Whispers of Autumn

Whispers playing off the breeze
entice us to look closer
at the bouquet of life
rising from summer’s warm hands.
We catch our breath
watching the spectacular
V-formations of birds
readying for their trip south.
Together, we ease into autumn.

©Alexis Rose. Image source: Pexels

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

I Seek to Feel Content

I have conquered my metaphorical mountain. I kept telling myself I can do it. It was hard. It felt emotionally, spiritually and physically excruciating at times, and I did it.  I asked myself, when I conquer this mountain, have a congruent past and the tools to live with PTSD,  is that when I will feel content?

It’s my goal to live life with my eyes open, to let go of the person I am not, to own my story, to have worked through the torture and come out with a gnarly scar, not a soft scab over an oozing past. I met that goal.  Did I feel content?

I learned to reach out and ask for help when I feel so vulnerable that I can’t move left or right. To ask “will you take my hand and hold on to it until I feel steady enough to walk beside you again, unaided?” When I have done that, I ask myself, do I feel a sense of contentment?

When I accept the changes I have gone through, releasing and gently letting go of the protective barriers because they no longer serve me.  To “just show up” even when I can’t remember how to be okay. To accept that sometimes I won’t be okay. Knowing that I’m safe, and to trust the safety. To let the safety permeate my body, mind & spirit. Is that when I will feel content?

Am I content? Understanding that to feel a sense of contentment is as involuntary as breathing. I don’t have to seek it. I don’t have to be free from the symptoms of PTSD to understand that I’m enough. I was always enough, and that, not only am I okay now, I was always okay. I understand that feelings and emotions are fleeting and impermanent.

Yes, I believe, yes, most days (maybe not all 24 of those hours), but mostly, I am Content.

 circle

 

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

We are Peace

The setting of the summer sun, orange, and round in the sky

is witness to the compassion of those who reach out and provide strength.

Take my hand and together we will hold each other’s

thoughts, fears, dreams, and wishes.

We are one with the movement of nature…We are Peace.

©words and photo: Alexis Rose

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

An Amazing Interview Opportunity 

I have never broken from using my pen name on my blog until this post. I was honored to be interviewed by this fabulous show a few months ago and I noticed it’s on youtube so I thought I would share it with you.

One of the reasons I agreed to be interviewed is that one of the hosts is a teenager who asked some wonderful, poignant questions about what to do if a friend is being abused.

There are two parts (both really short). Please Take a listen. I hope you enjoy it.

Behind the Voices – w/ Alexis Rose (part one).  https://youtu.be/SPzLnyNkJyQ

Behind the Voices – w/ Alexis Rose (part two). https://youtu.be/M_z75TW7SWE

Hope, The Involuntary Breaths I Take

Hope is the involuntary breaths I take to live.
It’s always there as I encounter obstacles in my path.
With hope, I can conquer mountains.
I know it may be hard, sometimes emotionally
and physically painful, but I can do it.
With hope, I can change and become who I want to be.

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pixabay

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

The Gifts of a Memoir, Happy 2nd Birthday, Untangled!

Two years ago today, I anxiously waited for my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph to go live on Amazon. What a wonderful, unexpected and humbling 2 years this has been.

I took a huge risk by writing and publishing my memoir. My entire life was focused on keeping quiet, not telling, protecting those I loved, or who loved me. It took me a long time to understand that by keeping quiet, I was actually protecting the people who hurt me in my life. Writing Untangled was a way to announce in a really big way, that I will not keep quiet any longer.

I literally went from telling no one but my therapist about my past to throwing my arms up, and saying, okay….what the heck, let’s go for it, and tell everyone at once. My husband and children read the book before it was released to the public, but close friends, acquaintances, and long-lost friends learned the truth of my past when they read the book.  Were there big reactions? You bet there were! Of course, they reacted. The biggest reaction was sadness that they didn’t know what was happening at the time and that feeling that if they knew, they could have helped. I understand that reaction, I would probably have felt the same way upon hearing of a friend’s brutal past. But, they couldn’t have helped me, and it was imperative to my safety that I kept quiet. I used to feel guilty that I somehow hurt my friend’s feelings that I didn’t share my past, but I’ve learned to let go of that.

In the book, I talk about my life and some of the trauma I experienced.  I write about how I repressed my memories and how I managed to raise a family and live a life where I mistakenly convinced myself, that my hidden past had no effect or impact on my life. The last part of the book is my healing journey. Untangled isn’t about naming names or the horrific specifics of what happened to me. I don’t feel people, especially those of us who have been through trauma need to read and be triggered by another’s specific tales of horror.

I do, however, explain in detail the feelings that went along with being hurt, traumatized, abandoned, neglected. I don’t shy away from feeling words such as fear, emptiness, loneliness, embarrassment, shame, etc.  One of the most humbling gifts I experience from Untangled is when people read the book, they find it is relatable. The events that happened to me may not be relatable, but the effects, the feelings, the sense of no-self is something that a lot of people experience, or they know and love someone who has experienced those things.

We all have feelings, but we may not all be able to articulate them, we may doubt or judge our feelings, or that terrible feeling that no one else could possibly understand this kind of emotional pain. I lived with that terrible alone feeling until a year ago. Now, from the feedback of the readers of Untangled, I know that I am not alone. Admittedly, the validation is a bit of a paradox..I’m so relieved to be validated by relatability and so sad to be validated by relatability.

One of the questions I get asked the most is why did I write my memoir?  At first, I was writing as a way to incorporate another healing tool. For me, using the keyboard as a way to write, instead of using paper and pencil, provided a way to get down my feelings, thoughts, and emotions without becoming overwhelmed. I was taught that for some people, using the keyboard was a way to incorporate bi-lateral stimulation. This method provided a way to create a bit of distance from the subject matter I was writing about. The first gift was while writing, I began to discern the difference between the truth vs my truth. For some, they are the same, but for me, being able to say My truth had a profound and healing impact on me.

Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling. I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. I began to notice that I was able to write down what I couldn’t say aloud.  It provided distance from having to use my voice. What I discovered was that writing actually gave me a voice.  When I still couldn’t speak a truth, I found, if I read what I wrote out loud to my therapist, that I WAS speaking the truth. The bonus for me as that He didn’t freak out or go away. The gift of Untangled is that people also don’t freak out and run away. The book has been a tool for conversation.

I am frequently asked if I was afraid for my safety when I released the book?  To be honest, I felt a lot of fear for my safety and took as many precautions as I could, but in the end, I just really wanted to share my story. I wanted to share what it looks like to live through unimaginable circumstances for 20 plus years, with continued threats to stay silent, and still, be determined to be live not just survive.  I knew that this was my truth, and by publishing my story and continue to talk about the effects of trauma and the resulting PTSD that no one could ever take my past, my truth away from me again.

There are so many gifts from Untangled. The gift of writing, the gift of remembering, the gift of a congruent past, the gift of trying to remove the stigma of living with an illness. I wouldn’t have started writing a blog if I hadn’t written my memoir. I was told that I had to start a blog in order to market a book. I never, in my wildest dreams knew the world of connection that awaited me when I wrote my first post. Not only have I connected with survivors and mental health professionals, but I also have connected with poets, authors, thinkers, travelers, photographers, fun-loving lets blog for the heck of it people all over the world. I’m a better person because of all these connections. There are some people I’ve met that have changed my life. I’m grateful every day for my blog.

I’m not ready to leave Untangled behind. I’m excited every time someone purchases the book, I wish I could personally thank every person. I don’t ever take it for granted. I love getting reviews on Amazon, I love hearing the feedback. I hope that the readership continues to grow each month.

I’ve been hurt, I’ve been threatened, I’ve been abandoned, but I wasn’t going to let the effects of what happened to me keep me from trying to have the life I wanted. I know what my goals are…to live with my past, live in the truth, and recognize and relish in the feelings of internal contentment. I didn’t realize that my sharing my story with so many people would propel the trajectory of my healing in such a profound and sometimes ineffable way.

Happy 2nd birthday Untangled!

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

PTSD doesn’t Define me; it Impacts me!

 

The other day, my son asked me, what the difference is between my brain getting overwhelmed when shopping and my brain getting overwhelmed while working. He wanted to know if when shopping  I recover after a couple hours. He understands that if I push it while working, it can take me out of the game for a whole day. I appreciated he asking me, because anything that takes the elephant out of the room, is wonderful. But, I also understood that he asked me because I became so overwhelmed at the grocery store when we were shopping together, that he was concerned that my plans would be affected later that day.  I’m grateful for his concern and his honest question because he understands how my life is impacted by my symptoms.

When I describe myself I don’t use adjectives that bring in my past, that I’m a survivor of trauma or that I’m dealing with this unrelenting illness. I describe myself as a kind, compassionate, person with a wicked (sometimes dark) sense of humor who tries to live an authentic life. I have strong friendships and solid family support from my husband and children. That’s how I would define myself. My PTSD doesn’t define me, but it does impact me.

The effects of my trauma and the resulting PTSD has changed my life. It prevents me from working more than two hours a day, hopping in the car to run errands, enjoying restaurants, travel, and I have to consciously work with the triggers that cause flashbacks, and other assorted symptoms. While that doesn’t define who I am, it does have an effect my life.

I’m in a position, as perhaps most people who deal with a chronic or debilitating illness to find a way to live with my symptoms and try to have an illness free identity. It’s hard.  I spent years minimizing my feelings, being angry at my PTSD, thinking that I’m weak; after all, I survived unimaginable circumstances, why can’t I get my shit together and just get over this thing. That thinking wasn’t helping my trajectory of healing and it certainly didn’t honor my past, my feelings, or the fact that I did survive.

While PTSD doesn’t define me, it certainly impacts my life. I am more than my past, more than my trauma, more than my illness. And my terrible past includes significant trauma resulting in an illness. Sometimes, when people hear about it, read about, and understand that there are some really awful people in the world, it makes them uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable information, and it should be. We shouldn’t feel comfortable, complacent and unfazed when hearing about abuse. It’s something that can be stopped, abuse is something that is done by one person to another. This illness has changed what I choose to be passionate about, speak about, write about.

To understand what and who we are at our core, our intentions, and how we want to connect to others can define us. We aren’t defined by our circumstances, illness, or professions, but they often dictate how we have to live day-to-day. It’s been a struggle to accept this in my life.  I imagine it’s something I will have to wrestle with as long as I have PTSD. Perhaps, even if I didn’t have an illness, I would be checking myself, making sure I have a larger view, a compassionate perspective, and hope…always hope.

 

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

 

 

Whispers in the Night

Whispers in the night bring memory
into full focus.
A series of never-ending still photographs
posed and etched onto and into the mind.
Perhaps fading a bit in color, smell, taste, and touch
but never completely melting away.

©words and photo: Alexis Rose

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

 

 

Soul-Mates

Two brilliant souls, two hearts
Both young, but wary, cautious, careful
They listen to the call of the crystal clear water
Hearing the song of the oceans deep wisdom
it sings, It’s okay to love, trust
and crave togetherness
Soul-Mates finding that each tomorrow
brings more love than yesterday
Forever entwined in friendship, kindness, respect
Knowing the magic and wonder of mirroring
who they really are…Soul-Mates

Soul Mates, for Aria and Gabe©Alexis Rose, image source: Pixabay

 

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