Friday, December 26, 2014

Catharsis, or "Hey, Look What The Cat Dragged In!"

Wow. Yet again, I have found myself procrastinating on posting anything new. An entire year this time. This is the curse of writing a blog. There is no fire under my ass to get something written. I always think I’m going to break that cycle and be all gung-ho about it but instead, I find a pint of ice cream and something interesting on TV. Before I realize what is going on, it’s been several months and I start to criticize myself for the lack of motivation. Writers are notorious for procrastinating. In fact, “procrastinator” is a synonym for “writer.” No, really. It is. Google it.

OMG. Long post. Get popcorn and a beer.

I originally had planned to post something I have already written but in light of recent incidents involving celebrity suicide and some very dear friends having difficulties with depression, I am going to skip a “Revelation” and explore something else entirely. This has taken on a new sense of urgency since I think this might help some people who are dear to me understand that they are not alone and that they have choices as so many care about and for them. I also realize the holiday season can be incredibly difficult for those of us that are dealing with tough times.

I do want to touch on something first that is a topic in my next Revelation post. Most of you know that Husband left me over two years ago. The divorce process seems to be stagnating and unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about it until I can gather enough cash to pay my attorney to get it over with. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t moved on as much as I possibly can. On January 13th, 2013, I went on a date. With a man. A man who turned out to be the stuff dreams are made of. He picked me up for that date and the second I sat down in his car and he grinned at me, I was done for. We met on a dating website and chatted via text/email for about a week, getting to know random factoids about each other before we met in person. Our first date was incredible. He was - and still is - so perfect. I couldn’t help thinking he just HAD to be too good to be true. He possessed so many attributes that I find attractive – smart, sexy, affectionate, hilarious, a talented musician and writer, tall and blue-eyed, tattoos, likes good beer and good restaurants, loves his dog, gentlemanly without being a prude, avid reader, passionate…this is an endless list. I could be here all night talking about how perfect he is. Seriously. I was smitten from day one. The in-depth analysis is the subject of another post. LOOOOONG story short, we dated for about six months before moving in together. We are still together and I can honestly say that finding him has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. The circumstances and timing were perfect. I love him with all of my heart and soul and every single day, I’m in awe of how things fell together so perfectly, as though the universe was directing us to each other like a traffic cop during rush hour. I hope that he knows that. Had I done a single thing different in my life, I would never have met him. All the heartache, all the strife, every struggle has led me to him and I wouldn’t change a thing. I wish I could go back to the Nic from three years ago and tell her that her pain and sacrifice would be worthwhile. I would absolutely do everything all over again without hesitation knowing that he would be waiting for me at the end of it. I am quite possibly the luckiest woman alive and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t remember that. I don’t take a single moment for granted. I now understand why things didn’t work out with anyone else – and I’m happy they didn’t. There is no one else on this planet I would rather be with.

SO…with that said, I think that there may be more than a few of you who are wondering what the hell transpired in December of last year (2013). I’ve made no secret of the fact that I struggle with depression and self-harm. I have battled substance abuse for a hefty portion of my life. All of these things intensified when Husband left me and the path of healing has not been easy. I falter now and then. Healing isn’t a destination – it’s a journey. There is no end to this journey. While I have accepted that this will always be a facet of my life, I have refused to allow it to define me; however, I no longer hold any unrealistic expectations of how things should be. To get right to the point: I had a massive nuclear meltdown at the beginning of December, 2013. There was no specific reason. I simply think that I had been internalizing so many things for so long that something normally insignificant pushed me right over the edge and Nic lost her damn mind. I picked a fight with Boyfriend, gathered a bunch of random things together along with my two dogs, and holed up in a hotel room for three days. I turned my phone off so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. I proceeded to get and stay completely shitfaced drunk and on the third day, something transpired that prompted someone to call 911. I still don’t know if it was me that called or if it was another hotel guest or perhaps the management. There is a huge chunk of that weekend that I have absolutely no recollection of. Details were explained to me later on: When law enforcement arrived, they had to break down the door because I was inappropriately responsive--as in, giving answers that were out of context with the questions I was being asked. They found me in the bathroom, crying, surrounded by a shit ton of empty beer and wine bottles, bleeding from several self-inflicted cuts on my arms and legs. An ambulance was summoned to take me to the hospital for medical attention, which I apparently tried to jump out of while it was moving. The hospital staff had a difficult time with me as I was rather combative but they did manage an examination of the multiple lacerations, one of which required nine stitches. Most of the smaller ones were closed with skin glue and one developed a mild infection. They then sent me to the county behavioral health unit which I will hereafter refer to as “43C” as that was the unit designation. I was “detained” as opposed to “involuntarily committed” as the medical and psychiatric staff felt I was a danger to myself. Despite my protests, I spent two of the worst days of my life there. If prison is anything like 43C, I would rather go out Thelma and Louise style than serve a sentence. I had to ask for someone to unlock the bathroom door every time I had to take a piss, showers were supervised, and meal times were set and...interesting. There were people there that probably should have been somewhere else. I had to wait long periods of time for the overworked staff to provide answers to the questions I had. It was difficult for me to get a hold of anyone to let them know where I was. I had not slept well the weeks leading up to this incident and I barely slept at all while I was there. Luckily, it was determined that I no longer posed a threat to myself or anyone else and I was released on the evening of the second day after the psychiatrist battled with the court all afternoon to ensure my release. I do have to admit that I met some very genuine professionals there and despite the fact that they deal with some absolute SHIT, they still find it within themselves to care about their fellow humans who are simply having a rough time. The part of the whole situation that I still to this day have difficulty dealing with (and a massive amount of guilt over) is this: my dogs, Cody and SaeDee, ended up at the local animal control facility. I always leave emergency contact information written plainly on a piece of paper on the in-room desk at every hotel I stay at. Always. This was no exception. I do very clearly remember begging the police officers that responded to contact my parents to pick up my dogs. This was not done. The only reason anybody knew anything about what transpired was that both of my dogs are microchipped and their registration information is up to date. Animal control called my mom as she was the backup contact listed. My mom called Boyfriend, who picked them up and was able to sort out where I was and what had happened after the psychiatrist who initially admitted me to the hospital called him. In the days that followed my release, I found that I was missing an enormous amount of personal property that I had brought into the hotel room with me but didn’t make it out when Boyfriend picked my things up – clothing, makeup, my iPod, even my glasses and several pairs of underwear. Someone had to go rifling through my things – opening suitcases, makeup cases, and totes - in order to remove these items.  The hotel management was less than helpful – in fact, the GM was evasive and downright hostile. I reached out to their corporate management to no avail. Local law enforcement, while they did confiscate a large sum of cash from the room for safekeeping (which was returned to me within a few days), offered up no help and even attempted to accuse Boyfriend of theft. There was never a single follow up to either situation and rather than stew and stress about it, I chalked it up to a learning experience: people suck and there are those who will take advantage of others who are in crisis for their own personal gain.

Some BIG changes resulted from this situation. I had to re-evaluate my physical, mental and emotional health and found that I was again attempting to bury some things that desperately needed my attention. That was NOT okay. My coping skills are exactly shit and always have been. For a very, VERY long time, I did not understand that. It takes a focused effort on my part to make myself look at the issues that trouble me and deal with them in a healthy manner.

I have so many questions about some of the things that have transpired in my life – questions that will never be answered, at least not in a manner that will allow me some peace. I am learning to be okay with that. Sometimes, there are things that are not for us to know or not even meant for us at all. I have found that sometimes the whys and hows of things that happen, especially the things that are completely out of my control, are irrelevant. The need for explanation is counter-productive. What is far more important is how I react and what kind of attitude I maintain. When I accept these things, I OWN them and that frees me to focus on moving on.They do not own me. I am not controlled by my past – I learn from it and take those lessons into the future with me. A lot of things still haunt me and occasionally, old feelings of insecurity and helplessness rise up and ruin my day. I KNOW this will happen. I am not going to deny myself those feelings because doing so is how I ended up in such a very dark place for so very long. I know it’s coming and I can now prepare myself with the necessary tools to work through it; however, I still have a long way to go in learning to cope in a more healthy manner.

So here’s a touchy and taboo subject: suicide. I have to use both hands to count the number of times that I have or someone close to me has been affected by suicide and that is just unacceptable to me. Don’t get me wrong – I have definitely been in such a dark, lifeless place where I felt that not existing HAD to be better than the life I was living. The recent deaths of some well-known celebrities (Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger) seem to have prompted some widespread awareness of the issue of mental health and substance abuse. A very dear friend of mine recently lost her mother and stepfather to a murder-suicide after a lengthy and difficult divorce process. He was severely bipolar and had not been receiving treatment. Another friend of mine has been touched by the suicides of two friends who were young adults – between 18 and 20 years of age.  Dr. Sophia Yin – a renowned, highly respected veterinarian and animal behaviorist who changed the way we handle animals in the clinical setting as well as how we train and develop our patients and companions – also took her own life recently. So…is this something that is occurring with more and more frequency? Is the topic of mental health receiving more attention than it has in the past? Are suicides being reported appropriately and more often? I’m not sure of the answers to these questions but do believe that all three lend a hand to the fact that suicide seems so much more prevalent than even ten or twenty years ago.

I think that keeping the avenues of communication regarding mental health open is an important step in unraveling the stigma and harsh judgment surrounding mental health issues. People often don’t seek help out of fear or shame – they are afraid that they will be judged negatively or seen as weak if they make it known that they are having a difficult time. The most difficult part of the path is the reaching out – the event that is often seen as the moment a person exposes his or her vulnerability and opens themselves up to harsh judgment. Humans can certainly be awful creatures and our treatment of each other during hard times can often demonstrate a level of awfulness that is completely repulsive. My question is this: How is mental health any different than physical health? People with, say, bipolar depression aren’t any more in control of their illness than someone with hypothyroidism is. In both cases, there is a fundamental disruption in an organ or organ system not caused by a conscious choice on the part of the person. Perhaps this issue lies in our understanding of the physiology at work: we know an awful lot about the way a thyroid functions and the body systems that are affected by its action. In comparison, we know so little about the nervous system and how it controls, integrates with and is affected by the many physiological processes that occur in humans. We know even less about this in our fellow creatures. As humans, we tend to fear things that we do not understand. I won’t pretend to even THINK that I know how we as a species can try to expand our understanding of such an intricate topic as mental health but I do know that the veil of secrecy and shame needs to be lifted, somehow. We are all stuck on a giant rock together, hurtling through space at unimaginable speeds. We owe it ourselves and to our fellow humans to at least try since we all need to exist with one another. Whatever we need to do to make the trip tolerable for ourselves and for others...we should do.

In the meantime, I would like to say this to my friends, family, and readers: I know that we all have times when we struggle mentally and emotionally. Sometimes we become overwhelmed and without the proper tools, we can descend into a very dark place that some of us never return from. This does not make us weak. It makes us HUMAN. As much as we try to be, we are NOT machines. We are judged on baseless merits and false claims about our suitability for survival every day. Those judgments often come from people we love and/or respect. Those are the harshest and it’s nearly impossible to not take it personally. If you take anything from what I write here, I hope it’s this: You ARE important. You DO matter. Yes, there ARE people who would miss you if you were not around. I know it can feel like that is not true but it surely is. Do not be ashamed to ask for help. There is a considerable amount of strength behind the act of seeking support from our fellow humans. Do not be discouraged by setbacks in your journey. These are learning opportunities. Through them, we learn just how tough we can really be and are then able to build upon that strength. It’s important to realize that as sentient beings, we frequently fall prey to our own unreasonable standards as well as subject others to similar unreasonable standards. Properly equipped, we can navigate through the false disappointment this often brings and recognize that we are passing an unfair judgment. Absent these skills, we perpetually kick others’ or our own asses.

The path to healing begins with YOU. Take that first step. Reach out to someone you trust – I realize this is the thing we become hung up on. It’s a scary step, no doubt about that. The people you care about care about YOU. We are not meant to travel our paths alone. If you feel that you simply cannot trust anyone with that step, there are SO MANY resources available for us to seek a neutral third party. Sometimes that is more comfortable and there is not one thing that is wrong with that. I will list some resources here – some that I or others have found helpful. YOU MATTER. Don’t forget that. Ever.

Remember to take some time for YOU this holiday season. You are just as important as everyone else.


Some helpful resources:

24/7 free, confidential phone or chat support for anyone who is experiencing a crisis or knows someone who is.

Resources for people who seek to help others who are experiencing mental health issues.

Resources for veterans, service members, or their loved ones.

Resources for college students with mental health concerns – you can be connected to your school’s array of resources, including crisis intervention.

Resources for anyone living with a mental illness or caring for a loved one with a mental illness, including information, support, and advocacy.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Revelation Series: #3: "Good Enough"

...we are now at the THIRD in my Revelation series! It's about damn time for another one, aye?? That is the best--and worst--part of using a blog as a venue for expression: no deadlines. Creativity can flow without pressure or obligation. Maybe that means LOTS of posts. Maybe that means SPORADIC posts. Maybe that means I will nap on the couch.

Disclaimer: This is a post that I started at the beginning of January of this year but was, for some reason, completely abandoned. Sad. So much has happened since then but that's for another post.

This one I am going to start off with an excerpt from my journal. I'm going to preface this by admitting to something--in the process of working through these "revelations" and all the other things I have on my plate, I faltered. It happens. I don't hold myself to some unrealistic expectation that I am 100% fine and healed and the BEST PERSON EVARRRR. I don't forbid myself to do anything under threat of shame, nor do I beat the shit out of myself when I do something dumb. I make mistakes but I OWN that shit. I allowed just enough doubt to creep in that I messed up and didn't remember that I am fluid--a work-in-progress. Yes, folks...I cut again. I am fine, the wound has healed, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I'm not proud of it but not shameful, either. Shame is how I came to where I felt I needed to do that in the first place. Shame does not have a top ranking spot in why I do the things I do. It (obviously) does affect things from time to time. I wrote this right around the same time I decided to cut and one might take notice of the emotion here and make a connection or two. Just for the record, I am NOT justifying my actions. I am providing background as to what was going through my head when I made the choice I did. 

"I'm alone, my self confidence is in the shitter, and I'm terrified I'm going to continue to fail even though I realistically have nothing left to lose. It is in these situations where people like me become convinced that no one would miss them if they shuffled off the face of the planet. I have gone from social butterfly who wasn't entirely happy but knew who she was and overflowed with the confidence to be able to right the wrongs in her life to...someone whose phone rarely rings anymore aside from bill collectors, who shuts herself in all day and can barely find a reason to crawl out of bed, much less get dressed and leave the house. What the fuck is the point of this? This isn’t how things were supposed to be. I’m supposed to be HAPPY. I’m supposed to be STABLE. I’m supposed to feel confident that the people I keep around me will freely lift me up, not drag me down. All the choices I have made in my life were in support of all that. Yet…here I am. It doesn’t make sense. I have busted my ass to be…where I am? THIS is what I get for my efforts?? What the fuck? I’d be in exactly the same place had I done absolutely nothing and not worked nearly as hard or sacrificed as much as I have. As if everything I do will NEVER be good enough and I will always end up exactly where I don’t want to be. What’s the fucking point if I keep coming back to this? I can tell myself over and over again that I am a good person, that if I keep getting up when I get knocked down and persevere that the good things will happen and my life will be exactly what I want it to be. It’s all fiction. All lies. Over and over I come to find that despite my best efforts, I am still sick and miserable and still being shit on by people I thought I could trust. Always back to the same thing."

I was in a BAD place. A huge part of my revelation was this: 

I had been making decisions and choices about my life for all the wrong reasons.

It happens. Sometimes the motivation behind our choices turns out to not be what we really thought it was. Something happens and we receive a Gibbs slap upside the head and we think to ourselves, "Holy shit...I had that all wrong." Let me explain. 

In the last ten years, I have made a few decisions that didn't turn out so well. At the time, I thought I was making those decisions to better myself, better my situation, enrich my life, and because I honestly thought the motivation to do these things was mine. I totally ignored the big, blaring red letters that plainly spelled out the biggest reason I was doing those things: I was trying to earn the pride and respect of someone. My first choice of a career, my move to the Midwest, buying a house, going back to school, getting married, all HUGE choices I made for the wrong reasons. I'm NOT saying the choices themselves were wrong; I'm saying that the reasons behind why I made them were fraudulent. I lied to myself, big time, and convinced myself that I was making those choices of my own independent thought--because they were good choices for ME and they were truly what I wanted for myself. That wasn't even close--I was making those choices because, somewhere deep down, I thought it was what was expected of me. I thought by doing so, I would HAVE to be respected then. I mean...I'd be doing what I thought these others wanted me to do! They would be proud, would they not? I'd be doing what they always said was the right thing! That's respectable!

...NO... is NOT respectable. All of those choices I made ended in disaster. The reason? Because I chose to do those things for reasons that had very little, if anything, to do with ME. I was doing those things because I thought it would make somebody else happy, not because I thought it would make ME happy. They were tough decisions that resulted in a lot of work for me; because I was doing all that work for someone other than myself, there is no way I could have been successful at any of those endeavors.

It has NEVER ONCE occurred to me that this was the criteria I had been using to base my most important decisions on. The desire for this kind of approval had apparently become so ingrained as to be almost a subconscious rule. It wasn't until a recent conversation that it dawned on me how misplaced my motivation had been and how much effort I had wasted. This person gave me the biggest wake-up call of my life. The short version of the conversation, which are the things that I took from it, is as follows:

"You are a disappointment. You cannot make a single good decision. I don't respect the person that you are because you are not the person I think you should be. You are sloppy. The reason that you struggle is because you don't do what I think you should do. Because of this, you will always need my help to extricate yourself from your troubles and I will make sure that you know your troubles are caused by the fact that you cannot make wise decisions about your life. You think and act like you are better than everyone else when you're not. You have a piss-poor attitude about taking advice from me. Your friends are worthless because I don't understand them or even take the time to get to know them. It would be pointless for me to even try because they are all clearly inferior. I don't know why you continue to place so much emphasis on your friends--it's not like they're family. You take stupid risks in your life rather than playing it safe by listening to ME and doing what I think you should. All I am trying to do is help you avoid the trouble I KNOW you are going to get yourself into. Only I know what is best for you. You clearly don't because here you are with no job, no money, no college degree, no home of your own, a failed marriage, poor health, and ruined credit." 

All I have ever wanted from this person is to hear that he or she was proud of me, that he or she would support my endeavors as long as I felt confident that it was the right path for me and be supportive of the things that I am passionate about, that he or she would always be my cheering squad. I can't remember the last time I heard from this person "I'm proud of you! That's great! I'm so excited for you! Tell me all about it!" My passions have always gone mostly unacknowledged. This person does not understand why I will always choose the path that makes me happy rather than the path that brings me material wealth, especially when those are two completely different paths. The saddest part of all is that I also married someone like this.

This part of my revelation shook me to my core. To find that the queen's castle was built upon sand, well, made the castle collapse. I have since forced myself to re-evaluate the way I make decisions. It often means taking more time to make the decision but at least I come to a logical conclusion. I have been shackled by the expectations and demands of others for too long and I’m done with it. This really IS all about me now.

SO...more to follow, of course. Hopefully I'll stop being such a slug and squeeze posts in more often than once a year. The holidays are coming up and I'm sure that I will have a holiday rant or seven.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Revelation Series: #2

I wanted to post a little bit sooner but ended up getting pulled back to MN for absolutely no reason. The trip wasn't a complete waste, though, for a few reasons. I will keep those reasons to myself until I can reflect more upon them/am ready to share.

Even though I realistically have a TON of people that I desperately want to thank for various reasons, I would like to take a second to thank a few of those people without actually thanking them. Three people this past week agreed to put their reputations on the line to support me in my job search, without so much as a second thought. I cannot express to these people how much it means to me that they would do this because it also means they are confident that what they say about me will not reflect poorly on them or on me. You three know who you are--THANK YOU. I also need to thank one person who has already done so much for me without realizing it--this person has opened up their home to me, provided non-judgmental insight, and has been willing to provide as much support as I can comfortably allow (and then some) for no other reason (well, no other reason that is apparent to ME) than this person feels it's the right thing to do. This person also turned my attention to a book they felt might be useful for helping me work through some of these revelations I am stumbling through and it really IS helping. Regardless of where we find ourselves down the road, I will forever be grateful for and appreciative of this person and the fact that they came into my life when they did--THANK YOU. Yeah, YOU. You know who you are. 

This one isn't necessarily a "new" idea or an earth-shattering, insightful revelation but more like something I DO every day that I have recently found a new application for. Sometimes our revelations direct us to a new way of applying an old idea rather than being something totally novel to us and this is one of those. 

...I stole some of this from a text conversation with a friend. I don't think that person will mind. The rest comes from an old journal entry. I will apologize in advance for those who don't like to read tons--this is a doozy!

It's far more difficult to actually DEAL with our troubles than it is to simply sweep them under the proverbial rug and move on, or medicate them, or do destructive things to bury them so deep we don't think about them. We don't like to be reminded that occasionally, we fail at things that we are confident we should succeed at and fall short of our own expectations. Sometimes the people in our lives fall short of our expectations and when those people are close to us, we take it personally. The reward in dealing with our troubles, failures, and shortcomings is found in confronting them and beating them down with logic, pragmatism, and a little bit of selfish pride. This is truly the only way we will EVER grow into whomever it is we are destined to become. 

We are all on some kind of path; there is a person in the future that we are supposed to be and a place in the universe that we are supposed to fit into. ALL OF US. Why the hell else would we even be here if we didn't belong here? Many of us go through the motions in our lives, avoiding this confrontation. Why? Because it's easy! Because the path of confrontation is difficult and fraught with the dangers of being disappointed, not getting what it is we think we want/deserve, defying and tearing down old ways of thinking and sometimes even the foundations upon which we have built our entire being. That shit is scary! When we fail to recognize that the confrontation is necessary and we allow fear to direct our growth, we then begin to descend into a (metaphorical) dark, nasty-ass cave that becomes progressively more difficult to escape from as we continue to avoid confronting our "demons." What we don't realize is that our demons reside in this cave and they become progressively more nasty the deeper we descend. Some of us have some VERY DEEP FRICKEN CAVES and it turns out that I am one of those. Bats won't even hang out in my cave. Mordor closed off the entrance, even.

This is something I am excerpting from my journal--I wrote this several months ago when I began to understand that I was interfering with my own progress of becoming who I am REALLY supposed to be, simply by being afraid to confront my demons and drag my ass out of the cave. Yeah, it's one huge metaphor, I know...but metaphors help us relate complex ideas to something a little easier to understand. I'm intelligent but that doesn't mean I always "get it," especially when it comes to what is lurking in my cave.

"…you fall into this dark place, a place where light doesn’t reach. The deeper you go, the less you want to try to crawl back to the light as the descent was difficult enough, so you assume that the laws of physics apply here and the ascent will be even more difficult. You may take a step or two towards the light only to be pulled back by the dark. Your vision fails you and is limited by the darkness that is trying to swallow you."

That darkness, and the demons that reside within it, are completely of our own fabrication. It's easy to just close our eyes and let ourselves be enveloped by it.

What is fear, really? Fear is something that can (and does) keep us safe from harm. We don't jump into the lion's den because the lions have sharp teeth and they're probably hungry. I think the zoo might have rules against it or something as well. While most of us have probably never been mauled by a lion, we can imagine what it would be like by relating some other experience we have had (being bitten by a housecat, falling on our faces into a briar patch, etc.) and because we are able to reason that out, a healthy fear develops that tells us "getting munched by that giant cat will probably not be a great experience for you; stay out of the lion's den" and we listen. That's a healthy, necessary fear. It's reasonable. Fear is what drives our sense of self-preservation. Sometimes, though, our ability to reason out what is physically harmful and what is harmful to our psyche fails. The two become intertwined. We start to confuse primitive, necessary fear with artificial, detrimental fear based on things formerly recognized as secondary (or even unnecessary) to basic survival. Our caves are mortared with this fear and our demons feed from it. It is THIS FEAR that keeps us afraid in our own caves, shaking in our little cave boots. Only by challenging and vanquishing this fear can we overcome all of the things that we have created to shelter ourselves from our troubles. This in and of itself is completely terrifying and I won't deny that for a New York minute. Or a minute anywhere else. Change is hard. It takes a lot of effort and as valiant as those efforts may be, we will fall on our faces along the way. We will fail occasionally. But you know what? That doesn't matter. We pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and try again. Yeah, maybe we fail again, but we fail BETTER. We learn. Then, one day, we look around and realize that we have succeeded and that makes all those failures not failures anymore. They are now lessons learned and we have beaten a fear by persevering.

I have a very, very long way to go to break down my own fears and conquer demons but the fact that I recognize that has put me light years ahead of where I was six months ago. On the one hand, fear of physical harm is not something I possess. Those of you who know me fairly well already know this. I take some pretty wild (but calculated) risks--for years (and still now) I rode dangerous horses that no one else would ride; bought and drove cars that my friends thought would end up being my coffin; snowboarded in some dangerous snow country; fired guns no one was really sure would work properly; and will always be the first one to volunteer for any new adventure. My chosen profession comes with some serious risk of physical harm every day and I honestly don't think much about that. On the other hand, fear of failure, fear of not being loved/being alone, fear of disappointing people I care about and/or respect, and fear of changing the things that keep me fearful of those things are ones I do possess. I know there are more but these are the Double Down sandwiches of my fears. REALLY bad and really detrimental (and maybe too much deep-fried crap?), thus are the ones that are in the most dire need of confronting. I can't take them on all at once and no one should. Baby steps. I used to be a very impatient person; recently, I have seen the length of my fuse increase and am even able to look back and see the things that I just don't get bent out of shape about anymore. They seem so silly now...but at the time, they made me seethe. I am now patient. I am willing to take my time and heal myself and my heart, the right way for ME. Anything worth doing is worth doing well...and my physical and emotional well-being are worth the effort.

I will now leave you with the musical wonder that is Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I love this song because the lyrics speak to the recognition of a fear/fears, the mastering of those fears, and the strength to decide that one will never return to a state of fear again. The video confronts this very same issue but on a different level. Plus, the song is just fricken cool, no matter how one interprets it!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Revelation Series: #1

I've had a revelation. I'm not at all ready to talk or write about it yet but did want to share with you all the thought processes involved in my revelation, the things that led up to it, and enormous amount of knowledge that has been pouring to me from it. These things are in no particular order...just my thoughts poured into my journal and excerpted here, again in the hopes that my troubles and trials can help someone else in whatever journey they may be traveling in their lives. 

This is the first posting in my REVELATION series. 

We spend so much time obsessing over the things we are not good at, forcing ourselves to do them and trying to make ourselves good at them, that we fail to pay attention to the things we ARE good at and that we can instead do those things, and make ourselves better at them. Phenomenal living happens when we embrace our strengths and stop obsessing over our limitations. If we do nothing except the things which we are not good at, we will begin to think that we are not good at anything. When we do nothing except that which we excel at, we will begin to think we are exceptional. THAT is what keeps us going—that feeling of accomplishment, of knowing our worth, and feeling like we can do ANYTHING.