Tag Archives: friendship

A New Year and a Look Back

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A lot can change in a year. And for me, 2014 was a really big year for change.

I started 2014 with many conflicting emotions and a rather high level of anxiety. I didn’t trust myself and I felt trapped by many of my own thoughts. I was thinking about buying a house or trying to decide on continuing to rent, and I had all of the stress that went with those decisions. I was getting ready to start my 12-week group which was one of the scariest things I have ever faced. I was at the end of a divorce that I agonized over for way too many years. I was helping my teenage daughter cope with the change of living in two homes and helping us both deal with the fact that my now adult son was living out on his own and not in our daily lives.

That’s a lot of stuff. And really those things were just daily life from January to April, which left a lot of year left to live.

Thankfully, 2014 started out a bit full of stress, but became a year of fabulous positive change as well.

I bought my house on May 27 and they only considered my income and credit.  ONLY ME.  I did it all on my own and that felt awesome.  Moving is always stressful, but this was a lot more fun because as I moved in all the decisions were up to me.  I could put colorful things and things that mean the world to me everywhere I wanted and that makes me feel comfy and good.  One of my greatest friends got to visit this summer and helped me settle in even more and decorate my sunroom, which is a really awesome space.

Spring and early summer was also a time for a lot of excitement, a bit of giggling, and a dash of anxiety as I began a positive new relationship and experienced a first date for the first time since 1995!  Scott and I went to high school together and reconnecting with him all these years later has been really, really great.  He and I reconnected at a time when I least expected to be taking any time for dating, especially any dates that would lead to an actual relationship.  I was in the middle of my therapy group, just a week divorced, and kind of a mess of feelings.  But from our first messages to each other, we have never stopped talking and he has very quickly become the best friend a girl could hope to have by her side through whatever comes our way.  In just 8 months together we have had many of the best times I could imagine ever having and we have also faced a lot of challenges…and whenever I feel like my “stuff” is just going to be too much for him, he is right there to tell me that I’m worth it.  He has listened to me scream, yell, doubt myself, doubt him, be stubborn as a mule, and cry my eyes out.  Scott is thoughtful, understanding, spontaneous, dedicated to who and what he loves, smart, respectful, a great listener, charming, trustworthy, a great father, a fabulous dancer, and makes me laugh each and every day.  I love you, Scott.  Thanks for being you and being in my life.

Going through summer was fun not only because of my new love, but because I got to become more and more settled in my home and finished up the first and most difficult therapy group after 12 long weeks.  Being a part of that group with the other terrific women I met and grew to care about so much was more rewarding than I imagined it would be when it started.  Disclosing my sexual assault experience was liberating and began a healing process that I had buried and ignored for a very long time.  I feel very fortunate to have met the people who helped me go through that process.

I have continued my individual therapy and it has brought with it some new challenges that I can now manage with better coping skills.  And I love that. Fall brought some personal challenges, some a surprise and some things that were just buried under the more obvious things I have faced that are now ready to come out.  I like that therapy place where I can say anything and get an unbiased opinion on how to handle it, when I could have done something differently, and when I really did a great job of communicating and maintaining my personal boundaries.

I also love that no matter what happens to me each day, the first person I think of to tell is Scott.  I always sold myself short on that part of my relationships.  I always felt my girlfriends were the people who should be there for that stuff.  I love that Scott has become my best friend.  I still value the love and friendship of my best gals, but I adore knowing that my partner in love has my back and loves me no matter what ridiculous thing I do or say.

This fall, I wrote a post about Thanksgiving being difficult for me.  And I love that I could get to Alaska for Thanksgiving.  Spending time with my friend there is like a reset button for me, she and I have known each other for so long there is a complete relaxation to being together.  I love her family, and being around her just makes the crazy in my head easier to bear.

Looking at December and the end of 2014 seemed SO far away just a minute ago.  But all of a sudden, there it was right in front of me.  And as years go, it was a really great one even though it started out a little tough.  Letting go of my marriage was difficult, but we have maintained a relationship that allows us to continue to love and parent our kids the best way possible and I am proud of that.  Celebrating the holidays with my kids has always been a favorite thing for me and this year was no different.  The way our family looks has changed, but the love we share is still the thing that puts a spring in my step and can bring a smile to my face anytime I think of it.

2015 has started off better than any year for quite a long time.  I look forward to the new and exciting things ahead and the continued healing I will explore in my therapy and in a new group I will be starting soon.

I hope your year will be great too.  You deserve it!

KK

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A giant step in an awesome direction

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I cannot stop smiling this week. For a few reasons. And that feels awesome.

Having that disclosure behind me feels so so good. And it’s not just that saying it out loud is over, but that I have realized it has really and truly released me from the victimization I have felt all these years. And I just cannot believe it. It feels like this enormous weight on my heart and my shoulders is lifted. Like it can stay in the background instead of being so present each and every day.

And what that has allowed for me is true healing. Healing I’ve never felt before now. Healing in a way that makes me feel a lot like the girl I remember. And trust. Wow, trust!! Trust in myself and the new ability to trust other people when I would normally have a wall up so high that most wouldn’t dare try to climb it.

I have a freedom in my heart that is making me excited and hopeful and possibly a little bit nuts. It’s like everything I always wished I could feel and say and be fell into place. All at once. And I know it will last because I refuse to go back to that girl who held back and was frozen when feelings were present.

Losing that victim weight is a giant step in an awesome direction.

Understanding boundaries and how and when and why to set them is a work in progress for me. But I feel this is also going in the right direction.

I have ridiculously cool people in my life. People I’ve known for so long-they’ve been patient, loving, and understanding. They’ve loved me when I’ve been scary quiet (yes, it happens, I’m quiet sometimes), crazy, a mess, a bitch, when I wouldn’t talk about feelings, and when I wouldn’t shut up. I can be a little much for a lot of folks. Thanks for standing by my side through it all.

And all these newer people around me-you rock! I cannot even believe it sometimes. I SO look forward to the new friendships and the supportive relationships in my future. I look forward to exchanging stories, and having laughs or cries or whatever you people need in return for what you have given me.

I look forward to long conversations that turn nights into mornings.

I am excited to take more steps forward. I’m excited to contribute whatever support and friendship I can to those people around me now. I am so excited to continue to heal.

I didn’t know I would say this so soon, but I’m back, bitches!! I’m me again and that is fucking cool.

KK

I did it!

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I did my disclosure yesterday.  I’m super proud of myself for standing up to the fear of judgment and for getting through the disclosure with honesty and vulnerability.  There were some moments I didn’t expect and some memories that I had buried so far inside me that they came out for the VERY FIRST time while I was talking.  It was extremely intense.

The response from my group was truly incredible and awesome.  I have formed new, and hopefully lasting, friendships with these women I have grown to learn from, admire, and cherish.  It is a group of ridiculously brave and beautiful spirits.  They helped me understand the victim I was at those times I described, and also helped me to see that the woman I have become is so much better than I feel inside sometimes when I wake up or feel triggered in daily life.  They helped me validate that victim inside me and see that I overcame a lot of injustice to be the survivor I am today.  Those women rock!

The heavy shame is lifted up to another level, a level where I can actually face it and begin to work through each piece of it.  I can actually see the future me enjoying daily living without that blanket of shame on my shoulders.  I can see myself dancing freely and feeling joy instead of hesitation.  I can look forward to being brave enough to fully trust and to love again, in ways I never really have before now.

Even after feeling so good, I could hear the tapes in my head starting to self-punish for not facing all of this sooner, not healing sooner, not trying hard enough.  The “I should have done something” starting to creep inside my head.  But this time I put a stop to it and spoke right out loud to those tapes to let them know I just did that – disclosed fully – and I will no longer be held hostage by those negative cognitions.  Sure, it will take some more work, I’m not under the impression that all of the burden left with the words that came out while I told my story.  But I have shed the secret in a way that feels like an ending to a lot of it.

That.  Is.  Awesome.

I feel crazy excited today like this is another new beginning for me.  A more aware me, a further healed me, a really, truly rediscovered me.

I did it!

KK

New old friend

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You know what’s really cool about social media? Connections.

Strangers becoming friends…I have met people all over the world who have offered laughter, wisdom, encouragement, condolences, and support. People I wouldn’t have met under any other circumstances because our paths would not have crossed. These people are the reason I never feel I have to defend my very frequent use of social media.

Shared activism friends…I have met some ridiculously brave and awesome people who see my history and share their own story with me. This warms my soul and fuels my desire for true healing and rediscovering me. It feels fantastic to know that stepping out and claiming my past as my own has made a difference for people who have shared their stories. Know that all of you are a part of my heart and my journey. I believe in each one of you.

New old friends…A third connection I find so cool is new old friends. People I knew once, just a tiny bit or all the way to knowing them really well, but then we lost touch over time and life changes.

New old friends offer an additional coolness over brand new friends. That coolness is memories. Memories that one or both of us remember. Memories that we may share, but remember differently from each other, which can be really cool when it causes me to remember something awesome.

Now, I must admit, sometimes connections from the past are just too scary for me because they bring up parts of me and my past that are filled with or tarnished by shame. And sometimes what I find hard to face about my past is funny or interesting to people and they want to talk about it. And that can feel too icky.

But sometimes, the connection is just perfect. Like when someone remembers some good and some bad, but wants to enjoy the good reminiscing and doesn’t mind that I had some less than wonderful moments because they did too. Sometimes the reconnection is just someone who “gets” me. I love that. Someone who understands my sense of humor and my crazy anxiety, even my love for Sinead O’Connor, and loves that those things are still present in me today. A person who appreciates the snappy and the snarky.

Someone who renews my faith in people and my desire to trust.

Someone who will challenge who I am now and make me think about things from the perspective of the former me. This is especially cool lately because this IS a journey about rediscovering me. And some of that girl is difficult to find.

I thank you (you know who you are) for coming back into my life and taking an opportunity to grab my attention. To be a friend. For challenging me, excusing me, validating me, and making me laugh. For making me take a look at the past and remember that I didn’t always have shame.

I know I can’t see the future any clearer than anyone else can, but you’re here to stay. I honestly believe that. Some people are just good.

I have good guts. And my guts say you’re going to be a new old friend forever.

KK

My feelings so far

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I’m really finding this blog to be something I look forward to doing.  I am not completely surprised by this since I’ve always been a keeper of journals and someone who likes to write.  But I AM a bit surprised at the response to it.  I have been overwhelmed (in a good way) with information, well wishes, encouragement, questions, and people telling me their own stories of all types of challenges, including but not limited to, sexual assault.  Hearing from people I don’t know who found the blog and find it to be worthy of reading was a huge shock to me.  I shared it with my Facebook friends, so obviously I knew some of them/you would read it, but I guess I wasn’t sure what would happen outside of some friends reading it.

I am proud of this blog and of myself.  That is difficult for me to say without laughing.

I am a person who copes with hard times by the use of inappropriate laughter.  Now, I must include here that I don’t think inappropriate laughter is always bad.  If a friend and I burst out laughing in an elevator full of people for no good reason until we nearly pee our pants (you know who you are), that is funny and probably only inappropriate in the sense that we definitely made some folks uncomfortable.  And if you haven’t had a good fit of inappropriate laughter in a church, a work meeting, or places like that, then frankly I feel like you should try it.  Soon.

I am proud of myself.  And I haven’t felt or said that enough in my life.  At least, not for a long time.

That’s over now and in case I didn’t mention it, I am proud of myself.

I grew up marching to the beat of my own drum.  I did my high school/teen years frantically, not always making the best choices and not always being the nicest person in the room (many folks who were in high school with me are saying “that’s an understatement,” possibly while rolling their eyes).  But I feel proud that as that girl, I didn’t make any apologies for who I was inside and how confident I felt about who I really was inside.  That is the girl who resurfaced in 2012.

Some other time I’ll get into why and how that girl resurfaced (one friend is saying “seriously, you plan on sharing that?”).  For now I’ll just say that because I found my way back to myself, I was able to declare some things that have helped me find healing and forgiveness.  And that. is. awesome.

Being a rape survivor is a huge challenge.  Almost every day I am triggered or feel shame, anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, hate, and a whole bunch of other stuff.  Going to individual therapy is helpful, but going to group therapy is even more helpful.  Those people understand me AND hold me accountable when I laugh and really need to cry.  And some of those people played an important role in getting me to want to do this for myself and for other people who could benefit from reading things that validate their own stuff.

I’m able and willing to write this, to share my story, and to be in this space that allows me to feel vulnerable.

And that makes me feel really proud.

KK

Coffee and calm

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I didn’t always love coffee. And then in my 30s I started having anxiety. At first I didn’t know why, but as time went along I understood more and more where the anxiety was coming from and why. A long time friend said we should meet and talk, and she’s one of those people I can always trust to skip the bullshit and tell me when I’m being ridiculous or selfish or wrong. So we met for coffee. That day I tried a white chocolate mocha because I wanted something that was coffee but didn’t taste like coffee. That day I spilled my guts and drank a mocha and knew I had to give some thought to who I had become in my life. I didn’t feel anxious though, I felt calm. Anytime I want to talk with friends, mentors, or coworkers, we meet for coffee.
I have a lot going on right now in my life. Quite a few people have said I should blog about things and I thought “why in the world would anyone care?” But after having some coffee and thinking more about it, I thought I would try it. I’m going through a divorce, moving, having therapy as a survivor of sexual assault, and various other challenges in my life. EMDR therapy is on my list of things I’m doing and it is difficult to find information about what it’s like to have EMDR. So I’ll try it.
I’m not an expert on things, but maybe it’ll be like having coffee with a friend and feeling calm.

KK