Photo: Thank You Girls

Photo Challenge: Treat

My daughters’ smiles are always the best treat.

PolaroidB&W

Words: My Top Ten Realizations After One Year of Awareness

I’ll never forget Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. My eyes bolted open from sleep. The words My God, they are against me, cycled through my brain. Memories played out in a backwards reel: Christmas 2013, France 2005, wedding day 1996, 16th birthday 1987, a broken collarbone 1975.

I had THE AWAKENING I needed, the one I feared most: My family is against me. From this perspective, my life suddenly made sense. Emotional abuse. Neglect. Why hadn’t I seen the collective significance of these events sooner? Each experience was a pearl on the necklace of emotional corrosion. Through the years, the more I resisted its presence, the tighter the necklace squeezed life from me.

I know now that denial and dignity have a very tight grasp on each other. I’ve learned other things as well. Whether or not you’ve experienced abuse in your life, the universal elements of my experience transcend to every person on the planet. I’m happy to share with you:

MY TOP TEN REALIZATIONS AFTER ONE YEAR OF AWARENESS

  1. The power of voice is a gift you give yourself.
  2. Fear is a four-letter word that can go %$#* itself.
  3. Most people are wounded. Most people aren’t doctors. Nobody is required to heal anyone.
  4. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. Even if no one else does.
  5. God empowers. He lets you scream at the ones who’ve hurt you. Then, you forgive them. (Forgiveness does not mean tolerance.)
  6. Awareness is like mercury, it forms into small balls and rolls all over.
  7. Ignorance is like mercury, it forms into small balls and rolls all over.
  8. Ego is best served like chilled Jell-O: jiggly and resilient to tremors. Otherwise, it stains your shirt.
  9. Mirrors work best when clean.
  10. Life is too short for pain. Don’t take it. Just don’t take it.

Sincerely and with love,

Barbie

Words: The Scar on My Face

A one inch scar sweeps out from my lower lip. It is a solitary line of residue from a mountain bike wreck, a scurry to the E.R., a thick, deep pain, a bag of frozen peas pressed to my face. It is a permanent mark of one failed attempt, a dash from one moment to the next, a crash course in physics, an alteration.

One year passed before the wound tempered without a peppered assault of tingling nerves. One year of sag-stitched smiles before necessary muscles regained proper composure. One year for the trench to deepen. One year for a repaired version of myself.

To me, the scar is not a reminder of what occurred, rather it is evidence of what didn’t: a minor concussion-not brain injury, a temporary setback-not debilitation, a chance- not closure.

IMG_3842

Life is a series of dashes, failed attempts, and alterations. Deep, meaningful lines carve into our blood, bones, and soul. Temporary numbness masks the compositions we are ill prepared to see, and time, our fairest friend, reveals everything we are meant to be.

Photo: My Beautiful Life

Photo Challenge: Connected

My daughter Sophie and I spent a summer night playing folf in the woods. Not only did we benefit from an entertaining night of terrible disc throwing, we glorified our spirits in the wisdom of the forest.

Pattee Canyon Recreation Area- Missoula, Montana

Travel: Yachats, OR

My family kicked off summer vacation with a trip to the beach. Yachats is a tiny town on the coast of Oregon, which for us meant a twelve hour drive from Missoula. We stopped for gas in Burnt Woods where a woman was selling knit hats in the parking lot. It was 82 degrees.

IMG_0015

IMG_0014

We made many discoveries in Yachats. The most important was that despite its name, Yachats (pronounced Yah-hots), is not hot. Temperatures hovered around 57 degrees with a wind chill. The woman we mocked for selling knit hats had the last laugh on us. Stupid Montanans.

We concurred that the Oregon Coast is the child of Iceland and Hawaii, volcanic and freezing, but also lush with rainforest. It didn’t rain on us. We were lucky.

IMG_0011

IMG_0012
We loved scrambling along the rocks.

IMG_0010

IMG_0009

IMG_0007

We hiked to the Whispering Spruce, a 500+ year old Sitka Spruce tree. The magic of the old growth rainforest filled us with tranquility.

IMG_5546

IMG_0005

IMG_0006

The coast is lined with State Park beaches. We were the only people at this sandy beach.IMG_8696 (1)

A lighthouse guards the sea along the rocky coast. Its perch atop the greenery is worthy of a puzzle. IMG_8697

IMG_0004

If I return to Yachats, I’d like to go crabbing-wrapped in my down jacket and a hat. When Montana is threatened with forest fires later this summer, I’ll remember this trip.

IMG_8672