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

 

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!

 

The Hurting Place

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In Elaine Marshall’s talk Learning The Healer’s Art, she shares this story:

“My mother once told me of an experience she had one winter morning as she drove down to check the cattle in the lower pasture. She noticed a car off the side of the road. Inside she recognized a young mother and three children. When my mother asked if they needed help, the woman tearfully reminded her that this was the place of the accident two weeks earlier that had killed her husband. She answered, ‘We are just here to feel the hurt.'”

This story has always stuck with me and so a few months ago I chose a place to go to “feel the hurt.”

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This is it. It is a lovely little memorial near my home to honor veterans of all the branches of the military. I come here often. I pray and I ponder. I sit and I cry. A few times the hurt was so overwhelming that I have fallen to my knees and weeped that loud, painful cry that comes from the center of the soul. I like it here. To me it is peaceful. It is safe.

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“Healing is active—you have to be there. Your friend or your husband or wife or your mother cannot do it for you. You have to face the problem and the pain. To begin healing, you must acknowledge and feel the hurt. Only those who don’t feel, those without conscience, cannot heal.”

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“I assumed cure, care, and healing to be synonymous. I have learned they are not the same. Healing is not cure. Cure is clean, quick, and done—often under anesthesia. The antibiotic kills the pathogen; the scalpel cuts out the malignancy; the medication resolves the distorted chemistry. Healing, however, is often a lifelong process of recovery and growth in spite of, maybe because of, enduring physical, emotional, or spiritual assault. It requires time. We may pray for cure when we really need healing. Whether for cell reconstruction, for nerve and muscle rehabilitation, for emotional recovery, or for spiritual forgiveness, healing needs work and time and energy. Healing cannot happen in a surgical suite where the pain is only a sleepy memory. Cure is passive, as you submit your body to the practitioner. Healing is active. It requires all the energy of your entire being. You have to be there, fully awake, aware, and participating when it happens.”

Dear Veterans, thank you. I cannot even begin to understand the many sacrifices you have made to serve our country. I respect you. I honor you. I love you. Thank you. I want to be here for you. I will be your Brotherhood.

Below is a great video about the importance of and how to ask Veterans about their service. Please take the time to watch. And more importantly, take the time to be there. Keep kind and carry on. xoxo

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P04stEjJ9E]

If you struggle with PTSD please scroll up to the top of the page and click “Find Help Here.”

Wild

Have you seen the preview for that movie Wild? Based off the book based off that woman’s true life story. Anyway, it got me thinking. Why?

Why, when we go through break-ups, heartaches, when we experience great loss do we do “crazy” things? Big things, extreme things…different things?

For me, it is to feel alive. Again. I want to feel alive again because the last time I felt alive was with him. That is why I jumped out of an airplane. That is why I went platinum blonde. It’s why I run races now. And 20 to 30 miles a week. It is why I dyed my hair back to deep red and then chopped it all off. Why I got a dog. Why I want to move to Iceland. Why I want blue hair and a tattoo. Why I want to quit every thing and drive away. Why I want to stay right where I am at. Why I let myself cry that big, full, deep cry every. day. every day. Why I choose healing.

I don’t need My Guy On A Buffalo to feel alive. I can feel alive on my own. But, oh, what a beautiful alive we were together.

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My Enemy/My Friend

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Yesterday while siting in a cozy room, my therapist expressed his empathy with me over my heartache.  He acknowledged that many will not try to understand why I choose not to go into Boulder anymore or have to turn the radio off when a certain song begins to play or a hundred million other things.  That no one , if any, will fully understand my heartache.  And he is right.  But what he was describing was not my heartache.  He was describing what others see as my response to heartache.

You see, Heartache is alive inside of me.  It is a living creature that breathes and moves. Heartache has its own heartbeat that beats wild and slow.  I will never fully understand my own Heartache. In many ways Heartache is lovely. It leads to beautiful words on the page and melodies that float in the air. It prompts strength to be born where it was once barren. Heartache’s counterparts are Grace and Resilience. But Heartache and I are not friends. It is not responsible for the Lovely. The loveliness of Bereavity and my friend, Grief, do not come because of Heartache but in spite of it. The Lovely is what I decide to bring to the table. The Lovely is when I show up.

My Heartache is constantly hurting me, causing me pain. It squeezes my throat tight, choking me so my cry cannot escape. Heartache runs fast in my blood. It scratches at the walls of my veins as if trying to get out. Heartache plays cruel games in my brain, having me think one thing in this moment and something completely different in the next. It spins circles in my stomach making it impossible to keep anything down. And my Heartache sits so heavy in my lungs that it hurts to breathe.

And it’s heart beats inside the center of my heart. In every quiet moment, Heartache is there, resting, burrowing and settling deep into the ever disappearing soft parts of my heart.

Heartache is not a sickness that needs hospitalized or medicated. It is not a ghost in the night that calls for exorcism. No, Heartache is a soul. Attached to this soul is every memory, good and bad. Every touch, every fear, every hope and dream. A life with My Guy on a Buffalo. I am not sure how to make peace with Heartache.  Intuitively, it feels that is something I should do. All I know is it needs to be loved, this Heartache of mine. Because it lives inside of me. It goes with me everyday and lies down with me at night. It whispers painful truths to me even when I rather be told lies. Heartache forces me to find a new way to live, to adapt to my love and my loss. It inspires me to hold out my hand to my sister and to my brother whom she lives with too. To keep them company in its presence. That my sisters and my brothers might know that they are not on their own. That although experience is different, often times emotions are the same.

Heartache, I did not invite you and do not wish your company upon anyone. And I really, really hate you right now.  But I really, really need you right now too. I beg you, stay with me. Don’t leave. For when you leave…he does too.

In the Pit of My Stomach

In the pit of my stomach, in the center of my heart.  In every thought in my mind.  It makes my brain come alive.

You know that feeling.  It courses all through your body.

Triggered.  A mix of scary, excitement, feeling.

A reminder of loss.  Reliving the hurt.  All the things he said.  But also all the good. There is still hope inside of me.

It is as if I am slowly dying.

Everyone tells me it gets better.  But in moments like these there is no better.  Only love with no place to go. Except to the pit of my stomach, to the center of my heart.  To every thought in my mind making my brain come alive.

I will probably be out of commission for a few days.  Breathing.  Taking my time.  Grieving.  Passing through every stage.  Again.

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This is my favorite necklace.  My mom bought it for me when we were in Park City this past April.  I always think how My guy on a buffalo could probably tell me what kind of rock it is,

Channeling Sara

“Facing the ghosts that decide if the fire inside still burns.” -Sara Bareilles

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A few weeks ago I ran a RACE.  I did a lot of mental preparation for this race.  You see, this race was supposed to be a jumping off point of me letting go.  Letting go of you.  Somehow after all this time, after all the hurt and all the sorrow…I am still so emotionally committed to you.  And I can’t be.  I know I can’t be.  Because you are not committed to me.  In any shape or form.  That, itself, is a painful truth.

Sometimes I feel so frustrated with myself.  Seeing that man that looked liked you brought everything back.  Slapped me in the face.  Slapped me in the heart.

“The distance between that was sheltering me comes in full view.”

When I crossed the finish line one thing was clear.  I still love you. Just as much. Just as strong.  Maybe even more.  Your personal healing is more important to me than my being with you.  In the end, if  you have found healing, love , family and peace and happiness and I am alone.  By myself.  Okay.  Just heal.  Please God, bad out, good in.  Bad out.  Good in.

“My love is a burden I can’t carry anymore.”

Please heal me too.  Help me to give my love for him to you, Heavenly Father.

“Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I will breathe again.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2yPU5WPwZs]