Thursday, August 11, 2016

When the whole school rumored I was a "slut"

Recently, my 17 year old, LDS sister in law made some poor choices, cheating on her boyfriend with this seeming "bad boy," "cool guy," at school. It happened once, and she feels awful about it. And it got me really thinking, trying to understand where she was really coming from. Her mom is hammering "integrity" but I feel like integrity is an easy byproduct when all your other morals and values are in line. Especially when you've grown up with the Gospel teachings. I don't think her weakness is a lack of integrity. But she will now have to struggle, as a natural consequence of her choice, to restore her integrity, especially in the eyes of others.  But as I tried to put myself in her shoes, I made a lot of guesses. Maybe it's just lust. Maybe it's feeling a lack of worthiness. Maybe she is addicted to "being desired". I don't know the extent of ALL her choices involving boys but apparently the extent of the cheating was "making out". I don't think the big "S" word is on the table yet in her life... Though you can never be too sure these days. I dread for her the feeling of the rumors around school today... Because I know that feeling. And I honestly, for those days where it was ALL anyone could talk about, I honestly wished I could just die.

So I took some time this morning. I put my hands on my heart. I assured MY inner child that she is safe. And I walked through the pain of some of my repeated choices that I made in high school.  The shame, the guilt, the filth I felt.

Sure, I'm sure Satan is there when we make these lust driven choices. But he plays on some major weakness. Some deeply held pain, or faulty core belief, in order to persuade us that this is what we want, that this is a "good" or sometimes even a "necessary" choice.

So I walked through it. And oh man, it was painful. I have addressed repentance already with these items... But really only to scratch the surface. I've been far from finding a total place of peace and healing and acceptance.

To paint the picture for you, I was absolutely gorgeous in high school. I spent a lot of time every morning making sure I was runway ready. Every day. I was a junior in high school, and I was friends with everyone at my school. Everyone knew who I was, I chose who I wanted to spend my time with and I spent a lot of weekend time at parties with the seniors. Thankfully, I became friends with a mormon girl who also went to the parties but was convicted not to drink alcohol. I was inspired and after a few months I decided I wouldn't drink either. But that didn't keep my friend from making lots of wild choices with boys. She was desired by all the boys, I was jealous. She had big boobs and I didn't and I was sure that was what made the difference. All the boys at the parties, just never seemed very interested in me. And I hated that. I never had a boyfriend my junior or senior year, though I desperately wanted one. And, truth be told, I was terrified of the boys. I could hardly speak around them, though I hid my great fear of them behind an heir of sarcasm and, "I'm better than you." It probably made no sense because I am otherwise an extremely bubbly, giggly, nice person! Anyways, my friend had her choice of any guy at school and so she basically chose them all, while I felt such a deep deep rejection. Such a hole. Sixrh a lack of love and belonging in my life. My other best friend, beautiful, funny, caring, a natural leader, found herself in the ssrme situation. We would often sit in our cars talking about it. Things like, "I mean, were so cute! We're so amazing! Everyone loves us! So why arent we getting asked out?!"

So, one night, late late at night, I snuck out my window to go to a party. This was a common occurrence my junior year. I showed up and everyone was getting tired, lots of people were spending the night at this house and two boys were still awake. One, was the boy I LOVED, I was obsessed with him. The other, was just a guy in my class who was also always at the senior parties. A "cool" guy. The one I was obsessed with, fell asleep, or pretended he was asleep, while the other guy and I kept talking. It was so late. I felt unusually free, not so afraid, not trying so hard to be someone that I wasn't. I have no idea why. Maybe because it was nearly dawn and I had snuck our, therefore deeming myself rebellious and free. Maybe it was because he was surprisingly nice and very easy to talk to... But in this perfectly horrid combination, that's when it happened.

What happened?

Well, for a sense of dignity, and to keep this out of the porn-literature genre, I will not say exactly WHAT happened. But I will say this. In the Christian world (as I was not Mormon yet) there was lots and lots of teaching about chastity. I felt very convicted in my promise to abstinence before marriage. However, I would often ask, "but wheres the line?" In other words, "what IS sex, and what ISN'T sex?" It seemed obvious that only true intercourse was sex, but surely other things were bad.. Right? I was so confused. There was very litle teaching in all my church years about listening to your conscience,or following the still-small-voice. Or any of that. In fact, we were taught that our emotions were not to be trusted. We should follow the rules with all reason and logic.

Well, reason and logic weren't with me this night. Even when it was over, I asked myself why? Why him? I didn't even like him! I figured that I had ruined my chances with the guy I liked. But yet I felt so good at the same time. I felt a sense of accomplishment. I felt proud. I felt, somehow, more worthy than I was before. For just a few minutes, all that guy cared about was me. And THAT, my friends, is exactly what I was searching for.

Of course, until Monday rolled around. My own conscience was working on me, but it flew into high gear when I realized HOW MANY people knew what I had done. All the guys were making jokes. Most the girls didnt know what to think. I denied it every time publicly... Then ran to my best friend sobbing, confessing my sins and how horrible I felt. It took about a week. Seeing him was awkward. We didn't even have feelings for each other.  Then, finally it was over. There was a new juicy gossip for everyone the following weekend and I was grateful that it didn't involve me, this time.

To my surprise, and I never did put these facts together until way after the fact, the guy I liked the MOST, started paying a little more attention to me after that. A little about him: He was the football star, drove a big red truck, very well known family in the community, and ALL the girls swooned over him. He could have had any girl he put his attention to. This was THE GUY. The one my heart was set on. What did I like about him? I liked everything I just told you. I didn't care about his heart, I didn't care about the fact that he really really still looked like more of a boy than a man. I didn't care that he made fun of people and said horrible profanities to anyone he felt like. I didn't care that he cheated in class,or that he was drunk every weekend. I ignored all the signs that this was someone I should stay away from. Let alone all the girls that it was rumoured he had used.

Guys, I wanted him because everyone wanted him. And if I got him, I could prove to myself that I WAS worthy, after all.

But I didn't want a one night stand with him. What girl really wants that? Not me, I wanted his heart,I wanted his devotion, I wanted all his attention. I wanted him to really want me. It became a game, a quest of great importance.  I had to be skillful, I had to try really hard to be everything... Meaning every thing I'm not.

And finally, the moment came. It was the summer before he would go off to college. It was just me and him. He was finally paying attnetion to just me. It felt too good to be true. He wasn't even tactful. He didn't even pretend to care about me, but I was so blinded that I ignored all the red sirens going off in my heart and soul. And I gave him what he wanted. And when it was over, the shame was immediate. I KNEW I had just allowed myself to be used. And THAT feeling, was so much worse than the time earlier in the year when everyone was gossiping about me.

Truthfully, I knew for a long time that pursuing him wasn't what I really wanted. But I ignored all my thoughts and feelings because the REAL reason (which I did not see AT ALL, at the time) was way WAY too huge, and important, and soul corroding to just give up on it. If being with this guy, wasn't going to answer the hole I felt in my soul, then what would?!

Exactly. That is exactly the subconscious question I felt as I began to realize that this guy was not an answer to anything!
He did call me one more time. He invited me to a pool party at his friends house. I went. I found myself in a bedroom, alone with him again. And I felt so cold towards him. I played the part,I continued to act all infatuated with him. Until he again expressed his intent to use me. And I just sat there. I didnt leave, I didn't speak. I felt such deep pain in my soul, and such absolute anger toward him, that I just sat there with my arms crossed and glared at him. I wondered how someone could be SO SELFISH. I wondered how I could've ever allowed myself to like him. I wondered why I ever allowed myself BACK into the same situation,thinking, hoping, that he would actually care about me this time. Like somehow he could magically show a new leaf in just one night. It felt good to reject him, but it felt terrible to know that he really didnt care about me.

But the truth is, I was using him too. I didnt really care about him either. It was easy to blame him, that's what girls do. Just blame it all on the horny guy who clearly is no good, I dont need to accept any reaponsibility for this situation. Really, I could only think of myself too. I objectified him as much as he objectified me, but we showed it in different ways.

But it wasnt just my pursuit of my football star that showed my desperate need to be seen and loved. It was in my perfect outfits every day. It was in my desire to please my teachers. It was in all my leadership roles, and clubs. It was in my popularity contest. It was in my immodest clothes. It was in my choices to go to parties. It was in my fear of boys.

Fear of boys; this one seems like it needs a little more exploring. They held the key to my worthiness. Somehow, some where, between media messages and a natural desire for companionship and romance in my life, I felt like these boys held all the power. The power to crush or uplift my soul.

I lived with my aunt and uncle. It was more of a boarding house than a home. There was no one in my life fully invested in me, except me. All my loving ancestors had died. My dad had died. My mom was on drugs. I kept going to church bc I knew God cared too... I just didn't always know why that was relevant.

When the church finally came into my life, the end of my senior year, of course I accepted it! It was the biggest breath of fresh air I had ever received. It filled me in a way that nothing else had, or could. And slowly, over time, I learned through the Gospel, who I really am. The value I really have. What it really means to be a daughter of God. That I am good, and whole, and wonderful just as I am. I don't need to try to be someone that I'm not. I can just be me, and in the arms of the Savior, I am ok, I am loved. It took me years of being in the Gospel to fully understand these things. I still sttuggle to shake the shame and tendencies toward perfectionism. And then, with the Gospel combined with a little yoga, I got to meet my Spirit. My true self. With the guidance of my therapist I got to meet my inner child, and talk to her, and see the beauty in her, and I've learned to love her.

So, I put my hand on my heart. I tell her how much I love her. I tell her how very sorry I am for the years of pain and heavy, empty, emotions that she felt. I tell her that I understand her, I understand her choices, I understand why she felt the way she did. I tell her I'm sorry for all the years of shame and perfectionism. I tell her, "you are truly wonderful, just as you are." And most of all, I tell her that I will never leave her alone... My true self, my Spirit self, my pre-existence self who is wise and eternal, is here, holding her hand, and she doesn't have to face life alone.

And then, my thoughts return to my sweet sister in law. Is this why she made the choice she made? Will the shame of the gossip costume her today? Do I tell her how very very well I can relate? And most of all, how do I, someone who really loves her and wants to support her, convey to her that she is whole. How can I possibly give her this gift that I have received? Is it completely necessary for her to travail this course of heartache like I did? When she has no idea that she is broken (like me), when she thinks she's hot stuff (like I did), when she's gorgeous and popular (like I was), is there really any conveying to her that boys are not the answer.... To a question she doesn't even know she's seeking an answer to? To a hole she doesn't even know she is trying to fill?

I want to tell her that her divine worth is the answer to the insecurities in her heart.  I want to tell her that she is wonderful, she is worthy of love and belonging and she doesnt have to look any further than her own heart to find that. I want to tell her that God approves of her, that she doesn't have to try so hard, or show off her cute legs, or be desired by all the boys, to feel the love of God rush through her like a calm summer breeze. I want to tell her that she has a wise woman within her, that its her true self, and that I trust her, and that God trusts her, and that it's ok for HER to trust her.

But I just dont know how.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The inevitable heart wall

I am receiving greater spiritual sensitivity lately. With that comes greater intuition, especially with my own self.  Every time h goes through something, without thought, without the DESIRE to shield myself, without ANY motive to distance myself from him, or guard myself against him... My subconscious forms a heart wall.

It was about a year and a half ago that I learned the concept of the heart wall, from the book The Untethered Soul. It was a beautifully painful concept as I realized how difficult of an endeavor I was undertaking with the vow to"keep my heart open."

I made the choice, that's the first step. Then I had to shift my thinking each and every day. I began being aware of my habit to immediately choose of in situations of pain, and I worked to allow everything to move through me, instead of get stuck inside of me. I have spent nearly ALL my recovery efforts just trying to keep my heart open, it is extremely insightful!

So fast forward to now, I feel that I've mostly forgiven my husband of the past. The pain still comes up all the time and we have to talk about it all still more than we would choose to, but its good. It's so good, necessary work. And when an old pattern shows up in my husband, I see it, I feel the trigger, I work through it, he works through it, I talk about it, he talks about it, we each use various means for support, there's ultimately lots of vulnerability and sharing and respect and understanding... It sounds all really great right?! Looks like, we are processing this the best way possible right?! But then.... There's this heart wall.


Literally every time.

It's so frustrating!

We end up building greater trust. H ultimately ends up amazing me even, lately, with his self awareness, ability to own, humility to reach out, DESIRE for God's will, ability to listen and understand me even as he struggles... But even with all of this, the heart wall factory doesn't know when to stop it!!!

What it feels like when I have a heart wall, is just a general distance. A lack of closeness. In fact, for me, it's much easier for me to be best friends with H... It's much HARDER for me to be romantic partners with him. All girls need a best friend, and he makes a really sweet one... usually, a really safe one... but it's letting him into my heart, in "that way" that is a struggle.  FOR ME, this is what heart walls look like. They are so super subtle. They are invisible obviously to the senses... They are only perceivable to the spiritually sensitive. And even though H bumps into them most often, they affect everyone around me.  Including my relationship with Heavenly Father.  And then, I feel totally alone, because everyone is OUTSIDE my wall... even though I am the one who put them there.

Thankfully, in all my visits to energy healers throughout this journey I have learned how to get rid of heart walls. Our subconscious is just trying to"keep us safe" but"paying it safe" is not always the best answer... Especially in love. Love almost always requires that you play JUST OUTSIDE of the safe box.  It is so hard, in love, because so much is at stake.  Especially when we have experienced first hand just HOW MUCH POWER our husbands really hold, to crush us up into bits....

All it takes is a prayer of faith and a sincere desire.
"Do I have heart walls? Do I have hidden heart walls? Do I need to know what they are made of? What are they made of? Through the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ I ask that these heart walls be removed, with faith that they will be removed. I ask that they be replaced with _______.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen"

It takes some interesting intuition to figure out what they are made out of. Sometimes I don't need to know, sometimes I do, in order for my subconscious to be validated to be able to heal. One time it was made of water. One time it was made of steel from a space ship, a durable impenetrable material. Sometimes they are a mile wide. Sometimes it's just a sturdy cage. But all can be made free through a simple awareness, and prayer of faith.

Today, I replaced my heart cage with the light of Christ and flowers, which are vulnerable, receptive, bright and playful...


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Wedding anniversary

May 16, 2008 we were married in the temple. We both said "romantic" things to each other constantly like "you brought light to the darkness," "you saved me," "I can't go on without you." We fought constantly. We were still in college.

May 16, 2009 we were about to have our first baby. We went to a lake resort nearby and I couldn't eat any of the food because I was sick and hugely pregnant. We often drew pictures for each other and wrote elaborate notes about our love for each other. I began attending the church's family support group because of my mom. I often felt that I was really screwed up.

May 16, 2010 we were in the middle of the grind. Both of us still in college, living in married stident housing, a colicky baby and life felt hard. I was in the depths of depression, and yet the simplicity of our lives was really beautiful. This summer we went to Hawaii, my first and only time.. With our little darling baby. It was a trip that carried us through the hard times of the following year. I was still attending the family support group and seeing a counselor for my depression.

May 16, 2011, about to have our second child and BOTH of us, graduating college. I was terrified, it was time to be grown-ups and we knew I would be a stay at home mom. But I had no idea what he wanted to do following graduation. We found a place to work in exchange for rent in the middle of nowhere and h struggled, a lot. I quit counseling and felt that I was doing much better with my own depression. H I started attending the arp because I thought it might help him find more confidence. I worked the arp for PSAS.

May 16, 2012 H confessed to a pornography addiction. I was in denial for almost an entire year after his confession and we got pregnant with our third child. I went back to school for masters credits to become a school teacher. I finished working the arp with a sponsor. H began attending the pasg specific meeting, and I thought he made addiction recovery look easy.

(Feb. Or March 2013 H relapsed, before this be was viewing porn nearly weekly, sometimes more, for most of our marriage without me having any idea.)

May 16, 2013, about to have our third child (Yes, they all have summer birthdays) life was dark dark dark. I went to counseling to try to fix myself and finally realized I was not the problem. In October of this year H moved out and lived on his dad's couch for almost 6 months. This was the darkest year of my life. After attending ARP and FSG for so long, I stopped going because I couldn't see how they could help me feel better. Betrayal trauma finally hit when I got full disclosure.

(March 2014 H relapsed)
May 16, 2014 we spent our anniversary trying to rectify the previous places we lived during our marriage, trying rewrite the narratives that we both had in our heads. I was so glad to have H back in the home but I was so scared and hesitant and broken. My real recovery journey from betrayal trauma began when I started my yoga teacher training in this year. I began regifting trust. I discovered my eating disorder and began working the steps for both trauma and ED recovery.

(March 2015 H relapsed)
May 16, 2015 H had relapsed in March and was out of the house again for about 2 months. We had a date and I was mourning the loss of our marriage. I thought there was no returning after this final relapse. To my total surprise, the recovery of our marriage began taking huge strides. This year required a LOT of work from me, to constantly stay just outside my comfort zone, and begin to take chances with H again. This entire year, H has had to "understand" me, and has generally been stronger and doing better than me.

May 16, 2016
We are trying for another baby. Thats the level of trust we're at... I feel so scared still. However, I know that my fear is not a manifestation of reality, the Spirit has spoken and we are listening. Our marriage recovery continues to take huge strides. I continue to lag behind H in a lot of ways,  but spiritually I feel like we are beginning to be on the same page. It is all I can do to keep an open heart in a true, real marriage that requires openness, honesty, vulnerability and a level of connection that I previously felt unconfortable with... What has had happened in our family, in our lives, is a miracle.

I found a quote in a book of marriage scraps that I made of our first two years of marriage. The quote was on the first page of the book. By Howard W Hunter:

"Whatever the Lord lays His hands upon, lives. If He lays His hands upon a marriage, it lives. If He is allowed to lay His hands upon a family, it lives."

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Learning to listen, together

It was our anniversary date yesterday. Last year, we weren't living together. This year (I'm excited to announce) we're trying to get pregnant. That whole journey will need to be saved for another post. Last year, I was so so low, I didn't really think out was possible that we could make it, that our marriage could survive. This year, I feel more safety than I ever have in our marriage, ever. Yes, I'm still up and down like crazy.... Truly, the biggest challenge I face right now is to follow my heart, and follow the promptings. My ego, my default, WANTS to play it safe, stay small, stay at a distance, keep some walls up.... But love is never this way. I'm constantly being asked to stretch, by my heart, by the Spirit, and by the voice of the Lord. Right now, my husband and I both are trying to listen to and follow the Lord.

On our date yesterday I saw us grow individually, and learn from each other, and I saw our marriage grow.

His listening experience:
We talked about going to the temple. It was in the plans but then we got about an hour later start than planned. We knew we would have to eliminate something from our plans... We were going to go to the temple at 1:30. I suggested we just not go. We could go another day. But when? The conversation went back and forth. Finally over lunch, around 2:00, I said, "you decide." I have learned that Sometimes I have to do this in our marriage. I think its how I can support him to lead. Leading comes as one of my natural tendencies, but it's not really a "natural tendency" for my husband. When he is healthy, and in full recovery mode, he is very capable of leading and does it well. Its just not EASY for him.

 He took some time, and finally said, let's go the temple. On the way there he kicked himself for not making it more of a priority to just go at 1:30. He was owning the fact that he didnt seize the moment to lead, and say, COME ON WE CAN STILL MAKE IT!! He said, "that was my chance to lead as patriarch, but I didn't just do it. I didnt just get us there." I just tried to empathize with him as he waded through his feelings.

When we got to the sealing room, my sister missionary, who leads the family support group for women, was there with her husband, and a BUNCH of their family names. Notice I said she is "MY" sister missionary. She is like a mother to me. The sealings started at 4pm. It was at that moment, I knew we had gotten there right on time. The Lord knew that we would falter and flail and wander and then ultimately choose, at JUST the right time, to go to the temple. He knew my husbands weakness, but he remained teachable and humble and he got us there right when God wanted us there. Last year around this time, I went to her home to receive a blessing from her husband because my husband had just moved out and I was devastated. This year, we were doing sealings in the temple with them. It was such a special time, I was so emotional. The Spirit was so strong.


My listening experience:

We were going to do a bike ride, but when we got out of the temple it was blustering, windy and cold. It was the bike ride that had to be eliminated from the plans of the day. So we went to dinner. I love seafood, and my husband loves buffets. So we went to a seafood buffet.  We got there and were so excited with anticipation. We found out the buffet had been remodeled, it was all white marble now and so fancy looking,which made us even more excited. We got through about 20 minutes of waiting, finally received a table and then went to get food. At this point my husband actually THANKED me for being so excited (buffets are HIS thing and are always a little hard for me. I am in recovery for an eating disorder.) As soon as I grabbed my plate, the spirit spoke pretty clearly. It said, "this is wrong." I heard it. And then deliberately disobeyed. We had plates in hand! We were past the point of no return! (Those were the excuses, easily identifiable now as voices of the adversary in objection to the voice of the Lord which so clearly spoke to me.) I resolved to be mindful about my food choices and try hard not to waste food, or gorge.  I didn't mention a word of this to my husband. But as we sat and ate, I became bombarded. I am an empath. It can be used as a gift or a weakness depending. All of a sudden, I could feel every negative energy of everyone within sight from our table. I could tell you who was feeling which emotions, I became keenly aware of an older couple who were fighting quietly. Subtly shifting their negative energy back and forth, taking turns to leave the table to gamble in the casino. (Yes, I live in nevada, so all the nicest restsurants are in the middle of casino/hotels.) I was drowning. I felt like my spirit was being pulled in a million different directions. Ive been in casinos a million times since I was a kid. But all of a sudden between the lights, the loud noises, the smell of cigarette smoke, everyones depressed energy, feeding their addictions to food and gambling, and all this food being gorged around me, I felt like I was going to be consumed.  My husband happily ate and talked with me. I prayed for relief and grounded myself, and still felt horrible. I talked to hubs about how I was feeling but never mentioned the prompting that I had ignored earlier... I hadn't yet equated the prompting with anything that I was experiencing.  I decided to go find a bathroom for some solitude. I stood in the stall in a forward fold (yoga pose) for about 5 minutes, feeling like the biggest weirdo...And a little crazy, trying to breath deeply and use all my recovery tools to get out of this. I still felt awful.

It was a withdrawal of the Spirit, but I hadnt recognized it yet. If at any time I had really been able to see how I had caused this because of my super quick choice not to obey the spirit, I wouldve just done the hard thing, and told my husband I needed to leave.  I was not ready to see that, so i didn't see it.

I went back to our table for dessert and my husband scooted really close to me, like right up next to me, in this huge booth. And I just kind of slumpled there in defeat. I told him I had considered running out, and how crazy and horribly I felt. He sat with me in it. His sitting so close to me, was his way of empathizing, without really understanding what I was experiencing, he was with me in it. And after about 5 minutes, I felt completely calm.  He has this gift of being even-keel. I am always ALL OVER THE PLACE, and he is not easily budged from his place of homeostasis. (As with any gift, this is also his weakness that kept him away from his feelings for years and kept him running to his addiction to maintain his status-quo, happy-go-lucky attitude. Today it manifested as a true strength.) I really believe in my moment of weakness, his natural energy was there to strengthen and comfort me. And that's where I felt our marriage bond strengthen and grow, through all this.

On the way home, I decidely told him that I don't think I ever want to go to a buffet again. To my total astonishment, he said, "I agree." God had slowly been working on his heart the whole time.  We discussed it for a while, we talked about how we will need to hold each other accountable in the future when we think we want to go again. And then, after ALL that was out,

I told him about the prompting that I received, but ignored.

At first he was sad, almost like with the attitude of like, "no wonder you had such an awful time!" But then as we thought about it, we both agreed that he would've been SO upset if I had told him when it happened and actually asked that we leave.

 BUT THAT WAS THE RIGHT CHOICE! That is what I SHOULD'VE done! But God knew that in my weakness, it would give my husand a chance to catch up to the Spirit that was also prompting HIM, and together, we can now obey the promptings that we have both received.

I wanted to share this because this is a window into what recovery looks like for us right now. There was his recovery, and my recovery, to start out. There was basically no recovery of the marriage. But now were in a different place and recovery of the marriage actually works because he and I are both still working our own recoveries with ownership. I never thought we couls have a marriage like this. Before, it was either he or I who would be doing well while the other one pouted and was defensive. We both have a goal right now to draw closer to the Lord, and it was beautiful for me to see that we could actually support and strengthen each other even in our weaknesses. That his energy could actually help me when I was drowning. That in both cases we could sit with each other in our weaknesses, as we worked to transform those weaknesses to strengths. We didn't end in a fight, and we both recognized and resolved to choose better next time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In pain and mad at myself

I called a non-wopa friend today.  A fellow yogini friend.  I was struggling, with trauma, and I'm so sick of it. I wanted solutions. I wanted her to tell me what to do to fix myself. Yoga has answers, yoga has solutions to sanity. I have felt it before! So I talked, and I didn't want empathy. Through my tears, I focused very little on my pain, and told her all about the things that need fixing.

"My heart is to too hard," I said.
 "I'm stuck in the past," I said.
 "I'm not sure how to live more open hearted, and care free," I said.
"I want to be more like you and you're your husband," I said.

Then she said :

"Self compassion."

And then she repeated back to me what she heard.

"You feel pain, you want the pain to go away, and your mad at YOURSELF because you dont know how."

This is why every once in a while, I need a yogini friend. Profound, and sucky all at the same time. I knew I could've called a wopa. I know lots of wopas, (wife of porn addict). And I knew they would've empathized, and loved me through it, right in the pain. But sometimes I think "YA BUT WERE ALL CRAZY!! I need an OUTSIDE perspective."

Whats really funny, is my yoga friend, did the same exact thing. And she said, "if I were in your shoes, I don't think I could have a totally trusting heart either!"

So there you have it friends.

After I finished my conversation With her, I started trying to get the the bottom of the pain.

Why so much pain?!?!

And so I talked to a seasoned warrior sister. You know, there arent that many seasoned warrior sisters. "Life-after-recovery" type sisters. And I discovered, that I am in a new trauma, or grieving of sorts. Im grieving because my relationship is NORMAL. I'm greiving because last month, my husband didnt relapse, as I was ready for him to. Im greiving all the unhealthy attachments that he had to me. This is insane!!

And yet it is very very real. I don't know HOW to be in a healthy marriage because I have never been in one, until now.

Everyone's "marriage recovery road" is so vastly different, because we, as individuals, are so vastly different... Now is when we start living life, embracing our strengths and weaknesses and actually making a difference in this world TOGETHER.... And it's weird.

Now is when I start fully embracing him for ALL of him, including the darkness that has been a very real part of his life, for MOST of his life. And when I show up, totally exposed.And together, with a few more wrinkles and gray hairs, a few more sags and chubs, 3 marvelous and chaotic children, and a teachers salary... And we create our destiny.

I'm not so sure that I am ready for this.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mother's guilt

This morning I woke up with intense mothers guilt. I haven't felt it this internally in quite a while. Any time something happens in my life that knocks me off my equilibrium, I end up eventually feeling this mothers guilt. This spring break I had plans of spending so much time with my kids. I wanted to explore and create and adventure and play with them until we could play no more. I wanted to work around the yard and teach them things they aren't learning through school.

Monday of spring break rolled around and I found out about a family member in need. We had what she needed so we offered to take it to her, and did that. When w got there, we found out she needed more. So we made another trip to her the next day. When wet got there, we found out what she REALLY needed most of all... And that was to come home with us for a while. It shifted everything. I was so happy to help, and I am still happy that we helped. But it out my kids on the backburner, as a matter of fact.  And wouldn't you know it, once we took her back, we have all been sick. There goes all my plans out the window.
Unfortunately, I got to see my weaknesses really up close, and clearly. Some weaknesses that I thought maybe had been buried, showed up again as my patience and physical mental and emotional self was tested and tried and stretched.

I was cranky and feisty and critical of my kids and my husband. At times I took out my frustrations on them instead of taking than out on this lovely, but very difficult family member. I became Lee's tolerant of the kid's messes and fights. And my husband began shutting down as his natural default response to me when I act like this. I saw it all as it was happening. I said sorry quickly and tried hard not to keep doing it... But I just kept doing it. I hate that.  I hate hurting the o ones I love most.

And in all of it, I completely lost sight of my eating disorder recovery. And it felt impossible to slow down because my work load increased by a lot.

So we took her back last Tuesday... And I've still been in the same mode the whole test of the week. I prayed yesterday that my heart could be softened through General Conference...And then I woke up with mother's guilt.
My connection with my kids didn't grow like I hoped it would over spring break... But their connection with their family member grew so much.
It wasn't the adventure I imagined, but it was the adventure that God had in mind for us.
I didn't get to teach the kids gardening, or better animal care. But I did teach them something they never learn at school... I taught them service. Pure hated, Christ like service, to a family member in need.  That's a pretty valuable lesson.
I didn't get to spend a lot of time with just them, but they definitely strengthened their relationship with each other.
I am pushing them away by always criticizing what they do, but I don't always do this. I surrender this, Dear Lord please guide my tongue.
I'm too harsh, especially on my son. I fear that I am causing him to feel so much shame and I don't want that. I want him to feel like he is wonderful, his ideas are possible, he is good, he is of worth to me and to the world and to God. Dear Lord, pass help me to see how I can cultivate more self worth in him and less shame.
I haven't taken hardly any time, ever, to pay with the baby of the family. She usually has the kids to pay with, but I used to really pay with the other two kids at this age. I need to make her more of a priority.
I don't play with my kids enough in general. Maybe I am to too hard on my self and have to high of standards. Maybe I should put the tv away again for a little while.
I did teach them all to ride their bikes better this spring break. Each kid is working on the next bike up and they are all doing great.

I'm happy to surrender to the Lord's plan for our life, service is so important to me and I really love my family member. But I guys I didn't recognize that it was a sacrifice of these . Every service is a sacrifice, and I knew it was a sacrifice of our home, our good, our time, our focus. I just didn't realize that meant the kid's would have too make sacrifices too. I just wanted to be everything for everyone, but I can't.

Now, life still go back to normal. School starts Monday, along with the old routine. But I want to do better and be better. I want to be more present with my kids and I want to slow down and take better care of my body. I want to eat 5x's a day and exercise once a day. I want to feel and experience and embrace spring... To be aware of it. And I don't want to miss a moment with my kids. I want to wake up early and get my devotional time in before they wake up. I want to make them breakfast and not be in a hurry on their way to school.  I want to spend 5 minutes with each of them separately in the morning and at night. I can do this. Lord please help me to do this...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

d-day

Today is interesting. It is good, because it definitely will be better than last year.  But it is amazing how much of the past is still stored within me.  I can't just be grateful that this year is better.  I feel a deep pull into darkness and I really dont want to go there...

I went to bed with a decent amount of fear about today.  But then I had this dream, which was very telling...

My deepest fear is that I am not worth love. I am not worth being loved. And that the reason this has happened to me, is because I deserve it.

My dream didn't actually have anything to do with my husband or the deep betrayals that I have faced in my adult life.  I was with my mom (of course, she is always the most frightening).  She wanted to buy me a beading set, and she saw one for $8, but then couldn't find it again. I showed her one for $10, and then she shamed me. She said things like, "I'm not made of money" and "How dare you," and I couldn't believe that she wouldn't just pay the few extra dollars.  It is the emotions in our dreams that are the windows of insight into our subconscious.

Though this dream may sound inconsequential to you, It's no surprise to me that I woke up COMPLETELY traumatized by this dream.  I grew up in trauma, my whole childhood was full of trauma.  And, as the experts always say, I thought everything was my fault.  It was hard not to. I looked around at other kids my age and they just didnt seem to have the hard life experiences that I had.  The trauma culminated when my dad died of cancer after winning custody of me, and I tried living with my mom, but ended up running away from her in the middle of the desert.  I was 12 and completely alone.  All my worst fears were realized.  I felt rejected, alone, unworthy of two parents who could just love me and raise me the way they ought to. I wondered what I ever did to deserve this kind of rejection and abandonment.

  Everything shifted in me.  By a miracle, I made it out of that day (that story can be saved for another day).  The emotional wounds that I recieved from that day, and the subconcious downloads, faulty core beliefs, that I received from that day, have often felt impossible to rewrite.  From that day on, I was no longer myself.  I became what everyone wanted me to be, I worked so hard to be perfect, to be good, to be sexy, to be trendy, to be popular. To be everyones favorite person.  To be everything to everyone.

Of course I did that.  Because my faulty core belief was, "if I don't, no one will love me.  Because me, as I am, is not worthy of love."

So, a year ago, when my husband confessed a betrayal... after a YEAR of safety and sobreity.... I did the same thing.

I can't believe it. But I did.  I guess I thought by now, I should know better.  But I really didn't "fall apart" last year.  H moved out for the second time, and I just pressed forward like the strong warrior woman that I am.  I felt prompted by God to ask him to move back into the home WAY before I was actually ready to have him move back in, so I did it.  And I just smiled all the way.  And just beared it all.  I had to because, again, "I'm not really worth of love."  I had to do the strong things, and perform perfect, and bla bla bla..... I am glad I obeyed the voice of the Lord, things have obviously worked out... but my heart hasn't been free ever since...

I don't believe this anymore.... I really don't.... but my inner child, that sweet little girl who was abused and abandoned, still fears that maybe, just maybe it is still true.  So, today, I will sit with her. I will hold her hand and love her. Maybe one day she will feel completely safe, with me.  I can't ever be sure of what my husband will do, or anyone else, for that matter. But I can be there for her, and I can maintain my spiritual resilience and always be sure of the unconditional love I feel from God, and my Savior Jesus Christ, who both have NEVER abandoned me.  I can look for the ancestors that protect and love and guide me from the other side of the veil.  Like my sweet Daddy (this also happens to be his birthday).  And I can surround myself with wonderful people who I know love and support me.

I am worthy of love and belonging.  I do not, and did not deserve to be betrayed, or abandoned.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Grief

Today, I am grieving. I don't want it. In fact, I want out. But I don't have that option. In fact, I don't get to choose grief or no grief. The more I resist it, the more it seems to consume me. If I try to run from it, I get swallowed up in depression from trying to numb out and ignore it. So yesterday I decided to accept it. I'm grieving.

I have lost someone. A child. I don't know my childs name, or gender. I didn't even carry this child. This child, my child, is ready to come to our family. I want my child to come to our family. But we can't. To sum it up, it would be irrational and irresponsible to bring our child into our family right now. I know that, H knows that, and it seems even Heavenly Father agrees. And so after months of feeling like maybe we could, maybe we should, late night discussions and lots of tears and emotions, it's very clear that we can't. And its killing me. And im grieving.

I'm  trying to accept this. To accept that we are not where I thought we would be by this time. To accept that the addiction has affected this, has affected where we are financially and emotionally, has affected my husband's career path... To accept that my children still qualify for Medicaid, 7 years later.. That we're barely getting by and that consequences of my husbands addiction still affect us every day. I'm trying to accept.

How can it be God's will?

It takes everything in me not to blame my husband. I want to heap it all on his shoulders and I want him to fix it and fix it all NOW. Which isn't fair. And then the voice of lame sympathy comes to my mind. It says, "hey it could be worse..."

Whats underlying all this is an issue that is all mine. I can't put it in my husband. It's my problem.

I'm demanding perfection and I cannot accept that we are less than that. I am coming face to face with my perfectionism.

Can I love my husband, in his mess? He has been vulnerable with me, he has changed, he has shown himself, he is exposed. He is no longer the stoic knight in shining armor who feels nothing and performs perfectly every time. He is real. And I must choose wether or not I can embrace him, ALL OF HIM, or live in regret of "what could have been". It's complicated.

Sometimes I can love him and be vulnerable with him. I can say, "your addiction has really hurt me and has hurt our family, and I'm in pain about it" while letting him hold me. And other times I want to push him out of everything, out of all my circles and out of all my barriers and keep him far, far away.

Compounding this issue is the fact that his one year sobriety date is coming up, again. It feels more like a relapse date, than a sobreity date. So trauma keeps me missing the mark by just a little, every time. 3 years in a row, we have had a relapse in March. H didn't even live with us last April.

I'm greiving. It's taking everything in me to not push everyone away and put back up all the heart walls that I worked so hard to bring down last year.

It's scary to try to navigate this place again, because I feel no hope. And hope is naturally a part of who I am.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The bath is safe, I'll hide here forever

The water is warm. When I stick my face all the way in and blow bubbles, it sounds like a sweet lullaby that can calm any fears, quiet any headaches, relax any sore muscles. I'm vulnerable, I'm naked afer all. But im still somehow safe from the edge of life. The details fall to the background and my mind becomes full of things it likes, things it gets full of when its safe. Like redecorating my bedroom, or creating the cutest valentine decorations. Or thinking about the beauty of my children, or of nature, or of our wonderful world.

So naturally I made a heart wall 20 miles long out of water. (My energy healer told me so). And im distant, from everyone, and everything. It's a "safe distance". But its lonely, I dont like feeling distant.

Cant I be safe, in my little watery cocoon, but still have connection at the same time?

No, I don't believe so. The one person I'm the most afraid of is the one person I want so badly to be on the inside with me.

 If he gets in, then I have no more need for the wall.

<3

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Conversations with my little girl within

When I first started on this journey, it was like any little glimpse at my little girl within was so hard and shocking. Shocking to learn how I really felt about things. I would have a short glimpse and then close the door again for another month until I was in therapy again and she would bring in the inner child again. It was had to find her words, hard to find her feelings, hard to really know what she was saying. I would cry every single time.

There was a work in trust. After all I had never listened to her before, ever. I never just let myself FEEL anything without shaming myself for feeling. Shaming myself for feeling, meant specifically shaming her.

My step four inventory was the beginning of really making amends with her. I've done a couple step 4's but the format for this last one came through divine inspiration. I began listing anything in my life that I felt pain about. Any little thing. Then I listed all the feelings that came with the experiences. And the last column was to identify what unhealthy behaviors came from what events. It was brutally hard work. I would work it for about 30 mins, then need about an hour of self care in order to function in my day. But I needed it so badly. I sat with myself day after day and empathized. No one ever empathized in my childhood. There werent many people available to guide me and hold me and love me through my extremely painful experiences. I was nearly on my own as a child, going through things that would surely knock an adult down. And so I sat with myself. I honored the unhealthy behaviors even, acknowledging how they served me for a time, when I had no other tools.

It seemed to me that I was only about midway through when the prompting came that I was finished. I was so surprised, being the recovering perfectionist that I am. But it makes sense to me now, because right after I finished, I began seeing Elizabeth, my therapist, who guided me to this inner-child work.
Now, my whole approach at life has shifted. I hear her, my inner child, a lot more often. Throughout the day, I put my hand on my heart and empathize with her fears and concerns. I encourage her and validate her and send lots of love to her.
When im doing this, its easy to take care of myself. It's easy to eat, and drink water, and exercize, and journal when needed, and play when needed. She has been the key to my self care. And now she is becoming the key to my ability to access the love that is so abundantly available to me all around.  Because I have this relationship with her (with myself) the voices of shame and E.D. and perfectionism are much smaller, ALMOST inconsequential. When I started journaling, I had three columns. One for little girl, one for wise woman, and one for the negative voices. The negative voices just about kept she and I apart, kept ME away from MYSELF. And now, when I journal, I nearly never need three columns. Just the two, a conversation between she and I,

between my heart and my head,

 between my spirit self and my human self,
between my playful self and my responsible self...
Usually that is all that I need.

So I empathize, I show compassion, we become one, and we can then take the Savior's hand and conquor anything, face anything this life throws our way.

I'm slightly nuts sounding, im sure. Refering to myself as a "we" and all that. But I am okay with it. In okay with going to whatever quirky extreme that I need to in order to access that deep reservoir of peace and contentment, and by so doing, breaking chains of my ancestry. I link arms with my inner child, and then link arms with all my ancestors in a union of eternity and they cheer us on as we do the work of salvation for the whole lineage.

I am so truly grateful to my Heavenly Father for guiding and leading me by the hand through this recovery journey.  Maybe one day I will be able to envision H by my side in this big chain of eternity. Holding not just my hand, by my little girl-within's hand too.  I think we're getting there.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

seeing into my heart

I have actually never had this happen before. I have  started and stopped this post 4 times!!! I dont know how to adequately portray just what I am feeling this Christmas.

There was this family, MY family.    Founded upon right principles, principles full of light and goodness, that sounded really really good.  But years of confusion and decay came upon this family.  From the outside looking in, the family looked whole, and complete. But from the inside, cold hard black hearts were slowly overtaking all the light.  Finally the darkness and decay beame all consuming and it became apparent that this family was falling apart.  Appearances could no longer be kept up.  

A total surrender was all that was left.  A total surrender was the last dwindling thread of hope.  Darkness continued to prevail, for years, as this family began receiving new hearts.  Little flickers of light would appear, only to be squandered by the cold damp darkness of resentments, lies and confusion.  Recovery efforts felt all consuming, yet futile.  Days of sobriety became months of sobriety which became only hours of sobriety.  Discouragement and hopelessness reigned.  The darkness, as dreadful as it was, became familiar and hard to image anything else.
Over time, the family learned how to cling to those little flickers of light that frequently appeared. How to preserve them, how to fight for them.  Every section of their blackened hearts, crusted over with pride, hatred and FEAR, insane amounts of fear, had to be blasted by the light.  The light came both as a refreshing breath of hope, and a painful ripping away of identity and security. 

This family rested upon shoulders.  It was lifted up by Bishops, stake presidents, temple presidents, missionaries, relief society presidents, family, friends, recovery friends, young women babysitters, visiting teachers, home teachers (long beautiful painstaking hours with home teachers), sponsors, the bishop's storehouse, beautiful ward family members giving service anonymously.  All these shoulders lending themselves in the service of the Savior's.  How much gratitude I feel as I look back at the many many people who shouldered MY FAMILY over these last years.  

This family learned to cling to the light.  And one day, the light became more overpowering than the darkness.  It happened subtly, so subtly that I almost didnt notice it.  I almost didnt realize that fear isnt constantly baring down on my chest anymore.  I almost didnt realize that the children arent waking up a million times every night just to make sure that daddy is still in bed.  I almost didnt realize that tangible feeling of the Spirit in our home, for the first time.  Or the shift in the focus of our family, from healing and pain to service, and nurturing the children.  That love has replaced pride.  That truth, that precious "rarest gem", has replaced the constant deciet of "pretending perfect".  That humility and brokenness feel  more comfortable.  That vulnerability and authenticity have given my heart room to love, especially room to love myself.  Isolation is replaced with connection.   

We surrendered, and continued to surrender.  We clung to the light, and continued to cling.  And Christ, just as he promised, transformed our family.  

After all this time, after all this struggle, we are here in this place, and I am full of gratitude.  

I am not saying we have "arrived". I am not saying we are "recovered".  Things that I wished for throughout this whole process but have realized those dont exist.  We can never return to that place of "pretending perfect" again. And I don't want that anymore.

But I do feel that this family has been liberated.  I feel the amazing power of the atonement in our lives.  And I feel so much gratitude for that sweet little baby, who came to earth 2000 years ago to liberate my family today.  

I see a family, still being carried by the Savior, and not fighting it anymore.  I feel ready to do, and become, whatever He has destined for us.  

This is my Christmas Spirit.  These are the tears that I have shed this month when pondering the Savior.  This is the joy I feel as I give and receive love in my family.  For me, this is what Christmas is all about.  

Merry Christmas  

Monday, November 30, 2015

always wishing i could disappear, gratitude for my space


ever since I was very young, about 12, I wanted to disappear.  Suicide was a constant contemplation.  When things get hard in my life, even now, suicidal thoughts appear as an immediate default. I am sure that is because this has been my default for over 15 years now.  I have different tools now, than I did then.  I know that my suicidal thought pattern is a warning signal to me that I need to change something in my life, I need to stand up for myself, or protect myself, or nourish myself.

But back then, it was real, it was scary, it was so deeply painful, and it was a secret.
I never told a soul, because the one time I did, I was made to believe that I was bad, and wrong, and inherently flawed. I felt like I was a mistake. That day, when my uncle was in my face shaming me for being depressed, my energy shifted.  I think in that moment, he transferred all of his shame to me.  He demanded total self control, total supremacy of feelings, and really total control of all.  He holds himself to this high, impossible and unhealthy standard, and I am certain it comes with loads of shame. It is not possible. And so that day, I received his outlook on life, in every fiber of my being.

This realization has hit me really hard.  I actually felt like I was a mistake.  Any time I showed up, anywhere, doing ANYTHING, I felt shame.  I felt shame for the way I walked, talked, dressed.  I felt shame for the way my voice sounded, for my thoughts and feelings, and for my whole life.  My brother's favorite tease was to tell me I had a big nose.  I actually dont have a nose that would strike anyone as disproportionate, but I think he tried it once, and liked the shame that he saw wash over me.  So he said it again and again and again. It was like tapping into a deep reservoir always there, waiting to remind me that I was a failure and a mistake.

It is no wonder that I developed an eating disorder.  Two guiding principles governed my secrets: control everything and disappear.

I was meditating last week to a guided meditation by a guy who really is no good at doing meditations.  But as I sat there, he said one thing that completely illuminated my soul to a new concept that had never occurred to me. He said, "give gratitude for the space that you occupy".  And then, as it so often does during meditation, a flood of inspiration came to me.
Before we were born, we were spirits.  We had no matter, we took up no physical space here on this earth.  But then, our great time arrived.  Our opportunity to come to earth.  We came into a tiny body, but it was ours, it is our own physical space.  It changes throughout life, but no matter what, it is ours.  And now, I sit here today, occupying my space.  Like a silhouette, its my beautiful sacred space that I occupy, and only me.  It's mine and only mine, and no matter what I do, I WILL ALWAYS OCCUPY SPACE on this earth, forever more.  No matter how much my shame tells me I want to disappear, or hide, I cant.  Even after I die, and my bones either become ashes or disintegrate, they will always be matter, and they will always take up some space here on this earth.  And one day, this blessed body that I have spent my whole life cursing, will be my constant companion, for ALL ETERNITY!  It is a gift! It is such a sacred gift.  God gave us a space, and it is only OURS, no one elses. 

It is my sacred space.

And this, then begs the question:

How do I show up in my space?
Today, I show up with gratitude, wonder and awe at this beautiful life. I show up with an open heart to give and receive love. And with courage, to offer all that I have in the service of my fellow beings and my Maker.


Have you ever given thanks to God for the sacred space that you occupy?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nightmares give some answers

I started an eating disorder, body awareness yoga and group therapy/community building 6 week program.  The first week was just dandy and all full of warm fuzzies and self compassion and the validation of meeting other women, face to face, with eating disorders... who are still just trying to figure it out.

The second week we had to do a survey that was brutal.  I wanted to lie and give perfect answers. I felt shame for not giving perfect answers, because my honest answers were ugly.  And ugly was not allowed when I was a tween and teen.  Weakness was not allowed.  Only control and perfection and supremacy of self was allowed, So of course I wanted to lie.  And of course I felt shame about putting the TRUTH about how I have really felt about my body and what i have REALLY done to myself through restriction of food.  IT was brutal, but what came as an even greater surprise was that shame stuck around for the next 3 weeks.  Day in, day out, shame everywhere and I couldn't figure it out.  Along with the shame, came nightmares.

Nightmares all revolving shame.  Shame because I had comitted adultery, shame because I had masturbated in public, shame because my husband had committed adultery and I wasn't "good enough" for him, shame because I was trying to murder my mom....

Im not kidding when I said nightmares.  These were like the worst of the worst. Waking up every night sweating, tossing and turning, and just generally MISERABLE!!! and FULL OF SHAME!!! it takes a while to recover from nightmares like that.

But then my counselor, bless her soul, suggested to my mind that maybe my inner child was trying to tell me something.  Maybe she was showing me the very roots of where my eating disorder was born.  And the feelings that came with it.  She told me to WRITE DOWN MY FEELINGS AND the THEMES of the dreams.  Then evaluate where those appeared during that time frame in my childhood.

I did always feel sinful, dirty, bad, full of shame.  Wrong, awkward, unloved and like I didn't belong.  Weird, isolated, too thin, too tall, too goofy.  Not worth it, not worth anything, not even worth life itself.

Suicide became a daily, hourly contemplation.  Everything sucked, I had to just end it all.

This was the day my eating disorder was born.

I got into a fight with my guardians, I had been living there about a year.  I NEEDED them in these crucial hours of my life.  In my desperation, I cried out "If I am so bad, just bring me a knife and I will kill myself."  My uncle began poking me in the chest hard with the most shaming message.  I have no idea what he actually said, but what I heard with every fiber of my being was a reiteration of all that I had feared was true.  "You are bad, you are wrong, you are weak and you need to shut that down.  Shut that off. You are an idiot for even considering such a thing.  You are some sort of freak of nature.  Never show weakness of any kind! I can't believe you.  What is wrong with you?"

With each poke I felt smaller, and smaller and smaller.

I didn't know how to shut that down, shut that off, be perfect, be in total control of my emotions and always free of weakness and imperfections.  So I began where I was.  

But I was certain I was so bad.  I was certain that I really was some sort of freak of nature and now he confirmed it to me.  They sent me to a therapist.  

What do you think I did?

I lied.  

Of course I lied.  The last time I shared my feelings it was clearly NOT OKAY, so I lied.  

I never talked about suicide. I dodged every question.  I put on my perfect face and I fooled that man.  No more vulnerability for me! After about 3 sessions, he told my guardians that I was all better, they had nothing to worry about.  I thought, "You idiot. You have no clue what is going on inside me."

I was a smart girl and I protected myself, and it worked.  

Feelings of suicide stayed with me for much, much longer after that.  I was 12 or 13 when all that happened.  I can remember driving my own car (so at least 16) and thinking, "If I just ran this car off the road right now going this speed, just one jerk of the wheele and that is all it would take. And all this would be over."  

No ONE NO ONE not ANYONE, not even my very best friend knew I struggled with these feelings.  Likewise, no one knew about my eating disorder. It was my secret, and it was double bolted, chained, and suffocated with shame.  I was so good at faking it, I even convinced myself that I was "all better."

Heavy crazy Emotions from an insane amount of pressure for a 9 year old who was in a really hard life, begat PSAS.

PSAS begat shame. 

Shame and lack of safety begat secrets and hiding.

Secrets and hiding begat isolation.

Isolation, my mom losing custody of me, and my dad dieing at age 11 begat a desire for suicide.  

Suicidal thoughts  and abandonment begat lots of pain.

Lots of pain begat lashing out.

Lashing out begat more shame.  

More shame begat perfectionism and control. 

Perfectionism and control begat my eating disorder and an addiction to performance.

Performance begat the need to be busy and results-based-worthiness.  

And round and round we went.  This is so incredibly eye opening! And sad.  Let us all take a moment of silence for our inner child, who has always just tried to do her best.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

an intuition gift (written early sept, published now)

I was hanging from a rock wall, talking outloud, mostly to myself. Which is something I do fairly often, especially when trying new things...like rock climbing.  So there I am, 30 or so feet up the wall and the woman next to me says, "you look so familiar.."
Turns out, she was my first real yoga teacher, that I had about 5 years ago at the university.  I had signed up out of total desperation, I had just had my first baby and I was completely drowning in postpartum depression.  I found peace at yoga but more than that, I found a sense of deepness there. Like sometimes I couldn't keep my "perfect" persona while I was there, doing poses and just would start sobbing.  And that intrigued me.  How thrilled I was to tell her that because of that class, and because of her, I was now a yoga teacher.  But back to the point of the story.

We got down off the wall and she said, "This is really insane because I was just thinking about you a few days ago."She went on to remind me that there was a guy in class who always dressed in very little clothing, and one day I spoke to her about how his clothing and something about him made me feel uncomfortable.  She asked me if I remembered that, honestly I did not. But her retelling of the story seemed to jog my memory a little bit, I wasn't totally sure if I remembered or not.  She couldn't believe it, she kept asking, "you dont remember that!?" "Well, maybe, kind of?"
"Well," she said, "last week it was in the news paper.  He was arrested for soliciting a child. He is a sex offender. And you knew it. You picked up on it and I didn't."

Of course you know what i am thinking. Surely you know what I am thinking. "Really? Great well that was USELESS because I had a sex addict right under my nose at the time that I never picked up on..."

I tried to divert the attention. I said, "you know, people like that, there are NO signs!" She responded with, "I am a trauma therapist at a VA hospital, I can pick up on it with my clients. But with my yoga students it is different. I just want to love all of them. But you knew."

Again I tried to divert the energy, I said, "well I am Mormon, did you ever know that? So maybe I just dont remeber because I have pretty strict ideals about modesty and dress code.." She responded with, "I didnt remeber that about you. But I was raised Mormon, so I know all about that but I still didnt pick up on it like you did."

With that, we moved on to other things... like rock climbing!

Later I asked my husband if he heard what she told me.  He hadnt, but he saw us talking.  I related the story to him and told him I thought it was dumb, but  I didn't say why (I am at a place where I don't like to constantly throw his addiction in his face)... but he was astonished.

He said, "Don't you realize what a gift this was?! She told you those things so that you would have a witness from Heavenly Father, that you do have an intuition about poeple and that your intuition is usually RIGHT. It's a message from God to tell you to trust your intuition!"

Wow babe, I definitely hadn't thought about it like that...

So I am writing this blog post tonight to thank my Heavenly Father for sending me a message tonight, from my first yoga teacher, who teaches to hundreds of students every year but happened to remember me from over 5 years ago and share this information with me.  It was pretty fantastic.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I know... It's been FOREVER

I haven't written in months.  It's one of those things where things go well, and you are feeling good and strong and capable and full of hope and trust and gratitude in the Lord... So ALL you CAN DO in those times is just jump in, feet first, free falling at times, working hard at times, sweating at times, passionately loving at times... and just go for it.
So that is what I have done the last 6 months.  A free-fall.

And then, it sucks because when I realize I am not falling as quickly, and this really isn't AS scary, and maybe I really CAN trust my husband... I cling to him.  I cling tight and I express gratitude often and I love wholly and recklessly.  And we are happy. And we are together.

And then he starts struggling.

But I am still clinging...


You know, triggers, they happen all the time. Some are bigger, some are smaller.  I deal. I've got tools. I work through most of them rather quickly. I have a great support system and someone is always just a phone conversation away.  Surrender is always just right around the corner for me to access, find acceptance and embrace my messy life.

But then there are those OTHER triggers... the ones associate with your intuition.  The ones where you say to yourself, "yes... this stings because of the past. BUT there is also a warning in this one that maybe I better listen to..."

Well its hard to tell the difference.  In the beginning I was certain that ALL my triggers were telling me to get the hell away, every single time!!!! So how can you tell the difference?!

Well, I just give my husband the benefit of the doubt.  Because that is where we are right now. So I give him the benefit of the doubt, and hope for a better day the next day, or a better week the next week.....

But then the triggers just keep coming, and attached is that little voice of intuition each time "WARNING WARNING" it says.  Basically my pattern (heavens knows I am not saying this is the RIGHT way, I am just saying this is where I am right now!) is that I will keep looking for reasons why my little warning sign MUST be wrong, until there is JUST NO AVOIDING THE THING!!! It's going off DAY and NIGHT and now its associated with anger and frustration and I am lashing out and crying and trying to save and all the mess!!!! I've been there recently. Recently like meaning TODAY.

I am clinging so tight to him that I just can not BARE to watch him fall and drag us all through hell again...I've lost all of my blissful eternal perspective and I just want HIM and I want him HEALTHY and I want our FAMILY and I CERTAINLY want growth but that growth can come through nice fluffy spirit-filled books and connecting conversations... not through more trials with this addiction!! (OKAY!?)  Ya, I need to surrender. I need to let go.  But I am not going to look the other way.

See my OLD pattern was surrender, let go, and stuff it down until you can't see it anymore and then pretend your life is FANTASTIC!

I can't and don't live like that anymore.  I know when things are off and I cannot and WILL NOT deny the little voice within.  The voice is saying WARNING, the Holy Ghost is saying SURRENDER, and my inner-child is BEGGING for protection and boundaries.  So, back to the healthy-recovery-way-of-life that I lost my grip on in the fun of the free-fall.
Communicating mindfully and speaking about only myself and how "I feel." (4 Part "I feel" statements)
 Praying hard when I can't control the chaos. Praying for him AND praying for ME.(Surrendering)
Setting boundaries to keep myself from getting so sucked in. (Boundaries and self-care)
Keeping myself in a place where I can feel the Spirit, hearken to the Voice of the Lord, and be present for my life, for my kids, for my yoga classes, for my husband on his good moments. (work my own recovery)

Doesn't that seem simple? Those main basic themes, communication, surrender, boundaries, self-care, working my own recovery.

I have testimonies of each one of them, which have each come at different times to me and have come with a lot of EFFORT over TIME.  And why do I do them? To make sure my husband has the best odds of staying sober and not blaming his addiction on me?? NOOOO... although that was my motive years ago and CERTAINLY still crosses my mind.

No,

I do it because it keeps me free. It keeps my spirit soaring. It keeps me in peace and contentment. It keeps me open, able to give and receive love, and serve, and appreciate this beautiful life.
As much as I HATE the fact that this is my life, that addiction is always either present or looming, that dysfunction is the name of the game, that I will probably be going through this in 15, 30, maybe even 50 years from now if I continue to fight for and stay in this marriage.... as much as all that sucks... I sure am grateful for recovery and all the tools I have acquired along the way. I sure am grateful for the self-respect I have gained, and for the gratitude, and hope for abundance in my life.  I am just much happier with these tools than I ever was prior to learning about this horrendous addiction.  I never really thought that could happen. And I definitely never thought it would be possible at a time when there is still a great possibility of my husband relapsing again.  But alas, life actually does extend beyond my husband and his porn addiction.

Thank goodness for that.


Friday, July 31, 2015

miracles

Lately I have seen the Lord's hand in my life so abundantly that I felt that I absolutely must share.
The very course of our family has shifted.  We are on a very direct path and now that I am on the path, I know what it feels like... though before we were on the path, I didn't know we weren't on it.

That probably sounds confusing. Have you ever been going along in life and think that you are following the Prophet in all ways and then all of a sudden right there in front of your face is the very blunt fact that you HAVE NOT! This is not the first time this has happened to me, either.  Everytime, the news is very sobering and hard to take in.  It requires that I put aside all that was currently on my priority list and put new things on my priority list. It requires change.  And Change is not really something we like to do, for some strange reason.... (considering everything is constantly changing and evolving all around us all the time....)

But every time I have ever made this major life switch, to align my life with the teachings of the Prophets, I have always been better off for it.  As a matter of fact, my entire life is completely and overwhelmingly NOT MY OWN, ever since the beautiful day I made the decision to be baptized.  From that day forward, nothing in my life has gone according to plan, AT ALL, it is not even my life!!!  It's now His life. But I often try to take it back... like at least a few times a day.... ha!

Now, for the miracles:
My husband, after dragging his feet and literally doing everything in his power to NOT get a teaching job, by turning every last application in late and making every necessary phone call late and just months and months of this process that he literally almost cursed himself to NOT be rewarded for his hard work.... got a job as a teacher, at his favorite highschool, that happens to be the closest to our home, that happens to be the one he graduated from and played football at.  It all was literally handed to him the moment that he finished doing his part.  It was like God knew the WHOLE TIME THAT HE WOULD TAKE A RECORD TURTLE PACE AND JUST ORCHESTRATED THE WHOLE THING!!!! I am absolutely astounded.  And Humbled.... because I don't even want to tell you how many anxiety attacks and break downs and fights and prayers of desperation I went through as I watched him... Let me just give you a little idea of just how long this took.... because it wasn't JUST the application process that he dragged his feet through...
We graduated college May 2011 and had our second child shortly thereafter.
Summer 2012 He decided he wanted to go back to school to become a teacher. (and told me he was addicted to porn)
Spring of 2013 He did his student teaching and promptly told me that he didnt want to be a teacher. We had just loaned thousands of dollars from his Grandpa for him to do this schooling, which his Grandpa immediately forgave the debt. ( During this time he was also kicked off ARPsupport.org for the first time, for not keeping in touch with his sponsor and keeping up on his work.)
Summer 2013 our 3rd child was born and I kicked my husband out of the house for half a year.
Spring 2014  His Grandma bought a house to rent to us and we moved in for "a fresh start."
Fall of 2014 he decided that he needed to become a teacher, that it was the best decision for the family.  The Bishop was so supportive and paid for the tests and everything!
Early Spring 2015 he relapsed again and was out of the house for a month and went on church discipline.
Summer 2015 He actually has the teaching job, and is on the tail end of the church discipline.

Miracles do happen people.  Anyone who can look at our life and see what has happened, knows that this is a miracle.

But there is more!!!
We have come to the same page about something. There is finally something in our family that we are working on together and its beautiful! And I feel like it is a hand-tailored recovery program just for us.  And that recovery program is called, preparing for the Second Coming.  We are working on 72 hour kits and emergency preparedness and food storage and gardening and  spiritual preparedness and all of it, with urgency. We each received convictions about the importance of this work at different times but have come together and are doing all of it.... and the most beautiful side effect has been how it is blessing our marriage and our family, as a unit.  And how it is spiritually training each of us individually as well.

Last week a friend gave me, for free, like 300 mason jars.  We have very little money (did I mention how excited we are that my husband just got a job as a TEACHER! lol) so trying to do a year supply food storage with urgency takes a lot of patience and time and creativity... and miracles.  I'm not just hoping for them, I am completely dependent on them.  I have had a desire to learn how to butcher chickens, and I think that is a really important skill to have in the event that we don't have the convenience of a grocery store.  I was asking ward memebers about canning chicken stock and chicken and asking if anyone had a pressure canner I could borrow. And a friend out of no where says, "yes, you can borrow my canner and I also have about 15 chickens I was about to put on craigslist for free, do you want them?" So she and her husband taught us how to butcher chickens and I have been canning broth and chickens every day since Sunday.

ISNT THAT AMAZING!!!??

There have been so many lessons in the miracles.  I learned so much and felt like my heart grew a few sizes larger the day we butchered chickens.  My heart had never even contemplated chickens.... but seriously, when you are there, scrubbing and prepping their meat, still warm with life, it gives you a lot to think about.  I thought about Adam, when God made him Lord over the whole earth and gave him dominion over all the living creatures on the face thereof.  I thought about Visions of Glory where he sees with spiritual eyes that ALL things praise Heavenly Father CONSTANTLY and give profuse thanks when they are able to be of service to God's children here on the earth.  I thought of how many animals I have eaten without ever giving it a second thought, that those were living beings that God gave us to be used in prudence and thanksgiving.  I thought of the Word of Wisdom and how we have improvements to make when it comes to eating meat sparingly.  I believe that miracles come with responsibility. The further light you receive, the greater the accountability for what you do WITH the light.

I gained other lessons from these miracles as well.  That there are GOOD people here on the earth who love us and want us to succeed.  And God uses other people to bless us. There are so many who helped my husband on this journey to becoming a teacher.  So many.  I am so truly grateful. When this addiction has made me feel like there must be no trustworthy people anywhere, I can know for sure, that is wrong!

I learned that when we are open to receive, and when we do our part, God is more than willing to pour out a blessing on our head, more than we can receive.  I still have 6 chickens in the fridge in the garage. I am going as FAST AS I CAN!!! Heavenly Father has wanted to bless our family, in the last three years I have cried thousands upon thousands of tears about our lack of growth, our setbacks, my husbands addiction, our poverty, but God could not reward my husband for doing only half of what was required. He had to do it all, he had to take the classes, take the tests, do the time, get the liscences and certificates, go through the applications and hirings, and probably MOST importantly, get some sobriety and recovery and humility under his belt....

God wants to bless us. He wants us to be happy. He knew the plan all along.  I have seen firsthand how shaky I become when put under fire.  I feel like all that we have been through has been in preparation for what is to come.  The trial of faith, the shaking of our very foundation from every angle, all of it has given us the tools to face future trials with greater faith, greater humility, and a greater desire to do His will.