Thursday, August 17, 2017

Reclaiming Life after abuse

I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse.

But even after decades I still can’t say that completely without shame. That’s the nature of this kind of abuse. Logic tells us we were children. We had no choice.

But the wounds go deep and are so hidden that for me, and many like me, that feeling of shame becomes as much a part of who we are as our eye color. We just learn to live with it somehow.

We survive. But once innocence is lost, it can never return.

I believe many survivors of childhood abuse are drawn to spiritual traditions. Those of us who manage to fight the low self-esteem and the numbing lure of drugs and alcohol still need to make sense of what happened.

How do we explain the levels of cruelty and selfishness humans are capable of inflicting on the most vulnerable members of society? How do we become better and more whole humans through and in spite of it?

We know we need to forgive in order to move on and heal, and that’s something most of us can’t do without help. Even with a solid spiritual foundation, forgiveness can take a lifetime for something like this.

When the abuse ended, and I was able to grow up trying to live a relatively normal life the best I could. Except nothing is ever really normal again once you’ve been ripped of your pureness.

The silence around my abuse was nearly as damaging as the assaults themselves. As a young child I didn’t know how to talk about it. When I was 15 is when I finally broke my silence.

Are you a survivor of child sexual abuse? If you’re not, chances are you know someone who is.

Some statistics say one in four women and one in seven men have been molested, raped or abused before they are 18. That’s a staggering number.

And most survivors keep it quietly to themselves. We want to believe society won’t blame us, but experience tells us otherwise.

But healing is possible, and while no one would ever wish abuse on any child, I hope I can turn my pain into a powerful tool of transformation. 

When experts say the scars of child abuse last a lifetime, they mean it. In my teens, when I first began to deal with my abuse, I talked to counselors about it but by then with the response of those I told already had laid a foundation within me.  

Today, I see it as yes, it did happen and there is no going back to change the events. It does play a part in my life and who I am today. I often wonder what I would say to those who did that to me given the chance to open up about it. Would they deny it? Would they admit to it? I sometimes think that if they did admit to it and allowing me to express to them what it has done to me mentally and emotionally would it make me feel better or make me angrier? What if they apologized, would I feel satisfied? I suppose I may never truly know

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday Motivation

Good morning! I hope your week is going well. It's another beautiful day, let's not waste it!

After my recent meeting with my "coach" last week we discussed some things that really hit home. Since then I have put up handwritten and printed affirmations ALL over my house, in my car, in my purse, on my computer screen, on my lock screen on my phone, they are EVERYWHERE. I am sure if anyone comes over they are probably thinking what the hell is all of this?

Truth is, in the past I used to write little notes and hide them in hidden places for someone I was with, I would write little notes and tape them to public bathroom mirrors or places where complete strangers would find and doing that made me feel good to know that hopefully I made an impact on someone's day. You never know what someone is going through, they could be struggling in their own life and to know that I could possibly change that, made me feel good. I didn't expect anything in return. I originally got the idea several years ago when I came across a site and the project is called, Operation Beautiful. (Here is the link: Operation Beautiful and the Facebook page is here: )

Then it dawned on me at the end of my appointment, "what if I did that for MYSELF?" Sure, it's not quite the same but to randomly see a post-it first thing in the morning that says, "You are loved" or "Do all things with kindness, including yourself." or "I am in the process of becoming the best version of myself" and so on, actually puts a smile on my face and is a simple reminder. Sure, I can complain about getting up at 5 AM every day but to see those notes helps me. When I start to memorize each one, I will take those down and write more to replace. I may not have someone leaving me random little notes and that's okay but I am being the person that changes the way I feel about myself .

Check out this short motivational video that I found. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. If you have some videos that you enjoy and want to share then leave the link below in a comment.


Don't forget to love yourself. 



Friday, August 11, 2017

Lessons from a 7 year old

We all have those days thinking and wondering "damn, could this day get any worse or will anything go right for me today?" Well, I have certainly been one of those people who never saw the good or the positive that happened in a moment, day, week, month, etc. I always chose to see the bad or the negative and then I would hold on to that which only caused for more of that energy to seep in my bones. 

I have been working with my coach for 2 weeks now, really targeting on the actual thought process for emotions, feelings and actions. You see each one of us is "programmed" in the way we think. It's not always our fault, it can be the way we were brought up, the things that have impacted us in life, trauma, just life in general. So, once we have this thought in our minds we continue to go along with that thought and belief that once we finally have a wake up call we only realize the damage that it has been causing us. It's a HUGE domino effect. This is difficult to do, I will admit but each day I am noticing more and more and able to stop myself when I am feeling a certain way and dig a little deeper and ask myself the "why am I feeling this way? Is this feeling that I have really necessary?" Sometimes I have to meditate about it when I am able to quiet my mind. I am also starting to see the good things in each day rather than picking out the other bullshit. 

Which brings me to Lessons from a 7 year old:

My daughter just started 2nd grade and their first homework assignment was a super hero poster where she had to fill out certain questions. She mentioned one of her favorite things to do is go to Camp No Limits which is a camp for kids and teens with limb differences. So, with this homework assignment she was supposed to bring something in to show to the class as well and since her teacher told her no on bringing her hedgehog she asked if she could bring in her prosthetic arm/hand. A prosthetic that she has never worn, especially to school. I agreed and she took it to school. 

To explain her prosthetic some, she had her cosmetic hand attached to it when she left but you can take off the glove that looks like skin and unscrew the hand and attach something that looks like a hook but 2 fingers that when you wear the prosthetic is like a backpack that goes around each shoulder (that is way too small and tight on her now) that with a squeezing and releasing of the shoulders can open and close the fingers to grab things. 

So, again she hasn't worn it and if she did decide she wants to wear it, she needs to get resized. She took this on Wed. and since she stays with her dad on Wed.'s I don't see her until after work on Thursday. I walked into her daycare and they were on their way to go play outside when I pass her and there she is wearing her prosthetic. I laughed and she did as well and I asked her why she was wearing it and she said she had been wearing it all day and showing people. 

She went on to tell me how everyone thought it was really cool and even the kid that hasn't been very nice to her asked to look at it. Well, since just the cosmetic hand was on their she tried taking it off not knowing you need to take the glove off first which requires water to make it easier to slide off. So here she is wearing her prosthetic with just the hand and glove kind of just stuck in the socket because she had managed to unscrew it. I was excited for her because she was excited (domino effect). 

We had to stop by the store on the way home and by this time she had taken it off and put it up in her bag but as we are in the store waiting to check out, I happen to look over at her little arm and see that she has used marker to color it red. I asked her what that was all about. "Well...," as Alivia giggled. My friend and I decided to play a joke on a new daycare teacher.... (The cashier and I listened closely) And I went up to her and she didn't know I was wearing my prosthetic and I told her that I hurt my arm and then the teacher started asking what happened and that is where my daughter proceeded to have her friend pull off her arm and Alivia shouted, "there is blood, blood everywhere!!!" Alivia is laughing so hard as she was telling her story that the cashier and I were as well. 

Now, you have to know my daughter. She is silly, especially around people she knows but can be very shy more so when it comes to her little arm and trying to cover it up. My daughter told this story with such excitement in front of a cashier she didn't know, pulled a prank on a teacher she didn't really know, wore her prosthetic around all day at school and SHE WAS HAPPY ABOUT IT.

I couldn't stop laughing at my daughter, I was laughing because it was funny but I was also so incredibly proud of her. I made sure to tell her that I was proud of her. 

Now, I wasn't having the best day but I wasn't having a horrible day either but I felt myself drifting throughout the day but I made sure that when I picked my daughter up that I was aware and giving her my attention because I know that NO matter what kind of day I am having, that that little girl looks up to me, she needs me, she needs the "best" me that I can give to her. I may not always be 100% for her but that is slowly changing with learning how to be in the moment. I put all of my focus into her and because I did that instead of looking at my phone, just nodding my head, I was able to actually see the joy in her face and that joy was given to me as well. 

I'm working hard, it's a process, not always pretty but I LOVE the slow changes that I am seeing and being able to release and receive and share. 

Don't forget to Love Yourself. 



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Be the beholder

People often say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Breakthrough #1

First I am just going to say that I apologize for any profanity and incorrect grammar in this post. I am just letting the words flow and type as I go.

Holy shit! Now, I can honestly say that I would have NEVER thought a "breakthrough" would have happened this quickly with started on a new therapist. But I knew I was going in with an open-mind and heart and ready to figure shit out. So, I started seeing this therapist just last week, I knew I liked her right away. In therapy I have been used to therapist just sitting and nodding and asking questions but never really felt there was a solution, in fact most of the time I would leave therapy in the past I wouldn't feel better but sometimes even worse because what was discussed just hovered over me. Last night I also started seeing the other therapist but I am going to call him more of a "coach" because of his approach and honestly I can't wait to work with him more.

So, let me explain tonight...

The first part we were discussing goals that I would like to achieve and it went a little something like this... Umm, I want to fix my fucking life! That's a goal, right? Well, according to her she needed a more simpler and realistic approach. "Okay, well then I guess it goes like this, in no particular order:"

1. Self-Love
2. Forgiveness for others that have hurt me and for myself
3. Trust
4. Dealing with my fathers passing because I don't believe I have been able to fully grieve
5. Anxiety which comes from all of the thoughts and emotions

I explained that I wanted a goal of 8-12 wks to uncover some of the underlining issues that cause me to doubt myself and others which provoke me to either lash out in anger or seclude myself in sadness. For her that was do-able to set a goal on that.

So fast forward to the last 30 mins where we started discussing my dads passing. As I am sharing with her how I have felt that I have not been able to fully grieve his passing because of ALL of the things that came one right after another after another after another... I shared with her how I secretly gave myself a Christmas present on 2016 and that was to finally close the estate and all of the shit that came along with it for 2 YEARS. I suppose in my heart and mind I would have thought the grief would have come to an end once it was all settled but in reality it didn't. It sat bottled up in sadness, guilt and anger. I never shared it with anyone besides the fact that during certain times I was sad but because I never realized it EVEN existed!!!! UNTIL TONIGHT!

After I "thought" I was finished talking about it, she says to me (but at the same time I already sense the emotions I didn't realize I was feeling until I finally spoke and thought I was done), "Jill, after hearing you talk I not only hear your sadness but I also sense some... anger." As I am holding back the tears I nod my head in agreement. Then her next question is, "can you tell me some of the things that make you angry about all of this?"

I explain to her that I was pissed that I allowed myself to be put in a position to be POA for my father and heir of the estate. Now, unless you have been there as I hadn't been before you wouldn't know the challenges, struggles and stress that this can bring on to someone. Let alone someone who just lost their father unexpectedly!

Breaking it down:

1. Dad goes in for a surgery after finding 2 spots on his lungs that the biopsy couldn't get to (post remission for cancer 2 years prior)
2. After being a full time caretaker for my dad after his previous treatment, along with being a single mom and trying to work while taking care of my dad and daughter at the same time while holding down a job, I tried to be the tough guy by pushing this procedure aside as not that big of a deal.
3. My dad told me prior after talking to the Dr. that if the spots were cancerous that he would have to do radiation (which nearly killed my dad before). My dad explained to me that he didn't think he could do radiation again, me trying to be the strong one told him we didn't need to worry about it right now and would worry about it later.
4. Day of surgery they plan to do a biopsy of the spots on my dads lungs during the surgery and IF they are cancerous they would remove the upper lobe of my dads lung. Well, they were cancerous. So, they removed the upper lobe. Nurse comes back and said surgery was over and he would be in recovery and we could see him in about an hour.
5. Hour and a half later, nurse comes back and said some issues occurred and he had to be rushed back into surgery and they were working on him then. 30 mins later the nurse comes back in saying they were still working on him and the Dr. should hopefully be out to talk to us shortly but my dad had crashed while going into recovery and basically went without H2O for nearly 30 mins. Nearly 3 hrs later the Dr. comes out to tell us that he had no idea what happened and why, they opened him again to see if the lung they worked on had collapsed and when seeing that it hadn't, opened the other side. They then tried to revive him for nearly 45 mins then putting him on 2 life support machines. One to help him breathe and another to pump H2O through his blood to his heart. They had no idea on the damage if any he may have after going that long without H20. About 45mins later we were able to see him for short visits every 2-3 hours which lead to a long night overnight stay and a full entire next day.
6. Every so often they would let him come to with the seditaitve and the nurse had told me that when he came to he was mouthing something (my dad could no longer talk because he had his voicebox removed during his 1st surgery and feared laying down flat because he said he couldn't breathe) I had learned to read lips after all of that with my dad and knew his fear and asked the nurse if next time they did that if I could be there to hopefully explain to my dad that there was a machine breathing for him and he was okay. Well, the nurse schedule was messed up and I missed my chance to do that.
6. The 2nd day I was so tired that my brother and I decided it would be best to go home and rest and come back the next day. I went to my boyfriends house that night since it was close to the hospital where he put it in a perfect prospective for me, knowing the weight that laid on my shoulders and knowing my dad said, "Do you think that if those spots weren't cancerous that your dad would be in recovery and okay right now and that maybe knowing that they were cancerous this was his was of saying he couldn't do it anymore?" He was right. Now, you have to know my dad. This does make me laugh because it is SO my dad to say, "HAHA fooled you fuckers, I am out!" Then and there is when I made the decision that the next day I would have to make the most difficult decision I hoped I would ever have to make in my life.
7. 5:30am I get a call from the nurse telling my that I needed to come to the hospital, my dad had taken a turn and they had reached their max on the meds to give him and they also called the Dr. All I could think while I am getting dressed and brushing me teeth while on the phone was "don't you do this to me now dad, not while I am not there!" Later on I like to think that he was trying to go again on his own free will. When I get there and everything is explained to me, I told the nurse I wanted to talk to the Dr. and that the fight was over, I couldn't let my dad continue like this because I knew that was his choice and his living Will. I called all of the family and that very morning after signing 2 forms with black ink with my signature we took my dad off of life support and he passed away.

After I stayed with him until he was no longer with us, I kissed his hand and forehand and said my last goodbye. That same day I arranged to go to the funeral home and make arrangements but before that my boyfriend and I stopped by my dads house to find the life insurance policy we needed. This is when something utterly gut wrenching happened. This moment brought tears to the both of us, made me realize that my dad already knew something that I was trying shrug off like no big deal but that he knew he wouldn't be around. Behind his locked office door that I had a key to is where we walked in to his desk where he had everything laid out with post-it notes; "Jill, this is my life insurance policy, Jill, theses are the bills I have paid, Jill, if you have questions on XYZ talk to ABC, etc."

It wasn't until family and friends came and I talked too prior and during his funeral that several told me that he expressed how concerned he was about this surgery. The surgery that I shrugged off as if it was no big deal, we will make it through. In my mind nothing could have been worse than the 1st. We had this or so I thought.

Which leads me to my breakthrough:

"Jill, when I hear you talk about this I can't help but to hear some anger, can you tell me what you might be angry about?"

Well, I am angry that the nurses screwed up their scheduling and prevented me from being able to physically see my dad while awake and to see if he really was mentally there and for me to be able to hold his hand and tell him that he was OKAY and that a machine was helping him breath and he didn't need to be scared to be laying flat. I WANTED to see for myself if my DAD was really there and to be able to tell him he was okay but because of the mix up with nurses that didn't get to happen, which prevented me from seeing and being there to comfort him.
I'm not angry with my dad for making me POA or heir of his estate because he didn't know what I would have to go through. He wouldn't know the struggle of everything from 2 mortgages, dealing with a custody battle with my daughter, needing to sell things that meant the world to him and getting FUCKED over on them just to be able to afford attorney bills and other bills and trying to deal with the estate on a not so great credit. Nobody would think those things. What I am angry about is that ALL of that shit happened during the time I should have been grieving my fathers death. I'm angry that I would take it all back to have him back and have nothing he left to me, I'm angry that I didn't understand the responsibility and everything that came along with being the heir. Looking back, I wish I hadn't been.
I was angry that I shrugged it all off like no big deal to later listen to people tell me that he told them that he was worried about this surgery. I was angry at myself for not taking it more seriously and spending more time with him before his surgery date. I was upset with myself that knowing all he did and put together before his surgery let me know he knew something I didn't but I felt horrible not knowing how he was feeling and he was feeling alone and that I wasn't there for him and wondered how scared he really was. How I hated late hearing from his friends and relatives of how he voiced his concern for it all and I am brushing it off as if it was okay, we made it before we will surely make it this time.
I was angry and pissed with everything that happened after my dad passed until I was finally able to sell somethings and ask for some families help that I closed the estate. Then, I realize that I'm still not "fixed" after the estate was closed when I tried to convince myself that it was over when it really never began.

Keep in mind this whole time I am talking in 20 mins reliving and finally letting it ALL out didn't take me as long to explain as it did to type. (Had to be there, I guess). When I am finally finished telling her all the reasons I was pissed off and bitter, I am one fucking hot mess of snot and tears. Finally I stopped talking and she grabbed my knees and said "what are you feeling right now?" Then more waterworks and snot before I was finally able to say, "I don't believe I have ever been able to tell anyone how all of this made me feel and if I had, I think I held back." Then more tears and snot then she says to me which is something I mentioned during all of the things I was pissed off about, "Many of us are scared of death and for those of use who are, I don't think we would think to be so thoughtful to help with everything your dad did, especially if he wasn't really an organized man (which he wasn't) but those who are accepting it, I can see them doing what your dad did by laying out all of the post-it notes."

Insert where something ugly but magical happens.... I fucking sob for however long! Longer than I have remembered crying in I don't know how long. She tells me, "to just feel it and to let it out." I know I mentioned to try to lighten the mood that I know I am an ugly crier and she tells me, "you are doing something beautiful right now and ugly is not a word to be used in this moment." Which led to about 5 more minutes of tears until I finally calmed down. THEN someone knocks on her door, she goes and looks and wouldn't you know it was the most beautiful little 7 year old blonde I have ever seen. My daughter, my therapist told her we would be just a couple more minutes and then she would take us on a tour of her horse stables and my daughter agreed but not before noticing me and my red eyes that I was trying to conceal from her. Then my therapist sits back down and she says, "think that might have been a sign from your dad telling you it's time to finally let go of all of that pain?"

Damn, I am sorry for the long post tonight but I came home tonight feeling lighter and accomplished of something along this journey that I could not wait to share!

Note to self: Breakthroughs are fucking AMAZING!!! Going to a therapist isn't for the weak, it's for those who are strong enough to realize they have issues to battle and are willing to see and know it.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Stepping up

Brand New Day by Skilyr Hicks

There is nothing that requires more courage than an intimate relationship. This is the space where my deepest fears and insecurities rise to the surface, making it even more difficult to give myself completely to another. Because to be truly vulnerable with another, I have to open up. That can be absolutely terrifying! So, rather than diving right in and swimming in the deep end, most live their lives on the surface.
But the truth is, where your relationship is stems directly from where you are. It’s easy to be distracted and to blame our partners or external events. But if you want to create real, lasting change in your relationship and achieve a level of intimacy and passion and connection that you’ve always dreamed about – then you have to look within. It starts with yourself, and it starts by stepping into your pain.
Stepping into my pain means facing my fears head on, which to be honest I have never been great at. It means immersing myself in them, rather than avoiding or even denying them altogether, which most tend to do. Yes, it's intimidating, and surely I could think of a thousand things I'd rather do. But by making this decision to step into my pain, I am also making the decision to liberate myself and even to create a new life.
It takes real courage to face your innermost challenges and to be absolutely vulnerable with yourself or anyone at that. But I know when I take the leap, I will be able to grow in ways that I never have before. And, ultimately, I will learn how to connect with myself and loved ones on an even deeper and more meaningful level.


The first step is to make a total commitment to the truth. I have to be willing to be open-minded and open-hearted. Because this is the only path towards opening up a new sense of awareness.
I ask myself – what are you scared of? Where is your pain and your resistance coming from?
The truth isn’t always easy – it’s not easy to handle and it’s not always easy to find because a lot of us hide it from ourselves. But it’s in that moment of recognizing “I am scared” and then making the decision to follow that fear — that is how real change is made.
Most people are too scared to follow their fears and again I have been one of those. It’s easier to pull back than to dive in. But by taking the first step to acknowledge my fears, my insecurities and my pain – I am creating a new sense of awareness and honesty. And now I will be in a better position to see it and take a more objective perspective.


Now that I have committed myself to the truth, I must understand that there are two deep-seated fears that every single human shares. First, there is the fear that you are not enough. Second, there is the fear that you will not be loved. No matter how confident you are, no matter if you are the President of the United States, or the greatest athlete in the world, every single person has these two fears.
How do these two fears manifest in my life? What challenges have they presented for me in my relationships? What are the times I feel alone? What am I scared of? 
Understanding these fundamental fears can help me become more aware of where my pain and insecurities stem from. And I will be better able to see just why I am holding back. Often times, we try to preserve an identity or cling so desperately to rules that we have constructed. We do that because we are scared of life outside those boundaries. I want to take the time to analyze and assess, and become really curious about why I construct these walls.


It’s easy to cling to what we know already. After all, certainty is a fundamental human need. It takes courage to detach and step into your fear. Now, courage doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It actually means you are terrified, but I am going to do it anyway. Remembering, it’s not courage if it’s not hard. 
By using that courage to detach from the familiar and delve into the unknown, I hope to start to wake up. I am going to see the other side of the coin, where I will be so much more. I am going to discover the real me and see how I've been selling myself short all this time. I am going to see how I've been creating the relationships I have been in. And I am going to see how it is entirely within my power to create an extraordinary, magnificent relationship not only with myself but others.
So I am harnessing this courage, make this decision and take the leap. I will learn what it really is to be vulnerable. And I hope I will see what it is to truly experience intimacy with a partner. To stop the doubt and insecurities in their tracks.To be free and liberated. To be myself. And at the end of the day, isn’t that we all yearn for?


Monday, July 31, 2017

Maybe the best present is to BE Present

Good morning!

Last night after quieting my mind and reading some of a new book called You Are A Badass: How to stop doubting your Greatness & start living an Awesome Life , I tried for the first time to meditate.

Who is familiar with this or does this? (Leave me a comment on what it was like when you began and any tips and tricks you have, I would love to hear)

I've done my research on it and understand that for beginners it can be a little challenging at first. My mind is always going, thinking, wondering, etc. So, I set a timer for 5 mins (so I wouldn't constantly be checking the time), sat in silence with my back against the wall, legs crossed and arms resting on my legs and hands cupped in my lap and started concentrating on my breathing. First thing I noticed, was that I had to keep reminding myself to relax my jaw. One of the suggestions was to close my eyes and envision a light shining over me and coming through me and out, making a complete circle of light. Many random thoughts came to me and each time one started; "thoughts of my mishap that happened 2 weeks ago, I would exhale and once I inhaled I repeated "forgive yourself" and kept inhaling those words until the thought left then went back to concentrating on my breathing. Then the thought of "wanting to really know what is going on deep down inside of me" so I exhaled that and every time I would inhale I would repeat "Be patient, I love myself."

Now, I don't really believe that is exactly how meditation is supposed to go but I know it takes practice but I CAN say this... When the alarm finally went off and I opened my eyes, I felt slightly foggy, relaxed and at peace. I smiled.

After that I laid down in bed and went to sleep but then woke up around 11:30 wide awake so I turned on Netflix and started watching a random movie that I picked out because I really wasn't planning on watching it but it was called To The Bone. I fell back asleep within 15-20 mins and then woke back up to the video I linked above. I watched and I cried because after watching the video and then a little more of the movie I realized the movie was about a young woman dealing with anorexia and she meets this Dr. where she joins the group of others battling their own demons. Her journey is to discover how to confront her disorder and learn self-acceptance.

Coincidence? I don't thing so. I don't suffer from anorexia but I do have other things that I need to confront and also learn self-acceptance so, I am planning on watching the full movie but I AM THANKFUL that I had a chance to see the beautiful part of "Because We Are Alive."

I am alive. I am thankful for another day. I came to work this morning and I was able to witness this beautiful site. So for today, I will keep repeating "I am thankful for today, forgive yourself, Be patient, I love myself."

Have a beautiful day and don't forget to subscribe to follow along.

I do not hold the rights to this video or song. If you would like to hear the song entirely you can listen to it here.  Jack Garratt - Water on Spotify