I am Peace

I am one with the movement of nature… I am Peace. 

alexis-rose-1

©From the collaboration, Of Earth and Sky, Alexis Rose, photographer: Shelley Bauer

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

Your Old Hometown

How do you go back
to your old hometown
with memories of
ghouls and goblins all around?

How do you put a smile
on your face
as you pass the trees that hold
the secrets of the night?

How do we teach our supportive ones
to empathize and validate?
To understand that seeing street signs,
telephone poles and old neighborhoods can bring
back dark memories just beyond the exits.

It’s a tricky dance and
one I have not tangoed with for many, many, years.
In our hearts, we can feel both love and fear.
In our actions, we can create a circle of gratitude.
And yet, in our minds, our dinosaur minds
the past seeps out, the truth seeps out.

I plan to experience a time of gladness
with the people, I  left behind.
The ones who deserve celebration and restful love.
The ones who stayed and are happy in my old hometown.

How would you go back to your old hometown if
you had memories of ghouls and goblins all around?

 

 

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

Blue Sky and Vermilion Trees

After weeks spent surfing intense waves of emotion
the blue sky and vermillion trees
prompted me to
fill my lungs, exhale, and rejoice
that I’m now in a different place.
Memories will continue to ebb and flow
but the breath, the deep cleansing breath
brings me back to the now, the present
this place of safety and peace.

 

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

Review: Untangled, by Alexis Rose 5 stars

Thank You, Didi Oviatt, (didioviatt.wordpress.com) for reading Untangled and giving it a 5 Star review.  I appreciate the read and the review on your blog. Please click on the link to read the review on Untangled and give Didi’s blog a follow.

MY REVIEW:

This is hands down the hardest memoir I’ve ever read. The life that Alexis Rose survived is so completely unfathomable. It’s hard to even imagine, let alone begin to comprehend, the pain both physical and psychological that she was forced to endure. To be put through such trauma by the hand of those who should have loved, shielded, and protected her, is utterly heart wrenching. Parent’s should nurture, love and support their children. What Alexis’ parents did was so completely opposite of that. It is, in my opinion, practically impossible to even put into words how horrible the things are that Alexis was subjected to.

This book shattered my heart into a million pieces. Despite it being such a short easy read, it took me a few days to get through because I had to put it down quite a few times to process…. and to cry. I had to take breaks to hug my kids and to stare blankly at the wall for large chunks of time, just to make any sort of failed attempt to understand how people out there can be so cruel and twisted.

Not only was Alexis abused by her parents, but they willingly passed her over to others to abuse her in ways that are arguably worse than most people could even come up with in their worst nightmares. Heart wrenching!

Luckily, Alexis’ story isn’t only one of such unfathomable abuse. It’s an inspiring tale of resilience and a deep rooted strength. Alexis is by far the most admirable woman who’s story I’ve read. Not only do I recommended this book (and have), but I feel like it’s quite possibly a necessity to anyone who may be taking their own lives for granted. I know for a fact that I will never look at my own troubles the same. I’m actually grateful for them, and all their minuscule quirks. I’m grateful to have a life full of love, and I’m positive that I will hold my children closer for as long as I’m alive to do so.

Thank you Alexis, for sharing your life’s story. Thank you for your example of how a human can have such a wholesome and compassionate heart despite everything you’ve been through. And most importantly thank you for giving me such a live changing prospective on the value of the life of my loved ones!

DESCRIPTION:

A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph.
Recalling her life, the author takes us on a journey of unimaginable abuse with continued explicit threats that eventually led to her being sent overseas on an impossible mission. Alexis Rose repressed the memories of her past until a family tragedy forced her to face what her life had been. A history of abuse, torture, and threats to maintain her silence or be killed could no longer be denied.
This is the story of facing the truth and risking the consequences of breaking the silence. The author learns to accept the effects of the trauma that echo through her daily life as PTSD.
Through years of self-exploration, Alexis learns to live her life fearlessly, with eyes wide open. Ultimately this book is about resilience; hope for victims who have suffered trauma and for the people who support them.

Didi Oviatt

MY REVIEW:

This is hands down the hardest memoir I’ve ever read. The life that Alexis Rose survived is so completely unfathomable. It’s hard to even imagine, let alone begin to comprehend, the pain both physical and psychological that she was forced to endure. To be put through such trauma by the hand of those who should have loved, shielded, and protected her, is utterly heart wrenching. Parent’s should nurture, love and support their children. What Alexis’ parents did was so completely opposite of that. It is, in my opinion, practically impossible to even put into words how horrible the things are that Alexis was subjected to.

This book shattered my heart into a million pieces. Despite it being such a short easy read, it took me a few days to get through because I had to put it down quite a few times to process…. and to cry. I…

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Friendship

So much has been written about friendship; from the trite to profound, but the truth is we (the human race) are a gregarious species. Our survival is dependent upon living in cooperation with others. Part of that living in cooperation is making and having friends, and that is sometimes easier said than done.

As I have been traveling down this healing path, I have had to ponder the question of friendship more than once. Sometimes, I was trying to discern who was no longer healthy for me, because they fed the fuel of my tendency to be taken advantage of by narcissists. Other times, I was un-friended by those who couldn’t deal with the fact that I was suffering from PTSD, they just couldn’t handle it.

I pondered four questions: What is friendship? How do friendships endure? What’s the difference between an acquaintance and a friend? And how much do we need to protect our hearts from the risks of true friendship?

When I really love someone as a friend I do not protect my heart, because I think to protect my heart means I’m not giving freely of myself. When I commit to a friendship, I share my thoughts, hopes, desires, and secrets without reservation. My friendships are based on honesty. My friends and I know the difference between telling each other what we need to hear rather than what we want to hear.

I also believe that a healthy friendship is symmetrical. In other words, both parties are equally committed to the relationship. I’m committed to supporting and encouraging my friends and being there as they grow and change. I’m committed to seeing them through the minutiae of life. And hopefully, I can do that without judgment. The symmetry is, I know my friends will do the same for me. That doesn’t mean that there are times when people need time, and space because of life circumstances, ill health, or whatever life happens to bring, but the underlying commitment is never wavering, no matter how much time passes. A non-spoken loyalty.

I also have people in my lives who are more like acquaintances rather than friends. These are people that I sometimes meet for a meal or activities. They may be a constant person in my life, but I keep them at arm’s length. My conversation may be little more than scratching the surface,  the idea of sharing something intensely personal causes me some anxiety. These are the people I know who are going to be in and out of my life, but they are still just as precious to me. Besides just hanging out and having fun, they may have quite a lesson to teach me along the way. In fact, I have learned numerous lessons from my acquaintances. They tend to look and react to the world through a different lens. And, I kind of like that, it can be interesting.

There have been times when a friend has become more of an acquaintance because over time we grew apart. When that happened, I felt a sense of loss, but I also knew the decision was a healthy one. The opposite has been true too. I have had distant acquaintances that have become a steady and lovely friend; the kind of friend that I can’t imagine not connecting with on a regular basis.

As I found myself dealing with the mental anguish of PTSD, I was consumed with shame. I was ashamed of what I was remembering, my changing financial situation and the roller coaster emotional ride I was a constantly experiencing. I thought my friends would think that I was damaged and ugly and if they discovered the “real me,” they wouldn’t like me anymore. In fact, some people did back out of my life. Perhaps they were really more acquaintances than friends all along. But I can say with unequivocal certainty that my true friends have not run away. In fact, they took many steps closer to me. And because I am more open and authentic I have also made some wonderful new connections in my life.

As I pondered the way I interacted with people in the past, I would say, I behaved more as an acquaintance than a friend. I shut myself off from showing any feeling and wouldn’t let anyone get close to me. I was always the smiling, tell me anything, kind of friend who had no needs, just let me be there for You. Now I have learned to show my vulnerability.

Now, I believe I present myself to the world from a place of honesty. I’m not ashamed that I have PTSD, but I don’t wear a banner across my chest that announces it either. When I have a bad day, I have a bad day, it doesn’t mean I’m a terrible horrible person that no one will want to be around anymore. I know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance and although I love to hang out and have a good time, I am recharged and at my best when I spend time with a true friend.

I have chosen to have very few acquaintances. I value a deeper emotional connection to the true friends I have in my life. My circle of friends has also grown smaller, which I love. The key word here is “chosen.” I thrive on more intimate relationships with those wonderful and beautiful people who have joined me on my journey.  Acquaintances can be fun companions and there for you in times of need. There is nothing wrong with having acquaintances in our lives. However, for me, the time spent engaging in a deep connection is how I keep my cup filled and how I hope I’m able to fill other people’s cup.

friend

 

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

 

Beauty from Broken Pieces

I don’t hide in the shadows any longer. It was a conscious decision, although at the time I didn’t really know what that meant. When my memoir was published,  I went from no one knowing my story to letting the whole world know my story. It’s more than a story, it’s my life, my truth. It’s true that I don’t lay out all the sordid details of my past in my book, and very few people in my life have earned the right to hear all the details, but, I share enough of myself and the resulting struggles I have with PTSD that I’m comfortable with the volume of my voice and that I’m being heard and making some wonderful connections.

I still struggle every day. It’s the way it is for me. Fall is a particularly hard time of year. Now, instead of pretending all is well while feeling like my soul is being crushed into jagged shards, I’m honest with people. I have learned self-compassion. Instead of saying, “I’m fine” coupled with a thinly veiled smile, I say, “I’m triggered, I feel shitty, and I’m trying really hard to stay present.”

No one has shied away from me when I tell them I’m struggling this Fall. They still want to do lunch, meet for coffee, go for walks, and keep engaging.  While hiding in the shadows and always trying to be okay, I was unreachable. I was still social but it was different. I had a thick wall up, and my social circle was different. Aside from a core group of very good friends, I was surrounding myself with people who sometimes bordered on narcissistic. I was attracting those kinds of people because it was comfortable for me. I could navigate that personality. If fed my desire to hide. A funny thing happened when I emerged from the shadows after Untangled was released. The narcissists dropped me like a hot potato. I’m not sure why? But when that happened, it opened the door for some wonderful people who are also starting to emerge or have come from their own shadows to enter my life.

I was having coffee the other day with a friend who is just beginning her journey of openness. It’s tough, especially for someone like her, who is a bubbly, open-hearted, extrovert. She has had an extraordinary struggle in her life. Her truth is real, and it’s shocking, and it’s gut-retching, and it’s her past. My friend, like me, had to repress her past in order to have a life.  Until that sneaky past caught up to her and she knew that if she wanted a fulfilling present and a hopeful future she had to look at these things square in the face and deal with them. I don’t know if she has PTSD, I don’t ask. But I relate to and greatly admire the courage she displays in the face of such turmoil and growth right now.

As we were having coffee, she brought out a package wrapped in netting and a ribbon. It was the beautiful rock that is pictured in this post. Rocks are extremely important to me. I started connecting with them when I was alone and being tortured in a country far from home. I picked up a white rock, put it in my pocket and knew that if I died and no one found me, I at least had a solid connection to something; a rock, the earth. I still have that rock in my jewelry box. Since then, I pick up rocks from everyday random and also wonderous places. I give rocks as gifts and use rocks as an activity when I do creativity workshops.

Coming out of the shadows is still a new way of life, and sometimes it still feels like an enormous risk. I feel broken, mostly from having to live with the symptoms of PTSD, but when I put that beautiful rock, with the pieces of glass, the double spiral beads and felt the solid heft weighing in my palm, I felt overcome with tears of gratitude and connection. Connections are what ground me. I found it was a constant struggle to let people connect to me when I lived in the shadow of fear.

My friend, who had no idea what rocks meant to me, said that she loves to create things from broken glass. She calls it Beauty from Broken Pieces. To me, that is a beautiful mantra for all us. You can’t get through adulthood without having some broken pieces, but we can find some beauty in our shards.

 

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