Tag Archives: Courage

My story.

Girl

It was suggested to me by a long time reader that allowing my story to be told might help reach others. I have hesitated doing this is the past because I just felt the details were not really important. That said? I do agree with this reader and have decided to share some of my story (minus the nitty-gritty) with you today. I do hope it helps you understand me better and I hope it reaches some of you so that you know that you are not alone in this fight for your survival.
I am going to leave my siblings out of this story because I do not feel it is fair to assume how they felt or what they went through personally. If there is a day that the ones still living wish to share with you? I’d happily post it.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a princess.
Scratch that. This is no fairy tale. 😉

I was born at the beginning of 1970 in a winter storm. A fitting beginning for the life that would follow. A winter storm of sorts that lasted decades.
I was born to a family that was quite wealthy and had every available support to raise a child as easily as possible. From other family members, I have been told about how my father was thrilled by my birth but my mother hated me from day one. Probably long before day one in reality. I am sure she viewed her pregnancy as a real inconvenience.

My beginning could have been a good one but right from the very start of my life here on this earth, my mother would begin making choices that would seal my fate and my father would not do anything to stop her.
Their first decision? My name.
Heather was the name of a girl whom my father and mother hated. She’d chased my father around and my mother hated her for it. This is the person whom I was named after. Someone they hated.

I have a few memories of my early childhood but none are good. From 0-4, all I recall is being afraid. Many years ago my grandmothers both told me stories of how I was left in filth and ignored while my father was at work. I was also told that I would scream and beg others to take me with them as they left our house or begged babysitters to keep me. That is just not normal behaviour for a young child. Wanting to leave with anyone rather than staying home with their mother.

Starting at age 4, I was given a gift of new underwear for my birthday. Not the best gift for a 4-year-old but they were a tiny hint as to what that birthday would mean. I would be sold to men who liked little girls and my hair was cut so short that I also looked like a boy and could satisfy men who liked boys as well. This was not a rare occurrence. It was done as often as there was demand and there was ALWAYS a demand.

It was also around this time that I learned to mistrust what people said vs. what they actually did. My mother could be the sweetest, kindest, most gregarious person to anyone on the outside but then a monster behind closed doors. It was her perfect “outside face” that allowed others to believe that she was trying her best but that I was a child with some real issues. She convinced therapists, social workers, a child psychiatrist, doctors, teachers and strangers that the problem was set squarely on my own shoulders. I was the one who hurt myself and then lied with crazy stories to cover it all up. This lasted for my entire life with her. It still goes on to this day! She is perfect while I have mental illnesses.

There was a lot of sexual and physical abuse but even worse than that was the sadistic nature of the emotional abuse. I was made to believe that I was only sold to men (and some women) because I liked it and caused it to happen. If there were bruises or broken bones? I had obviously done something to deserve that. If I got ill. that was my fault too. That woman (my mother) made sure that my self-esteem was now only low but non-existent. I felt less than human and not truly worthy of any kindness. This is the part of her abuse that is the hardest to get over or heal from. I feel like I am worthy and then someone talks about me or doesn’t like me and I am plunged deeply right back in to feeling absolutely worthless. My brain knows that I am a good person, that I give a lot of myself to helping others, that I am smart, and have a lot going for me but my heart still says “You don’t deserve any of it and you are just as worthless as you always were”.

I did try to speak out and I tried to reach for help but these efforts were always met with my mothers wrath. I recall being made to eat a “poop” hot-dog in a bun. If I was going to spread “filthy lies”, I was going to eat filth as well. After a certain number of times where I reached out to ask for help and having that come back at me with a vengeance, I gave up. I still find it hard today to speak up about it because my automatic feeling that accompanies this openness is fear.

There are so many details and situations that I could discuss but I am sure you get the idea by now? It wasn’t just a hard life. It was a life filled with monsters that never hid under my bed. They just stayed out in the open and did as they wished with me as often as they wished it. I many ways this abuse started before I was born and still continues today. 46 years of situations and stories that would make your blood curdle.
If you read my list of Helpers from last week, there are a few more details of which Helpers came in to being and when/why.

I wish I could say that I grew up, moved away and never had to deal with my mother again but I moved 3,500kms to get away from her and 2 months later, she was living 1km down the street from me in her newly purchased home.
I have not spoken to her in over 11 years yet she still speaks about me in public to anyone who will lend her an ear. She tells them lies and makes me look horrible. We live in a very small community and there are many people who have never even met me whom hate me with passion. I’ve been called a liar, a bitch, a whore, a selfish daughter and worse by these people who just believe the words my mother shares. Supposed grownups and mostly “church friends” of my mothers. I really try hard not to let it bother me but she has even gotten to my own children and 2 of my husbands extended family members. The words said under hushed breaths make me want to just run away again and never look back… or just give up and leave this world altogether. It is hard not to taint the good that I have created in my life with that poison. I am only human. It is hard to be hated and even harder to be hated for something you never were.

Sadly it is not only my monster/mother that drags me down like this. My father takes part as well. He is quieter about it but when discussions of how my brother abused me surfaced, it was his voice on the other end of the phone calling me a sociopath. In my heart I know that he believes every word and knows the truth but he is unwilling to face it and it seems that hurting me instead is acceptable to him. I recently cut off all contact with him and I know it was necessary for my future mental health but I feel like a 46 years old orphan who never knew what it was like to have a mom or dad.

I’ve felt very lonely lately. I miss those whom have loved and seen die by suicide due to their PTSD. I ache for my murdered son. My heart has cement poured all over it while my living children find their way home. I really miss the nurse I felt close to while in hospital and the doctor whom I got to know before his sabbatical. Now my current therapist is retiring in a couple of months and I must say goodbye to her as well. I know these supports are not meant to be lifelong friendships and I am good with that but it doesn’t make missing them any easier. These people got me, they understood me, They believed me and truly heard me. They made me a better person. I am just tired and I am trying to find and keep my spark. I will find it again. I have faith in that.

I’ve had some comments about how I do not share negative stories on my blog but I feel that my intentions are perhaps a bit misunderstood. I do not keep things positive because I want people to think life is just all great and I am flying high. I keep it positive because I have dealt with and still deal with more negative in the run of a day that some people experience in a lifetime. By remaining positive myself, I feel like I am adding to the good in the world and that somehow negates some of the bad. It takes a lot of effort on a daily basis to live a good and positive life but I almost always feel that it is worth the effort.

This blog is very important to me. YOU are important to me. When someone says that they heard what they needed to hear or got what they needed to get because of a blog I wrote, it helps me add to the balance of positive in my life. Thank you for that.

If there is more you wish to know, just ask. If it is too personal to be on the blog, I will respond with a private email.
All the best to each of you. ❤

Kind Words CopyHand drawn by Heather. For sale. $20
Buy an 8×10 “Be Gentle”

Helpers

What a week I’ve had here! How has yours been?
I have been very busy each day so I am grateful for a chance to sit down to write a blog and relax a bit. I hope you’ll enjoy sitting down for a bit while you read it.

I haven’t discussed the Helpers in quite some time because I’ve been going through a very uncertain time with them and felt it was time for that side of my life to be private for a while. I think we all needed it.

On Wednesday I was in to see my therapist and what a wacky session it was from my point of view. I’ll have to ask her how it was for her when I see her next week. I try very, very hard not to dissociate while there but at times it is impossible. Wednesday was just such a day. I arrived for my appointment feeling the anxiety of at least a dozen parts of myself. A man answered his phone in the waiting room and I nearly jumped out f my skin. Doesn’t everyone know that silence and complete stillness is a good thing? 😉

It wasn’t even just Wednesday. It’s been at least a week now of odd feelings and confusion that has not existed in a very long time. An urge to self harm, drink, drive off the road, say a hearty “F*** YOU” to anyone who was even looking at me. I guarantee you that these are not traits of mine alone. I know the Helpers that feel these ways and want these things. I do my best to give them what they need so that the destructive side of them will be calmed down and we can live life the way we have all chosen to live it. The trouble is that I am sometimes not in a good place to be giving much to them if I am having a hard time myself.
We have made it through the week without any “maladaptive” behaviours but I am quite frankly exhausted from holding it all back. Only 2 more really busy days and then a day off. A much-needed day off.

I have been working for the past few months to create some co-consciousness with my Helpers. If you are unfamiliar with that term (as I was until rather recently), co-consciousness is having awareness of another part and if all goes really well, working with that part/Helper to deal with issues together. It is not integration or becoming one. It is more like both being in the room at the same time. Some people seem to have this ability or skill right off the bat but for me? When my Helpers are out, I am not. I had no clue what they were up to. I am hoping that developing some co-consciousness will help us work together in a smoother fashion.

While at my appointment, my therapist seemed to know that it was not “Heather” who arrived at the appointment and she was partially right. I felt like I was there with a half-dozen others and all their feelings were all over the place. A little closer to the end of the appointment, she asked me how the little ones felt about her retirement in June. The adult Heather (me) has been taking it really well. Almost too well. When she asked how the little ones felt about it, I felt this overwhelming presence of the little ones. They did not take over but their obvious distress was felt full force by me. They/I began to cry and feel heartbroken. We were suddenly very little again. I felt them. Small, scared, heartbroken, wanting to be held and hugged, wanting a real mother, and such a huge amount of loss.

I take my therapy very seriously and I have promised myself to always be willing to go wherever I need to go for healing to take place. It does not matter how painful it is. I truly feel that things hurt more when left to fester inside and are worth the discomfort of allowing them to come out.
That said? On Wednesday? I wanted to beg my therapist to stop. It just hurt SO MUCH. I felt like I couldn’t possibly take it for even one more moment. I held on though and still feel like I was kicked in the gut.

I am sorry if todays blog is a bit disjointed but I am dealing with a lot of Helpers still today. Co-consciousness is my goal but getting there is going to be a very bumpy road. I’d actually love to hear from others who have either tried to develop this skill, already have it and how you control it, or those whom support others through it. Do you have any advice for me? Tips and tricks that could help me or others whom read my blog?

I really hope that you have a great weekend and I think that next week I am going to try to let a few of the Helpers lead the blog for that day. Who knows? It might even happen. *laugh*

As a parting note. For those of you whom are newer to my blog, I wanted to post the quote that gave me the inspiration to call my other parts “Helpers”. A positive quote and a positive connotation for my Helpers. Helpers

 

Hard work.

As you all saw a few weeks ago, I have a new puppy. He is growing like a weed and eating like a horse, yet he has found his way straight in to my heart.
That said, puppies are hard work. A LOT of hard work. For every minute of cute, there are at least 9 minutes of hard work.
I’ve seen a lot of ads lately on a “Snowdog” site that I am a part of where they are offering their slightly older puppies up for a new adoption at a greatly reduced price. These are not bad people with bad intentions, they are people who saw the cute puppy and assumed that sweet little face wouldn’t be as much trouble as they are. I am NOT making a judgment here. Not at all. It has made me think though…

First of all, here are my 2 favourite fur babies in the world.
16th
They are both beautiful, cute, sweet as can be… and a LOT of hard work.
We are up with the puppy twice each night to let him outside in to the cold for a pee. We are out in the cold too and it is not fun at 4am!
We must keep an eye on him at every second because with each new day of growth, he hits a new height of treasures he could not reach before. This week it was the 3 recycle bins, the garbage in my office, my husbands neatly stacked wood splits for the fire and the edge of almost every table we own. Tonka will soon believe his name is “Tonka-No”
His food is super expensive because a puppy that grows as fast as he is (he’s gained 8 pounds in the past 3 weeks) needs excellent nutrition.
We can not just leave him alone for hours and go off to do whatever we wish to do. His bladder is not strong enough yet and we do not wish to stall his house-training.
And poop duty… oh gross.
And he bites. HOLY CRAP those little razor-sharp puppy teeth want to sink in to everything. Hands, ankles, earlobes, my hair and head… it is all fair game. He is not a bad dog or a “biter”, he is a puppy and puppies need to learn that human beings are not chew toys. Until he learns that? We are.
He’s earned a second nickname besides “Tonka-No”, he is also known as “Jaws”.

I do not list all that to complain. He is not our first puppy. We knew what we were getting in to and we did so willingly because we know that as he grows and learns, he will become a very well-behaved and treasured part of our lives. I just feel that some people do not really know the reality of puppies when they get one. It really is 1 part cuteness and cuddles vs. 9 parts hard work.

The same can be said for almost anything that is really worthwhile. How many months does it take to get those tomato seeds to go from where you are making a huge mess planting tomatoes in your home (if you are Canadian you have to start them inside LOL), remembering to water, fertilize, split, replant and weed on a regular basis before you get to pick even one tomato off of your plant?
It is like a puppy. 1 part yummy and beautiful vs. 9 parts hard work.

Your job (ANY JOB) is often the same. How many days do you work before someone says something nice to you or you complete a project? How many snotty noses until an “I love you mommy/daddy”? 1 part “pat on the back” vs. 9 parts of no one giving you a glance.

Does this mean that we shouldn’t bother with puppies, fresh tomatoes, children or jobs? Of course not!!! The end, no matter how hard the work, is often so worth it.

This is one place where I think we can often lose motivation when it comes to ourselves though. Mental or physical well-being takes a lot of hard work. Recovery can be such a huge uphill climb and like these other examples, we might manage to raise ourselves up one notch then fall back 3, or 6, or 9 times…
We might get so fed up with all the hard work that we feel like giving up. This is why I wanted to write today’s blog about my pain in the arse yet really cute puppy. He is just a really good example of well-being. It is hard work. We get him on the lawn for his business then turn around to clean a mess he did in the house. Our own skills are much the same. You will get it right and you will get it wrong. You might get it wrong a lot at first and right only now and then. BUT!!!! If you stick with whatever you are working on? You will eventually master your goal.

Hard work doesn’t mean it is not worthwhile.
Hard work often means that it is.

Now back to that 1 part cute and not the picture of the poop I cleaned up out of the house an hour ago, the clump of fluff he pulled out from the box-spring mattress this morning, the mess he made with the bit of oatmeal and fruit he had for breakfast (that I am still removing from his fur), or the scratch marks on my husbands face from an early morning wake up call…
He is such a lot of hard work but look at him right now asleep with his sister.
So cute… and so worth it all.
TonkaHave a great week and work hard. It’ll be worth it in the end. 🙂

Value Your Survival Skills

Value

It can be really tough to look at the symptoms that are caused by whichever disorder we’ve been burdened with and feel thankful. Who would feel thankful for dissociations, unexplained body pain that never ceases yet a mind that feels nothing? Anger, depressions, anxiety, feeling absolutely crazy, and afraid to make friends or trust anyone at all. There are so many different symptoms that I just can not cover them all but you know what you deal with and it really sucks doesn’t it?

So let’s look back a bit to the time when those behaviors were not symptoms yet.
Back to a time when they are what helped us survive.
They were not symptoms then, they were SKILLS.
We needed them. Quite often they saved our lives.

Any good therapist or doctor will tell you that although these skills were useful in the past, they are not helping us now. We know that but we need to be taught how to cope without using them.

It is in that in-between time that we often feel very critical of ourselves.
Why can’t we feel things?
Why can’t we trust someone who we know is trustworthy?
Why do I struggle with addiction? (Food, alcohol, drugs, sex…)
Why do I hurt myself to feel better?
Why do we feel such anger that it is more like a venomous rage?
Why do we then feel nothing?
Why do we eat so much or so little?
Why can’t we stop zoning out?
Why are we depressed when everything seems to be going well?
Why are we so anxious that it can be hard to leave home?
Why do we say or do things to cause distance with others?
We can often feel dead inside. Why can’t we feel?
Why do we want to be alone yet feel shunned?
What the heck is wrong with us?
Why can’t we just be “normal”?

Those questions haunt so many of us and I am sure you can relate to at least a few. It feels awful to be stuck where we do not want to be. It is very easy to be unhappy with ourselves and we want to do better but it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time to change.

Maybe we can do something a little different when we feel like being hard on ourselves for our now dysfunctional coping.
Perhaps we can look at these “symptoms” and see that they were not born out of weakness but rather born our of the will to survive. We are not weak or frigged up because of them. These symptoms just show how incredibly resilient we were.  We made it through all that we dealt with thanks to those skills.

We also know that we need to work towards healthier coping skills in our lives now but I find that making steps forward is a lot easier when we stop putting ourselves down for who we are at that moment.
Accept yourself for who you are and where you are. You are a survivor. Nothing less. You are strong and good and kind. The people who’ve been hurt the most almost always are.

You will change in time. You will make healthier choices and move forward in positive ways. Allow yourself to accept who you are right now and that change will happen faster.

I learned to value my skills and it changed my life. I had more compassion for myself. I was no longer sorry for how I acted or felt. I had every good reason to be exactly where I was. Any person who lived through my life would do no better.
Maya Angelou said “When you know better, you do better.”
Wherever you are right now is the best you can do. As you learn? You can do more.
Maya Angelou also said “When you learn. Teach.”
One day you will be in a place where others will look at you and learn from your climb.

You survived. However you achieved that? Good for you!!!

Pervasive Negative Thinking – Part 2

Hello all! I am sorry this did not get posted on Friday but as you saw last Monday, we are living in Puppyville right now and our new fur baby has kept us busy. He’s sleeping right now with his big sister so I have time to do the second part of this blog. 🙂 A bit of cuteness first you say??? Oh, okay. If I must. He’s waving hello.
DSCN2947
Pervasive Negative Thinking Part 2. A few more suggestions. 🙂

How about we start with being more compassionate with ourselves?
It is natural to have negative thoughts. No one is happy all the time. Daily ups and downs help make life better for us in the long run. Even the “bad” stuff can help us appreciate the good more or perhaps even learn a lesson that we otherwise would not have learned.
People who are in counselling who are able to acknowledge feeling both good and bad feelings make more positive changes than people who do not.

Suppressing negative thoughts can backfire. There was a study once where participants were told not to think about a white bear. Of course they thought about it almost constantly… and you are thinking about one right now aren’t you? 😉 When a white bear is just there in a room and people are not told to ignore it, they hardly think about it at all.
If you have a good friend or are in therapy, make time to discuss some of your negative thoughts. Getting them outside of your head can help you move past them far quicker.

One quote that I love is by Tori Rodriguez.
“A thought is just a thought and a feeling is just a feeling.”
It sounds simple but we often give our power to our thoughts. We feel upset about a certain situation and we can react as though there is no other way to think about it. Like that thought owns you rather than the other way around.
Having a negative thought is normal and healthy. Putting a cape on it so it can fly around knocking everything all over the place is not.

Now here is a hard one. Let go of jealousy.
We all like to think that we are not jealous people but jealousy is insidious.
Our lives would be better if we were thinner, stronger, richer, better, prettier or more handsome, smarter, warmer, colder, healthier… Almost every one of us has at least one area where we look at others and think “If I was just _______, my life would be better or easier”. In truth? They are thinking the exact same thing but perhaps just a different topic. In Buddhism (which I follow), there are 4 “truths/levels”. The first one is that every single person suffers. This is the human condition. It is not a bad thing, it just ties us all together. No one has a perfect life no matter what they show on the outside.  Never compare yourself to anyone else. You do not know the full story… and they do not know yours.

How about a few easy suggestions? When you can’t shake those negative thoughts, take a walk, exercise in your favourite way, listen to upbeat music, distract yourself, or schedule some worry time in to each day.

Another technique. “Repeat after me…”
There is a technique called “cognitive diffusion”. If there is a word or phrase that you think to yourself far too often, repeat it over and over again for a couple of minutes. An example. What if I always call myself stupid? I would say “I’m stupid.” Over and over again for two minutes. At first it feels very real but by the end, it should have lost some of its power. If you need to do it one time or ten times, it doesn’t matter. Just repeat the technique until you feel the power within those words lose their grip.

Journal it. Writing a problem down can help you think less about it. Spending 20 minutes a day writing down your worries can significantly diffuse them. I actually calm down A LOT after I write something out. It feels like I get things sorted out better because I have to slow down to write.

This one might seem silly but it really works for some people.
Jot your problem on a piece of paper. Rip up the paper and throw it out. Toss that thought in the trash and leave it there. It it is a big thought that holds a lot of power? I like to write it down, scribble all over it, crumple it up and burn it (safely). Do what works for you.

Just remember this one last piece of advice…
Being negative is often due to many reasons. It probably took you a long time to find your thinking where it is now. Family, friends, circumstances…
For this reason, please be patient with yourself. Changing thinking takes time and practice. Be very forgiving of yourself and don’t quit.
I had a way of reacting to people who I really did not like about myself. I tried and tried to change it but that negative view held on. It actually took me several years to have it stop completely but I did notice small improvements along the way.  Giving up is the only way to lose at this.

Have a terrific week. Let me know if any of the suggestions help you.

Happy

Pervasive Negative Thinking

I was asked to do a blog on this several weeks ago and I know I used to be far more negative all the time but truthfully? Other than knowing I have a better handle on it now, I could not pinpoint what strategies have worked for me as they are blissfully just “normal” for me now. I’ve been paying more attention to this issue over the past few weeks so I could write this blog.

Pervasive negative thinking is more than just being a pessimist. It is more of a “black cloud” cast over everything and it can often leave you feeling depressed or hopeless. For many it can feel like the negative things in life just never stop, like you never really get a break. Sometimes this is reality for a while but when you go from one bad run to the next bad run, you just may be dealing with some pervasive negative thinking more than just bad luck.

I want to explain this well enough so that an occasional whine with cheese or pity party is looked at as normal. The difference is how you tend to look at things over the longer term. Pervasive negative thinking is not really about what happens to you, it is how you handle it or how you view it.

So let’s do a bit of work here today okay? To help ourselves with those negative thoughts that just seem to swirl around in our heads a little too often for our liking.

Lets start with some facts. I am a realist so facts are my favourite thing!
Did you know that 85% of what we worry about end up having a positive or a neutral outcome? 85%!!! So here we sit worrying about whatever we worry about and it will only come true or be a negative outcome 1.5 in 10 times. Holy crap right?
THEN! As if 85% wasn’t already good enough? If that 1.5 in 10 actually happens? 80% will say they handled it better than they thought they would.
I love facts but I love to be straight too…
All these numbers basically mean that we worry for nothing 85% of the time and then even when the poop DOES hit the fan? We handle it far better than we thought we could or would.
Isn’t that great to know?

Something that is also considered pervasive negative thought is when you just assume the worst will happen. Someone is late getting home and you automatically think they have been in a car accident and you have limbs all over the freeway in your mind. Go ahead and laugh now. I know that you know what I am talking about here.
Bad things do happen but not with the regularity that we expect them too.
When these thoughts come to your mind, come up with alternatives.
Perhaps traffic was bad? Maybe they stopped to get a lotto ticket? They could even just be an inconsiderate nincompoop that just couldn’t be bothered to call to tell you that they were going to stop for a beer after work with friends. You may not LIKE the alternative ideas but none of them include car accidents or limbs.

I love this next one. It is called “learned optimism”. The best part is that you can learn it. You don’t need to be born as one of those occasionally annoying “always happy” people. 😉 You just pictured someone didn’t you! 😀
Back to my point. Learning optimism is done by taking the way you see a situation in a negative light and flipping it around to something more positive.
Let’s say you fail a test. We might be tempted to say we are stupid, should have studied more (even if we studied plenty), assume ourselves to be a failure and other negative conclusions.
The trick here is to stop taking things so personally. LOTS of people fail tests. They are not all a bunch of idiots. Many people study but still can not pass a test. Does this make them worthless? Hint: No, it doesn’t. 😉
Most negative experiences are really just unlucky situations. It is not personal nor is it permanent.

Some people have a hard time with this one but I am telling you, it works. Rather than worrying about some future event and trying to just forget about it (like that ever works?), think about it. Really think about it.
Are you afraid that your house will burn down? Many people are. Not worrying won’t help you here so why not think about the worst then plan for it?
Go buy good fire detectors for every room. Change the batteries every time the clocks jump forward or fall back (every 6 months). Have fire extinguishers available in worrisome areas like your kitchen or workshop. Buy appliances with automatic shut off functions. Practice escape routes. You will not be able to stop every fire that happens to people or even yourself but if you are ready and have made plans for this just in case? You will be able to rest far easier.

I think I will finish up here for today. That is enough information. On Friday I will continue with another train of thought. How to dispute your thoughts. Everyone “loves” a good fight in their own head right? 😉

Just remember… Most negative experiences are really just unlucky situations.
It is not personal nor is it permanent.

Here is a great word chart with some words to help you re-frame the way you see something. It has helped me. Replacing words

Paint how you feel, not how you think.

Earlier today, a fellow artist friend posted on Facebook about how she just couldn’t seem to lift herself out of a funk caused my her SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which many people suffer from to different degrees. My reply to her was based on something that you, my blog followers have taught me over the past 2 years. I will edit my post here only to remove her name.

I know I already said a lot but you touched my heart with this post and as I sat here writing, I thought of something else. I write a mental health blog and almost all of my articles are about how to improve your life, take care of yourself better, get through hard times, grieving, positive thoughts and kindness. Then every once in awhile I am just so out of sorts that my blog ends up being about me and a rough time that I am having. I just end up throwing my guts on the page and paying I lose all my followers for it.
You know something though… those are the blogs that get the most response and are so often met with “I thought I was alone.”, “It is so nice to know someone else understands.”, “You have no idea how much I needed to hear this.”, I’ve even had some say that I saved their life because I showed that someone who looks like they have it all together can really fall apart.
It is in our most vulnerable that we touch someones heart. Perhaps you need to paint how you feel rather than paint what others expect. Maybe your paint needs to have a foggy, rainy, shitty day. Perhaps there are dark clouds and menacing looking skies. The houses might not look so bright and the boats may be nearly toppling over in stormy seas. Paint how you FEEL and not how you THINK.
I bet that you would really strike others in the heart and you could open a whole new style of painting.
Some days ARE beautiful, bright, green and gorgeous. Others aren’t. Why not do and sell both?
Love you bunches my friend and I am here for you. I’ve lived in those dark places for many years and I understand the struggles. I give you this advice based on what has worked in my own life.
Go ahead and paint how you feel. I’ll buy it.

It is YOU, my blog readers whom have taught me this lesson and I felt it was good not only to share this post with you but to also talk about the concept a wee bit more.

It is not only artists and writers that have these days. Red, orange, bright blue and green paint can symbolize any of our lives. There are days when everything is so beautiful and bright and then there are days when the blacks, browns and deep greys take over. That happy sunny yellow can suddenly turn to a gross murky baby poop green and our good mood is gone.
There are times in our lives where it may be much more than a day or a week, I had dark days for almost 2 decades before the sun shone on me again.
Very few people knew that about me though. I had the brightest smile and there was colour everywhere. Bright, cheerful, happy, fun colour. I used it to paint over the darkness that I felt and in the process, I found myself very alone because I did not allow others to see my struggle. I know many people that pull off an equally trustworthy and convincing ruse.

Who do we hurt when we hide our darkness? Ourselves? Well certainly ourselves but we hurt others as well. By not allowing our true colours to show, we do not often allow them to show their true colours either.
It is only when we allow others to see that our brightly painted and cheerful exterior actually has darkness behind it that we allow them to show their darkness too.

You’d think this would be depressing right? Actually is not.
Allowing others to see the real you and the real colours in your life at that time allows for others to feel heard and understood. This only benefits everyone around you. In my opinion, the ones that hush you and do not want to see your true colours are the ones that are still afraid of their own darkness.

It does not make you strong to be perfect or happy all the time. It takes far more strength to show others that you are not that way all the time. Rather than saying you are fine every single time someone asks, maybe a little truth wouldn’t hurt? I mean really, who is fine ALL the time?
And by being fine all the time? Who do you think will ever want to share their true feelings with you? They assume you could never understand a bad day. I rarely share anything real or under the surface with people whom never share with me.

So my friends…
Paint with yellows, bright blues, greens, reds and oranges on those bright, beautiful clear sky days and paint with those dark blues, deep purples, heavier shades of otherwise “perky” colours when the yucky days show themselves. Having both is not only human but it is what makes you real to others. It is also what turns you and your life in to a splendid rainbow for all of those around you to enjoy.

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