DECEMBER 26, 2019: “Hey, Mother, Father” …

hOME

MOTHER, FATHER

“She sits alone, an empty stare. A mother’s face she wears. Where did she go wrong? The fight is gone. Lord help this broken home. Hey, mother, father, sister Hey, come back, tryin’, believin’. Hey, mother, father, dreamer. Don’t you know that I’m alive for you? I’m your seventh son. And when lightning strikes the family. Have faith, believe. With dreams he tried. Lost his pride. He drinks his life away. One photograph in broken glass. It should not end this way. Hey, mother, father, sister. Hey, come back, tryin’, believin’. Hey, mother, father, dreamer. Don’t you know that I’m alive for you? I’m your seventh son. And when lightning strikes the family. Have faith, believe. Through bitter tears and wounded years those ties of blood were strong.So much to say. Those yesterdays. So now don’t you turn away Have faith. Belive. Believe.”

~ Journey

Sig

DECEMBER 25, 2019: “Starting Over As A Queen” …

IMG_8199… IT’S TIME TO JUST START OVER!

Someday soon, I’m gonna pull myself together. Win or lose, I’m starting over again. Start this day like any other day. I fold my hands as I begin to pray. Sometimes we gotta throw the past aside, and come what may, I’m gonna open up my eyes to all my broken feelings. It’s the only road I’ve known. I just wanna say to you: Maybe I won’t feel the pain when you leave me one day, and maybe it won’t be too late when you need me someday. Someone take me away from the one who betrays, but things won’t ever be the same. I’m starting over. In days gone by, I was hiding from myself. In all those lies and the truth was hard to tell. But I will try to turn my life around. I’ll close my eyes so I can finally see the road to all my broken feelings. It’s the only one I’ve known. I just wanna say to you … You were my heart, you were my soul. You were my breath ’til I grow old. You were my blood, you were my bones. How could you ever leave me cold?” ~ Saliva

So here’s my parting message to all the people, places and roadblocks that had become me in the four decades of life before finally opening my eyes to all my “broken feelings” and finding the truths behind the lies that were my former realities. This is my Christmas gift to me …

Music has played a powerful part in my mental health journey, just as I’m sure it has for many of you. Here in The Diary there is a song for every entry, the words to which are as important to me as the words I offer of my own. Zack and I first heard “Starting Over” in 2007 while we were in the car and it immediately became as vital in unraveling the mystery of what had broken us before we’d met than actually meeting in the first place. It spoke volumes as to both our prior journeys; it was who we were, where we’d been and why we needed to cut some people out and “just start over”. It was a cryptic message to everyone that had hurt, betrayed or discarded us at virtually every critical juncture in our lives, not the least of which were both our families: “You were my blood, you were my bones. How could you ever leave me cold?” 

Today I’ll be spending another “first” without him, completely severed from the blood and bones that have once again “washed their hands of me”. But guess what? That’s okay! I WAS MARRIED TO A KING: An imperfect, broken, mortal king with a rare and true heart of gold who not only gave me every “thing” a woman could dream of but more so his heart, his eyes, his soul, his faith and his unconditional love WITHOUT conditions for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, all of which DID truly make me a QUEEN! And you can apply those words to him as well: HE WAS MARRIED TO A QUEEN: An imperfect, broken, mortal queen with a rare and true heart of gold who not only gave him every “thing” a man could dream of but more so her heart, her eyes, her soul, her faith and her unconditional love WITHOUT conditions for the FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE, all of which DID truly make him a KING! Quite clearly my king fell in a twist that some may never know or understand AND HURT US IN UNSPEAKABLE WAYS! But guess what? Today IS Christmas and “who was better at forgiving than Jesus?” By now you know that I have indeed forgiven him for the devastation that has ended our story, but here’s what else …

I ALSO FORGIVE ALL OF YOU … that hurt, mocked, laughed at, punished, or burned me alive on a cross every time I let you down, embarrassed, disgusted, disgraced you or shamed your reputations and good names every time I failed miserably at all the things I’ve failed at! I forgive you for invalidating, disregarding, disrespecting and discrediting every single one of my broken feelings by casting them aside as “drama, immaturity, ingratitude or self-pity”. I forgive you for taking the blind faith and trust I placed in you with all my vulnerabilities and truths and throwing them back in my face and driving more nails into my already broken heart. I forgive you for taking it personally when I had to make the decision to try and break the cycle of toxicity I once lived in and fight tooth and nail TO GET THAT FUCKING BLACK SPIDER-MAN SUIT I’D BEEN WEARING SINCE THE DAY I WAS BORN OFF MY WEAK AND WEARY SOUL ONCE AND FOR ALL SO THAT MAYBE ONE DAY MY DAUGHTER’S DAUGHTERS OR MY SON’S SONS WILL BE THE FIRST BRANCHES FROM THIS SICK AND DYING TREE TO NOT END UP IN A PYSCHIATRIAC WARD BECAUSE THEY TOO WANTED TO SHOOT THEMSELVES IN THE HEAD! I forgive you for only loving “when I was good enough” but “washing your hands of me” every time I’d broken the rules you somehow decided would be best for me to follow, which PS, were complete and total double standards of BULLSHIT and also just sick, enmeshed and unhealthy! (NOTE: As it turns out, it’s OKAY for a person to choose a path outside the web if not sometimes THE best thing that ever happens to them. The WISEST spiders are the ones SO PROUD of their spiderlings that somehow manage to get the HELL out the webs they might have unintentionally spun and find a way to survive this fucking life in peace! IN SHORT: I forgive you for NOT forgiving me for just being an imperfect fucking human being and I forgive you for all the countless times you’ve abandoned me!

But more than that? THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU’VE DONE TO HURT ME BECAUSE THAT IS HOW I BECAME A QUEEN! You pointed me straight to BOTH my Kings – The One born today and the fallen. You see, he may be gone now but I’m still right here with the crown and sword he left for me charging bravely forward all the days I have left in this realm! There is still so much I have to do with this power my impossibly strong heart now wields. There’s the Phoenix I made who I’ll fight beside until the end as she makes her ascenion towards the culmination of everything my own broken flight was purposed for, and that first born Prince who hasn’t yet realized that he too is a king because he hasn’t yet found the strength to tear off the BLACK SPIDER-MAN SUIT that shrouds his soul in in the dark! He’s “trapped in a web” wherein he has still yet to realize the long-terms effects of the emotional abuse he too is still succumbing to and that being repeatedly being told “I’m done with you” for failure to follow the rules is slowly becoming the death of him too. I will not rest until that day comes when he finally opens HIS OWN EYES to his own broken heart and feelings and “walks away and starts over” with the courage and strength that’s hiding somewhere within himself so that the next time he hears “I’m done with you” he can say, “NO! It’s ME that’s done with YOU!” Just. Like. I DID!

If I’ve learned anything in my first fifty years it’s that “real love” shouldn’t cost you anything yet it’s the only commodity that can get you EVERYTHING! Love shouldn’t come with strings or conditions, make you sad, cry, doubt yourself, want to shoot yourself or make you want to hide in the shadows of any authentic version of yourself because the people who “love you” won’t accept you at face value. And here’s the thing: Once you’ve had finally had it – “REAL love without strings and conditions”? YOU CAN NEVER ACCEPT “LOVE” ANY OTHER WAY, EVEN IF IT MEANS BEING ALONE!

Merry Christmas Catherine Williamson! You’ve been blessed by the REAL unconditional loved of two Kings in your lifetime. There’s no going back to where you came from as you find a way to just start over once again!

Sig

MAY 30, 2011: “DEAR SON: Fly From The Inside” …

cHRIS

My Dearest Christian:

Oh my gosh where do I begin? There are not enough pieces of paper in this printer or hours left in my life to be able to fully and properly express to you exactly how I am feeling at this moment. Christian, you made it! Against all odds and despite the dysfunction and chaos THAT YOU NEVER EVER ASKED FOR, you made it! There are literally a thousand things I want to say to you, but instead I’m going to just write you the lyrics to a song that make me thing of you the most these days that also happen to sum up my own feelings in a nutshell. Inhale this song, breathe it in, breathe it out, and know that I truly believe that these are the most important words a mother in this situation could possibly convey to her son after 18 years of living through a nightmare he never asked for the way that you have. Close the door on this chapter of your life forever baby boy. Fondly remember the many wonderful, beautiful and happy days in your life thus far – THOSE ARE THE THINGS YOU MAY KEEP! God please NEVER forget them. Hold on to them dearly in your heart and call on them if ever you find yourself lost, lonely or afraid. As for all the rest of it – the garbage, the trash, the chaos and the heartache? THAT’S WHAT YOU SAY GOODBYE TO! Keep only what you need of those memories so you always remember that HOW STRONG YOU CAN BE and just how much of a SURVIVOR you truly are! Let those things fuel your fire of determination in changing the direction of this family’s “toxic legacy” for once and finally all …

“FLY FROM THE INSIDE” …

“Is the weight of the world on my shoulders? Is the weight of the world on my shoulders? On my shoulders … All alone I pierce the chain. And all in all the sting remains. And dying eyes consume me now. The voice inside screams out loud, I am focused on what I am after. The key to the next open chapter. Cause I found a way to steal the sun from the sky. Long live that day that I decided to fly from the inside. Every day a new deception. Pick your scene and take direction. And all in all I search to connect. But I don’t wear a mask and I have no regrets. I am focused on what I am after. The key to the next open chapter. ‘Cause I found a way to steal the sun from the sky. Long live that day that I decided to fly from the inside. I can’t escape the pain. I can’t control the rage. Sometimes I think that I’m gonna go insane. I’m not against what’s right. I’m not for what’s wrong. I’m just making my way and I’m gone.” ~ Shinedown

Christian Peter, I love you so much – more than you could ever possibly know. I am so very proud of you and always will be, no matter what you do or do not manage to accomplish in this lifetime. You are my son and I want nothing but the best things in this life for you. And please always remember that many of the truly best things are not tangible, material “things”. True, unconditional love and acceptance, not only from others, but also for yourself, is something that cannot ever be bought. And peace of mind? While I can’t exactly say that it’s “free, because TRUST ME WHEN I SAY IT, “peace of mind” can, at times, “cost you everything” yet it’s also something that money can never buy! Over the course of time you will arrive at many crossroads wherein you will be daunted by the task of choosing one door or the other. Always follow your heart Christian. Always follow your heart! All the answers you will ever need are already inside there if you’ll simply trust and believe in yourself as much as I trust and believe in you!

And hear this too LOUD AND CLEAR: Another one of the most valuable “things” in life is yet again something no amount of money can buy: Self-forgiveness and the ability to fall, fail and make mistakes GRACEFULLY without the need to carry those mistakes forever on your shoulders like a cross. No, Christian! You are a human being and therefore you are imperfect. Only God is perfect and only God has the right to judge you! He is the one you will answer to when your road in this life meets it’s ends, and guess what? He already knew you’d be imperfect since long before you were born and has known every one of your mistakes before you even made them. He is more than abundantly willing to forgive you for your humanness before you even open your eyes each day if only you will ask Him AND HE’S ALREADY CARRIED YOUR CROSS! In this regard perhaps my biggest single prayer for you is that you surround yourself with a good, loving and firmly solid support system of people that will never cease to have faith in you, never give up on you, never stop believing in you, never stop being ON YOUR SIDE and unconditionally allow you to fail, fall and misstep GRACEFULLY, continually supporting and HELPING YOU MOVE ON from any of the “pasts” that you yourself may jade. People who are proud of you when you win BUT EVEN PROUDER WHEN THEY SEE YOU FALL ONLY TO SEE YOU GET BACK UP AGAIN AND TRY! I pray that you will surround yourself with people who will accept you just as you are, nothing more and nothing less, and that you never have to be faced with the unspeakably painful and daunting task of having to “say goodbye” and walk away from those people, especially ones that you have loved and trusted the most, because they refused to let you rise above yourself, move on and give you ALL the “Second Chances” you will ever need!

Inasmuch as it has taken me an entire lifetime of shame, pain, guilt and “a cross to carry” that VERY few would let me lay down to discover that the key to all of this is the practice of grace, forgiveness and unconditional love, PLEASE KNOW that these practices and principals are not only a blessing to receive BUT ALSO TO GIVE AS WELL. So then just as I pray that you will surround yourself with people who will extend these priceless graces to you, even more so do I pray that you will extend these things to others. Learn to give and you will be given. Love unconditionally and unconditional love will find you. Learn to FORGIVE and you will know forgiveness and most importantly HOW TO ACCEPT IT!

The world is your oyster now my handsome first-born Prince! Get out there and start gathering your pearls! In the meantime, just know your Mom loves you and is ALWAYS going to be here, good or bad, right or wrong, no matter what do or don’t manage to do. I AM ALWAYS ON YOUR SIDE until my last breath on this Earth and hopefully even beyond! You will NEVER be too old for me to call “my baby” and I will NEVER turn my back on you I promise! You’re my blood and bones and flesh of my flesh. YOU’RE ONE HALF OF THE BEATING OF MY HEART! I brought you in to this beautiful disaster of a world and for that reason I will ALWAYS stand behind you as you find your way through the maze. I give you to the world now and set you free my butterfly. No wait, my “Little Star”! Remember that one? “Never forget who you are Little Star! Shining brighter than all the stars in the sky! Never forget HOW TO DREAM Butterfly! Never forget where you come from, from LOVE”! In closing, while in the process of writing this to you I’ve now realized that these words are in a sense written not only “to you and for you”, but also “to me and for me” as well. It appears we are both standing at crossroads right now, aren’t we? Congratulations my graduate, I LOVE YOU! It’s time for you to FLY FROM THE INSIDE!

Momma

Sig

APRIL 19, 2009: “Circadian” …

IMG_E9475{Artwork by The Phoenix Collaborative}

It was a Sunday afternoon; He and I had been separated again for some time and I’d been living at my parents’ house which was right down street from what used to be my house but is still His. I’d been out running errands and had gone to the gym when I pulled into my parents’ driveway around 5pm to eat dinner with them. When dinner was over, I walked out to my car, opened the door and found this envelope taped to my steering wheel. “The Letter” from my father that changed everything! It was his way of urging me to “do the right thing” and go home via these “Pros and Cons” which were nothing short of emotional abuse, blackmail and toxic parental extortion:

IMG_8313

IMG_8312So then maybe I should have named my Diary entry THIS:

APRIL 16, 2009: “Are You Fucking KIDDING Me Right Now … My Life Is A Farce … HAVEN’T YOU HEARD A THING I’VE SAID … My Marriage Is Toxic And I’ve Been Trying To Tell You For Years … All We DO Is Fight … All We HAVE Is Tension … We Are ONLY Roommates And It’s Been That Way From The Start … I Don’t Think We’re In REAL LOVE And I’m Pretty Sure We Never Have Been … We Only Got Married Because You MADE US And I WASN’T EVEN PREGNANT … I’ve Been TRYING To Repair The Damage For Years And Have Literally Begged Him On My Hands And Knees To HELP ME WORK THINGS OUT But … He Doesn’t Want To Leave His Theatre Room … He Won’t TALK To Me … He Is NOT Taking Care Of My Heart OR My Soul … He Has NOT Been Looking Out For Me … We Abuse EACH OTHER Daily … He Won’t Release Me From The Past … He Holds My Mistakes Over My Head … OMG I THINK I ACTUALLY MARRIED YOU … My Son Is ALSO Being Verbally Abused And EMASCULATED … In That VERY Nice House … I Can’t See My Reflection In A Mirror … I’m Afraid I’m Going To Give My Daughter An Eating Disorder … Oh Yah – I HAVE AN EATING DISORDER … There’s A Dragon AND A Black Spider-Man Suit That Are Both Attempting To Murder Me … All I Do Is Cry … HOW CAN I CONCENTRATE ON GETTING MY LIFE BACK ON TRACK WHEN I LITERALLY NEVER SLEEP … I’ve Only Been Pretending To Be Happy So Everyone ELSE Could Be Happy And NOT Go To THEIR Graves With Unrest … All The Nice Things That I Buy When I Go Shopping In That Very Nice Car With My Credit Card Aren’t Fixing Me AT ALL … I HAVE NEVER BEEN FREE TO DO WHAT I WANT … I’ve Been Praying For A Bus To Run Me Over … It’s Not Just Your DEAR Wife And My Kids Who Fucking Need You … GOD Forbid Anything Happens To MOM? … Yah, And GOD Forbid Anything Happens To ME … Because MY KIDS ARE WATCHING EVERYTHING AND MY GREATEST FEAR OF ALL IS THAT I’M LOSING THEM ALREADY AND THAT THEY WILL NOT LIKE ME ANYMORE!”

After reading the letter I ended up driving to His house for a what I thought would be just a few minutes because in that moment I just desperately wanted to see my kids. I’d been standing out front waiting for them to come out because I didn’t want to go back in that house and the whole time I was standing there I just knew that something was coming, under my skin and into my bones. I couldn’t really breathe, and I could feel my adrenaline starting to dump – I was crumbling. Literally. Crumbling. So, when I looked up to see my babies finally come out the front door? I was done. I finally had the full-blown nervous breakdown I’d fighting SO hard not to have for way too many years. I’m absolutely certain that there were Angels there with me and both my children and if it is true that “Angels cry” then they had to be crying their eyes out as they witnessed the tragedy that was happening on that driveway. They literally had to peel my son from my body so that I could get into the car. He too was sobbing, and I’d never seen him cry so much or so hard. And Gia? She looked so lost, like a little puppy that just wanted someone to pick her up and hold her. Fuck. WHAT THE HELL HAD I DONE AND HOW DID IT COME TO THIS? I’ve actually gone insane!

By 9pm that night I was on an plane to The Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona and got to the facility at just before midnight. I was SUCH a fucking mental meatloaf by the time I’d finally arrived that the intake doctor that was on call that night made the decision to very heavily medicate me as soon as I was “processed”. I slept so long and so hard that I wasn’t even assimilated into the “general campus population” for more than 72 hours. My toxic childhood and the ensuing fallout from my completely self-sabotaged adulthood had won their final round in the circadian that had become my existence and I was both mentally and physically EXHAUSTED. Vanquished. Spent. Broken. DONE.

CIRCADIAN

“Who’s to say we’ll make it through? Starting to believe that what we think is never true. And who’s to say the rhymes beside your bed will keep you warm when everything is getting colder? And I’m just holding on until it’s over. Mayday! Somebody save me now. I’m closing my eyes ’cause once the sun rises it’s out of my hands. It’s out of my hands. Who’s to say this history isn’t only just some winter’s distant memory? You can’t escape this drying ink. The fall of who we are is getting closer and I’m just holding on until it’s over. Mayday! Somebody save me now. I’m cutting all ties from the world outside ’cause it’s over my head. It’s all coming undone and falling apart somehow. I’m closing my eyes ’cause once the sun rises it’s out of my hands. Oh it’s out of my hands. The light pulls me under and I keep on caving in.” – David Cook

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TO READ MORE ABOUT EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL AND MANIPULATION:

5 Personality Emotionally Personalities

Classic Toxic Parent Moves

What Is Toxic Parenting?

Sig

SUMMER OF 1979: “It’s Spic & Span Under My Scars” …

We moved to Allen from Providence, Rhode Island, in 1979, back when Allen’s population was 1,700. My mother, sister and I were three of only a handful of Hispanics when we arrived which soon became the root of my deep lack of self-esteem. The first day of school at Boyd Elementary found me surrounded by a closely bound family of blond-haired, blue-eyed, small town 5th graders, most of who were raised together from birth. When the bell rang for gym class that day, the teacher, “Coach Spann”, made his way out to the middle of the gymnasium floor. As he reached for the microphone to quiet the class and call us to attention, “Lisa”, the girl who probably unbeknownst to her would thereafter become the nemesis of the rest of my school years, made her cruel announcement: “Look how Spic and Spann these floors are!”

I remember that humiliation like a million needles stinging my extremely dark brown hands and feet as if it were happening right this instant. Everyone in that space, including the coach himself, looking down and laughing at me, the “spic”, and all I wanted to do was crawl under a rock and disappear. What’s funny is that at the time I didn’t even know what it meant. “A spic? What is a spic?” It wasn’t until one of the friends that was sitting beside me leaned in closely, as if to shelter me from the trauma that I didn’t even realize I was going through, and asked if I was okay. I asked her why, why wouldn’t I be okay? Then she gently explained to me – “SPIC”! “A spic is a mexican person or what sometimes people refer to as a wetback. She just made fun of you for being so dark skinned.” And I don’t remember exactly how I finally made it from the gym floor to the bathroom, but do remember staring into the mirror and crying.  It was on that day, at the tender age of 10, that I began to despise myself and the very skin I lived in, and though I did manage to have a handful of truly good friends (many of whom after almost 40 years I actually consider some of my closest and dearest friends today) and times until my graduation in 1987, that moment bruised me forever.

Thank God for my family back then. At home, I was “safe” with a roof over my head, and, above all loved, with Mom never more than a heartbeat away. Looking back, I can’t seem to remember a moment that she missed! Not one single lunch, class party, field trip or game and never a “latched door” for us to come home to. From what I could see at that point in my life and for many years to come, my mother would have torn out her own beating heart for the sake of those that she loved despite her outwardly gentle appearance.

Of course, then there was Julie, not only my sister, but one of my truest, lifelong friends. She’s been my rock, my sounding board and one of the only people in this world who has ever truly understood me. So close are we that over the years when I have heard people talking about their “sibling rivalries” I have always been perplexed. Julie is everything that I am not, and together, we make a whole person. She, too, over the years has suffered many of the same prejudices as I, only her much more so, because she has always been so much darker than me.  Through it all, though, we have always stuck together and never once in my life has she abandoned me!

Sig