Thursday, January 27, 2011

F**kin Perfect!

(I purposely didn't use Pink's video. Between the sex and the self-harm, it triggered the hell out of me... Its amazing... I just needed a milder form today.)

The lyrics:
Made a wrong turn, once or twice
Dug my way out, blood and fire
Bad decisions, that's alright
Welcome to my silly life
Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss 'No way, it's all good', it didn't slow me down
Mistaken, always second guessing, underestimated
Look, I'm still around

Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than f*ckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you're nothing
You're f*ckin' perfect to me!

You're so mean, when you talk about yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead
So complicated, look happy, you'll make it!
Filled with so much hatred...such a tired game
It's enough! I've done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons, I've seen you do the same

Oh, pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than f*ckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you're nothing
You're f*ckin' perfect to me

The whole world's scared so I swallow the fear
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer
So cool in line, and we try try try, but we try too hard and it's a waste of my time
Done looking for the critics, cause they're everywhere
They dont like my jeans, they don't get my hair
Exchange ourselves, and we do it all the time
Why do we do that? Why do I do that?

Why do I do that..?

Yeah, oh, oh baby, pretty baby..!
Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than f*ckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you're nothing, you're fucking perfect to me
You're perfect, you're perfect!
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you're nothing
You're fuckin' perfect to me...

Friday, January 21, 2011

...walking around with my skin peeled off.

A friend once told me that trauma work was like "walking around in the sun with your skin peeled off". I thought the analogy was PERFECT. Its painful, and I feel vulnerable, and painful, and other people don't know quite how to handle me, and...

I'd forgotten just what it feels like. For more than two years, I felt it everyday, all day, all the time, never a break. But with life being calmer the last six months, I was beginning to forget.

I've had a rough couple of days. I shared things about myself that were hard to share. Although the feedback I have gotten has been 100% positive, I have still felt icky.

I realized this afternoon, when all I wanted to do was hide in my room, I've now bared myself. Everyone has been very kind, better than I could have expected, but it hurts to peel off your skin...

I'm feeling very vulnerable and raw. I'm not planning on disappearing, and I need some time to nurse the raw wounds. I'm taking extra special care of myself. I've spent most of the day curled up in a blanket in the backyard with Sunny. (Thank goodness its above freezing!) I don't know how long I'll need, and I will take just the right amount for me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just More

I shared my last entry (How I destroyed a marriage) with an online group as well as here. I had thought about sharing the story, but kept stopping myself. "If they know, they'll hate me."

Finally, I realized that wasn't who I wanted to be. If they're going to hate me for the choices that I make... I'd rather be honest and hated then pretend and ASSUME they'll hate me.

The responses were amazing! Most were super kind and very protective of me. One, just made my day:
"For those who are concerned about Jen's welfare, I think you're awesome. Many of you have never met her, and you're still this concerned for her.

But I wanted to give you some insider info, as one who has met Jen IRL. When I saw her the first time at a CALM meeting (back in October) she looked so brittle, timid and scared... I thought she would shatter if I looked at her funny.

I have a hard time reconciling that image with how she is now. More confident. More centered. More... just more. I think now that I'd be more scared she'd feed me my own teeth if I looked at her funny. She's able to express anger at the church, and at the people who harmed her in a way she couldn't before. Before, I didn't get the impression that expressing that anger was easy, or possible in some cases.

And she's gonna keep getting better."
I have felt that I am becoming more. More calm, more confident, more centered, just more. And it helped to have someone who has only known for a few months to repeat that.

I used to be so afraid of who I was. I was afraid of who I was going to become when I was really me. I realized today, I'm not afraid anymore. I'm not afraid of me or who I am... I don't fully know who that will be yet, and I'm not afraid.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the end of a marriage or two

In June 2007, I was in pretty bad shape. Eating disorder, suicidal, self-harm, crazy, crazy, crazy... I kept trying to do the right things by going to church. I HATED it there. I'd been taught if I felt lonely at church to make friends, so I did. Every week, I talked to five new people plus made an effort to talk to the ones I wanted to get to know from the week before. DH and I had get-togethers at our home at least once a week and sometimes more often.

I'd also heard that if you're feeling depressed, you need to serve more. I did. I asked for another calling. I worked as a service missionary. I sent little notes to people. I went to the temple every week. (Plus working two jobs and trying to get my husband's business up and making money.) I was TRYING, and it wasn't working.

My husband was physically and emotionally abusive. Again, I thought it was a problem with me. I had talked to the bishop in our previous ward and told him about an incident where DH threw me into the wall. He gave me a book on communication in marriage. I felt like what he was saying was that if I just communicated better, then DH wouldn't have to hit me.

Bishop J seemed to take notice of me. He was very kind. He often asked me how I was doing. One night, after a violent fight with DH, I ran out of the house. I sat in the church parking lot, and called Bishop J's home. I think I hung up right after he answered... I SHOULDN'T talk about these things. But that phone call made him take more notice.

In August, we went to a ward campout. I, being obsessed with food and exercise, decided to walk up the mountain. Bishop J (BJ, cause I'm tired of writing it out) repeatedly asked DH why I would do that. It just didn't sit right with him, but he couldn't explain it.

He called me in to his office. I was afraid of him, so I brought DH with me. Every question BJ asked me, DH answered. I (apparently) sat there with my head down, pinching my own arms until I left marks, and he was VERY concerned. He finally got me to trust him enough to sit with him alone.

He asked a lot of questions that I didn't answer. I was TERRIFIED. He gave me his cell phone number and told me to call him anytime. One day, I took him up on the offer. I picked up the phone and asked him what he knew about eating disorders. Nothing. I told him that I had HAD an eating disorder when I was younger, thought I was recovered, but over the past few months have been really struggling. I told him that starving myself was an addiction, even if it didn't make sense.

He helped me find a therapist and a dietitian. Eventually, I told him about the physical abuse. I told him that my ex-husband had forced me to have sex. (BJ's the first one that ever used the word rape.) I told him about the EQ President that had assaulted me, but I couldn't remember what happened. I told him about the way my dad had treated his kids, and how I always believed I was worth less just because I was a girl. He is the first person I EVER opened up to...

BJ helped me get into treatment for the eating disorder. He helped arrange for the church to pay for my entire 90 day stay at one of the top places in the country. He came to visit me every week while I was there.

He also talked to me. He shared that he had been abused as a boy. I was the first person he ever shared the details of his molestation. I watched and wondered about why his wife NEVER came to church with him. (It was a student ward.) When she came to activities, I didn't like the way she treated people. It wasn't BAD, but I was very uncomfortable. (At the time, I interpreted that to mean there was something wrong with me. Bishop's wife = good. Jen = bad. Uncomfortable with bishop's wife = Jen's bad.) I asked him questions.He shared his frustration and loneliness. I listened.

After I got out of CFC, he started taking me horseback riding. He knew it went against what the Brethren said to do, and he both wanted to help me and wanted to spend time with me. (His words, not mine.) I LOVED riding. I LOVE horses. They brought healing in amazing ways. I enjoyed spending time with him. I felt loved in a way I had never known before.

DH was jealous, but also grateful. He didn't know how to deal with me. After I came back from CFC, panic attacks, nightmares, night terrors, flashbacks were WORSE. My eating was better, which made all of the pain I was trying to avoid very STRONG. DH would get really angry with me, yell and scream and say horrible things. (He stopped the physical violence when I went in to CFC in Feb 2008.) After he would yell, and I would leave, DH would call BJ and tell him what he'd done.

BJ would call me, and we'd talk. A few times, he would come and pick me up and we'd go to his house. He would repeatedly tell me that what DH was saying was abuse, and I didn't have to take that. In BJ's home, I heard his wife talk to him and say almost word for word the same bullshit DH had said to me just hours earlier. I was confused and angry.

The feeling that kept ruling me was, "Stop loving me! I can't keep going back and forth between the two worlds! Its making me crazy!!!" When I shared that feeling with him, he started to cry, and said, "I understand that feeling." I thought if I just got rid of HIM and that feeling of love, I could LIKE my marriage. But at the same time, once I knew that love, I couldn't go back... I couldn't pretend like I enjoyed the relationships I had known before.

In January 2009, he was released as bishop. I figured that would mean I wouldn't see him so much any more. My new bishop actually counseled me against that. He told me to keep in contact, because I still needed that friendship. BJ asked me to come work for him. I was unaware that the student stake Stake President told him not to have any contact with anyone from the ward.

BJ opened up to me more about the problems in his marriage. He shared with me that he planned on leaving her as soon as his kids were grown, which was very soon. I suggested therapy and marriage counseling. He went, and she refused.

My therapy was growing more intense, I was writing letters to former abusers. I was still dealing with nightmares and night terrors EVERY night. I was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (think Multiple Personalities, but its not really like what you see on TV. Its more like a broken mirror. The fragments are all still basically the same, but they're not connected. Different emotions and memories took over as personalities. Jenni, the seven-year-old girl, talked about what it was like to go to her baptism interview. I couldn't remember those things, but she did.) My therapist decided I was not safe in the home with DH. He talked to my new bishop and BJ. I went and stayed in the BJ's home.

I thought it would be for a few nights. A week tops. While I pulled myself together. I got crazier. BJ was scared for my life. I believe I would have found some way to work it out, but BJ wasn't willing to let me. He became very unhealthy in his quest to keep me alive and to prove to me (and apparently to his wife) that I COULD and WOULD get better.

I continued to watch the way she treated him. And the way he treated himself. I BEGGED him to take care of himself, love himself, stop being a slave to what everyone else wanted. I thought she would love him enough to change. I thought if he stood up for himself, she would apologize and be different. She got more angry and more controlling (in my opinion). I thought maybe it was my fault...

I learned how to face my flashbacks. I learned how to make myself feel safe. I learned how to confront old memories and old beliefs and change them in my own mind. I made amazing progress. I am REALLY grateful I had someone who cared about me as much as he did. He sat with me at nights. He held my hand while my body went through being raped over and over and over again. I knew I was a great burden on him, and I often thought about taking my own life just so he wouldn't be burdened.

In April, I started looking for apartments. I couldn't go back to DH's home, because being around him made me worse. I also felt like I was safe enough that I would be okay in an apartment of my own. Bishop C (my new bishop) said he'd help pay the second rent for a few months.

Bishop C's attitude was that he was going to find a real slummer, so that I would have a reason to go back to DH. He didn't want to break up my marriage. I was very picky about where I was going to go. I HAD to feel safe. It couldn't be in a place where the guy upstairs creeped me out. Our differing opinions made it harder to find a place, but he found one at the end of May.

I "moved in" June 1st. (By moving in, I mean I slept there, but I refused to take anything but a change of clothes with me. I didn't want to get too comfortable, because I needed to go back to my husband.)

BJ told me he needed space from me. At first, I was confused. And angry. I didn't understand why he would tell me he couldn't talk to me NOW. I was getting better. He explained that he felt personally responsible for whether I lived or died, and he didn't want that responsibility anymore. He needed time to figure himself out. I realized that I wanted him to stand up for himself, and if that meant standing up to me, I was happy! It actually felt good to me to SEE someone do what they needed even if they were scared, or thought it was wrong, or felt bad, or guilty, or... Over the next month, I didn't talk to him or see him... Although I continued running his business while he was at his daughter's wedding and Scout camp.

In July, he invited me to go horseback riding. We talked about healthy relationships. I told him that if I was going to live or die based on what HE did, do us both the favor and let me die. I didn't want to live like that, and I didn't want him to live like that.

He bought the books, Codependent No More, and Too Nice for Your Own Good, and No More Mister Nice Guy. He continued going to therapy. She hated the books he was reading. I think she felt threatened by them. The two of us spent a lot of time talking about and defining healthy relationships, discussing the things he was reading.

I kept going to therapy. Working my ass off. BJ was still a huge support, but our relationship changed. We became good, close friends. Intimate, but not physically. We could talk about anything and everything. We had AWESOME discussions about everything. The most valuable to me were about the church. All of the doubts and questions he had, he shared with me. All of my pain surrounding the church, I could talk about. We got really angry together! Sometimes we'd disagree, but I was never afraid of him. He loved that I was willing to talk about everything.

In November, he told his wife that he was going to leave if she didn't go to therapy with him. She didn't go. She used a lot of excuses, and he has said maybe he could have begged more, but for whatever reason, it never happened.

In January 2010, my therapist (He's LDS.) started wondering and worrying about if BJ and I were growing close enough that we might have an affair. His exact words were, "You know how these things can happen." I cried. I DIDN'T know how normal people have normal sex because they WANT it. I had NEVER known that.

I had been raped. I had laid there while my DH got the job done. I had dated DH for two years and we'd never "slipped up" once. I felt no attraction to BJ, and in fact the idea freaked me out. I had always felt safe with him, but... if THAT could happen. I lost my shit for a while.

And then my therapist, said, "I just don't think you could handle a church disciplinary council at this point in your life." I didn't want to have sex, but I realized, I wanted OUT of the church. At that point, I seriously considered having my name removed from the records. If I wanted OUT so bad, that was the way to be honest with myself.

Around this same time, his wife asked him if he was still worthy to have a temple recommend. He said, "Yes. But I wish I had had an affair, then you would let me go." At that point, she told him she could forgive him for having an affair, but NEVER for leaving the church.

Within a few weeks, he'd moved out. A month later, he quit going to church.

I came to a place where I realized that I didn't want to be married. I didn't want to be in the church. Maybe because he had been violent, and although he had changed that, I couldn't get past it. Maybe because I couldn't IMAGINE becoming comfortable with sex. Maybe because I didn't want children, and he REALLY did. Maybe because I had never been single, and I wanted time to explore who I was. Maybe because of lots of things... I decided to get divorced.

By finally making that decision, DH and I actually became friends. We like each other now. We talk more openly than we ever have, and... we just can't be married.

After BJ moved out, THEN his wife decided she'd go to counseling. By that time, he was done. He had no interest in ever going back. However, he saw the power in trying to heal. He tried to talk to her about her emotional abuse. He tried to talk to her about how he felt like he had to do everything for everyone. He tried to talk to her about how he felt like a slave. He tried to talk to her about his doubts and questions concerning the church.

She went to the bishop. They actually went and met with him together. The bishop listened to BJ talk about emotional abuse, and the feelings he had about wanting to leave the marriage for twenty-something years. The bishop told BJ, he had sinned. He told him that if he just repented and returned to fully serving like he knew he should, then their marriage would be saved. And then the bishop turned to her, and told her that her marriage was in danger unless BJ stopped spending time with me.

BJ was both hurt and angry. What he heard was that it was fine that he was being abused, and he didn't want to give up our friendship. She had justification. She REALLY started blaming me. He was fine until he met me. He loved the church, until he met me. He's codependent and I'm controlling. He's abusive (by not doing EVERYTHING she asks... the word No is abusive to her. But its okay for her to say...) Sorry... I don't like the way she treats him.

He's continued to read about abusive relationships. She's followed the book very nicely. It's almost like she read how to be a really good abuser.

In November, he decided to move himself and his business to Nephi. To get away from her. (She was driving by his house several times a day. She would drop by unannounced. He felt like he HAD to get away from her, and the environment.) He also felt very sad at all that he was giving up to be true to himself... His therapist told him people would respect him if he was honest about his beliefs about the church. His kids and his other friends have not shown much respect. He wanted to get away from the constant reminder of what he could have if he just went back to lying about his feelings about the church, and could just "take" all of the abuse.

I work for him. We are close friends. I live in his basement. I pay rent out of the paycheck he writes me.

She's recently decided that I am faking my divorce, faking everything, so that I can get to him... I'm not sure what the benefit to me is to do that, but she believes it. She talked to her Stake President, and he discovered how much money the church has given me. He says he didn't do it as a Stake President, so it would be okay to share, and I am SO in the wrong, and she has a right to know...

I don't think he has a right to tell her anything... And I also think there are things she needs to know. BJ has tried to talk to her. I have offered to talk to her... back when I believed that she could and would change, I wanted to help. I have no desire to talk to her now, except sometimes I want to say, "Please. Stop being so abusive and manipulative. You keep emailing, texting, and opening your mouth to others, and you keep PROVING to me that you are a bitch. So, just shut the fuck up." I don't think that would be very helpful OR very effective, so... I probably won't try to talk to her any time soon.

My marriage is over. His marriage is over. And I have no regrets...
If I had done things differently, or made different choices, would he still be there? Maybe. Are there two sides to every story? Yes. And I only know what I know. I didn't want to hurt anyone. I still don't. I might regret the consequences, but I don't regret my motivation.

If that makes me evil, I guess I've decided I'd rather be evil.
(And I don't really believe that I am evil...)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I didn't deserve it

Johnny's been on my mind a lot this past week.
I was eighteen. Just out of eating disorder treatment (the first time), trying to figure out who I was. And hurting, but I didn't understand that back then.

He was the Elder's Quorum President and my home teacher. He was the kind of guy I thought my parents would like me to date. Although I knew I was in no place to get married, I also knew that was the next step. The only way for a girl to progress...

I wasn't really interested in him, but I wanted to progress. He was nice. He brought scriptures over all the time. He was desperately trying to reactivate me. Teaching me lessons. Discussing the gospel. We also went on several dates.

That night, I was wearing a t-shirt and overalls. We were sitting in the car. He reached his arm around my lower back and put his hand under the overalls and touched my stomach. I was gone.

If you've never dissociated, this will sound so strange. I have no memory of what happened next, but still... I have nightmares of what happened. I CAN'T tell you for sure. Which makes me feel crazy. I could talk about it back then.

I told the bishop. I felt horribly guilty for him touching me and for all that happened. He listened enough to tell me that I had done nothing wrong. There was no sin on my part. I remember him also talking about forgiveness and love.

I told my friend Shawn some things. He told me to love him and forgive him. He told me about all of the nice things that Johnny did for their Elder's Quorum.

My roommates were frustrated with me that I wouldn't listen to the home teacher anymore.

My (non-member) friend, Matt, asked where Johnny lived, so he could kill him.

Matt's response scared me, but as I think back on it, it felt REALLY good to have someone validate my hurt and my anger. If the bishop knew enough to know I did nothing wrong, why didn't he suggest I call the police?? Why didn't he suggest counseling? Why didn't he DO anything with Johnny?? He was also Johnny's bishop... Why didn't he at least release him??

I have often talked about Johnny as the catalyst to get me back to church. I directly blamed MYSELF for what happened. If I had been a "good" girl, that never would have happened. I became BEYOND obsessed with being good. Church. Service. Callings. Read the scriptures. Do what everyone told me to do, so I wouldn't deserve to be hurt.

I don't know how to say this strongly enough... I BELIEVED I DESERVED WHAT HE DID, BECAUSE I WASN'T GOING TO CHURCH. I deserved what he did, because I wasn't good. I had an eating disorder. I was bad (although I haven't really come up with WHY I was bad, I just knew I was bad).

That belief has motivated me for a long time.
It motivated me after Larry left too.

Its different now. I don't believe that anymore.
I don't want anyone to believe anything like that.

It doesn't matter who you are, what you've done, what you haven't done, what you think, what you feel, what you want or don't want, you don't deserve to be hurt.
You are beautiful.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Horribly painful, life-altering, and still perfect.

I've spent a lot of time thinking, and discussing, and intellectualizing things. I wrote about it in my last post... I feel like I got out of touch with a very crucial part of myself.

Tonight, I came across Duck's blog entry, "Does God...?" and read her thoughts about God after her abuse.

She echoed my feelings.
"Except that God gave me the VERY things I needed to survive what THEY did to me. He sent gifts to me that helped me survive what happened to me and to others. In His mercy, He helped me survive."
I have been amazed at the Love I have felt even when I couldn't find love around me. It is miraculous how I have sorted out different memories and flashbacks. The understanding I have found.

When I started therapy with Paul, he told me it was his job to tell me what to do. I told him I didn't need that... I had a relationship with God... I needed Paul's help to do what I knew I needed to. Paul asked why he had never felt things like I did. I came to the conclusion that Paul didn't need the spiritual connection that I needed. I wouldn't have survived any other way.

BJ has said he has never seen such perfect and miraculous answers to prayers as he has with me. (He also said he had never seen anyone in as much pain...)

As I read Duck's writing... I thought back to that really strong, spiritual, slightly crazy sounding person. I miss her. It was easy for me to accept that God was there and working it all out in my own life... I mean, I I could SEE His hand everywhere around me. Although my life is anything but perfect, still... I could see His hand perfectly. I understood that even if I didn't survive, I was His.

I started working through my own pain, and started listening to others' painful stories. As I really listened, I couldn't SEE God like I could in my own life... and I didn't know how to make sense of it anymore. I got angry. I AM angry.

Where was He? Why didn't he protect my friend? When she was only six and needed a mom, why didn't He send her someone who could actually love her rather than someone to hurt her? WHY? If He could send me a friend like BJ, why didn't he send someone like that to her? And why did it take so long for ME to find the help? And where was He for all of my other friends? And...? So many questions that I didn't have answers for... and I HATE the common rhetoric of, "We don't know, and will never know in this life. We just have to accept it on faith."

Somehow, I still believe God's hand is in everything around me. Did He personally go through the nightmares, the night terrors, facing the flashbacks? No.
Did He guide me on my journey? Did He show me how to help myself? Did He give me strength when I had none left? Did He send friends and angels and miracles at the very moment that I needed THAT? YES! YES! YES! YES!

To use Duck's words(because they are awesome and perfect!)
"I am ONLY here today BECAUSE of God. How could I NOT have faith in THAT?"
I can't explain it all. I don't know why I have been so blessed. Its not because I am good, and its not because I am not good. Its not because I am stronger or better or... I can assume that God is taking care of my friends too. Actually, I HAVE seen Him guide that six-year-old. In ways that don't always make sense to the rest of us, I have seen her find strength when she shouldn't have been able to go on. I have seen her make choices that bring her exactly what she needs. I have seen it all working perfectly. And I assume whatever comes next for her will be the same perfect. Horribly painful, life-altering, ass-kicking, AWFUL, not fair, shitty (and these words don't even BEGIN to describe it) and still perfect.

I am what I am

I love this song! How have I gone my whole life and didn't even know it existed:

"I don't need praise - I don't need pity.
I beat my own drum - some think it's noise.
I think it's pretty!"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thinking vs. Feeling

I had an epiphany last night. I'm going to try to put it in words... But, I don't know if I will be able to do it any justice. Here goes:

There are two parts of me: The Thinker and the Feeler.

An example:
The Thinker thinks, "I should call Amanda," but then it also thinks "I should call Lauren, and Steph, and Mellen, and Dann too. And I should get some work done. And I should..." Until I can't even remember that I was going to call Amanda.

The Feeler just calls Amanda.
The Feeler doesn't have to think about things, because I just do them. I don't need to explain anything to anyone - not even myself.

The Thinker is where a lot of my "negative" emotions come from. I think about things, and then get bogged down in shame and guilt and fear. The Thinker has a long list of "shoulds".

The Feeler never feels guilt or shame. The Feeler feels fear, and then moves away from what I am afraid of. In a helpful, productive sort of way. (For instance, I don't like the way that guy is looking at me, so I am not going to walk closer to him. I am definitely not going to put myself in a situation alone with him.) The Feeler feels anger, sees it for what it is: a sign that something needs to change, and I make changes.

The Feeler makes very good decisions.
The Thinker can't make a decision. I get so caught up in thinking about what everyone else is going to think, or what I should do, or what is right, or best, or... I get paralyzed in my own thoughts.
The Feeler just does what is best. Its AMAZING how easily life moves when I am in that place.

The Thinker thinks through every possible consequence of every possible thing I could say, and then usually doesn't say anything because its ALL bad.
The Feeler says things that I didn't even know I knew. I learn a lot from myself when I am in this place. I am very wise. The Feeler is very honest, but isn't disrespectful or hurtful. The Feeler doesn't offer advice... just shares. Seriously. Sometimes feel amazed at the things that come out of my own mouth.

The Thinker has huge expectations of what I should have. What I should do. The goals I have to achieve.
The Feeler doesn't. The Feeler is very present in this moment, and loves this moment. And understands that great things ARE happening without trying to make anything happen.

The Thinker hears thing and BELIEVES them. No matter who says it or where it comes from, the Thinker knows its true. And tries to live by whatever it was that was said.

The Feeler hears things, wonders about them, and chooses what works best for me. And if new information contradicts the old, the Feeler doesn't need to justify either one. It can ALL be true, and I'll just do my best to live true.

I've been caught up in Thinking. I much prefer to be Feeling.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Eating Disorder Update

BJ recently pointed out that I haven't written or even talked about eating disorder stuff much lately. If at all. He asked how I thought I was doing. His direct question was, "Do you think you are completely recovered?"

The answer to that is... maybe.

Its been almost three years since I went for inpatient treatment at CFC. When I went, I believed I could conquer the eating stuff on my own... I had done that before. (For eleven years, I white-knuckled recovery. Forcing myself to eat, because that's what I was supposed to do. There is a part of eating disorder recovery that has to be just white knuckle. You DO what you have to do, because if you don't, you die.)

I didn't believe I could really recover without help: SERIOUS help. I had NO IDEA!! When I went, I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted or what was ahead. That came to me later.

I remember one group in particular. The question was something like, "How will you know when you are recovered?" or, "What does recovery look like to you?"

Several people answered that they'd be able to eat a certain food without worrying. Someone talked about the scale. When it was my turn to talk, I heard myself say, "I'll know I'm recovered when I like myself more than I hate myself."

Eating disorders aren't about the food.

That said, I still have thoughts like, "Oh geez, I can't believe I ate pizza and brownies and ice cream and chips and guacamole and enchiladas and movie popcorn and... that's not even half of what I've eaten today. What would people think if they knew what a pig I am?" Those thoughts are fleeting, because immediately I hear, "What would they think? If they know ME, they'd be happy for me. I'm happy for me." (Just in case anyone was wondering, that was yesterday... And that IS a portion of what I ate yesterday.)

My eating disorder was all about hating myself.

Today, I can honestly say that I love myself more than I hate myself. A lot more. I rarely feel hatred towards me anymore. I like me. For reals. I'm not just saying that because I know that's how I'm supposed to feel.

I figure eating disorder thoughts and urges will come back. I figure, they will always act as an early warning system that there's something not quite right. I figure, I'm lucky to have a way to know when I need to change something in my life.

So, am I completely recovered? I'm not sure it even matters anymore.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Let it go

One of the things that people say about anger is to "Let it go."
You have to let the anger go and forgive. Its good advice, but most people don't actually MEAN "let it go". Most people mean, "Repress it, shove it away and don't talk about it."

"Let it go" means I won't be able to control it. "Let it go" means that I let whatever is going to happen, happen. "Let it go" means I stop hanging on to it and actually "let it go".

If I am holding on to a wild tiger. I don't want to let go, because it might hurt me. I'm scared to death. However, once I let it go, it leaves. The tiger doesn't want to hang around - it wants to go home. I could put it in a cage, but then I have to take care that it stays in its cage... If I let it go, I take the chance that it might hurt me...

That's what anger is like. I could put it in a cage, but then I have to work hard to keep it in its cage. It doesn't like its cage. It wants to be free. It doesn't even want to hang around me... So, I let it go.

It lashes out for a moment, until it realizes its free, and it goes away.

So, don't tell me to let it go, unless you actually mean let it go.
And, don't tell me to repress it, because I won't listen anyway...

Friday, January 7, 2011

I ride!

Endurance Granny posted this on her blog. And I loved it, so I'm re-sharing it.

I ride and I become grounded and essential as the bedrock below.
The sun warms my face and the sweet air fills my soul.
I ride and tears waste into tranquility and I am in the moment.
The horse below and the trail ahead become my reality.
I ride and it is the trail that drives me onward.
The smell of sweat and leather is a physical need to fill.
I ride and the time spent with this beautiful creature is all I need.
The view between her ears is a gift of the season and elements.
I ride because of dreams unlived and dreams to come.
He is the magic that will propel me. ~ E.G.

...and this is why I shouldn't be married...

This article was posted by a friend on facebook. I want to share it, because I think she's right on. I want to share it, because as a woman who "needed" men, and was used by those men, I want something different for everyone else.

Single, Female, Mormon, Alone

The time is drawing closer to finalizing the divorce. (I don't know when it will happen... just waiting for the word from the judge.) As it grows closer, I find myself having many, MANY emotions. Sadness. Anxiety. Anger. Sadness again. I might write about those later, but for now, I am going to write about what is most frustrating and frightening.

Although I have not lived as a married woman for almost three years, still I've been married. Marriage was the goal. I'm just a woman. I NEED a man. Priesthood. Provider. Someone to call my name when I die, so I won't be left behind. Eternal Salvation. Highest degree of glory. I am nothing as a single woman.

There is the argument that a woman that doesn't have the chance to marry in this life will have a chance in the next life. But I had the chance, and I threw it away. What will happen to me now?

Marriage is the goal.

That means that when the divorce is finalized, I have to DO something about that. I should date. I should try to find someone to take me back to the temple. (Which, by the way, I DON'T want to do!!) Find someone to complete me.

Maybe I should declare myself a lesbian. Maybe that would be better. Then everyone would be okay with the idea that I would never marry. Hell. Its the recommendation from the prophets. Yet...even then, its been so ingrained in me that I am supposed to have a family, I would feel pressure to find a lesbian partner. And I don't want to do that either.

Dann's excited to get to move on with his life. And I recognize that is what is most fair to him. To ME, I am scared to death.

Who am I if I am not Dann's wife? Who am I if I am not SOMEONE's wife?

I think I'll face these fears, and try just being Jen for a while.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why Do I Like Horses?

Why do I like horses? I think I must be mad.
My mother wasn't horsey - And neither was my dad.
But the madness hit me early - and it hit me like a curse.
And I've never gotten better. In fact I've gotten worse.
I hardly read a paper - but I know who's sold their horse.
And I wouldn't watch the news - Unless Mr. Ed was on, of course.
One eye's always on the heavens - but my washing waves in vain
As I rush to get the horses in - in case it's gonna rain.
I spend up every cent I've got - on horsey stuff for sure
I buy saddles, bridles, fancy boots - and then I buy some more.
I can't sew on a button - I don't even try
But I can back a truck and trailer - in the twinkling of an eye.
It's jeans and boots that I live in night and day
And that smell of sweaty horses just doesn't wash away.
I ache from long forgotten falls. My knees have got no skin.
My toes have gone a funny shape - from being stomped on again and again.
But late at night, when all is still - and I've gone to give them hay,
I touch their velvet softness and my worries float away.
They give a gentle nicker and they nuzzle through my hair
And I know it's where my heart is - more here than anywhere.
~ Author Unknown