Some Reflections…

J texted me a few months ago, stating that my life was mess before I met him. What?!? My life wasn’t a mess until shortly before we broke up and I started exhibiting symptoms of C-PTSD.

…it is one thing to blame the other person for the problem and another to describe the impact of that behavior on you while recognizing that the problem may be partly you and your sensitivities. After all, it’s your perception that defines the other person’s behavior as a problem.

Managing Interpersonal Conflict by Louis B. Barnes and James P. Ware

Before meeting J, I was volunteering at [redacted], had just finished my first semester back at college with all A’s, and was starting to figure out how to make money with my previous blog.

He didn’t help with any of that. Teaching me to drive was the only helpful and beneficial thing he added to my life that I can recall. And even that was only because R wouldn’t be available to drive him on the carts at [redacted] anymore. His teaching me to drive was still to benefit him, not because he sincerely wanted to help me.

If he sincerely wanted to help me, why abandon me when I was at my lowest? That isn’t love. Telling someone to shut up when they inform you that you’ve done something hurtful to them is avoidance. It’s lack of accountability and responsibility. Yet, he acts like I am the one who is unwilling to communicate about the harm that’s occurred. I’m not unwilling to do any self-reflection. He is, apparently. He pretends there was no effect or no harm even when there definitely was.

I still have nightmares about it. I still have panic attacks. Not nearly as much as I used to before ever going to therapy, but it doesn’t go away. I can’t just pretend to be okay. Faking it until you make it is incredibly harmful, but that’s what he seems to want. I won’t do that. I can’t do that. It’s superficial and dishonors my nervous system. That isn’t okay.

Don’t mistake being numbed out to it for being healed from it. People mistake feeling emotions about something as not being healed when, in fact, it’s one of the biggest signs of healing.

Juno Counseling (Dr. Vassilia)

I just want him to do some goddamn self-reflection and take accountability for having done anything to cause me harm. And to stop telling me that I can’t talk about my own experiences.

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

Anne Lamott

For some reason, he also thinks the judge agreed with him. About what, I’m not entirely sure. I don’t know why he thinks he ever actually offered a legitimate apology. The judge even told him to his face that I was still waiting for an apology. And that my intentions behind my actions weren’t without purpose. The only agreement I made with the judge was that I don’t believe J will ever sincerely self-reflect and apologize for having hurt me. There are literally transcripts of what was actually said by everyone in the court room that day.

The only time I got any sort of apology, J later mocked me for wanting to believe it. He even confirmed it was only provided to try and get me to shut up. I will NOT shut up about his abusive behavior towards me. I’ve never told him to shut up about anything I may have done that he felt hurtful, but it’s okay for him to do it towards me.? No. I don’t think that’s fair. If he’s allowed to talk about how I may have possibly hurt him, then I am allowed to talk about the harm and hurt I have endured from him. And I will not just “move on and forget about it.” That isn’t how trauma works. It’s most certainly not how healing from trauma works.

Until someone takes the impact of your traumatic experiences and places them in their nervous system and their body, they have no right to tell you to move on. Taking the time to heal is brave.

Nate Postlethwait

I have always been willing to hear him out about how any of my actions may have been hurtful to him – he doesn’t share it. That’s on him. I’m not a mind reader. Disappearing from a relationship the way he did is hurtful. There has now been more research on why ghosting is so hurtful, and I hope they continue doing more research on that topic.

What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.

Brene Brown

What really hurts is that he didn’t completely disappear. Part of me wonders if he had actually disappeared (instead of returning every so often with another scolding about how I’m wrong for feeling and expressing any hurt by his actions or lack thereof) would I have been able to heal more by now? And what makes him think he ever has a right to tell someone else how to feel? Why does he think he has a right to tell me what I do or do not find hurtful? Why does he seem to believe he has a right to tell me how and when I should heal? It isn’t his pain. It’s not his trauma.

He has no right to tell me what I do or do not feel. He has no right to tell me when I am healed. He has no clue what I deal with internally on a daily basis and never really has. I can’t recall a single a conversation since we broke up where he has ever been really willing to listen and empathize with my perspective on anything. I also don’t understand what makes him think he knows more than my own therapist about what I do and don’t need to be able to heal. He doesn’t get to make those decisions for me or anyone else.

Dear Pro-Lifers…

All I’ve seen from pro-lifers this weekend is a serious lack of empathy and compassion towards those who are now experiencing shock and trauma in the face of Roe v Wade being overturned. How is that Christlike? How is that kind and compassionate? To sit there and act like you’re happy while completely disregarding those who are horrified at what this decision could mean for them, and their futures is appalling. Your serious lack of actually being trauma informed is appalling and your lack of empathy for those who have now had previous traumas triggered by this decision is atrocious. You are literally celebrating while millions of people have spent almost the entire weekend sobbing, throwing up, and terrified of a future without Roe v Wade and everything it protected. My family has a history of aneurysms. I get migraines a lot and the constant fear that I’m going to die of an aneurysm the next time I get a migraine is exhausting. The ONLY thing that has ever helped my migraines go away entirely is birth control. Yet pro-lifers seem to think the only reason an unmarried single woman would ever take birth control is to go out and have sex with whomever whenever she wants. And that is so far removed from many people’s realities. It certainly isn’t mine. Even if they do want to do that, why is it any of your goddamn business? It isn’t your life. Stop controlling people through a belief system that other people may not believe in. I am terrified that I will not be able to get back on birth control when I get health insurance again now, since I certainly can’t afford it out of pocket at the moment. Beyond just the migraines, I live in chronic pain every month when my period comes around. I can’t function with the pain – I’ve literally had way more moments of screaming and crying and being unable to move, scared to eat a single thing, than I can count in a single month because of the severity of the cramps. I’ve lost jobs, friends, and many other opportunities over it already. I am terrified, as are many others in similar situations, and you pro-lifers are cheering and celebrating. You are cheering, celebrating, and completely dismissing peoples very real and valid fears. This is not and never will be okay.

If you are pro-life, get the fuck out of my life. You don’t care about the people you are traumatizing with your bullshit about how this is a good thing. It’s not a good thing. IT IS NOT A GOOD THING. I don’t care how close we are or not, this isn’t up for debate. MY TRAUMA ISN’T UP FOR DEBATE. Pro-lifers are showing that they lack a significant amount of empathy with their online posts this weekend, and my PTSD is fucking DONE. This is too goddamn fucking far. It’s too fucking personal for me to be able to engage in any sort of debate with you in the slightest regarding this. What’s most disappointing, is this didn’t start here. It started with you assuming places like Planned Parenthood and other womans clinics offered nothing but abortions and calling them abortion mills. You ignore rape victims, like myself, who almost went there when they had no other option to get care after their assault. I didn’t go because I didn’t want to be confronted by evangelical Christians assuming I’d go there for other reasons. I was never pregnant but wanted checked out for any possible STD’s. Yet I was more scared of you than my assailant, and didn’t go. You know how fucked up it is that I’m more scared of WEC’s than a man who sexually assaulted me? That medical trauma is on you. I would personally never have an abortion if I got pregnant, but that’s the assumption y’all make when anyone is pro-choice or visits any womans clinic that performs them. You pro-lifers seem way too eager to confront people at abortion clinics with your assumptions and cheer and celebrate when the person changes their mind about abortion because you ‘convinced them’ not to have one. Did you really convince them though? Because from where I’m sitting, it looks a hell of a lot more like manipulative coercion, not persuasion. After living through an abusive relationship, to me, everything you do looks more like manipulative coercion than persuasion. You pro-lifers seem to ignore the people like one of my family members who has had multiple miscarriages when they tell you the treatment is an abortion. I’ve worked in medical coding and billing – too many ICD-10 and CPT codes for miscarriages and whatnot call it an abortion in some form or fashion. Debunking that meme going around right now that you dislike isn’t the win you seem to think it is. Debunking peoples lived experiences, and debunking peoples lived traumas isn’t the fucking win you want it to be. And one trauma response is anger along with impulsivity, so I’d advise you to stop playing with that fire. You pro-lifers have shown with your actions this weekend that you ignore people in severe emotional pain and turmoil and cause further mental harm by implying it was their own fault. That is emotional abuse. You are causing further trauma by calling people uneducated about their own lived experiences. That is gaslighting. Doesn’t matter if you do this directly or indirectly; actions speak louder than words. Also, the silence from some of you is deafening. You’re not off the hook. The pro-lifers most assuredly don’t appear to care about people in the slightest – you only appear to care about babies. You only seem to care about babies being born, but not the reality of what happens after and promoting adoption/foster care as an alternative shows how easy it is for you self-proclaimed pro-lifers to redirect from the actual problem of helping people dealing with significant traumas that affect peoples lives every day. GET THE FUCK OUT.

Also, I’m deleting and blocking any pro-lifers who comment on this post, whether that’s here on FB or elsewhere. Pretty certain I deleted the ones I could find verifiable proof of prolife status. You are not welcome here. At all. My mental health is far more precious to me than any bullshit you might try to shove down my throat. I worked hard as hell after everything I’ve been through to protect it and you will not destroy it. I’ve also moved passed the crying and sobbing, straight to anger as a trauma response, so tread carefully. I’d advise you to just remove yourself instead of trying to ‘persuade’ {coerce} me into seeing things your way. Cause I won’t. Ever.

My Letter to You, A Year Later


The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom is by Miguel Ruiz.

There seems to be a theme of writing letters to those who’ve hurt you in order to heal oneself. If you could say anything to people from your past who have hurt you, what would you say? The last letter I wrote to those who hurt me followed the four principles detailed below. I hope you and those involved in hurting anyone read it and take it to heart. Because I think these are all important points to remember as we live out our lives in the present moment each and every day.

The First Agreement: Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Read more

Breathing Underwater, Part Two

Yesterday, I got to make up open water dives 2, 3, and 4 to complete my PADI Open Water Diver certification through Scuba Monkey Dive Center. I met my instructor at 8 am at Troy Springs State Park, and we waited a little bit for another girl who was also supposed to finish some make up dives to finish getting certified but she never showed. I do hope she is okay. It did make the day somewhat easier and quicker for me, though, since it meant that it was just me and my instructor. At about 8:30, we started putting our BCD kits together. It’s been almost a month since I last put together a BCD kit, but I was still able to do it. I would love to own my own BCD kit someday soon as I start diving more frequently. We walked down to the water and began our first dive of the day around 9-9:30 am. We worked a little bit on buoyancy, something I had a lot of trouble with during my first open water dive last month, and then went over to a shallow area to do some required SCUBA skills I still needed to practice doing in open water. I was able to practice finding my regulator if it were to have gotten knocked out of my mouth for whatever reason and we practiced buddy breathing again. This time we practiced the buddy breathing by offering our secondary air supply hose and surfacing. We also worked on my favorite skill (note the sarcasm): mask flooding and clearing. I was okay with clearing the mask after putting a little bit of water in, but flooding it completely was difficult. I had trouble actually getting myself to remove the mask completely to flood it, which is necessary to complete this skill. At this point, we decided to surface and take a break out of the water so I could warm up a bit. We practiced the tired diver tow while we were heading out of the water so we could get that skill out of the way before we finished dive one for the day. My instructor also used the break to adjust the amount of weights I had in my BCD kit from 12 lbs to 8 lbs.

After a thirty minute break, we got back in the water and swam over to our line using our compasses. I can now read and use a compass! When we got to our line we floated for a few minutes since we needed a few other divers to get off our line. Why there were other divers on our line, I don’t know but we were able to do finish the last of the surface skills I needed to do while we waited for them to go away. We borrowed a safety sausage from a fellow diver completing a rescue diver course, and I practiced blowing it up and then refolding it. We also did cramp release, which was simply a stretch to relieve cramps and switching from snorkel to regulator a few times at the surface. We also did the removal and replacing of our BCD kits at the surface. Once we finished these last few surface skills, we were able to use our line again and worked on buoyancy. Once I seemed to have some control over that, we swam back over the shallow area we’d been using to do the underwater skills , reading our compass during the swim, and I finally finished flooding and clearing my mask. Yay!! We decided to take another little break at this point and got something to drink. (Coffee and soda, apparently. Because water is overrated as a drink goes…LOL.)

For our last and final dive of the day, we simply worked on buoyancy control at different depths. I also worked on my kicking, keeping my legs straight with my knees locked. We swam around in a circle a few times, and I got to see a little baby turtle swimming on the bottom at one point. When we got to our lowest depth of 60 ft, my instructor purposely put a little water in my mask to see if I would remain calm in an emergency. I did, and when I wasn’t able to clear my mask completely, I signaled that we needed to ascend and we did, calmly and slowly. This was the point at which we finished our dive, and I recorded the proper information in my divers log book. He also took my picture next a fence that will go on my PADI Open Water Diver card I’ll get to put in my wallet once I receive it in the mail. I cannot wait.

I am so looking forward to future diving encounters, and so thankful my instructor was super patient with me in completing all of the skills. Now who wants to go diving? I know a great place we can rent our equipment from!

And if you haven’t already, check out my upcoming trip to Africa, where I’ll be diving with whale sharks this September –

Breathing Underwater, Part One

After our first day of confined water dives and open water dive one, this is what I wrote about my experience with earning my PADI Open Water Diver Certification through Scuba Monkey Dive Center in Alachua, FL.

For three nights in a row, I spent hours in a classroom learning safety skills for Scuba diving. On the fourth day, the other students I shared that classroom with met our instructor out at Devil’s Den in Williston, FL to put those skills into practice.

Before we did anything else, we swam 20 laps in the pool. This was probably the most difficult skill next to mask clearing for me. (More on that later.) Once everyone finished up their laps in the pool, we went over to the deep end where we treaded water for 10 minutes. Our lovely instructor kept sharing how easy this skill was for him…as he stood on land watching his stopwatch. Mhm. To be fair, he did also share that he had to do this skill with his arms up the entire time when he first got open water certified. We didn’t have to do it like that, thankfully. It was nice to have an instructor we could joke around with and it made for a pleasant day of learning and fellowship.

Once we finished with the swimming and treading water, we got our BCD kits together. We were able to practice putting a BCD kit together in the classroom on our second night of class, so this wasn’t too difficult. The hardest part for me was lifting the thing – that sucker is heavy! It’s incredible that there is so much weight to put on, much of which is simply air. And that it doesn’t feel quite so heavy when you’re underwater. After we each managed to finished putting on our BCD kits, we went into the pool for some confined water diving skills.

Once of the first skills we learned was how to clear our masks when partially filled with water. I had a hell of a time with this. I finally figured out the problem when we went over to the spring for our open water dives, but I struggled a ton in the pool. We also learned how to clear our masks if they flooded and filled completely with water. This was a bit more difficult for me than clearing the mask if it was only partially flooded – but I was already having a hard time with that, so what else would you expect?

The next thing we learned was what to do if our regulator got knocked out of our mouths for whatever reason. (The regulator is what provides air from the tank on our backs for us to breathe underwater.) We did this skill twice, once finding our regulator after it’d been ‘knocked out’ of our mouths, and once without finding it which meant needing our secondary. (We simulated getting them knocked out by simply removing it – no one actually knocked it out.) We also simulated running out of air, or our buddy running out air and offering our secondary to them so that they could share our air by taking turns as the one in need of air and the one providing air.

We took a ten minute break after these couple of skills, and used the restroom if needed. After our short break, we went back into the pool and got on our fins. We practiced our buoyancy along the bottom of the shallow end of the pool, and swimming across the pool with our fins on. Swimming is a lot less strenuous when you’ve got some powerful fins on to help your move through the water! Once we’d done this, we swam across the bottom from one end of the pool to the other without our masks on. When we got to the opposite end of the pool from which we started, we cleared our masks as we learned to do earlier. Then we got out of the water for our next skill test.

We took our fins off and walked over to the deep end of the pool where we each entered the water one by one. We did this by putting our fins on while leaning on our buddy, then stepping straight into the water. Once in the water, we inflated our BCD’s and signaled okay to our instructor. Here we simply floated for a few minutes, controlling our buoyancy with the BCD inflated.

After this skill, we practiced taking our BCD kits off (while still in the water, in the deep end of the pool) and then putting it back on. We also practiced dropping our weights. After dropping our weights, we free dove down to retrieve them using our snorkel instead of our regulator. Once we’d finished retrieving our weights, we took apart and off our BCD kits, laid the air tanks on their sides and took a break for lunch.

Once everyone was finished with lunch, and our instructor switched out our tanks to new(ish) ones with more air we got with our buddies to put together our BCD kits, put them on, and walked over to the spring while carrying our mask, fins and snorkels. At the spring, we entered one by one since the only entry way is a single staircase that only allows one individual on it at a time (at least the wooden portion). Once we got to the platform at the end of the staircase, we put on our mask, fins and snorkel and entered the water. For the first couple of minutes, as we waited for everyone in our group to descend the staircase and enter the water we simply floated by filling our BCD up with air. Once everyone was in the water, we practiced two tired diver tows. This was simply towing our buddy by grabbing their tank as they laid on their back after checking they had sufficient air, and then resting their fins on our shoulders to push them through the water (as they were, again, laying on their backs.) Just like when we practiced sharing our air with our buddy in the pool, we took turns being the tired diver and the diver who was towing.

We then descended about five feet and practiced our buoyancy. This simply meant hovering in a particular area. After a few minutes of this, we descended a bit more and swam over to an underwater platform where we again practiced the regulator coming out of our mouth and clearing our masks (partially filled with water). At this point, I realized I was breathing out of my nose instead of my mouth, which kept causing my mask to partially fill with water every time I exhaled. So that’s why I kept having to clear my mask more than everyone else! I managed to solve the problem (for now) my plugging my nose as we swam through the water. We swam a little further and then practiced our buoyancy for another couple of minutes before finally ascending to the surface where our instructor decided to finally call it a day. We swam over to the platform we’d got on when we first descended the staircase and removed our mask, fins and snorkel before each ascending the staircase one by one.

The sun felt really good on our way back over to the picnic tables where we recorded the information from our first open water dive – the depth (24 ft), the time (25 minutes), our pressure group after finishing the dive (C), and other little notes such as the visibility, the temperature of both the air on land and the water we dived in. I also included the amount of weight I had on and the size/thickness of the wetsuit I had on. Our instructor said he was going to bring some hoods for a few of us the next day since we got a bit cold in the spring – guess who started shivering and was most noticeably cold towards the end of our dive? Sigh.

The original plan was to be doing much of these same skills again at Troy Springs the following day. The rest of my classmates were able to do that, but I’ll be making up the day sometime in July. My ears wouldn’t clear properly for me to do anything at Troy Springs and I’m not about to pop an eardrum simply because I rushed to get my certification. After July 3, however, I’ll be fully certified open water certified. I am so looking forward to new adventures that await me upon certification of this skill set (particularly this trip to Africa.) I am so, so glad I decided to do this, and super thankful that my instructor as well as the rest of this group was full of very patient, helpful, and encouraging new friends.

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