Category Archives: Pain

My Scars Tell A Story …

20170804_204354I was on the line this past week at the NYC Passport Agency … more than 2 hours in 90 degree August weather … Not fun!  Realized that sometimes life becomes less about living and more about waiting … So tired of waiting!

A complete stranger noticed my scar on my back, near my right shoulder blade.  They asked me what happened.  I was surprised because it’s been a part of me for 40+ years – I forget it’s there.  I had my first cancerous tumors at six months old.  Forty years ago, no one was thinking beyond me getting healthier and growing old – not worrying about scars and plastic surgery.  This stranger mentioned I should look into scar revision surgery.   I politely listened to them.  But in my head I am thinking please leave me alone.   My scars are mine and they tell my story.  Some days they bring me comfort and remind me how much I have gone through and of my strength.

The quote by Steve Maraboli – resonates:  My scars tell a story. They are a reminder of times when life tried to break me, but failed.

My life has been hard.  It still is – most days.  I deal with sadness, grief, pain, hurt, anger, loss … I struggle on a daily basis to get out of bed and just put one foot in front of the other, trying to find my purpose and my smile.  I struggle to find the tenuous line between what hurts me and what heals me.  I struggle in letting go of the past and keep moving forward.

So I need to see beauty in my scars.  So many of us have scars – some visible, many not.  Some are inside of us, some are on the outside prominently and permanently on display.

So I will show my scars … because I continue to fight and survive.  I won’t hide my scars.  They are my reminders that I am still alive.  They serve as proof that God is forever healing me.  And I will keep finding beauty in my life and sharing my story … with grace in my step and hope in my heart.


In Memory of Me …

I have just not been able to write as much as I would prefer lately.  So many thoughts, words, complete sentences in my head … but having a hard time expressing myself without crying at times.  Been so busy building walls so others can no longer hurt me, that I just can’t express myself in the only real way I know.   Sinking into depression … I know I am but I am not sure what I can do differently, right now. I feel lost, alone, insecure, idle, forgotten, bored … Emotional flu … yes that is what I have, lately.  Tired of feeling – especially sorry for myself.  So it’s taken me awhile to write this post.  Sometimes my hurt overwhelms me.

Anyone who really takes the time to know me, understand my life – they would know I have never had a good relationship with my mother and her daughters.  My sister is having knee surgery and will be staying with my Mom, so whenever any one of my sisters visit, even for a few hours every few months, my mother tends to be even more cruel to me.  For some reason, this past Friday we were talking about someone we knew and how they died with no family.  My mother then proceeded to tell me that I should save money to make sure I can pay for my own burial since no one would help once I die and I shouldn’t think to burden anyone.  Now I know deep in my heart that my family couldn’t care less if I lived or died.  I have known this far too long.  And sadly, yet obviously prudently, I already took measures for my burial many years ago after my first bout of cancer.  I reassured my Mom very calmly that I already took care of things for when I die.  Then I just went upstairs to my safe place, my own apartment, and just cried for hours.  My mother will never know how much she has hurt me, how much her words hurt me.  Just when I think she can’t hurt me anymore, I learn that it’s just never going to stop.  My skin just isn’t thick enough sometimes.  My heart breaks a little more each day when I am around her.  I try so hard … try not to let her words bury me alive.

So many hours I find myself too weak, too sad to do much of anything which only makes me sadder. I try.  I am in pure survival mode.  Don’t need to be saved. I need to be found and appreciated for exactly who I am.  I need others for my voice right now.

Quotes that speak to me, for me …

“Sensitive suffer more, but they love more and dream more.”  – Augusto Cury

“A sensitive soul sees the world through the lens of love.” – Unknown

“Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.” ― Katherine Henson

“You soak up others’ moods and desires like a sponge. You absorb sensation the way a paintbrush grasps each color it touches on a palette. The ethereal beauty of a dandelion, the shift of a season, the climax of a song, or a certain stirring scent can awaken such wonder they’ll become your very breath itself – moving through you as fuel does to fire and wind does to waves. ~ Victoria Erickson

I have to keep reminding myself to love myself first and foremost … I have been on my own longer than I have ever been with anyone, loner by nature, alone by choice.

I’m here – I’m a survivor – and you can, too!  Everyone has to deal with their own situation, but my method is ‘distraction’.  My pain, worry leads me to writing.  Peace, acceptance, quiet, serenity, empowerment … keep loving myself.  Keep striving to have a decent life.  I have to remember who I am – that is how I will get through this life … with grace in my step and hope in my heart.


I Feel Empty …

I came across this quote but I do not know who wrote it.  It captures exactly how I am feeling today …

I feel empty
yet so full
of emotion

Like the smallest thing
could push me
off the edge

What do you do
when there’s nothing
but pain
left inside you

And what if everything
we were looking for
only existed
in our
dream

How do you explain
something
you don’t even understand
yourself


God’s Wake-up Call

Someone reminded me today that our pains are God’s way to awake us from slumber, inactivity.

Pain from illness can be one of the biggest wake-up calls. Pain is our wake-up call to awaken, to look deeper into ourselves, to adjust the course of our life. I believe God tries to be as gentle as possible, and only if we ignore the call does the pain get stronger. So, my pain is unbearable at times. I hide myself from the world. I know I need to try harder not to hide, disappear, hibernate. I know I need to find my smile each and every day, lighten up, eat better, and yes even exercise (yikes). But who can do any of this when we are in pain?

I came across this quote and it also serves as a reminder of a much needed wake-up call:

“Pain is a spiritual wake-up call showing you that there are oceans you have not yet explored. Step beyond the world you know. Reach for heights that you never thought possible. Go to places you have deemed off limits. This is the time to take off the shell of your past and step into the rich possibilities of your future. God does not give us dreams that we cannot fulfill. If you want to do something great with your life-whether it’s to fall madly in love, become a teacher, be a great parent-if you aspire to do something beyond what you are doing now, this is the time to begin. Trust yourself.” ― Debbie Ford, Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life

One of my favorite actors, Anthony Hopkins portrays one of my favorite writers, C. S. Lewis in the movie ‘Shadowlands’, and in more than one scene we hear “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world”. Lewis’ full quote:

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

I know God has a purpose for our pain, a reason for our struggles and a reward for our faithfulness. So with grace in our steps, hope in our hearts – let’s not give up!


No More Silence ….

My Texan friend was walking the Grapevine Trails in Texas the other day and ran into a video shoot in the making. He shares the story of how he met the beautiful two women who make up the Nashville duo of Mersi Stone. They were shooting the video for their song Push Me – how very exciting. SO of course, I had to look them up and WOW I came across this powerfully beautiful song and video.

And with October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month – made this song more forceful and compelling. Take a listen – spread awareness. Take a Stand Against Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence Needs To Stop!

#TakeAStandAgainstDomesticViolence
#TakeAStand
#StopDomesticAbuse


The pitter patter of my tears ….

I sit here and just about everything makes me want to cry today – yet again. I so desperately need to feel connected…to something, someone, some cause, some reason …

I don’t need pity as much as I need understanding and acceptance.

I have been estranged from my immediate family for a while. I have no real idea what is going on in my sister’s lives nor they in mine. The real difference is that I ask our Mom to call them check in, I stalk them on social media. I pray for them daily. I know they don’t do the same for me. I am painfully, slowly accepting that.

I don’t have much in my life – no material wealth, no exciting career, no handsome, devoted partner, no close knit family, not even my health – but I have my forgiving, open heart and the unconditional love from my dog and some wonderfully compassionate friends – and most days I know I am blessed. And I embrace it.

Today is just not one of those days. Fever aches keeping me in bed with too much time and too many thoughts.

I want to text, write, even call some people but I can’t. I can’t keep chasing people who obviously don’t want me in their lives, nor should I be the one always making an effort. I get it. I do.

I usually feel this complete emptiness on certain days – like Mother’s day. But I am definitely feeling it today.

I think it has to be because I saw my sisters yesterday at my niece’s wedding and they were surrounded by their own children and it was hard for me to be excluded … always looking in from the outside. I am sure not one of them ever thought of my life and how alone I must feel most times. I was never blessed with children. My first bout with cancer took that away from me at an early age. And most times, I have accepted my life and do not dwell on my unfilled maternal wish. I volunteer with children, I used to try to spend time with my nieces and nephew growing up doing all sorts of fun, silly things. I always made myself available for babysitting, picking them up from school, helping with homework, etc. But the fractured relationships with my sisters has made that so much harder than it needed it to be.

I always supported my sisters’ aspirations toward a family, even though I thought they should value their education, self worth even more than it appeared they did. I know they feel that children are everything. Our mother, even grandmother, instilled this in us at a very young age. I think that if they weren’t a mother, they would feel that they had nothing. It’s overwhelmingly sad to me that they think this of me, they think less of me because of this – whether they are conscious of it or not. Through the years, I have heard some difficult comments from my mom and sisters – “real women have children”, “you don’t understand, you don’t have children”, “I can’t because I am too busy with my children” … the insinuation always there on the surface – their time was more valuable than mine = their lives more important than mine. At least this is how I felt. I strongly believe, there is this pervasive attitude, one that I think is usually not openly expressed, or if it is, hastily: If you are not a mother, you have nothing.

Well, I may have nothing, but I have all I need. And I know I am blessed – just differently. I see this clearly now even through my tears. Sure yesterday was harder than I thought, and harder than it needed to be – but I couldn’t change it, I did the best I could. I wish my estranged family did all they could.

Please know that I, in no way, shape or sentiment, hate my sisters for having children and would never wish this hurt I feel on my worst enemy. But there’s no use in denying it … being childless always gives me a small tinge of jealousy, still, of women with children, including my family and friends. Yesterday brought that all to surface for me again – I saw the connection, the love, and the amazing bond that my sisters have with their children – even after all the bad parenting, the disappointments, the compromises. I am in awe at the sheer level of forgiveness and acceptance they have for one another and yet I sadly sit here wondering why that doesn’t carry over to me. I see the joy that children bring to their lives each and every day, despite the disappointments and hardships; and how I wish I had a fraction of that for myself. I would have given up everything for it, spent my last dime to get it, and die to know what it’s like. Yet, I am not mad that they are happy, I just want some of that happiness too. I just wish my sisters knew how deep my hurt is and how big the hole in my heart remains. But I digress because I know how I can’t change people, and I can’t make them like me nor really truly ‘see’ me.

Most days, I hide and cope with my emotional and physical pain – but I am constantly hurting. I’m sure that sounds like an overstatement to someone who hasn’t been in my shoes. So many things the average person would never think about add to my hurt every day. Something as simple as a commercial about diapers with a baby crawling across the floor, seeing a pregnant woman, just walking by the baby clothes in Target are all daily reminders of what I am missing. I used to try to attend my nieces’ dance recitals, as they got older school performances. It was always hard for me to get there since I never got a license, but I tried so hard not to miss many. I would try to catch my nephew’s baseball games, my grand niece’s soccer games – but when my sisters don’t invite me, I always felt like I was intruding if I just showed up. It has been hard. It feels like a huge knife is stuck in my heart and every time I am reminded of that emptiness – the knife gets pushed deeper and deeper. The pain never fully goes away.

The estrangement continues now especially since I have decided I can no longer try to forge a relationship with them since its not reciprocated. So I write, I vent, I cry. I need to put my feelings down and out of my head…and move forward …with grace in my step and hope in my heart.


Giving myself permission …

I feel like an orphan but it beats being the black sheep, the victim, the scapegoat, the whipping boy – well girl. Giving myself permission to walk away, stay away, limit my interaction with my dysfunctional family.

Today was my niece’s wedding and she looked beautiful. I used to think it was a shame that I didn’t really have a real, warm nor loving relationship with her. But she is 30 years old. Not a child. And she has made no real attempt at being connected with me. I have three older sisters who have always made me feel excluded, different, unloved. And sadly that just spilled into their children.

I debated for months to attend the wedding or not. But I chose to attend. But after learning where my assigned seat was, and being there for an hour and no one really spoke to me, cared if I was there or not – I left. I have also decided I am done. I no longer feel the need to attend any more family gatherings out of obligation, guilt, etc. I am done being ostracized, ignored, blamed for their own lack of awareness and insecurities.

For the past 40 years, it has been extremely painful for me trying so hard to fit into this dysfunctional family I was born into. I have always been the sickly, nerdy, introverted one. I feel like I have spent a lifetime trying to win their love and approval, but my efforts have consistently been met with indifference, coldness and even disapproval. I have spent years sacrificing my physical, mental and emotional health in toxic relationships under the notion that we have to because these people were my family – but no more. Yes, it’s time to terminate these relationships when the only contact I have with them is really just negative, strained. This contact only serves to bring me down, makes me feel I am not good enough, or I haven’t done enough for them. No more.

I am learning to accept that when my family members exclude me, it has very little to do with me personally. It’s all about them, who they are, their past experiences, their unmet needs, their inability to communicate in healthy ways, their fears, etc.

Rationally, logically – I get it. But I am so sad, hurt, lost, alone … yet I know I have to just find a way to calmly let it roll off my back. It hurts a lot to disengage fully but I know I need to. I have tried repeatedly in the past, but I am done. I need to be done. I deserve to be happy. My pain and wounds run deep. But my wanting, trying and failing at having a real relationship with my family leaves me feeling more alone. And then if I tried anymore, it would just bring out the worst in me, regardless of how evolved and self-aware I know I am. And the stress wreaks havoc on my health – which right now is too precarious to further compromise.

As I got older, I couldn’t understand why there was such a disconnect between us and why our relationships were so superficial. They have rarely shown me any willingness or ability to improve the relationship and all my past efforts to improve it, left me feeling worse. I used to sit, think, make myself sicker with anxiety and question all. Was it low emotional intelligence, poor self-esteem, bad upbringing, jealousy, or narcissistic personality … I am beginning to accept I will never fully know. I am so tired of my confusion, my grief and angst. Tired of my expectations not being met.

My heart is forever broken – I wholeheartedly thought my family was supposed to love me unconditionally and support, encourage me in good times and bad. But throughout most of my lows and highs in my life, they have not been there, they have shown very little interest in me, and sadly I don’t think they even know who I am. I know they don’t know who I am – impatient, sensitive, thoughtful, wistful, quirky, quick-tempered, brutally honest, super smart, socially awkward, brave, scared, lonely, tired, dying slow death…I know they don’t know how I feel too much, think too much and wish too much to be normal, physically healthy, and just fit in.

It’s my time again to be selfish, keep to myself. I will forever love them, but from a distance. I can no longer put myself in situations where I feel more estranged, alone. I don’t deserve it. I will continue to keep my heart open, with understanding even compassion but for myself as well. We will all have to learn how to cope with our own bitterness and regret, and continue to find the emotional strength and motivation to create positive change in our lives.

Today was hard. But it will prove to be beneficial to me in the long run, since it makes me aware of my deepest fears, wounds, and longings. I have the courage to look in the mirror and use what I see to work on my own growth … with grace in my step and hope in my heart.


How Could This Happen to Me

I get lost in words. I live for words. My mind is one jumbled mess of words – some that fight to get out, others hiding in its own secret place, tucked away for the right person to come along to hear them. I sit here with so many drugs cursing my veins, as much as I want to cry the next few hours away, I laugh thanks to my wonderful friends who come to me in the form of real-life angels. They send me funny texts, uplifting – even reminding me how beautiful I truly am. I wanted to write, write and some more – take some of the words in my head and put them to concrete thoughts but just can’t get passed mere rambled thoughts. So I listen to music. I tune out the world. Trying to be oblivious to all. Sometimes I succeed. Music can be so very therapeutic. Here is a great song that captures my feelings right now….

“How Could This Happen To Me”

I open my eyes
I try to see but I’m blinded by the white light
I can’t remember how
I can’t remember why
I’m lying here tonight

And I can’t stand the pain
And I can’t make it go away
No I can’t stand the pain

How could this happen to me
I made my mistakes
I’ve got no where to run
The night goes on
As I’m fading away
I’m sick of this life
I just wanna scream
How could this happen to me

Everybody’s screaming
I try to make a sound but no one hears me
I’m slipping off the edge
I’m hanging by a thread
I wanna start this over again

So I try to hold onto a time when nothing mattered
And I can’t explain what happened
And I can’t erase the things that I’ve done
No I can’t

How could this happen to me
I made my mistakes
I’ve got no where to run
The night goes on
As I’m fading away
I’m sick of this life
I just wanna scream
How could this happen to me

I made my mistakes
I’ve got no where to run
The night goes on
As I’m fading away
I’m sick of this life
I just wanna scream
How could this happen to me …


Mental Health

Today is National Depression Screening Day, ‪Bipolar Awareness Day, and ‪‎World Mental Health Day. I have lived all my life with family members who are manic, depressed, alcoholic dependent, and have extreme personality mood swings, and are most times than not in complete denial. I myself suffer from depression and all too aware. I know sometimes when I look back, I am completely lost. We all need to work together to work on increasing our awareness, acceptance and be more patient. Help eliminate the stigma.

This quote by Spike Milligan resonates with me: ‘It’s a gift and a curse. You get the pain much worse than anybody else, but you see a sunrise much more beautiful than anybody else!’

This is how I feel so many times…You start to wonder if maybe something has come over her and she’s finally coming around. Maybe this is the start of something better, more peace, less tension. You even get a little upset wondering, “Well why can’t she just be like this?” And that’s the part that keeps you sucked in, thinking she can someday rehabilitate her attitude and behaviors toward you after all this time. My expectations were always off track. I felt that I just held onto just hope. But I learned that sometimes it’s that very hope – false hope – that keeps us inappropriately connected. You want what you can’t have – a mom who’s proud of you, a grandma who doesn’t pit people against each other, a sister you can trust. When you can accept the face value of your painful situation instead of the fantasy, it gets easier to live with.

Now that doesn’t mean you alienate yourself from the very people you love but drag you so deep down. Sometimes we just have to be inwardly and outwardly strong, brave, patient. Breathe. Count to ten. Limit the contact. Call once in a while, be around for two hours at Christmas, or have dinner once a month. You may need to set some strong boundaries when they start to treat you poorly. That might mean getting up and leaving their house, hanging up the phone, carefully choose what gatherings you attend, etc. And truthfully, it means setting your expectations pretty low. Casual activity that doesn’t get emotional is ideal, unless they are so destructive you should cut them off completely. Lucky for me I have not had to cut any family member out completely.

Sometimes you can stay around and take it, hoping they would get into a better mood; other times you just have to leave and wait. Pray. Hope. There is always hope. If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it….truer words have not been shared.

“Every day may not be good…but there’s something good in every day”
-Alice Morse Earle

I choose to live my life with awareness, hope, faith, patience, and grace in my step.


Lesson for today…

Such a great quote from Sons of Anarchy:

Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller: Maybe that’s the lesson for me today, to hold onto these simple moments – appreciate them a little more, there’s not many of them left. I don’t ever want that for you, finding things that make you happy shouldn’t be so hard. I know you’ll face pain, suffering, hard choices but you can’t let the weight of it choke the joy out of your life. No matter what, you have to find the things that love you. Run to them. There’s an old saying – that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I don’t believe that. I think the things that try to kill you make you angry and sad. Strength comes from the good things, your family, your friends, the satisfaction of hard work. Those are the things that will keep you whole, those are the things to hold onto when you’re broken.

I agree…. ♥


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