Hello! Where Were You?

Hello! Where have you been?

That’s a question that I have asked myself many times the past seven months. Just like most people, my life changed dramatically during the quarantine, the unrest in the spring, and the continuing effects of the pandemic. One of the biggest questions (and there were many) I had asked myself during this time was, why did I stop writing? For over five years, writing has been my link to sanity, and connection; a critical part of my healing journey.

I write under a pen name, which at the beginning was to protect me, my family, and my perpetrators. That was the safest way I could share my story. My kids always said my pen name and my real name were the worst kept secrets, especially when my books began to sell and I was doing more and more local speaking. I love my pen name-Alexis is very much who I am. I don’t hide behind the name, I love that name~it wasn’t a random choice; there is great meaning behind it for me. I believe when quarantine hit our family and all the implications of what could happen to my husband if he caught COVID that fear led me to a full stop. I didn’t want anything to do with Alexis or writing.

That period of time was quite difficult. All the tools and distractions I used to manage my PTSD was suddenly gone. The stress of not knowing how to learn new tools as well as the hypervigilance of paying attention to the unfolding science took its toll. My extreme extraverted self needed to find a way to hunker down, settle in, and get some help. Apparently, my writing needed a quarantine too.  

I live in the Twin Cities, MN. In the spring, after the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests and unrest, I knew that I had to learn what it meant to be anti-racist. I have 14 nieces and nephews who are multi-racial. I thought I had it figured out, but I didn’t.

Between COVID and the unrest this Spring, I have had many uncomfortable conversations with people who are close to me. I have always been a person who gave others the space to be just who they were, without much judgment. That no longer serves me in this changing world. So what do I do with that information? I’m not sure! It’s a many-layered challenge and not something that comes with an easy answer. 

Then, despite my diligence-I got COVID-19! I was very sick for one month and then it took another couple of weeks to actually begin to feel like the illness was behind me and I could trust I was getting better. 

So a lot has happened existentially and physically to me in the last seven months. But where was I? Well, I believe I was right here. At least in spirit. 

I am very involved in a non-profit organization called EmpowerSurvivors.  http://www.empowersurvivors.net/ EmpowerSurvivors is a peer-led support organization for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Since the pandemic and ensuing quarantine guidelines, we began to offer on-line support. Which has been fabulous. Because now, through Zoom survivors from all over the U.S. and the world can participate in peer-led support groups and classes. It’s been wonderful!

I’ve also been writing. Well, that comment is a bit of a stretch. I have a story in my head that has its first lines and the very last line with no middle. To me, that is fascinating as I know the story will unfurl and find a way to my blog for all of you to read.

I have also been learning new ways to cope. Not being able to hug, touch hands, and hang out with my friends and kids has been lonely and excruciating. It’s been quite a challenge, but this week, I could tell that things are starting to come together on the self-care end and I’m in more of an acceptance mode.  Just in time for winter to hit MN.

I knew this morning that I was ready to come back to the wonderful WordPress community. I knew that when my fingers were itching to get back to the keyboard, and words were bursting out of me that I am ready to write again.

Where was I? Well, all over the place inside~figuring out where I stand and what is important and how I will move forward as a person in this world. I will continue to use my voice and write about mental health, particularly living with PTSD, and as always there will be a  little bit of poetry sprinkled in along the way.

Thanks for all your fabulous support for the past five years. Without the wonderful community here, I would not have had the courage to come back and say, Hello!

 

 

Across The Winds

Many souls and a dog
create a circle of healing

Encompassed with compassion
and empathy
the misted space is safe and authentic

Words, hopes, and dreams
for a gentle life become
more than an inaudible whisper
to the stars in the shadow of the night

Possibilities are endless
in these circles of healing
pain, fear, and anxiety
become breath, gratitude, and hope

Misted crosswinds
fuel safety and trust
a mantra of peace and calm that transcends a cozy space

All take turns as teachers
creating the connections

Many souls and a dog
create the circle of healing
as wide as our universe allows

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pexels

Two Roses

Two roses stand strong
within their protective thorns

Entwined by years of friendship 
they share secrets, thoughts, laughter, and tears

They sway with the whispering breeze
as they bloom and grow
mesmerizing all with the wisdom of their ageless beauty

 

2-roses

©Alexis Rose; image: pexels.com

Fly free little bird; Remember the lessons of the flowers

Stretching and flapping her strong wings
this is the eve of our youngest bird
preparing to fly far from the nest.
Across the country
the hallowed halls of law are ready to take our bird
on her chosen path; her next life steps.

I know that as she embarks
on this  journey that our little bird will
take with her the lessons from the flowers.
She will persevere and grow
Silently displaying her inner beauty and strength
She will reach towards the sun, hold fast during storms
and live life fully in bloom.

Fly free little bird. Enjoy, and remember the lessons from the flowers.
©Alexis Rose, Photo by Chloe Si on Unsplash
Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Barefoot

Feet soaking up the heat
lavender toes
sun glistening
birds singing
surrounded by trees, a chair, a stack of books

Freedom from shoes and socks
flip-flops resting by the door

The intensity when the energy
simultaneously surges upward
yet grounds and roots
connecting me to the earth

The ancients footfalls echo underneath me
pulling, comforting aftershocks of fire and dance
securing the tie to all who walked here before
and to all those who will walk in the future

On the same ground
I walk a different path
but I know our hearts are the same
our truth of love is the same
we do the best we can

In a flap of a butterflies wing
the simple flutter of the leaves
the buzz of the bee and the child’s laugh
once again it becomes clear
we are one…barefoot

©Alexis Rose, image source: google images

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

 

Since Seventeen

At seventeen the only thing that mattered
was driving our cars, watching the boys
and whispering don’t-tell-anyone secrets
we knew would never be shared

Singing our harmonies, and dancing with abandon
to the sold-out audience of the window’s reflection
candlesticks as microphones
best-friend laughter and coming of age dreams

The twenties bring spouses, children, houses, and change
At first scary, but different, and new
We’ll never grow apart

It happened so quick – those different paths
separated by the winds of change that we didn’t see
our words become sparse and shallow

Apart, we both trust
silently comforted that ours is a friendship
forged in forever-ness
intuitively we know to be patient with the wind

Life settled; together again
the forties knocked on the door
our conversations are deeper and different
until we heard that song
and instantly, the window once again becomes our stage

Another decade has come our way
our friendship once tested
is stronger than ever

We honor the waves of time
and are grateful for being patient with the wind

Her and Me ~ forever friends ~ since seventeen

©Alexis Rose, image by Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Turns Out, I Am Enough

I assumed our love would last forever
so I forgave the silence

I gave you space
which became an echoing chasm

I pretended it’s just for now
until I realized this is
how it will be

My heart full as the lush trees
feels sore and thirsting
as if I walked through
the dustiest of deserts with no water

Stuck in stasis
knowing this is the choice I make
for now
a glimmer of hope – was that a smile?
No, it was a grimace

Reality predicts continued silence

I want to hear the roar of the waves
see the sun rise and set
breathe in the air of rugged peaks

I wanted to do that with you
Instead, you chose silence

We both know it’s not the number of words
that creates silence
it’s the elusive disengagement

A ghost
between two worlds
no plan to live or problem solve
Surrendering

I live in the silence
making hard decisions
alone, feeling the loss

Finally understanding
that you don’t share
desires, hopes or dreams
maybe you don’t have them

It was always me that wanted more

Love’s illusion
tricking myself into believing
that time would break the silence
and I would be enough

It turns out that I Am Enough

You were the lucky one ~ You had it all
You left ~ silently ~ Or maybe you’re still here?

©Alexis Rose, Photo by Derek Truninger on Unsplash

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Riding the Winds of Change

I experienced a profound and precious moment the other day. My kids are grown and have flown from the nest. They are making their way in the world and creating their own lives as adults with a lot of fortitude and grace. My youngest lives in a different state and is back for a few weeks this summer. From another room, I heard my kids talking to each other at the table. The easy cadence of siblings who had become friends brought a smile to my face. I closed my eyes for a moment and realized that lately, I have been riding the winds of change.

Change is a fact of life. Our bodies change, as do our cognitive abilities. Our circumstances change, the weather changes and so do the seasons. We change our minds, our clothes and our cell phones. Sometimes we embrace change, but sometimes change can feel daunting. The fear of the unknown and the anticipation of what might be can be paralyzing; the feeling of vulnerability can prevent us from moving forward.

But change is inevitable. I have been through an enormous amount of change in the past two years. Some of it was unanticipated and frightening, while some of it has been purposeful and has brought about a sense of freedom and peace.

Typically, when I enter a new decade I think about the goals I want to achieve for the next ten years. I am approaching a “big” birthday in August and instead of thinking about goals, I find myself thinking about what wonderful possibilities will open up in the next phase of life.

As retirement gets closer for some, and we experience the natural cycle of parents and in-laws passing away, the conversations I have with my friends has changed. Sometimes turning to the inevitable health scares we may be experiencing, as we collectively hold our breaths for one another until we hear the results of the test.

And still, many of us, including myself, feel ageless. We feel more confident about our bodies, and claim that confidence with the ease that alluded us in our younger decades. No longer trying to live up to society’s version of what size is beautiful.

I noticed that I’ve learned to embrace my ability to say, “no.” I’m calmer and much more confident in my writing and when I’m asked to speak to groups. I’ve learned to discern what is a fit for me as I continue to help support survivors of trauma and bring awareness to living with PTSD.

Change has brought the gift of new friends and has deepened the roots of long-time friendships. Change provides perspective. It has prepared me to understand when to let go, and when to fight. It has also taught me a great deal about self-respect and self-compassion. Beautiful, painful, and thought-provoking lessons.

I realize that nothing stays constant; there is always change, and that brings a sense of freedom and empowerment. Of late, that freedom has brought a sense of calmness. I’ve realized that part of experiencing a very lived life is catching the current and riding the winds of change.

image source: pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

The Gratitude of Friendship

When we get-together
and our first thought
is to give each other big-smushy hugs
because we are filled with the gratitude of friendship
it feels like the down of a favorite comforter.

Both of us present, talking authentically
about the stuff that matters
as the server quietly takes our plates.

Shoulders relaxed
we both exhale fully. We breathe…because
it’s safe
we get each other without judgment
total acceptance of who we each are.

When the tears well up in our eyes
and sometimes spill over because of life’s pain
or life’s happiness
it’s met with
open-heartedness and sweet empathy.

When the fear or suffering of illness
for ourselves or loved ones
comes sneaking into our lives
rest assured dear friend
that we are walking together, holding hands
on our sometimes dusty paths.

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

Pondering at 3 a.m.

At 3 a.m. this morning I was pondering the following…

Sitting at a crossroads. Your world has just crashed down around you. When the dust settles there has emerged two big shards that resemble paths. Each one reveals a choice.

One shard shines brightly in the middle to far distance. It offers a promise of a life well lived. Growth, change, showing up as your true authentic self. Vulnerable but with solid boundaries.

Although bright, those shards are extremely sharp, full of splinters and require conscious navigation. To pick that one requires hard work. Knowing with that commitment to do the work you will feel suffering. It’s painful as you look at things head-on and then do what is required to live the life you want to live. To be the person you want to be.

The other shard is smoother. Worn down to a pleasant sheen, some rough splinters, but they are easy to spot. That path entices you with the status quo. The worn out cushion and pillow that provides the comfort of sameness. The only work it requires if you choose it is that you’ll experience life as you know it. That can also be painful because you have chosen to commit to the way things are in your life.  You choose this because your habits, even if destructive at times can be comforting, even if the comfort is only for a moment.

Change can be scary. For some its that fear that keeps them comfortable in staying the course. Not easy, but comfortable. The habits of the mind, body, and soul are hard to break.

But, maybe behind you in the distance, a third shard has fallen and the crossroads has now offered another choice. Maybe there is a grayer, hazier choice. It has both the sharp shards of change to navigate and the rounder smoother call of status quo. Perhaps a middle way.

Could that be a possibility?  Maybe that’s the path that is more realistic and recognizes the personness in all of us? Perhaps, in reality, that is the path most of us are on. Weaving in and out of the need to change and the pull of status quo.

Maybe we don’t need to pick one or the other. Perhaps we pick all three of them. Take the time to rest on each one, to recognize our growth and reassess what and if we need to change.

I don’t know the answers…after all, it’s 3 a.m. and I probably should be sleeping.

When you experience your crossroads, which path do you choose? Or are you a traveler in life who can navigate all three?

image source: Pexels

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph