As my followers will know, I happen to love all things Tim Burton. (How can you not?) One of my favorites happens to be one of Burton's classics: "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Released in 1993 when I was at the ripe old age of almost 8, I loved it from the first time I saw it. Jack Skellington, the lead character, had a faithful companion, his dog Zero.
Meet my new faithful companion, my dog Zero. He is a 3-month old Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and pretty much the most adorable thing ever.
My kids (and hubby, although he won't admit it) love him, too. He is sweet, and smart, loves to chew on things (especially his stuffed animals, tennis balls and water bottles) and chase our cat. He just doesn't understand why she won't play with him.
Everyone who sees him falls in love with his big ears and permanent smile.
30. own as many animals as i can--including a giant fishtank
31. have another baby. before i'm 30.
32. inspire someone to do something great.
33. figure out what i really believe about life and religion, without worrying about what anyone else thinks.
34. hire a maid to clean my house top to bottom while i sit on the couch and read a magazine and drink an ice cold coke. pretend i'm a millionaire.
35. find new friends and be comfortable in our new home--we are moving cross-country in two months. acclimate to a totally different region and culture of the US, and support my hubby in graduate school the way he needs and deserves.
and congrats to hubby for being accepted into such a great masters program--he will be studying applied cognition and neuroscience.
in addition to the millions of amazing items i get to look at (think art, creepy but intriguing items, jewelry, funnies, etc.....some of which i should post some time), pinterest is full of awesome tutorials and inspiration for craft projects.
behold...the craft projects.
the "love" message board
i really loved this one. hubby and i always need new ways to be mushy with each other. so i took an 8x10 photo frame that i had and made a background using scrapbook paper, sticker letters and ribbon. velcro and a dry-erase marker later, and we had our message board. i hung it just inside the door to the garage, which is a high-traffic area in our house. hubby and i leave little messages to each other, like the one below:
from me: i love you because raphael is your favorite "engine turtle" just like me!
(little buddy calls them "engine turtles" instead of "ninja turtles.")
i even drew a picture of raphael's head. hubby added the cape and pectorals. hehe.
from hubby: i love you because you're trying to be a better wife/mother.
lately, my little man has been obsessed with everything space. from buzz lightyear, to mickey's clubhouse rocket, to watching "the universe" on tv. we even made an awesome construction paper solar system to hang from the ceiling in his room. he got a space shuttle for his birthday, and anything he can get his hands on becomes a rocket. so when i saw this on pinterest, i knew i had to make him one. (and princess, because she'd like one too.)
the tutorial i linked to previously was more inspiration than a how-to for me. i did a lot of things differently--cheaper, faster, and longer-lasting. i saved some 2 liter coke bottles (we go through quite a few of those in our house, since i'm addicted to coke, hehe) to use. the tutorial suggests priming and spray-painting them silver, but i hot-glued foil to them. faster (i didn't have to let it dry) and cheaper (i already had the foil and hot glue). i also used red, yellow and orange ribbon for the flames instead of the crepe paper the tutorial used. i knew crepe paper would be destroyed almost immediately with my kids. the ribbon can't be ripped, and it was less than $1.50 for it. i used black grosgrain ribbon for straps, attached the bottles to a piece of cardboard (also wrapped in foil) and used another piece of black ribbon to hold it all together. the blue ribbon i added so little buddy would know which one was his--the one i made for princess has ribbon with flowers on it instead of blue.
talk about a hit! the first day, little buddy had me pick him up and "fly" him around the house at least fifteen times. princess didn't care as much, but i'm glad my little boy likes his jet pack. and they're pretty cute, if i say so myself.
the spiderweb eye makeup
so, as most of you know, i'm nuts about halloween. and anything that could be considered spooky, creepy or macabre. (i don't do anything too gory or horrifying, and i absolutely refuse to watch scary movies.) so last halloween when i found this i loved it.
hubby's work has a huge halloween bash every year and they turn the office building into a giant trick-or-treat alley for the kids of the employees. i got an awesome skeleton bride and groom shirt at walmart that had spiders and spiderwebs on the sleeves, put plastic spiders in my hair, and did this to my eyes. took a few minutes and looked pretty awesome, in my opinion.
this is not my eye, for two reasons: my photos did not turn out that great, and i don't post pictures of myself on this blog. :)
i don't know about those of you with little ones, but my kids have a fascination with christmas ornaments. they don't stay on our tree. for christmas last year (2010), the ornaments migrated up the tree until the bottom third or so was totally empty by christmas day. this year, the kids helped me make this felt christmas tree. this was "their" tree, and they could play with the ornaments and redecorate it whenever they wanted. so anytime a little hand touched an ornament on the big tree, we redirected them to their own tree. it worked pretty well, i think.
this project was inexpensive, too. green felt (i think i got a yard and a half, and it was only about $2) and a package of multicolored felt squares (about $5ish, i don't remember exactly), hot glue and glitter puff paint.
i cut out the tree from the big piece of green felt. using my cookie cutters, the kids helped me pick out shapes. i traced them onto the felt, cut them out and glued them to circles, stars and hearts. embellished with a little glitter puff paint, and voila. felt sticks to felt, so i didn't have to add anything to the back of the ornaments.
it was a lot of fun to make, and the kids really enjoyed picking out their favorite shapes. we even traced their hands for a couple ornaments.
the popsicle stick snowflake
this was a fun one the kids could help with when they were so bored they were driving me crazy....darn that winter snow.
get a package of popsicle sticks (we used the big ones....i would advise the little ones, because we really had to maneuver to get the door shut with the big ones). paint them white (this the kids loved doing). we cut out round pieces of cardboard in different sizes (see pic), painted them white...hot glue, hot glue, hot glue and a giant snowflake was born. i tied a piece of ribbon to it that we already had to hang it on the door. it ended up lopsided and not as cute as the one in the tutorial, but hey--it was fun and my kids loved it. plus it was something cute to go on our door in between the christmas wreath and valentine's wreath.
the easter egg garland
we put up our easter decorations a few days ago, and i realized just how few decorations we have. i also decided to weed out some of the, uh, not so cute decorations...and we had about a million mismatched plastic eggs. so i kept the nice ones for the easter bunny to fill, and used the rest to make this garland. so, yes, the garland is mismatched, but i kind of like it that way.
i used the skinny skinny ribbon that is about .50 a roll (i already had it) and threaded it through the ends of the eggs. most of them already had the holes, and in the rest i just poked a nail through the ends. at the ends of the strands, i used ribbon i already had to make cute bows. it adds color to our living room and i think it looks good. (plus the easter bunny appreciates the lessened cost of filling all of those eggs.)
the easter egg wreath
i have to admit this is one of my favorite ones. i already had this idea in my head before i saw it on pinterest, and then seeing it just made me want to do it even more.
most of these wreath tutorials require a wreath form. the foam and styrofoam ones are actually pretty expensive at craft stores. so instead, i cut out a circle of cardboard the size i wanted. the eggs came from walmart--less than $5, and i got two different sizes. i started by gluing two rows of eggs on the base, then a row on top in the middle. the eggs i had left over i glued in random places to fill it out. pink ribbon--i already had it--glued to the back as a hanger and in a bow on the front. super easy, super fast, and really cute. it is so fun and bright on our front door. i LOVE the way it turned out.
there have been other fun projects from pinterest, but i'm not always great at taking photos.
any of you find some fun things on pinterest that you've made? please share! i always love a good project.
for a lot of people, st. patrick's day is kind of a non-holiday, unless you drink. then it's a party. but since i don't drink, you'd think it's probably not such a big deal...except that it always has been in my family.
st. patrick's day is my mom's birthday, so we always celebrated it growing up. we decorated for it, when most people don't. we also always had boiled corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes (YUM). this happens to be one of my most favorite meals EVER. i absolutely adore corned beef and cabbage. i could eat it every week and never get tired of it.
but i digress.
since i moved out on my own, got married, had babies, i never had st. patty's day decorations. two years ago my mom gave me this cute little train thing...leprechaun pulling shamrock cars that have candles in them.
last year i visited the dollar store and purchased this banner:
and some garland. half went over the window and half over the front door.
this year, half of the garland went over our sliding door and the other half was used for these beauties:
i also visited a craft store this year. using the garland from last year (plus one more), the kids and i made cute shamrock garlands for our stairs and to go over the piano. i bought a package of foam shamrocks and st. patty's day stickers (total cost for all things was about $10). the kids helped me put the stickers on the foam shamrocks, then i hole punched them and put them on the garland.
these photos totally don't do it justice...they really look so cute.
also new this year....a wreath for the front door. (i'm big on wreaths lately. i love them.) the inspiration came from pinterest, but the design is my own, as far as i know. i bought a wreath form (it's a flat particle board one, about $2 and waaaaaaaaaay cheaper than the foam ones) and wrapped it in yarn. that took quite some time, because i got the biggest wreath form they had. then i cut shamrocks in different sizes out of felt. (in the photo the felt all looks the same, but it's not. some of it is plan green, and some of it has glittery sparkles in it.) using hot glue, i attached the shamrocks, alternating glitter and plain. turned out very cute, although i wish the wreath form wasn't flat...i think it would have been cuter if it was round. (i wasn't about to spend $15 on a round wreath form, though.) with yarn, felt and wreath form, it cost about $6.
when it came time to figure out what to wear, i realized that i don't own anything green. i have a few shirts that have a few tiny green accents...but that's not fun for such a green holiday! trip to WalMart....my cute sweater was on clearance for $5. i decided to get the kids plain green tees instead of the st. patty's ones for a few reasons. first, they were cheaper ($3). second, they can wear them more. and third, the st. patty's day ones left in their sizes were ugly. i also got one for hubby, that is a handsome polo ($8) and he can wear it a lot, too.
to make them st. patty's-licious, i got a package of 6 little buttons at the craft store for $1. the kids loved these and we can reuse them every year, because my little ones won't grow out of buttons like they will t-shirts. (don't you love our face decorations?)
we were gone most of the day, so dinner for the kids was fast and easy. green milk and green scrambled eggs (they really loved that...food coloring to the rescue!), green grapes and celery.
tonight i'm making corned beef and cabbage....i can't wait!
i hope you all had a great st. patrick's day! we had a very fun day full of good luck and family time. no pots of gold, though....maybe next year we'll strike it rich.
i was beginning to think i would be pregnant FOREVER.
our baby boy was due on february 20, 2008. i had spent the nine months of my pregnancy in a perpetual state of illness....and not just the typical morning sickness and aches and pains. debilitating migraines, unexplained syncope and dizziness. so when the end of my pregnancy neared, i was extremely anxious for the baby to come.
and i wanted to meet my precious baby boy and be a mother for the first time.
february 17, i began having contractions. inconsistent but strong and painful. i passed them off as worse-than-usual braxton-hicks contractions, since i started having those when i was about 13 weeks along.
february 18 came. contracts still inconsistent. sometimes five minutes apart, sometimes an hour apart. that evening hubby and i had some friends over for dinner, then the boys played video games while we girls sat on the couch and talked.
contractions started being consistent and increasingly painful.
i contracted all night long. they got worse and worse. i thought i was going to die. at 2 am, we went to the hospital. and i had only dilated to 2cm. an hour walking the hospital later, and i was at 3cm and they admitted me. epidural several long hours later....and it was an even longer day. i was tired, but couldn't sleep. uncomfortable. anxious and scared. baby's heart rate dropped with every contraction...sometimes setting off the alarms, which was terrifying.
i began to push around 3pm. that baby just did not come. after almost an hour and a half of pushing, doctor finally got out the forceps (OUCH) and our sweet baby boy was born.
february 19, 2008
8 pounds, 1.5 ounces
20.5 inches long
healthy and beautiful, even if he was covered in white slime and blood. mommy and daddy cried with joy. daddy got to cut the cord, and i got to cuddle my sweet baby while the doctor stitched me up. my epidural wore off, and it hurt, but my little one was gripping my finger and it was all okay. everything in my life changed the moment he took his first breath.
being a mother is the most amazing, awe-inspiring thing i could imagine. today we celebrated little buddy's fourth birthday.
today my sweet boy curled up on my lap, looked at me and said, "i'm glad you're my mommy."
oh, my little man, no one is more glad that i am your mommy than i am.
yesterday was the day of love.
happy valentine's day!
while a number of people (including hubby) grumble about how valentine's day is a stupid holiday invented just for the greeting card/flower/candy companies to make money, i happen to like valentine's day. for several reasons.
decorations. let's face it. decorations are a plus for any holiday. i, being the nutcase that i am, LOVE decorating for any reason. valentine's day is no exception. (here, enjoy a photo collage of a few of my decorations.) most of these items were made by me. the wreath i made with dollar store ribbon, wire garland and vine wreath. the conversation hearts and the "be mine" blocks i made at my mom's house, where she and my sisters made some also. the paper conversation hearts my adorable kids helped me make. you can tell by the scribbles. we made a ton of these to put down the stairs along the railing. the LOVE banner i made with the help of my mom. the conversation hearts in the vase...vase i already had, dollar store flowers, leftover candy from two years ago. (i have two of these.) window clings on the mirror in my living room, and the adorable hedgehog is courtesy of wal-mart.
flowers. i LOVE flowers. flowers are the BEST. i love GETTING flowers. not just on valentine's day, but, well, that's pretty much the only time i get them, because flowers are expensive. so valentine's day is GREAT because hubby buys me pretty FLOWERS. like the ones pictured below. mini-roses. aren't they gorgeous?
jewelry. hubby also buys me pretty jewelry. this year he got me a pretty necklace and earring set with teardrop-shaped purple stones. i've worn them two days in a row. and i LOVE jewelry. (take a look at my bathroom counter if you don't believe me....jewelry EVERYWHERE. but don't really look, because it is a mess. really.)
chocolate. seriously. need i say more? okay, i will. CHOCOLATE. lots and lots of it. CHOCOLATE. yum. hubby got me one of those giant symphony candy bars. chocolate and toffee. unfortunately, it is not pictured, because i ate it. and it was DELICIOUS.
kids.kids are the best, year-round. kids on holidays even better. my kids were thrilled with the teddy bears hubby and i got them. and they were by far the most adorable little valentines the world ever did see in their wal-mart shirts. (especially little buddy. everyone commented on that shirt.)
valentine's cards. while we're on the subject of kids, let's talk about valentines. my kids LOVED making valentines this year. i cut out construction paper hearts, they used the glue sticks and crayons and voila. beautiful cards. since little buddy is now in preschool, he also had a class party where he got to hand out valentines. thank you pinterest for the great ideas. (apologies for the big black boxes, but i had to block out little buddy's name.)
the cards for the kids were so fun to make. we took a hotwheels car with tread on the tires, ran it through black acrylic paint then across the cardstock. doublestick tape to hold the little cars on. they say:
"you're a WHEELY good friend!"
"you make my heart RACE!"
and "i'll never TIRE of your friendship!"
for the teachers, i got some inexpensive lotion, traced little buddy's hands on cardstock and taped them on. they say, "miss so-and-so, you deserve a hand!"
greeting cards. technically this could fall under the category of "valentine's cards," but we'll keep it separate. hubby got me a cute charlie brown card to go with my fantastic gifts. but i have to say i was extremely pleased with the card i found for him.
background: i love my husband's rear end. this embarrasses him. (sorry, honey!) but the truth is, i tease him about it all the time, because he really does have the most attractive bottom i have ever seen. (i could even tell you a story about the first time i realized what a nice butt he has, but i'll save it for another day.) ANYWAY, i found this card while perusing, you guessed it, wal-mart.
in case you can't read it, i will translate.
TO THE MAN I LOVE: after all this time, i still catch myself looking at you. especially...well..the butt part of you. i can't help it. it's right there, connected to your legs. how can i not look? even now, as you read this, if i'm next to you, and even my eyes seem to be looking at your face...one of them is actually--yep, you guessed it: butt. i can't help it. my eyes are just that talented. oh, sure, there's a lot more to you. you're kind, and thoughtful, and funny, and oh, so handsome. hands down, you're the best guy a girl could want. no ifs, ands, or....you know.
HEHEHEHEHE! i giggled. out loud. in wal-mart. i would say that everyone stared, but there are lots of strange people in wal-mart so i just fit in with the crowd. and hubby loved it. he rolls his eyes every time i compliment his derriere, but i think he secretly loves that i love his butt.
giving gifts. i am a gift-giver. i love to be a gift-receiver, but one of the true joys in my life is gift-giving. in fact, i frequently get into trouble for spending money i shouldn't on gifts for others. this year, thanks to pinterest, i found another awesomely cool idea....a little book called the alphabet of our love. (originally posted on the blog i love it all.) it took me a long time to make this book for hubby. i was thrilled with the outcome, i think it's pretty darn cute. he loved it, too. (and will cherish it always, because i said so.) i have pictured only a few of the pages, because there are a lot, and because some of them i just didn't want to share.
but the best part about valentine's day? the fact that my hubby loves me (and shows me he loves me) every other day of the year, too.
doesn't that title make you think you're going to get some awesomely intelligent and insightful post? hehe...fooled ya. (maybe.)
i got an email today from cat, the doctoral student using my blog for her dissertation. she asked me several questions about why i started blogging and how it has helped me. before i knew it, i had written her a new copy of war and peace. (go, me!)
and i really do know how to talk and talk and talk. just ask my hubby. he'd be happy to tell you how i never shut up. (and you can tell by the way i always put these extra parenthetical remarks at the end of most of my paragraphs that i just can't help myself.)
if you've been here with me from the beginning, or close to it, or have spent insane amount of time reading archives, you probably know the answers to these questions. i'm not going to post what i wrote to her about when and why i started blogging. (you can read more about that if you read my "about" page, the page called "my story," or the first month or two of my archives. none of those are hyperlinked because they're on my sidebar and i'm to lazy to find the URLs for all of them. sorry.)
but as for how it's helped me?
Blogging has most definitely been helpful, for several reasons. Most of
them selfish, I confess. First, it's a great place to vent. But not
like venting to a journal. I can vent on a blog, and someone else
(maybe my best friend, maybe a complete stranger) can say, "hey! Me
too. I understand." I really felt (feel) listened to. And every time
someone leaves me a comment, I feel validated. I feel worth something.
That is huge for me, when I've spent my whole life feeling worthless
It's also a great way of working through things. I can go to my
blog wound up so tight and so anxious I am hyperventilating, and leave
twenty minutes later with a smile on my face. It's a dumping ground. I
dump my baggage, I shut my computer and leave most of it there.
Talking about it really is helpful, but sometimes it's too hard or scary
to say the words out loud. Letting my fingers put it in print is not
the same as voicing it. I know it sounds strange, but maybe you
understand. Saying it makes it too real, almost like creating a
tangible being with my words. As if saying my abuser's name
makes him appear before me. It kind of does, actually, which might say
something about me, I guess.
A long time ago (when I was a teenager) I decided that if I had to
live through hell, I might as well use it to make someone else's hell
less terrifying. I told a few people about what I was dealing with and
found that several others had been through similar experiences. Sharing
mine helped them (and me) feel less alone, less isolated. I
perpetuated that with my blog, in a much broader sense. Instead of
telling a few select people in a very confidential way, I put it out on
the internet for the whole world. Granted, a lot of my readers don't
know me, but almost everyone I know in real life has access to it as
well, between twitter, facebook, my email, and word of mouth. That was
scary for me, but it was also liberating. No more hiding anything.
The last reason is to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse.
Telling people about it. Talking about statistics. Putting the facts
out there, right in their faces, where they can see that the chances of
their daughter being molested is 1 in 4--and more than likely by someone
that they know and trust. If my talking about it makes a difference
for one child, it's a huge thing. Not only for that child, and that
child's family, but also for me. It helps me to think that maybe I'm
making a difference for someone else. Maybe I'm saving one person from
having to live through what I've lived through.
her third question. she asked me to look back through my posts and choose one or more to talk about and tell her what inspired me to write it. (i haven't responded to that question yet.) i looked through my archives tonight. i'm not kidding, either, when i tell you i went through three years of posts. some of them i just skipped over. most of them i read. (well, mostly read.)
and i cried. i cried for myself, mostly, because in reading these posts full of despair, and confusion, depression, isolation, fear, and helplessness, i saw a shadow of my current self. the shadow that i fear still lurks under the surface, as i saw last week with the sudden reappearance of a nightmare. i also cried because i'm so grateful that i'm not having multiple flashbacks a day. because i'm relieved that i'm not constantly struggling with suicidal thoughts. and i cried because when i started this blog, little buddy was a baby...and i watched as an outsider while he and princess grew up in my posts. time passes so quickly.
while i read through all of these posts, i saw comments from readers that i have missed, others whose blogs i felt a connection to. friends...other survivors. i miss them. is that weird? people i have never met, don't really know, but felt such a strong connection to. (i swear sometime soon i am going to find their blogs again. or are you reading, enola? vicki? bev? patricia? tara? paula? cheryl? and a hundred others?)
it's been a roller coaster tonight. but i think i narrowed it down to a few that i'd like to think about further.
(guess i'm not too lazy to find those URLs....haha!)
what do you think? do you have a favorite post? those of you who have been around for a long time, even those of you who haven't, let me know which posts you like/love/hate or really speak to you. or the ones that i better not talk about.
totally random and unrelated sidenote: had to watch some stupid video today for my computer class about how to start a blog on blogger, upload media, create posts and use blog features. i laughed. then i aced the quiz. (go, me! again.)
two nights ago, something happened that hasn't happened in a long time.
i woke up shaking in terror...a nightmare.
nightmares aren't really that unusual for anyone. for the past year or so my nightmares have been mildly disturbing, creating the occasional night of restless sleeping and disorientation that comes with the end of the dream. i recover from them quickly and forget about them almost immediately.
two nights ago, that didn't happen. i had another nightmare related to my abuse. this one was different, though. it didn't feature my abuser or the actual abuse in the way previous nightmares did. it was mostly about one specific place.
places have been strongly linked to my memory. my flashbacks and memories were not typically of events, but rather of the places the events occurred. for example, i had a frequent flashback that was a single image: a camping site that my family visited almost every year as a child. even now i see it in my mind's eye, almost like a photograph. (i am happy to say that this image does not cause me panic or anxiety anymore.) i thought i had put all of it behind me. as with everything else, however, there are always setbacks, struggles, and frustrations that come up periodically.
this place...it was the basement of my grandparents' house when i was a kid. the place where much of the abuse i experienced occurred. in my nightmare, i was at this house. i told someone if i had the choice i would torch the house and watch it go up in flame. later, for some reason, i had to go into the basement.....forcing myself to stop every few stairs in order to calm down and keep going. when i reached the end of the stairs, there was a door to the bathroom (not where it was actually located in their house). in my nightmare, i had an anxiety attack. i made it past the door, into the main room, but i was crying, shaking. i was alone. i was terrified. i could hear my husband talking to someone upstairs...asking where i'd gone. when he realized where i was, he was upset i'd gone by myself, knowing it was hard for me. then (in the odd, disjointed nature of dreams) he was there, in the basement, holding a baby. (i knew it was our baby somehow.) i turned around and there was a strange man behind me. the man tried to attack me and pushed me up against a wall. my husband saved me. then they were both gone. i was alone again. i turned in a circle, seeing the whole basement, the laundry room that was always kind of scary when i was a kid, the stairway to the backyard that always had spiders in it, bedrooms. playrooms. the bathroom. and i panicked. i screamed.
my daughter woke me up from the dream. she cried one word. "mommy!" really loudly...then nothing. she either did it in her sleep, or fell asleep again immediately after. at the time i was alone, hubby at work, and i was suddenly scared of the dark, afraid to go downstairs, afraid to get out of my bed. i was a helpless, scared and lonely little girl again, which is a feeling i do NOT like. in fact, i HATE that feeling. it is attached to almost every dark moment in my life. luckily i was able to reach hubby immediately on the phone, and he got home shortly after to hold my hand and comfort me.
last night i turned the light on in my closet because i didn't want to be in the dark. i couldn't sleep. i make myself anxious thinking about how tired i am but how much i don't want to have nightmares. i was scared and lonely again. around midnight my little girl woke up crying about something...perfect excuse for me. i brought her into my bed, and she immediately curled her warm little body against my side. feeling her next to me, listening to her even breaths, i was able to relax. even feel a little bit of contentment. and i immediately fell asleep.
i've learned a few things about myself the past few days. i will never really get past this abuse completely, although i view this as a minor hiccup in my journey. (considering it's been about a year since i've had one of these, when they used to happen nightly, is a pretty awesome thing.) i don't like being alone anymore. my family can tell you that when i was a kid, that's all i wanted--to be alone. now, i want my husband. i want my children. sometimes i want to be alone, but usually i want a hand to hold, a cheek to kiss, a hug, a shoulder to lay my head on. just a simple physical touch has the power to make me feel safe and happy now. before it was almost threatening at times when i was in this kind of situation. i still, however, have a very difficult time verbalizing my nightmares...like i literally cannot form words to describe it, even when i physically try to force myself. the words won't come. writing them, however, is possible.
so here i am again, on my blog, my place to expel the hurt and fear and nightmares inside me. my husband is here to hold me, my children are here to give me sloppy kisses on the cheek, the love of my family to keep me safe. and my blog to let me release it all.
tonight i think i'll sleep better. without the light on in the closet. (the baby might end up with me again...but mostly because i love that soft little head and the way she clings to me when she sleeps.)
thank you, hubby, for being there for me when i'm at my worst....thank you, little ones, for loving me even though i may be the most imperfect mother ever...thank you, family, for sticking with me for 26 years of crazy....and thank you, readers, for listening.
side note: i feel compelled to say that while this house held so much horror for me, i also have so many good memories of it. that is part of the trouble i faced in therapy: feeling such mixed feelings about a place. i remember the most horrible experiences of my life in that house...but i also remember sleepovers, watching scamper the penguin, my grandmother making tuna sandwiches with lettuce and fried eggs. playing in the pasture and garden. pink flamingos, climbing the tree in the front yard, finding fuzzy caterpillars. riding my pony. birthday parties and holidays. playing in my grandma's jewelry box. the transformers. the play kitchen in the basement. the time one of my uncles gave me a crybaby to see me make a sour face and how disappointed he was when i liked it. rolling on the waterbed in my grandparents' room. the mustardy/olive green bathtub and sink in the bathroom....playing on grandma's piano. cutting up old copies of "redbook" to make collages. easter egg hunts, visits from santa, family dinners. eating hamburger patties with nothing but ketchup on them, no buns. the brown couches with blue flowers and birds on them. the hot tub. watermelon on the back porch....more than a decade of memories. i am glad i am able to compartmentalize them now. i can think about their house, the campsite, my childhood bedroom, and remember the good things without worrying about the bad.
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
i began playing the piano so long ago i don't remember much about it, other than the fact that my dad tried to teach me at first and i had to sit on a phone book so i could reach the keyboard. i think i was four or five. my dad worked and didn't have much time to teach me (and i had a hard time listening to him), so i began taking from a woman in our neighborhood...then a more professional teacher...then so on until the age of 16 when i stopped taking lessons.
once i was competent enough to sight read most of what i wanted to play, or pick through more difficult songs, i really fell in love with the piano. it became a sanctuary, a haven for me when life was tumultuous. it was one of few things that i could lose myself in and forget life for just a few moments. reading...art...music. i can actually remember a few times i got up in the middle of the night to play, using the quiet pedal and tapping the keys as softly as i could so i didn't disturb anyone. as far as i know no one in my family was aware....which is no mean feat considering my parents' bedroom was not far and i have four siblings.
when i moved out, i went to live with my aunt for a summer. she did not have a piano. i missed it. i went to college, lived in the dorms. there were a few pianos made available for students studying music and anyone who wanted to play. they were almost always occupied. and it was in a tiny little sound-proofed room....acoustics were horrible. i didn't play often for several years.
shortly after i married, hubby and i purchased a used piano. it was previously a lab piano at a university and had been well-used. it had a good sound, though, and was fairly inexpensive. a small studio upright. perfect for our small house. it was a piano, and i was thrilled. hubby got out his guitar. we purchased sheet music to our song, and he played the chords on his guitar and i played the piano. i played tons at first...then less often, as life got busy. especially when the babies came. (it's hard to play the piano with a baby....i even attempted strapping little buddy in the carrier to my chest to play. i still play with a child on my lap, vying for the keys as they pound in front of me. those songs don't sound very pretty, i promise.)
in february of 2010, i started teaching piano lessons. i loved it. i loved watching my students learn, and the ones who practiced and began to love it. it was hard on my family though. living in an apartment, having to stay shut in a single room so they wouldn't disturb the lessons. and having students who didn't show. it was difficult. eventually i had to stop teaching. i was working, plus taking care of my family, and i couldn't teach piano as well. the money was very little and not steady because of students being inconsistent. i played a little more while i taught.
lately i've been drawn to the piano more than usual. maybe it's because i'm feeling better. i'm finding even more joy in something that has always been a good thing for me. a few months ago i purchased two new piano books--library of piano classics and piano classics 2. two of the best purchases i have ever made. it is exciting to go through the pages and find new songs to play, and some i learned long ago. several are far beyond my skills as an amateur pianist, but there are a good number within my grasp. i discovered a beautiful and haunting nocturne by chopin, one i hadn't heard before. i am learning to play it. accuracy is coming along although i need to work on the tempo.
for a music class two semesters ago, i had to write a paper on a composer and dissect several of his or her compositions. i chose to study camille saint-saens, a french composer in the early 1900s. i knew very little of him, but loved his romantic melodies. i was excited to find his piece "the swan" in the books, and have been working on it as well.
and..."clair de lune," one of my favorites, and difficult for me. it is one that will take hours of practice to learn. very hard to do when i only get twenty minutes here and there to play.
then, another i've loved to play lately, the waltz "the beautiful blue danube." this is a fun one, and relatively easy for me to play.
i'd also love to learn to play this nocturne, another by chopin.
i am drawn to these nocturnes....they express my feeling so well, so much better than i can in words or gestures. in some ways, even better than art. art can sometimes be frustrating...the finished result rarely ends up what is envisioned in my head. music, however, has already been written for me. it is left to me to learn and practice the mechanics of it in order to produce the desired result, but not the creation of it. both art and music serve their purposes well for me and my ability to express myself.
i hope you will take the time to listen to these pieces. classical music, especially piano music, has a very calming effect on me, and brings such joy to me. i hope that these songs will do the same for you.
i believe everyone has a means of expression. using the work of others, like with music: singing, playing an instrument, or even listening to a song that speaks to you. writing, or reading, or acting, or creating visual arts, or sewing, or whatever it is. an escape...or a way to speak.
how do you express yourself? why does that particular method work for you?
so, little buddy is just a month shy of his fourth birthday.
(i know, it's insane. don't remind me how old i am.)
and being an adorable three-on-the-brink-of-four-year-old, he says some pretty funny stuff.
today, he looks at hubby and says, "do you really want to hurt me? do you really want to make me cry?"
it's winter. it's cold. the other day we were getting in the car and he looks at me and says, "mommy, it's so cold my butt is gonna get freezed off!" yes, yes it just might. (it was that cold.)
he got a really cool Buzz Lightyear for christmas from my parents, and he loves to play with it. however...he does not say "to infinity and beyond!" the way buzz does. instead, he says, "to infinity, let me on!" when hubby tried to correct him, he argued and told hubby that he was wrong. "no, daddy, buzz says 'to infinity, let me on!' not 'to infinity and beyond.' silly daddy."
and speaking of mistaken movie quotes, he also believes that gru from "despicable me" does not say "lightbulb" in the daydream sequences...he says "lightbomb." he also thinks it's pretty hilarious to tell me that i drive like gru in the scene where gru parallel parks and bashes into the other cars. (uh, no, but thanks.)
i can't think of anymore right now but trust me, that kid cracks me up.
(i know...i can almost hear the "oh, great"s and eye rolling that must be going on. at least from hubby, who teases me about the phrase because it almost always involves me asking for money or changing plans or something to that effect.)
the truth is...i've been thinking about myself, about who i am, who i've become, and what i've been through. where i am now.
i miss my blog. but i'm having a hard time coming up with things to write about, or time to write it in. take now, for instance. what do i write about? while my children are pretty much amazing and my husband definitely has the hottest rear end in the world, i'm sure the rest of you don't want to hear about just that. and due to neglect, i don't even know how many readers i have left. (so if you're reading this, thanks.)
there have been a lot of changes in my life, especially within the last six months. many of which i'm not at liberty to discuss, whether out of respect for others they concern or a desire for privacy. it's kind of been a hard six months in a lot of ways, but also good in that i feel like i'm climbing out of the hole.
i saw a new doctor, which is good. i hadn't seen a med doctor for far too long because our insurance changed and i didn't want to look for one. (i HATE seeing new doctors...rehashing the history...trying to get comfortable and trust them...especially in situations like mine, where there is a ton of very uncomfortable history to deal with.) my therapist recommended one, however, and so i finally called and made an appointment. it was long overdue. the doctor i'd seen previously told me that i wasn't bipolar, i just had a hormone imbalance. she put me on progesterone and a bunch of supplements and told me everything would be better. things did get better for awhile, but not by a whole lot. then (stupid me) i stopped taking the progesterone. bad idea. i went back on it....did a little better....still had issues. big, angry, sobbing, mood-swinging issues. suffice it to say, my family wanted to throw me out the window.
new doctor tried very hard not to roll his eyes and very tactfully told me while he didn't have all of the information my previous doctor had, he found it very difficult to believe that i had a progesterone deficiency. (i pretty much got the feeling he thought she was an idiot.) he then proceeded to tell me that from everything he had heard it was very likely i'd been dealing with bipolar disorder since the age of approximately 13, if not sooner. combine that with the PTSD and typical teenage angst, it's no wonder i had so many issues.
so....double the dose of my mood-stabilizer (lamictal) and add in an SNRI (effexor), life is sunshine and roses again. i'm happier and have more energy than i've had in who knows how long (if ever). hubby even told me to tell my doctor at my follow-up that he doesn't want to strangle me anymore. (this news was met with relief....both on my part and that of my doctor, who wasn't quite sure how to handle it, heehee.)
only problem...side effects. stupid, horrible, nasty, hateful side effects. headaches. dizzyness. more headaches. fatigue. (more energy and fatigue...go figure. but it's happening.) yawning. (i know, weird, right?) and headaches. since i already suffer from debilitating migraines, the daily headaches are not well-received. i am hoping that they will start getting better soon. apparently one in ten patients on these meds experience headaches. yuck.
so where was i going with this? oh yeah....blog. life changes. all that. back to the blog.
i got an email several months ago from a doctoral student at purdue (personal blog here), who is doing her dissertation (professional portfolio here) on trauma and blogging. my blog was one of several she's chosen to use in her studies. i'm really excited about this. it made me really analyze my blog and the purpose it has served.
first, as an outlet to me. a really important one. when trauma made it physically impossible to speak...i literally could not get words out....my fingers would still function on a keyboard.
when i needed someone to listen, i had a whole network of fellow survivors, family, and friends. people who were there for me, who really understood what i was saying, because they've lived it, too.
i also have a place that encompasses me. maybe someday, in thirty or forty or fifty years, this blog will still be out there for people to read, maybe even my children.
my story has provided hope for others. this is so humbling to me. i decided a long time ago that if i had to live through hell, i might as well make it worth something. so i took my personal hell and put it out there for the whole world to see, hoping that someone else out there would read it and feel not so alone. since i started this blog in 2008, i have received so many comments and emails from people telling me thank you, that they have hope for themselves because of my healing, that they don't feel so isolated. isolation is a terrifying place to be....so if i can offer one person a feeling of connection, then that is pretty amazing to me.
it's been a kind of documentation of my healing. the ups and downs. the moments of blackest despair, when i wasn't even sure life was worth living, when i was convinced i would never be happy again. the days where i was content, the nights of anxiety and fear, the help i got in therapy. the participation in blog carnivals and groups, research on child abuse, the ability to think and feel. and, ultimately, the regaining of my strength and power, the taking back of myself from my abuser.
so here i am. i don't believe my journey of healing will ever really end, but having put most of the abuse behind me, i have myself to deal with. my lack of self-esteem, the bipolar disorder and the impulsiveness and mood-swings that come with it. medication, therapy, doctors....a lot more future to deal with, even though i've got twenty-six years of past behind me.
four years ago i never, in a million years, could have predicted i'd be right here, sitting at my kitchen table, having lived through everything i have. three years i ago i never would have seen the happiness i've found in the past few weeks. two years ago i would have had a panic attack just thinking about approaching my abuser. one year ago i was really dealing with the abuse....
....and now here i am. imperfect. flawed. but optimistic. cautiously happy. hopeful. still struggling with wrapping my head around this bipolar thing, but i've accepted it. i don't like it, but i accept it. i'm still kind of embarrassed by it, even though it's not my fault, but that's a discussion for another day.
my name is cornnut. i'm twenty-six years old, i'm a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a blogger, an artist, a student, a pianist, and a survivor. because i truly have survived.
(now you can go sing that destiny's child song, because i know you're all hearing it in your heads.)
(and if you made it this far into this horrendously long and rather disjointed blog post, thanks.)