Connected With My Fandom on Tumblr – Number 21

   I have been a mostly closeted fan of The X-Files since 1993 only outing myself a few months prior to this addition to my list. I read a lot of fan fiction and had never commented and I sure as hell would never have added to the noise by creating my own stuff. I just lurked. 

   Because of the relentless mockery I endured, I was afraid to show any sign that I enjoyed something that was not aligned with what my family thought was acceptable or “normal.” Their desire to steal my joy kept me paralyzed and afraid to stand out.   In order to push through that fear, I decided to join Tumblr and gave myself an X-Files related username (well, actually Molly did), and I started following random blogs. And then I got brave enough to like things and comment and, even though it takes a while to be noticed, I put myself out there in a way that I never thought myself capable of before.

   The fandom was so welcoming and it felt good to give back to a community who had helped me weather through so many times in my adult life where I needed some escape or distraction. Please don’t hold back what makes you light up. And don’t let others insecurities make you live a small life. Life is too short. Love what you love and let that light shine bright.

Sometimes bravery is becoming a joiner. 



If you enjoyed this chapter 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. 

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

Volunteered To Get Interviewed On a Podcast About Music That Is Important To Me – Number 20

   Well, this is significant in many ways. First of all, I don’t volunteer to do things. Secondly, it’s personal. Thirdly, I don’t volunteer to do things. The way the show works is that someone picks a song from each decade they were alive in. There are no rules regarding how to pick your songs and no specific criteria…just as long as there’s one from each decade you’ve been alive. I was born in 1968 so I started with a song from the 60’s. I didn’t set out with a theme in mind when I picked my songs, it just sort of happened. The first song was Sweet Thing by Van Morrison. I picked this one because it describes a little bit about how I feel about Rob. My second song was Kooks by David Bowie for the 1970’s. This one was about parenting Molly. Are you starting to see the pattern? The song I chose from the 1980’s was Peter Gabriel’s Don’t Give Up. I chose this song because it encompassed my teenage years and I shared on the podcast how I survived those difficult years. My next song was Tonight Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins for the 1990’s. It represents our move to Minneapolis and I describe what was so significant about that time. 

   Next up was the 2000’s and the song Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole by Martha Wainwright. This was about my desire to live in truth and my break from my family of origin. The last song I chose was Brave by Sara Bareilles for the 2010’s. I was knee deep in my list at this point and this song said it all. With list in hand, I skyped with Jesse and Terry. I shared a lot. We went deep.  We laughed, we even cried a little. It was supposed to be an hour…it was not. They had to split mine into two episodes. I’m a podcaster. I like to talk. What can I say? 

Martha Wainwright Quote #1

   It was very healing for me and fun and holy crap people were going to hear this what have I done?! I talked about my list, too. So there’s that. This was the precursor to this project. This was the first time I really talked about my list in detail. I was only on number 20 when I volunteered to be on the podcast and a little further in by the time I guested on it so still very far from having the confidence I have now, but much braver than when I started at number 1. This was me full on. This was me flayed open and honest. This was me learning how to do this. Sometimes bravery is being vulnerable.











If you enjoyed this chapter 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.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

Got Therapy – Number 19

   I started having flashbacks. Upsetting glimpses of something I couldn’t get a handle on. There are a lot of traumas that I have endured in my life so to think that there is something I’ve hidden away that might be worse is quite unsettling. I had a doctor once who was helping me with various mysterious health problems. He told me that my body was holding onto something and that at night before I go to sleep to ask myself to show me in my dream. I would then get up the next day and write out whatever I remembered from my dreams and Rob and I would analyze them. We had a backlog so one night he suggested we work on some. We started on one that took place in a hotel and as he asked me questions about the various parts of the dream, he said, “What happened in the room on the first floor?” I. Freaked. Out. I cried hysterically and shouted,”Nothing happened in that room!! Don’t you ever say that!! Nothing happened!! Nothing happened!!” And I sobbed. Yeah, that had never happened to me before. It was so shocking. I’ve known for a while that there was something that I’ve blocked. It’s been 18 years since then and I’m starting to get flashes of things and it’s unsettling. I was talking to one of my best friends about it and she immediately told me that I need a therapist. This is not something that anyone should try to maneuver on their own. We had no insurance at the time and very little income as we were still building our company. She contacted her friend who is a therapist and asked if she could help me. The therapist had a sliding scale and my friend paid for the first month of appointments. 

 

    I went and it was quite obvious that I had a lifetime of various traumas that had never been dealt with. I described being molested and raped like I was reading my grocery list. “Have you ever felt any of the feelings around these events?” the therapist asked. Ummm…hell no. Why would I do that?! I’ve spent my life trying not to feel it. This was not going to be easy, or pretty. My last attempt at therapy was spent with the therapist just getting me to do the most basic self care. We never even touched on the trauma so this was a first for me.

   Therapy is hard. Really hard. It sucks to dig through painful experiences. I had done so much work over the years and felt like I was starting over. I felt so hopeless, at first. I felt like I would never be free and my abusers were off living their lives and I was left to repair the damage they caused. When do I get to live? Will I ever be whole? It took me several months before I could see progress. The work I had done on my own was important and it did matter and it did help. I just needed an objective outsider who is trained in dealing with developmental trauma and complex PTSD to help me process further. I could only go so far with a book on my own. The books are still valuable and I still use them, but sometimes bravery is knowing when you can’t do it alone.



If you enjoyed this chapter 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.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

Noticed It, Named It, Felt It, Let It Go – Number 18

   I got to a section in the WE book that explained how in order to heal we need to notice what is hurting us, call it out, feel it, and then let it go. This was life changing for me because I have spent my life avoiding all of those things. My behavior instead would be out of control as I tried to hold in my feelings. I wanted to believe that if you ignored or avoided something long enough it would just go away…FYI, it doesn’t. 

   I would stuff the feelings, numb the feelings with food or distraction, or sometimes completely dissociate from the feelings and pretend they didn’t exist. These avoidant behaviors usually caused me physical pain in some area of my body and they certainly caused me to have anxiety and act out. I recognized that my crutches were most likely hurting me more than the actual feelings would so the next time I was triggered by something I stopped and got quiet and focused on it. 

   I figured out what it was and then let the feelings come and then I released it. As terrified as I was at the time to actually challenge these beliefs, I survived and I actually felt better. No erratic behavior. No acting out. No chaos. No losing days, or longer, to a game addiction or whatever I could throw myself into to distract me. In a matter of a few minutes, I felt better. I went and shared what had been bothering me with Rob and Molly like an actual adult. I trusted the process enough to try it and it worked. Not that I wouldn’t regress a million times going forward, but I’m so much better at it now and am building the muscle memory so that I process as it comes and I’m not holding onto pain. Notice that something is bothering you. Name what it is. Feel it. And let that shit go. Sometimes bravery is facing what you’re avoiding.



If you enjoyed this chapter 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.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

Didn’t Get Sucked In – Number 17

   I was raised in a Catholic home and went to a Catholic school for 8 years. I was steeped in guilt. I was also taught to believe that any conflict was my fault. By that I mean that if someone was upset with me for any reason, for instance if I said no to someone and they got upset, it was my fault. I should keep the peace at all cost whether or not the other person is wrong. Because of that I got a warped view of relationships. I’ve got catholic guilt, an unrealistic sense that I can’t have any conflict in a relationship, and then there’s “obligation.” We were obligated to go to events, participate, whatever whether we wanted to or not. Whether it was convenient, healthy, something we wanted to do or not. It didn’t matter. 

   The only thing that mattered was whether or not I was expected to be there. Have plans with friends? Why would you do that? We have a family party. For the twelfth time this year. Not going causes guilt, conflict, and a barrage of “but you have to be there.” conversations. It was just easier to go. Until it wasn’t. Eventually, it was far more damaging to go and the weeks of recovery from an event was no longer worth it. So I said no. Over and over. And I hated it every time. And I wanted to throw up and I wanted to cry and I wanted to run back and say, “Ok, I’ll go.” But I knew I couldn’t go back.

   I sat in the guilt and the fear of conflict and the overwhelming sense of obligation and I stayed out of it all except sometimes I forgot and would emotionally get sucked back in. But not this day. This day I recognized it and reminded myself of the truth. This day I remembered that I don’t have to carry the guilt. I remembered that conflict is healthy and that it’s not my responsibility to make peace with people who are unkind or unhealthy. I remembered that my only real obligation is to my husband and my daughter. They come first and not anyone else. That I have an obligation to my health and well-being and that as soon as something threatens those things, I am no longer obligated to participate. The guilt subsided, the fear of saying no subsided and my sense of obligation switched over to the rightful place…my daughter, husband and myself. I released myself from anything else placed on me that day and didn’t get sucked in. That was a big, brave, scary day. Sometimes bravery is saying no.



If you enjoyed this chapter 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.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave

Accepted Praise – Number 16

   One of the hardest things for me to learn in my life was to accept praise. To say that I was not praised as a child is an understatement. I am an expert at self-deprecation, as well, so it became part of my DNA to think of myself as a disaster and voice all negative opinions of myself whenever the opportunity arose. If anyone tried to compliment me, I would give them the 500 reasons why they were wrong in their opinion of me. 

   It was embarrassing for them and for myself. After the keynote address, I received some messages. One said that she wanted me to be the keynote speaker every year. My gut reaction was to respond by calling her crazy and list every single thing wrong with me, but I’d been doing the work. I’d been challenging these beliefs about myself. I’d been rewiring the messages in my brain. Therefore, on this day I responded back, “Thank you so much.” And sat in the feelings someone thinking I did a good job brought up. 

   Who was I to tell her that her experience of my talk was wrong? Who was I to tell her that her reality is not reality? I was freaking brave. I had a message that needed to be heard. I fought through and delivered said message. It may not have been pretty, but it was effective. Isn’t that enough? That event gave me so many opportunities to practice accepting praise. Just say thank you. It is that simple. 

Sometimes bravery is getting your message out no matter what.



If you enjoyed this chapter 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.  I also share different content across my social media channels and at my blog on the website.   Podcast: Broken to Brave on LibsynWebsite: BrokenToBrave.comFacebook: @BrokentoBravePodcastTwitter: @broken2brave