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I was not the typical bride. I was not the stereotypical girl rushing towards the goal of getting married. I avoided marriage for many years, and I ran away from several marriage opportunities. I was terrified of marriage really!

Yes, I did always enjoy watching weddings on television. I enjoyed watching the Royal Wedding today. I still love seeing beautiful flowing ball gowns on gorgeous radiant girls, flowers in bloom cascading throughout venues, and sparkling jewels catching the light. I am a feminine woman, and I am always drawn to beauty.  My own actual marriage did not come so easily though, and it was not because of my husband. It was me.

I was one of the last ones from my high school class to finally get hitched. When I attended my class mates’ weddings people would always give me those reassuring and pitying looks and say things like, “It will be you one day.” Little did they know that I was not at all worried about that! I was putting off marriage for as long as I could!

When my husband proposed to me we had lived together for about 5 years already. Yes….we were living in sin (insert sarcasm,) but instead of being all teary and girly at the proposal……my first honest reaction was a wave of fear and shock.

I in no way intend to dishonor him or his beautiful proposal in writing this. That is not the point. The point is that I have issues! I have never seen a healthy marriage up close and personally. I have seen my parent’s marriage and both of their remarriages, but…..none of it looked so inviting. My parent’s marriage only lasted until I was 3 years old. They both quickly remarried, and I lived with my mother and step father after that, but I had visits with my dad and step mother.

The examples of marriage that I saw were cold. They were not affectionate. They did not include much encouragement. There was infidelity. There was abuse. There was criticism and degradation. There was screaming and slapping. There was intimidation, lack of support, and honestly lack of love.

When I was around 17 I remember my step father sitting on the edge of my bed and telling me that my mother had caught him in yet another affair and that she had left. He apologized for not coming home the night before, and he said, ” I do not know why I cannot love your mother.”

This weird conversation came the night after I had come home the prior night from cheerleading practice or something to an empty house. I waited and waited for my mother, younger siblings, and step father to return,…….but they never did. I had no idea where they were or when they would return. I ended up calling my high school sweet heart to come and stay with me because no one ever came home that entire night. I guess they forgot about me or just assumed that I would be okay on my own with no idea where they were.

I remember seeing my friends’ parents holding hands and showing affection and being totally shocked! I could not believe that grown people were acting so affectionately! I thought that kind of behavior was just kid stuff for teenagers like myself at the time. I had never seen such a thing before.

So when I went wedding dress shopping for my own wedding it was not what I expected. I felt exhausted and fatigued the whole time like I weighed 1000 pounds. It felt like a chore. When I put on the first gorgeous gown and saw myself in the mirror I literally began dripping with sweat. I felt all of the blood rush out of my head, and I began to see spots. I also felt nauseous. My reaction embarrassed me so I tried to play it cool and hold it together so that no one would know. I wish that I could go back and do it again and actually enjoy myself.

Somehow I got through the whole ordeal of planning a wedding and getting married, and my actual wedding was absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed the day because on that day I finally surrendered it (the wedding itself that is,) and in spite of a few things that went wrong I managed to remain totally calm, peaceful and genuinely happy that entire wedding day. The wedding day itself is a good memory for me even though the year leading up to it was quite horrible.

Marriage is still a struggle for me though. I still don’t really know how to do it. I am doing it, but intimacy and affection are so foreign to me in the marriage arena. The whole thing makes me feel like I am from another planet.  I know that marriage is difficult in general, and believe me, I have never had romanticized expectations of it, not in adulthood anyway.

I have watched all of the marriage seminars. I know what I am supposed to do, but re-learning everything that was ingrained into me from 0-18 years old proves to be like swimming upstream in heavy rapids. There is so much more to it than head knowledge. There are emotional and physical reactions that are extremely difficult to combat.

I am trying to figure it out, but it is like reinventing the wheel. People can tell me all day how to do it, but nothing replaces actually living in a real working model as a child which I did not…..ever.

It has always been my desire to break the mold and to change the negative patterns that have been created in my lineage. That is so much harder to do than it is to say. I keep hope that this will click for me in time as other things do, and I am committed to the journey.

Spirit of God, purest love…….help me…..carry me…..I surrender it to you.

Why do we feel this intense pressure to act as if everything is great and that we are always okay. Why do we as a society put such limiting and unrealistic expectations on one another? There is so much loneliness in the world. There are so many lonely people in the midst of a crowed. There are people who you think are so happy and content that are hiding great pain and sorrow. There are people who are surrounded by people but feel completely disconnected. There are people smiling when they really want to cry, and maybe they should be crying actually. Why do we feel like we have to be “little miss ray of sunshine” in order to be accepted? Or maybe in a different crowed we feel the pressure to be constantly cynical and unhappy in order to be accepted. Why can’t we just be real?

The truth is that we are not always happy. Sometimes we have good reasons to be heavy-hearted, and acting like little miss sunshine in those times is actually a little insane. We also are not always miserable, and acting as if the world is coming to an end all the time is equally crazy.

I spent many years of my life covering up and pushing down a great deal of pain and sorrow. I felt that I had to hide the truth about my life when I was growing up. I had to be happy all the time even though I was often quite depressed.  Showing weakness was a big no-no for me. It was not something that I consciously did, but it was a behavior that I had learned so well that it seemed natural.

Now that I am older I realize that all of that truth, all of those negative feelings, all of the sorrow that I pushed down and ignored  did not go anywhere. It remained inside me and festered. When you fake it and push real feelings and truth away without releasing it….it actually gets worse. And it comes out in other ways like depression, addictions, loneliness, sickness, moodiness, dysfunction and the list goes on and on.

I was so well-trained in my childhood to hide things and to show the world a “happy front” that I still find it extremely difficult to cry. Now I know logically that crying is good and okay. It is natural and helpful, but it does not come naturally for me so I continue to hold back, and the reward is a very heavy heart at times. I honestly wish that I could just be the girl who cries at the drop of a hat sometimes. It would feel so much better, but I am having to relearn everything that I learned growing up. And I learned to be strong and to hold it together very well apparently. But that is not healthy all the time.

I do not put on the “happy front” all the time anymore. Sometimes I feel happy, but if  I don’t then I am not going to fake it at all times anymore. I don’t want to constantly live behind a mask anymore, and I am bothered by the fact that most people seem to live behind masks most of their lives. It seems to be the norm in our society, and it is not healthy. It takes away our human connection. It hides our hearts. It is not real.

Real is not always pretty. Sometimes it is dark and raw, but it is beautiful. It is art. It is romance. It is a masterpiece in the making. It is a dance that is life. It is human, and it is spirit. It is real. It is truth. And truth cannot be wrong in my book.

I still have not mastered the art of living totally mask free at all times. Sometimes my mask is on, and I do not even notice it because it feels so natural. Sometimes it just feels easier to have it on, but I am getting there. I am working on it. I am taking risks, and little by little I am becoming free. One day I will live my life completely free of the mask.

I wrote a poem one day when I was struggling with this issue in myself and in our society called, “About Us.”

Here it is:

If you took off your mask who would you be?
If you remove all those things that you want us to see?
All of the things that you wish you could be

Take off the suit that you put on to make us believe you are doing so well.
What weakness is really hiding under your veil?
What is the reality that is hidden from us?
What truth are you afraid that we will see?
Who are you really behind all the happy faces, wise words and good deeds?

I think I’d rather know the you that’s inside.
Even the pain that you try so hard to hide.
You are more interesting with all of your flaws.
All of this fake wholeness is a bore and a lie.
Show your true self. You might be surprised if you try.

It’s your pain, your imperfections, your real humanity,
That makes you the most uniquely beautiful person to me.
So when you have the courage to reveal your true self to me,
My mask falls off, our true lights connect, and we are both set free.

I am trying to get to the heart of my authentic self. It is scary at times, and people will reject it. There are people who want to cling to their own mask and so they do not want anyone else to remove theirs. This is a chance that I have to take though. I have come to the point in life when I cannot live outside of myself anymore. I encourage people to join me in this. It is freeing in spite of the risks. Thanks to everyone who is willing to take off their own mask and is also willing to allow others to do the same.

I have noticed that in life it seems that people who walk through very low valleys also get to experience very high mountain peaks. That has been my experience anyway. I have seen quite a bit of crisis and trauma…so much that crisis feels like the norm sometimes, but I have also seen more than one big miracle in my life. And I mean life and death miracles.

Just at the time when my group of best friends (my tribe that I spoke of earlier) began to change and go our separate ways something big happened. We were all feeling the change in our relationships. We were feeling the loss, and we were all fighting it a little but to no avail. My telephone rang one day, and my husband picked it up. I could tell by the way that his voice changed that something was very wrong. I was saying, “Who is it? Who is it? What happened?” It was one of “the friends” who was the husband of another one of  the friends, and her nickname was “Butterfly.” “Butterfly” was one of my closest friends in the group. Strangely I had recently followed an inner nudging to write her a letter telling her how much I loved and appreciated her. I had mailed the letter, and she had received it.

My husband told me that Butterfly was in trouble. An aneurysm had burst in her brain. I grabbed the phone from him. Her husband sounded differently than I had ever heard him. He was always strong, and he would never admit to weakness much less ask for help, but he called us. He told me that the headaches that they had thought were migraines were actually an aneurysm and that it had burst in her brain and had been bleeding  into her brain stem for 24 hours before they called an ambulance. She was in a coma in ICU, and she was going to die.

I hung up the phone and called another friend to tell her, but since I was the one who handled the heavy stuff I was the one to handle this too. She told me that she was glad that I was going to the hospital because she did not think she could handle it. She did pick up her guitar and wrote a beautiful song about Butterfly though as was her way. In a panic I grabbed my purse and ran out the door to the car with my husband to race to the hospital. I left the door of the house wide open because I was in flight mode.

When I got there I saw Butterfly, who was normally vibrant and full of life, looking like a dead person and hooked up to life support. The doctors said that after looking at her brain scans there was really no hope for her to live, and if by some small chance she did live that she would be a vegetable unable to walk, talk, or do anything. (Thank God I had written her that letter just in time.)

I went into warrior mode. I went to her bedside almost everyday and held her limp hand and prayed. I spoke blessings over her out loud in the form of scripture verses about love and life, and I talked and talked to her unresponsive body about love, God, Christ, and us. I held hands with her mother and siblings in the ICU waiting room and prayed. Many other people were praying for her too.

I put a picture of Butterfly looking alive, healthy and smiling beautifully up on my wall beside my bed so that I would see this healthy image of her everyday when I woke up. I dug through my junk and found a note that she had left at my house one day that said, “You are loved….B.”  I hung this on my wall as well. I had a dream one night that Butterfly was in my house looking as beautiful as ever and walking around completely healed. In the dream I told her that it was the power of prayer that healed her.

Two weeks went by, and Butterfly remained in a coma. During this time I decided to get baptized at my church. I had been baptized as a baby, but I had never experienced being dunked. I had entered a new stage in life and with God so I really wanted to experience this traditional kind of baptism to symbolize my new life. That day in church I was shaking with nerves and with the power of God that was overwhelming me. I stood in front of the church and told a very tiny condensed version of my story on the microphone, and then I was dunked under the water and raised up in baptism. It was an invigorating experience for me that I cannot explain.

Immediately after church I drove to the hospital to see Butterfly who had been completely dead looking for several weeks. She had been through brain surgery and had her head shaved with big staples coming across her skull. I was coming to once again pray over her, talk to her, and care for her body. I had been sick for a few days so I had not seen her in a few days. When I walked into her room on the day of my baptism my jaw dropped to the floor when I heard her voice say my name, and she said “I love you, and I have missed you so much!” I literally almost passed out!

This was the girl in a coma who was brain dead! She was going to die! There was no hope for her, and she would definitely never walk or talk again!

She just recognized me! She just spoke to me in a complete sentence, and she just told me she loved me! After she said this she went right back to being vegetable like. It was just as if she had one moment of clarity when I walked in the room that day! I got goose bumps, and my hair stood up on my arms.

That day was a turning point though because each time I saw her after that she was more and more conscious. Slowly, slowly over months she began to return to us. She was moved to a rehab facility where she learned to walk very quickly because she has a very strong will. She would not let people help her much. She meant she was going to walk! Over time she began to talk more and more clearly. Her personality was in tact, and she was her crazy old self.

She has had a tough time and a long road. She still forgets words at times or blurts out the wrong word at the wrong time. She still has issues to deal with due to some brain damage, but she is still the same old Butterfly. She still has that spark in her. She is the girl that I always knew. She looks the same. She can walk and talk and even regained her ability to drive. She is my miracle girl. She is Butterfly, and we will always keep in touch.

Years ago I had the honor of being a part of a true tribe. We were brought together by the pull of gravity, by forces of nature, and by God himself I think because somehow we just came together at exactly the right time for exactly the right season. We were all troubled souls, and we were living in an underground party culture, but we were not afraid to seek truth and to talk openly about God in spite of our shadowy existences. There was a core group of about 6 to 8 of us that clung to each other and lived life together no matter what happened.

We literally lived together slumber party style every weekend, and we saw each other as much as possible during the week as well. We were totally vulnerable with one another. We hid nothing, and we let all of our skeletons out of the closet. We did not have to be good or bad when we were together. We were free at last to be ourselves no matter how dark or light we happened to be at any given moment. We were not trying to live up to any standards or uphold any reputations. We just were.

We took care of each other. We watched each other’s backs wherever we went, and we trusted each other with everything (our money, our belongings, our hearts, our lives.) Other people in the sub-culture noticed that there was something unusual about our tribe and about the way that we loved and cared for one another, and they would tell us that they wanted to be a part of it.  We would take them in, but they never hung around too long. They would be transient members that hung out for a time and then moved on or showed that they could not be trusted, but our core tribe never parted. We would argue amongst ourselves at times but not for long. We always came back together and worked it out.

We all had our roles in the group, and I was given the nick name “Lil’ Lightnin'” because I was the tiniest one in the crew, but I had a giant spark. I was the one that everyone knew they could run to at any hour, and I would take them in and care for them. I was always promoting love at all costs, but there was also a wild streak in me that would come out if you crossed me or one of my friends, and then “lightnin’ would strike!” I was always a pacifist, but apparently I could get you with my words in a way that let you know that you had messed with my peeps, and you would know without a doubt that you had been “struck by lightnin’!”

Those days were magical in many ways. We spent so much time together wild and free. Much of that time we were on the beach dancing all night in the light of the moon and the phosphorescence to the music of our own resident DJ. We could also be found huddled together under the stars deeply contemplating the universe or shallowly acting like goofballs  or just being silent as the waves crashed in and out. We let go of every care that we had in the world and lived in the moment. All of the pain and heaviness that we had carried throughout our lives just melted away when were in the comfort of each other’s presence. We were safe  together. We were free to be ourselves. Our hearts were wide open, and we were young wild flowers (both male and female) being carried by the ocean breeze.

We remained together in this strange lifestyle for about 8 years, and then as all things do, things began to change. I realized that I could not live like this forever and that it was time to grow up and straighten up my life. Others in the tribe went through changes of their own, and slowly we began to move apart. It still saddens me to this day that things had to change, but now there is no way to go back. Life is just different now.

But my tribe will always be a large part of my heart. If they need me they know that I am still “Lil’ Lightnin'” at heart, and I will always be here for them. We rarely see each other or talk anymore, and years have gone by. I have not experienced a closeness like that with a group since then. It was a unique thing in life and a unique season. There were consequences for some of our wildness, but I do not regret it. That was a necessary part of my life that carried me through a unique time to the present life that I now live. It was a necessary part of making me the person that I am today and in making me who I am becoming still.

The break up of a family like that is not an easy thing to get over. It has taken me years to transition from that experience. It is hard not to compare everything to it. After years and years I am finally beginning to open my heart to the idea of a new tribe that is in its youthful stages. Love like we had does not die, and it does not easily change, but it does change. And we have moved on.  I thank God for them, and I am thankful for the part that we played in each other’s lives during a crucial time when we all needed each other so much.

~Love to my lost tribe forever~

My older sister has defied death several times. The most recent time was the most miraculous, but the first time was the most mysterious.

About 12 years ago I lived in a tin roofed four room shack that stood on cinder blocks in the “hood.” When I say “hood”  I mean that the projects were basically in my back yard. This house looked a lot like a crack house, but when I moved in I noticed that instead of the normal gang related or obscene graffiti that you might expect to see in this house there was a verse from scripture written on the wall inside. It said,

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”     James 1:17

And even though I was not at all “living for the Lord” by all religious standards, I had a deep love for God. I was definitely living a worldly life because that is just where I was at the time, but I did have a relationship with God, and He had his hand on my life in spite of my hedonism. I know that whole idea may stump some people, but all I can say is that is just the way it was. Many supernatural things happened in my life while I lived in that crazy house, and my sister’s brush with death was just one of them.

My older sister and my younger sister came over one day to hang out with me and my boyfriend. My older sister did not seem to feel quite right, and she complained of a headache that made her feel like her head would explode. My boyfriend (now husband) got up to go to the bathroom and my older sister started babbling in a way that made no sense. I tried to make light of it at first, and I said to her, “Are you talking to little green men?” She then just continued to talk completely out of her mind. My little sister and I just looked at each other in a questioning and worried way. Then before we could even say anything my older sister just literally passed out.

I immediately jumped into action and ran to her. I felt her body, and yelled, “Oh my God! She’s burning up!” I started pulling her sweatshirt off of her limp body and barked at my boyfriend to grab an ice pack. We put the ice on her head, and my boyfriend picked up her lifeless body and threw her in the back seat of my little sister’s car.  I instructed my little sister to drive, and my boyfriend to drive his car in front of us because I was too stressed to even remember how to get to the hospital. I jumped into the back seat with my still unconscious older sister. I could see that she was breathing but not regularly. She was taking a breath every now and then.

I laid my hands on her and started yelling out prayers of protection and healing over her as well as commanding her to stay with us and wake up. I did this the whole way to the emergency room. When we got to the ER I told little sis to run in and get help, and my boyfriend was still trying to park. I tried to carry big sis in myself, but a limp body is very hard to pick up.

After what seemed like an eternity some help finally arrived. When the doctors got to her they went into action mode, and they were running with her down the hall and into a room where they shut the door. My little sis and I ran behind her until the door was shut in our faces. We sat against the wall in the hallway holding hands and speechless. Doctors were running in and out of the room, and we could see that this was the most serious thing going on in the ER.

The next thing that I remember is sitting in another room in the ER with my older sis, and she was still totally lifeless and unconscious, but she had machines breathing for her. The doctor told us that she had stopped breathing and that this was very serious, but they had no idea what was wrong. They were running many tests and spending much time looking things up on the computer. This was a mystery to everyone.

After about six hours I finally decided that it was time to call in the rest of the family. Things were not looking good at all. She looked dead honestly. The family showed up, and they moved my sister to a room in ICU. By this time my little sis, my boyfriend, and I had been there for about 12 hours. There was still no change, no movement, no responsiveness, no diagnosis, and no breathing on her own.

We (the original three) finally decided to leave the hospital and go home just for a quick break. It was around 10pm. Right when we got back to the little shack and sat down the phone rang, and it was a hospital phone number. I picked up the phone in horror, and to my astonishment I heard my big sis’s voice on the other end of the line saying “Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I am okay.”

I almost fell out of my chair, and so did little sis and my boyfriend when I told them who it was! Apparently she just suddenly woke up as quickly as she fell out, and she seemed as if nothing was wrong! To this day it is still a mystery as to what really happened to her that day.

Looking back I ask myself why we did not call an ambulance. I guess that it is just another case of me being so programmed to handle crisis on my own and not to ask for help. The doctors said that we saved her life by getting her there when we did though so….Thank God.

I have been fascinated by near death experiences for many years. I have read many books about them and watched many documentaries and accounts of these amazing experiences. Although none of them are exactly the same just as no one is exactly the same, they all have a few things in common unless they are one of the few “hell” experiences that I have heard about.

One of these commonalities is “the light.” They all include a light that provides love in it’s purest form…a love and acceptance that they have never experienced on earth. This light also contains knowledge of everything, and people are coming out of it and going into it.

I always thought that this sounded like such a beautiful experience, but I must admit that I was a little worried too. I would think, “Well, is God just a big light that people get absorbed into?” That seems kind of anticlimactic to me. But I recently saw a woman’s account of her NDE (Near Death Experience) that gave me the best “Aha!” moment.

She said that when she was in this marvelous light she asked one of the people that had come to greet her if this light was God. The person said, “No, the light is not God. The light is what happens when God breathes.”

Wow! Something just clicked when I heard this.  I do not know if I can explain it in words because it is something so beyond words, but something intuitive clicked for me. It felt like something was dropped into my heart, and a shift occured……The breath of God! breath of life…containing love in its highest form and knowledge of all things…..How amazing! How beautiful!

Since then I have been thinking about this breath and about how much I just want to align myself with it and sail in its wind. I want to flow where ever it carries me. I want to have it breathed into me more and more, and I want to be so full of it that I am radiating it out to others. I want to ride the waves in its tide.

I have been praying for this in my prayers every day. And I am being carried, but I know from past experiences that this kind of prayer leads to big things. Not big material things……big spiritual things.  I know that when something this strange and indescribable becomes my greatest desire and prayer that it is only a matter of time before things change in a big way. It is a little scary when I think about it too much, but there is no fear in the breath of God….”There is no fear in love.”

This is a very hard planet to live on really.

I know. I know. …Many are thinking “But there is so much beauty! You just have to be positive! I am happy.” And believe me…I understand all of that. And it is true too, but suffering is also a very real part of living on planet earth, and it is happening all around us….everywhere… right now.

Suffering is a great equalizer for all of humanity. In our suffering we really are all the same. For example, when a tsunami hits and everything is washed away including loved ones it no longer matters who is wealthy and who is poor, or who has a PHD and who is uneducated, or who is male or female, or who is old or young, or who is popular or unpopular and so on and so on. None of it means anything at all when everyone has lost it all. The suffering makes us all equal, and we are all in it together. Suffering tears down all of our superficial facades. It strips away our separateness, and in our human suffering….we are one.

The same is true for all kinds of suffering: abuse, losing a loved one too soon, sickness, natural disasters, etc….All causes of suffering make everything else fade away, and we all become the same human when we are in those situations together. And sadly suffering is an integral and inescapable part of the human condition.

Even Jesus Christ…God incarnate…Living Word…King of Kings…Light of the World….

……..When he became human and came to be with us on this earth in the flesh…..he too was stripped of everything and experienced suffering at its worst. He became one of us and one with us. He, in his great love and humility, shared in this human condition of suffering with us and for us. To be fully human is to endure suffering.

This is a bitter pill to swallow.

By the time I was 14 years old I was already in a serious relationship with a boy, and we were together until I was 16. At 16 I got into a new even more serious relationship that lasted until I was about 19. At 20 years old I was in a new serious relationship, and so on. I was always very attached to a boy who was also very attached to me. I had verbal agreements with all of them that we would one day get married, but in the end I was the one that left them all.

This is a story about my first love that began in 8th grade when I was 14 years old, and he was 16. We were both troubled in our own way, and we were codependently attached. All we wanted was to be together all the time. We could not get enough of each other. He would come to my house, and I would go to his house, but that was never enough. So I came up with a plan, and since I have always been a thrill seeker my plan pushed the limits and boundaries pretty well.

My boyfriend’s best friend was quite the architect and builder, and his father was an architect so they created the most incredible tree house of all time.  This tree house was not a little play house in a tree. This tree house was a two story bachelor pad in a tree with a stereo, TV, bedrooms, and small balconies. It was incredible to us! So I instructed my boyfriend to spend the night in the tree house with his friend because I was coming over.

I then asked my older sister if she would sneak me out or basically drive me somewhere that night. She was already moved out of our house, and she felt uneasy about it because she didn’t want the parents to blame her for corrupting me or something.  Looking back I do not blame her at all! So she jokingly said, “Take a cab.”

Aha! Yes! That was my answer! What a marvelous idea! So that night I had my partner in crime (my friend) over to spend the night. Since I was the queen of covering tracks I had every move planned out perfectly. That night we went around the house and secretly unplugged every phone in the house except the one in my room so that no one would hear it ring but us. We hid some clothes in the bushes so that we would have our PJ’s on when leaving the house. That way if someone caught us leaving we could just tell them we were walking outside to hang out on the deck. After all, where would we be going in pajamas?

I called the cab and told them to meet me a little ways from my house at about 1:00am. I even left a note on my bed telling the parents that I had gone to town so that they could not tell me how worried they were if they found that I was missing. So around 12:30, after we got the call from the guys, we sneaked down the stairs and right out the kitchen door in our pajamas.

Once we were a little ways from the house with hearts racing we changed into our clothes and left the PJ’s in the bushes to change back into before re-entering the house. I looked back to make a note of every light that was on or off in the windows of our house so that I would know if there were any changes when we came back home. That way I could prepare myself to face the music when I went inside. Then we started walking faster and faster until we were trotting down the driveway giggling in whispers.

We had to walk a little ways and crawl over a fence to get to our cab, but when we made it there and saw our cab waiting…….Oh what a thrilling sensation we felt as we jumped over that fence giggling!

We were on our way! With our hearts pounding and our jaws clenched in grins from ear to ear we had the cab take us to the hospital which was down the street from my friend’s tree house. Our cab driver’s name was Cecil. We got to know him because once we pulled this off the first time we were addicted, and it became an every weekend joy ride. The boys were waiting for us at the hospital, and they walked with us back to the tree house where we hung out and reveled in the excitement of our badness and our time alone together until the crack of dawn. We then took the cab back to the fence and did the whole process in reverse. Our fear was heightened as we made that return walk back up the driveway to the house, but we made it back home and into bed without a hitch. We then slept until about 3:00pm.

I know…….It was bad, but what a thrill! Those were the days! 😉

There are things that have caused me a great amount of dysfunction in my life. It is very disheartening when the things that are supposed to be easy and come naturally to a human being are a struggle. This can cause a great deal of frustration that unfortunately can turn into a pity party at times when healing seems hopeless. Being unable to function normally in some of the most basic ways can bring on horrible feelings of failure. Someone wise told me that if you have trouble with the basic human needs of sleep, sex, and eating then you know that there is something seriously wrong that has taken place in your life. Well I have problems with all of those. Eating would be the least of these problems because I do eat, but I tend to crave and eat things that are not good for me.  The other two issues are much more severe though.

I have been in and out of therapy, and I have talked until I was blue in the face about all of the traumatic experiences that I have endured throughout my life. I remember a great deal of traumatic experiences beginning very early on and continuing into adulthood. Some of these that occurred during adulthood are experiences that I brought upon myself trying to deal with my past or just continuing the cycle of family dysfunction. In spite of all this talking, therapy, and psychology I still suffer from much of the same dysfunction. It has not helped.

There is something lurking in my subconscious that is continuing to wreak havoc in my life. There seems to be something in my past that was so ugly that in order to survive it I blocked it out. The reason that I know it is there at all is because the effects of it are so severe and undeniable, and I cannot seem to get past them. It is kind of like that place in Siberia where all of the trees were burned up, and it looks like an atomic bomb hit, but no one seems to know what caused the devastation. It is a weird, scary and frustrating situation.

I find it very intriguing that we as human beings have cellular memory. In some way every cell in our bodies carry our memories. This is fairly new science, but it makes sense to me because I carry an enormous amount of pain, tension, and anxiety in my body. It is like my body knows something that is painful and frightening, and because my consciousness has not been able to face it yet my dear old body is carrying it for me. It would be nice to be able to release it, but with all of my armor and defense mechanisms it just holds on for dear life.

Another very strange truth is that this subconscious boogy man is something that I apparently cannot remember, yet it is something that I already know. I was there when “it” happened.  My body knows it and still reacts to it in many ways that I would rather keep to myself. And my mind already knows it, but I cannot remember it to save my life. Weird!

I have thought many times that maybe there is really nothing there at all, but I am afraid that is just wishful thinking. All of the signs point to “something” there. I am getting closer to it. It is beginning to creep its way into my dreams in very subtle ways, but I still cannot grasp exactly what “it” is yet.

I do not know if remembering something is essential, but I do know that I desperately want to be free from the devastating effects that trauma has had on my life, and in order to find this freedom there is something more that I have to face aside from the truck load of junk that I have already faced.

I have prayed for years and years for God to free me. He has freed me from so much, but there is still a huge hurdle for me to jump. I do not know why this is taking so long, but I do believe in the perfection of divine timing because I have seen it work in my life many times before.  Receiving healing and freedom is quite a long process for me which can cause frustration, self pity and feelings of failure at times. But in this long process I am also gaining a great amount of wisdom, humility, and compassion for which I am very grateful.

I am sorry that the blogs have been heavy in nature so far. I promise that there is also a very silly, crazy, nutty side to me, but that has not been what has bubbled out so far. I think that writing this blog is part of my healing and by releasing some of my secrets I am getting closer to the end of a long chapter of secret keeping, fear, and pain.

I know that I am not alone in these issues and that these things that I write may ring bells for some of you. That along with my own healing are the reasons that I am sharing these things. Even if we never discuss these things together or even if we do not know each other, if we have been through similar things then we are connected in spirit. Together we are stronger, and as we each move towards our own healing we are helping to heal one another as well.

When it comes to family crisis or tragedy I tend to be unusually emotionless. I go into shock mode and keep it together mode. I have learned that you do not break down or if you do, make it quick and get yourself back together because you have things to take care of and a front to portray to the world. If I break down and lose it during a family crisis the world will end and everyone will get pissed off.

For example when we got the call that my sister was dying my husband came to me sobbing, but I just crawled back into the bed with my baby girl and curled up in a moment of shock. Then I immediately began getting our stuff together to go to my mom’s and directing my husband on things to pack. I broke down in a sob for about 1 minute (no exaggeration) then I sucked it up and kept going. This is a lifelong pattern for me. This is what I had to do.

I remember when I was about 12 years old and the entire family was having a knock down drag out fight in the kitchen. Everyone was there for this event (my older sister, my baby brother, my baby sister, my mother, my step father, and myself.) This was nothing new or shocking in our household. The only difference was that this time we also had an exchange student from France there with us, and she was a high school student who spoke very little English. The fact that our family had an exchange student living with us for two weeks was insane in itself. We could not keep it together for two weeks so she got to witness one of our traumatic events unfortunately.

The main players in the fight were my step father who I lived with from the time I was 4 until my senior year of high school, and my older sister who is 4 and a half years older than me. My two year old baby sister was terrified so she was clinging on to my older sister’s leg. Even though she was my step father’s pet he was in one of his self centered rages so he did not even notice her. During the fight he picked up my 16 year old sister and threw her out the door of the house onto the deck outside and slammed the door. He was holding the door shut so she could not come back in, and she was pushing the door trying to get it opened. She was screaming something that he was not computing in his rage, and baby sister was crying. He kept all of his weight on that door to keep big sister out. After a while he finally heard what she was screaming…“The baby’s finger is in the door!”

My baby sister had remained attached to my big sister’s leg in terror as my step father physically threw my big sister out, and he had slammed the baby’s finger in the door and held it shut. Once he finally realized this he did open the door. My baby sister’s finger was smashed, and everyone changed their focus to getting her to the emergency room.

I ran screaming up the stairs in horror and panic to have a melt down, but before I could even cry my mom called me back down. She told me that they were all going to the ER so I would have to come down and fix breakfast for our poor French exchange student who was probably wanting to get the hell out of our house.

So I had to pull it together and come down. I had to act as if nothing had happened. I had to be gracious and smile and scramble some eggs for our guest. We couldn’t even communicate because of the language barrier, but I could see the worry and compassion in her eyes.

This kind of thing was common for me. Hold it together. Put on a smile, and act as if everything is normal and okay. Show the world that we are a happy family, and clean up the mess without showing any real emotions….This is my job!

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