All of Me

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Close your eyes and try hard to imagine what you were doing one year ago today.  I know it can be hard when a monumental thing may have not occurred at this time 365 days ago, but for me it did.

One year ago, I had just quit dream job, something that I had literally worked my whole life for.  Being a publicist for a national company, writing recognized magazine articles, public speaking, social media marketing, making great money,  it was everything I hoped I would become.  In that moment in time, I was living my life purpose…so I thought.

If it was so great then why would I quit this so called “dream” job you ask.  An office with a view came with a price.  A title with a grand business card was slowly stealing my soul as I reported each and every day to a boss that chose to belittle me yet praise me.  One who knew no boundaries and promised to equip me with fear yet accolades.  I just never knew which antidote I was going to receive.  He yelled, found joy in me, belittled, laughed, changed his mind, then back again, and finally pushed me too far.  For I had made a promise I was destined to keep, that I would never let a job ruin me again.

Two years prior that very occurrence came to pass.  I was loyal, obedient, and taken advantage of.  I had many chances to stand up for myself, yet, I stayed quiet and allowed the lashings to keep on coming.  My health deteriorated, my mind was dizzy with anxiety, and my self-worth demolished.  All because of a jealous and horrible boss who had it out for me in the worst of ways.  I took the bait and became her scapegoat.  Eventually, to save myself, and my family, I walked away.  I left.  Exited the building with my head held high in pursuit of my greatest dream, to become a published author.

I accomplished this goal, but my head wasn’t as upright as I wanted people to think.  I was beaten down, and the worst possible thing I could have done,  I isolated myself.  I wrote constantly, marketed my name, my purpose, sleeping little, and drinking a lot.  I mean a lot.  I clung to a numbing mechanism that took what I thought to be my demise away.  Got drunk on the good life, while the past slowly ate away at my bones making me weaker every second I continued such a life.

I ended up at Rogers Memorial Hospital because I chose to.  Dual diagnosis.  Depression and alcohol abuse.  Now that’s a tough card to read for a perfectionistic person who really wants the people around her to think she’s super great.  Humbled, I spent seven days detoxing, in counseling and meeting some amazing people who years earlier I would have dubbed as “losers.”  Titles cause pain because the back story isn’t taken into account, the seeming drug addict who is unable of quitting has a story.  I had a story.  They all had a story.  And in that our tales mingled in the midst of all the demons we were fighting.

After finding my way out of the darkest hole of my life the light started to shine again.  I published my first book February 20, 2015.  A romance novel about overcoming the most impossible of odds to find a destiny in the midsts of pain.  Sunset Vibrations, my first go at fiction was a great success, and I hadn’t touched a drink in months.  I was finding my way back, forward, and all around the turmoil,  my life had brought me thus far.  After the painful burial of my infant babies, childhood trauma, poor adult choices, I was finally choosing to cocoon myself in a wonderful sense of peace.

Four months later I published a little memoir titled, The Return to Happiness.  Accounting my experience of losing two infant baby boys within the span of eighteen months.  I never held back, shared my soul, my despair, flooded a bucket of my tears, yet eventual hope.  After I hit the icon on Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes and Nobel that says “publish” I ran into my bedroom and hid under my covers.  Terrified of all I had bleed over the pages of my book I was afraid that the people of this world who saw my big smile, and wonderful children, and husband…what would they think when they found out the truth?  That I sucked at turmoil, and I gave into methods to numb myself ; what would the world think of this imperfect girl?  An agonizing hour later my husband pulled the covers off telling me I had to come downstairs right now!

Looking at the sales analysis as an author and seeing you are in the top 100 best sellers list is a moment we all dream of.  The Return to Happiness was sitting at number sixty nine and I dropped to my knees and sobbed.  Joy, pain, exhilaration and pure gratitude flowed through each and every tear that hit the floor.  I was a best-selling author because I dared to share my darkest voyage through grief.  I had made my greatest dream come true in the midsts of vulnerability and courage of my deepest weakness and pain through loss.

Slowly, I was finding my way back to the top of the water not drowning underneath it.  In my youth, I had a fervor for God that could shake the mountains.  I praised Him wherever I went, loving and breathing the breath of salvation with every passing air.  Yet, I turned away in my mid-twenties.  That is for another blog, but indeed I said goodbye to God, I’d figure it out on my own.  I’m good.

One year ago today I took my turn at reconciling the black color of the past decade plus five of my life.  After leaving the dream job of my life I told my husband, “this time we are doing it right.  I’m not isolating myself.  I’m not drinking myself into a stupor.  We are going to church with the boys.  We are going to make this work.”

My older sons were deeply embedded in Journey Church near our home and I felt the calling to attend after not being part of a church since I was twenty-three.  

It was a Saturday night, much like tonight.  We sat towards the back and the message was about “The Prodigal Son”, a child who had left and returned after so much time and pain.   At the end, I told my husband that I need a minute.

Standing on weak legs, I found my way to the stage…alone.  

My head bowed.  I pleaded, “God, I’m back.  I want you.  All of you.  Take me back.”

I exhaled pain, regret, sin, anguish, and then inhaled…love.

Forgiveness.

Acceptance.

A home.

That was me one year ago tonight.  365 days have passed and my world has exploded in a way I could have ever imagined.  I have matured as a wife, mother, friend, author, and woman more than I knew possible.  God instantly healed me from one of my biggest nemesis’…anger.  The rage inside me dissipated that night I stood at the altar of my church.

I’ve given up vices that I thought I needed to get me through.

God has given me a renewed relationship with my mother.  Also, I’ve been able to forgive my father which I never saw possible.

The beautiful love of a couple who were called to take me into their hearts and lives acting as a surrogate mother and father came to me almost instantly after prayer for such.  Grandparents for my kids, unity for my family.

I’ve been called into a job where I serve people with debilitating pain on a daily basis and have the opportunity to bring a smile to their faces.

One year ago I came home.  After loss of a career that I thought was my everything.  But was my everything.  Because if I hadn’t left I may have not found my greater purpose, my chance at rebirth, growth and righting all the wrong that I had done and that was done to me.

God has a way of doing that.  He takes us in, no matter how far we’ve traveled away, or what may transpire in our beautiful and angry minds.  One year ago, my life changed.  My struggle continues deep into the night, to not rely on things that promise me hope yet bring me darkness.  I’m still drawn to the mystery of wanting to take control, take the wheel.  The thick liquid that numbs it all still calls my name and at times I answer it knowing of its false healing powers.  Yet, the grace that grabs my hand over and over again tells me that no matter how much I fail…no matter how much I succeed…that  I am His.  And He is Mine.

 I am running fast forward toward all the purpose He has.   For me tomorrow and all the healing He will do for my yesterday.  The all of me that He is healing and creating because of the all of me that was, and is to come.

10 Reasons Why my Facebook Life is Fake

We all are guilty of taking 51 shots on our iPhones in order to get that one selfie that makes us look incredibly skinny, pretty and oh so perfect! That is the lure of publishing our lives on social media, we are finally in control of our lives that in reality we have no control over what so ever. So here it is folks, the really bad selfie of me!

Alan and Ami's bdayI am imperfect.    We all are.  Yet I feel social media is the perfect medium to allow our imperfect beings to show a false reality of what we really want to be seen…I admit it, right here, right now I fall into this category.  In the depths of loving the selfie taking, word choice moments that may have formed an unrealistic vision of who I really am, I want to call myself out, to let you see a glimpse of true reality.

I’m sorry if you feel lied to but this is really who I am…

1.  A divorced woman.  Yup.  I failed at marriage the first go around.  Indeed, my ex and I are still friends, we chose kindness not hate.  But we are still not one.  We are left nothing but..painfully divorced as a couple.  Leaving my two older sons with a mom and dad who didn’t keep to our original marriage vows, who are scattered amongst the wreckage of the rest of the world.

2.  I am an author.  I get to tell amazing stories for a living.  Yet in order to do so, I have lived a lifetime of hardships that allow my words to flow from my ache-ridden heart the way that they so fluently do.

3.  I have lived with a painful eating disorder.  I have posted pictures of a skinny skeleton of myself from my past with a story of the torture that comes with being so thin.  There is always at least one in the crowd who tells me how “great” I looked.  Yes, it looks great to live on 400 calories a day and to succumb to the pain that comes with the pressures of perceived perfection.

4.  I have no clue what I want to be in this life…still.  I’m 41 years old and have no idea what I’m going to be when I grow up.  Most women at my age can identify with being a stay at home mom, or having a career.  I am still in-between and after a few unpredicted situations of having to take a late stand in life against abusive people, I am still finding out just who I am and where I am supposed to be.

5.  I have a child who is leaving and one who is just starting out.   My oldest son of four children is getting ready to go to college and I am so very proud, beyond belief!  Yet, accepting he is leaving my nest is more difficult than I could have ever imagined.  I want to chase after him every time he comes home this last year he is under my roof and give him one last hug, just in case he should forget what it feels to have my arms wrapped around his neck.  Yet…I have a baby girl who I have dreamed of having my whole life who is just three years old.  She is just starting out, the breath of life is fresh and every new discovery is a light in her eye.  As much as I embrace it, there are times I wonder what it would be like to be simply saying goodbye to the teenager who begs for freedom, not starting all over again.  A sign that we are never truly content with what we have, are we?

6.  Depression, it hunts me down when I least expect it.  Ins and outs.  Ebbs and flows.  It always finds me.  End of story.

7.  I’m a figure skater.  I always wanted to be on the ice, and made the dream come true at the age of 30.  But by choice not by recognition of simply wanting to be something I wasn’t.  And  I’ve fallen more than I’ve landed.  I have more bruises than pretty dresses.  Anything worth while comes with hard work that is unthinkable to most…

8.  I have a love-hate relationship with any form of alcohol.  Being an ultra-controlling Virgo, I absolutely hate the idea of anything controlling me.  Submersed in the freeing feeling of one too many martinis I have to ask myself, is this where I really want to be?  Numbing the difficult day away, or truly feeling it through good times and bad?  Scrolling along on social media all we see is ways “wine” is the only solution to a difficult day, yet is that really any kind of a solution?

9.  I don’t speak to my father.  Because it is healthy.  And that alone hurts.  Way more than I ever lead on.

10.  My husband and I aren’t perfect.
  We take date night selfies.  We post our dinner recipes for the night, and show you our children’s pretty faces, but please know that we do fight.  We clash.  We are at odds, more than we’ll ever let you know.  But if anything in my life that is imperfect, my marriage is the one thing I’m the most proud of because no matter how flawed I am, no matter how much I struggle to find balance, my husband chases that dream with me.  And he perfects my imperfections with his own struggle, and he forces me to see my beauty more than any single human being ever has.  Simply what we all truly need in this life is that one person who has our back.  And that is what I don’t say enough on social media, that I’m flawed, I hurt, but through it all, I have a partner who is too.  He holds my hand and says, “we will make it through the struggle…together.”