Well, it seems I've started a new trend of updating 2x a month rather than weekly, but my promise to you all is that I'll TRY to blog more frequently. I have truly missed my for-the-hell-of-it writing and do resolve to get back into the routine of doing so regularly. It's important to me to keep the mental wheels turning, even if they tend to slow down from time to time.
I've just not had much to update you all on - other than I've had a one-week reprieve from the wintery joy that is home - and J and I have just returned from one week in Central Florida for our 10-year anniversary celebration. We visited Disney World, Universal Studios, Downtown Disney Springs. We had an absolutely wonderful time - (word to the wise, though - do NOT visit Disney World on a weekend! And if you're interested in Universal - SPLURGE on the Express Pass to bypass the long lines, it is TRULY worth it!) - and now we are back home, trying to re-acquaint ourselves with our normal routines. J's gone back to work and all our laundry has been caught up on - and all our cats have been reassured that we will not be leaving them for another five years - seems to be how we roll - big anniversary trip every five years. Not sure, though, that when we're both 45, we'll have the stamina for Disney World. Maybe we'll take on Australia or overseas! I've always wanted to see London, Ireland, maybe even Italy!
We've five years to figure that out, though. Our trip was nice, though - and it was much-needed. Now our bank accounts and wallets are in need of some severe replenishment!
In the meantime, I've missed two consecutive meetings/months of the Survivors' Art Group. The last one was smack-dab in the middle of our vacation - and the one before that - one of the kids wasn't feeling well. I have, however, seen M before leaving for vacation and she did supply me with a worksheet and accompanying color-in sheet of paper depicting a blank head atop some shoulders, that they'd completed as a group during the last meeting - the first one I'd missed.
"Self-portraits," she said, "Feel free to complete this on your own if you're inclined!"
The worksheet page had listed questions. But the first one was immediately an indicator of how tricky this assignment would be. HOW do these people complete this in one hour??? At this point, I've had this paper for over three weeks! This should be an assignment we have a MONTH to complete; likely it can be proposed that at the end of one group meeting, a preview of next time's discussion could be provided and we could bring these worksheets to the next meeting for discussion? At any rate, it's a thought for me to bring up to M on our upcoming session on Friday. But, anyway...moving along.
What would a self-portrait of me look like? There were other questions, too, (but I'm too lazy to go fetch the paper from the visor of J's car - it's 12 degrees outside and we've had some rain) - but that's just the thing with these questions/exercises...not just this one, but usually ALL of the meetings are accompanied by questions that make you tap into the deepest parts of your mind for answers to. They're thought-provoking and they make me sit and think for what seems like hours, before I answer one and move onto the next!
I am PRETTY sure they're not asking for me to try and draw the profile picture I have of myself on Facebook, although that is probably what most people see - especially those who haven't taken the time to learn (read the book) the story behind the picture (face). What they likely want drawn/written in that circle no bigger than a baseball, is FAR more complicated than just adding eyes, a nose and a mouth. I think I'd need an entire wall - for who I am is not summable by just a few words. And when you ask a WRITER who they are, you can fully expect an explanation of each trait. Y'see, writers are explainers. We're big on supporting what we write - if I write about my hatred of broccoli, (not the case, just an example!) I am going to explain WHY I hate broccoli. We try to get the point across, and if we can, we can add a humorous spin on things or if the situation calls for it, we can be a hundred percent serious. And like anyone else, it IS easier to talk about things that don't pertain to us, especially those dark, painful things that in order for them to be understood, they take a HELL of a lot of explaining!
Ironically, most of who you are resides and originates in the brain - and that's not even visible!!!! We only see what's on the outside, what a person allows for us to see. I suppose that sums up my existence these days - for only a VERY small handful HAVE been allowed to navigate the endless corridors of what is my brain. (Do you like what you see in there? I haven't kept up with the decorating, but I do try to spruce up the place every now and then with NEW content...wink, wink.)
Well, crap. I don't know what to put into this tiny little circle!!!! Eyes, nose, mouth will take up most of the space - that's a given. No room for interpretation on anything I draw, either - as I am by no means an artist! Surely there are some key words that describe me to a T, that require little to no explanation.
For starters: I KNOW I am loyal, faithful and honest. Although loyalty, faithfulness and honesty CAN be explained in depth, I don't think that my reasons for outwardly possessing these traits need to be discussed here - for the reasons that these are most important to me are likely the same for so many others. We've been burned too many times, we've been hurt in immeasurable ways, we've been abandoned, we've had our trust ripped from us, torn to shreds, stomped on, chewed up and spit out - the list of ways of the breaking of trust goes on and on - and we've been hurled into the discard bin more times than we can count. For these reasons alone, I'd sooner die before doing this to someone else. To me, this is the creed to live by - there's NO alternative way to be. I am NOT the people who have hurt me - these people are NOT in this portrait with me - not in the spotlight, nor in the background, even if blurry, like in one of those old Poloroids!
And here's what we DON'T see in the pictures....
I am also described as/struggling with: abused, afraid, angry, an aunt, authentic, anxious, balanced, battered, broken, brave, bullied, consistent, cranky on occasion, a daughter, defeated, depression, determined, distrustful, domestic violence, don't like confrontation, eager to please, easily manipulated, eating-disordered, edgy, emotionally shut-down at times, exhausted, fear-driven, fidgety, fierce, a fighter, fragmented, a friend, giving, a hard worker, heartbroken, isolated, insecure, kind-hearted, loving, a mother, nervous, obsessive-compulsive, paranoia, a partner, PTSD, rape, reliable, respectful, responsible, sadness, secretive, self-blame, self-hate, shy, a sister, sleep-deprived, socially awkward, submissive, supportive, a survivor, tense, timid, tired, walls, weary, a wife, worrisome, a writer...
My portrait contains ALL of these words and phrases, (and possibly even more that I've not even thought of yet!) even if they are not things I'm currently dealing with and have come and go throughout my life - these traits and tendencies still exist and some were put there by those whom in the course of my 40 years, have taught me to possess the ones that might not be necessarily healthy, even if they are lying dormant at the moment. They are there because of my disgusting uncle, my rapist, & my ex-husband, primarily, and I have learned how hard it is for folks to see PAST some of these unfavorable qualities that are NOT my fault (but still MY responsibility to 'fix') - and see ME for the person I've always tried to be, regardless of what I've been taught. As you can see, there ARE some qualities that are admirable - and I'm proud to be able to admit that these fit me, too - for it's also easy to see how they COULD have been omitted from the list entirely!
Yet, I still cling to and have never lost sight of those three key words - loyal, faithful, honest. When you have all of these OTHER traits swimming beneath the surface, it is VERY hard to maintain and stay true to those preferred traits (and others, of course) that hold the most importance. I've managed to do, though, by some miracle - so for the most part...
I am VICTORIOUS. And I will continue to be. I will push myself to overcome those traits that can be viewed as faults, and I will succeed in (slowly) removing those undesirable characteristics OFF of this list - for I no longer want to be described as anything other than the good person I BELIEVE myself to be.
TRY fitting all of that into a baseball-sized circle!!!!
I suppose I'll get to those other questions that were on that worksheet later on, or I'll just see what the next group session brings - it's seemingly an endless cycle of thinking that we've, as survivors, been doomed to, isn't it? Either way, I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak openly on these topics, even if it's just to myself within the confines of a blog. Maybe it resonates with others, maybe it doesn't. It helps me greatly, though, to be able to process all of it here - it helps to see where I am and how far I've travelled to get here.
Until next time!