Simply

Just another manic Monday


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When I start to pace…

***I wrote this on December 11th, 2016. I’m going to post it as is, I won’t add to it.***

I keep pacing the floors of our house, repeating the same thing over and over and over again. I’m anxious, unfocused and can’t sit still. I’ve looked in our fridge over 10 times in the last 20 minutes. The contents don’t change, they stay the same. But my mind tells me that I haven’t done that yet and so I remember I’ve looked in the fridge as I’m standing looking into the fridge. 

Most times when I get like that I force myself to sit down and do mindless tasks. But even that seems like too much. I’ve closed and reopened the same app at least 20 times in the last 10 minutes. And now here I am going through my blog, reading old posts and remembering what was happening to me at this time last year or even the year before. 

I think I’ve done the November blog post a day the last couple of years. I signed up for it this year and because of where I was mentally and physically I just opted not to write on the blog. I spent countless hours writing but saving it on my phone, uploading it or writing it with pen and paper. It’s always interesting when I’m done writing to see how many pages of paper I’ve filled.


The last one I did was 19 pages front and back. It was me writing out how the last session with my counselor would go, what my responses would be and what I wanted to talk about. I can laugh about that now… it never goes as planned, as the way I have it written down and hoped it would go. 

When I got to my session, I looked at her and literally pulled out my stack of 19 pages and said this is the conversation I had with you last night. It went great and I think we figured out a lot… but things never go as planned do they?! And then we chuckled, me more because I was irritated that I was about to cry and I felt so incredibly bare. I.Love.Control. Anyway I can have it I take it. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart, of my past and the such. I need to be able to control that part of me. And she (meaning me) just doesn’t like to listen to reason. So I end up feeling small and alone and vulnerable. I don’t like that. 

Anyway…
Namaste my friends,

I


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It is not…

Whatever it was… it is not. 


I’m hovering between panic attacks currently. I’m mostly okay with that, but mostly just not. Only in the last 10 years or so have I been having them, for a while they stayed dormant. I liked that stage. The quiet of not having to pay close attention to or watch my every word. 

They’ve been intermittent for the past two years, me mainly ignoring them and the issues that come along with them. I’ve been somewhat forced to start dealing with them since December, mostly because they started a pattern. I don’t like patterns when it comes to those types of things. 


In January I made a conscious outloud decision to deal with the panic attacks and the real reason behind them. It wasn’t a light decision. I started out with just saying I was going to seek out and find an affordable counselor. That was handled by me finding SafePlace. I’m glad I started there, though the journey since has been incredibly intense and annoying and interesting. I am happy that was my first step. 

My next verbal step was 30 days of yoga and meditation. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but let me tell you… those 30 days were long, intense, educational, life altering, interesting most days just downright comical. I only say that because how else does one laugh off their own fears and insecurities?!


I believe by day 10, I was FOR ABSOLUTELY SURE that I had lost all of the marbles I had in my head. Some days I still wonder if I got any of them back. I can’t explain to you what sitting still is like. But give it a try. Sit with yourself, no distractions, no music, no phones, nothing. Just sit for 5 minutes everyday for one week all by yourself, with nobody but you and your thoughts. If you keep an open mind you can learn so much about yourself. Yoga is similar in that way as well. I’ve been told the poses that are the hardest for you tell a lot about you and how you deal with things when life gets hard. I can atest to that 100%. There are some poses I refuse to do, just because I know what my reaction will be and I am not ready to deal with it or myself. Yoga is an extension of meditation. Another way to quiet the mind if done fully and correctly. Let’s just say I’ve had several panic attacks and crying on my mat… in a studio setting… not my cup of tea, but I was caught off guard and so there I sat paralyzed to my spot fighting through the emotions that came up. When I’m off, I try not to go to a studio. I don’t like dealing with my intense emotions out in public. You know being all vulnerable and shit…

Here’s my biggest fears when it comes to the panic attacks I have… my biggest fears are not being able to function as an adult, as a parent, as a spouse, as anything that has to deal with the many hats I wear. I fear not being able to drive myself where I need to go, I fear not being able to control the attacks, I fear being placed on a meditation to help. I fear having panic attacks on a consistent basis like I’ve been having over the last week. My biggest fear with that also, that I am not given a warning sign anymore when they will start. They just start. I have come to realize that is not okay.

I had several panic attacks in session today, thought I was good to go by the end of session. Got in my car to drive home, ended up having to sit in my car for almost two hours until I was okay enough to get home. That alone freaked me out and I panicked even more. Let me tell you, being gripped by fear sucks ass. 


Having my life controlled (sometimes) by fear is not okay to be. It leaves me frustrated and angry. And with the overall feeling of this isn’t FAIR! Why, why, why, why…?! You know all of the WHY questions victims and survivors have. I won’t name them. 

I was asked what would it be like to really sit with that frustration and express it in any form that my body needed to. 

I.Refused.

I suppressed it, it felt horrible pushing it back down, stuffing it in a box on a high shelf. I didn’t close the door on it, I wanted to so bad. But I couldn’t. But I did refuse to express it. I let a handful of tears fall down my face, I took some deliberate deep breaths and I gathered myself all the way together. That my friends is not how to handle the situation. Don’t do what I did. Maybe next time I will scream, kick, thrash about and cry. Or maybe just maybe, I might hold my composure, let a few tears fall and suck it up. Because friends, that’s been my life. No time, space or energy to be sad and angry and upset. I always had to find a way to make it work, otherwise my struggle thus far was for not.

I’m hoping I will one day be able to feel safe enough to just express what I’m feeling. For now, I will sit with my panic attacks, sip my mason jar full of wine (because, you know a way to numb the pain away) and take pretty pictures.


That I am good at… 

whatever it is… it is not.


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The shoulder to cry on…

So, I have this friend who is in the last leg of getting a divorce. She has a ton of stuff going on on top of that and so we’ve been talking a lot lately. I guess I’m her ear, it can get heavy.

She was in an abusive relationship. She finally got out. And at some point our conversation last night ventured to her stating she felt she made a big mistake, she misses her best friend, life was great with him and that it couldn’t be any worse then what it was currently. I think I might have made a sound that was the combination of a choke and a chortle. I said did you just say what I think you just said? I instantly went into a spiel of what she possibly forgot when she was missing this dude. You know, mainly the ass whooping a he would hand out on a regular. Or the multiple times he had forced himself on her. Or the time CPS became involved in their lives. I said it rather harshly and with much judgement. Because I felt it was my duty to make her see the err in her thinking. Dammit! I had been talking her out of this relationship for over 4 years & she was finally out. But wanting to go back. I was HOT! 

Let me explain to you why I was so pissed… I had been in a relationship that was abusive before. I knew where she was coming from and I said the things I wished I had someone to say to me back then. But I wouldn’t have heard them back then. I thought I deserved what I got and so I dealt. Even as I flashback to those moments in time. I can feel what I felt and how I thought he loved me. Isn’t that how someone shows you they love you? For me growing up love looked like abuse and taking advantage. Love looked like him choking me and telling me I was a bad girl for what I had done earlier. Love looked like me begging for relief so that I could just breathe. Love looked like me being scared to go home but having nowhere else to go. Love smelled like desperation and sweat. Love felt like tears streaming down my face and constant pain. Love tasted like the blood I would swallow after biting my tongue or getting hit. Love was not kind, it was rough and hard. It didn’t care what I said or how hard I tried. It would look at me and laugh. It would tell me over and over that I was ugly & that no one would ever want me…

  

Love… But I couldn’t live my life at that time without it. It was what I knew to be true and consistent. Love never lied, I always knew how love felt, what love thought and how I turned love on. I knew without a doubt love would feed me, clothe me, and fuck me. These three things I knew for sure. The one time I got away from love, I ran back to him. Because I thought love was the only way to make it in this world. And that night I cried and screamed and begged love to leave me alone. He simply looked at me and told me I was his and he didn’t have to stop. And then he fucked me, beat me and went to bed for a good nights rest. I did all I could not to kill love. He deserved it and more. But I would be no match to him if he woke up. So I stayed in the bathroom, huddled in the shower and at first light I left love for good. I left Minnesota and returned to Wisconsin.  

My ego was crushed, my spirit torn but I was happy. I had survived. And as I thought about all of that while I talked to my friend. I realized I needed to be gentle with her. I needed to let her talk and listen to her. I needed to be still so that I may hear the message that I needed to hear. I also realized I needed to be kind and gentle with myself. I wasn’t mad at her, I was mad at myself. I was upset for allowing a man to another person treat me like garbage and being ok with it. 

I am not in that time or in that place. But I needed to go back there to know how to be here for my friend now. I hope she can hear what I’m saying or not saying. I want her to be able to talk without judgement. Because I was never allowed to talk with anyone. I didn’t have a friend to call and cry my eyes out to. I was my own shoulder. And sometimes I still feel like that. I am learning how to be ok with being strong for myself. Because if not me, then who? What I’m saying is more then just the basics. It’s the knowing. And what I know for sure is… I am always here. The voices in my head, they are always here. But people, people can be flaky. Myself included. And so I don’t hold my breath, I learn to breathe even when it feels as if my whole world is caving in.

And so tonight, be gentle, be kind, call that person whose been on your mind and let them know you are thinking of them. You never know, it could save someone’s life. 

And most of all, if you are reading this… I care deeply for you and wish you love and light!

Namaste


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About last night…

I feel like I should be telling you about all of the bottle we popped last night, instead of my first experience in a SA group therapy session. Yesterday right before I left to attend the session I had a small meltdown. It really isn’t funny, but it is freaking hilarious. I mean it was small and quick and once I moved past it, it was fine. So as I was getting Mouse, daddy and Marie ready for volleyball practice I needed to change into some less restrictive clothing. And as I looked in the mirror and fixed my hair, I literally said… “I can’t wear this to a SA group! What the heck am I thinking? Oh, my gosh this is so stupid. Why am I freaking out over wanting to be comfortable? I can’t handle this right now, I’m leaving!” And that was that. So yeah, I’m laughing at that small meltdown.

I wished Mouse goodluck and told her to talk daddy into coaching the team, he had already told me he was just a transporter. I figured once he got to the gym he would change his mind. I hopped in my car and sped off down the road to the highway. I needed to talk to someone and so I called my sister. I call her that, but she is really a person I’ve known for over 16 years. We met when we started dancing in a group together. We clicked instantly and she went from being my best fren to my sister. She is family, I’m not sure I have friends and that is where I was at when I said a few days ago that I didn’t know how to be a friend. Because we are either acquaintances or we’re family, I don’t have an in-between and I’m learning to work on the in-between. I need in-between, not everyone is meant to be in your family and that’s fine. It takes a village to raise a child and I like a solid village.

Anyways, she is currently having some personal issues so we talked about that and how she was feeling about it. I chuckle because I said something to her and her response was, “Did you and Re-Re talk today? Because both of y’all said the EXACT same thing word for word.” I told her no, it just meant that was the message you needed to hear and I’m just repeating it. We talked some more, I mean, I had at least a 45 minute drive, so I had enough time to chat. We started talking about how I liked Texas and when I would be back home. Being honest I told her, I love where we live. I wouldn’t change it for the world, this is what we needed. But I miss having my best friend down the street and my support system 10 minutes away, its hard and somedays I am ok with it and other days I hate it. She is so funny because she asked me have I found a best friend to replace her and I responded with a, “Now BITCH! You know your ass can never be replaced.” and we chuckled. We then got into conversation about what the group session would look like and I told her I was actually really nervous and I wished that she was here with me so that we could go together. I could have truly taken her and the both of us would have been able to start the healing process. What connected us was our past, we had both been sexually, mentally and physically abused. Our conversation energized me and I felt more then prepared to go into this group sure of myself and my intentions.

We hung up on a laugh and I took a deep breath. Told myself that my main goal was to breath. Everything else would come. I walked into the building and waited for the group to start. As I sat there in those chairs waiting for 6:30pm to arrive, I talked to myself, I tried reading a book and when that didn’t happen I resorted to play a couple games of candy crush. LOL! Hey, in a pinch it is the best attention grabber. 6:29pm rolled around and my head started hurting, I took a deep breath, a long drink of water and told myself to figure it out. 6:33pm rolled around the lady who ran the group came out and grabbed everyone. One by one myself and 3 other ladies stood up and walked over towards her. She stopped and introduced herself to me, I was the new one in the group. I found out later a couple of the ladies had been attending the sessions for a while. We filed in the back, one behind the other like we were in a line going to the principals office. Or maybe that was just my perception… By this time my chest is tight and my heart feels like it’s about to fall out of my chest.

We walk into the room, find a comfortable chair and settle ourselves. Rules are given because I’m new to the group. Just as we are about to say who we were and how we were another lady walks into the room. It’s my turn and I say, “Hi, I’m Iiona. This is my first session and I’m unsure. This is different and I’m just… you know, nervous…” Every head nodded in agreement and I was told I took the first step and that’s the most important. I think I visibly relaxed after that. Well at least for another 10 minutes and then everything else kind of gets blurry. I just know I spent a good portion of time breathing, focusing on deliberate deep breaths that slowed my breathing down. Because I felt myself hyperventilating on a few occasions.

 

What I can say is that at one point I felt like I was being stripped down bare naked and forced to deal with the consequences of not having clothes. I remember the clock was exceptionally loud, each tick was like a small bomb going off. I remember holding back tears, I remember feeling as if I was being confined in a small room that was sound proof so my ears popped and everything was muffled. I think at one point I even thought about leaving, but I stayed. I argued with myself a lot, telling myself that I was here in 2016. Sitting in a room with 5 other women and that the flashes I happened to be seeing wasn’t happening at that moment. At one point the lady running the meeting seen that I was about to say something and stopped myself. And she said, “Iiona, did you have something you wanted to add to that?” I’m sure I looked like a deer caught in the headlights of a car and I said, “Shit you caught that huh? Yes….” After that I focused on keeping the parts of my body that kept tensing up to relax. I guess yoga is coming in handy to help with things like this. Anyways, the session was ended with a great tradition and we left. I still felt like my ears were clouded and things were slightly blurry. But because I still had a 45 minutes drive back home I focused on staying present to the moment. I’m not sure how I managed it, but I did. I just know when I finally made it home I was so relieved. I was beyond exhausted and I kept getting flashes of things that I had forgotten about and I was just overwhelmed.

I came in, ate something quick and told everyone goodnight. My head was pounding, my vision was blurry and I was just exhausted. I had forgotten I had told my sister that I would call her after the meeting so that she knew I was ok and made it home. As I crawled into bed, my phone rang and I swore. I was like REALLY! I can’t, but I picked it up and she said I just wanted to make sure you made it home and that you’re good. I told her Thanks, I’m tired and I have a headache but yes I am good and I would call her tomorrow. I laid in bed and begged for my dreams to be free of any more flashbacks and woke up this morning around 4am in tears.


My heart hurt and I couldn’t stop crying. At some point I remember saying I don’t understand why I have to keep reliving this stupid shit. I can’t handle this today, I just want to be free of it all. I finally got up and hopped in the shower. Considered staying up but really needed more sleep, so I slept off and on until 6:30am. My intention for the day was to stay in my pjs and sleep. But I really wanted to go to yoga as well, so I quickly got dressed, grabbed my mat and ran out the door for the 8:30am class. Let me tell you, I was exactly where I was supposed to be this morning. If I ever doubted myself, today, today was the day that I couldn’t quietly tip toe past it. Every thought and feeling that I felt was exhaled as I pushed my body into positions that I’ve never attempted before. Holding them longer then I should have been able to, letting go of the tension and the anger and just realizing that I can do anything I put my mind to. I swear the yoga teacher was there speaking directly to me and I couldn’t move. By the end of the hour I am positive I had cried through several positions. I am sure glad most people practice with eyes closed and the only one who could see the tears streaming down my face was the instructor.

The flashes haven’t stopped, some extremely intense. But today I am breathing through it all. Tomorrow could look different, hell even tonight. I just know right now in this moment, I am ok.

 

“You are the designer of your destiny. You are the author, you write the story, the pen is in your hand, and the outcome is whatever you choose.”- Abraham Hicks


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When life gets real, Quick!

So yesterday we had a situation come up at my sons school. It was a pretty serious situation, one that could have ended a completely different way. And this is where I am extremely happy we are active and involved parents. 

  
I won’t go in to detail to protect everyone involved, but let’s just say it gave Ike and myself extreme pause. It was one of those moments where being black kind of slapped you in the face, like don’t ever think you can just survive on your brain alone. 

We’ve had a muted talk with D-boy before about race and where he stands. Never going more indepth because it wasn’t necessary at that time. The hardest part about talking with him is he is a literal person, it is either or there isn’t a such thing as a gray area. My child is crazy smart… Book smart that is. The rest we have to teach and it’s hard. For him, he needs to see it in writing. It can’t be something you learned from the streets because he didn’t catch it. 

Last night as we sat and gave him the unedited version of what it means to be a black boy in America, it hurt my soul to the core. We officially took away the last of his innocence… I know it might seem crazy to some. But because I lost my childhood at such a young age, I promised myself my children would stay as young and innocent as possible. Letting them enjoy their childhood for as long as possible. Though it hurts, I’m glad we had until he was almost 15 years old.  

  I’m not saying his childhood is gone, I’m just saying we’ve crossed that line where we are 100% responsible to now having him learn to differentiate between good and bad. We’ve had a strong hand in who his friends are and who he associates with. Making sure that any bad influence disappeared. He is at a point in his life where we won’t know most of the people he hangs out with at school, because it’s only at school. We won’t know who he talks to outside of this house because he’s a teen and sometimes they just don’t talk. We are guiding him, telling him to learn and pause for a second and make a better decision. Because as you get older the decisions will get harder and their will be peer pressure as well as potentially more harsh consequences. 

We know he leads with his heart, which in most cases, is perfectly fine. But in those other cases, that’s where that extra second of a pause could be the difference between coming home or not. I’m very happy his end result today was nothing but him being given a life lesson. And the understanding that next time it might not be daddy’s friend calling and giving us the information, even though it was in an official capacity. 

Last night we all learned a valuable lesson. I’m so thankful it was at this time & with no other consequences involved. I was pretty upset by the events that took place, but lawd! It is sooo much easier then the talk I will have to have with my girls before high school. For now, I will leave that conversation where it lay. In the future. 

Love, peace and hair grease…