Your Stories Will Tell You What Time It Is

Think back to all the times you’ve been called, “difficult,” “overly-sensitive,” “dramatic,” or “bitch.”🖕🏻

O.k. Who were those people? Write them down. What was happening between you two? Defending yourself? Someone else? Going toe to toe with a bully? Rising above the bullshit? Write that down. 🤩🥳😎

Do that a couple of hundred times in life and you have a lot of enemies. — Good for you. That means you’re not a doormat for others to wipe their feet on.🦶🦶Love yourself enough to be odd woman/man out. 💗💗💗🥰🥰

Now, who’s dismissed and invalidated your feelings, shushed you, implied you were “crazy,” and “too much.” What were you trying to express to them? Write that down. 😤 Use your anger for fuel.

Dismissed and invalidated a couple of hundred times in life and you have anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and physical pain — also known as C/PTSD from the psychological mind-fuck that is narcissistic abuse. 🤯 Undo the damage they’ve caused and write your truth. ✍️

Who’s ignored the core of who you are, mocked you, threatened your attempts at telling them what hurt and punished you for your “no?” Write that down. 😡🤬

Write all these stories out and you have a memoir. These stories are your gold. Your power. And they are more for your learning about yourself than they are for outing others. 💪🏻💥🎖

What are the patterns that keep playing out in your life? What’s your childhood conditioning? What role do you play in perpetuating these patterns? What could you have done differently then? What needs to change now? Have you changed over time? If not, why not? 🧐

Those names you wrote down? Abusers. Both overt and covert.

And there is both a time to stand and fight 💥🥊 and a time to walk away. 🏃🏻‍♀️

Your stories will tell you what time it is. ⏰

Looking at Old Photos: An Exercise to Help You Reconnect To Yourself When You’ve Forgotten Who You Are

My 2001 interview with Oprah, Lol!

I’m going through old photos while working on my second memoir and found this memory today.

This one is from a trip to Las Vegas in 2001 where I visited Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. I am a huge fan of Oprah, so when I ran into her that day, of course I let her interview me for my upcoming best-selling book. Lol! 😂

I was writing my memories out by hand back then for the book I wanted to write someday and was filing them away in my 3-ring binder.

I used to sit and watch The Oprah Show every chance I had at 4pm and still have the notes I took on the episode where she interviewed authors of memoir on how they approached their writing process.

This exercise of looking back at old photos is helpful for reconnecting to our old selves to see how far we’ve come, and to see how much further we have yet to go. It’s also helpful for abuse survivors who have endured decades of psychological abuse to help us reclaim who we’ve always been at our core, before toxic people projected who they are onto us.

This photo reminds me what I’ve known all along. I’ve lived authentically and genuinely from my heart. I’ve approached my big, convoluted, noisy, messy, busy life with a huge sense of humor, a love of life-long learning, the strength and dedication to keep my word to myself and follow through on my commitments, while showing up for my roles and responsibilities and continued to dream big!

And here I am. Still smiling and laughing. Still learning and growing. Still strong and doing. Still keeping my word. Still showing up. And still dreaming big!

I’m also still very realistic about what a long way I have yet to go, to get to where I dream of being. But, the most important thing about this is I kept my word to MYSELF to write that first book! How is that for learning self-trust, self-love and self-acceptance on your own?

Don’t allow the community that teaches about narcissistic abuse tell that you don’t know how to teach yourself or can’t. If what you see is good and you’re happy with that, keep doing that. If it’s not, have the guts to change it.

And, don’t let narcissistic family project onto YOU who they think you are, or should be, in order to make them comfortable and to keep you in learned helplessness. Be defiant! Be a force to be reckoned with! They’ll get over it. Or they won’t. It’s their choice to make.

Dream big or go home, baby!

projection #protection #dream #do #create #laugh #learn #grow #loveyourself

Growth from Toxic Relationships Is Not About Building Walls

We can learn everything there is about toxic people of every kind and know something about every kind of personality disorder — and still get duped.

We can prepare in every way possible to never allow ourselves to be used, abused, or manipulated again, but that’s not real life. When we’re keeping our hearts open, living our lives and not isolating ourselves for protection behind impenetrable walls, those things can and will happen.

Believing that everyone who hurts us is purposefully toxic or disordered, and that healing from them is a one and done, is both naive and harmful. Harmful to us to think we should never be duped again if we just learn these simple rules. And harmful to others for pigeonholing everyone as “toxic” or “narcissistic” who may hurt us.

The world has gone crazy with all this narcissistic 101 crap. Everything I see is about it is from one extreme to the other: all good, or all bad; with no in between. That’s called borderline personality disorder. So, whatever you do, learn to see shades of gray.

I’ve tried all my life to walk the midline of life and have still hurt others inadvertently, or been harmed by others. I’m not going to stop living my life and trying again with new people. Making everyone we meet pay for the sins of another is not growth. It’s just another form of superiority.

Yes, we need to learn our boundaries, yes, we need to learn the signs of toxicity in others — and then— we need to liberally apply some common sense to the whole situation and realize that each time we engage with others there is a possibility that we could get hurt. Anything other than staying open is not living.

Be “Very” Whatever You Are, and Know You Are Loved.

I got to chat face to face with a new friend this morning about my book. (She’s a voracious, fast reader, and former freelance writer and editor that hates prologues.) -Oops! Lol!

I’m glad I didn’t know any of that when I showed up on her doorstep today…

I rang her doorbell and when she saw me, she squealed, “I’m with you in the runaway shelter right now where the girl steals your money! Oh my god, how much more could you take!? I’m only 87% through! I’m going to finish this tonight!”

Tears floated down her face. She was damn angry. Fired up! Totally disgusted. Sad. In disbelief. Shocked.

“How could anyone treat their kids like that? How can someone allow abuse to break them like that and not be a parent?” We both agreed we just couldn’t wrap our minds around it.

She went right back to the book… She raised her voice in protest! “She was a smart woman! Do you think she knew? She had to know!”

I didn’t know…

She said how much she hated certain characters in the book. “And that Wayne! Ugh! What an asshole!”

She got quiet, happy in the tender parts. She told me I had stirred up emotions she buried deep within and we had “some things” in common.

She said, “I have a friend that wants to write her own memoir and she has vignettes written, but doesn’t know what to do with them.” —“I might be able to help her with that if she wants,” I said.

Then, we went right back to talking about the scenes of my life and just how much they moved her.

“I have a new Sharpie. I want you to sign my book! Keep it… to sign all your other books,” she said.

My husband sat watching. Listening.

Later, he said it was like watching a movie where someone was meeting a new author and now they were armed with excitement and questions and were passionate to discuss the deeper meaning. He felt proud of me. Excited.

I sat there discussing my life from the perspective of a third party observer. And just like that… I realized that while I was in my body, I was finally out of my story. The lost childhood I filed away in a notebook, finally meant something to someone other than me. Fully processed, and now helping others.

I sat there and finally felt like I was a full-fledged author. — I confessed to my husband I was happy and excited, but said, “I just don’t know how happy or excited I am allowed to be?” He said, “Be very.”

So, I’m officially owning “very” happy and “very” excited! After all, I moved someone through a wide range of emotions today. Mine, and theirs. And therefore my job as an author is complete.

P.S. – Authors aren’t supposed to use the word “very.”

#surreal #grateful #healing #memoir #STG #documentlife #bevery

Steel Town Girl for sale on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle e-book.

Lessons of the Motorcycle Man and the Man Next to Me.

motorcycle in the rain

Yesterday we were driving down the highway in a rainstorm. I was excitedly chewing my husband’s ear about all my dreams like I’ve done so many times over seventeen years, and… as it usually does… the conversation turned to my heartache.

I turned to quietly gaze out my window at the gray, rainy day and the trees whirring by. My eyes were getting wet.

A motorcycle came up beside my window, then quickly passed in front of us and over and across into the fast lane. He revved the bike as fast as he could and was off like a light.

“What an idiot!” I said.

“He must really have to be somewhere to be driving like that in this,” my husband said.

It got quiet again.

The word “idiot” rolled around in my head. Who was I to judge?

I thought about it.

“Yeah. Maybe someone’s sick and he’s trying to get to them,” I said. “Or, maybe he’s gotta poop!” I giggled.

Knowing life speaks to me every day, and that there are lessons in the ordinary if we listen, I looked out my window and put my ear to the world.

For me, the lessons were this:

When we stop to criticize someone else and their choices, we’re out of your own business. When we’re out of our own business, it’s usually because there’s something too painful to process right now and we think we’ll deal with it later. But, I know all too well, if we don’t deal with our pain, our pain deals with us. It comes out in bitchy comments, mistreatment of others, name-calling, judgment, joking, over-helping, acting as if we have it all together and busyness in order to forget our own problems. Too much of that, and soon we have physical ailments, and even diagnoses of dis-ease.

The motorcycle man also shared his lesson with me about perseverance, determination, and courage. He told me if we want something bad enough, we get there any way we can… which for him, was on a crotch rocket barreling through a rainstorm. Some get there by the skin of their teeth, some much too late to even matter, and sometimes not at all. But, “the choice is theirs to make.” I was reminded.

My gentle, unassuming husband didn’t assign a negative assumption to the man’s actions. And, it dawned on me that the man sitting next to me was sharing a lesson too. This is why he’s usually blissed out happy on any given day. Because he doesn’t assume bad intent and he stays in his own lane. My judgment of the man on the motorcycle took me out the process of dealing with my feelings because it was too painful. Not an excuse in any way, but people from narcissistic abuse backgrounds, no matter how good life gets, seem to be lacking something. We struggle reconciling then with now. We’re all too often missing a family member. Grappling with negative feedback loops. Or we’re just not all that sure we even deserve happiness?

The heartache that misted my eyes were now tears of gratitude. “Thank you. I hear you,” I said to the sky. “And thank you too, for my husband.” I squeezed his hand.

Back at my window, I hoped the man on the motorcycle got to his destination in time and everything was o.k. “I’m sorry for judging you Mr. motorcycle man, I’m still an imperfect work in progress and I falter sometimes,” I said to him in my mind.

I hope that where ever he was going, he was going to feel his life and listen for the answers that usually come when spent in quiet reflection. Sometimes, if we listen hard enough, even while we’re sitting next to someone we’ve too many times disregarded in the way we always do with people who’ve been in our lives for a long time, we may get the chance to stay in our own business, have the determination to explore what the day is saying, and see people closest to us a little louder. May we don our uniforms of courage to drive erratically into the fast lane and disappear into the thick, gray ominous rainstorms of life before it’s too late.

Because hunkering down against the winds of change, sometimes over a screaming engine and a half-empty gas tank, holding on for dear life for the ride of our lives is the only way I know how to go through heartache.

Hopefully, while squeezing onto someone’s hand.