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  1. I wish I'd had the courage to make reports and to stand up for myself. I regret all the years I lived from a place of fear.
  2. Thank you Mary and Hollih. I struggle SO hard to forgive. For me, it is work that I have to do each day. Some days it makes me really angry. Some days its just another thing that I check off the box. Since I have to work at it so hard still, so many years on, I'd say I've not forgiven yet, although I really really want to put it behind me and become unstuck. If I'm being totally honest, which is why I am here, to be totally open and honest in a safe environment, I hide behind the mask of "everything is cheery and positive". Truth: I vacillate between a whirlwind of emotions throughout the day. I catch it at times and don't at others. I'm so excited today to actually feel something and not be in that no-feeling-land of depression, that I'm glad to be feeling, and then the reality of where I am with my life--alone, in debt, etc hits me--and I get so ANGRY and then that passes into anxiety, and so I have adapted an over-compensatory positivity that can be off-putting too. I just want "my normal" and to not be alone, to be able to exercise and not feel as though I shouldn't because I don't deserve to have a great body and long life, or that I shouldn't because it might draw attention to my body, and attract the wrong kind of guy, and the whole cycle go again. How does one even know what is best for them? I read yesterday that courage is believing in yourself, and so I grab at that and tell myself, have courage. What I really want to do is to confront to move to resoution to move to be done with it.
  3. Yesterday, I mentioned a diamond in the rough--there have been so many--yet this child stands out, especially because we spent a summer together in the role of Counselor/Camper. This child was was so precious, and at 12 years old, would also revert to the behavior of a 3 year-old, with on the floor tantrums and melt-downs, sobbing uncontrollably if something set him off. Today I thought of him and was grateful that he allowed me to solidify my own ritual of morning gratitude. I was in the role of teacher, yet it was he who taught me. He was a smaller 12 year old, and the others found him vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. And like so many kids, he would try to bluster his way through, puffed up until the group felt antagonized to strike out at him, usually with words, but a few days, there were shoves and fists. On this particular day, Mom was called and shared that his particular struggles were related to unresolved CSA, and that there was counseling but he always shut down. Now, as an adult, I would never tell a child of my experiences, but I never lied when they would confide in me and ask me if I had experienced anything like that. I always answered, "I might know a little bit about what you are talking about," or something of the sort. This child, love love love him, he was so close to hyperventilating, and it reminded me of my being younger, and doing the same thing, with hives jumping out of my skin--even on my eyeballs one time. Once I got him calmed down enough, he began to talk and say how everything was always so bad in his head, all the thoughts came at him all at once and they were so bad. And I shared with him what I had been taught, that in order to replace bad thoughts, we need good thoughts, that it is too difficult to go to a quiet mind until we have a lot of practice, and so to find good thoughts. He said he didn't have any good thoughts, and so I planted one: When you wake up in the morning, are you usually glad to wake up and have a new day? He decided that usually the chance to play with his friends again, or to see a movie, or to see his mom was enough of a reason to have a good day. We built on that, and I asked him to say every morning, the first thing when he woke up, "I am grateful to be awake again. I am grateful for another day." By the end of the summer, Diamond was sure to ask me if I'd said my gratitude that morning, and what it was I was grateful for that time unless I asked him first. It became a game to try to catch one another out, yet that game ritualized gratitudes and changed my life. Today, I am so grateful to all the students and children that have taught me. So grateful.
  4. Today was a quiet day. I spend a lot of time alone because I have managed to utterly isolate myself over the years--I make others uncomfortable as I am swaddled in layers of insecurities--mental, emotional, and fattal. I made a committment in December not to be in the same place when the next December roles around--not a resolution so much as a plan with right action. I'm a planner by nature, and so an agenda to guide my life has always been one of my best habits, when I'm not engulfed in the black fog of depression. And although I set about of an evening to complete my agenda page and plan my next day, I don't always make it happen. I've gotten better, and as part of that ritual, I am grateful to those from whom I've learned to incorporate some new ways of thinking. The most important ritual for my mental health has been that of gratitude. And so I built an agenda with a line on it, on the left hand side, for morning rituals: What are you grateful for this morning? When I wake up in the morning, if it has been a bad night (night terrors, sweats, just bad dreams or insomnia), I start the day by saying, "I am so grateful to wake up. I am so grateful for my breath." And a lot of times, "I am so grateful for the birds that are singing." If those dark thoughts creep back in, "I am grateful for this shower. I am grateful to brush my teeth. I am grateful for this towel. I am grateful for these clothes. I am grateful for this cup. I am grateful for this coffee. I am grateful for this vehicle. I am grateful for this opportunity. I am grateful for these keys." I find myself being grateful for nature especially, and revel in whatever the conditions are at the moment. I sometimes feel ridiculous and goofy, yet that is SO much beter than feeling pain, anger, and negative. And sometimes, it just doesn't work. And I tell myself, "I'm grateful that I had the chance to be grateful." I'm grateful for a diamond in the rough that I met in my work a few years ago. I'll share more about how that experience really ritualized my gratitude practice another day. As I look back to my agenda, I go to the right hand side, and my evening question: What are you grateful for this evening? Today, I am grateful that I had a good, quiet, peaceful day without obsessive thoughts creeping in to disturb me. I call that a Win!
  5. Some bad things have happened in my community the past few weeks. And by community, I mean where I live and work and play, as well as all the social media that go along with it. And I began to reflect on what it is that causes people to treat other people in a particular way. And because I felt angry, I began to examine the root of my anger, the root of the anger of others, and by extension, the motivation for anger. We have so many stereotypes of anger: the angry black woman, the Henry Rollins punk anger, the violent sex offender anger, the residual victim anger, the survivor anger, the cutter self-directed anger--as many, and more, flavors as Baskin Robbins. And we use our vaious angers in different manners: to clean house (I will stay up ALL night scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush in order not to explode and show my anger to others!), to slam at poetry festivals (not me!), as activists, and for art. Anger moves us through life when channelled. And so we hang on to it. Anger also has that destructive yang, that vengeful tang. And this is the anger for which I am grateful that I have discovered an antidote. I am grateful today to have learned that to forgive does not mean to not face evil. I am grateful to have learned that to forgive transforms that destructive anger into useful anger--the anger that gets my butt into the gym. I am grateful for the breath that I have in me. I am grateful for the gift that "those experiences" gave me--for because of "those experiences" I have learned.
  6. I'm new to this site, and so I think that what you have just posted is extremely brave. I've not told anyone in my family--ever--the things that I've experienced over the years, and so you are my new hero. WOW--that took some serious courage to confront your father, your mother and your other family members. I'm SUPER impressed with you and your courage. As for pain, someone told me: "Pain is weakness leaving your body." It takes enormous strength to do the work that you are doing. Also, your aunt sounds like an ally--it might be tricksy going to build a relationship with her, but for her to have reported your father, she's def on your team.
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