Ready or Not

I've been wondering what to blog about for my 100th post in 2009. I didn't want something trivial, but something that really spoke to those who read this blog and something that really came from within.

I've been somewhat disconnected these last two weeks, focusing more on getting through the last week of work, then heading out to spend time with my dad and stepmom, all the while having to get over the fact that my sister couldn't come with me. I got stuck in the vicious cycle of "should" statements and guilt, followed by bouts of entitlement.

"I should be journaling like A asked."


"But I don't want to. I've earned a week off where I am not constantly observing and analyzing my every thought and emotion."

And repeat. I'm not sure if my entitlement is warranted or if it my denial finding more clever ways of surfacing. Either way, I didn't journal a single day since I last saw A. I never really felt I had anything to journal about until Friday, when my sister picked me up at the airport. She hesitantly told me that she and her BF were patching things up (after a nasty break-up 6 months ago ending a 5 year relationship). This really took me off guard. I don't approve of her getting back together with him because I don't think he will change, but I didn't say anything to her that made her aware of my disapproval. I know she already seeks my approval, so I don't want to make her feel guilty for making choices in her life. She is an adult.

That being said, I could not let it go. I obsessed over it all weekend. Why is she doing this? More so, why do I care so much? Of course I care because she is my sister and I don't want her to get hurt, but this was something more. It took me a while to put my finger on it.

Envy. How green it is.

However unhealthy her relationship with him is, she has someone who cares about her. She has someone she calls her best friend and can talk to about anything. She is getting that back, and it was a sharp slap in the face. I've never had that. Of course, I've never been in a place where I could get that, but as scary as it is for me to acknowledge, I think I'm ready for that now. I'm ready for the best friend and confidante. I'm ready for the trust and emotional connection. Realizing this has brought out my old friend anxiety.

I am not ready for the physical connection.

I think about it and it almost brings me to tears. It made me want to cut this weekend. It has been the number one source of pain and unanswerable questions since Friday... and I don't think it is going away any time soon.

Merry Christmas

It was a white Christmas here!

Vacation Musings

I made it to Christmas Break. Hallelujah. It has been a crazy week. God has given me some amazing opportunities to heal and grow in the past few weeks and I have been open to them. But with that I can't help but feel I am holding back something. I don't know what it is. I made sure to talk to A about that on Tuesday, and she gave me an assignment to journal every night and answer 3 questions about my emotions. It's now Sunday night and I haven't sat down once to do that! Oops! I'm thinking I might not attempt to do that until I get home. I need a break, from more than just work.

I'm in Cal.ifor.nia right now visiting my dad and stepmom. My sister was supposed to come with me but she got violently ill on Monday and has been throwing up non-stop since then. She has been in the emergency room and to the doctor 4 times, and has lost 20 lbs in 6 days. She was just too sick to come, which sucks on multiple levels. I hate that she is so sick, but I'm really bummed that I don't get to spend any time with her. This is normally the only time I get good one on one time with her and could possibly be the last time we'd be able to do this as she is a senior in college and will be graduating and working soon.

I'm making do with the situation and really exerting myself. Today I worked out, watched 8 hrs of football, took a nap and laid out by the pool. Yeah. Tomorrow we're going shopping, then to the movies and dinner. Now that's what I call vacation!

December Beware

I'm not a huge fan of December. 2 years ago is when my walls came crashing down and I no longer could hide from my abuse. I was diagnosed with PT.SD and depression and barely was able to manage a normal semblance of a life.

Last year, after surviving another meltdown in late October, I spent much of the holidays in a fog. It was a time where my attempt at denial had come full force to knock me down, take away all my defenses and make me feel as though I wanted to die.

This year is different, although part of me is on edge expecting something huge and awful to happen again. I am still finding that my moods are very erratic, but I am attributing that to stress more than anything. My sadness this year is coming from missing my cousin and hurting for my family. Her death is still so painful.

This week has proved to be a test of my strength and ability to focus on my recovery. Tuesday I let my exhaustion override my desire to heal, and basically wasted my time with A. The only thing I think I really gained was that I was able to communicate that with her and realize the actions that led up to it, hopefully so that I can keep it from happening again. Part of what kept me from pushing myself is that I have been feeling very alone lately. I do not want to push myself into things that hurt as bad as they do without having someone there to comfort me. It's a vicious cycle. It is very hard for me to trust people with my emotions, yet I want them there.

As part of my homework for the week, I was asked to think of ways I can start reaching out to others and allow them to begin seeing my emotions. Trusting people with facts is one thing, trusting them with how you feel is something completely different. As previously written, I reached out to a friend at C.R. who has been very supportive. She has helped me feel as though I am not alone in this world, even if it is only once week for a few hours.

I went to C.R. on Thursday and sat in the back. I just wanted someone to notice me alone: a non-verbal way to describe how I was feeling. I was nervous about small group because I knew I needed to let some things out, but did not want to cry in front of everyone. I listened as others shared, taking bits and pieces of things that I could relate to and dreaded my turn. Finally, all eyes were on me and I began talking of how hard it has been for me in the past week to not push. I am not trusting God to put that person in my life, and I am trying to play God and do it myself. I think I do a pretty good job of letting my life flow the way it supposed to, but there are times that I am just convinced I am being short changed and will just push until I have no strength left. This is definitely one of those times.

I moved on to what I had recently discovered about my relationship with my dad. I explained to everyone that I had come to terms with the fact that I was not going to have the relationship I wanted with my dad a long time ago, but that I was just now realizing it was OK for me to be sad about that. And not only that, that I could also be hurt and disappointed for things he had done in the past. I told them of a paragraph I wrote in this letter to him about how excited I was when I found out M was going to move in because it meant that he didn't have to be alone, but it also meant that someone was going to pay attention to me. M always did, my dad rarely did. Realizing that if my dad had been there for me before M, I wouldn't have needed him to save me from M.

I didn't do such a great job holding back the tears. I imagine I was somewhat incomprehensible throughout my time, but I think I did a pretty good job letting others see my emotions, instead of just the facts. Baby steps.

After small group, our women's leader pulled me aside and asked me if I was coming to the leadership meeting. I believe "Hell no" was what went through my head, but I'm pretty sure I responded with "Uh.. no way!" I am not a leader. My main fear is that with a leadership role, the expectations that would be put on me would be too fast and too much. I see what the leaders do in this group and I am NOT ready for that. I told her that and she insisted I come anyway. I am by far the youngest person at C.R. (with the exception of one other guy) so it was very obvious that I stood out in that meeting. I kept asking myself "What am I doing here?!", while we were waiting for the head of the church to arrive.

Recently our C.R. group has gone through a lot of changes with our coord.inator being laid off. Ever since then the feeling has been different, to me at least. Things were not as organized. So with the shift of power was the need for a new team to be put into place. Once everyone arrived, we were told who was going to be in charge of C.R. now and what her goals were for our group. Using the CR group manual (as provided by Saddle.back church, the original starters of C.R.) she went through the 4 different teams that needed to be formed to make everything run as smoothly as possible. Immediately I looked at those teams and wanted to RUN AWAY. Most carried a year long commitment which freaked me out. In comparison to everyone in the room who were a good 10+ years into their recoveries, I was just an infant. How in the world did anyone think I was ready for this? The man sitting next to me was new to our C.R. group, only in attendance for 2 months and he spoke up. He said he was there because he wanted to help, but did not feel that he was seasoned enough to help in the ways that most jobs required. There was one job on the list that had very few requirements as it came to the intense work of helping others, and that was the job of the "Greeter". He volunteered for that position and said that he was looking forward to just being able to help the group by volunteering to be the smiling face at the front doors, telling newcomers where to go and introducing them to everyone.

God was giving me my window. I chimed in and thanked him for saying exactly what I was feeling. I volunteered for the same position and felt this huge weight lift off of my shoulders. It was replaced with a sense of connectedness and acceptance. I might not be ready for 95% of the jobs on that list, but I did know I could do this. God gave me the chance to take a risk. I had my mind and heart open to it and now I am feeling less alone than I have in a while.

So far, I'm liking this December.

A Prayer Answered

Last night was rough. I haven't been sleeping very well after a sequence of abuse-related nightmares Saturday night and by the time I got to counseling I was exhausted, not wanting to even get close to working on what I needed to. We read through a few journal entries I wrote before Thanksgiving that offered some insight to her about where I am emotionally.

The pain and loneliness that oozed from my words still stings.

I feel so alone. I have pushed everyone away from me because they have not been safe, supportive people in the past... but in doing this, I have left myself alone. "What can you do to remedy that?", A inquired. "How do you go from being superficial friends with someone, to someone who you let know things, to someone you let see how you feel things? How do you know someone is a trustworthy person; someone you can confide in?"

Basically I don't have anyone in my life that fits into that trustworthy category right now except for the women in my C.R. group. Specifically, two women that have reached out to me and taken me under their wings. So taking my homework assignment in stride, I took a step towards a putting myself out there; letting my pain be known to someone else besides myself. I will see her tomorrow at C.R., when I can talk to her face to face, but I sent her a Facebook message last night, in the throes of my pain and tears...

What do you do when you feel so alone that God suddenly isn't enough? I know if I keep my eyes on Him, He will comfort me but how do you counter that with wanting someone to comfort and support you?I don't know how much more I can start uncovering in therapy by myself. I just want to curl up on the floor and quit until someone notices I'm down there. How am I supposed to keep going?


You keep going because God isn't finished with you yet. You keep going because He never gives us more than we can handle. I Corinthians 10:13 says....."No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." This is the way it is said in the NIV Bible and although not usually one to like the way The Message Bible reads, I thought it was better said...."No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it."

Making God enough is a challenge for everyone. We are all faced with wanting something we don't have or with a feeling that we NEED something to make our lives better. I struggle with this! You heard me at C.R. the other night how I struggle with wanting a spouse in my life. It is my deepest desire. I struggle with making God enough on a daily basis! So it's a daily sometimes hourly decision I have to make to give it to Him and ask Him to make Him enough. Luke 9:23 says..."Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." It is a daily decision to deny ourselves and follow Him. Don't look to how much you will have to uncover in therapy by yourself. Look at it as, today what will God and I uncover together.

So many people have told me over the years when I talked about my desire to be married again..."you have to make God enough first" and most of the times I wanted to punch them in the face! :) Yeah....blah, blah, blah, I know I have to make God enough, but what do I do with this burning desire I have? Contentment is a hard place to get to, but the one thing I have figured out is that being content is not never having a desire that isn't met, but it's having that desire and having faith to wait for God to give it. You have to be content where God has you right now..even though you see it as a bad place. God won't have to find you curled up on the floor, because He will be down there with you. He hears your cries and it pains Him, but He has greater purpose for your suffering than to just let you out of them. I know this may be difficult to believe right now, but take it from someone that has been there before.....He WILL use it someday and then you will understand and glorify Him for it. God is the God of broken people and we are His most prized possessions. Because it is when we are broken that He can fix us and then use us to help fix others that are broken. How could I write this encouraging email to you if for not that I have been EXACTLY where you are and have made it through? I have curled up on the floor with a bottle of sleeping pills in my hand, but God wasn't finished with me yet because He knew that one day this beautiful woman named Lily would need me to encourage her! I absolutely love God for that!

But no amount of words from me will encourage more than the words written in the Bible. Go read it. Go devour it.

Do me a favor? Write the following scriptures on a notecard and take it with you the next time you go to therapy.

"I will go before you
and will level the mountains ;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.

I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

These are found in Isaiah 45:2-3 and next to them I have written "healing!"

I will be praying for you!

I read this at work and cried, because for just a minute, I didn't feel so alone anymore. Maybe God is giving me exactly what I've prayed for.

Finish What You Started

So at the end of my session on Tuesday, A started talking about how my letters seemed to abruptly end; without much/any closure, wrap up, or summarization as is generally seen with most forms of written expression. I tried to do as well as I could with my letter to God, wrapping up with my frustration of where I am at and what I feel I need from Him, but I guess it wasn't clear that was my intent. My letter to my dad is another story. I just stopped it.

I didn't sign them, either.

It was hard enough to address them as "Dear Dad" and "Dear God", let alone give them an author.

So when she asked me why I didn't sign or close them, I didn't really have a response that was acceptable to not probe further into. I didn't want to sign them. They hurt so much to write, that making them belong to me just hurt that much more. So she wondered if it was my unconcious mind telling me that I still had things I needed to put in those letters.

I thought a bit and wondered that myself. Is there more I left out? Did I hold back on anything? I don't think I did, but who's to say for sure? I personally squirmed at the idea of having to go back and re-live/re-think everything over again (and possibly more) to add to and/or close the letters.

So I was given two options this week. Go back and finish what you started, close out the letters, even if it is as "simple" as signing your name or as involved as adding more information... or journal why I am choosing not to sign/finish these letters. What is holding me back?

Spoken Words

What is it about spoken words makes them so much more frightening than thoughts?

My session Tuesday was great. I am so proud of myself for being able to push through my fear and not only write the two things A asked me to, but read them to her. Reading things aloud scares me. It has always brought forth an intense emotion that I can't describe. I can listen to my own words, think the same thoughts and talk about the situations/events with more ease than if I were to ponder over them, write them down, then speak them.

When I got there I knew it wouldn't take long for her to ask me if I had done what she had recommended, to which I knew I would have to make a choice on which thing to read first.

My first letter was to God. Here are some excerpts:

I always believed you were there, but that I just wasn’t supposed to know You like everyone else seemed to. I never understood why my friends were able to have such a great relationship with You and I didn’t know how to. I thought because I didn’t know how to that it meant I didn’t deserve to and never would. I was ashamed of not knowing You.

But with that realization came the most overwhelming sense of confusion and anger. How could the moment in my life where I have never felt so alone be shared by You? How am I supposed to reconcile the fact that not only did my parents let me down, but now all of a sudden You did to? I wish You weren’t there. Then I could say that it was my fault for pushing You away and that I deserved what I got and I could come back to You and ask for forgiveness. But instead I am stuck trying to understand why it was chosen for me to endure this and now understanding You let it to happen.

I was able to hold it together while reading through most things, with the exception of a couple of paragraphs about my abuse and a couple of paragraphs about my cousin's death. Those hit me hard. Harder than I was expecting them to.

Having read this one first, I was hoping I could avoid reading my next letter in the same session. I knew it would be harder. But A had different plans for me. My determination was really going to be tested here.

I stared at the letter I wrote my dad. I had plastered pictures all over it of the two of us. I love pictures. They speak so much when words cannot. Reading this was going to be so much harder. It took me a while to get up the courage to read the first word. I didn't hold it together as much as I thought I would. Some excerpts:

I always felt like I was in the way when I was with you. I never did anything right. You yelled and cursed at me, threw things, broke things, slammed doors. You used anger to communicate with me. You must have been mad at me, right? I must have done something wrong. I got to the point that I hated being alone with you.

When "M" moved in and I was excited. Not only for you, because he was your friend and that meant you didn’t have to be alone, but for me, too. He was nice to me. He talked to me. He wanted to be around me. He took advantage of my desire to be close to YOU. My pain is so magnified by the realization of that. If you had been there for me before "M", then maybe I wouldn’t have needed you to save me from "M".

Through the tears, I looked up at A and told her how much it hurt to think about and write down all of these things that I've never allowed myself to acknowledge.

It's amazing how a little validation can make you feel so whole, or rather, a little less empty.