Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why So Personal?

Okay-so Dan had me thinking. He asked what made me write my last blog (On A Personal Note posted 11/27).

It started with a conversation we had last week. He asked why I let people take my time and my answer was that it was all I had to give. Then I really started wondering why...

I got home and I was immediately needed. My kids needed me for all of the crap their dad won't do, DAT needed me, friends needed my help or my ear. And maybe that's how I identify myself, by how much I'm needed. It gives me a feeling of worth. It's a positive trait I guess from a bad situation.

I know the subject is one I never spoke of and I started to wonder why on that as well. Truly it's not something that comes up in casual conversation but I never even confided in my closest friends (actually a whopping two knew). Why should it be a deep dark secret, why can't it be just another bump in my road?

I shouldn't be ashamed about something that happened a lifetime ago. By not being open about it am I claiming that being a victim is shameful? It started to feel that way.

I've had victims in my classes, women with battle scars. I look at them as strong women who overcame something and continue to become more than a single moment in their lives.

And maybe that's another reason I never spoke of it, I didn't want it to define me. But it never will because it never did. It may have been something that controlled me for a couple of years. A demon that had to be beaten. But we all have our demons. I have friends who had abusive parents, no parents, lost a child or a partner, or have a similar incidents in their lives that was so ugly they were taken to the bottom of their being and had to claw back from it. The amazing thing is our human resilience. We can claw back, overcome and not let the darkness define us but give us strength.

I'm probably a much stronger person today because of my past. Not that I wouldn't do the cliche of going back in time and changing one thing if it were possible. But I am who I am because of my decisions, whether they were good, bad or ugly, they was mine.

I've had other bumps, some small speed bumps like an injury or health issues, some a bit more jarring like divorce. I'm positive I'll have more of all sizes. But I know I have strength and I know I have support. Because that's the one thing about being needed by others, it goes both ways.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On a personal note

I've been really struggling with the idea of making some very personal things public. I'm of the mindset to do it because it would explain what I do-why I do it.

When I was sixteen I was date raped. The teenage  "love of my life" was in another country and I had found out he was sleeping around. My idea was to start dating-a lot and often.

One guy was a bit older than me. We didn't go out much but by date three, when clearly he didn't make me tingle and a goodnight kiss was even awkward, he got angry. I was a tease and a bitch. I was helpless.

My parents were away so easy to hide the bruises, head trauma and body damage. I was a good girl. Things like this didn't happen to us. Besides....they truly believed I was still a virgin.  (Of course what do you do when the guy you "love" is leaving but sleep with him to keep him?) Yeah-I was that stupid.

What is kept inside often comes out in some way.

I had begun running with my dad that year and so run I did. I ran from my mind. I would run from five to eight miles a day plus ride my horse, swim, and work two jobs. This was my escape. No time to think.

Of course eating was a low priority......welcome anorexia. I was about 85 pounds when I told my mom I was scared and needed help.

I obviously recovered. Anyone who knows me can testify I can eat like a horse. In many ways I became stronger for it.

I remember in my senior year, when depression and darkness tried to overtake me, I had two teachers at JP McCaskey and two friends who essentially saved me. They SAW me. In their busy lives or teenage fog they SAW me and reached out. It's why I'm still here.

I had this conversation recently with someone, why I give my time so freely to people. It's because I see them. It's what I have to give. If I can make one person's hour, day, week, month or year more bearable I have to do it. It was done for me.

So the pay it forward mentality.

But I have another passion from my pain. If I can teach just one teenage girl to fight, to defend, to make sure that guy that decides after three dates that he's "entitled" never does it again, then I will be so happy. Don't get me wrong, the boys that take my Youth Impact at DAT are near and dear since I am the mom of two boys. But the girls....the girls I look at with such harsh expectations. Each and every one needs to be fighting for their life by the end of my program.

Because if they ever need to-I want them to win.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Making Change

It's Thanksgiving in a few days. A time when we're all supposed to count our blessings and give thanks to whatever karma, God or good fortune we've been blessed with.

But what about when that's hard? What about when life is truly looking bleak, creating more questions than answers. Can you find what to be thankful for?

I was talking with a friend recently who is struggling with happiness. She made the point that she can find glimpses of it from kids or accomplishment but how do you find true happiness?

We often go through the motions of life without testing our own personal satisfaction. Businesses do it: "Please complete this survey telling us how we did." Why can't we do that as well? Take a survey of our lives:
What is working for you?
What is not working?
If you could change three things in your life what would they be?
Is it possible to make those changes? (Or maybe just one or two?)
What would prevent you from making those changes?

The questions can be as personal or general as you'd like for your survey but they have to make you think. You have to be challenged in your desire to create a life you love. Without challenge, desire and motivation we continue on the settled life of hazy acceptance or tunnel vision in our belief that we are stuck in our situation.

In coaching I'm great at asking the tough questions of others but not always so much for myself.
What do I want?
What do I need?
What can I accept?
What has to change?
How do I make that happen?

Change can be scary, hard, fantastic or traumatic. Change can transform us and reinvent us. Sometimes change is thrown on us and others we decide how, when or why it is happening.

You always have something to be thankful for, even if you have to dig deep to find it. But if you could create a life full of thankful things would it be worth the effort? Can you make change?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Unnatural Politics

Gopher: If I was you, I'd think about skedaddlin' out of here.
Winnie the Pooh: Why?
Gopher: 'Cause it's "Winds-day."

She came, she blew and spit, damage was done, and she's moved on. Sounds like a women scorned right? Hurricane Sandy was just that, a royal bitch. Have you seen  the east coast?

We were spared in Lancaster. I have a piece of siding blown off of the house and a small bit of water on my basement walls. I feel pretty lucky considering I spent Monday night listening to the wind (all night) wondering how friendly the lollipop guild really is and why my dog would not be as useful as Toto.

Not everyone was so lucky. My sister lives right outside of New York City and they are still without power. People with generators are now finding it difficult to get gas. Flooding is still an issue in shore areas as well as the New York subway system. The insult to injury is the temperature. Baby it's getting cold outside.

I was greatly impressed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. When Fox News was badgering him about the presidential election he commented something along the lines of: "If you think at this time when my state is in an emergency I care about presidential politics then you don't know me."

Really that should be the forefront of every official on the East Coast. I'm not saying ignore the election but can we focus on what's important? People's homes, memories and even lives were taken. Yet you can't log into Facebook without every third post being a rip on a candidate.

I don't talk about politics. I keep my views private and personal. I've sat through long conversations with friends where I've agreed with them but stayed silent. In both politics and religion I think it should be a personal thing and not imposed on others. They are two emotional "hot buttons" in society. Thanks but no thanks.

I understand the passion involved in this election. I certainly don't envy either candidate. President of the United States has got to be the most horrendous job ever. In today's world you have to do the daunting task of fixing so many issues, juggling the vast spiderweb that is our government, while still having your personal life all over People Magazine. Then throw in occasional natural disasters or terrorist attacks to test your moral and emotional fiber. Good luck to both of you.

Gov. Christie, an outspoken Romney supporter, praised President Obama for how he has handle the disaster. He could put politics aside and acknowledge that his President stepped up to the challenge and focused on the people that need help.

I applaud everyone who is stepping up to help during this disaster. Even if I don't share your political views-good for you!!

And don't forget to vote.