Uncategorized

When People Don’t Like You

So here’s a hard pill to swallow: not everyone has to like you. And the truth is, not everyone is going to. You can be Mother frickin’ Theresa and someone will find fault in something you say or do. They may not like your mannerisms, or the car you drive, or the way you dress. They might like you a lot until you say one little thing in particular. They might notice a habit of yours that drives them absolutely mad. They might not like your hair, or your face, or your body, or the way you talk. They might think you’re generally an okay person, but your personalities just clash. You may have too little in common, or even too much. The list could go on ad infinitum.

This can hurt. Especially for people pleasers who vie for the approval and validation of others. Or if you happen to quite like or admire the person who just doesn’t like you. Rejection is hard, no matter which way you slice it.

The secret to navigating rejection is in checking yourself and knowing yourself.

First, Checking Yourself: We always need to be considering our part in things. If you think you cannot be objective in this task, seek the guidance of mentors. You need to identify if you are being toxic, or if you have done some harm in the situation, and take steps to make that right. A lot of times in life, offenses are assumed to be on the part of the other person, when in reality, more often than not, it is a two-way street. Your responsibility lies in keeping YOUR side of the street clean. In any given situation, that is all you can do.

Next, Knowing Yourself: After you have done the first part, the second is in knowing yourself, and knowing your worth. The first part certainly helps with the second. Once you have done the right thing, you can rest in the peace of having done what you could. Honestly, that is often far more than most people do. You have taken a huge step towards integrity. Integrity is the most important characteristic a person can have. Are you the same person behind closed doors that you are on the outside? Do you make an effort in every situation to be honest, and genuine, despite fear of vulnerability or repercussions? Do you admit and apologize when you are wrong? Do you love others and offer compassion? Do you lift people up, and refrain from tearing them down?

Its important to know that no matter how hard you try, you’re never going to be perfect. The important part is trying. The most important thing we can do in our lives is to continuously learn, grow, and improve. We didn’t come here to stay the same our entire lives. We didn’t come here to develop resentments and take them to our graves. Let that shit go.

Your expectations for perfection from yourself and from others is toxic.

All we can ever do is try. If you’re doing that, you’re succeeding. If you’re constantly trying to be a better human being, you are a good person. Try to understand and learn from people who don’t like you. Their disdain for you says far more about them than it does you. People do not exhibit hate, without it being built on a foundation of pain. These people hurt. And part of being a good person is offering compassion to the hurting.

It is important also to not judge these failings in others. Gossiping, laziness, emotional instability, etc. Try to avoid judging them in others, because I promise, if you do, you will find yourself doing the same exact things. Realize you have no room to judge, before you ever have a chance to become exactly what you are judging.

At the end of the day, having done all that you can, there will still be those who don’t like you, and that’s okay, because you’re okay. You are enough, whether or not anyone else has the ability to see that. And as long as you rely on others to decide who you are, you will never realize how valuable you truly are.

Dying to Wake Up The Child Within

Saturday, September 22, was the 3 year anniversary of when I was raped… most recently. Let me explain. This was not the first time. I have a long history of surviving these experiences, starting as early as the ages of 3 and 5. And this is not uncommon. Many people, especially those who started their lives as victims, are victimized again. Predators have a keen sense of who would be a good victim, and those who were victimized in their formative years know no other way of being. It has taken nearly a decade of intense therapy to unlearn the things that I was taught as a child victim.

I hear a lot of people substitute the word “survivor” in place of “victim.” In the years that you are just surviving, this is very accurate. You’re a victim when it happens, and a survivor in whatever you do afterwards to keep yourself alive, moving forward. I developed addictions, an eating disorder, and other self destructive behaviors to survive. My brain could not cope with reality. How could it? Reality was a living nightmare. Pure hell. These are the things I did to survive. To kill this thing inside of me. To get by despite it all. I thought I was doing pretty well. I didn’t realize the extent to which these experiences were destroying my life, until my behaviors came to a head. It was life or death from there. Keep doing what I was doing and let it kill me, or fight and as a result, live. My problem was, I didn’t want to live. I had no interest in it whatsoever. Which is why I nearly died numerous times. But there was some sort of secret spark in me. It was the bane of my existence, and it wanted me alive, when every other part of me wanted to die. It was my incurable hope. And thus, this blog was born, to document it. To explore it.

Today, I don’t see myself as a survivor. I am beyond that. I use the terminology, because it is what people are familiar with. Today, I am a thriver. My life, my success, my flourishing, is my big “fuck you” to everyone who hurt me. Though, today, I’m not angry or bitter. I let that go. It was too heavy. I punished myself with it long enough, believing that I was somehow punishing them by doing it. All I knew was someone had to pay. But I forgive myself for that now. I didn’t understand. I forgive most people, but contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not necessary for healing. Some things, only God can forgive. I am only human. Today, my heart hurts for that little girl, for every little girl still living and suffering. Not just those who are still being abused, but those who are now grown women, with little girls still trapped inside, reliving it daily. Punishing themselves for the acts of others.

Look, I’ve come a lot further than a lot of former victims ever do. I’ve been blessed. But I do know this: I am supposed to share my experience so that the others know it is possible to not just survive, but to thrive. To use the pain as fuel. To live your meaningful lives. These are things you CAN overcome. As a matter of fact, there’s now even a name for that: posttraumatic growth. And you can achieve it. I promise you, you can.

I don’t want to make it seem like these these things won’t affect you for the rest of your life. They never go away. They will always hurt. At times, they still haunt me. But it is possible to get to a place where they no longer control you. Where they do not shake you. Where you can observe them from a distance that will prevent you from broken by them every. single. time. You’re heart can hurt for the child within, but you will be equipped to comfort her with the compassion you never received. You. Can. Heal. And you can help others do the same. Once you find that love for yourself, you will want to share it with others. ALL of us who were victimized deserve that.

The shirt I made in treatment in 2012 for The Clothesline Project.

41277408_2314399868574647_781589021720576000_n

My Sister and Me at a local suicide prevention race. 🙂

Hey You

Stop trying to hack my blog.

A Day Like Any Other

Something shifted today

And I could feel it

Ever so slight

Like the way you can feel fall

Approaching

In the tint of the sunlight

Or a simple breeze

When warmer days

Are still close at hand

And I can feel myself falling

Like the autumn leaves

Away from you

Into the arms of someone new

And this heart feels torn

Between the wild

Unbound spirit of a stallion

And the well-trained

Companionship

Of man’s best friend

And both have their perks

And both have adventure

And safety

And danger

The warmth of an embrace

As it keeps you steady

Or draws you in

Like inhaling the smoke

From a summer campfire

Both burning

And warming

And taking you back

The scents surrounding you

But I don’t want the summer to end

I never have

Because I’ll never get it back

You can never get it back.

But isn’t this exactly

What the trees whisper to us

In their wisdom

Each year

As they show us how to die

And be reborn

Into something new?

And I will forever be

Something new

And this cycle

Shall never cease

Ku Okoa Ana: Seven Years Sober

SEVEN years…. wow.
 
You know, I never really sought out recovery. I didn’t know I was capable of a life like this. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wasn’t capable of living like THAT anymore. Either something had to give, or I had to die. I just always assumed it’d have to be the latter. 
*****
 
I had been depressed for so long, I used to kid that my first words were, “I wish I was dead.” I also told people the most ironic job I could ever have was motivational speaker. Today, it has been seven years since my recovery began. Today, I can’t even remember what it was like to live like that. The only times I get glimpses are when I meet someone first starting their recovery journeys. And today, I have been a motivational speaker. I’ve spoken in meetings, and gone back to my treatment center and spoken there. That could be a legitimate career path for me.
img_0517
 
I would say I stumbled into this life, but the truth is it was chosen for me, and I was led into it. I’m so grateful that, at a point when I was so blind, I was still able to follow God down the path to what I had been meant for all along. My heart breaks for those who never answer the invitation. It wasn’t easy, but it was simple. I’ve been given directions, and I’ve followed them. Not perfectly or right away, but nonetheless, I’ve followed them. Those I’ve accepted guidance from have yet to steer me wrong. 
pexels-photo-296282

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

My story now is one of endless gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion, not only for others, but for myself. I am able to see how our choices and actions have a history behind them. They aren’t random or meaningless, they tell our story. How people love me or hate me; embrace me or reject me; speak to me or silence me; says so much more about them than it does me. I don’t always make the right choice, but I am far more swift to clear up the wreckage, if ever I leave any in my wake.
pexels-photo-133170

Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

Spiritual growth is never painless, but my God is it mighty, mighty rewarding. Some days, I revel from my view from here, wishing others could see it. Most never will. Most people go to their graves harboring bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. There are things they never said, or things they wish they hadn’t, and they die with that hidden in their hearts. There’s a list of things they always wanted to do, but never did. I don’t have to hold on to any of that anymore. I am perfecting the art of letting things come and letting things go, riding waves, and conquering my bucket list. I am free.
img_0700
At the end of July 2011, I got a glimpse into hell. I died and was reborn. I was caught in a tug of war between satan and God, and I witnessed it all unfold. I was unconscious, but the moment I came back to myself August 1, 2011, I realized a great truth about our existence. When I woke, I wrote these words, “Dearest father, from the depths of my soul, I yearn to know that those days have ended; that each gift you so graciously present me with from here on out will be welcomed with an unmatched gratitude.” I ended it with, “Allow me to use the gifts you have granted me to share your endless love, hope, and acceptance to all in this dark world who feel forgotten and forsaken.” I gave my very story away to be written by a different author. And this is the story he has written since.
img_7936.jpg

For Shane

Trees

by Joyce Kilmer

I THINK that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

         5

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

  10

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

Turn The Light Off When You Go

My eyes are very green today

And they reminded me of you

The way they billow in like smoke

And lie about the truth

 

Truth is…

I’ve written just as many poems

In your absence

As I did when we first met

 

They were exciting then

Adventurous

Telling tales

Of hikes in snow

 

And resting there, by waterfalls

 

And all that I have written now

Is about the way time has shifted silently

In the days since you’ve been gone

How the aching in my hollow chest

Is working its way out

Through the surface of my skin

 

And today…

My eyes are just as green

As the path that I refused to travel down

On our way that day

To our swimming hole

That I’ll never get to swim

 

When really, they should be gray

Like the days have felt

Without the color seeping in

And my eyes smiling shut

In the blinding brilliance

Of your love