Posted in Gifts, indigo inspiration, mental-health

It’s OK…

It’s ok to be broken.

It’s okay to be incomplete.

It’s ok to not be there yet.

It’s really ok to look and be and feel and everything with you-ness.  Your worth is not wrapped up in meeting some invisible, arbitrary standard set by the nebulous ‘them’.  Often insults come in the form of “you’re so _____!”  Fill in the blank with anything that isn’t your strength.  Or some quality you are working on improving but have as yet not attained.  Or something you’re good at that doesn’t appear acceptable to the populace.  Take the power out of it by agreeing.


I am messy.  And sensitive.  And contradictory.  I have trouble with any number of things.


I already know that about myself.

But guess what?

I am a lot of other things too.  I am creative.  And sensitive.  And open to so many things.

I used to think that I could achieve perfection.  I used to think I should achieve perfection.  That until I made it, until I made the bell ring at the top by swinging the mallet with enough strength, I could not claim the love and acceptance from the ‘them’ and from myself that I so desperately crave.  I long for connection, but connection comes with so many rules, it seems.  And I am not in the box.  The rules don’t make sense to me.  The box dims my gifts and abilities and me-ness.

No one person possesses the elusive perfection that so many of us believe to be the goal.  Find out you.  You were perfectly and wonderfully crafted.  That truth can coexist with the flaws and imperfections you also contain.

Embrace your individually scarred body.

Befriend your one-of-a-kind mind.

Cherish your beautiful weird heart.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

See that hook?  Let yourself off.  You are not letting yourself down.

Simplify your perfection.

Because broken isn’t trash.

Incomplete isn’t worth less.

Not there yet means you’re on your way.  You’re in the middle of the process.  You’re living.  Being.  Experiencing.  Loving.  Growing.

Welcome 2017 with your beautiful, wonderful, exquisitely mosaic you.

Posted in Insane in the Brain, mental-health

2016 has taken too many of us.

Go talk to someone.

I mean it.

Someone who’s been educated to understand the spaghetti noodles in your head.  It’s terrifying as hell.  I know.  Been there.  Doing that.

It doesn’t toggle a cosmic switch that puts you in “that category”.

But if you are a warrior fighting against the demons in your mind, get some backup.  Enlist some troops.  I promise you are not lesser for acknowledging that the thing you battle is bigger than you.  In fact, just the opposite is true.  One of your very best and strongest weapons is acknowledgement.

Like, o, yeah.  I see you.  I know what you are.  Now what?

Owning your struggle is powerful and empowering.

Because, guess what?  We are all victims of Planet Earth.  Of Life.  Of Existing.  And if you are reading this then you are also a survivor.  Add warrior to your resume.  I’m sure you are already a warrior.  But put it on your card.

I am Victim.  I am Survivor.  I am Warrior.

Own your worth.  Own your place.  Own your value.

And go to the armory for tools.  For weapons.  For power-ups.

You were never meant to fight alone.

Posted in indigo inspiration, Insane in the Brain, Thanks for the memories, The Future

Hope is the other side of the jealousy coin.

I went to bed early.  Like way early.  And then I woke up at an ungodly hour.  There’s a 5 o’clock in the morning too.  Who knew.

So I did what any reasonable person would do.  I read book reviews on my phone in bed.  I came across the scathing opinion of one reader.  Mind you, I haven’t read the book.  But the feelings in the review…

It got me thinking.  About healing.  And self-care.  And about hiding from what will make us better.  About being mad at other people who are healing because it spotlights the places we are still sick.

The process of pursuing health often looks ridiculous from the outside.  It looks selfish.  Downright weird.  Believe me, it feels weird on this side of it, too.  The growing pains, the exhaustion, the unusual choices.

The thing is, staying where you are is a choice.  And timidly peeking your head out from under your pain to look for help is a choice.  And both of the choices will hurt.  Hugging your abuse tumor hurts.  Getting it removed hurts.  Emotionally crippled hurts.  Reconstructing your heart hurts too.  But the sickness kills.

I put off a lot of things that could help make me well because it felt like it was too big of a deal.  It felt selfish.  I felt unworthy of them.  My luggage wasn’t heavy enough to merit getting someone to carry it for me.  I put down people who I felt were recklessly open to caring for their hearts.  It wasn’t proper.  It was self centered and irresponsible.

Irresponsible is knowing you have something eating away at you that keeps you from living.  It’s knowing that part of you is crushed and dying and that the dying part is hurting you and your closest tribe.  And choosing to look the other way.  Denial will decimate you so much quicker than the sting of admission.  It will hurt your people.  It will drain the color from the sky.

Does something feel not quite right?  Trust that.  Educate yourself.  Search for answers.  Do weird things like yoga on your back deck.  And if you’re wrong about something helping you, scrap it for something you’ve found works better.  There’s absolutely no shame in changing course when you learn a new thing.

The harshest protests often come from the greatest pain.

  • “I wish I could just throw money at my problems.”
  • “The rest of us just have to suck it up.”
  • “Wow.  Look at that mess.”

Um, yeah.  Pot, meet kettle.  Mirror, mirror…

It’s longing.  It’s jealousy.  It’s the desire in ourselves for improvement.  It’s called hope.  And fear.  It’s a terrible dance.  I know I can be whole but I’m afraid I can’t be.  I want life but I’m terrified it will kill me.  I am too big of a mess and I think it might not be bad enough to merit all that.

Listen to the warrior inside that you keep trying to hush.  You are a hero.  Put on your damn cape.

Posted in indigo inspiration, Living Water, Thanks for the memories

Jesus was lost in the forest.

He knew where He was.  But I didn’t.

I would fault myself for that but I’m not doing that anymore.  What good comes of my present self disparaging my past self for not having grown to my current-ness?  I deserve to be treated better than that.  Especially from myself.  I am treasured by Divinity.

Growth is the desire.  Perfection is not.  The pursuit of perfection hunts down growth and locks it in a tower.  The need for perfection trapped me in its incomplete clutches.  I couldn’t see the forest through the trees.  I had to be perfect.  I had to win life.  I had to be enough for everyone and everything that perfection had required in my life.

But guess what?  That’s not sustainable.  That’s not real.  That’s not even good.

And since the trees were blocking Jesus in the forest, I was lost too.  He doesn’t want my perfection.  He wants my sidling up next to Him.  He wants the little children scrambling onto His lap.  Where’s the perfection in that?  It’s clumsy.  And awkward.  And ungraceful.

And exactly what it’s supposed to be.  Indescribably beautiful.  Real.  And unaffected.  Artlessly primed for organic growth.  For becoming less scaffolding and more architecture.  For shedding expectations in favor of substance.  Not a vague assumed substance dictated by some culture and my imperfect heart, but the unshakeable confidence that I am loved.  The strength of knowing that I am securely wanted.  That all my ungrown imperfection is on a discovery expedition.  Rather than taking a perpetual exam.  I proctored that test for years. The manual kept getting fatter and more unwieldy.  The requirements began to contradict each other.  I suffocated under the weight of the roles of both defendant and judge.

Meanwhile, Jesus is in the forest, among the trees, telling me to climb into His lap with my grubby fingers and tangled hair.  He is not lost in the Scriptures behind the verses.  We are playing Marco Polo these days.  The sunlight filters between the boughs and shadows dance on our faces.  The shadows scare me sometimes but He squeezes my hand, tells me I’m safe, and shows me the transient beauty of the moment.

And if I lose Him again in the trees, He has not lost me.

Posted in Living Water, Thanks for the memories

i found some love in a pile of shit.

It’s been dark in here.  In my heart.  I haven’t been able to see Jesus in all of His beautiful goodness.  I didn’t stop believing in Him but I didn’t know who He was anymore.  I didn’t think I’d ever known who God is.  I didn’t think I ever could.  I was scared and angry.  I believed that even if I could know Him, I would never be able to love Him the way He wanted because He had let my heart be crippled by the cruelties of life.  And did I even want to love a God who can’t preserve a precious soul who cannot shield itself?

I know Him a little better now than I ever have.  He doesn’t look like I thought He did.  He looks more like a moment I had when I was barely 6 years old, alone.  That little moment has been hidden inside me for so many years.  He did preserve me.  That moment was the promise.  A tiny glimpse that if I try to hard to remember, it slips away.  That moment, secreted away in the very depths of me, a tiny sliver of time when God and I connected, was the seed I would need 25 years later to regrow the faith I feared I’d lost forever.

It died, but it was born anew.  I found it again in a dark and terrifying place.  I stumbled into it in a place I least expected it.  I found Him in suffering friends.  I found Him in abject honesty.  He was waiting for me in the humanity of myself and others.  I can see His face in the things that look like God doesn’t belong there.  He could be found in the dirty places with the low-down, the despised and rejected, the sinners, the shunned, the blight upon society.  And He’s still hanging out with those of us who question it all and dare to say, “I think I’ve got it all wrong.”  He bucked tradition and flung the tables of established belief.  He was progressive and revolutionary.

And I have opened my heart to the revolution of His healing love.  I’m trying to, anyways.  The door is heavy and a large box of fear has been sitting in front of it for many years.  He is not afraid of my questions.  He is not threatened by my imperfection.  He is not a box that I am forced to fit into.  He uniquely made me.  My heart was built by Him and He would like to repair the damage.

He is angered by the destruction.  He weeps for the devastation.  He gave up glory to be marked and marred by it.  To know me and to walk back through the valley of the shadow of death with me.

I began to be sure that my people would be better off without me.  I saw myself as a black hole that would collapse and take all I loved with me.  I was the blight upon their lives and the darkness of my existence would extinguish their light.  And I told God I could not search after Him any longer.  I am too tired to look for You.  I am exhausted.  My heart is too weary to pursue Your light.  The tunnel is so long that I’m not sure You are even at the end of it. I know You Are.  I know that You are bigger than my exponentially compounding weakness.  You know exactly where I am. Come find me.  I cannot seek, but You can.

And He found me.  Is finding me.  A little at a time.  Chance encounters.  Old friends.  New books.  Passing glances.  Others who are stumbling forward in their own broken humanity.  Some who are feebly reaching into the light.  Some who have been where I am, have collapsed in despair, and have been found by His limitless abundance.

I can never love Him wholly.  I was sure that was required of me.  But as His warmth and light heal bit by bit, I have yet another cubic inch to give back to Him.  And He is singing over the centimeters, the inches, the fragments of broken me that I am letting Him have as He finds them.  His joy over me is wild and dangerous and life-giving.  I’m terrified at how I am changing.  But I am exhilarated.  Because a reality of being loved by Supreme Love itself is safer than living in a box of being afraid to get it wrong.

There is so much ground I have not yet seen in my battered heart.  So much yet to demolish and renovate.  But He keeps putting Himself in my way.

Posted in Insane in the Brain, Thanks for the memories

All your waves have crashed over me. 

I see this view a lot these days. The carpet in my therapist’s waiting room.

It’s wave after wave of messy, chaotic emotions. And not nice beachy waves, but those giant killer waves they write gut-wrenching surf movies about. Documentaries on tsunamis and category 5 tropical storms. Rain boots are useless. Waders only weigh you down. I need a scuba suit with an oxygen tank.
But I get tiny glimpses of hope. I see shreds of future. Tiny shards of possibility. The brutality that made me the way I am seems to be the very thing breaking down who I am so that who I’m meant to be can be born.

I’m so in over my head. This life is not a spa or a wading pool. It’s the ocean. And it crashes against you. It burns your sinuses and your eyes. There are sharp rocks at the bottom. Currents and tides buffet you.

But there’s coral reefs and vivid underwater life. The dolphins leap into the sunshine once in a while chattering to each other. Briefly the harshness of it all contrasts sharply with a miracle and your heart gets to rejoice for a moment suspended in time.

Posted in Insane in the Brain, Thanks for the memories

an open apology

The cold sweat.  The pounding in your ears.  The racing of your heart.  The sudden waves of nausea.  And it can hit you out of nowhere.  Take you down completely.  What was it?  A brand of shoes.  A smell.  A memory stored in your brain’s pop-up software.  But not even a memory.  A portal.  You have a superpower that is a curse.  In a moment you can be transported through time and space to the moment(s) that the trauma wrote itself indelibly on your awareness.  Getting back to today isn’t part of the power.  Buckets of adrenalin being dumped into your system against your will.  Fear becomes almost tangible as your brain is telling your body to fight and flee and freeze NOW!  Because NOW DANGER DANGER!

You breathe.  You tell yourself to feel your feet on the ground.  You recite the month, day, year.  For however long it takes you.  Hopefully you were at home on your couch or had someone to come get you from where you happened to be.  You live through the moment and on the other side you are a wrung out dish-rag.  It can take your body days to recover.

Some days are good.  Sometimes even weeks.  There isn’t a handbook for being the adult survivor of childhood trauma.  There isn’t a timeline or a protocol.  There is only trucking along and being as ‘normal’ as possible, whatever the hell that is, until one day it all comes crashing into you.  There is a lot of mimicry and mirroring as you attempt to create a life out of the fragments of knowledge, assumptions, observations, and pieces of instinct that you have managed to hold onto.  Until it hits you unawares from behind and the slivers of life that you had welded together with willpower are scattered in front of you on the ground.

It is frustrating and agonizing.  It is devastatingly lonely at times, but with a fierce gladness that most of the people in your life have no idea what it is like to experience the things that knock you off your feet without warning.

It is chaos in there, sometimes.  The confusion takes up so much space that daily tasks and everyday routine is too heavy to remember.  I live my life by the hour by a digital calendar with reminders.  I struggle to remember things chronologically as linear events.  I have no sense of direction.  Days run together and I often cannot give a clear account of things.  I probably sound like I’m making things up.  When I’m stressed or anxious, I can’t find my words.  I have been to the point of stuttering on occasion.

For 30 years, I lived a life that I could manage to an acceptable extent.  I did the things I should do.  I looked marginally appropriate.  I cared about enough of the things people care about to maintain family relationships and a few close friendships while being married, homeschooling my children, and being involved with my church.  The darkness hovered slightly behind me but as long as I kept moving and pouring myself into the lives of the people I love, I could stay just ahead of it.  In quiet, still moments, I felt silent agony, studiously ignored poignant questions, and carefully repelled doubt and fear.  I could be uptight and nervous but worked hard to be fun and full of life.  Knowing somewhere deep inside that at some point I would have to turn and face the demons head on.

In all my reading about trauma and surviving, they speak of the pre-trauma you.  Putting back together the pieces and learning to integrate the trauma into your memory and life instead of the trauma being a current reality that continues to hijack your life.  There is no pre-trauma me.  There is only a frightened little girl who wished to be loved but was fairly certain, and for good reason, that she was too gross and stupid to be worth much of anything.  The abuse began before I can even remember, if what I saw of my younger siblings is an adequate representation of us all.

It was in the name of God.  The one place I might find peace and hope is tainted by the damage.  My desire to know and trust God puts me in the path of trigger after trigger.  I’m coming to learn slowly that it is not the same Jesus.  I’m throwing out the old knowing and finding the new truth.  There are Christian buzzwords and religious phrases.  There is Christian-ese that was used to justify the beatings.  It’s slow.  And terrifying.

Affection itself is tainted.  When you had to earn love by betraying a sibling or by confessing to wrongs of all shapes and sizes, whether truly committed or not, it feels dirty to let someone love you.  To be embraced after an argument feels unsafe.  The sweetest of emotions and loving actions are not to be trusted at face value because they are a part of the control.  It is a fight to honestly love and be loved for who you are.

I feel so less than enough.  I cannot love my husband the way he deserves to be loved.  There are holes in my care for my children no matter how fiercely I hold them in my heart.  I am learning and I am growing.  But every step forward is a dance: a step to the front and several to the back and sides.  And in the process of learning, I am crowded and scattered in my mind.  I am anxious.  I forget everything.  All the time.  I walked into my kitchen 4 times on Monday trying to remember what I was doing.  Eventually the kids got sandwiches for their lunch.  I think that’s what I couldn’t remember.  I feel like a disaster.  I am exhausted after short amounts of social interaction.  Getting out of bed every morning is almost more than I can handle some days.  Simple tasks can seem overwhelming from time to time.

I keep putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that another horizon is up ahead.  I fight the trauma everyday.  I fight the fear.  I fight the worthlessness.  I fight the confusion.  I go to therapy.  I take my vitamins.  I exercise.  I read and study about the things that happened and how to be better.  I’m researching treatments and making horribly tough decisions about how to best take care of myself and my family.  I have better days.

I am painfully aware of how unavailable I’ve been.  I feel each time I let my people down.  I cry over the things I forget or confuse.  And an apology seems far too little.  The times I have to withdraw to recharge myself feel like slaps in your face.  I’m sorry.  Please be patient with me.  It will get better.  But it might get a little worse once in a while as I learn how to navigate my new landscape.

Unfortunately, the only way to the other side of this is through.  I held it to the side for 30 years so I could get my bearings.  Apparently my brain has decided I’m safe enough to face it.  So I’m on a ride someone else bought me a ticket for.

I will get better.  I will get through each wave.  They may knock me down and carry me a little out to sea but I refuse to let the trauma win.   My wins might not look like wins to you.  It might not even look like I’m fighting.  But since when is fighting ever pretty?  When has battle ever been glamorous?