A Storm’s a Brewin’

A Storm’s a Brewin’

Coming Back to Awareness My kids have left the “mom is amazing” phase. They have made that clear. I thought it would last longer than 9 years, but it hasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, they love me and they tell me often, but they are unsure of my status as “woman who knows everything”. So I was surprised today when they stood in awe of me like in the old days. It didn’t seem like a big deal. I told them a storm was coming. The sky was still blue, so they asked how I knew. I told them about the leaves on the trees. They flip over. In college, I ran an outdoor business so I looked at the trees all the time. The weather mattered. And I have always loved how nature seems to know things. Equally amazing is how the animals know to move to higher ground before a tsunami. Nature is plugged in and we are generally not. In a way, it is that level of awareness to which humans journey throughout our days on this planet. We come here with awareness. We experience childhood and it burdens us with varying levels of dissociation. And then, we have to work our way back out of it. I am not suggesting that we will ever know a storm is coming like the trees (although maybe in our joints), but there is awareness we can use to our advantage for the other types of storms. There are the storms that brew within us. Some storms manifest in the outer world. Occasionally, we know they are coming like...
Hey Kids, Just Say No!

Hey Kids, Just Say No!

Where do bullies come from? We have a bullying problem. I know I am not saying anything new. Most parents and teachers will tell you the same. And there are a million theories about what causes it. And there are a million theories about when it started. But there is one thing I have learned as a parent. Kids copy their environment. They copy their parents. So while it might be easier and less stressful to say that children learn to bully from the television or from each other, it starts much earlier than that. It starts in the home. As a child and a victim of familial abuse, I had a tendency to be a victim to bullies. I had never been taught how to say “no”. Actually, I had been taught that I wasn’t allowed to use that word. I had no idea how to stand up for myself when people mistreated me because my parents certainly were not going to teach me how to do that. That would have worked against their plans. So I was an easy target. Even more convenient for the bully was my likelihood to dissociate. If the treatment was bad enough, I would forget it happened. I would treat the bully like they had never been mean. But the problem with being a victim to bullies is that it teaches you a few things. And there are always those who are weaker, less popular and less powerful. Always. So in order to stay sane and feel as though I had some power in the world, I would bully too. I treated...
The Perfection In Being

The Perfection In Being

The Mask of Perfection When I was growing up, my parents wanted me to be perfect. They were very clear that I must exceed all standards. They wanted me to have perfect grades, perfect looks, perfect extracurricular activities. They pressured me to be the picture of everything society wanted from a human being. This expectation created a storm inside me. I was sure I was none of those things. I had been abused long enough to know I had no real worth. I was sure I had nothing to offer the world. I was an imposter. I had no value to add to the human race. I was only here to be victimized. I was constantly playing tug of war with my external mask of perfection and my internal self-hatred. I could not handle failure. I could not handle rejection. It wasn’t that I didn’t see it coming. I knew it was inevitable because it was the truth. And it would blow my cover. I worked hard to be accepted by everyone. I was an obsessive over-achiever. And all the teachers, coaches and other authority figures loved me. But when they didn’t, I thought my world would come to an end. I was sure my life would be in danger if people found out my real worth. And that was a lot of pressure. A World of Unworthiness But I have come to realize that I am no different than everyone else. Everyone feels the tug of unworthiness. Everyone is waiting to be “found out”. My parents definitely felt it because they passed it on to me. My friends...
And So The Past Goes

And So The Past Goes

The Physical Side of Trauma I often write about the holistic impact of trauma. When we go through abuse or trafficking in childhood, there is a dramatic effect on our entire being. I have discussed many aspects over the years including my beliefs, my emotional response to life and relationships, and my parenting. But I haven’t discussed one important part of trauma recovery. It is one of the most important parts, but for me, it has recovered organically as a result of the emotional and cognitive work I have done. Maybe that is why I haven’t discussed it. Or maybe it is because I see it as so private. Or maybe I don’t want to be that vulnerable. But I think it is important to highlight how my physical body has handled the trauma, and more importantly, how it is doing today. I think that many people wonder about the toll of this kind of sexual and physical trauma on a small child. And other survivors wonder if they are the only ones experiencing the physical symptoms. So I will share my experiences because that discussion needs to happen. Trauma in My Body My dissociation made it impossible to remember the physical sensations of each traumatic incident, and for that, I am grateful. But my earliest recollection is a body filled with pain. After I dissociated and stopped dealing with my experiences on an emotional level, I began to feel them physically. The emotions had been tucked away in my organs, muscles, joints and bones, and they weren’t welcome there. My muscles and joints have always been the loudest...