Living LifeΒ 

I’m only going to see Bea once this week. I’m going on vacation, and I am going to be gone the whole week, so I wasn’t able to schedule vacation around therapy appointments this time. It’s honestly okay, though. I mean, I have that little sense of missing Bea, and wishing I had therapy a second time this week, but I also know that Bea is just an email, a text, a phone call away. She isn’t gone, and either am I. I told her I might send an email on Wednesday morning “just because” even if everything was fine, and she told me I could absolutely do that. 

It’s weird, but I think I might actually be living my life. Or starting to. I haven’t had time to be online, or to watch my favorite TV shows (which is good because TV is a time suck I don’t need!). I have been busy, but it’s not the rushed, frantic, perfection seeking busy-ness of my past. It’s this life happens, things flow from one moment to the next, sort of busy. I feel grounded as a grown up, in this present moment, and I’m okay with being a little messy and not having all the answers, with just being me and being transparent and honest about who I am. I’m not hiding. I feel like I am finally— Finally!!!– starting to build a life and actually LIVE in it. 

Kat is at school full days Monday and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is occupational therapy and regular therapy for her so school is a 3 hour day that day, and we get to spend the day together. The other days? I’ve been planning Girl Scout activities, meeting with the other PTSO board members (how cool is it that I am a board member?!?! I’m the secretary.) and gearing up for Valentine’s Day parties, and then March is reading month. The other day, I walked around downtown and visited local businesses, asking for donations that could be used as prizes for the students for reading (ME! I did that! I asked people I didn’t know, for something and I had nothing but my sincere thank you to give in return). A lot of people said yes, too. So that was pretty cool. 

I’ve also been going to the pool when Kat is in school. I’ve made three new friends, one who has a 13 year old daughter on the spectrum (which is great for me! I could sooooo use a mentor in the mommy department at times), one who is a guy (so rare for me to feel comfortable enough to talk to men in the pool, let alone consider them a friend and make plans to meet for swim re following week), and one who I just clicked with– and we exchanged numbers and made plans to go out to lunch when I get back from my vacation. I feel like a huge loser, but I don’t have friends. I mean, I had my best friend who can’t be my best friend again, and I have my other *close* friend (not someone I share a lot with, more than most, and our communication tends to be inconsistent), but aside from that I have friends who are acquaintances, always kept at arm’s length, very surface level, no matter how much they let me into their lives. So, now I am making new friends, and I have a chance to change that, but……I’m not sure I know how. I realize this would be a great thing to take to therapy, but I won’t do it. I’m not sure I want to dig into relationships right now (there are other important things to work on in therapy). 

I’ve been trying to do a few minutes of yoga in the mornings, and then at night, Kat and I have our bedtime tea, do our yoga and mediate. I also try to journal every night, which is something I want to add to Kat’s routine. This routine, always yoga, is so helpful to me. 

I’ve been eating good, too. Well, good for me. I’ve been doing breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s sort of a big deal. I don’t usually eat more than one meal a day unless I’m planning on purging. And I’ve made sure that I’m getting protein with my meals, which is also unusual. 

Things have just been going really good. I’ve been using downtime to read (or listen to audio book while I clean) or journal, or just be in silence for a few minutes. I’ve been able to keep any yuck that Bea and I are working through contained in a suitcase, one that I can set down in my regular life, knowing it is there, sometimes feeling its’ presence, but knowing it can stay packed away because I will unpack it in Bea’s office. Sometimes the contents leak out at night, but during the day, I feel as if I am able to put it away, but it’s not the *put it away, bury it deep, work very hard to forget it exists*, put away. It’s just the going on with real life, put away. You guys, it feels sort of amazing and kind of wonderful. Am I afraid it won’t last? Sure. But this is a new feeling for me, and I like it. I like feeling this way. I wonder if this is what regular people without trauma mostly feel like in their lives?

I’m just trying to live in the moment right now and enjoy where I am in my life. And this week, that means an indoor water park hotel! Hubby had to travel for work, and the week long conference he is attending is being hosted here, the conference organizers put up the attendees and family members (who were invited!!) in family suites for the week. We have a friend’s step daughter dog and house sitting. All is (mostly) right with my world. 

🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷
Now, for a political note…….

I’ve not been silent! My daughter and I wrote letters to our senators, thanking them for their service, and asking them to remember that all people deserve to be treated equally. Kat even chose to write to Trump. Her letter said: Dear President Trump, please be kind to all people. It is important to remember people might look different but we are the same. Si si nisawa (Google the lion guard and si si nisawa if you don’t have a young child at home!) means we are the same. I am autistic and my brain works different than yours, but at the end of the day, we are the same. I don’t like when you behave like a bully, but I hope you do good things and make good choices for all people. 



That’s my daughter, guys!! I mean, how amazing is she? And she is only 6. This kid. She will change the world one day, in more ways than she already has. 

I’m planning on calling anyone in Washington who is on the senate HELP committee to implore them to vote no on Betsy Devos, in order to protect the rights of children like my daughter. According to the news this morning, there won’t be a vote for 24 more hours– so Wednesday morning. *Sigh* How did this happen? How did things in this country end up so backwards? I try not to focus on the horrible scary things happening right here, but on the things I can do– like making phone calls. If you want to call, too, Jess, over at  Diary of a Mom has phone numbers and a script written out. She’s also just a really good writer. Before I ever started blogging, before I ever even thought about it, I was reading her blog. So check it out. πŸ™‚

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Today I was real

The weekend has been weird. I spent a lot of time feeling very defensive towards Bea. I read her email from a screwed perspective, feeling as though she was done with this doctor stuff and wanted me to stop acting like this. I’m struggling with her, and unsure of what she wants from me. Not knowing what she wants, or thinks that I should be doing, or what direction she thinks I should be heading, or what she wants me to talk about now, is frustrating. I NEED to know what people want or need or expect from me, and when I don’t know those things and can behave the way I’m supposed to, I feel as though I will lose that person’s care and positive feelings towards me. I’ve already lost Kay, and my mom is back to being not here, and hubby isn’t really ever here. 

Hubby and I planned a “family date” for Saturday. We took Kat to the pool. It was nice. I haven’t been to the pool, or to a yoga class for that matter, for months. I think the last time I went to pool was maybe early January. But going today, being back in the water was good. It grounded me. I forgot how free I feel, how much I feel like me, whole and okay, when I’m in the water. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pool or a lake or a beach in Jamaica. I love the water. 

My mind clears, anxieties melt away, my body feels safe, calmer somehow. I can breathe. So, I swam a few laps today, and played with Kat, and sat in the hot tub. For a few hours I forgot about feeling alone, and being sad. I forgot about the doctor, and my secrets and the shame I feel. For a few hours, I felt like the okay part of me was running things, like I was grounded and grown up and as if things were going to be okay. 

After the pool, we went out to dinner and then to the movies. We ate and chatted and laughed at dinner. Kat has had food allergies since she was born, and this past winter, her allergies were tested again, and she was cleared to eat whatever she wants– no more allergies. Taking her out to dinner has always been fun, but now it’s almost a game of introducing her to foods she has never been able to eat before. 

We saw Zootopia after dinner. I really liked the movie. Kat and hubby did, too. We sat together, curled up and munching on popcorn. It was nice, cozy. 

Saturday showed me I need to get back to the gym. I need to start swimming again, and i need to go back to yoga. I need to start walking Hagrid again in the mornings. As much as I instinctively want to curl up in bed and hide, and do nothing, I need to remember that swimming and walking and yoga are the things that ground me. Hiding in bed is okay, and sometimes it’s something I need to do, and it can be healing and feel safe, but I also need to be able to feel calm and grounded. I need to get back to eating regularly, and being healthy. I’m capable, at times, of eating regular meals and not starving or purging, but only if I’m being very controlled and scheduled. Maybe that’s the way it starts, and if I can find a way to eat better, even if it’s controlled and regimented and I have to follow my crazy food rules, maybe that’s something that can be built on to learn to eat normal. If I can manage to not starve and not purge, maybe I can learn to be normal. After all, I found exercise that I can do without overdoing and being crazy. Maybe this can get better, too. Being together as a family, feeling grounded from being in the water, gave me a feeling of connection, of love. Things felt authentic and real today. I felt whole. Today, I was real.

Breathing to be grounded

“I don’t know. I just don’t know,” I’m mumbling, my words can barely be heard over the hum of the air conditioner in Bea’s office.

“What is your breathing like?” She asks me, again. She is ever patient.

I continue to stare at the floor. I can’t tell her. I don’t know. I have no idea what my body is doing. I don’t want to know. The idea of trying to know makes me feel panicked. I can’t do this. I feel frozen, but what I really want to do is run out the door.

Bea is still determined that I learn to recognize some of my body signals and use breathing to ground myself. I’m extremely resistant to this idea, and I can tell this makes her curious, but she hasn’t questioned me, or pushed me on the why yet.

Bea starts explaining the idea of grounding and using breathing to ground oneself. She is demonstrating how to use belly breathing again. I’m doing my best to block out what she is saying. I don’t know exactly why, but everything she is saying is making me want to go far, far away.

I scoot back into the corner of the couch, as far as I can, and scrunch into myself as much as I can. I don’t think of it then, but now, writing this, I wonder what Bea saw, noticed, thought. I hug my knees to my chest, and hide my face in my legs. I make myself as small as I can, and I start to really dissociate. This doesn’t work completely in my favor, though, because as I begin to leave the present, I start to have a flashback. And then I’m shaking, and terrified, and helpless. I’m back in hell.

Bea notices this, and she asks me where I am. “With him,” (him being my abusive ex-boyfriend) I manage to choke out, my voice sounds foreign to my own ears.

She reminds me that I’m safe, that I’m here in her office, that it’s not then. A part of me is aware of this, my flashbacks never take me fully “back”, I always retain some degree of awareness of the present, but that doesn’t lessen the fear or the dread that I am feeling. She asks if I want to tell her what is happening.

“Yes. No. I can’t. I can’t.” I’m shaking and terrified, there is no way I can share what is happening in my head. I hate myself. If she knew, if anyone knew, they would hate me, too. I’m sick over what I did, over what happened, I can never let someone know. I’m so confused, so lost, so alone.

Bea doesn’t say anything. I can imagine that she is looking at me. I try to curl into myself even smaller. “You’ll hate me,” I finally get out. I have to turn the words over and over in my head for a good ten minutes before I can actually form them and get them past my teeth, lips, tougne. Talking in therapy is hard work.

“I won’t,” she says, “but you need to feel safe telling.”

At this point, I am getting more and more lost in my memories, and more and more upset. Again, I turn the words over in my mind, and I struggle to squeeze them out through my throat, past my teeth, I am barely holding on and I know I need something, and so I manage to say to Bea, “Please. Just talk.” And so she does.

Bea talks, and talks. I don’t remember what she talked about to be honest. That’s the idea, though. Nothing calms me like someone talking about simple, everyday, mundane life stuff. So Bea talked, and I gradually came out of my flashback.

I’m calmer on my drive home, but things still feel slightly hazy and surreal to me. I decide that I will send Bea an email and ask her if we can talk about talking because I don’t know how to do this. How does one ever really begin to share the painful details of a sexually abusive relationship?