What I’d Tell My 7-Year-Old Self

You are beautiful and worthy and perfect just as you are. Follow your heart and don’t lose your passion.
ALWAYS choose feeling over numbing, no matter how terrifying.

Don’t let your tears frighten you, Little One. They are a gift from God Himself.

These efforts will require more bravery than you can imagine or even comprehend right now.

SO LET’S MAKE A PACT:

YOU promise ME you’ll never give up, and I can promise YOU we’re going to be okay.

I’ve seen and lived our future: we survive, but it doesn’t turn out the way we planned.
I’m sorry about that.
I tried very hard, but I just wasn’t strong enough.
It’s called Failure.
Failure” happens when, as a Big Girl, you realize all of those happy, hopeful movies you made in your mind are never going to happen.
In that moment of Despair, when you notice your Dreams are slipping away,
LET THEM GO!!
Unfulfilled Dreams don’t hurt as much once you’ve learned to forget them.

Lastly, and this is what the dictionary calls a “cliché,”:

Life is SO short, Little One.

Every moment feels forever when you’re young.
Somewhere along the line, the pace picks up and Life starts playing in fast-forward.
Time attempts to escape our grasp, and we never have enough of it.
People often behave strangely when they recognize this truth.
I know us well enough by now that I can assure you we don’t deliberately treat others badly.
Instead, we’re more haunted by the risks and chances we DIDN’T take than by the poor choices we DID.

So please, I beg you:
STOP worrying about all the things you should, shouldn’t, could, couldn’t, can, can’t, will, won’t, or might do and…
JUST DO
❣️


PS. You’ll be DOing us both a huge existential favor
(try to remember to “Google” ‘existential” one day; I know you’ll find the topic interesting)

REPOST

For Debbie, My Therapist

August 2020

I get my head shrunk each week by woman named Debbie

She helps me to process my grief once I’m ready

Her empathy provides me with a safe place to land

I appreciate how she relates and always understands

Those thoughts that lead me down a path of despair

Always seem more powerful, out of reach in the air

We combat them with “mindfulness”, a tool I’ve just found

With it we lasso these fears to the ground

Once my pain’s in the room, we then can dissect

It from a distance that helps me reflect

On the hurts I have felt all through the years

And in the process I purge many tears

We use hip techniques like “E-M-D-R”

Other times she affirms me and treats me with warmth

I feel quite secure when I talk in her presence

She’s someone I trust with my thoughts most unpleasant

When we look back, we see choppy waters

The hurts from my past, both the grief and the bothers.

I know I have found the best-equipped guide

To help me to cope and bad thoughts exorcise

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez. Thank you, Priscilla!

What the Enneagram has Taught ME About ME

After binging on videos, audiobooks, and other digital media about All Things Enneagram, I’ve come to a few revelations about myself. And all I can say is: THANK GOD FOR MY TRAUMAS!!

Because:

1. I’m so charming and relatable and [was once so incredibly] accomplished

2. That I could easily become narcissistic, shallow and depraved, especially since I also

3. Look to others to provide me with my sense of self-worth, while still feeling like

4. A misunderstood and highly-individualized person, who can get tired of suppressing who I am for millions of years, to the extent that

5. If I become too unhealthy, I could turn into one of the most ruthless, depraved, and sadistic mass murderers the world has ever known.

Yeah, lite read.

So let’s all break out the bubbly that I’ve been so severely traumatized, my flesh and blood flayed and then bathed in acid, leaving only a skeletal husk to commemorate my existence.

Things to Always Remember

Journal from July, 2021

• I’m gifted and can’t lose my gifts.

• I’m physically beautiful, period.

• I’m worthy because I’m human – full stop.

• When I’m being hard on myself, I need to cease and desist and start describing myself as a friend. I must be NICE to her!

• Leaves on a Stream for 5-10 minutes.

• Breathe in colors and textures and life and breathe out rapacious, enveloping darkness.

• Engage by: how my body feels, what I hear around me, what I see around me. Focusing on the here and now and what’s in front of me.

• Practice mindfully doing things: I must do things I don’t like in a mindful way, do things I DO like in a mindful way (focus without “psychological smog” hijacking my mind and leeching my life of color), and practice doing everyday tasks mindfully.

Please don’t think I’m vain, you guys! I’d hate to think anyone thought that. This is my therapy I give to myself. I thought perhaps my notes from – and individual additions to – a few tricks I learned from Audible’s “Confidence Gap” book might make you feel better, too❣️

Lavish & Ravish Me (2019)

Pour out your heart and with it do lavish
Your love onto me, and my body please ravish.

The strength of your presence, it beckons me close;
Banishing fear that leaves me exposed.

Yet with you my exposure is no cause for shame:
I feel full of beauty when you breathe my name.

The confidence you engender calls out to my heart,
And tells me it’s fine that I don’t want to part.

Instead, what I want is to grow a great union
Of mind, soul, and spirit in True Cosmic Fusion.

No longer searching for places to hide,
As all that I am warms to beckon you inside.

Again and Again and Again. Forever.

The Upcoming Anniversary of My Father’s Death

Journal 10/26/2021

The first anniversary of my father’s death is in 6 days, on 10/31/21.

It feels like all of the anger, shock, outrage, and righteous indignation have run their course. And now I just want to cry for a month straight.

About what we both missed as children. No one ever “mirrored” his emotions during his stoic West Texas childhood: how would he ever know to mirror mine?

How could he know that by silencing me, I never told anyone what I was truly feeling or what was truly happening?

It doesn’t change the fact that he left me alone to process a suite of emotions too complex for a small child to process on her own.

As a result, the arbiter of my worth was transferred from Me (worth self-motivated) to Whomever I Was With (worth tied to external approval).

My chaotic childhood turned me into a chameleon I often feared was dead and bone dry on the inside. I would now call that kind of person a “cypher.” Unfortunately, my emptiness isn’t easily filled. Some have tried, but none have succeeded (or stayed, for that matter). They never stay. I wish my emptiness was filled by a plain old human being, but it feels endless sometimes.

I already feel like I’ve cried enough. Isn’t 500+ months of crying enough?

Well, isn’t it?

For once, I honestly don’t know how I feel inside.

Torn? Conflicted? No.

Spent.

But still begging to be set free. Promising I’ll never tell. Pleading for my life.

Little Girl: You have nothing to say. Quit crying or I’ll give you something to cry about. And while we’re at it: you’re the most hopelessly unathletic AND the most self-centered person I’ve ever known. Look how you start every sentence with the word ‘I’” [insert ubiquitous eye roll of contempt].

You know what? I changed my mind.

YOU GO AHEAD AND STAY DEAD, Sweet Daddy.

Please just STAY IN HELL!

I beg you to leave me alone for a year – just a year!!

Please, could I have one last year?

It’s ALL I want left in this life: One Last Year of Freedom from Your Voice Before I Die.

I don’t give a DAMN about your money! All I want is for you to…

SHUT THE FUCK UP!!

My Ideal Date: The Key to My Heart

Booking a private karaoke room so I can sing about 6 hours’ worth of songs in my shitty voice to ONE OTHER LIVING PERSON. And not freaking out if I cry in some of them. I’m talking about the kind of tears that come with some snot.

I know it will be hard to recover from the snot part, but should he find himself able:

It really bothers me that I can’t see the stars at night anymore. I used to see them every night when I parked my car in the driveway when I was a teenager in Atlanta, Georgia.

I just want to go see the stars in the sky again. That’s the key.

P.S. The Karaoke comes with lots of dancing. So there’s always that.

Let me introduce you to my ghost: her name is Desiree

Desiree was the most lovely soul you could ever meet! Her name was Desiree Dalton Cedillo, and she was from San Antonio, TX. She was incredibly beautiful on the outside, but she was beyond breathtaking on the inside. She radiated life and love and family (she was a much-beloved wife and wonderful mom to 3 young boys). She was a devoted Christian and she had an especially strong bond with her father. He absolutely adored her: you could tell from the Facebook photos he posted of the family in pink “Team Desiree” tee-shirts. His name is Brad Dalton.

I had the serendipitous cosmic luck to meet Desiree through my volunteering efforts with other breast cancer survivors. Of course, I was probably 15 years older than she was and was divorced with no kids, but her spirit was infectious. We were spreading awareness about early detection at a local community college in 2015 (I think). She was so genuine and authentic. We both told our stories that day, me after her. She came up to me and said, since I was a two-timer: “Wow, I thought I had been through a lot, but I had no idea.” Can you see why I loved her instantly? I was going through my second divorce at the time. I was about to become a Nobody to Nobody. She became my Facebook friend after photos of that day were posted and tagged. *File this detail away for now*

I kept up with her through some of these groups, but I was going through some challengers of a different kind for a period and lost touch with her.

The last time I checked on Desiree on Facebook, I found out she was dead. She was in her early 30s, how and when did this happen? How could this happen? How could GOD allow this to happen? I still don’t understand why Desiree and Sarah JP (a fellow 29-year-old volunteer, newly graduated nurse who I last knew had metastatic brain cancer) were now Dead? They are both in the photo from that day in 2015.

Every day, I look at my surroundings and I say to myself: would Desiree’s house look like this? No way! She was so organized!

Next I say: would Desiree be wallowing in pity like this? No way! She was a True Believer until the end.

Throughout the day, I say: would Desiree be lying in bed because she’s in pain? No way, she was much stronger than that! And she’d be running after her three little boys and preparing dinner for her husband and selling those vitamins she sold on Facebook. And doing things with her Dad and family who loved her so much.

If anyone knows Desiree’s dad, could you tell him I’m SO SORRY!! I wasn’t even trying to survive, I didn’t even care and I still don’t. I would trade my life for hers in an instant if it would bring her back to you. She was so wonderful❣️ Please, please, please forgive me for still being here when she’s not. It makes no sense to me, either.

C’mon Y’all Let’s Exorcise!

C’mon Y’all, Let’s Exercise!
Let’s Exorcise that Voice that’s in our Minds
That Voice that Loops all through our Heads
That scolds our every move and says:
You’re not enough: You Should be Dead
Well, I say: You must go Instead
I’ve sold for cheap Your words of Dread
Now Get the Hell out of my Head!!


Don’t come back and bring your friends!
Your time with Me is at an End
I’m so sick of the Words You Say
The Words that never let me Play
I’ve told you you must pack your Bags
You’ve turned into a TOTAL DRAG
I want you out; I want to Sing
I want to be Authentic Me
All I’m Asking’s to be Free
To not Feel Shame or Misery
And Show the Truest Part of Me

C’mon Y’all, Let’s Exercise!
Let’s Exorcise that Voice that’s in our Minds
That Voice that Loops all through our Heads
That scolds our every move and says:
You’re not enough: You Should be Dead
Well, I say: You must go Instead
I’ve sold for cheap Your words of Dread

Now Get the Hell out of my Head!!

We’re really done; I swear it’s true
Those words so often said by you
No longer welcome Here are They
So find another place to Stay
I hate your voice and all it wants
Go find another soul to haunt!
I want you out; I want to Sing
I want to be Authentic Me
All I’m Asking’s to be Free

To not Feel Shame or Misery
And Show the Truest Part of Me

C’mon Y’all, Let’s Exercise!
Let’s Exorcise that Voice that’s in our Minds
That Voice that Loops all through our Heads
That scolds our every move and says:
You’re not enough: You Should be Dead
Well, I say: You must go Instead
I’ve sold for cheap Your words of Dread

Now Get the Hell out of my Head!!

We Live With a Homicidal Maniac

We Live With a Homicidal Maniac who desperately wants to kill all of the Jennifers under My Care. I’m a total crap parent, but I know how to play dirty. You don’t think I could plumb the depths of survivor guilt and child murder with a free-loving Inner Critic, do you?

I have seen the faces of Evil, Violence, Hatred, and Unspeakable Acts. They look like Me, and Their Voice criticizes Me all day, every day. The Voice and I are well-acquainted; fellow Ancients, “Old Souls”.

But We are both tiring of these millennia of dragon-slaying. I know I speak for both of Us when I say We’d really like to go on Vacation. Isn’t there ONE responsible Adult out there who’s willing to watch the Jennifers for a week or so? Hell, we’d be happy with a long weekend off at the Holiday Inn down the road!

Please check your calendars and get back to Us. If Nobody steps up, We’re going to send Our Inner Critic to terrorize Him. If Anybody offers, I promise You full immunity from Future Prosecution (it’ll look better on you than Botox, I swear!)

P.S. We know the above post was Juvenile, but we had an adrenalized day by noon-thirty, so we had to bleed. Our Inner Critic is momentarily appeased.

When the Heart-Soul Breaks

When the soul breaks, it tells us we’ve lost our missing puzzle piece – it’s human manifestation represents a unique shape – the ONLY shape which can return us to wholeness. We will reject people who don’t conform to the missing negative-electron-pull of that void into our Adult lives. This wound-activated expulsion of others doesn’t result in the relief we seek because it does so by what our brains are able to understand at the times when our heart was broken; at the young age we made those decisions. Puzzle Pattern Recognition at young ages doesn’t allow us to consider alternate shapes, other options all together. Since we’re closed off to these other mental paths and self-protective limitations, we stay trapped and enprisoned, jerked around by the terrifying cries from our inner Little Child – and trust me: she lives in you whether you believe it or not!

After a lifetime of consciously or subconsciously forcing other individuals to conform or leave, we die, lonely and alone.

If you want to avoid this fate, MY fate, you have to go back to the original wound, even if it isn’t a single traumatic experience. Expecting children to remember the specific events behind the heartbreaking emotions is unnecessary in my opinion. You know what first broke your heart. First and foremost, let me tell you I’m so very, very sorry that you suffered that way as a child. It wasn’t your fault, and it was wrong. I wish I could’ve comforted you then, and I know there are many decent adults out there who wish they could’ve as well. I’m sure if they heard your story, they would want to rush in and scoop you up, dry your tears, and listen as you told why you were sad or afraid. Afterwards, we’d try our very best to keep you safe from harm. If you were failed before, let’s try to heal it here and now.

You are loved, you are treasured, you are infinitely beautiful and huge-hearted. You are whole and perfect just as you are. You have individual worth and value. You are precious. You are a pearl beyond all price.

Surely you can understand we are not feeding an entitlement mentality if any human adult has never heard these words from another living soul. So you will have to be your own Another Living Soul.

In this role, you will be the Adult who then must unapologetically love, nurture, and re-parent Your Little Child to achieve the emotional stability you desire, require, and truly need to grow into the kind of Adult you want to be.

It may sound circular or ‘fluffy’, but it’s what is working for me. As long as you are seeking external solutions to this now-very concerning internal source of distress, you’ll never be free from the haunting of Your Little Child. You can INVITE the Guide, the Helper, the Guru, or even the Consultant to help, but you will always be the General Contractor for the job. No: make that the Owner Footing the Bill.

So spend your money well, do your research, document it, celebrate it, and don’t let Anyone or Anything deter your commitment, other than basic self-care. Remember: place the oxygen mask on Your Adult Self before you place it on Your Little Child.

My Devastation, 10/3/21

I don’t think I can adequately describe the devastation that results when an individual wakes up one morning to discover the Tightly-Held Beliefs She Has Clung To About Herself, Life, Humanity, and The Universe have departed. Packed up their party in hushed tones while she slept, in search of newer, fresher hearts upon which to prey.

In response and in desperation, she cuts and bleeds on the shards left behind, secretly praying for their return to her.

I don’t believe Humans are meant to survive this, though the Truly Unlucky often do.

I am sorry for bleeding on you. Writing is my own form of “cutting:”

I hurt, I bleed, I feel better.

The Exquisite Flame

Beauty was awareness and clarity
Insecurity, Trepidation, and Innocence.
It was wide-open spaces, full of promise
Daydreams and night dreams of That To Come
It was humanity and anxiety and blissful unawareness of the deeply-buried consciousness of Now
It was sleep from the touch of head-to-pillow to the alarm clock’s pre-dawn shriek
It was yesterday; and it was golden, and it was pure

And I didn’t even know.
I didn’t even know.

How I long for the fears of youth
And simple problems easily solved
I ache with the final passing of Thoughts-Future
That once roused me when I fell and propelled me forward,
Despite my child’s timidity that sought to hold me back
Time alone wasn’t the enemy, Nor the immersion in grief

Instead it was the consequence of a poor choice, seemingly therapeutic at the time

to bury,
to extinguish
that exquisite flame
which took me to the Sun
and dropped me back again.

Autum, 2016

Do I Know You?

Unlike other people on Facebook, I cannot share photos of my children and their children.

Because I could not have children.

I can only share my heart.

I write these words for the ONE PERSON who has felt my pain.

I want that ONE PERSON to know he or she is not alone.

I don’t care who I offend: my passion is for that ONE PERSON only.

That in the recognition of their pain in my expression of mine, our burdens are momentarily reduced. ❤️‍🔥

The Shape of Pain

No
Ow!
Stop
Hurts
Stop!!!
Please❣️
Why? ???
Please stop!
You’re hurting me.
YOU’RE HURTING ME‼️
WHY are you doing this?
What did I ever do to you?
I’ll do anything; please stop.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST STOP!
Okay, I guess I must deserve it
I was never very good at all
I probably deserve this 🥲
Could you just kill me?
I’m already dead.
Please bury me.
Tell my Mom.
Tell God?
Corpse
Stop
Bye
No
0

For the Decision-Makers:Why I Believe Marijuana Should Be Legal in the State of Texas (from a first-person perspective)

1. Smoking pot makes me want to turn each song on my Spotify favorites list into a Karaoke song I can actually visualize myself singing.
2. Smoking pot means I have Spotify in the first place. I didn’t listen to music for 20 years.
3. Smoking pot helps me to at least know what I’m crying about.
4. Smoking pot helps me to live in the moment, not in the thought bubbles analyzing what’s going on down below.
5. Smoking pot means that I laugh 25% as often as I cry (that’s an increase from 0%).
6. Smoking pot means I can feel pain in a tolerable way rather than numb it - and God knows we vilify “addicts” who need pain relief in this country. We treat them more like slugs than people.
7. Smoking pot brings the suppressed version of myself out to play and connect with other human beings again; before, I withdrew to shield myself from Life’s blows.
8. Smoking pot helps me to stop second-guessing myself every second of every day; it stops the onslaught of voices telling me to WATCH OUT!! To STAY SAFE or I’ll get hurt!! Again. Other people - even “loved ones” are dangerous. So is Fate, the Universe and God Himself. Smoking pot turns off that damned robot looping through my traumatized brain screaming DANGER, JENNIFER!! I don’t think most people have a clue how EXHAUSTING it is to live with PTSD.
9. And no, I don’t get a lot done, but it’s not by choice. Accumulated trauma and chronic pain had already leeched my vitality from me. At least now I see some meaning and purpose in what’s LEFT of my life. That’s good enough for me because I HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH.
10. I don’t need your pity or pseudo-compassion, served up cold with an order of Judgment on the side. What I NEED is to not be arrested for engaging in acts of self-preservation.
11. I am willing to testify before the Texas legislature to put my story on official record, just like I did for the Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer program and The Fertility Preservation Bill (which I really hope has become a law by now).

P.S. A special note for my fellow Christians: I love you and I am not “lost” or “deceived.” I haven’t lost my faith, but I did lose my hope and my self-compassion. So I’m still a “Christian,” just not a ‘Good Christian.”