We usually hear little kids yell that as they grab back something precious that was taken from them.  That little child may then be educated by a parent, teaching the child how to share and that grabbing and yelling is rude and selfish.

What if that something that is taken from a child is their purity?

Mine was taken from me from the time I was a baby until I was 21.  It is only now that I feel myself searching for things that I want to be just MINE.  A rocker.  A bath towel.  A toothbrush. I have thought it odd that it makes my blood boil when someone else uses MY toothbrush or I go to use MY towel and it is already damp from a shower earlier, not from me.  Or I come home from work and someone is sitting in MY chair.

I was reflecting on it yesterday and it occurred to me that I was trying to reclaim something that was just MINE. Because my body, that was supposed to be mine, was taken and used by person after person after person.  It started with the fondling, the touching and the violations, over and over and over.  After I became a wife, I was told my body belonged to my husband.  Then, I was a nursing mother.  My body pretty much has never been mine.  And that is a fact, not just my feeling.  And I don’t think that is right.  As a matter of fact it is a tragedy.  And it happens to 1 out of 4 girls out there.  Tragedy.

So it appears there is an inherent need to claim our bodies as our own.  And when they are taken from us, we actually begin a journey to reclaim it.  I would even suggest that the origin of the women who say that their bodies are their own and they have a choice when they are pregnant are reacting to this situation, the longing to claim their bodies as their own.  It makes me sad  that a baby dies in lots of these situations, but I can now understand that intense longing that drives their decision.

So the desire to claim our bodies as our own is a very real circumstance, however I need to do it in a way that doesn’t hurt or even kill someone else.  I also need to be aware of the truth that my body IS NOW MINE!  The abuse is over, the nursing is done.  And I can say no.

But wait a minute.  There is a little matter of stewardship that the Catholic church teaches that everything we have comes from God, that we belong to him.  So is my body mine or his?  I am choosing to believe, check that, I NEED TO BELIEVE that MY BODY IS MINE.  I need to reclaim it.  Own it.  Take care of it.  I really don’t give a shit what any theology says.  I have found, as a sexual abuse survivor, I struggle with lots of messages from the church that I feel they just want us to swallow.  Well, my body is MINE and I am choosing what I digest.

This always happens

As much analyzing of myself and behavior patterns that I have done, I haven’t been able to stop this.

As soon as I get on a roll losing weight, day after day, and I start looking past the day I am working on, the next day, the numbers on the scale go up!  Every time!  It’s a tricky thing and discouraging too.

But I guess the behavior of my day today dictates my success tomorrow, so for this instance, I must stay entrenched in the task and not allow myself to pull out and look ahead.  That is when I trip up.  For me,  when I stop looking right where I am, I trip up.   It doesn’t work for me to stay focused on the final goal.  If I shoot to complete my eating and working out tasks for the day, my goal will automatically happen.

Can you relate?

Respect for Life

My mother-in-law was just officially diagnosed with moderate Alzheimer’s.  We knew her memory was declining but to hear the words was numbing.  My husband wondered out loud when would the day come that we would go to see her and she wouldn’t know who we were.  It made me think and be convicted in the reality that we needed to still care for her, whether she knows who we are or not.  Her life still has value.  She has been created in the image and likeness of her creator.  And that fact alone has value.  She has value.

Easy for me to say now as she still recognizes me.  Good opportunity for me to grow.

Losing weight can be scary

What?  Scary?  How about Fantastic!?  Wonderful!?

Nope.  For me it is scary at times.  Why?

My padding is disappearing.

My figure is coming back.

I am feeling beautiful again, even sexy at times.

And then it happens.

groovesp14The groves created and reinforced in the my mind:  “It was your fault because of how you dressed, how you looked.”  “You actually caused him to do that.”  “If you didn’t look so good, it wouldn’t have happened to you.”

And then I stop, and counter.  “Wait a minute.  I didn’t MAKE anyone do anything to me.”  “What was done to me was WRONG.”  “I am allowed to be thin and pretty and beautiful.”

I am working on filling the grooves in my mind and creating new ones.

How about you?  What thoughts does your mind default to?

Can’t find the words…or the time

Did you ever feel like you had so much to say, but couldn’t figure out what you wanted to say, or, you knew what you wanted to say but couldn’t find the time to get it down?

My problem is the latter.  Time, among other things.

My husband asked me recently “What are you afraid of if you say what you really want to say?”  I flippantly told him I was afraid of nothing.  But I think I must be afraid of something as I have been very good at having so much to do that I have no time to get anything down.

I havsilenced_by_jolsariella-d3few70e been silenced for so long that it is continuing to affect me physically.

I truly believe in the body/mind/spirit connection.  I believe our bodies are barometers for what is REALLY going on inside of us.  Our bodies are the gauge for how we are REALLY doing.  I have a massive headache now as I type.  The kind that is making me nauseous.  The kind I had in high school.  The kind my body manifested after I had reached the limit of how much sexual abuse I could endure at the hands of my father.  The kind that stopped after he finally stopped.  Finally stopped after 11 years. And then denied.

Well, I said it.  My dad sexually abused me.  Over and over and over. Most I don’t fully remember, but my body does.  Every time I try to talk myself into saying nothing happened, I can feel my body literally screaming inside.  Those who have experienced sexual abuse will understand what I am talking about.  I have a fear of masks because one of the times, he was waiting in my closet after fighting a fire and he had soot on his face which made him look like he had a mask on and all I could see were the whites of his eyes.  I also used to check all the closets in a house when I was home alone.  The first thing I did when we moved into this house 11 years ago was to check all of the closets.  I thought that was an odd thing to do, until I made the connection what happened 24 years prior.  There are lots of other things that I still have to process and deal with decades after the abuse finally stopped, but my head can only handled a bit of pressure release at a time or I might explode.  I do know however, that I must keep letting the pressure out and finding the words or I will literally blow apart.  I have learned to pay attention to my body and what it is trying to tell me to address. Now I must be more diligent to follow through!

What is your body telling you?

She told me I was treating them like Israelite slaves

My organs.

Not people.

Gaining the benefits of Reflexology and an Intuitive Energy Session with Joy Klein, she said that all the abuse that I have subjected my body to made my organs feel like slaves in Egypt who were alreslavesinegyptimagesady battered and worn and continuing to be whipped expecting greater productivity.  That what I have been doing to myself for pretty much 35 years. Yep.  I said it.  35 years.  Between the bulimia, self abuse and beating, taking weight off, putting it on, starving myself, engorging myself…The list goes on and on.  Fellow sexual abuse survivors can relate I am guessing.

So it’s time for me to treat myself with respect, gentleness and love.  Me- treat me like that?  Yep.  It’s time. It’s actually long overdue.

I actually marvel amazing how healthy I have been considering the devastating circumstances I have endured.  And this is another step in my recovery.  Stop “whipping” myself and let my body function the way it was created to function.  I am a temple of the Holy Spirit after all.

Can you relate?

What is your definition of pleasure?

I have heard multiple “holy,” “religious,” people talk about Jesus offering a life of abundance, yet they are same ones who talk about carrying the burden, suffering and sacrifice as the central message of salvation.   But it is built into our human nature to avoid pain and go toward pleasure.  I think it is important that we properly define pleasure.  One definition reads:  “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.”  Some people think things will bring us that happy satisfaction that will come from stuff.  Others try to gain pleasure from people.  I think pleasure comes from having our basic human needs met.  According to Tony Robbins, we have 4 basic needs that, when they are met, mean we survive and 2 more that when they are met help us thrive and feel fulfilled in our lives.  The 4 basic needs are:  our need for certainty, our need for variety, our need for significance and our need for love.  If any of those needs aren’t met, we are in pain, so, as we are hard-wired to avoid pain, we find something to escape that pain.

My something has been food. sugar candy

Food physically helps me stop thinking how we cannot pay another bill this month, how we bounced another check, how we cannot do that thing because we have no money, how I feel when I remember some the things that were done to me.  Food has been my escape.  Food helps me takes my mind off the pain for awhile and it brings me pleasure.  So in my healing, I need to repurpose the role food has in my life.  Food is nourishment.  So the question I am asking now is “How can I enjoy providing my body the nourishment it needs while trusting even more God and His plan of sheer goodness for me?” (why not kill 2 birds with one stone?)

I USED TO THINK:  Food was the easiest, best way to escape the pain I feel in my life.

I NOW UNDERSTAND:  Food is nourishment that my body needs.  If I am feeling so much pain that I need to escape, I need to stop the pattern and figure out what I am believing that I feel my needs are not being met.

What role has food played in your life?

I am slender and healthy

So I was given another metaphor involving plants. This one came from Louise Hay.

When we see a tomato plant with a bunch of tomatoes- you know the one- wondering if we planted enough at the beginning of May , then looking for more people to give away the ripe tomatoes to in August and September. Well, when we first plant, it is a seed, or seedling, not bearing ripe fruit at all. But when the water and sunlight enrich the roots, we are happy to see even a bit of growth.

Yet when we plant new seeds in our minds, seeds of positivity maybe, and we see just a little growth, why can’t we be encouraged like with the tomato plant?

Well, speaking for myself, I expect perfection and pretty much squash new positive growth if the “plant” isn’t instantly full grown. So I try to think positive: I am slender and healthy. Yes I have a ways to go- see right away, I am squashing my positive growth! Let me try again: I am happy to see the little sprouts- yes, I am slender and healthy.

Why is it so hard to keep the weight off?

Has anyone struggled with weight gain-loss-gain-loss-gain?

What has helped you?

Releasing is Good for the Body and Soul

forgiveJeff Cavins really gave us something to think about at Bible Study this morning! The hardest part about being a Christian is forgiveness. But we are called to do that. Jesus showed us the way. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a choice of the will. It is okay to acknowledge when we have been hurt and even to bring it the offender’s attention. But then we need to forgive and release. Offer the suffering up in union with Christ and His suffering. Just as God has released us, so he expects us to do that to others. Hmm, I wonder if take the time to process this for anyone that I feel I am holding a grudge with, that muscle spasm in my back will RELEASE.