Storytelling through photographs-WPC

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A consecutive sequence of the family photos that tell the tale of my life.

1) My graduation from Grad School: My Dad, Me, My Mom

2) My chosen family: My Husband, Me (pregnant with the twins that I miscarried: Trysten and Chance), My stepson, My stepdaughter

3) My chosen family extended: My stepson, My Husband, Me, My stepdaughter, My biological daughter

4) My rebirth: My Mom, Me

5) My rebirth part 2: My Dad, Me

Confused? Did my parents suddenly get younger with time? Do they look quite different in the individual photos? That’s when I meet my Mom and my Dad for the very first time, those last two photos. Confused more? The first picture is with my adoptive parents. The last two pictures are with my birth parents when I got to finally meet them, but not until they had missed out on all the important events of my life, like all of my graduations, wedding, having a child of my own…no. I had to wait until I found enough strength inside myself to go against my adoptive parents wishes (because they will never know my secret). I needed to find myself after celebrating all of life’s important events and still not truly feeling my true identity……but it all made sense once I found them. Can’t you tell just from the photos?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/story/

Roots and Branches

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Ancestry.com, 23andme.com. Many people are fascinated with these websites and searching their geneology  and creating their family trees online. The commercials even tell tales of people (who grew up with their biological families) that find out that their nationalities are different than what they originally thought. Someone who thought they were German and then found out they weren’t at all, that they were Scottish and gave up their Lederhosen for kilts. For adoptees, sites like these can be essential to gaining knowledge about their identity that they weren’t ever entitled to, that they were lied to purposely about or that was mistaken in their paperwork: the only thing they have that ties them to their actual roots.

I am one of the lucky ones to have made contact with my birth families prior to attempting DNA testing via one of these sites. I now only use Ancestry.com to build my family trees (one birth family tree, and one adoptive family tree). I still may eventually submit DNA to one of these sites to find out for sure and to find out percentages because when I did make contact with my birth families, I found out that I was not the two nationalities that I was always told that I was. I am German, which was correctly conveyed to me growing up. But I was also told I was English. I was admonished at the dinner table by my adoptive dad for being English because he didn’t like the way I ate with a fork and knife and said, “That’s the English in you. The English eat that way.” My differences were not tolerated well and when things could be blamed on my roots, the branches of my life loved to do so. (Sidenote: What I learned from my roots was that I am in fact: German, Swiss, Irish and Welsh)

While it may differ for other people, for me, the roots in me are so much stronger than my branches. My nature prevails over my nurture. I learned more of what not to do and what I don’t want from my branches. I went in to a career of music, never knowing that the arts in general ran on my birthmoms side and that I came from a long line of bona fide musicians on my birthdads side. My great-great grandfather patented the lyric banjo. UntiI I knew for sure what kind of tree I was, I tried at times, due to my insecurity, to attempt to borrow branches from the branches I was placed among to disguise myself, but my roots stood strong. And when I finally saw the family of trees I was born from, I finally made sense to myself and I no longer needed to hide my true identity to please the other branches in my life. No longer did I need to blend in for any one else’s benefit. My answers were in my roots, like I knew they would be all along.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/branch/

Anything but typical

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My life is anything but typical.

Music teacher by day,

With an ever changing daily schedule. Never a 9-5 day in my life. And work still happens in the darkest hours of the night and weekend hours of morn. It never ends.

The place where I seem to be most at home. Where I do things right. Natural, easy.

Mother by night and by weekend.

The role I thought I’d be better at, but always feel a failure. Each time I’ve tried, the challenge has been much greater than I every expected.

Stepchildren, two. Neurotypicals. Raised as teens but taught by mom to hate me. Resolved now as they have grown. Biological daughter, one. A-typical. Diagnosed Asperger’s Autism and Pathological Demand Avoidance. Every day, never knowing what to expect.

Mom: what I want to be so much better at, but I have so many wounds of my own still to heal. And creating now for others in the meantime.

Wife whenever my husband is home.

And these days he doesn’t make it      home too often.

He’s working, trying to make ends meet for us.

Two jobs now,

To fix up our house.

But the wifely duties exist even when he’s not around. They echo in my head. And play like a record named “Guilt” if things aren’t taken care of. Especially now that he’s working so hard.

That echo, wherever could it originate from? That brings me to…

Daughter every day,

Especially in my head.

Replaying those voices, reminding me that it’s never good enough.

When the parents’ voices becomes your own, is there ever a way to replace it?

Especially hardest when my physiology only seconds the notion that I’m not good enough.

That was born of the other parent. The one that thought a pre-verbal abandonment trauma was best for all.

And now that she’s back, she brings love and support. But always the caveats.

The roles play endlessly in my mind. Even when I am not physically acting each one out, they all converge in the vast jungle inside my head.

I never want to be typical. But I continuously work towards the resolution of warring times in my head.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/typical/

Fabrics of my life

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As my day began and I initially saw the topic of today’s post, my immediate response was to write about the quilt. And I will get to that later…

Life today caused me to reflect on this topic in a different light. Because as per usual, life took an unexpected turn. My 10 year old daughter decided to come with me today to the store to pick up our computers that were being worked on. (She really came with in order to escape continued play with the next door neighbors, who can be a bit persistent and unruly). While we were driving over, she revealed that she had a migraine and she was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable. On the way back, she said that her stomach was starting to not feel right. From past experience, this often meant she might get sick (her migraines cause nausea when they are very intense). I told her to let me know.if she needed me to.pull over. Unfortunately, she let me know about 15 seconds too late, which she often does. She doesn’t seem to have a very good gauge on timing for this apparently.

Vomit ended up on many fabrics within the car. I did my utmost to remain as calm as I possibly could. It’s very difficult for me to tame every single one of my reactions. I am medicated for anxiety, but in stressful situations, the anxiety responses well up inside of me. I was able to hold it back to a couple of grunts and groans, but I made sure to keep a very calm voice after she was done that she needs to try to give me a little bit more notice than that because it just wasn’t possible where I was at on the road to pull over quickly enough. I never yelled or raised my voice to her, I made sure she was better and wiped off as much as possible and told her I wasn’t mad at her or anything. But still, even with as hard as I tried to remain calm, she still seemed to be upset by the little bit of anxious reaction I had to it and began almost yelling at me that she’s sick and she couldn’t help it and what did I want out of her…..

But I can’t tell her just how hard I have to work to hold back the anxiety that wells up inside of me in these situations. Anxiety is intrisically woven in to the fabric of my being, both genetically and enviornmentally. I can’t tell her how I was raised, because those are her grandparents, and she still sees them and already doesn’t care for them very much on her own merit. I can’t tell her that EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I threw up as a child, that even though I always made it to the toilet and was never an inconvenience in any way to him, my Narcissistic Dad would stand in the bathroom and yell at me WHILE I was in the process of throwing up. Because I had a bad gag reflex and had a hard time coughing up phlegm when I was sick so he deemed it as my fault that it would drip down to my stomach and make me sick. So he thought it appropriate to yell at me for this every time. Thank God that’s not what’s in my genetics. It’s my only saving grace since it is so common to become your parents, and that was my adoptive dad. Being so unbelievably conscious of this, I am trying so hard to break the cycle, but still, it never seems like it’s enough. She still seems to think I give her a hard time. And it hurts so badly, especially when it’s on a hot button topic like this where I try so hard to be the exact opposite of my dad so as not to scar her in the same way that I am damaged. But I can’t tell her….

No matter how hard I try to control my vocal tone and words, my daughter is an empath like me. Even though she doesn’t get many of the social cues and doesn’t show empathy many times because she has Asperger’s Autism, she is an empath and does intuit people’s emotions from their energy. I can’t hide it from her. It’s just another way that makes her extremely high functioning Aspergers all the more challenging to decipher in terms of how to communicate best with her and how to keep everything at bay so as not to over excite her.

But…back to my original intention for this post….

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When my daughter was a baby, I started a quilt for her that I was making from all of her baby clothes. I haven’t done anything with it in many many years. She is 10 years old and it is still not completely. I have so many cut fabric patches of her baby clothes that are not sewn in yet. There is so much more work to do. It is one of my (hidden) goals for this year, to start that project back up. With being on the upside of recovering from my great depression, I want to start resuming some of my old activities that used to bring me joy. And this is a project that I need to see to completion. So, here I proclaim it in black and white so that I may hopefully manifest this and see it to fruition.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fabric/

Messy People

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People that fit the description in the quote above are extremely hard to come by. It is easy to find people that fit one quality or another, but one who fits the entire description are a real delicacy.

People who have messy personalities are so much more fun. And integrity is such a rare quality in such a selfish and self centered world. Many will fake integrity to your face. But…

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I have this “gift” where I can read people’s intentions with approximately 90-95% accuracy. And the amount of manipulation that people will perform on the surface just for that personal gain is utterly astounding.

The older I get, the more people I seem to shed from my life.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/messy/

As above, so below

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As above, so below. This is a common phrase in the Wiccan and Pagan traditions. I thought I had a general grasp on the meaning of this phrase, but I decided to research it today when I decided to use this as the material for my post.

I was raised Roman Catholic, but was placed in a Fundamental, Born Again Baptist school for my elementary years. This ended up creating a ton of confusion for me in the religion department. Many would think that they are similar in that they are both Christian religions so they should be more compatible and shouldn’t have had that negative of an impact on me. But it started as early as 4 years old for me. I hadn’t started Sunday School for the Catholic faith yet, but I was already in my elementary school and being influenced by the Baptist faith. When the pastor at my school spoke of being saved and asking Jesus in to our hearts in order to go to Heaven, I wanted to make sure I was saved, so I did that one day at school when I was 4. I came home very proud of myself and told my Mom and Dad that I was saved and would be able to go to Heaven now. And my Dad’s response to that? In a yelling tone, “That’s crap. We don’t believe that. You don’t have to ask to be saved to go to Heaven. Who told you that?” As someone who was already very afraid of my Dad, you can imagine the kind of impression this had on me. I didn’t understand. I knew nothing about the Catholic faith yet. I only knew what I was being taught, and then I was yelled at when I got home for doing what an authority figure at the school he sent me to told me was a good thing.

After that scenario, things only got worse during my stay at that school through 6th grade. My Dad would constantly negate much of what they preached at school and there were many conflicts between moralistic values between the two religions. The pastor of my school had three children. One of which was in my class. All three of his children were not the most well behaved, which only gave my Dad more fuel for his fire. The son that was in my class picked on me horrifically in 5th grade and tried pushing me down the stairs and taught me sorts of choice curse words in 6th grade. His two older daughters were pregnant by 16 and 18. So all my Dad would speak about was how hypocritical the Pastor was.

Of course, my Dad failed to ever recognize how hypocritical he is as someone who claims to be religious yet remains married to my mother to this day and carried on a gay relationship with the same man for over 10 years until the man passed away, in addition to any other flings he had.

My moral compass is not made up from either of these sources. It comes from within and is not based in any religion. I believe it is engrained in my genetic makeup (since I am adopted) which was my saving grace through all of this confusion and hypocrisy through which I was raised.

When I got to college, I began to explore various religions and spiritual traditions. I found a journal that was the size of a text book but blank inside. I titled it a “Book of Shadows” just like the Wiccans used as this term resonated with me. I used it to research almost every religion there is. From Buddhism, to Islam, to Wiccan, to Judaism, to Rosacrucianism.

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The conclusion I came to after all of this research is that all of the religions, at their very core, all had the same main tenet or principle belief. The Golden rule. Do unto others as you’d have done to you. There were many different ways of expressing this, but it was all the same exact meaning. And they all believed in some higher power than themselves. That’s it. That is the basis of all of them. And that was what drive me religiously and spiritually through my 20’s and 30’s once I was put from the confines of my parents scrutiny.

Right before my 40th birthday, I realized I needed to make changes. One of the things that came to me as an insight was that I needed some sort of ritual. I have begun in recent months to have a nightly tea during which I have a personal ceremony of sorts. It does follow a sort of Wiccan type ritual, but it definitely has it’s own personal feel to it. I still have Christian roots in it. Each day of the week I have certain saints assigned based on what the Wiccan influences are and what patron Saints that are dear to my heart that match up with those influences. I say specific prayers to those saints on those days. I also say the Serenity Prayer in closing every time. I also have a pocket rosary which I intend to use when I have something that I need to atone for. I open each ritual by casting a circle and then making an invocation to either Ariadne or Pan, depending on whether the day of the week is a masculine or a feminine day.

Ariadne and Pan are my chosen God and Goddess. Ariadne is the name I gave to my clarinet back in high school because it is a mythology story that always resonated with me. I never really analyzed it back then, but now it makes total sense to me. Ariadne was abandoned by Theseus, much in the way I felt abandoned as someone who is an Adoptee. Dionysus rescued and loved her. Little did I know back then who my husband would end up being. He is someone who did love alcohol and was a little edgy and I felt as though he rescued me from my abandoned life. He also ended up being very similar to my birth father once I found my birth father a couple years ago. All crazy coincidences, yet something I was naturally drawn to. They say girls marry their dads, and I did just that without ever even having met mine.

During my ritual I use a wand from Harry Potter, corny as that might be. When we went to Universal for my 40th birthday and I got a new wand while we were in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I got the wand of Fleur Delacour. I chose this one for two reasons. First because I liked the design of it the best, and second because she embodied natural beauty, and confidence in my inner beauty shining forth so that I may feel more confident in my outer beauty is something I am trying to work on.

I also have on my altar as the center focal point, from Harry Potter as well, Fawkes the Phoenix, to represent rebirth. This is one of the main precepts of my entire journey right now and I want it to be the center focus of all that I do.

During my ritual I do alot with candles and received chakra balanced candles from my step daughter for my 40th birthday, so I burn the appropriate one to the corresponding day of the week and use an app to balance that chakra during my ritual. I am also starting to collect other candles that are just like the chakra candles and used for different purposes such as balance, motivation, prosperity etc…I am collecting different spells to help me dispell negative energy, shield myself from negative energy, aid in gaining confidence etc…

I fill out my daily inspirational journal and sometimes will write in my prayer journal or other journals and I read my nightly daily inspirational during this time. I sometimes pull a tarot card if I have a question that needs answering. I am trying to combine various religions, traditions and concepts that resonate in me to help me connect to my inner spirit.

So as I’ve been re-exploring some of the Wiccan traditions, and came across the saying As above, so below, I took it more as another interpretation of the Wiccan Rede, or a WWJD type of concept. But as I researched it, I came to find that it is actually much deeper than that. It is actually more the basic foundation of what the pagan and Wiccan religions are founded on. It is that the universe is the same as God and God is the same as the universe. Everything is one and the same. This is why pagan religions are so connected to the earth, because everything is one. Humans are an earthly manifestation of God or other dimensions and other dimensions and God are divine manifestations of humans. This is why Wiccans believe in magic using energy and that if it is willed in the mind, it can be made so, because everything is interconnected. If it is something that can be made or done up above, it is something that can be made or done below. The power of the mind is endless. It is science tifically stated that we only use about 10% of the brain’s capacity. So, perhaps these practices are elevating the capacity of the brain’s usage.

Most Christian religions think Wiccans are devil worshippers and evil. And sure, some may use powers for evil, but in my experience, many Christians can also be extremely hypocritical and evil. It is not what you believe, it is your actions. I choose to be a good person, make the best decisions I can, get my advice from my conscience, which is the voice from up above which runs through my thoughts, and I use the practices of many religions and traditions that make me feel spiritual.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/above/

 

 

Pushing the restart button

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Nor shall this peace sleep with her; but as when

The bird of wonder dies, the maiden Phoenix,

Her ashes new create another heir

As great in admiration as herself;

So shall she leave her blessedness to one,

When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness,

Who from the sacred ashes of her honour

Shall star-like rise as great in fame as she was,

And so stand fix’d.

From: The play Henry VIII by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, the King says this in Act V Scene V, in flattering reference to his young daughter Elizabeth (who was to become Queen Elizabeth I)

 

As I leave the past 40 years in my wake, I push the restart button. I am ready for a rebirth. Just as the Great Phoenix combusts and from it’s own ashes rises again, I too shall recreate myself from the ashes which were left behind.

Religion for me has been a tumultuous path. Praying in the traditional format has not been something that has felt right to me. And so a few years ago, I decided that since journaling was something that worked well for me, that I would keep prayer journals instead. My last entry in my prayer journal (I do have other ways that I pray as well) was a few weeks before my 40th birthday, which was in December of 2017. In it, I analyzed how I would define each of the decades of my life and description of myself at those points in time thus far and to set my intention and hopes for the upcoming decade. Here is my analysis and intention.

1st Decade: 0-10 years of age: Course re-direction, follower, unaware, asleep

2nd decade: 10-20 years of age: Chrysalis stage. Intuition and clairsentience appear, leader qualities emerge

3rd decade: 20-30 years of age: Rebellion, self-discovery, personal philosophies and spirituality develop

4th decade: 30-40 years of age: Paradigm shift, re-evaluation, metamorphosis, resilience

Hopes and Intentions for 5th decade: 40-50 years of age: Emergence of butterfly, deliverence from Dark Night of the Soul, clarity, courage, peace, truth

For three years prior to now, I have been in what I would best describe as what Catholics call the Dark Night of the Soul. Almost every single one of the important relationships in my life had major paradigm shifts within less than a year’s time. It shut my psyche down. I was struggling to stay functional and afloat.

I finally asked my doctor for an extra medication (I am already on an anti-anxiety med) for depression. I began taking that probably in September or so of 2017. It did start to finally work and get me over the hump and quiet my mind from going down the rabbit hole every single day. Unfortunately, it also, like many anti-depressants do, made me gain weight very rapidly. Weight is something I struggle with and that plays on my self esteem.

I wanted to get myself off this medication due to the weight gain. Every time I tried to stop taking it, even for a day, I would cry uncontrollably and slip down that rabbit hole.

At some point in December, a friend of mine began texting me. She is someone who I worked with several years ago. During the summer, she and I and two other music teachers made a trip to a music store together to purchase music for our bands. On that road trip, she noticed I was wearing a necklace that had several charms with chakra symbols on them. She opened up a conversation with me about reiki, chakras and things of that nature. This was a side of each other that neither of us knew about until that moment. Once she realized this about me, it opened up a commonality between us, something I think we both longed for, since we both don’t seem to have many people in our lives that are supportive of this side of us. She texted me in December about something on the esoteric side, about people who are new souls frustrating her. We began texting frequently with each other. Those conversations led to me having an insight about something that would re-direct my journey.

I began to develop a ritual and spirit space that would include an altar of sorts and during which I would have a nightly tea and sweet, have prayer, light candles for various needs, journal, balance chakras etc. The development of this finally led to the beginning of my restart, my rebirth. This was right around the time of my 40th birthday and the New Year. It also allowed me to finally discontinue the use of the anti-depression medication. Now I need to find my groove and motivation to shed the pounds I gained from the medication, along with the excess pounds I had even before I began that medication, as I was never content with my weight to begin with.

I wish I could be someone who didn’t need to be shallow and feel the constant need to lose weight in order to feel good about myself. But circumstances in my life have drawn my brain to function in this light. I am working to develop confidence in myself and to love myself in other ways so that I can shed the psychological need for junk food, which is what causes the excess weight; they go hand in hand.

Today I attended another meeting of the short term spiritual book club I am a part of. The book we are reading speaks of not focusing so much on getting rid of a bad habit, but developing many good habits so as to crowd the bad habits out. I love this perspective and I think that I had already intuitively begun to do just that. I have been doing this by creating my spirit space ritual, joining that short term spiritual reading club, making a habit of writing for this blog every day instead of once in a while as I had been doing previously, and ensuring that I keep up with my daily inspirational readings and doing two of them per day instead of the one per day that I had done for the past couple of years. I am working slowly towards adding in more and more good habits, and hopefully the bad habits will be crowded out.

I decided when I made my New Year’s Resolutions this year, that I would approach them in the opposite manner that I, and probably most people, usually do. I am pretty certain that most people begin the year gung-ho with their resolutions, full force, and then can’t keep up with it, which is why you hear of so many people failing at their resolutions. So this year I decided to have compassion with myself and to not be hard on myself if I failed at my resolutions and to not let that mean I was going to give up on them or that I failed myself. I can always restart a resoltuion even if I fail at some point. I was going to work on one resolution at a time so that it wasn’t an overwhelming amount of change all at once that would be impossible to keep up with. Baby steps. We enter the third month of the year as of today, and I believe that I am definitely doing much better with this approach than the other method. I am continually adding new, good habits all the time and am feeling better, on the whole (of course I have my bad days, but I am rebounding much faster than I have in the past).

A restart and rebirth, like a phoenix, in the 5th decade on this planet and during this lifetime. I rise from the ashes!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/restart/