The Safe Man

I’m going to be writing about trauma therapy and marriage again today, because that’s my life right now. This is not a Whiner McBabypants post where I talk about my specific trauma, rather, these are my reflections on life, love, and marriage as a disabled woman.

You know when you just feel sad, and you just want to be sad? Your husband will cook dinner, do the dishes and watch romcoms with you but you don’t want any of it, you want to feel your own pain?

When I look back on my former life as an able-bodied model, I would call myself ungrateful. This lack of gratitude drug into my life as a disabled person, and later as a disabled married person.

Part of this led to walls-up mode. Most people think I wear my heart on my sleeve, but really this is an act of pushing people away by oversharing. If someone really wanted my honest opinion, they’d probably have to cross Jurassic Antartica with added volcanoes to get it.

I finally revealed this to my husband today, with the caveat that for most of my life, I didn’t think people were safe. But when I put his wedding band on his finger, I marked him as someone who was safe. It was my job to get out of Jurassic Antartica and place him in the sunnier meadows of my mind so I could hear him out, and ultimately communicate with him.

I really don’t have anyone or anything I’m more grateful for than him. He finished building a 4 ft tall aromatherapy garden for me today. It’s that tall so I don’t hurt myself by bending over.

Remember, learning to love is just as hard as accepting it!

Reflection

I follow the Memes for Jesus page. One time I actually messaged them and got no response.

Recently I thought of a meme about PKs, or preachers kids. Often times in the comments of the Instagram page people seem to have the idea that the PK does whatever they want. That wasn’t my experience.

My idea was that PKs on the inside were the song Reflection from Mulan. In the song, Mulan expresses sadness and anxiety for perceiving to not live up to her family’s expectations. Generally all PKs I know are balls of perfectionism and anxiety, whether they end up functional or heroin addicts, Christian or otherwise. This is a mix of expectations from their parents congregation and expectations of their parents to be perfect examples of Jesus to the community.

I still grapple much with my upbringing and my faith. There’s a lot I wish were different, but you do the best you can with what you have.

Sometimes all you have is six chords and the truth or a bible and your tears, and that’s enough.

Whatever enough for you is, know that you are worthy, no matter who your mother or your daddy was.

The choices we make

Throughout history, different people have come up with numerous ways to determine how to define a human being, or rather, a person’s worth.

The most common in the west is money, that ones value is determined by what a person gives to the economy. I tried so hard to give to the blessed mother economy that has given me so much. Say what you want but in the end I was its slave. A marker of adulthood is being a willing one, and I was, but I had fallen down and was thrown to the side with the chaff.

Worse of all, I am now applying for disability. I am asking money from the government, an act considered so heinous by many people I know I don’t deserve the donated clothes on my back.

Many conservative people will tell you a woman belongs with a man. I will not disclose why but I have decided my husband and I cannot do this marriage journey in our short time together. This will bring me shame from my surrounding conservative community.

Oftentimes when I volunteered to cook at funerals people would ask when I was going to get a man because my food was so good. It took me six years to find one, but it turned out to be a bad love.

At first I thought I would be relieved, but then the tears started coming every day. I’ve been listening to “The Redheaded Stranger” album by Willie Nelson on repeat the past two days.

I am afraid I will lose my sense of personhood through all of these losses, but I am doing what I can do hold on to Christ and what he says, that I am God’s child and his princess. I am royalty, even if the world says otherwise. No one can take my crown. If it needs adjusting then I do and keep marching on.

Does this all go down to the choices we make consciously?

Could I have foreseen being rejected by a dollar, or what was to go down with my husband?

I don’t know if I could have at all. But there were points where I could have demanded more or walked out. And I did try that, to no avail.

You end up where you are and there’s no use reminiscing. You straighten your crown and march on.

That’s a crown from God that no illness or man can take away, ladies and gents, and it’s on your head whether you believe in it or not.

Fighting the She-Wolf: Fibromyalgia Painger Coping Techniques From a Weird Hippie

I had a great day today, filled with productivity, intimacy with my fiancé Bear, a side quest to find cake balls, and the two of us pretty much telling my parents I was moving in. They took it as well as you could expect a preacher and his wife could.

Bear and I celebrated all night long until it was bedtime. I was sure that my alter ego, the She-Wolf, would not appear as I had such a wonderful day. I was wrong.

What is the She-Wolf?

The She-Wolf is an irrational, bitter, negative version of myself that exists around sunset til 12pm the following day. Symptoms of lycanthropy include extreme anxiety, nervous chittering, catastrophizing, only seeing negative outcomes, thinking someone said horrible things, general paranoia and moodiness.

My mother coined the term lycanthropy two days before Bear and I initiated operation secret move out and called me a She-Wolf. As a Technical Writing major I wrote an actual step by step procedure on how Bear could deal with me as a She-Wolf. Becoming a She-Wolf with the onset of fibromyalgia pain worsening in the evening and realizing this made me and Bear realize I needed to book it out of the ‘rents place.

The She-Wolf Does Not Rest

As previously mentioned today was great, and I was not symptomatic at 5:30 as usual. She-Wolf didn’t come barging in until 10:30 and Bear and I were trying to sleep.

In Bear and I’s house we each have separate office spaces. Mine contained a new order of books, one of which was Heal Your Body by Louise Hay. I previously read You Can Heal Your Life by her and thought it was fascinating, a new viewpoint I had never heard before.

Hay’s book contains a diagnostic list of diseases and affirmations to be recited in a mirror. I went through and said anything that applied in the mirror by my desk and I felt She-Wolf backing off. This took about 30 minutes.

Next I brewed some chamomile tea and tried to softly sing a song in our kitchen. I drank it and went through the affirmations again after becoming thoroughly depressed while reading Being Well When We’re Ill by the theologian Marva Dawn. I’m sure I’ll sink my teeth into it later but when the She-Wolf is rising I need something fluffier. I think I need an All the Shit I Am Reading post soon.

Finally, I used my green aventurine stone and did a two minute meditation after playing with my crystals.

I felt safe enough to go back into the bedroom, but the She-Wolf came back after my rib cage cried out upon lying down.

I am back in my office and have just recited the same affirmations from Hay. This seems to be a rinse, lather, repeat thing. At least it keeps my She-Wolf away. But my lack of sleep is here. However, I felt a storm blow in so that may amount to something too.

The Beginner’s Guide to Positive Thinking

A positive outlook is a skill. Some people master it at three seconds old, three years old, or thirty years old. I like to think of it as a martial art with many different disciplines. There’s the classic Kung Fu and TaeKwonDo, great at destabilizing assailants of negativity, the slow and poetic Tai Chi, perfect for artistically overcoming your inner demons, and the energetic and strategic Fencing and sword arts, suited for those who love to victoriously skewer their suffering on a pointy metal object.

Some people never enter the martial arts studio, some enter later in life, some stay as white belts, some make it to the sparring levels and stay there, some practise swordplay and bloodily dash their issues gleefully and goreily, and some dedicate their lives and become masters. Gifted folks have a natural talent. They may naturally gravitate towards self-defense and fighting arts, and know maneuvers without even stepping foot inside a studio. Many may ask mom for lessons at age two after running around pretending to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or Batman, or mom may sign her child up after noticing disruptive behaviors with other children.

Hi, my name is Spoonie Bard, and I was the white belt, Ninja Turtle, Fencer who tried hard, but never got it. 

Oh, and I had disruptive reactions too. Like feeling overwhelmed when my chronic illness appeared, numbness upon the deaths of close family members that confused me, and bitterness at the unexpected path my life took despite my hard work and integrity.

These came with disruptive behaviors, like crying, spending too much time thinking, complaining excessively, messiness, and neglecting hobbies I once loved, such as music and art.

First, I will say that these are natural reactions to life events. It’s also called depression. Depression is actually expected when a trauma occurs in a person’s life. If your pet died tonight and you weren’t sad about it, I would probably think you were a monster. Most people would! That’s a silly example, but think about it. When bad things happen to people, it is rational for us to assume we would have a negative emotion to accompany the event.

Okay, so sadness and negativity is normal. Where does positive thinking fit into this?

Let’s first examine my definition of what life is all about.

  1. Life is not about eliminating what’s bad, or all of our life’s problems.
  2. Life is about reaching our full potential.
  3. How we reach our full potential is by investing in ourselves.
  4. We invest in ourselves by spending time on things we like, knowing what things we like, and ultimately knowing who we are so we can be ourselves.

Life is not about solving problems

Think about it. What are problems? Why are they problems?

There are obvious problems like “I need to put a roof over my head” or “I am experiencing serious pain.”

Let’s examine the markers that go with each of these two major problems.

What if needing to put a roof over your head was not a problem to be solved?

What if you still needed to put a roof over your head, but instead of it being a problem to be solved, it was an opportunity to be met with your full potential? Not necessarily a passion of yours, but your abilities? 

What if this problem of needing to provide was a blessing? So many people cannot provide for themselves. They cannot work, are unemployed, or are at the mercy of someone else controlling them.

Next, “I am experiencing serious pain.”

This is hard for me. I admit I am still working on this one a little as a white belt, but this is what I’ve worked up.

Try to turn this problem to be solved into a relationship with your body of affection and compassionate curiosity.

Engage with a dialogue with your body. Please seek medical care if you can. But when you’re not at the doctor or taking medications, practise talking to your physical self. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Ask your body where it hurts the most and try to sense if there is an emotion there. Keep asking the places where your pain is questions. Get to know your body and the pain it harbors. 

Your Full Potential

The term “potential” always bothered me. As I grew up, people always told me I had so much potential. In this post I am not referring to monetary or physical success. I am talking about personal fulfillment.

Investing in Yourself

This is the key to positive thinking.

We spend so much time running around with self-help books, diets, exercise, so concerned with the person we need to be, the person we were told we should be. These are all actions that take away, or subtract, from who you are.

Let’s talk about adding to yourself.

When was the last time you sat down and did something for yourself, even if it was small, like listening to an audiobook of your choice on your commute? Or instead of scrolling through social media before bed, you read up verified sources on a subject you’re passionate about?

Passion and curiosity are the soil and water through which the roots of a grounded, healthy self grow. From here the flowers of a positive outlook blossom and your happy little person plant is sturdy enough to make it through the aphids and the pesticides of life. 

The big lesson here is that instead of working so hard on subtracting negative traits from yourself, instead focus on adding to positive things you like about yourself. 

Knowing Yourself

When you have a solid identity, it isn’t easily shaken. True, identities change and fluctuate over time, but being in a relationship with yourself and allotting time to seek yourself out regularly buffers this a bit. 

If you can like yourself because you do the things you like, you can charge your positive energy batteries for the storm of life. Here, you can begin to sense the inherent value all human beings are born with. 

Remember: you have your own light and it is already on. You just have to remember to take your sunglasses off inside the sanctuary.

I hope this was helpful, and I wish myself and you all out there on your journeys to positive thinking. Remember that positivity is not about ignoring the bad, never feeling sad, or invalidating your dark experiences. It is a path to wholeness in our somber, embarrassing, and painful moments.

Ultimately, positive thinking is an equation. Sadness + gladness + investment = positive outlook.

A recap:

Pocket full of starlight: positive thinking can be learned, and you have all the tools already inside of you.

Pocket full of darkness: there wouldn’t be positive thinking without negative thinking. Honor your journey and the journey of others. No one knows anyone else’s struggles. You can be in the dojo, on the playground, or trying to stick a straw in someone’s ear in the school cafeteria. 

Beauty can come late

Pink roses with pink text "Beauty can come late"

I have a jar of wilted roses in front of my happy light. It’s a wonder my office doesn’t smell like roasted roses, because the happy light has been on for about 12 hours. By the way, a happy light is artificial sunlight, and if you don’t turn it off after 30 minutes, it can catch fire. Maybe it’s the cold or maybe it’s luck, but my flowers (that I’ve had since August) haven’t caught fire yet. Or my house. It’s all right, it’s all good. Have a good time.

And I think about my roses not catching fire, and what it means from a metaphorical standpoint, because I catch on fire frequently. Right now my shoulders and right knee are on fire. But it’s all right, it’s all good. Have a good time. I guess. As far as mornings go this isn’t too bad even though my dad broke the coffee pot. I guess it’s a penny arcade.

But I guess if you’re a rose, even when you’re really dead, long dead, you’re beautiful. And I think about all the times I’ve felt dead inside for years, such as wasting my childhood and teenage years feeling empty inside – and not in the emotional sense. I couldn’t feel anything. Until I took yoga in college for three semesters, I couldn’t see anything. I wasn’t aware of the world around me. It was like having tunnel vision. What I saw was a laser focused object right in front of me in order for me to move. Other times, when I didn’t have an object, it was all a gray or black blur.

See, the beauty was still there for me, even after I came back to life and gained my vision back. The wilted jar of roses is still beautiful, though not socially acceptable, although my fiancé has not said anything about it.

I’m on The Latest Kate’s emailing list and today’s illustration really struck me. It was a pink dragon (!favorite! thing!) that read “Sometimes all we can focus on is making it through the day. And that is enough.”

Just make it through today and you can still have your unburnt jar of dead roses that are still somehow beautiful, and make it to the next morning to have a pink dragon cheering you on (and a plethora of other blessings).

So, a recap:

Pocket full of starlight: there’s lots of beautiful things to see in this world, even if you arrive late.

Pocket full of darkness: you might set your house on fire in the process.