On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Darkest before the Dawn

I stumbled upon the phrase, darkest before the dawn,  today when I was reading a book.  I'd forgotten the adage and it immediately struck me.

Right, I told myself.  You know this inherent truth.  Just keep going.  Don't stop.  You're almost there.

Then just as quickly as the moment of clarity came, bringing a small measure of hope, the sorrow and grief returned.  So, I said a prayer, accepting that right now, I'm hurting.  I asked for healing and hope and for the ability to see the joy in the things before me today.

Yesterday I decided to embrace my hurting side instead of sending it away, ignoring it, or being aggravated by it.  I've continued to weed through my posts from the timeline of this blog and I'm overwhelmed by how much struggle and heartbreak my family has endured in five years.  Then I say to myself, see?  SEE?  This is why.  You buried the pain and now, to be free at last, you must push through it.  It is darkest before the dawn.

Today, Sissy's psychiatrist said he believes she is emotionally 2 years old.  He is prognosticating that her disorders are presenting as more autistic behavior than anything else.  He believes she is not intentionally making the choices she makes, in an effort to manipulate and triangulate, rather that she truly isn't thinking it through and perhaps isn't capable of thinking it through.  She is, as she is, as she will always will be.  At age 14, we now know what Sissy as an adult will be like.  An emotional 2 year old.  He agrees, moving out of Georgia is a good plan because there is so little here.  Actually, he said he was more concerned about ME than Sissy's progress.  (Sissy's psychiatrist works on the same team as AB's so they compare family data.)

One more confirmation that my choice is a sound one, even though, at this point, I am still without a job and the house has yet to sell and therefore I don't know exactly where I will land or what that future will look like and it is very, very scary, lonely, overwhelming and quite frankly, nauseating when I stop to contemplate it.

So I burn incense and sage.  I use aromatherapy lotion.  I snuggle my teddy and journal with my purple pen.  I read life affirming books and text my friends.  I eat healthily and get regular exercise.  I jump on the trampoline and play with the puppy.

And I cry.

I cry because my heart is broken.
I cry because life has been unfair.
I cry because humans can be so mean.
I cry because I hurt.
I cry because this isn't how I am.
I cry because I'm lonely.
I cry because I work so hard every day.
I cry because my head is full of noise and I can't quiet it.
I cry because my ears always ring.
I cry because I haven't loved myself.
I cry because I'm scared.
I cry because there is so much hurt around me and i have no reserves to give to others right now.
I cry  because I'm not a selfish person but that's what I need right now, to be selfish.
I cry because change is hard.
I cry because I can't predict the future.
I cry because I don't trust.
I cry because my faith is so small.
I cry because it seems hope is shattered.
I cry because I need physical affection.
I cry because I'm overwhelmed.
I cry because what if...

Now, I will answer the hurting part of me with I hear you, brokenness.  What do you need?

And it says - I need you to love yourself.
Love is patient.  Be patient with yourself.
Love is kind.  Be kind to yourself.
Love does not boast.  Do not boast about yourself but DO be proud of what you have done.
Love does not dishonor others.  Do not dishonor yourself.
Love is not easily angered.  Stop being angry with yourself.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.  Stop thinking about what you may or may not have done in err.
Love does not delight in evil.  Don't let the bad things that happened consume you.
Love rejoices in truth.  You are an amazing person.  Own it.
Love protects.  Protect yourself from potentially harmful situations and people.
Love hopes.  Yes.  you can do this.  HOPE for yourself.
Love perseveres.  You do this every day.  Thank yourself for perseverance.
Love trusts.  Learn to trust yourself.  You don't make bad choices.  You land on your feet.  Trust.

So I will cry until my brokenness is erased by love and this time, I'm starting by loving myself.  The dawn will come.  It always does.  I need only to wait.  And while I wait, I will heal my broken parts.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Even the Strongest Cry

I have tried desperately to stop the tears and the grieving.  I've made a concerted effort to employ all the therapeutic tools I have.  I text friends and family when I'm in a moment of ennui and need a hug or a word to boost me out.  I'm reading life affirming texts. I journal daily.  I recite powerful quotes and verses that are positive and supportive.  I refuse to claim despair and negativity.  I stay present, embracing the beauty and love around me, in the moment.

I can't shake it.  So I cry.

I'm so tired of this.  I'm stuck.  I want something different in life.  I want something different for my children. I NEED it for my health and sanity.  Sissy and AB need it for their health and wellness. I'm faltering, waning, I've lost my footing, I'm so lost.  I hear all the friends calling to me that I can do this, I'm strong, I will make it, it will happen, I will find happy again and it will be better than I imagined. So few of them are here, in my present locale.  So I cry.

Trouble is, every time I think I have hold of happy, hope, healing and help, it disappears just as quickly, and sometimes with painful, soul shattering jabs.  So I cry.

I tell myself that my happiness needs to be on my shoulders alone, that I must believe and see happiness to achieve it.  Walk in happiness in the here and now and it will be exactly what you are holding.  These are undeniable truths and I fully admit them.  Like right now, as I type this, my friend is playing beautiful songs on her piano.  If I isolate the pain, I am fully enjoying her talent.

That should be lovely, yes?  But I'm here at her house this weekend because my ex is in MY house for a weekend visit with the children.  One more completely unfair and immutable injustice in my life.  He doesn't have a dwelling place where the children can visit him overnight so he has to be in my house and I have to leave.  MY house.  MY home. MY things.  MY life.  Every other month.  And on the other months?  Well... he is supposed to take them to his mother's but he moved to a rented room in town so now those visits are just extended day visits.   (He also visits them i my home on weekdays) So I cry.

I could say - hey, every two months I get 48 hours kid free and if I move that won't happen anymore.   But...I'm so consumed with grief and anxiety that I can't wrap my head around the positive.  So I cry.

I want to dream of happiness but I can't.  Every time I try, I cry.  Because it never happens, my dreams.  They pretend to be mine and then *poof* gone.  

My email inbox is full of newsfeeds from the various job sites I've joined.  I need to spend quality time applying for the new jobs that I qualify for.  When I get home this afternoon I will begin packing like a mad woman because I've decided to list with a realtor instead of selling on my own.  The school year here is nearly over.  I have no employment for the summer.  I don't have enough money to carry me through the summer if I don't sell the house at the very least because I've spent so much making improvements on it to make it marketable (just this past week I had to put in a new hot water heater).  

I'm so freaking out.
And I'm so alone
And scared
And panicked that this is going to blow up
and I want to punch myself for not just being happy because so many have so much less


I can't go on like this anymore.
I just.... can't.
so i cry.

18 years ago, we had a similar planetary alignment as we have now.  We had a lunar eclipse two weeks ago and we have a solar eclipse tomorrow.  18 years ago I graduated from college in May, got married in June and moved to Georgia in August.  18 years later, the only thing I'm hanging onto from that huge life transition is my degree.  I have gained three children and a ton of life experience.  The timing isn't coincidental, I'm certain.  It's time for a change.  I'm certain.  It WILL change.  I'm certain.  Still...

I cry.

Even the Strongest
copyright laws apply - work is original of blog author

Ticking clock, tell the hour
Time is up for me.
Sun, rise, shine your power;
Day that I be free.

Birds, sing, in leafy trees
Scurry, ants! Work fast.
Wind, blow your strongest breeze,
Move my life at last.

Strong, says Earth, to my soul,
Burdens are no match.
Love, Life says, you are whole,
Let your healing hatch.

Elements, I am weak,
Happy day runs far.
Joy and Hope do not speak
Fear and Sorrow spar.

Tears, a well, salty pain,
Flow, rapid river.
When I look back again
The heart, it shivers.

Even the strongest cry
It is not weakness.
No need for reason why,
Most do cry for less.

I have asked Source, "why?  Why did you bring my life happiness and trick me like that ?  Let me see happy to be beaten down with that much more pain?

Then I say to myself ' Why have you not loved yourself enough to see the faults and the illnesses before it is too late?  Why do you want to fix everyone and never yourself?  Why do you give so much away?"

And Source says, "exactly.  That is why.  So, you are strong.  I showed you what to fix.  Now fix it."

I am not the poor victim of a thief, I am an adventurer in search of treasure. 
~Paulo Coelho, "The Alchmemist"

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Last weekend the kids and I went to PA to visit for the weekend.  I wanted to see their reaction to the friends and family I reconnected with in the beginning of March.  The journey home was reflection time for me and I decided to use the following two days as a time for silence and rest, using the blood moon lunar eclipse as my launching pad.On that evening, I vowed to be "married" to myself - honoring, respecting and loving myself - because I had come to the realization that I have never loved myself enough to see my own worth and as result, have compromised far too much in the interests of others.  Noticing that I had been grinding hard for six weeks to jettison us to a different place in life, I decided to rest on the laurels of the positive energy I had already spent, trusting that the ripples I had already created would not be for naught.

The two days became six.  On Friday, not coincidentally, I declared it as the day I went "dark", removing my light and energy from all, capitalizing on the Good Friday advent, accepting that my old life must die.  I am in self-preservation and will stay in this state until I feel I am safe to give to others again.  Today, Easter, I confess I did anticipate to have a resurrection experience if you will, a sort of epiphany or clearing of the dust and an answer or two.  I wasn't surprised when none came.  So I wait.  And reflect.  Here is where my thoughts traveled to today:

February 2009, a day or two before valentine's day, my ex confided that he had not been paying a credit card bill for six months.  The van loan was with the same creditor.  Without an immediate payment of $1280 and a remittance agreement for the remainder of the debt, my van would be repossessed.  Thankfully, my parents were able to assist so I could keep my vehicle.

March 2009, I went to the senior pastor of my church in confidence to discuss how to proceed in my marriage after such a devastating financial betrayal.  He recommended I make an exit plan to the marriage and directed me toward the pastoral counselor.

March 2009 - I began individual counseling in secret out of fear that my ex would be angry that I was getting self-help

May 2009 I confided to my ex that I was in counseling and that I was taking a trip to Seattle in July to see my sister

July 2009 - I went to Seattle.  It was a three day trip.  I spent much time in reflection, talking to my sister and her friends.  We spent an evening on the beach - I remember thinking about how amazing life could be somewhere else and how difficult my life was back home.  The morning of my flight home, I walked around Green Lake and wept the entire walk.  The flight home was no different.  I knew then I would have a long, hard road ahead of me toward recovery and happiness.

November 2009 - i began this blog and Sissy went to RTC for the first time

March 2010 - Sissy discharged and two or three days later WG was bit by a dog, requiring 27 stitches

Until March 2011 - sissy had several short term hospitalizations and many ER trips for suicidal ideation.  I stayed in therapy.  June 2011 AB almost ended up in short term care but we began an antipsychotic immediately and circumvented it

March 2011 - Sissy returned to RTC

April 2011 - I had a nervous breakdown with a string of panic attacks in a short time frame.  Began medication and stayed in therapy.  My ex began attending therapy with me.

June 2011 - Sissy discharged

Aug 2011 - Sissy returned to RTC

Oct 2011 - things escalated out of control in my marriage

Dec 2011 - I left my ex, Sissy discharged, two days later WG was bit by a second dog requiring another 18 stitches

Jan 2012 - I filed for a protective order and took possession of the marital home

Feb 2012 - TPO hearing, judge appointed a GAL and I filed for divorce

Mar 2013 - Divorce finalized

May 2013 - redid my bedroom and master bathroom

Aug 2013 -  Therapy was concluded

Nov 2013 - Sissy had crisis stabilization - i began to realize that staying in GA, doing this by myself was too much, too hard, too overwhelming and I needed to change it.   The crying began.

Mar 2014 - Journey to home state, PA to see what I could see, came home, fixed up house and put it on market and started job hunt

Apr 2014 - I still cry.  Every day.  I want so much which by comparison is so little.

It has been a very long five years.  I am unequivocally NOT the same person I was then.  The children are indelibly changed for the better.  I am making strides daily to improve our station in life but it feels slow.  I am always told that I am amazing, incredible, an inspiration, i should write this story, I have so much to give, people could never do what I do, they don't know HOW i do what I do, they can handle WG but Sissy and AB, not so much, they are praying for me, they cheer me on and tell me to hang in there and I can do this and GO GO GO.

But i don't want that.
In fact, it sounds like clanging cymbals in my ear.
noise noise noise noise

I have been crying out at the top of my lungs to any and all that will hear me - I'm done.  Burning fumes.  I need help. This is too much for me.  I'm alone, I'm scared, I'm financially strapped, I have no benefits, I'm not getting younger, the children's needs aren't any easier and it's me.  all.day.long.

From Sunday night last week until Tuesday night I had spent 48 hours without adult contact - talking to a psychiatrist and waving at the school secretary doesn't count.  48 hours!!!

I called my neighbor in tears and begged her to come over and hug me.

If it wasn't for texting my friends, I wouldn't talk to ANYONE that wasn't a child that needed me.

I have no social life.  I don't get out.  I go to bed alone, i wake up alone and it's me with the kids without ceasing. I have to be on my A game all the time with Sissy.  AB ... he's not difficult but he is socially awkward and angry if you don't listen when he wants to speak and tell you everything he has to say.  WG is stressed, angry and feeling uncared for.  Me too.  All of everything to keep this household and family running is on my shoulders without end.

I want so much for life to be different, better, hopeful, healed, whole, happy, fulfiling, vivacious.  It feels so far away.  Akin to the journey to Mount Everest.  Reaching the summit can not be done without first camping on the side of the mountain, just one day's hike from the pinnacle, for a month.  It takes that long for the lungs to acclimate to the low oxygen levels.  If you journey without waiting, you will die.

Metaphorically, I am at that campsite on the side of the mountain, the summit in my sights, knowing I could reach it in one day's hike but also knowing if I force it, it will kill me.  So here I sit, resting.  Waiting.  Chomping at the bit. Trying to enjoy the present.  Itching to know what else I can do in the interim.  Is moving the best choice for the kids and I?  Today, my answer is a shoulder shrug and more tears.  I know that in five years, I have traveled long and hard and it is time for the tide to turn in my favor.

My Easter Meditation/Prayer
"What if the highest expression of the personal Divine is you, precisely as you are in this very moment, in all your full authentic and wounded glory?" ~Tosha Silver

i will not fix anyone but me and what is needed for the kids.  I need to see a miraculous turn of tide on my behalf.  Today selfishness is OK.  
I can not sell a house - without God
I can not move to a new life - without God
I can not find a job - without God
I can not get hope - without God
I can not trust - without God
I can not find healing - without God
I can not find peace - without God
I can not get resources for my kids - without God
I can not love unconditionally - without God
I can not wake daily - without God
I can not endure aloneness - without God
I can not persevere - without God
I can not find light bringers - without God
I can not restore my life - without God
I can not find a life partner - without God
I can not create goals - without God
I can not manifest dreams - without God

Almighty, I am empty of me.  I have nothing left.  In my weakness be strong.  Do what is best - supply my needs, meet the wants that are good and pure, set my feet on the path you have for me, direct me to the best for the children. Help me be my best only for those I am intended to provide for.  Cross my path with the people I am divined to meet.  Restore in all ways, all that has been taken by the greed, anger, pain and anguish of mankind.  Help me discern when I am making myself vulnerable again.   I've made my plans, now direct my steps toward healing, hope, light and love.  I accept that I do not know my best.  I will myself to trust that you do.  Be swift and may your decisions be clear for all so there is no one to give praise or thanks to but you.  Then, should this story be light and hope for others, give me the ability to share it.

I Submit.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


In physical science, we wrapped up the unit on energy.  It can not be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed. Do you know, that unit had some serious metaphorical overlaps for me!

I have spent much time in quiet reflection. I have read and reread my posts here and in my private journal.  I recognize that for those readers that don't know me IRL, my journey since August reads as though I am bipolar, swinging from a very happy, blissful person to a suddenly sullen, sorrowful soul.  Please trust me when I tell you, that isn't the case.  I will sum it up as grief.  Nevertheless, I have sorted, processed, thought and ultimately transformed my energy.  I have come to the conclusion, whether I liked it or not, it has been for the best that I did not move last summer as I originally planned.  For me, being here in this house and in Georgia one more year, was what I needed.  
I have learned that I am a bold, amazing woman that is capable of incredible things.  I have gained incredible confidence in myself. I have learned what I need and what I want and even enjoyed the astounding thought that the two might finally overlap.  I have a clearer understanding of what is required for the children and I and how to get those needs met.  I trust.  I have faith, hope, healing, light and love.  I have shaken off my fear and buried my demons.  I have learned who I am, the REAL Jennie, the person I was before an abusive marriage, the person I was meant to be.  And I like her!  

And best of all, I have done it by myself.  

Now.  Have I LIKED doing it by myself?  Uh.....no.
Has it made me angry that I've been by myself?  Ayup.
Have I wanted to hurt things and people and the universe because of it?  Mmmhmmm

But I did it anyway.  I even kinda smile and laugh a little bit now.  

Yeah. I still cry every day.  Some times deep, shaking sobs.  If you get a text from me around 7 pm, just know it's because I'm blowing up again.  yep yep.  Sun goes down, I fall apart.  The loneliness.  It's killing me.  I am believing with insane, blind faith that what I want and what I need will overlap and I will finally be on the path I was intended for in life. As water takes the easiest path when pulled by gravity and across landscapes, I am believing my life will do the same. I'm believing like a mad woman that what I know to be true in my heart will be true in reality.   I am in want of only time and the transformation of my energy.

The house is just about as good as I'm going to get it.  I did a few more "honey do" list chores this weekend to finish the piddly repairs.  There are big things this house needs but it is live-able.  An investor's dream because flipping it should be easy.  Or made ready for rent.  Now to get someone to agree with me and make an offer...

Finding a job?  Pbft.  I got an email for a phone interview but it's in an area four hours north of where I want to be and in a different state.  I was on a job board for another locale because a few months ago I thought my life was headed on a different path and I forgot to pull my resume down off that site.  After texting some friends, I'm going to do the interview anyway.  I promised myself I would knock on every door to see what would open to me.