I’m so pleased to share with you my dear readers and loved ones here in our little WordPress community the interview I did with my dear soul sister Chrissy-Marie Tucciarone, for her podcast on iTunes and Spotify called “The Art of Aliveness”. I recorded this in early July, before I started the 40 hours of apprenticeship healing sessions and right after the release of my 3rd book of poetry, “My Heart’s Song”. She asked me some great questions allowing me to share my healing journey thus far with a huge concentration on my art.
I describe myself as a creative person because I feel my sensuality and drive come from my love for anything that helps me express myself in an artistic way including writing, dancing, yoga, painting, chanting, singing, music and now the shamanic healing sessions I conduct. I see the world in technicolor orchestrated by a wide array of musical tastes from Classical, Jazz, R&B, The Dead, Reggae, EDM, Classic Rock and everything in between. There’s really no beat I’ve ever met I didn’t like my dears💃 Being able to express myself artistically is like breathing for me. It’s how I roll.
As I landed in Denver, the city I was connecting through from Idaho before my final destination in Fort Lauderdale, I saw a notification pop up on my cell from Chrissy telling me our episode #27 was live on the podcast platforms! I bought some snacks, found a place to plug in my device and started to listen. I must admit, this is my first ever interview on my own life’s story. I’ve been involved in other interviews with my partner because he’s a Superbowl Champion but this was the first time I would speak from my heart on my own journey from darkness to light. It’s an overwhelming honor and I feel a lump in my throat just writing about it now. Here’s the link. I invite all of you to have a listen….
I want to share with you my dear readers, some wisdom from Steven D. Farmer. He is a Soul Healer, shamanic practitioner, ordained minister and licensed psychotherapist. I adore his many books and tarot card decks. I have taken to heart so many of his words, most especially these❤
“All wounds stem from the illusion of separation from Source and of all Creation. The route of healing this wound is through cultivating love and compassion for every being on this planet, including oneself. Not a bland standard of unquestioned acceptance, but a heartfelt sense of profound relatedness to whatever you perceive as apart from yourself. True compassion requires not only a feeling of warmth that emanates when you are in touch with your heart center, but in acts of kindness, even if this means being a fully attentive listener. Respect the fact that your heart is both a giver (putting out electrical energy) and a receiver (drawing in magnetic energy). These energies are best sensed by attending to the steady flow of your breathing while also noticing your heart center. Righteousness, fear, anger and judgement are some common ways to block one’s natural desire to love. Forgiveness is not only letting go of judgement, but also seeing through the illusion that you and All-That-Is are separate. Look about you and inside of you, and do your best to love whatever you see”.
In order to do this, I had to first forgive myself and welcome in many vital values we all require to thrive as human beings. I had been rejecting myself and needed to cultivate self love, trust and belief 15 months ago when I felt I could no longer carry the burden of being sexually abused. I have wanted to get a tattoo of a semicolon for awhile now and I felt that I needed to get it done in Idaho.
In 2011, I found myself in a very dark place my dear readers. I felt so burdened by shame, guilt, unworthiness and hopelessness. I attempted to turn out my light completely. The main mission of my writing and the reason I became a shaman is to let others see we can and do heal. My hope is fully restored and my life-force energy is extremely strong. The motto I live my life by is “Triumphing over Trauma” and today I proudly walk with my head held high. You are never alone my dears. Ever!
September 10th is #worldsuicidepreventionday and I put the ; on my middle finger as an everlasting statement & symbol to myself to remember where I came from and how profoundly impactful this healing journey has been. I got this the day after the final ritual ceremony, a full circle moment 🙏
My heart is at peace, I am filled with joy, feeling 100% content with life. It’s a well deserved place to be after the pain and heartache from the many lessons in life I learned the hard way. The pain from the human experience is something we are all continually healing from. It’s never-ending and everlasting while we walk this planet. I believe that each and everyone of us can and does heal in our own ways. It’s hardwired in our DNA to heal. I’m honored and blessed to help others heal as I did in the ways of shamanism. As a shaman, I help others connect to their own natural rhythm, retrieve their soul’s purpose and balance the chakra points in the body, our energy centers that govern our being allowing us the most optimized functionality possible. This is my magic and what I’m meant to do.
If you’re curious about any of my 3 books of poetry or what to contact me for a shamanic healing session or a tarot card reading. Click this link below.
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🦋
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.
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.
This October has been very emotionally draining for me. As I realized the date today staring back at me just this morning it dawned on me the fact that every October and November in the past eight years have unfolded that way. Having Complex PTSD is the culprit because there is this little phenomenon that happens called the Anniversary reaction or effect. My body remembers that eight years ago within the months of October and November I endured tremendously intense trauma.
This month also ushered in the Harvest full moon on Oct.13th and in the past two days we have been feeling the affects of the new moon rising in Scorpio. Google defines this new moon as this:
“The2019 New Moon In Scorpiois about embracing the unknown. It’s rare that life unfolds exactly as you want it to. Often, what results is a mess of both success and failure. Even if you get what you want, it might not feel as fulfilling as you thought it would.”
Boy does THAT resonate with me! Needless to say, the combination of energy forces has proved to be quite tumultuous for me dear readers. It’s required me to put more effort into my self care by closely monitoring the daily reflections I jot down in my journal. My favorite tool in counterbalancing these emotional shifts is journaling. Remaining self aware of my thoughts, feelings and behaviors helps keep me in the moment as much as possible when my ego starts whispering lies and goes into full on protective mode.
Becoming more and more “realized ” as an empath, the rapidly downloaded messages I receive from the universe have also kept me on my toes. Here in Dallas, we expierienced a tornado and lots of thunderstorms that caused severe damage. Thankfully, the area of the city I live in was unaffected but I can definitely attest to feeling the vibrational pressure and sheer force of that kind of destructive power. The only option when faced with such strength is to remain as calm as possible by constantly reminding myself that this too shall pass. These temporary effects in nature and the energy being felt has resulted in an overwhelming amount of heaviness on me. Each day this month I felt a varying degree of extra pressure.
The best defense I have found is sticking to my daily rituals. The more my body can expect the comforting aspects of each self compassion tool I employ the more relaxed my hypervigilance is. Granted, this is time consuming and can definitely put strain on my day if I don’t make the proper allowances. Time management is an extremely important part of planning my day.
Another thing I’ve been reminded of this month is to resist making decisions during this period of intense emotional upheaval. Making decisions based in emotion is something I used to do a lot in my past. Afterwards, I learned that those decisions produced unsuccessful outcomes so I must refrain from those knee jerk reactionary responses. This month I was reminded almost daily to chill out. My best defense is to NOT react.
This month is a good example of growing pains. Nothing changes when life is easy and I don’t challenge myself. In the past six months I have conducted a complete overhaul of my internal story, my core beliefs and reassessment of the painful memories related to the traumas I have survived. My brain pushes back upon the new pathways I have built because our brains don’t accept change easily. My fight, flight or freeze triggers have also been in overdrive as I confront the difficult emotions that have long been cemented into my internal story.
These challenging feelings include an unrealistic sense of being abandoned, unaccepted and unloved. A constant, nagging reoccurring thought of not being worthy has threatened to cripple my behavior and how I respond to uncomforbility. I want to give up, throw the towel in. Pushing through these moments creates a feeling of accomplishment that raises my self esteem. I’ve been reminded that, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I have leaned on this mantra a lot lately. Incorporating breathwork and meditation is essential for soothing the conflicting messages my brain screams at me. Again, this too shall pass…..if I let it!
Relaxing into the natural flow and unfolding of life by consciously releasing my white knuckle grip on how I think life should be is a daily challenge and one that I meet with head on every morning. Positive self talk sets me straight and gives me permission to accept these difficult emotions. Reminding myself that growth is sometimes painful. Change isn’t easy. It’s natural to have bad days while the process of self healing continues. It’s a never ending journey. Eight years ago I attempted to end it all. Even though this month and next stand as yearly reminders of my painful past, it’s also another opportunity for self forgiveness.
Today, I feel more empowered and I know that I have a choice. That’s a fact I didn’t believe I had eight years ago. I am not my past. I have grown a lot and am continuing to heal. A journey I am grateful to of chosen.
Just one year ago, I started this blog called “Emotional Musings”. I have been journaling, writing poems and short stories my entire life but always kept them private. Sometimes, I have written poems as gifts for my loved ones. This blog has started a new adventure for me. I have been able to connect with almost 1,400 readers from 30 different countries around the world.
I really didn’t know how writing these posts would affect me. Basically, I use the poems I write as my muse for what each post is centered around. My poems come to me as visions and take little effort to write. Each of the blog posts on my page discuss in depth, the meaning behind each poem. It’s a very introspective thing on my part to delve into what I was thinking and feeling each time a new poem comes to mind. I believe this process to be very cathartic and quite helpful to my overall healing from Complex PTSD.
In total I have written 62 posts on this blog. Most of them are centered around my experience as an empath in this fast paced and often confusing world that we live in today. Our culture focuses mostly on the analytical mind paying little attention to our emotional health and wellbeing. A few of my posts can be considered social commentary on how I view our culture, humanity as a whole and how spirituality plays a role in our society.
This blog has also been a vehicle for me to even consider myself a writer. Earlier this year I self published my very own book of poetry which is available on Amazon in both paperback and digital form. It means a lot to me to have all of my work titled “Emotional Musings ” because that’s the truth, each word is a reflection of my emotional state. I have been gathering my latest poems for the second book, “Emotional Musings2” which I plan to release before the end of this year. Stay tuned!
A huge thank you to my current 24 followers. I didn’t expect anybody to actually read this and I’m so grateful these posts resonate with others. It’s a real labor of love for me to write these posts as I view each one as an opportunity to not only reveal more about my personal journey but to allow others the space to consider theirs.
My mission here is to provide a space where others can relate to and find connection with their own emotional journey. It has been almost 10 years since I set out to discover just who I really am, what my purpose is and to heal from the traumatic events of my past. November will mark eight years since I first attempted suicide. That act of desperation as led me on a beautiful, painful yet ultimately rewarding expedition that has allowed me to constantly peel back the layers of my life’s onion. Uncovering and understanding my authentic self as a result of writing is absolutely priceless. I highly recommend this process to anyone who is searching for their own truth.
My wish for this next year to is be able to interact more with you readers. Please share my blog with others whom you believe it will resonate with, comment below and tell me more about yourselves. I hope to make this a more interactive space where I can lead open discussions on both whole body health and wellness along with spirituality. Mostly, I want each person who takes the time to read this blog to feel less alone in their emotions.
For so many years, I felt like I couldn’t discuss what was going on inside of me. Why did I know what others were going to say before they said it, why did I feel their feelings without first being told and where were these phantom pains coming from? Aside from my empath experiences, I know many of my experiences aren’t unique either. There are many of us out there who have spent time in psychiatric hospitals, inpatient and outpatient programs and weekly sessions of psychotherapy yet still feel lost even discouraged about their mental health.
This is Mental Health Awareness week in the United States. I hope my blog can serve as a safe space for others to not only recognize their own struggles but to gather information regarding the important role our emotions play and what our body’s are trying to tell us. I feel there needs to be more public education about how important it is to recognize one’s feelings and the sensations in the body. It’s essential for whole body health to be able to do a body scan and recognize where we hold emotion in our bodies. This is especially true for those of us healing from trauma. It’s true, the body holds onto trauma and we will continue to hurt until the root of the pain can be discovered and released. I highly recommend reading, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Van der Kolk M.D., Bessel.
On Monday I woke to a much less humid day here in Dallas, TX. I decided to spend the afternoon running along the path at my favorite park. The path stretches around a huge lake for approximately ten miles. I took in scenic views of sailboats, canoes, fishermen and wildlife. Mostly I rejoiced in feeling the wind on my face. It was a beautiful day that produced the poem below, “Wind”. Autumn is my favorite season. Hopefully, I will get many more days just like this one.
Life is full of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys. Living with Complex PTSD and experiencing dissociative episodes these last eight years as a result of the severe trauma I have endured has presented many difficult challenges to my stability and daily functioning. Lately I have expierienced a shift that feels like the rug has been pulled out from under me. I’m stumbling and struggling while riding these waves of intense emotions. A place I haven’t been to in quite some time.
When I was with my family this past February, my son got to witness up close and personal how my empathetic abilities draw strangers to me for healing. These are the walking wounded, people who are looking to release their life’s burdens. He quietly observed as this woman approached me on the street to share with me her life story of heartache and pain. She needed to vent to someone who would listen with compassion and understanding. I’m humbled and blessed to be that outlet for others!
This past weekend I had my own unique experience with a fellow stranger who I later came to find out is an empath. She and I knew each other a very short time before she held my hand and confirmed to me some events in my life I haven’t admitted to myself or even uttered out loud. I have been walking around with this deep dark secret since a young child. This is the repressed memory and acknowledgement of being molested when I was five and six years old.
Four years ago I started the journey into healing my inner child. The main healing tool that has worked wonders for me is EMDR, the reprocessing of emotions pulling that “charge” of the trauma away lessening its severity from my mind, body and soul. Trauma is held in the body and can be reactivated and triggered long after the actual physical damage has occurred. Even though these events took place some thirty-five years ago, my cells have been “refired” and thoughts, feelings and flashbacks have come flooding back with a vengeance.
To add to this complex situation, I work in a fast paced, highly stressful work environment. Two days ago I had an emotional breakdown before work. In an instant I was struggling to breathe, heart racing, uncontrollable crying…..the whole thing. My current emotional mindset is NOT conducive to helping and serving others. I need to repack my trauma baggage, rediscover who I am while continuing to peel the layers back of my life’s onion.
I have been riding an intense wave of high emotions, enduring intrusive thoughts and nagging feelings of shame. Anybody who has gone through sexual abuse knows the debilitating feelings of shame. For me they have crippled my life for years at a time. My fear and panic gets triggered as I worry that I’m backsliding into the depths of overly intense emotions all over again. Something I thought I had neatly packed away and compartmentalized in my psyche.
The two questions that first stopped me in my tracks were, why me and why now? Everything was going great and I was feeling so confident. Now I feel angry, ashamed and sad. A kind of mourning is going on. I’m in the process of patiently accepting and observing these emotions without judging myself or wanting to harm myself. Que the intrusive thoughts and suicidal ideation. Here comes that heaviness in my heart and overall exhaustion telling me to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head. I’m grieving my childhood and loss of innocence all over again.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far. This is all part of the healing process. We must continually throughout our lives revisit the pain and trauma from our past in order to learn, grow and accept it ultimately freeing ourselves. I refuse to become “stuck” again. I know I must carry on and this too shall pass. I’m taking a break to be kind and gentle to myself. I’m not ok right now and that’s ok.
One of my favorite quotes is by Sir Edmund Hillary, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Today this quote really resonates with me. I am acknowledging and giving myself the gift of self love by recognizing how far I have come in only a year. My C-PTSD has been in remission for three and a half years. I have gone from being a mess upon the floor, sobbing and in a dissoactive episode to holding a management position at work while self publishing my own book of poetry. I’m really so very grateful and elated with how truly wonderful it feels to have inner peace and strength within my soul.
On Tuesday my team at work and I witnessed a near fatal car accident right in front of our window. It was the most horrible and terrifying scene I have ever witnessed. The sounds and visuals have left their scar on my heart. The gentleman’s truck looked like God himself crushed it with his hands and dropped it out of the sky onto its roof where it landed. My store is next to the freeway and the driver’s truck came literally flying off the road landing on its roof on the grass across the street from us. Airbags deployed, windows busted out and smoke billowing from it, the truck looked unreal. The five of us dropped what we were doing and immediately ran outside. Three of us called 911 while the my two other younger coworkers ran up to the truck itself. One of them had grabbed our fire extinguisher and used it to smother the smoke and kept a fire from starting. Her heroic actions really moved me. She later admitted that her own father had died in a similar situation so I felt it was a kind of redemption on her part in trying to save this man’s life. The EMT’S pulled him from his vehicle alive and consciousness which is truly miraculous given the circumstances.
For the rest of the day we all kept hugging each other. We used our nervous energy to clean our store to a like new condition. When I closed up Tuesday night I felt a sense of pride for how we coped with the days extraordinary and unusual events. I can honestly say when you witness such an extreme example of life and death in front of your own eyes, while in a job setting it changes your perspective.
Here’s what I took away from Tuesday.
1. Life is too short, each moment is a gift. I will not waste my time with frivolous worries about things out of my control. My time is precious, therefore I must prioritize accordingly.
2. I work with 5 very selfless people who I know have my back in a special way. That feeling is priceless both on a professional and personal level.
3. I am getting stronger. This same situation for my past self would’ve driven me up under the covers for a few days. Left me a puddle of tears and nerves.
4. I can do this……I managed and led people through a crisis. I continued to do my job in a professional manner despite the chaos. We all went back to work serving and assisting our customers.
All in all as I reflect now I can see myself steadily rising up from the ashes of despair and heartache. One foot in front of the other I climb. I keep going even though my mind is screaming “NO” and “you can’t do it”. I’m proving to myself everyday that the challenges I face are all preparing me for greater things. The best is still yet to come which is what gets me out of bed everyday!
I never thought I would achieve success again after so many failures. Attempting suicide, being strangled to within inches of my life on my previous job eight years ago, going through a hell of a divorce, surviving domestic violence and rape, losing touch with my children, being homeless, coping with my fiance’s health issues. The list is lengthy and not for the faint of heart.
Last week I made a life long dream come true all on my own. I self published my first book of poetry. It is available as both an e-book and in paperback through Amazon.com. I have created a small following here with this blog and my writing profile on Instagram called Emotional Musings.
I am currently working on putting together a book signing event here locally with family and friends. Sharing my success with those who have loved, supported and believed in me is such a blessing. It gives me the chills that I have so many wonderfully loving people in my life today.
I’m bursting with positivity and gratitude. And yes…….
In the spirit of it being a new year and all the possibilities it holds, I have been doing a bit of reflection. I have made huge strides and overcome many obstacles in the last six months. I’m deeply humbled and quite proud of myself for bringing some of my dreams into reality. It’s really important to have dreams and I’m glad I never forgot mine completely. There have been a few forces and situations that threatened even that my life would continue and I’d have the ability to carry on. Yet I have overcome those obstacles and have tasted success in a few key areas in my life.
First and foremost I have the chance to reconnect with my son. In just thirteen days we will finally be reunited and I’m so excited about that moment! For now he is enjoying spending time with my family and having a wonderful time. This last month has brought me so much joy and peace being able to communicate with my boy daily. That unbreakable bond that a mother has with her child is something I cherish dearly. The birth of both of my sons changed my life and molded me to who I am today. God’s greatest gift.
Secondly, sharing my writing and connecting with people all over the world is something I had no idea would impact me so positively! I have engaged with so many fascinating people along this writer’s journey and I have learned so much. One of my blog posts was recently published as an article for a larger blog here on WordPress called Coffee Writers Blog. It’s entitled, “How to push the pause button “. I’ve such gratitude for the opportunity to reach a larger audience and spread my story of triumph over trauma. Another of God’s gifts.
My new job and all of the challenges, responsibilities and new information has proven to me how strong I am and how far I have come. Just six months ago I was unemployed and depressed. Deciding to get out of bed was a huge undertaking for me daily. I was anchored down by guilt, shame and sadness. I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel I found myself in. It was a difficult time and I felt paralyzed by fear. Taking that first step in choosing to get back into the world was one of the scariest things I have ever done. The benefits have been so abundantly beautiful and priceless. Regaining my self confidence and self esteem is the best part. I finally feel like me again. Again, another gift from God.
Lastly, my close personal friendships with loved ones and family who have cared for, supported and guided me along my life’s path make my heart complete. I take so much love and inspiration from these people and I wouldn’t be who I am without my tribe by my side. At the end of the day my soul is happy. I feel at peace. The monsters are gone. I’m still here❤
Since my last post, I’m happy to report that so much has changed for the better!! Two days after Christmas with the help of my ex brother in-law and my sister, my oldest son Tyler finally reached out!! We have been messaging and chatting every night since!! We have our long awaited reunion set up for next month which will include my family too. I haven’t gotten to hug him in over two years and my parents, sister, niece and nephew have been deprived of his company for over six years!
The last time my family has spent time with him he was a kid. Now he is on the verge of adulthood! He sent me a current picture of him that I can’t stop staring at. He really is my mini me in so many ways both inside and out. I’m beyond proud of the young man he is. My soul is at peace and my heart is bursting with joy.
This whole situation has taught me many invaluable life lessons. The two greatest being patience and perseverance in the face of adversity. Retaining my hope and faith that all would eventually work out is what kept me going daily. Living each day without any communication from my sons has been the worst emotional pain I have ever felt. My heart literally felt broken. Despite it all, I got out of bed every day when my brain was screaming for me not to. I sent numerous letters without a response. I prayed for the strength I required in order to carry on and keep trying to achieve my dreams. I was able to push aside the guilt all mother’s innately feel on most days to pursue my new career. Also, I launched this blog and my poetry profile on Instagram of the same name, Emotional Musings.
I firmly believe that my youngest isn’t too far behind his big brother. Once he sees him talking and visiting with me I think he will come around too. Divorce is terrible for any family. Parent alienation is both real and devastatingly traumatic for the children and the parent that is being shut out by the other parent. I agreed to divorce my ex-husband, but I DID NOT agree to divorce my children.
I’m really proud of myself because I didn’t allow the guilt and shame to shallow me up alive. There were days I didn’t think I would make it through. In the end though the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” holds true. Again, I’m reminded of how strong I am. I have conquered over many situations and conditions, some even threatened to end my life for good.
I took one of those psychological quizzes today on PsychTest.com
Here are my results:
Both your right and left hemisphere seem to have reached a level of perfect harmony – rather than trying to dominant each other, they work together to create a unique and well-balanced “you”. Your spontaneous, impulsive, and free-flowing right brain creates an exciting and adventurous world, while your left brain helps you make sense of it and keep track of everything.
When faced with a problem or a tough decision, you’re not only able to break things down and make an informed and sensible choice, but you’re also not afraid to go with your gut when necessary. You tend to express your individuality both in words and actions, and although you’re perfectly comfortable running on a schedule or planning things ahead of time, there are occasions when you love to throw in a little spontaneity.
Your balanced outlook and approach to life creates a desire in you to not only understand the world, but to also take it in your hands and mold it as you see fit. With both your right and left hemispheres working together to guide you, you are able to understand yourself and life in general from so many wonderful perspectives.
So my dear readers, my message is to never give up. You are stronger than you think you are, even at your lowest points, there is always a reason to keep going. This too shall pass. Everything is temporary and tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. I am a lover, a giver and a fucking warrior. I believe in you. Thank you for following me and reading this blog. It is serving as a timeline for my children and I. I hope it also serves as a beckon of hope for you all who read it.
I’m very close to finishing my book of poetry that I am self publishing through Amazon. Stay tuned dear readers for more I information on the release date and how to download it. I wrote this poem this morning to reflect my grateful heart.
It’s really difficult for me to think about my two boys these days. As a result of my divorce from their father, my ex-husband, we have become estranged. For the last 18 months I have had no communication with either of my teenage sons. My oldest told me I was no longer welcome in his life. Those words felt like bullets going through my heart. My youngest remained connected to me through social media but never responded to my many attempts to message with him and has now blocked me like his brother did. I don’t even know what they look like now. I have not visited with them since August of 2016. Every holiday and major event during the year, I eat my heart out scrolling through social media at my friend’s pictures of their children. This post is my attempt at processing the roller coaster of emotions I go through daily concerning my boys.
I got married at 22 years old and all I wanted to do was become a mother and create my own family, do it my way. My oldest son was my honeymoon baby and was born 10 months after my wedding. I had left my position working at a high end retail department store months before I gave birth. I happily chose to become a stay at home mother. I relished it, thrived at it and thoroughly enjoyed every second of being the one whom was in charge of caring for my children full time. I took parenting classes, attended workshops, read countless books and joined Mommy groups. I ran my household like a well oiled machine. I took different kinds of classes with both of my boys including swimming, music, arts, sports, dancing and gymnastics. I cooked all three meals a day for my family. In addition, I cared for our two dogs and two cats. At one point we added a turtle to that mix.
Looking back on those ten years of my life, one constant thought always plagues my memories. I didn’t appreciate my life at that time. I took for granted all that I had and was not 100% grateful. That is hard to admit to myself let alone write here but it’s the truth. I owned two beautiful homes during those years, went on great vacations and was there for my boys at all times. In 2010 all of that, my life as I knew it was altered dramatically. My mind began to break apart and everyday I would “lose it” a bit more than the day before.
My ex-husband and I were one of the 1.2 million households to lose our home in the housing market crash of 2008. We weathered that loss by moving back to my childhood home and in with my parents. As awesome as it was for me to live in my hometown and have my boys take advantage of all the privledges that I was afforded growing up, it became more and more difficult to be reminded of my own childhood’ s ugly memories. The summer of 2010 my little family moved back to the state we had resided most of my adult life. It was really bittersweet and in hindsight I should of spoken up about what was happening with me mentally.
The last shred of sanity I had was gone completely by late December 2010. I remember that Christmas sitting in my in-laws house and feeling so numb and disconnected from reality, like I was sitting behind glass watching my boys open their presents. In early January I told my ex-husband that I didn’t love him anymore, I felt “crazy” and not myself. I then proceeded to demand that he and my boys move out. My actions were cold and unfeeling, I refused to discuss anything. In reality, I wasn’t able to reason or make sense out of anything during that time. I remember staring out my window, tears streaming down my face, scared to death because I didn’t understand what was happening. It’s like another person took the wheel of my life and was in the driver’s seat; I became an unwilling passenger forced to be a spectator to my own life and not a participant. I now understand, dissociative episodes were emerging.
Over the months following my family’s departure I proceeded to try and fill the deep holes in my heart because of the damage my mind had caused by doing everything to disgusting excess. My exercise routines, eating habits(starving myself) and drinking went into overdrive. I was working three jobs during that time and sleeping no more than 4 hours at night. It was complete hypomania behavior and I sustained it for months. I was desperately trying to do anything to distract my mind and stop my troubling feelings from bubbling up to the surface.
Then came the crash, my suicide attempt and subsequent hospitalzations. I was diagnosed with a slew of acronyms from the DSM-5 and put on an overlong list of medications to combat my ever changing symptoms. It wasn’t until four years later that my long term therapist and I were able to FINALLY get to a proper diagnosis of Complex PTSD. I believe living with my family from 2008-2010 triggered all the deep seeded traumas my mind hadn’t processed properly and became the catalyst for my complete mental breakdown. My boys being forced to witness my mother, their grandmother, scream at me and physically fight their grandfather. I remember my oldest calling out in fear, “grandma stop yelling at my Mommy.” Having my boys become a part of my dysfunctional past was more than I could ultimately bear.
I have read many articles on how people with a history of childhood trauma left untreated, can result in bipolar like behaviors as an adult. Many of these people have also been misdiagnosed which results in delay of healing. Unfortunately, I had little support from loved ones during this time which exacerbated my condition. I did everything I could to see my boys every other weekend. I would push myself to muster the energy it took so I could function as “normally” as possible during our weekends together. In 2013, I made the drastic decision to enter a long term treatment facility many states away from where I was living and from my boys.
I completed that treatment and did everything in my power to stay in communication with my boys. I wrote many letters, we video chatted, and stayed in touch by our social media accounts. In 2016, I attempted to move back to the state they reside in with my ex-husband. It’s also unfortunately the state where so many traumatizing abuses happened to me. Those memories and flashbacks proved too great for me to overcome so I left there again for third time since 2008. It is the hardest decision I ever have had to make. I promised my boys I would try again to make their state my home. In the end, I have had to come to terms with my failure to make that happen. I feel so much guilt, shame, sadness and anger within myself for that decision. I have had to do a lot of soul searching and reckoning just to get out of bed everyday.
I know my boys must feel abandoned and they are justified in their anger. I have tried on numerous occasions to talk with them about their feelings, ask if they have questions for me etc. Unfortunately my ex-husband is not willing to participate in my healing, he is still bitter over our divorce and we haven’t spoken in almost 4 years. It’s most unfortunate for my boys who have to suffer because the adults in their lives can’t work together in their best interest. My ex has succeeded in erasing me from their lives for now. I have tried calling and texting the number I have for him, sending letters and emails…..ANYTHING to get him to talk to me. Last spring, I mustered up the courage to call my ex-mother in-law in an attempt to talk with my boys. I am glad that not only did she answer but I was able to thank her for loving and caring for my boys in my absence. She told me they are doing well and that she gives them my letters. I don’t know the actual address where my boys live so I mail my letters to my -ex in-laws house.
Coming to terms with this situation has taken an arduous effort on my part. The ones who I feel the worst for are the two boys who are growing up without their Mother. I hope someday they will forgive me and reach out to repair our broken relationship. Deep down I do have faith that will happen. I’m proud to say that throughout the separation, divorce and estrangement I have never spoken a bad word about their father to them. I refuse to damage their image of him. I know what it’s like to have a parent’s disdain for the other parent ruin the minds of their children. My mother always spoke negatively about my father, how he wouldn’t want me if they got divorced, how much he didn’t like me even comparing us when I did or said something she didn’t approve of. That forces a child to dislike themselves and look upon those comparisons of character in a shameful way. I refuse to engage in that kind of parent against parent warfare.
Every single day, I spend time thinking about both of my boys. I look at pictures, I cry and I forgive myself for missing out on their childhood. I use the helpful technique of compartmentalizing my thoughts to aid me in exploring those difficult emotions. I also write. This is a poem I hope to share with my boys someday.
Traditionally October and November have been difficult months for me stemming from the severe traumatic abuse I endured seven years ago. It’s a fact that those with PTSD (I have Complex PTSD) can suffer from the “anniversary effect” from our trauma. For that reason, when fall rolls around, the smell in the air can trigger memories I would rather forget. For me, I especially get triggered by locations in the state I was living in at that time. Ironically, Autumn has always been my favorite season yet since those dark months in 2011, I have become quite conflicted about this time of year.
This year I can also include September as a challenging month due to the Supreme Court nomination hearings for Brett Kavanaugh. I forced myself to listen to Dr. Christine Balsey Ford’s testimony before Congress because I have had the similar experience of having to tell the deepest,darkest most intimate details of abuse one could ever talk about in front of a room (in her case, the entire world) of strangers. After my abuse, I filed a restraining order against my ex boyfriend. Thankfully, I had support from a dear friend at the time who literally held my hand as he led me into the courthouse. My voice trembling, I mumbled into a microphone my account of details surrounding abuse that was inflicted upon me in my own home by a monster of a man. He not only had the audacity to try and fight against receiving the restraining order, he attempted to call me out as a liar saying I made it all up! For two days in that courtroom I recounted the minutes and hours of my life for the previous two months of October and November of 2011. After the first day, the judge said he needed to review my case including notes from the many police reports that were filed on my behalf from my neighbors calls to try and protect me from what they could apparently hear going on at my house. It was the most gut wrenching, shameful and embarrassing experience of my life. I don’t wish that situation upon my worst enemy. In the end, the judge granted me the restraining order and had some harsh words for my abuser before banging the gavel down. Ultimately, I ended up moving out of the state I was living in because my flashbacks and memories became increasingly too intense for me to function normally. I can admit now how life altering that time was and how it taught me several difficult life lessons.
I wrote the poem “Within” after watching Dr. Ford’s portion of the hearing and before Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony. I tapped into those same feelings she evoked in me and those that I felt during my own hearing. Then I twisted it into what would of happened had I not had the voice within me that I heard because it saved my life. I attempted to take my own life November 12, 2011 because I thought my abuser would kill me. It was my attempt at controlling the situation. My mindset was he’s not going to kill me, I will kill me. That thought and feeling combined with my action of taking a bottle of Xanax chased with a half bottle of Vodka was my desperate attempt to end all the pain. I believe God was presenting me with a tremdous gift in the moments after I woke up in the hospital. The gift of desperation is what ultimately saved my life. The decisions and steps I took to recover and heal from my abuse has helped me evolve into the strong woman I am today. The pain, the sorrow along with the hope and faith. I gratefully embrace it all.
*****A huge thank you to https://blog.feedspot.com/spiritual_blog/ for including Emotional Musings in their top 100 Spirituality Blogs for 2018. It is a huge honor to be recognized on my journey and in my mission to help heal others!!! A million thanks!