Friday, January 29, 2010
I'm just writing a quick entry today to let all of my wonderful, faithful readers know that the time has come - yet again - for me to take a little break. Some things have been happening around me that have been very difficult for me to understand, and even though I am so close to the end of this journey, I need to take a few days off to process what's happening.
I have struggled for many years with control issues. I am working very hard to keep myself focused and in the moment, and it is taking every ounce of concentration and energy I have to keep myself healthy and safe right now. These controlling, fix-it-all issues have taken me down ugly paths in the past. I refuse to let them drag me down again. I literally have no control over what's bothering me right now, and the issues at hand honestly have almost nothing to do with me. I'm just having a hard time remembering that I can't save the world and I can't control the behavior of others. I envy people who are able to separate from others' issues. I'm working on those boundaries right now.
Thanks for your patience with me as I sort things out and continue to work to stay in the present moment and feel and focus on my own well-being, rather than that of everyone around me. It's time for me to "let go and let God" deal with the issues of people and situations that I just can't fix. I keep having to remind myself:
"Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed. Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!" -Proverbs 12:18-20, NLT
I promise I'm okay. I'm actually really proud of myself for dealing with these recent crises without reverting to old coping techniques. The reason I'm absent from the blogging world, Twitter and facebook right now is that I have to focus so intently on coping in healthy ways. I'll be back soon. Until we meet again... Happy healing!
Monday, January 25, 2010
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Twenty-eight...
Today's task: Write your mission statement!
Many businesses and organizations around the world have mission statements. A mission statement is created to be a clear and concise statement of the goals, visions and purpose of the company it represents. I know from personal experience that creating and referring to a mission statement can help a group stay focused. When I lead the youth group at a church I was attending a few years ago, having a mission statement was important to us because we wanted to keep moving forward as a group. We wanted to realize goals and visions we had of making the world a better place through outreach and missions programs. Seeing and sharing our mission statement constantly helped us stay focused on what we were trying to accomplish as a group.
It makes sense to me that if this mission statement concept works for groups, it should work for individuals as well. Having a mission statement should - in theory - help me stay focused on where I am headed in life, therefore reminding me to continually work hard to create circumstances that will help me realize my potential. I've never written a personal mission statement, so when it came to today's task I felt a little lost. I borrowed a bit from Angela Shelton's mission statement when I created my own.
"I am Meggs. I am a child of God. My mission is to provide support and hope to survivors of abuse and trauma, inspiring them to share their stories with others, thereby empowering them to create joy and happiness in their homes and communities."
I may change or revise my statement as the days go by, but for now, I think what I wrote suits me just fine. The statement is an honest representation of how I currently feel about my personal goals and my God-given purpose on this earth...
Once again I would like to encourage you to take this journey. I'm not promising that it's going to dramatically change your life... I'm just telling you that it dramatically changed mine, so I know there's a chance it could also help you. It's next to impossible for me to describe to you the transformation that has taken place in my heart and my mind since the inception of this blog. What you have seen here in my writing is only a drop in the bucket, because the change has been so indescribable and unbelievable that putting it into words has proven difficult at times...
There are just two days left in this 30-Day Healing Journey, and I'd like to (again) thank all of you for following along as I've worked through each day's tasks. My readers and friends and family have been a constant source of information and encouragement, and I have grown tremendously because of you. I am sincerely grateful that you have allowed me to reach out to you, and that you've shared so much with me as I've walked along this path. I don't know that I could have done it alone. Thank you for allowing me to connect with you. Thank you for allowing me to share my joy with you. Thank you for telling me your own stories of tragedy and triumph. I'm a firm believer that we each have our own particular place in this world. I'd like to thank you for helping me find my place. Have you found yours?
Friday, January 22, 2010
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Twenty-seven...
I was told to make or buy a "Congratulations" card and send it to myself today. In the message of the card, I was to congratulate myself for letting go of negative thoughts (and for a few other things). I made the card, and I mailed it... but today's blog has almost nothing to do with today's task. I keep getting email from people who ask, "What's your secret?" and the answer to that question came to me this morning, so I felt the need to share it while it's fresh in my mind.
I've said a few times that I don't know what got me to the point of being "ready" to heal. I've come to the realization, just through some quiet reflection and self-examination, that I know exactly what got me here. I was tired of being stuck in fear. Fear of losing control of my emotions or being hurt by others kept me from building meaningful relationships. Fear of what my friends and family would think of me kept me from sharing my story. Fear of the unknown kept me from reaching out to find a solution to my problems.
I was weary. I was tired... I was waking up afraid every single day of my life. For over 20 years, I had felt hopelessness. I had felt shame. I had been angry with myself. I had felt like a failure. I had felt ugly, fat, stupid, worthless, and unworthy. I had wrestled with addictions. I had been sucked into the downward spiral of self-injury and self-hatred. I was afraid happiness was unattainable. I was afraid that no matter how hard I tried, I would fail. In my desperation, I finally decided that even if I fell flat on my face and failed at every attempt I made to get past this junk, I was willing to take the risk. I knew if I didn't, I was going to die.
To be honest with you, I didn't have any strength in the beginning of this leg of my journey. I was so broken, so weak, and so scared. But I knew that other people had not only survived situations much worse than my own, they had learned how to thrive... and somehow I took hold of that truth and held on for dear life. I moved along the healing path even while I was afraid. I moved in my fear instead of denying that I was afraid. I kept putting one foot in front of the other and picking myself up when I fell along the way. Each victory helped me release a little bit of my fear, which helped me keep going. The more I moved in my fear, the stronger I got. The stronger I got, the easier it was to move in my fear. Moving in fear instead of staying stuck in fear is what saved my life and brought me to the truth... the truth that joy was a possibility, even for ME.
I'm no longer stuck in fear. For the first time in my life I believe I am ready to live. I am done wearing the weight of the weight of the world on my shoulders. I am ready to smile. I'm ready to sing. I'm ready to dance, to play, to love... to breathe and to have true peace in my heart and my mind... and when I am afraid, I will move in my fear, because I know this feeling of freedom is worth every bit of fear I have faced in order to find it.
I have learned that I am not only a warrior, I am also a conqueror... and today I congratulate myself for every little victory over fear.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
“You did then what you knew how to do, And when you knew better, You did better.” -Maya Angelou
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Twenty-six...
Day 26: Make a Safety Plan.
More planning? FABULOUS! I love all this planning. It makes me feel so... PREPARED! Remember when I prepared for my swordectomy? Well, now it's time to prepare for the things I don't see coming.
When I was in crisis care at our local mental health facility back in March of 2009, the therapist who catapulted me into this new stage of healing did so with a few simple conversations. One of the most profound lessons I learned while I was working through traumas with him is this: If YOU feel that something in your life is traumatic, you don't need validation from someone else. You don't need me to look at you and say, "I am in complete agreement with you that you should be devastated by the death of your goldfish! Let me cry with you!" or "It's totally fine that you spent three days locked in your house because you walked out of the bathroom at Wal-Mart with your skirt tucked in your pantyhose and your high school sweetheart saw your hindquarters! I feel your pain!" All you need to know is that something happened to you and it has affected you so deeply that it feels like trauma to YOU. Forget the rest of the world when it comes to dealing with your trauma. It's YOUR trauma, not theirs. Sure, it feels good when someone else gets what you're going through... but unfortunately that doesn't always happen. And that's okay!
What led my therapist to share this important nugget of truth with me? He had suggested making a list of all of the traumas I had ever experienced. Everything traumatic that I could remember was to be listed on a page in my journal. I remember carrying my completed list to him and saying, "This particular item may not seem like much to someone else, but it's a huge deal to me. Do I keep it on the list? Is it really trauma?" His response to me was, "I don't know. Is it?" PRICELESS! LIGHT BULB MOMENT! I don't need anyone else to understand that being pantsed in front of my entire eighth grade homeroom class sent me into a deep depression that lasted almost a year. I just need to know that it affected me tremendously... and I really needed to deal with it. Yes. That really happened. Yes, it sucked. Yes, it really did mess me up for a while. Yes, I dealt with it. Yes, I still secretly hope the kid who did it to me has since experienced something equally as humiliating, leaving him red-faced and mortified as he was ridiculed by his peers. I know that's not very nice of me, but it's true. Hehe.
We don't normally see a good "pants-ing" coming at us. It's usually a crazy prank carried out by some goofball who's lurking behind us just waiting for the opportunity to pounce. Life's like that sometimes. Sometimes we can't see what's coming at us, and we never know how a particular situation is going to affect us. Something little could turn into something big. Something big could turn into something huge. Trauma could be waiting just around the corner.
Just as we prepare escape routes for fires, and emergency kits for electrical outages, we need to prepare safety plans so that if and when we are faced with trauma, it doesn't destroy our livelihoods or throw us too far off track. As survivors of terrible things who have - more often than not - dealt with adversity in some pretty devastating ways, we need to be sure that we are equipped to handle things in a way that protects us from ourselves. For example, the death of my father, whom I had a wonderful relationship with, is something I was not prepared for in the least. I only wish I would have had a plan in place. I couldn't have planned for losing him so suddenly, but I could have had a plan in place to deal with his death in much healthier ways.
My safety plan includes a list of things I should and should not do in case of an emergency. My plan includes looking out for signs that I'm overwhelmed or reverting to old coping techniques. It includes a list of negative things I have said to myself after past traumas, and reminders that those things are not true. It includes a list of my affirmations, and the names and numbers of my friends, my doctors, and my therapists. Here's hoping I never have to use it! I feel so good about facing my future knowing that I have this plan in place.
The above quote from Maya Angelou speaks volumes to me. I am a survivor. I did what I knew how to do at the time. I did negative and destructive things to cope with my traumatic experiences. Now I know better. Now I do better. Now I am prepared. Now I have a plan. Now I will follow through with the commitment I have made to myself to heal and lead a joyful life. The time is now. I refuse to live in the past. And I especially refuse to live in the memory of the day my eighth grade class got a peek at my "granny panties"! I've had quite enough of reliving that moment, thank you very much. I'm moving on to much bigger and better things now.
Until tomorrow, friends... happy healing!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
"I fall back on this journal just as some other poor devil takes to drink." -Barbellion (pen name of Bruce Frederick Cummings)
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Twenty-five...
Well here we are at Day 25... five days left in this amazing journey. I only wish I had the ability to spill into this blog the thoughts and emotions that are swimming around in my head. It would, no doubt, take an entire series of books to explain to you the transformation that has been taking place in my mind over the last nine months. One volume of that series would have to be solely dedicated to these 30-plus days of healing techniques and self-exploration. I dare say that any person who is willing to follow through with this experiment, this change, is brave enough and strong enough to face (and conquer) any giant in their life if they will only resolve to carry in their hearts and minds the plethora of knowledge that is gained in the carrying out of each daily task. I don't know what got me to the point of being ready to accept the sheer amount of dedication and hard work it would take to heal, but I can tell you that every painstaking moment of getting to today has been worth the pain and suffering. Any woman who has ever given birth will understand exactly what I mean when I say that. I have, in some way, given birth to a new life. There has been such a transformation in my soul. I truly feel like I am becoming the person I was meant to be.
Today's task was very involved. I was asked to write about what I want out of life, what I don't like about my life, things that have changed since Day One, and thoughts about how I am moving from pain and suffering into the life I want for myself. I am thoroughly convinced that writing things down in order to gain perspective on your healing process is essential. Personally, I have never known someone who's experienced a significant level of healing without writing about their issues in some way, shape or form.
I ended up with six pages of elaboration on the business plan that was created yesterday. These six pages of my journal are so full of information that it would just be ridiculous for me to try to share them with you 100%, so I've chosen a few highlights to give you a glimpse into the reality of what can happen when we truly let go of our hangups and work our way through the pain:
*I want my children and my husband to be proud of me. I want people to see Jesus when they examine my life. I want to be genuine and I want to be able to extend to myself the grace and forgiveness that I give to others. I want to embrace mistakes and failures as lessons in life, rather than beating myself up over things I may have done differently.
*There's not really a whole lot about my life that I don't like right now. I could stand to work harder at being physically healthy, like working more toward giving up overeating and stressing over things I can't control. I need to stop apologizing for things that have nothing to do with me.
*There has been a significant improvement in the way I feel about the things that had me "stuck" on Day One. I have seen a positive change in every single area I listed as a problem area. Some of the changes have been more significant than others, but there is no denying that change for the better is happening in my life.
*I am letting go of irrational fears. I'm educating myself. I am letting go of people-pleasing habits. I'm letting go of the lies I've told myself for so many years. I am accepting compliments and realizing that there are times when I really do deserve them. I am seeing true beauty when I look at myself. I am doing something every day to remind myself that I am here, in the present, and I am doing my best to make the most of it. I am moving from feeling lonely to feeling loved. I'm playing and encouraging myself to do child-like things sometimes because I recognize the need for fun in my life. I am processing my fears when I feel them. I am letting go of worries and focusing on things I can do in the present moment.
I would encourage you to let go of any preconceived notions of what this whole "journey" is about, and to try it for yourself if you haven't done so already. I'm pretty sure I've asked this question before, but what do you have to lose? A therapist once taught me an exercise to help me get past worries and fears about the future. In the exercise, I was to take my "what if" statement and turn it around into a "what if not" statement. Here's an example:
Worry/Thought: What if I die in a car accident while I'm driving into town to visit a friend today?
The result of what would likely happen if I die in a car accident today: My family will be devastated, my children will be left without a mother, etc...
Counter Thought: What if I DON'T die in a car accident while I'm driving into town to see my friend today?
The result of what would likely happen if I DON'T die in a car accident today: I'll see my friend, we'll probably have a great time visiting with each other, I'll feel refreshed because I'll be taking time to do something for myself, etc.
Which result is LOGICALLY most likely? Well, statistics show that most people who ride around in their cars do not die in accidents. While some people do die in car wrecks, statistically speaking, I'm more likely to be safe and sound at the end of the day.
What will I do with this information? I will choose to go to town to see my friend, because statistics prove that I will most likely NOT be involved in an accident.
Here's my challenge to you... Get out a piece of paper... now... write this stuff down! What are your thoughts about healing? What will happen if you don't heal? What will happen if you DO heal? What are some logical and illogical thoughts about the process? Have you seen others heal successfully? What if you're not successful?
What if you ARE successful?
Most importantly, what are you going to do with this information? What if you are successful? What do you stand to gain?
Monday, January 18, 2010
"You can't overestimate the need to plan and prepare. In most of the mistakes I've made, there has been this common theme of inadequate planning beforehand. You really can't over-prepare in business!" -Chris Corrigan
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Twenty-four...
Today's task: "Make a business plan for your life... Read the 10 things you wrote down in the beginning. On a new sheet of paper write out a plan (even if you think it is crazy) about how to move from one side of the list to the affirmation list."
Oooooh, if I could only tell you how much I loved today's instructions. I am such a planner and I love business. A business plan for my life? YES! Hooray! A goal is more often realized when the person who sets it has a plan of action. Knowing that made this task really, really appealing to me. I want to succeed in life... why not make a plan?
I sat down in my "office" (yup, my sectional couch is my office - haha!) and scribbled this one out in no time. All I had to do was write down a few details of the actions I need to take in order to realize the affirmations/goals I wrote down on Day Three.
Here's what I came up with:
#1 Brave, Courageous, Strong = Keep speaking out and find opportunities to get more involved on a local level.
#2 Healthy Relationships = Spend more time doing things to nurture healthy relationships. Make a commitment to hang out with someone at least once a month.
#3 True to Self = Remember that it's okay to stand up for what I believe in... and do my best to do just that.
#4 Take Care of Myself = Eat when I'm hungry. Stop when I'm full. Move more and do things to nurture my SELF.
#5 My Place in the World = Continue to walk in the direction God leads and remember why I'm here.
#6 I'm Not Alone = Continue to be a part of a community of supportive people. Examples: Support Group, Church Family.
#7 Boundaries = Set healthy boundaries by constantly self-checking and evaluating relationships and responsibilities.
#8 Play! = Spend time doing things I love. Strive to live in the moment. Don't be ashamed of doing "child-like things" in order to process emotions. Let loose and smile about LIFE as often as possible.
#9 Nightmares = Do everything I know how to do to remember that the past is the past and that nightmares give me an opportunity to address suppressed feelings... feel them and let them go.
#10 Relax! = When I feel myself getting frazzled, take time to use breathing techniques and relax as often as possible. Remember there is nothing wrong with RELAXING!
I know a few of you reading this are "regulars" and I would love to have your take on my business plan. Brainstorming is a good thing, and you guys/gals may have some ideas that I didn't think of. Feel free to comment about ways you might help me improve or elaborate on my plan. I'd love to have the input! We're getting so close to the end of the "30-Day" leg of my journey, and I'd also love to have some suggestions on things you'd like to see happening with my blog after the "Joy Journey" is through!
I'm kind of excited to see what tomorrow holds... I love being able to say that and mean it!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Twenty-three...
See that picture up there? That's me when I was in kindergarten. That's the face I see when I think of my inner child. Anyone who's been through this journey with me in real life knows how much of a problem I've had embracing the fact that there really is this whole "inner child" thing that I need to deal with. It's taken me years to even get to a point where I could accept that there's something to the inner child theory. If I had a nickel for every time I've rolled my eyes at a therapist for saying the words "inner child" - well - I could probably at least buy myself something from the Dollar Menu at McDonald's. Today, I had to write for 20 minutes about my inner child. Put another nickel in the piggy bank. I'll admit it. I literally rolled my eyes when I read today's task.
In my 20 minutes of journaling, I had to complete the following sentences:
If the little me could say anything she wanted, she would say _____________.
The way the inner me child had to cope and survive while I was growing up was_____________.
My inner me loves _______________.
Getting started was the hardest part. I sat on the couch with a pen in my hand for over 30 minutes because I was so weirded out by this task. I've mentioned before that I've done a lot of work outside of this joy journey, and this is not the first time I've written about my inner child. Once, I even had to write her a letter. I know. Weirdness. But it wasn't so bad. And that's what I had to keep reminding myself as I sat frozen, trying to make my pen move. Once I got going, believe it or not, it was a piece of cake. Seriously! I know... strange, but true! Call me crazy. I don't care... because I get it now more than ever. I can't really explain it, but I get it. I really get it. Let me share my journal entry with you to see if I can help you get it too... and if you don't get it - believe me - I respect that. Feel free to roll your eyes at me at any given moment during reading (I probably deserve it after all the grief I've given my therapists over the years):
"Finding Angela Shelton"
January 14, 2010 Day 23
If the little me could say anything
she wanted, she would say...
I AM FREE!
She would say that she's happy to
finally be able to play like a kid
again instead of constantly worrying
about what's coming next... She would
say that she is having a good time getting
the chance to paint, play, read, sing,
dance, and smile a really happy smile.
She would say that she is glad that
I'm finally acknowledging her and that
she's glad I'm not mad at her anymore
for staying silent. She would say
Thank you! ♥
The way my inner child had to cope
and survive while I was growing up was
by completely engrossing herself in the
lives of others and by doing everything
in her power to deny that anything
was happening including "splitting" or
"dissociating" in order to remove herself
from the reality of the situations she
was faced with. She made up stories
and played pretend a lot in order to
convince herself that she was okay and
My inner me loves laughter and
dancing and being silly and expressing
herself through art and music...
My inner me loves life!
So there you have it...
I'm willing to accept the fact that the world may think I am beyond bonkers because I believe I have a little girl trapped inside my brain. I'm willing to watch people roll their eyes at me. I mean, it could be worse. I could be bitter and hateful and spiteful and in complete denial that finding joy means trying something different every now and then... and I'd rather be bonkers than bitter!
I'm glad I've loosened up a little and done these tasks instead of pretending I'm "too good" or "too cool" to try them. I'm glad I'm letting go of the fear of being labeled a "joy-fool" because of the things I'm doing to heal... So what if people might think I'm a little silly? If I'm being true to myself, does it really matter what they think? Heck no! I'm a happy girl. So is my inner child. And that's what matters to me.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Joanna Doane recently hosted a 24 hour blog-a-thon to raise money for the Angela Shelton Foundation. She inspired me to do the same. (Thanks, Joanna!)
Beginning at 6am on February 6th, 2010, I will be hosting a 24 hour blog-a-thon and broadcasting it live online in an effort to raise funds for the Angela Shelton Foundation.
If you are interested in sponsoring me or just showing up online to keep me company while I deprive myself of sleep for a good cause when the big day rolls around, please click here for more information.
Thanks to all who support me in my efforts, and especially to Joanna for inspiring me to get my butt in gear and help survivors everywhere!
"A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more." - Rosabeth M. Kanter
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Twenty-two...
I did Day 22's task yesterday, but due to the snow, snow and more snow, I've had some issues getting here to post about it. This morning, Hubby and I woke up to find our pipes frozen and I'm a little worn out, but I'm moving right along on the joy journey.
I was instructed to complete a piece of art for this task... something that reflects what my life will look like when it's "away from pain and suffering" and full of joy. I chose to do this by making a collage from magazine clippings and personal photos, etc. The collage is very personal to me and I've decided to keep this one to myself... I know, I know... everything else I've done has been so transparent, but this is one piece of the puzzle I'd like to keep under wraps for now. I might reveal it later on in the blogs. Who knows?
Something I noticed while I was making my collage: looking at the things I chose to represent my joyful future was relaxing, inspiring, and exciting all at the same time. Knowing that I am moving toward the realization of those depictions and descriptions of unadulterated joy and happiness just did something for my soul. Even if you're not actually taking the joy journey right now, I would love to challenge you to try this exercise and see how it makes you feel. It left me with a sense of hope and a renewed sense of purpose. It left me with joy. Imagine that!
Today as I'm doing the dishes, folding the laundry and keeping the kids occupied while they whine themselves into a frenzy about dealing with another snow day, I'll have my "joy collage" nearby... and when things start to feel a little overwhelming, I'll close my eyes, take a deep breath and smile... because I know that as long as I keep making the choice to heal, there's no WAY that joyous future will elude me. In many ways, I'm already there.
Friday, January 08, 2010
"I dream my paintings and then I paint my dreams." - Vincent Van Gogh
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Twenty-one...
The task for Day 21: start a dream journal.
I actually completed this task yesterday. For those of you who don't know, I live in a rural area. When it snows here, I am STUCK. Stuck with a capital "S" - for real! Well, it's been snowing for a few days now and I don't have any blankbooks or notebooks just lying around. I couldn't get out yesterday to go buy myself something to use as a dream journal, so I turned my house upside down to find materials I could use to make one. After gathering a hodgepodge of stuff, this is what I came up with:
That's five yards of packing tape, 45 reinforcement labels, 25 heart stickers left over from last year's Valentines Day projects, one yard of leftover Christmas ribbon, one sheet of my son's origami paper, and 70 sheets of colored copier paper. A girls' gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right? I've said it before and I'll say it again... I'm committed to this joy journey and I was not about to let a little thing like being snowed in keep me from completing this task. I felt so resourceful after pulling this one out of nowhere!
Since I was a child, I have literally dreamed about helping others who have been through hard times. I've done many things to try to realize those childhood dreams. I've taught Sunday School, volunteered for special needs kids, lead youth groups and taken in friends and family who were in need of a place to stay. It's all been very fulfilling. And it seems the more I'm able to help people, the more people I want to help. My dreams are still basically the same as they were when I was a kid... I still want to do the best I can to make a difference in the lives of others.
My most recent "help" dreams began somewhere around October of 2009. As I watched my accidental support group evolve and grow into the beautiful flourishing thing that it is now, I noticed that I was having dreams again. Not just any kind of dreams, but the kind of dreams that stir your soul upon waking, the kind of dreams that make you want to hop out of bed and get busy with making them come true. One of the dreams I had in early December 2009, I will never forget. In the dream, I was contacted by Ms. Angela Shelton via email. In the dream, she asked me to be a contributor to Survivor Manual. Survivor Manual is a website that was created in order to bring together a multitude of people and resources and information to help survivors lead joyful lives. This dream inspired me to set three specific goals for 2010. The goals? 1) Be a contributor to Survivor Manual in some capacity, 2) Be listed in the "Survivor Blogs" section of Survivor Manual, and 3) Start sharing my story on other sites in order to make more people aware of the Angela Shelton Foundation and the 30-Day Healing Journey.
I had no idea these goals would be realized within the first week of 2010! I feel like I won the lottery! Here's how it happened:
Social Networking! I tweeted about my first "vlog" and Angela Shelton gave me the best surprise ever... she added the video and a bit of my story to Survivor Manual! Then she added my blog link to the list of Survivor Blogs. What?! Yup! TWO dreams/goals come true in one fell swoop! As a result of the Survivor Manual feature, we have gotten some new members in the facebook support group, and I've gotten a few really great messages of support from survivors I didn't know before. Along with the feature on Survivor Manual, there have been other opportunities... more sites and blogs highlighting my story, and some proposals I'm not ready to talk about because I just don't know what's going to happen with them. ALL THREE GOALS FOR 2010 are ALREADY realized!
If I can make my dreams come true, so can you! But it didn't just happen. I have poured my heart and soul into this little purpose of mine. I feel like God lends us a great big helping hand when we step out in faith and do what we feel like He has created us to do. I really believe this is what I was born to do, to show people that they can HEAL and have JOY in their lives in spite of their past experiences and present circumstances.
I firmly believe we all have our own unique purpose in this world. What do you feel like you were born to do? Are you a painter, a writer, a helper, a healer, a homemaker, a crafty diva? Are you taking steps to realize your dreams? Are you painting, writing, helping, healing, filling your home with love, creating wonderful things to share with the world? What are your dreams? Do you want to exhibit your work, get published, start a nonprofit, redecorate your house, start a business? Do you have dreams? Don't deny them. Make them happen! You have to play the lottery if you want to win the jackpot... you get me?
Consider starting a dream journal of your own and see where your dreams take you! They just might give you the fuel you need to get your show on the road!
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Are you able to use your sword yet or is it still stuck deep inside your gut, holding you back and keeping you immobilized in fear and shame?
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Twenty...
Today's task: 20 minutes of SWORDPLAY!
After yesterday's time of sadness, today I was ready to release some of the tension I had built up and face some of the fears that come from knowing I'm a wee bit vulnerable right now... and you know what? Today was awesome. Today was empowering. Today gave me more energy to keep fighting, to keep healing. It certainly made me feel STRONG and MIGHTY and in control!
My boys are home from school today because of the snow, so we did this task together. Together, we stood in the living room, swords in hand, ready for battle. Together, we yelled and shouted and poked and swatted and stabbed and sliced at pillows we had perched on the couch. We pretended that each pillow was something we were afraid of and we pretended our swords were magical and wonderful things that had the power to make those frightful foes disappear. We kicked some plushy pillow butt if I do say so myself!
Speaking of kicking butt... so many of you tell me how much you admire me and how strong I am. Let me remind you that you are talking to the girl who used to literally burn herself and beat the living crap out of herself on a daily basis. I am the girl who used to take scalding hot showers because she thought the scum she was covered in wasn't ever going to wash away. I am the girl who took pills to sleep her life away, the girl who's spent more than a few nights in the psych ward. I haven't always been as strong as I am today. It's taken time, and it's taken help. The help of friends. The help of family. The help of professionals. If you're still not able to move beyond the pain, hang in there. Hang in there, but remember that this is a choice. You can't expect things get better if you're not taking the steps to make them better. If you're still stuck in the trauma, the only difference between you and me is that I asked for help, and I'm not a bit ashamed of that. Why should you be?
Make the choice to forge ahead with your healing. I did. And I will never regret it or apologize for it, because I am THRIVING like nobody's business and I am PROUD of the warrior I've become. Yup. I said it. I'm proud of myself. I should be. I'd love to see you become proud of yourself too. Toot your own horn every now and then. A survivor is a survivor is a survivor, and if you're reading my blog, chances are that's exactly what you are! You deserve some recognition for making it another day. I AM PROUD OF YOU! I am proud of you. I am proud of you. I am proud of you.
Are you gettin' me here? You're still alive. That alone deserves some applause! Seriously! YOU are strong. YOU are brave. YOU are mighty. YES YOU ARE! Find your voice and use your sword. Heal. Show others it's possible. The reward you will receive is indescribable. The joy you will find is immeasurable. And the people you will meet are unforgettable... because their stories become a part of yours. And you'll love them for it.
I love you all. And don't you forget it. Thank you for being a part of my story!
So until next time... happy healing!
Monday, January 04, 2010
"... and then I grasped that I was loved." -Angela Shelton
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Nineteen
Wow. Today brought me to tears. Today I was told to write for 3-5 minutes about what I would do for a child who came to me in crisis. There are currently some children in my life who are in crisis, so the exercise of putting on paper the very things that I have done for those children was fairly easy. It's the second part of the exercise that was a little more difficult... I was to read my list and do for myself the things I said I would do for the traumatized child.
My list consisted of several things: hold the child, tell them I love them, give them my teddy bear, make them something comforting to eat or drink, play games, color a picture or watch a movie, and maybe sing to them.
At first, I was really excited to take this task on. I decided that if I was gonna do it, I'd do it right. I'd treat myself like a queen. I'd gather my bear and my favorite blankie, a coloring book and a movie, and I'd pop some popcorn for myself to enjoy while I colored and watched the film. I specifically chose a "kiddie movie" because of the nature of the task.
After about 30 minutes of coloring, watching the movie and munching on my popcorn, I started feeling really sad and a little sick. I started crying. What in the world was going on? I couldn't figure it out at first. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that I was mourning the loss of my childhood. This beautiful moment of fun had turned into a time of utter sadness and grief... so I've got to sit here and process this today. Thanks to the healing I've done so far, I know it's okay for me to have days like this.
I'm in mourning because I don't have many memories of feeling safe and happy as a child. No matter how hard I tried to have fun, there was always an underlying anxiety, a lingering sadness that accompanied every moment of my existence. In regards to the abuse, I was never comforted as a child. Nobody ever told me it wasn't my fault. Nobody ever held me while I cried about how dirty and how confused I felt. Nobody could. They didn't know what I was going through. Looking back, I can honestly say that if I had spoken out at a much younger age, I have no doubt that there would have been loving adults around me who would have swept me up and given me the comfort and the support I needed. But I chose to remain silent because I was terrified. I kept my abuse a secret until I was 19 years old. Maybe that is why I have such a passion for speaking out. Maybe my inner child is begging me to help her tell all of her fellow victims that it's okay to talk about what's happening to them, or that it's okay for them to ask for help because somebody loves them and somebody will protect them to the best of their ability.
I'm actually crying as I type these words. I can't tell you how sad it makes me that I waited so long to tell... and that's okay. Today I'll feel it. Today I'll cry. Today I'll hold my inner child and tell her that I'm going to help her emerge from the shadows so she can see that she is safe... and so that she may grasp that she is loved.