DECEMBER 22, 2019: “How To Re-Traumatize A Widow” …

BoundariesI struggled this morning as to what if anything to say about “the very first social event without my husband” last night because honestly, I am just so overwhelmed and TRAUMATIZED all over again! So perhaps I’ll just lead with some friendly advice for anyone out there who unbeknownst to them struggles with “unhealthy boundaries” …

To begin, here is what Wikia.org says about “personal boundaries” (and please DO click on this link THIS VERY IMPORTANT LINK for more information when you are either extremely bored OR extremely ready to conduct a quick self-examination as to where you are on the boundaries spectrum):

Personal boundaries are an aspect of psychological boundaries and are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits. “Personal boundaries” define you as an individual. They are statements of what you will or won’t do, what you like and don’t like … how close someone can get to you.

One last piece of advice I’d like to offer against what again I’m sure are seemingly innocent comments and remarks from well-intended people. I appreciate being told “I’m beautiful”. Truly, I do, and I’m not trying to sound like a bitch, but I am in fact aware of “how I look“. Okay, I agree, I not that unfortunate looking. I comfortable writing those words out loud here now in this space because only I know how long it finally took me to find my actual reflection in a mirror! It took a hell of a lot of work on behalf less than a handful of people to get me to finally “see me” the way other people see me on the outside. Eternal is the gratitude for my very first angel, “the Flyboy“. All of “this” started with him, then Zack picked up where he left off, and I will NEVER forget that day in his apartment he grabbed me by the arms and physically forced me in front of the mirror while he stood behind me repeating:

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! LOOK AT YOURSELF CATHERINE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! SAY IT! I’M NOT LETTING YOU GO UNTIL YOU SAY IT!”

And then I did, and here I am. Yes, I am beautiful. The irony here is the first time Zack ever saw me in January of 2009 my presentation was, umm, tragic, to say the least. If he were still here, he’d be the first to admit that I looked like a freaking train wreck. I was in the worst shape of my life, hadn’t been sleeping, was physically disfigured in the most egregious way, and about five minutes away from my final nervous breakdown. He used to say, “Every time she showed up at the gym, she looked kind of like a homeless person”.  So, trust me when I tell you – our love story did NOT begin with “wow you’re just so beautiful”. He loved me as I was, scars and all, for the very first time in my life, and for that precious reason my fallen King’s mirror of not only my reflection but most importantly my soul will always be the standard by which I judge anyone’s regard for my “beauty”.

There is probably not a human being on the face of this planet that doesn’t appreciate verbal affirmation from others, and yes, compliments in the right dose are an integral part of how our confidence is assimilated. But over and over and over again? “You’re so pretty. You’re so beautiful. You are such an attractive person.” Okay, so tell me once and that’s it! Anything more is not only overkill, but more so the polar OPPOSITE of what has ever attracted me to a man. Observations, judgments and validations about “my surface” in my life before Zack were more than half of what made me sick in the very first place and nope, I don’t care if someone thinks I’m beautiful (at least not on the outside). Quite frankly? THAT REPELS ME! Yes, this is a boundary issue with not only me but quite possibly many struggling people out there. Such an OLD cliche’ but true nonetheless: DON’T JUDGE THE BOOK BY IT’S COVER!

These things needed to be said, and now that I’ve said them, I feel much better. Guess I just needed to remind myself about the boundaries I’ve fought so hard to understand, respect and build in the first place. So, with that, I guess I’ll just have to find a way to be thankful for my re-traumitization last night. It was a lesson for sure, and now maybe a lesson for some of you as well. There is indeed a time and place for everything – EVEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT GRIEF! If you know someone has been through a trauma of any kind and you want to talk to them about it, just ask them first if they want to talk about it. They may want to. They may not. But the choice should be theirs, not yours.

JULY 14, 2014: “Six. Simple. Words.” …

Me

“We train others how to treat us.” Perhaps six of the most important words I’ve ever heard in my life so far, echoed again today by a real estate teacher, author, and mentor of mine in a real estate class he was teaching. Ironically, I had already heard these exact words before from “Debbie G”, a colleague I’d called upon for some advice a year ago when dealing with a buyer that I just couldn’t come to terms with. She probably has no idea of the impact those six powerful words she spoke while coaching me through “the buyer from hell” ordeal had on not only my professional life, but my personal life as well. Ever since she said it, I have chanted them to myself daily.

I am so grateful to be living in a time, not only geographically, but socially and economically as well, that I can choose to further not only my education, but my wisdoms of life in general and feel completely supported in doing so. You see, I am a woman who was first a daughter, then a wife, then a mom, and then a real estate agent and home stager. A career in real estate was not a natural choice for me, and in fact, if left solely to my former self’s complete lack of self-confidence and subconscious “fear of succeeding”, I suppose I’d still be hiding somewhere in a perfectly manicured palace of oblivion on a road I have since left behind. I would never have fully realized not only my potential, but my true love and appreciation of life, learning and people in general. But alas, I turn to yet another one of my favorite lifetime mantras, everything happens for a reason! Yes, this is truly the edict I have chosen to adopt over the course of many lifetimes, loves and tragedies, and the one voice inside my psyche that faithfully pulls my little train down this ever-rambling track I ride. Even that “buyer transaction from hell”, brokerage colleagues and real estate teachers “happened for a reason”.

No thank you, I’ll pass. I wouldn’t do that to myself, a loved one, or quite frankly even a stranger, so you may NOT do that to me.

What a coincidence that two people I have grown to respect in the fledgling state of my career have both said these most importantsix words” to me! Perhaps I should tattoo them in reverse on my forehead, so I see them every time I look in a mirror. This is me folks, like it or not:

I’ll train YOU how to treat ME, and that’s JUST the way that it is!

On my way home from school this afternoon I kept thinking about how much I wanted to literally jump out of my seat in class today when I heard my teacher say those words I now so fondly relish and yell, “Yes, yes, YES! This is what I’ve been saying to myself almost every day since Debbie G said these words to me during my buyer transaction from hell!” Wow, do you think they would have thought I was nuts, or what? During that same ride home, I couldn’t help but notice that I was smiling from ear to ear, richer still with yet another treasured light bulb moment! My point being that I am inspired, on fire, and completely elated with my newfound freedom to take every opportunity I can to absorb every shred of wisdom from those who have gone before me through doors I am constantly preparing to open. Of course, I will take and apply this principal to my real estate practice, and most especially where my agency is concerned. But more so than that, I am practicing this principal in my everyday life as well, and I gotta tell ya, it sure feels good to know what I know and why I know it, and further, to daily permit myself to “just say no” now and again, rather than letting some people run me over with their chaos busses. Boundaries are superb my friends! They send a smokescreen into our atmosphere that reads …

Respect for human boundaries of any shape or form is implicit in the survival of our very souls. And for the record, with this post I do so hope that both “the colleague and the coach” fully realize the impact those six simple words have had on me.