What if we don’t have to be broken?

I think one of the most difficult parts of growing up is finding the strength to pull the skeletons from your closet. It would seem so much easier to hide them away forever and leave the past in the past, but in everything we have done that we are not proud of, there is a little piece of ourselves hidden among the ashes.

I hear a lot of people say they are broken. I have even said it myself in the past.

What if we don’t have to be broken?

What if there was a way to put ourselves back together?

When I first started writing my memoir, I remember it being very painful at times. Revisiting memories that I had selectively forgotten in order to save my own sanity.

As soon as I opened the door to my childhood, they all came rushing out and the wall of security I had built began tumbling down out around me.

It was from within one of the lowest moments of my life that I found my greatest strength.

One by one, I confronted all the residual emotional patterns that I had built up during those years.

The feelings of disappointment, neglect, abandonment, and loss.

The root of my constant need for approval and codependency.

My fear of love or the loss there of.

Piece by piece, I began putting myself back together.

Until I came to a place of great appreciation for all that I had experienced.

I was a new person the day I finished the first chapter and even more so as I wrote the final page.

And now, as I struggle with the pages of the 2nd, I am reminded of the same reluctance I felt when I wrote my very first blog post.

I know writing this next phase of my story will be just as, if not more of an emotional roller coaster than that last.

The first was during my early childhood and most of it was about my mother and her skeletons. There was aftermath, but it was her aftermath.

This next book will begin as I am entering High school, my mother having  been missing for just short of a year. I was lost and confused, but determined to act like neither of those were true. I don’t even know that girl now.

I picked up one of my old journals for inspiration and I barely got through the first few pages before I had to put it down. I could feel the pain on those pages and worse yet, I knew what was to come.

The moment my mother left me, something in me changed. Something it took years of reflection to understand. I spent a great deal of my life beyond that point feeling as though I always had to prove something to someone. In the earlier years it was proving to everyone else that I was not my mother. Showing them that I could conquer anything and everything she couldn’t.

Needless to say, it led me down a road where I did a lot of things I am not necessarily proud of. Things…the majority of the people in my life have no idea I did and for that matter would have a hard time believing I ever could do.

Up until now, I was not ready to share these things with anyone, let alone the whole world.

But you know what?

The person I am today is not just the result of all of the good things I have done. It is also and maybe more so, everything I have done that I am not proud of, those little piece of myself hidden among the ashes.

I am living proof that in this life, we are not bound by the mistakes of our past or the circumstances placed on us by others.

If telling my story is an inspiration to even just one, it’s worth it. That was the whole reason I started this blog and went on to write the book. So believe me when I say, I am not going to quit now, just because I hit a raw moment!

Thank you to everyone who has been so patient, yet persistent 🙂 in kicking my butt back in gear!

The wheels have started turning and I promise you’ll be the first ones to get a sneak peek!

 

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Getting Back to Basics

Well I must say, I am in a really amazing place right now! I hope it’s contagious 🙂

I have taken a step back from the chaos of the past six months and it has given me great clarity.

I can see now how easy it can be to lose sight of where we are headed in life. Even when you think you have it all figured out, life has a way of derailing you down a path you never planned.

Sometimes it is a complete dead end and you end up having to track back through the mud and the muck of past lessons you have not quite mastered.

Other times it is simply a detour…you get lost along the way for a bit, but eventually you begin to recognize old patterns and you manage to follow the breadcrumbs right to where you were meant to be.

I wouldn’t say I hit a dead end…it was more like I picked up the wrong trail of breadcrumbs for a while, went in circles for a bit, but eventually ended up back where I needed to be.

It was a humbling experience.

I thought I was an expert at positive thinking. There was no way I would ever fall back into feeling negative all the time! I was wrong, but it was a good reality check for me. I discovered a lot of areas in my life that I still needed to work on and old self defeating behaviors that I thought I had mastered.

I learned that I still have a tendency to take on more than I can handle sometimes and that I have a very  hard time admitting that to anyone…especially myself.  For me, failure in any form is perhaps the feeling I hate the most. Rejection is right up there with it, but that is easier to swallow because it is more like an incompatibility than something you didn’t succeed in. When I interview for a job and I don’t get the position or I go out with someone new and it doesn’t go quite well, I simply chalk it up to not being the  right fit. Failure on the other hand carries all the weight of the expectations associated with the goal you did not reach or the relationship that didn’t work out. Moments of failure are like poison to my normal routine of positive thinking.

It is easy to stay positive when everything in your life is going great, but the real challenge is finding a way to do it when everything seems to be falling apart. But once you do, you will find strength you never knew you had and  discover all the  power to change your circumstance within you.  You are no longer filled with anger and sadness, because you are too preoccupied with finding ways to better your life and the life of those around you.

After this recent reflection, I have a greater appreciation for my life and all of the people in it, regardless of their role. I believe that everyone enters our lives for a reason. Some may treat us poorly, but in most cases those people are the catalyst for some major growth.  I think that is why forgiveness is so freeing. When we place all the blame for our circumstances on others, we carry around the weight of all the pain we associate with them. Replaying significant moments over and over in our mind, stirring up old negative feelings, until it completely prevents us from ever moving forward.

But when we forgive, it is like purging the mind. We are able to look back on those moments with gratitude because we know the role they played in helping us become the person we are today.

Sure it is easier to sit around and bellyache about the painful things that have happened to you in the past, but you are only wasting the small amount of time we have on this earth. Nothing will ever change until you step up and take charge of your own life.

It is not the fault of previous lovers that you are afraid of love or the fault of your parents that you are insecure. It is yours.

Your life went on after those experiences and every day you had a choice as to whether or not to try and move forward and you didn’t. So year after year, you not only carry the weight of the past, but you add to it. Until one day, you begin to accept your fears as simply being a part of who you are. They become an excuse for you to take the easy way out and just settle for your life instead of creating it.

And that is all fine and good if you are happy, but are you? I mean really happy? Or are you just settling for the life you think you have to live?

I know it sounds a little harsh, but it’s true. It would be very easy to blame my mother for all of my insecurities, abandonment issues and fears of failure. And I am pretty sure most would agree she played a role, but that was then and this is now.

Recently, I asked myself those questions. I took a long hard look at every aspect of my life and made myself answer honestly.

And I am not ashamed to admit that my answer was NO for a lot of them. And that was okay because I took it as a challenge. I moved my energy from feeling bad about the less desirable aspects of my life to figuring out what it was that bothered me and finding a way to turn things around.

The difference it has made in me has been transformative and still expanding every day.

I am not saying I won’t run into another detour, but let’s hope this time I make a few less circles around the trail!

 

Playing Detective

Over the last few weeks I have really been trying to work on the timeline for the next book in the Insane Roots series. In recounting the early years I was blessed to have the assistance of family and friends in order to piece it all together.
However, when my mother disappeared in 1996 she went off everyone’s radar. She lived a multitude of lives during the time she was missing and unfortunately none of us really know what she was doing. This time marks the beginning of the next book, so you can see why I have been having trouble.

Then I remembered a news article I found after the last time she was arrested. She had been missing for about four years when I received a notification that she was again in Federal custody.

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http://www.messenger-index.com/news/federal-fugitive-arrested-in-emmett/article_f2f31d42-0d5c-11e0-a645-001cc4c03286.html

At the time she had 27 known aliases. Adding the newly added names in the last two years for a grand total of 31.

31 one alternative lives that most of us knew nothing about.

I figured that perhaps the best place to start would be to find a way to learn all 31 of her identities. My mother was always doing something illegal no matter what name she was using and if I could find a way to track this, it would be much easier to piece it all together.

Time to play detective!

So far I have only found 10 of the 31, but even that has been eye opening. I won’t give too much away, but let’s just say, my mother was ‘married’ several times under several different names and has lived in almost every one of the continental United States. The more I travel down the rabbit hole, the more I am utterly fascinated by her “talents” for lack of a better word!

If anyone has any suggestions on search engines, please share! This is a big can of worms and I could use all the help I can get 🙂

 

Weekly Inspiration: Reflection

Hey all! I am in the middle of moving, so instead of picking an inspiration from the bowl I have come up with one of my own. I think it is fitting considering the recent events surrounding my mother’s disappearance.

What is something you have learned over the past year?

For me, I have learned to trust my gut. I think we all have those moments when we are faced with a choice and our gut is telling us to go one way or another. I cannot count the times I went against my instincts and found out later I should have listened. Over the last year, I have tried harder to rely on those gut reactions and it has saved me a world of hurt.

Not just with my mother, but my intuition surrounding our relationship is definitely been the most measurable. Had I not kept my walls up, I could be in a whole world of hurt right now.

I found out this weekend that it is just as I suspected. The state police went to speak with her old roommate and told him that she is currently wanted in 4 different states under several different names. The detective remarked that she has one of the longest rap sheets he has ever seen. Last I knew, she had 27 know aliases. Now it would seem the number of identities have drastically increased.

I am so very thankful I knew better than to let her in again. I am glad we had a chance to connect and that for once I have been able to walk away clean. Looks like I have learned my lesson…never to trust my mother! It is a sigh of relief in an otherwise awful situation.

I am anxious to hear what you have learned over the past year?!

Missing…Again?

Well, today is my mother’s birthday and I wish I had better news…

I don’t know whether to be worried or disappointed. For the..well let’s be honest, I’ve lost count…for the umpteenth million time in my life, my mother is missing…again.

As most of you know, I decided to open the lines of communication with my mother again just over a year ago. The story of which can be found here. I did a lot of soul searching before I made that decision. I set very clear boundaries and only agreed to it because I was absolutely sure she no longer had the same power over me as before. I was smarter, stronger and armed with  the knowledge that I was truly ready.

Not to give her another chance, fall victim to her scheming, but ready to accept her for who she was. I no longer expected anything from her or needed anything for that matter. Instead, I was opening my heart to the possibility of starting over. I knew I wanted her in my life, I just wasn’t quite sure what that would look like.

Just 5 months after I made that decision, once again she fell right back into her old ways. The details of which can also be found in the above mentioned post. And then she went missing. During which time (I would later find out) she had gone back to live with the same relative she had taken advantage of over several months prior. Eventually, they both contacted me to let me know she was okay and confessed to have been lying to me about her whereabouts. Apparently my mother had made amends and they worked something out.

I realized in that moment that in the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t matter. As long as she is safe and I know where she is that is all that matters.

I finally understood what a relationship with my mother would look like. The big question now is whether it was a relationship I wanted to have. I thought long and hard about it and I decided it was something I could accept. We all want our parents to be perfect, but they are not, no one is.

What it all boils down to is that despite all the BS she has put me through, I will always love her. I have dealt with all the pain and moved on in my own way. I have no fear for what is to come because I know in my heart that she will never be able to hurt me that way again. I say never because through acceptance I have found freedom.

Freedom to love her without risk of falling into old patterns. I give credit to her for giving me strength.

Strength that has created the person I am today. I know what I want out of this relationship now and it is simply to know she is safe.

So when she reached out to me again, I let go of all expectation and allowed  the communication to continue.

My mother and I set up a chat on Facebook and used this as our sole source of communication. We “talked” just about every day. Nothing deep, just a good morning, good evening, how’s life, etc…

Then one day, something she said gave me the feeling that I was not getting the whole story. Unsurprised by this, I let it be, but knowing my mother as well as I do, I knew the cycle was starting over again.

The next few weeks were followed by a series of more sporadic messages about her taking a trip, being sick, winning money and being on the road.

I didn’t ask how or where she was. I just felt some peace in knowing she was alright.

The last message I received from her was on August 9th, stating that she was on her way home. I have heard nothing since.

The person she was staying with is currently out of town, but said that the truck she was driving was still there and hadn’t been moved. They are sending a neighbor over to check on the house and I guess we will have a better idea of what is going on once that happens.

Although, I have a sinking suspicion I know exactly what they will find…nothing.

For most people the first thought to cross their mind would be one of worry and don’t get me wrong a sense of worry did hit me, but given her track record, my first thought was sadly one of disappointment.

Despite our strained relationship, I still have a deep connection to my mother and in my  gut, I just know she is fine. Wherever she is, whoever she is with, I have little doubt she is in any danger.

You see my mother has always had a pattern in her behavior. She can never seem to settle down for longer than a year before she is on the move again. Assuming a new identity, a new life and many times a new family.

She turned sixty today and I guess a part of me thought maybe she was getting too old for this. I told myself that if she was able to make it past the year mark without incident that I would consider taking the next step in our relationship. I was actually going to plan a trip to go see her for the first time in almost 10 years.

And although I am not brokenhearted by the whole mess like I used to be, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely disappointed by her actions. Mostly, I am sad for her. This was a real chance to start over. The possibility of being able to be a part of my life again and she blew it. Just like she always does, she turned her back on the one person with the ability to love her for who she really is.

This life is so precious and our time on this earth so very short. There is so much she has already missed out on and so much she will never get to be a part. All for what?

What could possibly be so important to make you turn your back on the people that love you the most. People who have given you chance after chance simply because they hold the deepest of love for you in their hearts. Regardless of your mistakes, your indiscretions and the tangled web of lies that make up your life, they are still able to find it in their hearts to accept you just as you are.

I guess that is one of the things that make my mother and I very different. I hold my family and friends above everything. The love I have for them runs so deep that just the thought of their absence puts a lump in my throat. I would never consider throwing that away for anything.

So, Happy Birthday Mom…wherever you are.

 

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net