I’ve been transitioning my whole life…

Into who I truly am. This for me is a process of divine evolution, and it encompasses so many aspects of my self.

I wrote this Facebook post this morning and wanted to share it. It was inspired by a dear friend who came forward to me with information that has strongly impacted her life. We must lift her up right now as the media feels like waves crashing onto her shores. She deserves to be lifted and held right now.

I had a dear friend share something very important to them yesterday and it left me thinking this morning and I want to share these thoughts. I would also like to tag some of my personal heroes for fighting so hard to be authentically who they feel inside.

I wanted to tell you so far what your share has done for me. It’s making me wonder how many other things were not as they seemed in childhood, how many other fucked up things.

For those who don’t know I was raised in a strict Seventh-Day Adventist household. My mother got pregnant with me by an older man when she was 19, he was much older. I was a thing of shame.

I was shamed most of my life for how I behaved, for how I looked, for being her daughter. I was left by him, my father. I took care of my mentally ill mother. If reading these makes you uncomfortable then imagine what little me felt like. I was DCF involved. I wandered around an apartment complex alone and was molested by a young boy. I felt disgusting to share with anyone. I felt wrong. It wasn’t the boy in this case it was the lack of parents. I was removed from her care at this point, but she moved in with my grandparents with me.

I was alone. I was always alone. Until I found other families. Pam Jenkins Gena Rahenkamp LeMert John Enders John D Enders and many more. And even now more people come forward in my inbox and told me I was special to them then. My Aunt Linda who took me for normal childhood things like Disneyland.

I am a survivor because you loved me when I needed it most.

I am coming forward.

It’s actually making me wonder if I lived in a different time with different parents if they would have helped me transition to being a boy. Do you remember that me?! Masculine behavior as well, always wanting to protect and serve. “Hi I’m Chris”. I got called gay (proudly wear that now, but then it meant you’re scary and different and I don’t like that), a dog, told to go piss on a fire hydrant.

I didn’t want to kiss the boys I wanted to fight them for the girls.

I didn’t want to be rescued by the Disney Prince I wanted to look like him and love a princess.

I actually wanted to be a boy. I only favored boy clothes and swam in trunks with my shirt off. I used to play cards (pretend poker) at the table with my shirt off. I use to imagine peeing standing up (yes we probably all did,lol) but I mean regularly. And so many battles with my grandparents to not wear a dress and to shop in the boys sections. I felt uncomfortable in every possible way most of my young life and very alone. I got praised in my home for being strong and helping with my mother. Being sent into the lions den because she would be better with her own daughter right ?

Do you know I left that self behind in favor of acceptance?

We would do anything for acceptance in this world, and I needed it more than many, because of my home base. I was shamed to death there. Don’t be a slut like your mother. Don’t sing your voice sucks. Don’t talk too much. Good little girls are seen and not heard and they play with their paper dolls in the corner. “ Don’t talk so much, chatter box. It felt at the time that everyone wanted/ needed me to be less there, less of me, and if they were going to sacrifice by taking care of me please don’t make it any harder than it already is.

Do you know my blonde hair, I kept the same for many years was like Samson from the Bible. That wretched book that dictated so much of my shame. This is MY experience I am not putting anyone else’s religion down.

I met someone along the way Crystal Leckner who showed me how to be adventurous and myself, and my life opened up after that. Another personal hero. She changed her style more than you can imagine, and her hair, and I looked up to her so much. Another personal hero!

“But I don’t want to be a good little girl.” I didn’t want to be a girl at all, but I also don’t hate my body parts, and don’t want one more difficult journey. I love my wife and me as I am now albeit I think I am realizing clothes are still a struggle.

Last night we went to the philharmonic and anytime getting ready for something for me is still a battle… with what to wear. Partially now because I’ve gained weight, but also because I feel awkward in my clothing. I’ve settled on leggings and sweaters…. I dream of short hair cuts, but always afraid of not looking feminine, because then I’ll be treated badly again. I earned so much privilege when I became “a pretty girl”. 😕 I sold myself. I’d like to think I had to at that time to have any place to belong.

But is it still going on now?

I don’t even dance because dancing was bad and wrong and by the time I broke out of that I felt so awkward in my own skin. And then unknowingly people shamed me for my dancing. Why don’t you move your hips? Because the way I do feels different than how I’m supposed to look as a girl.

And then she danced is the running title of my memoir.

Do you know that my wife keeps that awkward photo of young me by her nightstand and I almost cried to look at it because I didn’t want to be that girl anymore. But since she loves it so much I am forced to love that her too. And that is healing.

No one should experience the abuses coming forward right now. However, the dark forces our light to shine more and helps us come together as we really are. #fighton #comingforward

How much of my acceptance is based on my appearance? If I begin to dress differently will people not come back to see me? If my gender is not immediately revealed will it lessen my credibility.

The fucking things people have to go through to have permission to be who they are in the world.

I wanted to share this so you now how proud I am that you are supporting your daughter. What a warrior! You’re doing for someone what no one did for me. You’re so brave and a beautiful person. How much of your brave is because of having to be? Would you be this warrior for your daughter without your experiences? This is the only way I make sense of my abuse. I wouldn’t be the therapist I am now without it.

Also maybe if someone had given me a better haircut it would have been a little easier 😂


I have a new “bar” for self-love.

*my bar is that I may see myself as magical as my wife does, the great salve that continues to heal the many hurts*

In my office I am always talking to my Clients about my “bar”, their bar, our bar for ourselves. A simple expression meaning “what are my hopes and expectations for my one go round in this life.” Am I allowed them? Or does my functional dreaming stop at whatever happens to cross my path.

Passive living. Aggressive living. Is there something in between? If there was an in between perhaps it would be the belief that magic exists.

These thoughts of magic brought to you from having watched the new movie A Wrinkle In Time last night. when the stars and my hormones aligned to bring me one of these clear states of consciousness where everything just feels magical, and I somehow manage to not discount that or minimize its worth.

To be clear and fair about this process today I am bloated and bleeding so don’t forget in the beginning and perhaps always we are afforded glimpses, and clues, not handed our dreams on a platter. Today it’s back to the business of just making it through to the next magic moment.

Whether it was the fact that a pair of very adored clients have a new baby and I was blessed with the opportunity to hold him a couple of times now, and it broke my heart wide open. It broke open the pain of the negative pregnancy tests, and the joy of our new possibilities with IVF beginning this month.

Or whether there really is such a thing as destiny and if I squint just right I can actually see the threads of the tapestry being woven before my very eyes..

Regardless lately I feel magic in everything.

So I was thinking about this and realizing/ wondering if my will has led me to somehow be allowed to RE-experience the childhood I should have had, now. My willingNESS to still remain open to people and experiences despite the many anxieties and hurts that clawed inside of me for so long.

And could this realization further solidly my belief that I will create beautiful things in some way that will touch the lives of others?

People are just too beautiful to pass up.

People are “the bread and butter” of my life. They are my patchwork quilt that keeps me warm when I am cold and scared, they always have been. And I’ve always been able to find what I wasn’t given naturally in the way we all imagine it’s supposed to work.

Maybe imagining things as supposed to work a certain way is very limiting after all, and sometimes we just need to buckle up and take the ride.

This suddenly made me think of Space Mountain at Disneyland. I rode it with my Aunt Linda as a young girl, one of the few typical childhood experiences I was blessed to be able to have. You are riding a roller coaster in the dark, there are a few laser lights and things, but ultimately you are surrendered to your fate once strapped in and set loose on the rails.

I screamed with delight. I felt the lightness of being in childhood for those moments. I don’t know if she and my Uncle will ever know what it meant that they took me there at that time. Looking back now it honestly could have been a game changer. I wonder without that experience if I might have gotten lost to a world of rebellion of a variety I couldn’t come back from. A kind that would swallow me whole. I certainly had all the vulnerability for it.

But there was always people. I always turned to people. And when that need felt a bit more desperate and anxiety driven as life got more turbulent I ended up again shamed for this behavior by some of the people that mattered most to me.

Replacement family after replacement family. A foster care system of my own creation.

The thing is that now I got it so damn right, that I can’t even become tempted anymore to discount the path of getting here.

My wife came home last night, just after I had fallen asleep. She came in and she just curled up with me and told me how in love with me she is. She did it in such a way that clearly she had experienced the same magic that I had over the evening, even though we were towns apart. We tend to be connected like that, in some cosmic manner.

She just said it over and over throughout the night as she read to get sleepy while I slept. I felt a rush of pure adoration and love. She remarks to me when she sees me playing and light that she notices a childlike me. This noticing has opened me up to accepting that could be ok now. It doesn’t have to take the linear traditional route.

It’s ok to find someone who loves you this much, and to find out how to receive that love when it wasn’t a part of your model. I’ve journeyed through hell and back. Out of the dark wood, up the mountain, down into hell, and back out the other side.

So when I see a scene in someone’s creation from their imagination I know exactly that the magic is real and I can connect to it. I don’t need to be skeptical or critical or pick the movie apart for design flaws. I can just experience pure and utter love.

Movies and music give our truest selves permission to come out and play, and to wonder, and to dream….

I don’t know if there’s anything better than that.

My bar for myself and my life have become pretty high. There have been lots of critics, but my love story speaks the truth about holding out for what you are really looking for, and what you want and deserve, whether you are able to believe in it fully yet or not.

That part can always unfold….

Victim or survivor ? What is your story….

Things have been very difficult for me lately. And because of this I’ve lost so much good writing to the madness. (Victim statement eek) To getting caught up explaining myself to sources that have never sought to understand. (I can only choose to stop explaining to those who don’t see). Challenger versus victim.

Let’s put the Karpman Drama Triangle to work right here. The actual truth is that rather than taking my writing away from me, the difficult experiences humble me, and give my writing back to me in a more authentic way. But surrounded by the feeling it doesn’t seem that way.

I am a slave to my triggers right now. And as a mental health counselor RE-visiting this place feels such a threat. It feels like it could take everything away. And when I am in this place I am scared and rabid. I lash out and flood with texts based on the emotions I am feeling.

I don’t like this self. It is an old one. It is a self my critics would like me to be because it will validate their story about me, and for this as much as anything I’ll have the courage to dive into my own behavior and rescue myself out of the perils that are causing this version of myself to be more accessible right now.

I have complex PTSD. Wordy clinical article to distinguish some things

More reader friendly information on C-PTSD

This means that I am hyper vigilant and distrusting primarily when my character is challenged. Because that was the really big problem in my childhood. My grandparents used guilt as a means to try and control me, and so they often told me how I was behaving and why I shouldn’t. No one came along that understood what was going on in my home. This is why I am a fierce advocate in my counseling office of seeing the unseen and unspoken. It was nearly invisible and I suffered but didn’t know what to call it, so I internalized.

Invisible wounds are the most dangerous, both to the wounded, and to those they will unintentionally wound as a result of their pain.

Now as an adult my weapon of choice is awareness and speaking my truth loudly. And yes I too must realize when my perceived truth is clouded by painful Triggers and symptoms of C-PTSD. It is arduous work. And then when I am in it, because of it’s invisibility to others I am sized up very simply as being selfish. Because of who we see a parent should be.

It’s easy to sit in a glass castle and throw stones. Anyone can have an opinion. The internet is rampant with them. The persecutors are ashamed of their own privilege so they lash out at those already afflicted with wounds and wrong them further.

Thankfully I’ve never known and therefore liked easy, but also it has caused me to make things harder than they need to be. I clamp down furiously on my truth and hold on for dear life. I got better at being iron clad over my young years, not being soft and gentle.

Now I’m taking the responsibility to learn this late in life. It’s taken me surrounding myself by people who see the good in me, the true colors, but those too were mostly conditional, and again when my poor behaviors would escalate I would be criticized. But do you know what didn’t happen? No one came along and looked at the whole picture and said hey look at what’s going on here this sounds an awful lot like complex PTSD. Let’s look at your whole life and see what’s going on here. No one besides a few very brave mental health counselors who changed my life.

This is why it’s my greatest privilege in this life to take the heavy heavy burdens of misunderstanding of this nature off of people’s back. They leave them in my office and we hold them tenderly, unpack, RE-frame, develop strategies, and show the importance of the interaction between wiring and experience in shaping a person’s behavior.

We must take responsibility to educate ourselves, to see beneath a surface and try to understand. To see beyond our hurt feelings and stories to look for understanding.

We have two choices with witnessing or being effected by someone’s behavior. Persecution or understanding. If the behavior is absolutely destructive and unsafe then our only responsibility is a boundary and seeking help from a mental health professional.

But most of the time, almost always without fail, if we help someone see the best version of themselves (believe in that story) and accept the parts that hurt too, they become more of who we believe them to be.

Innate in being human is a struggle between our light and dark selves, we all possess the capability for both, and who we become depends on such a complicated variety of factors. But the ingredients for the best outcome include unconditional positive regard (Carl Rogers of course). The magic of counseling is believing in someone’s best self. Seeing the unseen in this way until there is enough encouragement for them to emerge.

I have emerged and yet the journey is never over. If you surround yourself or become bogged down with your critics and you have fragile attachments from the beginning you’re at a great risk.

I have never really wanted to own my whole story. I think that’s why my memoir won’t come. I want to be the strong, not the weak, but I am both. Both a hurt child and an advocate for others. I am a wounded healer, but at the start of my career I’ve been too afraid of being invalidated for my hurts, to allow myself to be whole.

I cut off my beginning and searched frantically to replace it with something that looked better. I might as well have cut off my limbs. My whole story matters here and I don’t tell it because it fills me with shame and self doubt, which threatens the stronger self I’ve built over the years. I don’t tell it because I’m afraid I’ll be viewed with pity or as a victim or accused of that, and that is what every abuse survivor is up against. This is why people don’t speak out.

We would rather not be uncomfortable with someone else’s discomfort, let’s just be honest here. So they shouldn’t really say anything because look at all the mess their speaking up causes. Then someone else will have to feel marginally as uncomfortable as them.

My selves will have to unite into a whole for me to write my memoir. And I’m so afraid it will all return, the nightmares, the insecurity, the foundation always feels like a thin plate of glass no matter how many layers I lay down.

The last time I was vulnerable with one of the two people who you hope will love you unconditionally, he accused me of being emotionally unstable like my mother, and then he died. This was our last interaction.

My children’s father believes me to be selfish and emotionally unstable, and I prove him right with my behavior lashing out in texts. In truth any parent in my position would be stressed and venting. Raising teenagers isn’t for the faint of heart, but when it’s me because of a belief system I’m emotionally unstable. Trigger. I instantly become the less calm and grounded self. This is why considering the source to trust for feedback about yourself is VITAL folks.

And anyone can go to someone for validation and tell them a story and get feedback based on that. Counseling is so much more than that. It’s beyond validation to challenger, and what is your part in this? My part is my triggers and how they cause me to behave and I will always find the courage to face and work on them.

My father, I’ll never know why he didn’t fight harder to protect me if he knew the dysfunction I was in, and why as an adult he wouldn’t be able to connect the dots. I had just been diagnosed with a disease. I was telling a story at that time that mine would be like my mother’s. Toilets filled with blood, multiple bowel resections, daily throwing up, fistulas, and many scary medications. I felt like it was a death sentence. I did feel sorry for myself and like a victim.

My ex husband of course was a replacement for my father. It doesn’t take a genius to see that, so it’s pretty simple to see how seeking his acceptance against all logic still feels important. And this is a beast only I can slay. On long walks, in books, in the counseling office, and in the arms of someone who sees the WHOLE STORY. And someday everyone will know my whole story…

My saving grace?! I can never stay there long. I can never stay in a victim role long because there’s no creativity in it. Through awakening my creative self I’ve found The Karpman Drama Triangle, and am using it constantly. Another tool for healing faulty, surface, thin perception that only leads to inaction and unhappiness.

The Karpman Drama Triangle and Relationships

I still deal with the struggles of Crohn’s Disease. It has made me more compassionate to myself and others. It has taught me to care for my body when it needs. I still struggle with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It helps me see these behaviors in others and to help them find a secure grounding and create new behaviors.

What we all want is to be seen and understood for our whole best selves, to be accepted and encouraged. For someone to see why we act the way we do when we aren’t our best selves. To be understood wholly.

If you can create more of that in yourself for someone else then you will be reaching towards enlightenment. Kindness, compassion, understanding that is not conditional upon something. That is given because you have found it.

This is what I strive for….

Keep going…. into the fire…

I woke up this morning feeling closer to the ground I want to stand on with my ex-husband. This is what happens when you dig into the wound. When you hunt around for the splinters even as you wince and wonder if you just let the skin grow over it they won’t just stay mildly uncomfortable forever, but at least you won’t have to suffer this intensely.

He is not a threat, these feelings that rise are the threat. The threat here is the pain from still wanting to be seen favorably by him. I can still see his face that day he asked me to marry him. I can still picture the day we held our son for the first time. He knew a little girl me, that no one else in my life now knows anymore. He has pieces of my story no one else ever will. And the tears come. My divorce still hurts. And it isn’t supposed to right ?! I’m gay, and I’ve moved forward. But I can’t ever get back those firsts with that man, they are embedded in my story forever. And I choose whether they are splinters, or protective layers I honor because they are part of me. I don’t want them to be splinters anymore. He wasn’t a mistake, and I wasn’t either, and our children are amazing. We still made them, no matter how much I move forward that’s still a truth.

I still want to be seen favorably as we all long for. I want to be seen for my best parts, as we all do, but I think lacking a core family perhaps makes this a more desperate need in me. I wanted to move forward and keep my home base. Was this really so wrong ? If you had seen my whole life would you really fault me for this? And he saw it as no one else did, and has blocked those parts, because to continue to see me favorably only prevents him from moving forward.

Human beings have to tell a story they can live with to be able to move forward. Otherwise it’s nearly unbearable, especially for the deeply feeling. A gift from my life is that I always chose good people. I had seen so many bad, that this was a priority. So each time I held on tightly and then realized I still had places I needed to go, I internalized all that responsibility for the hurt. I was the bad guy I never wanted to be, rather than someone who wanted a safe home base and to also explore the world. The problem was my only model for a safe home base was in romantic partnership. I had my wires crossed. How else was I supposed to obtain that intense closeness I always yearned for. I wanted stability, but I couldn’t be stable.

That is the code I cracked for this relationship. Through being a counselor I heal right along with my clients. I found a self that was safe in herself, finally, what I had been desperately seeking. Along my way here people thought it was them I was wanting and needing. That must have felt intoxicating. To be so needed by another. Of course I was charming, that always was my true self, but I couldn’t maintain it if it wasn’t real. If it was a self I was trying on, but couldn’t keep. Because I would get scared and lost again, and then move quickly forward leaving my feelings, and my ex partners to wonder what happened,

Except now I could explain this whole thing, and have tried, but by now their own work keeps them needing a boundary against me, and what I have to learn is that we did have meaningful time, that wasn’t just erased by the ending. The whole story isn’t ruined by the ending. I truly believe that.

Can’t they forgive me for what I didn’t know then? Didn’t they know me well enough to see through clear lenses after?

I still love him, that is the problem. I wouldn’t get so hurt if I didn’t. Hate and love are from the same point of origin, they are both love. You have to love someone to hate them.

Not in the way both of us had hoped when we created new lives together. He stays in his feelings. I had to disconnect from mine enough to move forward. Doesn’t mean I don’t have them, doesn’t mean his way is better.

I’ve tried to write him long letters explaining my growth. Each is received first as too long, that is always pointed out. You’re too much Christina, because that’s not a trigger. Because that’s not THE trigger. And then regardless of the truth I have laid out on the page it is ignored.

True feelings and vulnerability were my weapon of choice against so many confusing realities. If I shout my truth out loud I’ll have to live up to it. I’ll force myself to not comfort at the expense of anyone around me. Very few of us are always our best selves are we ?! Did I somehow miss this mark other people are capable of? Or am I just more honest about it?

The truth is I had such a deficit of comfort that the first half of my life was spent almost solely in that pursuit. I picture myself for a long time, and when I got diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease after fighting so hard for a better life it felt like a death sentence. It cost me a marriage and a partnership again, the dark place I ended up in.

And again all along the way were people shaming me for seeking comfort. My own father sizing me up as “daughter your Facebook posts reflect some frightening mental states lately, not unlike your mother .” If he wasn’t there for much of the journey, completely inexplicably, then I wasn’t going to allow him to add insult to abandonment. Our journey knowing one another ended there, again. Abandoned again, after the warmth of hope had crept in. This has wandered to another blog post.

My conclusion: I won’t get as triggered if I don’t seek, expect, hope, crave, beg for understanding from those who don’t have it to give. For they are at another place in their journey. Perhaps where I was long ago, just needing comfort. He is still hurting and I would persecute him for what? Being mad at me?!

Hate is just love in another costume.

To be continued …..witness my pain and my process, weaving in and out of truth and understanding, sitting with my feelings. I’m not going anywhere this time. As my own parent I won’t abandon me when I’m not my best self. I am my person.

On Narcissism, Empathy, and the Many Shades of Grey in Between…..

So now I am sitting here thinking about “who is this self so long ago who fell in love with this man, and who was this man for that matter?” And perhaps more importantly what did both of these people need and want? What were they looking for, and how did that translate into finding one another, and believing this would answer their insecurities about where their lives were going.

I recall at one point wanting a Nintendo more than anything. Those shiny controllers with their attractive two red A and B buttons and directional pad. My grandparents would hem and haw about how expensive and unnecessary, and I would be relentless until I got what I wanted. I am still relentless in pursuit of my dreams. Relentless at the expense of others is what those who have been victimized by me cry out. It was easy to believe I was bad or wrong. I always had looked for ways this was true. I remember the very first time that he posted a MySpace status update saying, “so I married a narcissistic lesbian”, to the tune of “so I married an axe murderer”. Might as well have been. I remember already having spent years fearing being a narcissist. I poured over texts on the subject and was my own judge and juror, always finding myself guilty. So realizing I was meant to be with women only solidified those negative beliefs. The proverbial nail in the coffin so to speak.

Here are a couple of my favorite articles on Narcissism and Empathy. It is rarely cut and dried, all or nothing. A relationship between two people is a complicated alchemy full of lots of external factors. All people are capable of light and dark, whichever side presents itself more depends on many factors. Where they just came from, who they have been around, what they want, what they need, how life has touched them up until this point, their belief systems, and on and on. If only we sought to understand for the sake of understanding and not to reduce our discomfort by being able to label something. If only we sought to understand for the growth that it provides, and not to appease the ego. 

They are favorites because they don’t encourage a victim perspective. Why the World Needs Narcissists.

A letter to those who call themselves empaths

I was forged in narcissism. A narcissistic mother. But not someone who was merely selfish, not somewhere on a spectrum, but fully disengaged as a mother. She never became a mom. I spent so much of my life fearing that would be my fate, when I was never disengaged in the same way that she was. I was off in my head often. I still am. I was there trying to make full well sure that I didn’t harm my children in the same way. All the while the very thing I feared creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. To be in my head afraid of the thing took my presence. To focus as hard as I possibly could on the goal of not being something, created so much of what I feared. Crippling self-doubt. Trapped inside my head, one of the only things drawing me out was the security of the joy I was able to find when engaged with another adult. Don’t leave me alone with me I used to think. I could be like her. I could hurt my kids, but if I stayed busy, and active, and around others I felt this was less likely to happen. It made me be outside my head. When I was alone with the kids I felt so anxious in ways I didn’t even understand that I felt like I was distant from them. My assessment of course reflected the harshest possible evaluation. If an another adult was around, particularly a fun one, I could take a deep breath and relax. This represented a safety to me that kept me from causing damage. A damage I only anticipated as a possibility and therefore dreamed it into a very real threat. I was nothing if not adaptive…. and to be successful at adapting one must separate themselves from their feelings enough to observe the best course of action. Hence my lifelong mission to reconnect to my feeling self.

So much shame lies here. By looking at others and thinking that should apply to me, taking for granted the differences in many other areas. 

I remember playing video games on the Nintendo and Super NES system. I really liked Mario brothers and Adventure Island. I remember being very impatient playing these games. Watching my grandma play was like watching paint dry, lol. Watching anyone for that matter. I didn’t want to learn from watching. I wanted to be the one playing always. I ran quickly forward. I wasn’t the type to fully explore for all the secrets and hidden things. I was the type to rush forward and see how fast I could get through a level. I was anything but conservative and careful. I still live like this. It has made for a very interesting life, full of lessons. Clean up on aisle 9! I live life as if I have unlimited lives, just like I did in the video games.

Another thing Martha Beck said in this last video lesson was: Comedy is just pain + time. Once you are far away enough from the situation you can see it with a different clarity that allows you to be able to capture your own truths, as you saw them, and make them into something someone can benefit from in some way.

This is the mission that I am on currently. From the secure space I now occupy in my life humor is a much larger part of my everyday world. I think perhaps when it comes to writing I have an outdated version of myself in my mind. One who takes everything seriously and who isn’t that funny. My wife finds me funny all the time. It’s interesting who you are able to be in the presence who believe in the best possible version of you. And how easily if you don’t fully believe this yourself, someone can pull you back to a place of self-doubt based on their opinion. This is the necessity of the solidly grounded self. This is what I am working on right now, and writing into and through my feelings is my cement, mold, and level.

This process of being so utterly happy and wanting to bring another life into this world as a result, and not being able to get what I want right when I want it, is what has brought me to my knees. It is forcing me to sit still in feelings, to see myself in new ways, and to have an even deeper level of empathy for all of those around me. It is bringing me even closer to myself, uniting all my broken pieces. I am able to truly connect to how those around me feel in a way that is calm, careful, and present. For me this is truly being entirely re-wired. It turns out there is a lot to this wiring stuff. I am beginning to believe we are all capable of a lot more than our experiences in this life lend us to be. As I am able to watch myself become a more whole person, a more kind person, a more attentive one, a wiser one. I know that it is possible.

It’s a complex mixture of having the right amount of support, along with the right amount of accountability. Too much of one, or too little of the other and its a dangerous concoction. I am very enthusiastic to continue to share this journey and everything I am fortunate enough to be able to become aware of, to learn, and to share. 

Writing the Life Authentic: How to not repeat a pattern, complete with raw example from my own life

*Somewhere in the town of Stamford far removed from family and creature comforts my wife is coping with another possibility of life leaking out of her. Hurting physically and mentally. Here at home I am doing the same. We are both sending one another signals of love and light, they are powerful enough to make it across Countries, so I have faith that they will reach one another and hold us safely these few towns away.

Interesting that our love has such a strong and safe foundation, and that a love that was built on expectations and ideas of dreams yielded three children in a way that felt effortless at the time. It could have been easy to expect that this should be granted us because true love would make us entitled to the gift of children. This is often not how life works.

We all take so many things for granted…

I was brought in a round about way to thinking about childhood me. I want to talk about her, but also what got me here.

In an attempt to not be upset with myself for yet another thing I bit off, but was unable to chew and swallow, I took some time today to watch the next video in my Martha Beck Write into Light course. The material will no longer be available as of October 31st. After all the talk, and the money invested I am determined to finish this thing that I started. So here I am again facing myself down in the mirror, this course demands nothing less. I have learned by now that it is not all or nothing, but rather beginning anew as many times as necessary to keep going. I am grateful I was born with the courage to continue on this process. I don’t believe everyone is so lucky, In fact the more I understand, the more I see my gifts as rare gems in this way.

In fact this is what module 5: Writing a life authentic, is concerned with. In it MB talks about how will power doesn’t work when it comes to change. Funny because the power of my will has often felt like the only thing that kept me going. MB describes how our neural pathways are wired for habit, and something we are used to doing gets deeply entrenched and becomes essentially automatic (myelin sheathing on the neurons) and nearly unstoppable. She describes the only process she has found to be successful at actually creating change to be “light writing”. A process where you observe a pattern and watch yourself like a field researcher, you must be removed enough to not get sucked into the story, so you can actually watch the behaviors. She suggests you write DEEPLY into whatever you are working on. It’s kind of like taking a plain sheet of paper out and brainstorming. For this particular lesson she is teaching about how to not repeat a pattern. She has suggested two things.

One is to take a pattern you do not want to repeat and write it down on a piece of paper. She says it is important that you choose something you yourself deeply want to change, it has to come from a DESPERATE NEED THAT IS YOUR OWN, versus something your mom or partner etc wants you to change. Then take that paper and rip it into many pieces or burn it. Say outloud as you do this, “I invite in a new pattern”. She explains even if it sounds silly the importance of putting a physical aspect to this. She then instrucs you to do one of two things in your exhale. The exhale is the part you brainstorm through and get all your thoughts out. The inhale is the more constructed piece of writing that gives attention to your reader.

So I need to choose to either write a manifesto about leading a revolution to break this pattern. Rally! Have fun with it. …. here is what I will no longer tolerate about this pattern.

Or to write a comedic anectdote, one that is lighthearted. How you did something over and over again, how you can look at it with humor enough to be able to change your behavior.

Something that came to mind was how when my wife and I get stressed out with my ex-husband and some of the petty arguments that we both must engage in to fuel: we think of Buzz Light year and Woody in Toy Story, and say “you’re a sad strange little man, you have my pity”. It has helped us more than once. Now a disclaimer to this is that I do not feel my ex-husband is a bad person, or any less of a father because we get into these tifs. In fact as I chip more and more away at the bedrock of the issue I am able to see both of our disappointment and how deeply that can run that we didn’t get to have the picturesque idea of all these years of our children’s having been shared together. That we both have needed to endure the sharp pain of separation, misunderstandings, and watching our kids be confused or hurt during the process. That we both are being challenged with re-writing a script that we thought we had already worked so hard at. We already risked so much, and carved so much out, to have to begin again and again feels unbearable. It feels wrong, and flawed, and bad, especially according to the rules of society. How deeply ingrained in each of us is it that once you make a committment of a lifetime that it must work that way. Particularly for the conscientiously minded folk such as ourselves.

Neither of us intended things to work as they did. That is one thing that I can say with 100 percent clarity at this point. And keeping us on the same page as far as the pain that comes with divorce is a much healthier way to look at it than one of us a victim and one a perpetrator. At this point in his storyline of events, he is still much more determined to see me as the perp and he the victim, it comes out time and time again. And he ups the bar as he attempts to recruit my ex-partners into those rankings. He has stated as much that he feels people should not be bought and discarded like cheap dollar store toys. He appears unable to see how this is his projection of our relationship not working out, and takes a great deal for granted when it comes to specifics. If he were able to look a little closer at what I had to overcome to achieve healthy relationship perhaps he would understand more. He is right actually that love should not work that way, and boy is it painful when it does. But there is much more than meets the eye here with me and love. There is a lifetime of work, several actually, that I’ve somehow managed to do in one.

And I do promise that you must be up close to truly see. And you must have been able to do your own self work of separating from your ego enough to observe things in such a way so that they can be changed. Otherwise your main fight will be that of how you are perceived by others. One can spend their whole lives in this way. 

But my realization in the here and now is that for me to beg to be seen in a particular way brings me right back to my childhood. A person can only see things from a viewpoint that is reflective from how far they themselves have traveled. To try and ask for them to see further is impossible and will end up frustrating to levels I cannot even begin to tell you. This is possibly one of my greatest sources of pain in this lifetime. And now the gauntlet is thrown for me to not repeat this pattern anymore. My only battle is to see myself through a generous lens. I have borrowed my wife’s for now, and people before her. But I understand as well as anyone by now that when using this model, if you do not please the person seeing you in the way that they are looking for, the generosity expires.

Much like in therapy if you don’t take the lessons that are offered and make them your own, and make them real, bring them outside the office, the magic ends at the end of the appointment and dissipates with the termination of the therapuetic relationship. A therapist lends their generosity of vision, seeing people at their best selves, but the Client themself must learn this way of seeing and apply it. They must seek to understand how the therapist is able to do that with such information to the opposite end. As if the stigma of seeking therapy itself is not cause enough to not be able to do this. So many people with their opinion at the ready to slay a person’s attempt of breaking out of painful patterns with their criticism. And to what end? To be able to stroke the ego. To be able to say “see look I was right”.

To this point with regard to my ex-husband, what would he possibly gain by proving me to be the mother that he believes. If he were able to be right and he could know that I am in fact selfish, and get my kids to believe this. What is the prize here? I see only loss and suffering at that. Immense confusion and pain.  And this is why I must challenge myself to not be a victim either, because what is possibly to gain by believing the father of my children is a bad person, in the name of ego. Wouldn’t it be healthier to believe that his life turned out so differently than he had imagined that he can’t bear to live in a truth that doesn’t back his story, that he has lost the zest he once had from this attachment fracture. Such extreme disappointment that he is lost with how to move forward. And what is someone feeling this way in need of? Certainly not more criticism and turmoil.

Sometimes in life I think we end up fighting so hard for something, when we aren’t even sure anymore what we are hoping to acheive from it. That’s a little scary don’t you think? May I always strive to be aware of the “why”, the reason I want to acheive what I am working hard towards. If I put this template down, would I ever be able to see it as a good thing for my children to see a dark and ugly side of things? This helps me to be truly aware of the power the ego can wield, of how seductive it can be. Come to the dark side it says, we have cookies it says. Of course it would say that to me. I love cookies.

If you’re looking for me I’ll be here resisting cookies and my ego lol. And being honored to be invited into the sacred processes of my client’s world, so that we both may feel less alone.

My blog post on childhood me, will have to wait… or perhaps I’ll post it after this one since I am “on a roll”.

Frozen in time… just like our donor Sperm

What does an excessively driven/determined person do at a 14 day post intrauterine insemination negative pregnancy test ? Ha say that five times fast.

Did I mention this was the third round overall? Did I mention before we could start it was awaiting the thyroid level each month? I guess we have been at this longer than I realized.

She obsesses of course. Finding every bit of tangible evidence that we still could be pregnant. Some people don’t get their positive until day 18 or so, but that’s probably not with for sure predicting of ovulation like we have with IUI. The clinic said test today and if negative to stop progesterone. Go to Jail, do not pass GO, do not collect $200, you are failing at the game of life. No cute little blue or pink figures to stick gleefully in your car.

And she writes to cope of course.

Except she can barely write because she can barely focus on anything else. Thankfully as a Clinician she is drawn out of her own mind naturally during session and at least has that break.

Ok that’s enough third person. Third, third, third…. no charm here, not today. Stay positive they say. The stork is on the way.

I’m starting to get hard on myself. Christina are you always going to find something to be unhappy about? Three teenagers, two dogs, a career you adore, and healthy and happy love. Am I allowed even to want more? Or to have the emotions I do right now? Therapist says of course you are. Human says don’t you dare, it will hurt too much. You’ll get too caught up in them, and then what.

Don’t get down because stress inhibits pregnancy, don’t drink coffee, don’t have processed sugar, don’t exercise too hard….. Make sure you sleep enough, eat healthy… and my head spins. Hyper focus and it’ll be more likely.

Superstitions abound.

Does this mean we are meant to foster and adopt? Of course I know my wife wants to grow her own baby in her belly. It tears at me when the emotions finally hit and she bursts into tears. I fool myself into thinking I’m the strong one in this scenario. Just because I can hold my emotions hostage with much more command, an ability I never asked for.

I recall being witness to another’s journey of this variety and my well meaning and with little understanding advice at that time. I remember feeling a tad critical of their sharing with me that they couldn’t be around happy pregnant women. And here I am not even able to look at my FB feed because there are just fucking babies everywhere. It hurts doesn’t it? Oops.

It’s only three rounds I try to tell myself. I try for perspective seeing people have to try for years. But we are using science and spending a hell of a lot of money. Guilt. Another rub of not being how “God intended” of course. I don’t even ascribe to that belief and yet by now it attempts to leak in.

Can I ever just be still and happy? Couldn’t we have just honeymooned ? Be enjoying our love? Why do I drive so hard? Why is this so important when often it feels hard to connect with the children I’ve got. Why are we bringing a child into a world like this? Only to struggle and await the many impending disasters? I’m already overwhelmed at the drop of a hat. What am I doing ? And is it the negative result that makes me feel this way? That must be the sadness, frustration, and pain talking.

Because in clearer moments I know exactly my heart and what it wants and deserves. Why do we get so nasty with ourselves, so unfair?

I’ve been sick the past couple of days, and I know that isn’t helping. Sky high irritability, dizziness, and a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. I’m too driven even to be sick. It is just who I am. Do I have to make myself wrong for everything?

Be still Christina. Stay…..

Broken hearts heal…. and you will get your baby. Be patient….. I’ve never been patient. Does this mean this is my fault, and I’ve brought this upon us? Will I always function at a frenzied pace? Is this a fault?

Life brings you to your knees so you are forced to find faith in something. Faith in myself is always the lesson needed.


Leveling up as a Parent…

*this is as raw as it gets, and did I consider taking a more thought out approach. I did. But you need to see the whole thing, the good, the bad, the ugly, the passionate, because that’s what a full life looks like!

I just want to shout out to my ex husband, the father of my children, for helping me up my parenting game. Each time we have a petty interaction I am able to look at my part in things, and more importantly how the impact might effect my kids.

Thankfully because I have my wife to talk to and she reminds me of how her parents split and behavior effected her, I can put myself into my kids shoes first. I can drop into my heart and out of my ego, the number one key ingredient to parenting.

I want to thank him for giving me even more reason to be close to my kids and involved in their lives because I want to, not because I need to prove who I am as a mother. To thank him for reminding me each time of where bitterness truly gets you, and why I don’t want to be there in the name of anything.

The bitterness credo: poor me, and the victim code. Well to that I say no. I’m gonna spend my time being a better parent, not worrying about whether he is helping or not, or judging me or not. It’s all he has left of this game. Each time he can get under my skin he rejoices.

Hate is still love in this way, attention is still attention. No attention will be better and then I’ll have all that extra for my kids.

Bitterness and anger are seductive creatures. I intend to up my game by the process of diversion. I shall divert any attention that would have been given in proving something, or explaining, to my children and paying attention to my relationship with them.

He is challenging me to be creative in my approach when he becomes involved in all my circles and attempts to sway their opinions about me (in small invisible ways) and desperately tries to bring all attention in a room on him. In my enlightened moments I realize this is all he has left. His only companion is this victim hood. And I have a full big life. It’s hard to give him compassion when this model could so easily seem like my fault. But it’s not.

No fault was committed here. In fact the opposite. I had the courage to come out, and give him a chance at a life that felt authentic to him and not forced or fake or uncomfortable with someone who wasn’t fulfilled with him. I could have stayed out of fear. I could have stayed for financial security, because I felt there was no other way.

It has been 12 years, more than really, in truth our whole relationship. And you got things too. We got valuable lessons about ourselves, and we shared many precious moments, that only we know. The birth of our children. When will you let go? When will you allow yourself your own happiness, so you can be happy for me, and I can be happy for you? And we can be proud of our parenting, and our beautiful children, instead of scanning for flaws and pointing them out.

Have you ever seen a partnership for some convenience of one variety or another ? But one or the other really wanted or needed something else…. you’ve never felt so much tension, but most aren’t sure why. That resentment boiling just beneath the surface. Well I have news for you, the picture on the wall might look pretty, but everyone especially your children feel it.

I am proud of my ability to resist that type of life, and the courage to pursue one that would lend to me showing the kids how to find their own happiness.

I have to go for now this morning. But you bet your ass I’m gonna level up, and keep doing so. Because being a better version of myself, better than yesterday’s self is my only competition. And I have more support than I ever thought I would.

To all the parents out there: look at yourself, your part in things. If you aren’t part of the solution. You’re part of the problem. And who suffers the most here?! The kids do! That’s why we have to up our games on not showing up to every party we are invited to and engaging in self pity, blame, anger, and expending valuable time trying to be seen on the outside in a particular way.

That is as wispy as a changing wind. To be a solid parent, you must face yourself in the mirror each day, and lead with your heart, not with fear. And it’s the hardest fucking thing you will ever do.

Now go and do better and you won’t be alone….