I have a friend who is an adult. That may sound weird since all of my friends are adults. But this friend stands out as extra “adult”. She gently (or not so gently) reminds me of the things I have to do, the things I hate doing. She doesn’t let me procrastinate until they are problems because she knows I might do that. She reminds me of what it means to be an adult who takes responsibility for the stuff that adults don’t want to do.
We all have things we avoid as adults. We don’t like paying bills. We avoid the dentist. We hate doing taxes. We don’t often grab these things by the horns and make them happen with gusto. And for trauma survivors, it is worse. In many cases, we have triggers associated with these things. Maybe our parents didn’t do them well. Maybe they abused us after doing those things because they felt powerless, and they needed to feel powerful in their dysfunctional way. Whatever the reason, doing the things required of adults may make us feel triggered or powerless. Continue reading →
As I sit here in this beachfront condo and watch the sunrise on the ocean, I can’t help but know that my life is good. So many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from. So many people cannot pay their rent. So many people are trapped in minimum wage jobs which require them to work 70 hours per week just to make ends meet. That is not my situation. I work hard for what I have, but I know plenty of people who work hard and still can’t make ends meet. I know that I could lose it all tomorrow, and it may or may not have anything to do with my efforts. I am lucky to be financially secure. I know that.
I also have two beautiful children. Other than soft teeth and one uncooperative eye, they are healthy. They are full of life. They love each day to the fullest and they love me. They are super fun (my son added this point). Most importantly, they are safe. So many people cannot have children. So many people have children with mental, emotional and physical challenges. So many people have lived longer than their children. So many people are unable to keep their children safe because of extreme poverty, homelessness or war. I have not experienced these challenges. I am so lucky to have them. I know that.
I have been in recovery for a while now. Most days, I feel pretty good. Most days, I can keep my anxiety from paralyzing me. Most days, I function well. However, I don’t have to look far to see my pain. All I have to do is think about my parents.
Last night, I was watching a TV show, and a woman was grieving the loss of her mother to cancer. It had been about nine months since her death, but since the woman was planning her wedding, she was particularly upset. I could feel the intolerance building up inside of me. I may have even rolled my eyes. I thought to myself, “at least you had a mother”. This doesn’t happen every time. My compassion has come a long way. But last night, the feelings were there. Continue reading →