Holding On

“Holding on,

Why is everything so heavy?” – Linkin Park, “Heavy”

I read back through my posts lately and thought why is everything so heavy? This is where I come to wrestle with my demons and reconcile the past with the present. Sometimes it’s heavy stuff but I have entire weeks and months of uneventful moments that would bore you to tears to read about. It’s time to lighten things up a bit. Read More

Back to 17

Old school selfie, circa 1987

 

I always go back to 17, most often when I’m driving and listening to music. A song will remind me of how much I hated myself that year and I’m back there, looking at 1987 like a white cross on the roadside.

It’s the year I told. It’s the year I lost control of everything. It’s the year I spent two weeks in a psychiatric facility and wished I could stay longer.

The song doesn’t have to be from that time period. All it has to do is speak for me. It has to give voice to what I wish I could’ve said at 17, or give rise to a fantasy of who I could’ve been… Read More

Through the Roof

New growth, new life.

I cried in the shower this morning, which is my favorite place to break down. There’s something about hot water mixing with hot tears that’s comforting and cleansing. And I don’t have to care about messing up my make-up.

I’m just really tired. Some of it is sick and tired but most of it is a bone-tired feeling from a job hard worked and well done. The sick and tired part weighs heavy on me but the satisfied tired feels cathartic.

There’s a story in the Bible that I love about Jesus healing a paralyzed guy. Jesus was teaching to a crowded house and this group of guys wanted him to heal their paralyzed friend. There were too many people there to get their friend right up to Jesus so they got creative and lowered him through a hole they made in the roof. Jesus was impressed by their faith (and probably their tenacity), took one look at the paralyzed guy and said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

What I find so interesting about this is that Jesus didn’t immediately make him walk again, which of course, he could’ve done. He could’ve changed this man’s circumstances first but I imagine that he looked at the man’s situation and saw that he needed more. He needed to be set free more than he needed to walk again. Read More

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Marie and my family.

When my friend Marie Pechet died in December, she sent me a spiritual gift. That may sound strange to some of you but anyone who has read her blog or who knew her knows what I’m talking about. Marie was all about spirits, serendipities and God connections. So I wasn’t at all surprised when I felt a strong nudging from her to read a certain book and then found out later that she had died that morning. That’s so Marie.

This post is all about Marie and about so much more than Marie, which I know she’d find delightful.

The morning Marie sent me her gift, I was overwhelmed by anxiety, which had become routine. 2016 was a hard year. I hear a lot of people saying that so I know I wasn’t alone but it wasn’t just politics that troubled me. We sold a house, bought a house, struggled to afford our house, struggled to keep our business afloat and basically struggled to find footing in constantly shifting ground.

I prayed a lot in 2016. I prayed to be financially stable, I prayed to be thinner, I prayed that I wasn’t warping my kids, I prayed that the kittens’ diarrhea would go away, I prayed to not be awoken in the middle of the night by panic and then prayed to be able to go back to sleep. I mostly prayed in the shower and on the toilet because after all, the bathroom is the altar for mothers of young children. Read More

Final post

I wanted to write a post to honor my friend Marie but I haven’t been able to put together the words to say how much she meant to me and so many others. Thankfully, her friend Anna has found a beautiful way to honor her on Marie’s blog, Adventures in Spiritual Living.

Adventures in Spiritual Living

For any who have not yet heard, I am saddened to share the news that Marie Colantoni Pechet passed away on December 7. She died at home, with her family, after breaking all kinds of standards by living not just eighteen months, as her doctors predicted, but nine years after her diagnosis of cancer.

My name is Anna Huckabee Tull. Several years ago, Marie brought up this incredible question: Would I be willing to write her Final Blog Post? I had never heard of such an idea, but I knew in the moment she said it that this is exactly what I would do.

On Thanksgiving–that holiday where we pause to consider all the good that surrounds us and all that we are thankful for–I received the following note from Marie. I was hustling through the London airport, but the whole world seemed to come to a halt when I…

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Today.

Me and my daughter today.

I purposely keep walking by mirrors so that I can see myself. When I’m sure no one is looking, I lift my shirt to make sure they’re real. I feel like a teenage girl whose boobies sprouted overnight; amazed, grateful, relieved. And to think that all it took was a little surgery to make me recognize myself again. Read More

Finally Clean

storm

I had a two-day meltdown last month, which seems to happen every July. I don’t know what the trigger is exactly, other than that most of the abuse I can remember happened during the summer months. It used to bother me, not knowing why it was always July, and now I think that maybe it’s a mystery that doesn’t need to be solved. Or maybe it is solved and I just want to make it more complicated than it is.

This meltdown was relatively short. It was two days of memories (mental and physical), sobbing, anger and fear that I would feel this way forever. At first there was disbelief. There’s no way these memories can be attacking me again. It must be PMS. Or food poisoning. Yeah, that’s it. I’m coming down with something.

Then, there was resignation that it was happening again. “It” being the reality of the abuse coming at me full force so that it can’t be ignored, not that it is ever far from my mind in the first place. It is a part of me as much as my eye color, my left handedness, my stubby pinky toes.

The elephant in the room was back, except that it wasn’t an elephant. It was a little girl. And she was determined to be heard. So I listened. And what she told me was unbelievable, even though I know it’s true because I was there. It’s still incomprehensible to me that someone wanted to erase me, to bleach me out of existence and who took such pleasure in making me feel alone, superfluous and unwanted. Read More

I Love You More

grandma & kids

Grandma with two of her great-grandkids.

May 18, 2016

My 92-year-old grandma went into the hospital a couple of weeks ago with a broken hip. She was moved to a rehab facility and then contracted pneumonia. When I visited her today, she was remarkably lucid, even more so than a couple of days ago. Still, I sense that she’s not really getting better and I fear that she won’t be coming back home.

But she’s not ready to die, at least that’s what she told me today. We were talking about my uncle who died over 30 years ago and I said, “You have a lot of people waiting for you.”

She replied with a sly smile, “They can wait.” Read More

And what a view it is.

And what a view it is.

 

When I was young, we lived off and on in a small adobe house with four rooms. It had water running to the sink in the kitchen but no bathroom. We used an outhouse in the backyard and kept a coffee can under the bed for nights when it was too cold to go outside. What stands out in my memory is how tidy my mom kept the house, taking pride in little details like doilies and lace curtains. To anyone looking in, we lived in poverty but to me it was just where I lived until my dad picked me up and took me to his mansion in the foothills.

Well, maybe it wasn’t a mansion but to anyone looking in, it was a nice house with three bedrooms, two baths and a swimming pool. The house was on an acre of desert and since I wasn’t quite sure what to do with all that cacti, I spent a lot of time in my room playing with my Barbies. I preferred the narrow space between my bed and the wall, buffered between the dust ruffle and my imaginary world. Read More

#FacesOfPTSD

#FacesOfPTSD

 

“There is a common misconception in our culture about who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and what it looks like. A quick Google image search will lead you to believe that the majority of those living with PTSD are men in uniform, when the reality is that women are twice as likely to develop it as men, and it can be acquired in a number of ways. Not all wars take place on the battle field.” – Dawn Daum

facesofptsd pic

This is me and today I’m joining other survivors in changing the face of PTSD. You would never know by looking at me that I’m a survivor of sexual abuse or that I have fought my own personal war against PTSD. I spent years feeling ashamed of the way I reacted to certain situations, by how seemingly minor events would trigger painful flashbacks or memories and by my inability to control my physical reactions. By learning how PTSD affects me, I now understand why:

I sometimes feel like I’m in danger when my heart rate increases, even if it’s caused by something as innocuous as exercise.

I feel trapped and panicked when my kids jump on top of me while playing or when they try to hold onto me in the swimming pool.

While I no longer suffer from debilitating night terrors, I can become easily enraged from lack of sleep.

Yoga can feel like torture because it forces me to be aware of my body.

If all anyone sees when they research PTSD is soldiers and people affected by war, they may not recognize themselves and seek help. By sharing our stories we can heal each other. By sharing our faces, we give other survivors someone to relate to. By using our voices, we can offer hope.

To help change the face of PTSD, go here and here and here for more information.