A Collective of memoirs by J.S. about Trauma + Mental Health + Abuse + Healing.
#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
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
#selfproclamations #thirdeye #spirituality #mentalhealth #trauma #healing #poverty
Reflecting on my trauma has made me realize that I am the entire "package".
I'm a freaking gift set.
Better yet, I'm the gift that keeps on giving.
My DNA is unique in that I have not one but 2 bipolar parents with drug addictions and alcoholism. A mom with Wenicke-Korsakoff syndrome. A dad with Schizophrenia.
Both dropouts from high school [9th and 10th grade].
Both dropouts from rehab.
Both dropouts from parenthood.
I was an only child, who got pregnant at 16 and became a single mother before even graduating senior year. 2008, walking in my white robe and tassel, my baby being held by my Aunt in the sea of proud parents on the football field.
Most of the mental health issues my parents had came to existence in their teens. But other demons came out to play in their late twenties and thirties. Coinciding parenthood to me and their inevitable divorce.
I'm a gift that keeps on giving because I did not give my husband a mother or father in law.
No one to badger or judge or overbear him.
No need to split holidays or do visits.
We don't have to send our kids off on trips or weekends or spoiled afternoons with junk food and total annihilation of moms' and dads' rules.
I don't even cry about their absence. I don't want them to be around my children or in my life. Not when I never really had parents at all.
I have also disassociated with the awareness of these things.
Quite often I am steel faced and stone cold.
An appealing trait for the suffering and needy is silent resilience.
I'm a gift that keeps on giving when I am quiet about my problems.
Because who wants to read about problems on the internet?
Who wants to learn about rape or abuse?
I have always known the answer to that.
-----> Other survivors do.
Those who have also scored the perfect DNA recipe for disaster.
Those who were born into domestic violence, like me.
Those who were born into poverty, like me.
Those who were born into drug addiction and alcoholism, like me.
Those who were born into broken families, like me.
It does not feel like a gift to be different.
To only have known trauma growing up.
To have compared yourself to "normal people" and wished for a fighting chance to get out of the $hit you had come into this world with.
But it is a blessing to know your truths.
To intuitively know "right from wrong".
To sense and feel and have "knowing" prematurely.
To have hypervigilance or what I like to phrase as "seeing the needle in the haystack".
You can sense a prick, always.
It is a big gift to know how to survive.
But it does not mean much if we do not speak it.
If we do not take our knowing and strengths into the light to help others through their own struggles.
So if you are gift set of mental health issues + toxic relationships + saturated struggles, then use it to better the world.
When you talk about it from the point of view of knowing you are a warrior and not a victim, when you gain control of your situation and use your weaknesses as strengths ----> everything changes.
This year, turn your pain into power by knowing exactly how you were made for this world.
Know yourself entirely.
And then expand those gifts out into the world.
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 #addictions #trauma #homeless #abuse #neglect #awareness
Today is my birth fathers birthday and I have no idea how old he is. Though I know his birthday, I don't care to do the math.
In many ways, it feels like his life ceased many years ago.
At least, for me.
As an only child, I grew up bouncing between divorced parents and had two entirely different relationships with them.
Cathy had full custody which meant she could dangle me over Charlie's head like a cat toy, while her hostile husband watched with scissors hanging low to his side.
Charlie did pills and heroine. On and off he tried to get clean throughout my childhood but it just never quite "stuck". No one in my family ever uttered the words mental illness.
It would take years and years after he abandoned me at 15 for him to overdose on heroine and be found unconscious only to be revived in the emergency room and sent to an 18 month program.
But rehab didn't stick either.
In my mid twenties, while raising my little girl as a single mom in college, I discovered he was in that program and finally diagnosed.
Schizophrenia, I was told. Mania. Depression.
Organ failures. Addictions. "Accidental overdose".
I was pretty sure it was very on purpose.
I cannot stomach the show "shameless".
My father is every bit of FRANK minus the hunger for cash.
He longs for appreciation and attention, apparently.
So Charlie kept himself constantly talking about anything to make himself sound good.
Charlie never got high in front of me.
Just like I never knew what high looked like, until I saw him at 16.
After Cathy and her husband told me to "go find my father" when I announced my pregnancy.
So I walked 3 towns in rubber flats and morning sickness in the summer heat to locate him.
All I knew at the time was his last job address, so I tried there.
The whole walk I stomped angrily and replayed the last voice mail I had sent him, about a year prior.
He had been jealous and angry that I was dating.
That his 15 year old CHILD had a boyfriend and that he was no longer getting "listened to" or "seen as much".
I remember screaming at him in the snow around 11 pm because Cathy had been black out drunk and done something horrible.
So I ran out and called him what felt like 100 times to pick me up because I was scared. And only in pajamas.
But he didn't -- No, he wouldn't, answer.
So I chewed him out in the allotted 4 minutes that answering machine allowed and I thanked him so very much for abandoning me when I needed him. And for not even having the decency to end our relationship with an apology.
Because he simply stopped showing up for weeks. And then months went by.
And every Saturday that i cried in his absence, Cathy made sure to rub the sand in my eyes.
Their entire relationship after the divorce had simply been a contest of who would build a better sandcastle.
Frank Gallagher reminds me of Charlie because he has only one commitment in this world. And that is to himself.
Though I am the only surviving child of his, I paid dearly for years as he lived in his own mind.
It did not matter finding out an actual diagnosis for Charlie.
I spent my childhood idolizing an addict who was childlike and had a broken personality.
Several of them actually.
When I arrived at his job the day I told him I was pregnant, I met one of them eye to bumper.
His problem solving method of discovering I was pregnant was to get in his big work truck and start the engine in my direction --- His eyes yellow and raging like a rattled snake.
He did not see me, but beyond me, that moment.
It did not give me relief to know he was also homeless.
For years actually.
The day after the episode at his job, the 4 brothers who owned the company and had daughters my age fired him.
They had been absolutely mortified at what Charlie did.
So he spent years after on the streets. Doing god knows what.
He then lived with a woman for a while and "helped" with her triplet teenagers.
One of them contacted me and we even met up at the mall.
As it turns out, we had something major in common.
We both hated Charlie.
After we met, I never heard from her again.
But I put to rest any ounce of sadness or curiosity I had of his existence. He was real shit to them. And did nothing to actually help provide or be a "dad".
But it was one of those things that just put the cherry on top.
He'd told them Cathy wouldn't let me talk with him.
He had made himself out to be a helpless hero who was stripped of his own child.
He had told them stories about me, ones he wouldn't have known ---> unless he made them up.
The breadcrumbs he had gotten out of my Nana that I was in college and a young parent, he used to his advantage.
Everything was always to make him look good.
To pass as sane.
He was back out on the streets not long after I met her.
Again on drugs. Homeless and jobless.
I found out last year he had been hospitalized for a heart attack. Twice. Also a stroke. Organ problems.
Still not wanting to seek help.
He had been brought in because someone called 911.
And like a FRANK, he made sure to take photos to soak up the "are you oks?"
He then reached out to me via social media.
He had a prepaid phone and would use Facebook to connect with old friends + distant relatives.
So he wanted to connect with me.
And when I WOULD NOT give him one -- yes, he meant me -- he got hostile.
But within a few weeks time and messages between us, I tried to be calm + patient.
It had been so many years and I was now married with 3 kids. In a safe space. Grown.
I thought I would handle it just fine.
Try my best to rationalize his mental illness. His addictions.
Not seek out a father. Or a friend.
Just accept this person and situation for what it was and trail away silently after.
But all the drama and stories came rolling back in.
The gas lighting.
The guilt games.
The clear delusions that I now knew were part of his sickness.
So I tried my best to do what I thought was "being a bigger person".
Over the years, on and off I'd wanted to reach out.
I can't tell you exactly what it was I wanted.
I did not "miss my daddy".
Growing up he had acted like a big child.
He would converse with me like so and want to hang out like we were friends catching up.
He was messy and dirty, often quick to snap or explode from confrontation of any kind.
He was poor but he made damn sure to let me know who made him that way.
What was everyone else's fault.
I'd heard years worth of why everyone abandoned him.
He would also ask me advice with women. He dated quite a few throughout my 15 yrs of him.
And each time they hated me + wanted him to move away with them. Then dropped him out on the street shortly after with nothing.
"Just like my mother did".
I learned from a young age that daughter meant "emotional consultant", "psychiatrist", "bullshit buyer", "punching bag".
He never hit me. In fact, he never hit anyone in his life besides the one hit that ended his marriage to Cathy, after he finally snapped at her for all she had done.
But I also learned young that words hurt much much more than hits. And so do "no show, no call" waits at the window.
I tried my best last year, before starting my blog or tackling my own emotional issues.
I hadn't thought into healing or facing my trauma yet.
I thought years passing meant healing.
That "time healed all wounds", because that's what trauma victims are told.
Go on. Laugh with me.
I was wrong.
It was painful to talk with him.
When he would be nice and friendly, I felt safe to keep talking.
When he would tell me the great details of his life, I felt pity. And sadness.
He was homeless, living for years on the streets in his favorite town.
A town his parents loved when he was little.
A town he had brought me to for years, when I was a kid.
So many fond memories had been since tainted by truth but were in that place.
Like a ghost, he wandered those streets and "built a life" as he puts it.
Playing his guitar on the streets.
He was doing something amazing, he said.
Charlie told me he was playing guitar for the youths of the town. And the great people at Starbucks.
He was talking with a youth leader at the local church theater program and would soon be teaching music.
A homeless man with addictions, health problems and no education or training what so ever.
He swore to this and said they all told him how amazing and talented he is. That he would be such a high value to the program.
And that this would be his big break.
So I said ok.
I kept the line open.
He soon asked how I was and how my kids were. Hesitant, I replied and told him my kids were well. That I was fine. And happy.
He said things like "you are so smart" and "you are so beautiful" to compliment where I was at in life.
He told me he was going to make slingshots for my sons.
And that one day we should plan to meet.
I knew I was brushing off something I should say NO to.
And I knew some children of addicts spent their whole life caring for their parent + not leaving them in spite of the abuse.
But I vowed to never live my life for my parents.
So when each let me go, it was just as necessary for me to let go of them.
To let adults live with the consequences of their own actions. To let sick people be sick if it was of their own choosing.
I was not aware of definitions like Trauma or Disassociation then.
I only knew the life of addicts and what mental illness looked like when it came knocking at my door for something.
Shortly after, Charlie announced via Facebook that he was in love and dating.
As a homeless addict, he was dating what Facebook checked out to be an 18 yr old high school senior.
He told me, searching for a congrats, and then told me she was a celebrities cousin. And she loved his music.
That she was in love with him too.
Days later he would message me again, this time asking for dating advice. Wanting to know my thoughts because as he put it "I was wise in this area".
Me, his child who dated way too young -- got pregnant and abandoned at 16 -- then dated an abusive sociopath for years mixed in with several NARCS in between.
His adult, legally emancipated and fed up daughter.
He wanted to know if they should have sex already or wait.
At that point, my head spun.
I was blinded by anger. We begun to argue via messages and I thought to myself "Why in the hell did I let myself even begin the contact with him?"
What I really needed to ask myself was why do I expect an unhealthy person to be healthy?
What would make me think that someone in his position could be any different without the help or the rehab? Without long term rehabilitation.
Longer than 18 months?
Longer than the few years he spent as a teen living at a facility after his father died...
He had been sick his whole life.
And I answered the door every single time chaos knocked.
And then scolded it for ruining the party.
I ended the connection that day. I blocked him and made sure to vent after about my feelings to my partner, whom I feel safe to confide in.
I felt shame, more than anything else.
Every year I had felt hurt. Not by the man who existed but for the man who never did.
I never had a real father figure.
I had something no one inherently wants.
Weeks later I would come to find out he was on the news and articles were published online.
He had robbed a car of Christmas gifts right in the driveway and the owner tackled him down til the cops came.
Today, one year ago, he thought it would be a brilliant idea -- while high -- to steal someone's gifts.
I don't know why but that article made me weep deeply.
Not for him.
Maybe for me.
Maybe just for the situation.
The idea that Charlie was and will always be a FRANK.
I decided to Google his name in May, when I was forming my blog and diving head first into what "trauma" actually looked like.
Charlie had been in the news twice.
Once as a criminal, once as a hero.
A duality shining light on his illness.
In the other article, he was interviewed about planned development of his beloved town.
"despite the project providing new income and growth for the small city, some residents are opposed to the project. [Name removed for privacy] is a street performer and aspiring actor in Glen Cove. For thirty years, he drove a tow truck until a heart attack forced him to retire. He feels that the redevelopment has some benefits but is more of a money grab."
I've wanted to talk about that article since discovering it.
To write about mental illness and its many faces.
I wanted to share with you how is got angry and commented on the news blog that they were incorrect and had quoted a homeless criminal. And actually got the comments shut off.
I was pissed. Again.
I realize only now that Charlie was a pain point in my life long after he left it because I lacked awareness and education of what he was and what I was for experiencing it all.
The flashbacks, the nightmares, the panic attacks.
The PTSD I did not know I had.
Outside of myself, the things wrong about his behaviors and the decisions he made...
He was not acting like a healthy adult because he isn't one.
He is likely going to leave this world in the same condition.
I've struggled with how to write about Charlie because I think people need to know what it feels like to be raised by addicts. To have a father that had an amazing father. Who then died suddenly. And left his family of 5 in poverty and extreme depression.
My father hovers around that beloved town like a ghost from haunted hill, repetitive in his steps and cyclical in his down fall.
It was his fathers favorite place.
In many ways, my father left this world when his father did. Emotional stability cracked.
He swears the day my grandpa passed he saw him in the mirror saying goodbye.
He knew before the telephone rang and my Nama dropped to her knees in grief that his father had left the world.
He said he told him.
Spiritual or practical, what I feel about that story is that my 14 year old father took the wheel.
And has been driving on autopilot ever since.
Drugs numbed and blurred the memories that haunted him but all he ranted about for years was the way everyone would abandon him.
How everyone always left.
14 year old Charlie was devastated.
And no one was equipped to notice.
I want to write about my experiences to raise awareness.
To invoke all different emotions.
There is no one and no right way to feel.
Not as the victim of someone else's abuse.
Not as the child who played psychiatrist to her parents.
Not as the grown woman who now has to get educated and understand what mental illness and addiction does to the brain, body, and soul.
All the while still feeling angry at the man who only ever let her down.
If everyone else idolizes their hero father but you loath him, does that make you wrong? Unaware? Apathetic?
When you are the abused person and you do not see the ailments, just the abuser --- should you have to stay quiet?
My journey now is towards education and awareness because I wish to be informed AND express my emotions even at the risk of feeling irrational.
Of feeling angry and sad and bitter and detached.
For weeping at the loss, no the absence of a healthy father.
Of a grandfather for my kids.
Of a parent to have given me off at my wedding.
As a father to have gotten out of bed at 11 pm to find me cold and shivering in the snow.
I expected more.
So I wont let anyone shame me for feeling like I got so much less.
Some of you may have a FRANK.
I had a FRANK AND MONICA.
"Shameless" [the series] gives me panic attacks and crying fits. But I can't look away.
I feel normal when I see or hear about situations like i had.
It was the loneliness that hurt me most growing up.
I don't feel good that more people struggle with abusive parents.
Or addict parents.
But if I don't speak out about it, or hear someone else's story ---> I will perpetuate my trauma and own struggles.
So I choose to process it all.
And to share it visibly.
Today is my father's birthday.
I don't know where he is or how old he is. I dont know much about him now that I created my boundary and honored it.
I would rather heal than extend a hand to an illusion.
I can't say if I will ever have closure. Or be able to breathe without holding my breathe all the time.
I don't know when my anxiety or depression will go away.
But I'm thankful for my life. For raising myself.
For learning what not to do and how to survive.
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 #magic #mindset #creative #trauma #healing
The gift I chose to give myself this season: healing.
I am choosing to heal this year.
To continue on a journey I started months ago, a perilous task of diving through shadows and fighting through broken memories in order to reclaim my strength.
I have battled depression and anxiety for years and it has been the demon on my shoulder that tried to talk me out of everything I loved or gleamed possible.
I've wanted to be an artist, a writer, a teacher, a social advocate, a social worker, an agent of the social system to rescue and rehabilitate broken people.
I've wanted to be a helper and a hero and a healer.
Someone who makes others feel seen, heard, and honored.
Now I just want to be me.
To show up as myself, with my truths and my knowledge.
To help others as well as help myself.
This year is different because I no longer fancy going in loops of self loathing or despair.
I have reemerged with a deep belief in my ability to grow this time.
But I know it will not happen without help.
So this year, I am going to climb out of poverty and pain by seeking resources.
I am going to try different holistic and spiritual methods of healing for my body, mind and soul.
I am going to do whatever it takes--- bartering, raising funds, earning money through my skills ----> to invest in my own healing.
Because the alternative is greatly paying for it later.
What made me decide I was ready to tackle my struggling mental health and traumatic past?
I cannot take it anymore.
I cannot go another day feeling helpless and like I'm drowning as the triggers all around me keep me there.
I cannot go another day feeling depleted around my kids and spouse. Feeling alone and silent in my pain.
I will not allow myself to bide anymore time.
"Eventually" and "later" are not synonymous with healing.
Neither are my other 5 billion excuses for why I never started before.
"Divine timing" could be a culprit but I remember my coherent resistance and built up fears.
I did not want to PAUSE AND FACE THE TRAUMA.
I did not want to have to think and process experiences like rape, abortion, distortion, and emancipation or what I like to call expulsion.
Abandonment. Rejection. Emotional and physical assaults.
Who wants to do that?
Now I know.
A healthy person does.
This year I elect myself to dive deeper than I ever have and uncover truths I had painted entirely different in order to protect my brain.
And I want to share those experiences with all of you.
As I discover things about trauma and abuse, I want to shed a light on what it was like.
What it still feels like.
This year I am choosing to pour into me.
Because I need it.
If I am ever going to press PLAY and LIVE, I have to do the things that scare me most.
Because I know fear was just another word for bullshit.
And healed is what is shining so brightly at the end of that tunnel.
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
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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