Resistance is Necessary?

In yoga class last week my instructor said the quote below.

We are all searching for the happiness and peace that we once experienced. Now it seems to be missing. Certainly we want to find it the quickest way possible. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come that easily. We have to go through many kinds of resistance. Why? Because only by passing through resistance do we become stronger. Resistance is necessary.

She was quoting Sri Swami Satchidananda.

It resonated at the time.  Tonight I find myself wondering if it’s a cleverly veiled platitude.  I find that resistance is like a reflex for me.  I was on the mat tonight and I was having such a hard time.  My mind and body were already exhausted for the week.  Our instructor tonight really challenged us and I tried to stay present with it and breathe through it.  It felt like I was simply surviving through it as my sweat dripped and I unashamedly did modifications to my needs.

I realized I could leave.  I wanted to, I saw myself walking out the door.  It was hard and I am tired.  Tired of all the work I am doing on myself.  I see that it benefits me, but I am simply weary.  I think resistance can be like a protection sometimes.  Sometimes we aren’t ready for certain things so we need to honor ourselves.  I am glad I stayed tonight, but the thought that I can leave if I want to is extremely rewarding.

Enduring sexual abuse as a child caused me too much despair and confusion.  The pain was more than I could bear so my mind blocked it out and when the repressed memories came up I became very aware of my dissociative tendencies (not DID).  I can escape in my mind anywhere and commit halfway.  It’s to spare my heart extra pain, but as I grow older and heal more dissociation keeps me from things I enjoy and from finding the ability to just embrace routine.

Is resistance necessary?  I don’t know?  I think it can be an instinct.  Is it important to discover resistance and explore which limits to honor and which boundaries to push?  Absolutely.

Everything, All at Once

It’s the end of yoga.

We are stretching on our mats, five women

Talking and giggling as we go.

Somehow I share , that once

I dared to dance

Guided free form

Each week a chakra focused.

They smile at me and think I am

cool, fun, silly, brave,

a wild spirit

It’s hard to accept the compliments they give

with their eyes, grins and voices.

I know what they say is true.

But I leave out that I didn’t finish the dance.

I have a couple chakras left unfinished

from two years past

I never got to the integration part of the dance.

Mandala’s lie in some slightly forgotten box

thousands of miles away up in an attic.

There is a story with them

an A plus I received

Funny, written about my full moon, hanging,

off a fence, stuck at night.

That story comes to life during our final twists

Laughter scatters across the hardwood floors.

I want to hide from the attention.

I want to revel in the attention.

People say not to worry what others think.

I do.

Right now it’s okay.

Seeing they enjoy me,

I need that.

To know I can be silly, fun and adventurous

even when I feel broken, invaded, and confused.

If you ask what I am feeling

any given moment.

I’ll laugh with tears, arms spread

with resisted surrender to freedom.

Because, I always,

Feel everything,

all at once.

 

 

Yoga Again

It has been two weeks since I started yoga again.  I am exhausted after each vinyasa class.  I drip sweat.  My ankles and wrists are weak so when I hold balance poses a long time I end up feeling numb or get shooting pain.  I am doing some modified poses and I will come out of them when I need to.

I have been really nervous due to my knees.  In December and January I could not walk up and down steps because my right knee was so bad.  They drained fluid out and gave me a cortisone shot.  I still get a lot of pain and ran out of my prescription pain meds.  In yoga I am using padded mats or towels under my knees.  They seem to be doing okay.  I started fish oils a month ago and a day off in between classes right now helps.

I have been scared my knees will go bad again.  My second job has stairs and no elevator.  I have to use the steps everyday.  I am so grateful I can use them right now!  I am so grateful I can do yoga and make adjustments to help me feel more comfortable.

Doing yoga again is challenging me in so many ways.  It is causing me to face my fears and insecurities about my body.  My knees, my weight, limited flexibility.  I have to face my emotional and mental fears.  I stopped doing yoga when I was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts.  So when I am on the mat I remember the horrible and wonderful moments of that time.  I am challenged can I do this pose?  Can I make it through life?  What will happen if I try ?  Will I get hurt? Do I care?  I have to do things different then the rest of the people in the class due to being out of shape and working through pain.  I picked yoga for that reason though.

Every class they encourage us to listen to our bodies.  To play with a pose but if our body isn’t ready they offer modification ideas.

I wonder if I should make a three month commitment to practicing yoga again.  It isn’t fun every class.  It can be exhausting and bring up a lot for me.  I am considering it though.  I actually fell over in class yesterday and laughed.  I felt embarrassed but at the same time it seemed funny.  I feel scared but I also feel excited.  They have aerial yoga at my studio and I think that might be my new definition of fun.

Have To and Stop

When we finally get to the part where we start the healing from our trauma we are a lot more self aware….sometimes, too self aware.

I was a child when the abuse started I don’t know how old or how long.  My mind was hard wired for survival.  As I have mentioned before I excelled in school, sports, volunteering, and music.  In 2013 I had the realization and flashbacks of what had happened.  Finally missing parts and questions horribly made sense.  I have always been extremely hard on myself.  I was a caretaker for my abuser.  My emotions had no place, I was scolded for being sensitive and told that I was selfish constantly.

I doubted my character and tried very hard to be the best person I could.  I am three years into the healing process.  When I initially remembered I hid it and then I fell to pieces wishing continuously for death.  Too. Much. Pain.

I finally believe myself.  I have taken some very brave steps this week.  In conversations with other people who I love and who love me and we support each other I am still hearing things that bring hurt to me.  Maybe I need a perspective shift, but I think I just need a lot of kindness after a lifetime of hiding.

Someone I am very close to, who has been through their own trauma, told me this week I have to stop thinking a certain way.  The situation that advice was related to pertains to an awareness I just had this week on how my trauma affects my relationships.  Sometimes when people are dealing with their own shit, I think they use their stuff to control me, this is because my mother was so manipulative.  It’s hard for me to realize not everyone is like that.  Sometimes they need space to have their own issues and grow, it just causes friction with me and my trauma.  Regardless, I know I have to stop thinking that way.  But that takes time.  It takes growth and I have to share that with those closest to me.  It explains my reactions and that, yes I want to work through it, together.  In that conversation I needed to hear, “That’s great you had that realization and I hear you want to be there for the other person this affects.  It will be exciting when that is no longer a defensive reflex.” Or something near that.

When I hear “You have to” I immediately feel the pressure to hurry and be better, to please the other person.  I am hard on myself.  Please don’t tell me I have to do something I already know I have to do.  I told you this because I know I have to work on it.  Telling you is part of working on it.

Another loved one recently told me firmly to “Stop thinking I am a burden, and questioning things.” I lived my whole life feeling like a burden, my needs and well being were not prioritize.  Instead hold me and tell me, “It is awful you feel like a burden, I hope with time you can grow deeper in trust with me.  Don’t be afraid to speak up about your needs I am here for you.”  I need a lot of reassurance, I am finding more in myself everyday and I want desperately to be there for others.  I hope to find a balance soon, but I need understanding to get there.

These people want me to stop and tell me I have to do things because they want me to feel better and they love me.  But I believe they also feel uncomfortable with the depth of my pain.  Sometimes we have to tell those who love us more than once how we need them to be there for us.

We are all human.  I even think they have to stop.  They have to stop telling me to stop being a burden and to think differently.  But really they are acting the best they know how to.

So maybe I let it slide once, but eventually if these people are closely connected to your healing process and even going through their own.  Point it out gently and clearly.  I might say soon, “I hear you want me to feel safe and feel better.  This is going to take time.  Unfortunately the words ‘have to’ and ‘stop’ cause me to react defensively and feel more pressure.  Please tell me ‘I want to help you feel less like a burden and it hurts when I feel you don’t trust me, how can we compromise?'”

Every circumstance is different.  Get to know your people and yourself.  Put your self care at the top of your list, speak respectfully and kindly.

We all need tenderness.  Sometimes we totally need called out, but things are a process when people sound or feel demanding it makes it hard.

Everyone has their own journey, choose who you put your time into during the first part of your healing.  It’s okay if you can’t meet everyone’s needs.  It can be hard when someone says they feel you aren’t there for them the way they need, but it also can be refreshing to know that you are pouring time and love into yourself.

I believe there’s balance, not a perfect one, but one that happens as you keep communicating with your people.  Listening to them and learning what you need.  As you grow your needs will change too.  It’s kind of like a dance but the more you do it the better you will be at adjusting to new rhythms.

Love Outlined Hate

I am three

you are thirty three

again with the red hair

but also,

this time,

your blue eyes.

I remember,

running towards you

abandoned love

You called my name

sweetly,

honey dripping from your voice.

I survived and thrived on your attentions.

Your arms were the first I ever knew.

You carried me everywhere.

But this day,

as I ran closer,

I saw the love in your blue eyes,

I saw, also, contempt.

I couldn’t name it then,

but the haunting edge of hate in you

made me hesitate

I fell to the ground

stumbling over air,

and over you.

The first feeling of desperate desire,

for you to fully love me

clung to every inch of my insides.

That was the first day I remember,

holding you.

And for years I have carried you

Your weight more than I should bear,

My pure innocence you longed for.

As you stole it,

it only made you more soiled.

Now I know somewhere along the way

I began to look at you

with love outlined hate.

But even now,

in all this hate.

I am three

running toward you.

Yearning for you to fully love me.

Yoga in the Woods

This is a blog from over two years ago. Just a few months after this I was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and walked away from my love of Yoga. Oh what a storm the past two years has been. I gave up everything I had fallen in love with: yoga, writing, poetry, reading, exploration, and adventure. This week I started yoga again. It is scary to open up again to old loves. I now have a green mat. I wonder what I will learn next.

i dare you

Bare feet clinging to my blue mat.

Beneath this mat is the groove in the soil.

Showing two months of dedication.

To myself,

to the universe,

to the woods,

to this sacred practice,

learning new definitions to sacred,

for acceptance,

for grace,

all for love.

Calmly a doe watches my Vinyasa flow.

Breathing in,

Breathing out I communicate with her.

Intentions and intuition.

Eager to make peace.

In this silence the trees creak.

Swaying back and forth.

Squirrels gathering nuts, stop to stare.

Self-empowerment,

freedom to share,

gaining trust and respect.

May what I practice on this blue mat,

in this fairytale dwelling place.

Carry me into life with a voice,

that knows when to whisper

and understands when to roar.

On one leg, arms uplifted,

I am a tree.

It is then I know both my strength and fragility.

For even the trees do not know when the next…

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Only Human

At the start of yoga classes they ask you to set an intention.

Today my intention was fun.  I need more fun in my life.

The soundtrack to the yoga class was really powerful and ten minutes in Christina Perri’s Human came on.  I found my intention redirected to the truth, “I am only human.”

I’m not having a lot of fun right now.  It’s okay.

Last week I felt pretty activated on the way home from work about the abuse.  It was a different activated.  I was/am grieving.

I cried.

I was able to contain my own brokenness in that moment.  It was a fifteen minute sob, that made me feel better.  I am always so focused on growing, healing and being healthier that I forget that just choosing to be here everyday is such a beautiful thing.

I am a survivor.

But I am only human.  I can’t always be working on myself.  I need to accept myself where I am.  I was sexually abused by someone I loved and trusted.  I am only human.  My heart was broken.  My world was scary.

I hate denial.  It gives me a headache.  Honest release helps me.

I can put a smile on and carry around the needs of others.  But I have to set things down, take a break.  I am going to make mistakes, I am going to hurt others, misunderstand things or people.

I’m just not going to get things right all the time, I am going to have ragged edges, broken moments, snorts when I laugh, a gap between my teeth, difficulties trusting, issues of fixating on things.  I have frizzy hair at the end of the day and ripped skin and finger nails.  I loose my keys everyday some weeks, burn dinner, get lazy, assume things, get presumptuous, expect too much of others and myself.  I get scared good things are illusions, I’m moody and stubborn.  Sometimes I give up on people if I feel rejected.  Sometimes I give up on goals if it feels too hard and I struggle with boundaries.  I drop my food all over myself almost every meal, park crooked, suck at technology, ruin the laundry and get so excited I talk fast and spit comes out because of my lisp.

I’m just not always attractive, I’m only human.

Whether we have some sort of horrific trauma or not we are all only human.

At the end of the day some of the things I struggle with bring out my greatest strengths or make for a good laugh or people who truly love me think I’m adorable.

And last Friday.  I let myself be, in my humanness, and grieve the pain, things that have been lost and what it put me through.  I have a lot more grieving to do.  But I also need a break from grieving to live the other parts of my story.  It comes in and out like the tide.  I’m only human.  I can only hold so much at one time.

 

 

I Have My Hands

You stand there leering at me.

You know I have been talking.

Telling people.

I am so angry.

Your red hair.

I’d like to set fire to it.

Like you did to my home,

my soul.

My body.

You said Satan tells me lies.

You must be Satan.

I just made that connection.

All this time protecting your.

Thinking I love you.

Angry because a part of me does.

You lied, and stole, and invaded.

I have been talking.

You walk over without a word.

Stick two fingers down my throat.

Your pointer finger, accusing me of your sin.

And your middle finger.

Tell me to go fuck myself,

even though you’ve been fucking me

my whole life.

It hurts

I can’t talk.

So much pain.

In places I didn’t know I could have pain.

I need to keep telling my story.

I need to know I am not really crazy.

That when you dragged me to Hell.

I drug myself out.

Because I am brave.

You still hurt me and press me down.

Taunt me with sweet nothings.

I only feel bitter.

I have my hands.

I learned to write.

I can tell on you.

Write it out in my own blood

if I have too.

Because I have my hands

*This post does not support or encourage self harm.  Please contact 911 if in an emergency.  Or if you are suicidal call 1.800.273.8255.  Or if you feel triggered reach out to a loved one.  Self care is so important please ask for help if you need it.

 

 

Beautifully Invisible Part 2

I work with children and adults with physical, mental or emotional disabilities.  I have seen many limitations and the disgrace they each receive.  I value the things I have that they don’t get to possess, but I wouldn’t wish my pain on them either.  This gets into  how unfair comparison is which is a whole other post.

I am writing this because I grew up beautifully invisible.  No one really saw my pain, no one noticed the facade of a special needs teacher mother and horse trainer father.  They saw a sweet, country, church going family.

That psychiatrist wasn’t the only person on my healing journey to tell me that I am beautiful and I should be fine.  It’s bullshit really.  So many children in dire need of rescue get overlooked because they are well dressed and decently fed.  I don’t know how to change it, but we can start by listening, by really letting them be heard.  We should encourage children to succeed and dream about the future but we need to make them feel safe in the present and just be with them, get to know them.

I’m not sure anyone would have truly noticed what was going on except my dad or sister but there’s a story of chosen ignorance and neglect as well and carrying their own burdens.  I was also decently brain washed by the woos of a sick mother who was phenomenal at putting on a show and wrapping the community around her fingers.

Sure I enjoy being physically beautiful for my husband because I know when he tells me I am beautiful and I crawl into bed with him I am not an object for wandering hands.  I am a sacred vessel that invites him to explore because I am safe in his arms.  He has dedicated himself to all of me.  The ugly and terrible.  Of course he is human and I have been hurt in arguments, but so has he.  I watch him listen to me and work on the areas we need to put work into.  We are both stubborn and have our own issues, but he smiles with adoration when my face drips with tears onto his shoulder and my snot gets on his shirt. He eats my burnt hamburgers and taught me how to cook eggs and bacon for breakfast.  He loves me and chooses everyday to know me more fully.

Don’t tell me I am beautiful unless you’re willing to stick around and find out just how beautiful the whole story is.

My mothers gift was also a curse to me.  I never struggled with self confidence about my physical beauty.  Mother always told me how beautiful I was and that yes I could wear those short shorts.  I don’t need makeup I know I am lovely and appealing without it.  I value waking up and getting ready in five minutes not just because I am lazy but I have confidence it doesn’t take much effort to look nice.

In the same moment she hurt me continuously, betrayed me and kept me silent, told me I was selfish and threatened to admit me to a hospital….but later she would tell me I am beautiful.  When I sat in front of that psychiatrist and he told me I was beautiful I had to be put on 24 hour watch because my mother had won…I was beautiful and admitted to a psych ward.  No one saw my pain. I needed help, and when I reached out I found my mother took other forms and no one could be trusted. Not even myself. It had to end.

I considered my beauty an illness I sought to destroy every thread of my gently woven skin. I hated myself for looking okay when I just needed someone to help me.  I stood in the mirror and clawed at my body.  Even then the shame of my existence was deeply buried beneath, I tried but failed to rip it out.

When I got out of the hospital the first time, my roommate picked me up and said she wished I would have moved to Michigan with my old roommate because she can’t handle this stuff.  It was okay if she can’t handle it.  It was not okay to say it that way, in that time.  The only reason I stayed alive then was because I considered myself too coward to kill myself.  I didn’t have the guts.  I also had a small piece of mind that I still wanted to try, maybe someone could help still I didn’t want my nieces to feel I left them.

It’s taken a village to get me where I am now and my strength to hang on to the right people to form my village and the bravery to be continually vulnerable in my search within and outside myself for resources.  I still don’t like to be told I am beautiful by people I am not close to.  Now my invisible illness is childhood trauma.  I am grateful not to be defined by it and to choose to share it with trusted people.  My next big battle is overcoming comparison from others and myself with pain and the process of healing.

Beautifully Invisible Part 1

“You are beautiful”

I looked at the psychiatrist and he finished saying, “you will be fine.”

Sitting there I was aware enough to know I wasn’t going to get the help I needed from him. I had just been admitted for the first time for being suicidal and this idiot someone handed a degree to told me because I was outwardly beautiful I would be fine.  He didn’t bother to ask questions or get to know that yes I am beautiful on the inside too, but I was shattered into a million pieces because I wanted to die.

Don’t tell me I am beautiful.

I don’t want to hear I have beautiful green eyes, or that my hair is soft to touch. That my legs are sexy or my shape is seductive.  I don’t care that when you look at me you appreciate the delicate outlines of my outer detail.  I don’t even want to hear that I am intelligent and you are proud of me for graduating with honors in the top of my class.  I don’t want to know that I am funny and witty, you enjoy my humor.

All my strengths have also been my shields.

I want to know I have the right to scream at the top of my lungs, feel murderous rage, flick off an asshole driver.  I want to fail.  I want to be seen for my bravery in choosing to live.  I need to know you recognize my courage that I seek to trust others and find truth.

I need it to be okay to not be okay.

For years I hid the pain from myself, the truth and the memories.  I don’t trust myself because of this.  I am also fascinated by the mind and I am grateful I not only survived but thrived.  I was always a pretty child.  In many ways.  I was eager to learn everything and build friendships with everyone.  I loved schooled and excelled.  I was one of the fastest on the soccer team and played ten memorized piano songs for state every year.  When I switched something it wasn’t because I hated it or struggled, it was because I got bored and needed to try something new.  When I became limited by my health I excelled at starting groups at school, volunteering and singing at church. I managed to forge deep friendships and dream of my future.

But I had private moments sobbing in my room, I wished my mother dead and didn’t understand why.  I wished myself dead.  As I got older I ached with indecision so deeply I cried over what sweatshirt I wanted to buy twice in one month first at the Dollar General and then the Quarter Horse Congress.  Breaking up with my boyfriend and choosing a major and a college were a sort of Hell I hope to never return to.

When the flashbacks came, everything slipped horrifyingly into place and I felt unbelievably raw.  I didn’t want to know I was beautiful I wanted to know I could be safe.

I hate how people judge me for the way I look or how well I seem to have done in my life.  They think I don’t understand pain, they will minimize things by saying “you are a pretty person, you wouldn’t understand.” I have heard this too many times.

I am tired of the judgement that looks make things better or makes things easier.  When I was in the hospital a man would ask me to smell my pussy and see my panties.  He tried to touch me.  Another continuously followed me around.  A woman hit on me and tried to steal my clothes, I found her in my room wearing one of my shirts.  I was sexually abused by a woman.  These are the last things I needed.

I have had men in cars pull over to the side of the road in Southern California to try and get me to get in.  It’s a fucking scary world. I need to know I can be safe.

I need to know I can be seen, that my pain can be validated.

I don’t want to be a victim or act a martyr I know I am beautiful, smart and funny, tell me something I don’t believe about myself, but that is true.

I want to be heard.