Okay. I do not know if I am going to be able to express what I am wanting to in the way I want to. But I am going to do my best.
There are people who have your back have your back. And then there are people who are good people and good friends/family who have your back….but not really. They have your back but not if it does not benefit them. The moment they can take advantage, manipulate or throw you under the bus they will. Maybe not on purpose, maybe not with the intent to cause harm. But when it comes down to the core – they don’t do the right thing. They do what benefits them the most. They don’t come through. They don’t do you a solid.
I must have walked through my life thus far with a big sign on my head screaming, “Take advantage of me! I will take it and not say a word!” And that is 100% my issue.
But no more.
I will take no more. On any level. I believe in forgiveness but forgiveness does not mean my time and energy and another opportunity to take me down. So friends, just putting it out there, if you are “going to have my back” -then have my back. If not, I love you and I wish you only goodness. Because this girl has been through too much sh** this year to knowingly put herself through any more. Boundaries. I now have boundaries.
The other day my therapist challenged me to be the leader in loving myself. Having more firm boundaries of what treatment I will tolerate is loving myself. In fact, it is more than that. It is respecting myself. It is loving and respecting the people around me. Brene Brown has said, “The most compassionate people that I’ve ever interviewed… happened to be the most boundaried. They happened to be the people who had very, very clear boundaries about what they were willing to do, what they were not willing to do, what they were willing to take on, and what they were not willing to take on. One of the things that shifted for me, was this idea that maybe everyone – myself included – maybe everyone’s doing the best they can. But sometimes, that means that I don’t have to engage.”
To those of you who have my back have my back. Thank you. You have no idea how much I have needed you. You have kept me alive. If I never have the chance to repay you I know Karma will. You have a lot of good coming your way.
I remember the first time I met 1. It was my freshman year of college. We were standing in the hallway of the music building. I ballet danced up to him and introduced myself. Not sure what all we talked about but by the end of our conversation we had plans to watch Flashdance in my dorm room and share a bag of Oreos that night.
I mean…there you go. Pretty darn sure we all knew he was gay before he was officially out-and-about gay. So when 1 came out to my friends and I it was no surprise. What did come as a surprise to me was how scared and devastated he was. He was crying. Afraid of what we would think of him. Afraid that God didn’t love him. He confided that he had spent many hours praying that God would take his attraction away from him. That he could be normal. I remember sitting there just staring at him. I was thinking to myself: how am I going to show him that I love him just the way that he is. How am I going to show him that God loves him too.
And that is what my life has been about ever since.
I remember riding in the car with my dad. It was night time. I asked him why God would make 1 gay. My father encouraged me to pray about it. And I did. The revelation I received has guided my life ever sense.
It does not matter why someone is gay. It does not change the way you love them.
For some reason this answer has always been enough for me. No matter who you are, why you are who you are, what you have done or choose to do with your life. I will not love you any differently. This is a choice I have made and I always follow through. Because, you see, I believe how you view another person and treat another person is your choice. You can be mad, angry. You can dislike and hate. OR…you can love. Freely. Forgive. Freely.
Its like in D.A.R.E. where they teach you to say no to drugs before you are tempted. Then when you are offered drugs you are more likely to say no. We can make our choice to love and accept before we know who we are loving and accepting.
1 is a dream. He is someone worth knowing. I cannot imagine my first few years of college life without him. The last time I saw him face to face was about 3 years ago. He looked handsome and was very charming. I have not talked talked to him in a long time now. We text every now and then. I think he is having a rough time. I love this man. I know that God loves him. I wonder if 1 knows that God loves him. If he feels that God cares about what happens in his life. I know 1 is important to Heavenly Father.
Heavenly Father, please PLEASE wherever 1 is at tonight, whatever he is doing…somehow help him to feel you close to him. To feel your loving arms around him. Please help him to feel he matters. Even if it is only a small moment. I love him. He is special to me. I need to let him know….right now. Thank you for this man. Thank you.
A while back I came across this blog post about my friend, Grief. It is titled In Between Grieving and Acceptance. The stories and thoughts she shared touched me when I read it then and again today. I too, have felt the loss of a dream. But this past Saturday I was given a little reminder that maybe that dream isn’t as lost as I feel it is. Maybe my dream still lives on. Maybe my dream just looks a little different.
I ran my first race! It was pretty epic, for me. I ran the Wounded Warriors Project 8k. You are still able to donate to the cause HERE. Anyway, I saw someone that looked so similar to Lord V. Mannerisms and everything. Of course I couldn’t help myself and I approached the man. They even have similar names! Really Universe??!! Really?!? Well, it kind of made me crazy and pissed me off. Here is the awesome part: God has blessed this world with more men that look like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. What a beautiful thing. Seriously, I am crying. Although I think it would be kind-of creepy if I ended up with a man that looks like him…but isn’t him. But thank you. Thank you God for mountain men with crazy long hair and full-on beard. Lovely.
This is an article I wrote for forwardwalking.com and can be found HERE. It was published back in April at a time when I wanted to remain anonymous. And sometimes I still do. My experiences are so close to my heart and I fully believe in only sharing your story with those who deserve to hear it. Recently I have felt a pull to share parts of it, publicly. To speak the truth about what I am going through. I am not sure why. Maybe because I know I am not the only one. Maybe I want to connect with others who know first hand what I am talking about. Maybe I want to shed some light on PTSD. Maybe I want to have an open dialogue about abuse. Maybe I want to share my thoughts about understanding our abusers and that there can be rehabilitation for all. So here is to taking ownership of my story. And borrowing the words of Brene Brown, my story matters because I matter.
It was 4:15 in the morning, and these were the thoughts running through my head:
“How did I become ‘that woman?’ Why do I still want to be with him? That is so sick. I hate myself for still loving him. I shouldn’t still love him. I shouldn’t want him every second of every day. I shouldn’t be missing him. What is wrong with me? He hurt me. He made me believe I was stupid and worthless. He told me no one would ever want me. And look at me now. He is right. Who would want this hot mess? I am unlovable. He was the one who taught me that I was unlovable. He played games with my mind. Made me think things were my fault. He manipulated and controlled. And yet… I still miss him.”
I had sobbed. I sobbed until I could no longer breathe. I cried until my heartbeat was in my head. I was weeping with everything I had in me. I was weeping because I couldn’t seem to stop my mind from replaying over and over what he had done to me. I was weeping because I missed him. I was weeping because I missed myself.
Once I gave everything over to my grief and the tears quieted down, I began breathing. Three deep counts in. Four slow counts out. Repeated until I could think a little more clearly. Then I reached out to a friend who softly reassured me that everything would one day be okay again. And four hours later, I was sitting in my therapist’s office for our weekly session.
My boyfriend was a mine field. When we were together I never knew what would set him off. One wrong move. One false step. But that is the thing about mine fields. You don’t know where the mines are hidden. So every step is the same. And every blow is damaging. He and I are no longer together, so I don’t have to walk his field. But now a field lives in me.
“I was strong enough to leave the relationship, which means I am strong enough to heal from it’s residue. I am more than the debris the abuse has left in my life.”
That is part of my “911 Meditation” that I call upon when I feel fragile. And when I feel broken, I reach out to my war council–the people who I can trust with my story. My war council speaks truth to me when I cannot speak it to myself. I write. I run. I listen only to music that lifts me. I breathe in and I breathe out. I pray to my Creator and all that is higher than me. I give myself permission to grieve and to feel my emotions.
And it hurts. And I am healing. And my healing hurts.
One of the biggest helps is receiving help. Professional help from my therapist has been invaluable. He is helping me rebuild the roads and walls and the beautiful cities inside myself that my abuser attacked, destroyed, dismantled, and then reconstructed for his own benefit.
Another huge help has been learning how to forgive. Beautiful healing has taken place as I have allowed myself to forgive myself for becoming “that woman”–for allowing someone to treat me so poorly, and for allowing myself to love him despite it all. Healing comes as I learn to forgive God for letting me be in this situation, for not stopping my abuser or changing him. And it comes as I allow myself toforgive my abuser, recognize his illness and pray for him and for his personal healing.
My healing is not complete. I do not know when it will be. I understand that healing takes time and commitment. But every day I choose to believe that healing is possible. I choose to believe that I am worth it. I choose to believe that I am loveable, and that someday someone will love me with the healthy kind of love that I deserve. And I will be able to give that love back because I am healing.
So, to all those going through something similar: breathe, rise up, and reach out. Speak truth, and hear truth. Because you are worth it. You are worth it. You are not unlovable. You are not trash. You are not crazy. You are strong. You are worth it. Breathe, rise up and reach out.
Once he took the “Which Harry Potter Character Are You” quiz. It said he was Lord Voldemort. He felt ok with it so I feel ok with referring to him as such in my blog for the sake of privacy.
And the truth of the truth is that I love him and I do not want anyone to think badly of him. I know his intention was not to be mean to me or break my heart. He is just in an unhealthy place himself and he doesn’t love me and that is ok. I believe in change (but I know I cannot change him). I believe He-who-must-not-be-named is on his own road to healing. I wish him all goodness and everything that is lovely in this life.
My Buffalo Man, My Lord V, I love you. Where ever you are at, physically, emotionally, I love you. You can do this. You can fight. You can be happy. You can experience healing. I am praying for you. You are worth it. Worth fighting for.
Today I give myself permission to have hard moments when I feel like I can’t breathe, like I am chocking, dying. Moments when I crumble, fall apart, breakdown. Moments when I hate myself and want to give up, give in, isolate, scream, cry and beg for release.
I also give myself permission to show myself love by breathing deeply and choosing to rise and reach out. To call upon my war council. To choose faith. To choose to believe that one day a good man will love me, want me and treat me not only the way I deserve to be treated but better than I deserve. A man that will not love me in spite of my struggles and weaknesses but because of them. I give myself permission to believe that I am worthy of such love – BECAUSE I AM.
I heart Jason Mraz’s song I Won’t Give Up. I love the words. I had to learn what I’ve got, and what I’m not, and who I am. I like to sing this song about myself to myself. I won’t give up on us. Even if the skies get rough. I’m giving you all my love. I’m still looking up.
It is hard to believe and live like I am worth something. Especially when you have someone’s words playing on repeat in your head. After a while their voice becomes your voice. It all sounds the same. You try to come up for air but you can’t seem to find the surface let alone break it. God knows I’m worth it.
So in those moments when you can not see, feel, touch your worth – let someone else speak it to you. God, a friend, me, your mom, Jason Mraz… Because YOU ARE WORTH SOMETHING. No matter your past. No matter what someone told you or maybe didn’t tell you. YOU ARE WORTH IT. WORTH FIGHTING FOR. And you are the one in the ring. Give YOU all your love. And here is all mine. I WON’T GIVE UP.