Taking Back My Power at 5am.

This morning it’s quiet again; my favorite people are still sleeping peacefully in their beds.

I’m up before dawn; I saw your face again.

During the day, I stand tall in my assurance that not only am I over not having you in my life, but I have grown to forgive you.

But, at night – I am somewhere deep in this majestic place with you. And I can feel me real and raw anger toward you. After all, you are my father, and we’re suppose to keep me safe…all of my life.

Instead, I’m awake at 5am being chased by your demonic voice, making me second guess every decision. Making me feel crazy for thinking anything ever.

I digress.

I will not allow you to have control over me when my eyes are open. You can come and go in the dark night; in my subconscious. I can battle it out there in my nightmares, because let’s be honest. You’ve been there most of my life. Even as a little girl.

Your mental and emotional abuse has had a noose around my neck since I can remember.

But, when my eyes are open and my soul is awake – you will not have power over me. I will remind myself how truly awake I have become.

Even if that means sleeping has become like torture. Because I know I might see your face.

You never realized how deep your words, actions and ideals cut into me. I picture what you’d say if you ever read this now.

That doesn’t matter anymore. My eyes are open.

Montana, You Are Heartbreak.

I was so full of hope. Hoping you’d love me, finally. The way I needed you to; the way I thought maybe you always did.
Truthfully, in the back of my mind, I knew that I had lost you so many years ago…to all of the demons you always claimed never held you by your neck.

Alcohol.
Anger.
Resentment.
Hate.
Drugs.

You, somehow were my hero; don’t let my childish behavior growing up make you think I didn’t recognize how hard you worked. You tried. You convinced me it would all work out, you convinced me I was the best daughter, the one that gave you life. The one that was your reason for breathing still, after all your demons had you encapsulated in this tiny little dark place.

Truthfully, thats how I see you now; you’re small and weak.
And that is how I have finally learned how to let you go.

See, I arrived in your home state, my life and children in tow. I sacrificed it all, in an understanding this time would be different. In trusting that you finally could see the woman I grew to become; strong, resilient, imperfect but still good enough to survive and thrive in this life. After all, I had spent 10 years without you, and fumbled through life with the man I love. We made it. But, I still questioned where I went wrong with you.

We moved our entire life to Montana.
My life was right there, in your hands and all you could do is…….accept the woman you wanted me to become. Not who I am.

See, leaving my everything and coming to Montana was me giving you all that I had. My trust, my safety. I leaned in closer than I ever before, and you took that with both of your incredibly strong hands; and you broke me wide open.

You told me I was so good. Smart, beautiful, capable.
Then you chased your words with a bottle of moonshine.
We danced. You cried and cried.
Only the next morning, I could smell your lies and anger on your breathe. You wanted to believe the words you said. But really you don’t feel that way, you never did.

You’d scream. Hit things. Yell at me, making me feel so little again. I walk this life as a thirty something year old woman who’s been through hell and back but in one raise of your voice; you cripple me.

And, as those memories so quickly blur together because of trauma amnesia, I find that I feel nothing now. I can hardly cry typing this; this isn’t new news. You’ve slammed my head into walls as a child, mentally abused me, emotionally traumatized me, all the while convincing me – it was always my fault.

With all of my heart, I have to thank you though. I would never want to take back this year in Montana. It’s taught me exactly what I needed to know. Your lies were always my truths. My strength, resilience and bright light will never be broken again. I needed to be broken open by you, to realize you were the reason I was always doubting what I was truly capable of.

You darkened an entire state for me. You convinced me this world is so dark and terrifying, when we both know, the darkness comes from within your soul.

Scott, I hope you find a way to forgive yourself for everyone you have ever hurt.
Scott, I hope you know that letting my own father go, was the hardest and yet easiest thing I have ever done.
Scott, I hope you know that your grandchildren will be okay, because they will never feel this kind of pain.
I will protect them with everything I have and give all of my energy to keeping them away from the ‘you’s’ that are all around us.
Scott, I hope you find peace the day you leave this physical world, but please don’t tell me when you go.

Scott, when I leave Montana, I will leave your memory here.
I will leave my pain.
I will leave the trauma.
I will leave the fear of trusting anyone.
I will leave my questioning God with you.

You always used to tell me I needed to “angry enough” to do something about everything and take control of my life. You were always talking about money, but what I never realized until now is that…..

I didn’t need to get angry enough to do something about life.
I needed to get angry enough to pull your dark soul sucking life off of me in order for me to truly LOVE, LIVE and move on.

I will pray for you.
I will think of you from time to time, and wonder what ever happened to the man that helped me come into this world.

But, I will not..for one second blame anything you did and myself again.

While Montana may be a very deep hole in my heart, I will praise God for bringing into my life the most beautiful family. The man you could never be for me, took my hand in marriage.

Don’t worry, I didn’t need to get angry enough to survive; I needed to feel truly loved to thrive.

Instagram, you need to go.

Like everything in life; change is inevitable.

I’d like to argue that change is actually not always best. Sometimes, change comes for many people without a single thought of ’cause and effect’. Instagram is a great example of just that.

Rewind to 8 years ago, Insta was simply THE place to catch up on so many incredible photos, that both inspired and connected people from across the globe. One day, someone tried a little harder to get that perfect photo, and the next – everyone was in competition with that great photo capture to gain as much attention as possible.

Basically, it grew into a popularity contest.

Truth is, I am now a believer that Instagram is at the top of the ladder of our worldwide mental health crisis.

Taking a look back into my own past, with this (now) clear understanding that before Instagram, I had my own style not just fashion, but also how my home was decorated… I rarely EVER knew what was ‘popular’ but enjoyed strolling through a department store from time to time and purchasing something I thought was cute, and popular to decorate my home with. There was never this pressure though, to grab for something because I saw it online. Doesn’t that happen SO often now!? Am I right?

Now? Companies all of the world are utilizing our screen addiction with only their profitable vendetta in mind.

They took your freedom of creation, by mind effing you to believe that you have to share everything to matter. And, unless you buy the next best thing, you dont matter.

You let them take that freedom from you.
You kept pushing for more likes, more followers.
You let the very basis of greed and ‘influence’ ruin that safe place that was burned into your mind by your family that YOU are enough just as you are.
You took advantage of a platform, and attempted with everything you had to be the best at your niche. And truthfully you probably were. But, there was and always will be someone better.
Except, that

This left you feeling low.
Not good enough.
Stuck in a loop that good enough doesn’t actually exist in this place.
Because her photo is just so much better.
She looks so happy. He looks so in love.
And, no matter how many new influencers come out to try to convince you that you are enough – the damage is already done.

After all, How do you remove scars that have cut you so deep when really they were self inflicted?

There is a life without likes. There is an independent acceptance that starts with only one reflection, and it’s right in that mirror. Those scars you hold deep within your heart that you think no one understands are only there because you’re comparing yourself, your life, and your ideals to other people. Sure, someone can tell you that social media is just the good stuff in peoples life, but no matter how many times you tell yourself that – part of you needs to just STOP being influenced to sway in either direction.

Freedom from influence comes only after giving yourself permission to let go of the idea that anyone else’s view of you matters.

There is one thing in this world that matters, and thats you. In this room, reading this. Those around you, stuck behind screens – it’s time to take back the time that was stolen, and get to know the people around you, for more than the filtered photo they posted. You don’t even call anyone anymore, because you think you know whats going on in their life, based off a posted image.

Instagram, you got to go.

But, there will always be something, won’t there? Let this be the greatest lesson of putting your foot down and refusing to let anything take YOU away from you. No more comparison, burn the word influencer from your mind, let God, the universe and your very deepest divine purpose lead you in life. Not another soul trying to convince you that you’d be better off if you did “this” or bought “that”.

*deletes instagram account*

photo by: Camila Quintero Franco via Unsplash

To Begin Again is to Accept Pain happened.

The bath water is hot. But, somehow not hot enough. I usually like the water to slightly singe my skin, while soothing the pain. My candle nearby is a favorite and familiar scent, apple something…reminds me of my childhood and my mother, every time I light it.

Truthfully, I can’t smell it. Covid took that from me recently, although I do believe it’s slightly coming back. But, that’s not what matters right now.

My bath water is hot, my heart is….whole, and maybe for once in a long time, I’m understanding the way the universe plans our “ah ha” moments. Our moments of brilliance, of realizations.

I remember my great grandmother and grandfather telling stories about the crazy that was their childhood. The challenges of raising children, affording anything, and being poor. I remember nearly feeling bad for them. And now, my realization at 32 years old brings me to remembering those stories. Is the struggle the plan for every person in my family?

My blue collared working class family.

My grandparents and their grandparents were farmers, workers, and most likely worked until their hands bled.

Today, I don’t work in the fields. Thankfully. I’d imagine I wouldn’t survive, mostly because childbirth gave me a bulging disc and SI joint dysfunction. But, I would have been right next to them, had they needed me.

Today, I’m a designer by day, hell….actually I’m more of a professional design guru who gleefully entices people to spend money investing in the company I work for (and happily, I have been to hell and back in the art field).

But, I have the most beautiful children, a husband and high school sweetheart of 16 years. One of which knows me better than any human on this planet. (But, I’ll go into that later). And from the outside looking in, my life looks like any other.

The struggle didn’t stop with my parents, or their parents though. It merely changed its face.

The same life’s struggles come to all of us, in one fashion or another.

Love, heartbreak, acceptance, loss, fear, emptiness, depression, forgiveness, self acceptance, self questioning, mourning.

It happens to every human.

Isn’t that interesting? No matter how much time has passed in millions of years, the human race relives the same life lessons in every life, every decade, every millennium.

Some may argue that it’s because of Eden. I’d like to argue that there are a very specific requirements to getting to the afterlife, and maybe experiencing these things…get us there? Ah, maybe not.

Either way, my life experiences have nearly broken my spirit multiple times. It’s brought me to my knees and made me ask God “why”. I have been through many of the human pain experiences, like so many of us. Sometimes I manage by self sabotaging with drinking, binge eating, or drinking alcohol. Sometimes, and more recently, I go into this dark place of questioning life, feeling empty and not understanding what the fucking point is.

Until recently. When I finally put my foot down and decided to stop the voices telling me NO.

Those second guessing thoughts that live in your mind, and challenge you to say “but will you be able to do it?”

Those feelings making me pull back and tell me that I can’t. That I won’t. I decided to fight back with fire, in saying I can. But, maybe also saying that — if I can’t, then that’s OKAY. Because in failure, is growth.

Read that again. Because in failure there is growth.

This year, I have moved 2600 miles. Burned an obscene amounts of money, feared for my children, second guessed my marriage, belittled my husband, had thoughts of suicide, seemed out help from a counselor, quit counseling, moved again, squished my little family into a tiny apartment to find solace, found a great job, re-found depression, got Covid….bad….and then; and only then, got so scared that Covid was going to take my life like so many others that I decided this:

  • Life will never ever be perfect. It will be messy, even if you spend all of your energy perfecting. It’s an oxymoron and you’re actually fucking it up by pretending that perfection exists.
  • You will have to leave people, if they are abusing you. Even if you love them and you don’t even know how. You’ll have to walk away, without anger and resentment and claim back the power that they stole from you and convinced you was all your fault.
  • You can and will be able to rise to the occasion and get out of the shithole you’re living in and convincing yourself you’re happy with. It takes two words. I’m done. And then you have to DO something about it.
  • Life isn’t definitive. It’s short for some and long for others, but it will never last forever. And regardless of what you believe, you will never be in your same body again. Be bold. Accept the imperfections as pure beauty and keep going.
  • The voice in your head guiding you – stop ignoring it, and give in on the side that tries lifting you up. And ignore the side that’s pulling you into deep waters that you are already second guessing.
  • YOU ARE CAPABLE. WORTHY. AND RESILIENT enough to chase after the simplicity or the most chaotic parts of life. Decide and then believe in your choices.

In conclusion, I want to say tonight that this isn’t my first time starting a blog. Matter of fact, I think I’ve started close to 25 blogs. I’ve left and rejoined social media too many times than I can count, and every time I have compared myself to every other woman in this world, while constantly second guessing my existence if I didn’t get enough attention for my art, writing or photos.

I killed that part of me. And I’m done second guessing my worth. Now it’s about walking through it, and inviting others to do the same.

Every damn ugly beautiful thing about this life is worth talking about, but I will no longer get lost in trying to be something the world wants me to be.

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

— Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit