Scars – we all have them, but what do we do with them?

Scars – we all have them.
Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual….

Some we can live with and others we abhor with intensity.
It is how we embrace them that matters.
1. we can cover them up and be unaccepting of ourselves and our self perceived ugliness.
Or
2. we can be completely unabashed, and unashamedly display them.
The first is our natural instinct
The second takes work, a hell of a lot of work.

When I was quite young I had an altercation with a barbed wire fence.
It left a raised horrid scar on my upper inner thigh.
I hated that scar with a passion
for years
But now I barely ever think of it
It is still there
still the same as it ever was
it is not a concern to me anymore
Time has healed.

I have other scars
hidden soul scars
Too many of them
I chose the first route for years
but there was so many toxins festering beneath them
I finally realised if I didn’t choose the second route I would never ever heal completely.

I have only recently chosen to confront and display my scars
And in so doing am coming to a place of positivity
And a place of content peacefulness.

A year ago I had a most fortuitous encounter with a lovely woman who has since become a friend.

Sera lit up my life 🙂
That encounter unleashed so many opportunities.

Looking back I love seeing the unfolding of chance encounters.
Is it really chance?
Karma?
Fate?
Coincidence?
We used to say that a ‘coincidence is just a miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous’
Whatever way you look at it
that meeting was the beginning of so many positive things for me.
Sera was wearing the most wonderful jacket.
Being someone who loves mixed media I was immediately drawn to it and to the message it was portraying.
Be Still My Sacred Heart
That resonated so loudly in my damaged and vulnerable soul.

That jacket and it’s branding is the baby of Amanda Betts
She began Bridge the Gap Project to support and empower young victims of abuse.
The Heartspeak Collective allows victims/survivors to tell their stories through art and fashion.
I was so inspired and absolutely delighted to finally meet and spend time in Auckland with the dynamic and enthusiastically energetic Amanda a few months later.

I then began communicating with Sera about creating my own garment with her.
When I began talking with her about Heartspeaking a garment it seemed a natural progression to use my tattoo as part of my creation.
My phoenix is in a fairly private part of my anatomy
Only comes out in summer 😉
My eldest son reminds me often that scars are the tattoos of the brave.
The Phoenix is my Brave rising from the ashes of my abuse and heartbreak.
Perfect!

I also loved Sera’s cocoons so decided to combine those two loves.
We physically connected a few weeks ago and began working.
We spent the day choosing, cutting and piecing fabrics.
It was so much fun working with her on the project
I was so in my element
Back in my happy space that I haven’t been in for so long
It was feeding my creative mojo and incredibly therapeutic

I had to leave Sera to finish it as I needed to return home.
The following week I was transiting through Auckland airport and Sera delivered the finished garment to me.
I was blown away
So rapt
Ecstatically happy with the results.
It is absolutely perfectly Me 🙂
Thank you Sera
And Thank you Amanda
You have touched my heart and helped towards the healing of my soul
 Each Heartspeak garment has a heart tucked in it somewhere.
Mine is the large orange flower – of course 😉
And the words in the banner – also from my tattoo
illa alis volat propriis 
(She flies with her own wings) I was also delighted to hear Amanda exclaim that the blue/orange flames were cut from one of her old dresses.
So I feel like am carrying a piece of her and Sera with me where I go.

Therapy

Therapy
-a treatment that helps someone feel better, grow stronger,
-the act of caring for someone

Origin

I used to think therapy was the difficult stuff
the hour long sessions spent with my therapist
But
it’s not

Therapy has
many colours
many forms
many shapes
many times

Therapy
for me
is writing
is meeting a friend for coffee and and one on one time
is time & fun with my children
is taking the dog for a quiet meander along the river walk
is impulsively popping in for a chat with a friend
is sweating up a steep hill track and taking in the spectacular views from the top of my achievement
is impulsively shopping
is leaning into the arms of my closest tribal members and sobbing my heart out
is allowing them to feel my pain
is receiving their love and encouragement
is watching movies that make me cry, and laugh, and think
is sharing my innermost soulful thoughts with my best friend
is spending a day in bed with Netflix just because I can
is messaging my lover in the early hours of the morning
is sharing belly laughing crazy wine drinking sessions with my tribe
is creating art
is accepting the love and understanding of my man
is being held safe in his arms
is sitting at the beach and soaking in the sunshine
is planning my garden
is clambering around slippery river rocks with my children
is walking beside others who have also experienced my journey
is creating something joyous and wonderful and beautiful
is dancing wild and free
is making love
is gloriously wonderful food
is coffee

is orange :-)Therapy is caring for me in a way that restores my soul
But
I find
it tends to come delivered on a roller coaster
I delight in the parts of the ride that are slow
easy
soothing
cruising
but
while I am enjoying them I don’t tend to notice that the car I am riding in is beginning to climb…
Until I am perched at the top
rocking
waiting
then….
horrifyingly
the ride it gets to be screamingly scary
Situations arise
Events happen
my carriage plunges
down
down
down

and the therapy becomes
brutally intense
it makes me writhe in pain
I feel as if I am being torn apart
the anguish of the years
comes pouring out of my eyes
without permission
and when I think
I just cannot bare another moment,
when I am totally emotionally spent
the roller coaster reaches the bottom
and quietly cruises again
I gasp and gulp and reel
from the carnage wrought on my soul
I nurse my bruises
then realise
I made it through
that time
I begin the gentle soul soothing nurturing
knowing that this time
I have been made stronger
so that the next time my carriage reaches its peak
the pain won’t be as raw
the screaming not as loud
the ride down not as intense
nor as long

Nayyirah Waheed expresses it so well

recovering
healing
from abuse
is not an easy journey
it is wrought with hard seasons
but it is not an impossible journey
if you are willing to reach out
and accept the hands
who want to love you
but the hardest thing of all
for us
is

Aggrandizing of self

When the Japanese mend broken objects,
they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with GOLD.
They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.

I absolutely fell in love with this concept when I discovered it.
As someone who has been broken
not just once
but many, many times
I know what it is like to be shattered into so many pieces
that it feels like I will never ever be whole again

Aggrandize
such a marvellous word
I love how it rolls off my tongue
it has such
a beautiful tone
a wonderful feel
an importance even

It derives from the Latin grandis – meaning large
It is an enlargement or increase
in power, status, wealth
In this case
it is enlarging the worth of a broken object
by making it
even more beautiful
than before

Over recent months I have been picking up my broken pieces
I have been spending time
working out how to fit all of those shattered fragments back together
It has taken me years to understand
that no matter how hard I try
I will never be the whole that I was
way back before
I was broken

But I can be whole again
even more than I am now
By piecing together the best parts of me
the healed and healing parts of me
and aggrandizing them
with the gold that I am discovering along the way

Gold that comes in so many forms
true ‘stay with me forever no matter what shit I put them through’ friends
new members of my tribe
new experiences
deep emotional discoveries
and
new love 💖

I can be whole
I can be a new me
Aggrandized into a far far more beautiful self
than I ever believed possible

And that
to me
is
Pure Gold

‘Angry is just being scared’

I went to a one man show on Sunday night
I actually went so I could take my lad
Because I thought he would gain more understanding and clarity about depression
After 35 years of home educating I never stop do I??
Always looking for the educational opportunity for my kids 😉

But, as I discovered once before, 27 long years ago
And I remember the moment with extreme lucidity
I was the one who came away with the insight and clarity
I was the one who needed to hear the message

27 years ago
I still remember the night
I had organised/arranged for us to visit with a local guy who was well known for his evangelical relationship ministry.
And I was so incredibly sure that Tim needed sorting
Oh my!
Was I so wrong??

That evening
Not long before we were about to leave
All hell blew up
A random anonymous phone call
To this day I have no idea who it was
But that person had information
And that person told my mother what my father had done to me
And like every other thing that she couldn’t deal with in life
She never spoke another word about it from that night on
She literally swept it under the carpet
Leaving me a total mess
Once again
I was abandoned by my mother

I remember arriving on Jack’s doorstep – an emotional hysteric
I was a Mess!
It wasn’t Tim that needed sorting
It was my shit that needed unfucking
That was the first step I took in my healing journey
27 years ago
It was a very tiny step in the scheme of things
But that man I thought needed sorting out
That man
He stood by me the whole journey
He was my rock
And I am ever so grateful for him for all those years
He rescued me when I was a damaged teen
And then he protected me for all the years to follow
He always had my back no matter what
And that ‘no matter what’ was extensive
I had no idea back then what PTSD was
I had no idea why I was so angry
Or where the anger was coming from….

Rolling forward to last Sunday night
‘Shot Bro – Confessions of a Depressed Bullet’
Rob Mokaraka’s one man performance was insightful and challenging
Dark humour, Maori humour, confronting, energetic and powerful in his presentation of his life battle with depression,
He had us in tears and laughter
But what hit me deep within my heart
was when he said
‘Angry is just being scared’

Oh God!
The tears are still pouring down my face as I type this
Just being scared
How much of my life have I lived being scared
So much
Too much
The anger covered up the scared little girl cowering in the corner

Looking back I can see that every time I feel my life is out of control
The anger surfaces
But that anger is covering up the scared
As a child I was scared so much of the time
Scared because I never knew when my father would ‘want’ me
Scared because I knew that if anyone found out our family would blow to bits
Scared
Just plain honest to God scared for pretty much most of my formative years
But from the time I escaped at 18
I lived life on a high wire
I was a thrill seeker
I was out there
But I only went as far as I could without losing control
If I lost control then the scared took over

Throughout my life I can look back now and identify all the moments
All those moments when the control was taken from me
And the angry me had to protect the scared me

This morning when those words were going around in my head
‘Angry is just being scared’
‘Angry is just being scared’
‘Angry is just being scared’
the tears were trickling down my cheeks as I lay on my pillow

I need to let that anger go
I have been angry at so much in the past years
Angry at my father for abusing me
Angry at my father for mindfucking me
Angry at myself for allowing that mindfucking to ruin so much of my life
Angry at my mother for not protecting me
Angry at my mother for not hearing me
So incredibly angry at Tim for abandoning me
Angry at the Police for screwing up and covering up
Angry at the kids not seeing my pain because they were so embroiled in their own
Angry at myself for not being able to be all I need to be for my kids
Angry at the immense weight on my shoulders
Angry at all the crap I have had to wade through to get me to today
And today
I am angry because….

NO!!
I am not going to be angry today
Because
Today I understand
that ‘Angry is just being scared’

Today
I will voice that yes I am scared
I am scared of what today will unfold
I am scared of might happen – duh! how stupid does that sound!
I am scared that my dreams for my future will be taken from me

But in this moment
I am going to allow the other part of me to become the stronger part of me
The other part of me is going to embrace the future
The other part of me is excited about stepping out into the unknown
The other part of me is going to ask for help when she feels scared

If you do see me angry
Please put out your hand and just ask
What is scaring you?

Putting my vulnerability right out there!

for a long long time words have evaded me
me
a woman who usually has so many words
a woman with a word passion
a woman who has a massive word fetish
but the words i needed
just haven’t been able to be found
each time i start to write
the blankness of the page stares back at me
and the pain blocks out any ability to form comprehendible words

but this week
finally
i think i have broken through the barrier
this is incredibly hard
brutal
harsh
real
sickening

over the past six years i have used the most painful words i could
to elucidate the pain
but none of them really cut to the chase
abuse
sexual abuse
incest
childhood abuse
assault

but they are all too removed
they cause a separation
they are bad
really bad
but not bad enough
they actually
minimise

today the full essence of my core pain was understood
by my own self
which is the most important part of all of this
when i verbalised
named that pain out loud

when i first addressed this pain
i pushed open the closet door just enough to allow myself to breath
i inched out my toe
tested the waters
but the response was oppressive
the waters raged at me
i began drowning in distress
i hurriedly pulled the closet door closed
running back to the safety of dark silence
and since then have only let it open a little when i have felt a tad brave

but keeping that door closed
means keeping secrets
and secrets kill
secrets allow the demons to play games in your mind
secrets allow the pain to continue
secrets allow the pain to continue be perpetrated

so today I make a deliberate choice
to find those words
to name that pain
for what it was
to blast open the door
blow it completely off its hinges
to let the secrets fly
in the hopes that others can find their voices too

The words I needed to find
need to release
are
that i was
raped
R. A. P. E. D.
raped by my own father
countless times each week
for ten years of my childhood

there!
i’ve said it
finally
it’s out
in the open
in the public arena
woah!
breathe………..
no!
i don’t have to run for cover
i’ve nothing to hide anymore

i have been trying to come to terms with this for so many years
but how do you?
how do you ever understand?
even now
when i am so far along in my healing journey
the memories are never that far away
they are stored
in my pandoras box
on a high shelf
in the back room
of the recesses of my mind

i don’t choose to access that room hardly ever now
the lid stays shut on that box
because
in the past whenever i have lifted the lid
the demons that have attacked me
have been so brutal
so violent
so demoralising
i have been left
battered
bruised
and re-abused

i kept the lid on tight
and fought my way through life
until i could fight now more

i broke
under the pressure of keeping my fight on
i broke
and from my breaking
i have begun learning
to understand myself
to process
to communicate on far far deeper and honest levels than I ever could before
i learnt that the damage caused to me
WAS
NOT
MY
FAULT
that was huge
it took such a long long time to infiltrate my psyche

there is a very deep and often overwhelming sadness
the residue
left from the multiple rapes
that still tugs at my soul
that still now leaves me feeling incredibly vulnerable
putting this in to words
is so risky
but i can’t be BRAVE
without taking risks and exposing my vulnerabilities
and i have got to be brave
or i cannot live honestly

Freedom – is being You without anyone’s permission

Here’s the thing!

Damn right it’s not selfish to take care of yourself!
So why do we constantly put ourselves last.
Especially we as women as wives and mothers
We are so used to having demands made of us
It’s pretty much 24/7
We get into the rut of being last in the equation
I know I certainly did
For years and years
Why do we have to get to breaking point
Or actually break
Before we Stop!
And evaluate and realise
That we are a priority
We have to be No 1
We shouldn’t be just surviving
We should be living!

We also get ground down by the expectations of perfection
Shoved in our faces by the media
But also our own minds play games with us
we second guess ourselves
we accept our feelings of inadequacy
we sell ourselves short
Throughout my life I have had misconceptions about myself
that have affected me in so many ways
-how ugly certain parts of my body were
-how I related to others
-how I resultantly would dress
-how I perceived myself
-how I treated myself
-how I spoke to myself
-how I spoke about myself
I know without a doubt I am not alone in this

It breaks my heart when I see & hear people being so self critical
especially the precious young ones
who have so many years ahead
which they should be enjoying in the freedom and knowledge
that they are so worthy
and perfect
in who they are
as themselves

I love Mahalia’s sign on her mirror
It is sadly too true
WARNING:
Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of ‘beauty’.

A year ago I was told that I was pre-diabetic
I was stressed to the max
Still shouldering a huge burden of grief
I was unfit
I was carrying an excess amount of weight
all of which was causing my health to deteriorate
I had not found my freedom to be Me

It has taken a while
But
with support and encouragement from Sunniva & Cally in particular
and of course my long suffering therapist 😉
I have managed to lessen my stress levels to a manageable level
I started exercising
I lost weight
I began using Isagenix products to assist my health journey
I have done heaps of self evaluation
Trading lack of self worth for worthiness
I talk to myself more positively
I am more confident in myself
I treat myself better physically & emotionally
I cut myself so much more slack

Physically I am feeling
Absolutely
Bloody
Marvellous
I do not need anyones permission
I own my own Freedom

And today I have just discovered that my BMI has dropped from the ‘heading towards danger’ area at 28
down to the more healthier level of 24
Yaaaaah!!!!
I have minimised the risk of diabetes by a huge amount
Yes, the 12 kgs+ that I have lost helps considerably

More than that though
My emotional and mental Me has developed and begun to shine
My inner person has grown
I have learnt to accept who I am as a woman
as a human being
as an equal
If any of my preconceived flaws pop into my brain
I just stomp on them
apply the order of the boot
and kick them out of my life
I have no need of them!


It is a difficult thing to really really look at yourself in the mirror
and not to criticise yourself
To actually see You
Marvellous
Astonishing
Wonderful
You 🙂
Take a moment or three
Stop and look
You are fricken awesome and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise
Including that small voice from within
Silence it immediately!!
Look at who you really are
wonderful you
amazing you
uniquely you
Who cares if your eyebrows are not on fleck
or your nose is slightly off centre
or your hair is ‘not right’
or you are a cuddlier model
or you are a slimmer machine
or your boobs are too big
or too small
or your post baby tummy is lovely and squishy
or……
or…………..
It doesn’t actually matter
There are seriously no fucks given by anyone except yourself!!


Yes
Like each of us
I have a story
Some of that story is fucking awful
But there’s also a hell of a lot that is brilliant
Through learning to love myself
I am choosing to be brave and own my own story
And by owning it
I can now write the the next chapters
And they are going to be AWESOME!

Living with PTSD

Back on the day 6 years ago that I was finally diagnosed with PTSD
It was such a relief
To know I wasn’t crazy
I was just broken
a traumatised soul
But
In the identifying
and the confronting
and the search for answers
I had no idea what lay in front of me.
I knew what was behind me
And I wanted no more of that
So I turned forwards
started the healing
facing the demons
But as I did they would attack with greater ferocity
biting at my heels
attacking with force the closer I got to identifying each one
Sometimes it felt like one step forward and ten back
I would break
and fall apart
thinking what was the point
it is all just way too hard


But finally
I found my courage
I sourced that inner strength
that had maintained me throughout those traumas
I was able to embrace the education of my mind
and was ready to face
and retrace my nightmares as each one surfaced


Being able to identify triggers
is essential
to not just surviving PTSD
but
to actually living with PTSD
In the past
triggers would escalate me out of control
I didn’t understand what was happening
And therefore
was unable to process
My normality which allowed me to cope
was
to be in control
have total structure
OCD to the max
keeping so busy so as not to remember

Today
I understand
I do have PTSD
I will always have PTSD
You cannot endure as much trauma as I have
and escape unscathed
But I am identifying the triggers
much more quickly
and in identifying them
I can deal to them

I haven’t quite got to identifying them
at trigger point
prior to the reaction
But I am processing
so much more quickly
I am also able to verbalise the situation ‘much more better’
Which for me
helps the processing
builds my emotional strength
allows me to understand
and share my self more easily
And lessens the feelings
of inadequacy
of hopelessness
of neediness
of ‘crazy woman status’

Over the past months
I have had several ‘meltdowns’
which I have been able to confront face on
Each trigger a reaction to different traumatic life experiences
Activating a neurobiological response from my amygdala
I go into instant ‘fright’ or ‘flight’ mode
I become anxious, frightened, out of rational control
But thankfully now
that is only for a short time

The reality of living with PTSD
is the ongoing
underlying
‘just have to live with’
stuff –
the sleeplessness
the inability to focus
the fluctuations
– emotional numbing
– emotional excess
the hypervigilance
the adrenal fatigue

Through my many many sessions with my therapist
(I still cannot believe she has never given up on me!!)
my work with other abused & traumatised women
and researching the ways trauma effects the brain
especially a young developing child’s
learning big words 😉
like
amygdala
hippocampus
ventromedial prefrontal cortex

I have learned to manage, conquer or control many of my symptomatic responses
-the intrusive thoughts of unwanted memories
-the flashbacks
-the mood alterations
-the shame, blame, persistent negativity
-the avoidance
-the depression

When I get gutshot by a PTSD trigger
I can now
identify it
deal to it
let it go – (why does that want to make me burst into song 😉 )
and use it to help others

The Becca Lee poem at the top really speaks from and to my heart
She summarises me perfectly
If you have managed to read through to the bottom of this
please go back and read about ‘me’
I’ve written previously about my phoenix rising from the ashes
this rebirth of mine
the growth from the pain
which has made me the woman I am today
I would gladly have traded all that pain whilst enduring it
But now
today
where I am right now
I can honestly say
I am ok

In fact today
I don’t just think
I’m ok
I know
I am doing
Absolutely brilliantly!

But if you are with me on the days when I am not doing quite so brilliantly
Please be a just little forgiving xxx

Decluttering body & mind

Do you ever keep clothes in the back of your wardrobe?
Waiting for the day when you can fit into them again.
I was so gutted this week to discover that some items that I absolutely loved and had kept for that very reason
Were now on the opposite end of the spectrum
They hang like sacks on me!
And instead of initially being thrilled
I was so upset
Because I really really liked these clothes.
What a conundrum!!
Like – duh!
Lost heaps of weight
Feeling fantastic
What to do
Get clothes altered
Or chuck them
Start again
Logic tells me the latter is the better option
Sentimentality runs with the former
Oh dear
First world problems 🙂

I am on a mission
A decluttering mission
Doing this physically is so hard
I set to with a vengence
Then I get challenge by my memories
Or the worth I place on an item
And then I can’t put it into the recycling
I have to pop it aside and ponder
Who can I give this to?
Where could I sell this or that?
Should I keep it?
Should I not?

It then takes an age to get through anything because you dilly dally
Muck about
Deliberating
I started recently thinking
What would my kids do with this when I’m gone?
Wow!
That is indeed a very liberating thought
Because actually, they would no doubt just biff that very thing I treasured for so long
Because it holds no sentimentality for them

So with that thought in mind I set to the job more effectively
After several weeks I now have several large bags of clothes removed from my wardrobe
And I have drawers all neatly folded and closable!
And on that note
I am now ready to tackle the rest of the house!!

But also on that note
I was thinking how much cleaning house is like cleaning out our emotional history

Whew!
That is a tough one
I know for me
I take a memory
Toss it about momentarily
If it’s too hard to process
back on the shelf it goes
But the imprint of that trauma that caused the memory stays
Because you haven’t cleaned up properly.
It is not until you can take the box off the shelf
Pull out the memory
Try it on
See if you really want to wear it anymore
Does it look good?
Does it make you feel good?
Process it, dust it off, decide on it’s worth
And then bin in
That you will be completely free of that baggage.

I’ve been doing a lot of that spring cleaning lately too.
I actually started it around 6 years ago
I have spent a lot of time pulling boxes off the shelf
And a lot of time quickly reshelving them
I’ve spent far too much time reshelving and to enough time resolving
But
As I have said multiple times before
Until you are ready it is just all too hard
My spring cleaning momentum has increased rapidly lately
And I am freeing up shelf space like crazy these days
It is so freeing

When I left the farm I determined that I would not bring any of the old life with me that I didn’t want.
However several years on and the cleanup down there is reaching completion and a lot of what I had forgotten has been brought to me to process.
I found that so weighting
It has taken space that I never wanted it too.
But like my emotional shelves
I am now stronger and more able to process more quickly
It is hard to part with things
But those things hold you down
Hold you back
So now I am filling my trash bags more quickly both physically and emotionally

And to quote someone on Facebook that I know well   (myself )

I haven’t tried to salvage what I had.
I’ve parked that and I am carving a new path, I’m incredibly happy and life is wonderfully awesome

Discovering my Phoenix

Wow!
Just realised it has been a month since I last wrote a post.
I really have claimed my freedom!
For over 10 years I updated on a daily basis
And to have now given myself the freedom to write when I want and not feel any pressure is amazing.

One thing that people closest to me know is that I am inclined to be rather spontaneous.
Some may call it impulsiveness 😉
So I do have to curb myself at times.
I have learned over the years to take a big breath before responding to things, to hesitate long before pushing the Send button – often leaving a response until I have calmed enough to Bin it!
But I have also learned that spontaneity is a marvellous thing.
It can take you places you never dreamed of and would never go if you thought twice.

Over the past months I have had a desire building within to do something
Just for me
It is something that I have never before ever wanted, and was also quite opposed to for years.
It did seem somewhat impulsive at first
But I held myself in check, addressed it cautiously over a period of months

The desire came from a place deep within.
From the depths of my survivors soul.
Something to mark my rite of passage in a way.
I have spent months and months thinking it through
Discussed it only recently and very tentatively with one or two closest to me.
I decided that it would be my birthday present to myself.
It was going to be a one time forever thing so I had to think long and hard.
Ensure that what I did was absolutely right
And the person who did it had to be empathetic to this tattoo virgin.
After several enquiries I finally found Pete upon recommendations of several friends.
I met with him and we talked it all through.
He was so lovely, sensitive to my needs and wants.
After some discussion he set about to draw my design for me and sent me home to sort out the script & font.

The appointed day arrived and on the 26th January I rocked up at 9am with a excitement & anticipation, and a just a wee tad of trepidation.
2 hours later I left
Absolutely delighted with the results

I am ever so grateful for the hand above that held mine throughout the process
Yes, it did hurt – at times
And that hand was squeezed incredibly hard – at times
But it wasn’t unbearable because I really wanted it.

I chose the phoenix because it is representative of transformation
My personal transformation from victim to warrior

It is a symbol of my renewal, strength & power.

The words I thought long and hard over
Finally deciding on this Latin line
Illa alis volat propriis 
which translates as
She flies with her own wings

I have spent years on this journey
I have learnt and in fact am still learning to fly with my own wings
It is a daily process to brush off my feathers
Spread my wings
Project myself into new unknowns
Rising up with renewed strength each day

It is so joyful to be able to be happy
To be completely unconcerned as to what people think
To finally be so in tune with myself and my body
That at this age
My age
The number I was so freaked out about attaining
I can be myself at the beach with my young beach babes
Be unafraid of the camera lens
In fact I can be proud of me
Cuz actually
I have decided that I am pretty damned awesome 🙂

 

Measuring growth

exposing vulnerabilities
scary stuff
really scary stuff

but in exposing my own vulnerabilities I am growing
and in growing myself I allow others to grow

So I am going to go right out there in this post and tell it…

I have been working hard over the past few years to heal
It’s been damned hard
But the growth I have experienced in the past few months has been immeasurable.
I have been flying on all cylinders
It has been an amazingly exhilarating ride

So….. recently when I experienced some health issues and I went into total meltdown over them I was like WTF?
This can’t be happening to me
I can’t do this over again
I am over all this
I’m in a such good place now
Why?………

After the 3rd thing in less than 2 months I marched right on into my therapist’s rooms this week and announced that she needed to help me unfuck my head!
In retrospect I know that in itself is a sign of immense growth for me because normally I spend my sessions duckshoveling and talking about everything and anything except me!

So here goes…..
She talked me through what was happening –
I learned that it is perfectly normal for any of us to imagine the worst when hit with a medical issue.
Absolutely normal!

But anyone like me who has PTSD will go there way more severely.
When you have experienced trauma and personal loss the fragility of life makes you so much more vulnerable.
There is…
-incredible fear
-losing control
-feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under your feet
This is something that PTSD sufferers fear greatly
Having no control over what happened to us at the time of the event/s is the cause of the triggers when we lose control in the now.
Being in control is how we feel safe
Hence OCD is often symptomatic of PTSD

These past two weeks I have had a couple of events which triggered me severely.
I visited a skin specialist because I figured that at my age and stage in life, with my skin type, and living here in New Zealand it was a wise thing to do.
However, I was unprepared for having several ‘things’ cut off of me and even more unprepared to hear that one of them was ‘of concern’.
The area of concern was on the back of my thigh.
My head immediately took me back many years when we lost a friend to melanoma – and yes his began with a spot right there!
Instant meltdown
Tears for hours as I processed
Thank God for friends who don’t mind damp shoulders

Six days later I was sitting at the computer early in the morning chatting with my daughter online when I began to feel something strange in my face.
Eilidh came in a few moments later and looked at me…
‘Your face is swollen’ she commented in a puzzled tone
That was the beginning…
The left side of my face went puffy, and hot, and numb, and the vision in my left eye went blurry, like a haze was over it….
I was feeling very weird
Nothing I could pinpoint specifically, but I was beginning to freak out.
My mind was taking me places again, places I didn’t want to go, but because of association with my father’s strokes etc, it went there real fast.
I had to go pick up Azzan and when I did he was ‘Mum go straight to the Dr. Don’t take me home, just go to the Dr’.
So I did.
I was seen by the nurse.
All vitals were fine.
I was feeling like a total drama queen.
She referred me straight through to the Dr – stating that obviously if it was serious enough for me to walk in knowing there was something wrong, it was serious enough to see the Dr.
Validation felt good.
Saw the Dr and he eventually diagnosed shingles.
Whew!
That I can handle.
The strep throat that had taken me a month to recover from pre Xmas had obviously lowered my immune system enough to allow the virus to activate.
I asked him what would’ve happened if I hadn’t come in?
‘You could’ve gone blind in that eye’ he said.
Woah!!
Ok!
More validation that I know my body and in future not to doubt myself.
But I had crashed emotionally – again.

The next day I received reassurance from my therapist that I was not going mental, I was not losing it, I was not regressing, was in fact doing a very healthy thing.
I was allowing myself to feel.

My normal PTSD response in the past has been to feel hopeless, collapsed, stuck, to have a knee jerk reaction when things hit the fan.
This is absolutely the norm to those of us stuck in the Drama triangle.
I know this.
I know it too well from far too many years of being stuck in there.
So for me now it is a NO GO ZONE.
It is Not Safe there
It is a place I Don’t Want To Go anymore

By taking ownership of my emotions
By naming my vulnerabilities
I am learning skills to live in a positive confronting way
I will not hide
I am exposing my scars
They are my tattoos of bravery
I am a Survivor!
I am a fricken badass Winner!

Talking through my needs
Helped me to see why I reacted the way I did and do…
built knowledge
built positivity
built strength
Because I have suffered sexual abuse during my childhood my trust was broken at an incredibly vulnerable time of my life by a person who I should’ve been able to trust.
Because of unreliable and inconsistent support in the past I have built barriers.
I have put up walls to protect me.
Because of the trauma of close loss and grief I am lacking the one thing I need
The one person who would hold and comfort me at times like this
That exposes my fragilities and vulnerabilities even more
It is downright scary stuff
When I am wounded my initial reaction has always been to go curl up in a corner like a wounded puppy, snapping and biting at any hands who dare to try help me

I have to learn how to let people in…
I am learning now how to let people in…
safely
I am learning to identify my needs
What does my fragile self need in these situations?
– honest support
– acknowledgement that it is scary
– validation
– to be heard
– to be reassured
– to feel safe
I have been building a door in my wall
I get to choose to open that door
to let in the trusted few

Thank God for trusted friends I feel safe with
I have built a small strong tribe of very special people in my inner sanctum
Some of whom have been there for me this past week especially while I have been in freakout mode

Phillipa you have always been my bestest friend, I don’t know where I would be without you
You have held me during some of the hardest times of my life
We have shared so much these past 25 years – I think our shoulders are equally wet and our laughter equally joyous

Spending time in the sunshine with Eilidh over these days has been so therapeutic as she has helped to blow away my fears
Love this girl – we are therapy for each other

And this guy
This spesiale strooijonker vfriend
(Who’s gonna laugh his arse off at my puny attempt at Afrikaans 😉  )
Who listens for hours on the phone
Who can handle my tears as I soak my pillow
Who always has an objective view
Eddie my man, my best mate – you are just one super cool dude and I thank you for being a part of my life
Thank you for making me laugh
Thank you for bringing the music back to my soul

And Renata – my beautiful forthright unreservedly outspoken and delightedly honest friend…
thank you for letting my cry all over your sushi this week
thank you for your support and and your love and your laughter

I’m past caring who sees me cry these days
If you can’t share my tears then you don’t deserve my laughter

I am growing through this
And so can you….
I will never be the same
You will never be the same
Trauma changes us
True story~!

If you are a PTSD sufferer
then take my advice
Find someone safe
someone you can trust
someone who understands your fragility
someone who can empathise
someone you feel safe with

But ultimately
Allow yourself to FEEL
Allow yourself to be BRAVE