It’s Perfectly Normal

Those things we think and never, ever say out loud. Those dark, ugly, selfish, small, petty, irrational things we do not even dare to write in a journal. Those terrible things we think about that make us feel like we are horrible people. Guess what? It’s perfectly normal.

That is what my therapist says anyway.

Some years back I found myself in a terrible situation, a really difficult place in my life, and I did not want to continue to have contact with my family anymore. The toxicity of those relationships was killing me. Toxic relationships take a toll and for those of us that are less resilient that toll can a dangerous thing. That toll resulted in my hospitalization and near loss of my life. I almost died. I almost died because my mother could not love me the way that I needed her to love me.

Not in a “my mother won’t buy me the car I want” kind of love, but “my mother refuses to protect me from terrible people and lies about everything” kind of way that had crushed my soul for so long that I could not breathe anymore.

That was over two years ago. I have not spoken to my mother, my father, my family in over two years. And I feel guilty about not feeling guilty about that. I am a happier, healthier, better person without my family in my life. I am safer, more secure, stronger, more honest and authentic, a better person, a better friend, a better me. That is a difficult thing to accept, that you are better off without your family, that in order to be happy you have to create boundaries and limits you never thought you would have the strength to build and maintain. That you can find the strength to do those things and not feel guilty about it, well, my therapist would say that that is Perfectly Normal.

I am perfectly normal for feeling the only the smallest tinge of guilt about not feeling guilty and I can live with that.

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High School English

High school was not an easy time for me. Years of awkward insecurity tangled with grief and depression made for not a happy school girl.

My one salvation was writing. It felt that is was the one thing I was able to do just a little better than everyone else. There were two amazing English teachers that helped me develop my tool and inspire a lifetime love of words.

Sadly, I cannot recall my first English teachers name and my yearbooks were all destroyed in a flood in the early 1990’s – losing the messages from my teachers was a crushing loss. But, I digress.

My first high school English teacher. I remember patience and nurturing but also tough fairness, challenging me to do better, think deeper, express more richly. I wrote a poem about my Grandmothers battle with cancer and another poem about a book we were reading in class (cannot remember the title now). In the poem about the book I used the word “Damn” to describe a flower that mocked a child with its beauty. When she read the poem (remember this was the 80’s) to the class there were lots of shocked stares and even a few “she is in SOOO much trouble” comments made. The teacher let the shock flow through the room and them complimented my writing, explaining that even curse words can have a valuable effect when used artistically and not just placed for shock value. She ended up submitting that work to an English journal for publication and it was selected. My first and only published work. One of my most proud memories.

Afterward, fellow class-mates began to solicit me to write love letters, poems, even song lyrics. I’d found my niche’. In that moment in her class, behind the glowing red embarrassment, a passion was born inside me that has never stopped. And I doubt it ever will. For that I am grateful beyond words. Even the wordiest of us know that sometimes you just have to keep it simple and say Thank You!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Never Too Late.”

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Fear is a Powerful Motivater

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Envelope Pushers.”

Fear, healthy and unhealthy, has been a topic of interest for me over the past year. What causes fear, what drives it, and the risks or rewards we experience in the face of fear.

My greatest fear is heights and/or falling to my untimely death. The fear was so paralyzing that I was not able to drive over bridges, stand on a ladder (or chair), or look outside when in tall buildings. My vision would begin to tunnel, my balance would be affected, my heart rate would increase, and my breathing would be rapid and shallow. All signs of impending death.

So, I decided to tackle this fear head on. First, for our anniversary I booked a sea plane tour over the Golden Gate Bridge. And I lived to tell the tale. Next, I booked us a Zip Line tour of the Sonoma County redwoods. Scariest day of my life, letting go and throwing myself towards the next landing. And I lived.

Now, I can ride roller coasters and drive over bridges with the best of them. I also know that there is no fear that cannot be overcome. For me, the key was not simply diving in head first but dipping my toe into the pond little by little until my confidence was greater than my fear.

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Oh, the Shame

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Grateful and Guilty.”

Dear Secret Shame,

Thank you for never-failing to make me feel both guilty and grateful.

Grateful for the reprieve from marketing and commercials. Indulgent guilt at enjoying back to back to back episodes of tv shows I have never had the patience to watch lest I endure the loud, intrusive commercial breaks and the constant recaps of what just happen five minutes earlier.

Netflix, I love you.

Your ever faithful couch potato.