a girl and her boy

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Let's Go

I’ve had a song stuck in my head, softly humming in the back of my mind and this refrain in particular has been haunting:  We need a big push / To reach the right conclusion / So we can get there / If we’re really going / If we’re really going / Let’s go. (Lisa Loeb, “Kick Start”)

Action.

Movement.

Power.

If we’re really going. Let’s go.

It’s no secret I’ve been a mess lately. Emoti0nally. Physically. My entire life has felt like one big mess untangling just enough to become another big mess. I don’t want that anymore. I’m sick of it. And it’s made me sick.

Trying so hard / To dig ourselves out / Cause we’re stuck and we’re scared / And we’re thinking / Things have to change

I’ve struggled with fear since I was a child. With the various things that happened, I learned not to trust, and to fear. Everything was always a mess. Everything was a big hassle. And there was always something to fear. And here I am, 28 years old and still TRAPPED by fear and distrust. I don’t want that anymore.

It’s just more of the same / Again and again and again

What we all know about change is that it is SCARY. It takes faith and trust, two things I’ve had to get “injections” of from those around me. And I don’t want that anymore.

So here is my next step. My next chapter.

But first, a quick glance back.

I grew up Mormon as some of you know. I have since chosen to step away for my own reasons, but we’ll get to that later. I was hurt and was angry and because of this, I was blinded to some of the good things about it, blinded from some of the lessons.

For example, faith is like a little seed. Plant it. It will grow. (Action is needed. Results follow. Plant grows and becomes stronger.)

And, “according to your faith, be it unto you.”

And that if you act each day according to what you know to be right, doors will open when you need them.

I could go on. But you get the idea. And I’m sure it’s not new to you.

But I forgot these fundamental aspects of life. That life takes FAITH and and that faith is ACTION.

Indiana Jones would never have achieved his goal if he had not taken that scary step forward. And that’s where I am. On the ledge looking out over the abyss. Sweat on my brow. But I’m going to do it.

So let’s go.

So where am I going?

Well, first off, even though it is SCARY, I am putting my health first and seeking the council and help of professionals to take care of these pressing matters. Then I will continue to follow their advice for long-term health and fitness.

And I’m going to stop putting hurdles in my own way and make the rest of my life happen after that.

I’m going to create a vision of what I want my life to look like at the end of this year, at the end of five years, and at the end of my life.

And of course, how I want my life to look at the end of today. Because how you spend each day is, of course, how you spend your life.

As Dr. Nick, as told by Jen, says:  when you wake up each morning, you have a choice:  you can either say:  “Good god, morning,” or, “Good morning, god.”

Don’t let this decision drag on.

After making that decision, the rest is follow through.

Jen asked me to go with her to morning ritual. I’m going. But I’m starting today.

If we’re really going, let’s go.

The Day Job

Sitting in a meeting with my colleagues after the students left today, I caught myself wondering how in hell I made it. I’m glad I did, no doubt. And I’m doing well. But how did I survive? And what can I bring to the table to help my students?

I work in an alternative education setting now with students who have drug abusing parents, who have been raped or molested (repeatedly in some cases), who shoot up drugs to dull the pain of extreme poverty and neglect. They have anxiety and paranoia and PTSD and psychosis. These kids are just babies at 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 years old. Some have have already sat for hours in front of judges or counselors or CFS agents at their tender ages with stony “yeah, and what the fuck are you going to do about it?” faces.

These youths, both in my classroom and in others all across our nation, are disenfranchised and in awful shape and are looking to us to do something about it. And what are we doing about it? One of my students fell through the systems’ cracks and is now missing on the freezing cold streets of Massachusetts.

It’s a 6 hour a day, 30 hour a week job that is paying the bills so why worry so much, right? But it’s more than that to me. These kids here in Salem and the ones I left behind in Maine are my  kids. They didn’t come out of my body (and I’m glad for that – can you imagine the stretch marks?) but they have my heart and dedication. I know I have to learn a certain amount of emotional separation, but I haven’t yet.

I’ll have something more intelligible to say about this eventually. I just had to get this off my chest.

Choice.

I took this photo when I first moved here.

What a brave little flower growing alone by this house surrounded by cement.

I’m feeling a helluva lot better. I was in a pretty severe funk this past week. Got caught up in the past and forgot that although this stuff is pretty dark and severe, I still have a choice.

I can choose to be brave. I can choose to be positive. I can choose to be different.

Dreams

Looking at my desk and walls reminds me of an art piece displayed in Lord Hall at UMaine created by Yvette Tardiff a few years ago:  a round kitchen table full of espresso cups with varying levels of fullness, with a wall full of sticky-notes behind it. I don’t remember the title of the piece, but it was something along the lines of “American Dream”.

I remember standing there staring at the installation and thinking:  Damn. That’s me.

It still is.

My desk is full of tea mugs that need to find their way to the kitchen and my desk, walls, and planner are full of sticky-notes reminding me of things I need to do.

What is the American dream to you? I asked a group of students this once as part of a unit on The Great Gatsby. I got a range of answers, but each one included being happy and healthy as part of it. It never occurred to me, until now, to examine my personal dream and how close I am to achieving it.

When I was in high school, and a half-hearted at best practicing Mormon, my dream was to have a modest home with a door open to the community, a bottom-less cookie jar, a few dogs, a cat, and lots of people to love coming and going throughout the day and year. This vision of life included being married, having a handful of kids, and being completely immersed in family life.

And thinking about it now, my vision hasn’t changed that much. I still want that modest home with a door open to the community, a bottom-less cookie jar, a few dogs, a cat, and lots of people to love. Unfortunately, the kids part won’t happen, at least not out of my body without serious intervention that is not certain to work.

A few months ago, after experiencing serious pain in my pelvic region for several days straight, I called my doctor in Maine. I told him what I was experiencing and asked for a reference closer to me in the North Shore area. I ended up spending a few days in southern Maine being poked and prodded and imaged. As if I wasn’t already sore enough. But it was necessary.

I waited and waited and finally the results came in:  between cyclical ovarian cysts from the time I was 14 and the damage my reproductive organs sustained from repeated sexual assault, I am unable to have kids. The pain was from a cyst that burst through years and years of scar tissue build-up. My organs are too scarred up to become pregnant without medical assistance. And the PTSD would make being pregnant and giving birth likely to change the chemistry of any child born of my body.

Even though I had already come to (mostly) decide I didn’t want children anyway (I’ll get to that later), having the choice taken away from me due to years of assault and a medical condition that often develops in people who have been sexually assaulted hurts.

I am still dealing with it.

And more than that. I have been feeling hurt and angry the last week because I am remembering what happened and realizing just how much it has affected me and how much it continues to affect me. How much someone else’s actions has changed how my brain and body functions, and how much has been taken away.

Looking around at these sticky-notes full of reminders and mugs of tea makes me wonder how close I am to that dream, and how far I have to go to overcome and tame these demons to get there.

Blooming Lotus

I am loving the suggested links WordPress creates. I found an amazingly helpful blog authored by a survivor of childhood abuse:  Blooming Lotus. The focus is on her journey and experiences, as well as a lot of research on the effects of abuse. Very helpful blog. Faith, if you get the track back, thank you!