A Painted Journey

The landscape, water, rocks, and sky

reminds us that our journey is painted

with the colors of tranquility

attending to our curious minds, wild hearts, and tender souls. 

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pexels

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hope from a Children’s Book

I am a first generation American. Both my father and mother immigrated after World War II and brought with them, layer upon layer of secrets from their past.

My mother emigrated from Germany to Boston; my father emigrated from Hungary by way of Calgary, to Boston. Both came from complicated upbringings and the horrors of war. My mother’s strong European bloodline and my father’s tragic life story helped me eventually understand, but not excuse, their willingness to betray their own daughter for the good of a country.

By the time I was five years old, I already had hopes and dreams of being able to live alone. I had a book called Miss Suzy, about a squirrel who lived alone high atop an oak tree. Miss Suzy cooked, cleaned, and sang all day. At night, she was lulled to sleep by the gentle wind and the stars. One day a band of red squirrels sneaked into her house, broke all her things, ate up all her food and chased her away. Homeless and rain-soaked, she climbed a tree and found another home in the attic of an old house.  She lived in a doll house where she found a box of toy soldiers who came to life. When Miss Suzy told them about what happened to her in the oak tree, the soldiers marched up the tree, kicked out the red squirrels and Miss Suzy moved back home.

In my five-year-old mind, this tale had many relatable metaphors. I compared myself to the story’s heroine. It gave me hope that I could also live alone in a tree, and I began dreaming up ways to escape my family. But I knew, even then, that unlike Miss Suzy I wasn’t going to be rescued by a group of chivalrous soldiers.  I knew that all the adults in my life were the same. They kept secrets. 

Like most abuse victims I ached for someone to rescue me, but I also knew that I wasn’t living in anything like a storybook. I loved the Miss Suzy book because she was so happy living on her own after the toy soldiers saved her home. She didn’t need anyone else in her life, she was safe and happy.

By a very early age, I had stopped hoping that my family would be vanquished by a company of toy soldiers. I knew the only way out of my situation was if I left and found my own place to live. Instead of an oak tree, I began to fantasize about living beside a deep blue lake surrounded by soft sand and white cliffs.  As I look back, that fantasy of taking control, leaving my family and finding a peaceful existence, nourished my amazing ability to survive.

An excerpt  from my memoir,  Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph 

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The Sounds of Springtime and PTSD

It’s 5 a.m. and the early birds are singing a lovely song as they wake each other up before sunrise. The bright yellow tulips are half-way open, the buds on our trees are out, yesterday, the wasps were trying to decide if they wanted to make our deck their new home, and I have a bit of a farmer’s tan from being outside all weekend. Jackets off, shorts and flip flops on, it’s April in MN and 58 degrees is shorts weather after enduring months of layers and mittens.

I love the sounds of springtime. But when the calendar starts to remind me that May Day is coming, the spring evenings smell a certain way, and full moons hurl me back to the past in a flashback of terror, that can make this time of year challenging. The triggers and flashbacks happen because that’s the nature of PTSD. It brings back the past when I would much rather live in the present. 

This spring I have more tools than I had a year ago. I have another year of accepting and coping with my diagnosis and the effects of the trauma. I have incorporated yoga-nidre into my mindfulness practice and made some wonderful new friends.

I would be grateful if my symptoms would go away as we anticipate the new season. The birth, and growth of plants and animals. The excitement for change as we put our renewed energy from the winter blues into projects and outside activity. For me, my symptoms decrease during the winter. Not as much trauma happened during the winter months, so I don’t have the anniversary time of year triggers. Spring brings memories of rituals; rituals that went awry, which left deep-seeded damage to my mind, and spirit. I have processed the memories, but the damage is deep, so often the sounds, smells, moon phases and beautiful springtime renewal comes with a shadow side. Not always, not every day, but when the symptoms of PTSD decide to rear their head from a sight, sound, smell or a certain touch, springtime becomes triggering.

In the spring, I  know part of what I have to cope with is triggers, triggers everywhere. I’ve been hurt, I’ve been abandoned, I’ve been threatened, but I’m not going to let the effects of my trauma keep me from the life I want. I am living with my past, living in my truth and recognizing and acknowledging the feelings of internal contentment when those moments come. Those are the goals I set for myself eight years ago when I first started my healing journey. Somedays those goals seem as far away as the furthest star, and other days I can see them just through the clutter, almost there.

The change of season can make my life a bit more difficult, and my symptoms can seem daunting some days, but deciding to live with my truth, accept my past and continue to emerge from the shadows of silence helps me smile, and relish in the beauty and the sounds of springtime.

image source: Pexels

 

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

Rising from the Mud

Rising from the mud, frightened by the moon that shines behind the shadow trees. The leaves rustle in the wind, the cicadas and birds hum, tricking her mind with their songs.

The humidity in the air creates a slow motion dance of fog, circling the dark shapes on the ground. A chill, a shudder, and it’s over.

The sun hits her face, drying the mud. Slowly, she turns around, walks away, with a knowing that without the mud, a lotus would never rise.

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

 

Choices! Lessons from Healing and Growth

One of the best and often frustrating lessons that have unfolded from my journey of healing is that I learned I can make choices. Seems like a no-brainer, right?  I could talk the talk, especially whenever drama was involved, but to actually understand that I can make choices about my life was a concept that was a little unconscious for me. This is difficult to admit, but I’m thinking this may be a recurring issue in some people’s lives. Especially those of us who are healing from trauma. 

I became aware that I can choose to be around people who are working or living towards self-discovery or I can choose to be around people who are satisfied to live with their eyes shut; unwilling to change, grow, and understand that in our world we need compassion and connectedness, not separateness and silence. I can choose to have the people in my life who aren’t toxic, and who want to walk that transformational self-discovery path that leaves you winded at times. 

I can choose to say what I think about a situation or give my opinion about what is happening in our country, our world.

I can choose to add to a conversation knowing that I’m not taking away from that person’s moment, but that instead I may be adding to their moment and a deep and like-minded dialogue can occur.  

I can choose to set boundaries with people. I can give my opinion, I can stick up for myself, I can say no, I can say yes, I can ask for what I want and what I think I need, and I can feel okay about asking for those things. I understand that I may not always get my needs met, but I learned I can never get them met if I don’t ask. That lesson took me right out of that “victimy” role, I would sometimes find myself in.

I know the above may seem basic and rudimentary but for me, they were new concepts. I learned to make choices before the drama occurs. I don’t have to be afraid of who I am, or what I have to say.

I definitely was not a withering wallflower before, it’s just that now, I’m much more authentic and less afraid to be vulnerable. I found that I’m more likely to attract a group of people who are just as willing to be authentic and vulnerable as I have become, and have been able to let go of the ones who used their narcissism to get their own needs met at the expense of others. 

I knew this all along….I would have told any of my friends, my kids, my husband, or strangers that we all have the ability to makes these choices. I would have said to anyone…be authentic, be vulnerable, take a risk, take a chance. It’s amazing how I can look back and say “Whoa, I used to do that?” I used to be so afraid of what others may think of me, or worse, be someone I wasn’t, because I was afraid people wouldn’t like the real me and run away. In truth, the opposite happened. My friendships, and relationships are much more satisfying now than they were eight years ago.

I will admit, there are times, I still get sucked in and find myself in a situation where I need to change or create a boundary. But that’s okay, it’s all a process and a practice.  The practice of living an authentic, connected and compassionate life.

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image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

 

Each Step a Personal Summit

The only sound you hear is your own breath.
The air is clean, crisp, alive
with possibility and excitement.
Determination emanates as you adjust
to the altitude and settle into the beauty of your surroundings.
Each step is a personal victory.
Each step is your personal summit.©Alexis Rose. Image source, Pexels

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856