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!

 

Back to School

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School started back up for me today! And I am so thankful. I have missed school. The morning started out rough. I didn’t get much sleep last night and my anxiety had been pretty high lately. I arrived at school early to spend time alone singing in the chapel. It grounds me and helps me to feel calm before I enter class. I made this my spiritual practice once a week last quarter. This quarter it works in my schedule to do twice a week and I am happy! When I left the chapel and headed downstairs to class I saw my friends and immediately felt alive again! I love my classmates! They make me happy and are a confirmation that I am in the right place.

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Class was great and boy did it stimulate my mind and my heart! After class I attended chapel. The first part of chapel we meditated to Christmas music! It was wonderful! And the sermon was beautiful. The preacher shared a story about a time in his life where he was so busy looking to heaven for help that he could not see that God was sending him help in the form of people here on earth. I was very moved by it. I think I often fall into the same thing. I am so busy watching Heaven for a miracle that I do not see the miracle Heavenly Father sends to me here on earth.

After school Huck and I went for a walk on the trail behind my home. I am so blessed to live in such a beautiful place!

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Glory be to God!

Dear 2016

I have decided to start dating again.

First step: Create opportunity for myself to even talk to a man! Haha. But true. You know its true!

So I am online. For a month. I have no problem with online dating but I will say it is making me depressed.

I don’t know. I just don’t know…

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What I do know is that the struggle is real and my confidence is low. And the only way to gain confidence is to create experiences for myself that will build myself.

Meaning, exercise the crap out of myself. Physical movement gives me strength. This is not about losing weight. It is about becoming stronger. And I need to take physical steps as well as mental ones to become stronger.

So for 2016 I am my own lover. And the gym is where I will be dating myself.

Over the next week I am going to get real with my goals and plan them out. To hold myself accountable to this I am hosting a 7 Days Guide to Goal Setting and Achieving group on Facebook. All are welcome.

If we linger

Note to Self

First Published on Into Heartbreak and Back on February 9, 2014

No one told you life was gonna be this way.  Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.  It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear.  When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.  You’re still in bed at ten and work began at eight.  You’ve burned your breakfast, so far things are going great.  Your mother warned you there’d be days like these but she didn’t tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees…
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I’ll be there for you
When the rain starts to pour
I’ll be there for you
Like I’ve been there before
I’ll be there for you

xoxonicole

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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Let it Go!

First Published on Into Heartbreak and Back on February 3, 2014

The song “Let it Go” from frozen has been my theme song through the last couple of months.  Let it go.  Let go what happened/ is happening to me.  Let it go.  Forgive.  Forgive He-who-must-not-be-named.  Forgive myself.  Forgive God.  Let it go.

A few years ago I wrote a few pieces in forgiveness.  You can find them herehere and here.  Also I am reposting the first two below followed by a few additional thoughts.

You know that thing in your life that you will not let go of.  You hate it.  Wish it wasn’t there.  You want to let it go but you just cannot seem to loosen your grip.   Instead you let it eat at you.  You carry it around with you every day and everywhere you go.  Forgiveness.  You just can’t seem to give it.  And what really sucks about it is that by you not forgiving so-and-so you are only hurting and torturing yourself.  Why? Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why can’t we let it go and move on?  How do we let go and move on?  I started to read this book.  Its called Let it Go: A True Story of Tragedy and Forgiveness by Chris Williams.   The book is about how Chris was able to forgive the young boy driving the car that killed his wife and two children.

Here is a short video about his story:

We know we should forgive, that it is healthy to forgive.  But how do we forgive?

A man named Lloyd D. Newell uses the example of Jane Eyre when he addresses forgiveness, “Life is a study in forgiveness. No one gets through life without needing to forgive. And no one escapes the need to be forgiven. Perhaps the central test of character, forgiveness brings out the best in us. It leads us beyond our own pain and suffering and helps us feel God’s love. Ironically, we help ourselves in the most profound way when we give the gift of forgiveness to others.

Charlotte Bronte’s literary Jane Eyre addresses the theme of forgiveness so well. Young Jane, orphaned and sent to live with a spiteful aunt, endures years of neglect and cruelty as a child. When Jane is old enough, her aunt sends her away to a substandard boarding school, where she is again mistreated. But Jane learns a vital lesson from Helen, a dear friend there. Helen explains to Jane one of life’s great secrets: “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs.” Helen teaches Jane to forgive: to forget wrongs, to love enemies, to “bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you… and despitefully use you.”

Jane’s life is different ever after. It doesn’t necessarily become easier–Jane still has to endure injustices, hardships, and betrayals–but she is better prepared for all these things because she has learned not to hold on to grudges and ill feelings. She frees her soul from anger, bitterness, and revenge. In fact, Jane even returns to her malicious aunt and attends to her during her dying days. Ultimately, Jane finds true joy– and even true love–because she learned to forgive.

And so can we. It may be the hardest work we ever do, but it is also the most rewarding. Resolve now to let an old grudge go. Decide in advance to forgive any future offense that may come. Determine never to let a mistake get in the way of a meaningful relationship. As the 18th-century British poet Alexander Pope wrote, “to err is human, to forgive, divine.”

To err is human, to forgive, divine… I want to be divine.  Forgive him.  Forgive myself.  Forgive God.  Be more holy, more divine.  Let it go…

I finished his book. Let It Go: A True Story of Tragedy and Forgiveness. It was wonderful, heartbreaking and beautiful. I flew home to Iowa for Thanksgiving. I read Chris’s book on the plane. Wrong move. While reading the book I became very emotional. It took everything I had to keep it together. I feel sorry for those who sat next to me. Ha-ha. Some of you might be wondering why I chose to read a book such as this. I wanted to read it for a few reasons. Something you should know about me is that I love self-help books. LOVE THEM. They help me to learn about others and myself. I am also fascinated by death. That might sound weird but I truly believe death is a beautiful thing. How people cope with loss appeals to me as well. And when I saw the video of Chris and his story I was moved. I was moved to compassion and inspired to be one who would choose to forgive. Choose to “let it go.” Below is a passage from his book.

“I knew that the adversary works tirelessly to steal our peace and turn us against each other. We all make mistakes, sometimes with terrible consequences, I reminded myself. We say something that should never had been said, we do something that should never had been done, we misunderstand, misrepresent, or misinterpret, and our actions or words create hurt in our own lives and in the lives of others. And there are those who suffer cruelties at the hands of others. I thought of the five people whose lives ended Monday night at Trolley Square. And yet He who knows that these and so many other kinds of tragedies would occur commanded us to combat them with love. He knows that when we’re hurt, we’re vulnerable and thus susceptible to grudges, hidden wedges, and wounds, all of which, if left unchecked, could fester into anger, retribution, vilification, even hatred.

Without the necessary healing the Savior provides, over time we may begin to wonder why we’re not as happy as we used to be, why we’re a little more critical, a little less patient, and more judgmental, why we withhold our love and affection rather than give it – all the while feeling more miserable, rather than joyful in this life.

I recalled in my mind the many experiences of the last week preceding the viewing and the funeral and the roller coaster of emotions propelling me from the extreme highs of peace to the depths of sadness and grief, over and over. What an opportunity for the adversary to kick me when I was down, to finish me off and heap added misery into my life had I chosen to not follow the Savior’s command and “let it go.” How seemingly easy and justifiable it would have been for me to join him in his misery, to get angry, to vilify, to lash out at this life and how wrong everything in it had just become.

The Savior had suffered all so that we would not have to. He said He would take our burdens, and He repeated the invitation to give them to Him while He ministered in the flesh, and He has since reminded us what He accomplished in the Atonement. There’s no way I was or ever will be strong enough to bear that burden I was presented on the night of the crash. It was immediately given to the Lord at His command, and I instead took upon me His light burden and easy yoke of serving and loving others – having full faith in the Savior and in His ability to bear my heavy burden and to heal my family.”

Heavenly Father, please help me to have full faith in my Savior and His ability to bear my heavy burden and to heal me.  My hope is that 

“some distance will make everything seem small.  And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.  Its time to see what I can do.  To test the limits and break through.  I’m never going back!  The past is in the past!  LET IT GO!

And I will rise like the break of dawn!

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Isolation

First Published on Into Heartbreak and Back on February 3, 2014

I can see it now.  It makes me ill.  Physically ill.

At first we would spend time together in public but that faded.  Then only at your place.  If we ever spent time with others it was your family.

Then when I was at your place I couldn’t leave.  I wouldn’t leave for days sometimes.  At the time I loved it because I just thought you wanted to spend all that time with me.  Maybe that is true but it was also about control.  I couldn’t go outside when you were not there.  When I did – I had to “keep a low profile.”  I couldn’t talk to anyone.  A few times you overheard me talking to your neighbors.  It was all “hello” and “good day” stuff but you would grill me on it.  Make me feel guilty.  Then it got to the point where If I needed to leave for something you would threaten me that I wouldn’t get to see puppy.  Tell me not to bother coming at all.

I feel sick when I look back and with clear eyes can see how you pitted me against my friends and sometimes even my family.  You questioned my conversations with others.  Made me tell you word for word.  Questioned things I said.  Accused me of all sorts of things.  Twisted my words and distorted my stories.  I became lost and confused all the time in our conversations.  Somehow apologizing for all sorts of stuff.  Slowly you isolated me so all I felt like I had was you.  And I loved you so it kind of felt okay.  But then you left me.  You deserted me.  So I don’t even have you anymore.

And I am the who is “not suppose to talk to you anymore.”  Funny.  Even though you have not seen me in over a month you are still isolating me.

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So I wrote this less than an hour ago and I am back already.  I just cannot leave it until I write what is in my mind and my heart.  I am in no way excusing his behavior.  It was wrong.  But I also believe that his motive was not to hurt me or be cruel to me any way… well purposefully.  He is just a man – a good man- with a lot of problems.  I love him.  And maybe one day I will no longer desire a life with him or…or someone will come along who will see something inside of me to love and I will look at them and love them too.  Or maybe He-who-must-not-be-named will get the help he needs and will experience healing and we will be together in the end.  I don’t know.  But in this moment my heart is filled with charity for him.  What a hard life he must be living.