The Importance of Connection

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Just a few short months ago I was living in my own world, working from a home office, getting out to see clients for my job occasionally, being at home with my husband and 3 dogs. Living comfortably but feeling out of place and lonely. Kids are grown and out of the house, I no longer have many of the connections I had with fellow mothers. While I have several close friends, many have moved out of state. I decided to stretch myself and go beyond my comfort zone and seek out connection. I’m not one for groups of people and can be rather shy and intimidated meeting new people, and especially hate doing it by myself. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this, but I knew I had to do it.

I signed up to do an at-home jewelry business in hopes of connecting with some Facebook friends and one of my long-time acquaintances fastly became a good customer. We started talking more and connecting more. I was feeling great. We connected through Facebook mostly. One day we were presented the opportunity to go to a networking lunch and we both decided to go, both of us getting out of our comfort zone, and going together to comfort each other so neither of us had to go alone.

We went to our first networking lunch in April and it was fabulous. It really filled my cup. The ladies were incredible, friendly, and outgoing. Being there gave me an energy I had not felt in a long time.

Since that first meeting, I became a member and have gone monthly. I love the friendships that have come out of this so much. Genuine friendships and connection. I have had more fun going out a few times a week to meet up for coffee and sit and talk and connect with many of these ladies. It has become so important for me to continue to do this. I prioritize my second Monday of each month for this group.

The feeling of connectedness is so vital. Being in my own world I was feeling lonely and unsupported. Don’t get me wrong, I am married, and my husband supports what I do, but it’s different. Finding these connections and building true friendships, feeling connected and supported has helped me overcome my anxiety of going places where I don’t know anyone. It’s important to get out of our own shell and share our real selves with others.

I have recently said that me coming out of my shell and talking about my life is freeing. It is also freeing knowing people accept me with all of this. It does not change who I am just how I connect now. I’m open to receiving love, caring, and support from others. Things that I would not have asked for or accepted in the past as I was ‘strong’ and could handle anything ‘myself’. Connections give me a boost of energy when I’m low or need my cup filled. When my cup is full I can be there to fill another cup, and support others too, which is another good feeling of connecting.

Getting Answers, Asking the Tough Questions

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It’s August 4th and I’ve invited my mom to coffee at our local Starbucks, a neutral place to have a serious discussion about my past, my bio-dad Orval, and search for answers. My mom and I only live a half-mile from each other. We don’t talk every day or even once a week, but maybe once a month or so, not for any other reason except that life gets busy.

I called my mom the week prior to schedule this appointment and told her I’m writing a book about my life. She said she’s supportive of it and thinks that it will be very healing for me and will help others. I let her know it was not my intent to make her feel uncomfortable, but I had some questions to ask of her since she knew Orval more intimately, as well as about my grandparents.

Two coffees each, and four and a half emotional hours later, my mom and I were hugging. I thanked her for answering my questions and allowing me to share a couple of stories with her she didn’t know.  Again, it was not my intent to upset her, but for the recollection of my own memories and asking questions to gain a better understanding of the circumstances at the time.

I was very appreciative of my mom coming to meet me for this appointment, she could have said no. I knew it wasn’t easy for her. I can totally relate to her as a mother of what her feelings must have been as we talked about the subject matter of sexual abuse, leaving her kids to go find herself, and her guilt of not protecting us (her words). As I shared one specific memory with my mom, she could not recall it happening. I look at it this way, it was a traumatic experience, it happened 45-46 years ago, and I can only imagine that no one would want to have that memory, as I have blocked out memories as well. I am not in a place to judge. I am at a point in life where I have forgiven her and accept her answers and truth as she believes it to be. We all have our own demons. I would like to say this as well… What purpose would it serve for me to blame, or be angry about any of this, or to hold ill feelings? It would not! It would only hurt me to feel that way. I choose to move past and create whatever joy I can find for my life.

I share this with you because in this life we have to communicate, especially about the ‘difficult’ topics that make us feel uncomfortable. In an age of technology (too much of it if you ask me), we have easy ‘outs’ to communication. You hear of people breaking up via text message, or ghosting friends when friendships get too difficult. When my mom and I left each other after our talk, we were spent but I feel it was healing and bonding for the both of us.

I talked with my mom the week after our appointment, and she mentioned that she felt spent and emotional. I let her know that I did a Facebook Live the Sunday after our talk, and how a friend of mine reached out to me to let me know that it opened the door for her and her son to talk about her son’s abuse. My mom said she didn’t watch it, that it was too emotional for her, but I let her know that in this crazy process, her and I are helping someone and setting an example of what the healing process can look like. It gave her a new positive perspective about what we did, and she was able to say, “Wow, you mean I helped?” I told her of course she helped!

This is why I’m writing my story. It is not about me telling my story for a pity party, or for people to feel sorry for me, or to whine about how difficult life has been or how unfair it’s been to me…NO!!! I am writing my story in the hopes of being a catalyst in starting the discussion about sexual abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, and familial kidnapping. It is time to use my voice (or my writing) as a superpower, a weapon against these forces. The more we can openly talk about these difficult issues, the more awareness can be created, and the more healing can happen.

If you, too, have experienced any trauma or abuse in your life, YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM, YOU ARE A SURVIVOR! Yes, I am yelling from a metaphorical mountaintop to you, from a place of love, hope, and faith.

I am not a victim, I am a survivor.

XO

Kara

Writing the Prologue today…

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One of the things my book coach and I discovered during our call this week where she had me do a 5-minute writing warm-up, is that I wrote it in 3rd person… so now I am finishing it in 3rd person, then writing it in 1st person to see which is more natural and tells the story better.

One of the things I am noticing while writing is my heart racing quite a bit. You know when harm has been done to you, you still have to have compassion for the person/people who hurt you, it’s quite a challenge. Taking a break for a moment for insight, calmness, peace, forgiveness (which can sometimes be an ongoing thing), and perspective is key. I know I am going to have to take breaks writing this book, some longer than others as I delve deeper into this. Self-care is going to play an important role in this journey.

On another note, in our discussion this week about the storyline, there may be more than one book…I give it to God. There is a message that needs to be out there in this world and I give it to Him to help the words flow.

XO
Kara

Why I LOVE Sundays!

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It’s all about self-care! Yes! I personally feel that everyone should set some time aside for themselves to rejuvenate and do what you love. Whether it’s an hour or a whole day, it does not matter.

Sundays are our Fun-days! Unless the hubs and I are away or have guests, we take our Sundays very seriously! These are the days we sit in our pajamas, I’m surrounded by at least two of my dogs and hubby has a cat sitting next to him, sipping coffee leisurely while catching up on our beloved computer time. For me that is playing some online Bingo, for hubby, it’s his online Football game. I will usually make us a nice breakfast around 10ish, maybe have another coffee after, then hit the shower to feel human the rest of the day.

This is the time for me to use a nice exfoliating scrub on my face, and a charcoal detox mask, or a hydration mask, whichever is best suited depending what has occurred this past week. Today was all about detox! Too much smoke in our air from our local fires, combined with the heat, I felt the need to deep clean! My reward for this is also not to wear makeup on Sundays so that my skin can take a break and refresh, enjoying its invigorated freedom.

From here we either relax around the house or go get a coffee somewhere. It depends on our mood, weather, time of day, and whatever we feel like doing. Then we’re off to go get a foot rub! We LOVE doing this on our Sundays. So very relaxing! We will then go get something to eat for dinner, mostly take out like Poke Bowls, especially in the Summer. Aside from going out to breakfast on Saturdays, we don’t go out a lot and spend money on other things. Sundays are our one splurge for the week that we don’t have to feel guilty about. And, that is the point of self-care as well, not to feel guilty for taking care of yourself!

There are many sayings that go along the lines of “If you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of others”, or “After emptying your cup, it’s time to fill it back up”. Something like that. We give so much of ourselves to others during the week, whether its family, work or friends, it is so important we fill our cup.

What do you do for self-care? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

XO

Kara

Domestic Violence Awareness

***TRIGGER WARNING. Depicts an example of Domestic Abuse. Please watch with caution***

I’ll post more about this topic later, but I wanted to share with you a great lipsync video by Pickens County Georgia Sheriff’s Office. So on point with a great message, creating awareness and a helpline. The National Helpline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) if you or someone you know is in need of help. 

Please watch and share this video:

https://www.facebook.com/pickens.so/videos/1733937153368864/?t=330  

My A-HA Moment

ton of bricks**Expletives in this post**

I have spent my entire life trying to ignore the harmful, negative, evil experiences that have occurred. It took me until about five years ago to accept my anxiety and panic attacks, even though I have dealt with them since early childhood. And to boot, I’ve been in and out of therapy trying to figure out why! I kept thinking that my life was normal, so why was this happening to me? Why couldn’t I go through life without anxiety or panic? Seriously, completely denying my entire existence and trying to be someone I wasn’t.

It has been very freeing embracing who I truly am. I had my A-HA moment just a few short weeks ago when I read a book by Dorris Burch called “The Little Black Book of Being Fabulous: Who is this woman who can be self-aware, confident and yet hold a powerful presence?” I had no idea what an impact this book would make in my life! I just thought it would be an interesting read. After all, I had seen in the reviews that it was a quick read and a good book. In a nutshell, my A-HA moment came when I was reading how I was living my life small, trying to please others and be who they wanted me to be. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I AM LIVING MY LIFE SMALL! I was seriously trying not to rock the boat, bring attention to myself, or upset others. Instead, I would make sure everyone around me was happy, trying to control my environment. The next moment I was like “FUCK THAT!” I need to quit living life small, accept who I am and that includes ALL my experiences.

Now I know that this change is going to come with some people liking me, loving me, or leaving me. I know that because of my changes internally, it is going to upset the apple cart for some people. I am okay with that. I have spent my entire life being a people pleaser. I am 50 years old, about to be 51 in a couple of months, and it’s time I start living for me. I am way too young to live a life less than full, and I have a lot more life to live and enjoy. I am feeling empowered, strong, courageous, and if I am being truly honest, a bit scared. I am writing this book about my life journey so that others can see that whatever shit life throws at you, you CAN OVERCOME, TRANSCEND, ARISE OUT OF THE ASHES, and be nothing less than the Stellar You, You Are Meant To Be! This is exactly how I am feeling about my life now. I know it is still sticky, messy, emotional, and trying at times. But you know what? I’ve been through worse! A lot worse! AND I’M HERE TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT! I AM A BADASS SURVIVOR!

Since I had my A-HA moment, I’ve only had to take Xanax twice for my anxiety, and I am pretty sure one of those was instigated from caffeine! You see, letting go of who I am not has freed me to be me. Hey, I guess that is cliché “FREE TO BE ME”, but whatever! LOL! J  In all seriousness, my anxiety is pretty gone! I can hardly believe it myself. I honestly believe that being my true self, owning my life and my life’s truth, is the Kryptonite to my anxiety.

As I write this I am crying. I’m crying because I can’t believe I’ve wasted so much of my life ignoring myself, and at the same time I am so happy to have found this for myself and I want others to find it as well! I encourage you to embrace your true self, to stop living life small if that is what you are doing. You are not helping anyone by living that way and certainly not helping yourself. Trust me, Darling, you are worth living the full you experience!

Hugs & Kisses

XO