Saturday, May 28, 2011

Telling on Myself: Why I write

I've written for work. I've written for school. I've kept a journal since I was 14 years old. I wish I can say that I've always enjoyed writing but it wasn't until recently that I've learned what a joy it can be. The technique of writing and the technical aspects of writing are tedious but a writer writes. 

I write things that interest me and write about things that I'm learning about. There are some issues that keep presenting itself in my life so I write about them. Some writing is me reconciling some issue. Some writing is an issue that I'm struggling to understand and want to come to terms with. I write what inspires me.  I write cause I can.

I'm on the verge of 39 and looking back on my life appreciating what I've done. I've learned a few things. There are many things that I want to learn. There are places I want to see. There is a lot of life yet to be lived.

When I write about reconciling my life and healing trauma I do this to share my story with people. I want people to know that they are not alone. There are many writers that I've read and helped me understand my life. I am grateful to them for carrying me along when I couldn't. They may not have known it but they are my private champion. They tell me that it does get better. Just over that emotional hill and I will be alright.

I am cognizant that when I tell on myself that there are people who are in my life that influenced me in some way. It is my hope that they recognize they are a character in my story. They helped me become the person I am becoming every day. For this, I am grateful. I am becoming more of who I am everyday and who I am supposed to be because of them.

When people read what I write I hope that they take the lessons that they need and move along in their life. Live it fully. Experience it with as much fever and passion as possible. Know that we are all on this incredible journey called life together. I don't believe in accidental meetings or fate but what I've come to believe is that God unveils themselves to us all the time. It is in those unyielding aha moments.

I write now cause I enjoy it. I enjoy the written word. I am fascinated in how words are put together. I've become a veracious reader. I listen to people talk so I can write about it. I watch situations cause there is something there. When I am inspired, I write. I allow the artistry of it to flow. Once it is out there. I step back and edit. I review what has been written. I think about what is being said. When I read it aloud or post it on my blog then it is ready for the world.

What I know is my truth. My life. My understanding of what it is to live as honestly as I can. If there is a lesson there for people then I'm happy but I'm hopeful that in some way as people read what I write they will be inspired. Know that they will survive past the hurt. Understand that pain and joy occupy the same place. Failure is not bad, failure is not learning what needs to be learned and getting up. You are responsible for your life. Our ancestors dreamed of a day that you'd be here so wallowing in self pity does not honor them or show them respect.

I've come a long way and I've got a long way to go. I'm happy that you've joined me on this journey and I hope we learn a lot together. Life is about living so let's get to it.

“Why you all up in my business?” and “The next time my name crosses your lips, I hope you choke on it.”: Getting Talked About

What I've come to know is that when people want to know about your life they (1) truly just want to know what is going on (2) want to commiserate in life's journey in order to ensure that their misery is not being felt alone (3) want to be inspired and know that things do get better (4) find your life fascinating (5) want to know that their life really isn't that bad.

I try to live my life honestly and as openly as possible. If you really want to know about my life and what is going on then just ask. When I hear some of the things people say about me, I giggle. Really! I'm not that exciting. I wake up everyday and figure out what needs to get done. I spend time with Sonny. I write. I read. I observe so I can write. If I am lucky enough and a friend calls for an adventure of “hanging out” then I'm usually game. Not really that complicated. Not exciting.

I once read something about the unexamined life is not worth living. I still grapple with this notion. I have spent years in therapy uncovering and healing from trauma. I've spent time there understanding myself. I've reprogrammed my tapes in my head so I'm gentler to myself. I've learned to engage honestly and productively with people so that we can live mutually beneficial lives. I've learned to run like hell from drama and gossipy people. If people want to get ugly and speak ugly about other people then I'm usually not an active participant. Everyone is just getting by. I'd rather generate love and goodness for the world. I've seen what the ugliness can do.

I heard a phrase the other day and I've been pondering it. “The next time my name crosses your lips, I hope you choke on it.” After I read it, I read it again and again. I finally digested what they were saying: Don't be talking about me. Huh? People will talk and will always talk. We are social creatures and we exchange information all the time.

I believe in their colorful statement their not wanting to be talked about meant that what was being said was harmful. Hmmm...words do hurt and what people say does matter, sometimes. I like a tidbit of advice I heard once before – “Don't worry about what people call you. Worry about what you answer to.”

Hello, my name is Nick. I have many labels that describe a part of my life. I like the simplicity of my name and don't like to show everything the first time we meet. Ask if you want to know.

I've come to know if you are living your life honestly and according to what your vision for life is or what your intuition is calling you to do then what other people say about it shouldn't matter. I don't have the energy to engage in petty gossip. Simple minds think simple things. Yes, I am saying that. If people are talking about me its cause I'm living my life. If they can learn from it – great. If not, it ain't my problem.

When I allow pettiness to circumvent my vision for living my life fully then I am allowing myself to be unduly influenced. I don't want to spiral into misery. I want to strive and live. Our time here is short and goes by really quick. I don't want to spend it harnessing and hurling hurt. I want to enjoy the love and beauty that surrounds me. I want to laugh until my sides hurt. I want to dance like no one is watching. I want to travel and see the world. I want to write what I know. I want people to experience joy cause I know I do.

Stop worrying about people being in your business. Cause you can't do anything about that. Even when you do nothing they will talk. I say, Baby, give 'em something to talk about. Cause I know I am.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Loving past the brokenness

I survived sexual abuse, sexual assault, physical abuse and verbal tyranny. I know, I've survived. I have come to know there is a God. Why? Because I still have the capacity to know that I am loved and loveable. God walked me through those moments. God was there when I couldn't be. God ushered me unto the next place I needed to be. God had my back.

A defining moment for me: My partner, my love, whom I agreed to adopt a child with, in his madness and hurt-struck me. It was not the first time but it was different that day.  I had my 6 month old son in my arm and I used the other one to protect us.  In that moment, I knew I was done. I knew I couldn't raise a child in a situation like this. 

I wasn't going to live in fear of knowing what could happen or what would set him off. I knew I had to leave. I didn't have a plan on how I was going to care for a newborn baby. I knew it was time to go. I moved into the attic of a member of a support group I was involved with. He was kind enough to give us shelter.

I can't say that was the last time I allowed myself to be beaten or assaulted. I continued along that destructive path. What I've come to understand is that when you've lived years of verbal and physical abuse then you don't know who you are.  I didn't tell anyone but I had friends who knew what was happening.  I couldn't tell anyone else because of all the shame I carried.   

I am grateful during this period I had help. I had the safety of my family. I had siblings who cared for Sonny as I discovered myself and unraveled this trauma. They are my biggest cheerleaders in my coming to terms with what happened. They held me as I sobbed. They believed in me when I didn't.

There is particular kind of men that are attracted to victims. They sense them. They know them. They understand them. Until I understood the nature of this relationship I wasn't ever going to met or find someone to love me for me. When your innocence is taken so young and you are told you are nothing and useable anyway, you believe it. This vulnerability, they thrive on.

I look back upon my life and understand that many of the men I was with have similar characteristics. I was attracted to what was familiar. Treat me horribly then I was yours. I understood that. Treat me kind then I was confused and ran.

It has been awhile now since I have been in a relationship. I have not allowed myself to be vulnerable again. I needed to break the cycle. Step back and understand that I could love past my brokenness.  Kindness was not weakness.  I deserved someone to treat me with respect and talk to me lovingly.  Hitting was not loving.   

As a survivor of sexual abuse and assault, love is complicated.  I know that now. Intimacy and sex have different meanings for us. A touch, a smell, a movement can trigger a memory. We learn to live with it. We learn how to manage it. We learn how to silence those voices in our heads that want us to escape. We may even strike out against whomever we love. We may shut down.

I know I have to be honest with myself, I can love beyond my brokenness. Love is beautiful. Love is amazing. Love is unassuming. Love continues along in the universe.

Many of those scars have healed over physically but psychically they still remain. I know my journey is to let it go and forgive. I have. 

I choose to know love. I don't wish harm on anyone who hurt me. I want them to have love. I know love now. I know that God loves me. I know that my son loves me regardless. I have the love of friends. I have the love of family. There is no shortage of love in my life.

With all that said, forgiveness is important, letting go is essential, and allowing love in makes your life capable. I know I'm going to lean into it. Love is everywhere.

Uncovering your life...

If there is anything that I've come to know is that life is very much about discovery.  You discovering more of yourself and more of who you can be.  You try on new ideas.  You try on new notions of yourself.  You discard what doesn't work and keep what does.  If you remain in tune with what your instinct tells you then you can truly live a rich, beautiful, rewarding life.  It may not look like what you once thought you wanted but it will be what you need.