Introduction

Hello dear reader,

I hope that as you are reading this blog you find something uplifting, something thought provoking and something that encourages you to triumphantly survive another day in this crazy world we find ourselves in.

Please comment, share your thoughts and ask questions if you have any. I am an open book.

Featured post

Beating the Devil at His Own Game (Part One)

I used to be addicted to playing the Ouija board. I have owned four of them in my lifetime and don’t plan to own another since I got rid of the last one that literally fell from the sky one day (or appeared to have, at least).

But like all addicts, I can never really say never, can I.

I don’t really know why I became hooked on the devil board to begin with because to be honest, it’s pretty boring for the most part and, like internet surfing, is a huge time thief. It’s also a great distraction from reality which is probably why I was drawn to it. My reality sucked and back then, we didn’t have the internet or even decent video games to distract us.

So we did things like cruised the strip, drank and smoked weed and tried to contact the devil to pass the time.

I got my first one as a birthday gift when I was just fourteen and thought it was cool. I wasn’t afraid of it, despite everyone telling me I should be. Honestly, I didn’t think it was anything to be afraid of. It was made by Parker Brothers, for Christ’s sake! I wasn’t afraid of Monopoly or Yahtzee, so why would I be afraid of Ouija?

At first, I tried my best to prove that it was all one giant, over blown fake. That backfired pretty quickly, which scared the shit out of me.

Soon I found myself addicted and trying to convince everyone else that it wasn’t fake.

The first clue I had that there was a supernatural presence interacting with me was when my friend Stacey and I were at my house, alone, playing until the wee hours (by black candlelight, of course!). We had asked a million questions and had run out of things to say when we began bickering over who was moving the thing, accusing each other of doing it.

Eventually the board suggested we take a break and he would prove that it was real (he told us to call him Guy by that point so we did).

He told us to go to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee and to leave it facing down on the bed with the planchette on top.

So we did, which is funny, now that I look back. We didn’t listen to our parents but we did whatever the board told us to do, just like good little children.

The bedroom window was shut and locked and the bedroom door was closed. We could see the front and back doors as well as down the hall to the bedrooms the entire time and no one had come in or out of the house while we got our coffee and chatted at the dining room table for a bit. We debated what was really going on if neither of us were really the one moving it.

We weren’t scared, just curious.

As soon as we walked back in the room and saw that the board had flipped itself facing upright with the planchette on top exactly where we’d left it, we were both convinced. We knew we’d left it facing down, like it had suggested, and instead of being freaked out like we probably should have been, we wanted more.

Stacey and I both quit playing after a lot of our friends started dying and we started to wonder if it was the board, which scared us, but I kept getting gifted new ones without asking for them and kept getting pulled back into it. She swore it off after she nearly died in a freak car accident with one of our good friends (who did die) so I had to convince my boyfriends to humor me, which they did.

By the time I was sixteen I played it every single day. I used to throw huge parties at my place and break out the board for fun and one night, there were ten or twelve of us all packed into my bedroom, getting high and drinking and the energy was crazy. The planchette was moving like lightning, spelling out dirty jokes and making everyone laugh. Then things got serious when I was accused by someone of faking it, as usual. Soon one accuser became two and then three and then…

So I thought of a clever way to prove the naysayers wrong.

“Hey, what color underwear is everyone wearing?” I innocently asked the guy on the board.

One by one, he went through each of my friends and told us all what color and even what type of underwear we were wearing. By the time there were only a couple left, the mood had changed to nervous anticipation and everyone was pretty quiet, waiting to hear the answer.

By the time my friend Manuel was the only one left, he was sweating.

“You guys are all in on this!” he accused. “This is bullshit,” he said. “I’m not kidding, you guys, knock it off!” he warned. The room was dead silent by now. Everyone was a bit freaked out, I could tell.

When the board slowly spelled out N-O-N-E his face turned ghostly white and he got up, ran out of the room, ran straight out the front door and down the street back to his house where he called me, gasping for breath.

“HOW.. THE FUCK… DID YOU KNOW… I WASN’T… WEARING ANY…. UNDERWEAR?!” he said, his voice filled with a mixture of incredulity and fear. I put him on the speaker phone so we could all hear.

I hadn’t known until the Ouija board guy told me and it was funny as hell.

All I could do was laugh and say back to him “why the hell aren’t you wearing any underwear, you weirdo?”

To be continued….

It’s Complicated

I love that quote by Audrey Hepburn and also the lyrics from the song Sanitarium by Metallica.

Sanitarium
Leave me be
Sanitarium
Just leave me alone

Build my fear of what’s out there
Cannot breathe the open air
Whisper things into my brain
Assuring me that I’m insane

The lyrics resonate with me and I “get it”. I really do.

I was never institutionalized, although at times I probably should have been, but I’ve met a lot of people who were and they agree that for the most part, we just want to be left the fuck alone.

But we don’t want to be alone.

It’s complicated.

I remember as a child seeking out places of solitude and finding every way possible just to get the hell away from other humans. I learned from birth that humans were dangerous, evil creatures and it’s where my self loathing was formed. I was human therefore I had the capacity to be just as dangerous and evil as they were, even though I didn’t feel evil or dangerous.

Just knowing I could be like them made me hate us all.

If I could have managed it, even back then, I’d have been happy to not exist at all but since I had no choice, I decided that being alone was the next best thing to not existing.

That evolved into feeling lonely, which is different than being alone. As a teenager, I didn’t avoid people as much but I was selective about who and when I was around them. I definitely could be in the middle of a crowd of tens of thousands of people at a concert and still feel utterly (happily) alone but not lonely. Mostly because I didn’t like humans anyway, but man did I love concerts (like Metallica!) so it was a fair trade-off.

As I got older, though, I began to avoid people completely. I began to feel so very lonely even in huge crowds, which I chose to avoid like the plague. I could handle feeling utterly (happily) alone but not lonely in the middle of all those people. Alone is good. Lonely sucks.

But… I also felt alone in my loneliness, if that makes sense.

Part of me felt like the reason no one else felt as lonely as I did in a world with billions of other humans was because they didn’t go through what I went through. They didn’t experience the things I had experienced and they could connect with others where I couldn’t because of that.

I couldn’t connect at all with anyone, not really, despite having a best friend and a husband and a lot of other people who cared about me.

Then, one day, I decided it wasn’t healthy to be so alone and lonely so I looked for a support group. Since there wasn’t one in my area, I joined an online forum and I was shocked at how many other people felt exactly the same way I did. They were lonely and thought they were utterly alone!

Holy shit, they were JUST LIKE ME!

Maybe we weren’t exactly the same, but they had been through similar traumas. Some of their stories I read made me almost grateful for what I’d been through.

Slowly I began to see that not only was I not alone, but there were a LOT of us. Too many. It actually became overwhelming to know that I wasn’t alone. The part of me that was not evil or dangerous recognized that way too many of us have been abused or went through something that no human should have to endure.

Suddenly it felt like the entire world is made up of either abusers or their victims. It became too much for me and my mental health spiraled down, down, down. I was getting support and giving it as best I could, but it wasn’t healthy for me. I began to dread even logging on.

So I quit going to the forum and retreated back into myself. I just couldn’t cope knowing I wasn’t alone. I went back to just wanting to be left alone.

Like I said, it’s complicated.

You Owe Me!

Abusive people have this twisted sense of entitlement that puts us into an imbalanced relationship with them from the moment we meet. They genuinely believe that we owe them.

We owe them attention.

We owe them adoration.

We owe them submission.

We owe them the right to hurt us.

The truth is, we don’t owe them anything.

Not a damned thing.

We do, however, owe it to ourselves to not allow them to manipulate us into feeling like we owe them and we owe it to ourselves to learn how to recognize the signs of abuse early enough that we put a stop to it before it takes hold.

If you are born into a family of abusers, this is almost impossible because you are conditioned from birth to feel that you have a specific place in the pecking order and that you owe everyone above you something.

This is why we need to teach children early in life how to recognize and deal with being in these abusive families until they can age out and walk away. Had I known then what I know now, it would have saved me a lifetime of heartache and self loathing.

I would have had the tools I needed to walk away without looking back the day I became of age. Instead I allowed them to live in my head and make me feel like I couldn’t rise above their assigned position for me in the pack.

These tools need to be taught in school early on to give kids a chance to have a healthy life once they leave home. It might prevent them from seeking out future abusive relationships due to conditioning from their birth family.

We owe it to the next generation.

Self Un-Loathing

It’s hard not to turn our loathing for abusive behavior inward, partly because abusers are very good at making themselves look like your victim and also at making you feel like you deserve the abuse.

The outside world often sees the mask they wear while you are sometimes the only one who knows their true, evil self that lurks beneath the facade.

Even within dysfunctional families an abuser can convince people in your close inner circle that it’s all you. You bring out the worst in them. You trigger the abuse. You created the monster.

This can destroy a person and cause them to turn all that anger and hatred and disgust they have inward, which is exactly where the abuser wants it directed. It keeps the cycle going and encourages you to allow the abuse to continue because you start to believe you deserve it.

It may even cause you to act out in ways that illicit abusive reactions because you believe it’s your lot in life to be abused. That feeds the self loathing and empowers the perpetrator(s) to continue on and on and on.

At some point, in order to break the cycle, we have to come to a point where we stop hating ourselves. We have to stop allowing them to make us feel like we deserve nothing better. We have to stand up for ourselves and practice self love, which is sooo difficult when you’ve spent so long hating yourself.

There are so many different ways to reverse self loathing and it takes trying different things to find what works for you, but the key is doing whatever it is consistently. If it stops working, try something else and do it over and over again until you start to peel away the layers of self hatred and replace them with self acceptance and, hopefully, self love.

It doesn’t have to turn into an ego fest and you definitely don’t want to become narcissistic in the process, but you also want to end the day feeling a little less disgusted with yourself. A little less inclined to act in ways that reinforce the negative views your abusers hold about you. A little more in ways that make you feel good about you.

I personally began by making myself look in the mirror after years of being unable to even see my own reflection. I tried not to focus on all the flaws and instead made myself find the positives. I still do that, every single day.

Sure, my nose is a bit big, but I have great eyebrows and my eye color is amazing!

It’s okay that I have that scar on my lip, it shows that I can take a punch in the mouth and live to tell my story.

I can look myself in the eye with confidence and place the loathing where it belongs now.

The Gift of Dignity

When you’ve been victimized by abusive people, one of the first things they take from you is your dignity. It’s one of the main ingredients we need to live a happy, fulfilling life, and abusers know this which is why they so desperately want to strip it away.

They enjoy stealing your dignity. Your joy. Your humanity. They feed on their ability to reduce you to an undignified, joyless shell of a human. Once you decide to remove yourself from the abuse the first thing you need to do is replenish these things, starting with your dignity.

In fact, you need it to remove yourself from the abuse to begin with. But how? How in the world do you get back something that has been destroyed? Or maybe never developed to begin with?

There are no easy answers. Each of us have to find a way to retrieve or cultivate dignity in ourselves because like us, it is a unique gift and there is no one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to healing from abuse.

For me personally, it was coming to terms with the fact that I was not to blame. I didn’t choose to be surrounded by highly abusive people from the day I entered this planet but it was up to me whether or not I chose to surround myself with them until the day I leave it.

Sometimes we have no choice, unfortunately, and we can’t ever truly escape but we can still have dignity. It starts with accepting that you deserve better. You deserve respect, whether you get it or not. You deserve civility from others, whether they give it or not.

You don’t have to be them. That’s where dignity begins.

Gift yourself some dignity every day.

You deserve it. ❤

A World of Illusions

Some people are natural born poets and are masters of creating an illusory world that doesn’t exist. A place for people like myself to escape to and forget all about the evils of the real world.

I am not one of them. I am neither a poet nor am I one to get caught up in the illusions carefully crafted by them.

I do enjoy reading poetry at times, especially works written by those who have a knack for incorporating dark humor and underlying themes of human suffering. I love raw, visceral poetry that leaves me feeling uneasy and uncomfortable.


‘There is a place inside us that is cloaked in darkness, rubbed raw with silence. It’s a shadow wrapped in a shadow and it screams, but it screams in harsh whispers…’

In stillen Nächten

Why is that? Why am I drawn to such things? Is it because I can easily relate and even commiserate with the authors who are obviously drawing their inspiration from their own traumatic experiences?

Is there truth to that saying “misery loves company”?

I really don’t know. Maybe misery just loves an audience and I love to be in the front row?

Honestly I’ve never been a fan of whimsical things in general but maybe I should try to be.

Maybe I should allow my inner child to be swept away to a magical world that only exists in the combination of words that flow forth from poets who can rewrite reality and allow us to cling to the hope that the world is a kind and gentle place.

Ahahaha.

Nah.

I’m quite content here in reality.

Honestly? I like the validation of knowing that the world can be cruel at times and that we all have the strength to survive it.

Shameful

So many of us carry the burden of shame. Sometimes it feels so heavy that it figuratively tugs at our soul and literally pulls our head downward.

I spent years barely able to lift my head and I certainly couldn’t look anyone in the eye, even myself. I avoided my own reflection in the mirror due to the burden of shame that was placed upon me.

My most formative years were marked by abuse of all kinds which meant that my view of the world was skewed. My earliest memories consist mostly of the dirty carpet at home, the bruises on my bare legs, my dirty clothes, the cracks in the sidewalks and the leaves in the gutter on my way to school.

I don’t recall their faces, because I barely looked at them, but I still remember my teachers and my classmate’s shoes because it’s what I stared at while wishing I would just disappear. Some of them were very kind to me but some of them weren’t, which made me hang my head even further in shame.

Often my head was so heavy from all that shame that my neck and shoulders ached.

Slowly, as I became a teenager, my shame turned to anger and hatred and I began to wear all black. I listened to angry music and began saying hateful things. Those were the emotions I settled into rather than feel shame and they threatened to etch a permanent frown on my otherwise angelic young face.

Anger and hatred felt sooo much better than shame to me, though. I could find outlets for them. I could weaponize them, and I did, every chance I got.

There was no miracle or epiphany that came one day which took all of those negative emotions away. I don’t even remember when I was able to start looking at myself in the mirror and actually liked what I saw or to look other people in the eye but at some point I did.

Somehow I grew confident that I had nothing to be ashamed of. It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t ask to be born and I certainly would never do to a baby or a child what was done to me. I would never hurt an innocent animal and make someone else watch it suffer for fun, as was done to me.

I would never, ever, EVER want to destroy another human being just because I could, which is what they blatantly tried to do to me.

Sure, I did some shameful things sometimes and I immediately regretted them but that was the difference between me and them. They had no regrets.

They had no shame at all.

And that, my friends, is shameful. Wouldn’t you agree?

Resilience

I’ve never really believed that quote because many of the things that didn’t kill me actually made me weaker for most of my life, but it sounds good in theory.

It would have been nice to be one of those people who was made stronger by adversity but that’s not always what happens. Resilience doesn’t always come naturally and what little you may be born with can be stomped out both literally and figuratively.

Some of us have to work at acquiring it altogether.

For some people, it never comes at all. Some of us give up and either withdraw from the world or exit it entirely. Others give in and become the purveyors of adversity in others.

Another saying, which I’m more inclined to believe, is “hurt people hurt others”.

It’s been my experience and it can be monumentally hard to come to terms with. It can be close to impossible to be the one to put an end to the generational cycles of abuse that many of us are born into.

Not that it is entirely impossible. It can be done. We don’t have to carry on the legacy of hurt and pain that we’ve inherited. We don’t have to become the monsters we so despise. And if we find that we have become the abuser, we can change.

We can resist.

Sometimes we can change so much that people who knew us from before hardly recognize us. Sometimes we don’t even recognize ourselves.

And that’s a good thing. We have the choice every single day to recreate ourselves and to put the past behind us.

Resiliency can also be a choice.

Unanswered Questions

I spent way too much time trying to figure them out. I spent way too much time trying to figure me out, too. I wasted so much time and energy asking why, when I should have been focused on healing myself instead.

For years I wracked my brain and filled my days and nights looking for answers, only to never truly find them.

Why did they act that way?

Why did they target me?

Why was I even born?

Why does God hate me?

Sometimes, there are no answers. I had to learn that the hard way, and on some level I’m sure I knew it the whole time, but it didn’t stop me from perpetually asking “why”. Even after I had cut off all contact with my abusers. Even after I had been to therapy and tried all of the medicines modern science had to offer.

Why can’t I get past this?

Why can’t I move on?

Why can’t I be happy?!!

Then, one day, for reasons I’ll never know, I found myself no longer asking “why”. Almost overnight I stopped frantically searching for answers and reasons and explanations and excuses. I guess my soul had come to find peace in the not knowing.

Perhaps I had just grown bored with the whole cycle of asking why and wasting my life in a fruitless search for answers that didn’t exist. Perhaps I knew it was time to just let it go and get on with living.

I don’t even care to ponder on why it happened. I am just thankful that I suddenly felt secure in not knowing why!

Willkommen in der Dunkelheit!

You would probably never in a million years guess it if you met me, but I am a huge fan of Rammstein.

Yes, that Rammstein.

Between you and me, I don’t really like to listen to anything else and haven’t in a very long time. Once in awhile I’ll put on some Tom Petty or some Dave Matthews or even some Jack Johnson, but 99% of the time it is Rammstein.

I love everything about them! The fire, the industrial sound, the deep, dark vocals of Till Lindemann. I especially love Till Lindemann himself. Most people have no clue who he is but Herr Lindemann is the son of a famous East German poet and is a talented poet in his own right.

Till, like all the other members of the band, was born behind the Berlin wall and obviously has some demons from his childhood growing up in the GDR as basically a prisoner of war. He has a history of doing self harming things like cutting himself and his poetry and song lyrics are always pushing the envelope, delving into the dark side of humanity, and I honestly can’t get enough of it.

I don’t even speak the language (although I do know a bit thanks to my love of Rammstein) and I never know what they are truly saying until I look up their lyrics in English and then I fall in love with them all over again. They are like the musical embodiment of the original German Grimm’s fairy tales.

You know, the dark, demented ones that Disney adapted into cute little animated stories fit for American children?

I love those, too!

I know some people would say it’s not healthy for someone like me with a history of PTSD and childhood trauma to seek out the type of music and lyrics that Rammstein have to offer but I beg to differ. Some of us intuitively know that music is healing for the soul and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to what music it is.

For some it may be classical music. For others country. Some may prefer rap or pop or even a combination of all of the above, depending on their mood.

Me? I prefer Rammstein and I make no apologies for it. 🙂

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