Monthly Archives: January 2018
While the medicine is keeping my symptoms at bay, I’ve decided to write about my latest step toward empowerment. Settle in for a long one. I tried to shorten it as much as I could. 🙂
I saw my disability psychiatrist last week; we’ll call her “H” for being such a huge help my learning to cope with becoming disabled so young, just as my career was truly starting. During some of the sessions we’ve discussed how sometimes the symptoms from Fibro can trigger my PTSD from the abuse I suffered years ago. That’s when I realized that a lot of the things I did over the years was to empower myself, so that he couldn’t have control ever again, and why I’m such a control freak.
Although we don’t discuss my ex that often, I had to go over the main parts of the abuse, over and over again, as part of the adoption process. They want every little detail of your life, which I don’t begrudge them for, since they’re trying to find good homes for these children and to keep them safe. Plus, sometimes an adopting parent that has been abused is like a ticking time bomb for their PTSD to kick in while helping a child cope with their own trauma. Thankfully I’ve learned a lot and will be able to handle it, since I’ve been dealing with PTSD from several life events. I’ve worked hard to understand abuse, so I got my certification in Victim’s Advocacy, and then I worked to never be weak enough to be a victim again, mentally or physically.
At the previous appointment H and I discussed how I can’t allow my illness and disability to define me, and she blew my mind when she pointed out that I’ve been angry for so long. Anger at losing the life I was on track for before my relapse, anger at having physical weaknesses again, and anger that I had to lose my career that would have helped improve our financial situation, so I wouldn’t feel so guilty for L having such a burden on his shoulders. Although I felt it, I never was able to realize that it was anger at my disability that made me frustrated so often. And that I had never truly mourned the losses in order to move on. Losing that life and all of the dreams that went with it; they’ll never be my path and I will have different abilities, choices, and paths that I will take. With the mourning I also need to deal with the associated triggers and work on my PTSD before I can help Kiddo.
So I worked for months to let go and mourn each piece. I still have trouble sometimes with dealing with my inability to visit friends when I want to, or the independence of driving anywhere if I wanted to, not being able to access all of my knowledge at times, and most especially my physical weakness. Mourning my previous life and trying to embrace my new path became very empowering, and when we decided to adopt I decided that I wanted to be a good female role model for her – I want to show her that no matter what she went through, we can take back the control and stop being a survivor or victim. I hope my being empowered will help her to tap into her potential and find her happiness. I don’t want her past traumas to define her life, either, so if I can work through mine, I can help her through hers…I hope and pray.
During last week’s conversation H also asked how I will handle my PTSD being possibly triggered by Kiddo’s traumas, especially if I will have to help her work through the same traumas I suffered. Thankfully I have a great support system of loved ones that can step in, if needed, but I also truly believe a quote I was sent that basically said that I had survived because God had plans ahead where I would use that knowledge and compassion. However, I admit that there are a lot of unexpected triggers and I am slowly working through them. The waiting period triggered a lot of my fears and my greatest fear now is that my ex could come after Kiddo.
I know it will shatter me if he decided to punish me by hurting what I value; it’s the specialty of an abuser, and after seeing me mourn the loss of Sierra, our daughter, he will know that I’d rather die than lose Kiddo. With his twisted justifications, what if my traumatized Kiddo ever gets attacked or raped by him because of me? Until H and J talked about it I didn’t realize how much that fear had taken hold of me. It took a long time for him to stop stalking me; even L didn’t realize that we were stalked during outings in our first couple of years. I don’t know if any other girl ever managed to get away from him, if any other girl ever stood up to him like I did once I had given up…I don’t know if a switch can suddenly flip and make him decide to revisit that hatred and find me again. And now my info is out there after I hid it for so many years; social media has made it difficult to stay in the shadows.
“Know thine enemy”, so I know he moved back into the state and where he currently lives. He isn’t even an hour away. It would be easy to take up the stalking again, especially when I never understood what triggered him to become fixated the first or second time.
Without fully acknowledging where my risk analysis and PTSD trigger had taken me, I became terrified of being the cause for more trauma to Kiddo. When I finally realized it is when H leaned toward me and said I needed to stop giving him that power, if I want to teach Kiddo to learn from her trauma and to grow. I can’t actually teach that to her when I’m giving someone else the power to make me afraid again. And, when it comes down to it, my fear won’t protect Kiddo. I have to focus on letting go of fear and feel strong again, so I can be living proof for Kiddo that the trauma can teach us how to become even stronger. If we can both take away the power of victimizing us from everyone in our pasts, I’ll truly be able to help empower my daughter to mourn her losses and not let life’s challenges define her.
With that frighteningly vulnerable post I am going to turn on Fun’s “Carry On” and snuggle in my favorite blanket. Time to pamper myself a bit. 🙂
If you need help working through your abuse, please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (if you live in USA). The Hotline and 911 can and will help you if you are currently being abused. It seems impossible now, but it gets better, I promise, and if you need help working through it, a nerdy stranger on the internet will be there for you if you reach out.
I’m really sick today (Fibro is NOT proud of me for getting out 3 times in one week!), so instead of responding to readers as I had planned, or writing that empowerment post, I’m going to post some pins that really amuse me. I think we all could use a few smiles, even if you save this until your sick day.
The following I would LOVE to do for our adoption announcement, when that dream ever becomes a reality, but I don’t have the nerve to be a Smart aleck like this…
And the next ones I can SO imagine L doing for Kiddo…
The last is one I have always thought was an odd saying and I laugh every single time I read this one. This is how my mind works, folks. And I finally found someone else posting the same kinds of thoughts. LOL
Healthy and happy wishes to everyone! 🙂
Today my mom and I went to the Moscow Festival Ballet of Cinderella. It was so beautiful and although second row seats are usually great, they’re not so awesome for ballets because it turns out the stage is too high for you to see the footwork, but the rest of their bodies and movements were incredible. Well, you know what I mean. Lol I had gambled last year and bought a ticket for Kiddo also, thinking there was no way that we’d still be in the second stage of this process instead of having visitation, so that she could share in this. The empty chair made it a little bittersweet, but I totally recommend seeing this ballet if they come anywhere near you (we were about an hour away from the venue).
Here’s their blurb:
“Moscow Festival Ballet: Cinderella
The world-famous Moscow Festival Ballet presents Cinderella. Often considered the finest achievement of the classical ballet, this piece offers a grandiose and refined blending of traditional mime, expressive pas d’action and spectacular divertissements in a lavish theatrical setting.
The Moscow Festival Ballet was founded in 1989 by Sergei Radchenko, legendary principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet. Radchenko brought together the elements of the great Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies in an independent company. Since its inception, the group has toured internationally to great acclaim.”
Watch their video here! (Toward the bottom of the page.)
It was a beautiful experience and I’m so glad that I got to share it with my mom, since she is just learning to love ballet, which added an extra level of awesomeness to the afternoon! I hope that at least one of the next two performances that we have bought a teen ticket for will actually get to have Kiddo there to share the experience during one of our visitations. *crossing fingers*
If there’s one take away from this, please get seats at least 5 rows back if you’re going to see a ballet. You might be amazed at how early you hit the ticket sales and managed to snag center, close seats, but try to learn from my mistake. 🙂
I have a great post about Empowerment that I want to write and share, but I was prescribed a new medication and I’m a bit groggy. Tomorrow my mom and I are going to see a Russian Troupe’s performance of Cinderella over in Lawrence, so I’ll try to do today’s post tomorrow, pick which pics turned out well at the event, and then share about the ballet on Monday. So exciting!! The only downside is that we hoped to all ready be in the visitation stage, so months ago when I bough the tickets I also got one for her. Hopefully they are able to come back next year, so that I can share this with her as planned. We don’t get too many of the cultural events here that I remember from my childhood in CA, like professional ballets and professional Irish Step Dancers, which is the gamble for next month. You’ll probably hear my rant across the whole nation if that ticket also goes unused. Lol
Anyway, I’m sure that tonight’s post doesn’t have much substance and that I’m really spaced out. I’m sure my body will be adjusted in another day or two. In the meantime, I hope you are having a wonderful weekend and get to enjoy a little pampering!
Plum Hair Chalk
Today was an intense day that I’ll share after mulling over some of it and sleeping off my first dose of a new medication. So, this will be brief and actually only contain one subject. How about that?! I can actually focus on one thing. Lol I have no logo for it, but this post will be about hair chalk. 🙂
I am actually blessed to have an incredible disability psychiatrist that really understands how my mind works, gives me great resources, and has helped me to empower myself (which will most likely be discussed a lot in my next post). Anyway, even if I’m not doing well physically, just knowing that I’m going to see her puts me in a great mood and I tend to have extra energy, from the mental boost, to put a little more effort into getting ready. So today I decided to try out the Sugar Plum Vibrant hair chalk, especially since I played with adding some curl to the new haircut. Only one spot truly showed the plum and that’s where I usually have a small white streak I developed after the abuse, which my dye turns into a soft brown highlight. Apparently chalk adheres to that better as well. *laugh* Overall, either it couldn’t be seen at all or it just gave a soft red undertone to the dark brown overall color. It is still fun and easy to work with, but I definitely recommend that you either have the ability to keep your arms up and apply quite a bit to make it vibrant, or else use it on lighter hair. Since the gold went so well and actually looked great with my complexion, I’m looking at adding some gold/light brown streaks in permanent. The pics totally didn’t turn out well (my hair got all sorts of wild with the high winds and I didn’t have time to take pics before we left unfortunately lol), and like I said, there’s one tiny spot on what will be the right side of the pics, that is clearly visible. At least it gives you an idea if it might work for you though.
I applied it almost equally to how I did the gold, to keep the experiment as accurate as possible. I have to admit that I like the light tone it gave to the hair at my crown, although I would have loved for a red or plum tone instead, but it’s a good, warm tone.
So there you have it! If you have darker hair, gold is the clear winner in my book when using Splat dry hair chalk. Now time to sleep my afternoon away. *grin* Happy Pampering!
Blog Post Theme Logos
A warm welcome to all of the new followers of my crazy blog! I’ve had some time on my hands and noticed that some of you started following my blog after specific types of posts. Since my creativity can be a bit…um…diverse, yeah, that’s a good word for it, from day to day, I decided to create a little logo pic at the top of each post. It’s a lot easier and quicker to see than the category, and it lets you see at a glance if it’s the information you’re interested in. I’m hoping you’ll check out the others, but know that reading time can be short and valuable, so if you’re specifically interested in a topic, hopefully these will help you!
Expect a few changes to them along the way, most likely, because I’m me and can’t leave things alone. *laugh* Plus, if I find a glitter version of something, I’ll jump on that new icon or background immediately. 🙂
I will have a specific logo with a category name at the top. If it works for the guest bloggers, we’ll also use the font and icon from the general category for their own contribution logo, as well, at the end. That’s a concept we’re still playing with. I can promise there will be “This recipe post contributed by…” with a little icon will be at the end of each guest post. I want them to get the credit due to them and it allows for some extra creativity in the post format.
If any followers find these changes annoying, difficult with your browser, or you even have input on what might be a better version, please don’t hesitate to leave your input. It’s just an idea I’m trying out to hopefully help streamline and improve the experience for some of the readers. 🙂
Although I have some that are still far from being decided (I have 10 versions of one, that I narrowed down from probably 25, so it’ll take me just a bit longer and help from others to pick a few of these themes, but I wanted to share a few with you. Some will be a clear background that just blends into the website theme, depending on your viewer/device platform, while some will have white or colored backgrounds, so those will look like a regular ole picture at the top with the category theme. Please let me know in comments if you have a preference, if you have time.
Without further delay, a few teasers (meaning there’s a good chance they’ll change within the next 36 hours lol)…
I’m still really torn on what type of icon I’d like for that theme.
I couldn’t resist using my two favorite monster-themed products for the icons for when I discuss the Monster Line!
These are an 85% probability of getting used. I obviously will work on getting them all a bit more uniform in size, but I’m just trying to get the basics down for now.
I’m really torn or using a real product pic (although it’ll probably be one like the glitter bars or something that is staged and photographed a bit better *laugh*); I like the simplicity of a simple logo too, though, since I make such a wide variety (although I hope to do a category icon for each type of product or line that’s listed for sale, as well, once I finally renovating my site. Like I said, so many thoughts and so easily distracted by other possibilities…
These two are my current contenders, although I’m also considering one with my scrubs or lotion. I love the Celtic look to the first one and the Ooh la la impact of the second one.
This app has so many options I literally go down the rabbit hole for hours, saving different fonts, colors, icons, wording, and backgrounds. Anyway, that’s just a little peek at what I’m playing with while I’m down for the count for a bit due to some injuries from a fall yesterday morning (not serious, but just need a little time for the pain to die down and the muscles to have a little more use again). I hope you have a wonderful day and that your 2018 habits are slowly and surely coming along! 🙂
New Favorite Things
I thought today I’d share a few more favorite things that I have come across. I’ve added the Amazon links to each item, embedded in the name, so in theory the shopping page will open in another page for your convenience. This is a hair related group, for the first time.
First up, is Schwarzkopf Keratin Color Anti-Age Hair Color Cream in Intense Cocoa. This brand is a little more pricey than I used to go for, but I gave it a try once because I wanted a dark brown to cover up the white hairs cropping up and get rid of the color I had last played with that was too light. Anyway, I was incredibly impressed with how soft this made my hair, the gorgeous tones when the light catches it, and it doesn’t smell or feel harsh to me at all (and y’all know how sensitive I am!). They have a variety of colors and even another variety of dye, but I love the Keratin version.
Next, I’ve really been considering highlights or a bit of balayage to help give my pixie cut some definition and dimension. It tends to blend really well once it is dry and becomes a helmet of hair instead of being able to see the strands I played with to get some umph. I decided to give hair chalk a try, so I can play with some colors without worrying like I’m going through a midlife crisis if we have to meet the social worker on short notice. *laugh* It took me a little learning curve of a few minutes, because I had watched the wrong tutorial which was for the stick chalks and not the powder compacts, so I had to change up what I expected to do. *facepalm* Anyway, Splat has always had some outrageously tempting hair colors and I haven’t been able to try them because my hair won’t survive the bleach needed for the vivid colors. Splat came out with really easy chalks though in a variety of colors and you can control the intensity, location, and you can even layer the coloring (although I haven’t tried that yet). I first tried out Sun Kissed (gold) upon my aunt’s recommendation, which I would never have dared to do before in fear of looking jaundiced, but it turned out great! Next I will be trying out the Sugar Plum color. They may be near the same cost as a cheap hair dye (which I stopped buying as I got older and my hair became a little more delicate), but they last several rounds (especially for shorter hair), they wash right out that day, and you can change things up any which way you want. Lighter hair like blonde will show all of the pastels, but it’s nigh on impossible to show with really dark hair (especially with the intense cocoa as the base; by the way, it’s totally okay to use this chalk a day or two after you dye your hair as long as your hair is in good condition, even!). If you have a chronic illness that you have to take medicine for, then you probably know that dye tends to do some interesting things in your hair that might not happen when your friend uses the same product. My hair dresser once told me it’s because the strand itself is affected by illnesses and medications, so some products cling more (I’m talking about you temporary wash out dye!) and some products barely last a few hours (I’m looking at you, Splat Washables – btw, NEVER use a Washables on a hot day when you’re going to get sweaty. I was unfortunately using a red tone and looked like I had a head wound when I started to sweat under my hair and it dribbled out!). This chalk has low commitment, is easy to apply (although it gets everywhere while applying since it’s powdery, so be prepared for that), and you just use hairspray to make it “set”.
As you can tell, I started to enjoy myself after a few strokes and got a little heavy handed. It sure gave my cut some dimension though and helped to show off the layers. My screen saver is slightly over the FaceTime camera, so pics facing me come out a bit funky and bright, but in person the gold really pops, especially with a fresh cocoa dye job.
If they come out with green, I’m going to buy that so fast! I think it’d be fun, especially for one of the two Celtic performances I’m going to this year, and I have hazel eyes, so the green will really bring the green pigment in my eyes out without me having to cry finally. Yay! I may actually play with the “real” chalks soon that are all similar to the oil pastels I used to do art with, just so I can see how green and maybe violet would look on me, but for now, these are my favorites, in case you’re interested in having a little fun changing things up!
I hate to say it, but please don’t pamper yourself with a nice candlelit bath while you have chalk in your hair. I know I usually encourage you to pamper yourself, but bringing a little fun and punk into your hair is enough pampering for that day. Wash it out and then pamper yourself. You’ll be cleaning for hours otherwise and that’s totally not in my pamper thyself way of life. 😉
Just a Little Fun
After such an emotional post yesterday (ended up finishing today, but that’s because it took almost two hours for me to finish writing it! lol), I decided that today I just want to post a few fun things. First, I cut off all my hair a few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, and on the way to a hockey game with friends and Scouts, I had some fun with Snapchat. Yep, I’m still learning and making sure I don’t forget how to use it by the time we get Kiddo. Of course, I’ll have probably ten more teen used apps to learn by then, but in the meantime, enjoy some funny pics, especially since we don’t like to have our pic taken (although we’re working on it, since there will be lots of family pictures taken!).
(My pic is about two months old there and no, I’ve never been daring enough to wear dark makeup. *grin*)
I found this pin one day and it was perfect for me. I am incredibly challenged when it comes to directions, spatial awareness, and navigation. I have an excuse though! They have actually made a connection to Fibro being a likely cause, since our brains are kind of incorrectly wired. Plus, I think “take a left at the big tree just past the red barn, then a right after the vet’s clinic, and then go straight for a couple of miles until you finally see a mailbox on the left side – take a right and go up that driveway” is a completely viable form of directions. *laugh* I learned a long time ago to pass the direction giving on to others. I’d be worse than the sat-nav telling you to turn right when it’s now a lake. I admit my failings. 🙂
We Made a Little Progress
The wait during the adoption process is killer. I’m going to be very straightforward about that and I’ve had a really hard time handling it, especially with the take control kind of personality I developed. I have a sincere belief that the only reason I survived some of my struggles is because God was preparing me for this journey. I went through different traumas to prepare me to help my girl through hers.
Now, please bear with me since this is going to take me a while to write, because I’m not good about being this vulnerable. We still haven’t gotten far, but it turns out that it has taken longer than expected because there was a massive computer issue that caused problems on our profile and it snowballed. However, the silver lining is what matters. As the wait continued we began to worry that we had been rejected for some reason and it finally got to the point that I was absolutely terrified of it deep down, although I kept trying to hold onto that hope. When they contacted us about the computer issue and what things they needed, etc., our case worker officially said that we are in the process. There’s a lot more ahead, but finally some confirmation and now we wait for the next step. From there we use my training and God’s direction, and we will get our missing piece. I will be a mom. I hoped, I dreamed, and I tried to prepare in every way I could come up with during that down time, but I was still so scared underneath. I’ve gotten used to wearing a mask because of my Fibro; “It’s my mission to get through everyday doing the best that I can. When you say I look ‘perfectly fine’, I know I am succeeding! I have years of experience with this now…and because you do not see the pain that I am in, I know that I am accomplishing my best. So, thank you!” (Fibro Affirmations, specific author unknown.) Since I’m so used to my Fibro mask, it wasn’t so hard to put on my “It just takes time” face, apparently. And I tried to mask it inside so that I wasn’t so aware of my fear, so that I could keep pushing and preparing. Now my second mask can come off and I can have full faith that I get to be “mama bear”. *grin* Who knows how much longer it’ll still take to get to that next step, but it’s in writing. We’re going to get there. We’re going to be parents.
While I was desperately trying to cling to hope and belief, L gave me the most beautiful Christmas gift to keep me going during such a hard time. He flew my best friend since childhood from California to host a Motherhood Shower for me. (A Motherhood Shower is like a Baby Shower, but they’re celebrating that rite of passage into motherhood that most adoptive mothers never get. People celebrate, give gifts, encouragement, and advice with a biological child. Or even with people that adopt babies. The age shouldn’t matter; this is still my first daughter and will always be my first child, no matter if we adopt another or not. I will be her mother for the rest of our lives, through the good and the bad, no matter what.)
I cropped out the details and names, but that was the theme and those were my colors. 1800 miles and we were able to do a bang up job of coordinating a neat little Shower, and it was truly a celebration of my journey into Motherhood. Best of all, getting to be with her for several days after nearly fourteen years without face to face contact, gave me such faith and hope. Not just in the adoption either, but in being strong through the struggles with my Fibro progression, my fear of failing Kiddo because of my illness, and so many more things that are so vulnerable that I’ve only ever talked with her about them. Some of them I never admitted to anyone else and worked through them with her help, and will never discuss them again unless my daughter needs to hear what I went through and how I got through all of it.
Back to the Shower now that I have cleared that annoying water that was pooling in my eyes (nope, I wasn’t crying. I don’t cry. Nope. I’m just going to keep saying that until I believe I’m just that tough. lol). I used to think I lost a lot of friends due to Fibro, but what really happened was that I learned who my true friends are, and some of those special people are family for us and will be for Kiddo. They’re the family we chose, so right from the get go Kiddo knows it’s not about the genes for us. It’s about love and friendship. And a small group of our family and friends came to my Shower. It really couldn’t have been better, other than having more time for some (I picked a day that had a bunch of stuff going on that I didn’t know about, which made it extra hard for some to attend the Shower, and made it extra special that they did). We went all out with pink and black, and glitter, oh my! *happy sigh* It was a slow prep process, but it really helped keep me working on the adoption in some way, which kept that flame of hope alive. As the invite says it was a cocoa buffet, so we had the most decadent and delicious hot cocoa (I’ll share the recipe later), with tons of mix-ins, and a few snacks, plus my mom got me the most perfect cake shaped like a puzzle piece, since our theme has been that we’ve been looking for our missing puzzle piece.
Sorry, had to take a pause and look at the ceiling. Might have been a cobweb to watch for. Not because I was teary eyed or anything, so stop thinking that! It was all so perfect for me. Intimate, loving, an amazing host that kept the pressure off of me, the encouragement, the games, and the most beautiful tradition of sending our hopes for Kiddo and my motherhood journey out into the world. It wouldn’t have been quite so perfect without L’s gift. Not just because she’s the best coordinator and host in the world, hands down, but because she’s a huge part of this adoption. When I was faltering in my faith due to another set of struggles there was no judgement, just love, compassion, and help. And that, plus the little bits of the Shower that we have up as reminders, helped me get through until we got the official confirmation that we will adopt. We. Will. Adopt. I just needed those reminders of His handiwork while preparing us for this new chapter in our lives. And next, a few pictures of our little set up…
As you can see, even Skully got in on the party, although I’m sure he wasn’t too thrilled to be in a frilly women’s masquerade mask, but he’s been dressed up in different things all year long for years, so I couldn’t leave him out. And all of those little hand painted puzzle pieces that were used as table scatter…my friend had the most brilliant idea of filling an empty candle tumbler with them, so they’re right by the tv and a constant reminder of our beautiful puzzle piece that we will get to meet someday. And next is the cake, now that my eyes aren’t so itchy. *grin*
I had to keep the party very intimate, so if you weren’t invited, it isn’t that you were snubbed, please believe me. We weren’t sure until a few weeks before that the Shower would get to actually take place and all venues were booked by then, so it had to be a tiny crowd that could fit in our cozy little living room. And this wasn’t the official Adoption party that everyone will be invited to. This was for me, my journey, and how best to help my daughter when we start out. If Kiddo agrees to an Adoption party, believe me, there will be a total loss of control and I’m going to go hog wild with a big ole party to celebrate her!!