Hi there! I just wanted to let you know that I created a website dedicated to my Second Life wanderings instead of posting them here, since several subscribers aren’t interested in my online gaming pictures and information. If you are interested and would like to subscribe, my SL blog is https://breanamcdonnell.home.blog/ Thank you for all of the support and understanding in the meantime, and also for the feedback about separating my online gaming! I promise to write a full post here soon. In the meantime, I hope you can get your pampering on and have a wonderful day!
As I mentioned before, I’ve been using Second Life photography as a creative outlet as part of my recommended PTSD therapy. I am slowly getting better with editing, staging shoots, and uploading to Flickr. It actually had a secondary benefit recently! One of my favorite pose designers, ~X.T.C PoSes~, sent me a blogger’s box of poses they’ll be selling at The Chapter Four event in SL tomorrow, March 4th, for the ten days that it is open. It included a whole set of female poses, the Sweet as Candy set, and one couples pose, Peaceful Silence. It was totally unexpected and incredibly exciting, so I rushed out into the Grid to get creative. After a ton of pictures, I finally picked ones taken at our recently renovated home/landscape and Backdrop City, and dragged Luke into most of them to make little scenes. I’m really proud of my first “professional” set of SL pictures and my editing, so I decided to blog them instead of just adding to Flickr. If you’re on SL, I’d definitely recommended checking out the company and consider joining the group. Their bento poses work with very little adjustment, even with Bre in a Maitreya body and Luke in Signature’s Gianni. If you’d like to look at the photostream, please check out my Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/gp/124931994@N02/pqbZ6A. And yes, I have been in a bit of a Boho vibe and am totally obsessed with my Celtic and Elven combo body tattoo I bought at an event recently. *laugh*
The above were all taken at home. They are poses 3, 5, 4, 1, and 2, respectively. (Note, the 4th pose has two hand positions and this is the first, and is also my favorite shot out of these *smile*.)
These were taken at Backdrop City and thankfully I could drag Luke along to up the ante of the sweet poses. They are poses 5, 3, and a second take on pose 3, respectively.
This is the couples pose, Peaceful Silence, that we took at home. Note that they are poseballs, so it was super easy to move them into place over the lounger, so the limbs could hang over. I wasn’t so sure how to set the scene for this one, so I titled it as requesting at least a five minute massage please. *laugh* The exhausted look to the pose seemed to call for the dark windlight and filter.
All in all I had an absolute blast and was so honored to get to do this, especially when it’s so therapeutic for me, as well. It’s also a huge bonus to save money from buying more poses, so I can spend it on props for setting some scenes. It’s a way cheaper version of retail therapy and we all know I can use whatever therapy I can get right now. *cracking up* I hope you enjoy seeing some of my recent creative efforts and wish you a wonderful week! 🙂
While my immune system is slowly healing, I’m working on healing the shadows I’ve carried in my memories for so many years. Once I had my breakthrough that I blogged about last time, I decided to figure out what I needed in order to heal my immediate depressive issues, and now I am slowly opening the doors in the shadows to let each memory come out for me to deal with.
I wish I could say it’s been easy. Some parts have been incredibly empowering and others are just pieces that I needed to acknowledge in order to put them in the past, like memories of things my abusive ex did. I also had to let go of my own guilt and lay it at my ex’s feet, which I have to continually remind myself to do, after feeling guilty for everything that happened for 20 years now.
A few things with my healing have been some surprising needs that I have figured out, in order to move on. I realized that we needed to name the children and my awesome friend even helped me come up with a name for the adoption, since I am mourning the loss of the child that could have been and not the child that was placed with us. I also realized that I needed some type of small ceremony with our inner circle; one to publicly acknowledge and name each child for the first time, and to have that fellowship of grief and closure. Pinterest came to the rescue and I found the perfect idea to alter slightly to fit our needs. Following is the picture and explanation, since it is so much better with the wording.
Instead of the exact theme I am going to do a layer of colored glitter for each child. The jar I’ve been hoarding for years just because it’s cute finally has a purpose. It has a little spoon on the side and I will spoon out a little of each color as we acknowledge that child, and then we will spread the glitter. I’m still working with L to iron out the details and help me make this happen, but I haven’t been this sure of something being right for me for a long time.
Another step to empowerment is another tattoo. L and I have little matching tattoos on our ring fingers instead of wedding bands, and I was shocked I even did that. *laugh* Now I’m jumping in with both feet because it’s a tattoo that makes me feel incredible and I haven’t even had the consultation yet! One spot that has the least Fibro pain is my inner arm, so I am getting a half sleeve on my inner arm, from my elbow to my wrist. I trolled artist profiles and found someone that makes incredible collage type works of art, and I’m really hoping to get mine done by her. I decided I want to have a reminder to look at whenever it’s a hard day or I’m feeling down on myself, so it’ll have a variety of symbolism that I’m leave to her artistic mind to figure out how to put them together. I’ve always associated myself with Wednesday Addams, since I tend to be as anti-perky as her, and admittedly pretty morbid. In honor, and to make myself grin, I want a bottle of poison. For those of you that don’t have the movies memorized (I admit to not being fully caught up on the original television series, but the movies were part of my youth and I found a teen character I could identify with *grin*), anyway, in one of the movies Wednesday is seen drinking from a bottle of poison, which amuses the tarnation out of me for some reason. It’s also a great way to then give a reason to having a spoon included, to represent being a Spoonie. A random spoon would be weirder than even I am going for with this. *laugh* An apostrophe will also be included, probably close to a set of books, due to the symbolism.
One little symbol says all of that; a reminder through depression and even a great reminder that although our teen adoption path did not work out for us, we have other paths to walk in our journey and other choices. It also reminds me of how many tough times I have all ready had and the strong woman that I am today for surviving it all. One apostrophe says so many things to me and it can stay private or I can raise awareness for depression when asked to explain. As you can tell, I love hidden meanings and am over the moon that these are pieces of my new someday artwork.
I also want to somehow incorporate Phantom’s mask, along with books, since I need to wave my nerd flag at least a bit. *laugh* I kind of envision books at my wrist that open up and bits of my personality are flying up from the pages, in a watercolor or sepia surrounded area. I’d love to incorporate a quote or two that I love, but as L pointed out quite correctly the other day, I’d probably need to do that on the other arm, because I’m probably running out of room with all of my ideas. *grin*
So, it’s a little bit of a bittersweet post, but encouraging, that’s for sure! I’m quite impressed with my progress, for figuring out what I need in order to complete healing for each item, and even going into my mind’s shadows to face an item at a time. For the first time, regardless of what I’ve ever gone through, I actually feel brave. Just like the apostrophe means, I have a lot more of my story to live and write. One step at a time. 🙂
On St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago L and I started our journey side by side down the path of adoption. At first the path was a little rocky and felt like it would take forever. Once we completed our classes, were certified to become parents, and our house passed inspection (not to mention that it was move-in ready), we took our first steps into the forest that the path took us along.
My arms were full with two binders of information about adoption and girls around the US that were available for adoption, and a mind full of random parenting traumatized children facts, while I edged my way through the darkening forest behind him; his automatic tendency to protect me. The ground grew thick with slick moss and spindly tree limbs pulled at us as we kept going. Surely God would reward us for continuing along this horrible path.
So many times I’d think I saw the light for us, but was wrong, and L would have to hold me until the tears passed and try to caution me from letting my heart get involved while we were still in the forest. But I was in love with the idea of finally getting to be a mother, so a bit of my heart broke every time that light was just a trick of the forest.
Finally a very kind woman joined us and helped lead us out of the last bit of the woods, and my heart soared. We made it through the forest, we started the walk with distance between us but had grown closer throughout, and now we could enjoy the sunshine of the clearing, while we awaited our reward for working so hard and diligently. For my loving so much despite the pain.
For a few weeks it was absolutely incredible. There was a young lady to learn about, to take care of, and to work every day to make her know that she was loved and valuable. She said “I love you” and even called me “Mom”, yet I had to keep from sharing the highs and lows with the world. Until the papers would be signed at official placement, the edges of the clearing filled with shadows of all of the secrets about her that, by law, we were supposed to keep. The shadows of secrets became so thick it was hard to see beyond the clearing anymore, especially after the woman left and most of the time it was just the girl and I. One day I finally looked clearly into her eyes and saw Evil. I had narrowly escaped murder before and knew that look well, and knew deep down that my life of dreams, work, and family was about to collapse.
With the help of a friend who understood that Evil, I was able to tell L that I was scared and he immediately stopped the proceedings. I spent the next three months sitting in that clearing, shadow secrets and trees pulling at me, the sky as dark as ink nearly all of the time. L would come and hold me close, but no one can hold you close enough or be there for long when you live in Depression.
An illness contracted from being around the child, coupled with my weak immune system, left me on bed rest for well over a month, and left me in that shadowy world to think and mourn. (I just saw my world’s-best-doctor who is now treating it and my immune system is no longer under attack! Yay! I may actually get off bed rest soon!) Although I still don’t see a light and don’t know where the path from this place is quite yet, it’s not quite as dark now that I’ve been forced to face my fears and forced to mourn.
We never received the blessings that I expected, but in some ways we came away with different ones. 15 years after our vows and I love him more than I ever did before, plus we went through such horrible times that I’ve never felt closer to someone. I learned that it doesn’t take a child to make us a family – we have four fur babies and another one planned to adopt once the youngest two are out of their terrible twos, and we finally made our house a home. Together we make a family.
I also learned a very painful lesson about myself while being forced to face it all. I never truly mourned miscarrying my daughter from my first tango with Evil and was so caught up in the idea of a pre-teen or teen girl because I wanted to share those moments with her that I never got to share with Sierra. I never got to get a dress and her hair done for a formal dance, never got to take one of those holiday card family photos, or even got to plan out a themed birthday party. I missed those special moments that parents often take for granted. But I was just substituting another for the daughter and her moments that I missed out on. That was a hard pill to swallow and an extremely hard failing to admit to, especially putting it out there in the public. If it helps one person in their journey though, I’m thankful I had the strength to write it.
I felt such sorrow for that child with so many secrets and such pain, that I truly wanted to help that young lady. I was in love with being her mother though, not with her. If she didn’t have the other issues, I know I would have grown to love her, but now I don’t know how much would have been for her alone versus a stand-in for Sierra. I also can now see just how much she was manipulating me with the “I love you” and “Mom”, as well, which I would never have realized. As disappointed as I am in myself for motives I was unaware of, I know realistically that we both had severe failings in our motivations.
In those long hours in the darkness I also realized that I have never mourned the other two children that I lost because of my ex. I didn’t carry them as long and, in a way, it was just easier to not recognize that they had been a part of that horrible phase of my life. I had shoved that pain and knowledge deep into the shadows of my mind, and had done quite the job of keeping that corner sealed off. It’s ironic that it now hurts that I hadn’t mourned or allowed myself to think about them. One was my Angel while two were secrets that my mind tried to hide, because it hurt so much. Yet again I caught sight of that tarnished silver armor when I brought the subject up to L and he said they were just as special, just as much Angels, as Sierra, so I should memorialize them too. They deserved just as much, even if I didn’t get to carry them as long. Forget the roses and poetry for me; this is the type of gift a partner can give that can truly change and improve your life. I have a whole shelf and binders of poetry, but have never read something as touching as what he said that day.
I know I’ll be in the dark clearing for a while longer, but I have Faith that I’ll see the path out once I’m ready. It is sad and hurts that we went through such a long and difficult journey to get to this point, but I’m learning to be thankful. I don’t know that I could have ever realized that it’s us together that all ready makes our family, and I don’t know that I would have ever felt peace in that without this pain. There may (and that’s one mighty big may) be a fork in the road in the future, but I’m not in such a rush to get there now. I have a lot of myself to learn about that I had suppressed, I still need to get over the PTSD and horrific nightmares about my ex that Kiddo triggered, and I want to enjoy this time with L. I never expected to have such a loving and close relationship; we were Blessed after all, just not as we expected. Although part of me would still love to be a mother, I’m very thankful that God has better vision than I do.
The incorrect diagnosis of our potential child, and the subsequent danger from her, has unpacked a lot of the PTSD from my ex that I thought was long ago packed away in foot lockers in the recesses of my brain, with just a few touches from it still evident in my personality. It’s rather amazing how much your mind can help hide when needed, but packs one helluva wallop when the shadows come to light.
For a long time I blocked that I knew where my ex was planning to dump my body after the attempted murder. Sadly I find myself in those fields, just off the highway going around Lawrence, in my nightmares at least once a week. I don’t know now which one of them is who triggers my brain to send me crashing through the thick weeds and brush, falling over my battered body. I can see the necklace of bruises along my pale throat, dark fingerprints contrasting sharply even in the limited light. I remember seeing them in the mirror all those years ago and trying to cover them up. Sometimes, after any of the nightmares, I can see the necklace again for a few minutes when I look in the mirror after splashing water on my face to wash away the tears. I’m thankful that the image fades quickly and the memory slides back away for a while, but honestly don’t know which is harder to cope with – my mind playing tricks during current time and seeing them in the mirror again or stumbling over my dead body in my dreams. At least in my nightmares a little part of me knows that this is the would-have-been version of me and didn’t happen.
Most of my other nightmares feature her in some way, usually ending with that predatory look in her eye and the inky black aura slipping along the floor toward me. I’m slowly learning to mourn the loss of the dream of adopting our preteen daughter and those hopes for that life, but the coping of how things turned out has been impossible so far, because that look and her suddenly violent aura always cling to each effort.
Pre-adoption is filled with so many secrets bound by the confidentiality statements signed, too, so few can even fathom how things went so very wrong so suddenly. It’s sad that after a lifetime of trying to be a good person, worthy of this happy family dreamed about, that others question our character and blame us for things not working out. In some ways I think that hurts more than all of the loss, and it brings back the shame of the PTSD caused by being a victim of abuse. In a very painful way it brings back the feelings of guilt, shame, and regret of domestic violence. It doesn’t have to make sense; it just is what it is and is there to deal with, all over again. Someone I trusted and loved deeply texted to me that we deserved for the adoption to fail, because of our poor character, when they didn’t even stop and try to learn the circumstances. For all this time I thought rape was the ultimate violation of my being, but I’m realizing that it’s actually the questioning of my character. Like proving it wasn’t my fault that he raped me or wanted to kill me. I’m now expected to prove that the adoption was stopped by us, for reasons so very far out of our control, and I’m finding it hard again to trust anyone beyond the select few that gave immediate, unwavering support without asking for that proof first. My practical side realizes this is being strongly swayed by my PTSD from before, but it’s almost impossible to step beyond that right now. And it scares me that now it’s snowballed into a much bigger issue that even with my Victim Advocacy and TIPS-MAPP training I am ill-prepared to handle.
I know that this is going to be a long and difficult journey, and that I have some incredible people to be there when I need a hand to hold along the way, but at least there’s one good part of the frequent mental attacks. I have finally realized that I am worthy of being treated right. I won’t be thankful for the scraps of love and attention from some, as I have been in the past. I am me and proved my character, and worth, a long time ago, and I can finally see that. L has tried to show me for so many years, but for some reason I could never see my worth or even why I’d be worthy of love. Thankfully he stayed around despite the baggage, despite the poor self esteem, and despite my belief in his ability to love me. No matter how these shadows from the abuse and the child change me, nothing will ever be able to take away my knew knowledge that I am worthy of true loving and kind behavior, and that I don’t have to be okay with being manipulated or strung along with tiny bits of attention in order to feel loved. And I know now, without a doubt, that I have good character that I have shown through my actions over the years, so I don’t need to prove myself to anyone ever again. Although coping with the PTSD will be a long and hard road, at least I can close some old baggage and am growing stronger with each lesson this journey teaches me.
On what is considered the happiest holiday of the year, a lot of people struggle with depression and even suicidal ideation. Instead of the happy holidays posts you’re probably more used to seeing, I am attaching a link to a sermon about depression.
If you know me well, you know that I have Faith, but I don’t associate myself with a specific religion, and am really open-minded. The perfect words and message can come from any religion right when you need it, in my opinion. I got really lucky and one of my incredible friends shared this sermon with me, which I asked if I could share here, just in case anyone out there needs to hear this message right now, too.
Again, I am not affiliated with this religion and honestly don’t listen to sermons often, but the message about depression is so incredible that I hope it also helps someone out there in internet-land too. Apparently I seriously suck at embedding the video itself, so please click here to get directed to the sermon page with the video. *smile* And please do not hesitate to privately contact me if you need a depression/ideation “buddy”. Having them myself has literally saved my life.
Just in case you need it, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 (US) and at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Before you act on your thoughts, please reach out. And please do not let this make you feel guilty or like you are a bad person for these feelings/thoughts. It tore me apart for a spell until my friend provided the link to the sermon. You are still a good person, no matter what your mind says right now.
Also, thank you to the incredible friends and family that have been so supportive through this rocky time. I forget to log in to different medias and am so bad at timely responses, but your support means the world to me and I am sincerely thankfully for you. Y’all make me as warm and fuzzy feeling as my plush onesies that I practically live in right now. *grin*