Dear Inner Teenager

Dear Inner Teenager

Dear Inner Teenager, You haven’t had an easy life. You have interacted with a lot of power-hungry people. And I’m not just talking about the pedophiles and their enablers. There were adults who wanted you to be less than you were. There were other teenagers who wanted to make you feel less smart, less attractive, less talented. They needed you to be small because they wanted to build themselves up in comparison. They let you know you were not acceptable. You had too much to say for a girl. You acted too smart for a kid. You should shut up and listen to your elders. But in reality, the courage you were showing to remain confident and expressive after all that abuse was phenomenal. And I’m proud of you. I am proud that you didn’t shut down. I am proud that you continued to stand up for yourself. I am proud of your resiliency. You didn’t let them break you. I am proud that you will allow me to take risks, speak up, and help others without sabotaging my every move. I know you would much rather find a cabin in the woods somewhere off-grid. I know you don’t like the public part of this work. But I know you see the gift you were born with, the gift of expression. It is why you never stopped standing up for yourself all those years ago. So, you begrudgingly allow me to take risks when you would prefer safety. And one day, I know we will do it together. And for that, I am proud of you. And now, even...
3 Steps to End Self-Sabotage

3 Steps to End Self-Sabotage

When I started to embrace spirituality in my life, the first thing I noticed was how many options were available. I loved the idea of mindfulness. I worked to hone my self-awareness and it made a huge difference in my life. But there were some popular concepts that were not working for me. When I started my recovery work, setting intentions was the latest spiritual direction. I set my intentions. I did my meditations. I made my vision boards. I wrote my mantras. I did my best to embrace the process. But honestly, it seemed to go nowhere. As I ventured deeper in to my own recovery work, I found the reason. My traumatic past had separated aspects of my being and these inner parts were no longer accessible to my ego self, the part that sets intentions. As a matter of a fact, the parts of me that I had cut off were not on board with my intentions. More to the point, they were vehemently opposed to my intentions. And without the whole self behind an intention, it will never happen … EVER. I discovered that doing cognitive work with my conscious ego self was essentially putting lipstick on a pig. Through my process, I discovered three separate parts of self. 1) My ego self who was dead-set on avoiding my past by ignoring all the pain and pushing willfully forward at perfecting my life, even if it required me to fake it. 2) My inner child who was extremely hurt from a childhood of abuse, and who continued to be ignored by my ego self, only...
Just Me?

Just Me?

Do you ever have one of those months when you have to move houses as a single parent, and it seems like it is too much to handle on your own, and you are trying to start a new business, and you have very little money, and the kids are home from school for the summer and don’t have enough to do, and the move leaves you dissociated and struggling with insomnia because everything is new, and that makes it harder to focus when you do have time to work, and the kids are constantly fighting because they are stressed too, and your son has a freak bathroom door accident at the pool which leaves his toenail separated from his big toe, and you have to wrap it every day, and it is incredibly gross, and then the dog starts throwing up incessantly, and the vet says he has Gastroenteritis from eating sand in the new back yard (what?), and he has to spend two days at the emergency vet, and the kids complain because the whole day was “about the dog” (raising them right), and they missed another damn swim practice, and they are never going to be better swimmers this way,   and then you think, “There is no way God loves me”, and you just know the universe is not supporting you, and you know this whole freaking life has been some kind of sick joke, and you were never meant to thrive,   and you forgot that so many friends offered to help you with the move, and you forgot that your friends took care...
Holding On, Letting Go & Breaking Open

Holding On, Letting Go & Breaking Open

The Re-creation of Abandonment One of the first things I learned in recovery was the inevitable re-creation of our most significant childhood hurts. I thought there would be comfort in that understanding because I loved having an explanation for what otherwise appeared random. I have always wanted predictability and this understanding helped make sense out of an otherwise chaotic life. But there was a problem. I had repressed memories. And it was those memories that held the secret to my deepest pain. For the first several years of memory recovery, I did not understand the manifestations of my outer life. I was confused. Why did my adult life seem to be riddled with abandonment when I did not experience abandonment in my childhood? I would have given anything to have been abandoned by my caregivers, especially my father. Yet he stuck around, continuing to abuse me. It didn’t make sense that I seemed terrified of abandonment which became a self-fulfilling prophecy over and over. It didn’t make sense until that one memory, the memory that changed everything. I have previously written about a person who was supposed to save me from my life of abuse. He was older than me. I had confided in him about the abuse. And I was sure he would help me. I was sure he was my ticket out of the hell I was living. We spent one summer together, an unlikely friendship between a gay college student and a traumatized kid. I would run away from home so I could sleep on his floor because for one night, I could feel safe. He...
Consent: It’s Not What You Think

Consent: It’s Not What You Think

Have you ever noticed how life comes at you in themes? The universe seems to be sending a message and it can be a nag. It knows you have something to learn, something to integrate or something you need to say. This week, I am having that experience with consent. It seems that I have some learning and some teaching to do. Consent is a loaded word in our society. It is almost always associated with sex and rape, and there is much more focus on men getting consent from women. But in reality, it isn’t about sex. At least, it isn’t just about sex. It is about many other things. And if we practice consent all the time, getting consent for sex will be a part of our norm. And that’s what we want. Consent is also not about men getting consent from women. And it is not a subject reserved for adults. All genders and ages need to learn about consent. There is nothing that should be imposed on another human being without their consent … ever. As a parent, I always look for opportunities to discuss consent with my children. I know this foundation will help them when they are adults. But the words “consent” and “children” are not often used together unless we are discussing pedophilia. So how do I discuss consent with my children? Here are some examples of how I do that: 1) When my children want to touch another person, I talk about consent. They may want a hug or to grab someone’s hand. They may want to tickle or be tickled....