Back to Basics

Freedom in doing what I know…

Getting it right means getting back to basics.

The new year is here, my OLW settled upon and I am getting ready to go. It’s time to get back to the basics, what I know works, free from shortcuts, or perceived shortcuts.

Tomorrow I will go to the gym. Me and the 1000 other people who for right now are tired of how they’re feeling right now. I hope we all make it to our finish line, the end of 2023 and the goals we want to reach.

For me, it’s losing 50 pounds. Mathematically, it presents like a slam dunk. After all, it’s only one pound a week…

Just. One.

But what it is going to require of me is Belief, (OLW 2022), Rise (OLW 2021), Possibility (OLW 2020), and Consistency (OLW 2019). It is going to take the things I’ve been working on over the past four years to get me to Freedom (OLW 2023).

Belief and consistency are what I will lean on to get me there. This journey, the one starting tomorrow… will take belief I can and consistency I will.

This is what I love about the concept of One Little Word, it’s not a resolution, it’s an ever changing, ever moving, ever evolving target in the concept of being 1% better than I was yesterday.

The. Plan.

I am going back to 2002, when I successfully, very successful participated in the Body For Life Challenge. And I am going back to that.

I will take my before photos, and photos every four weeks to document my progress. I’m not looking forward to the starting photos. Not at all.

But.

They’re necessary. There is freedom in being honest about where I am right now, telling you about it, telling me about it. What I remember is seeing the change slight at first, and then more dramatic as I moved along. I want that. At the end of my journey I posed for black and white nudes… they still hang in my bedroom and I am still today proud of the work it took to get to the place to pose for those photographs. I am free to pursue them, and I will.

I want to be able to run again.

In 2012 I ran the Rock N Roll half marathon… one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I look at the medal and am proud of the work it took to get there, the relentless mornings of running… jog nine, walk one, jog nine, walk one… repeat. I am free to pursue that. And while I am not sure I have the desire for a half marathon, I know I have the desire for 5k after 5k…

These images are the target.

So. Get. Ready.

Get. Set.

And freely choose to do tomorrow differently.

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One Little Word… 2023

What does freedom mean to you?

We’ve made it.

NYE 2023. I am spending the evening with two very important men in my life.

Tod Christopher.

And Ken. I am rather sure I’ll have much more to say about both of these men in my life as the days wind on in the next 525,600 minutes.

And it’s time to unveil my OLW (One Little Word) for 2023.

I spent last year looking at what it means and what it takes to BELIEVE in something, everything, and nothing, sometimes all at once.

2023…

Freedom.

What does it mean to have and participate in freedom?

The freedom to chose something, to chose nothing, to chose EVERYTYHING.

The freedom that comes with becoming debt free. The freedom to decide to love again. The freedom in knowing I’ve done the work it takes to be right here right now.

The freedom to participate in the politics in my community. The freedom to participate in politics nationally as we lean into 2024.

I think the thing about freedom is we all have our own unique idea of what it means to be free. Freedom to immigrants in seeking refuge in a country that remains the most sought after nation on the planet to live in.

Freedom to work remotely for those who’ve come out of a global pandemic and new found flexibility to share time with work, and family, and looking at making the workday look just a little bit different.

Freedom to become debt free and be unencumbered by financial burden.

Freedom to chose to buy a home, or not.

Freedom to marry, or not.

Freedom to design your life in just the way you’ve always hoped it would be.

I am looking to free myself from debt this year, free myself from unhealthy habits I manage to fall into time and time again with diet and exercise. Freedom to excel in my career, freedom to participate in community service and volunteering that brings my heart joy.

And…

Yes.

The freedom to choose to love again.

I’m looking forward to the next year, and how I’ll be shaped in it and by it and I’m looking forward to sharing what I learn in freely sharing what the new year brings.

1 Corinthians 6:12

12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

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365 Days with Believe….

A look back at an extraordinary year.

It’s hard to believe nearly 365 days have passed since I unveiled my OLW (One Little Word) for 2022.

It’s harder yet to believe all of the things that happened, I witnessed or was a part of in these same 365 days. So, before I unveil my OLW for 2023, I thought I would take a look back at how 2022 shaped me, and how it helped me to arrive at OLW 2023.

A. Very. Messy. Break-Up.

Not for him, but for me. The “Great Break-Up of 2022” shook me to my core. It was followed by 90 ish of the most painful days I’ve experienced. Snot-filled cries, no appetite, no perceived ability to carry on.

A trip to Kauai that “should have been” but became something so much more. Thank you, Amy, and Sheritta, for that support when I needed it most.

She bought a house.

Strike that.

She bought HER HOME.

And packed up all I own in a U-haul and moved to Arizona, where all I knew literally no one. Because in my head, he’s nobody. What I found in doing this is I am resilient, persistent, and have the ability to create my space, my refuge, my sanctuary.

Some truth here…

It’s not perfect. I am still waiting on my glorious BeSpoke Samsung Clemintine Orange refrigerator that to turn a “Lebowski” will really tie the room together. But I’ve come too far and have decided this is a place where I will not settle. Why should I? I don’t believe I will.

Garage door openers are better late than never, cabinet door fronts still to be replaced, a master bath shower that still needs to be redone for better than drip water pressure, and my personal favorite, my front doorknob falling to the ground in the first two weeks. But I met my neighbors and after another snot filled cry to Amy, I called my neighbors Christine and Darryl, and my doorknob has never been better. What I learned is I am thankful for neighbors and for my ability to seek out help, and friends. Oh… thanks again Amy. I never know what I’d do without you.

Keri and Cancer.

Before my move in September, my sister Keri was diagnosed with breast cancer. Padgett’s disease. It’s rare. So, our family traveled to Illinois to be with Keri through the mastectomy of her left breast. It wasn’t pretty, there are moments in the trip that my behavior was less than stellar. Really. Less. Than. But of course, there were moments I wouldn’t change for anything. For being with my sister Keri and Jennifer in the moments before surgery. For being there when she woke up, for the many breakfasts with Dad, Vito, and Jennifer. For dinner with Dave and Shelly. Not to mention, an impromptu trip to Chicago with Jennifer in search of Al Capone’s grave marker and Chicago home. Both were found. I am happy to report Keri’s surgery was successful and required no radiation or chemo and she’ll have a follow up visit with the oncologist in March. In this time, I learned my family is my family, and we certainly have good days, and we have some not so good ones too, but in all of them, we’re still family. I believe in the power of MY family.

Girl. Friends.

2022 helped me to believe in the absolute value of my girlfriends. My gang. My Tribe. The women who are in my life for the good, the bad, the ugly. Veronica, who’s made a couple of trips to visit me here, filling some lonely times, and helping me believe I can do the hard things. The get togethers with my gal pals on my travels back to Colorado. Amy, Sheritta, Jaymee, Betty, Veronica, Jessica, Kelsi, Jenn, Jacki, Susan, Vicky, Dani, whether we connected or not, and most of us did, I was and remain so grateful for a group of women that just simply kick ass.

Holidays.

So, there’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, and of all of the things in this year, these are/were the ones I had/have the most anxiety around. My best laid plans for Thanksgiving planning for every single moment, at times seemed brilliant and then in other moments seemed laughable at best. Tod and I spent Thanksgiving alone, together. We made a little turkey, dressing and potatoes. We watched It’s A Wonderful Life and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I took some much-needed walks and cried some much-needed tears. I called Jaymee for a much-needed intervention in a moment of weakness. Thank you for that Jaymee, you’ll never know just how important those 10 minutes in the car were for me. I put up the Christmas tree.

Christmas. I cashed in all of my United miles to bring Daniel to Arizona for the holiday. It was my gift to myself. His flight was delayed and delayed and delayed and cancelled. Snot-filled crying ensued. Flight rescheduled and I got to spend an amazing weekend with my son. My young man. The human in this world I couldn’t be prouder of for all of his perfect imperfections. Daniel, remember, life is to be taken one moment at a time. Not you nor I created the challenges we need to work through in one day and it’s safe to say we won’t fix them in one either. So, let’s slow down, breathe, focus, and do something 1% better than we did yesterday, and I bet we find ourselves in a better place this time next year.

New Year’s Eve/Day.

As I am finishing this blog, I am also preparing for a quick little road trip to Las Vegas. I am traveling with the new man in my life Ken. He’s kind, sweet, smart, very much the gentleman, and unconventionally handsome. He’s a Raider’s fan… Not quite sure how that happens, but it does. I’m looking forward to our time together there and I believe it’s just what we need to wind down the year. Time to practice being a human BEING, rather than a human DOING. It’s a quick four-hour ish drive to Vegas, and we’ll be going to the World-Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, The Mob Museum and maybe some other little fun this and that’s. I know we have a beautiful dinner planned and I hear rumors of barbeque. We’ll come home on Friday and spend New Year’s Eve Saturday in the most low-key way we can. On. The. Couch.

Turning the page to 2023.

In wishing 2022 goodbye, I resist the urge to wish it good riddance. I needed all of these things, all of them, the ups and downs, the goods and bads to arrive here. I will be posting 2023s OLW on January 1,2023, and hope you’ll consider what your One Little Word might be.

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When Starting To Believe Happens…

Pinch me now…

It’s been almost one month.

Since closing.

Since moving.

Everyday Buckeye feels more like home, more normal, more mine. Believing becomes easier every single day. I think back to what is about eight months ago and thought I couldn’t possible go on. I remember snot filled cries, the inability to eat, function, breathe and it now feels like it’s so far in the rearview mirror that it almost never happened.

When I think back to that time, and the tears cried and the doubt and the fear and the shot to my ego and to my heart and the self-doubt…

They ALL served a purpose.

I found a woman that I relate to. A woman I respect. That woman y’all… is ME.

I’ve moved forward with buying my home, MY HOME. By myself, no safety net needed, because in the midst of the shit storm, I found myself. I found the girl I know, knew, hoped I’d be.

I found a woman that BELIEVES in what is possible, all on her own. I had to fight for it. I had to cry for it. I had to pray about it… and then pray some more. I had to find the will to do what didn’t feel comfortable, and if I am being honest, sometimes didn’t feel right nor natural.

Make. No. Mistake.

This was not done alone. And the obstacles and challenges during this, these last eight months were sometimes more than I ever imagined. Keri and cancer. Fear of closing. Fear of NOT closing. Fear of packing everything. Fear of unpacking everything. Fear of driving across Colorado with Tod Christopher, into New Mexico, and finally HOME.

Daniel.

What a gift to be your mom. It’s not always easy, for either of us, but I want you to know every single day, every one, I am proud of the man you are. The measure of a man is not his monetary success or station in life. His success can only be measured in the kind of man, the kind of human he chooses to be. You are resilient, you keep getting up, when the knock downs are self-imposed, and when they’re not. You consistently show up, and you’re consistently a good man and a better hu-MAN. I am proud of you and I love you. And I always will.

Amy.

For every neurotic tirade and ugly crying episode, thank you for consistently and constantly showing up in only the way a best friend can, thank you. I owe you endless gratitude.

David.

For being my perfect companion for this move, the tickets seem like not enough to show you my gratitude. I could not have felt safer, felt calmer, or more able to do this without you.

Keri.

The gift of being your sister is more than I ever deserved. Wildly. I am so grateful your surgery was successful, and Jennifer and I were able to be there for you, when you needed us most. Thank you for that.

Jennifer.

Thank you for just being you. For bringing your family to visit me, for the daily calls, for the working it out sessions, for being the sister that tells me truth, tells me lies when necessary, and for being one of those forever friends I’ve always needed.

Dad and Carolyn.

When I think of all of the heavy lifting you did just after the break-up. When I think about the hours you’ve given to me to hear me, to be the parents that were perfect for the time and place. Thank you. Dad… you are an amazing travel companion, and I know where my love of presidential “stuff” comes from… thank you for that, I am surprised that’s hereditary, and then again, I’m not.

My brothers. Vito. John. David.

Thank you so much for just being brothers. Vito, for understanding the nature of being “first” in a sibling set. It brought me more comfort than you’ll realize when we needed to be there for Keri, knowing I have a sibling who understands the amazing responsibility in being “first.”

John… our path is never easy. Ever. But I am grateful for all of the bumps and bruises along the way, because it shows me we can always recover, if we simply choose to. I am thankful and glad we’ve made the choice. Haboobs. Are. Cool.

David. Your faith. I know I can always count on your faith, your prayers and you understand me in just a way that is different from the rest. When I think of the hours we’ve worked together the hours we’ve spent together as professionals and as siblings, I’m so grateful for you. For every prayer you’ve sent up for me, and for everyone I am able to return. Thank you.

Mom.

We’re in a place right now that is uncomfortable for me. I don’t like it, and often, I don’t know what to do with it or about it. I have every confidence time will fix what needs to be fixed, at least I hope it does. It’s hard, and there are things to unpack that simply aren’t able to in this moment. But. you remain my mother, and for that, I am grateful.

This is my family.

These people and countless more. I am blessed and blessed again to have such an amazing tribe of people, all who show up right on time, EVERYTIME. I am grateful beyond measure for every little touch and experience you’ve added and will add to the experience that is my life. There is never enough I can say or do to express the gratitude I feel. All. Of. The. Time.

But I believe…

I will start with a simple.

I LoVe YoU.

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It’s Okay To Be Afraid…

It’s not okay to give in.

When things happen to me, as I am sure with most, it’s never one little easy controllable thing at a time, but more often, a barrage of shit being hurled at you at break neck speed.

This entry is coming to you live from Danville, IL. We’re (most of us anyway) are here to support my sister as we’re preparing for her mastectomy on Tuesday. It’s a lot of people, a lot of personalities, and a lot of stressors. And I am quite sure we’re all afraid on some level of something.

For. Me.

It’s what’s going on with Keri. I don’t know, nor can I pretend to understand what she’s going through. It’s one thing to lose a tooth… it’s a whole other to lose your breast. And I can’t imagine for one millisecond how scary that must be. Followed by radiation, and in between, a million opinions (mine included) on how things are or should be or what we’ve heard by whom.

None. Of. It. Matters.

Keri, you are looking this monster right in the face. You have support for sure, but the fight is yours. And I want you to know Keri, that it’s okay to be afraid. I would think there’s something wrong with you if you told us any different. You don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to be brave. You don’t have to be anything more than what you are, right now, right in this moment.

Be. It.

Be whatever it is that you need to be in this moment. The only way, my sweet sweet sister to get through it, is to go through it. One step at a time. Some days, those steps will be so afraid that you don’t think you can move. Some days, they’ll be charging full force into the next part of the battle, and some days, they’re likely to be exhausted steps, completely tired. Some days, you’ll want to give up. Some days you won’t. Some days you’ll curse God. Some days, I hope you’ll thank God. I hope you thank him more than the days you curse Him.

Never. Forget.

Jennifer and I are here for you always. It doesn’t matter how many miles will ultimately separate us as we return home, Jennifer to California, me to Arizona, by way of Denver. We are your sisters. We are your first friends, your best friend. We are your girl gang. And we have your back.

Unconditionally.

So when you need to cry, CALL US. When you need to laugh, CALL US. When you need to scream, CALL US. When you just need to talk it out, CALL US.

Remember that God has equipped you to get through this battle, this one right in front of you, and there’s nothing He’ll put in front of you that you can’t handle.

https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/1%20Corinthians%2010%3A13

Give it a read. Keep praying. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Remembering always, that we’ll walk with you for Every. Single. Step.

I love you Keri.

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Between Journeys and Burdens…

The Power In Taking One Day At A Time…

This is my last night in Phoenix… Before I am a permanent resident of the state of Arizona. It’s been and incredible journey. And… for the record, I hate the word “journey” right now. The last year has been full of burden.

In November “we” started building the house. It was the next step when the relationship is moving in a way that you don’t want to be with anyone else, anywhere else, anytime else. And so it went.

February.

We all know what happened and we all know that the following 90 days were some of the most burdened on the journey of 2022. Buy the house, don’t buy the house. Can you move…? Can you do it alone? Do you even want to?

I kept going.

One sometimes very painful step at a time.

We waited on framing. We waited on sheetrock.

We waited and waited and waited for cabinets. And they finally came, and it started a whole new cycle of worry and angst. Anxiety, distress, and worry. More heartache.

So much change.

In the midst of all of this, my sister has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She talks a lot about the journey and feeling like a burden. I think that’s something I’ve been struggling with. It’s hard to consider and wrap my head around a cancer treatment plan as a journey. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around anything unpleasant being considered a journey. Kauai is a journey… Maui a journey… NYC a journey. Heartbreak, not so much. Cancer, definitely not.

Keri worries about being a burden. She’s the good sister, the one with the kind heart, the always helper, the one you count on, the one who always cares. Genuinely. Cares. She’s not a burden. But ya know what? Cancer is a burden. It’s a shitty awful scary burden. The way that having no control over what happens next is a burden.

But…

We go on. It’s what we do. It’s the Italian in us. It’s the stubborn in us. It’s the we just don’t know any different in us.

So in between the burden and journey, in between the heartache and treatment plans we look for and hope to find the good days, the happy moments, the little sparkles, the evidence of better things to come, and memories of better times we’ve had and better times we’ll have and knowing we wouldn’t know them and wouldn’t recognize them if not for the burdens and journeys that all happened along the way.

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To My Sister…The One With The Biggest Heart.

#FightLikeAGirl

I am one of 6 children in my sibling set.

Three boys, followed by three girls. It looks like this:

Vito — he’s the oldest

John — the “middle” child in the boys

David — the “baby” in the boys

Me.

Carolyn — the “middle” child in the girls

Jennifer — the “baby” period.

Our parents divorced when we were all very young. Vito lived with my mother and “the girls” and John and David spent most of the time living with my Dad and stepmother Carolyn. Growing up and I am not sure where it came from other than necessity, that Vito was the caregiver, and when he moved out, the role fell to me. If I am being honest, and I try to be, there are many days where I felt, and still feel resentment for having been put in a place to be a “mother” to Keri and Jennifer.

But more days than not. Most days. Like 99% of them I am so grateful for the bond I get to share with my sisters. My first friends, my last friends.

Today I want to talk about Carolyn (Keri).

You see, the unimaginable happened to our family today. To Keri. She’s been diagnosed with Paget’s disease breast cancer. It’s rare. It’s slow. It’s scary.

Keri is the one in our family with the biggest heart. I’m not sure, but, think my siblings would agree, Keri is the biggest heart. She always has. She always will.

She’s seen more heartache and hurt than any one person should ever have to face. She lost her first boy still born in 1996. It was the summer that two of my sisters-in-law and myself were pregnant. The unimaginable. To this day, Keri still celebrates, Taylor Scott, her first born, her baby boy. It’s been an incredibly difficult journey for her. She moved to Danville, IL shortly after to help her then husband care for his bed ridden father, and for years and years, she was Bill’s primary care giver. She’s worked as a CNA, she’s cared for my grandmother in her later life. Keri has a gift for caring for people that amazes me. Lately, she’s been working as a school bus assistant for children in the Danville, IL school system. She thrives with younger children, children with special needs, children that are sometimes overlooked or not considered Keri sees. Every. Single. One.

Keri is married and she and her husband Jerry get along just fine. They are a perfectly suited match to the other. They get each other in the ways most envy. Little collaborators, partners in every sense of the word. Jerry and Keri are just good for each other, though this battle, the one that’s coming, the one that’s already here will test them in ways that are unimaginable.

Mastectomy and radiation.

A mastectomy and radiation are required on her treatment plan. So travel is booked. Vito, Jennifer, Dad, and I arrive on 8/27 and spend some time with Keri before surgery on the 29th. And I can’t imagine it. The fear, the angst, the heartache, the identity, the pain, the recovery, and all of the other things that my sweet sister will be battling in the coming months.

Sweet. Girl.

You are not alone. You never will be. Jennifer and I are your sisters, we’re tied to you, permanently, forever, to be old ladies sitting on a porch remember the days when. And I want you to know I am mad right along with you. I am scared with you. And I will walk this journey every fucking step with YOU. We are our first friends, and we will be our last friends. I love you and I don’t think I tell you that enough. For every good, every bad, every fight along the way… I love you.

So…

Fuck. Cancer.

If baldness comes let it. We’ll call the shots. We will walk step by step by step. We’re Italian, we won’t go down quietly and we certainly don’t go down without a fight, so bring it. We’ll fight.

Fight. Like. A. Girl.

#AnItalianGirl

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Scary Things…

A Girlfriend’s Guide To Getting Through

So there’s things I am struggling with. I tend to believe if I struggle with something, chances are, someone else is too. And I believe the best way to address is is to talk about it. So I am thankful for my blog, it gives me the space to work through the things that scare me, the things that make me sad, the things that give me hope and the things that don’t.

Fear.

I’ve been working on the house since November of last year, and the circumstances around it have changed more than I can literally put in to words. But, I believe the path is the path I am supposed to follow and so I do. I’ve been on hold waiting for cabinets. Nothing more can happen with the house until cabinets are installed. Well, cabinets are arriving next week, and so install will happen and so will a closing date. I am afraid of getting my loan to the finish line, of getting a move scheduled, of moving somewhere all by myself, of knowing maybe a handful of people. I wasn’t happy when the cabinets were in purgatory, and now I find myself unhappy because another step forward is inevitable. Starting all over at almost 49 years old. I never in my life imagined this is where I would be… today.

And yet here I am.

Relationship front.

Catching feelings and having to know when it’s time to reel them in, even when it hurts. But writing on the wall is writing on the wall and someone that isn’t willing to take up the fight isn’t. Right now, he isn’t. Even if I want it to be so, and it’s not some crazy run from the fire thing. It’s a set of unfortunate circumstances that are simply not allowing for forward progress, and I am having to be okay with that too. And… it sucks.

Being alone.

This is the one that’s still beating my ass nearly every fucking day. Part of it is self imposed and part of it not. Part of it is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’d pay big dollars to have a companion on days like today when the couch is the place to be, but being here with my furry friend somehow isn’t quite enough. The next 60 days give or take are hard ones. I am waiting for the move to happen and so there’s constant limbo. I’m not quite here in Colorado and I am not yet in Arizona. So on the dating front, it makes it wholly ineffective. And lonely.

Getting into and out of my head.

What I would pay for the ability to get out of my head when I’ve managed to get into it in depths that fucking scare the outright mess out of me. So I’m going to try. I’m going to start with going to the gym, seeing how I do with that. I’m going to pack a box, or three. Three is what I committed to this weekend, I have to get ready for the move, it’s happening, and I need to be ready. And I need to know how to escape the scary place that’s my head. DBT distress tolerance is great here, it helps me to if nothing else shock myself out of the dark places I go. I’ll go to church tomorrow morning, that always helps, and then there’s the case for putting me first, the on-going ever-having battle of caring for myself first, not more than necessarily, but first above the litany of other people who carve out and occupy space in my heart and head.

The only way to get through…is to go through.

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The New “N” Word…

A Guide to Recognizing and Navigating a Narcissistic Relationship.

The Story of Narcissus from Britannica:

Narcissus, in Greek mythology, the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. He was distinguished for his beauty. According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book III, Narcissus’s mother was told by the blind seer Tiresias that he would have a long life, provided he never recognized himself. However, his rejection of the love of the nymph Echo or (in an earlier version) of the young man Ameinias drew upon him the vengeanceof the gods. He fell in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring and pined away (or killed himself); the flower that bears his name sprang up where he died. 

This myth is what defined the psychologic condition narcissism:

nar·cis·sism

/ˈnärsəˌsizəm/

noun

noun: narcissism

excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance.Similar:vanityself-loveself-admirationself-adulationself-absorptionself-obsessionconceitself-conceitself-centerednessself-regardegotismegoismegocentricityegomaniaOpposite:modestydiffidence

PSYCHOLOGYselfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.

PSYCHOANALYSISself-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.

I knew self absorption was a thing.

I never knew it had a name, and…

I never knew I was a victim of it.

If I am being honest, I learned about narcissists, narcissism (that it was a real thing) when I left my ex-husband in May of 2020. We had been in an eleven year relationship that when it was “great” it was great, but when it was a disaster, well, that would be an understatement. There had to be a reason for the feelings I often, and when I say often mean almost always felt whenever we had a fight, argument, or minor disagreement. I was married to a narcissist.

Here are some consequences of narcissistic abuse (VeryWell Mind)

Anxiety 

Many narcissistic abuse survivors live with anxiety. After experiencing narcissistic abuse, you may experience extreme fear or anxiety in relationships with new people. Those who leave abusive relationships may experience separation anxiety, leading them to feel panicked and disoriented when they’re not with their abusers.

If your symptoms include anxiety attacks, panic attacks, or hypervigilance after being abused by a narcissist, know that these symptoms will ease over time, particularly if you can work through your trauma with a professional.

This has shown up for me in spades with my relationships post-divorce. When I wasn’t with my new partner, I experience literal separation anxiety, one of these relationships was a long distance one, and so add a whole other level of anxiety on top of an already loaded anxiety salad. I know I am not alone, I know there are a million narcissistic abuse survivors that have this same ANXIETY.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Depression 

Many people who have experienced narcissistic abuse also develop depression. Survivors often struggle with feelings of worthlessness after months or years of being told how useless and stupid they are by their abuser. After years of being manipulated and gaslighted, you may also isolate yourself, which can make feelings of depression worse.

I am not sure I experience depression in the “true” sense of the word. I do know I experience highs and lows and I likely experience them probably a little more acutely than another. I know there are a million survivors who are battling DEPRESSION.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Post-Traumatic Stress 

As a narcissistic abuse survivor, you will likely have symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Your brain will be on high alert, looking out for danger. This is because the traumatic events triggered a fight or flight response within you. As a result, anything associated with those memories can trigger an anxiety attack.

After experiencing narcissistic abuse, you may feel the need to be on guard 24/7. Victims of narcissists often mention that they never knew what their abuser was going to do next. You may struggle to relax because of chronic hypervigilance and expecting them (the abuser) to be around every corner.

You may also steer clear of certain situations or things that remind you of the abuse. This can range from avoiding certain places or particular people.

I am confident I don’t suffer PTS in the traditional. But what I will say is I am wired to believe the best, even in my narcissistic abusers to the point that I often mis-interpret “red flags” for circus flags. I know when I feel insecure I find myself stepping gingerly to avoid perceived relationship land mines. I do know there are a million survivors who are always walking on eggshells in the next relationship, and the next, and the next. POST TRAUMATIC STRESS is REAL.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Loss of Sense of Self and Self-Worth 

You may feel as if you have completely lost yourself. Narcissistic abuse is a form of brainwashing, and as such, it can destroy your sense of self-worth. You may no longer feel like the person you were before all this began.

In many cases, those who have experienced narcissistic abuse will struggle to recognize themselves in the mirror because they no longer see their true reflection staring back at them.

You may also have trust issues with other people (especially those closest to you), and constantly find yourself doubting or second-guessing yourself.

You may begin to feel like you are not good enough or that you did something to cause the abuse in the first place. This can lead to shame and embarrassment, which may often stop you from reaching out for help.

You may also have trouble making decisions. You may get confused by simple decisions, or you might feel unable to make any decision at all.

This one… this one here, I own in spades. I live with constant, consistent, loud imposter syndrome. The belief I am not, nor have I ever been “good enough” I have lived a life full of diminished self worth, and rest assured it was created long before my marriage and subsequent divorce. I believe, have believed, will believe I was not good enough yesterday, am not good enough today, and will not be good enough tomorrow. I think it’s why I love Snapchat filters, Facebook filters, lipstick, hair color and ANYTHING else that helps me to believe I am worth it, I am good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough, and whatever ENOUGH we can tag on to this endless list of ENOUGHS. When I divorced from my first husband, I cited a loss of identity, I believe this is because of some other narcissists/narcissitic tendency havers in my world. Loss of Sense of Self and Self-Worth. This one is big, and I really believe this one here has the most catastrophic effects one the survivors of narcissistic abuse. Oh my fellow survivors LOSS OF SENSE OF SELF AND SELF-WORTH is so REAL.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

So that’s it for today.

If you’ve been in a narcissistic relationship, you are not alone. You just aren’t. I know it feels that way. I know sometimes the crazy you feel will take you to the edge.

Don’t let it.

My next few blogs I am going to spend looking at the narcissists in my life, the narcissistic tendencies I have and need to be aware of (we ALL have them). More importantly I am going to share what we can do to recover, and navigate our relationships in the face of the abuse and trauma we’ve experienced, lived through and have survived.

WE ARE NOT ALONE.

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What Keeps Us Up At Night…

My desire for control….

If you know me, or follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, or even here on WordPress through my blogs, you know I have a thing about control and having answers. Not so much in an OCD kinda way, but the I do so much better when I know what’s coming next kind of way. Maybe it’s a touch OCD?

So there are some things that have been keeping me up at night, and I believe they all stem from what I want to, but can not control.

The house.

I started building last November, and here we are and the finish line is not quite in sight, we’re still waiting on cabinets, but it’s creating an entire thought process that keeps me up at night. Changes to my credit report. Where are the cabinets? Do I have a closing date? No… because I have no cabinets. Will I find a fridge and washer/dryer in the face of supply chain drama? The fear of giving notice on my apartment too early. To pack or not to pack. What kind of knobs to buy? Who can help install ceiling fans… and I tell you the list just goes on and on and on. Really.

Work.

I am about six ish months in to my new job as a Regional Account Manager with Trane Technologies. I love love love what I do. Connecting with people and help the find solutions is one of those things that always makes my heart happy. But… the HVAC portion of the industry is new to me. The vertical and customers not really, though my decision makers and influencers is probably a little different. I worry about my performance. Am I doing enough? Am I demonstrating value? Am I learning enough? Can I navigate a clunky process? New boss… that’s a whole different can of worms, particularly when we all work remotely from one and other. Managing expectations. Travel. Quarterly bonus submissions. Trade shows… networking events.

It. Just. Goes. On.

Home. Life. Relationship. (and Tod Christopher)

My best bud and furry friend.

My son continues to navigate the finer dynamics of living on his own, being responsible for his decisions. Having a support system, and sometimes flat out still needing his parents. Or not. A strained relationship with my mother, and while it doesn’t keep me up at night, which might be seen as a problem, is something that always seems to be lurking in the background. Strained relationship with one of my brothers, really for reasons unknown. Again, not a keep me up at night thing… but, white noise in the background that bothers me. My younger sister in IL and her challenges, physically, emotionally, financially. Things I have seriously no control over. And… even if I did?

Tod Christopher. He’s literally my best bud and fury friend. And he’s aging, dramatically so. Losing weight at a pretty alarming rate for a little dog. Sometimes he wanders just mindlessly, like little doggy Alzheimers. He’s having increased issues with incontinence and so that brings an endless cycle of doggy pampers. Is it too early? I’m afraid of waiting for it to be too late. Is it me being a bad dog mom? This does keep me up at night.

Love and relationships.

Sometimes I still reel over the break up with Chet and still play a litany of what its and other various mind games. Even though, and I know, he’s back with his ex-wife, wife, not really sure but I guess wife is right since he never completed his divorce. The what if game if he shows up on my door step in Arizona, though, I know pretty decidedly isn’t likely to happen, and yet, sometimes it rears its ugly head and shows up and interrupts my slumber.

New. Guy. Long distance and somewhat complicated. I fall fast. Does he fall fast? Does he fall? Balancing red flags and circus flags. None of this stuff is easy. None. And there are some rough ish similarities between NG and OG. Do you trust NG or keep the wall up because OG totally smashed a very willing heart in to a million little pieces without blinking an eye? He’s sweet. How do I manage what I want and need in a next relationship with what he wants and needs in a next relationship. None of this shit is easy and it interrupts my sleep and keeps me awake at night. Go public. Don’t go public. Compromise. Expectations. Communication. All keep me up.

And then…

Making peace with the only thing I do have control in — in any of this.

Me.

I can only control my responses. My actions. My personal Liz expectations, not the ones I’d like to impose. Not the ones I’d like to see other people make. The only thing I can control is me and how I am showing up. And that’s hard too, and that keeps me up. On the whole, I believe I am getting better ish at it. I think. I at the very least am aware that I have a full on love affair with control, and it’s not likely to serve me well… though make no mistake having the ability to just take control can be as much a beautiful gift as a damaging curse.

So if you’re anything like me, and I imagine I know some people who find this very relatable. I see you. I feel your pain, and I am in your corner navigating our need for control.

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