A Collective of memoirs by J.S. about Trauma + Mental Health + Abuse + Healing.
#christmas #joy #purpose #rockbottom #depression #trauma #stars
Last New Years + Christmas was the absolute worst. My husband and I both felt so burnt out by life. We both said in unison "this does not feel like Christmas" and did not have a good holiday week at all.
We had just completely lost so much we had built during the 4 years of working together and were home for a few weeks scrambling before Xmas to get our kids a few things. We had no income that month coming in. We were super tight food shopping and in debt from our business. We had nothing to do but sit in our two tiny, side by side bedrooms we live in with our kids and DWELL on all we felt we had "fucked up".
Throughout our entire relationship, from the first few months until then, we had spent working together long hours in his family-owned business. He had chosen a partner with a child so we felt like a family instantly and then doubled in size by our first holiday. I was pregnant 4 months into dating him and gave birth just 2 weeks before Christmas in 2015.
The next two years after that we spent working constantly, as a family of 4 and then 5 when our second son joined the gang.
We got married quickly while pregnant with the second (while feeling in love but very overwhelmed by the lackluster celebration and fast milestones). Everything with us, though we wanted a family and to settle down so badly, felt rushed.
But we made everything work. Year after year we made big plans and did whatever we could to work them out. Both pregnancies, I went to work full time until I was due and then returned with an infant two or three weeks tops back to our office and factory.
By the end of year four, it felt like the roller coaster had finally made its' last, tallest DROP which drove us straight into the tracks.
Last New Years Eve I made a wish.
I wished, through tear-soaked eyes, to never have another holiday feeling the way I did.
I felt so broken and weak. So tired.
I felt like a failure.
6 years I had gone to college and then my plans did not pan out. 4 years I spent with a man I loved dearly, the only person to ever make me feel safe and loved ---> only to feel like I failed him and our vision of happiness.
I had pictured getting married and having babies to be these amazingly planned out events in my life. Void of parents to plan, support, or be there in love through those milestones ---> I OBSESSED over being able to do things "the right way" in order to have SOME control in my life.
In order to not feel like I am just meant for TRAUMA.
One year ago, I felt like such an utter disappointment.
Even though I had 3 healthy and beautiful children to be thankful for ---
Even though I had a loving and supportive husband by my side ---
Even though we had a roof over our heads thanks to his family---
I felt like nothing was enough or the way I had planned it.
The business was supposed to BOOM. We were supposed to BUILD a life. GET an apartment. or rent a HOUSE.
We were supposed to get a dog before babies. I was supposed to make a CAREER happen before multiplying my definition of MOTHERHOOD.
I never held out on the idea of a MAN swooping in to provide all. My girl had been raised to be happy in a one-parent home. To be happy and whole regardless of the size of our family.
But I did end up meeting a man while I was an independent and hard-working College Student.
So when I left school as my term was up, I did not FEEL like I was saved by a KNIGHT.
I actually carried around GUILT and SHAME for hanging up my single mom cape.
For getting pregnant fast. Even falling in love after previous people had just disappointed me.
Last year I cried because I had held onto years of guilt, shame, frustration, fears, and sadness.
I felt like I had let myself down.
But I was wrong.
All I was doing was releasing year's worth of Trauma, disassociation, and anxiety. Because sitting home with my husband last Christmas, though we had just lost everything, it was the calmest my life had ever been.
We had nowhere to "be"' anymore.
We had no clients to meet, no store to open, no people to call.
We had no appointments to drag our babies along to. No networking or events.
We could sleep in if we wanted to.
We could just relax if we wanted to. Not forever. But just for the holidays, before regrouping and figuring out our game plan for the New Year.
We could have used Christmas to just stay silently in the void, the quiet of snowfall and holiday vacation ---when the streets were deserted and the emails were scarce.
Instead, we cursed the days.
We said "I hate everything."
We said "This is the worst thing ever."
And so when the New Year came, I felt like I had to do something to FEEL relevant.
I started a mom blog to write about my experience as a stay at home mom.
Recipes. Toy recommendations. Cleaning without toxins.
And I EFFEN HATED IT.
That was the actual lowest point in our relationship, my parenting journey, and my time as a stay at home 28-year-old --- hiding away in our tiny little bedroom not even wanting to see the family we stay with.
I felt so worthless.
I could barely get myself to write content, and just obsessed with the graphic design + theme of my self hosted website for 4 months.
Self-loathing was gold and monochrome, with brush script font.
Because it was popular.
Because "likes" and "SEO". Because Aesthetic.
I can laugh now, but back then my days of designing were a sign.
I was spiraling.
As a child, I had used art + design for coping when my mom was super drunk and abusive. I hid in my room to draw and escape from the screaming + fighting that took place nightly in my home.
When I dove into art, it was a distraction from pain.
I wish now I had the power to visit my past selves, like the ghost of Christmas past.
To see the old me's and tell them the ways to get off their knees and wipe their tears.
I wish I could trauma train myself as a child to KNOW exactly why I did the things that I did. And rescue myself from all the pain.
It was not until I hit true Rock Bottom that I was able to SEE what I was doing.
What I was really feeling.
I hit a deep depression in May that made getting out of bed difficult. I was crying daily in the bathroom and my kids making any noise went through my head and right down my spine.
I finally decided to talk to my husband and explode all my thoughts + emotions.
All the pent up worries and pain.
My feelings of defeat and my struggle to feel OKAY each day.
I told him I felt guilty about having my blog because it was not what I really wanted.
I did not cook very well, I had no wisdom to impart on my readers about parenthood when my own kids made me cry, and I felt like a horrible wife.
I was having nightmares and insomnia back and forth which caused me to struggle during the day between exhaustion and body aches.
Christmas had sucked but my wish not coming true broke my heart.
I was getting worse, not better.
That month felt really hard. But being honest with him relieved me.
After releasing those emotions, 2 more events happened back to back that I was not prepared for. I cut out my birth parents from any form of contact after being randomly approached by each sending messages. And then a long-time friend did something that made me decide to cut off contact. I realized my boundaries with both situations and I HONORED THEM.
I sat with my feelings and realized that the release was exactly what I needed.
Release of expectations and guilt.
Release of shame and depreciation for the way my life went.
I also decided to stop viewing my struggles as an anchor that was sinking me.
I had the ability to be home with my kids for the first time ever. A supportive husband who was working on something new to help us get back up on our feet.
I was already blogging and had gained so many skills. I had already taken courses and learned how to build websites from our business plus had already invested in a site.
I made a conscious and split-second decision to get up off my @SS and change my life.
It took 2 days after that to build the entire site and write my first few published posts. I released something NEW on my social media feed. Jaded Savior <3
And it was all purple. All me. All "purposeful". Yet...
Unplanned. Unstrategized. Unexpectedly.
My life changed.
Within one month, I had visions of writing a book.
within 3 months I was planning a Podcast.
At the end of 6 months, I planned out a subscription plan for my site.
Just days away, Christmas 2019 is going to be a holiday for the books.
We did not know what the year would bring and were so focused on all that we lost ---- I am most excited to celebrate what we have now gained.
We have each found a career path that we really enjoy and are now following it -- all in.
Though we have to work apart, the distance is allowing us to each work on ourselves and our own health.
I am getting a grip on my mental health and showing gratitude for the amazing opportunities I have had in the last few months.
I would have never had them if I did not take a chance on myself.
It was not until I hit rock bottom that I had the opportunity to Rise.
My wish is different this year.
I now wish to keep focused on my personal growth.
I plan on taking on 365 days of sharing truths + tackling my healing by diving deep into who I am and what I am about.
I no longer want to feel paralyzed and heavy by what I have lost.
This year will be all about dropping the need to play connect the dots.
Having Trauma feels a lot like being in bed with chickenpox.
You FEEL IT all over (I mean everywhere) and you have this urge to take a sharpie and connect the dots.
You draw a line from one dot to another, to another...and soon your body looks like a sky of constellations, lighting up all the pain spots.
I am done with marking myself and feeling nothing but disappointment instead of being in awe of the art.
Of the number of times I have survived and then turned something ugly into something worth looking at.
Not just looking at ---> being absolutely crazy about.
That is how I feel now.
12 months later and I have found my "thing".
I also filled a jar this entire year with little notes marking the highlights that happened. <3 And the moments I felt grateful for.
I cannot wait to sit with my kids and husband in front of our tree on Christmas Day and read the notes out loud.
I am reclaiming my emotions and feelings about myself. "I love everything". I love the abundance that is coming into my life.
The amount of love and support I have now that I exist in my truths and my struggles.
The amount of help I am getting now that I have revealed my needs.
I did not realize this "too late" but right when I needed to.
But I want that to be different for you.
I hope you will hear this sooner, from me.
That you need to sit with yourself --- here in your rock bottom.
And you need to PAUSE to stop your doubts and guilt. I want you to listen not to your head or your emotions, but your heart.
Where does your heart gravitate towards?
What is that THING you do want in your life? That passion or idea that you can faintly hear beneath the cluster of F*cks you feel life has tossed on top of you.
Make today that "pick yourself up and try again" day but this time with something you find yourself in awe of.
Like a constellation of magic and light that calls on us to be MORE.
<3 J.S. Jaded Savior
#selfproclamations #abuse #trauma #healing #childabuse #attack #PTSD
Curled up on the couch, a soft fur blanket drapped around my body, fingers laced with my husbands' --- feels like home.
We are watching a Netflix original, trying to keep our eyes open past 1am to enjoy our greatest version of a date. Alone time after the three kids go to sleep.
Hearts calm and bodies relaxed, enjoying the lack of awareness of day or time. It is winter and no responsibilities are calling our names here in the night.
He kisses my cheek and I smile, feeling warm and content as he admires the outline of my silhouette and runs his finger down my nose.
There is an intimacy between us that can forever be unmatched. A safety in his touch and the presence of the space he takes up next to me, legs intertwined and feet touching.
A feeling builds up in my chest, a quick pick up of breathing and lack of exhales causing me to raise my left hand to my chest, bare beneath the neckline of my shirt collar.
My ears are picking up something from the depth beyond the shut wooden door that keeps us time blocked in date night.
A thump. A creek.
And a sudden shriek of the door POPPING loose and dragging open in the dark.
Just as my body sensed its movement, my nerves LEAP with intensified fear.
Neck whipping, I turn to my husband and ask him to check if a child is out of bed or if something pushed the latch open.
It is silly, but I am frightened.
He gets up in serious fashion to explore what is most likely a toddler awaiting retrieval from the baby gated bedroom across from ours.
Instead, he meets gaze with a dark, empty hall and turns to me to smile gently for reassurance that everything is ok.
I am up behind him already. He shuts the door and tells me that it was nothing.
As his body passed mine to return to the couch, I turn back away from the door and it POPS open again.
This time, my shaking hand meeting the backside and shoving it shut. I am pale and I can feel the goosebumps rising over my back underneath my silky top.
Heart pounding and tears welling up along with the thump, thump, pause.
Thump, THUMP, PAUSE ---
I am met, chest to chest wit an understanding hug as he holds me. As he repeats,
"YOU'RE OK. YOU'RE OK."
Hand caressing my back.
--- Unmatched intimacy.
PTSD sometimes looks like knowing 5 seconds before it happens.
It's feeling the air change. Or an expression alter.
It's seeing something there that no one else sees because it happened, just a long time ago.
For me, PTSD looks like petite hands pressing a wooden door shut at 2am and making bruises on a strong, thin calf of someone prying the door open in order to reach me.
2am, hair grasped in fist and screams, inaudible, felt in vibrations down my spine. Goosebumps and chills.
Fear she will get in.
Fear of what happens if I am not strong enough to shut the door.
A final slam and standing fast on feet to hold the door shut from inside. Desperately looking around for something to hold it shut, absent of a lock on the cheap brass handle of the eggshell white portal I desperately beg to cease moving.
So I tug heavily at the vintage dresser and get the corner to pass the door. I keep pushing and manage to shove a heavy, 9 drawer natural wood IKEA vanity across the right corner of the room.
I melt down in front of it and press my body to the drawers. Knobs resting my head and spine between them.
PTSD is not remembering how many hours i slept on that hardwood floor that night or what got me into school the next morning.
Just knowing I reached an adult I trusted instead of taking my midterm, to shakily pass words I had been waiting to utter for years.
My PTSD shows up during normal hours.
It does not pencil in meetings with me or request a call.
It just comes, unannounced. Like a walk-in for an important meeting.
A meeting of timelines. A recollection of truths.
As I grow older, gaining understanding of what is happening and learning how to say PTSD in line with my name... I realize the foreign sound of this term only means I have not presently associated with my past.
February 2019 was my first real diagnosis with this term.
It was not until summer that the pronunciation felt right.
Past reminders in current situations.
Pre processing of past events.
So what does healing look like for someone with PTSD?
For me, it is the meeting between past and present in order to map out a healthy future.
It means using my senses and my present awareness to assist in honoring boundaries to make the flashes subside and the title "healing" feel attainable.
It means I will have the whole body experience of hitting "play" on my life.
J.S. Jaded Savior ♡
An excerpt from "STUCK ON PAUSE", an autobiography about living with PTSD, depression, anxiety, trauma, abuse etc. Coming in 2020 ☆
2012 wore a face like hell.
A face of a girl whose boyfriend had secret texts from his exs.
A face of a girl who cried between classes, alone in a cafeteria in college.
A face of a girl who mourned a loss she could not tell anyone about that ached her heart and soul.
A face of a girl who felt lost in her purpose + mission in life.
She was struck with depression often but did not know its name yet. So she just thought she had shitty outlooks on life.
This girl was riding on the aftermath of abuse and picking out people in her life that presented the treatment she had grown up with, but she called it all love.
She did not know what love actually looked like or sounded like.
Especially when all she heard constantly were the utterances from chronically negative people who thought future planning was pointless because the world was full of disappointments and did not provide joy without a cost.
A cost not worth paying.
This girl did not think her peaks of happiness and creativity were an answer to any questions she was begging between panic attacks as she planned her next schedule and semester.
She did not know creativity was worth something.
That people would pay in appreciation and validation, much less money to hear her thoughts.
She did not know that calling out an abuser or setting a boundary was a normal behavior.
Boundaries were just complaints told on deaf ears. And only b*tches complained.
I wish I could have met this girl in 2012.
I wish I could have told her that her spirit was actually empowerment and that her urge to read inspiring books would lead to a complete breakdown and reassessment of the things she had ever known.
That everything she knew was toxic and her intuitive urges to check those texts came from being around the wrong people, not being the wrong person.
I really want to tell her that she was worthy.
She was worthy of being someone's first choice.
She was worthy of that internship she self sabotaged.
She was worthy of the twirls and spins she did in dance class, wearing converse in a sea of heels because she could not afford dance shoes.
She was worthy of feeling like a good, no a great mom. Because at 21 she was holding keys to her own place and paying all her bills.
At 21, while peers complained about their moms calling too often and the toilet paper being crappy at their jobs, this girl was hustling to feed a toddler and taking public bus 6 times a day total to get the little one to and from daycare in between classes and work.
This girl had a home she attained on her own and a job she found on her first day of College.
This girl was ACTUALLY a go getter who just had anxiety and PTSD.
So the tears and overwhelm were totally acceptable.
The broken friendships and the takers who she surrounded herself with sometimes were ALSO products of abuse.
Because she attracted people who also dealt with hardships in life.
And that was not a burden AT ALL.
It was actually the start of her future career. An inkling that Social Work and Social Justice might actually be good fits.
Or at least her placement between healing and empowerment would be set, with the title "Jaded Savior" on the header of her future plans.
J.S. JADED SAVIOR
My truths look different than the truths other family members have in my family.
Everyone is affected differently by Trauma.
And not everyone in the family gets abused by the abuser.
In fact, it can be common for one person to be singled out while everyone else is unaware of it.
Narcissistic people often surround themselves by adoring fans in order to not raise suspicions and successfully gas light TF out of their victim.
I was in abusive, volatile situations my first 16 years of life.
It took me years after to ACTUALLY, cognitively, process what had happened.
To come to terms with definitions like addict, narcissist, schizophrenic etc. To gain validation from actual medical professionals once both parents of mine went into the hospital for near death experiences due to their addictions.
My father was found nearly dead from a heroin overdose. He was brought into the hospital and soon after admitted into a long term in-patient program.
My mother had seizures and passed out during Thanksgiving in front of her siblings and parents, having an ambulance take her out. She was admitted only a few days then sent home. Alcohol poisoning and problems with her body.
I had called the hospital when my mother went in. I let them know I was her only child and that she was an addict, so medications should be provided with caution.
They ignored it.
Both of my parents began drinking and doing drugs in their early teens.
I would figure out decades later that they both suffered from abuse since childhood and mental health issues, without any diagnosis or treatments until they began self medicating and got harmed by it.
Common for people struggling with mental health issues, such as bipolar and schizophrenia, each of them did not actually know what was wrong with themselves until they were very deep in dangerous symptoms of their conditions.
No one in my family ever talked to me about their conditions or their addictions.
In fact, my mother was often just eye rolled at when she peeled off the foil seal of a new bottle at a holiday dinner or even a get together.
"There goes Cathy, drinking again" was the closest I ever heard to anyone pointing out a bad behavior, though sharp tongued as to say it was as annoying and typical as nail biting. And soon after, discarded as a lost cause.
I remember how much anxiety I felt whenever my mother, who had residential custody of me, took me to family events.
My father on the other hand did not want to see his family as the years went on. He cut them all off. He even cut off his childhood best friend. His girlfriends. And then finally me.
I remember wishing other people could see what I saw.
I wanted someone to say something to both of them. To call them out on their problems. But when it did not happen, I felt crazy.
Had I imagined everything to be worse than it was?
After all, both of my parents were adults and bought their substances with their own money. They both held jobs. They both had relationships. And relatives who still wanted to invite them to things.
I often thought I earned it. That I must have been a bad kid. So bad my parents did not want any more. So bad, they divorced. So bad that I was punished often because I was not living up to their standards.
My mother would do this thing whenever we saw my cousins. Any cousins from any side of the family. She would let me play with them. Let me get messy. Let me run around laughing and having a good time.
Then the whole car ride home, she would talk about how messy I was. How loud I was.
How I was not "as smart as", "as pretty as", "as obedient as".
I was a bad girl. A fresh girl who liked to talk back. A girl who ripped her tights and wrinkled her dress because she did not care to be polite or neat.
When my father took me from my mother to go to an event or play date, he actually brought me rugged Jean's + t shirts. I dressed down and took my hair loose. I went out in the yard. I got dirty.
Then I would get dropped off home and face the ridicule of a lifetime for looking and smelling the way I did.
They knew each other like warning labels --- there was no way it was accidental, this exchange of a pawn. A checkmate between dirt and clorox.
When I reflect now, I have a whirlwind of emotions.
At 29, I still ask myself sometimes if I "imagine to be worse than it was".
I also have to sit with the fact that not everyone in my family experienced the same behaviors or abuse from my parents.
That to some, it looked like I had a normal childhood.
My parents were both high functioning. And their Jekyl/Hyde personalities fooled a lot of people.
There were other abusers in my families. All 3 families, since my mother was remarried by the time I was 6.
I knew narcissists, emotionally and physically abusive members, other addicts, and even a pedophile.
I was sure of it.
In my silence, I also grew up hyper vigilant.
I carry guilt for not being able to expose those truths.
And pain for all the enablers or people who just kept a blind eye for convenience.
But something very important I discovered this year changed my life.
MY TRUTHS ARE THE TRUTH.
For me, the experiences were REAL.
They happened to me.
It was not an illusion.
And I AM SURE of what is healthy v.s. not.
So what helps me through these struggles?
The FACT that I KNOW RIGHT V.S. WRONG.
I know what abuse looks like, from education and awareness.
Even though I no longer live in those toxic situations, I still relive the memories.
But this time, I am able to process the guilt and pain.
To justify how I felt and what it all did to me.
And I can release the thoughts I have about anyone else I grew up around.
I can tell myself that everyone has their own experience.
I have to accept that some people loved the abusers in my families'.
That some people loved and love my parents.
I have to detach from the notion that my family has to validate the abuse in order to validate that I experienced it.
It is not true or necessary.
So I release it all.
Anyone else's feelings or examination of my truths.
I also stay introspective because that is healthy.
I had to make that boundary myself.
To ONLY THINK ABOUT MY OWN EMOTIONS and not try to process or control anyone else's.
It is true that some people do not have the same truths or realizations I do.
But just because someone else was not abused like I was, by the same person, does not mean that person was not abusive.
A narcissist is still a narcissist and an abuser is still an abuser.
IF SOMEONE DOES SOMETHING UNHEALTHY AND IMMORAL TO SOMEONE ELSE, EVEN JUST ONE VICTIM, IT ABSOLUTELY MAKES THEM WRONG.
Toxic is toxic.
And no one else can speak for me to say I was not abused.
No one else was there, but even if they had been ------> someone else having a lack of capacity or awareness of what is right and wrong should not affect in any way what I know to be right or wrong.
And even if no one else is able to have the same realizations I have, it is my job alone to create my own boundaries.
To keep myself safe.
I have had to keep my safety and distance ---> not just for myself but for my children.
I have had to break the cycle of abuse by deeming it not okay to be around addicts or abusive people EVER.
I have to be able to live with my own decisions.
And I can, every single day that I choose HEALTHY in order to break the cycle.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #boundaries #holidays #trauma
This holiday season, you might be thinking:
"God. This year I need to set boundaries" as you catch your breathe and grip for another panic attack.
Maybe you just got off the phone with a parent or someone in the family. You have confirmed plans that make you feel uneasy.
That punch the wind out of you.
Maybe you will have to see an Aunt or Uncle who growing up always made you feel pathetic or like a problem.
Maybe there will be too many people drinking and being unfiltered or just one drunk relative who pushes everyones buttons but especially pushes yours.
Maybe you feel unwelcome and like a stranger even though it's a place you have known most of your life.
Or maybe it will all just be hard.
-----> The holiday season.
It brings anxiety and depression in my stocking.
Worried I wont be able to play santa because I dont have enough to give.
Worried I will disappoint people or my own kids.
Worried when I leave the house because god so much can go wrong.
My anxiety goes through the roof when we get in the car and travel through icy roads. As I clutch the passenger seat and close my eyes, I feel sick from the motions and the noises.
I feel anxious about being in other peoples houses.
I have panicky thoughts like:
■ Did I dress ok?
■ Will my kids behave?
■ Will anyone get drunk?
■ Do I pass as happy?
■ Will anyone notice we couldn't bring much?
■ Will we be able to sneak out early?
Of course I hide during the holiday season. I want nothing more than to be in my little room back home.
Because so many things trigger me.
The loud screams and laughter.
Loud bangs or noises from the busy road outside.
People swinging their hands around and animated as they speak.
Sharp carving knives at the table for the big turkey or brisket.
The big, heavy tree filled with glass keepsakes that the kids keep running right up against.
The cat that bites and is not afraid to beat someone up on christmas ;)
Should I wear shoes or take them off?
Will my kids break anything or make too much noise?
Will the families clash?
Will anyone ask me what I do for a living?
Worse...will no one ask me a gosh darn thing?
So many things will inevitably trigger me and I will need to visit the bathroom at least 4 times to calm down.
FACT: I wear outfits that are super easy/practical to maneuver and I bring an extra outfit in my purse.
I'm too afraid il spill something or need to use the bathroom or have a kid RIP my stockings.
I'm too afraid the outfit on my body will let me down in some way.
Anxiety wraps my body round like a warm, itchy sweater.
And I keep saying to myself, "gosh darn, M F boundaries. Make em. Keep em."
But then I don't.
I let my imploding party of 1 hang tight in my head.
I make sure I don't inconvenience anyone else.
I make sure I barely eat or touch anything of someone else's.
And I've wondered where all of this has come from.
Why I'm so "crazy" during this season especially.
To be honest, it took until recently to "remember", even though as a woman with PTSD from abuse ---> I'm a walking shutterfly album of my worst times in history.
I realized that every year as a CHILD since I could remember, I was made to be seen and not heard.
I was made to feel grateful someone even wanted to be around me. Welcome me.
My mother made sure I never felt welcome, but instead a burden.
If I took a full plate, she would say that could have fed someone else.
If I dressed any way, she would tell me things like "you gained a little weight, I see" or "I wish I was as full as you and not so skinny." [I was less than 100 lbs until age 16].
My father did not have much money or anything to give. He made sure to give me experience gifts.
Like hanging out late nights at Starbucks or 711 with HIS friends. Til one or two am.
Like going to get toys at the hobby store. "You don't mind picking things out now right?" And then pushing me to pick out what he desired to play with or show people he got for me "on Christmas".
When I became emancipated from my parents and was staying with family, I felt so out of place and not because of anything ANYONE else did.
Everyone was loving and happy to have myself and my daughter around.
As a single mom of 17, I felt awkward wherever I went.
I didnt want anyone to ask me anything.
Not where the dad was....
Not what my plans were...
Not what I "do now"...
Not any small talk about the weather because they don't actually care what I am up to or how I am getting by.
And then there was the year that no one invited me anywhere. At last, I was just on my own. So I took my 6 year old to NYC on Christmas Day but train and we spent the entire day walking in matching red peacoats and fuzzy hats.
Being alone for Christmas was the most simple and beautiful experience I ever had.
Even though I was in a giant city, in the cold, with little money and no one familiar around me ----> I had zero anxiety that day.
I felt in charge and in control. I felt safe while abandoned.
All this time, through rediscovering my insecurities and pain points..
I thought I needed to just set boundaries.
The real conversation that had to be had was with myself and all about self worth.
I never felt worthy enough to make demands.
I HAVE ALWAYS VIEWED ME HAVING PREFERENCES AS ME BEING DEMANDING.
What a sad thing, to blow out your own desires because you think needing something sets fire to the lessons you learned as a child.
That quiet means humble.
That subtle means poised.
That starving means manners.
That uncomfortable means polite.
I've had to REPARENT myself as the solution.
Boundaries are now looking like LOVING MYSELF.
Finding out what makes me feel GOOD and what makes me feel BAD.
Then copy and paste.
Copy and paste.
Copy and paste.
This holiday season, we ironically are not going anywhere.
Due to unexpected events [and nothing bad happened] our usual annual plans are canceled.
So this time I am going to be sitting with myself, doing some intentional journaling and processing.
Im going to flip through my memories and rewrite them.
I'm going to redefine myself, honoring my needs.
But I'm also going to do the harder thing.
I'm going to take anxiety off.
And examine what needs to be done by me in order to not wear it so willingly.
I'm going to set boundaries with myself and also have open conversations with my partner.
For the first time ever actually.
Because anxiety is anything but silent.
And I've sat quiet for far too long. ♡
J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #trauma #gifts #guilt #anxiety #healing
Receiving gifts has always been a huge source of ANXIETY for me, wrapped up neatly in a bow made of satin ribbon.
I grew up around abuse. Abusive parents. Abusive family members. Abusive lovers.
Every time I got a gift growing up, from my parents, it was a GUILT gift.
My mother would get me a designer bag or clothing when she had a drunk episode that she actually remembered. It was put on a credit card because we couldn't afford things like that.
I knew we were in debt and struggling so that GUILT was really multiplied every time a coach or baby phat tag appeared beneath the tissue paper. And my heart would sink.
When I started dating, my boyfriend did the same thing. For every girl he slyly flirted with or did something with, I'd get a cute little gift.
For our first Valentine's Day, I walked into his living room after school to find a heart balloon and statue for me. I remember as I unwrapped it, he looked awkward and nearly as surprised as I was when I took my gift out.
His mom had gotten it for me. From him. Because he asked her to. Because he did not care to.
I knew this much later, once he threw every task at her infront of me because those were the things he did not feel like doing. And he would say things like "she doesn't mind and she is so much better at it".
The thing was, he was emotionally abusive and lied constantly about everything. He manipulated people into doing things for him because he did not want to do them.
Shopping for me and showing me affection were the same in his mind. Both were too minuscule for his attention or time.
I had many boyfriends not ever get me anything because they were "too broke" but would get themselves specifically expensive items for holidays or just whenever.
Specifically my ex of a few years, whom I dated as a single mother of a little girl, would have me pay for most things even though I was on my own paying for my rent/tuition/books/food/child and he lived at home with his parents. When it came time for gifts, he would also ask his mother for assistance.
One holiday i got something so special from him. Something i still have and cherish. The one item I did not smash or sell after he broke my heart. A trinity irish necklace. One I had picked out and PUSHED for months for him to get me. Something I wanted so badly to be done on his will but was finally done because of mine.
Gifts and money were never something I idolized also because I was poor. As a baby born into poverty and then a teen mom who went off into poverty while raising a kid myself, I often could not afford to get people things.
For my own child, I made gifts. I would even put some birthday gifts into the closet before being opened and give them to her for christmas to spread out the stash from what people got her.
But we got by.
I got by many years without having to spend a lot.
Whenever people I knew, like a boss or a friend, got me gifts I felt SO MUCH GUILT.
I would immediately be scanning the things and calculating in my head a guess of what they spent to question if I DESERVED IT.
I felt the same exact way about hand me downs though. Anything given to me that was of worth to someone, made me feel like I was not worth receiving it.
Mostly I'd end up thinking "now what can I sell or do to equal that value for them?" Or "how can I pay them back."
I felt like I owed everyone who gave me anything at all, especially because they really had no idea how much I needed it.
I was so afraid to ask for help or tell anyone my needs for so long. I felt that way as a single mother and I still feel that way.
I feel shame in needing but I feel even more shame when I get provided for.
This is a HUGE BLOCK in my ability to attract money and success. In my ability to be approached by things I need. But I am now only gaining that awareness of how my self worth and anxiety deprived me of so much.
I would be at a loss of words too when I got handed an item or food or money by someone.
Fumbling over my words in thank yous and trying to hide my embarrassment.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, really.
Sometimes I would blurt it out. "Now what can I do for you?"
I'd like to say it was out of consideration and kindness as most people took it.
But that was anxiety speaking.
PLEASE, LET ME MAKE IT EVEN.
My nervous brow would wrinkle up and my heart would be pounding.
Until I got a response that changed everything.
"Be happy in receiving. I just want you to feel joy".
Happy? They wanted me to just feel happy?
No exchange? No guilt? No shame?
No "Sorry I fucked up, here's a gift I didnt even pick out with thought" ----
No "you thought I forgot didn't you? (Because I did but someone else rescued me)."
No "I know what I did but I'd rather you picture me as a good person so here is this thing."
I realized of course that good people could give me things out of just kindness but I still felt indebted or guilty because of those triggers.
Until I pictured someone feeling JOY because they provided me with JOY.
And suddenly it made me feel so good. So loved. So cared for.
I realized that THIS was what we were supposed to feel when we gave something out to someone.
This year I have learned I should express my emotions and gratitude back to the person. That I should let them know when they gave me something what it made me FEEL.
NO MATTER WHAT I WAS GIVEN, I JUST FELT PURE JOY AND LOVE.
And when I would let them know how I feel, it would be bringing them joy that they did that for someone.
That was the exchange.
The magic of giving and receiving.
I have been trying to do some things different around the holidays since figuring out the problems my anxiety caused.
☆ Instead of worrying I won't have the money to GIVE someone something, I think to myself "I will find a way to give them joy".
☆ Instead of jumping to "this was given out of guilt" I quickly remember how I've set boundaries and removed the people from my life who did bad things. So it is no longer even a rational thought that someone could be treating me wrong.
☆Instead of calculating the value of the thing, to see if I can give back in equal or fair measure ----> I think, "what would bring that person joy?" It no longer matters what the price tag is, if it is an action or experience, or even a hand me down. If it is something someone needed or wanted in their life and it would bring them joy, then it is priceless.
☆Instead of spitting out thank yous like a broken toy, I purposefully say why I am thankful and what the giving has brought to me. What it has made me feel. I want them to know what I am experiencing from their generosity and heart.
☆Instead of allowing frustration and panic into my heart, I allow myself to cry tears of joy and thank the universe out loud for my blessed friends/family.
☆Instead of keeping my needs a secret out of shame, I tell the universe what I need out loud with excitement. I am in need of many things but that should not bring me guilt or shame. People need things. Heck. People want things.
☆Instead of trying to calculate my worth, I tell myself I am worthy. I am worthy. I am worthy of love and joy. I am worthy of the things I want. I am worthy of the things I need. I am worthy of receiving.
☆Instead of worrying about what people will think of me for telling my truths, I remember that silent sufferers around me feel SEEN when I speak up.
So I speak up. I share my feelings, my fears and my desires.
And the concept of gifts/giving has grown.
From materials and money to emotions and states of mind.
I now want to gift out people LOVE AND JOY through my words. Through my validations of experiences they have.
I also think it is a gift to have REAL friends who care. Friends who want to give and receive out of love and not status or to show off.
It is a gift to have REAL, RAW, AUTHENTIC people in our lives to share our ups and downs with. Our dreams and goals with. Just being in relationships like that are enough without giving anything between one another to show we care.
I've made this discovery now that I have beautiful friendships in my life that bring me so much joy. I want nothing more than their friendships. So I cannot believe when I receive gifts or support or help with something. To be so lucky and so cared for by other people is something I am trying to get used to.
I am relearning how to give and receive because I was raised in trauma but that does not mean it is all I will ever know.
I am replacing anxiety with JOY, as a healing tool for all areas of my life.
I realize that abundance is a state of mind and I wish to gift everyone the ability to tap into it through believing they are worthy of whatever their heart desires.
YOU are worthy of receiving.
It does not have to be an uncomfortable thing.
In fact, you do not need to search for what to do for them beyond just thinking of how you can pass on the concept of giving JOY to their lives.
And you can do something anonymously this Holiday season just to send some joy out into the world. ♡
J.S. Jaded Savior
And I want everyone to know it.
Because I know my truths will set me free.
I write about it on social media because this might resonate with some of you and validate your life experiences.
Since I was born, I was in the poverty line. It did not help that my parents were 20-something undiagnosed mental drug addicts who dropped out in high school [both in 10th]. So we lived in section 8 housing and could barely afford to survive in it.
My mom remarried not too long after the divorce, marrying "up" as she put it which meant sort of middle class? Because he had enough with his parents help to buy us a house to live in. But we lived with very little and have to behave like we were poor. That is because my mother did not function well since she was always on something and spiraling.
I left my house at 16, after becoming pregnant with a h.s. boyfriend. No one wanted to be in the picture, as a baby could ruin their lives. I retreated to a relatives house to live with them senior year of h.s. in a new place and for the first time learned what it meant to be cared for, both in shelter/needs and emotionally.
I moved 3 years later when I finished community college, to move to a University campus. There I was able to get a job and go to classes full time. I qualified for some scholarships and student loans. I spent 4 years total which ended up being $75,000 ish not including those scholarships and such.
A debt I still owe but need to defer every year.
I met my husband senior year of college and began a relationship that turned into my now little family of 5.
Together we ran a business for 4 years that needed tons of upfront investment and left us BROKE. Even after leaping in 100% together, spending my pregnancies working + no maternity breaks. Even after no holidays off besides Thanksgiving and Christmas day [though we still replied to emails]. In the end, for all sorts of reasons, we failed. It failed.
This year, we each got into new ventures. We have been living with his family all this time, pleading with the universe for a miracle in our success. Begging for a life purpose + our goals to be achieved.
We have adopted all the successful habits, the ones we learned off YouTube. We have become obsessed with our new passions, at the expense of not spending a lot of time together. We talk daily still about our dreams and goals. And we keep ourselves accountable.
But still we struggle with debts. No time or money to date. To shop. We can barely cover food but are thankful for that. In the moment, meaning real time, we have NO money to move. But we want to and need to desperately. To have our own space as a family, with our 3 kids. To not have to rely on or live with someone else.
Because that is HEALTHY. NORMAL. TRADITION.
To meet, fall in love, move in /get engaged, get a pet, get married, get a home, get pregnant, get amazing careers ---> somewhere in that mix to discover what we love to do.
I have never made it to the tradition line.
My life was chaos from the moment I entered it and I am just lucky to even be alive now. I am lucky my kids were ever born and that I met the great husband I have now.
But if we did not have the family we stay with, we would have nothing right now but a few outfits and ...well that is it. No wifi or service so our computers would mean nothing. Our phones would be gone. We would have to apply for social services programs and hope something helps while we find the most available jobs. Most likely just him, so I can be with our kids.
You get the picture right?
We have money trauma, poverty trauma, are both first generation to attend a college or start a business from scratch.
And it is hard each day we know we have to live this way even though our dreams are so big.
I do not want to ask my husband to spend any money we do not absolutely need to spend. Any time I can sell old clothes or any belongings, I jar the money.
When we go grocery shopping I have tunnel vision to stick to the very cheap and healthiest basics possible to make sure my kids are fed nutritiously. We do not do snacks or juices or water bottles. We literally cannot afford it.
We tried to give ourselves each a tiny little allowance just to buy something we like once in a while. A coffee. Or an item we have wanted. Our date time is holding hands on the couch at midnight to watch Netflix.
But my kids, they are so happy. In the tiny bedroom they all share, in the small area we have ----> they have no clue what it means to be poor. We do say NO alot. But more in like an "ok, put it on your holiday list" as we both look at eachother with a knod.
Right now I'm home with our toddlers while my girl attends public school. We are AGAIN starting up business opportunities after some research, but now in our passions. We know that means our dreams will take a little longer to be achieved. But that is ok...for now.
I tell you this because we do not have the Instagram lifestyle so many people see. We do not attend events or go away. No vacations. No fancy parties. No splurges.
But life still goes on.
We still make do. And teach our kids other values besides owning objects. Like making friends, playing outside, reading free books we get from the library etc.
We find ourselves craving things because we feel like everyone has things.
We rate our worth often based on traditions. Based on what the neighbors have.
My husband doesnt really use social media but I dwell in it.
I window shop here, for a lifestyle I hope to someday have.
I'm caught between a rock and a hard place here.
If I want to have things, it is a bit materialistic, no?
If I WANT a modern country home with a rustic appeal. To decorate it head to toe... to be the entertainment home EVERYONE wants to come to. The game night house. The house all 3 kids have slumber parties in. The dream.
Its frivolous? Ridiculous?
I don't know all the things people say about it.
I just know that when a poor person gets told it is GOOD to live like a minimalist anyways, they are ignorantly missing the trauma that comes with NOT BEING ABLE TO have anything.
Because it is not a simple choice to become successful.
If you are poor, then you know it. The many pieces that move. Daycare. Bill's. Schedules. Hours.
I am so supportive of my friends having businesses.
But I literally cannot buy any mascara, candles, earrings, or sweaters.
I cannot spend that if it means I have to ask my husband to buy less chicken this week.
And I cannot join your team if it's a start up cost of 2 weeks groceries.
Some MLM reps come on facebook and say joining is the miracle a poor or struggling person needs.
And I am not about to question everyones speeches on success.
Maybe for some people, it is the answer.
But from my POV ----> it is triggering as all fuck to be messaged and provoked about joining teams or making money.
To be told it's the answer, when it might not be... its manipulative for me. I am not saying they are trying to be. I am letting you all know that my trauma and my triggers make me feel that way.
We are private about the new ventures we are in because of trauma too. Because we have thought somehow bragging or mentioning it will JINX us right back into poverty.
I feel it more than my spouse does.
That black cloud. That doomed to fail feeling.
As I adopt spiritual + manifesting ideas from my Facebook feed ---> I use them with caution. I want to study and predict outcomes.
Again, I am triggered and fear nothing will work.
"You have to believe it or it will not work."
----> k. Thanks.
Brb. I'm going to go let my trauma and anxiety know they need to sit tight and STFU so they do not become the debbie downers at my fullmoon circle.
The point is, being low income ---> being below the bracket ----> being unable to afford NY living [ $2000+ apartments, $300+ insurances, $400+ groceries per month....
It is all hard.
We have to fight our own fears daily and keep trying. We cannot afford in any way to give up.
But we have also had to release the idea of tradition. We have had to let go of the idea of success we held so tight onto that it nearly suffocated our relationship.
We have had to adopt survival skills + keep our low levels of optimism appeased by having dream boards and enlightening conversations.
I realized lately, as I have gone deeper into my healing from trauma, that my biggest problem is I think Poverty is an antonym of Success.
I think that having nothing means being unsuccessful.
I also think I currently have nothing.
I have also realized how much I have.
An actual little family that I made with someone I love.
A lot of talent, skills, and ideas.
A partner who has the same dreams and goals.
A society that now makes it possible [with technology and modern tools] to become self employed, which then means self sufficient.
And we do already have freedom. Even though we feel stuck at the moment. What are we stuck in?
I have had stability in a partner and got to raise my babies from home in general. Now full time. Something I never had as a teen mom who's baby went into daycare at 5 months old.
I have the ability to have success in the "money" sector of this complicated talk.
But I already HAVE success in many personal aspects.
I have been so blinded and overwhelmed by what was around me ----> by what I was lacking <----- that I did not realize I have a pretty effen amazing list of great things.
So I leave you with this.
So many people are low class. Struggling. Fronting online. Acting like they have a lot. Showing images that are not even their own. Making websites and insta feeds full of backgrounds of perfection. Using backdrops in their messy home.
And shit ---> do what you gotta do.
I love aesthetic. I LOVE all the pretty lifestyle things I see every day.
BUT I no longer want to count my worth on dreamboards.
I want to look in this tiny room, at my babies who are happier than ever.
I want to remember, after a childhood of abuse and teen years from hell ---> all of that led me to this abundance I have now.
And no mantra taught me more than "Love what you have, not what you want".
A lesson I hope to hold onto no matter what comes next in our lives.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#selfproclamations #labels #trauma #anxiety #depression #ptsd #unworthy #useless #abortion #failure #abused #shame
These are my words.
The ones I see when I look at my reflection.
Whether I am glaring at my naked stare in the bathroom mirror or peering into my own eyes right before hitting that live button on a facebook video recording.
These are the things that terrorize me and keep me in a box, trapped like I am claustrophobic and have no way out.
These are the labels, the identities, the limitations I have put on myself.
These are the words that have brought me to my knees, screaming at the sky wondering "Why me?!"
Why was I born into a family of addicts, who's prerogative was a quick fix that only takes a lifetime to feel? To parents who chose a different dimension and disassociation from parenthood. A mental state that did not even include me in illusion.
Why was I loved by cold, callous men who could not sit with me, or sit with me in my feelings?
Why was I the odd one out at every table I ever tried to join, even when I arrived early to the party?
Why was I shunned from the ones I set my heart down with and believed were my "people"?
What was wrong with me every single time I set myself up in race for greatness but only after practicing cool knots on my laces, because creativity comes at the wrong times and running fast was never my thing....
These words have burdened me.
And the people who have wrote them, those people were ...well, me.
I was a different woman each time I took a sharpie to my skin. Chose to mark myself to remember the occasion, a tattoo to commemorate each failure for the books.
I was the one to write other peoples' false perceptions of me on my own body. To allow myself to pick labels that acted like hot acid on every single cut I tried to bandage.
Up until now, no matter what I did to cover up these words, wear enough so they would not show -----> every time I stayed in bed under the covers so no one could see me at all.
All I really did was avoid healing.
These words are very real to me but I now resonate with them in a completely different way.
As I uncover each one, as I invite you to see them all, i also invite myself to see what i look like wearing them.
I realized this week that I am finding acceptance with these marks ------> because I am finally understanding what each version of past me meant and felt when she wrote them.
How hard it was for her to etch each one into my skin, tear stricken and emotionally exhausted.
It was a message that I now get LOUD AND CLEAR.
Show them all.
Someone in the crowd sits still, yet so unsettled.
Someone out there just mustered up all the strength they could, to drag themselves out in the light of day -------> just to lead up to this moment.
Just to see your scars and your words.
And finally not feel alone at the table.
J.S. Jaded Savior .com
This week has been all about challenging the concept of FLOW.
Whether it was the block in my cash flow or the insistent run and flow of my tears.
I cried all week from frustration, raw realizations and a very painful stage of growing that I am working my way through.
Moving forward in our lives is HARD.
Whether we are moving forward from a past career, home, friendships, relationships, or idea we held onto for way too long...
Or we are moving spiritually into a deeper place that feels REALLY lonely.
Moving feels a whole lot like being sucked into great, white rapids with no recollection of how to swim or close our mouths.
Tonight I sit in the flow of my tears because my body is SWIRLING with trauma and sadness, fears and resentments.
I realize I have things locked up inside of me that need to be CUT LOOSE.
I need to GROW with a FLOW that is aligned with my passions.
But this takes effort and deep digging into the core of my emotional issues.
In order to remember how to swim ----> I have to revisit memories of all the times I SURVIVED by pushing out the bad from my life.
I have to remember TRAUMA and look it in the face.
I came to the conclusion today that I am afraid to get on video because I will have to look trauma right in the eyes and I am afraid to.
There is a broken girl staring back at me in the camera.
With wet eyes, dull skin, and a head that hangs in defeat.
And she knows it....
She holds tight onto the weights of pain left from her mother and father abandoning her after years of abuse.
She holds tight onto the rejection from her exs who used gas lighting, manipulation, and having affairs as a way to denounce her worth on a regular basis. And ghosted her to keep her in her place until they finally discarded her.
She is ashamed. Hunched over. Washed out. And she feels like she is stuck.
I did not want to see her because I feel bad for her. But at the same time, resentful.
I want to thrive and in my head all these dreams blossom daily. I picture big things and beautiful achievements.
But this depressed, heavy, sad girl just lingers around and keeps my growth on pause.
I want to scream at her.. In fact, most of today I did.
Until I saw her eyes looking at me and realized that is all she expects of me. She perpetuates her worst nightmares and i react to them accordingly.
Judgement. Anger. Screaming. Taunting.
I am my own worst enemy.
So tonight, while catching tears and fears, I have chosen to stare at myself. To take a really hard look.
And in the silence of our eyes locking, I say "it's ok."
And I release it all. The flow of tears and aching that has longed to come out.
And it f*cking is.
It is ok that a part of me is BROKEN.
Of course it is.
I was ABUSED.
HIT, CHASED, TAUNTED, LIED TO AND MANIPULATED.
I was constantly traumatized by my parents from birth and did not know they were mentally ill until after I left at 16.
I did not REALLY comprehend what it meant to have an alcoholic mother.
I did not SEE that my ex who I got pregnant with in high school chose to break me on purpose. That he was also very sick and had addictions that mirrored my parents' problems.
I did not HAVE the awareness of all the choices I made that kept me close to abuse and trauma...that I had trained myself to LOVE the abuse.
I have been angry with her because I felt younger me SHOULD HAVE known.
But when you grow up with no one loving you in a healthy way, you crave any touch or attention just to get a small crumb of what love could feel like.
"It's ok" if the rollercoaster affection and rejection seemed a whole lot like being chosen and special.
Because now I know better.
Now, at almost 29, i see it all.
And I see that part of me who is so scared to shine because she does not believe in herself at all.
I have to be the light, I decide.
The one who loves her.
The one who loves me now.
Even if I have broken pieces inside of myself.
I want people to see it all.
I want to be brave.
I want to challenge the concept of "whole" ----> to sit with all of you who are broken and tell you ...
We can show up in pieces.
We can shine even if we flicker.
I am going to start doing videos. Taking pictures. Staring more at mirrors and doing self care rituals to show my broken shadow that I love her.
And that we will get through this.
I will show up now even if my only audience watching is that young, broken girl.
I hope I make her proud.
- J.S. Jaded Savior
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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