SHARED Trauma and a Facebook Post

Dear William,

I wanted to write a response to you regarding your comments on my post but I needed to do some digging first. Like, the real deep kind. My knee-jerk reaction was just to make a snarky comment and set you in your place. That’s not what I dreamed up when I made that blog post you didn’t bother to read with my picture attached, that you so harshly judged. See, that blog post was about my insecurities about my arms. Then you used it to hurt me. But, I am in a place that you are not yet and in this place, I can be candid. I am in control. I am going to give you some grace.

So as I was driving today I decided to take a good long look inward and decode my emotional response versus my pro social therapeutic response options.

Several times I thought maybe I should just pull the car over and have a good cry. But I didn’t do that. Someone might pull over and try to rescue me. AND I DON’T NEED TO BE RESCUED!

But, maybe YOU do. So allow me. I was also in an abusive relationship. I also got hurt. I responded in life in a variety of damaging ways. I’ve not always been proud of the choices I made when I was trying to get over the whole ordeal.

When I finally got out of ‘said relationship’ and began to try to heal it was NOT EASY.

Healing is a process, the length of which is akin to the length of the process that was used to alienate me from my family and friends. To make me feel worthless and useless. To make me want to please someone at my own expense. To walk around in my own home every day and wonder what I was doing wrong. What was I going to do today that he would berate me for? Why can’t I just get it right? The process that made me believe that I was the terrible wife and mother that he wanted me to believe I was. It took a long time for him to train me.

It took one split second for me to suddenly and violently realize that I was not all of those things he accused me of being and I was going to get out. It took another three years before I actually did.

It didn’t matter that he wasn’t much bigger than me. It didn’t matter that I was skilled with weapons and COULD fight back. He may have very well been able to physically overpower me if he came at me just right, but he didn’t even have to do that. His words cut me deeper than any of the beatings I took. The anxiety that I had just wondering if I was gone too long at the grocery store was enough to send me into a panic attack.

And it took me A LONG TIME TO HEAL FROM THAT! I’m still not done. I will come out of every corner I am ever backed into swinging still to this day. But here is what I have become.

I am strong. I am proud that I am strong. I survived. I am proud of that too. I am proud that I didn’t become another statistic. But I know that there are two sides to every story. Maybe you didn’t want to know mine. Maybe I don’t know yours. Here is what I do know.

Men can be victims of domestic violence too and I would say that many, much too many, frequently are. And they’re never going to tell. As stigmatized as I feel right now admitting it, I can’t imagine what you feel, as a man, because you aren’t supposed to admit that you let her hurt you. Of course that’s garbage talk, but that’s where we still are as a society.

I think you are brave to admit that a woman overpowered you and physically hurt you. Because you are not supposed to admit such things. You are a man afterall. I can’t compare my pain to yours and I won’t.

But brother, let me tell you something, you have got to do the work on yourself now in order to heal from your trauma. Read the book. Take the class. Join the f***ing support group. You need it. Don’t spend years denying that you do. It’s a waste of time and you and everyone you love pay the price.

I am not afraid of men who are bigger and stronger than me. No person’s physical appearance is threatening to me. I don’t find strong men unattractive because they’re strong. I don’t think they look like monsters. I don’t find less muscular men unattractive because they might be weak. My trauma didn’t manifest the way yours did. I know that no matter what a person looks like on the outside, they are who they are at their heart. There really sometimes is no clue to who they are until you give them a chance to show you.

Don’t carry your trauma around for the rest of your life making assumptions about what people are capable of or what kind of pain they may inflict on you because of the way they look. You are gonna miss out on a whole lot of awesome. Do the work on yourself and keep your mouth shut about the way other people look.

And for the record, I wanted to be strong, not so I could fight back against some man if they ever tried to hurt me again. Not so I could show off my muscles and take selfies. I’m 44 and I just want to still feel good when I’m 66 and beyond. I want to be able to make the damn bed without giving up and asking for help. I want to be able to do the fun things I like to do without the amount of pain that I was in before I started lifting weights. And it is working. And I’m happy about it. AND I want to inspire other women to take their health into their own hands. Eating right and exercising takes a lot of dedication, but it’s worth it. It’s another step I have taken on the road to being my best self. I will never be ashamed of that, regardless of who finds me attractive.

Healing….. means wading through the trauma you experienced and ending up standing on top of that mountain of bullshit that life threw at you and screaming “I F***ING WON”!

Continue reading “SHARED Trauma and a Facebook Post”

Finding YOUR PEOPLE and ACCEPTING YOURSELF

I used to hate my stomach. Then I hated my arms. Then I felt insecure about all of the things. ALL OF THE THINGS….

I used to wish I was smarter. I used to wish I had more tact. I used to wish I fit in everywhere with everyone. EVERYWHERE WITH EVERYONE….(sigh)

And then one day I noticed that I was healthier and happier and didn’t hate so many things about myself. But there was a lot of stuff that happened in between.

One of those things was realizing that not ALL of the people are MY people. I had to find my people. Not everyone thinks they need this but I’ve never known anyone who regretted finding theirs. It’s like this giant step I made toward ACCEPTING myself.

Finding other people who accepted me first. I didn’t know it was happening. I didn’t feel that anything was changing. I just know that when you are around people and you don’t have to hold the real-you in, good things happen. When you don’t have to pretend to be more confident than you actually are, when your sense of humor doesn’t have to be checked, when you don’t fear that they’ll cast you aside because you said something offensive accidentally, you’ve found your people.

The weird part is, they don’t have to be LIKE you. They don’t have to eat the way you eat or workout at your gym or do the same thing for a living. They don’t have to be people that politically see eye to eye with you. They don’t have to be the same religion or color or size. They just fall in love with who you are and you fall in love with them. You love their life and how they’ve built it. You feel their struggles and want them to succeed. And they feel yours and you can tell they want the same for you. Those are your people.

I can say that I wish I had found them sooner. But really, I might not have appreciated them so much.

And I say all of this to say, it’s okay to insist on improving yourself. To constantly try to mold yourself into your idea of a better you and LOVE YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY. Some of us feel unlovable because we aren’t the best version of ourselves yet. Love yourself anyway.

Every day I still look at my arms and wish they were tiny like they used to be. But I love that they are strong and I see their potential. My arms don’t bother anyone but me. My people could give two shits about my arms. I know this because I couldn’t care less about what their arms look like. I might not realize this if I hadn’t found them.

If you haven’t found your people yet, you will. It’s going to happen when you least expect it but it’s going to happen when you need them the most. Cheers.

Link to Part 2 of this article in reply to a comment I received on my FB (you need to check this out)

Continue reading “Finding YOUR PEOPLE and ACCEPTING YOURSELF”

Grains: Sensitivities beyond wheat | PCC Community Markets

There is little to no medical controversy over whether wheat and other grains trigger allergies or sensitivities. They do. Where controversy enters is in the areas of incidence and symptoms to grains other than wheat.
— Read on www.pccmarkets.com/sound-consumer/2011-08/grains_beyond_wheat/

Another good article on grain sensitivity.

9 Weird Signs You Should Avoid Grains

While you may think of grains as a go-to, easy item to have around, grains may be cause your body more harm than good. As someone with celiac disease, I’m very familiar with the negative effects grains can have on a person’s body. However, the term…
— Read on www.bustle.com/p/9-weird-signs-you-should-avoid-grains-5499460

I’m pretty sure after 3 years of monitoring and eliminating different foods that I’m largely grain intolerant. It’s even worse if there is excess sugar involved. I can tolerate a small amount of oats, and I do mean small. And a small amount of white rice. Other than that I get every one of the symptoms mentioned in this article. I do at least one Whole30 a year and while it is difficult my skin clears up, I have more energy and all of my digestive issues go away. It’s not a maintainable diet but it is possible to do a Whole30 even if you have to cook for a family. Try it. I get so tired of seeing everyone pop up with these digestive problems and fatigue and refusing to change their diet for the better. A good elimination diet that lasts long enough to see the short term effects should be enough to give you a glimpse into a better life. #disturbingclarity

How to Eat Like a French Woman

How to Eat Like a French Woman
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.vogue.com/article/eat-like-a-french-woman-how-to/amp

I thought this was an interesting read. I was remembering having read an article somewhere where a woman described having lived in France and how even the children waited for mealtime and didn’t snack all the time. I was looking for that and ran across this. I mention it because over the summer break we eat most meals at home and knowing what’s coming next, we don’t snack often. During the school year my kids have a snack in the morning before they leave home. Then they eat breakfast at school. They then eat lunch, an afternoon snack, another snack at afterschool care and come home asking for more food before dinner. I need a snack sometimes too, but I think it’s really gotten out of hand in America and if you think I’m wrong, well, look around. And it’s not just how often the kids are hungry, it’s why they’re hungry so often. Look what they’re eating. There are very few vegetables going into their bodies and a whole lot of processed, pre-packaged junk we are calling food. I can feed my kids 100% healthy at home but 180 days out of the year, even if I pack their breakfast and lunch they are still getting a ton of sugar and chemicals in typical American snacks.

DisturbingClarity… from the Garden

Every season is a chance for a new beginning. A chance for success and a chance for failure. And they will come. Some failures will seem insignificant. Some will floor you. Some successes will seem small and unimportant. Some will leave you with a renewed sense of purpose. But every season is an opportunity for improvement on the last.

Hardships will come and death is imminent, but we must try. We must continue. We have to care and love.

An untended garden looks untended. The signs are all around. Weeds are inevitable. They will always come. Pluck them out while they are small but be diligent. Some weeds are beneficial. It’s important to do your best to identify them early. Pluck them out and get rid of them if they serve no purpose. Relocate them to a safer place if you want to keep them but they’re choking out something purposefully planted. You are in control.

Each day go out and see the growth, the damage, the thirst, the bounty. Serve it. Recognize it for what it is. Call it by its name. Be grateful and glad, humbled or sad if that is what the moment calls for.

Each day we start anew with dreams and goals and plans. In the beginning you doubted every step. You agreed with them when they said you would probably fail, but you did it anyway. And now you have the confidence to break new ground and start fresh. You know when and how to pluck things out of each space in your garden where you don’t want them to grow. You have the knowledge and bravery to let some things you didn’t plan happen anyway and the freedom to allow yourself to be excited about their possibilities.

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Just open your eyes each day and remember that journey you’ve taken so many times that often began with fear, loneliness, self-doubt and ended in joy and bounty. Do that, and each season remind yourself that this is the beginning of something new. Recognize the challenges and anticipate the hard work.

Remember the pride of the harvest and the laughter over shared meals and all the good things you are going to get to make out of it. Some things will immediately be consumed but you will have extra. Extra to share and to save. Extra to turn into something completely different and useful. To use as a teaching tool when you have the opportunity.

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Soon the ground will be frozen again. The soil will be cold and barren in some areas. That’s ok, it just means you need to see to other important things and wait in faith that your favorite things will come back around.

img_3658Everyone’s garden looks different but there isn’t one single person who cannot benefit from tending his own. What do you have? A small container on the balcony or in the windowsill? Plant what you hope will grow there. It will be enough. It will be something where there once was nothing. You can say, “I grew this,” “I am proud of this”. You can reach out if you get into trouble and ask for help. Ask anyone you can find. Don’t take just anyone’s advice though. Mind your instincts and be patient. Some things take a long time to come to fruit. Sometimes they’re beautiful. They are sweet and perfect and truly something special.

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The hard truth is though, they aren’t always worth the trouble that you put in. Sometimes they just don’t work out. And my best advice to you is, make damn sure you get something out of the journey or the season will seem to have been wasted. You will be hurt and bitter, maybe resentful or sad. Maybe all of it.

But did you know that it’s ok to be sad. When you’ve taken the time and given the love and effort and it just doesn’t work out in the end, why shouldn’t you be sad? But be sad and grateful for the knowledge. Be humbled and excited about what you could do differently next time.

Did something get in and destroy your whole crop this year? Do you need to build a new fence or just repair a spot in the old one? Do that. It doesn’t matter if you got lazy and did something careless. If you didn’t know you needed to make your fence stronger this year than it was last year.

You are not responsible for predicting what everyone else will do. Just learn from it. Make sure intruders know you have your boundaries clearly marked. Get back up and dry your tears and put the pieces together a little differently this time. And go try again.

There are some things that other gardeners in my area grow every year and they have beautiful harvests. Some things that I have tried several years in a row to grow and failed. It just isn’t meant to be for me and my garden. It was disappointing at first but at least now I know. I still keep planting them hoping they will surprise me and grow well, but I don’t spend any time worrying over them anymore.

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I plant other things I know will grow here because they always do. And each year I plant something new and experimental just to see if I can. What will it be this year? I haven’t decided. It’s too late to start some things. I know this. That’s what all the books say. That’s what my gardener friends or mentors will tell me. But I also know that my whole life has been a series of the world under- estimating me, telling me I can’t or I shouldn’t. So, I might try it anyway, just to see if I can.

 

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Enjoy the time you spend making the callouses my friends. Let them heal for a season and start again. You and your garden are worth the daily watering, every day you got up just a little early to beat the heat, every fence you built to protect what’s yours, every repair you’ve made to the landscape and every tool you’ve bought that you bought because you needed it for one specific purpose. All worth it. Pay attention and enjoy.

 

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~Karen Bradberry

Hi! I am the owner and sole writer for “DisturbingClarity”, a humorous yet factual blog found at http://www.disturbingclarity.com. I began this blog in effort to try to fill in the gaps for travelers like myself, ready for adventure and avoiding disaster. I have also found myself writing about food and gardening and living your best life! I hope you enjoy these articles and please feel free to make suggestions. I would love to hear your ideas!

disturbingclarity@gmail.com

 

7 Healthy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Under 400 Calories | Nutrition | MyFitnessPal

Make nutritious, protein-packed versions of the classic comfort food.
— Read on myfitnesspal.wpengine.com/7-healthy-grilled-cheese-sandwiches-under-400-calories/

A Beautiful Thing

(an unexpected take-away from a karate tournament)

You might be thinking, “this is a pointless read.” “I am not interested in karate.” Well, this isn’t just about karate, this is about us, you and me. And this is about our kids, so buckle up.

I couldn’t even think of a good play on words for a title. It just is what it is. But I’m so anxious to get right down to it, I’m not going to try to bait you in with a funny story.

I took my kids to a karate tournament today. It was crowded, so immediately, not my thing. But this wasn’t about me and I needed to get over myself, real quick. And I did.

My kids were SOOO excited about this. Honestly, they behaved better on this trip than probably any other trip we’ve taken. It was their FIRST tournament.

They were nervous. They mingled with their friends, some older, some younger. They tried to shake off their nerves for at least two good hours before it began. I watched as my son (11) encouraged a younger student. I watched as older students encouraged my kids.I’m used to seeing this at belt rankings and during class, but this was a competition! They were competing against each other and I’m sorry to say, I rather expected it to get as ugly as some youth sporting events I’ve been to. You know, where the refs get yelled at and parents get into fights. Yeah….😞 I digress….

A little later on, I heard an adult competitor say they hadn’t seen a much older Sensei in a while, and she said “I need to go find him and make sure he’s alright.” She found him across the gym, watching and encouraging a young student.

As my son and daughter went up to spar, I noticed some of the older teenage students coaching them and encouraging them. As a parent, I can’t help but approve. As a human, I suddenly became aware of this beautiful circle.

Each child, young adult, adult and older adult at this tournament had an intrinsic responsibility for the well-being of another. The older ones took care and looked after the hearts of the younger ones. In turn, the younger students, not only look up to the older students and teachers, they look after them as well.

Everyone was included. Everyone was important. No one was there on their own. Each person was a competitor, a coach, a student and a teacher. Each person gave respect and received respect in return.

Many days, I find myself shaking my head in shame, disappointment and disbelief at the things I hear and see human beings do. Today was different. Today, I was impressed. My heart is glad that I had this experience. My spirit is lightened to see that this phenomenon still exists and that my children get to be a part of it.

I am moved by the knowledge that this good character is being purposely developed through corrective encouragement and self-discipline. My kids need this and quite frankly, every community needs more of this.

#disturbingclarity

Karen Bradberry is the owner and sole writer for “Disturbing Clarity”, a humorous yet factual blog found at http://www.disturbingclarity.com. She began this blog in effort to try to fill in the gaps for travelers like herself, ready for adventure and avoiding disaster.
As a parent, college student and full time counselor, Karen strives to bring a better understanding of the places she visits, how to get there and how much it really costs, to readers who have always wanted to travel. You can reach Karen Bradberry by writing to: disturbingclarity@gmail.com
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Are Almonds Low FODMAP? Dietitian Q&A – Lauren Renlund MPH RD

A comprehensive guide to almonds and the low FODMAP diet, including almond products such as almond milk, flour/meal, butter, oil and extract.
— Read on www.laurenrenlund.com/2017/10/17/are-almonds-low-fodmap-dietitian-qa/

Digesting the Day

Today, my co-workers and I, spent the day at Eupepsia Wellness Center in the beautiful mountains of Virginia. Nestled along a hillside surrounded by small creeks and wooded areas, looking very much out of place, and yet, right at home at the same time, Eupepsia, who's motto is: the alchemy of digesting life, sits awaiting your personal or company retreat.

We are greeted by numerous friendly- faced hosts and hostesses upon our entrance to the property. I took this video of my walk down the porch later on after lunch.

Our morning began with freshly made pastries of all sorts, some with cheese and some with fruit, coffee and tea. For some of us, who are often nervous at these sort of required gatherings, arrival time can set the tone for the whole day. I am pleased to report that everyone quickly relaxed into casual conversation and greetings of coworkers we don't often see. This was helped along by welcoming staff wearing name tags and eager to speak to any lone wolves.

I didn't catch all the details, but I understand that the staff was brought in from Dubai and they make everything from scratch. Naturally, me being me, I couldn't wait to see what was on the lunch menu.

But instead of seeking that out we got on with our morning company business and mini training sessions, readying ourselves for a productive school year. (We are all Therapeutic Day Treatment counselors and work within the schools in several counties in Virginia. )

After our trainings, which were short and sweet, the staff got underway providing us with opportunities for a myriad of team-building exercises. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil the surprise for you if your company is kind enough to book a day here, but wear comfortable shoes and clothes. We all had a great time with the activities, which seemed challenging but not impossible, and definitely made us feel like we could trust each other and work together.

Now the best part of my day trip here to Eupepsia Wellness Center was… you guessed it… LUNCH! Everything was vegetarian, although, they did use cream, cheese and probably butter in some things. So, if you are like me and lactose intolerant, be prepared for that.

At the end of the day we did a few more activities which helped us hone in on our personal differences and strengths within our groups. The staff then showed us a short video of our experiences during the day, which was anywhere from well- received to downright hilarious.
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I feel I can speak for most of our group in saying that this was one of the most enjoyable and beneficial beginning of the year meetings we have had. I would love to return to Eupepsia, especially since it is only 15 minutes from Wytheville and very easily accessible by car.

If you would like to book your company or personal retreat at Eupepsia, you can do that here.