My Blog Has PTSD

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Funny-and-Clever-Egg-Photography-2So, I find myself in a bit of a dilemma. As dilemma’s go, it’s a good one.

Everyone Has A Story will be two years old next month. In the space of this time, it went from being a random, sporadic telling of some stuff from when I was a kid, to a soap box to declare my hatred for nipple shirts, to my opinions about men rifling through women’s panties’ drawers, to the crushing play-by-play of a marriage falling apart due to drugs and infidelity. Now that I’m well on my way out of that horrendous chapter of my life, I find myself actually at a loss for words.

I’d write about my infinitely smaller stresses these days, but they are so minuscule compared to what I have been writing about, I feel stupid even bringing them up.

I promise. I’m trying to find something worthy of you. Like humans, I think my blog has PTSD. I’m working on the cure… :-)

Thanks for your patience!!

~Bird

The Treasure In Your Heart

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Seal_SouthPadre_05_JPG_800x1000_q100As a teenager, I spent a significant amount of time on South Padre Island. We lived in a little town near Port Isabel, and the beach was close, free, and fun. My favorite times to go to those sandy shores, though, was right after a tropical storm or even better, a hurricane. Things that once rested silently beneath miles of water for decades, or even centuries,  would be dredged up and deposited on shore by massive, dangerous waves of water. Ships have become dislodged and been discarded callously on those beaches, unaware of the value of their find. Bobby pins, dishes, beer cans, and more than enough spare tires and toilet seats to be comfortable with,  were pretty common items to find. But there was always some surprises, too.  It was the coolest kind of treasure hunting, in my opinion. Angry winds and dangerous floods, the last vestiges of a powerful and indifferent storm, weren’t enough of a threat to keep people like me inside. The best loot would be gone within minutes, and the race would be on the minute the car wouldn’t be blown off the road.

I never managed to find anything of real worth, but I was content with my spectrum of sea shells, drift woods, and the occasional artsy photograph I’d snap. The trip to the beach after the storms wasn’t about what I could own; it was about a perfect moment being created just for me. Curiosity and Imagination surged as I sifted and dug, looking for that special something wisdomthat I would recognize only in the minute I saw it. Each spoon, or thimble, or whatever else I would manage to collect held a history that probably would never be known again. Fanciful, childish stories would begin to form in my mind, and often, I’d find my brain happily focusing on shaping those imaginations into something clever, and nothing else. My incessant, over-analyzing mind would become quiet, feeling safe for a minute or two.  The whole experience was almost spiritual for me. With hope beating excitedly in my chest, the sand oozing through my bare toes, and the heat from a cheerful sun gently  bleaching my hair as she peaked around gray clouds, life seemed to stand still for me. There was no past, no worries, no fear of the future. Only God’s voice rumbling somewhere far off, the power of the ocean, and I existed in those moments. The rhythmic journey of waves coming and going provided a soundtrack, and tiny crabs danced happily to the mysterious music of the water.. The whole experience was important to me, and I always went home feeling more settled, peaceful, and relaxed. My mind would seem cleaner.

vodkaI look back at my footsteps through my life, and the path I’ve traveled is so much clearer to see now. Storms would present themselves in my life — sexual child abuse, betrayal, absent father, the list goes on and on, and those spiritual waters would churn up motivations, disappointments, pain, and other equally disturbing things from the bottom of my heart. As a young woman with three tiny children and a brand new marriage to focus on, behaviors I’d long suspected might be bad for me were simply justified, ignored, and finally accepted, like one would a cane because of a severely damaged foot. I truly believed back then God had just healed all that up, sight unseen, and I never had to think about it again. As time went by, it became easier to leave the past in the past. I was a pretty happy, functioning person who had somehow avoided being truly damaged by on-going sexual abuse by a person I had trusted…. That assumption fell right to pieces when another person I trusted betrayed me. Suddenly, old, unresolved wounds stemming back to childhood became entwined with the present situation with my unfaithful husband. 20+ years of burying those scars as deep as possible hadn’t made them disappear. They jumped readily into the chaos of my broken heart, vivid and clear.  I was that powerless, pissed, frightened little girl all over again. My refusal to address the abuse years ago actually made the death of my marriage twice as hard. Ignoring a problem never pays off in the end. They just bide their time, waiting to emerge from the darkness, riding on the back of another devastating storm.

Like any other infection all the band-aids and self-deception in the world won’t make deep, crushing wounds just evaporate. I’d learned to survive in this dog-eat-dogsolving problems world, as do most people who have suffered trauma so significant as children, but my make-shift coping skills began to break down, and I found myself less and less able to emotionally keep myself stable, productive, and more importantly, in control. Being molested, you learn just how powerless a person can really be in this world, and power becomes the name of the game. Commitment becomes hard; being vulnerable is never an option.Love is hoped for, yet never lives up to the hype. Suspicion lurks deep in the shadows, waiting for the betrayal to come, positive that it is only a matter of time.  Every kind word or romantic gesture becomes suspect to even myself about the true motives of my intimacy or my husbands..Sex becomes a currency and love a weakness. Silently, a struggle was always going on between me and my husband, and the effort it takes to act like everything is okay is exhausting. It takes so very little to tip over a life like mine, and when I’d been betrayed by someone so close, all those weak, infected wounds broke open with such anguish, it took months for my soul to stop weeping.

There is quite a bit of debris littering my heart after this latest, greatest storm in my life, and yet, as I mentally pick up and examine memory after memory, unlike the treasures swept up on the beaches of Texas, I’m aware of the history of each one. This storm is over and the healing process is well on its way. I feel He’s re-broken some old wounds to set them correctly this time. The real treasure I will find among all of this wreckage is wisdom, and the healing will be strong and straight, not fragile and temporary. Each storm has made me stronger, and even my failures have value to me now.

Army_of_the_LordNor is every thing I’m finding in my heart  garbage. There are some treasures in there, as well. I’m no longer afraid of what the storms of life will be able to uproot in my heart and drag into the light. I’m proof of God’s enduring mercy despite the blackness of my sins buried deep inside of my heart. Turns out, He wasn’t as surprised at what He found there as I was.

Thank God!!

–Bird

 

 

 

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Etiquette and Expectations When Renting a Room Instead of a House

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2014 has dawned on a whole new adventure in my life. A week or so ago, I did something I’ve never done before. I rented a room in someone else’s house. I was looking for a place for Bekkie, Dj, and I on Craigslist and I kept running into ads for people who had extra rooms available. Money being tight for me with Bekkie going to college and Dj not working, I wasn’t really thrilled with the places that I could afford. I don’t want to live in dangerous neighborhoods anymore, nor do I want to be afraid of it going up in flames or falling down around me.

Back when Tanya left Chef, he had rented out his extra room to a guy who answered his ad on Craigslist. As it would turn out later, the guy had a severe drinking problem, but that aside, he did pay his rent on time. So, I made some separate arrangements for DJ, and then set about finding a room to rent for Bekkie and me. The one I settled on is in a very large house in an excellent neighborhood. The lady who owns the house (we’ll call her Kate) has the large master bedroom on the ground floor, and then rents the three very large bedrooms upstairs. Bekkie and I fit comfortably in one room. Another room is rented to a woman we’ll call Melody, and the last room is leased to a man we’ll call Tony.

Basically, you have your own room, but you all share a kitchen, bathroom, and living room spaces. You don’t share food, and are assigned a cabinet in the kitchen ROOMMATES-LikeLikeLikeLikeLikefor your groceries, and you have a space in the refrigerator for your cold goods. There is an honor system to the whole thing. I can see where this kind of arrangement can be really great, or it can go south pretty quickly. There are things that are in gray areas, like pots of coffee. We all drink coffee, and a lot of it. To me, it is just a fair assumption that other people will drink out of the pot of coffee I make in the morning. I simply don’t care about stuff like that. However, since coffee is expensive, others might not assume the same as me. One person in the house gets upset if we drink their coffee, so the rest of us use a different coffee pot. It’s little things that can dictate the peace of the house.

roomateCleaning is another thing. Obviously, we are responsible for our own rooms. However, shared spaces are a little harder. Cleaning a kitchen involves more than just putting dishes in a dishwasher, to the great distress of my children growing up. There are counters to wipe down, sinks to clean out, and floors to be mopped. Who does those things? Same with bathrooms. Who gets to scrub the toilets and mop the floors? How often should these extra things be done? Daily? Weekly? Who pays for the cleaning supplies? Who should vacuum hallways and the stairs? These gray areas are a point of contention with the landlady at times mainly because every one involved has different ideas of what is expected when you are paying rent, including her. Not only that, but some people have different levels of tolerance about what is considered dirty or clean. I’m interested in seeing how this plays out. I have no idea how this doesn’t make people’s heads explode after a while.

I like my fellow room renters a lot. Tony The Italian works crazy hours, and is almost always gone or asleep. He fought in Iraq and got severely wounded. He seems a little haunted at times, but he’s always so friendly and generous when he’s around. He speaks a bunch of languages, and makes the best Italian food I’ve eaten in a while. He told me a little about what it felt like to be in a war, and I find him a wealth of knowledge about some things I’ll never get to experience for myself. Believe me, this man has got his own story to tell.

Melody was going through her own marital break-up about the same time I was. There are some things, like infidelity with a younger woman, that were similar for her, but she had a mentally ill husband who had been long diagnosed. Her marriage, unlike mine, hadn’t been mostly happy. She told me that her husband and she had never been friends. She had to work her butt off every step of the way to make it work, and when it fell apart, she felt something different from what I felt. If I get permission, one day I’ll explore those differences in more depth on here. Despite everything, this is one really cheerful, optimistic lady. She’s about my age, and had been married about 20 years as well. I don’t see any bitterness or anger in this woman at all, ever. She still has a minor son, and as such, she has to deal with her ex-husband quite a bit. Unlike my ability to blow Chef off when I feel like it, she has to continue raising a child with hers. He tends to be harsh with her daily, and while it bothers her momentarily from time to time, she seems to bounce back quickly and completely. She’s slow to anger and quick to forgive, even with her ex-husband. She’s generous with her things, even offering Bekkie and me food when we had none at the beginning. I admire her in a lot of way and I’m glad to have met her.

Kate has a hard story about her life, and it has definitely caused some very deep, angry wounds in her. Her marriage fell apart more like mine did, only it happened 27 years ago. She is most obviously a broken soul, and this manifests itself in ways that cause me to feel irritated at times. I am choosing to be a little more patient these days with other people, having developed a hard edge over the last year due to all that had happened between Chef and myself. I have always possessed a quick, sharp tongue when I get defensive or feel backed into a corner, and after Chef’s Midlife Crisis fiasco, I’ve had too many opportunities to exercise that dubious skill. I don’t like that about myself these days, and I’m in a position now to have plenty of exercise holding my tongue instead. I used to be very slow to anger, always trying to understand to some extent the actions or words of the person who was getting under my skin. When Chef, Tanya, and drugs entered the picture, I stopped even remotely trying to be anything resembling empathetic, and lashed out at them often. As I have been healing though, the anger is more controllable and my emotional stability has returned enough to make me think before speaking when I get pissed. I’m rusty, but I’m back on a good track again.

I don’t know how long I’ll be staying at this place. It’s a completely different experience for me, and probably a good learning lesson as well. It’s been awhile since I engaged with people who had nothing to do with my old life, and I think it feels kind of cool.

So, that is what I’m up to these days. Hope you all had wonderful holidays and are looking forward to 2014 as much as I am! God bless you all !!

~Bird

Bird’s Rehab Rules of Engagement

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don-draper-mad-men-television-ecard-someecardsSo, yesterday was Chef’s first day of visitation, and I showed up. First, there were about 30 minutes of check-in time. Then, we all watched a video about our changing bodies….just kidding! Just seeing if you guys were paying attention! It was about the rules of visiting a loved one in a facility like this one. It took about 45 minutes, but it basically boiled down to: “Don’t be douches by smuggling drugs in to your addicted love one who is in here who are trying to become well again.” Seemed a little like stating the obvious to me. Who’d do that??

Finally, I was able to actually see Chef. It took him less than 3 minutes to say the rudest crap. He accused me of having an affair, stealing stuff from his truck, and some other nonsense. I got up and walked out.

Now I understand the video!!! I know one addict that is a giant douche without his drug of choice! It was a waste of a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. But, Chef did learn that anything snotty said to me will instantly end the visit. Too bad he won’t get another shot at it. I’m not going back.

I’ve done all I can for this guy. I’m very peaceful about my part in trying to get him help. He’s on his own adventure now, and I’m happy to wipe the dust from my feet. In a way, I’m excited that this all is happening now instead of later. 2014 is going to be an awesome year!!!

Merry Christmas!!

~ BirdBird's Phone 2013 261

Castles In The Sky

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0516225904I’m not okay right now.

I grew up in an atmosphere of everyone looking out for themselves. All five kids learned to not become too vulnerable to anyone. Help was neither offered nor expected. We dealt with our own problems and maybe we each became somewhat empowered by our lack of needing anyone else emotionally. Of course, when things happen to us that just require a helping hand from someone else, it takes an act of God to get us to the point where we will accept it. Sometimes, like now, I think I’ve waited too long.

I was a lonely, abused, unhappy kid, which ironically, went completely against my natural personality. I think I know myself pretty well, and I always seem to try to find the silver lining in whatever sewage-filled problem I find myself in. Maybe I’m an optimistic person, or maybe I’m just trying to tread emotional waters so I don’t get overwhelmed by just how lonely life can be. I’m faced right now with the insecurities of a little girl who put an absent father on a pedestal so high in her sad little mind, that having to look the realities of who both my dad and I really are is just wiping me out.

I don’t know if my dad really knows me, much less if he even likes me. He’s always said he did, but he was busy with his own life the last 45 years of mine, and the effort to really involve me in his life just isn’t there. Now, with this brain damage and his inability to really filter himself, he’s treating me harshly. My mind knows that this is not really the same man I’ve called Dad forever, but the insecure little girl that seems to live on somewhere inside of me is grieving. Like Chef, I had been happy to build castles in the sky and live in them, but they proved to be just lies I wanted to believe.

Ever since Chef cheated on me, I’ve been living behind these walls in my heart. I don’t let any men get too close, and I find that I am even shutting out my kids to some degree. I recognize where I am. This numb place in my heart is where I lived for years. I won’t get hurt here, but I won’t be happy either.

I need a little help. I’m sad.

~ Bird