Why I am here?

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

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Peace comes from breathing out the bad and breathing in the good. People can try to take our peace, our love, our happiness and so much more from us. We must hold on to our hearts and minds every day, one day at a time.

Please, join me on this journey of discovering how to handle the rough seas and enjoy the sunsets on every horizon.

WHO AM I?

I am not a therapist or licensed professional. I am a warrior of my own life and my heart. I am conquering the demons of others that attempt to take me down. I have experienced the good and the bad in life and used it to learn about taking on the battle over the next hill.

I will not give guidance or tell anyone how to live or what to do. I am just a friend and supporter in recovery who shares her stories of strength, hope and faith. I have these people in my life who have reminded me how to stand when I was lying on the floor. We all need friends and support when dealing with the demons of addiction, narcissism, personality disorders and abuse. I read any amazing quote on Pinterest, “Sometimes angels are just ordinary people that help us believe in miracles again.” I believe my friends and support are angels sent to help me when it is too dark to see a way out.

Just please, do not use this as a substitution for professional help or support groups. They are so important for your recovery to get all the help necessary to heal the wounds left by someone else.

If a loved one or you is in need of treatment for an addiction, contact SAMHSA Substance and Mental Health Services Administration for guidance on finding the right help. 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

If someone is abusing you, please get help immediately. It is never okay for anyone to physically or mentally hurt you. Contact National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit at www.thehotline.org

I love sunsets. They remind me that I have survived another hard day or I have enjoyed another great day, whichever way I can look at it in that moment of glorious color. Sunsets make us stop and look for the beauty in every day. It is there and waiting to show us gratitude, hope, strength, faith and love. Remember, tomorrow is always another day to start over and do better and feel better. God bless you on this journey of self-forgiveness and healing from the trauma that has brought you here. We can always start over from where we stand at this moment, we don’t have to wait for a sunrise.

Who Is This Stranger I Was With?

Time at home like this makes those procrastinated projects jump to the front of the line. Like Winnie the Pooh says, “Oh bother.” It isn’t just about cleaning and organizing for some of us though. It is an effort in emotional control because the stuff we are organizing is filled with pain and confusion and can lead to awful triggers that take you down a very dark rabbit hole. I can stumble upon an airline ticket in a piece of luggage and remember the trip like it was yesterday, yet it was really years ago. Some of the trips bring up good memories of moments where I experienced family adventures that I never could have expected. Some trips bring up so much pain and sadness that it feels as if the moment is again in real time. Triggers are tricky. The good ones can help a bad day, but the bad ones can open an almost healed wound that hurts for days. Many of the “memories” I come across in cleaning and organizing make me think a lot. Think a lot about what, why and who? The most confusing and heartbreaking is who. Who is this person in the photograph? Who is this man that I married? Why does he not even resemble this old picture anymore? How does that happen?

I look at those pictures and think to myself why would someone pretend to be someone else for so long? How can they do that? This man looking back at me in those pictures is not the man of today. He is not the man who I saw years ago smile at me and laugh for good reasons. How did I see someone so different than now? He is that person and always was that person who is standing there today. He didn’t get worse. I just wasn’t allowed to see the worse. As I am reading in my book “Splitting” about divorcing a narcissist, I realize that these men and women wear masks. Many many masks that are different for everyone they come in contact with on their daily walk. My ex-husband wore many masks but I never got to see the real man behind them until we separated. It is a person filled with so much darkness and pain who wants to project all that onto those who finally see him for who he really is. It is like looking behind the curtain of Oz but he doesn’t reward you with a heart. It is more like he peels off that man costume and out comes the Wicked Witch of the West to torture you for revealing her cover. She doesn’t give you a heart, she takes your heart right out of your chest and laughs as the blood drips down her hands onto your feet. And then the flying monkeys enter and use your heart in a game of keep away. Every so often throw it the Wicked Witch as she pierces it with her long black nails and watches the blood drip more with a smile on her face. Wonder why they call narcissist’s aides flying monkeys? The narcissist has them so hyped on believing his lies that they do as he says and think he is a great leader. They see you as the awful person he has made drawn you as. I heard from others that I have been portrayed as a mean wife and mother (farthest thing from the truth). Crazy how at the end of the movie, when the witch melted away, they realize how wrong it all was and how controlled they were. And they see Dorothy for who she really is…a good person just wanting her family and home back. Sound familiar? Finally that movie makes more sense to me.

These masks are laid out in full color as I look through the photographs in the storage room. Whether he was playing rich and powerful businessman to those he wanted to impress, a loving husband to me, a doting father and husband to his family, a rich, single man to women, a man who can do what he wants to his friends, an addict to his aa group, etc. Why can’t you just be one person with one life and be that person to everyone? I have learned the answer to that is rather simple but yet very complicated. It is called narcissism, sociopath and borderline personality disorders that affect these people’s souls and minds. It is NOT an excuse, it is an answer. We need answers to feel like we are not crazy from the many faces we can meet in one day with this person. This person tells me that he loves me and just me and would never cheat on me while he is secretly sexting other women. He tells me he loves me when he comes home for having sex with one of them and lies about where he was with zero remorse. He tells his friends about his secret girls like they are trophies and make him a better man because he has a wife and girlfriends and no one is the smarter except him. He tells his kids that he wants to build his family a great home for all of us to live together and have a great future. Yet the reality is that he spending the money on other things and lending to “friends” to make him look better to these women and so-called friends where his ego is all powerful. This man wants to be the hero to everyone but his own family. I see this in all these triggers that I find on my organizing project. Pictures of his past that paint a better picture of the college guy who never really grew up. Pictures that cast a false light on a family man who looked out of place because underneath you can see his discomfort with being there in that moment. Never looked that closely at these pictures until now. Until I knew what I was really looking at.

Yes, being locked up in the room with all this stuff that can open old wounds is so hard and the reason I procrastinate the project. It has to be done. The water needs to be poured on the Wicked Witch of Narcissism. He is who he is and it will never change. He will never change. He will have a closet full of masks and wear them all day, every day because it is his ego that guides him. So every time that I look at a picture and feel shame for falling for the con of this grifter trying to steal my soul, I have to remember that he isn’t that person in the picture at that moment. His physical appearance isn’t who he is. His darkness and pain is who he is. Some pictures may not expose this. Some do. I was made to believe a lie and I am not a weak person because of it. I am strong because I loved someone who kept trying to hurt me. I kept trying to love this man into the light and out of his pain and addictions. There is nothing wrong with that at all. If anything, I have grown to believe that all this has made me a better person. I am wiser to the masks some wear. Yes, we all have them. Many days my mask is one with a smile so no one can see my pure pain inside. So what do I do with all these triggers of the past? I do what I need to do. I dispose of them so I don’t keep living the lie that he loved me. If I keep hold on the idea that this man could love me and still do all of the heinous things that he did to me, then the pain will never go away and the questions of what, why and who will haunt me forever. So I clean the clutter and throw out what is not needed anymore. Like that say at the end of every Alanon meeting, “Take what you like and leave the rest.” I have chosen to leave the memories of him and our marriage forever and never look upon them again. Being done is a good feeling full of hope in healing. I am done with his masks and the memories good and bad because to me they were all just part of play he was performing. The play was cancelled and no one wants tickets. The doors are closed forever.

God bless you on this journey to take that bucket of water and pour it on the painful memories and wash them away forever. Take those painful “memories” and throw them away, burn them, melt them in water so you can heal. You are worth the healing and the light to shine brighter inside of you. Don’t feel bad for being made to believe something that you wanted to be true because you loved him or her. You are amazing for loving an unlovable person. You are strong and compassionate and worthy of all great things. Never forget that and move on towards a better day and happier life.

Breathe out triggers, Breathe in good times. Breathe out stuff of the past, Breathe in new tokens of better days. Breathe out the narcissist, Breathe in your good soul. Breathe out regret, Breathe in regrowth.

Quarantined In Our Thoughts and Feelings

This whole idea of being quarantined during this health crisis really makes me think. I have been thinking about so much. There is too much time to think. There is too much time and not enough routine distractions. Trying to find good things to do instead of sorting through the clutter in my head. These are difficult days for someone trying to heal from new loss, past trauma or profound changes on the horizon. Empty time creates racing minds and troubled hearts. As I am going on week three inside my home with limited outings, I have been battling with painful feelings and memories as I sit in a house that once housed a family of four. A house that held dreams and hopes of the three still living here. A house that promised a future of togetherness and love for us as family of four. We had to face these changes and accept that we can keep these hopes and dreams for a future as a family of three and hopefully in a new home. A home that will keep these hopes and dreams safe for us. I thought all of these intense feelings were because I was feeling so alone without physical contact to friends and family. It isn’t. This awful pain was triggered by the walls that witnessed the emotional abuse and they started to talk to me about the honest loneliness of this family over the years. The loneliness of living with a drug addict. The loneliness of living with a narcissistic personality. The loneliness of living with a sociopathic personality. The loneliness of living with an ego bigger than the Stalin statue. The loneliness of living with constant emotional and mental abuse. Being stuck in my house with nowhere to go and nothing really to do, I feel like I am back in this horrible marriage that I was stuck in and had nowhere to go. I feel the sadness of the loss of the dreams and hopes all three of us had for this home and this family. The feelings are overwhelming lately.

It is crazy to me that certain events can trigger such deep pain to fester up and infect our souls and minds again and again. This is how I know for sure that this was not a typical marriage. This was not a divorce because we fell out of love or married too young and grew apart. This was a divorce because I didn’t want to wither up and die from the abuse that was dissolving my soul. For years I felt myself weakening inside. I had the symptoms. Many of the symptoms on the lists for abuse. I just didn’t have the bruises and scars on the outside like I associated with abuse. I started with a few internal symptoms and thought it will get better. He will get better. I will get better. The symptoms got worse and more in number. I got worse and more in pain. By the end I was so numb to it all that I didn’t even see the truth flashing at me like a cop car at midnight trying to pull me over. I was so quarantined within this marriage that I just stayed put and made myself believe that it was all good. I started to believe that all the lies and manipulations and secrets were not that bad even though I would lose 10 pounds in a month or cry myself to sleep nights in a row. I made myself believe that he really loved me beneath it all and he would see me as the wonderful wife I was. I lied to myself that this was all going to be okay when he got sober. I believed it was his addiction that abused me not him. That feeling alone in a marriage was okay for a wife of an active addict. Not just okay but normal. That being quarantined by his disease and his abuse was normal. I thought if I stayed put for a certain amount of time that it would all be better and I would feel loved and not alone. It wasn’t his addiction that made him abuse me; it was him. He got sober and nothing changed. He always cheated and lied no matter what. I was being held inside the walls of a terrible, painful marriage and needed to find a way out to survive and heal from the toxic virus trying to kill me.

Nothing is normal about being quarantined. Humans are made to be with other humans. We are not a solitary species. We need love and appreciation to feel good and thrive. How can you get that if you are alone and have no contact with other people? You can’t get that and something inside just hurts. Something inside fears this emptiness. Something inside cries over the vacancy sign to which no one responds. I can’t believe I survived in quarantine for the past 12 or more years. It may have been longer but I was unaware because I was lying to myself for so long about who he really was. Maybe I was alone, stuck in an empty relationship for more years than that. I think I know that answer, but I don’t want the truth. That is a truth to finally accept would hurt too much. I know that truth and it is that he never loved me and I was alone from the start. I just can’t fully accept that yet. Not just yet. I am working on it, especially now that I have so much time in this isolated feeling running through my entire being. It is the most painful thing to accept…that you were never loved, just duped into believing someone’s lies about how they felt.

So I have had too much undistracted time lately to think about the past and being at peace to completely set the pain free like a newly pardoned prisoner. I hate too much time. I like the distractions of a busy life. Distractions are the best tools for not having to think about anything. I need to find distractions now. I pray for them to come my way. I am trying to create them with working from home. I am trying to create them for my kids too and no not just school work. They are feeling the pain too as I can tell. A mother knows her babies so well. They had hopes and dreams of this house and this family that are held in the walls keeping them locked in at this time. I understand their pain. I live their pain. We were all disappointed in how life turned out for our family. We are all grieving the loss of a family we wanted so badly together. I held my son as he cried about it all to me just the other night. Tears that hurt my heart to the core. Tears that I felt guilty about because I want to protect them from pain. But this pain is one I have to remind myself that I did not cause, cannot cure and cannot control for them. I can just love them and support them through the healing. I can sit with them and hold them while they have to be quarantined with their own thoughts and feelings. I can distract them with good things that are reminders to have hope in the promises of a better tomorrow and my love. We will all get through this time, some better than others. We all have things to overcome and heal from. I pray that you all make it through this time of being alone and heal and grow stronger from it.

Breathe Out Toxins, Breathe In Healing. Breathe Out Pain, Breathe In Comfort. Breathe Out Loneliness, Breathe In Wholeness. Breathe Out Abuse, Breathe In Love. Breathe Out Guilt, Breathe In Patience. Breathe Out The Past, Breathe In Your New Future.

FEARS – The Fog of Confusion

Sitting here today, I cannot about the word Coronavirus. It is everywhere. It is a word that instills fear and angst to everyone who reads it and thinks about what it means. We get these awful images and ideas in our heads about the look of this virus and how it can hurt us all. The most scary part of it all is that we don’t really know about it. There are no clear answers of what exactly to look for in symptoms, where to go if you think you have it, what will happen and what are the chances of recovery. These are all things that we need to understand to feel better about this fear looming in the air around us. Questions and confusion equal fear of what we do not know or understand. Fear can make you sick or make you believe that you are sick. Fear can be a virus on its own.

These fears about a virus, spreading and affecting us all, are not that different from fears about other situations. How many coastal people had such heightened fears of tsunamis after the largest one in history? How many hurricanes after created fears of hitting the same area twice in a month? How many young men had growing fears in the 90’s that the draft would be used again and they didn’t know how to fight in a war? History gives us fear but it also teaches us lessons to help the fear understand how to change. This is why the governments are acting swiftly to contain the virus to protect everyone. They have learned from history how to change the way things are done now. Fear can create a desire for change and a desire for security and safety. Fear sounds like a bad thing but actually it can be a positive force for change and movement towards betterment.

I have been talking about such large areas of fear. Fear can be your own virus making you sick instead of propelling you into a new, positive start. I know first hand how fear can prohibit a person from being who they really are and want to be. There are so many fears that I have gone through in life…fear of failure, fear of success (yes, you correctly read that one), fear of unknown, fear of love, fear of trusting, fear of not knowing what to do, fear of not being good enough, fear of not being pretty enough, fear of not being smart enough, fear of the past, fear of betrayal, fear of death and now fear of the Coronavirus…well, you get it. A lot of fears have run through my mind over the years. These fears don’t have to come one at a time. Some fears come as a bundle package. This is when it is harder to find the helpful, strong lighthouse in a deep fog creating so much confusion that I cannot seem to know what is up or down, right or left. It is terrifying. I start to panic. I search for the right direction only to become exhausted, confused and frustrated leading to an even more intense fear where my head and heart are both unable to work. The sweat starts beading up on my forward. My heart starts to pound so hard it is audible. My head feels like it tripled in weight for the size of my shoulders holding it up. The bones in my legs feel like hot Jello. Then I start talking to myself through the tears overflowing in my terrified eyes. It is not a pretty sight. But it is me with intense fears.

I hate this feeling. I hate fear. I feel so helpless, so weak. I have to remember it is normal. We are just humans trying to stay strong in a very messed up world. Fear is natural in that environment. But it doesn’t have to take us over and consume our days anymore. Instead of running around for the answers, sit and breathe. Think about it all and rationally sort it out. Pray and ask for the guidance and strength to find your footing and direction. Until then just sit and breathe. Patience is the sword to take down fear. I have feared that I will never get over the pain that my husband of 16 years had given me. The pain was intense some days that I couldn’t find air to breathe. I couldn’t figure out how to breathe normal again. What was normal anymore? This fear was gripping my heart and my mind and spreading to every part of my body to contaminate it with pain and sadness. Fear that I was never good enough to have true love, never pretty enough to have someone really want to be with me, never smart enough to see the many red flags and lies, never strong enough to stand up for myself, never mean enough to not get taken advantage of, never being able to trust again…it was a bundle package that all at once arrived to my doorstep. A package I never ordered nor wanted. But it was mine at that moment and instead of fear it, I had to open it and look at each part and have the patience to understand what is was and why it wasn’t mine to keep. These are things that I didn’t order; they were given to me. So I sat and breathed through each one. With a lot of patience for myself, I got through it. The fog lifted so I could get up and move on. I took those fears and learned from them so next time that they visit me, I can know better how to manage them and dispose of them. My ex gave me these fears, it is my choice to keep them and let his virus affect me forever or throw them out and take my life back for me.

Don’t let confusion and not understanding create a fear in you that hurts everything inside your body. Fear can make you sick. Fear can greatly affect your life, in a good or bad way. Take your fear and look at it. If you need to learn about what is confusing and you are not understanding, ask someone to help. Someone you trust. Pray for understanding and patience to beat out the fears. And take what the fear teaches you to make changes that can help that fear dissolve for you It will. Just have faith. Right now listen to the consistency in advice on how to stay safe and don’t let the fears overcome you.

Breathe out fear, Breathe in patience. Breathe out confusion, Breathe in understanding. Breathe out fog, Breathe in warm sunshine. Breathe out frustration, Breathe acceptance. Breathe out the negative, Breathe in the positive.

And pray for all those affected by this terrible virus causing fears in so many around the world. We all need prayers in this world today. God bless you all with safety, love and healing.

Sometimes stop and breathe in the moments of taking a break! We need to learn to stop and think of changes.

Sometimes we need to learn to stop, step back from the chaos and confusion and just breathe in the peace of taking it easy. No vacation is total calm and ease of time. There is travel time and planning involved in every getaway. BUT there are definite moments for you to take it all in and just let go and let God revive your exhausted spirit and weary mind. I did that recently. Regardless of the fact that I was with family (lots of family), I relaxed and absorbed the good energy available to me that was greatly needed after this long winter of chaos, confusion, pain and grief. The sun felt warmer. The breeze felt crisper. The sounds felt more peaceful. The time felt less hectic. It was such an amazing reward for all the difficulties dealt to me at the hands of the narcissist in my life.

I used this time away to explore the options that lay in front of my feet. The same feet that are able to change the direction of my life and make it better. Only I can move those feet. Only I can change my direction. I saw that the option of moving and relocating could be hugely beneficial to myself and my children. Especially my children. They could witness their mother go from heartbreak and pain to success and renewal in a new place. They could leave behind the pain of rejection and abandonment that they have had to deal with too. It is so hard to accept what they have had to endure along this journey of being married to a narcissistic addict. I feel like I should have been stronger and better at protecting them from the feelings of rejection and abandonment and pain. I have to remind myself that we all have our own journeys in life and I cannot shelter anyone from his or her journey. God has us on His map of life and He has plans for us that are far greater than any journey we could imagine. I do see these emotional and mental obstacles that I have faced with my children as events of growth and bonding for us. I am closer to my children than I could have ever imagined. I understand my children more than most parents seem to understand. I love my children so deeply sometimes it hurts my heart with the fullness pressing on its walls. This isn’t unhealthy. This is a bond of survival created in times of trouble. Many go through this bonding with an intense event of change and growth. People who survive a crash or crisis together. People who witness war together. People who live with active addiction in their families and watch someone killing himself. They are all very different stories but the same bonds are created.

When we are standing in the middle of the this dust storm stirred up by the narcissist and/or addict in our families then it does create a bond of survival. It does create such tension and stress that eventually takes it toll on everyone around that person – The Ripple Effect. (for my next entry) The dust can consume you and your existence. When it gets this way for you or your loved ones, please take a moment or two and step away. Take a break from this life that will suffocate you with the pain, grief, exhaustion, confusion and chaos. Whether for a day or two or a week or two, it doesn’t matter. You need a break. You need a recharge. You need to see outside of the storm and be able to envision all the good things in just changing your feet slightly in a new direction. Your feet have to be in a different direction to get out of this storm. BUT before you change your feet in a new direction, you need the strength to change them. It is not as simple as it sounds. Trust me, I know from being there in that exact exhaustion and sadness and confusion. Which direction? How much do I turn my feet? Will it be the best choice? Can I do this alone? Do I want to do it alone? Why do I have to be here right now?

All good questions. All things that I have asked myself over and over again. The direction is determined by your desires for your life and the visions that you hold for your own passions and greatness. You are great. You can do it if you believe. How much you change your life is up to you and your need to change. If you are being physically abused, I would recommend you make a big change to safeguard yourself and your family. (Please, remember you are worth SO much more than the evil person hurting you is making you feel.) Yes, you can definitely do this alone. Do we ever want to do anything alone in life? No. But can we? Yes. We have survived living with a very disrespectful, unloving person for this long. We can do this on our own. I have learned I am never really on my own. I have all those people who have gone through my pain in their lives walking with me every day. I have friends that have stepped up to be with me and help me as they can. Yes, some family and friends lack the courage to walk with you and cannot handle messy things. Don’t worry about them. Don’t focus on them. Let them walk in their direction away from you. Just know there are people willing to help you along way. Many of those people will be the new friends that you meet on your road to change. These friends will most likely be the ones who truly become part of your new, positive life. You can always make changes again and again. There is no rule saying to you have to stay where you are at this moment. Life is about change. Take this moment right now as a gift to make a better life and a change for you and your family and true friends. Take time to stop and rest along the way. Take time to heal. Take time to breathe. Take time to be grateful and blessed for change from the pain. Take time to figure out your feet and your direction. Take time to love yourself back together. Just remember to take time to step our of the dust storm that this narcissist wants to keep you in and suffocating you. You deserve more than living in constant suffocation from pain and confusion.

Breathe out dust, Breathe in fresh air. Breathe out confusion, Breathe in serenity. Breathe out panic, Breathe in calm. Breathe out negative people, Breathe in positive people. Breathe out fear of change, Breathe in excitement of growth.

What Should I Wear Today? Now It Is What Should I Feel Today?

Some days it is like walking into a huge closet and being confused about what to wear. Do I feel like dressing up or being comfy? Heels or sneakers? Pants or skirt? Black or bright colors? For me the clothes that I picked reflected my feelings that day. As one girl whom I hardly knew in my office once told me after I resigned from the company, “I am going to miss you so much because I looked forward to seeing what you would wear every day. Some days you looked like you just left a rave and other days you looked like Audrey Hepburn.” I was flattered and surprised at the same time. Was I really that diverse. The answer was yes. I still am. That is what I consider one of my greatest qualities…I am never ordinary or simple in anything that I do. I like to be different. I strive to stand outside of every box. This works great in most areas of life. Except it doesn’t work so well in the emotional part of life. I am so diverse in emotions. My clothes did reflect my emotions. Some days I felt like having fun and just setting out to enjoy that day. Some days I was serious about life and my path going forward. When I combined these I would look like Audrey Hepburn wearing orange Converse. Yeh, hard to imagine her wearing those? Me too. But I know if she had had the chance to wear them with a Roman Holiday dress, she would have. I always wanted to be that fun but sophisticated woman who did not get knocked off her Vespa on her journey into the exciting life ahead of her.

I am really not sure where I got off the Vespa and lost the days of raves and Audrey Hepburn. They did go away for awhile. I gave up my soul. I gave it to a monster who loves to eat souls adorned in fun, color and hope. He wasn’t a monster at first. I guess you could say a wolf in sheep’s clothing. His wardrobe was stylish but these were all merely costumes for the role he was playing that day. I never played a role. I played myself. If I was a movie a character, I think I would have been a cross between Jennifer Aniston in Along Came Polly, Jennifer Gardner in 13 Going on 30 and Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. That was me. No acts. Just me. I lost those spirited parts of myself. I lost the roses on my lapel, the vintage coats, the variety of dresses, the jewelry galore. I lost my spark that made me who I was. I became jeans and what top I thought he would like or what he bought me (which usually was never a reflection of me). I am not sure if he thought of me when shopping for many gifts. Some were great. A few times he actually saw me. Many other times it was like he never even saw me. Sizes wrong. Styles off. Not even the looks that he said he liked to see on a woman. I would try to wear them to make him happy and to think I looked pretty. I wouldn’t feel like me in them. I gave my soul to the monster. I gave my spirit to the monster. I allowed myself to become the kind of person that I felt bad for in life. I allowed myself to exist in a relationship that I said I would never allow. Why did I allow it? Why did I give up my spirit that made me special? Why would he want to take that spirit from me if he said that is what he loved about me when we met?

Who we are deep inside the depths of our souls is so valuable and so important to this world. If we were all the same then this world would be so boring and so one colored. I don’t want to live in a world like that. I never wanted to live in a world like that. Yet, I was willing to live in a world like that for what I thought was love. But I realized that true love, real love, honest love doesn’t drain the color from the world. It does just the opposite; it brightens every corner and makes the colors have flavors and smells. Only destructive love kills the life in our spirits and souls. Destructive love of a narcissist, addict, abuser, sociopath, etc. can drain every drop of color from your life. I don’t even know if you can call it destructive love. There is no love in their actions or words. There is just pain and sadness that slowly brings you to your knees surrounded by hues of grey and black. You are a pile on the floor in drab sweatpants and a t-shirt that doesn’t even resemble your past self. You don’t even recognize yourself anymore when you look in the mirror. It hurts to look at what you have become. I know because I have been there. I was so mad at myself for giving up my heart to a monster who just kept stabbing it and then getting mad at me because I was bleeding. It is insanity that puts us on the floor. It is insanity that makes us forget who we are. It is insanity that makes the color vanish. It is the insanity of loving someone who abuses us either mentally, emotionally or physically.

I realized that I was just a blob of grey. When I tried to be me again, I would find out he was cheating again. I was finally hit by glitter bomb falling from a rainbow. Well, not really but I like to imagine it that way. I was hit with the understanding that he never loved me. He loved the idea of a faithful, loving, doting wife. I just happened to be the supply that worked for him at the right time. Lucky me. Like he walked into the store and said, “Oh yes, this dress. This dress is the perfect companion for me, sexy enough but also tasteful and sophisticated for what I need.” I was like a selection from a store. Then he outgrew me very fast. But I kept trying to be the perfect fit for him.

I am once again myself. This time it is gold, snakeskin, neon or pink sneakers. It is fun jewelry that I buy for myself. It is fun, sophisticated and sexy all in one, but with creativity and color in every stitch. I look so much better that people are telling me how great I look these days. It feels fabulous to have people see me again. I am not a grey blob anymore. I am me again. I am fabulous me again. I learned so much over these past 18 years. I will never go back to that drab girl again. I am forever fun and creative and me again. I love me again! Don’t let a monster drain your color from your soul. Take back your color and your life back from this destructive false love. You are fabulous and never let anyone make you feel or think any other way.

Breathe out sadness, Breathe in happiness. Breathe out grey, Breathe in color. Breathe out smoke, Breathe in rose petals. Breathe out misery, Breathe in freedom. Breathe out abuse, Breathe in healing.

H.O.P.E

The other day while searching Pinterest for some wise words on a difficult day, I came across this amazing Pin. H.O.P.E….Hold on pain ends! Wow! So small but so profound and powerful. Just hold on because all pain ends. I love this so much. Not it’s not because I am really struggling with the difficulties of my life but because it says something about every day whether good or bad that all pain is temporary. All pain can be overcome. All this is possible with HOPE.

Some days hope seems so far away. Like a star you can vaguely see without the help of a telescope and know you never can reach. Hope is so necessary in order to believe that this too shall pass. When I think of hope, I see an anchor. You throw it overboard so you don’t go adrift and crash into the shore, rocks or another boat. You place your hope in that anchor to keep you safe. We anchor our faith in hopes that we will be kept safe during a storm. Everyone gives me anchors for gifts now. Trying to remind me never stop believing that I am being taken care of by strength of my higher power, God.

Seems easy huh? Seems so beautiful and peaceful so have hope? It is beautiful when someone has deep hope and faith. But easy? No. It’s a daily journey to keep it. For me anyways, some days it is an uphill journey. Especially in the middle of a difficult and painful divorce, I find it hard to find that anchor keeping me from drifting into the sharp rocks of disappointment and anger. My divorce is like those ones you see in the movies. You know the movies that you are like no way does that happen in real life. Well, it does. I am living proof that fiction can be moved into the non-fiction part of the library. I think the hardest part to portray on a screen is the inner feeling someone has when she realizes that she has been living with a complete stranger for 17 years. Nothing was real. Nothing. It all feels like chaos and confusion. Realizing that the man you married is not at all who he made himself out to be was the saddest, maddest and strangest part of my life so far. How do you hold on to hope when you realize there either wasn’t an anchor at the end of rope or just a small bag of sand for too many years? It is a situation I never imagined being in and I am sure you never did.

I keep thinking of this quote that reminds us pain ends as long we believe it will end. That belief in better days is what hope is all about. I stopped believing in better days because I was so beaten down for too many years. Now I can say that I see that anchor at the end of my rope. My rope is strong. My anchor is strong. I am strong. I always hear move forward to get away from the pain and grow towards a better future. Maybe the anchor is better. Throw that anchor over the side of the boat. Don’t worry about navigating anywhere or doing anything at that moment. No big decisions need to be made. Just focus on healing yourself. Taking care of yourself. Enjoying the sounds of the water lapping on the side of the boat, the birds flying overhead, the sun warming your skin, the horizon showing you the earth is still moving and the breeze cooling just enough for that perfect comfort. Smile at it all. Relax and breathe in deeply the fresh air around you. Throw overboard all the things causing your heart to hurt with confusion, anger and sadness and watch the currents take them slowly away from your boat. With every wave, that pain get further away. With every wave, that pain gets less. With every wave, you allow hope and faith to keep hold of you. You will survive. You will be stronger. You will be better for it all. Your faith will be deeper. Your hope will be more consistent. So remember with H.O.P.E., you just have to hold on until the pain ends. And it will end. And you will be better than ever. I have been getting better in the process. I have faith in God. I have faith in myself. I have faith in you.

Breathe out fear, Breathe in faith. Breathe out pain, Breathe in hope. Breathe out confusion, Breathe in new outlook. Breathe out old air, Breathe in fresh air … Fill your lungs with the new!

Darci Doll, What You Taught Me

My parent’s king size bed was overrun with dolls, barbie clothes, stuffed animals, and miniature furniture. I created an entire house for my many dolls and their pets with pillows and dollhouse furniture. Two duffel bags filled with clothes and dolls entertained my imagination for hours. I had a very vivid imagination. Still do. One of my coping skills that gets me through very dark times. I imagine a better world and go back there when my heart and mind cannot take the pain around me. When I couldn’t reach my daughter, I used to tell her that she is the star of her own broadway show and she is often on encore. I understood her. I was and sometimes still am like her. We both had the same form of coping skills for difficult and scary times. I wasn’t escaping a difficult time back then, but I would play with my dolls for hours and hours. I would immerse myself in their stories. I even would fall asleep on one of the pillow beds for a quick nap to rejuvenate my creative mind. I can picture it like it was yesterday. Sometimes I wish it was yesterday and I could know what I know now and relive my life. But then I wouldn’t be sitting here today with my two beautiful kids or would I? No one will ever know. Now I am off subject. My creative mind wandering to another show. Sorry.

Back to my dolls. I had so many and all different kinds. Most were Barbies. The blonde, blue-eyed beauties that made us think we would all have legs that didn’t touch at the thigh or perfect 23 inch waists. And that Ken would always follow us around and want to be with us. Funny though, Barbie wasn’t my favorite doll. Darci was my favorite one. I got her one Christmas. She was different. She was a whole head taller than Barbie. She wasn’t as anatomically incorrect as Barbie was in those days. She looked like a woman who got up every morning and ran three miles then drove the kids to school before going to work. I never realized it, until one night recently when I was reflecting on these fun moments, but Darci was always the head of my doll household. Just Darci. No Ken. Not even long, dark haired shave Ken. And he was a catch for sure. No one could resist his silky long dark hair instead of a blonde plastic, feathered helmet. After years of the shave marker on his face, he eventually had stubble. I mean, come on, Malibu Ken was just a pretty boy. Darci was strong enough to not be tempted by him. She ran the house and everyone in it. She solved everyone’s problems. She believed in consequences and communication. She was my superhero. I knew then the power of a woman and what she could do on her own. I knew you didn’t need a man to make it in this world. I knew Darci could handle it. She must have had like 15 kids, not sure because I had so many Barbies then. Darci taught me that I could do it too.

After the duffels of dolls were long packed away, I still believed in what Darci stood for in my mind. I went to Europe by myself to study. I went to college far away from home by myself and graduated with honors and a semester early. I moved to New York City by myself. I never even knew my roommates until the day I moved in. I slept in a non-heated basement on a mattress under a spiral staircase. The floor shook from the nearby subway station and I could see my breath some winter mornings. I loved it. I was succeeding on my own. I even helped to support a boyfriend who got lost in grief after his father died. I was Darci. I was handling life. I was doing a pretty good job until I got this idea in my head that I should have someone who loved me. I had not had anyone love me yet and I was 30. Shouldn’t I have this? I lost my edge. I lost my focus. I lost myself in the man who promised me just that. I took Darci and put her in the duffel bag and pulled out one of the dolls that I didn’t like so much. One of the high maintenance looking ones who always played the dumb sister. Yep, that was me now. The doll that I didn’t like. Why did I give up on Darci?

I have been beating myself up for months now. Mad that I didn’t stay in Darci mode. Mad that I let this guy con me into believing his false promises of love and forever. I believed him so fast. Too fast. What happened to me? I thought that I was lost and needed something. I thought that something was a man. Why do we do this as women? Is it because when we were kids the Barbies came with Kens. I don’t remember Astronaut Barbie or Chef Barbie. I am glad that the girls of today have better examples of being strong, independent women. I created Darci into that inspiration. I don’t remember Darci and her two friends having any guy dolls to go with them. It was just the three girls. It never ceases to “stupefy” me that these dark-hearted men can take even the strongest women and turn them into a heap of pain. I have to stop beating myself up for my stupidity and naivety for believing a pathological lying, narcissistic addict that he wanted to take care of me and that he loved me. It is not my fault for wanting to see the best in someone. It is not my fault for having a big heart and loving big. It is not my fault for wanting to be loved. It is not my fault that he cannot be faithful. He is the Ken doll taking any glamorous Barbie you buy for him that day. I am the Darci doll wanting to be strong and capable to do it on my own.

The duffel bag was given to my daughter. She didn’t see the amazing qualities in Darci that I did. But Ken did lose his head forever and she had all girls left. So things went back to a balanced world in the duffel bag and in my mind’s world. I will be forever grateful for my creative mind that protects me when the toxic people try to destroy me. I will always reflect upon Darci running that king-sized household all by herself and succeeding. Thank you, Darci. I won’t forget you anymore and let some Ken kidnap me with lies and false love.

Breathe out emptiness, breathe in creativity. Breathe out worldly needs, breathe in personal growth. Breathe out stigmas, breathe in leading the way. Breathe out unrealistic expectations, breathe in self acceptance.