I have no way to title this…

My therapist said I don’t have to remember everything to heal from it. That my mind blocked it out as a way of self protection.  

I have a nagging feeling. I feeling of unease. 

It is as if there is maybe a monster under the bed. But maybe there is not. It could  pop out at any moment. 

There is a memory. Right under the surface. I know it will come. Waiting for it to come creates large amounts of anxiety. 

It is a great thought that I would not actually have to remember everything to heal from it. But what if I remember anyway. 

What happens when the block is lifted and the monster comes out?

He’s coming for me, that I know. I just don’t know when. But I feel him creeping ever closer. A hand is coming out from under the bed….I’m just waiting to see whose face it is. 

Being Stephanie.

This blog is about my days and years volunteering in nursing homes and how it all started. Stephanie is what everyone thought my name was.

NOT MY SECRET...overcoming the shame of sexual abuse

I started visiting the nursing home when my nana and granddaddy were there. After they passed away, there were so many people I had become close to , that I just couldn’t stop going. I remember the moment I realized I could not leave everyone in the nursing home with no one. If I didn’t go then no one would ever visit. For the year I visited my granddaddy 3 times a week, I noticed those who never had visitors.

They were forgotten.

I started visiting the forgotten. At that time my daughter visited with me. They all adored her. We would bring our dogs which were puppies then. Between my daughter and the puppies there just seemed to be a light again where there were just blank faces before. My daughter and I listened to everything they said, their favorite things. We’d go home and print pictures to hang…

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I can’t remember.

I’m rebloging a few old blogs I wrote and reread and found them to be helpful now.

NOT MY SECRET...overcoming the shame of sexual abuse

I remember these three days. The picture with just me was taken when I returned from a job at seaworld. I almost ripped this picture up. The  tear at the top with the tape is where I decided I couldn’t destroy a picture that I seemed to sacrifice my entire childhood for. The angry face…That is the man’s house who molested me. See…I never could get away from him even in a picture. I remember the day of the picture on the top left. A newspaper was there that day in Indiana Beach and took that picture of me and the partner I was skiing with for the afternoon ski show. I blocked out the men’s faces for their privacy. I loved this costume for some reason. I kept the picture because I loved the costume. I remember everything from that day. I was 17 years old. I remember looking…

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The sun on your face.

I was doing my weekly volunteering at local nursing homes when I decided that there was one huge component missing here with the residents of this facility…no one went outside. Sun downing is a real phenomenon that happens. As soon as the sun goes down everyone becomes upset, confused, agitated, and from what I have seen, lost. I started thinking that if they could just get OUT, then maybe things would be different.  I wrote a blog post called Being Stephanie about my years as a volunteer. If I were savvy enough to post a link to it on this I would! This morning I was thinking about a moment during that time.

I had many roles which I had not planned. I was supposed to be there as a volunteer chaplain but that role had many hats I discovered, and I was fine with all of them. My intention was to give love where there was none. Sometimes love meant holding a hand, sometimes love meant hearing stories that had never been told, sometimes love meant helping someone get dressed, feeding them dinner, or helping them to the bathroom. I was sitting with a kind woman one day as she was looking at a bird feeder and a bird was chirping and eating. I was filing her nails for her when she said, ” I haven’t heard a bird sing in so long.” I asked her how long it had been since she had been outside. She couldn’t even remember. I will never forget wheeling her outside and the look on her face when the breeze touched her face. She closed her eyes and smiled. We were silent. I wheeled her to a bench and sat there while she looked at the sky and listened to the birds. After awhile she told me she was ready to go back in now. Watching her watch those birds was something that has stuck with me. I felt so honored to be with her while she experienced such joy and peace. Every visit after I chose a different person to take outside. I’m not sure if never hearing a bird sing contributed to sundowning but seeing the sun and feeling it on your skin had to help the brain not panick when the sun went down in one small way. At least I hoped. 

I get it now. Some days it is hard to get up and get outside. On the days that I don’t go outside, when the sun sets, I feel this sometimes ominous feeling come over me. I feel like I missed life. I feel like I have to sleep and wake up and start this all over again and I don’t want to. Sleep evades me. I get depressed and full of anxiety and adrenaline at just the darkness. I understand why they felt the way they did. Never going outside was like a prison for their body and their mind. We are supposed to feel the breeze on our face. It reminds us that we are here. We matter. We are part of this world and an integral part at that. Not just some insignificant shadow when the sun goes down. 

Every day I go outside now. I listen to the birds. Often, if you were to look at me, you’d see the same look of joy on my face as I felt the sun on it. Now I know what that look most likely meant to my sweet friend in the nursing home. It meant: I’m alive!

Facebook: my like/hate relationship

Here is MY Facebook profile page. 

So sweet. My daughter is my cover page and my daughter and me are my profile picture. I think my daughter is gorgeous so I put her on there as my cover page. She was having one of her good days, so when I see the picture I think of good. The profile picture, we were sitting outside and enjoying nature, another good day. Beneath those two things are my real life. I put my allergic reaction picture to educate those on multiple chemical sensitivities. Look at this lovely shot:


And below that I put pictures of us looking for dogs. My husband was right when he said I am 80% gray and thanks to this picture I very clearly see that!


Look at that sweet little face !!!!!!

And before that I share my life. Sometimes my daughter gives me a make over and we do cool shots like this:

 
And sometime I post pictures of the dogs we’ve had or advice on my muscle disease like this: Does anyone have any copies of pictures of their muscle biopsies with central core disease that I can compare mine to?


My Facebook reflects my real life. I have it to share my blog, ask for medical advice from those that have similar diseases, and stay in contact with the few cousins and friends from my past that live far away. But I’ve often wondered if they would make the effort to stay in contact with me if not for the ease of Facebook. Who would actually check in if not for the quick click of a like on Facebook or a quick message. I deleted my account for a month and I heard from 3 people. I have over 200 friends on Facebook. Maybe they should change the name from friends to people. Just people on Facebook. 

Is Facebook worth it?  The verdict is still out. I delete my account frequently because the banter and conflict on Facebook is pretty high. People use it for daily “rants” and step on those platforms behind those keyboards and say things they would NEVER say if they were face to face with anyone. In some ways Facebook helps give a voice to those without one. In other ways Facebook gives a voice to those who could benefit from utter silence. 

I don’t think that you can get a true picture of someone’s life by looking at their Facebook account. You may learn their political views, and see how good they look from filtered pictures. I KNOW some of the pages I look at literally hate their husbands yet they post pictures of flowers their husband got them and go on and on about how wonderful they are. It made me think of how it would be to create a Facebook account that really was just all perfect!! Just pictures of me after my daughter puts make up on me. Nothing about my health or loss of my dogs or my blog. Just happy flowers from my husband and pretty lipstick pictures. But I don’t live my life that way. Illusions don’t work for me. Real is all I can be. But most of Facebook is NOT real. Maybe those people post what they wish their life was all the time. Maybe for them Facebook is the closest thing they will ever get to the illusion of truly being happy and making people think they are. 

So tonight I did what would not be “in my best interest” or “healthy” in my therapist’s eyes. I decided to look and see what my old family was up to. What were THEY putting on Facebook. It ended up being healthier that I would have thought. It confirmed they are exactly the same people they were before. My cousin has a lovely picture up of her and my mother. My mother swore to never be on Facebook and my cousin rarely had a nice word to say about her. But there they were. My twin brother posted some random thing people post on Facebook that Facebook cannot copy anything they put, blah blah, that stupid conspiracy theory that people have to copy to their wall once a year. Under it my father misquoted a famous quote. “Nothing ventured, nothing lost.” My brother then felt his dad had his back and was like yeah. I oh so badly wanted to say, it’s NOTHING VENTURED NOTHING GAINED!!!! But I didn’t. That would be opening a door to people who on every other day have made me dead to them and therefore must be dead to me. My other brother is commenting on my twin brother’s page now. My twin brother wanted nothing to do with my older brother. I guess in all of their “coming together” after the loss of me, they have decided to be Facebook friends. My mom’s old husband even commented on my brother’s page that he learned of something by speaking to my father. My father and my mom’s other husband weren’t friends. Well I guess on Facebook they are. On Facebook my family puts up a great front. It makes me want to delete Facebook all together just because of what THEY make it stand for. How ironic though. Facebook depicts the real them which is everything I hate about Facebook. They ARE Facebook! They are the illusion. I see friends of mine that are friends with my dad knowing my father let me down and hurt me. I see illusion after lie after betrayal all on Facebook. They are the epitome of Facebook. I wasted a good hour of my life looking at their stuff. Looking at their likes.  Apparently they like the ski club. That one just killed me. Some are friends with ski club members who hurt and betrayed me. But ahhhh. It’s ok. It’s just Facebook right?

I tried to look at Facebook objectively. Dog rescues are on there, many health groups are on there, I shared all of the dogs we’ve looked at that needed homes incase anyone was interested. I suppose there is good and bad in all things and the good needs to outweigh the bad. 

As I scrolled through these comments and pictures that my old family put up I realized that Facebook is easy. It’s just easy. To make an effort, make a phone call, get in your car and drive to someone’s house , talk about the hard stuff, work through the hard stuff, is what someone who really loves you does. When you love someone it doesn’t have to be announced on Facebook to make it real. Facebook is just…..well….Facebook. 

 One of my best friends does not have a face book and guess what, she exists. My husband has no Facebook and he still exists. Just because it is on Facebook does not make it real. In fact. If anyone needs to be fact checking anything, it should be Facebook posters. Because from what I see most of it is just bullshit. 

I wish there were another social media forum that I could create called, “The real us”. 

It would be all of the positive support groups and advocates for those in need, animals, and children, and adults. It would be real life, real hopes, real dreams, real pictures. 

In the mean time, until my idea of a new social media is created, I will have to balance whether I truly think Facebook is a good thing for me, or a bad thing. Right now, I’m still on the fence. 

Details of the abuse

My blog began with this letter. The results from the response from my family to this letter gave me a voice to start this blog. Their abandonment made me realize I could be silent nolonger. It is a long read, but it explains in detail, some of the things that happened and why I was silent for so long.

NOT MY SECRET...overcoming the shame of sexual abuse

  • Details could be triggering for sexual abuse survivors.

I wrote a letter   about the abuse that I endured. I have changed every name in the letter except my own. I sent the letter to the people that I felt needed to know this truth. In doing so I was able to see other people’s truths as well. I have learned that many people do not want to hear the truth. 

So often sexual abuse has so many things attached to it that makes the victim feel so alone. It just isn’t spoken of. It is so often hidden by those who know and others who don’t want anyone else to know. 

But by keeping sexual abuse a secret, there is never justice. No justice for the victim.

So many secrets upon secrets upon secrets that never should have been a secret to begin with. 

It is pretty simple. There…

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Putting a face on abuse.

NOT MY SECRET...overcoming the shame of sexual abuse

See this little girl? She was sexually abused. See that smile? See that innocence?

SEE HER.

I was on social media this morning and a picture of a man with the title of pedophile was glaring me in the face. Someone posted it with the caption “Keep a look out for this pedophile.” Under that caption I saw that it had been viewed 4 million times. There were thousands of comments under the picture. I looked through some of them. There were endless, “Just let me get my hands on him,” and ” Wait til I find him and there will be nothing left,” and ” They will put me away for a long time if he ever crosses my path.” As I read through all of these comments one thing kept popping into my head, one thought, “You aren’t going to do anything, because no one does.” It is…

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