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.

Time to Start Again…

Just the word Strut brings an image of someone moving to your mind.  Whether it is a model moving across the runway, a nurse striding down the hall to respond to a patient page, a mom pushing a stroller, a dad carrying his child on his shoulders or a celebrity making progress down a red carpet, each person moves in their own particular way.

Strutting implies so much more than just walking.  A strut is purely personal and specific to each human and animal.  It is attitude and a person’s confidence or lack there of.  Just watching how someone moves creates a picture in your mind of their personality.

After having made a large life change in the last month, I realized just how much of my personal self I lost in the last 10-11 years.  As I sat thinking about the word prompt for today, I realized that loss of knowing myself reflects in my movement.  There is no personality behind my walk.  It is simply a function of the everyday tasks that I feel need to be marked of my list for each day.

Today’s Challenge:  Find your own strut or lack there of because we are all unique and our movements reflect that.  Then, own it and if you don’t like, then change it.  You are not a tree.

Mommy Uniform

Growing up, I always hated to wear that plaid jumper Uniform to school.  The only good thing was that once I got to 6th grade, I knew I would get to upgrade to the skirt and that was way cooler than a stupid jumper.

While it has been “many moons” (thanks Bill Engvall) since I wore that uniform, I realized that we all have uniforms we were that depend on the role we perform for that moment or day.  As a stay at home mom, I know my uniform options for the day have fewer restrictions.  My only basic requirement is, “Is it clean?” and then follow up for that is, “Just how clean is it?”.

For the working moms like my sister, sister-in-law and best friend, their work uniforms must meet more guidelines since they have to get up every day, run around and get everyone else read while getting themselves ready and trying to make sure when they leave the house that their clothes are presentable and clean because I am pretty sure they do not want a co-worker asking about why their shirt is on backwards, what is that spot on your shoulder, or any other seemingly innocent questions that mean they did not make it out of the house without taking a hit to the clothes.

As a stay at home mom, your children even show they are aware of your uniform by how they respond when you deviate from it.

Sometimes, uniform does not necessarily refer to your clothing but your actions.  Certain situations trigger a learned reaction or response, good or bad.  You give canned answers to questions like, “How are you today?” or “Nice weather”.  The automatic response represents a surface reaction because sometimes the answer to “How are you today” is not a simple OK or fine. It is the furthest thing from it but spouting that out to a stranger is typically not a person’s first reaction.

Today’s Challenge: Make a change to your daily uniform today whether it is a change to your clothing or how you respond to everyday inquiries from co-workers and acquaintances and even family.  Take note of how it makes you feel, changes your outlook for the day and if it changes your attitude and mood with those around you.


Traces of Me…

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Shadows of me

Traces really

Nothing substantial

Just a whisper on the wind

Feelings of how I used to be and feel

Nothing concrete anymore

No sense of charging ahead into adventure

Just day to day survival

Start at A

Charge forward to B

C comes next

D is not far behind

The energy begins to fade on the way to E

Soon the day fades into F

Keep going forward to G

Hoping H is not far behind

Intently looking to move quickly through I

J, K, L leap right past in the rush of mid afternoon

Pushing quickly through M, N, O, P

O through X is a mystery that melts into the nightly routine

Y is so late in the days journey

To Z, sometimes it seems it never gets asked much less answered.

Soon, the Trace of the day settles

Into the dark of night

You know you made it through

How? you are not sure

You simply know that the journey starts in the morning

Again with A until

Z makes it’s appearance

Today’s Challenge: Enjoy all the little moments that make you feel love, that make you laugh because above all else the trace of that joy and happiness should be what you and your loved ones remember for the day.

Temperature vs. Feeling…

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Lukewarm is that temperature that means your nice, piping hot, fragrant, french vanilla creamer flavored cup of coffee sat to long.  Maybe you got busy making breakfast for you and your family, or the simple diaper change for your 1 month old turned into a full out washcloth bath with new clothes plus a new diaper because the projectile spit portion of the day arrived despite your fresh cup of coffee waiting for you.  Either way, depending on your mood, that tepid cup of coffee either passes muster and you drink it anyway or you sacrifice it to the kitchen drain because it just doesn’t seem worth the effort and calories of drinking it because it just isn’t right.

Sometimes, you make iced coffee with lukewarm coffee.  Depends on the day.

And sometimes, it best describes your mood.  Lukewarm describes how you feel about getting anything remotely productive accomplished, how you feel about important relationships with others or with yourself.  Sometimes, it’s the mood you get where there really is nothing wrong with anything in your life but you feel like everything is messed up beyond reason, nothing can go right, why bother trying to get anything done when it won’t matter if it’s done or not because whoever may notice the accomplished item will have some criticism of it and if they don’t the negative little monster sitting on your shoulder that hijacked your day will have plenty to say.

Today’s Challenge:  Tell that negative shoulder sitting monster to go find somewhere else to be because you have joy, laughter, and fun to invade your mind and control your day.