No Normal After Trauma

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My date would arrive later. He would only be in my apartment for a few minutes before we were on our way. I had to prepare. So I got on my computer and began logging out of all of my accounts. After I had logged out of two –I stopped. I asked myself aloud, “What am I doing? Nicole, you need to back away from your crazy.” I logged back into my accounts and stepped away from my computer. But I did not put down my trauma. I carried it through the date, through the rest of my day and into the next.

You see, My Guy On A Buffalo was constantly going through all my texts and emails and Facebook. Looking, waiting to catch me in a lie, in some kind of betrayal. I had nothing to hide BUT BOUNDARIES, PEOPLE. BOUNDARIES. And this lives with me still.

My date that day has never given me any indications that he would do the same but the fear still lives in me. And it is alive.

A few years ago I took myself on a trip. I just needed to get away and really look deep into myself and reflect and make decisions. It was an amazing trip. A week after my return I met My Guy On A Buffalo. And the world was wonderful. And then my world was destroyed.

I am preparing to leave on another trip. For the same purpose. To do some intentional work on myself. To be in a new place, to make new choices. I have been really excited for this trip. Until this morning. Fear showed up. Last time I went on a trip I came back and was stolen. I am so afraid that I will return from this trip and the same thing will happen.

A part of me, the healthy side of my brain, tells me that is not true. It will not happen again. This is not a repeat. But the trauma in me…

I do not know how to be normal. I want to be. It is frustrating to think and deal in this way. But maybe it is not about acting, thinking, being normal… Maybe it is about accepting what is. That for right now, this is my new normal. And it is okay. It is okay in all its scary. In the hurting. In the healing.

I often feel crazy. And I know I cannot be the only one. So this is for you. You, who feels crazy and out of control. Who cannot seem to be normal after all you have gone through. I get it. I hear you. I see you.

Worthy is your name. Divine is your destiny. Healing is happening. Together, lets breathe through all of our un-normalness and walk into our fears. I just know something lovely is waiting on the other side

 

Fear of Follow-Through

I don’t dance around the perimeter of the person I want to be. I step in fully and completely. -Gabrielle Bernstein. This is my mantra for the day.

I have been wanting to do Beachbody’s program Hammer and Chisel since it was announced in July. Something about it drew me to it. I counted down the days until it was released in December. I ordered it the program a few weeks ago and have anxiously waited for it to arrive in the mail.

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When it came I was  so excited! I poured over all the material, read every word and began to plan my attack. I calendared my workouts. I planed my meals. So so ready…..and I didn’t start. The excitement was gone. I told myself I didn’t need to be excited I just needed to begin. But I didn’t begin. I thought maybe if I “prepared” more I would be ready to dive in so I went out and bought a new workout outfit. And……nothing.

I thought, “what is wrong with me?” I was so frustrated with myself and I knew it was time to get honest with myself. So I had a come to Jesus talk. Sometimes facing the truth about myself feels like the hardest thing. Because it is. And I do not have all the answers but I did come to some conclusions.

I have a huge, overwhelming fear of follow-through. There are very few things in my life I have seen to completion. And if I were to follow-through with this program in the timetable I have set for myself I would PROVE MYSELF WRONG.

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Meaning, I have carried these notions about myself that are not true. But a huge part of myself believes them to be true. That I do not finish what I start. I do not keep promises to myself. I am a letdown. I am a failure. I am not capable of success. I am worthless. And if I were to follow-through with the promises I make to myself- I would prove myself wrong. I would show myself THE REAL TRUTH. That I am amazing. That I am a finisher. That I do not give up. I persever. I overcome. I am a leader. I do what I say I am going to do. I am successful. I am capable of creating the life I want for myself. I make my dreams come true. THAT IS THE TRUTH. And I am afraid of it. I hold myself back. I stand in my own way. And I have not figured it out yet. I do not know all the reasons why or how to reverse it. But today….

I don’t dance around the perimeter of the person I want to be. I step in fully and completely.

That is what I am choosing today.

I freaking love being a Beachbody coach. It gives me purpose and an outlet for my voice. The past few weeks have been discouraging to me as a coach. A few people have quit. And I get it. But I am also so very sad. In my heart of hearts I wish that they would have not given up on themselves so easily. I wish they would have given themselves more time. More of a chance. BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT I WANT FOR MYSELF and I AM FIGHTING FOR IT. It is hard. And it hurts. This business makes one come face to face with the false beliefs we carry about ourselves.

My fear of follow through, and all the contributes to it is NOT SERVING ME. Its not. And I am over it. Today I am choosing to do something about it.  Part of me is so in love with this strong, powerful body of mine. It does everything I ask it to do. It serves me well. But another part of me wants to hide from it. I feel it is not attractive and…I am embarrassed by it. So this journey of mine is not only to love my body where it is at but to gain confidence inside and out. To become stronger inside and out. To treat myself like I love myself. Because I do. I know that I do.

So I went to the little gym today at my apartment complex. I took my computer with me to stream Hammer and Chisel. And I was self-conscious because there were other people in there. And I had to modify EVERY move. And I had to press pause. And I cried a little. And I finished it. And it was so hard. All of it. But I showed up for myself and I feel AMAZING. I feel strong and proud. And guess what, it was fun! And I cannot wait to do it again tomorrow! Who knew that would be the end result! My date with myself was a success!

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Taught my First Class Tonight!

I am on fire. I am a teacher now. Officially. And I taught my first class tonight! It was wonderful. I FEEL wonderful. Thank you Heavenly Father! Thank you for this opportunity! Thank you for my gifts and talents, for the opportunity to grow and refine them, for all of the experiences that led me here…well maybe not all. Lets be honest. I don’t feel that way yet! But thank you for MOST of them. I am happy to be where I am at now. It has taken hard work and the truth is– I am proud of myself. And I could not have done it without my Savior. He is making me whole. Slowly, but it is happening!

I am an institute teacher. Institute is a big part of the educational system within the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To be an institute teacher one must have certain qualifications because all classes can receive college credit. So its a big deal! I am teaching the Mission Preparation class to students who are preparing to serve full-time (18 to 24 months) missions for the church. My responsibility is real!!! And I feel the weight of it. But I also know this is what I am supposed to be doing right now. I teach once a week and my class is an hour and a half long. And I love it. I am in love with my students. I want them to have everything they need and feel prepared. I want them to have experiences with the Atonement of Jesus Christ that they can draw upon for strength and testimony. I want them to love the Savior and have a desire to serve Him. I want them to feel that they are needed and important. That God has a work for them to do.

I was feeling disconnected and nervous before I taught tonight so I drew a card before leaving the house. This is what is said: I release my need to be perfect, and I center into my commitment to serve the world more love.

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I loved that it said that. It was the perfect thing for me to channel. I took it with me to class tonight and it became my prayer.

Also, In case you are unaware, I am now in a relationship. My status on Facebook says so. I am in a relationship with MYSELF. That’s right. I am dating myself. 2016 is dedicated to being my own best lover. One of the ways I am loving myself is through fitness and nutrition. I am treating my body like I love it. Because I do. And I am thankful for all the ways my body serves me. IT IS TIME FOR ME TO SERVE MY BODY. The program I will be following the next few months is Hammer and Chisel. I have been looking forward to this program since July. And it is here and I am ready-ish. So I am dating myself at the gym. And guess what? I am going to prepare for my dates with the gym like I would any other date. With excitement! And I am going to get ready for it like I would any other  date. Meaning, I am going to put in my contacts, do my hair, maybe even wear lipstick. I am purchasing a few new workout outfits so I feel cute when I meet my date, Hammer and Chisel, at the gym. And I am going to put my best foot forward. And I am going to be honest about my pain. And give all my troubles to my workout. And I am going to lift them. And put them down again. And I am going to rest. Recover. Repeat. Because I am worthy. I am loved. It is my responsibility to show myself this love. It is my commitment. I AM MY COMMITMENT.

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Today was just a good day. I needed one. Thank you Heavenly Father. Although it did start off rough. It is winter. Waking up is difficult for me. Leaving Huck is difficult to me. Yesterday I was talking with a cohort and she mentioned to me that I should go ahead and do what I need to do to have Huck become a service dog. This requires a lot of money. A lot. And training. And work. And I feel tired already -but my friend made some very valid points. I am going to think and pray about this. I am grateful my friend was bold enough to say what she said.

Today the boys and I made fresh pear and orange juice. They loved it and demanded that I bring my juicer every time. We also used the EZ bake oven again. It went better this time than last time but is still not my favorite thing to do. But they love it so why not?! I love those boys. They make me happy. We have fun together.

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Today I also talked through my goals with my Success Partner. If you do not have a success partner I recommend getting one. It can be anyone. A friend, spouse, mentor. Mine lives across the country from me. We call/skype regularly. We keep each other accountable and realistic to what we each are trying to achieve. Today she helped me to clarify and strengthen my goals for 2016. I am thankful for her. She is a prize.

I watched the following video again today. It always moves me to tears. I feel so much emotion over it. It make mes want to apologize to any and every one I have ever hurt in my life. Forgiveness is not the theme but it is what I feel from it. I hope you watch it and enjoy. And I would love to hear what you take away from it!

 

Master, the Tempest is Raging

First Published on Into Heartbreak and Back on June 5, 2014

I am sad.  For days now.  Just so very sad.  And so tired.  I could sleep for days.  I think I need to. I think it would help.  My emotions are in my throat at all times.  Most of the time they surface while driving in my car.  I weep as if someone has died.  You know that cry.  You know that sound.  Maybe you have made it yourself.  It is a cry that is different from the rest.  It is scary.  It is alarming.  It comes in waves.  It stays true to its course, this emotion.  But when it is over it gently rolls out to sea leaving… not happiness… not joy… but some kind of peace and always, always a measure of gratitude.  Because in the middle of my hidden sorrows I find Jesus.  During the storm there is nothing else to hang on to.  No one else there.

Elaine Marshall said, “secret healing is not a single event. It happens as a process of living. You cannot simply take off a day or start tomorrow like a new diet and returned healed.  IT HAPPENS QUIETLY WHILE YOU FACE THE PAIN. It happens over time as you live, work, study and give to others.”

As of now I cannot imagine a day when I am healed. What will that day look like? How will I feel? I feel like I have lived in this for so long now but I am ready to live without it,

“Master, with anguish of spirit I bow in my grief today. The depths of my sad heart are troubled. Oh, waken and save, I pray!” -Master the Tempest is Raging, Mary Ann Baker

Forgiving/Asking

First Published on Into Heartbreak and Back on May 28, 2014

I forgive you.  I forgive you for losing your cool on that lady in the street that day.  I forgive you for your fear of my betrayal.  I forgive you for trying to control me.  I forgive you for withholding affection.  I forgive you for making me feel stupid and worth nothing.  I forgive you for your your anger.  I forgive you for hurting me.

I still love you.

Please forgive me for not asking the right questions.  For staying silent when I should have spoken up.  Forgive me for professing love but not always showing it.  Forgive me for not knowing enough, doing enough, being enough.

What happens in your nightmares?  What really went on over there and how do you feel about it?  What would you do differently?  What would you change?  What do you miss?  What did you love?  How can I be there for you?  What do you need right now?

Thank you for sharing what you have with me.

Praise God for you in my life.

There is No Death, Only Change

First Published on Into Heartbreak and Back on May 23, 2014

 Awhile ago I found our son.  I stumbled upon this blog and there were pictures of this sweet little boy named… wait for it….Ryan.  That’s right, Ryan.  Funny that.  He has a round face like mine and beautiful red hair like you and guess what?  Its curly like ours!  So so sweet!  I love him and want to hug him all day long and carry him around on my hip.

Looking at these beautiful pictures of this beautiful boy makes me long for you and a future that may never be.  In this little stranger I see a future that could be born of you and me.  Do I mourn this future or do I still hope in it?

Here is the saddest of the saddest of the saddest of all stories ever told: 3 weeks ago this little boy, little Ryan, little person You and I could make some day…. was hit by a car.  3 weeks ago this burst of life died.  He died.  I cannot even believe it.  I mean, I never knew him.  Only the hope of “him” through his pictures.  But I loved him.  Still do.  Because he reminds me of me.  He reminds me of you.

Dear Ryan (and Ryan), may you forever remain as pure joy and light.  That is what you are to me. Pure Joy.  Light.

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He Has

First Published on Into Heartbreak and Back on February 17, 2014

When I first share my story with people (and I have shared it with VERY few) the first question they ask was if He-who-must-not-be-named ever harmed me physically.  My response is an immediate NO.  NEVER.  Well today when I was driving home from church I remembered something.  He has.

He never punched me or kicked me or anything like that but one time he went through about a dozen ways he could kill me, instantly.  But I was never scared.  I was never afraid of him.  Then there was this other time when I wouldn’t tell him something he wanted to know.  I don’t even remember what it was.  When I continually refused to tell him he pinned me down.  He straddled me and held my hands down above my head with one of his hands.  And then with the other hand he began to tap my sternum.  It hurt so bad!  I gave in after a few minutes and told him whatever he wanted to know.  I wore the biggest ugliest bruise on my breastbone for a couple of weeks after that.   Somehow my bruise became a joke between us.  We would laugh about it.  I. WOULD. LAUGH. ABOUT. IT.  What was wrong with me?!!!

So I am remembering this as I am driving home from church and I lose it.  I just lose it.  I start bawling in my car.  And I am so angry.  I am so angry!  I love this man and he hurt me.  He has hurt me in so many ways and I don’t even get to tell him.  I have been so good to him.   So good.  Like the time I came home and he had punched through a door and ripped it off it’s hinges.  He pulled cupboard doors off his kitchen cabinets. His knuckles were so bloody and broken.  And I knew how I responded would be important.  How I reacted would either push him further into his PTSD or help him take a step out so I simply said, “I like what you have done with the place, really opens things up.”  And we went on to have a great night.  I kissed his hands.  I have been so patient and understanding with all he has gone through.  I would walk it with him.  There is no one out there who could have the patience, the compassion and understanding, the education to see him, to see what he is going through and WALK WITH HIM the way that I could.  The way that I have.  And I would continue…..

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Your Birthday/My Ritual

First Published on Into Heartbreak and Back on February 7, 2014

 Tomorrow is your birthday.  You will be 27.  I know you hate your birthday.  Oh how I want to acknowledge it in some way.  I will probably give in and send you a text.  Already planning to.  I will most likely send something like “Wonderful day to you!”  But what I really want to say to you He-who-must-not-be-named is…

I am glad you were born.  

I was reading about grief today.  Just feeling the loss, you know?  This is what I came across “Create your own ritual. Most cultures have ceremonies to mark death. A ritual marking any loss helps us to acknowledge that the loss is real. It is a way to honor the loss, and to separate the past from the present. When faced with any kind of a loss, feel free to create any kind of ceremony that holds meaning for you.”

So tomorrow, February 8th, I will begin my new annual ritual to celebrate you and my love for you and my loss of you.  In the morning I will go to the temple and spend time with my Savior.  Then I will meet a friend to share all the wonderful beautiful memories of you with.  And all the hard heartbreaking ones too.  Then I will do something special for myself like get my hair done or maybe my toes.  Pamper myself.  I will close the night by watching “Good Will Hunting” because Matt Damon’s character reminds me so much of you in so many ways.  And it hurts too much to dream of you right now so maybe I will go to sleep dreaming of Matt Damon.  Haha.

And I will give myself permission to love you anyway.  To love you forever.  To pray for your healing and recovery.  To pray (without judgement) that somehow, someday we will end up together.  Sealed.  Grow old.  Babies.  Grand babies.  Permission to cry.  More than once.  Over and over.  To bury my heart.  Set it free.  Release it.  Whatever the day calls for.  I give myself permission…

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Great Healing

First Published on Into Heartbreak and Back on February 7, 2014

“Jesus is the great healer.  He can transform our pain and disappointment into meaning and peace.  He can replace hurt with charity so that we see as He sees and love as He loves.  Serenity even in the face of continuing difficulty can come when we put our trust in ‘him who is mighty to save’ (2 Nephi 31:19).” -H. Wallace Goddard.

That is my prayer tonight Heavenly Father, please replace my pain with meaning.  My disappointment with peace.  Please replace my hurt with love.  I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ this is possible.  I am choosing faith.  I am choosing to believe.  My heart is open.  Please come and reside.  Please set me free.

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Stars

First Published on Into Heartbreak and Back on February 6, 2014

I lit a fire with the love you left behind
And it burned wild and crept up the mountain side
I followed your ashes into outer space
I can’t look out the window, I can’t look at this place.
I can’t look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you’ve gone too far
So I, I can’t look at the stars

Do you ever think of me?  I think of you every moment.  When you think of me do you think good things or bad things?  I am so afraid you think bad things.  I am scared that this is so easy for you – your life – without me.  I pray for you every day.  All throughout the day.  That you will experience healing.  That your heart will be soft towards me.  Do you ever think of me?

I love you.  And I can’t look at the stars.