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Category Archives: health and healing

Don’t disrespect me.

When I’m teaching beginning English learners about verbs, I categorize them into 4 basic types; state, do, feel, and think.

A state verb is basic ‘to be’; I am (a woman, a mother, a daughter, a teacher, alive), I am — years old, I live in –. Your basic states of being…

A do verb is whatever you do….   Run, eat, play, sleep, etc.  Feel verbs are happy, like, love, angry, wishful, etc.  And a think verb is along the lines of want, plan, consider, believe.

So, what is respect?  For me, respect is a think.  Respectful can be a feel or a do, or even a state, but actual respect is a think.

And along the lines of you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself first, I believe that you can’t respect someone else until you respect yourself.

So how would I define respect?  I find it difficult to define think verbs without using variations of the word, but if I had to choose one synonym it would be equality.

When I believe that the life of another is equal to mine, I respect that life.  Which, when turned around, if I believe that someone else’s life has more worth than mine, I cannot fully respect myself.  If I believe that my life has more value than someone else’s, I can also not fully respect myself, because then I have subscribed to a value system that ranks life value, which automatically places me on a spectrum, in which I can be less than, putting me right back at unable to fully respect myself.

So, in my definition,

Respect is the belief of equal value of life, its states, thoughts, feelings, and actions.

When I feel respected I feel as if I am seen with equal value.  When I feel disrespected, I feel that I am seen as having less value, by the other person.

This concept of respect, it is something I think about a lot.  I’ve been through enough situations, seen enough abuse in my life, that I’m constantly trying to figure out how to respect myself and others, without being victimized.

Can someone be respectful without having respect?  Yes.  Doing a respectful action is part of social manners.  Someone can know and perform all the social manners without having ‘the think’ of respect for the other people they are performing those manners around.  Abusers use that skill very, very well.

Abusers are sure to point out all the “nice” or “good” things they do, trying to prove they’re a good person.  Look at this thing I did.  I do everything for you.  Watch me do this good thing, see I’m good.  I got this for you.  I did that for you.   I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking. I would never hurt you, remember all those good things I do?  Those prove what a good person I am.

But see, abusers don’t respect themselves or the people they abuse.  They’re trying to stay on top to prove they’re not less than anyone else.  There’s a deep need to be seen as being good, that people who respect themselves and others don’t have.  In my experience, people with high levels of respect don’t have to point out the good they do.  They hardly even recognize their respectful behavior as anything but just what should be done.  There’s no need within themselves to prove they are good, they just are good.  It becomes a state verb, not just a think verb.

Abusers, in my opinion, have subscribed to a rather stark value system; one with very few steps between, a rather black and white system.  They need to feel as if they are seen at the top of that system, because they feel that they’re not.  They make sure to use more, have more, be more so they aren’t seen as less.

And they see their victims as lower.  They test, and then pick people that have more respect, who subscribe to a much different view of the value system.  Isn’t that the crazy thing, I think to myself all the time; the people who respect others, who value the people around them, treat people well, fairly, respectfully, those are the people preyed on by abusers.

Truly, I think that if we subscribe to a value system on life at all, we are all, at some point or another, within a wide range of abuser and victim.  But, it has really struck me that the people who respect the lives of others, treat others the way they want to be treated, are caring, empathetic, giving, those are the people most often targeted by abusers for relationships.

It’s a weird kind of circle, abusers feel afraid of being less, so they make others feel less, to feel like they are more.  If you stay, you are clearly less because the abusiveness is tolerated.  But….. at the beginning, it’s tolerated because of the very respect for others that makes them a target.

And if you show any kind of equality, then they must knock you down to make sure you are less.  Insults become more personal, more derogatory.  Threats become more realistic.  And, I’m sorry’s become more frequent.

Sociopaths and narcissists aside, the abuser feels bad for being abusive, making them feel bad about themselves, perpetuating the need to make you feel bad, so they can feel good, which cycles around and around and around.

The nice side of an abuser can only be seen for a limited time though.  An abuser can only allow themselves to be seen as not having the power for short amounts of time.  Those short amounts of time are a manipulation, a way to stop the consequence of losing their victim; win them over again, prove how good they are again, be equal again.; because they want the respect, from their victim, that they can’t give themselves.

That respect then becomes demanded for.  Respect me.  Look at everything I do.  I’ve been good, now respect me.  I’ve been respectful, respect me.  Respect me -or I won’t do these things -or I’ll take these things away -or I’ll make you fear me.  Fear=respect right?

Once those cycles have repeated enough….. it can, and often does become more than threats, more than derogatory slights.

People who haven’t seen these cycles, in all their stages and multiple wraps around a relationship, struggle to understand.  But it really comes down to value, equality, and respect.

 

I continue to stretch out and increase the many increments of the value system, trying to get as close to the zero point on this half-life depreciation.  I meditate and pray for help to respect myself, by seeing the intrinsic value of all life around me, as well as preserving my self-respect by not allowing others to treat me as less than.

I’m not finding it very easy.  Power is a corrupter for those who don’t respect themselves or others.  I do not seek out power.  Others see that as weakness.  I am open about my short-comings, because I want to learn, not because I think I am less than, but others see that as a weakness.  They cannot see their own faults, and so shift the repercussions of their faults to me, blaming me, saying she even says she has faults, this is her fault.

Because I do not seek out power, does not mean I don’t have power.

I have my power, my control of self.  I do not need to control others, because I understand that any form of trying to control someone else, is abuse.  But others see that as weakness.

 

I am not weak.

 

I keep getting up, and I learn.  I learn and I grow.  I have been getting stronger and stronger.

 

Just like learning a language requires repetition, practical experience, and meaningful use, so does truly learning respect.

I’m confident I can say, I respect me.

I respect you too, so understand that means that I won’t accept your disrespect of me or others.

I’ve spent a life time earning my own respect through giving, forgiveness, educating myself, kindness, tolerance, and doing my best to understand even those people who have hurt me terribly.  I’m not perfect.  I still have trouble fully shaking the value system.  I have spent a lot of time working through that system to get where I am now.  I still have much to learn; but I respect myself enough to understand I don’t know it all.  I respect others enough to know that I can learn from them, I can talk with them, I can share with them, without ever needing to hurt them, belittle them, or make them feel less than.

This is my life in words.  I keep writing about abuse, learning, traveling, and being me.  Glimpses into my head means glimpses into my progressions through healing.  It’s a freaking process man.

Maybe someone out there today needs to read that they’re not alone in trying to understand respect.

Maybe it was watching the special on the Dalai Lama…..  maybe it’s just my life right now……

Whatever it is,

Light and love to you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes, it’s the little things

Sitting at a cafe, trying to stay warm, I think about all kinds of stuff.
One thing I’m thinking of today… Before I left the States, someone said, “I hope you find what you’re looking for out there.”

It’s weird.  Maybe, I’m weird.  But, I’m not looking for anything out here, except what is out here.  I just want to be part of the world.

It’s weird, I suppose, because I have met quite a few expats running from things, running to things, looking for something or someone, trying to forget someone or something.  But, I’m not.  I didn’t set out here to find anything, not even myself.  I had already found myself before leaving the States the very first time.

I just want to see the world.  Plain and simple.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it, for a long time.  But, I’ve wanted to see the world since I was a little girl.  I dreamed of visiting sites I learned about in History classes or read about in magazines.  Traveling has been a dream for as long as I can remember.

And I finally found a viable way to do it.  A way that makes me happy.  A way that helps me feel like I’m contributing to the world I want to see and be part of.  Teaching.  I love teaching.  I love traveling.  Therefore, I completely love my life.

Are there people that don’t get it?  Sure.  Of course.  That’s ok.  They don’t have to get it.  It’s my life, and I completely get it, so they don’t need to.

There are a few who are worried for me.  Some that think I’m crazy.  There are even a few that are mad at me because I have chosen to live the way I’ve always wanted to.  Frankly, I say, that’s on them.

It’s the little, every day moments that I love out here.  It’s the smile on the barista’s face when she sees me because she gets to practice her English when I order.  It’s the drive through a little village and seeing the people driving a few head of cattle across the street with motorcycles and cars trying to go around.  It’s looking up at beautiful mountains dusted in snow.  It’s seeing a Chinese man walk across the street and feel pangs of missing a place I called home for a while.  It’s the little things that make me feel part of the Global community that keep me loving it so much.

I know a few people who have goals to see x amount of places before such and such a time, or step foot on every continent, or other really awesome goals.  My goal from day one, has been to teach around the world, so that I can be part of it.  I want to learn from it.

I am learning from the world.  I am teaching in the world.  I am being in the world.  I am happy.

Recently I’ve told a couple people a bit of my life stories.  It used to make me sad afterwards.  But one incredibly great thing that came from the ugliness of my time on Ilha, is that I can truly feel my own strength.  I have been through the baseness that mankind has to offer and not let it harden me.  I have learned how to be a better, stronger, kinder, more understanding and compassionate person because of what I’ve been through.  That’s apparently a lot more rare than I understood before.

I’m freaking proud of me.

One of my students asked me yesterday if there was anything I would change if I could go back in time.  I didn’t even hesitate to say no.  I like who I am and I wouldn’t be the me I am, if it weren’t for the things that shaped me into me.  So, no, I wouldn’t change anything.

Do I wish that I could have learned a few life lessons without the pain? Sure, but both are necessary to recognize either, so……  I’ll be happy just being the me I am, with the stories I have.

Mostly, I tell my stories in order to let it not hurt me any more.  But I also tell them because I hope other people can learn from them without having to actually experience them.  I started traveling again so soon because I didn’t want to let fear get the upper hand.  The longer I held off, the harder it was becoming to believe I could again.  SO, I told fear to fuck off.

And here I am.

Walking around a beautiful city every day.  Teaching amazing students from all over the world.  Working with supportive, caring people.  Making friends with other amazing teachers.  Sitting at cafe’s and pondering the little things that make my life happy.

My peace is tangible.  My joy surrounds me like a beautiful sparkly cloud of awesome.  I am happy just being out here in the world.  I’m not looking for anything; every day brings me something new to wonder at.

#Lovelife.  #Noregrets.  #TeachPeace.  #Notallwhowanderarelost

 

 

 

Getting ready to start again

A new adventure!

I’m always amazed when I first get to a new country.  There are so many things to learn, look at, eat, and know.  Once I arrived, I knew I had found a place I could stay a while.

Along with a few ESL classes, I am the new Science teacher at an International School.  I’m spending my Winter Break creating science units and lessons for grades 3-8.  It’s So, So, SO much fun!   That is not sarcastic.  I’m really enjoying it.

My classes are truly international, with students from Europe, the Middle East, the Balkans, Asia, and the Americas.  I’ve been welcomed in from the first day and have met many other expats as well.  What a fun place I’m living in!

Dancing on the weekends never disappoints!  And, I have a new puppy, Zoe.  Technically, she’s not mine, my bestie rescued her, but I get to claim her while I live here 🙂  Zoe’s about 7 months old and had been hit by a car when very young.  She’s got a funny little gait, but she keeps up on our walks.  Getting to know how to be a good doggie second mommy has had its ups and downs, but mostly ups!  Yeah for conquering fears a little more every day.

I’m grateful for a good job, in a good city, with good people.  It’s the season to show our love for humanity.  And so, I will also be doing some volunteer work at the local orphanage hospital.  Holding and comforting tiny newborns and infants sounds like a pretty sweet way to celebrate the Season well.  I will let you know how that goes, because I expect pure, exuberant awesomeness to come from those days.

I need to get back to planning for a semester of science, but I wanted to check in with everyone and say Hi!  Go be awesome.

Tell ’em Ms. McKahsum told you to!

 

 

 

 

Hormone 15 – a Mari-ism

Hormone 15 – a Mari-ism

My 15th year was a doozie.  Lots of things.   So many things made that year a humdinging, what-the-heck kind of year.  But it also set my mind to the trying to understand that year.  It made me want to figure out what it is about 15.

When my oldest son was a teenager, things were a bit of a whirlwind.  I wish I’d had the understanding and the ability to articulate what I know now, but as I tell him every birthday, he’s my guinea pig.  He’s my first go round at being a parent of someone his age.  So most of my parenting has been winging it with him.  However, I noticed and started to pick apart that 15th year of his as well.  Things weren’t great up to that point, but 15, that’s when they hit their fever pitch.

I learned that hormonal changes are far more than armpit and facial hair in our boys.  They may not have periods, but those hormones take hold of our boys and chew them up, same as our girls.  I watched, I took notice.  It’s the science-y part of me; I observe, I question, I contemplate these types of things.  I have learned so much by being his mom.   And I’m pretty lucky for it  🙂

As my daughter came up on 15, I took notice.  Like me, she hit hormone madness with a full speed ahead, hold onto anything not tied down, double-engine train.  The lack of subtlety made it easier to see the stark contrast of “adolescent behavior” pre 15, and smack dab in the middle of head-on 15.

I am grateful that even through their teens, we had a good enough relationship that we could talk about whatever.  They usually turned bright red or did this (especially my daughter)

when I talked to them about sex, but, I’d rather have red, gaggy faces than STD’s, early babies, and naïve meanderings that could end up with emotional trauma.  (yes my kidittos, you’re welcome, btw)

So I was able to talk to her a little and help her understand, a little better than if we weren’t able to talk, the madness that hormones wreak.  It was a more modest, less developed version of the talk I had with my youngest son, but it got most of the main points across.

And so, as I combined my observations with myself, my oldest son, my daughter, other parents and their teenagers, I was able to finally formulate and articulate the “You’re going to be 15 soon” speech.  A speech which I attribute much of the continued success in communication with him to.

And it goes a little something like this:

 Son, you’re going to turn 15 in a few months.

When this happens you won’t like me.  I won’t like you.

It’s ok because we are going to love each other all the way through it.  We’ll be alright, because soon after that, you’ll be 16 and we’ll like each other again.

You see, somewhere around 15, a brand new hormone will hit your body.  One that will change the way you see everything.  One that has plagued humans since the beginning of time and probably threatened our existence more than any other natural cause.  It is the hormone that spawned the saying,

eat their young

 

And here’s why.

Up until this point, the only way you know how to understand and relate to your moods and feelings is by what just happened.  EVERYTHING that affected your mood, happened outside of you.  If someone took your candy away, you got mad.  If someone brought you a present, you got happy.  If your favorite cartoon came on, you felt elated.  If someone said something mean to you, you got hurt.  If everything was just normal, you were just normal.

Your mood and emotion was, and is for the time being, entirely dependent on external events.

That is all about to change.

Don’t worry.  It’s part of life.  We all go through it.  We will survive.

The problem lies in how little we understand it.  So I’m gonna break it down for you.

Once this hormone hits your system, NOTHING, absolutely nothing outside of you will change, but your mood will.

Oh will it change.  Your mood will fluctuate like your vocal chords bud, with no sense of timing, or reason, or care for social circumstance.  Hormone 15 will mercilessly twist your brain up like it’s saltwater taffy on a roller coaster, out at sea, in a hurricane.

Yes, you get to add this to your changing voice, the fact that you stink, your Shaggy-esque hairs, and your extendo-limbs.

And because, so far, your mood has only ever changed by external events, you are going to try and find external events to lay blame on.  There won’t be any.  You’ll look for them anyway and you’ll find a few things that it could be; so you’ll turn all your hormonal driven emotion at whatever that is.  You will get confused and hurt and frustrated as you try to find the thing that made you so ……. whatever emotion you’re feeling.

(Usually the blame will go to me.  I get that now.  So I’m going to be able to handle it a bit better than I did with the last two, you lucky duck you.)

You are going to wake up one morning and hate life.  The sounds of morning that once made you feel happy because you love breakfast, will be heard with hormone-affected ears and you will feel The Hulk want to rage out of you with each clank of a dish.

Your clothes will piss you off.

Your pillow will make you want to cry.

The sky, in whatever state it is in, will frustrate and confuse you.

The smile and hug I am used to, as you leave for school, will be replaced with a scowl, because your inner hormonal demons don’t want to be touched and can’t believe they have to go to school.

All of your friends will be going through the same thing and you will run the gamut of emotional torture, frantic clinging, and bouts of ecstatic wonderment in all that is new in the world, which unmistakably, now you all can see more clearly than any other humans that have ever lived.

Oh, that Hormone 15 is a doozie.  You’re about to get flip-turned upside-down.

The good news is that A) after that first rush year, it calms down, B) you start to figure out how to live in your new body, and C) you start getting so interested in girls you forget about not liking me.

Of course, that’s when we’ll have the next set of talks generally titled, “Respect” and “No babies”.

 

* I got very lucky with my children that I didn’t have to have the Respect and No babies talks before the 15 talk.  I did have a sort of graduated/ age appropriate series of talks with my kidittos…..  In fact my daughter chose to skip one, because she knew it was coming and didn’t want the embarrassment; and instead learned a valuable lesson the harder way.  Which taught me that age appropriate is “while it’s still informative, i.e. before it’s needed”.

 How was my “talk” received?

One morning, my daughter was already in her usual teenage morning huff when my youngest son woke up, within a few weeks of turning 15.  I heard the uncharacteristic banging of doors.  The, (characteristic) yelling at each other about time in the bathroom, but with an added, and new, note in the male voice.

There was a grumbly boy eating his breakfast, hunched over and scowling.  And a frustrated and bordering angry re-entry into the kitchen after being reminded to rinse his dishes.

A refusal to be hurried for his sister and subsequent second argument, followed by a slamming of the front door as he left to go to school.

And then, as he reached the end of the walk, he turned around, still storming.  I watched by the front door, prepared to rationally deal with what was CLEARLY the first day of Hormone 15.  I stood my ground, stuck a smile on my face as he opened the door.

He glared at me as he asked, “This is that hormone thing you talked to me about isn’t it?”  To which I calmly nodded my head.  He grunted, half smiled, and said he’d see me after school.  Then he closed the door and walked back down the path.

Hormones suck.  Being real helps.  Boys and men are just as complicated as girls and women.  Society teaches them not to show it, or to recognize it; to push their complicatedness away and ignore it.  But it’s there.  All teenagers go through these emotionally havoc wreaking, scary, hormonal changes.  I sure wish someone had explained any part of this to me when I was a kid.  But hopefully, I can help other parents and teenagers figure out a good way to get through it.

 

15

 

What do you think?

 

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The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

The endeavor to walk in the world: Overcoming

HEALING

Through a variety of ways, I have healed internally much faster than anticipated.  Mostly, through determination to not stay stuck in a place of fear.  However, there have been some other wonderful helps along the way. That is not to say I am through with the process.  Hell no.   But I’m farther along than I thought I would be right now.  Much farther.

My journey through becoming a shaman is slower than I expected, but far more powerfully healing than I anticipated.  It packs a punch and then I need time to process it all.   But, I am.  AND THAT IS AWESOME.  I am reaching and stretching and seeing life in bigger and better ways.  I am definitely more confident in my own abilities to trust my journey and its processes.  I am more confident in my spiritual strength and ability to follow my own path no matter who says what about it.

I have had to stare down my childhood and many of the ways that my parents, but specifically my father at this point, primed me for abuse in my future, albeit mostly unknowingly.  And I have had to work through the fear, very real and serious fear of confronting him about it.  But I’ve done it.  And he’s listened.  And though it was incredibly scary, it has been equally freeing since.

I am sifting through the book of my life and placing bookmarks between the pages I need to work on.  I am unfolding the page corners that I had dog-eared for quick reference; the stories I keep thinking back on, that keep me from growing.  I am going back and making new notes on the memories to remind little me that we figured out that problem.  And I am holding my book with newfound love, wrapped in my arms, against my chest; whereas before I held it at arms length, always afraid it would open to the wrong page when I wasn’t looking.

I am ready to travel and teach again.  I am ready to meet new people and find more joy.  I’m ready to start being me again.  And it feels pretty damn good.

RESEARCH

My research and discovery process is and has been enlightening to both the awareness that is already out there and to the still greater amount of awareness and education that is needed.  I have discovered terms I had never heard of, yet know the details of intimately, like Gaslighting.

Unless you know the term, you can’t find it as a form of abuse.  There’s no Google lookup for the individual terms within the forms of abuse, that I’ve found anyway.  It takes looking through hundreds of other avenues to find the term, then start looking that up. I’m working on changing that.  I’m collecting terms.  In fact, if you know of any, please comment, I need the help.

Boy have I had my fair share of gaslighting!  Look it up, you’ll be amazed, enlightened, and hopefully strengthened in your understanding of abuse, how to spot it and stop it.  And I’m starting my own new term, Halfening, the victim-blaming coddling of an abuser for fear of repercussion, after those that did it to me.

FEAR

I don’t like to think that I’m afraid of the unknown.  I actually like heading off into some new adventure, not sure what to expect or how things will turn out, who I will meet along the way, but ready to find out.

However, the unknown of where and when my next adventure begins…….   I am not liking this unknown at all.  I actually pretty much hate the interim.  It causes me panic and to make decisions too fast in order to at least be headed in a certain direction.

BUT HEY, I am in learning mode.  So, even though I’ve had a couple different opportunities to just head into the crazy wild blue, I haven’t taken them.  I’ve given more thought, I’ve taken more time.  I am learning.

LEARNING

I’m still working through the fear of trusting myself.  It is frustrating because I know that I made a fast decision to head off to Mozambique, but I also know that I was guided there.  I trusted my guide and I am actually coming out of this far stronger than even I would have guessed.  But, I am keenly aware that I was guided there to find out that I don’t know how to see the signs of abusers.

I asked for understanding of what happened with Sven.  I thought I had figured out my confidence, my refusal to put up with abuse, my love of self.  And then bam, confidence shaken.  And on the heels of that, Willem Johannes Goosen, aka John Goosen, of South Africa, happened.

This lack of confidence is a layer of the thick blanket of victim blaming that we hold onto.  It is both safe and suffocating.  I need to trust my gut and the results of following my gut.  Sven went against what my gut told me, but he worked until he convinced me.  Mozambique was completely following my gut.  Bad things happen no matter what.  Great things happen no matter what.

During the time I thought Sven and I were moving forward, I was so happy. I was so in love.  I had a great time, and I don’t regret one minute of it.  People ask me if I ever think of revenge; plot for someone to beat him up or something.  I don’t.  Truthfully, the best revenge is that he lost me.  I’m pretty awesome.  Don’t abuse me, and I’m top freaking notch.  That’s his loss not mine.

Mozambicans are wonderful people.  The local people amazed me in so many ways.  The scenery was wonderful and I am so grateful to have been to Africa.  And because of what happened in Mozambique, I have learned what happened with Sven, and what happened with the ex-husband and the few other ex relationships along the way.

I need to trust my gut and press forward with the decisions I make based on my instinct, without fear.  That blanket makes it safe to say, “if only”, “why didn’t I”, “I can’t”, “I shouldn’t”.  Those things feel safe, like they will keep me safe, but bad things happen no matter what.  Hiding from my path doesn’t keep me safe.  Running into or away from, doesn’t guarantee safety.

Just like I keep telling my little step-neice, it’s ok to make mistakes, that’s how we learn.

and

GREAT THINGS HAPPEN NO MATTER WHAT

ANOTHER DREAM

I need to stop worrying about safe and put my focus on non-abusive.  I had a dream last night.  I was swimming deep in the ocean with a group of whales.  They kept coming over to me and then going up to get air.  Somehow I was not needing to go get air, yet they kept insisting I should.  After I did, they showed me where land was and so I went up.

Everywhere I walked there were snakes. They were mostly out in the open, yet all of them had only their head and part body showing, the rest curled up in their hiding places.  A few were slinked back inside their hideout.  There was a child with me, and we were walking together.

I was not afraid of the snakes, but I knew I couldn’t give them any energy/ acknowledgement/ attention or they would bite.  I had to teach the child to see without giving acknowledgement, to not be afraid, not be curious or get too close.  The scenery was varied as we walked, rocky, grassy, outside, inside, and there were snakes in a snack booth and a book case.  They were talking to us, some trying to be helpful, give advice, offer to get things for us, but we had to remember they were still snakes.  If we gave them any acknowledgement, they would bite us.

There were many blue things as well, blue was a significant color.  There were people, men, women, children all around us, some talking to the snakes, some not.  Some were holding the snakes, some were collecting them, but many just ignored them.

Snakes and whales have interesting meanings in dreams and as power animals.  I’m curious to see what comes of this.  But I woke up feeling very good.

That’s all for now follks.  I’m doing really well.  I’m looking forward to my next adventure.  I’m singing, crying, laughing, and otherwise feeling the feels of life and loving it.   Go be awesome today, I plan to.

 

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The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

They say when things get tough, that’s when you see people’s true colors.

In each of my trials, I’ve been shown the “true colors” of my friends.  I’m lucky to have so many good friends.  I appreciate all the calls, messages, shows of support, and offers to hang out now that I’m stateside again.  And, I truly appreciate my online friends as much as my in-person friends. 

Blog of many colors

Right now I’m coming to grips with how this atrocity even happened.  I was handling all that Mother Nature was dishing out; no electricity, no running water, violent storms, horrendous heat, Typhoid Fever, with a fair amount of grace I think.  And then without warning, at the end of my weakest state, John Goosen went on an unprovoked ape-shit rampage and decided to fling me around like a rag doll to make me listen to his drunken rant.

Some days are good.  Some days are bad.  That’s normal.  I write more on my good days, but lately it’s writing about my bad days.  That’s also normal.

I value being able to read through other blogs to see the uplifting and helpful information out there.  Feeling like there is a community of people who understand the process I am going through is so wonderful.  Sometimes it can be difficult for my in-person friends to understand.

And then there is always the hope that through this blog someone else can be helped as I work through everything and keep living the day to day as well.  Life goes on and this is how I’m trying to learn as I go.

All the Colors change

Once something traumatic has happened, you see the world differently.  I see the world differently.  Not better or worse, just different.  Things that were once important aren’t any more.  Things that weren’t important suddenly are.  Everything is colored a little differently.

Different or not, I’m still trying to walk through this world. I’m still trying to learn from this and become a better person for it.  I still see the beauty in the sunrises and sunsets.  I love listening to the birds in the morning and the coyotes in the evenings.  I enjoy conversations, cold beers, painting, reading, laughing.

But behind it all I’m trying to find my voice, give voice to those who don’t have it, and blaze a trail for change.

I pick at and piece through the trash pile that is the ways abusers work.  It is alarming how often I pick up a piece of that trash and think, “Oh, that looks familiar, that must be mine.”  Only to turn it over and see an Abuser’s name on it. It’s a bit disheartening to see how pervasive the blaming/ shaming way we treat victims is. 

For example, we all have heard “there’s a way victim’s walk, or hold their head, or (….) that clues abusers in that they are a good target”.

First,

and I want to scream this at the top of my lungs,

NO ONE SHOULD EVER. BE. A. TARGET. 

It doesn’t flipping matter if PersonX walks around with a real sign that says, “I let people abuse me”, PersonX should not get abused.  PersonX should not be a target.  PersonX should feel and be safe.  End of story.  Even if the sign has shiny flashy lights with arrows.

No one should be a target.

Think about that for a minute.  If PersonX has poor self-esteem, (and that shows through their posture), there are people out there who are compelled to hurt PersonX because of it.  Abusers look for people who already feel inferior, then Abusers humiliate them, isolate them, manipulate their emotions, make them feel crazy, makes others think they’re crazy. 

And instead of denouncing the Abuser, instead of stopping the Abuser from finding and hurting others, the general population looks at PersonX and says, “hold your head up more, walk straighter so abusers won’t target you”.  Everything gets shifted over to PersonX.

Why are people so afraid of Abusers that they can’t stand up to them?  I stood alone in trying to get people to see see John Goosen as an abuser.  The other people in Mozambique were so afraid to stand up to him.  He needed to work. He needed his space.  It wasn’t good what he did, but he’s sorry.  He needs medication.

Not a single person, other than myself, looked at him and called him out.  Not one person actually stood up to him, except me.     

It has been enlightening to say the least, to realize every single person I’ve discussed abusive situations with has given ways to change PersonX.

Ex:   “I’d try to get them alone to tell them I could help them if they leave the abuser.”

“Abuser has a (…) problem.  PersonX needs to be more understanding.  I mean get away, but then they need to worry about themselves, not Abuser.  Good riddance, they can deal with themselves”

“If you just tell them to leave, they say ‘it’s only one time’, or ‘Abuser loves me’.  You have to give them little examples how to leave without really saying they need to.”

“I don’t understand why PersonX would go back after that.  PersonX needs to get their head examined.”

Not a single person suggested that the Abuser needs to change. 

The Abuser straight up thought, “Hey PersonX looks (insert adjective of choice ie, lonely, sad, etc.).  If I make them a little less (adjective) they’ll take any shit I dish out.”  “If you feel bad, I want to make you feel worse.”  “And I’m going to make you and everyone else think it’s your fault.”

And everybody else thinks, “PersonX should’ve made themselves look less like a victim.”

This is what abusers do.  They work the whole scenario from the beginning.  From the initial lure to the end, everything and everyone in their environment is part of the set up to get off scott-free.

Our True Colors

I think we are so entrenched, as a general population, in generations upon generations of dysfunctional families, war torn memories, secrets, and lies that we don’t even know how to see the first red flags anymore.  Abusers have done such a trick on the mainstream psyche that when we finally see the red flags, we all point fingers at the victims.

But how can we stop the abuse from happening if we start at the end?

What do you think? 

As you’ve heard/ read my and other stories, how many times have you asked the ‘questions of change’ to the victim rather than the abuser? 

How can we change that scenario?  How can we really stop abuse if we don’t change it?

 

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I keep on dancing.

When I arrived back in the US, I began eating everything!  I was eating full meals 5-6 times a day.  I have been eating steak, burgers, bacon, burritos, chile, cakes, chocolate, real – delicious – amazing – wonderful FOOD. 

I finally weigh a healthy weight of 123 pounds!!  120 is the lowest number I should be at, so I’m grateful to finally have crossed it.  6 weeks of stuffing myself like a pig getting ready for Christmas and I’m finally there! Thank you mama for being such an amazing cook. 

Now, it is time to start getting my healthy weight into a healthy state.

While I’ve got a few things burning on the back burner, up front I’m recovering by restoring myself to general health.  It feels good. 

As a former personal trainer,  you would think I could train myself, yes?  

I can, but we all need external motivation to get started.  I don’t care who you are.  If you are having to start over from square one, it is infinitely more difficult to do it on merely your own will power.  I thought, ok, now that I’m back in the world of way too much, I’ll use my smartphone and give myself a little boost with one of these new-fangled apps.

I found about a million different exercise and fitness apps when I searched.   Aye, how is a girl supposed to know which one?

AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS WHEN I DECIDED ON MY NEW CHALLENGE!

Mouth curled in, head turned, eyes squinting, fingers typing anyway. I admit, I am not, so far, very good at finishing my challenges.    I am working on it already….  It’s a challenge. 

For 3 weeks I am going to try 6 apps.  Then I’ll try a different set for 3 weeks.  I’m only committing to twice for now.  Trying to keep it real here.

But I’m going to post my thoughts and progress about the apps I try. 

Nope, I am not turning into a fitness blog.  It’s still my life.  I try to be fit amongst all the other things I do. 

OK you ready?   Here are the apps I’m trying for the next 3 weeks.

 

s_health 

S Health came with my Samsung super phone, so it seems right to check it out first.  My phone has a heart rate sensor!   Who the freak knew?  I didn’t when I bought it, but hey, I’m psyched about it now!  It uses the GPS, the heart rate monitor and who knows whatever other cool gadgets are in there to track my steps, knows when I’m running vs. walking, and keeps me posted on my heart rate.

I need to be more active apparently.  I started it this morning with my little walk/run.  But I know I’m starting easy, so I’m ok with the 20% of daily activity.  Besides it’s only noon.

7Min 

This is the 7 Minute Workout, by Abishkking.  It has a calendar, a classic (full body) workout option, an ab workout option, and a soon to come butt workout option.  I looked at the 13 exercises listed, jumping jacks, wall sit, push ups, crunches, step ups, squats, tricep dips, plank, high knees, lunges, push up with alternating rotations, and side plank, and think, this might just be pretty good. 

I can set up reminders throughout the day as I choose.  I decided each morning, post run. 

PushUpsSitUpssquat  

Each of these apps, by NorthPark.Android, create a program based on where you start.  I haven’t started yet, so I can’t tell you what my program is…   But I got a pretty good laugh when I realized that my push up trainer expects me to touch my phone with my nose or chin to count how many I’ve done.  Hehe  that makes me giggle for some reason. 

These I’m going to do in the evening to keep life rounded out ‘round here.

Water 

Water Your Body is also by NorthPark.Android

This one asks my weight and sets a goal for how much I should drink each day.  It let me set the perimeters for when to start and stop each day and the increments of water.  I chose 5am to 7pm and 9 oz glasses.  It says it only gives me a reminder if I haven’t checked in that I’ve drunk enough water.  

Seems like it might be labor intensive with keeping up, but, we’ll see.  I foresee a lot of toilet visits in the next couple weeks.   I know it only takes a little while to get used to it, but, in the meantime, I’ll keep the tp in plentiful supply.  Smile

Nothing keeps me down too long.  There are some interesting things coming up in my future.  Lots of changes happening slowly.  I’m grateful all the time for how lucky I am.  Life keeps me on my toes.

So I keep on dancing. 

I love the music of life. 

 

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