Raw and Uncut…ex-boyfriends,triggers and hurts…..

9

I wasn’t going to say anything.  I knew what was happening and I knew how I was trying to handle it was not going to work.  But, I let too much “noise” get in my head and tell me that nobody wants to hear it. Or, that it’s been long enough that I should be over it.  Or, the worst one, the voice of my ex boyfriend, immediately following the events, who kept saying “you’re too obsessed about it – you just have to get over it”……….

So, as per usual, I filled myself with temporary distractions.  So many distractions actually, that I ran myself in the complete opposite direction, straight into pure exhaustion.  In doing that, I seemed to forget one little detail……exhaustion is one of the two biggest enemies of my chronic condition.  And thanks to all that madness, here I sit………my body in total rebellion and if I’m being ridiculously raw, my heart sutures, a little busted.

And the only way I know how to feel better, is to write.  You see, no matter what you personally think of my words (or of me, for that matter), I don’t write them for you (or maybe this time, I actually do).  I write them because out of all the things I don’t like about myself, and out of all ways I question what the heck I am wondering around this planet for, typing words is the only thing I’m sure of.  It’s the only thing that boosts me into dealing with whatever I need to (yes, even if it’s a funny dating story).  And more than that, it’s the only thing that I KNOW is meant for something bigger than me.  I know if it’s taking me to such an uncomfortable place to write/type them, then it’s also meant for someone else to read.  Even if it’s just one person.  I think it’s even more cool that my job is to write it and release it.  It’s not for me to know where it lands from there.  

14

Sorry, I digress.  I came here to admit and face today.  Not to over explain myself. So, Hi, my name is Alicia and I’m hurting.  I’m also angry.  I want to be in a different place and I’m not and I know it won’t go away until I tell you about it.  Why the universe puts me in these positions to open myself up to so much, I’m not sure….but I’m definitely gonna address it when I get in front of the big guy :p!

Five years ago this last week, at around 4:30 in the morning, I sent an email to my core tribe of friends, telling them that I was in serious danger and needed help.  I asked them not to contact me until I could escape and make contact with them.  I admitted that I hadn’t been truthful with them about what was going on in my life.  I confessed that I was terrified of what would happen to me.  For a few seconds, I questioned whether I was being too dramatic in what I was saying.  I couldn’t use my phone, and I wasn’t even sure if any of them would check their email.  Then, he woke up.  And it all started again.  Nope, definitely wasn’t dramatic in my email.  To this day, I firmly believe that if he hadn’t have passed back out from being so drunk, that he would have followed through on his promise to kill me.  And that was the start of a living hell on earth.  

My deliverance from abuse was nothing short of carefully orchestrated moments and miracles.  Period.  It just was.  I wish I could tell you more.  But I can’t.  Even after five years, I am yet to be able to sit down and write it all out or tell the story in any translatable format.  For someone like me, that is so foreign.  I’m a story teller after all.  Yet, it never fails that people come across my path and the story (or the parts that are needed to) come up.  I share and exhale.  And then I swell with gratefulness.  I struggle with why I’m not supposed to share the “cool” parts of the story with the masses.  But, I have to trust that it’s to come where it’s supposed to.  

24.jpg

Let me bring the point of this a little more together and wrangle it in.

  1.  It still hurts.  It hurts differently.  But, it still hurts.  I’m not sure that it will ever go away.  And that’s ok.  I’m not where I was.  And healing doesn’t always mean it all goes away.  Being tough doesn’t shield you from the sneakiness of the triggers.  Those little brats show up out of nowhere.  I’m more than thankful to be equipped with the right tools and right people to help me through them.  There is no shame in the admittance of the triggers, the asking for help or the sitting and simply feeling them.  
  2. I shouldn’t have ignored the triggers this last week.  I knew it was coming.  This anniversary and a few other dates ALWAYS trigger something.  Thankfully, it’s smaller triggers, like simple unsettled feelings and a general uncomfortable feeling.  I start sleeping less EVERY SINGLE YEAR during this time (the thief comes in the night, right?).  And I try to ignore it.  Because, according to others, I should be over it already.  And EVERY SINGLE YEAR, I end up here.  Completely drained.  Mark these words though, it will be the last year that the ignoring happens.  Next year, it’s a tropical vacation of poolside sitting and feeling it all.  Raw.
  3. The physical scars and abuse went away.  The mental mountain has been way harder to climb.  I’m SO PROUD of all the work I have done and the network I have had to get over “him”.  You know what lingers the most?  The first person I dated after.  The one I said “ok” to and opened myself up to.  The one who I knew before, the safe one, who pursued me.  The one that I gave ALL the trust I had left to.  The one I trusted with my completely shattered heart and damaged self.  Yeah, that one hurt the most.  Because he was the one who couldn’t deal with the Alicia that I was.  I know it’s not completely his fault.  I wasn’t in a place that I should’ve been dating at all.  And I said that multiple times.  But he still worked to gain my trust.  And I gave it to him.  And when I let myself love and be completely me, even the broken parts – he couldn’t handle it.  And in what I’m sure he thought was just tough love and brutal honesty, his words and actions (or serious lack there of) completely ruined me.  They were the “nail in the coffin”.  And what maybe would’ve been another year of work and healing to be past the abuse, has now lingered a very long five years.  And that’s all ok.  Because no matter what story he tells himself or others, or how happy he is in his own moving on, he served his purpose in my journey.  
  4. I’m still grateful.

6

LISTEN TO ME RIGHT NOW…….

  1.  If you are in an abusive situation, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get out.  PLEASE ask for help.
  2. If you are dealing with anything traumatic – feel it.  No matter how big or small the situation seems, if it is impacting you – then it’s real. If you feel it, it’s real.  And you NEED to feel it.  I can remember SO MANY days of checking the clock and thinking “ok, I just made it through an hour.” and I would take a deep breath and try to make it through the next.  That is as literal and truthful as can be.  Hour by hour.  I couldn’t even make it through a day.  I had to take it hour by hour.  And it wasn’t until I acknowledged and owned that feeling, for that time, that I could even think about how to make it through a day.  

16.jpg

3.  If you are a friend of someone in that situation or of someone who has escaped….WATCH YOUR WORDS.  Watch your judgement.  Period.  It’s not about you.  It’s not up to you to decide how they heal or how long it takes.  If you can’t play the role, then don’t.  That’s ok, too.  But you do not accept the role and get to dictate how the victim deals.  You just don’t.  I’m sorry.  I know it’s seems so easy to help and for them to see how they should just be ok.  They are out, they are safe, so they’re good?  Nope.  Not how it works.  And if you can’t step outside of yourself and choose to love unconditionally – then you DO NOT deserve the person in the first place.  You just don’t.  Because your judgement and impatience is doing more damage than being thrown up against a wall will EVER DO.  

4.  If you come into a person’s life long after the event, consider yourself a sacred part of their life.  You probably won’t understand, why five years later, on a Monday night, they are texting asking for random prayer.  You might not understand why they seemed fine a few days ago and then all of the sudden just seem cranky, and puffy, and tired and stupid sensitive.  Just hold on for a minute and love them anyway.  The hardest thing I have ever had to do is let people like me and know what the past few years have held for me.  And at the same time, the easiest thing for me to do is to cut you right on out if you screw with what little trust and heart I have left.

5.  Let me make this clear one more time.  You DO NOT get to tell someone that how you made them feel isn’t valid.  You just don’t.  You don’t have to agree with how they feel.  You can think whatever you want.  But, if you truly love them or are truly their friend, you HAVE to acknowledge that their feeling is just as valid as yours.  Read this again: YOU DO NOT GET TO DECIDE HOW SOMEONE FEELS OR HEALS.  

ok.  

I already feel better, even in the midst of busted sutures, that unfortunately have left me more vulnerable than I care for……. and even in the midst of a lot of things piling on (of my own doing, for trying to be tough and hide feelings) and a to do list still a mile long.  Writing with all those feelings seeping out of me is the best therapy (accompanied by a great playlist).  You can think that is dramatic if you want to.  Maybe it is.  Maybe I just feel that hard.  And maybe I’m done apologizing for that.  I will never fully heal if I don’t shut those other voices of doubt and judgement out.  To be honest, it’s probably those things that have kept me from healing, way more than the abuse memories have.  

27.jpg

And in it’s own twisted way, and with all those rambling words above, it’s actually beautiful how something so awful keeps coming up at all.  Because each time it does, as painful as it is, I can’t deny how much I have learned. I mean it when I say that it truly is a beautiful story. It seems like it keeps coming up so that I don’t forget that I have climbed a damn big mountain 🙂  These pics were from my first beach trip, ever in my life, which happened to come not long after my escape (one of those cool parts I reference).  Just digging those out again and including them here makes me reflect on how surrounded I was.  The things that happened were amazing.  

33

I am stronger.  I KNOW that I have shared it with those that needed to hear it for whatever reason.  I am wiser.  I am more intentional.  I am protected from ever going through that again.  I found out that as much as my core and heart can be shattered, that it can also be rebuilt (sometimes even better than before).  

10.jpg

Released and now I can rest.  I look forward to a good night’s sleep.  Thanks for reading.

23.jpg

Stubbornness Counts

One of my favorite little surprises in my new little book was this page that said “Stubbornness Counts”. I chuckled when I first read it. I am one of the most stubborn people I know. Hands down it is in the top three characteristics that make up “Alicia Fancy Pants”. And it is quite possibly the number 1 reason I stay single. 🙂

photo-6
My stubbornness has always been explained to me as a hinderence. If I could just be less stubborn, I would get this or that or this situation would be much easier on me. For the most part, there is quite a bit of truth to that. I can look back on many situations and see where my stubbornness created unnecessary hurdles for myself. Even my parents tell me for as far back as they can remember and before I could even speak, I was stubborn. When I came across this picture I felt like it was almost validating me to some extent in that moment. I am not in the best place I have ever been right now. If I were being completely transparent I would tell you that I’m tired. Overwhelmed. Out of those strong emotions has come a heavier than normal dose of stubborn lately. But in a way that I think was long overdue. I am finally demanding more for myself in the dating world and although currently it has left me with “nobody on the list” of potential suitors (when normally there are 2 or 3 at a time), I’m ok with that. I feel stronger.

Who knew a little crab on a picture labeled as “Stubbornness Counts” would make me realize that stubborn isn’t always bad. If I look back on the times where stubborn has been the major factor in my situations, there are more times than not that I’m glad it was present.

Had I not been stubborn and dead set on “truth”, I would have went back to the abusive situation I escaped. I would have fallen for the lies to get me back and I would have ended up caught in a cycle that I might not have ever been able to break free from.

Had I not been stubborn with a guy who apparently only wants to see me when he is in town on business, I would’ve ended up in his hotel room late at night which probably would’ve lead to mountains of guilt in the following days for allowing him to think my only value is late at night when it’s convenient for him.

Had I not been stubborn in pursuing something bigger for myself, I would still be married, on a farm, in a two bedroom concrete house with no identity other than what my mother-in-law allowed.

Had I not been stubborn and stood up for myself in my evaluation at my last job, I would have still been labeled as something I am not and still been miserable working under someone who got enjoyment out of belittling me daily.

The list goes on. But more times than not, my stubbornness has counted for the better. I’m happy with that. It doesn’t always make things as easy as they probably could be. It doesn’t always make me popular in the least. It even annoys me sometimes. But, it was given to me for a reason and I gladly wear it as part of my daily armor. For that, I will never apologize.

What’s a trait you have that you have been viewing as bad when it could be the best part of your daily armor?

Laughter in the Busy Basket

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.12.39 PM

I had no idea when I planned to blog everyday for the next 30 days in an effort to “do something different” and stick with it, that my busy basket would all of the sudden be filled to the rim!  I’m swamped at work more than ever.  I am moving to a new place this weekend.  I have a gala to attend Saturday night and literally every weekend until March is crammed packed with a full schedule.  I know, it’s all of my own doing.  I have already pulled out the big girl panties to deal.  It has however, interfered with my great plan to peacefully just come home and write an abundance of really thought provoking, in depth words of wisdom.  Instead, it has lead to exhaustion induced comedy.  Or at least that is my way of dealing with the overwhelmed and exhausted feeling.

So, without further delay I bring you my Wednesday (which I thought was Thursday all day)

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.14.59 PM

  • It started with no less than 10 snooze button hits followed by a 30 minute conversation with myself about how no matter how busy things are, I must get up.  Hiding under the covers will not work.  I then negotiated with myself that I would get away with a messy pony tail and sport my red/white polka dotted glasses and that should ignite the sassy factor getting the day started.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.08.50 PM

  • When I get to work, I start my usual routine of making a cup of green tea (I so miss coffee on this stinking detox) and warming up breakfast.  Then I like to get to my desk, enjoy my breakfast and evaluate what the glorious day beholds for me.  I do not like being interrupted while in conversation with another person.  Especially when it’s by a spastic, over-reacting coworker wanting me to do something that they are more than capable of doing themselves.  What if I died tomorrow Tory?  Who would schedule your meeting then? When am I going to get that paper work done for you?  You mean the 6 new projects worth of paperwork that I just got yesterday? Can you not see that I’m eating my omelet, talking to someone else about another project and waiting on my green tea to kick in?  Do you not realize the implications of making a big girl on detox put her fork down when this omelet recipe is one of the only things that feels like food????????

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.17.10 PM

  • Based on the immediate interruption compared to the amount of work I must accomplish today, I decide to lock myself in one of the side offices that stay empty in our office.  Perfect.  I can listen to my music out loud, spread all my papers and junk out and crank out some serious work today.  Go.  Wait!  What in the living heck is wrong with this mouse?  Why will it only scroll on the bottom of my screen?  Ugh, I’m moving the dang thing all over.  Great.  I have fought my computer for a week and now my bleeping mouse is going to go crazy?  Oh, wait.  It’s pointed upside down and facing the wrong way?  Ummmm, ok.  My bad.  (it’s a Mac wireless mouse so easy to confuse ok?)

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.18.19 PM

  • I watch Tory pass by the office no less than 32 times throughout the day.  I can tell it is taking every bit of restraint not to come peek in to ask me something.  Don’t do it Tory.  Not today.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.20.46 PM

  • Lunch break.  Quick run to get the keys to my new apartment.  Definitely a high point in the day.  I am SO EXCITED for new adventures.  I haven’t been on my own since leaving the abusive relationship I was in a couple of years ago.  I can’t wait to move continue healing and move forward.  I know there are so many good things ahead.  I sit in the middle of the living room floor just looking around and enjoying the silence.  Yes, it’s an apartment with neighbors.  Yes I wanted to wait until I had everything completely perfect before moving.  Of course I haven’t packed.  I have no “theme” planned out for each room.  I still need to pick up a thousand things.  But sometimes I think waiting til all is in order is a way of putting off stepping out of my comfort zone.  Shhhh Alicia.  Enjoy the silence.  There is no barking dog next door (seriously I don’t know how the dog even has a bark left because it LITERALLY barks ALL NIGHT LONG EVERY SINGLE NIGHT).  You are sitting in your own place.  On your own.  Not looking over your shoulder wondering if the car passing by is your ex coming back for you.  Those keys in your hand are your next step to the wonderful life you have been working so hard for.  Ok, peaceful elation over.  Back to work.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.23.45 PM

  • THANKFULLY my coworker that joined me in the side office (she needed to hide as much as I did) and turned on some great tunes.  There we were, rocking out our to do list, rapping to some 90’s Will Smith.  Like a boss.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.26.35 PM

  • FINALLY leave work to come home and cook.  This whole cooking thing is so new to me but I am loving it.  I have never cared to cook for just myself.  But now that I am doing this detox and have to be so careful about what I eat, I have forced myself to learn to cook.  And I love it.  I make the detox version of parmesan chicken and start to tackle a homemade ice cream recipe.  So excited to have a taste of cocoa.  Add in the bananas and I am pretty sure that every crazy thing about today is going to melt away.  Nope.  The ice cream was a huge fail.  Sad times.  The chicken though was good even if I did have to do without the cheese.  I don’t cook pretty.  I make a huge mess.  But I’m trying.  So the chicken was a little burned.  I’m eating it anyway.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.28.13 PM

  • Gave a free profile consultation to a guy on the dating website I am on to help improve his presence there.  That was fun.  Did the dishes.  That was not fun.  And lastly sat down to some good tunes on Spotify to type this so that I hold up my promise.  Unfortunately there are a few work emails that need to be dealt with before bed but it was a nice break to cook and write.

I love a good balance of busy and downtime.  But I also choose to look at times when the busy takes over as an opportunity to buckle down, see what I am made of, and learn something from it for the future.  I like to laugh at myself in the process and look back to see how far I came and wonder how in the heck I made it through that season.

Never take life too seriously.  Nobody makes it out alive. ~ Sydney J. Harris

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.10.26 PM

Farm la la la………

I have started a tradition with my nieces that every year around the holidays, I schedule a photo session complete with silliness, cute outfits, and memories that I hope they talk about long after I am gone.  Its my Christmas gift to my family and I am not sure if they truly appreciate it as much as I cherish it, but to me, pictures are worth more than a thousand words on any given day!  This year was the best ones we have had so far and I am already spending way too much time contemplating next year’s session and how on earth I could possibly top 2013.

That’s the feel good stuff.  The sap.  Then there is my insertion into the pics.  Not that I need to defend my presence in the pictures, because I don’t owe anybody that.  I do however want to share how it came to be for me and give you something to think about for your own self 🙂

After escaping a horribly abusive relationship in the summer of 2012, I wasn’t sure that I would ever recover.  Not only did it shake me to my core, and a place where I didn’t even recognize myself…….but it also destroyed what little self esteem I had worked so hard to find and live with.  I couldn’t stand to look at myself for a myriad of reasons that I will spare you of here.  What I do know is that once I started finally coming out of the dark so to speak, I honestly saw physical transformation as well as emotional transformation.  I was becoming someone I didn’t know, but thankfully someone better.

When you have been through something like that (or for me anyway) and you finally start to see light and peace, you want to do WHATEVER you can to hold on to it.  To document it, to capture it so that you never lose it again!  So, I did a photo session of me.  Often, things like that are thought of as vain.  But, when you evolve enough in life, you evolve to a place where a stigma such as that matters very little to you.  Actually, it doesn’t matter at all.  Because nobody knows you or what you went through and as I have said from the beginning, if you don’t love yourself, you are no good to anyone else.

Every year since (ok, so it’s only been 1 year), there seems to be something happening in my life that has caused major change.  And every single time, without fail, I see transformation.  Even when I think there isn’t room for it.  The simple recognizing of that in itself is amazing.  So, I decided to keep documenting.

I hop into the niece’s session because I want them to see that I was present.  Our family has a unique closeness, but at the same time, we aren’t too good at loving each other completely out loud.  I want them to see that differently and to change with me.  I also throw in a few shots of myself to remind me of my own journey and where I was at that time.

My point in justifying my fabulous new pics that truly captured me 🙂 is to tell you that it’s ok.  It’s ok to be present.  It’s ok to take a gazillion pictures and to document your life.  After all, some day when you’re gone it’s all that people will have of you.   It is not ok, however, to get the pictures back and destroy yourself in critiquing them.  Don’t do it.  I know you’re going to, I did too.  Then I made myself stop and remember why I do it, where I was, and where I am.  And that picture is worth more than a thousand words 🙂

Love yourself.  Document yourself.  Tell your own story so that you know it’s told right!

photo 1 photo 2