Being grateful

Sometimes I worry that when I recover, I won’t have anything to write about anymore. Lots of great art comes out of turmoil and darkness, but doesn’t a lot of great art come out of passion and love?

I guess what I’m really worried about is when I become numb or depressed, like I am now. There’s nothing to say about anything, it feels. But one great thing to do to help is practicing gratitude.

I am grateful for:

  • My extremely supportive family
  • My amazing boyfriend who loves me in a way I’ve always wanted to be loved
  • My friends, who check in with me and make sure everything is okay
  • The fact that I can digest lactose, and therefore can eat ice cream and cheese etc. without getting gassy
  • My supportive work environment, especially my superstar supervisor
  • My body, strength, and ability to move
  • A network of professionals who are guiding me towards recovery
  • My ability to play music
  • The fact that I can feel so deeply. Love deeply, appreciate deeply, care deeply.
  • Each and every one of my followers who take the time to read what I have to say 🙂 It means everything to me!

One more week

After next week, I am done with instructing. On top of everything else that’s been happening, I feel like teaching is becoming overwhelming. It was once the one thing I looked forward to. I’ve been teaching and/or tutoring for almost a decade now and it’s a shame to see the passion shrink into nothing.

I dread going to each class. I hate interacting with the students. I want to leave as soon as I can. I feel like I’m not making a difference or helping at all, which makes me a worse instructor, which then consolidates the idea that I am not making a difference or helping at all.

I should have known this was coming. Last year towards the end of the last semester, I began burning out fast. I was having panic attacks in the lab and had to have some of my classes cancelled. I keep telling myself that there’s only ONE MORE WEEK, but the thought of that one week is daunting.

I tell myself I can make it, but there’s a growing voice in my head asking, “can you, though?”

I used to love teaching. It breaks my heart that I feel this way. I always prided myself as being someone who enjoys helping others learn and see how exciting learning can be. Now I feel like I’ve lost that. I’m not really sure what kind of person  I am anymore. I don’t know if I can make this one last week.

Fond memories of love

For a friend.

What’s the difference between loving someone and holding onto fond memories of a past love?

How can you separate the two? Sure you can still love the person you have memories with, but what matters is your choice. You can choose who you will focus your love and energy on now. You choose you keep this person a memory.

Keep this memory tucked away, maybe visit it once in a while, but choose to keep living your life and moving on. Don’t dwell on the memories. That’s all they are. In the past.

Take it for what it was. You were together, and it didn’t work out. Love doesn’t always work, but that doesn’t mean it won’t exist elsewhere.

The thing about healthy love is…

It is boring. And I mean that in the best way possible. There’s no drama, no mind games, no abuse. Healthy, good love is supportive and calm. All of the intense, passionate love does not need to be “balanced” with intense hatred, fights, blaming, or fear. Healthy love is safe and predictable. Boring tends to carry a negative connotation but when it comes to love, it doesn’t have to.

Intense, tumultuous relationships are not sustainable. Dramatic relationships are unstable and unreliable.

In healthy love, I learned, you and your partner are each other’s cheerleaders. You support each other. There is no competition or comparison. There is no putting each other down. You are truly partners. Lovers. Best friends.

Finally, love.

I have always dove in and gave my all. I always given love with all that my heart could give. This time my heart is wide open and for once, so is yours. I feel like I’ve broken that last barrier I’ve never gone past. I’ve packed away that safety net I always laid out for whenever I’ve expected to be let down. I know I won’t need it.

– November 2017

Sexual violence: definitions

TW: Sexual violence, sexual assault, rape

I think it’s very important to know the definitions and types of sexual violence. For the longest time I waved away what had happened to me in the past. It was different, I thought, because he was my boyfriend. Now I know that anyone can be a victim of sexual violence regardless of the relationship with the aggressor, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Please take a read below of the definition of sexual violence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have been a victim of sexual violence, please seek help. You are not alone and #IBelieveYou.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/definitions.html

Sexual violence is defined as a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent.  Sexual violence is divided into the following types:

  • Completed or attempted forced penetration of a victim
  • Completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated penetration of a victim
  • Completed or attempted forced acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else
  • Completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else
  • Non-physically forced penetration which occurs after a person is pressured verbally or through intimidation or misuse of authority to consent or acquiesce
  • Unwanted sexual contact
  • Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences

Completed or attempted forced penetration of a victim ─ includes completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal insertion through use of physical force or threats to bring physical harm toward or against the victim. Examples include

  • Pinning the victim’s arms
  • Using one’s body weight to prevent movement or escape
  • Use of a weapon or threats of weapon use
  • Assaulting the victim

Completed or attempted alcohol or drug-facilitated penetration of a victim ─ includes completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal insertion when the victim was unable to consent because he or she was too intoxicated (e.g., incapacitation, lack of consciousness, or lack of awareness) through voluntary or involuntary use of alcohol or drugs.

Completed or attempted forced acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else ─includes situations when the victim was made, or there was an attempt to make the victim, sexually penetrate a perpetrator or someone else without the victim’s consent because the victim was physically forced or threatened with physical harm. Examples include

  • Pinning the victim’s arms
  • Using one’s body weight to prevent movement or escape
  • Use of a weapon or threats of weapon use
  • Assaulting the victim

Completed or attempted alcohol or drug-facilitated acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else ─ includes situations when the victim was made, or there was an attempt to make the victim, sexually penetrate a perpetrator or someone else without the victim’s consent because the victim was unable to consent because he or she was too intoxicated (e.g., incapacitation, lack of consciousness, or lack of awareness) through voluntary or involuntary use of alcohol or drugs.

Nonphysically forced penetration which occurs after a person is pressured verbally, or through intimidation or misuse of authority, to consent or submit to being penetrated – examples include being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex or showed they were unhappy; feeling pressured by being lied to, or being told promises that were untrue; having someone threaten to end a relationship or spread rumors; and sexual pressure by use of influence or authority.

Unwanted sexual contact – intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person without his or her consent, or of a person who is unable to consent or refuse. Unwanted sexual contact can be perpetrated against a person or by making a person touch the perpetrator. Unwanted sexual contact could be referred to as “sexual harassment” in some contexts, such as a school or workplace.

Noncontact unwanted sexual experiences – does not include physical contact of a sexual nature between the perpetrator and the victim. This occurs against a person without his or her consent, or against a person who is unable to consent or refuse. Some acts of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences occur without the victim’s knowledge. This type of sexual violence can occur in many different settings, such as school, the workplace, in public, or through technology. Examples include unwanted exposure to pornography or verbal sexual harassment (e.g., making sexual comments).

Sadness and anger…

Today I talked about the trauma openly with a therapist. Talking about the first incident was the hardest. It easier as I recounted the next incident. She pointed out there was something new she saw in me. Not quite anger, no longer fear.

Confidence.

Confidence in myself. In knowing that he was the one who was wrong. Confidence that only blooms out of 7 years of suffering and buried pain.

And behind the confidence, there stood sadness and anger, interlocked. Sadness for the naive girl who was manipulated, overpowered and lied to. Anger towards the boy who stole her innocence with his selfish ways.

I am forgiving myself. I never did anything wrong. This was not my fault.

Healing is pain; pain is healing

It seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it? Isn’t healing supposed to make things better? When in reality, the steps we take to facilitate healing can be very painful. If you’ve ever cleaned a scraped knee, you’ll remember the pain of having to touch the open wound. But in the end, this is to facilitate the healing process.

These words by @jennagalbut revealed a lot to me about my own healing process. For so long, painful memories were hidden in the shadows, where I didn’t have to look at them. The problem with this is they would jump out at me when I least expect it.

Since starting treatment for my PTSD, I’ve been even more so on edge and anxious. I thought that the treatment was making things worse. I wanted to quit. To shove all the painful thoughts back into the dark instead of facing them in the light. But I am trying to remind myself – it gets worse before it gets better.

LDR

I finally found someone who I love and who loves me back, and of course he lives thousands of kilometres away. This sucks. Long distance sucks. Why do these things always happen to me?

Or

I finally found someone who I love and loves me back. It’s the kind of love I’ve always dreamed about, and despite the thousands of kilometres between us, we’re both willing to make it work. I found someone who will go through this pain with me because he loves me.

Music, to me

Music is extremely important to me, as it is to so many people. People love music for so many reasons, and here’s why I love it so much.

Music says the words I want to say, but in a much more beautifully elegant way. Just the fact that there is the instrumentals, harmonies, melodies, and all the little nuances there make it much more beautiful to me than if I were to say the words or write the words myself.

Not to mention, if you add in the fact that I’m an extremely sensitive soul and I can be moved to tears by a huge variety of music, music is a recipe for me becoming a puddle on the floor.

So when I make you a playlist, I am baring my soul. I know people are deterred if they don’t like a genre or an artist, but for me the music and lyrics speak beyond those small details.

I’ve always been very sensitive about my music taste. Well, I’m sensitive in general. Growing up playing music and letting it heal me has fostered a very deep connection for me. Singing songs that speak to my heart has fostered a deep connection with many songs.

I want to share my love, but I am so afraid because of how sensitive I am. Sometimes I think, how pathetic. How weak. But more often I’d rather think, how lucky. Extreme emotional sensitivity is a blessing and a curse, depending on how you look at it. How fortunate that I can be so moved by music in a way that some people simply cannot fathom. I am grateful.