would tell him I wasn’t interested and too tired it made him mad.  I didn’t want him to touch me.  I don’t know if I even had restful sleep for the last 2 years of our marriage because I always tried to stay on my side of the bed.  It was the fear that if I touched him in some way while we slept he would push for intimacy.

I’ve come to realize that he had no respect for me or what I wanted and he never respected when I told him no.

So, you know what that makes him, right?

Wishing for a Loophole

Image result for loophole

There are days when things get added  on and all I can think is that I am ready to tap out.  That’s where I am at today.  I remind myself that God does not give me more than I can handle and all I can think is that my plate is darn near close to overflowing already, can a girl get a Loophole out of her reality for just a moment?

Maybe it’s that my mind needs a vacation more than the loophole.

Today’s Challenge:  There are all sorts of resources for self care and taking time for yourself.  That whole concept of self-care is my challenge to you today.  Try tapping into at least one thing even if it is only for 5 minutes that gives you some sense of peace and allows you to break away from all the comings and goings of your mind.

If you have more than 5 minutes today, tomorrow or anytime, I would offer up this sermon series, especially part 2 once they post it.  Pastor Matt talks about how we have to wonder in the wilderness before reaching our destination because there are things to be learned in the journey.


Carving Time…

Image result for hourglass broken

Something I struggle with and can remember struggling with since I was young, was the sense that things had to be all or nothing. Examples:

  1. If I am going to exercise, I need to do it all in one session.
  2. If I am going to open a bag of M&Ms, then I may as well eat all of them.
  3. If I cannot complete the whole task in one fell swoop, then I need to wait until I have the time to do it all at once.
  4. One rough/bad/fill in the blank interaction with my boys makes the whole day bad.

Take your pick.  While for many, the start of a new calendar year is the chance to change things, make resolutions, start over, I realized that in finally stepping from the shadow my life and I had become in the last 10 years was the start of a my new year.

It was bumpy.  It was rocky.  It was full of self doubt and self criticism.  Self respect had left me for a permanent vacation.

But over the past few months, I slowly let go of the doubt.  I try to look at the rockiness as a right now situation not a permanent reflection of my future.  The self criticism diminished because I walked away from the voice feeding it.

Self respect is slowly returning from it’s long sabbatical.  Thank God for my family and all the come to Jesus moments they provide me.

One of the things that has helped me most is realizing that my exercising does not have to be one long cardio session.  Right now, just some basic sets of push ups, crunches and stretching, while it does not seem significant to many, for me it is a little bit of self care that has gone a long way in re-igniting my self respect.

Some other Thank You’s go to Pastor Matt at The Gathering for offering up the Face It Sermon Series:

Listening to his sermon last Sunday was exactly what I needed to hear.  One of the things he talked about was how with resolutions everyone wants to add something, like:

  1. Eating Healthy
  2. Losing Weight
  3. Exercising
  4. Writing a book

But in the push to start a new habit, rebuild a habit or just try something new, we do not think to ask ourselves, what do I need to remove from my life to make this new thing happen.  That in and of it’s self was a very condemning moment for me as I have realized that there are so many little bits and pieces of my day that end up in the waste because of my all or nothing mentality.

A second thank you goes to The Hockey Mom Fit Life Blog:

The Hockey Mom Fit Life

I have been following her blog for awhile.  As a mother of three boys, all under 5, reading about how she manages to fit in her boys and husband’s hockey schedules, work and exercise is an inspiration to me.  It’s the reminder to me on an almost daily basis that if she can manage to fit all those things into her day, then I can certainly fit 10-15 minutes of simple basic stretching and exercise into my day, even if it is only 5 push ups at a time.

So much of life today is about going non stop and not wanting to miss an opportunity but in the midst of that we miss too much.

Today’s Challenge: Can you Carve out a piece of time for yourself? Pause for as long as you can, whether it is 1 minute or 5 minutes or more.  What do you want for yourself?  What do you want your life to look like?  Set your goals based on that and  maybe it means subtracting things from your life instead of adding.

Moving Forward…

One of the most amazing chemical reactions people see on some kind of regular basis is the oxidization of copper.  When that bright, shiny copper roof goes onto a building or a copper metal sculpture is created, the copper reflects the sun and shows all the promise of what is to come.

As time passes and the copper stays exposed to the elements of sun and water, the copper reacts by creating a lovely green Patina with only hints of the bright shiny copper it started out with in the beginning.

As I left my 8th grade reunion Saturday evening, I realized that we all have a patina that develops as each year passes.  There are hints of who we were as children.  Innocence, curiosity and the sense we are invincible.  The comfort in shared memories regardless of how old and in the reminiscing realizing that how we saw our selves is very rarely how others saw us.

As time passes and we are exposed to the elements of love, hate and everything in between our feelings and reactions create our memories of a moment or event and change how we perceive ourselves, people around us and our environments.  With the patina that we allow to layer over our emotions and feelings, it effects our reactions and behaviors.  The beautiful thing I realized about shared childhood memories is that it allowed me to remember who I was and reminded me of all I could be, even at the age of 37.  Since, I am working on finding myself again after 11 years of negativity, the chance to sit around and visit with old friends and my best friend who lives out of town was exactly what I needed as I work to move forward in making the best out of myself and providing the best possible childhood for my three boys.

Today’s Challenge:  As the movie UP says, “Adventure is out there!”.  Go find your adventure, big small, far away or local.  Sometimes the biggest adventure for some people is to be still while for others it is to talk to a stranger in the grocery line.  Whatever your adventure, go for it!