Sunday, March 26, 2017

Survivor To Survivor - (trigger warning)

Yesterday I looked in the mirror.  I had a long discussion, out loud, alone in my room.  A face to face realization about the lessons the rapes taught me and what those actual lessons were, and I wrote about it this morning.

I got three paragraphs written down, and it's good. 

But its too personal to share.

So, I'm writing this disclaimer to share instead.

I promise you it was necessary, and I promise you it was not a pleasant conversation.  But I can also promise you that it was very, very honest and very liberating.  On the other side of this attitude change in me, I can also promise you it's better, I'm better, and closer to the person I see myself being than I have been in twenty years. 

The work I still have to do is scary, but also necessary.  But all true inner workings on your ego and id are painful.  So this is another curve or hill on my trail.  Another obstacle in the road to navigate around.  We all have them and we all figure out, each in our own way, how to do just that  Every Single Day.  And for some of us it's every minute of every day but they are the ones in chronic pain.  My pains so far are the result of self infliction caused by child molestation.  It is very difficult to type those words.  Those are the first time I've used them in association with myself.  And that felt profound.  I am one of the many, many outcomes of being abused as a child.  Forgiving yourself of the blame you carry for being raped is hard enough, without having to try to forget the memory of it.  And of forever associating sex of any kind, with it.  It's not like most of your first times, that you fondly cringe about when asked, "What was your first time like, or Who took your virginity?"  Actual questions people (men mostly) have asked me.  No my cringes at this question are because the rapist did. 

In fact the only reason I blog about it ever is in the hopes that if someone else out there is going through it too, that they know they are not alone.  Stats say one in five of us will be raped in our lifetime.  I got that in three's too (see unposted blog above), so I've got two of you covered if it never happens to you.  You're Welcome.  The only reason I share at all, is to let other survivors know what they are feeling is not abnormal.  While our stories will be different, our pain is similar.  The guilt, the shame, the vengeance, is all very familiar.  So much so that between us, we nod in recognition without ever knowing details.  Only that we're survivors.  And we will continue to survive rather than let the rapist win.  See losing ourselves, losing our identity, losing our ability to love or let someone in, is letting the rapist win.  I'm trying so hard not to let that happen, but I find myself slipping away into electronic only relationships. 

This might be exactly what my internet play needs.  Not a happy ending, but an invisible one.  From life, once again, comes inspiration. 


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunrise Sunset

Sunrise in the city is not like sunrise in the country.  I remember living and visiting family in Nebraska when a young child and preteen, the sunrise and sunsets were brilliant orbs of red or gold that sat on the flat lands.  The sky a rainbow of color behind it as it rose.  Then as a teenager and young woman Pikes Peak was the back drop for that sunset making the mountain a silhouette, but the sunrise made them a breathtaking pink and orange with the reflection of the snow.  I missed the orb but was awed by the rosy range.  Now in the Windy City the buildings take up so much of the sky, that you only see the yellow glow when it peeks in between the skyscrapers, like a shy child playing hide n seek. The sky slowly grows light without an orb or reflection and, I find I miss the dawn of the mountains. 

Life is like that. 

You miss what you have only after it is gone.  And you look back on it with a fondness that kindles a desire to return to see it.  But when you do, you find it either unchanged or completely unrecognizable due to growth.  And you then you long for what you left behind again. 

People are like that. 

The memory we have of our lost loves or friends can range from poignant to affectionate.  And yet they are changed either from lack of growth or growth in a completely different direction from yours.  Such is life.  If we are lucky we are continually changing, hopefully for the better but not always.  We go through change so quickly and yet it seems like it can take forever for real change to occur.  That is until you wake up and realize the change is compete.  Then it's like a switch going off inside you and you know something is different.  It might be a change in a long believed outlook or a change of heart, but the change is real and once it flips you can't undo it. 

You really can't go back.

I know some hopeless romantics out there will argue.  Believe me I was one for thirty years.  But life taught me one thing after all the regret, and bitterness and anger were lifted.  Every sunrise is a chance at making my world and me a better version.  And every sunrise is different and beautiful in its own way.  Just like people.  Just like life.  Even when you are down, you know you will be up again as along as you never give up.  As the dawn breaks here I look upon my blue gray and pink sky and wonder how many of the ones I left behind or left me behind see their sky and think of what happened between us?  What really went wrong?  How could I have changed it?  Would I?  And I know they do.  But we are smarter than that. We know you can't go back.  So we go forward.  Life is waiting, and you must live it.  Or it will pass you by.  Of course if you're like me and you are tired of life and its drama and excitement, by all means have another cup of coffee and move when you're sure.  You can't force life, or change.  You can only accept it.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

When Life Puts The Breaks On Your Life

The struggles I have found with finishing my novel have been so many that they might be a new novel.  And once I get this one back from my editor I just might try it.  After all my screen play was about my twenties, maybe It's time for a novel about my forties. 

The last seven years have been full of ups and downs romantically, three men have come into my life and left.  Mr. Practical, Mr. Hopeful and Mr. Charisma.  Mr. Practical and I are still very close friends and writing partners, he really is a treasure.  And Mr. Hopeful and I are working on a friendship, if he can avoid his jealous streak.  Mr. Charisma, I hope falls off a cliff.  Learning that "I love you" usually means "I lust you" and rarely means what you think it means, unless said by children. 

A huge move from a medium sized city of Oktoberfest lovers to the Windy City, in my fifties.  A population shock reversal from leaving the city at the foot of Pikes Peak for a town that love the Rutabaga, almost thirty years ago.

A life style and life changing career.  After tying on many jobs in clerical and sales industry and hating almost all of them I stumbled into something that I not only love but am very, very good at.  With the right minded parents, which is vital as a nanny.

Oh and the 'big change' which gave me twenty pounds and the ability to not really care what anyone thinks anymore and really cool blue and purple hair.  Thanks menopause.   So I think the weight gain is worth it.  Besides I can lose the weight.  I don't want to lose the perception. 

The mental breakthrough (breakdown?) I needed to face the work I've done, and will continue to do which has brought about the end to depression and much more controllable anxiety. 

Really learning to enjoy my own company, not just saying it.  And embrace the half of my personality that is introvert while occasionally letting out my extrovert.  I believe the new term for that is ambivert.  But whatever.  

And the ability to juggle money the way a clown juggles balls.  With practiced expertise and the knowledge of one thing going wrong and the whole thing falls apart.  Like knitting. Which I also learned how to do. 

I wrote one screenplay and submitted it to project Green Light, making the last cut from over 5000 entries before finally cut myself in the last 100.  A play which I'm not very happy with except for a few concepts and maybe a character or two.  So not.  And a fantasy novel which I'm very proud of from a story of a long time ago in my head.  Which many of you heard while I was kicking around ideas and which none of those made it to the actual story.  The way it goes in a writers head. 

And finally how to be a really good friend and sometimes tell my friends the truth or 'no' and not change myself to 'buy' their affections, but rather cut them lose and find friends that accept me for who I am.  Not who they want me to be or to use.  This goes for romance as well.  Which was a very hard lesson to learn, and took me three divorces and three failed romances to figure out.  Or at least admit.  Going back to the 'enjoying my own company' bit, but sometimes we think we need someone to complete us.  Or make us a better person.  Or make life worth living because you have someone to share it with.  All of this may be true for us as humans.  I believe you do need physical hugs to be happy, but I don't believe I need a man to complete me or make me a better person or make my experiences worth something because of a witness.  I used to use these excuses when depressed about being single.  "If only I had someone to share it with" or "He makes me want to be a better me." or "We're like one person or halves of the same identity."  YUCK.  Kind of makes me sick now to think how hopeless a romantic I was.  And to understand that alone, I'm not only more successful financially but way more emotionally.

Sometimes we need to learn to stop chasing society imprinted dreams.  And really delve into our own personalities to know ourselves enough chase our own dreams.  And then make them reality.  Did the drama of my life so far, stop my writing?  No, but it sure slowed it down until I started to really see who I had become and not liking her, change.  Seven years of waking up and trying on hats.  Hats that didn't always fit, but were awfully pretty in the window.  Now my hat is of my own design and I'm a better person for it.  Being able to write again after decades of not even thinking of myself as a writer anymore, has been a great gift.  And one I hope will never again be suffocated by what everyone expects of me.  But made to grow now that it's what I expect of me.  And my opinion of myself is all that matters.

Just like for you. 


Sunday, March 5, 2017

How To Turn Your Mind Off

The hardest part about living alone is being bored.  Especially if you have anxiety or depression.  I used to suffer a lot from both, now its very rare if ever that my anxiety gets so high that it brings about a depression.  It's taken me many, many years to get to this point.  And if you suffer from it too, the best advice I can give you, you aren't going to like. 

First of all, even if you don't want to do physical harm to yourself or others, get professional help.  No there is no magic pill that will cure you.  But there are meds out there that will help you cope while you figure out why you are so filled with anxiety and depressed.  So get that help.  Anyway you can.  It helped me greatly not only to have the meds but be in a group of people feeling the same issues.  I felt less insane.  And more like a strong person who was just tired of being strong. 

Second, and this is the hard one.  Do the work on yourself.  Really think about why you are so worried and keyed up about small stuff.  And big stuff.  Or why the small stuff turns into big stuff.  Face your anger.  Face your fear.  Yoda's words are true ones.  Living with an unhappy life can bring about boredom and that is a killer.  Because if you are bored you are in your own head too much and that's where the worry and anxiety comes from.  Too much of the fear we all carry around can lead that anxiety into a full blown panic attack.  Which can paralyze you with unrealistic and irrational fear.  But it's totally real.  It feels real and it keeps you locked up in your home and in your mind.  My mom used to say "Always be prepared for the bad stuff." (anxiety)  My dad used to preach "Don't sweat the small stuff, but all the stuff is small stuff." (depression) .  The voices in your head aren't always there to help.  Learn how to tone them down and listen when necessary not 24/7.  And breathe.  Breathing really does help. 

Third, acquire a lot of hobbies.  I mean a shit ton.  I love movies, books, knitting (new one) writing, going for walks, chatting with friends, meditation, yoga works too although I'm lazy, and ten years after really noticing how worried I was about everything,  I can add that going out for a nice meal alone. There is so much to do and so much information at our finger tips, find something that makes you feel alive and accomplished.  Do something to stir your soul.  

Fourth and this is a heart-breaker, you must, MUST cut out the people in your life that make you feel less than the wonderful and the great person you are.  You cannot accept any passive aggressive types or narcissistic lovers.  They will break you faster than you can.  Because they can't be real with their own emotions or feelings so they don't trust yours.  And you are back at square one.  After my third divorce I fell into a group of people I thought were my friends.  I actually did meet two of my best friends in that era and they happily married each other and are still close to me.  The rest it took me over twenty years to finally find the strength to accept the fact that they weren't really honest friends of mine.  Just people to keep me from being alone and people that I could let out my life's anger at from the real reasons that depressed me or caused me anxiety.   Unfortunate for us all.  Had we met now, we might have become real friends. 

And last, try to surround yourself with people that really get you.  That you don't need to be constantly trying to explain to them what you meant or what you feel.  If they know you at all they know what you are capable of and how wrong their assumptions are before they voice them.  Accusations, especially ones that aren't founded in fact, can take you back to anxiety (what did i do wrong? why am i not good enough?) and depression (why doesn't he love me?  why didn't he choose me?)  All of this is self hate talk.  What you should be saying to people that make you feel this way is goodbye.