Monthly Archives: December 2013

Living in the Moment

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“You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds, don’t throw even one of your moments away.”
C. JoyBell

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New Years REZ: simplified.

New Years REZ: simplified.

I started to write out my New Year’s resolutions… and they got really long and complicated. Yes, I want to learn French, martial arts, get my Masters degree, etc.

But since I’m not the queen of brevity, I sat and thought a bit and was able to summarize.

This year, I want to:

1. Be more: open myself up to love and to healing, and let myself shine rather than suffocating my personality or dreams to keep other people happy or unintimidated.
2. Do more: go hard after my dreams with all of the bull-headed tenacity I love about myself. Get it done. Do what I want (within reason), rather than what I’m “supposed” to.
3. Love more: more time with my son and more time with good friends. Narrow my circle and invest in those people. Have a few people that know me well rather than a hundred that know me slightly.
4. Learn more: keep an open mind. Take the best I can from every friendship and relationship; read, grow, explore, travel. Pay off debt and save money to secure my future.
5. Breathe more: take the time to slow down and think, to listen to God’s voice and guidance and to enjoy the simple things.

2013 was a year of pain, hard lessons, courage, and brokenness.

May my New Year be a year of healing, empowerment, beauty, love, and grace.

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Notes on Shame

Shame is the deep sense that you are unacceptable because of something you did, something done to you, or something associated with you. You feel exposed and humiliated.

You are disgraced because you acted less than human, [or]  were treated as if you were less than human…

You feel worthless: of little or no value to those whose opinions  matter to you.

Someone who has been on the short end of a divorce – the spouse who wanted to stay in the marriage… despite all evidence to the contrary, if you are the forsaken person, you are sure there is something very wrong with you. You are worthless. It doesn’t matter that divorce is commonplace and you are (probably) not shamed by neighbors or fellow church members. You…heap the shame on yourself.

Verbally battered men and women are filled with shame. They have been told that they are wretched and, once they get worn down, they believe it. They feel compelled to endure the abuse in silence because it is shameful to reveal that someone who is supposed to love them now berates them.

Any rejection, neglect, or demeaning words by someone who is supposed to love you, such as a partner or a spouse, brings shame.

We can be bold in the face of shame because shame can be removed… shame is tackled best in the context of a relationship. Granted, going public with your shame is something you try to avoid, but being open about it, at least with someone who is a wise encourager, is part of the way out of shame… do not allow shame to intimidate you into silence.

– from “Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness & Rejection” by E. Welch

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Waiting

a quick note.

 

When you have big decisions to make, God leads you. If you don’t know where to go right now, and you don’t have to make the decision RIGHT NOW, let it rest. There is no grace for tomorrow, for your “what ifs”. There is grace for today, and today’s decisions, and all will be made clear in time.

one of my favorite quotes:

“Waiting on God isn’t about the suspension of meaning and purpose. It’s part of the meaning and purpose that God has brought into my life. Waiting on God isn’t to be viewed as an obstruction in the way of the plan. Waiting is an essential part of the plan. For the child of God, waiting isn’t simply about what I’ll receive at the end of my wait. No, waiting is much more purposeful, efficient, and practical than that. Waiting is fundamentally about what I’ll become as I wait. God is using the wait to do in and through me exactly what He’s promised. Through the wait He’s changing me. By means of the wait He’s altering the fabric of my thoughts and desires. Through the wait He’s causing me to see and experience new things about Him and His kingdom. And all of this sharpens me, enabling me to be a more useful tool in His redemptive hands.” – paul tripp

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The Female Body

The Female Body

By a dear friend.

RAW pt 3: Heartache

RAW pt 3: Heartache

There are many beautiful things about love.

How you DEFINE love changes as you mature, as you experience life, and as you learn from your mistakes.

One of the worst things about love, in my opinion, is that it defies logic.

Emotion. Masks. Truth.

Part of the recovery process includes a constant battle with your EMOTION over what you know to be LOGICALLY true.

The further you are distanced from a situation, the more your subconscious chooses to cope with pain and the logical decision to remove yourself from a bad situation by bringing up the happy memories, and glazing over the recent ones.

You think about the intensity of the passion that you had with someone, the raw feel of being acknowledged on an intimate emotional and physical level.

You remember a million, billion moments of laughter; inside jokes, near escapes, late-night talks.

You remember the first kiss, that special look; your song, your favorite restaurant.

You remember Valentine’s day at a crab shack, watching a documentary on weapons… the most romantic thing in the world, somehow.

You remember a sleepy getaway to Williamsburg that resulted in a not so intentional pregnancy.

You remember rescuing a dog from the shelter, throwing a ball for him and taking walks in crisp fall air.

You remember that desperate desire to be in their arms again after long periods of time apart, the glow on their face when they see you, and you run to them.

You remember being held amidst significant physical pain, comforting hands and a warm breath of promise in your ear.

You remember a frosty morning on the beach where he turned your world upside down and promised to begin a new life together.

You remember a sunset glow and wedding vows, and a crazy party with amazing friends.

You remember how you lit up their world.

You remember them holding your hand as you struggled through labor, and the deep comfort of their presence.

You remember the incredibly, beautifully, priceless, unforgettable moment when you both saw your son at the same time.

You remember that special smile, and the rush of being together.

You remember all of the beautiful moments, the sunshine times, the passion and the beauty and the laughter and the good in your relationship: a beautiful friendship.

No relationship is ever completely bad. None.

Something drew you to that person, something made you stay.

There were happy moments. You will remember them.

They will play tricks with your mind, and attempt to soothe your fear.

You will find times where you want to say: “f*ck it”, and go back, and try, as you did over and over, ONE. MORE. TIME. One LAST time, right? One last time, for the hundredth time.

In these moments you have to struggle to fight for truth. You have to remember you walked in the good of how God led you.

You don’t want to, but you have to allow reason to overcome your emotion. You have to purposefully recall everything you’ve pushed to the back of your mind in order to cope.

You have to be real with yourself.

Face it.

Cry if you must.

Surrender.

And step forward into your future.

Letting go of the past, opening your arms to the unknown…

that is the greatest achievement for you,

right here,

right now.

“The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.”

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(Simple) Lessons I’m Learning: Pt 2

This is seriously the CRAZIEST season of my life. Combine a legal separation/pending divorce, custody craziness, natural painful emotions and processing, redirecting my life as a single mom, caring for my child, work to provide for myself and my child, school, and a bunch of other things…

When you’re spinning this many plates, you start to think you’re in control.

WRONG.

While I STRONGLY believe in FREE WILL, I’ve noticed that when I am forced to deal with so many things on a daily basis, I start to feel frantic and scattered because I feel like ALL of the pressure in the WORLD is on my shoulders.

WRONG AGAIN.

Here’s why:

First, I’ll acknowledge that staying busy has become my way of NOT coping with emotion. That is NOT a good thing.

So much is notably out of my control legally, relationally, and with my future that I find myself doing all I can to control everything else. Not surprisingly, this has the opposite effect.

I don’t give myself time to breathe. My hands are all over the place, spinning all of my little plates in my crazy *ss little world, and I forget that actually, the burden is not on me, it’s not in my control – none of it – it’s on Someone who has me covered.

This is when I remember something someone said to me a few years ago about this manner of living. Simply stated:

SIT ON YOUR HANDS.

This is NOT an encouragement to abdicate responsibility in your life, to be lazy, or to pretend you have no impact on the outcome of your decisions or lack of decisions.

It is simply a reminder that once in a while, you need to breathe, you need to remember Who is holding you and gently directing your steps. You need to stop running, stop rushing everything, stop questioning and wondering and overanalyzing and confusing yourself, mellow out, and sit on your damn hands.

My first counselor months and months ago told me to follow peace. When you pass that feeling of peace, you’ve passed God. You forgot about him while you were trying to control everything and convincing yourself you could, should, or will.

Don’t pass peace.

Acknowledge God.

Slow down.

Sit on your hands.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
    but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

– Prov 19:21

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RAW pt. 2

Someone asked me recently why I blog about what I’m going through. I stopped to consider this.

Here are the main reasons I’m sharing this journey:

1. Writing helps me both face, understand, and accept things in my life.

2. Sharing as a person who has been through an abuse situation allows me to reach out and touch others, and hopefully to keep people from this, or worse. The pain it takes to own it publicly is less painful than my heavy and constant concern for the safety and wellbeing of others in similar situations.

3. Communicating raw emotion and processing things out loud humanizes my pain, and does not let me run from it.

These are the main reasons that I am publicizing this journey.

raw.

Today, I woke up late. I scrambled to pull on my slacks, a dress shirt, my rarely-used blazer.

No makeup.

Coffee, black.

Cold.

Ice on my car.

Dad’s help.

Driving… empty.

8:32-11:23 is a haze…

I remember that I walked into the courthouse, I saw him.

Shaking, in a corner, in two seconds.

Fast as I could.

In a ball, everyone watching.

Humiliating.

I stayed there.

The security guard motions me to a chair, kindly.

Shake my head.

People walking by, looking.

Him, upstairs, looking.

Humiliating.

9:03.

The girl with a similar case from the last court hearing walks through security.

I breathe again.

We link arms, and we go upstairs.

I find my attorney.

He gently reminds me:

You won’t win this.

(No evidence.

I left too soon.

Did I leave too soon?

I wasn’t waiting anymore.

Maybe I left too soon.)

Courtroom.

See him. Relaxed. Like nothing is happening.

I’m shaking, violently.

Furthest corner, furthest bench. Edge of the seat.

She comes back and holds me, and I hold her when her him walks in.

Her case is open,

closed.

Evidence.

She’s safe, she breathes.

I’m a deer in the headlights.

Everyone sees me, I feel so small.

I try to be smaller.

Less visible.

Maybe they will all go away.

Case is moved to another court.

The attorney asks:

do you still want to do this?

I consider running.

I remember how many times I ran.

No more running.

I barely walk.

Heels…

stupid.

Maybe I can crawl.

Humiliating.

The judge is my first judge. From last week.

I breathe.

It begins.

My memory stops..

I remember tears.

Shaking.

Looking for a trashcan to be sick.

I remember the judge, his pity.

I remember many, many words exchanged.

Attorney’s.

Mine.

Judge.

Not his.

So few words.

Protecting himself.

I know it’s over.

I knew it would be.

I thought I would be more afraid, when it was denied.

No evidence.

But no,

I feel courage.

I didn’t run.

I was small.

I was shaking.

I could hardly breathe.

But no running.

I stood.

I stood up.

I faced it.

For the first time in a long time,

i begin to feel

I will be okay.

I walk out.

Alone.

Shaking still.

Tears.

The guard catches my arm.

He says

“You will be okay”.

I nod. I smile.

I say “yes”.

And for the first time in many months,

I believe it.

“The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places”

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

First of all, go listen to this:

Second, go read this:

http://jamesmsama.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/what-love-does-and-doesnt-look-like/

Finally, my turn.

Let’s talk about RESPECT.

The beautiful and classic Aretha sings:

Ain’t gonna do you wrong while you’re gone
Ain’t gonna do you wrong (oo) ’cause I don’t wanna (oo)
All I’m askin’ (oo)
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Baby (just a little bit) when you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

When I was a lass, early on in my first real relationship, with my skewed ideas of self-sacrifice and love and my juvenile grasp on self-sufficiency, my boyfriend (eventually fiance) told me progressively that he didn’t like:

– dangle earrings

– boots

-scarves

-hats

-heels

– eye makeup

– tattoos

– my playfullness

– my talking (politely and respectfully) to anyone of the opposite sex

– my affectionate behavior

– my talking in public.

Yes, you read that. There was more, but luckily it all escapes my memory.

My young self, with my stunted emotional independence and church mouse conformity, readily threw away or gave away every article of clothing, accessory, and personality trait he disliked. I worked my @ss off trying to be what he wanted me to be.

Lucky for him, and even luckier for me, things went downhill quickly and we broke things off. He went on to marry the exact opposite of me, and someone who by nature fit the criteria I was forcing on myself.

You would think I would’ve learned from this relationship, but I didn’t.

My next relationship was about 5 months long. This guy had me convinced that his unwillingness to touch me (in 5 months of dating he only ever gave me a side hug) for the sake of purity was normal. I changed my perspective on things that were or were not appropriate, and I took my standards way “up”, in a manner of speaking, so that he felt I could match his level of “purity” (i.e. drinking was a sin, even one drink, and secular music was a pitfall… things like that).

This one ended when I began to realize how unhealthy the pattern was, and I stood up for myself.

My next serious relationship was my marriage. I flew through the process because of the passion, and looking back I wish I hadn’t, but at the same time, I know I would’ve made the same decisions with the maturity I had at the time, so I do not regret it. Life is a learning curve.

Compromise to me, in this relationship, meant a heavy adjustment of goals and priorities both for the sake of military life, and for the comfort of my partner. If my goals and dreams and likes and dislikes upset him, I backed off, suppressed, changed.

I’ve learned this can only last so long.

In each of these relationships, the other person was threatened in some way by my differences, opinions, personality, and dreams. Not only did they each have their own issues, but they were not secure enough to accept the respect I offered, and to offer the same.

I can legitimately, honestly, with integrity say that in my relationships, I am never the one to make demands. I want, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and clearly to an extreme, the happiness of my partner. I will sacrifice everything to secure that. In some ways, this is not healthy. In other ways, I am very proud of how secure I am in of myself to be happiest when my partner is happy, even if things the like, want, do, or change are not my preference.

Here’s the not healthy, and how I’m learning to address it.

1. Respect is a two-way street.

Only boys will project their insecurities onto you. If you have done nothing but honor, care, respect, and love, and they decide to be cagey, jealous, angry, possessive, controlling, and demanding, that is not respect, and it is an undeserved projection of insecurities.

2. Compromise requires constant redefinition.

We like to say relationships require compromise. In a situation, for instance, where I wanted my Master’s degree and was offered an amazing opportunity, was told to turn it down, and did, that was not compromise. Compromise would’ve looked like patiently and lovingly evaluating the situation and making a healthy, adult decision of my own out of a desire to both pursue my dreams and honor my relationships. Compromise is also a two-way street. If there’s something that you don’t like or that makes you uncomfortable, you discuss it openly (you don’t sit on it for months), immediately, and from a heart of love and support, and you do this on a regular basis.

3. Respect requires communication.

When I was deeply hurt or confused by the actions of my partners, I would internalize because I didn’t want to be “that girl”: the bitch that makes a big deal out of emotional, physical, or mental hurt. WRONG. When you respect yourself, you are open with hurt in a mature way so the other person can know they’ve disrespected you. You may be forgiving, but those little hurts, over time, will undermine a relationship.

4. Changing the things you really want, and the way you really are, is only temporary.

If you go with your gut and you choose to recognize who you really are, what you really believe, and what your own standards are; the core values, the personality, the strong preferences and the things that hurt you or bring you down; when you own those things, you recognize you cannot change them. If you try, and many, many people try, it will eventually wear you down or wear off, and the other person will feel hurt and disillusioned and angry because you’re being yourself.

5. The deepest and most beautiful relationships have mutual respect.

Respect that also includes an autonomy: a value of self. Respect that says I love you for your ESSENCE. If you want purple hair and a butt tattoo, I might not like it, but that’s on you. Respect that also says I want to be attractive to and to encourage and uplift my partner, so there are things I can recognize as trivial and can give up or change because they aren’t a part of my essence, I’m not changing who I am. Respect that values the other person’s dreams, goals, ambitions, personality, differences, and delights in them. Respect that cares enough to go deep, to push someone further, to see their potential and help them realize it, even when that means challenging them in difficult ways. Respect that does not lose the value of self in being fully absorbed in someone else, but still wants and desires and longs for the companionship and partnership of the other person.

Next time around,

I want to know I’m valued for the deepest parts of who I am. I want to feel honored and supported. I want to know I have the liberty to do what I like, so that I can make conscious choices to compromise from a place of independent self-assessment and not oppressive control. There are very few things I want so badly (VERY few) that I will not give them up for someone else, but there are now a few things I value so deeply that I will not sacrifice them.

Like respect.

xoxoxo

-sportyspice

IMG_6706Watermark

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