Crawling to the Ceasefire

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Photo by Lynnelle Richardson on Pexels.com

 

Crawling
Crawling in my skin
These wounds, they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real
There’s something inside me that pulls beneath the surface
Consuming, confusing
This lack of self control I fear is never ending
Controlling
I can’t seem
To find myself again
My walls are closing in
(Without a sense of confidence I’m convinced
That there’s just too much pressure to take)
I’ve felt this way before
So insecure
Crawling in my skin
These wounds, they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real
Discomfort, endlessly has pulled itself upon me
Distracting, reacting
Against my will I stand beside my own reflection
It’s haunting how I can’t seem
To find myself again
My walls are closing in
(Without a sense of confidence I’m convinced

That there’s just too much pressure to take)

I’ve felt this way before
So insecure
Crawling in my skin
These wounds, they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real
Crawling in my skin
These wounds, they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing, confusing what is real
There’s something inside me that pulls beneath the surface
Consuming (confusing what is real)
This lack of self control I fear is never ending
Controlling (confusing what is real)
Songwriters: Brad Delson / Chester Charles Bennington / Joseph Hahn / Mike Shinoda / Robert G. Bourdon
Crawling lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management
Driving home from our fitness classes yesterday I was scrolling through radio stations and I heard this song. I stopped to listen to it because it used to be a song I identified with strongly. It was a song that I (Layna) used to use as my personal theme song, a mantra of sorts.
The best way I can think to describe the hold this song had on me was that I could use it to justify not moving forward.  There was a song about how I felt deep down to my core, why should I have to try to move forward?  The last line says it all “This lack of self-control I fear is never ending.”  Or the line “These wounds they will not heal.” I used this song as permission to not heal.
The pull these types of songs had on me made me feel perpetually angry and mean. I hated myself, I hated people who liked me, I hated God, and I hated life. It became so bad that Dad refused to allow me to listen to these types of songs anymore. Mom flooded us with K-Love because she felt better with the positive songs.
Fast-forward a few years and I happen to find myself hearing this song. Again the song and the lyrics became stuck in my head. This time though, I could relate in a different manner. The lyric that stands out the most now is “Fear is how I fall, confusing what is real.” It’s a reminder that fear will hold us back. Fear is what confuses us and makes muddy the thought processes to healing and hope.
The wounds that would not heal are starting to heal. I have a part in this. I have to heal in order for us all to heal. I, personally, have to let the light hit our dark places. I no longer serve to protect our darkness. I have to serve balance now. I have to learn it and apply it and protect our system by helping us all learn to balance it all.
We will now call for a Ceasefire. We will fight for a better end.

for KING & COUNTRY Lyrics

“Ceasefire”

How do we save a life
Pointing fingers?
How can we end the fight
This way?
When blame is the truth we’re preaching?
And lies are what we’re believing?
No one ever wins
When the goal is to settle the scoreOne by one we will call for a ceasefire
One by one we will fight for a better end
One by one we could rewrite the headlines
Standing side by side
One by one, love is building an empire
One by one, reaching out to our enemies
One by one we will make it to the finish line
Standing side by side
Ceasefire

I will be the first to say
I’m far from perfect
But grace was made for those who don’t
Deserve it
So easy to cast the first stone
It’s harder to search your own soul
No one ever wins
When the goal is to settle the score

One by one we will call for a ceasefire
One by one we will fight for a better end
One by one we could rewrite the headlines
Standing side by side
One by one, love is building an empire
One by one, reaching out to our enemies
One by one we will make it to the finish line
Standing side by side
Ceasefire

Teach us how to live humbly
Love unconditionally
Transform our hurt into hope
And grant us Your peace
Teach us how to live humbly
Love unconditionally
Transform our hurt into hope
And grant us Your peace

One by one we will call for a ceasefire
One by one we will fight for a better end
One by one we could rewrite the headlines
Standing side by side
One by one, love is building an empire
One by one, reaching out to our enemies
One by one we will make it to the finish line
We’re standing side by side

Ceasefire …

This song is now my own person new theme song. We will make it to the finish line. We will live up to and on the path that God has planned for us. We will let Him transform our hurt into hope and we will work hard to build the empire through love.
Ceasefire…
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Writing as a Method of Avoidance

brown bear plush toy

Photo by Dzenina Lukac on Pexels.com — A perfect representation of comfort

Guys, I have a problem. A problem that many of us in this system share. A problem that we were slapped in the face with on Tuesday night at our CR step study.

It turns out that we can write about our feelings, our traumas, our insecurities all day long. It is MUCH harder to actually speak about them out loud to a room full of women in a very vulnerable setting. In a setting where we aren’t educating, we are participating. In a setting where we are not deciding what pieces to exclude. We are answering questions as they happen in the workbook and we have to be completely honest in order for the program to work.

Let me tell you, this is intimidating. Far more intimidating than we ever imagined. And it’s clearly necessary because it touches that place inside that we desperately fight to keep dark and out of the way. It requires us to be uncomfortable and vulnerable.

This past Tuesday we shared honestly and openly. We had to share looking at the ceiling, the floor, or a fixed point on a wall because we couldn’t bring ourselves to make eye contact with anyone. We didn’t want to see the looks on anyone’s faces. We could see, out of the corner of our eye, that some people were reacting with what looks like pity. It’s possible that it is our own insecurities projecting these things, however…

…we don’t have this problem writing. When any of us write here or write in a text we are able to disconnect from the emotions behind the writing. We can just tell the story and walk away. We don’t have to see anyone’s reactions. We don’t have to be aware of our own feelings. We just get the words out.

Yesterday we were texting with a friend about how hard it is to open up. She suggested texting her to let her know we need to talk so she can call. We immediately responded with something along the lines of “Nah, text is fine”. She asked us to work up to a phone call and then we realized that was part of it too. We feel resistance when it comes to talking about the hard stuff, you know unless we are using humor to mask the pain of it or try to make it less important.

Talking is important. Opening up is important. And let me be clear here, this isn’t a DID thing. This is a human thing. A lot of people find themselves unable to really open up. I know it’s easy to claim it’s a DID thing because DID is all about keeping things quiet and inside and dealing with things alone, but to my DID friends let me tell you that this is NOT unique to us. We are not the only ones who experience this. This is very typical human behavior. It’s nice to know that. It’s very nice to know we aren’t alone in dealing with these kinds of reactions.

So while we will always continue to write, we will also be sure to work on talking about it in our step study. We will grow in this discomfort, and we will find someone to process with after the fact, if necessary. Many of us understand that after we share, we need to process it out and sometimes we need more than just each other to do that.

 

 

Once Upon a Time…

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We clearly haven’t been keeping up with our writing. It’s not that we don’t like it, truthfully we love to write. To come up with an idea and follow it through into text. Some of us sometimes go back and re-read what we’ve written years ago. We see how much we’ve grown and changed since those posts, and we know that in a few years everything we are writing now will look and feel different.

So last week we bought this wall hanging at Goodwill. We LOVE Goodwill. Especially on $.99 days! This particular piece was there one day and we loved it but left it. The next time we went in it was still there, right where we set it down and was 50% off. It came home with us that day. I (Layna) personally love it. It’s now hung right above our computer. A visual reminder that we have much to share and much to learn from ourselves and each other.

Today, I will tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a system of mostly all girls (all girls unless you are counting our Bear, Simon, and our lead male dragon, Dae).  All the girls live in one body and often compete for time and attention, as themselves. They became tired of just being known as one person and by one name. They chose to live openly multiple and decided to educate the people around them about DID. The decided to live instead of survive.

That’s today’s story.

 

Layna

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

(Content Summary for our readers who have trouble with religion as a topic. This post is mainly about religion and how it teaches us forgiveness. This is a big deal for us and while we’d like to share it with everyone, we acknowledge potential triggers.)

 

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Last night’s church service was about forgiveness and caring for others. 

Lately, there’s been a lot going on in our family, in our chosen family, our inside family and our biological family. Most of these going-ons have nothing to do with us personally, we are simply affected due to proximity and, in some cases, name. Some of these things have really pushed some huge emotional buttons within us. Some have brought back memories we didn’t necessarily want back.

As we’ve faced these things, many of us have noticed an increasing struggle with forgiveness. Forgiving others, forgiving ourselves and each other, and being forgiven.  In some of these cases, a few of us had been convinced that they already did that forgiveness thing and had moved on. Emotional reactions state otherwise.

The other night Lyssa and Erica were reading a book before bed.  The book brought up an interesting thought. In the prayer commonly known as The Lord’s Prayer, there’s this verse.

Forgive us our trespasses (debts)

As we forgive those who trespassed against us (debtors)

The word “as” is the focal point of mine*, Erica’s, and Layna’s** thought processes here. It doesn’t say “forgive because I forgave you”, it uses the word “as”. I just read through many versions of this prayer (and the reasons why some denominations won’t use it – I distract easily) and most of them use that same word “as”, even if many of the other words have been modernized or changed.

So why has this caught our interest and taken hold? Because the word “as” changes how the statements are interpreted. People we know and things we have read often use this phrase to teach us to forgive others because we are forgiven.

While I agree with that whole-heartedly, what happens if we read this phrase as “forgive us our trespasses in the same manner as we forgive those who trespass against us”? What does that look like?  For us, it would look a lot like we aren’t going to be fully forgiven anytime soon.  That’s a huge awakening for some of us in the system. We want to be forgiven (and we know God has forgiven us), and we need to work on forgiveness. This thinking about that word “as” has a few of us really processing what it means to forgive fully.

Many of us are odd in the fact that we find it easier to forgive our childhood abuser than we do someone close to us who says something harmful. That makes no sense at all. Hurtful words from someone close to us said in the heat of the moment, should not be harder to forgive than the abusive and toxic actions of a grown man against us as a child that shaped our development and life path. We hold on to the resentment of harsh words. It makes a lot of us hypocrites and we do not do well with hypocrisy in others, so what makes it okay for us? Nothing. We tell ourselves we’ve forgiven only to find ourselves stuck in negative thought patterns that tell us that maybe we have some work to do there. That needs to stop.

What is it about our childhood abuser that all of us can shrug it off and declare him forgiven and move on. The answer to that scares me a little bit. I believe that enough of us have decided that it was our fault so its easier to let it go than deal with that. That isn’t any more healthy than holding on to hurt over something minor.

Layna, Erica, and I want to forgive. We want to forgive like we’ve been forgiven. We want to learn and grow and progress, and to do that we have to forgive. And that’s going to require more action on our parts. This was something we wanted to work on in therapy but not bad enough to commit to a therapist. We can work on this with our support system and each other.

While it may help us to remember and process some things from our past, it doesn’t mean we need to dig it all up and live there again. That’s where the direction of our book went wrong. We don’t need to live in that trauma anymore. It happened. We will deal with it as it becomes necessary, not use it to continue to beat ourselves up with.

Maybe our struggle with forgiveness is because we have to forgive ourselves and each other before we understand true forgiveness?

 

 

 

 

*We are not educated at all in religion. We’ve read a lot, experienced a lot, studied some, but have never had any formal instruction. These thoughts are all simply mine, Layna’s and Erica’s**. They are more food for thought for us than any kind of instruction at all. Ever.

**(Side note: I am trying to get away from just saying a general “we” when not all of us may experience, believe, etc the same. I’m really trying to reserve the general “we” for things that are absolutely system-wide. I will fail at times, but it’s a work in progress.)

Acceptance

woman stands on mountain over field under cloudy sky at sunrise

Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

Last night we had the privilege of meeting someone who had DID and has fully integrated into one personality. I say privilege because these meetings often do not go well. The rare few other times this has happened we were treated to a disdainful attitude because we choose not to pursue that path. In this case, we were welcome with a smile into a beautiful conversation about how everyone has to do what is right for them and their system, and how God has different paths for everyone.

She explained that she did nothing to make the others in her system go away. She feels that God did that so they/she could better follow the path He set for her. She feels that if we were intended to merge it would just happen – and that all of us wholeheartedly agree with. Obviously, since that hasn’t happened, our purpose requires that we stay as a team, a sisterhood, a system.

That conversation happened after a Celebrate Recovery meeting where we accepted a 60 day chip for our focus being more on God and less on how to make others love us. That’s a big deal. That same meeting, we chose the word acceptance as our positive focus word.  We are accepted there. I long for the day that mental health and people who are less than perfect, people who struggle, people who are less than politically correct or don’t exactly fit into polite society will finally be welcome in the church with kindness and understanding. Jesus never intended for churches to be just the polite society people. I know, we’ve been reading the bible. Jesus loved and reached out to those of us who will never be polite society material.

Acceptance. We need to focus on accepting each other and ourselves just as we are. We also will focus on accepting ourselves and people around us as they are right now, and not where we all “should” be. Acceping that our path is correct. We have made the right choice to pursue our blogging and writing about our paths. We have made the right choice not to go into life trying to be something we are not. Accepting that we need to reach out more and isolate less. Accepting that no one can more forward without change – and we definitely need to move forward and continue progress. Accepting that what happens in our inside world is meant to happen. It’s a catalyst for system growth. Accepting that being open about what we are experiencing inside will not lose us the right kind of support.

Fear, failure, rejection — these things all happen, to everyone. We can’t tell people to fight those feelings if we aren’t willing to also. We will all be rejected at times. We will all fail at things. We will all experience fear. And we will all survive from these things and we will grow, if we allow that to happen.

 

We Changed Our Minds…

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There’s always so much to write about. Some of it we are nervous about sharing, but sharing happens so healing can happen. This post may cause some issues for some people so please keep that in mind when reading.

We changed our minds. We decided to change how we view our past. Our life. The things that were done to us, the things we did to ourselves, each other, and other people.

Our life, from almost the beginning, was marred and tarnished by sexual abuse. Our family didn’t notice and when we eventually came out with at around age 14 we were met with disbelief. We told our youth group leader at church and a friend’s mother and nothing was done. We told our bio mom at one point and she wasn’t in a place where she could believe us. It wasn’t until we told a camp counselor that someone stepped in. Even then, the police said there wasn’t enough evidence and our story wasn’t consistent. The abuse stopped but the damage done by a broken system and years of sexual abuse was already done.

It was next to impossible for us to believe that the God we worshipped in the same church our childhood abuser was a deacon and sang in the choir was at all interested in helping us. We believed, with the help of several misguided people, that God’s grace wasn’t for us.

We went on to be highly promiscuous, with the help of people who took advantage of our fragile state. Our body was used to justify a woman’s cheating on her husband. We allowed our body to be hurt and to be used sexually. We married a man who enjoyed hurting our body and we were convinced that we enjoyed it too. We participated in activities that now make our skin crawl. We allowed our body and ourselves to be treated worse than most people treat their family dog and we called it love.

Our body bears the permanent marks of our choices. Our mind bears the fractures of lack of nurturing and outright abuse. And we called it all love.

We’ve changed our minds. These things don’t come from love. They come from poor choices. Our poor choices and the poor choices of others. These things can no longer hold us back. God does love us. His grace is for us too. We will use these events to help others understand that life can get better no matter what your past looks like. You can learn to choose your own food choices. You can learn to find healing. You are not subpar and neither are we.

If You Can’t Beat Them….

If You Can't Beat Them....

 

The shadows have been a consistent problem for the last couple of years. They cause chaos, they get quiet. The reject members of their colony and then get mad at us for taking them in. They cause choking while trying to swallow things. They feed negative and painful thoughts to the majority of us. They play old and hurtful memories on a movie screen inside. They are not kind.

Before we left Colorado and our amazing therapist we were working on how to handle those events. They aren’t intentionally cruel, they are trying to protect us in very maladaptive ways. B, our therapist in Colorado, said that it was like bursts. The longer we fought them the longer it would go on. To make it stop we needed to not react to the negative and yet thank them for trying to help.

It makes sense, but it sucks. Not gonna lie there. It almost feels like rewarding and thanking them for bad behavior and hurtful behavior even. It’s dancing the dance. The dance that always seems to have us* captivated and mesmerized. The dance that catches our souls and just grabs on. We are compelled to dance the dance because not dancing means chaos reigns.

Not sure if that’s the right way to deal with them or not. It’s a catch 22 in a lot of ways. Not sure we have a choice. We will continue the dance.

 

  • us/we/our from this point on refers only to Layna and Cadie as we’re the ones writing this.