Lessons I Wish I’d Learned In High School

OK, to be fair, they were…I just wasn’t ready to listen.

Hindsight is a 5th of liquor…I mean 20/20. Yeah. Math. 😉 (Kidding. We all know how much I love math.)

But, seriously, we all have these things…lessons we learned through life that would have made life SO. MUCH. LESS. PAINFUL. if we’d just accepted them earlier in life. (The same things we try to force down our kids’ throats…but they won’t learn before they’re ready either).

So. Lessons I’ve finally started to accept…that I wish I’d learned in High School. Tell me yours?

1. The Asshole – Boo, hear me…if you have ever had the urge or cause to say, “Yeah…he’s kind of an asshole sometimes, but never to me…”…GIRL. YOU. ARE. NEXT. RUN. Seriously, NO ONE is something to everyone except you. They might love or like you enough to hold it in for a bit, but when the shine wears off…you’re left with an asshole.

2. Your Gut – Your gut is the best friend you’ll ever have. Sometimes your gut will tell you to run when no one else sees a reason to. Two things could be at play here. First, not everyone has learned to hear their gut. Second, and more importantly, sometimes your gut isn’t telling you that someone is bad, in general, just bad for YOU. It’s still important to listen. Which brings me to…

3. Protect Yourself- If you don’t protect yourself, no one will. It’s not their job. It’s yours. And if anyone gets angry with you for protecting yourself…

4. Those Are Not Your People – Not everyone is meant to be YOUR people. The ones who are will root for you every step of the way, even if they don’t understand…if they can see that it’s good for you…it’s good for them.

5. Look For Your Sideline Squad – Most likely, that’s where your people are. Those who are loudest and most in your face rarely have sticking power. Those who are quietly waiting to see us succeed…Well, to put it in cheer terms…Comp Squads may win gold, but it’s the ones who keep cheering for you when you’re losing that are your lifelong people.

6. What Is Meant For You Can’t Be Stolen – This is the one that was the hardest learn for me. How many times…in high school…in friemdships…in relationships…have we felt like someone stole what was ours? She stole my friends. She got my spot. She took my guy. No. Friends don’t leave. Love doesn’t stray. And anything so easily taken wasn’t supposed to be yours.

7. What IS Meant For You Is Still Waiting – Are you brave enough to let go of the comfortable and go find it?

8. Breathe. It’s all going to be ok in the end. If it isn’t okay, it isn’t the end.

I Have Reached a Point in Life

I have reached a point in life…where I will not be silent to save another from hearing my truth.

I have reached a point in life…where I will not be loud to beg to.be heard.

I have reached a point in life…where I will not beg to be loved.

I have reached a point in life…where I know the ones who will love me would never want me to beg.

I have reached a point in life…where I do not need to be liked to love myself.

I have reached a point in life…where I can allow myself not to like others as I accept them not liking me.

I have reached a point in life…where guilt and manipulation are not as easily able to sway me.

I have reached a point in life…where I recognize those who would use those tactics to gain do not recognize my worth.

I have reached a point in life…where I recognize my own worth.

I have reached a point in life…where I KNOW that loving me does not mean that I love you less…where I KNOW that hurting myself does not help you…where I accept love from others…but demand it from myself.

Uncomfortable Conversations…And Why They’re So Important

Yesterday…during my, admittedly, incessant Facebook scrolling…I came across a checklist of how to know you’re healing from your trauma. This list stopped me right in my tracks.

Why? Because…

I instantly recognized that three years ago…I was almost healed.

(Not to say it wouldn’t be a part of my life anymore, but that I could feel…OKAY…with my past).

I also instantly recognized WHY I had backslid.

Shame.

One of the main prerequisites for healing from trauma is recognizing that the shame of crimes against you does not belong to you.

How do we battle shame? Vulnerability and openness. 

But people shy away from vulnerable conversations.

Why? Because vulnerable conversations about a less than perfect world make people uncomfortable by threatening their bubble of safety.

Rather than admit that bad things happen that we can not control, it is easier to label someone dramatic or attention seeking…it is easier to assume that they exaggerate or focus too much on the negative.

Uncomfortable conversations are threatening…and should be avoided at all costs.

So, let’s think about this.

You meet someone new…you want to know them…you want them to know you. What makes them tick? What makes you you?

You tell them amusing antectodes about your childhood or early life. You talk about the moments that shaped you. They want to do the same. But…the topic at hand…they have no amusing anecdotes about what shaped them…they have this big THING that they’ve navigated to become who they are…in a way that you will only understand if you understand what led them there.

They have 3 options.

1. They can hide behind their shame and make something up.

2. They can hide behind their shame and say nothing…probably losing the chance at this new friendship because they obviously are hiding something.

3. They can be vulnerable….they can tell their story…with the knowledge that the shame that comes with their story is not theirs to claim.

What should they do?

I had reached a point where I accepted that the shame for the *literal* crimes committed against me was not mine to claim.

I had reached a point where I was able to openly tell my story…without panic…without tears…without fearing judgment.

The thing is…I had reached that point with very supportive people in my life. I felt safe.

But…I ventured out…I met knew people…I took that newfound strength and continued being this vulnerable, open version of me.

Not really their fault…but those people weren’t ready for that vulnerability. They couldn’t understand. They found the topics uncomfortable…scary…and, through their own self defense mechanisms, probably untrue…because it was too uncomfortable to face that it could be true. That this could happen to anyone.

We all recognize judgment when we see it. Those with a particular past recognize it a little more quickly. And…some don’t bother to hide their judgment because they consider that (fairly) being real. (I say fairly because no one should have to hide their feelings…that right doesn’t belong only to the traumatized.)

I recognized the judgment. I handled it in two ways. First…I got LOUDER. I WILL NOT BE SHAMED, DAMN IT!! Then…I reclaimed the shame. OBVIOUSLY THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME.

Annnnndddd…back to square one on healing. Back to feeling like I should apologize for the life I lived. Back to panicking…Back to crying…Back to fear.

You guys…I KNOW that I’m annoyingly vulnerable at times. I do this for my own healing…I do this so I can feel as known as you get to feel…I also do this to show others that it can be safe to be vulnerable.

This is why uncomfortable conversations are so important.

Do you want to know the people in your life as well as you want them to know you? Do you want them to feel safe? Or do you want them to hide behind a harmful, misplaced sense of shame.

But…another made up ratio…let’s say 85% of you are scared of these uncomfortable conversations.

99.99% of the people who read this are NOT actually self absorbed twatopotamuses (twatopotamees? twatopotami?) 99.99% of you don’t want people to feel shame for something done to them.

To you, I ask…are you going to place shame in order to avoid your own discomfort? Are you going to lean away from vulnerability and healing?

Or are you going to lean in?

Please lean in.

Repeat After Me: I Am NOT Government Cheese

Spoiler Alert: This is not a selfie.

Today’s random musing from my solitunes time: I treat myself like government cheese.

Ok, ‘splain, Sheri. Right? Ok. Here goes.

(Almost) Everybody likes cheese. We each have our favorites. Mine are mozzarella (ps it’s moozahrell…not MOTZARELLAH) and Swiss (it’s holy…aka God’s cheese, y’all!). Maybe you love cheddar…gouda…like it melted…like it cold…who knows. It’s cheese!!!

But…unless we’re drunk…we probably don’t choose government cheese. Unless…

We’re in hard times.

That’s what government cheese is really for…

…People going through hard times.

The hard times pass…

…The cheese gets fancier and prettier.

That’s how I treat myself. Like people can only choose me in hard times.

Need a friend because world is collapsing? CHEESE!

Need someone to show you love when you’re low? I AM YOUR CHEESE!!

Need anything…anything at all…when times are tough…I want to make your life a little…well…cheesier… (Come on, you had to know I’d go there… 😆 )

But when times are better…I assume you don’t want me anymore. There’s better cheese out there for the good times.

You may not push away…you may still want the cheese I am…but I think without your welfare ticket…why pick me?

Here’s the thing. Maybe you never saw me as a big block of the best you could get at the time. To YOU I may be the one thing missing from you fondue feast. (Fondue is expensive, y’all! You ever been to Melting Pot?!?! Also…shout out to my nerd brethren…”Do you? Fondue?”)

You still want to dip yo….nope even I can’t go that gigigty in a blog. But you get the point.

YOU never saw me as government cheese, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting me unless I’m the last resort. As a friend…as a lover…as anything. If I don’t feel useful, well….I don’t feel useful.

So today I’m trying to make myself a promise.

Starting today, *I* am deciding. I. Am. Fondue

Do you fondue?

Change, Not Vengeance

“Hate cannot drive out Hate, only Love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr. said this. And…as much as people love to quote him in their arguments…I don’t believe I have seen anyone I know share this one.

Why? Because change is often believed to rely on justice. And justice is often believed to be dependent on vengeance.

Instead of fighting for love and understanding and compassion…people fight for vindication.

And, honestly, it’s exhausting to watch.

Here’s the thing. What’s right for you doesn’t mean it has to be right for everyone. And that goes in both directions.

I’ll start with the one that I have a personal ouch with. Lol

I’ve never cared one way or another what religion someone is. I support faith, not religion. The reason I support faith is because faith helps us get through the darkest times. Faith in there being a meaning to the seemingly random hurts we face in life…faith that to something out there…we matter. So, faith is important to me, personally…but I don’t care what you have faith in…and that includes people who have faith in science over a spiritual faith.

I have never, nor will I ever, bashed anyone else’s beliefs. On the contrary, I have fought for everyone to have the right to their own faith.

But…for years…those who choose to not have faith in a higher power have been ridiculed and hated. And I understand the hurt that that caused them. I don’t just understand and sympathize…I empathize.

How, right?! I’m one of the mighty Christians! The ones who supposedly rule this society with an iron fist!

Because…now that a choice to NOT believe has become more commonplace…now that there is a platform with which to fight this injustice…it is not fought with love. It is fought with a thirst for vindication and vengeance. Many who choose not to believe…do not fight for understanding and compassion…they fight to prove those who do believe wrong.

They fight for the other “side”…including those who never hurt them…to bleed as they did.

What was done to them is how they will fight. A post from one person about their belief in God…will be met with mocking comments from those trying to change their mind. A meme shared by a non-believer asks for vengeance or change to their “side”.

Here’s the truth. Change means there should be no more sides. Change means love and compassion for all.

Faith is not wrong.

Lack of faith is not wrong.

Being Black, Latino, Indian, or any other “check this box” label is not wrong.

Being Caucasian is not wrong.

Being homesexual, bisexual, transgender, etc is not wrong.

Being straight is not wrong.

Being married…being divorced…being single…being a parent…being a pet parent…none of these are wrong.

I love people for who they are, not for what label they self identify with.

Do you? Or do you love people hoping to guilt shame them to your side as you believe others did to you?

Vengeance and vindication are not the same as justice.

Justice is not the same as change.

Change is love, compassion, understanding and acceptance.

From everyone.

And …now…I wait for the comments of, “yeah! But not everyone is like you Sheri! Some people still don’t believe my side is right and they need to learn!” You’re right…not everyone believes and acts as I do…but is fighting with hate going to change that? Or will you teach people to be more loving by fighting for change with love?

*fall clumsily off soapbox*

/scene

*Jazz hands*

Thank You

Last night an amazing thing happened in my world…at one of my low points…when I was feeling most lost and alone…most confused about whether I am the person I want to be…the person I’ve always been proud to be…my friends rallied.

Let me explain the background on that before I go into detail.

I’m pretty open here…so it’s no secret that for the past little bit I’ve been making a conscious effort to face my own trauma…my own toxicity…my own…well…deepest fears and what they are doing to my life.

Here’s the thing about finally dealing with things. You guys…IT. IS. MESSY.

Some days I’m a ray of sunshine. Other days…I’m a shaker of salt. Just call me the Morton’s Girl, cause I’ve got salt for you! Some days I’m on top of the world. Some days I’m carrying the weight of the same world on my shoulders…and NOT gracefully.

Scabs and scars and layers of bandages…they all have to be ripped up…and you finally have to bleed until the poison exits your bloodstream.

The poison hasn’t left mine yet.

So…I’m still bleeding. Sometimes alone…sometimes *waving vaguely* E’erywhere…

I’ve lost people because of it. That just is what it is. While I don’t like seeing people I ever cared about physically bleed, I’ll be the first to sit there and help them through emotional bleeding. On the flip side of that, some people can staunch the physical wound of anyone, but they can’t handle the emotional flow of blood. And that’s ok.

On the other end of the spectrum…I’ve lost people who were never really there. They could only love me and consider me wise and good if I was of benefit to them. Bleeding and broken…I’m really no good to them. This is also ok…although less likely to be allowed near me when I LEVEL UP! to my healthy happy version of me. 🤷‍♀️

The problem is…because MY particular trauma is very rooted in a history of not being considered worthy or loveable by the important people…I tend to lose myself in the disapproval of others. I start thinking, “Wow…they must be right…I suck…I don’t deserve any better…I should just be grateful for whatever I’m handed…I. Am. Unlovable.” (Honestly…I think we all get drawn to those people who help us recreate our trauma that is still unfaced.)

After kinda making myself bleed with my own blog post yesterday…followed with therapy…and in conjunction with my heart hurting over some of the people I’ve lost…I WAS BLEEDING ALL OVER MYSELF and I couldn’t remember a damn thing that anyone could ever possibly love about me.

So…first I wallowed.  And then…I decided to be vulnerable…and I posted on my Facebook page…

“Full disclosure…I just flat out need a pick-me-up tonight. So…tell me one positive of having me in your world? Even if it’s just comedic relief. Lol

Part of me expected to be ignored altogether. I mean…kind of attention-whoreish, if we’re being honest. 🤷‍♀️😆 But mostly…I already mostly knew who wouldn’t respond…because they’re not social media addicts like some of us, or because they didn’t really have anything nice to say and would choose nothing at all, or because they legit don’t like me and sure as hell aren’t going to help me. So, yeah, I was pretty secure in who wouldn’t answer. For those that I figured WOULD answer, I figured it would be mostly laughs and jokes because that’s often the reaction my posts are going for.

I was caught off guard on both parts.

Some people that I never would have expected a response from came out of the woodwork. And almost everyone took my request quite seriously.

Rather than jokes or backhanded compliments, what I received was heartfelt sincerity. People reminisced about times I had made them feel important at low times in their lives. People said I make them think. People brought back WAAAY BACK examples of ways I showed them kindness. I was told that I make some smile on days when smiling doesn’t come easy. I was told that it’s my mixture of realness and humor that brings something special to their world. I was told that I’m someone who has made them feel like someone relates to who THEY are. Even the ones who commented on how I bring nerdiness and jokes…they meant that as a heartfelt compliment. (Seriously, I am a loud and proud nerd!)

I woke up this morning…I saw the outpouring of love…the sincere desire to show me that I make their world a better place…and I felt…more light…more loved (other than by my boyfriend who always reminds me how much he loves me ❤️)…more seen…more ME…than I have in quite a long time.

The only response I could even come up with was this:

“So, what I’ve gotten from this is that what I bring to people is true friendship, kindness, love, hilarious/snarky humor, nerdiness and math. In short, to the people who matter, I am exactly who I want to be. This makes my heart happy and is honestly exactly what I needed. I’m struggling wayyyyy too much lately with feeling like I’m failing, but I’m not failing the people who love me. Thank you, guys. ❤️

So, yeah…thank you. Thank you for reminding me that I’m still me. Thank you for showing me that the people who love me see ME… not their own version of me…but the ME that I’m proud to be.

Really, I think we all need that sometimes. ❤️

My Reason Why

A very, very…very, very…VERY long time ago (shut up, I’m old!), there was a little 10 year old girl. She hadn’t had a very exceptional life up to that point…positively or negatively. She had a daddy who the world revolved around, so she was mostly able to ignore the fact that her mother didn’t really want her. She had an older brother who picked on her mercilessly…and a younger brother to whom she passed on that favor. She loved to read…she loved music and dreamed of being a concert pianist one day…she had so much love inside of her to give, she would often find herself sitting on her hands at school because she knew she couldn’t just get up and hug people. She had friends…she had bullies…neither left school with her as she wasn’t allowed friends at home…she had no telephone…she had no real life past home, but she didn’t know that was weird. She was…in short…a reasonably happy child so long as she had books and music to hide in when things got bad.

And then…one night…it was all taken away. In the blink of an eye…the police were there…so, so many police. Her daddy tried to run as they drove up to a house covered in flashing blue…but he knew it was done. He pulled over about a mile down that dark Georgia road…turned around….and told the little girl, “I’m not your father”. (Side note: Holy shit, I’m the anti Luke!!) Anyways…) The police caught up. Her daddy and mother were put in cop cars as the police tried to explain that she and her older brother had been kidnapped…all while her mother screamed, “He’s in the mafia! He bought off a judge! He’s going to kill you!!” And then…they were gone. She and her brothers were sent to the police station. And then…her little brother was gone.  They tried to explain to her that her name was not her real name…and her identity was gone. A few days later a strange man came and was introduced as her real father. He took them to their school to get their records…and then her school and friends were gone. He took them to an airport to go “home”…and then the only world she’d ever known was gone. She sat on that plane…her whole life gone in a matter of days…she had already figured out she was supposed to be grateful and happy…so she played her part…but she was gone.

Fast Forward about 17 years…the little girl has grown up….she’s married…she’s moved on…even if she was never really able to move on on the inside…This grown version of the little girl found herself on a plane once more.

As she sits on this plane, with her husband on one side…and an empty seat on the other…a little girl about 10 years old gets on the plane. The little girl is sobbing…she is followed by a man…in handcuffs…restrained by the police…and a flight attendant. The little girl, sobbing all the while, is saying goodbye to the man and begging him not to go…and then he’s gone. Before this little girl took the empty seat next to the now grown woman…the woman asked the flight attendant if the little girl was ok. The flight attendant (more than happily, which the woman contacted the airline about later) didn’t just say yes or no…she went into full detail. “Oh…no…that was her dad…he’s going to jail for a long time…so they let them say goodbye….but she’s flying to Georgia now to be with her mom whom she’s never met.”

You guys…this story probably sounds made up. It should be. This shouldn’t be the world we live in…and yet… 🤷‍♀️

The woman knew that…out of all the seats either of them could have been in… she had been placed next to this little girl because she was needed…she was needed to be the person she’d needed those many, many years before. She knew she couldn’t take away the pain that was coming to this little girl…but she could be her friend for the next few hours. She saw the little had a doll, so she asked her the dolls name. Tearfully, the little girl talked about her doll…she pulled out more dolls at the woman’s request…and, for a few hours (next to a thoroughly ignored husband lol) the woman and the little girl played and laughed and managed to find some joy amidst the pain. By the time the plane landed, the little girl was laughing and happy…even if only for a few blessed moments.

And the woman? She learned a valuable lesson that day.

Everything…ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING…happens for a reason.

She was where she was that day because her past was what was needed. She could wallow in the pain of what had happened to the little girl still crying inside of her…or she could own its purpose…and help others through her own experiences.

This…is my reason.

This is why I STILL believe that everything happens for a reason…no matter how long it takes to find it…no matter how much I wallow before I get there (I AM human, after all lol).

This is why I share.

This is why I write.

At times, I feel like I’m speaking into a vacuum. At times, my openness is seen as “attention seeking and dramatic”. At times I almost quit as I fear being annoying or misunderstood.

And then…someone will tell me that my openness helped them face something they’d been avoiding…someone will tell me that I’ve given them strength…someone will tell me that my words made them realize they’re not alone…someone will tell me that I made a difference for them.

Maybe it’s naive…this belief that everything has a purpose…that God puts us through tribulations for a reason that will not become clear until much later…when you’re sitting on a plane next to your inner child…when your words give someone a reason to keep going.

Yes…maybe it is naive…maybe it can be “annoying”…maybe not forgetting where I’ve come from can make me seem negative.

I don’t care.

This is my reason why.

It’s OK to Let Go

When you can’t find a quote…quote yourself?

Letting Go has been the theme of my year. But…my view on it has been evolving over that time.

In my life, I have usually been guilty of holding on for too long. Not for myself always, though. The usual reason for my monster grip on things (especially people) was that I didn’t want to be wrong about them and hurt them by letting go. So…I would try and and try and try and try…and try and try and try and try…and then…I would do the ever famous “INFJ DOOR SLAM”.

What’s the INFJ Door Slam? It’s a specialty of my personality type…we keep trying until we’re so defeated…we slam the door and there’s no coming back. The relationship is dead, buried, and…to be honest…mourned before we ever even got to that point. It’s done.

So…WHY? Well…I can only speak for myself here, but it may resonate with others. I was taught to doubt any of my own feelings or instincts that MIGHT cause me to hurt someone. It didn’t matter how much I was hurting…if it was a choice between ME hurting or someone else hurting…I was taught that I should be the one to suffer the pain.

WTF, right?? Lol

So, I would hold on and hold on and hold on and hold on…and suffer…and suffer…and suffer…and then…BAM! FUCK THIS SHIT, I’M OUT!

Door slammed.

But…what if…

What if it didn’t have to be that way?

What if my holding on was hurting someone else, too?

What if I had let go gracefully and naturally…and it saved BOTH parties from hurting?

This is the epiphany that I have had.

I’ve always thought I feared abandonment more than anything, but…

The reality that I’m finding through finding myself and facing things this year…

I don’t fear being disliked. I don’t fear being unpopular. I’m actually quite ok with both. I don’t have to be loved by all…or even most.

What sends me into a spiral is when words and actions don’t match…when someone says they love me but I don’t feel love…when someone says they’re there, but it feels like I’m alone…

When people hold on when they should let go.

That’s it. That’s the base root of my anxiety. Knowing in my gut that someone doesn’t want to be there, but stays anyway and swears it’s because they love me.

That dichotomy of words and actions. I can’t handle it.

And yet…aren’t I guilty of the same?

By holding on, in fear of being wrong, I am the person in someone’s life who stays…long after it becomes apparent that I don’t want to be there.

In an effort to never accidentally hurt someone…am I actually causing more damage?

They say that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. We can’t keep everyone forever. That’s not the way its supposed to be. (And holy shit, can you even IMAGINE trying to maintain strong relationships for a lifetime with EVERY PERSON YOU’VE EVER KNOWN? My introvert side shudders at this thought.)

Friends (even the best of friends)…lovers…whatever…maybe they’re forever…or maybe they’re for a season…where you each gain something from knowing and loving each other…but then it’s time to find out what else is out there.

Letting go doesn’t mean you didn’t love them…it means that you DID and you’re now allowing each other to fly.

Maybe one day that flight will bring you back…maybe it won’t…but letting go before the door slams is what allows you to hold onto that love and those happy memories.

So yeah…it’s ok to let go…it’s ok to fly away…and, sometimes, the kindest thing you can do is release someone before you hurt them by holding on too tight.

And now I leave you with the quotes I DID find that I loved even if they weren’t quite what I wanted to say. ❤️

/scene *Jazz hands*

You’re Safe Now

Preface to say, I’m going to start using this place to write out some of my musings regarding therapy. It helps me to write it out. Some things I’ll share beyond here. Others I won’t.

Second Preface, this entry isn’t about my boyfriend. The first little bit is just to communicate how I got from point A to point B.

So…I started back to therapy. I’m honestly not sure I ever had any intention of trying THAT again…but I met someone who makes me feel so loved…so cherished…so accepted…so…safe. And I want to be the best version of me so that I can come even close to deserving everything he’s brought into my life.

It’s funny. It’s one of the very few people who has ALWAYS made me feel deserving, even at my worst moments…also gave me the courage to face my past so I could be better…I guess that old adage, “If you can’t love me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best” works the opposite way, too.

“If you never stop loving me even at my worst, then I will face fire…or even therapy…because you deserve my best.”

ANYWAY, because of all of this, I started on the road back to therapy. And…so far…I like the one I found.

She calls me on my shit and tells me to stop being a paranoid doormat.

I call her on her shit when she tells me there’s no such thing as crazy, only misunderstood…and I tell her I hope Dahmer’s snacks agreed.

I need that in therapy. The ability to be real….and someone who will say, “Look, bitch…” when I’m being ridiculous.

But today she was getting onto me because I allow fear of being wrong to put me in some shitty personal places.

Today was mostly about my daughter…how I’ve allowed an environment where my hands feel bondage style tied when it comes to parenting her. Because…no matter what I do…it’s wrong…and certain people will basically tell her it’s ok to not listen to me. No one can parent a child like that…ABSOLUTELY no one can parent a teenager like that. So why have I allowed it? Because…what if I’m wrong? What if I’m wrong in how I parent? What if I’m wrong in how I feel about their judgment? What if I’m wrong…and I’m the problem…and I ruin everything?

But what she’s trying to get me to see is that my judgment is rarely wrong. Dude…my gut instincts saved me in the midst of some serious shit in life…it helped protect me…it helped keep me safe when those who “loved me” did not. But…after years of gaslighting…I was taught not to trust my gut.

You’re hurting me and I feel like this isn’t ok… “You’re just being sensitive.”

I’m anxious and scared because this doesn’t feel right. “Oh stop it. You’re always so dramatic.”

You’re going into rages that scare me. “Stop acting like everything is about you.”

You’re making me feel TERRIBLE about myself and unsafe. “How can you say this to me?! We’re like family!!” (To be fair…those weren’t wrong…the people who pull the, “You’re hurting me! We’re like family!!” really were treating me like some of my relations…lol)

I stopped even letting my gut keep me safe.

Here’s the thing I’m realizing. By doing that…by letting EVERYONE stay, no matter what my gut said, I was now the one taking away my own safety.

It doesn’t matter how many safe and truly loving people are around you…if you allow people who are unsafe to stay, then those people become all you can see.

As I’m writing this…I’m envisioning the Titanic. You’re on a sinking ship. You’re surrounded by people who love you. But that ship is still going to sink. You are still going to be unsafe…and probably won’t even see their love as you sink, because…I mean…YOU’RE SINKING!

I’ve been on the Titanic for a very, very long time and I wasn’t even trying to get off.

I allowed myself to stay on a sinking ship…feeling like I was steerage class with no access to lifeboats…because…the ones who loved me and would have moved heaven and earth to get me on a lifeboat were drowned out by the elite who made sure I knew that I’d only be hurting them if I tried to save myself.

Seems a bit dramatic, right? Lol But how else do you describe when you won’t remove yourself from something harming you because you don’t want to hurt someone who doesn’t care if you live? What else do you call it when you surround yourself with such LOUD danger that you can’t hear those trying to keep you safe?

I call it, “Come on, Sheri! WTF! You’re smarter than that!!”

Is it always that dramatic? No. Let’s say I’m surrounded by 20 people. 3 love me. 7 dislike me. 10 probably don’t think one way or the other about me. The 7 that dislike me…that I allow to continue to stay in my space…drown out the love of 3. While this is bad enough…for those who have suffered serious trauma at the hands of those who were supposed to keep us safe…those other 10? Those other 10 would be a blip on the radar of someone with healthy boundaries and self preservation skills. We are SUPPOSED to be, at least partially, surrounded by more people who are…ambivalent than those who love us. It’s what adds even more beauty to the love of the ones who choose us every day. But…again…for a trauma survivor…its very difficult to draw a line between those who we’re just background noise for…and those who actively set off our alarms. So…now we’re at a 17 to 3 ratio of who safe vs nonsafe people. The odds aren’t good that we can hear the love of the 3 over the gut wrenching sirens of the others. But…we’ve been trained…to know that we’re dramatic…we’re stupid…we’re sensitive…and we are responsible for not hurting those other 17 people by being wrong about them. So we let them stay.

And we continue to sink.

I don’t want to sink anymore. That is NOT the best version of me. That is NOT going to help me gain “intimacy tolerance” as I’ve been given a goal to build. Lol I will continue to feel unsafe, even when dragged kicking and screaming onto a lifeboat by the 3 who love me.

So I’m changing the narrative. (Sounds official and therapy like, right?)

Changes will be made. The 7 have to go. Even if they’re good people (which most people are), just as not everyone has to love me…I don’t have to allow them access to my life when they make me feel unsafe, for WHATEVER reason. So…the 7 go. From there we see if the 3 can be heard over the 10. If not, the 10 go. So I am only surrounded by love (not blind acceptance…big difference…I see love in the acts of calling me out when I’m being a dumbbitch. Lol But for my growth, not to tear me down.)

Again…it may seem extreme. And I TRULY hope that I don’t accidentally misjudge and hurt someone. But…if I’m ever going to be able to believe the loving sounds of, “It’s ok. You’re safe now.” I have to be able to hear them first.

I didn’t cause my trauma. I didn’t choose it. Who would? But it’s up to me to learn how to build back the life I should have had without it. I am a baby in this way. You don’t leave a baby alone with 100 people and expect them to just recognize safety. They build up to that. And so will I.

And, for the first time in my life, my heart and mind and emotions are enough in sync that I actually believe I can have that future.

Toxic Waste Colored Pea Soup For the Soul

You know those motivational books about chicken soup for the soul? This is like that. Except not. This is MY version of Snarky-Ass-Motivation.

There are a few things I know to be true in life (really…only a few…most of life confuses the fuck out of me). Let me put this into SAT prep kind of language for you.

  • All humans have moments of being toxic as fuck.
  • Sheri is a human.
  • Therefore, Sheri has moments of being toxic as fuck.

Seriously…don’t we all?

The one thing I will say for myself, though…one of my BEST traits…is that I am ridiculously self-aware. I will usually listen to my own little mental/emotional spiral and think, “DAMN, BITCH! Do you need to get laid or something?!?!” (No. And this is not an invitation. I’ve got a man. We coo’. It’s a joke. PUT AWAY YOUR PENISES, DUDES! Damn.)

ANYWAY.

Lately, I’ve been toxic as fuck. Mostly in my own head. But still…toxic as fuck.

Are there reasons for it? Sure. There are people who rub me the wrong way (did I mention I’m human?). There are situations that it makes me anxious to watch. And…gosh darn it…sometimes I just like to hyperfocus on that shit rather than on the dumbass shit that is happening in my life! lol

Mostly…it’s tax season…I’m an accountant…and I’m too freaking exhausted to stop my own toxic thoughts in their tracks.

So…instead…I remove myself from the people/situations that I’m hyperfocusing on. Because…guess what?

They’re not the problem.

They’re not thinking about what I’m doing 24/7. (OR ARE THEY?!?!?! Stalkers!)

They’re not purposely trying to annoy the fuck out of me. (Right? Maybe?)

They’re not making me think petty thoughts. (Ok, this part I actually am sure of.)

So…this is my toxic shit.

Toxic Waste Colored Pea Soup For the Snarky Ass Soul.

Thank you for coming to my SelfInducedSociallyIncarceraTED Talk.

/scene

*jazz hands*