I Got Flowers From A Stalker, Not My Boyfriend

I read the bottom of the card and saw that yes, it was from the stalker.

After two really rough days dealing with birthday trauma, the end results of pushing myself too hard and probably some wonky hormones, the sun literally came out today, and I feel much better. My mental status is up and down like my resting heart rate, but where I want that to trend down, I want my mental health to trend up. I feel motivated to make some priority changes for my health and well being, and those changes and habits are best made while I feel good, so now is the time!

Yesterday, 18 red roses were delivered to my house, along with a box of good chocolate. I’m guessing the whole thing cost over $200. My brother answered the door since I was about to try to nap, and he called out that it was for me. I knew the flowers weren’t from David as soon as I saw them, because he wouldn’t send me something so unnecessary and ostentatious. No one who knows me well enough to send me flowers would send such an over the top piece of floral insanity, and I was appalled. I was more appalled when I read the bottom of the card and saw that yes, it was from the stalker. Ew.

My brother offered to break the arrangement in the front yard. I decided instead to offer it to my business partner for his wife. There was no way I was going to keep it, and he was so excited. She got the chocolate too, I wanted nothing to do with it.

David listened to me be upset by it and brought me dinner with no flowers, since that episode confirmed my not leaving the house for the day. My Dad brought me flowers that I do really like, and we watched the Olympics with my parents. Today was sandwiches for lunch and some practical gifts, plus a plan starting to form to focus more on health now that he’s just about finished his list of things to handle and I’m (overall) more stable and ready to tackle better health habits.

Time to shift my focus and energy, while I sit here enjoying flowers I appreciate, having gotten rid of the ones that I don’t.

It’s My Birthday!

This seems to be the year that I can process why I hate my birthday so much.

Last night was hell.

My birthday is a trauma anniversary. Eating is a coping mechanism. Work is a coping mechanism. Isolation is a coping mechanism. Ironically, all things that I can’t always avoid…

I stayed in bed most of the day yesterday and napped in between working. I had nothing left, and in therapy I identified that I felt like I didn’t matter to the people close to me and felt alone. I had forgotten that my birthday was used as a weapon against me in previous years, and it took most of the day for me to consciously remember that, and to realize that I was having a rough day because I was anticipating another horrible birthday. Another day that was supposed to be about me on which I was ignored, abused and made to feel like nothing.

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I ran off to the desert this year and thought through how to reclaim my birthday. I was going to make it about me doing for myself this year, about not relying on others to make the day special. My brain had other ideas, and last night was an emotional post-trauma hell. This morning I’m still shaky, still feeling a bit off. The well wishes started before 6 this morning, which I really appreciate. I still can’t connect to them, and I’m still a bit walled off, and still a bit emotional, but I’m much better, and the crazy has subsided.

I understand that sometimes the brain – and this seems to be true for mine – cannot process trauma until it feels safe to do so. My experience with that is as soon as I think I’ve taken a step forward in recovery and made progress, I get rewarded by the baseball bat of trauma memory. Congrats! You’re doing great in recovery! WHACK! It’s so painful and frustrating and…shit. This seems to be the year that I can process why I hate my birthday so much. Maybe that means a better next year? I was able to sit with the pain last night. I still haven’t needed Xanax this year. Yep, I made it through last night without meds to knock me out so I could avoid it. I took the beating, and today I kinda feel like I got that beating.

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I woke up early to a quiet house. No cards, no acknowledgement that it’s my birthday. It’s expected, my family doesn’t make a big deal out of my birthday. I used to be the one to make a big deal out of it, used to make my own cake and organize my celebration, so I can understand why they don’t. And the point for me is to not rely on others for this. Emotionally, it’s still a letdown, but rationally, I enjoy the quiet morning. It’s raining and cold and I’m temped to not even leave the house today. I can work from the comfort and safety of my bed again, and ignore the world for another day. I can nap again if I need to.

Cause, you know, it’s my birthday!

Reclaiming Communication (It’s More Than Words)

Communication can cause me a lot of anxiety.

This morning I was reflecting on my post yesterday about Reclaiming Sex and I began to realize that wasn’t the only thing taken from me. And I want my shit back.

Communication, my self-worth, my sexuality (not the same as sex), my boundaries, my sense of safety, my ability to trust myself, my birthday – those were all ripped out of my hands, taken without my permission. Those things were mine, and for several years now they haven’t been. It’s a weird realization, but also a positive one, because I can reclaim those things, and I don’t have to ask permission.

Now that I’m thinking about it, the one thing I did give him was a wooden puzzle, a cube cleverly put together with dowels and odd shapes. When he blew my life to pieces for the last time, I demanded that he return the puzzle. He gave me excuses and put me off for a year, but I insisted that I have my puzzle back. Eventually I wore him out and he sent it back, and it’s mine again.

I would do that for a small block of wood, but I wouldn’t do that for any of the things that are part of who I am?

Until now. Now that I realize those are mine, and I get to have them back. Even better, I get to have them back the way I want them, not the way I’m told they should be or the way I’ve been demanded they be made to serve someone else.

Communication can cause me a lot of anxiety. I’m just now understanding that I have a lot of trauma tied to communication, so that’s really not surprising. It’s a way that I’ve been abused and controlled and made to feel like shit, and I have A LOT of bad communication habits. It’s a broad term, but so is my bad experience. I want that back. I want to enjoy communication as a way to express myself and my needs in a healthy, positive way, and not fear it as something that will kick my feet out from under me at any moment. I want it to be about building connection and not building fear. I want to not have my default set to “take this the wrong way” or “assume the worst”. And I don’t want to be scared to say what I need and what’s important to me and ask questions because I might get hurt even more.

That connection part? It’s so important to me, because I find connection to be deeply satisfying. Connection wasn’t taken from me, but communication (what I need to connect) was, and now I want it back. I’m reclaiming that for me.

Liebster Award Nomination!

Pancakes are my love language.

I started blogging on my birthday earlier this year. I had to shut down that blog because of a stalker, and for a couple of weeks I really struggled with whether blogging was a good thing for me. So many thanks to Girl With The Paw Print Tattoo for nominating me! She shows stunning and raw vulnerability through her blog, and she is what the world needs more of. Blogging has connected me to some incredible humans, and I appreciate this so much.

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What is the Liebster Award?

The Abroad American described it thusly: “Bloggers are a funny bunch. We read a lot, write a ton, scour the web for new content to consume, and even give ourselves awards for this stuff. That’s what the “Liebster Award” is – a recognition of bloggers by other bloggers. It’s only coincidental that the name is derived from the German word that means “beloved, or dear” in English. It’s been around in some form or another since 2011, so I think there is at least some credence to its name.”

 

Rules of the Liebster Award:

  1. Acknowledge the blog that gave it to you and display the award.
  2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nominations.
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

 

Questions for Me:

  1. Why did you start blogging?

I was looking for connection. I was looking for an outlet to express myself, a way to be honest in a space that wasn’t connected to my everyday life and all of the stress in it. I wanted to see how other people deal with PTSD and anxiety, I wanted to talk about my experience and I didn’t really care if a single person read my blog, I just needed to get it out of my head.

2. What is your favorite movie?

I really like Layer Cake, starring Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller before they made it big. Craig’s character is so frustrated by everyone around him and he just wants to do his thing on his terms. It’s fantastic and surprising.

3. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’m a Texas girl and here I stay. I would consider New Zealand though.

4. What is your favorite season?

I like fall. It’s often hot here, but the air feels different. There’s a relief from summer heat and it’s before holiday stress kicks in, so in my mind it’s the perfect time of year.

5. What is your favorite holiday?

New Year’s! I don’t make resolutions or do anything crazy, but a lot of memories for me are from New Year’s, good and not so good but experiences I learned so much from. It doesn’t have the stress for me that comes from other holidays, and half the time I stay home and am sound asleep before midnight, which was my first conscious foray into ignoring the expectations of others and doing what was the best for me at the time.

6. Dogs or cats?

Dogs. Recently an adorable muppet named Falkor nosed his way into my life, and you couldn’t replace him with a cat.

7. Coffee or tea?

Earl Grey with a splash of half and half.

8. What is your favorite book?

I just read Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, and it is a stunningly beautiful book of illustrated poetry. It was recommended to me as a rape survivor, and I will continue to benefit from reading it.

9. If you were only given one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chips and Guacamole.

10. What is your favorite hobby?

Dreaming up business ideas. It seems to be a good creative outlet.

11. Who is your favorite band?

Shinyribs! They are a hoot and a holler, and the amazing human I’m dating got us tickets to see them. So excited!

 

11 Things About Me:

  1. I’m a 6th generation Texan.
  2. I love to eat butter and sugar creamed together.
  3. I have a large collection of art that includes painting, sculpture and jewelry.
  4. I won’t sit on a toilet seat I haven’t cleaned myself.
  5. I love to give gifts outside of holidays and birthdays.
  6. I have thus far out-lawyered every attorney I have interacted with professionally, and I am not an attorney.
  7. I love bamboo fabric.
  8. I don’t like Christmas music.
  9. I am not nearly as sexy in a baseball cap as I would like to be.
  10. Pancakes are my love language.
  11. I read really fast.

 

Now I Nominate:

These blogs have all made me think or make me want to do me better this year, I hope they impact you too!

 

Questions for the Bloggers I Nominated:

  1. What is your favorite food memory?
  2. What is your favorite way to get outdoors?
  3. What are you having for dinner tonight?
  4. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
  5. Do your family and friends know you blog?
  6. M&Ms or Skittles?
  7. Do you think pennies (one cent pieces) are necessary?
  8. Can you curl your tongue?
  9. What would get you out of bed on a day you could otherwise sleep in?
  10. What makes you happy?
  11. Do you sunburn or tan?

 

So grateful for what y’all write, and looking forward to reading your answers!

Sharing Some Love

The good people never really die.

Don’t miss the beautiful stories because they don’t fit within your preconceived ideals.

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The yarn in this piece of wall art – and five other pieces I finished today – belonged to a friend of mine who lost her battle with cancer two years ago. Yesterday was her birthday.

After she passed her husband gifted her yarn to me, and yesterday I began to use it for the project to raise funds for an orphanage. She was a social worker, a mental health advocate and one hell of a woman. Kathy, I hope you enjoy seeing your love continue to be shared, as you were so generous yourself in sharing it.