Letting Go of Addiction Hurts – Recovery and Grief

It’s been about six weeks.  For about six weeks I’ve been trying to say goodbye to Ana.

I just haven’t been able to do it.

And believe me, I’ve really been trying. The fact I’m talking about her AT ALL should indicate that I’m making progress.
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Finding Yourself After Trauma – Learning to Live Again

Through the process of writing I’ve come to realize that I’ve experienced some pretty rough stuff in my life.

[I can hear you now.  “UM… are you freaking kidding me?  I read your blog.  Of COURSE the stuff you’ve been through is rough.  Have YOU read your blog?  MAYBE YOU SHOULD.”]

Yes, I have.  (I love it when you speak up, by the way.)  But before I thought things through far enough to write the stuff down I didn’t see it as ROUGH STUFF, I just saw it as STUFF.  Stuff that’s always been there.  Stuff that I’ve dealt with FOREVER.  It’s always been that way, so it never struck me as anything HARD.  Or heavy.  Or painful, or something that I felt I could change.  It just was.
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The Power of Refuge – Finding A Place of Peace in the Storm

ref·uge  [ref-yooj]  (n) :

1.  shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.
2.  a place of shelter, protection, or safety.
3.  anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape.


Have you ever felt refuge?

Have you ever felt like you NEEDED it.

I firmly believe that the difference between someone that comes out of a pile of shit with hope and compassion, versus someone that comes out cynical and hard, is how much refuge they were able to find during their struggles.
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Stained Does Not Mean Unclean… Healing After Sexual Assault

I’ve been keeping an ugly secret since I was six years old.

I kept quiet for a lot of reasons, the biggest being shame.  MY shame.  I am ashamed of myself, ashamed of the circumstances I allowed myself to be in, ashamed of my stains.  It’s never a fun thing to admit that you’ve made a mistake, even if the mistake wasn’t completely your fault.  The secrets I keep have enveloped me in shame for all of my life.  In fact, shame has been a fundamental part of my emotional make up for so long that I don’t really even notice that it’s there anymore.  I ALWAYS feel shame.  Humiliating, shoulder drooping, brow beating shame is just a part of my everyday self.

I think the second reason I’ve kept my disgusting secrets is to protect people.  To protect myself, of course, from the shame I just talked about and from punishment for my actions, but also to protect the people I feel I’m supposed to protect.  Namely my family.  My parents.  My parents, and the people my parents care about.

If they ever find this blog post online….   Sorry Mom.  For being stained, and for being damaged.  And for failing to be everything I could have been.  And Dad, please don’t kill anyone.  I know you’ll want to, and that’s okay.  It just means you love me.
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When Fear Holds You Back – How to Overcome Fear

When I was a kid I loved, loved, loved scary movies.  I STILL like scary movies, I prefer them over almost every other kind.  But as a kid I REALLY loved them, way more than a little kid should.

My mom was careful and conservative about our TV watching, but I always managed to sneak in the scary stuff anyways.  Occasionally I spent the night with friends or cousins whose families were more liberal with the television.  Also I had an Uncle Mike… he always liked to watch scary stuff, too, so when he was around and the TV was on I would …linger.  And wait, and watch, and hopefully I would see something frightening.  Something that made my heart race and blood pound in my ears.  The scarier the better.  I craved the adrenaline rush, the tingly thrill that started at the back of my neck then skittered down my spine, across my skin, and then exploded at the end of every finger and toe.
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The Power of Choice – Never Be Helpless Again

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s one utterance that boils my blood faster than anything else on the planet.

“I don’t have a choice.”

My ears are steamy, hot, pressure-gauge red even as I type that.

I really do hate that sentence.  And I’m a very tolerant and patient person that doesn’t “hate.”  Very rarely do I even use that word, but I use it now.  I HATE THAT SENTENCE, and I. HATE. every idea it represents.
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Finding Balance While Living an Extreme Life

“Erin, YOU need to learn moderation.”

People have been telling me that my whole life.  No exaggeration, that message has been delivered to me over one thousand times by many, many different people.

Being harped on and nagged to be different is demoralizing and annoying, but people telling me that isn’t the worst part.

The WORST PART is that for a very long time, I felt like they might be right.
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The Lie of Moderation – Go Big or Go Home

When I was a kid one of the best and most exciting times of the year was my family’s annual, summer vacation trip to Grandma’s house.  These days by car the trip can be made in just over five hours, but back then the trip took more than seven.  Mom would pack our last-school-year’s lunch boxes full of snackie food surprises, we’d take books and paper and pens to stay busy, and I lost countless travel checker-chess-trouble-connect-four games to my younger brother.

The trip was made in my mom’s Toyota Camry.  It is a smaller car, particularly small for three nearly-adult size kids in the back seat.  Dad, true to his Viking roots, stands at 6’3″ tall and had to jam the driver’s seat as far back as it would go in order to wedge himself inside the vehicle.  My brother, sister, and I would argue about who had to sit behind him and which one of us got to sit behind Mom, who is purebred Japanese and not even five feet tall in shoes.  Usually the shortest person sat behind Dad and the tallest behind Mom, which for many years put me smack in the middle of the back seat.

Summers in Eastern Washington are HOT (it’s practically the effing desert).  My brother puts off heat like a space heater and tolerates ALL forms of discomfort insanely well.  My mom and my sister I’m convinced are both part desert lizard, and flourish in the heat.  My Dad was raised in a pretty drastic culture of poverty, so using the a/c in the car was tantamount to DEATH for wasting fuel efficiency, plus his internal thermostat has a comfort range of about 60* up or down (anything between 23* and THE SUN is tolerable to him).  
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How To Be A Girl – Learning to Accept My Gender Reality

I am my father’s first born son.

Not kidding.

Before you exit this post and look for a photo of me, I’ll confirm for you that YES, I am female.  That does not change what I said, though.  I am my father’s first born son.

Now don’t get me wrong.  When I say “I’m the first born son” I don’t mean in a lesbian-y, gender-identity-crisis, or “I have dangly man bits” kind of way.  I mean it in every other possible way.  I exist in a female body, but I am a masculine energy, raised by male methods, taught to think in a gender-neutral-but-mostly-masculine way.

And wow.  That has really been an obstacle to overcome.
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Living Like You’ll Die Tomorrow – The Beautiful Gift of Time

Let’s pretend that you and I meet on the street.

It’s a gorgeous day, the sun is shining.  You’re having a good day.  You’re walking to or from somewhere, having just said goodbye to someone or meeting someone soon, heading to work-school-gym-coffeehouse-library-mall-grocery-store.  In your moment of “normal” I approach you, look in your face, smile, and hand you a black canvas bag.

Inside the bag is $750 million.  SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION SMACKERS.

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