Life Raft

When the main vessel capsizes our only remaining hope is the life raft we may have been lucky enough to find. Maybe we had to build it with our own two hands with anything and everything we could scavenge up for materials.

That dingy becomes our most prized posession. It’s the one thing keeping us from a cold, dark, agonizing death. We rest our head on it when our body’s collapse as the adrenaline leaves us. The rafts firmness gives us a sense of security in an otherwise morbid sea of fear.

But what happens when our lifeline springs a leak. First we fill with panic all over again. We may even become angry that this one thing that had allowed us to feel so safe and secure and whole, could fail us too. Next comes the thought that we are going to die out here, all alone in this frigid water.

If we are lucky, I mean really lucky, we find hope. We rummage around for anything we may have brought with us that could repair the damage. And with all we have left we replace the fear with determination to live.

Just as we ourselves are wholly imperfect and needed that raft to keep us afloat, it too has weaknesses. We just have to be willing to set aside the initial gut wrenching, immobilizing fear in order to put in the work needed to fix it.

Now that we’ve done this, now that our life line has been restored, we can rest assured that when the next leak comes we will survive that too. All the stronger for it.


If a situation brings me to shaking tears in a matter of moments chances are I’m missing a boundary somewhere in there.

Fact: I am going through a ton of stuff right now.

Our whole lives are changing. Good, Bad, and indifferent. But Change is hard no matter what the motives. And change with children is exponentially more difficult.

Fact: I have a lot of fabulous, healthy support.

For others to believe I am “enough”, just as is, it’s out of this world. These people are helping me in ways I wouldn’t have believed I deserved. They guide, but do not make decisions for me. They don’t tell me mine are wrong either. The thing is, I think they believe in me. I’m not just some F*** up to them.

Fact: I have a terrible habit of people pleasing.

If you tell me I’m doing something wrong, my first instinct is to believe you. And next, my head spins with hatred of myself for not seeing something, for missing a “T” or an “I” on the list. It never crosses my mind until too late, that you could be wrong.


I look forward to this day all week.

It is set aside as this special time when I can finally breathe. Feel moderately comfortable. Completely and fully exhale.

This time it was different.

There is something dark and heavy in the air. I could tell myself I’m just imagining it. I know how to do that. But I’ve done that for too long.

I’ve ignored this exact feeling many times over, and eventually it comes back to haunt me. It rears it’s nasty two pronged head another day while I’m kicking myself, wishing I’d have headed the warning.

This fog is coming from one of two places. The traditional answer is that it’s emanating from within me. And only me. That’s the script that I’ve been trained to read. It says I messed up or missed something. I can correct it and clear the air.

The other, less palpable answer, is that it isn’t just me. I won’t be able to fix it. I can’t flip a switch and vanquish this darkness. It’s not mine to eradicate. This is the narrative I despise. In this version of the story I have to rely on faith.

Faith that somehow, some way, something else can mend this brokenness.

Hands in the air, no driving with my knees. Just allowing something else to take the wheel.

Nothing was that bad. 

I’ve heard it, and believed it, my whole life.  

And save one or two incidences, no maybe things weren’t that bad. For someone else.  But for me they created a world of cumulative experiences where I knew I could only be loved if I gave someone what they wanted.

Otherwise I was a bitch.

I’ve never had the self-esteem to walk away from that.  I had to fix it.  I had to make sure you didn’t think something negative about me. I had to be liked and loved.  And that’s how I learned what people wanted from people like me.

It wasn’t the rape that destroyed me.

It wasn’t the sexual assault by a state trooper that annihilated me.

It wasn’t the inappropriate baby sitter.

It wasn’t the hospitalizations beginning at 14 years old.

It wasn’t the boys who wouldn’t be my friend if I didn’t do what they wanted.

It wasn’t the girls who had those exact same expectations, though I thought I’d be safe.

It wasn’t the Sexual Harassment on an almost daily basis from the time I started working.

It wasn’t the countless nights I didn’t know what happened but could surmise.

It wasn’t even the fact that all these people could do these things and walk away with zero consequences, when the price that got paid came out of my pocket: My self-worth.

Now, add them up. 

Add each instance, from each column up.  

What you are left with is a person terrified to be back in the outside world. Skin crawling, self-loathing, can’t breathe mess of a woman.

Petrified of things that should not scare me. But they do.  They do because it all adds up.

A row of bushes lining the sidewalk?  I can’t walk past them alone.  I will walk in the street before I walk past a towering hedge at night.

If I am alone my back is to the wall, I will not allow you to touch me when I can’t even see you coming.

I can’t walk down a sidewalk and have someone else be coming up it.  I need to step aside and wait, I can’t take the stress of wondering if you are going to try to kill me.

I speed up when I pass construction workers, cops, men, groups.

I go into full defensive shut down at the doctor’s office.  Don’t touch me, don’t ask questions, move away from the terrified lady on the table.

No, maybe none of it was all that bad.

But for me, I think it just all added up.



No More, Not This Time

Walk into a room and before any words are spoken, you know they all hate you.
Somehow from out of the crowd of people hating you, comes a friendly face.
By now though, you already know what comes attached to that face.
A want, need, or desire that you do not intend to fulfil.
You want them to befriend you.
They want to use you.
Maybe they do decide they like you. But for something unsustainable.
Then, when the pedestal they put you on shatters, they leave you.
98% of my relationships are conditional.
Am I pretty enough to parade around?
Am I too loud with opinions, or feelings for you?
Am I shocking you by not wanting to bed you?
I wish the bubble thing that you can stay inside of to protect yourself was real.
I wish my first instincts weren’t usually correct. I wish I didn’t almost always know what you want before you even mutter a word.
Here’s the thing though. I do know. I learned far too early what people want.
I’ve spent years proving to myself that I am more. That I have skills and assets outside of what a person wants from me.
Slowly but surely, I am learning that I am enough, even when the masses want more.


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