Yesterday Rick and I were visiting with one of the counselors in the bishopric in our ward and I found myself saying, “Ya, all that I’ve known for 21 years is coming to an end.” Then I paused and with deep reflection and almost like a smack in the face I said, “I guess it has all come to an end.” Wow!!! That was something I wasn’t prepared for.
Life has been soooooooooo busy over the last few weeks. Not only going to bed super late, but getting up early, cramming lots in during the day and my brain being on overload and literally just getting through the day and praying I made a dent, even a little dent, in the list of things to do. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself saying to people, can that wait until June. This morning I woke up thinking about what things, who did I say can I get back with you in June. Trying to pull all of my thoughts together, get back into real life. Connecting with what’s really been happening.
You know that I’m so busy, task oriented, survival, being in the moment feeling where you aren’t feeling too many emotions, but just getting through each day? Ya, I’m really confident that’s where I’ve been. I thought I would be much more emotional as we got to the end of the school year, but I honestly don’t think my brain and body even had time to process all that was happening.
Things have come to an end. . .such a weird thought. Such a surreal feeling. This felt like eternity away when I started volunteering in the schools. Tanner was only a few days old when I went back into the classroom to volunteer. How did all four of my boys grow up? How did all of them graduate from elementary, junior high and high school? How have two of my boys gotten married and grown up, living on their own, jobs, married? Then one that is 20 and living in Provo? And now Tanner, he’s working on his mission papers and graduated.
No more working around his school schedule for things. No more talking about high school grades. No more being a part of the PTA at the local schools. No more calling in and excusing absences / tardies. No more weekly emails with school grades and assignments below a certain percentage. No more emails from teachers. No more getting up at 6:30 - 7:00 a.m. to get Tanner off to school, or any of my boys.
Things are changing. . .in a way I’m feeling like it’s a form of retirement. What I’ve known for 21 years has ended. It’s not that it’s coming or soon will be, but it is. The school days are over. It’s a new chapter in my life.
I’ve had so many ask me what that new chapter is going to look like in my life. I’ve been asked that probably over 100 times over the last month. I’ve joked many times that the new chapter is selling our home, buying a motorhome and Rick and I traveling. We both work remote so it could work. Of course, that’s been a joke. I want to be where my kids are.
For awhile, with my old wiring, I was struggling feeling like I was being fired. That I was going to be forgotten. That I didn’t do all I could have. That friendships would come to an end. That I was a very lost soul and that I didn’t really have any identity or purpose without my kids being in school and me volunteering in the school. That was as recent as the beginning of May. I felt lost and like a failure. I didn’t know what I would do. All hope was feeling lost. How in the world could this day be coming? You know thinking, it’s this day of Tanner graduating and then it all ends and all is over and I would wake up the next day and feel hopeless, lost and filled with so much sadness. It was all placed on this one day and then I would have to rebuild or crumble. What would this one day bring?
For YEARS the last day of school was a day of super sadness for me. A chapter was over, but I treated it like the book was ending. I’d go over to the school, say lots of goodbyes, take pictures, give gifts, write notes of thank you, hold up until the bell rang and then with sunglasses on I would cry. I’d get in my car and drive home and meet the kids at home and that day was filled with sadness. Teachers that we loved were gone. Friendships, classes, the memories of the year OVER! All of my purpose in life was over for a few months and would never be the same. I wouldn’t open my blinds on the last day of school. Our home was dark. I’d sit and cry. My kids had mixed feelings about the day. I look back at the years and years of this day and think wow, what a day of mourning.
Over the last few years with counseling and changing my perspective things have felt much different. Of course, still a level of sadness with that school year coming to an end and things still to do, but not as final. There were still ways to contact those I needed to contact. Things weren’t permanent. The sun was shining and there was still life to look forward to.
This year, as I’ve been turning things over to other people and hearing the words that this is the last of this or that for me at first I felt so sad. I felt lost. I didn’t know what the answer would be to what’s next. At times I felt angry. Why does this time of life have to come so fast? Why did my baby have to grow up and graduate? Why did I put so much of my identity into volunteering and into my children? Who am I? Now what?
Then as I worked through things in counseling and started really focusing on the moments and the blessings in my life and what each day holds for me and those I love, the end of the school year came very differently than I thought. Focusing on my home for family to come and stay with us. Dejunking. Decluttering. Gaining control of my home. Being present and working through the end of the school year with Tanner. Enjoying baseball. Having a little 4 year old running around my home for a full week saying Grandma over and over. Him holding my hand, saying prayers, giving me hugs and kisses, hearing his laughter, seeing his sadness and comforting him, his gratitude - his love. When a storm comes in and is breaking frames and tipping things over for Tanner’s graduation party seeing so many of my family jump into action and within 10 minutes having things re setup and ready to go in my mom’s home. Enjoying a couple of days in Bear Lake. Full of games and laughter. Having my 20 year old surprise me in Logan that he’s joining us for the weekend. Seeing my son’s happiness in his marriage - both of them. Playing wiffle ball with friends, who are family in my eyes until there is no more light. Tanner changing his mind last minute and going to Lagoon with his Senior Class and having a great time. Going to graduation and smiling ear to ear seeing Tanner excited to graduate and looking forward to his next things in life. Saying hi to friends in passing and reaching out to friends with different messages. Going to the temple open house and feeling such a peaceful spirit. Seeing miracles happen right before my eyes. Getting a new calling that scares me to death, but knowing it was right to accept, because during the Sacrament I heard the words so clearly, “Trust Me.”
The tears didn’t come the way I thought they would. Things didn’t come to a screeching halt the day school was over. I didn’t pull my blinds closed and create darkness and cry and do nothing. I didn’t have a vision of perfection of how things had to go in order for me to be happy. I didn’t have expectations of people and how they each had to do things in order for me to be happy. I cherished each minute that I had with whoever was there at each of the things we enjoyed along the way to graduation, after graduation, the next day after graduation and continue to have that happiness. In fact, the tears didn’t really come. There was laughter. Peace. Happiness. A level of success and wins for me as I recognize my growth and changes. The new me as all of those closest to me refer to. The new me that connects, enjoys the moment, no guilt or shame, can laugh in ways I didn’t know were possible, relax and play games, enjoy a slow walk with a 4 year old grandson, a good visit and not doing things on my computer at the same time, just have a good visit. I’m a person that can now pause and answer questions and bring calm to others and validation instead of creating stress and pushing for more.
And you know what, I know what I’m doing next. . .I’m getting up each day, working my job, volunteering in the community, starting with a new church calling, keeping a few of my school assignments, working on my home, my health and relationships - the most important. I’m going to get up each day and continue to work on myself. I’m going to continue to battle the demons that are inside of me, that I fear, that are hiding in that dark closet that I’ve not let out for years and continue to heal, feel light and happiness, grow in the gospel and grow most importantly in relationships and memories. I’m going to try new things. Do things the Lord has prompted me to do for a long time. I’ll continue drawing - a new thing I’ve been doing for about 8 months. I’ll continue to write. I’ll discover new things to try. Things aren’t going to be perfect. In fact, there will be days I crash and burn. Days that I become destructive. Days that I just can’t press on. Days of sadness. But really, they don’t have to be days, they can be moments, minutes, hours, whatever those moments will be, but what I do know is that I’ve got fight in me, a happy fight, to continue to grow and progress and things don’t have to come to an end, just changing.
When it comes to food throughout my life I have a few weird, funny, different habits. Some of those are:
Most of these patterns have been a part of how I eat most of my life. I remember in Junior High my friends would ask me to hurry and eat so that we could go do other things, but I just couldn’t. Oftentimes my friends would go and do their thing and I would sit there alone eating my food - it was alright.
For years I did catering and with these feelings about food it wasn’t very profitable for our business. I would bring extra food, even if they didn’t pay for it, because it was worse to run out than worry about the money side of things. I would happily donate my time, because I wanted to oversee things and make sure everyone was taken care of.
When I would spill on myself I would be super embarrassed and would feel awful about myself. I could hear voices saying I’m sloppy and clutzy and just didn’t know how to eat. This is probably why I would rather eat by myself. I can hide my insecurity about eating and making a mess.
When I was younger I was so afraid of being even one pound too heavy. I struggled with anorexia and bulimia. I spent many days throwing up the food I would choose to eat. With so many of my insecurities with food I could go a whole day not eating.
Over the last few years of counseling we’ve not addressed my food issues, but through my healing there has been many things about my life patterns with food that have changed. I’ve loved having dinner with my family. I have no problem with spilling my food on myself - it’s a great joke amongst my family and my boys keep suggesting that they get me a bib. I’ve told them that I’ll happily wear the bibs - might save my clothes. In fact, within the last few months we were in a restaurant and I was eating a sloppy burger and I got extra napkins and tucked them in my shirt and we had a great time with that. It’s been so freeing to just enjoy the moments and the food. I’ve been able to allow myself to dish up food and eat while everyone is passing around food. I can enjoy the food and the time.
There’s a few things that I’ve been sure would never change. It’s the proper, formality, keeping things separate - eating one thing at a time and leaving the last bite. Those are two things that I’ve felt would never go away.
About a month ago I was eating, visiting, enjoying myself in my home and all of a sudden Rick said/ to me, “Cheri, you’re eating different things on your plate and not finishing one thing at a time.” We laughed and I was like oh my gosh, how did that happen? And, over this time I’ve finished the last bite. I’ve done these two things several times recently. I’ve not felt that I had to save food for others. I’ve not had to think about the pattern and organization of how I eat my food.
The other thing that has been super freeing about food for me is I don’t worry about something being the last one. I’ve been able to just let everyone and myself enjoy what we have and when it’s gone it’s gone. And if it was limited edition, well, it will come back at some point and we’ll enjoy whatever is next. There’s always something with food to enjoy.
I know this might not seem like much, but in reality changing my patterns with food without thinking about it has been a very big thing for me. It’s something that has been freeing. It’s shown me that I’m relaxing, finding enjoyment in life, gaining confidence in myself, it’s alright to laugh and not know things. It’s alright to learn at any age.
What is your thing? What is something in your life that you have a list of specific things about it that you have to abide by? Do you have beliefs with something (like food or relationships or school work or sports or laundry) that might not really need to be lived by? Is there something in your life that holds you back from really enjoying life?
Find the joy, the real joy in life in the things that you do. Take time to heal and feel more secure in yourself so that you can enjoy the food and all you’ve got.
I have this friend that’s been a life-long friend. I keep this friend very close. In fact, this friend is a part of my life everyday. Here’s the thing, this friend isn’t a normal friend that you would think of - someone you’d want around all of the time. This friend scares me. Daily this friend beats me up. Not the fist type, but with the words they say. This friend intimidates me. My friend puts me in my place. Anytime I think I’m getting brave, strong and confident and think I’m going places this friend reminds me that I’m not brave, strong and for sure not confident. This friend reminds me that no one else wants to be my friend. This friend wants to be exclusive in my life. I try, I reach out, break out of this friends fingertips and make new friends, let people in and think yes, I love this and who knew I could be so happy and then this friend says to me NO, they won’t stay, they don’t really like you and I believe this friend. In fact this friend can talk me into being destructive and ruining the good friendships, because this friend has been with me so long.
You might be wondering why I would keep this friend around. . .I mean seriously looking at this list and thinking about all of the things this friend does I’m questioning it myself. But here’s the thing. . .I trust this friend. They’ve been with me my whole life. This friend is protecting me. Helped me avoid getting into friendships and relationships that could hurt me. This friend has reminded me of working hard, staying focused and what is expected of me. Those are good things. This friend keeps me humble. Reminds me of my value. This friend makes sure I don’t get too prideful. Keep perspective on what I deserve.
With all of the things that this friend does good for me I’ve overlooked the bad. I mean no one is perfect and I’ve been grateful for the good things. They’ve made sense. They are things that I’ve believed most of my life and have made sense. From a young age there were trusted people in my life that said these things to me. They told me that if I worked hard, met their expectations, performed better, looked better they wouldn’t leave. They told me that they loved me. They told me that if I shared what happened to me that no one would believe me, but they loved me. They gave me attention. Well, as long as I did good. They would groom me. They built my value around them. They kept me in my place though. You know I needed to do certain things to earn their love. The problem was no matter how hard I tried to be my best, they left. They left me. I wanted to be loved so badly. I wanted love the way they had shown me, because that’s all I understood. They called me stupid and idiot and reminded me of my value to keep me in line. The way they looked at me. . .there was power from them. I knew their different looks and what was expected. It was our secret exchange, because no one could know what was going on. It was our special secret.
This friend, this life long friend, that has deceived me thinking it was doing good things for me, because of the things I was told for so many years is my inner voice. That inner dialogue. In fact, all of the things that I thought my inner voice was doing for me that was good was conversations, words that my abusers helped me understand were good. They weren’t. My inner voice has been my greatest demon. My greatest enemy. My inner voice can take me from laughter to tears and destruction and even suicidal thoughts in minutes. My inner voice can take me from confidence, happy and safe friendships to destruction in seconds.
This last week has been HARD!!! I’ve cried so many tears. I’ve beat the heck out of me. I’ve been in massive destruction. I went into counseling on Monday morning with this whole story. This whole list of all of these people who I’m struggling with. The anniversary of things with my dad dying and how lost I’ve felt and how much I cry over this. The pain has been significant. I went into counseling and was sharing all of these trials and challenges. I was like PLEASE help me stop crying. Help me know how to process and cope with the loss of my dad. Help me know how to trust real, sincere, safe friendships. Help me know how to sort through what and who’s not good for me. Help me bring down the walls that are flying up faster than I can process. I was missing the old me. The me that had walls. My heart locked up tight. The emotions and feelings weren’t allowed to the surface. I was task driven and nothing stopped me. I had perfection down. I didn’t let people down. I wanted the best of both worlds, but not any of the bad. I honestly was at a point in counseling that I couldn’t live with myself ANYMORE! I just kept saying I WANT TO ESCAPE MYSELF!!!!
There’s a person in my life I super struggle with. They do scare me. They intimidate the heck out of me. They can beat the crap out of me and I take it. I honestly live in fear of this person. It’s a great chalIenge for me. Honestly, I can’t figure out why this person has so much power over me, but it’s something that is truly a struggle for me.
As I got done dumping my counselor said to me, “Cheri, you know who is hurting you most? You have your own person - this person that scares me to death - in fact, you’re meaner to yourself than this person is.” I was like what the heck! Honestly it was such a great image. It made this all so real. He said to me, we’re going to focus on how you treat yourself, your inner dialogue. He said to me what if I was constantly calling you stupid and idiot? He said, first I wouldn’t be a decent human being and second, that would keep me beat down. I was like well, when you said those words I believed you, I know I’m dumb and stupid. I honestly felt those words right in my heart, because I say these things to myself all of the time. I’m not sure how to think differently.
I was like, but all of these people, I’m hurting, I need tips and tricks and tools on how to survive all of these specific things. He went right back to my inner dialogue and said that we would address those other things in another session. I honestly thought, oh my gosh, I’ve got another week of completely falling apart. He didn’t give me tools for what’s really the problem.
You see, my counselor is often much wiser than I am - lol. That’s why I go to him. There’s been other times I’ve thought why this assignment or why did he go this direction, but then it all makes sense and my foundation is much stronger. So, I left the session with an assignment to really pay attention to my inner dialogue. He’s talked to me a lot about self compassion and I finally told him yesterday, I don’t understand. I honestly don’t comprehend self compassion. If I perform, if I do things perfectly, don’t mess up, make mistakes, say the right things and the list goes on then maybe I can have self compassion. Isn’t having self compassion really having a pity party? Pity parties are not allowed. No time for those things. I was very sincere with my counselor. I know that might not make sense, but that’s how my mind functions. Over 40 years of programming it’s hard to think any differently.
One thing that I will say is I’ve taken my assignments very serious from my counseling. I want to get better. I can see the blessings. I love who I am becoming. The thing is I told my counselor I’m not sure how to do this well. He said anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first. Well, alright, that goes against my grain, but in reality most of the steps I’ve taken in healing have been done poorly at first, but eventually have become a great part of me. It’s been worth it.
SOOO, for 2 days I’ve focused on my inner dialogue. I’ve included the Lord in every single step. I’ve prayed every second of every day in my heart. PLEASE help me. I don’t know how to do this. Yesterday I had a few experiences that were miracles. Very detailed miracles. Words that were said. Words I needed to hear. I was able to find confidence to say words I’ve never said my entire life until last night to a very dear friend. Someone I love so much. The Lord has been my strength. I’ve found a much greater happiness the last two days. A confidence I’ve not felt within myself. Now, I’m sure I’ll falter. I’ve tried this before. But faltering doesn’t mean I’ve failed. It means I’m working on it and I fell and stood back up and kept fighting for myself.
I’m going to work on firing this “friend”. My inner dialogue is not a friend of over 40 years isn’t a friend I want to stick around. Not for the good or bad. A lot of it has been bad. Even the good was deceptive. I didn’t have to perform to be loved. I didn’t have to be a certain way or be perfect. . .the list goes on. I’m loved as I am. I’m in the fight for my life. For me. For the real me. For a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father who has felt and understood the great pain I’ve suffered for years and years. It’s time to fire my “friend” and make a new friend. A new inner dialogue that sees and knows my real value.
Normally when I’m in this state of mind I choose to not write or blog, because my feelings are super raw right now and often I feel it’s best for me to not share when I’m in this state of mind. The thing is I can write when my feelings are raw when there’s pain or sadness or loss, but anger, that’s a whole different ball game. I don’t really know how to handle anger. I don’t get angry very often. I’ve not even felt much anger towards my past abusers, because I’ve felt bad for them and what they’ve gone through in their lives. I’ve also thought, well, my life has been messed up, but I don’t want to mess up their lives. There’s only need for one life to be messed up and I’m strong enough to push through and change things. I’m confident that someday I’ll be better - I am getting better.
Tonight, no, tonight, I’m ANGRY!!!! Earlier today I was with a couple of friends and something in the conversation caused me to reflect on another friendship and all of a sudden I felt a punch to the gut. I felt sick to my stomach and felt so much anger towards someone in my life. I thought to myself why am I so stupid? Why am I so dumb? Why would I think that I matter to this person? I started reflecting on a whole bunch of things and interactions and thought, seriously Cheri why are you doing this? Why are you begging for this friendship? I thought to myself, if I didn’t make the effort in this friendship there wouldn’t be anything and here I thought this was a good friendship. I’ve spent my life begging and trying to be enough for friendships, wanting to know that I matter to people and here I’m doing this again. This breaks my heart to realize this again. These stupid patterns in my life. I honestly sit here shaking my head at myself thinking when will I stop being so dumb?
As I’ve thought about these feelings and questions today and tonight I’ve thought to myself about a chalkboard or even one of those sidewalk chalk drawings that are so amazing!!! So often I have these friendships, relationships, that are being drawn. There are so many details put into the drawing. It’s becoming a very beautiful picture. Of course, there’s been errors and things that have needed to be adjusted or changed a little bit here or there, but no one can really see the errors, because of the beauty of the overall picture. So many details, experiences, tender times together, opportunities to serve, laughter, memories created. . .what more could you ask for? It feels like ultimate happiness. AND THEN, you realize, no, this isn’t true. It’s not the beautiful picture you thought was being drawn. In fact, the other person wasn’t drawing this type of beautiful picture. They were watching you draw it and led you on. Let you think they were a part of the beautiful drawing, but they weren’t. In fact they didn’t really care about the beautiful picture at all. They just let you believe.
This breaks my heart! I hate this so much! How do I get to this point so often in my life? To think that there’s a beautiful picture being drawn together in a friendship, but no it’s just me making up the story in my mind. I saw the colors and magic and had a vision. . .and then BAM, here’s the real story. The colors turn to black and ugliness and pain. All I want to do is take the eraser, one of those big erasers and pound it, pound it soooo hard and throw it at the picture. I want to erase it all. I don’t want to see any sign of the beautiful picture ever again. I don’t want any of the color left. I want it gone!!! I just want ugly black asphalt or the chalkboard. In fact, I could just throw away the whole chalkboard or the space that the picture was drawn. I don’t want any memory of it at all. It’s just another reminder of how dumb and stupid I am. It’s a reminder that I thought for a short time that I could matter, that I could be important to someone. What was I thinking? I was creating reasons to be important. I was hoping that somehow I’d create a feeling that I mattered to this person, that I mattered to anyone. I hate this!!! I hate that I’m reminded that I created the feeling of mattering and that I didn’t really. I long for this feeling all of the time. This is why I keep my distance. This is why I’ve not let people close to me for most of my life. I get too excited at any sign that I matter to someone and I grab hold and cling on for dear life just praying that I’ll find a way to convince people that I matter, that I have value, that I have something to give, something that they want in their lives. How foolish am I? Foolish. Super foolish. Maybe someday I’ll remember this and not care, not hope to be cared for.
Want to know why I’m ANGRY tonight? I’m angry at my abusers that I feel this way. That I feel I don’t have value. I’m angry that I can’t trust people. I’m angry that I grab hold of any little hope of someone caring about me and hang on for dear life. That I forget that it’s me holding on for dear life and the other person is trying to get rid of me like a leach. They are shaking me off and I’m not getting it. I’m a slow learner, because I want love and people to care about me so bad. I want people to want me in their lives as much as I want them in my life. I long for this so much and so any kind of little hope I’m like I’m in and then my heart gets stomped on again and again.
When will I learn??? When? I pray soon. I pray that I will have more clarity earlier and not cling on for dear life for friendships that just end up hurting me. I pray that someday I’ll get this. I pray that someday I’ll matter.
Until then I’ll keep taking the chalkboard eraser and pounding the heck out of the beautiful pictures that I hope are being created. I hope that someday the beautiful picture will stay and not wash away.
Here’s a confession that many might not believe about me, but those who were my friends in High School can vouch for this. . .I used to have a very bad problem with swearing. My swearing was a habit and it was a very frequent habit. I swore for years. Sometime during my Senior year I decided that I didn’t want to swear anymore. Of course, I tried it in a very casual way, but that didn’t work. I found myself slipping up a lot. I would go back and forth in my efforts. When I would get mad or frustrated the vocabulary grew. I also thought it was cool to swear - so many swore in school and at times, different groups of friends would swear. Then I got to the point that I was serious about this so I told my friends that if I swore the first one that pointed out that I had said a swear word would get a nickel. I carried around rolls of nickels and I was going broke, but it caused me to pause and think about it. Eventually I got to the point that I wasn’t swearing as often and then eventually I wasn’t swearing anymore. Once I broke the habit I didn’t want to go back and I became pretty extreme on the other side of not saying any words that could even resemble swearing. I had not sworn for soooo long that most people have a hard time believing that I swear at all or ever did.
Fast forward. . .the other day I was in my counseling session and we were talking about some struggles that I’m going through right now. Last week I really hit a wall and I could hear all of the old voices talking to me reminding me that I’m a burden, no one could like me, I’m stupid, dumb and the list goes on. I cried a lot last week. I was super depressed. I couldn’t even put into words how much I was struggling. I was sure those closest to me were leaving my life and there was no way they could want me around, because I’m just super stupid to think I have any value. There was a point last week that I had one of my out of body, pressure mounting, anxiety taking over, voices loud and clear that I was worth nothing and a darkness, a darkness that felt so heavy that I wanted to escape myself. I felt that the only option was to end my life. I’ve had these feelings a few times over the last few years as I’ve been working through many difficult things, but I’ve gotten much better. It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of these deep dark episodes. I tried super hard to talk myself through with the tools I’ve learned from counseling and I was able to get myself to the point of walking downstairs and asking Rick for a priesthood blessing. I really don’t remember anything from the blessing, but what I do remember is that I could hold on, the darkness lifted and that I could find a way to live with myself.
This was a huge win!!! I didn’t run. I didn’t attempt to end things. I was able to muster up enough reason and logic to come to Rick
As I was in counseling on Monday and we were talking about these experiences from last week and then some other personal challenges that were beating me down hardcore we talked about my intrapersonal relationship. What conversations am I having with myself? What is my self talk? What do I believe deeply within myself about myself? Where’s my value?
Well, for over 40 years my intrapersonal conversations haven’t been good. I’ve played over and over in my head the things that were said to me through the abusive relationships. I wasn’t enough. If I did this, then this, but then when I did this it wasn’t enough so then there were greater punishments - pain in many different ways. More abuse, because I didn’t measure up. And then eventually, no matter how hard I tried, thinking this was the only way I would be loved they would leave. Abandonment Tenderness is super real in me. I so wanted to be enough, because with abuse abusers tell you that if you tell anyone they won’t believe you and there will be harm to them and they won’t love me - I’m used up garbage. In some of my situations there was more than me, another girl, and that was punishment to me, because I wasn’t doing my part. I was failing them. If I did more. If I did things precisely this way then I could get them back. Due to the abuse starting at a very young age I didn’t have a way to understand that some of these things weren’t truth and then the abuse went on for years. I know this can be hard to understand if you’ve not been in abusive relationships, but it’s real, these feelings run super deep, like right in your bloodstream. It’s what keeps your heart beating. I’m sharing a very small part of this part of my life in this blog, but these conversations and belief about myself were me, were my heart.
Then I get living my life. . .having children, volunteering in the community, etc and it sure appears I’ve got my life all together. I’ve got this thing down called perfection. I would not fail even if that meant at the sacrifice of everything I had. I would keep so busy that I didn’t have time to face my reality, the pain that runs deep in me. Every single time I conducted a meeting, pulled off projects, events, etc I would beat the crap out of myself. I would lose sleep and even be super sick before things, knowing that I had to perform up to perfection. There couldn’t be any glitches. After anything, even if it was completely successful, I would sit and write down everything that I did wrong, could have been better, every single criticism that came from anyone and the list would go on. I would commit to doing and being better the next time. I wouldn’t celebrate the successes, because there wasn’t success in my book, it was failure if there was anything that had to be improved.
Some of my favorite terms for myself are: I’m stupid, I’m dumb, why am I so dumb, I’m a burden, I’m too much, they are going to leave my life, I screwed up again, I’m so sorry. I always made promises to be better, do better and to not be myself like that again. I couldn’t be me, because that was a sorry state. A failure. I’ve not trusted myself.
My assignment on Monday from counseling was to focus on my intrapersonal relationship. How do I talk to myself? What is my personal relationship with myself? This is a very hard assignment. I have to change the dialogue I have with myself, the things that have been familiar for over 40 years. I want to change that dialogue and I have been. Honestly, I’ve been doing really well, except for when I mess up, swing into my little girl in the afternoons / evenings.
I was messaging a very dear friend of mine on Monday telling them about my challenge this week. I said, “With counseling I’m focusing on my intrapersonal relationship. Focusing on self compassion for myself and building confidence within myself. The things I tell myself. When I was a teenager and decided to break my swearing habit I carried a roll or actually lots of rolls of nickels around with me and every time I swore whoever first heard me I paid a nickel to. I seriously went through lots of rolls in a day. It was a super bad habit. Today I had the thought maybe I need to do this with you, Rick and another friend with calling myself dumb, stupid, idiot, a burden, etc. I’m afraid I might go broke again though - lol. I’m excited to focus on this, because I feel that this is going to help my confidence, amount I worry and insecurity, peace and overall happiness.”
I’ve not actually gotten nickels, but I’ve shared this with the 3 people as a joke, and I’ve been very self conscious about this and I’m on day 3 of working on this. I’ve not called myself dumb, stupid, idiot, etc. I’ve gotten close and been scared and apologized and been a little worried, but I’ve held strong. I’ve got such an AMAZING support group of friends who are there with me step by step through this journey and showing me so much love and support. It’s exciting!!!
I’ve got a journey. I’ve got a long jagged, up and down, broken road to travel, but I’m traveling it and I’m making progress. I’m making great progress. I can say that I’ve come to understand the love I can have for myself. I’m seeing my value. I love who I’m becoming. I love the happiness and peace that I’m finding in my life. One minute, one hour, one day at a time. Little by little I’m getting better and it’s worth the journey.
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity