My Daily Ransom

Facing the Unknown…

Beginning Self Forgiveness — August 17, 2019

Beginning Self Forgiveness

I’ve made numerous mistakes in my life. I’ve also made right choices. It’s figuring out how to find that forgiveness for myself, the kind where I’m always open to understanding the shortcomings or imperfections of others and seeing why or how they feel and do those hurtful things. But I seem to hold myself at a different standard. Like I’m not allowed to have a misstep and if I do, then I don’t deserve the same love and understand that I share with those around me. How dare I not see clearly the first time and wade through all the bullshit and come out unscathed.

Now is the time I have to change for myself. To look into my swollen red eyes that burn with the tears that have fallen down my rosy cheeks. To tell myself that loving someone and trusting them isn’t something to be ashamed of when it ends up being a mistake. How many times has forgiveness fallen upon those who may not have earned it, at least not at the moment I gave it to them.

So how do I go about this forgiveness? Do I replay all the failures and misjudgments to see where I went wrong? Then will I understand why I did what I did? Or should I start with a clean slate, tell myself that from this moment on I will take care of myself. That I will fill my cup until it’s overflowing with so much self-love and respect that I will never allow another person to mistreat me again. That I will set boundaries with those I care about so that I can continue to learn about myself and have myself dignity.

But I know that I’ll make more mistakes in my life. I’m only human, right? So I can do all those things I just listed but I have to make sure I learn from what I’ve already lived through. I have to go back to how do I forgive myself, how do I trust myself? It’s important to rewind back in time and feel those emotions that I felt when I realized I had made a mistake. I’m still holding onto those mistakes today and not just the present ones that flood my heart and mind of all these misdoings I’ve allowed to happen to me or just accepted when I should not have. It’s reliving the past so that I can heal today because I deserve my own forgiveness. I deserve to truly forgive myself so I can learn to trust myself.

I’m going to take this journey of self discovery and forgiveness. I know it’s going to be a rough and painful descend as I release myself into the murkiness of past trauma but it’s something that has to be done. I’m not sure how long this expedition will last but I know it’ll take some time. I have to unravel the thread and find my way. Each knot untied should lessen the guilt and sting I have held onto for far too long. I have to focus on…me.

 

 

What and Where Is Your Happiness? — May 28, 2019

What and Where Is Your Happiness?

What is your happiness? Do you even know what or where it is? Are you afraid of your happiness?

I’ve been working on finding my happiness or should I say happinesses. Sometimes I forget that I have happiness in many different aspects, in different moments, feelings, activities, shapes. Sometimes my happinesses last for seconds, minutes, hours, and days. But it always passes which is apart of happiness. It can’t last forever.

Yes, that’s the phrase we all hate to hear, “It can’t last forever.” because we never want the happiness to leave. We want to be happy forever and never feel sad or hurt. Our goal is to always be happy but that’s not life. Happiness is fleeting but only in that specific moment. It finds its way back to us even if it takes longer than we’d like.

For me happiness is something I feel a lot of guilt having and truly feeling. This is a topic I’ve spoken about many times. The guilt that I am privileged to experience sincere happiness when my brothers, Josh and Adam, and my Bubba (my step-dad) no longer get to have is heartbreaking. The guilt, in an instant, can be paralyzing. My happiness disappears and I feel angry or sadness about losing them. And people say, “But they would want you to be happy.” or “They wouldn’t want you to feel this way.” That doesn’t change the emotions I bear during these times. It makes no difference what they would want, it’s how I feel.

So what is MY happiness? How do I find it and accept it? I have started telling myself that I’m worthy of happiness. That no matter what I have or haven’t done in my life, no matter what I have or haven’t said in my past, I am worthy of feeling happiness. And since happiness leaves us so quickly, I can’t allow a split second of it to pass without fully participating in that moment.

So some of my happinesses come from little things and big events. My happiness is living back in Texas where I am able to be physically active each day. I can walk my pups in the morning and the evenings no matter the time of year. My happiness is being with my nontraditional family of my significant other and our pups. My happiness is laying on the couch with my dogs and man watching tv. It’s tasting that delicious dessert I’ve been craving for days (sometimes weeks!) and just allowing the pleasure of tasting it to take over my mind and body. My happiness is getting a text of the campsite where my Dad is staying or a SnapChat filtered picture from my Mom. My happiness is having a career that I enjoy. My happiness is planning for my future and things I want to accomplish. My happiness is laying in the sun reading a book. My happiness is talking with my best friends. My happiness is exploring new cities.

But I also have happiness in other aspects. My happiness comes from learning to love myself. Looking at myself in the mirror and actually LOOKING at myself. The happiness of being able to enjoy being myself fully and completely. The happiness of setting goals for myself and knowing I can accomplish them all. My happiness is knowing that I have talents and I cannot waste them any longer.

So, I’ve found happiness again. And yes, it’s always fleeting just like yours. But we have to know that we are worthy of our own happiness. A happiness that no one else can give us but ourselves. A happiness that no one else can take away from us. Remember, we can never be happy always. We have to have moments of growth in pain and anguish. And happiness may hide away from time to time. But keep working on finding that happiness again because you are worthy of it. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, you are. If I’m worthy of it, so are you.

 

“What Do You Want?” — February 17, 2019

“What Do You Want?”

Do you know what you want? You do ever ask yourself, truly ask yourself with a sincere tone as you would a dear friend, “What do you want? What do you need?”

We should all be talking to ourselves in a way we would our dearest friend who needs us. We should be our own best friend looking out for ourselves but I, myself, have an extremely difficult time doing that. I know I’m not unique in that which is even more heartbreaking.

I’m starting the plunge deep down inside my broken pieces, holding them up to the light and digging through the pain of the past to see where I want to go. I’m tired of the fear of the pain due to the past to continue to dictate the moves I make today. I can’t change what has happened in my life but I have to face those moments of earth shattering anguish to become a better person. Or at least see how I can grow from the deconstruction of what could have been.

Grief is a mistress in the dark lingering just behind that closed door. She jumps out without warning and pours her pain into your veins and shakes your thoughts to the ground. She fights to control your feelings as you melt into a puddle of misery. Your wounds are open and profound. Ask yourself, “What do I want?”

Do you want to stay in that puddle of torture? Do you want to continue to fear those thoughts that squeeze the life from you limbs?

I want to continue to love my brothers and my dad. I want to continue to remember how I felt with them. How a text or call could shine up my face. How their lives have fully intertwined into my soul and helped me become the person I am today, both the happy and the sad. I want to see the beauty in the world and not just the darkness that softly flows beside me.

I want to look in my own eyes staring back at me and see the beauty that someone else sees. I want to believe I can feel heartfelt joy and not feel ashamed of it. I want my naked truth to be seen by the world and not pitied for the pain I endure. I want to feel and give fearless love to myself and others. I want to believe in a journey of understanding and progress.

Now that I know what I want, what do I do now?

 

Adam, My Brother — January 23, 2019

Adam, My Brother

“My brother died so leave me alone!” The first time I said those words I was in fourth grade. A group of us were jumping on Jamis’ trampoline and a couple of other boys came up to me and started making fun of me because my brother was gay.

“Your brother is a fucking fag! He sucks dick and puts stuff up his butt!” they yelled at me from the side walk.

I didn’t know what to do. I was embarrassed for both of us. I already knew that he liked boys because, as his baby sis, I just knew him. Before he ran away to Florida as soon as he turned 18 we were together ALL the time. He was my best friend. I just knew who he was fully and completely. But I didn’t know exactly what being gay entailed so the thought of anyone putting “stuff” up their butt seemed horrifying.

I jumped off the trampoline and ran the half block back to my house. We lived in a duplex up the street above a store. I ran up the stairs then I slowly opened the top door and calmly walked in the house. I stood in the hallway and could hear my mother’s voice in the living room trying to explain to someone that everything was fine. “No, seriously, I just clicked over from talking to him. He was just on the other line. Who said he was dead?”

Those boys lived just a block the other direction next to a cousin of mine and ran to tell her about Adam. She picked up the phone immediately and called my mother crying and confused. Why hadn’t anyone told her.

“I have to go. Let me call you back.” my mother told her.

“Abigail Faye, what the hell is going on?” my mother called to me from the living room. As I turned the corner she looked at me and said “Why would you say that Adam died? That is so messed up! What is wrong with you?”

“The West boys were making fun of me because Allfaye’s gay.” I said through tears rolling down my cheeks. “I didn’t know how else to make them leave me alone.” and I ran to my room.

A few minutes later our cousin was there and I was called into the living room. “Little lady, why would you say that Adam died? That’s a terrible thing to say.”

“Tavon and Taft were making fun of me because Allfaye’s gay.” I didn’t have the words to say that I was tired of them always teasing me and hurting my feelings. I didn’t know how to express the anger they filled me with. How I wanted to jump off that trampoline and punch them in the face and kick them while they were on the ground. The rage I felt when I heard their voices overwhelmed my senses.

She looked me straight in the eyes and said something that has stuck with me my entire life. “You should be proud of who your brother is. Don’t ever let someone else make you feel bad about who he is.” and she hugged me. She may have even said more but that’s what I remember the most. “Be proud.”

From that day on I told everyone I knew that my brother was gay if they asked and even if they didn’t. I told them about my gay brother and all the amazing things he did (even though most of them didn’t matter if he was gay or straight). If I was talking to someone who didn’t know my family dynamics then I’d say “my straight brother” or “my gay brother”.

The amount of pride I’ve always held for being the little sister of my two big brothers is powerful. The strength I’ve received from that power has helped me through a lot of turmoil. I’m so thankful Josh and Adam were my big brothers. I love them so.

 

 

***Names of people outside of my siblings have been changed to protect their identity

 

Moments of Balance in 2017 — December 31, 2017

Moments of Balance in 2017

This year has been a year beyond struggle. The pain has been immeasurable and the anxiety and depression has taken a tight grip.

This past week I have done things differently than I usually do for the start of a new year. I have done some deep cleaning of our apartment, I have found some self improvement projects that begin tomorrow, January 1, 2018, and I went to the store so our refrigerator and pantry will be full for the start of our new year. I have to make a change or I will stay stuck in this hole.

So, I decided to to do something completely different than I usually do. I am going to remember things that brought me balance, happiness and/or joy, even if only for a moment in time. I’m not only going to look back on them, I’m going to write them down. Maybe this can help my soul as I remember all the painful moments over and over again without fail, that these moments can help balance out my overwhelming mourning.

Texting and FaceTiming with my nieces Shea and Puddle.

Sitting with friends outside of Mikey’s house just chatting and watching music videos on YouTube.

Going out to see Split with Pikki and Garrett.

Playing and spending time with Michael and Alexandra.

Being able to talk with Christina about our issues we shared.

Cuddling Brutus,

Going on walks and hikes with Brutus,

Cooking fresh chicken for Brutus,

Having a meltdown but have Brutus pull me out of it.

Cooking home cooked meals.

Eating out at two of our favorite restaurants.

Cuddling on the couch with Justin.

Watching a thousand Christmas movies that Justin loves.

Putting up a foot tall Christmas tree for Justin.

Going to DuQuoin, IL to visit my Mommy. First time we’ve been able to see each other in years just for the purpose of loving each other.

Talking with my Pops on the phone for an hour here or there.

Seeing large groups of blue birds, seemed as if they’ve followed me around this year.

Helping my first Buyer buyer their first home.

Going to Dallas to spend the weekend with Amber and Will.

Spending a week in Washington D.C. with Justin, his Mom and sister.

Working for JB Goodwin.

Meeting new people.

Writing this blog.

Having friends back home that I can still count on.

Getting the text that Ramon was finally born.

Spending time with Xuan and her family.

Being able to text, call or FaceTime Sarah whenever I need to, day or night.

I have to remember that there is still good in my life and there’s much more than what I’ve listed above. I have to figure out how to keep the balance. It can be so hard and overwhelming but it’s something I’m working on each day.

We can all do this together. We can continue to communicate with each other and support each other.

This Capsule That Imprisons Me — November 26, 2017

This Capsule That Imprisons Me

I’m imprisoned by this capsule. A capsule of depression and anxiety. It keeps me from doing the simple things I once enjoyed so much.

Running- I use to feel so free when I would run. The wind I created in still air as I would run off my fears. It was a time I could reflect on thoughts and pain. I could run anytime of day and any weather type. It would just hit me and I’d go. The sweat, the deep breathing and heavy heartbeats pounding my chest was a medicine that I could consume. I could even leave my body and just be a spirit swirling gently in the wind. Mother Earth would heal me, even if just for the moment.

Writing- I’m having to force myself to sit down and write. Before, I would just write; anywhere and everywhere. I have a tote full of notebooks, pizza box lids, Milk Duds box that I opened up and wrote on the inside because something just came to me and I had to let it out. Happiness, sorrow, pain, love, thoughts, moments. memories, a flower I spotted growing in the middle of cement, a beautiful person walking near me; I was truly inspired by so many different things. It’s where I felt whole. I could express my lightest and deepest me.

Working out- I started pushing myself in a way I had never known I could. I was becoming so strong and powerful. I learned how to manifest the pain inside and let it out in a healthy and productive way. I would do research on new workouts, I joined a gym and loved it. I followed people on Instagram and read articles about people overcoming personal obstacles with the power of self discipline and self love.

Social settings- I’ve always been told, “You know no stranger.” I’ve continuously been able to walk into a room and start talking to anyone. People have, without fail, opened up to me and told me their life stories. I was so interested in learning about others and share a little piece of myself with them that it felt so good to be around others. Strangers telling me secrets and peeling back layers right in front of me. What a privilege that I held in my own existence while standing there with them.

I can see all these enjoyments for inside this capsule. The physical pain I feel walking into a room full of people is so intense that I can’t utter the words to describe it. I’m trying to do little things I once enjoyed to spark that excitement I once longed to engulf myself in. I went to a Thanksgiving dinner with a small group of people I did not know (besides three) and I thought about it all day. I tried to prepare myself for questions about who I am and what I do. But the anxiety of having to talk out loud to people just overwhelmed me. I thought of reasons not to go but the notion of my friend and her little girl forced me to shower and go.

Working out and running takes so much energy that I do not have. I’m so tired all the time. Having to shampoo and condition my hair consumes so much of my physical energy that the thought of doing something more feels like a height that I can’t get to. Then I’m inundated with anger. That anger makes me feel irritated by everything around me. The irritation wraps around my shoulders and I feel like a ball of sadness trapping me inside these feelings.

I don’t want to feel these ways or be this person. I started doing yoga and meditating for 5 minutes each in the mornings. I did it for 4 days straight. It felt as if it was helping me. Baby steps to progress each day. Then the physical pain at night hit hard. I was up all night in pain (a pain outside of my depression and something I’ve been dealing with for years now). I have another obstacle that I have to work around and that breaks me down once again.

I want to be…different. Different than the person I am today. Different than this person in this capsule.

 

Linda, My Sounding Board — November 19, 2017

Linda, My Sounding Board

How can I describe Linda? How can I express the feelings I’ve shared with her and the light she gave me? I’m not sure that’s possible, at least not at this time.

Linda came into my life after I reached out to CancerConnect. When Bubba (my Dad) was  first diagnosed with cancer I had meltdown, or in other words a panic attack. I knew I was going to have a very difficult time. I was here in Austin, Texas while he was back home in Conneaut, Ohio about 1500 miles away.

I started questioning how I was going to survive this. How could I be there for him if I was here, so far away from him. I knew I couldn’t do it alone so I started doing research online for resources. That’s when CancerConnect, which is now apart of The Care Communities, shined like a beacon. I called and told them a little bit about my situation of being long distance with my family and not having money to get counseling. They said they would connect me with a counselor who could help. A few days later is when Linda reached out to me.

Linda had experienced giving long distance support for her family when her father got sick. She understood me in a way that no one else did. She wasn’t pushy about getting a lot of information right away. She allowed me to open up as I felt safe to. I still struggle with letting people in, to let others know my true feelings inside but she didn’t mind. She had me start with that day and go back as I needed to. That’s when I knew she was different. She would be there to help me through this painful time of my life and guide me with experience and true concern.

She wasn’t getting anything out of it. She wasn’t getting paid (at least not from me) yet she was so present. She was the most sincere person I had ever met. If I started down a hole that would lead me to more darkness, she wouldn’t cut me off. She allowed me to express the shadows that were weighing me down and then showed me how to crawl out from under them. The power she showed me I had was remarkable. Never had I understood the capacity I had to endure so much.

Within 6 months of my Dad getting sick, he was gone. We lost him early Saturday morning at 1:50 a.m. on February 18th 2012. I was suppose to fly out on Friday but I felt a pull on my soul. I knew he needed me and I needed to go. I changed my plane ticket early Wednesday morning and flew out to Cleveland within 3 hours. Linda told me I could call her while I was there whenever I needed to.

I always felt so weak but she shone lights on things that didn’t make sense to me. I felt so pathetic and broken without any strength left to go on but she saw me in a different way. She understood my weaknesses and imperfections but said that doesn’t mean I’m feeble or inadequate. It means I’m human who’s gone through some traumatic situations and I need to be patient with myself.

I called her while I was in Ohio, after it all happened. After I had sat there holding his hand for days. After calling for the body donation people to come get him. After curling up in his chair where he took his last breath and dreamt of only white for a couple hours. She didn’t say much but just having her answer her phone was significant. She showed me that she cared enough even though she didn’t have to.

That is what set the tone for your relationship. She was there when I needed her. She was still there after I came back from saying Goodbye to Bubba, to the abusive relationship that ended, to starting a new relationship, to losing grandparents and most life altering after my Dad, losing my brothers. She has helped me so much.

Linda has sat on the floor with me as I collapsed on her rug as soon as I entered her room the day after we lost Adam. That’s all I remember about that day. Crying on her rug that had given me so much comfort before. Her presence with that rug soothed me in a way I can’t explain. She’s hugged me and I felt some pain melt away. She would gently rubbed my back as I exited her door and that gave me a sense of ease that I could walk out that door and not dissolve.

Linda and I shared precious and painful moments for over 5 years. I learned so much about her and from her. She became a trusted friend who I love and cherish dearly. The amount of tenderness I hold for her can never be measured. Her pure heart has made a genuine difference in this world.

She retired the last day of September. I have mixed feelings about it for only selfish reasons. I miss our meetings and that rug that soothed me. But I’m happy she’s doing what’s best for her. She gets to experience life in a new way and she deserves that. She can take her pup for hikes whenever she wants, she can bird watch and travel the world.

Linda, the woman who changed my life. Thank you. I truly do love you for who you are.

 

Am I A Vampire? — November 17, 2017

Am I A Vampire?

I’m afraid I’m a vampire. I feel as if I’ve lived a thousand lifetimes and I have to just continue on as I watch everyone I’ve ever loved leave me.

I’ve watched the ones most dear to me leave this earth as I pray to whatever might be listening to take me with them. I long to just be with those ones who left too soon. The ones I’m meant to grow old with but they can’t return and I can’t leave to be with them. I’m trapped here begging to feel their presence and warmth again.

That’s what all this darkness must be, the life of a vampire. I must crawl around in this damp cold life, longing to find that warmth that has disappeared. My skin so fair, my veins easily seen through it’s transparency. The yearning is for the warm blood of those who have vanished;  to pump through their hearts once again, to have them raise to their feet and dance with me.

The daylight hurts my eyes and burns my colorless casing they call skin. I just stumble through my days on autopilot waiting for the sleepless nights to arrive. I spend the nights sleeping for a few hours then my mind races to what I should do as I continue to exist.

For I must be a vampire, there is no other explanation.

 

 

Muted Colors — November 13, 2017

Muted Colors

Seeing the world in muted colors is a strange life. Taking that once beautiful vibrancy away from your everyday experience is frightening at first. Now, I feel numb to the muted colors. My emotions are so strong that the once beautiful things in life, aren’t as beautiful as they once were. I wonder to myself, “Will the beauty ever return?” and it appears doubtful, even cloudy at times.

I long to write but it feels like a burden to share my grievance with others. The thought of someone else knowing my truth, makes it hard to breathe. I’m fighting this battle within myself as I try to reach out and share my moments but then it’s suddenly too dark. The darkness cuts my breath off, squeezes my muscles and stops me dead in my tracks. My mind starts this wave of fears and I can’t see straight.

When this happens, I can’t carry on. I can’t drink, I can’t eat, I can’t talk, I can’t walk, I can’t do anything. I’m stuck in this dread that’s holding me down. How do I get this boulder off? That’s why these muted colors no longer have the significance to me. I’m so lost in the darkness.

I’m not even sure what all I’m afraid of anymore. I know I’m horrified of my past, of what I’m missing in my life and what’s to come without them but I’m also afraid of so much more. But, what is that “so much more”? How do I figure that out? Do I want to figure it out?

I look around and nothing is where it’s supposed to be. Or is that just my perception playing tricks on me again. All my senses are off and nothing seems quite right. Can it be that the darkness is just a ruse? For now, I’m unsure . I’m unsure of it it all. But I’m forced to continue this journey in the darkness. Scared and alone longing to find the light that I hope is only hidden away in all this darkness.

How Do I Choose To Suffer? — June 9, 2017

How Do I Choose To Suffer?

There’s this saying that goes something like, “Pain is Inevitable but Suffering Is Optional”. I HATE that saying.

My life has changed drastically for the worse these past few years. I have lost 3 of the most important people in my life. The ones who knew me better than anyone. The ones who held me when I was sick, when I was heartbroken, when I was damaged and needed put back together. I can tell you that I am not choosing to suffer.

My days are filled with raw emotions. I cry every single day. I scream inside as I see smiling faces, laughing families and love that fills the air. It makes me angry that I can’t share that with my brothers and my Dad. It makes me sick knowing that I will continue to meet milestones in my life and they won’t be here to see them. It infuriates me that I can’t see their faces and hear their voices.

These emotions I speak of come on without notice. They run up my back and beat against me until I’m dizzy and can’t see. They fight me when I try to think of something good and break me down each time. These emotions are more powerful than anything I’ve ever experiences. They are relentless.

So tell me, when do I choose to suffer? Where do I choose to suffer? How do I choose to suffer?

I go to counseling, grief meetings. I write. I scream. I talked to people who loved them. I talk about the good times. I get up and go to work. I even laugh here and there yet the unyielding agony is so deep in my soul that I’m in constant pain. My body aches to the bone. My muscles cramp with tightness. My head throbs with misery.

So please, tell me, how do I choose to suffer? How can I make my days better? How can I see my life any different than how it truly is? Because my life is nothing how I would ever want it. Not just little things that you can work to change. If you don’t like your job then work to find another one. You don’t like where you live, make a plan to move. But my life was ripped from me. I had no choice in how anything was going to happen.

But my soul, my being, those have changed. I lost the most valuable love to ever be created. And I didn’t just lose them. I watched them slowly fall from my grip. It’s as if they were hanging off the top of a mountain and I tried to hold on to them the best I could but I wasn’t strong enough. I pulled and tore at them as they were slipping from my hands. My body was thrashing against the rocks and dirt as I tried to fight gravity as it pulled with all it’s might. Now I’m sitting on the edge of the mountain, bleeding from my heart, from my eyes, from what remains here on Earth. And I wonder; why not just jump?

So please, tell me, how am I choosing to suffer? How could this be what anyone would ever want to feel or experience? Because this is the most desolate feeling.