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
#christmas #joy #worthy #selfesteem #selflove #breakingbarriers
So this is what it feels like.
To pour into my own cup.
To slip on a silky dress that hugs my body and makes me feel held together like a warm hug.
This is what it feels like to wipe my face clean of the stress and the tears and the disappointments.
To paint on elegant eyes and vicious red lips.
To comb my hair out and feel my fingers through my scalp all the way out to the tips of my curls.
To look in the mirror and see a woman with star struck eyes and a million hopes stretched across a galaxy like bright burning motivation.
To feel a deep desire and passion for creation and new things.
To meet myself at my present day.
Its therapeutic to put on makeup.
To gaze into my own eyes and focus only on building lashes and shadows around the right angles.
I contour the parts out that I no longer feel anger towards but soft and gentle understanding.
And graze my hands across my skin as I exfoliate and lotion every inch.
I play music in the background of this tiny little closet spaced bathroom and I feel home here.
As I locked the door, I knew this was redemption time.
Time to reclaim the bathroom space.
Time to release tears of gratitude and appreciation for myself.
I usually hide here in these walls, caved around my sorrow as I hold myself through the aftermath of anxiety triggers.
The bathroom had become a place to get away from everyone and everything.
As a child, I had no where to really hide away. Every room had false windows that did not actually lead to help.
As an adult, when parenthood or work or just a bad day got to me, I ran refuge to the avocado green walls and purple shower curtain for some deep breathing.
Today I applied makeup and hair care and skincare as I told myself out loud "I deserve this."
And no, I did not earn it from a promotion or a contest or a very special gift bestowed by someone else.
I gave this time to myself.
And better yet, I did not time myself.
No clock or alarms. No places to be.
Just here to give myself love and joy.
And it feels DAMN good.
This year, Christmas has brought me the ability to see myself beyond my trauma.
To see a woman break free from a cage she kept herself in, as she was struggling too much with all the burdens of the past to see that the door had been wide open all along.
This year has been a year of great reflection and self awareness.
I have learned so much about my own identity and experiences through reliving them under my own control and methods.
By writing out my emotions and stories, I have taken the wheel back from a young girl who was too scared and too tired to let me live.
I now feel so ready to pour into myself.
To feed the woman I've grown up into.
Feed her heart.
Feed her spirit.
Feed her soul.
As I look up and around the walls that cage me, all turns monochromatic and cracks.
And I do not brace myself or hold my breathe as I hear the shatter.
It is the sound of a new beginning.
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 #joy #trauma #anxiety #depression #cptsd #healing
12 years ago, I had a 3 week old baby sick with what I feared might be pneumonia. I was 17 years old and on holiday break after giving birth the weekend of Thanksgiving.
I lived with my Aunt and Uncle [plus their four little kids + my nana] after being thrown out by my mother at 3 months pregnant that May.
I started my whole life from scratch.
Changed towns, homes, schools, friends, became single from my 2+ yr h.s. relationship.
Left the parents who'd abused me and neglected me for 16 years.
In my new High School I was treated HUMANELY.
The kids were all nice to me.
The teachers were so helpful and accommodating.
People looked me in the face and conversed with me about my pregnancy. My own gym teacher asked me to keep a pregnancy diary and log my nutrition as credit.
Even though I had no belongings from my parents' house, I had grown out of my size 00 pants and xs tshirts. My body had changed and adapted to my pregnancy coming in at 118 lbs by birth. Which was the healthiest my body had ever been.
I was badly malnourished while living with my mother and i had a horrible binge habit + sugar addiction.
FUN FACT: The body converts alcohol to sugar, which causes a spike in blood sugar levels. When alcoholics quit drinking, their blood sugar levels drop, and they develop sugar cravings.
My mother was an addict and alcoholic since her teen years. By the time I was born, there was no chance of her getting clean safely on her own. She barely cooked but we always had sugary foods in the house as well as a fully stocked globe bar next to her seat in the living room.
I am 29 and still have a sugar addiction.
I feel sick when I eat sweets and even more sick when I don't.
I am majorly addicted to drinking milk every single day, especially late at night.
All milk has sugar in it.
It took me until this year, when awakening from major disassociation, to realize my sugar cravings were due to my childhood.
To realize addiction did pass on to me in an unexpected way.
After I had my daughter, holding her felt like my whole world paused every time she stared back up at me.
I had FOUGHT to keep her.
I had sought out a pregnancy confirmation at Planned Parenthood, via bus I took after school with quarters from my moms coin bucket in the hall closet.
I had walked to the hospital clinic in our town to see a doctor for the heartbeat and first sonogram visit. Spoke with a social worker and applied for Medicaid under the precursor that I was now a medically emancipated minor due to carrying a child. I took care of it all discretely and responsibly because that was what I had to do in order to act like an adult.
Like a mother.
I had worn over sized shirts and unbuttoned by shorts, dove into the bathroom to puke between classes and once during an auditorium presentation for drug safety. I kept that expanding belly and my aching breasts a secret because I was afraid, with good reason, that my child would be taken from me.
She was my entire world from the moment I got those pink lines. Because love overpowers fear like the brightest light in the darkest galaxy.
So seeing her frail little 6lb body struggling to breathe and coughing felt like a tractor trailer was parked on my chest.
We went into the hospital Christmas eve.
I watched as SIX NURSES had to hold her body down to get a catheter and IV into her tiny body. While she cried like a tiny little blinded kitten looking for it's mommy.
We spent her first Christmas in there, me watching her receive medications intravenous and get breathing treatments.
I slept on the chair next to her, which really meant I sat perched watching her chest move up and down all night long. Listening to the emergency room peeps and alerts, watching nurses scuffle around and nervous parents get escorted into little beds and curtain spaces like ours.
It turned out to be a bad cold and was treated early enough to not develop into something more serious. Her lungs were clear and the fluids helped her tremendously.
At about 5 am, a jingling of bells startled some of us parents and the sound of HO, HO, HO, echoed through the children's wing.
Suddenly Santa emerged with 2 elves, carrying a HUGE red sack of beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts.
EVERY SINGLE PARENT AND CHILD RECEIVED A WARM HUG OR PAT AND A GIFT.
While the older children giggled and squealed at their gifts, I knew my baby would not know anything different. So I asked Santa to take ours back for someone else in need.
But he still hugged me and insisted i keep the gifts.
☆ A hand made quilt with stars and a crescent moon that smiled.
☆ A hand knit baby hat and booties.
☆ A talking puppy toy.
☆ A musical baby toy.
I wept as I held her presents and watched the nurses care for her in ways I couldn't.
And I felt so guilty receiving anything while sitting alone there with my baby.
But it was so beautiful that someone had decided to walk around doing this for the parents.
It was for us just as much as the kids. Maybe more.
I felt like we hadn't deserved anything.
I thought things like "she wasn't that sick".
"It isn't that bad". "She is taking from others".
But what I now know I felt...
I felt small.
Smaller than her.
Too small for joy or tradition.
To small for recognition or appreciation.
To small for that hug or that giddy excitement to see Santa.
I felt like a bad mom because I'd taken her out twice that week and then she was sick.
I felt bad because my family I was staying with were a REAL family with a mom + dad and their kids.
All preparing for Christmas.
All being a normal, married traditional family.
While I was a 17 year old abandoned by everyone including the partner I'd made her with.
At that time, his mother was MIA and angry about it all. His father had come to see us Christmas eve unexpectedly and with a few gifts. But realizing the baby was sick, decided to drop us and leave us at the hospital children's emergency center. My ex decided to leave us completely.
He had shown up at her birth thanks to his father after none of them were involved the entire pregnancy. After no one had helped me with anything.
The two guys, father and son, had peaked at my brand new baby and then left.
I realize now I felt completely broken.
Who was I to be able to care for this baby?
To do it all alone?
To be an adult already when I was just a kid.
I'd been an adult since the first time my mother trashed the kitchen and left to ride some guys motorcycle. I was in second grade.
In fact, when I'd gotten beaten up in kindergarten by a boy and stood up for myself ---> I think that was the first time I crossed over the child border and into something else entirely.
For 17 years I had been beaten and bullied and abandoned.
I felt it was only fitting for me to have a sick baby in the hospital on Christmas. That I deserved it.
And she didn't.
That guilt did not really leave me for years.
My mind just filed the report into a metal cabinet, marked "unfit" in the category "medical".
I filled those cabinets in that office for years.
I've heard people talk about having a mind mansion.
I have a mind office.
I've written about it before.
And I picture it so vividly, as I now visit it to retrieve old cases and documents.
All the dark shadows of my past and the harbored guilt.
Those swarming shadows are the keepers of that office.
And the reason I feel in the dark often.
I feel still this immense "not enoughness".
But I'm learning it was just the mistake of a young girl who was not taught any better.
Trauma gave me a cool, dry place to store my problems in.
But I'm ready to clean house.
To clear out all those cabinets and shelves that clutter my mind, body and soul.
I have emotional and physical pain because of my experiences.
The holidays reveal major triggers for me because I never knew how to process those bad experiences so I just tucked them away.
Micromanaged the clean sweep and put myself on autopilot.
12 years I've raised my baby girl and I still struggle with feeling worthy of her.
She is my whole world.
And now my world has expanded.
I have three beautiful babies that daily I cannot believe are mine.
That I'm so lucky I have a little family of my own now.
And I get to be Santa for them, along with my husband.
I have a HUSBAND.
And what that means to me, in the person I chose, is I have a best friend to care for this beautiful nest of babies with.
Together we get to make NEW memories.
I am reminded now that I have always done the best I could.
And I was every bit a good mom.
Because I never treated my daughter like a biological burden like my mother treated me.
I am grateful now that I can wake up Christmas morning with my kids and my partner.
Yesterday I just leaped and hugged him really tight mid conversation.
He is an anchor to the present.
When I spiral with flashbacks or get stuck in a deep emotional gust of self loathing, I quickly reach my arms out for the reminders close to me.
I hug my kids or my husband. And I instantly feel my soul + body come back into place.
My whole world, centered.
I remember that I am HERE in the NOW.
And that my memories do not define me.
The love and effort I show now DOES.
2019 has made me remember I am a survivor.
I have endured so much and still kept getting up.
Now it's time for me to Rise.
♡ 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
#christmas #joy #breakthecycle #catalyst #triggers #abuse
As the year draws to an end and the holidays come in like a rush of excitement and celebration, many families will enjoy abundance of all different means.
From comfort food and presents, to comforting family moments and fun traditions made once more.
Whether you have a large family or small one, are a single mom or a huge, loving family of 10 including your spouse ----> no matter how filled up your heart and home are this season, you will cherish most the love and joy you feel with one another.
That is what kids are to remember most as they grow.
18 Christmases with us until they are grown.
I've seen all sorts of ways people have celebrated. From over the TOP cheer to minimalist experience gifts and leisure.
From hosting the annual, traditional Christmas party to going away on vacation somewhere fun and sunny during the holiday week.
Some people have chosen to skip Christmas all together. Some have gone extremely minimalist. And that is great.
Whatever you choose to do during the holiday season, for all the holidays there are, do it with love.
Love. Gratitude. Joy. Appreciation.
Stripped of all the fluff, the core of celebrations are to celebrate the people in our lives. And the achievements we have.
I'd love to change the narrative of holiday celebrations.
I'd love to see families sit around talking about their goals in a positive way.
Feed positivity and encouragement into one another.
Hear about each others experiences and dreams.
One thing I have learned as a bystander in other peoples family celebrations for the past decade plus is that families do a whole lot of planning and fluff aligns the holiday but very little interaction with one another.
People go all out with food and activities, gifts and decor ---> and the aesthetic of the holidays can be quite spectacular.
Holiday movies depict heart warming moments of joy and laughter, in the same whimsical and magical setting of holiday decor and traditions.
But as dinner is getting prepared and everyone sits around the home, the small talk passed around is so empty of encouragement for the new year.
If your family DOES have deep, emotional, inspirational talks when getting together---> I would love to hear about it in the comments.
But what I'm referring to are the many families who's traditions are to numb through dinner, nod and smile through small talk and then make the focal point of the day on gifts.
For me, all of your bonds with your families are your gifts.
I would have done anything growing up to have REAL parents. Healthy parents. A family void of trauma.
In my childhood and adolescent years, I was convinced abuse and trauma were the norms for all.
My mission as an adult is to provide my own kids with toxic free holidays and a trauma free lifestyle.
Breaking the cycle is the gift that keeps on giving.
And many people wonder how they can break the cycle. Break a mold without shattering their relationships.
But how does it feel when year after year you feel bullied or discouraged by family?
When holidays feel stressful and getting together with family means preparing to be eye rolled and belittled by the people who brought you into this world....
When trauma seeps into the holidays, it looks something like "the drunk uncle", "the overworked mother", "the sit and do nothing father", "the not out and afraid sibling", "the college drop out", "the racist grandpa", "the overbearing and boundary slaying grandma".
And we break bread with, laugh with, comply with it all.
For the sake of the holidays.
For the sake of family.
For those of us who experience this, we grit and deal with it right? Just a few hours a year... just a few days a year...
The thing is, we are not sure how to change the tone of conversations or the way the evening goes.
We have not been taught how to dismantle trauma.
I want future generations as well as mine [90s baby] to learn how to and then actively do something during stressful, abusive situations.
Beyond that, I want us all to take the power we have and make the holidays something meaningful.
To introduce new traditions. New conversations.
To sit with our relatives and ask them intriguing questions. To encourage new reading and education. To open up their eyes. Inspire them.
I want YOU TO BE THE ONE to open your mouth and say "this is my big dream and I'd like to tell you about it".
Not a timid "if you'd listen, I'd like to..." or "I was hoping to tell you something".
Not a question.
Holidays are meant for gathering around and celebrating the year. The love in retrospect.
The joy of being together.
And while you may feel beaten down by past defeats, know that you always have the chance to step in. To take some control and make some new traditions that your younger family members will follow suit in after you have led.
Even more so, if you have an abusive or shitty relative, do not be quiet about it.
That does not mean you should:
●MAKE A SCENE
●SHOUT OR FLIP OUT
What it does mean is having a firm statement passed onto them.
About their behavior. About how uncool it is.
If you need to ask another adult to do so, then do that.
But make it known.
Trauma survivors often feel TRAPPED during the holidays.
Surrounded by people who are borderline or blatantly abusive ---> we tend to FREEZE.
Lastly, if you are unfortunately surrounded by abusive family and you have tried or believe it is impossible to make change happen...if you think speaking up will be a danger..
There is a new tradition you need to make.
Celebrate your own way.
Do something new.
Stop showing up.
It feels hard and like a betrayal because maybe they are all you have. Or maybe you feel like blood means never giving up.
It feels hard because you have tolerated it until now so why quit? It's one day right? Measly hours...
The thing is.. healing is a commitment.
Leading a healthy and happy life is a commitment.
So if you could trade a few hours of painful encounters for doing something that brings you joy ---> DO IT.
This is your reminder that HOLIDAYS are not synonymous with abuse.
You do not have to be a part of something you don't feel comfortable or safe in.
Next, if your family is just "used to" not being very deep or open ----> YOU can change that.
If you find yourself being a highly sensitive person or highly emotional person, then you are NOT AN OUTCAST.
In many ways, YOU ARE THE CATALYST.
You can start with games or conversations that you start with them. And you can teach them how to become open. Comfortable. safe.
You would be shocked to know how many of your family members have survived abuse and never told anyone.
How many were raised to tolerate things silently.
They are not silent to punish you.
They are silent to punish themselves.
That is what trauma looks like.
This holiday season, take control of tradition.
Integrate healthy things into the home.
Into each others hearts.
Teach the children how to have deeper conversation and play games of mindfulness.
Teach the children how to engage with the adults on a deeper level.
Use your awareness and emotional senses to make impact.
Or take It elsewhere for your own well being.
You do not have to suffer in your own story.
And you can define Merry in a whole new way.
♡ J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #joy #beauty #worth #selfesteem
This week I was given makeup, skincare products, a foot bath, and clothing that fits me perfectly.
I cannot tell you how much I have "needed" these things.
As a mom of 3 who stays home out of necessity, to raise my kids and cannot work because I'd have to way to get around [no car and no transportation], and would spend my whole check on daycare [for 2 toddlers].
So many women are struggling in the ways I am and i want to make these issues VISIBILE.
I AM IN NEED OF SELF WORTH AND APPRECIATION.
That is the Root of it.
Thank goodness we have a roof. And can just manage food expenses.
Without the support we have, we would have nothing at all.
And this "wont last forever" is the mantra I repeat as I cry in the shower, rocking myself and swirling around in defeat.
I used to stay silent about it all.
Don't tell anyone you struggle.
It is shameful.
It is "not classy to complain".
I am worthless.
Because everyone will ask me what I did to get this way.
I had a baby at 16 and was thrown out on my ass by my parents and ex, everyone but an Aunt I was close with were too shitty to step up.
My Aunt and Uncle were amazing to me and helped me for almost 4 yrs until I left to get my own apartment on campus of the 4 year college I got into after graduating at Community College.
I felt like a burden to her and her family. I still feel like I burdened anyone ever helped me.
Saying thank you is easy but calculating in my head what I'd have to do to pay people back is crippling.
I owe people my survival.
I owe people my life for saving it.
When I get help, it means I owe someone.
That is always how I saw it.
So when people complimented me for my work or my talents, i felt like I owed them.
It was uncomfortable to receive anything positive from anyone.
I was abused from birth til 16. Leaving my parents while pregnant DID NOT solve that. I stayed surrounded surrounded by trauma for years.
Because I was unaware of what it did to me, I gave my heart and trust to people who hurt me. Repeatedly. And without remorse.
As I worked hard in college and in a job to barely afford raising my daughter, I was also fighting depression and anxiety but had no idea.
I was so disassociated from my abuse and past that I had gaps in my memory and did not know the word "trigger" yet.
So i gravitated towards the things that kept me broken.
Having very little became habitual. I was not taught anything good about money, investing, or saving.
I was only taught, through experience, how to survive.
That mantra of survival of course stained my decisions and my goals. It stayed with me after marrying and having more kids.
It seeped into my marriage. My parenting.
My self esteem.
Devastatingly unaware, I made "the best" of everything.
I chronically thought small. Chose small.
I only convinced myself I was going big.
Just to keep my mind and body safe from a breakdown, small felt like a cozy hole to make a home in.
This week I realized that bigger feels better.
That going big and sharing my soul feels so freeing.
This year I am chasing JOY.
Joy of playing it big. Of putting myself out there.
I am poor.
And in the three months I have been writing about it, I have been releasing all shame.
The shame of being a stay at home mom ---> which is the hardest work I have ever done, sans paycheck.
The shame of taking time to heal ---> to bartering my way to affording it and using my talents in exchange for services.
The shame of being a "single mom" again because I said yes to supporting my husband working long distance --->when I'm lonely and sad dealing with my mental health and being mom alone.
I've said yes to things that don't bring me joy and I am tired of that.
As it turns out, I've just had a poor attitude.
Now I know I am whatever I choose to be.
And when someone tells me how low and broken they feel, I can tell them it is a choice.
But that is not all.
We have to change ourselves.
The things we want, we need to speak them.
Make them happen.
Do small tasks daily to work towards them.
This week I have been able to get dressed up in new items and put makeup on my face.
I have cried more times than I can count.
Not because makeup and sweaters were the answer.
But because I feel worthy as I slip into a sleek black sweater and put primer on before painting a face that looks new to me.
J.S. JADED SAVIOR
#christmas #joy #holidays #needs #support
As I continue writing about the holidays, my triggers, and my fear of joy ---> I realize some
deep things about myself and my presence in this world.
Journaling + writing on social media have transformed my identity and my personal nature.
I had lost myself for quite a few years but since summer, a familiarness has led me to realize I am becoming me.
I am becoming whatever "me" I want to be.
A writer. An artist. A designer. A public speaker. An influencer. An advocate. A teacher.
What I missed in the past, while walking around like a Jaded Savior, was fulfilling my own needs FIRST before seeking to help others.
I needed to fill my own cup first and yet I was hardwired to never even put a drop in my own worth.
Abuse made me feel like my needs did not even matter.
Being the one to step up and say "I deserve things" was the pivotal moment that shifted my mind.
I started off this May with my blog just feeling absolutely broken and weak. Confused about my purpose in life. And suffering hourly with panic attacks.
It is now december and while I do not feel like a million bucks, I have grown.
And that is PRICELESS.
I am managing my panic attacks down to once a day or every other day.
I am catching my triggers and walking myself through them.
I am cutting away the people and the things that never served me.
I am adding what does bring me joy and clarity, positivity, and growth.
I am realizing that growth is not linear.
That instead, I am expanding.
Expanding in spiritual ways as well.
I am learning about gifts I have and skills I have that really saved my life since childhood.
I am becoming comfortable in my own skin.
When I am depressed, I am getting off my butt and writing + drawing about the experience.
Art and writing are becoming my tools for understanding myself and my struggles.
Not as a cure. But as a way to deeper understand myself.
My patterns. My cues.
And that passion is creating some amazing things.
Like my first book I have published on my site, Death & Coffee. A short collection of art, stories, and poems about what depression is like.
I have also begun writing my own story.
--->All the trauma and the abuse that gave me PTSD, what it is like to be "STUCK ON PAUSE", and what I am doing to come back to the present one day at a time.
I have so much planned for the new year and I am so excited to make a difference in peoples lives.
This time while changing my own.
This year I am going to work hard to get my own apartment [with hubby and kids] that we can call home. So we wont have to stay with anyone and feel like a burden.
I am going to create my own business and work from home so I won't have to pay for childcare and have not much left over in a 9 to 5 job outside.
I am going to take online courses and certifications in trauma training, holistic nutrition, and spiritual healing methods.
This year I am going to pour into myself and share with my readers every step of the way.
What it feels like and looks like to heal.
To take my health into my own hands.
To move beyond my past.
And carve an actual future.
If someone were to ask me how long it takes to heal, I would tell them it takes as long as you commit to it. And there is no clear line or structure.
You just have to start.
And tell your step with each step that you are so very worth it.
By next year, I hope to be abundant in money, in food, in friends, in joy, in peace.
I want to be able to provide joy and healing to others.
And give back to all the amazing people who are helping me get through the hard times now.
I am so grateful for all of you.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #poverty #trauma #equations #joy
Your worth is not a mathematical equation to figure out.
Yet here I am, a hypocrite with a calculator and a bag of snotty tissues.
Just crunching away the numbers.
I have been low income since I was born.
Born into a marriage of domestic violence, addictions, bad decisions, and poverty.
Every year for Christmas, god I have no idea what I ever received.
A knocked over tree by Godzilla herself after a wild night of undercooked meat for dinner, the stove top left unattended and my preteen self trying to figure out now to test for carbon monoxide poisoning.
A barren womb after the violent loss of 2 babies she had tried for and was unsuccessful in hosting after months of bed rest and nurse visits. Iv drips, barely eating, writhing from the pain of sobriety while carrying children.
Christmas meant uncomfortable visits with family and sly remarks about how she had a kid already from the inlaws.
About how she used the cleaners obsessively and that's why she suffered a loss.
I grew up around trauma.
As an only child, I suffered greatly at the hands of abuse because I was the only kid.
No one else to blame or fall back on. Not even the dog. Trust me, I'd tried.
My company was a tiny square TV that took VHS tapes and a notebook I used to draw in.
I was grounded so often to stay in my room, I should have been named rapunzel.
I dont know if I ever believed in santa or magic or joy.
But I did know a lot of adults tried real hard each year to pull it off for their kids.
I knew one day I'd want that to be me.
After countless years of losing the battle with my birthday candles and wishing for adoption, I surrendered to the fact that that was my life.
We never talked about money and it always seemed like we were strapped for it.
No food. Tons of bills.
Holiday meant family time.
What I learned about love and joy were that they were meant to be had by the people who could afford it.
Besides ordering random items from QVC and stocking the bar accordingly each month, Cathy did things that served herself.
Whatever santa left under a tree, she wrapped it herself. Whatever her miserable husband left her, was either metaphorically or literally burned.
On the tv down stairs i'd see commercials and classic old movies about Christmas. My favorite was Santa Claus is coming to town.
I loved watching Chris give the Winter Warlock a toy and his icy heart melting because of the love and joy felt in receiving.
Every year, some how, I was able to give my mother some kind of gift.
Years later I would discover a box with everything I ever have her in it. Shoved away behind the steve madden's and baby photo albums in the back corner of the closet.
I was not sure if I was being treasured or just neatly tucked away, out of sight and out of mind like all her other problems.
I knew when I became a mother I would do whatever I can to make Christmas magical. To make holidays and anniversaries and achievements all feel joyful.
So when I had my first child at 16, and was shunned by my parents, I knew I had a bargain to keep up.
A life of joy and fun. Security and stability.
As it seemed, life did not go that way in my twenties. From 17 with a newborn to 25 finishing up college with my little girl by my side.
I learned from being out on my own that I had to keep my child away from toxic people and dysfunction. We had to chase joy because it was not free.
Sometimes I felt like a failure.
Like joy was just unattainable.
No matter how hard i worked or how much i saved, it felt like i was just meant to be poor.
To make it "worse", i gravitated towards careers and passions that would be rewarding in many ways but in the bank account.
Math, again, was not on my side.
And I felt torn between wanting a career to help people OR finding something stable just to pay the bills and get by.
Still, I knew my worth enough to go to college on my own and make something of myself.
My parents had both dropped out in high school. Barely 10th grade before getting into drugs and alcohol. Something that would rob them of their lives and almost mine.
When I met my husband, I was just finishing up 6 years total of college and the sum of 2 degrees. I felt so empowered and ready to take on life with my passions.
But depression and anxiety began to get the best of me. Everything started to come undone.
A horrible breakup. Loss of friends. Doubt in my career choice. The end of my college financial aid. Fear. Insecurities. Regret.
And then I met someone.
Someone who I felt in my gut was my soulmate.
So I took a leap.
And that leap turned into 5 years, 2 more babies and marriage.
Void of career or passion. The price I paid for changing directions.
Instead I learned how to coparent and be a partner. I learned how to have a safe night in bed with someone who wanted to protect me, not be the thing I hid away from.
I learned how to have holidays with peace. Calmness. Love.
I watched as my heart expanded with each child we welcomed into the world and my expectations grew threw the roof.
Now that I finally built a little family of my own, had a best friend to navigate adulthood and life with---> I wanted it to be my soul mission to give them the world.
To be their rock, their everything. Their person to call "home".
But out came the calculator every single occasion. Crunching numbers on our oh so tiny budget.
Now both wearing shackles of shame as we realized the math did not equal the kind of parents we wanted to be.
Every Christmas, the theme of giving goes around and everyone feels so thankful for what they have.
As low income people, we are so thankful for everything we do have.
But looming over our heads constantly are the things we go without.
We've been taught, as poor people, not to talk about the poverty. Not to ask for things. Not to go for help.
It is not in the words but in the thoughts people have when we speak up.
The suffering always do so in silence.
As the social media bombardment of photos come in with Christmas wishes, Holiday decor and family photos, we stay scrolling for joy.
I scroll for joy.
I love to see photography sessions and milestone photos, santa photos and Christmas cards. It may seem silly to people but I feel envious of those.
An unhumble trait I picked up in my years of having less.
Then there is the comparison cold.
As I see and I know and I remember all the commercials for Christmas time shopping.
Big trees filled with presents and toys underneath so that Christmas morning the kids feel loved and like their wishes were received.
As a single mom I was always so terrified of doing santa letters because I may not be able to give what my kid hoped for. Many years I "helped give ideas" for her list after already shopping. .I was so scared to disappoint her.
In movies, Santa came to poor children with oranges in the stockings and toys by the tree.
I was so frozen with fear year after year at the chance my kid would feel like the math wasnt adding up and she was not worthy enough for santa.
Now that I am married with 3 and we struggle to feed the family + cannot afford to save, that fear has grown.
Into the size of an abominable snowman.
But recently I remembered something that carried me away in tears as a child.
That damn cheechoo train and the winter warlock.
His tears brought the resounding message of joy that I clung to for years.
Give joy. And hearts will be full.
So this year and the last 4 years prior, I have focused on joy.
How I could make every season, not just the date, feel GOOD.
I wanted to give my kids the excitement of each season because it meant all year felt good and mindful and purposeful.
Unlike when I would anticipate the 3 holi - days we left the house to see extended family and my parents would try to pass as normal.
Every year I still made the samemistake.
I took out income and replaced it with the measure of joy, just to reassemble the equation.
To finally have a shot at making myself worthy as a mother.
And I felt like I failed each time.
With each gift or craft or idea, I felt empty and sad after.
Like my kids just KNEW it was not enough.
Like I knew I was not enough.
This year I gained a beautiful gift.
The gift of an awakening.
A journey into my own healing from trauma.
Now I am discovering why I always reached for the calculator.
I always felt I needed tools to become more.
Being me never felt "enough".
That affected every single holiday or celebration.
Every single birthday wish.
Every single absent gift I thought I was too unworthy to receive.
I was taught that worth was measured by people who felt unworthy.
Sick, addicted, traumatized, irrational people taught me by example that worth is bought.
That self love is bought.
And that joy is bought.
That is just not true.
Money does mean something.
Being able to give my kids a dream Christmas, like a scene out of Miracle on 34th Street is THE GOAL.
I cannot seem to shake that childlike, tear struck face of wonder at the idea of driving up to a dream house that is wrapped in lights and festive decor. That has a wide staircase and open living room with 10 ft tall ceilings and a huge Christmas tree illuminating the house.
But this time, I am learning that should have actually written those wish lists. I should have talked out loud about my desires.
I should honor them and honor myself.
I want my kids to see a brave, strong woman who is not afraid to ask for what she wants. And happily receive it.
I want my kids to know joy, feel joy, give joy.
Because their childhood was not traumatic.
It was filled with magic and spirit and hope.
So now instead of just Santa, invoke my spirit and my soul to feel worthy.
To be the joy.
The smile and the warmth and the love that made my kids' Christmas special every single year.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#poverty #christmas #joy #identity #giving
Poverty does a lot to our body, mind and spirit.
We get lost and confused about who we are. The sense of identity and self worth we once had diminishes.
For many, self worth is not even developed. It's a luxury to love yourself when you have so little.
As a mom of 3, with a lot of expenses and no income ---> I have learned to take what I can get.
As someone with a husband who works his @$$ off and is away from us a lot to accomplish that goal, I absolutely will never ask to use any money we obtain for things for myself.
I can have little to no underwear, broken bras, and all the hand me downs in the world.
For my birthday this year I had the opportunity to buy myself a sweater and a few leggings. That was a super duper painful trip, as I tried on tons of things at a local juniors sized shoppe filled with crop tops and belly shirts, plus the skinniest size 15s I ever saw in my life.
Still I was so grateful for the opportunity to buy a few things and try my body in different styles.
It forced me to look at myself and step out of my comfort zone. To spend a little without regret or worry on myself.
Today I received 7 bags of shirts, sweaters, jackets, blazers, pants and beautiful dresses. All my perfect size. Some never even worn.
I cried my eyes out, squinting through the burning mascara, at what will be my Christmas dress.
A lace cocktail dress. A black cashmere cardigan on top.
I cannot tell you how much gratitude I feel for these things.
These items that may just sit in someone else's closet, untouched or unnoticed.
Maybe even items that once brought them joy but now they have moved on from.
When I was in college, as a single young mother of a toddler, I applied and was accepted into an internship. This internship fit both my degree requirement and my passion for leadership.
I scowered the target clearance section 2 weeks before it started for on sale blazers and silk shirts. A black dress and a black shirt, all office wear and chic, professional styles.
When I showed up, I sat in the front by the advisors. I walked in, heels smacking the tiles, leather bag in hand. Black and splashes of colored silk. A pop of red lipstick and cat eyes. Sleek hair.
I wanted to fit a role.
Not a teen mom.
Not a college kid.
Not a Lit or WAGS major.
Someone who wanted to be there and own it all.
The leadership and the passion I had burning within me.
I loved that internship and in many ways I felt lost after college because I left behind more than a black and white striped pair of heels.
I left behind a strong, prepared character that I loved wearing the shoes of.
Today, as I ripped open garbage bags and dug my hands deep into the soft, black textiles I cried to release.
For every beautiful new piece I pulled out of the bag, 2 or 3 old shirts or leggings got tossed into a bag.
Acceptance and release.
I allowed myself to get rid of the things I told myself were me.
My lack of identity in wardrobe and emotions since becoming a wife and mom to two more babies.
The mismatched clothing that never fit my body and the items I'd collected along the way --> I wished them well.
I thanked them for serving me as they did.
And I thanked this new clothing for coming to me.
For reminding me of the time I felt my best.
Black silk and fierce leathers. Soft, comfy sweaters. Heels and tights that said:
I. Own. My. Look.
This is me.
It is so fitting that I feel like I've been through the flames this year.
And surprisingly, though I dove deep into the burning flames I rose again unburned.
And ready to become something new.
Whenever we think we are forging a new identity and path, it is actually more like we are uncovering foot steps down a road built just for us.
A familiarity with each foot step through the ash and into the light.
When you follow it, you will discover you are being led to yourself.
A 360, right back planted into the heels of who we once longed to be and now we realize we were all along.
This Christmas season I have been vocalizing my struggles for awareness and to release my emotions.
In return, I have casted stones out into the universe.
So many gifts, love, support and items we need have come back our way.
Some people dear to my heart have sent us items for our little family and I have been a pile of tears the last two weeks as I keep getting surprises at my door.
I have worn struggle for years, often afraid to speak up about it. Things like pride and shame kept me from wanting to ask for help. It was not until I felt scorned by life and cornered in my options that I would ask for assistance.
Now I realize that there is bravery in being honest.
And that receiving is not hard when you just trust the universe and tell yourself you are worthy of abundance.
Worthy of love and care.
Worthy of an identity and honoring truths.
Worthy of welcoming gifts in all shapes and sizes.
For the joy of giving and receiving this holiday season ----> do something new!
Go into your closets and through your material things and DONATE to people you actually know.
Do this by casting the offer into your spheres. Your family. Your friends. Your groups.
Gift and regift to those who would fall to their knees in gratitude and joy to receive what you no longer use or need.
Take it further.
Pick a skill, a talent or a passion and gift it.
Not for a sale. Not for a promotion.
To give joy. And to feel joy while doing it.
Stop crunching numbers and void the urge to keep score.
Give joy for Christmas.
And in return allow joy to come to you.
Make some wishes.
Ask for what you want. What you wish. What you hope for.
Without a "this is stupid", "this is materialistic" "this is frivolous".
Just allow yourself, with pureness and gratitude, to honor your desire.
And know you are worthy of it. ♡
Christmas and the holidays feel different now.
I will be wearing my new dress on Christmas as a reminder that I am worthy of all the things and take two steps closer towards my authentic self in the new year.
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: email@example.com
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