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The End is Really A Beginning

March 10, 2009

“Life is magically intertwined . . .  nothing, be it a problem, solution, emotion, or thought, is in a compartment by itself to be inspected in isolation. “

That is from this post and I realized something as I was reading it. When I started this blog some 16 months ago, I was scared and alone in  really bad emotional, financial and physical place.

I thought associating those things with my real life and my real name would get in the way of my future real life.

Yet it was the trauma of my past life getting in my way. I stopped functioning. Completely. I wanted to isolate this dysfunction in another entity. I was even ironic about it, calling the entity “Ria Ludy”.

Lately, I been feeling like a fraud (maybe because Ria Ludy is.)

I’ve been unable to allow myself to get close to anything here and the reading of Barbara Sher’s “Wishcraft” exacerbated that feeling.

I also noticed how Being Ria Ludy kept me stuck in that pain of my past and how I wasn’t going to climb out of it because that’s all Ria was and is.

She can view a brighter future in the crystal ball she’s holding but it’s not her future she sees. It’s always belongs to someone else. Her future is all pain and trauma, because that was the dysfunction she was built to house.

She did serve her purpose.

I’m willing to accept her trauma as my own. It is no longer something outside and separate from me. It is me and it is not all of me. It has informed my decisions, motivations, actions and use of my talents. It will be with me in the present and into the future.

This is my last post here. I’m closing comments. I thank all of you for stopping by.

I won’t pull any of the posts because I respect the people who have commented and/or dropped by to read them. Hopefully they lifted something or shifted something for you. They helped me understand that I am not alone.

I will still be talking about the issues I and far too many others are facing.

I no longer believe I am alone and still too many others do.

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“Sneaky Puritan Test of Your Motivation”

February 8, 2009

I love that line from page 21 of  “Wishcraft”.

That’s pretty much how I view the hardships that show up, as a test of my will and motivation.

I try to power through them, which usually means I get stuck in them, like a car with no traction in the mud.  Then I find myself trying to ‘rock’ myself out of the stuck place and usually make the rut that much more unnavigable.

If  I really wanted this ‘dream’ then I should have the ingenuity and guts to go find out what it takes to make it come true.  Yep, that’s when I start shoulding on myself.  I’m already messy from getting stuck and I start beating up on myself and my dream.

Here’s what I tell myself.  Do any of these ‘excuses’ ring true for you?

  • I don’t deserve this anyway.
  • I wouldn’t have been any good.
  • I don’t care about this anymore.
  • This is going to take too long.
  • I suck at doing all of this.
  • I have zero experience.
  • Achieving the dream will take all my time and I’ll never get married or have a relationship.
  • I can’t do everything I want to do, so I just won’t do anything.
  • I’d never finish anyway.
  • I’m useless.
  • This isn’t really my dream.
  • I have no confidence.
  • I have no money.
  • I have no support.

That’s about one quarter of my “This is why this cannot be done by me” list.

In Chapter 5 of” WishCraft”, Barbara suggests starting a Hard Times Notebook in which we complain and write down ALL the complaints to the bitter sweet end of complaining.  I did it once.

We are also advised to keep an Actions & Feelings Journal in which we write what we did, talk about how we felt and date the top of each page.  I never did this.

I’m stubborn, so it’s probably not hard for you to guess where I’ve been stuck for the last 8 months or so.  Yeah. Exactly.

I’m also a little scared to move forward, what if I’m wrong?  Or worse what if I’m right?

Staying right where I am is only going to get messier, less inviting and more painful.  I understand now that the Actions & Feelings Journal along with the Hard Times notebook are a map of where I am in the moment.  Only after I’ve maintained them can I see where I’ve been.

“We think that accomplishment only comes from great deeds. . . Great deeds are made up of small, steady actions, and it is these that you must learn to value and sustain.” Wishcraft pg. 106

I sincerely want to live my dream.  I sincerely want you to do the same.  Wishcraft will help us.

Finding the Vision, then Staying Inspired

February 3, 2009

I just read a wonderful heartfelt commencement speech given by Oprah Winfrey, in 1997. To read the entire speech click here.

Near the end of the speech, Oprah talks about wanting to honor women all over the country and when she put out the request for women to send in their dreams, she received 77,000 requests.  She felt disappointed after reading them because, “so many women had such small visions, such small dreams for their lives…”

I stopped reading for a second to let my tears clear and the grief subside a bit.

I have been one of those women with small dreams and almost no vision for my life. I’m reading “Wishcraft” from Barbara Sher to unlock my own well protected, almost forgotten and much treasured dreams.

I’m feeling anger at how long I’ve had those dreams trapped under lock and key, fearful of showing them, sharing them, having them. I’m working hard to allow that anger to exist, without directing it at anything or anyone specifically, including myself.

Oprah says, “Hold the highest, grandest vision for yourself.”

I’m working on it. I’m working on it.

Barbara wants to leave no dreamer behind.

Oprah wants to you to create the highest, grandest vision possible  for yourself.

Maya Angelou knows you are already a Phenomenal Woman.

Start believing it, acting on it, living it and we’re all better off.  Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

Hating on Barbara Sher – WishCraft (Part 2)

December 26, 2008

I told you months ago that I would reveal why I cried over Sweet Potato Souffle.  Sorry it took so long.

In Chapter 5 of “WishCraft”, Barbara Sher shares that at some point, preferably while working and growing through her book, you will find yourself hating her for opening this door to your dreams again.

I dismissed it.

As I said in Part 1, I happened to be on a road trip, driving my cousin to college out of state.  I love road trips but hadn’t allowed myself one since 1998 and had I not been reading Wish Craft, I doubt I would have allowed myself to take this one.

Day two started with a junk food breakfast, consisting of a vegan pumpkin spice cookie (which was really good I wish I had the name or web address of the maker), a snack bag of Terra Chips, topped off by a Starbucks Grande Chai Latte.  I was a little wired up on sugar and lacking a lot of sleep.  It was hot, we’d been lost and everyone was getting rather irritable.  I wasn’t acknowledging my own thunderstorm warnings.  I fobbed them off and chalked it all up to a sugar coma and lack of sleep.

It took us all morning to deal with orientation, degree counselling and registration.

We all agreed, resting somewhere was more important than lunch.  We decided to have a very early dinner.  No one was talking much.  Resting at the hotel was out.  It smelled funny and wasn’t inviting by any stretch of the imagination.

My aunt tells us she wants her, “veg-e-ta-bles, good ones southern style, for supper.  Find me some place like that to eat, ’cause I am not eating fast food.” (For you non-southern folks, lunch or dinner can be called supper.  Don’t ask, I don’t have a clue about the origins.)

Since my cousin has a friend at one of the other colleges in the city, we decide to go there.  It’s nearby and close enough to the resident housing my cousin will stay in that we can take a tour and get her lease signed and still have time for some napping.

The friends dorm room has free internet so I search for and locate a restaurant meeting my aunts requirement.  I confirm the directions via MapQuest.

Do I even think about my own nutritional requirements?  No.  Do I search for a place that can meet all of our requirements or at least meet somewhere in the middle of her requirements and my own?  No. I decide on this restaurant specifically because I know both my aunt and cousin will enjoy it.  Everyone, except me, will be happy.

We make it to the restaurant without getting lost.  Head inside and a white board greets us with the days specials, catfish or oxtails.  Also, since this is a southern style restaurant I won’t be eating any collard greens, green beans or other green vegetable because ham hocks or turkey necks have been used to prepare them.

I assume they will have macaroni and cheese and if I can find a salad, I’ll be eating.  It’s not an ideal meal, but I do love homemade mac and cheese.  We start through the line.  As we get near the steam tables, I hear, “That’s the last of the mac and cheese for at least a coupla hours, maybe all day.”

My heart sinks.  I want to scream.  I survey my remaining options, white rice and/or sweet potato souffle.

I’m crushed.  I’m angry.  I’m speechless.  The injustice of it all.  No comfort food.  No salad.  Rice and/or sweet potato souffle.

“What all can I get you?” asks the woman on the other side of the steam table behind the meat dishes.
“Sweet potato souffle,” I say quietly seething.
“You don’t want any meat?” she asks expectantly.
“No,” I say, gritting my teeth and holding back tears.
“That’s all you gonna eat?” says the next woman behind the steam table as the first woman hands her my plate.
I don’t say another word.  I just look her dead in the eye and reach for my meager portion of Sweet Potato Souffle.  Then of course I notice the marshmellows.

I. Don’t. Do. Marshmellows.

I’m seething and I want to cry in private, yet there is nowhere to hide.

We get drinks, pay, find a booth and sit down.  I pick up my fork and with the first and only bite of the sweet potato souffle, the tears start to flow.

Now my cousin and aunt are asking what’s wrong.  I want to say the food but in reality I’m bumping heads with my desire, my need to be liked by everyone which has constantly frustrated my attempts to be who I need to be for me.  I am fighting with a conditioned weakness of learned timidity.

What I really want to do is go somewhere else, right then.  Leave them, enjoying the meals they’ve chosen and go do something for me.  I can’t or rather I won’t.  I can’t think clearly.  I catch myself before I start beating up on myself.  I realize I don’t want to cry in front of them because that shatters my image of who I think, they think, I am.

And right there, in that moment, I realized, I believed my needs were not that important compared to theirs.  I know now that I wasn’t being true to them by not being true to myself.  I thought speaking up would get me shunned.  I thought crying in front of them would make me weaker. I thought doing what I need to do for me would alienate me.

I realized as I cried into my Sweet Potato Suffle that this anger and frustration had been swimming under the surface for a long time. I realized I had the right to be mad.

A few minutes later my cousin starts singing some pop song about it being okay to cry.  (She can’t sing but I still love her.)

Then it’s done.  I feel better but I’m still hungry.

That’s when I remember Barbara said, “you may start to hate me.”  And for just a few minutes I do.

What she actually says is “you may start to hate me for conning you into believing your most extravagant dreams could happen.  That’s OK. In fact, if you’re down, I’m glad to hear about it. Not because I’m a sadist–but because if you aren’t having some of those feelings now, I promise you they are going to hit you a day or a week after you close this book. And that would be worse, because then you’d have to cope with them alone. So this is the moment to confront “hard reality” and find out just what’s making it so hard.” pg 92

I’m sure I had feelings while reading the book but didn’t allow them to surface.  It was only as I was confronted the ‘hard reality’ of how I was continuing to waste my time and how easy it had become for me to subjugate my needs to the needs of others.  Barbara has a name for those of us like that – “mama’s”.

Road trips are one of the things I love but had stopped doing.  I’m still working on “Wish Craft” and I’ll share more as I learn more.

Still haven’t read “Wish Craft”?  It’s free and it’s freeing and you can find it at http://wishcraft.com.

Enjoy Dreaming, Planning and Doing

That Little Girl…

December 21, 2008

heard an adult me tell her that she is valued and remains valuable and that those other adults, who didn’t tell her these things or blatantly told her the opposite growing up, were and continue to be, idiots.

I thought the adult me would feel lighter, more confident, more secure.  Okay honestly the adult me was hoping for immediate transformation.

And it was in a visceral way, since I could finally cry with that little girl as an adult.

It’s a start.

I smile at that little girl now every time I go in my bedroom.  I don’t have to pretend she’s not there or that she didn’t suffer.  I can feel she’s glad to see me coming and I’m glad to get to know her better.

The Brick Reclaimation Project is moving forward, slowly and consistently.

The Brick Reclamation Project

November 26, 2008

Brick Wall As survivors, we put walls in place to keep us safe from our  offenders.  These walls work.  The proof – we’ve survived.

What happens when the wall stops working?  What happens when our awareness of the wall becomes acute?  Do we openly and willing go about tearing down the walls?  Do we easily accept those parts of ourselves the wall has kept away? Do we understand that demolishing the wall, stops us from becoming our own worst offender?  Will we do what we need to do, when the wall stops protecting and starts harming us?

I’ve only recently started asking and answering these questions.

I’ve always spoken of my molestations without emotional connection.  Sure I’ve shed tears, as society expects tears during such revelations.  I’ve felt shame at the shedding of those tears.  I’ve felt vulnerable as I found myself outside the walls I’d built to protect.  As soon as I realized the vulnerability, I deftly returned to the protection offered between those walls.  I didn’t see my retreat as an offensive move.  It was defensive only I was never safe from my own hands, my thoughts, my actions, my reactions or my interpretation of the imperfections I shouldered.

I flung my body at those walls until my body became limp and broken.  I hammered my emotions back into place if they came up in the wrong place, at the wrong time.  Yet every place was the wrong place and every time was the wrong time.

I became so detached that sometime I didn’t even realize I was having an emotional response.

The wall kept me safe from those who used me and abused me for years.  I laid those bricks, as my abusers provided the mortar.  I lovingly hand formed soft bricks from the red sienna clay.  The mortar was the problem, not the bricks.

I am salvaging those beautiful bricks.

The wall is coming down.

LIFE Keeps Calling…

November 20, 2008

and I keep thinking LIFE has got the wrong number.

I was sitting on the sofa last night trying to find a memory of me when I was five years old.  Any memory, any thing and I kept seeing a blank white screen.  It had a black border around it.  The screen never revealed anything and that scared me.

I’m not sure that I’m ready to remember, only LIFE keeps calling and I believe it’s got the wrong number.

Earlier, back in the summer, I heard a voice, just after I came up from REM sleep and the voice said, “I’ll take you home this time next summer.”

That was life and now I’m scared to even answer the phone, cause maybe just maybe, it’s not a wrong number and LIFE won’t keep dialing my number.

Just a few days ago, that same voice, again right after coming up from REM sleep told me, “You’ve been warned.”

The phone is ringing, LIFE is calling and I don’t have voicemail.

Would you pick up the phone?