Saturday, December 18, 2010

Songs we relate too are imprinted in our souls forever!

Chapter 6~Deeper into hell

I had created the very hell I lived in. I could not appreciate anything that I accomplished or the children I was blessed with. I spent entirely too much time working for something else, another level, or something bigger. This was what I now call creative avoidance. I did not know how to be tender, allowing myself to harden completely inside and out was a defense mechanism that began in childhood and became a bigger monster in adulthood. I was jaded and completely conflicted with the inner turmoil I never wanted to share with the outer world. I never felt comfortable with weakness, sharing my fears meant admitting that I was not as strong as I appeared to be. I had a double life, the one that played out inside of me and the one I lived in every day. The million thoughts that passed through my mind was one scene and the running I did to avoid facing any of it kept my outside world in chaos, my own living hell.

I hated my husband, I despised my mother, and I resented my father. I consistently blamed my life on those I had felt let me down and left me out to dry. "Victimization" at it's finest! I was upset with my father for not doing more for me, not saving me from my mother. Somehow I felt life for me would be different if he had just had the guts to fight for me somehow. It is amazing how a child creates these emotions that we drag along with us into our adult years. I would go on later to make peace with the fact that my father did the best he could, and that the most precious gift he had ever given me was unconditional love. But in the fog and darkness of hell one can hardly make out the twinkle of the light just beyond it. It is true when they say one can never see something in which they are not looking for.

I did not realize how deep I was into the darkness, one would have to understand what I had to compare it too.  If I was doing better then my mother,  in comparison to her substance, emotional, and sometimes physical abuse, then I was indeed doing better for my children. Many times through my life I struggled with the guilt and regret of not being part of my mother's life. The child that wished to please her mother and earn her love lived on inside of me. I would continue to abuse myself over the fact that I just could not have a relationship with my mother on any level. & the world around me continued to dig at this wound. The should's, must's and need to's we are all taught & brain washed with in our life dug deeply through advice such as, "She gave birth to you, you should forgive her."  For me it was not about forgiveness, as much as it was about protecting my own children from her venomous ways. I have come to know that my children were not the only concern I had, I was also protecting that child inside of me.

My children were growing up before my blind eyes and I was missing so much. Even now I have the hardest time remembering the little things most mother's can recall with pride about their childrens' beginning years. I was so unaware and out of touch, I can hardly recall memories or emotions from that time in relevance to my children tinniest of years. I was detached from life, simply moving along on auto pilot.

As life continued to live around me, the shame that came with knowing that somehow I was failing my children and falling short of my plan to succeed in giving my children a better life threatened to be my breaking point. I began to detach myself from my marriage completely, and would demoralize myself by cheating and leaving with a man that would be my rock bottom.

My life mirrored that of a drug addict. There would be years where I built the empire I had dreamed of, in the physical sense of material possessions. By this time I had lost everything and started over twice. The same way an addict looses everything to their addiction. When I left the first two husbands it was always in haste & usually it left me to completely start over. The loud, chaos of a snap decision always allowed me to hide from the reality of my life. I was the apple rotting very uncomfortably close to the tree.

Hind sight is 20/20, so I may have these in depth perceptions today that I would never recognize when I was younger. When we grow, change, and mature, our eyes change. One may say, "How does she stay with him?" "Doesn't she understand how this keeps happening?" & I could go on. We are programmed to judge something in which we do not understand, that is why so many are silent about their stories. How can one share a peace of themselves so raw when it leaves them vulnerable to the world in which will never understand? Find God, grow up, let it go, get over it....I have heard it all. When one does not have compassion for the darkness, they become the darkness themselves. I would use the judgment of the world to fuel my anger towards it, my own little self fulfillment prophecy.

When a soul is in dis~ease there is no rational sense to freedom or wellness? The prison that one lives in can be even more restricting then the physical prison of steal bars. I was trapped in the darkness of my life, and I am uncertain if there is ever enough words to paint a picture of what it is like for anyone who has not been there.

At this point in my life my journey deeper into hell began to move with great momentum. The chapter ahead will prove to be the hardest chapter to share.

(More to come...)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chapter 5~I Had A Dream

The military proved to be the single most valuable decision I had made for my career. After relocating to Tennessee, job offers were seeping in from every where I applied. If a degree was required the employer would be willing to consider the service experience on my resume. This made me feel very successful, it was my goal to never be trapped in a system of assistance in raising my children and I felt powerful in knowing that we did not have to struggle financially. Finances would become the single most important thing to me. I had a dream of The Jones', & I was determined to live that dream.

Armed with the funds from my GI Bill, I even took advantage of enrolling in college. This would be the second time I attempted to finish my education.  The first was when my daughter was 6 months old in California, but it can be very demanding to juggle marriage, children, & education. & soon I would finally sacrifice my dreams of a college degree to devote myself fully to the career I was already developing for myself. Some probably would have thought I was going to say, devote myself to the children & to the man I was shacking up with. At this time in my life, I literally had no clue that that is exactly what my kids needed and it was what I should have done. But I was too busy running inside myself, feeding my need to survive with the career that would give my kids everything they could dream of.  Hind sight always proves to be 20/20!

I was far too much of a teetotaler! I would set these massive goals, and take on things that were nearly impossible for anyone's mind or body to achieve. I worked a full time job, went to school at night, still tended to the kids, homework sometimes until 3am, and work again at 6am in the morning. I could not do anything in moderation, like the addictions I had been raised around, I became completely addicted to survival, to proving something to myself and to the world which was not even necessary to the journey of life. I had to better myself in a crazy, twisted self fulfillment prophecy of sorts. I was very good at creating this wonderful picture of success in the outside world, when it was my inside world that needed all the attention. Both worlds would consistently collide, leaving massive amounts of wreckage.

Because I did not tend to the inner most workings of myself, I still struggled desperately with being a good mother. I was a screamer, and I had no patience with the children who needed their mother to invest just a little of that hard work ethic into their own lives with nurturing & loving attention. I could not see these things, I was working to give them things I never had & I viewed my children's sacrifices as part of life. I was a working mother, some kids just did not get Betty Crocker and that was that.

Oh yes, you are thinking where is my son's father? He was right there living in our lives, but he was not the greatest help. He had begun a routine of working and quitting, & he was very mentally abusive. A complete mirror to my mother's behavior as I was growing up. This was the cycle we hear so much about in our lives, I was attracted to people whom reflected my mother's behavior, completely unaware of it I would have told you I had broken the chain. I was a whore, a bitch, & the list goes on, my mom's & my son's father's words. I would work hard to build the empire I imagined in my own mind, and he was the one who consistently worked to tare me down.

Now I am not going to tell you I was a victim, I was very much capable of exploding emotionally myself. I wasn't very classy with the words I chose to express myself either. My mother had the mouth of a truck driver, insults came far more often then compliments, and I love you's were hardly spoken of. I had very little knowledge or know how in expressing myself in a useful or loving manner.In my own mind I was a victim, but I know now that we only victimize ourselves.

Here is where I will visit my relationship with God. Maybe some how bring all the pieces together before entering the next chapter into the massive roller coaster of destruction or what I have always called My Journey Into Rock Bottom!

My Great Grandmother took all of us children to church every weekend we stayed at her home, which was very often in the younger days of our youth. You just did not stay at grandma's house & not go to church. I would also attend churches my friends invited me to, & I did get a basis of structured religion, the basics to understanding The Lord, & Jesus Christ. This did not extend to my own home, and to this day I can hardly remember my mother ever mentioning Jesus Christ or God in our house. Unless, of course, you counted the profanity or there could possibly be a time she bargained with him about something or another. My point is, organized religion was not in any way the foundation of our home. My step-father was Mormon, & still to this day I have no clue how their belief system is structured. But he definitely loved us children, and tried desperately to give us a sense of normalcy. His unconditional and unwavering love was very God like, and I feel it was a safety net in a home with a mother who was not connected to her children. I disagree with the idea that maybe somehow the lack of a solid religious foundation was the reason my childhood was horrible, love is God, and if there was more love by my mother I do not believe that life as a child would have been so tragic.

My relationship with God was very much as conflicting as my relationship with life. I prayed often when I was young about the things I needed and the pain that I felt. Children are only told to follow the structured rules that are set in organized religion, believe, and pray. God listens, God gives, and God loves. I felt jaded, like he left me to suffer when I needed him most. I would pray long hours into the night, expecting that relief would be on the horizon. Only to be left feeling alone to endure the tragic childhood of a sick mother. I begged and bargained with God, becoming angry when he did not answer my prayers. I remember telling God I would not speak to him within times of my inner frustration, only to pray again and again. I could imagine God with a sense of humor as I got down on my knees telling him all of my woes. I look back now wondering how many times he was thinking, "Hey kid I thought you weren't talking to me!"

Now I will not debate religion. I think everyone has a right to structure a foundation of God, & a relationship with the divine source in which ever way works best for them. This isn't about needing to know that God answers in due time because I wasn't on that waive length in my youth & into adulthood I had simply moved on to something else. God was always there for me, I just needed to do the work blah blah blah. I understand this now, I even understand that God doesn't always need to be found in only the ways the masses seem fit. So I have a freedom in my relationship with God now, that I had never had before. It is a too each their own concept, as I know that many find strength and hope in organized religion, it only brought me full circle to a place where I was lost again and again. Going to church every Sunday brings peace, strength, and hope to some, and I think that is wonderful. It just did not hit home for me, and it just did not bring comfort to me. Once I freed my selves from the rules of how one finds God, I would truly feel the closer I had ever been to his spirit. But that would come many years down the road, and until then I would be unconsciously angry with him & would try desperately to return to the church again and again. Only to be left disappointed, not by God, but by the congregations that constantly reminded me of the heathen I had become. There are great churches out there, but just like everything in my life, I attracted the ones that did not help my journey & sometimes hindered my progress even more.

I think God understands our relationship, it is a personal and beautiful journey we have taken together. He has been there through so many facets of my life, like any other relationship, me and my God have built a strong and powerful bond during the journey we have shared together. Good & bad times have strengthened the foundation of my own relationship with the divine source of unconditional love. I do not judge any one's religion, where they find comfort or whether or not they live by the rules of a society driven religion is a personal journey. I have found that as long as your journey is one of love, and that you find the time to connect with your spirit, that wonderful source of your life within you, you are the closest to God one can ever be. The vehicle of choice is never as important as the arrival into a truly spiritual and wonderful relationship with the God of your image. Mine will forever be the same God I have always known, I have just found my own personal journey into his arms and by his side. I let go of the pressure of rules, labels, and judgement...& in this I found freedom!

Of course, there would be a longer road to travel before I would find this freedom!

(More to come...)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In The Army Now! ~Chapter 4

The day I left for the Army I can not remember if my knees were knocking or completely paralyzed together. I was beside myself with emotion. I anticipated the challenge ahead, but I was scared to death.  I could never have imagined what life would be like in the service, and second hand information is nothing like experiencing it yourself. It reminds me of the war stories of giving birth. You hear a combination of horrible and wonderful stories, but your experience can be unique & nothing like anything you had heard before. I believe this is because both experiences are the type in which you can not put into words.

The first few days all I wanted to do was roll over and die, lay down and cry. I could not believe the amount of hurrying up to just continue waiting we were forced to do, and than trying to stay awake with only a few hours of sleep. I immediately missed my daughter, and my heart ached terribly to hold her and breathe in the smell of her sweetness. In all honestly I also missed being in control, I could not manipulate my surroundings & I felt like a fish out of water. My ego taunted and haunted me in these waiting hours with the regret of leaving my daughter behind, the very ego that led me to where I stood was tormenting my spirit with endless hours of abuse.

The lines for the phones were long, and there was never a guarantee that my daughter would be available to talk. As one could imagine, I wasn't on my husband's priority list. I had left him to begin a new life, and he was bitter in the wake of that aftermath. I could leave, and he was left to pick up the pieces. So having our daughter easily accessible was not as important to him as it was for me. We stayed married only for the benefits of me not having to give up rights to my daughter in order to join the Army and so that he could have medical insurance. I was very good at bargaining for what I wanted & using my manipulation skills in order to remain in control. In hind site, my life couldn't have been more our of my control at every second. But it didn't matter, as long as I could convince myself that it was so, than so it was.

I had become a runner, not in the sense of actually running miles in the service. Instead when the going got tough I would simply self destruct and run like hell. The running now led me to place that was not so easily left behind, the military had me for the next four years & they were in control. This was a new concept for me, I could not just give a notice and I could not just quite. Somehow the same traits that haunted my life became very beneficial to my success within the service, it was mind over matter. I was good at convincing myself of what ever proved necessary to the survival of training in the military. The mind is an amazing tool, and by this time I was certainly a master of my own mind.

During basic I learned that responsibility and discipline were important to survival, not just for the preparation of war but in training. I only had to be disciplined one time for falling out of a one mile run, no shower, late chow, and two extra hours of what the Army called Motivational PT.  I would continue on in basic training flying just under the radar, I would do what I had to do, but did not excel so much that the Drill Sargents learned my name.

The two most vivid memories of basic for me would be the gas chamber and low crawling the sand pit. Not because they were horrible, or that I conquered them. Instead it was because they reminded me of my life, & these two training days rocked me to the core emotionally.

The gas chamber was a combination of frightening and completely torturous. At one point I even thought maybe they had poisoned us by using too much riot gas because we were close to the last platoon to go in. It turned out that they had meant for you to choke, burn, and gag until you felt like you would die. This technique was valuable to everyone's survival during chemical warfare. You and your buddies would never fail to dawn your gas mask within 30 seconds or less, & would always recognize the signals that alerted you to do so. For me it was a real life example of what it felt like to slowly suffocate, & that alone was a replica of my very life.

The sand pit seemed like a walk in the park after surviving the gas chamber, the little pit seemed like a bump in the road in comparison. Perception is everything & what I saw was not at all what was. After being instructed to low crawl with my helmet, (bullet proof and heavy by the way), & my M-16, (awkwardly long and heavy itself), I still thought positively that the sand pit was not very long & this would be a breeze.  Taking on that sand pit would prove to be much harder than it looked. Keeping my weapon out of the sand and my head down, was not as easy as I had anticipated. I would not crawl that pit with out raising my head to see how far I had gone, only to meet the eyes of my Drill Sargent, who reminded me of Grace Jones. She would deem me dead & send me back again and again. It would become a battle of control, I could not crawl with out peeking at my progress. I continued to kill myself over & over, until finally I let go of the need to control where I was going or how far I had gone. What a mirror of my own life the pit would become. I cried when no one was looking, resting in the middle of the pit until I collected myself so I could complete the challenge before me. I hated that sand pit, a reflection of how much I hated my life, but only in secretly within the depths of my soul where I could hide it from the rest of the world. The cycle I was trapped in was my prison, & it was a cycle that I would continue repeating over and over again.

These tools I accumulated in the moments of training should have been enough for me to make some well needed changed within my life. This could have been the beginning of much needed positive twist in my life, but it would not happen that way.  It would be many more years before I put these tools to use. It was like handing a screw driver, hammer, and shovel to someone who had no clue how to use them. I understood how they made me feel emotionally, but instead of using the shovel to dig my way out, I dug my hole even bigger.  I lacked the knowledge and the discipline to make these tools useful in my life.

The good news is that one day these tools would prove as life saving devices for me. I believe this is the journey in life, experiencing things and collecting useful information that will one day be valuable at the cross roads of life where you just get it. The "ah ha" moments that finally bring you full circle right where you needed to be. There would be many more years of running, lying, and denying before I would save myself.

While in the service yet another man would be my down fall. I went on to have my second child by whim, and with a man I barely knew. I would give up my career for him, & tell tall tales of why I ran yet again. Not only to myself but to many people in my life. I did not give up my dream of being in the service for my children, and I didn't do it for myself, I did it for a man & for the hopes to once again finding security in places I had no business looking for it.

I would take with me an honorable discharge, a tool I could use to continue lying to myself. The service, in my own mind, agreed that I left honorably. I didn't finish my time, and there would be nothing honorable about that. Now faced with yet another life in my hands, in which I had no business taking on, I set out for another devastating chapter within my life, & the lives of my children. The road ahead of me in this time of my life would be the most disastrous of all!

(More to come...)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Random Thoughts on Acknowledgment

"We can not change what we do not acknowledge."

There is a lot to be said about this brilliant saying. Learning that the doctor's diagnosis of my behavior was a crutch for me was and will always be my most treasured gift of acknowledgment for me. I am not advocating a no drug treatment plan for anyone, as everyone has to make their own decisions on how they handle the things in which haunt them. I do believe there is a time and a place for a little of everything. I refer to my time on meds, as my hope in a bottle. Every time they changed my meds because I was loosing faith weathering the side effects or one day just feeling like they no longer worked for me, the doctor always renewed my faith with a renewed hope in a bottle. & this became the pattern of my life.

Now that I understand how that cycle worked, it truly helped me stop cold turkey and seek to discover my own hope. I will get into why I never just turned to God as I continue telling my story, as some people ask often and always. I found resolve and comfort in learning about the ego verses our spirit, or what some may call our true self. The voice in my head may have been my voice, but it was fueled by the world around was my pain, my abuser, and my demon.

The ego is very abusive, it will drive you to do things. Like a boxing coach taunting you to fight back, "Are you going to let them do that to you?" Then there is the lash out and the upset, and your ego begins to abuse you. "Now look what you have done. Can't you do anything right?" & it is a cycle.

I love learning to live through my spirit, the truest connection to God. The reflection of love from within, unfortunately the spirit speaks in a soft almost muted voice or with sweet gentle nudges. It is practice to quiet the ego so you can be in tune with the love within you!

Being aware and connected to a side of yourself that doesn't have to win, isn't always poised to conquer the world, and does not bargain with you over everything.  The spirit has a fascinating way of seeking harmony and agreement, to help you see life as beautiful even when it is not so pretty!

Today I am ever so grateful for this understanding, and I will continue to do the work in order to master the concept.

"I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One."