Adjusting…or loss and growth
Well, I never imagined I would have so much time on my hands without my husband here. I have been such a lazy bum the last few days. I feel no pressure to get anything done (this is NOT a good thing), and I feel like I am walking around in a daze. I have spent some time reflecting on my loneliness the last day or two. I am happy, content, not feeling like I need to ‘hang’ with anyone. I am enjoying loneliness very much. I didn’t even know that you could enjoy loneliness, but I am. I have had a ton of health problems the last few years, and someone recently said to me that I needed a rest. Not the kind of rest you need when you are sick, but the rejuvenating rest you get on vacation. I spent some time thinking on that, and realized that I don’t think I have ever had that. It occurred to me that you all may hear a lot from me, with my husband gone, and it looks like I am finding truth in that thought. I spent a minute today thinking about my desire to chat it up, with a gal who understands me. They are all gone…kind of. In order to deliver today’s thoughts, I have to give a LOT of background on myself, so please bear with me as I explore things I have left alone for years. First, let me explain in very simple terms, I am not one to cry at good-byes. Don’t get me wrong, I cry. I cry when I need to. I am a highly sensitive person. I have been meaning to make a tab on my blog for Highly Sensitive Personalities for a long time now. It is a real condition, it does exist, and there are a lot of people who possess highly sensitive personalities. Beautiful things hit me in the chest like a ton of bricks, as do terrible things. Look at the humanitarians in your life. It is very likely that at least some of them are HSP’s. If you are reading my blog, and interested in what I have to say, you may be an HSP. I think it is a privilege and a gift from God. But, back to my point about crying at good-byes. I am not sure if it has to do with the overwhelming amount of death in my childhood, or with faith, or just simply that I did a lot of the leaving, but whatever it is, it works for me. It started when I was seven, the death rate in my life. I am so thankful that God gave me the tools that He did, and I imagine he did that because only He could know I would need them. Remember that I consider myself blessed to be able to take positives away from a situation. I believe that is the tool that got me through my childhood. Looking back, it was the only chance I had at survival. I realize now, that He prepared me for everything I needed to get here, and spend the rest of my life glorifying Him. What else could a woman ask for? So, a brief history of my childhood. I had a hard time, but I was convinced that so many people had it so much worse. That was my mantra, my go to phrase, and my get me through it. It could be worse…
I had a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a family that loved me, and food in my mouth. I thought my needs were met. Little did I know, you also need validation, trust, a safe place, parents who will stand up for you, respect, and the chance to be a child. As an adult, I have become thoroughly educated on the finer needs in life, and I spend my days passionately trying to validate other people, help them see their shame platforms, and help them realize that they were created perfectly by God, and to believe otherwise is a great insult to Him. To let other people tell them otherwise is an injustice to the self. That is where my joy comes from. The Bible tells me that the only one I have to please is God. There is a level of safety in that, that I just cannot put into words. But, I digress. I never imagined I would have a passion for PTSD in children, but looking back, it is clear God prepared me to help a lot of people with that one. I have even been asked to write a book about it by my sons therapist! Talk about flattering, if you can use that word to describe God’s work through a person. He trusts me with the little ones. That nearly brings me to tears! When I look at my life, I realize that He trusts me with the damaged, the weak, the injured, the sick, and the just plain needy. I am so blessed! He directed my life to a place where I would be in a position to do the work that really matters. He gave me the responsibility of understanding compassion, validation, trust, faith…all of the skills necessary to save the lost. I didn’t even realize it was happening till it was here. I always said He had great plans for me, because there was no other reason for me to go through all of these trials, tribulations, learning situations and so much misery if not. But I did not realize I had arrived until I was standing in the middle of it! What a beautiful realization! The PTSD in my life starts young, as an infant. My parents both had their own shame platforms, and drugs and excessive alcohol were most certainly the influencing factor in my early years. I lost my father to drunk driving when I was seven. I think that is the day I knew God, but it was not until much later that I admitted it to myself. God protected me from even that event. I was at my grandmothers house when it happened. She was the ONLY Christian in my life. My grandmother was Catholic, and despite my misgivings about some Catholic “laws”, she was a true and devout Christian. I cannot thank her enough for that now! My would be step-father moved in when my dad had been gone two weeks. I was yanked away from my biological family to another state far away, with no explanation. By the third grade I had attended six schools. From that point on, I had experience after experience with death. My very first grade school boyfriend was shot in a gang war (and we didn’t even have ghettos or gangsters where we lived. It was a quaint little midwest town, even rated #1 while I lived there). Another friend has a brain aneurism from a drug overdose, gramma and grampa, great aunt and uncle. I watched them pass one at a time. Soon I learned that death was inevitable, a fact of life. By the time my very best friend in the whole world died of cancer, I was praying for God to take her. She was an angel, too good for this word anyway, and she did not deserve the suffering! I was so incredibly relieved when she passed, and this is when I knew I had fully accepted death! I have quite the gang of angels, let me tell you! I still cry cause I miss her…It took me years. I didn’t cry because she had passed, but I would love her to meet my son, and my dad too. I cry occasionally for my own selfish reasons…but I am glad they are in a better place. Oh boy, it is going to take a long time to get through this, I keep getting distracted.
When I was twenty six, I went to my first wedding. I realized that I had been to more funerals than I could count on all of my toes and fingers, but this was my first wedding. I felt a bit gypped that day! I remember my pity party quite clearly. I am an expert in saying good-bye. We moved to that far away state, and I was pretty much prohibited from talking about my daddy I had lost, or any of his family members. I had nine aunties and uncles, most of them I was very close to, all gone in one swift move. Trust me, as an adult, I had a lot of anger and resentment to work through, especially for my mother and step father. I grew up with an abusive step father and an alcoholic mother. The only thing my step dad didn’t do was hit me. Verbally, and sexually, he abused me repeatedly. I was a grade A student, never skipped a day of school in my life, till I was seventeen, when I realized I had been going about it all wrong. All I wanted was to hear my mom and dad say they were proud of me. I did everything I could to please them. I never heard those words. I heard about how I was going to be a drug addict, barefoot and pregnant, waste of life. I heard about how bad I was all the time. He even made fists and told me it was my fault he started smoking again. Thankfully, I was smart…I didn’t lose that. I told him that he was an adult and I didn’t make him do anything! I dared him to punch me. It would have been a way to get him in prison without shaming my family with the sexual abuse. If I could take sexual abuse and verbal abuse every day for eleven years, then I could certainly take a punch! I told my mom when I was seventeen, like most mothers, she chose not to protect me. We have since mended most of those broken fence posts, although there may be one or two remaining. I am not sure. I guess I have mended those, she just started therapy, so she has some mending to do and I imagine with that will come a conversation or two that is healing for me. I had a very strict schedule, and was very limited in activities outside the home. I understand now it was a control issue on his part, and a money issue on my mom’s part, but at the time, I just thought they didn’t like me. This is when I started journaling. I am thankful for the tool of words! We got through the drama of all of that, all the while, I went through life with the nickname SMILEY. I always had a smile on my face, never cried. The more I hurt, the bigger I smiled. When I was nineteen, I ran away to another state far away with a good friend. That is where I started over. That is when my life began! I wonder if she has any idea the role she had in saving my life. I guess I had better tell her! I realized I had not cried…ever. I could not remember my last tear shed. I started crying, and I could not hold it back. I have never stopped. I searched and searched for answers to my heartache for years. I was a social butterfly, which is the whole entire point of this post. I had a ton of friends, everywhere I went. I fit into every social category, and was rarely not included in an activity. I spent years chasing fun, afraid to miss out on something, but I was depressed, and bi-polar as all get out. I later learned that the birth control I went on when I was nineteen had a HUGE role in the bi-polar tendencies, meanwhile, it really aggravated the situation! If you have bi-polar, and are on a hormonal birth control, get off, right away! The tri-cyclic hormones mimic the bi-polar cycle. You will find a huge change in your ability to control emotions. I also had the dumb luck to see a therapist, in my ten years of therapy with various individuals, who in a very short time, taught me three tools to happiness, and they work. I will go into more detail another time, but they including “shoulding all over myself and other people”, learning that five bad minutes only wrecks five minutes of my day, not the whole day, and walking to stimulate the amygdala when I am upset…to get the living hormones going and the fight or flight ones to stop. It is not healthy to live in a constant state of fight or flight, you have to physically get yourself out of that place, and hard walking does it. It was my sons therapist who really changed my life for the long haul. She taught me how I should be treated, what co-dependency is, what I have to tolerate from people, and what I don’t have to tolerate. I must have been a good student, because not only did she ask me to write a book, I am now being represented under her license to work with traumatized kids that she refers to me. That is huge growth. I went from thinking I was not good enough to deserve the basic right of respect, even though all i did was try to be good enough. I broke myself trying to be good enough. I spent years in rebellion, when I realized my parents didn’t want me to be good enough. When I realized I was going abou tit all wrong, what I cam e to was that my parents told me every day I was a loser. They didn’t want to be proud of me, they wanted a drug addict, trailer trash, drop out…so fine, that is what I would give them. I abandoned my education in my senior year, started skipping school, doing drugs, and having sex. If there was a way to rebel I would find it. I had, after all, finally figured out how to make my parents proud of me! Or so I thought. Thus began a downward spiral in my life. One that led to rock bottom, and ultimately, to Jesus. I dug that hole for years, and years, and years. I just kept going deeper, never finding the treasure at the bottom of that hole. I became a single parent. I never really understood it until a good Christian put it in perspective for me.
I tried my hand at college, but not understanding that my child had special needs, I thought I was a terrible parent. I could not keep a job or get to class. I was a straight a student when I made it, but it was just too much for me. I wondered how other mommies did it. I just couldn’t understand how I could be this smart and still fail time and time again, until the therapist put my son in perspective for me. We got some testing and diagnosing done. I had always known there was a creator, but I refused to call it God, because of the social stigma related with that name, and the only influence I had was at a prominent catholic church. I refused to believe God would not love me because I wore jeans or patent leather shoes. I denied Him for years. I also refused to go to a church for help because I felt that it would be sacrilegious to take help from a church while denying God. One day I got so low, I had no choice. I attended the church I planned to call two Sunday’s in a row, decided I could appreciate this new take on God, and called them for help. They opened their arms to me, and really helped me out. I sat down after that first meeting, with tears streaming down my face, at the end of my bed. I put my arms up in the air, and said “that’s it God, I cannot do this by myself anymore. I am giving it to you”. Wow! I cannot even express the way my heart opened up that day. I can’t explain the change that took place in me. My life has blossomed since that day, and I owe it all to one man, who opened my heart to the idea that God could save me. When I dropped out of school, I got a job on a ranch. I met the most amazing Christian I have ever known that day. He didn’t judge me, he talked to me. He heard my story and told me his perspective without judgement. When I told him that I wondered what on earth made me think I wanted to be a single mom, he said, well look what the men in your life have done to you. I know why you chose that path. I guess you don’t know yet, that at 22 I decided I wanted a baby, and the way the world was going, it was easier to be a single mom anyway, and I didn’t want a dad in my child’s life. I even told three people I felt that way, and every single one of them supported me. Even I could see I was trying to find someone to tell me not to do it, but they all supported me wholeheartedly. What in the world…? so, I got rid of my very awesome and respectful boyfriend, and got me a loser! Unfortunately, he stuck around, and that led to my child having to be exposed to such things as meth and violence in his fathers home. I have to just tell myself that God has a plan for him, just like I did when I was going through my own childhood hell. The fact that this eighty year old devout Christian could love and respect me, and even understand and tell me why I did what I did, made me realize there might be something to this Christianity thing. When he talked about the Bible, he talked about love, trust, forgiveness…not the horrible things people try to use to condemn the Bible. I have since learned how to understand some of those horrible things, and they are often taken greatly out of context, in my humble opinion. I am thankful for eyes that read the Bible an translate it to interpret love. I suppose I ought to get to the point one of these days.
When I first found my son’s therapist, she taught me a lot of the very same things I learned as a dog handler with stressed out dogs. It is pretty amazing how child rearing and healthy household dynamics are much like healthy dog packs. I think dogs have the heart of Jesus. They love unconditionally, punish swiftly and get on with it. They forgive quickly, and they forgive everything. They don’t turn their backs on you. Dogs…Jesus, just think about it. So, much in common that I think God gave us dogs as an every day reminder of TRUE, UNCONDITIONAL love.I use my dogs, when I work with problem dogs, to train said dog, while I train the handler (that is the trick to good dog handling and good child rearing, train the handler). This week, that same therapist made a comment about how good my Aspergers son is a t socializing other Aspergers children, and she is sending us another client for him to socialize. Like I said, just like dog handling. I use my mutts in my training. I never imagined my son would be such an important part of parent training!
When I decided to grab the codependency bull by the horns and reign him into submission, I had to drastically change my habits…finally getting to the point. This was the hardest part of my recovery. I had to quit going to the bar (I went to the bar to be sober and drive people home at the end of the night, how bad could that be for me?) Right, I didn’t drink, so it wasn’t that. I was afraid to miss something. I sobbed and sobbed about how these people were my friends if I came to the bar, but they wouldn’t come to me in my house when I was home with my child. I went when he was with his dad. As a matter of fact, most of them have had nothing or little to do with me since I stopped going to the bar, and I guess I have learned to balance and accept that, and have even come to a place where I want nothing to do with people who only want to hang out at the bar. It is the best feeling. When I told the therapist through tears that I was a social butterfly and I didn’t know how to live without out all of these people in my life, she put my reclusive nature into perspective for me in a big way. She told me it was coping mechanism. I went back to the bar one day for a special thing that one of my friends was doing, and I can say, that even though I did not have one drink, I felt truly hung over the next day, and I understood what the bar was doing to me. Especially as a sensitive person, I was absorbing all of that terrible energy. I avoid the bar at all costs now. I don’t want to feel that way again. I had been using social time to survive all these years. I had become dependent on other people needing me. Oh dear! This is not healthy. I realized that in high school, I was up and out of the house and at school with a smile on my face every day. I realized school was much better than home, and I loved it, and all of the nice people there. No one insulted me, touched me, abused me, violated me. School was my safe place. To think I almost threw it all away in my senior year. I am so glad I made it through that very tough time
Today, my friends get upset with me because I won’t come to them. I won’t go to the bar and to their parties. They do not understand what I have learned. They think there is something wrong with me, or I am depressed or something. I am the happiest I have ever been. I blow it off, because it is not them I aim to please. The ones who get it, come to me or hang out with me in their houses or at the park, or in the woods. I am no longer stressed over friendships lost because I don’t go to the bar. So, people come, and people go. I am happy with my solitude. Today I find myself lonely. In a good way, mostly. I used to have a lot of friends, but I have since scaled down my social connections. I have a few good friends, whom I can count on when I need them and not just when they need me. I don’t struggle with good-byes. I know if they are worth being sad over, I will see them again. My bestest friend in the whole world is fighting cancer with her daughter. They are far away an another state with a good children’s hospital. She gets me to the core. She never judges, and is just plain awesome anytime. I miss her so much. In the last six months, all three of my other close girlfriends have moved out of state. I did not struggle with a single one of them leaving, but as a whole, I feel like the people who most understand me are all very far away, and I am very lonely to just talk life through. I have had a ton of goings on in my life, and now even my husband is far away. I enjoy loneliness, but I fear that I will talk the ears off of almost any adult at this time (or reader of my blog, lol). I am word girl. I talk, I write, I sing. Words are what I do. I love comfortable silence, and I am enjoying my loneliness, but I really do need some good woman time with my dearest friend. I guess I feel like I have stuff too, but everyone else has more important stuff, and I sit quietly, waiting for my turn to have worries to share, and wondering if I will even be able to remember them all by the time I can share them with someone. I am feeling a little trapped in my brain with health concerns for myself, and who do I share them with? I am feeling excited about how close I am to Rocky Mountain Rescue Ranch, and who do I share that with? I am excited about my Bible Study on James…I want to talk to someone on a peer level about it. But who? I want to have someone’s ideas about things I am processing through, but who do I bounce them off of? I have behaved for the last three days, as if this is that vacation that my friend spoke of. I have spent three days doing very little but thinking and wishing that I had someone to bounce it all off of. Someone in particular, who gets it, and me. Who I don’t have to give a background to, or who won’t interrupt before the thought is through, to tell me how it will fail. I just want to spend a few minutes with someone I can let my guard down with. I want to tell someone I am worried about things. Instead, I smile and say “good”, when people ask how I am. It is true. I am good, and none of them are people I want to share the worries with. They are just the day to day worries of a woman, but as far as I can tell, we all need someone to share those worries with. I want to tell someone about my new progress on the rescue ranch without having to give them the whole danged background story first. I usually never get to the point anyway, cause I get distracted on the details. A lot of people have advice on it, and some have even taken my explanation as an invitation to start this ranch with me. Not that I have ever given anyone that impression intentionally. I don’t believe in going into business with friends, and if God wants them there, He will put them there when the time is right. One person had the nerve to tell me she was going to start it and hand it over to me when I was ready and this is how it was going to run. She and I don’t really speak much any more. Holy cow, dear readers. I have been sitting here a while. I think I made it to my point inadvertently, and I have responsibilities, so I will have to be back later with more. If I try to proofread now, I will be here all day adding and rewording stuff, so bear with me if you get to editing errors before I do. At very least, you got to see what my brain does when I go too long without adult conversation. Have a nice night all, and I will elaborate more later… until then, God bless.