40 Day Journey-Days 4-10

If you read my last post, I explained that I am on a 40 day journey to:

  1. forgive some people that have inflicted deep pain
  2. trust in God’s goodness and his desire to provide my every need
  3. to cease from using my protective strategies


Days 1 – 3 were not easy & I was left feeling like I was never going to pull off an entire 40 days. Since I’m doing the opposite of myself, rather than hide these feelings, I’m sharing all of my crazy with you. Instead of isolating myself & hiding away or behaving as if nothing is going on, you lucky readers get to read all of the feelings & experiences that I would much rather keep to myself.

The process Josie has set before me for this journey is:

  • R- Relaxing my hold. Releasing the tight grip I have on my pain, my finances, my job, my life & the hardest one- those self protective strategies.
  • E- Escaping my limiting mindset. You know, putting God in a box.
  • S- Start to depend on God. If I believe He is who he says he is, won’t he do for me all that he says he will do?
  • T- Triumph! Be successful in forgiving, trusting God & not depending on self preservation during these 40 days & at the end of that I will be able to rest! Whatever that looks like.

Now that I have given you the concept of the process let’s take a little closer look.

Let’s start with unforgiveness. Apparently I have been harboring some unforgiveness towards key people in my past. People that based on the roles in my life, there were expectations & boundaries that I needed them to maintain in order for me to grow up with a healthy foundation. Due to choices they made, the child in me has some cracks in her foundation. Yes, they created those seriously deep wounds. Yes, I’m better without them in my life today. But are they really out of my life with the unforgiveness still holding a spot in my heart? These issues are like an actual physical wound. If not treated properly, the unforgiveness forces the wounds to remain open, festering, becoming infected, filling my bloodstream with the negative results of unforgiveness. These people are still causing me to feel broken by choices they inflicted on me as a child. I don’t know about you but something about this makes me dig in my heels & think “oh heck no! You no longer get this kind of power in my life!” Funny thing about forgiveness. It’s just like most of our emotions, a choice. I have to wake up each & every day & make a decision to forgive them for these transgressions. Until the day it finally sticks.


Self Protective Strategies. I’m kind of a rockstar in this area. I use my self protective strategies at work, at home, at church, at the grocery, literally everywhere I go. Being vulnerable & exposed is not something I’m comfortable with. So this is also a literal choice that I have to make every second of every day. When someone asks me how I feel, rather than say fine, I need to be able to tell the truth. So for the last week, I have said “fine” followed by “no, wait…” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to catch myself & backpedal from my standard safe response to give the truth. It has been mostly on small things that are inconsequential yet for me exposes potential for a hurt. I do feel like I have made some major progress in this area. I am very quick to recognize when I’m trying to hide, I have put myself first in a few instances. I even requested a meeting with the department director at work because I was struggling with some issues & I needed her help to create a better process.


Trusting God. This is still a daily fight. Though, I am seeing Him as I work through this obedience. I find myself enjoying my worship a little more, praying without even realizing I’m doing it, being amazed even more than I was before in his glorious artwork in nature. (I’m a sucker for a good sky!) I am still lacking trust in others, but I think I need to trust God more so HE can show me what that should genuinely look like. Oh! And in order to not put God in a box, I’m praying big giant prayers that seem crazy, ridiculous & impossible. I want to see what awesome blessings he has set aside for me & the people I’m in prayer for. I’m praying for my future, for his will to be my will, for that path to be clear.

Ok friends, I love love love you! Till next time, work on releasing your own uglies. Xo

“Happy” Mother’s Day :\

Mother’s Day

The day when we celebrate the mothers in our lives.

I loathe it. It is a day filled with hearts & flowers & pictures of mothers & mushy cards & dinners & …

If you have read previous posts, you may know that my birth mother has Borderline Personality which basically means she is emotionally abusive & manipulative. I haven’t had any interaction with her in 4 1/2 years. I feel “better” now that I have zero relationship with her. It took me 40 years to realize that she was never going to be the mother I hoped she would be, that she would continue to abuse me as long as I continued to communicate or see her. I was never going to be the daughter she could accept or love in a way that didn’t leave me feeling broken & wounded. So when she sent my sisters & I a text stating she was no longer going to be a part of our lives, I considered it my open door & I have never spoken to her again. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate my mother when I was a child. I just never knew why it felt like she hated me. As an adult, in therapy, I see that it is her brokenness that caused her to break us, but I’m no longer willing to accept that in my life. I’ve spent way too much time & money trying to fix what she has done to let her keep undoing me.


As far as being a mother, well, that aspect of my life also kicks me right in the gut. I suffered through 7 years of infertility treatments, never to conceive. We went through the adoption process, only to have our child threaten to kill us. We ended up divorced & each holding restraining orders against our son.

They don’t make cards for people with the relationship I have with my birth mother. Or for people with the relationship I have with my son. What would those say?

FOR Mom:

  • “Dear Mom, of all the things you have passed on to me, I wish you had kept your crazy.”
  • “Happy Mothers Day to the reason I have trust issues”
  • “Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks for the Egg Donation”

FROM my son:

  • “Happy Mother’s Day. Maybe I’ll get ya’ next year.”
  • “Happy Mothers Day. Roses are red, Violets are blue. I have Fetal Alcohol so I have no attachment to you.”

I think you get the point.


So yeah, Mother’s Day is not my favorite holiday. Truthfully, most holidays are filled with bursts of pain from losing people in one way or another, even when it’s a bit of a choice or out of safety concerns. But I also have so many people filling my life that most holidays are tolerable, even enjoyable while the memories & pain lie just below the surface.

However, Mothers Day is always hard. It’s a harsh reminder that the woman who created me never wanted me to begin with & she could never muster up enough maternal affection to raise me without damaging me AND that I will never again be a mother to my one & only son because despite the years of fighting to get him, he chose a life that endangered me.


But, I’m a joyful girl so I don’t like to end on a sour face. We can’t stop here.

I have many, many mothers in my life that are amazing & beautiful women that love me despite my crazy. I am so blessed with the nurturing each of them gives me when I need it. Because of them, I have learned what real mothering actually looks like.

The most consistent & remarkable woman that loves me is my wonderful step mom. She married my bio dad when I was 16 & I love her with every fiber within me. I don’t call her by her name, I don’t call her “step.” I call her Mom. She has been my mom for many years. She didn’t have to play that role for me, my siblings were much younger than I was so her hands were full. But she did. She never treated me unkind. She always remembered (remembers) my birthday & things that I am especially fond of for gifts. Invites me to places she thinks I’ll enjoy. She was a spiritual beacon, guiding me with my own journey to Jesus. She is willing & able to discuss any topic with us, no matter how awkward. She is the mother I longed for while I was growing up. I will forever be grateful that she never shied away from being in my life, rather that she embraced me & loved me as her own. It is in large part due to her acceptance of me, that I learned how to be accepting & loving towards others.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Don’t forget to love the uglies, even the difficult ones. Hug a non mom. You don’t know why they are where they are but don’t assume they are “fine” with it.
Happy Mother’s Day to the rest of you: moms, non moms, wanna be moms, act like a moms, momma bears & momma birds. Keep up the great work!

My Earliest of Years

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Remember when I mentioned previously that I had been through plenty of complications in this life that I qualified as a blog writing survivor? Well, OK, not in those exact words but close enough.

I was thinking maybe it’s time to discuss some of those things.

Let’s start with something deep & complex with lots of crazy woven into the history of my life. MY PARENTS.

My biological parents were Seniors in high school when they began what we will call “dating” since I don’t know the exact details about their relationship.

My mother, Rita, was a transplant into this school her Junior year, I believe. My mom led me to believe that she was a bit wild, enjoyed herself at every opportunity. Since my grandparents were allegedly quite strict, I’m sure this resulted in many lies & much sneaking around.

My father, Randy, was also wild, though I doubt anyone would argue that point so we can just say it outright. He did drugs. Now, this was the early 70’s so things were much more laid back for some people during this time. But not my dad. His father, my grandfather, was also very strict. Not known, even today, for being affectionate, patient, compassionate, caring or loving towards anyone. I think he does love, but he is not going to tell us.

So my parents began “dating” sometime early in their Senior year. This is where it all gets fuzzy. Not because I’m on drugs but because neither really likes to discuss it, & both sides skip parts or tell different versions.

All I really know is, I was conceived.

In a Sunday School room.

On Christmas Eve.

I was born exactly 9 months to the day later. My dad says my mom was seeing several other guys around the same time. There wasn’t DNA testing back then, so the lab tests run to prove paternity were only blood types. So even at 43, he isn’t completely sure I belong to him. (Yes, I heard this in the not so distant past & hundreds of times over the years.) My mom does not completely differ here except the time line is less blurry & she seems to have no question about who she was “seeing” around my conception.

Now here you have 2 wild high school Seniors, pregnant, in the early 70’s, both having “experimented” with drugs at least prior to, possibly during, & probably after my life began. My father claims my mothers parents hated him. (HELLO!! Dad, did you miss the beginning of this story?!? Can you blame them?) But let’s remember that it takes two to tango.

Sometime while the parents of these two young, dumb kids were battling out the details of my life, my mom states that my dad’s pastor told her to have an abortion. What?!? He wanted me aborted? Dead? Never to exist?!  My mom states that she knew immediately I was going to save her life & she was always going to love me differently for that. Not more than my sisters, but with a different fondness. Not sure we see eye to eye there but that’s another day’s topic.

So Randy’s family shelled out some money to Rita’s family. I think I was worth $5000.00. So he could run. And run he did. All the way to Dallas. He gave up parental rights so I had no father at all. Oh don’t cry. He was still using drugs. He was drinking a lot. He was not father material. And Rita began seeing a new guy from their high school. Rick was a clean cut football player with 4 years promised to the US Army. He married Rita when I was 10 days shy of 2.

Rick was stationed in Panama for part of his time. That’s really the only place I remember ever hearing about. He was fortunate enough to escape Vietnam because by the time he was done with basic, the US was pulling out. Rick chose to adopt me. I don’t know how all of that went, I was a child. I don’t know if he was still enlisted or home or if I was 5 or 2 or 12. Just kidding. I was definitely not 12.

While Rick was gone, Rita & I spent time at her parents & his parents. We bounced back & forth. While at Rick’s parents, his father, my adopted grandfather, Louis, began sexually assaulting my mother. According to her, he threatened to kill her & me if she told anyone. (I’m barely 4 & my life has been threatened TWICE! Yikes!) So Rita kept that secret for quite a while. (Not so sure she’d appreciate it coming out now. But…this is my life story & it has a direct impact on me.)

Finally Rick returns to his little family. He gets a job with an uncle at a junk yard. Shut up. I ate. I had shelter. I had clothing. And a record player. I had a Sesame Street record. “Bert & Ernie Sing the Letter “L”” was one of the songs on it. I loved it. That song. Over. And over. And over. Rita said I would lay in the hallway & when the song was over I would gently flip the needle so it would just restart the song. “La-la-la-la-lightbulb, la-la-la-la-lamppost…” Yeah. I remember. 😊

By this point, I am 4, I can read. I can recite the alphabet frontwards & backwards. I start kindergarten. I had a brown dog named Linus. Just a mutt of a dog. I had friends next door. They were kinda strange, no very strange, when I look back. What were my parents thinking by letting me play with them?! Rita was pregnant & I was expecting a baby sister. One day, a man knocks on the door. He talks to my mom. When Rick comes home from work, he buries Linus in the backyard. That man at the door had hit him with his truck because he had gotten loose on the road. I remember sobbing at the window watching my dad bury my dog.

So… I think we will stop there for now. This is truly just my beginning. No wise words to part ways this time. Just a reminder that you are loved. Have a happy day & we will meet again soon.

 

Slipping in the Poo

imageIt’s a funny thing…This white page staring blankly at me when I sit down to “create” this next post. As if it is trying to intimidate me into being a quitter. The old Matilda may have done just that. I would have said “screw this. No one will read it anyway & if they do, they will think I’m foolish.” New Matilda doesn’t necessarily disagree. But I have decided that there may be one person (other than my amazing mother) that will find this written journey somewhat entertaining & quite possibly even helpful. You know what they say, if we can help even one person, the effort was worth it. (By the way, if that ever happens, PLEASE, let me know!) What you don’t know is that in this adorable little head of mine, sits a very ferocious beast. A beast that enjoys playing with it’s food so to speak. I mean, it’s my darn brain. Why does it work so violently to keep me from being successful or happy?

This was not the planned post when I sat down this evening. Truth is, there was no plan. I actually had about 60 thoughts running through my mind, none of which was about my foolish, self sabotaging brain. Anywho, I was discussing with my therapist once how our brain needs to process our experiences & when it doesn’t, it develops a coping mechanism to, well, cope. I believe I have mentioned previously that I’m a represser. I like to fold my mental messes up nice & neat, then jam them all willy nilly into a corner somewhere. Not so much as a thought about processing. I don’t claim to be a brain surgeon, or a therapist, but even this makes sense to me. I get stuck on the processing largely because I don’t know what this means to a “normal” person, one who processes.

Thus bringing me to my next thought. I have so many valuable people in my life & I’m pretty sure that most of them are running around this earth unprocesssed. I am working through my own crazy life, so no judgement here. All I can say for sure is that as I uncover those morsels I have jammed into the corners of my mind, I realize one thing. THIS GIRL IS A HOT MESS! As a firm believer that our experiences shape us into who we are, I’m not sad or angry about this revelation. PS. I knew I was a hot mess way before this conversation with my therapist.

I work in an office full of women. There are a handful of very unlucky men but mostly women. I don’t know most of them. I know the ones on my floor & a smattering of others. I love them. I truly do. But women are jerks sometimes. Spending 40 hours a week with anyone will quickly prove this. But once in a while, in the pile of poop, we see a shiny penny. At my office, I have a pile of pennies with a little poop. These women have carried me through the last 3 years & I can proclaim without a doubt in my mind that they are one of the reasons I survived.

My conundrum occurs here. What do I do when the pennies begin to stink? Shall I explain? Sometimes people show their ugly. Even sweet, little, lovable me. Now I told you in the beginning that I hope I love those uglies. That I control my words & actions so I do no unnecessary damage to someone else. Well, let’s just say that this week, I fell in the poo.

It has plenty of justification. In my mind. My day job recently moved into a new building. Not all of the computer stuff has moved. Things are much slower. Think snails on the freeway slow. Plus I added a responsibility due to the move that requires a good 4-5 hours a week in an already tight schedule. I am very conscientious about my work. I try to stay current, never behind. Due to this move, I am 6 days behind. So when I was getting berated at 7:00 AM Thursday by a coworker with a history of a negative attitude, down I went. Right into her poo. In front of my boss. Now, my boss & I have known each other a long time. She knows I do not behave as such unless provoked. And within a few hours, me & the stinky coworker were just fine.

This is why I prefer to LOVE the uglies. I said ugly words in response to her negative comments & there I was, feeling like a giant jerk. I didn’t make myself feel better by spouting off, I certainly didn’t make my coworker feel better or turn her into a positive thinker. Instead, I left 3 people carrying my uglies around. Sure, it’s easy to say “they can disregard it. We don’t have to own other people’s uglies.” But we all know that is easier said than done. We all know it depends on how we are feeling emotionally. Plus it takes a while to shake it off. We aren’t ducks, words aren’t water. Those unprocessed events in our lives I was mentioning above hold those callously tossed words like a sponge & can dredge up more & more ugly responses. Since we don’t know the depth of other’s journeys, it’s always best to treat them with gentle unconditional love. Even when they don’t do this for us. Especially when they don’t.

OK kids. With that being said, watch out for the poo. Share a little love. Smile. Be pleasant. Love the uglies.

So so much love to each of you! 💗

Matilda

How did I get here?

I suppose by now you are starting to understand a little bit about my background. I still look around at my life and ask myself “How did I get here??” What happened to me? So, to bring everyone up to speed on how I got “here” at this point in my life, I think I will quickly mention a few key points about myself. Maybe after I’m done, it will be more clear as to why I have been encouraged to create this blog. I genuinely hope that as I continue to draw these & other experiences out in more detail, people struggling with depression, anger or unforgiveness due to similar circumstances will begin to see how I continue to drag my butt out of bed each day. Maybe they will be given some hope, even some healing.

I was conceived on Christmas Eve, in a Sunday School room. My parents were never married, I wouldn’t even say they were in love. My biological father gave up his parental rights prior to my birth and moved halfway across the country. He came back when I was 10, and as long as it was convenient for him, I was his favorite hobby. If he had a date, or a family, well, he gets busy.

My mother married a man when I was almost 2 & he adopted me. He was a decent man, never made me feel as if I wasn’t his (unlike comments still being made by my biological father.). My mother is a borderline personality. If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself blessed. I will go more into this another day. Short version, she likes drama and is quite manipulative. My adopted father is co-dependent. I spent most of my life trying to please an unhappy mother and giving in to my father’s constant begging for peace.

In the 3rd grade, my friend’s brother molested me. I never told anyone this until high school and even now, just a select few. The summer between my 5th & 6th grade years, my adopted grandfather began molesting me. Yada, Yada, Yada… very little contact with him following this. Also, more in another post. But please hear me when I say, YES, these experiences impacted me greatly. However, allow me to SHOUT OUT from the rooftops, that I REFUSE to allow myself to be considered a victim. Sexual abuse is a horrible crime, and mine in comparison to many others was practically nothing. No, I’m not minimizing it, but others have gone through it on a much greater scale. I just will not allow those two disgusting men to take any more from me than they already have. I promise, we will discuss in greater depth another day.

I married a man at 21 that my mother loved. Yes, this was another attempt to please her. It didn’t work and I wanted to be dead. We divorced before our second anniversary and in 6 months I married “Mark.” We had dated previously, I was blindly in love and spent the next 16 years on an emotionally abusive roller coaster. I mentioned this relationship briefly in the Independence of a Simple Girl post. When he cheated on me, I left my husband, my son and my home. Long story, but it worked best for our son to remain in his home & I couldn’t afford it alone, so I left.

Mark and I tried having children of our own but I was unable to conceive. My lady parts were broken. After 7 years, we adopted a 4-year-old boy. I was over the moon crazy about this kid. Fast forward 12 years. “Dylan” became belligerent, manipulative, mean, dishonest and destructive. When I enforced the boundaries I had established for my home, he and his friends, robbed me, stole my laptop, TV, jewelry, numerous other items and then threatened my life. I had to get a restraining order that is in effect until he is 19.

The robbery happened on February 3, my best friend/boyfriend of 16 months shot himself with my brand new gun, first bullet ever fired from it, on February 20. I was there. I was under the influence of a full Xanax (remember, I usually only take half) and I had also had a drink. I was exhausted from no sleep in 17 days, being homeless because I couldn’t stay in my apartment after the robbery and Andrew had come to get me, taken me back to his place so I could sleep somewhere I felt safe in. We were discussing dinner plans, things we were going to do this summer, taking a quick trip to get away because my life had been so uprooted. He had 10 guns of his own, but mine was a revolver and he didn’t have one of those. He was playing with my gun. He asked me what I wanted for dinner. I flippantly said “whatever.” I turned around to dance to the music that was blaring. I heard the gun go off. I expected to see a hole in the wall. Instead, I saw his feet. He was on the ground. Bleeding. I called 911, I remember screaming that I loved him. That I needed him to stay with me. That I couldn’t do this alone. I begged God to make him ok. I prayed for him with all of my heart. The police came with the ambulance. I was trapped by an officer in his bedroom while they worked on him. I was put in the back of the cruiser and taken to the station for questioning. The next time I saw him was at his viewing.

That was almost 5 months ago. I cannot begin to describe the emptiness inside of me, because it is empty. Nothing is there to describe. I miss him more than words could ever say, more than the tears I still cry, and more than the minutes I lie awake every night. There is no word adequate enough to describe the physical pain I feel in my heart, the loneliness I feel from him leaving me, the fear I feel about trying to maneuver this life after all of this grief has turned me upside down. Wanna know how I keep going every day? Me too. I truly have no idea. I wish I had some wise words to walk you through your own pain. I don’t. I just know that each foot we put in front of the other will lead us to our future. A future I pray holds the happiness I have been missing for the last 40 years. A future I pray allows me to put Andrew’s memories on the front shelves of my mind, but the pain on the back, on top, where I can’t reach them to continue aching and crying over him every day. A future where the people I know that are also struggling to pull themselves out of bed each day, have finally reached a place of peace. A future where our worlds are no longer tilted and dangling us over the edge, but we walk safely within the confines of normalcy. Big dreams? Yes, I know. But I’m an eternal optimist because after 40 years of surviving, I have no other choice.

So again, why read my blog? No clue. But the above is true, honest and only the beginning.

Sending my love,

Matilda Grace