Put on a costume and allowed myself to be part of the story – Number 10

   My daughter is a professional actress in Chicago and was given the opportunity to participate in a long term immersive theater experience called Chronicles of the Realm. It would take place over about a year and a half at 4 different events. Because she is a minor, one of us had to be there to watch out for her. Each event was out of town for several days. My husband used to be a professional actor so he was the obvious choice to participate. I, not being a participator or joiner, would be a terrible choice. All good, right? Wrong. He went to the first rehearsal and they decided they needed to cast him instead. He would be in a different area from her therefore he couldn’t be her guardian. Guess who was left to choose from? Yep, me. 

   I had to wear a costume because I couldn’t be the only one there in regular clothes…it would take the players out of the game. I had to have a character. I thought that if I was her handmaid that would explain my hovering and if I was mute, I wouldn’t have to participate. I brought knitting that I do quite badly and kept myself out of the way in corners trying to hide. I was in a god-awful outfit that was extremely uncomfortable and because the universe hates me, I got my period the first night there. I had on layers people. Lots of layers. And a long skirt that was so much fabric. Trying to gather that up and deal with a toilet and not get blood everywhere was not pleasant. 

   The first weekend something happened that I didn’t imagine even in my wildest dreams. I had fun. A lot of fun. A ridiculous amount of fun and I grieved when it ended. The next time was pretty much the same for me. Dressed up, no period, thank god, and had a great time, but I still hid most of the time. The third time is why it is on the list. Molly and I were to pretend to be pirates at this event and we were to sneak into the camp on day two in the morning. I had quite a bit of experience now doing really scary brave things so I wasn’t too surprised by my desire to participate at first. I dressed up, joined the game, and interacted with the players despite my muteness. One of the pirates had brought a fabric sign. I used that to communicate by pointing to the letters on the fabric as the pirates tried to decipher the words I was spelling. Most of the time is was some horrible swear word that I was calling someone. My character is an angry handmaid. The rest of the time they would get through this whole long line of letters only to yell at me in frustration as they realized it spelled, “That’s what she said.” Yet again. 

   This was the first time I played the game. This was the first time I really fully engaged. I hate costumes. I was terrible at Halloween. The girl I used to nanny for can attest to that. I’m so bad at Halloween that when she was two years old her family had a party and I came dressed in all black with antennae on my head. She looked at me and said, “What’s this?” I said, “I’m a bug.” She replied back, “Do you have a bug costume?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “Maybe next time you could wear it.” Ouch. But this time I did it. I dressed up, I played and I had fun. Sometimes bravery is allowing yourself to look foolish. 


If you enjoyed this episode and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour. Find the link below.

Patreon @brokentobrave

I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.  

Podcast Broken to Brave on Libsyn

WebsiteBrokenToBrave.com

Facebook @BrokentoBravePodcast

Twitter @broken2brave

Please rate and review Broken to Brave wherever you listen to this podcast. It truly helps others find the show and hopefully can help others, like myself, to become braver in their own lives and to heal.

Volunteered To Be In A Documentary – Number 9

While I was standing in line for David Duchovny, a group of people came over to the area with film cameras and asked if anyone would be willing to answer a few questions about The X-Files. I didn’t hesitate and asked my husband to hold my stuff (the equivalent of “Hold my beer.”) while I went over and participated.

My husband and daughter couldn’t believe what they were seeing. I am not a participator or a joiner and I don’t ever allow myself to be filmed especially by total strangers and especially while outing my obsession. I did that without even thinking about it. I answered questions and went back to my family and looked at them and smiled and said, “Do you like this new me? I do stuff now.” They do. They like me very much. Sometimes bravery is saying yes.



If you enjoyed this episode and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour. Find the link below.

Patreon @brokentobrave

I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.  

Podcast Broken to Brave on Libsyn

WebsiteBrokenToBrave.com

Facebook @BrokentoBravePodcast

Twitter @broken2brave

Please rate and review Broken to Brave wherever you listen to this podcast. It truly helps others find the show and hopefully can help others, like myself, to become braver in their own lives and to heal.

Publicly Fangirled – Number 8

   I love the X-Files. I mean I really love the X-Files. Unlike anything before or after, I love the X-Files. I have loved it since the very first episodes originally aired and have been relatively closeted most of my life. If anyone would mention it, I would light up and be desperate to talk about it, but I would never engage in the community. I would read the fan fiction, but never comment. I would scour websites and blogs, but never engage. In 2016, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were at Wizard World Chicago about 20 minutes away from my house. More importantly, I had a press pass for the event. I stood in the next room doing everything I could not to run into them or catch a glimpse of them. I was afraid that the glow coming off of me would alert everyone that there was a rabid fan on site. I hid the whole time. 

   Fast forward to August of 2019 and both actors were coming back to the same comicon. I had a press pass, but this time I was realizing how short life is and that the show was truly over and I may never have this chance again. My husband bought me a VIP pass. I got to meet both actors, take a picture with both actors, and get signatures from both actors. The level of bravery for this public outing of my very private obsession was epic. Not only was the public going to know, but the actors were going to know.

   I have no chill. I prepared myself that I would cry, possibly throw up or pee myself. The glow… the glow was going to happen. The high-pitched voice? Gonna happen. But I went and I waited in line with all the other fans just like me. I had my daughter dressed like Belle from Beauty and the Beast as my buffer and my husband was there to hold me up. We met Gillian first and she was so gracious. She had just turned 50 a couple of weeks before so I told her how I had a breakdown and her book got me out of bed. I thanked her for giving me back to my husband and daughter. We commiserated over being 50. She was signing my book and said, “I forgot how to write.” I joked back that it was ok because I forgot how to read. She then told us how she once forgot how to drive. She had been driving for ten years at the time and got in the car and just forgot everything. We shared some more stories like the time I forgot how to throw when Rob and I were playing catch and then I fell over sideways on the grass and how Molly once forgot how to sit down. It was a great first meeting and we made friends in line who we spent the rest of the day with. 

   We then went to the photo op and had a picture taken with both Gillian and David. Later we met David and then went to their panel. We went back the next day so my daughter could invite Gillian to her play at Christmas. I survived. I was so glad that I went. I didn’t throw up or pee myself. I would have absolutely regretted not going for the rest of my life. I don’t want any more regrets. I don’t want to live a small life anymore. I don’t care what anyone thinks. If you love something, share your passion. The world needs more love and positivity. Don’t hide what lights you up. Sometimes bravery is sharing your passion.


If you enjoyed this episode and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour. Find the link below.

Patreon @brokentobrave

I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.  

Podcast Broken to Brave on Libsyn

WebsiteBrokenToBrave.com

Facebook @BrokentoBravePodcast

Twitter @broken2brave

Please rate and review Broken to Brave wherever you listen to this podcast. It truly helps others find the show and hopefully can help others, like myself, to become braver in their own lives and to heal.

Played Volleyball in My Bathing Suit – Number 7

   Holy crap, people! I played volleyball in my bathing suit and it was my idea! My daughter and I were sitting on a porch at a campground where I had a view of the volleyball courts. I told her that I used to play in middle school. I then suggested she go to the office and see how much it costs to rent the ball. We could go play on our way to the pool later. Why is this significant? First of all, I’m not an athlete and don’t do sports. Second of all, I’d be in my bathing suit already. Third of all, it’s out in the middle of the campground and everyone can see me. Fourth of all, I don’t like to be seen…ever. 

   I have spent my life trying to be invisible. I have had body issues most of my life including eating disorders and body dysmorphia and, as an adult, have struggled with my weight. Did I mention the bathing suit? Did I mention being on display? Did I mention that I’m not an athlete and haven’t actually played volleyball in at least thirty years? Prior to doing this list, the thought of playing volleyball wouldn’t have entered my mind. Or if it did, I would have listed all the reasons above as to why I shouldn’t do it and talked myself out of it. I have missed out on so much of my life because I would shame myself out of it. 


   Once my husband and daughter picked their jaws up off the ground, and desperately tried not to make eye contact with me so as not to cause me to rethink this insane idea, we headed to the court. We started playing and not long after these two girls asked to join our game. They were around my daughter’s age…maybe between 10-13 yearsold. We all started playing and my husband took pictures and I let him. What is this insanity? Maybe I was onto something. Maybe if you try to push the envelope and go outside your comfort zone and do a few brave things, your brain creates new pathways that cause you to forget all the things that you used to be scared to do. Maybe I was capable of change and could actually start living my life. Sometimes bravery is going back to something you used to enjoy.

If you enjoyed this episode and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour. Find the link below.

Patreon @brokentobrave

I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.  

Podcast Broken to Brave on Libsyn

WebsiteBrokenToBrave.com

Facebook @BrokentoBravePodcast

Twitter @broken2brave

Please rate and review Broken to Brave wherever you listen to this podcast. It truly helps others find the show and hopefully can help others, like myself, to become braver in their own lives and to heal.

When It Rains… Let It – Number 6

   I’ve spent most of my life trying not to feel my feelings. It hasn’t really worked out for me, or for the people around me, because feelings come out whether we want to feel them or not. They come out in ways we don’t intend them to when we repress them. I would act aggressively, or be angry about things I wasn’t actually angry about, or sadder than appropriate for the situation. The more I repressed the feelings the more inappropriate my behavior became. While doing the WE book, I came across the line “When it rains, let it.” This became my focus and my mantra. My whole life I felt like I was staring up at the sky and shouting, “Don’t you dare rain on me. Not one freaking drop so help me God.” I would do just about anything to avoid the feelings because I was so afraid that if I felt one drop that it would turn into a deluge and I wouldn’t be able to control it. I thought I would never stop crying if I allowed myself to start. I thought that the feelings would overwhelm me and I’d die so this was one of the hardest steps I’d ever taken in my life. I tried starting out slowly. Ok, one small feeling. Survived that. It was ok and I didn’t act out in other ways for days avoiding it. So far so good. I may just survive this. Sometimes bravery is relinquishing control.

   I would do just about anything to avoid the feelings because I was so afraid that if I felt one drop that it would turn into a deluge and I wouldn’t be able to control it. I thought I would never stop crying if I allowed myself to start. I thought that the feelings would overwhelm me and I’d die so this was one of the hardest steps I’d ever taken in my life. I tried starting out slowly. Ok, one small feeling. Survived that. It was ok and I didn’t act out in other ways for days avoiding it. So far so good. I may just survive this. Sometimes bravery is relinquishing control.

If you enjoyed this episode and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour. Find the link below.

Patreon @brokentobrave

I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.  

Podcast Broken to Brave on Libsyn

WebsiteBrokenToBrave.com

Facebook @BrokentoBravePodcast

Twitter @broken2brave

Please rate and review Broken to Brave wherever you listen to this podcast. It truly helps others find the show and hopefully can help others, like myself, to become braver in their own lives and to heal.

Let Go – Number 5

   I remember the first time I consciously let go. I was behaving badly: acting out, tantruming, wanting to cry and kick stuff. Basically, acting like a three-year-old. I realized, in that moment, that those behaviors came out whenever I was trying not to feel something painful or if I was avoiding something that I didn’t want to face. I separated myself from the situation and went and sat alone on my bed and just let it wash over me. It was terrifying, at first. I was avoiding it for a reason, right? Feelings can be so big and scary. I kept coming back to the fear that the feelings would sweep me away. I sat in the fear. I didn’t hide from it and let it come. 

  At first it felt like panic and fear so I breathed and reminded myself that I was safe and supported. Once I was open to the feelings, I was able to tap into what was bothering me. In this case, I was afraid that I had gone backwards in my healing process and would have to start over. I felt like all the work I had done over the years was a sham. I felt like I had simply covered over the feelings and pushed myself through it without actually healing. It was scary and frustrating to think that I had to start over. I then picked up the We book and was reminded that healing is not a straight line. 

   It’s a revisiting, not a regression, and sometimes you have to experience it many times before healing comes. I wrote that down. I took it in and I reminded myself of that daily…sometimes many times a day…for a while until I got good enough at it. Sometimes bravery is revisiting something over and over again.


If you enjoyed this episode and want to dig deeper into each story, my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page.  We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective.  Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour. Find the link below.

Patreon @brokentobrave

I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.  

Podcast Broken to Brave on Libsyn

WebsiteBrokenToBrave.com

Facebook @BrokentoBravePodcast

Twitter @broken2brave

Please rate and review Broken to Brave wherever you listen to this podcast. It truly helps others find the show and hopefully can help others, like myself, to become braver in their own lives and to heal.

Felt the Pain – Number 4

It didn’t take me long to realize that those first three steps were the easy part. Identifying the problems clearly wasn’t going to be enough. I had to figure out how to heal lifelong trauma. I started reading the book We by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel and attempted to begin the real work. It was time to feel the pain. I journaled. I walked. I cried. A lot. I kept going back to bed, but not as often and not for as long. The pain was excruciating. This step sucked. It sucked bad. I carried so many toxic people around with me and they were heavy and destroying me even though they had physically left years ago. I was angry at myself for letting them have access, for not leaving sooner, for not protecting my husband and daughter from them, for wasting my adult years letting their behavior keep me from living my life. I was stuck. No, I was paralyzed. I hated myself and fully believed that everyone would be better off if I died. I begged God to just let me die in my sleep. Hadn’t I suffered enough? I have to feel it again? Why do I continually have to suffer because people were cruel? I highly doubted any of my abusers were losing sleep over what they did to me. 

I had spent my life holding the pain at bay and now the only path to freedom and healing was to allow the feelings to come. The only problem with that path was the terror that consumed me. What if I let the pain wash over me and it destroys me? What if I can’t recover? I took thousands of deep breaths during this phase and grounded myself and felt the pain a little bit at a time until I learned to let go. Sometimes bravery is pushing through the pain.



If you enjoyed this episode and want to dig deeper into the story, my my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page. We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective. Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.

Find the link below.

Patreon: @brokentobrave

I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.

Podcast: Broken to Brave on Libsyn 

Website: BrokenToBrave.com

Facebook: @BrokentoBravePodcast

Twitter: @broken2brave

YouTube: Southgate Media Group/Broken To Brave

Please rate and review Broken to Brave wherever you listen to this podcast. It truly helps others find the show and hopefully can help others, like myself, to become braver in their own lives and to heal.

Got Out of Bed, Took a Walk, and Told the Truth – Numbers 1, 2, & 3

I’m a late bloomer. A really late bloomer. In fact, I haven’t actually bloomed yet so I guess I’m a not-yet bloomer. I know it’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure it’s going to happen. I hope it’s going to happen. I’m a typical gifted underachiever and I’ve waited all my life for the moment when my drive to achieve would override my debilitating desire to hide. I was so busy waiting that I stopped paying attention to how much time had gone by until my husband mentioned that I was about to turn 50. I fell apart. I truly fell apart. How was it possible?! Fifty?! Wasn’t I 38 just last year? Where did the time go?! I lost all those years doing what? Nothing. I hadn’t achieved any of my personal goals and now my time is almost over. 50?! It couldn’t be possible. 

I was totally devastated. I took to my bed. I cried a lot. I listened to Adele on repeat so she could keep reminding me that I too was so mad of getting old it made me reckless. I felt reckless and angry and sad and desperate and so very lost. I had let myself down. I had carried all of my baggage with me and I had given my abusers free reign and let them steal my life. I felt like I just lost my whole adulthood in a blink and I had nothing to show for it. I stayed in bed leaving it only when I absolutely had to tend to my family. I continued on this way for six months. 

My husband, Rob, and I have a daughter, Molly, who at this time was 11. I noticed that Molly’s behavior was starting to change. She went from an agreeable, happy, child to someone who cried and was sad and frustrated. One night when she was leaving to go to a sleepover, Molly and I had an argument because of her new-found behavior. After she left, I went for a walk instead of going back to my bed. This was a big deal. I used to walk every day before my breakdown and hadn’t walked since. Taking this walk was a pivotal moment in my life and was going to mark a before and after.  Partway through my walk, as I was trying to process what was happening, I heard these words spoken in my head, “You’ve been saying goodbye.” I was so stunned by the words. Was I? Was I really saying goodbye? Is that what all this was coming to? I realized that I had been slowly leaving parts of my routine for others to take care of. I left groups and friends and stopped living. I was done. I had been absolving myself of more and more so that no one would notice when I was gone. At least that’s what I told myself. I was teaching my husband and daughter how to do what I do so that they could get along without me. I just didn’t realize that that’s what I was doing. I was waiting in bed to die. 

I walked home and called Rob up to talk to me. I looked at him and said the most difficult words that I had ever had to say to him, “I’ve been saying goodbye.” He was angry. No that’s not big enough. He was livid. He felt betrayed. He was hurt and frustrated and terrified. I told him that I was sorry. Molly’s behavior was because of me. How dare I say goodbye? He said to me. How dare I believe that they could survive? How dare I be so selfish and weak and insensitive? I just felt numb. Paralyzed. Please don’t ask me to stay. Please don’t ask me to carry this for one more day. He thought I was going to kill myself. I was dumbfounded. I’m not suicidal, I just want to die. There’s a difference, I swear there’s a difference. Isn’t there? I don’t think he cared much for the distinction since the outcome would be the same. I was saying goodbye. Getting out of bed was the first brave thing that I did. Taking the walk was the second brave thing and telling the truth was the third brave thing. I faced the truth and owned it. Now what? 

Sometimes bravery is just taking that first step.


If you enjoyed this episode and want to dig deeper into the story, my my husband Rob and I do an exclusive companion podcast on my Patreon page. We give further background into the story and include the spouse’s perspective. Each one of these episodes averages 45 minutes to an hour.

Find the link below.

Patreon: @brokentobrave

I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.

Podcast: Broken to Brave on Libsyn 

Website: BrokenToBrave.com

Facebook: @BrokentoBravePodcast

Twitter: @broken2brave

YouTube: Southgate Media Group/Broken To Brave

Please rate and review Broken to Brave wherever you listen to this podcast. It truly helps others find the show and hopefully can help others, like myself, to become braver in their own lives and to heal.