It’s 2017! New Year, New Goals, New Focus, New Determination, New Breakthroughs!!
It sounds good right?! Now I just have to make it true.
The last month and a half of 2016 felt like a complete blur and at times like I was an observer watching from the outside. A couple of days before my birthday I started experiencing symptoms of a cold and it just grew from there. So that sure didn’t help my holiday spirit. Everyday I took medication, increased my water intake, slept every second I could and pushed myself through the rest. Such a horrible feeling to wake up to extreme body ache, fever and a pounding headache. Not to mention what felt like endless phlegm in my chest that caused uncontrollable coughing and hacking. My congestion affected my throat and my voice changed. It was deep and raspy and it became difficult for people to understand my words when I spoke. It felt endless and without hope in sight. Then slowly I began to feel better. My long list of symptoms began to fade and I began to regain my health and sanity. Looking back I see this is the time when I began to take less medication. Then suddenly out of no where my symptoms returned…
At first I was in denial and thought there is no way this can be happening again! But I was wrong and this time I was hit even harder with the flu. Christmas Day arrived and I barely made it through opening presents with our children. It was my desire to create a Martha Stewart-type Christmas morning celebration, but I learned desire alone wasn’t enough for my overpowering sickness. I finally gave in and went to bed where I remained until 5:00pm. It was very disappointing to me because I felt like I missed out on Christmas.
The week following Christmas was a little better but I still struggled in getting through my days. We had family from out-of-state come stay with us through New Years and I refused to succumb to my sickness. I was going to enjoy every second no matter what my body said to me. And I did. In spite of my wavering health I truly enjoyed every minute with our family.
You know the saying? – you don’t know what you have until you lose it?! Well that perfectly described my health (or lack thereof) this past holiday season. I was struggling just to survive each day – literally chugging out of a bottle of DayQuil and popping throat lozenges. All I desperately desired was to feel better. I realized I didn’t truly appreciate the days when I woke up and my health was good. The good ol’ days where everyday I cringed when my alarm would sound and then complain about how tired I felt. Usually that tired feeling was due my poor choices. I took my fever-free, ache-free, congestion-free body for granted.
2016 (especially the last part) really taught me a lot.
I physically lived out what existed on the inside of me. I’ve been internally sick for so long that I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be healthy. My internal ailment was through no fault of my own. My abuse and neglect started at the age of five – I was innocent and helpless to the gross injustice and twisted desires of others. Being so young meant that this sickness would go untreated for many, many years. In the process many other things developed inside me. Some good, but some not so much.
Now at the age of 47 I’m learning to identify what isn’t healthy and how to heal it. It requires change. Do you know how difficult it is not to not trust your own thoughts and responses? To learn to overcome 42 years of co-dependent, dysfunctional and self-destructive thinking and choices? Let me tell you it isn’t easy – or fun. Everything inside you feels wrong when you finally make healthy, safe decisions. It’s confusing and difficult – but the best thing possible.
I learned to live around my sickness and treat it with things that never brought healing – only masked the symptoms. Then when you finally begin to heal you think – I forgot what it was like to feel so good. Why did I choose to live the other way for so long? Then you realize it’s because my sickness became normal and no one around me told me otherwise. They all have their sickness and it’s their normal too.
I mean I made attempts to heal my heart, mind and soul. Doing this wasn’t always easy – it required work. So I would take the medicine in doses and then when I began to feel better -stopped. The thing is – the infected parts of me would feel better for a time but it always returned. I quit applying the healing formula too soon, and didn’t allow it to completely wipe out all traces of the affliction. I finally realized I’ve been prolonging my restoration.
So what am I going to do now?
- Take my medication (continue counseling and other forms of personal & spiritual growth)
- Increase my water intake (fill myself with God’s love, truth and Word)
- Rest (Surround myself with things and others that usher peace and harmony)
- Push myself through the rest (never give up)
I’m ready, really ready for permanent change in my life. I’m ready for this tragedy to not rule almost every area of my life. I’m ready to be free and I’m finally ready to pay the cost. It took me a long time to finally decide to share my story and write this blog. I knew it wouldn’t be easy for myself and others. What would be my purpose? Was it revenge? I can honestly tell you this isn’t it. If it was I could have shared so many different stories or included other details in the stories I’ve previously written.
Revenge while it might feel good in the moment would leave me feeling empty and disgusted with myself. I did it for a different reason. As devastating and miserable as things have gotten in my life – there was also always a spark of hope. It was always just enough to keep me going – wondering what maybe life could be. It also confirmed that this wasn’t just all there was – that if I didn’t give up I would find something so beautiful and mind blowing and more fulfilling than I could ever imagine. Just the thought that it actually could exist kept me from throwing in the towel. The more I pursued it the bigger it became – that tiny spark of hope turned into size of an egg and eventually grew enormous and heavier.
My purpose of this blog was never just about me. There are many others out there who (like me) were taken down a road they were never supposed to travel. Sometimes by people who you’d never expect and often times it makes it worse. Why? Because it messes with your mind and heart in ways it feels impossible to ever overcome. I was in my thirties when I finally realized I was physically and emotionally abused as a child. Let me tell you the day I realized it my world fell apart. I wasn’t a victim of suppressed memories – the memories were always there – I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS NORMAL. I’ve worked in the area of Early Childhood for over twenty years and taught others how to look for signs of child abuse and yet couldn’t identify it in myself.
My earnest desire is that others will read my story and it will offer them a spark of hope. To see there is more to this life than just living with the symptoms of sickness and pain of abuse. Maybe you know someone who has been abused or neglected? Maybe someone close to you? Some days it might be hard to love them – to understand why they act the way they do or say the things they say? Why they might seem so distant? It can be so frustrating sometimes! I promise you there is a lot going on inside them – even if they have trouble identifying and communicating it with you.
I love the movie Million Dollar Baby that was released in 2004. It was directed and scored by Clint Eastwood who also starred in it with Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman. I went to the theater that day expecting to be entertained but in a way my life changed. This movie touched my soul in a way I cannot fully explain. It is a beautiful story about an underappreciated boxing trainer, the mistakes that haunt him from his past, and his quest for atonement by helping an underdog amateur boxer achieve her dream of becoming a professional (wikipedia).
There are so many brilliant quotes throughout the entire film. I remember sitting in my seat holding back tears, wishing I could write them all down. Here is one that struck a deep chord with me:
If there’s magic in boxing, it’s the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.
This is me.
I’ve been in a battle practically my entire life. For the first ten years or so I stood with my hands down and allowed myself to be pummeled over and over. Then I realized to survive I had to fight back. Even then I was just mainly protecting myself from further damage rather than trying to knock out my opponent. The day finally arrived however when I sought training and strategy in how to be victorious. It has been overwhelming and intimidating and at times seemed impossible. That spark of hope kept me going and stopped me from quitting. I’ve wanted to many times.
Abuse seeps into every part of you. Your thoughts, emotions and personality. It makes you believe you are never good enough, and incapable of achieving your dreams. Or anything really. It skews your image in the mirror and even if others tell you otherwise – you only see that distorted image. You feel anger or sadness or become depressed for no reason at all – it makes no sense. I believed for many years that friends were not an option for me. It was just too much work and I would be disappointed in the end. Even if they proved to be trustworthy to me then they would eventually find out who I really was and our friendship would end. It was all just too much.
My dream is to walk in complete freedom from the sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Can it really happen? Will it really happen? Am I crazy? Maybe a little…
I fought many battles beyond what I thought I could endure – and I’m still alive and kicking. I’m bloody and broken but still fiercely determined to fight for my dream. Beating my abuse and overcoming impossible obstacles that others might say cannot be done. So 2017 will be my year of reckoning. A time where everything will be examined and many things will be settled. How can I say that for sure? Last year I was saddened to know I’m closer to 50 and still dealing with this mess. A couple of months ago it dawned on me this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m older (and hopefully) wiser too. There were many lessons and experiences needed to happen prior to my beautiful dream coming into fruition.
It’s a process and if I skipped steps then the dream would never be possible. So I’m declaring now in this first month of 2017 that things will look very different for me this December. How exactly? I am not completely sure – but I know it will! There is a stirring in my soul and I can just feel it. My dream is straight ahead of me just patiently waiting for me to walk into it. It’s as if I’ve been knocked down in the final round but not knocked out. I struggle to stand up but determined to not give up. I stand facing my opponent with my fists in front of me ready to fight and win. All I have is fierce resolution inside me that there will be no other possible outcome.
Sometimes at the end of the day when all is said and done – that’s all it takes.