Don't take life too serious.

A Mixed Tape – Music That Will Lift You Right UP!

survivorsongs

Remember when you used to make your BFF’s mixed tapes, and it was like the greatest gift ever? Well Joyelle and I decided to do just that. It’s our way of saying Happy Holidays and thank you to those that have supported us on our journey of creating the Trigger Points Anthology.

So head on over to the Trigger Points blog and check it out. It’s a soundtrack that is sure to inspire, empower and a few tracks to help bring out your inner bad-ass! Please, feel free to comment with your own go-to songs–the ones that always pick you up, when you’re feeling down.

Much love to you all!! ~Dawn

#Survivorsongs – A mixed tape

Don't take life too serious.

On God, Boobs, Love, Laughter and Resiliency.

While trying to wrap my head around all the different emotional places I’ve been this past year, I decided to sneak a peak at my top posts over the last 365 days. It turns out, the posts in which I am the most vulnerable, are at the top of the list. Even the humor pieces that rank highest, are ones where I remain truest to myself.

It’s really no surprise to me. Even outside of blogging, I’ve experienced the most authentic relationships with people I am able to let my guard down around. There is nothing I enjoy more than a conversation among people where God, dysfunctional families, sex, relationships and other often heated topics can be discussed in a non-judgmental, open-minded manner. Adding a little vino to the mix usually seems to add that extra kick of truth and humor to the talk. Good times.

And so I give you my five top viewed posts from the last year. I was glad to see it is a nice mix of my sometimes serious, sometimes funny sides. Click the images to read full article.

“I was becoming more and more aware of a force around me that was powerful, magical, comforting, and often ironic. I started to understand and accept that I was allowed to have faith even though I wasn’t brought up in a church or attending one now.  I learned that my faith is in no way connected to a book.” 

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“There is no more sexy, slow-mo bouncing boobies that I once had and loved. The girls are more swaying than bouncing these days.  And don’t get me started on laying down…looks like I got two medium sized tumors creeping in to my arm pits.  My cleavage is now a tunnel of darkness between two rained on ant hills.”

orangutan boobs

“At what point, did the love of my life, become enraged over a few strands of hair, attacking his toes while he showers?  It is going to make his head explode one day, I just know it.  Watching him gag like a teenage girl and kick pointed toes in the air, in hopes that the hair will fling off and stick to the wall, so he doesn’t actually have to touch it, is deliciously evil to watch.”

wedding pic1

“Perhaps the guy at the cook-out that complimented my daughter is of no harm. But when I got that kick of uneasiness in his presence, I paid attention. It doesn’t occur every time I or my daughter are around men. Only sometimes. So every time, I listen and know that whether the man involved is her best friend’s father, the town pastor, a friend’s brother or even someone related to her, I will never let her be in a position to be groomed by him.”

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“This is a post about putting my self in a hard working man’s worn out boots.  Steel toed boots that carry a man who always puts his family first and says thank you after finishing a supper I cooked, whether he loved it or not.  A man that brushes his daughter’s hair before bed and snuggles with his son when he is sick.  A man that rolls over and reaches for me in his sleep.  My man.”

work boots

Are you surprised by your top 5? Which post are you shocked to see at the top of your stats list?

*****

This was written as a part of The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Countdown

Don't take life too serious.

Apparently, It’s Acceptable for Dead People to Jump On the Bed.

In trying to capture a moment of my son’s naughty obsession with jumping on the bed while singing to his sister’s Frozen soundtrack, I never imagined I would catch someone who is no longer with us, joining in on the fun.

I’m a dreamer, yes. But, I am a realist as well. I always try to stay skeptical at first, when having discussions regarding things that have no proof or have reasonable arguments against. I want you to take a look at this video. Other than my adorable baby boy jumping up and down, what do you see?

Anyone else notice the flashing circles of light darting all around? I noticed them as I was recording and that’s why I continued to keep filming. At first, I thought it was just dust flying around. But then, the lights started flying all over and even began darting and changing directions. I was somewhere between “Am I crazy?” and “Holy shit, I can’t believe I got this on tape!”

I’ve tried arguing against the idea that this is a spirit jumping on the bed with my son by thinking it is just the lighting. But here’s the thing. The light is off until you see him turn it on. There are windows in the room, but the curtains (dark brown that allow no light in) are closed.

So I have but one conclusion. My mother, who lefts us in 1997, has tuned in to her inner child and now sees it appropriate to jump on the bed with her grandson. It sounds crazy, yes. But it warms my heart to know that even though he will never get to meet her, she is watching over him, and even joining in on the fun of raising this little monster.

So what do you think? Am I crazy? Do you believe in orbs and ghosts and dead people hanging out with us? Do you have a scientific explanation you’d like to offer? Please, do share!

Don't take life too serious.

Rebuilding

rebuilding

I scrape the pen against my flesh

hoping new words will spill out

but they don’t.

I bang the keys

begging thoughts to connect

but they won’t.

Frustration sears my brain

depleting passion

executing creativity.

My spirit left brittle

thin skin torn

a travesty.

My one true remedy

out of reach

unable to help me cope.

I didn’t pace my pain

and ignored my body’s voice

a martyr’s hope.

I denied the whole self

tending only to the suffering

suffocating the purpose.

I poked at the wounds

until my soul bled out

leaving me wordless.

I see now the signs

warning me

to protect my heart.

Choosing to push harder

in spite of the whispers

I broke my art.

I need to redesign

my way of healing

with more self compassion.

I need to cultivate

a recovery with

more distractions.

I can’t focus

on only what has

brought me pain.

I need to gravitate

more to what

keeps me sane.

Love is all around me

looking at me

with adoring eyes.

I’ll continue to hurt

if I choose

to over empathize.

What once felt

like it

set me free

Led me

to the dark side

of vulnerability.

The backlash to

opening myself up

this way

Has reminded me

I’m only human and

and I can’t hurt the pain away.

I’ll continue to

move towards

the fear

Banishing shame and

shouting the words

survivors need to hear.

But I can’t put

my life

at risk

My depression

remains too

thick.

For the sake

of my heart

body and mind

I have to

tread lightly

towards this mission of mine.

***

Don't take life too serious.

Raised in hell, but still parenting well

This. This is why I choose to write about my life, my struggles, my pain and my recovery. With women like Christine and so many others that have come forward with their own stories, it makes it all worth something. It’s never easy, but hope prevails.

The SisterWives

Today’s post is another on parenting, this time in response to Dawn’s incredible piece a couple of weeks ago, about how parenting proved to be a completely unexpected source of triggers for her, due to her being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. This piece exploded into the Sisterwives’ submissions queue, and I couldn’t wait to publish it – not only because it emphasises the need for Dawn’s project, and how vital it will prove to be, but because it demonstrates more clearly than anything what an important forum this site is, for you to be able to share the things which are important to you, and to be received gently, respectfully and with compassion, and to realise those two fundamental truths: You are NOT ALONE, and Together We’re Stronger.

Thank you, Christine, for making both of these points so beautifully, and with such incredible courage – Lizzi

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Don't take life too serious.

The Secret Keepers

Meet Karen. She is the definition of a survivor. Not just because of her ability to be open with her own recovery, but more so because she carries the empathy and insight hat will help others heal as well. Your words are a gift Karen.

It’s Nature Karen

secrets

I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to ask you to share this post. Reblog it, share it on Facebook, tweet it. Someone out there needs to hear this message today. Even if you think you don’t know anyone who has been abused. Even if you don’t read the entire post.

About a month ago I was asked by Dawn at WTF words, thoughts, feelings to contribute an essay for an anthology that she and Joyelle are creating for parents who are survivors of childhood sexual and physical abuse (learn more at https://www.facebook.com/TriggerPointsAnthology).

I submitted my essay but I also want to shine a bigger spotlight on this project because I fear that they may not get many submissions. Not because it’s not a worthy cause or because there aren’t enough people out there to contribute but because survivors of abuse are secret…

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Don't take life too serious.

My Paper Trail.

Yesterday, while looking for one tiny little trinket, in a sea of totes stored in the dusty, cobwebbed covered basement, something happened. I opened the first bin to start digging. On top, a paper I wrote for a psychology of learning course I took in college, 11 years ago. It’s title, in bold lettering: Teaching Survivors To Keep Surviving. Seeing that felt like a splash of cold water against my face. A wakening. I realized, I have been on this journey of recovery, survival, advocacy, for much longer than even I understood.

I became driven to find everything I had ever written. I found notebooks and journals from high school English classes, college papers I wrote as a psychology major and random thoughts written on loose leaf paper.

I could hear my children and husband looking for me upstairs. I stayed hidden in the basement until I had a pile, knee high to bring up. I scattered it all out on the dining room table. Something was missing. I went to my bedroom and dug out the poetry I wrote and diaries I filled as a young girl.

These diaries have been somewhat haunting me lately. I’ve had to go in to my hope chest recently, a place where I keep the few items I have from childhood. Each time, I had to move the diaries in order to get what I was after. Every time I’ve pushed them to the side, I felt this gentle nudge  to open them. I could barely look at them, let alone read them.

Although I never wrote about the abuse, I feel like every word in those diaries are dancing around the secret. I know that I will have to connect with the familiar lines and metaphors I hid behind as a little girl. That terrifies me. Or at least it did.

papers2

I added the poetry and diaries to the mix on the table. I stood there looking at all the paper, all the words and felt consumed with an unexplainaible mix of fear and excitement. Just flipping through a few of the essays I wrote, I was surprised at my own language and awareness around the issues that I often talk about today – shame, vulnerability, connecting with people. It’s all there. I’ve been working on getting to a place where I can say these words outloud my whole life. I just didn’t know it.

I was too overwhelmed by it all yesterday. Tonight, I will be diving in to all it. I feel a bit like a kid who scored big on a treasure hunt, and is about to dig in and discover what she found. I’m sitting at the dining room table this morning, writing this with the still scattered pieces of my story all around me. It’s bizarre how pertinent this all feels, despite not knowing how or why.

Don't take life too serious.

We Should All Be Assigned A Shrink At Birth.

oprah

We live in a “Band-Aid” culture. We are prescribed sometimes toxic medications, so society doesn’t have to hear about the ugly reality of our experiences. Our symptoms are covered and numbed, leaving the wounds to fester, undoubtedly infecting the next generation.

Talking to a trained professional is just sometimes necessary, and should be more socially promoted and accepted, outside of being in a crisis. If my knee hurts, I go to the doctor to get it looked at. If I don’t, shame on me for not paying attention to my body. If I start to feel “just not myself”, why does it not make sense to go have my head (figuratively speaking) looked at?

What if we had an annual mental health check up, like we do our annual physicals? Hasn’t enough been said to stress the importance of physical and mental well being for each and every human being? People talk about going to counseling with a sticky, defeated attitude. Why do we feel uncomfortable in conversation, if someone admits to going to therapy or suggests it to someone else? It’s because all of a sudden there is this stench that follows the moment, leaving an air of shame in the room. As if there is a neon arrow, pointing to the “damaged one” in the group.

Whether we have ever had the thought, “Maybe I should talk to someone about this?”, it would be beneficial to have someone ask how you are doing. To be put in a position you know going in that the focus is you, your mind, the circumstances around your life – that opportunity is a gold mind.

feelings

There are so many people walking around with Depressive Disorder in their medical charts. They take medication(s) for the depression, but have never seen a therapist. How does that even make sense? Can my primary care physician give me a check up and diagnose me with cancer, then give me a prescription to treat it within 15 to 30 minutes? No, she would hopefully see a need for further investigation in to my complaints and send me to a specialist. It just seems dangerous to me, to think of one’s mental issues/conditions/well-being any differently.

I have learned, through personal and professional experience, the positive change that can come from counseling. If we never even make it to the therapist’s office, how is one expected to combat the dysfunctions he lives and struggles with daily. We never will. Our culture, despite a respectable and popular movement towards living your best life, still does not support the idea. The shift in attitude towards those that need and seek professional help has not happened. It still has a “crazy” feel to it. The Band-Aids help close the wounds, but only covering them up, is what keeps us all in a constant state of anxiety.

We all have conflict that affect our lives. Whether untapped grooves from childhood or recent stressors contributing to a lack of clarity, everyone needs and deserves a professional to help her process this crazy ride we’re all on. Having someone to validate you, identify negative or irrational thoughts behind the feelings you are having, and/or bring attention to the whys of our behaviors, would contribute to a much healthier and happier society. Don’t ya think?

 


Did you know I’m co-editing an anthology? Trigger Points: An Abuse Survivor’s Experience of Parenting is now open for submission. Go to our Facebook page to learn more. Please do like, share and consider sharing your own story with us.

Don't take life too serious.

Brand New Kind Of Me.

Talk about a personal anthem! I remember hearing and liking this song when it was released in 2012, but hearing it again recently, it took on a whole new meaning.

I watched the video before I added it to this post. The scene where she is singing to herself in the mirror made me ugly cry. It brought my own thoughts and feelings to life. Alicia Key’s words embody the empowerment I am feeling at this point in my life – a new confidence, a personal acceptance, a decision to never again apologies for who I am or what I believe.

30's

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about the project I am working on. She asked me if I was abused. I told her yes, for eight years. What I noticed in that moment was that my heart wasn’t pounding. I didn’t feel small or embarrassed or sad or scared or on the verge of tears. I can say things out loud now, that I never would have been able to say even a year ago. Some how, I have flipped a switch on shame. As Mrs. Keys says, “It’s a brand new kind of free.”

So I just wanted to share this with you guys. If you have ever overcome something difficult in your life (who hasn’t?), are trying to overcome something or are struggling with getting out of your own way so that you can, I know you’ll get the chills when you hear this song. I advise taking a drive (by yourself…no kids allowed) and blasting this one!

Let me know what you think!!

Don't take life too serious.

Dehydrated Fingers.

Just seemed to fit today…

W.T.F.

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Ever been in a fight with yourself? This past week, I have done nothing but defend myself against myself. My ego has been throwing sticks and stones at my brain, leaving my heart heavy and hurting.

My chest and arms have felt as if they were taken hostage by gravity. I had a gnawing urge to huddle in a ball. I had a full-blown panic attack last weekend, for no apparent reason, that seemed to precipitate the following week’s worth of self doubt and a total inability to focus. All my emotions suddenly seemed to lack muscle.  I lost my groove. Actually, it feels more like the groove just ran away, with no explanation as to why.

This is the revolving, depressive door I seem to walk in and out of. Maybe I need a higher dose of an anti-depressant. Maybe I need a change more drastic than a hair…

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