Spirituality

My big day off

Phew, I have been on a roll lately my dear readers that has time moving at light speed! I’ve been so busy in the best ways. First of all, my oldest son Tyler, who had never visited me here in Dallas, came here last week for four days. Now he has my heart singing because he told me he wants to relocate here! His father, my ex-husband and I have been divorced for almost ten years now. I relocated out of state of Rhode Island seven years ago so needless to say, I haven’t lived in the same state as my children for a long time.

I have written before about how messy my divorce was but it stands to emphasize that my ex is quite ignorant. He has refused to speak to me for going on five years now. We share joint custody but I granted him primary placement because he is the more stable one in both finances and emotions between the two of us. He has successfully alienated my younger son Miles, who will be 15 in April, from me. I understand why things have unfolded as they have and I have faith that once he has more real life experience plus a few more years of maturity, he will come around as Ty has.

Ty and I out and about in the big city

I have never, and I am proud of this fact, spoken a negative word about their father to either of my boys. That is their Dad, part of who they are and their idol even hero in many ways. I know all too well how when one parent is always negative about the other, the incredible damage it does to not only the parent child relationship but the child’s self esteem. This being said, my oldest will be 19 in August and is well aware of how both of his parents differ in personality. I have become more free to explain my side of things now.

Having Ty here was wonderful. I was a stay at home mother for twelve years and my greatest role in life will always be Mom. Getting to inhabit that role again is just the best feeling!! Ty and I are very alike and we vibe so well off each other naturally,  it’s so cool😊 He loves to tell me how when he thinks about me, while he’s home in RI, all of a sudden I call and vice versa for me! I tell him that’s because we are so connected plus we are both empaths. We finish each other’s sentences and I can recognize how strong his intuition is, especially for his age. Ty is light years ahead of me when I was his age! He makes me so damn proud😁

This post is entitled “My big day off” though so let’s get to that😉

New purchase of a Himalayan salt lamp

I love it when I get a day off during the week. I had a few errands to run downtown which took up most of my afternoon. I don’t own a car, so I use ride share, Uber specifically, everywhere I go. Today however, my destinations were close enough that I could walk to each of them. I don’t know what was in the air today but I found myself bumbling around from each place to the next. I’m talking about walking the wrong route more than once, forgetting my bag at a stop and having to search desperately for a public restroom! I couldn’t get out of my own way🤪

In the late afternoon, I had Uber bring my partner to our favorite hole in the wall pub so we could have a stiff drink and an early dinner or late lunch depending on how you want to look at it😉 I simply walked there and met him. It’s so important to me that we have at least one “date” a week where we can be ourselves, no distractions and be the fun loving couple we are. Letting go of life’s stressors.

We kissed goodbye and I sent him off home while I went over to the dance studio that I have been taking dance classes at. Tonight I returned to tap after many years of attending a proper class! I think the last time I was in a class was when I was sixteen years old! I taught the standard half hour ballet, half hour tap to little ones for years but that is a different beast all together!

Laced up the ol tap shoes💃

I was quickly reacquainted with how mathematical tap is and how often the steps fall on the “and” count. Our teacher was old school and super Southern. A real character and I loved her immediately! She kept remarking on how good I was doing and adding, “just jump in once you get it!”

I know I am so hard, too hard on myself from being trained in such a serious fashion plus dancing at a competitive level that it altered my entire outlook on dance. Returning as an adult, a mother, someone who has been on a 10 year odyssey of spirituality and healing and a yogi for 20 years I can now fully embrace not only myself but my sheer passion for dance! I really honored little Maria tonight. I thoroughly entertained myself and was able to laugh a lot as I untangled the stickiness of remembering the steps! The phrase that kept running through my head was, “you can do it Maria…it’s just like riding a bike!” Plus, I was taught to never walk out of a class, no matter what. I still stick that that rule🙌

This is a 180 degree difference to the Maria I was when I abruptly quit my dancing career at 16. That young lady was extremely hard on herself, self harmed with an eating disorder and was entirely too serious about everything. Nowadays, I enjoy laughing at myself, being silly and actively intending on not taking life too seriously. I make it a point to remind myself throughout my day to relax, will _____ matter a year even a month from now? It’s a mindset and a real shift from where I used to be. Welcome abundance mindset 👏

It felt really good to have the awesome ladies I tapped with tonight tell me they enjoyed my upbeat energy, personality and tap skills. They each asked if I would return to which I responded with a resounding HELL YEAH!

I must give myself credit here for acknowledging just how much I have grown in a short amount of time. My partner and I discussed it during our meal together. Since unearthing repressed memories of sexual abuse in June that occurred when I was 5 and 6, I have expierienced two back to back spiritual awakenings that have significantly raised my internal vibration. I acquired a new job that I absolutely love, my dream job in so many ways. I am healing my inner child wounds and in doing so have reconnected and solidified my authentic self. The Maria I am today is the most comfortable I have ever been in life. 100%

23 year old me

Ty even told my dear friend and the owner of the boutique I manage that he never thought he would see his Mom this happy. She remarked on how evident my influence was on him during his formative years because of what a great young man he has grown into being. That is definitely the greatest compliment I could ever receive. Deciding to move to Florida, push the reboot button in life after the divorce was extremely painful and difficult for all three of us, my boys and I. Being a Mom and raising my sons is my hands down greatest accomplishment in life. The separation alienated me from not only them but some of my family and friends. Many people had harsh comments and opinions for a mother, who in their words, chose to abandon her children. Entrusting them selflessly to their father. I knew he was the better parent at the time. I recognized that and I acted accordingly. Period.

This is the cold hard truth my dear readers. I was so lost, numb to my life at age 33 that I really wanted to die. I attempted taking my own life more than once. I was presented with the toughest choice I have ever had to make but one that was also absolutely necessary. It was my boys or me and I had to choose me which was counter to how I had lived my life up until then all along. Focusing solely on myself was scary as hell (still is at times)and felt so foreign, downright wrong at first. Ten years later, I can say that I love myself, I believe in myself by being my own best cheerleader. Two values I could never own before.

Ty & I ❤❤

I feel this poem really hits on the vein of letting go, recovering perfectionism and obtaining real self love. It’ll always be a work in progress and I’m ok with that. Keeping my mind open, willing to always learn, laugh at myself and embrace all that life has to offer is where I’m at today😊

Control….or release of it😉
Spirituality

I love you

Just finished watching “The trial of Gabriel Fernandez” on Netflix which is a horrific account of child abuse, torture and murder at the hands of his own mother and her boyfriend. It got me thinking about how much I love people. Life is so precious and short so I want to tell you all, I love you❤ Let’s make an effort to show each other more love and kindness because it’s so needed in this world today!

From me to you 😉✌

In other news, I am really excited to be taking an adult tap class tonight! It’s been a good ten years, probably more since I have taken a proper tap class! It’s definitely honoring my inner child so little Maria is thrilled to get her tap shoes laced up again💃

I need to carve out some writing time so I can share with you my dear readers all about my son’s visit here. Spoiler alert** he wants to move here!!

Mental health, Spirituality

To love is to live

My dear readers, have you ever woke up to a certain song stuck in your head? I did this morning and the way my mind works I’m always so curious as to where it came from. I grew up with my mother playing a lot of John Denver and American folk music in our house. The song that popped in and kept replaying was “Annie’s song”. That’s still one of my Mother’s favorites and I must admit mine too. Whenever I hear it I want to run through a brighly colored meadow or hike up a mountain. The whimsical visions that are sparked in my mind are so clearly an ode to love and nature. Lately, it’s a love affair with myself and my new found self love Imthat I’m so interested in exploring. I envision myself holding hands with my younger self running through that meadow and the look on the face of that little girl inside me.

Life has a way within its ebbs and flow to present me with what I need to consider more of and work on when it cones to either delving deeper into shadow work or exploring more and caring for my inner child. Lately, it’s the latter I have been being reminded of. I’m not sure if I have published my real name yet on this blog but it’s Maria. My full given birth name is Maria Teresa Pratico. Little Maria has been begging for my attention lately and wants to be nurtured. My legal last name is Swanson and I chose to not change that when I went through my divorce because I wanted my boys to see us as still being a family. Now i choose to use my maiden name because it resonates more within me. The Swanson in me was a robotic force and Pratico is more of my true identity.

After the realization I had in June of the abuse that I suffered it’s like a whole new part of me has been awakened and is demanding my attention. I must tell you my dear readers, my own years of therapy, the countless books and articles I have read on processing emotions has taught me that when our feelings are not properly realized and our emotional moods go unexpressed, over time it creates a real issue that just continues to hold us more and more captive. This is especially true when it comes to trauma, the more we stuff and repress the harder and heavier our bodies get holding onto that energy. That’s what having sessions of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy has helped me to release. However, there are other ways my inner child wants to be recognized and reparented in order to fully integrate her into my body. In his book, “The body keeps the score,” Bessel van der Kolk writes about unresolved trauma from a neuroscience perspective and explains why traumatized people experience incomprehensible anxiety, inexplicable numbing and intolerable rage, and how trauma impacts concentration, memory, and the ability to form trusting relationships. These are symptoms that our bodies display because it’s been holding onto that energy, trapped in our body.

For so much of my life, I operated in an auto-pilot unconscious state of being. Now it feels like I was almost two separate people. The me before and the me now. I wasn’t awake, I lacked self love, self confidence, I doubted myself in almost every situation and really I can admit I wasn’t really living! I held myself back so much by choosing to focus more on other people’s feelings and emotions, their problems in hopes that if I could fix them I would be loved. Now I know that the only person who can give me the full attention, fulfillment and happiness I crave is me. It’s not an external process and doesn’t come from material things. I feel like I’m really living and in doing so I am living out loud, unapologetically and on purpose. Speaking my mind and my truth in my loudest voice whether or not it makes some people uncomfortable and disagree with me…all of it! If you don’t like it, look away and step out of my way because nobody will become my next excuse for not taking care of myself or stopping me now. At 42 years old, I have stifled myself for far too long and it’s my time to shine!

With it being a new year and a brand new decade, I made a promise with myself to do the things that made me uncomfortable. Right now this includes getting more and more comfortable with uncomforbility. I started recording video confessionals on my social media that I call, Maria’s Musings. I’ve never been a fan of myself in pictures and video because I’m so critical of my looks and my voice. No more!! I even record myself without makeup, dressed in my pajamas or workout clothes. It’s me being me and loving myself every step of the way. You can find me on Instagram @emotionalmusings. I checked off a goal on my vision board too by doing my first poetry slam over the weekend. I performed my poem, “Glimpses” which is a tribute to my dear Nana who is now one of my spirit guides who appears to me as a butterfly🦋

“Glimpses”
For my Nana

The new me has confused some people in my world and one person in particular is my partner. He gets upset with my new and total focus on myself at times because he is so used to me putting others, like him first. This has created a lot of friction between us. In the last five months we have argued more than the last six and a half years of our entire relationship together! I have disclosed in previous posts that he is also someone living with severe mental illness stemming from traumatic brain injuries and the many concussions he sustained while playing professional football.

https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/lincoln-coleman-former-cowboys-running-back-struggles-with-effects-of-head-trauma-10983207

Another harsh reality he faces are the facts that have been well publicized about the connection between traumatic brain injuries and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy)which is a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries. The symptoms may include behavioral problems, mood problems, and problems with thinking. These symptoms typically do not begin until years after the injuries. CTE often gets worse over time and can result in dementia.

It’s creates quite a challenge for him as he has watched many players die or commit suicide by shooting themselves in the heart so that their brains can be studied. Recently, he lost another player to suicide and when he told me, the look in his eyes rattled me to my core in a very deep way. Our connection and bond is so strong and to think of losing him in anyway but especially in that way terrifies me! Then I start examining everything he is doing and saying in a more critical way. The empath in me has had to learn how to actively block him so I don’t get caught up in his energy and thoughts.

Lately, it’s all been too much for me and my own regularly shifting fast moving energy collided and had in a way a head on collision with his energy and BAM! Making life decisions based in fear is never a good idea and results in undesirable outcomes. It’s my nature to love and accept others. That must include both myself currently and his reality too. All of that became entirely too much to handle last week. We had a bad blowout that resulted in both of us saying things we didn’t mean and I ended our relationship.

I also allowed this overly active fear and emotional state to spill over into my job as a manager for a dear friend of mine’s boutique. Without going into details, I did something that I shouldn’t have that could of put the business in jeopardy. My emotional state had me not thinking straight when I made this mistake. Then I went further into crash and burn mode by telling her I was quitting and gave my two weeks notice abruptly and without any warning which hurt my girlfriend’s feelings badly. I know now what I did could’ve had irreparable damage to their livelihood and our great friendship. Taking stock of the situation took some serious sole searching on my part. The will to listen and quiet my own fears so that I wasn’t acting so selfishly and considered all sides of the situation. I’m praying for a positive outcome to my apology.

Living in fear is like being backed into a corner, triggering me to feel scared, helplessness and confused just as I did during the abuse I suffered. As I continue to heal, these parts of me are lying dangerously close to the surface and my own current reality. They at times become twisted up and entangled in a way that clouds my decision making and has me wanting to escape. This is by no means an excuse, it’s my reality and I’m addressing it head on.

I want to share with you dear readers the importance of addressing what you need to in life because we only get one shot at living. Life is precious and short. I’m someone who wanted to pull the plug by cutting my own short because living was so painful and I felt the only way out was death. A permanent solution to a temporary problem. Learning to love myself and having the ability to love another person, despite terrifying circumstances shows strength, resilience and most of all courage. Summoning that courage took the abity for me to use pain as a motivator not as a roadblock. I admit, I don’t always make clearheaded decisions concerning my life. I have the tendency to want to blow up my life and throw the towel in and say FUCK IT ALL!

Not giving into these urges is hard for me because my natural tendency has been conditioned to not focus on my own uncomfortable or challenging feelings of fear, anger and sadness. I stuff, numb and dissociate from them just like I did in childhood during the abuse. It was easier to put my mind in another place and numb out. It’s our bodies defense, protecting our brains from the highest levels of anxiety and circuit overload. I now know this coping mechanism no longer serves me and I must change that maladaptive pattern before it continues to wreck havoc in my world today.  Following inner compass suits my life and decision making much better!

Choosing to love and remain in love is hard during these fearful moments but if I want to live, I must love. I have also been programmed to find pleasure in pain. I have been noticing that when typing a lot I tend to type live instead of love. That’s what sparked me to start investigating this vital connection between loving and living. In order for me to consistently maintain my happiness, I must choose to love in order to keep living. The abuse is over. The little girl who experienced that rauma is grown. I have learned a better way to live. I can make better choices. When I fall down and make the same mistakes my from past, I can now recognize them and correct them by taking responsibility for my words and actions by choosing to not blow up my life. If it’s one thing I have learned it’s that the grass is never greener.

I choose to accept my partner’s prognosis and conditions because when taking stock of the pros and cons of our relationship, the pros undoubtedly outweigh the cons. More on that in upcoming posts my dear readers. Once I can snap myself back into my body, I can easily recognize this. When I was high in emotion mind, I wrote this poem. Thankfully for me writing is such a great outlet. One I need to rely upon more so I don’t actively allow fear into the driver’s seat unnecessarily.

Mental health, Spirituality

Having myself a Merry little Christmas

This time of year used to bring me such joy and happiness. From November through early January I dove head first into decorating my home, visiting with friends, baking cookies, seeking out the best Christmas lights displays and watching my favorite Christmas movies. Since my divorce six years ago and my move away from where my children live, each holiday season has gotten tougher and I don’t participate in any of my traditional holiday activities. It’s simply too painful and I can’t bear the memories of being with my children in years past. The breakfasts with Santa, the shopping for presents, decorating the tree etc. just make me sad and yearn for those happier times.

At the request of both of my boys, they don’t want me involved in their lives any longer. We haven’t had any communication in over eighteen months. I also haven’t seen their sweet faces in over two years. Just typing these two sentences leave tears running down my face. Despite the swirling of my emotions, I get up everyday and go to work, smile and engage with my customers. Lead my co-workers and try my best to lend a hand where I am needed. This is something I’m deeply proud of because in the past I would’ve let this destroy me. I would have crawled under my covers and quit. This year I have decided to overcome my sadness by living my life to the fullest. Writing about it too is completely liberating because of the tremendous guilt this entire situation brings.

I’m also proud that however I have been feeling over these past six years, I have never once uttered a bad word to my boys about their father. I refuse to destroy their image of him. He is a huge part of who they are as people and I understand that. My own mother would tear into us as children with negative comparisons to our father and it used to make me feel so terrible about myself. I believe it’s emotional child abuse to purposely alienate a child from one of their parents. I have tremendous faith that one day my boys will see the truth and want to know me again. We have an unbreakable bond and no matter how many miles separate us I will always be there for them. They are the two souls on this journey that I love the most.

Recently I came across some of my old journals. I have used writing as an emotional outlet for processing and healing since I was a young girl. I’m so thankful that no matter how many times I have moved I always keep my old writings intact. I enjoy looking back and rereading my work because it’s a great way to assess how much I have grown and evolved emotionally from the things that cause me distress and pain.

This week has hit me harder than any of the last six years. I have recently taken on more responsibilities at work and that is a welcome distraction emotionally. I haven’t been sleeping well the past few nights because my mind is in overdrive between work stuff and all these memories. I don’t feel creative and I’m concerned that my passions will be neglected because of it.

I do however have this weekend off because I will be working both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I’m actually looking forward to it. Making others smile and feel joy even though inside I’m crying. It’s opposite action for sure (a DBT principle coping skill) and my former therapist would be proud of my choice to triumph on over my feelings.

Here are the three poems that I found in that journal stuffed into an old bag under a chair in my apartment. I have come a long way emotionally from where I was when I wrote them. I’m stronger. I’m a survivor. I’m a fucking WARRIOR. Happy holidays dear readers. If I can do it, believe in yourself and you can too ✌💖

Uncategorized

The beginning

Welcome! I have contemplated starting a blog like this for years. My own insecurities and obsessions with perfection have held me back…….up until now! I am throwing all caution to the wind by just doing it! Right now in my life I feel I have nothing to lose.

I am a woman living with C-PTSD or Complex PTSD. I am not a military veteran however I consider myself a warrior in life. My entire life, more specifically my formative years, were incredibly traumatizing. My family of origin was emotionally abusive. I always felt I didn’t exist, the forgotten child, blending in with the walls of our house. I am the middle child of six, ours is a blended family since my parents were both previously married and came with two children each upon entering into their marriage together. I understand and accept that both my parents did the best they could, it was the 1970s and I believe they didn’t fully understand the emotional repercussions they inflicted upon their children.

I always felt I had to pick a side between who’s team I was on, Mom’s or Dad’s. My mother is a Borderline personality and her behavior was always chaotic at best. My father was a workaholic who owned a car dealership. We were upper middle class and I never wanted for anything. Sounds great right? Not exactly. My father wasn’t home much and when he was he was emotionally absent, very controlling and strict. My mother has the EQ of a 4 year old and couldn’t regulate her own emotions let alone guide those of her children. My younger sister and I were left to our own devices, raised by wolves as one of my therapists has described it. I was never allowed to show anger or sadness. I was to always be happy and in a good mood for fear of not being accepted or loved. Love was dolled out with conditions. I was shamed into believing that only happiness was allowed to be expressed. Every other emotion was stuffed, stifled and forced away. This was done by verbal abuse and sometimes mild physical abuse. I can admit now I would of rathered it of been all the latter because those wounds heal. The emotional scars from my childhood are still prominent today. My fear of abandonment and acceptance hinder my relationships with others but mostly with myself. I have had over 30 years of therapy both inpatient hospitalizations and outpatient courses of behavioral modification.

The best outpatient course I completed was in DBT or dialectical behavioral therapy. I nicknamed it emotional college. The principles I learned to integrate into my life have been life altering in such a positive way.

The most difficult of these is the idea of Radical Acceptance. It is a daily task for me to accept not only myself but what occurs around me. When I can get to that place, I have peace. I understand that things are not perfect, I don’t have to agree with everything but things are as they are. It is what it is. I can let go. Ican accept the moment for what it is but most essentially I can accept myself.

I look forward to exploring more of my emotional processes here in my blog. I believe I have an unique voice because I am insightful. I am also an intuitive empath which comes with it’s own set of challenges and gifts.

Let this writing adventure and self introspective begin!

Uncategorized

The Journey Begins

Welcome to my innermost thoughts. I have been writing my entire life to help me process what goes on around me. I use my emotions as a paint brush of sorts in my poems. I have lived a lot of life in my years on this planet this far and I feel I have a unique female voice. I hope to encourage, inspire but most importantly spread love to all I encounter. Enjoy!

post