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Tag: inspiration

This Blog, And Our Community of Readers (You) Are The Reason For Everything.

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Here I am, at 5:46 A.M. in my friend’s spare room. I have not slept. I have not slept because within me, there is a gigantic screeching harpy who is threatening to devour my soul, unless I write something.

Even then, this feathered creature will most likely not vacate my insides until I’m satisfied with at least a few sentences of whatever it is I’m striving to convey for you.

The thing is that I love writing. I also love technology and the far-reaching web of the internet. Thus: blogging became my outlet. I am grateful; I’ve discovered a lot about myself through this blog.

I have gained so much more than I ever thought possible. When I started this blog, I was in quite literally the worst possible mental state one could possibly be in.

I was choking on my own anxiety. I had only just recently decided to rip the metaphorical duct tape off of my mouth and to finally, once and for all, begin telling my truth.

I kept a lot of the things that were causing me pain deep within my psyche thinking it was the right thing to do, quite honestly, because I didn’t want to be the loud-mouth who made everyone look bad or feel like shit about themselves after reading about how gloomy, hypervigilant and distrustful I really am.

Second, there are not a lot of people (or at least that’s what I assumed), that would understand why I so desperately needed to carve out a safe space on a blog through writing, or by recording videos in which I overshare my fragile existence and overestimate people’s attention span as well as my inability to hold said attention.

But, with my wife’s permission, I told our story. I wrote about how I started this blog with the hope that more people would be compassionate towards transgender individuals and their families. Even though that’s only like ten percent of what Welcomehomehealing.com is meant to be, it was the catalyst for freedom of expression, the tail on the donkey, the straw that broke the camel’s back, etcetera etcetera.

I’d go on about covert abuse, power imbalances, codependency, generational negligence masked as stoicism and how it all hit me in the face after years of thinking I was the one who wasn’t good enough, but that’s really not the point.

My point is that I was in a really bad way. I had no out. But I had the internet. I believed my voice could still move mountains and it was at this time I was forced to use my mouth, written words, and blog to liberate myself from hell. I could only use what I had at my disposal – my laptop and our story.

So I wrote and wrote and kept recording videos and kept putting my heart on display until I met the people I needed to meet, who then became friends.

I also wrote about the nasty childhood wounds that are still pervasive to this day. I wrote about my miscarriage. I wrote about how I’d put every cent into creating this space of safety for others, like me, who just couldn’t seem to find a lifejacket in times where they couldn’t wake up without being drowned in tears and sunlight.

Because I was true to myself, because I risked everything, because I had faith that someone, somewhere would resonate with our message and what we stood for, I do not live in my car.

Because of the kindness and generosity of others and a whole mountain of faith and high hopes, I am safe to create a life for myself and my partner, and not the other way around.

I have you, the reader, to thank for that. If you are reading this, please know that I love you and all will align as it should.

Words and truth helped me find a home. A blog, this blog, is the reason I now live right next door to a dear friend. If you hadn’t read it or attempted to understand, I’d probably be a little less… cozy.

Love and compassion have been in abundance more than ever before, and though it is a lot to take in, I would never dare complain.

So thank you… thank you for liking words so much that you read my letters and ramblings to you. Keep writing, there’s much more to gain from expressing lived truths than monetary value.

Write because you want to and because you deserve to. It’ll take you places. 😉

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I told my wife I wanted to die.

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Trigger Warning: Anxiety, Suicidal Ideation, Stress, depression

If you’ve been following me for a bit, you might know that Welcome Home Healing (hey, that’s this blog!) is a friendly corner of the internet. We talk about the fact that I have Cerebral Palsy, depression, and all kinds of things. I’m also a volunteer crisis counselor for CrisisTextLine.

In every day life, and in the volunteering I do, I talk about suicide, debt, substance abuse, personality disorders, chronic illnesses, divorce, death, child abuse, and all kinds of sticky topics on a daily basis. By no means do I ever feel desensitized to talking about these things, however, they’re not necessarily shocking or surprising to me, and I’m grateful that I can have honest dialogue about such difficult issues.

Honest and open dialogue has the ability to prevent hurt feelings, relationship difficulties, and the most preventable cause of death: death by suicide.

I’ll explain more about this, and how you can be receptive to someone who is having thoughts of dying in a future post. Right now, I’d like to show you what happened when I told my wife that I wanted to die.

Some of you might know our situation and what we had to leave behind in order to get our lives back together, but if you don’t, here is the condensed version:

I come from a traumatic background, she does too. In 2014, we got married as husband and wife. In November 2017, after finding out I had PCOS, we suffered a miscarriage. Early 2018, she came out to me and told me she wanted to start Hormone Replacement Therapy, as one major source of her distress had been caused by Gender dysphoria. We were in the throes of family issues, and trying for our second child.

In 2017, we entered Marriage Counseling, and we decided that we are better together. We have remained committed, and yes, we still love each other very much.

As you may have already guessed, I’ve sacrificed more than enough to make our marriage work. Do not be mistaken, my wife has as well. We have sacrificed and prioritized each other, and somehow, we realized that it’s a waste of time to resent or be permanently angry at each other.

Sounds stressful, right? It is. So, when stress and the inability to cope decided to come knocking at my proverbial door, I began to truly feel like living was much too hard and that the future would look better without me. In short: I wanted to die. This was only a few nights ago. Tonight, I’m glad to be alive.

I didn’t call a counselor, I didn’t text anyone – I went to the one person I’ve been through a lifetime of events with in just a few short years. I went to my wife after recognizing the signs of suicidal ideation in my head. I went to her, I said:

“I don’t want to scare you, but I really need to talk. I really need someone. This is serious.”

Immediately, she stopped what she was doing, and we went to our bedroom. I sat up, and let her in. I told her that things had gotten out of hand, and that I was really overwhelmed and sad. I told her that I wouldn’t hurt myself but that the thoughts of suicide had gotten too heavy. I told her that I was having trouble handling everything we’d gone through and that I’d felt like a fool for letting things get so messy in my head. I told her, that yes, while I was confused and scared by everything, I had also been upset with her too, but that I still loved her and that it was time for us to really think things through – or put everything to bed, including our marriage.

I thought she’d shut down. I thought she’d minimize the situation, and I’d go to bed feeling sad and unheard. But man, when I tell you she showed up for me, she really showed up.

She listened to me. She validated how stressful things had been on me, and she owned her part in being the creator of a portion of that stress. She sincerely apologized and said she would always be there for me.

In response, I LET MY GUARD DOWN. Holy crap you guys, (and ladies, and humans) I am such a guarded person that sometimes I forget I’m the one who constructed that wall. I forget that she can’t do her job as my spouse, if I don’t sit down, shut the fuck up, and OPEN THE DOOR FOR HER. LET DOWN MY WALLS AND SHE CAN HELP ME. How can she know what my needs are, if I hadn’t asked her for help?

So, I’m sitting there, like, “Wow, yeah I forgot to make room for two, didn’t I?” I also opened up and owned up to my portion of the mess we had created. And hours had gone by. I was talking and talking and crying and she was too. And then I realized, once more, THIS IS WHY WE ARE STILL MARRIED. THIS IS WHY IT DOESNT MATTER IF SHE’S MY WIFE NOW, RATHER THAN MY HUSBAND. BECAUSE WE SHOW UP. CONSISTENTLY, AND WHEN IT MATTERS MOST, WE HANDLE THINGS WELL, TOGETHER. BECAUSE, MORE THAN ANYTHING, SHE’S MY FRIEND.

She’s my friend. She’s my friend. <3

I had just told my wife, my absolute best friend, that my anxiety was getting the best of me, and that the world she exists in would be better off without me.

She listened to me, without interrupting me. She listened to me, and then she validated my feelings. Afterward, we began to talk about our next steps, and then we collaboratively problem-solved. Sometime later, we held each other, like always. We got up the next morning, renewed and looking forward to the new life we are presently making with each other.

Now, 90% of the resentment and frustration we held onto is gone. Simply because now I know that she does love me, and that she does listen to me.

(90% means the major hurdles. 😉 it’s a fake percentage I used for demonstration purposes).

As for my wife, she got to see me, the real me, in my rawest form. She got to see me breathe for the first time in a long time. She got to see me, the me that is unwound, lackadaisical and creative, a fellow gamer, and as always, a sucker for love and happy endings.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, if you feel unheard, invalidated, ashamed, afraid, please know it’s okay to talk about it. I am here.

You can also text HOME to 741741, and you’ll be connected to someone who cares, and someone who will listen and be there for you.

I’ll have my resource page back up soon, if you are in need of other connections.

Welcome Home.

I love you.

You’re safe here.

Tomorrow

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Tomorrow I’ll be back in the swing of things, and I’ll once again be posting regularly. I’ve moved and was without steady internet connection for a while. I have not abandoned this home I’ve made. I hope you, little reader, forgive me for my absence. There is still a place for you in my heart and in my words.

I have still kept my word that I’d put everything into this blog as well as into my artwork. Currently, I have an amazing air mattress (I’m not kidding, it’s amazing)! and a projector that serves as my TV. Honestly, it was a pretty cool idea.

My apartment is empty but my heart is full. When we rid ourselves of the “stuff” that was weighing us down, doors opened, literally and figuratively.

I don’t feel broke, or broken. I feel accomplished and confident knowing that when we need to, we can make our lives work. Making decisions that are scary can be liberating.

We had to sell our vehicle for a cheaper one. We don’t regret this decision, although it really stung to trade in a car that had just recently been paid off. Upon leaving the dealership we got pulled over and were warned that we had a brake light out. Needless to say, we were both pretty irked, as it was sold to us this way.

Freedom is indeed chaotic at times! All we have is each other now. We do have a good friend near. The three of us do our best to look out for each other.

Once settled, I’ll do my best to build again, one day at a time.

I’m excited to get back to volunteering with CrisisTextLine. It’s the one thing I’ve missed most while being “unplugged” for the good old internet. I missed putting my time into something that saves the world, I guess.

I know my latest posts have been conversational, and perhaps even a bit off the beaten path, but if you’re still with me, thank you so much for being here during this tumultuous and beautiful time. We’ll figure it out as we go. Tomorrow somewhere between 1-5, I’ll do my best to liven our humble corner of the internet up again.

I will always remember you, fellow bloggers, artists, wayfarers and dream chasers throughout the day, and hopefully keep you good company as I continue telling you stories of healing through written word.

I love you.

Welcome Home.

You’re safe here.

I am pretty peaceful these days.

Paying Homage To Caregiving, And Being Taken Care Of – Part 2/2

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Hello again, and welcome home. It’s so good to see you!
This post is going to be almost entirely subjective and deeply personal; I hope you are still able to relate in some ways. Let’s begin.

After thoughtful deliberation on part two, I concluded that I would let you in on my experiences and how I cope, often rather clumsily, with being confined by the limitations of my vessel.

The truth of the matter is simple. Sometimes I can cope. Other times, I’m angry that a chair is a reason I’m not yet gainfully employed. I feel guilty that I need so much help, even though for the most part my life is pretty normal: I can cook, manage my household, take good care of my spouse, I can speak, write, and flip people off when I need to. 😛

I don’t even mind being disabled. I’ve been this way since birth. What I do mind, however, is the warped perceptions of other people. People are understandably curious. Some situations are nothing short of ‘cringeworthy’.

As an example, when I got married, it was so strange to onlookers. I am blessed to have my wife; she bathes me, cooks, cleans, and I never need to ask her to pick up the slack or help me out with anything, really. She knows what I need before I do at times. We work.

Some folks never get to experience that kind of love and care, like this dude we ran into in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

There we are, loading our groceries in the car before going home, and he approaches my wife and taps her on the shoulder. He says, “Who is this? Is this your sister?” (Referring to me as I’m standing by the door). She says, “No sir, this is my wife.” The look on that guy’s face was worth a thousand words.

After a few long seconds of awkward silence, he looks over at my wife and replies, “Wow, you’re an awesome person – not a lot of people would do that.”

Look, don’t get me wrong. I get the sentiment. It was wonderful. In my opinion, he is absolutely right. My wife should win the Nobel Peace Prize for all the devotion she’s demonstrated to me. It’s my job to tell her that.

If she wanted people randomly stopping her while we’re just going home, she wouldn’t be in a monogamous marriage. I don’t need to be treated as a charity case or be viewed as an extra sack of potatoes.

Let me tell you, friend, my wife, the one on two perfectly good legs, ain’t all that easy to be with either. None of us are! If my extra needs are a little bit too extra, she would’ve been gone by now. I know I sound bitter, but I’m not, for the most part. Forgive me if I’m just astounded by how conditional commitment has become.

The guy didn’t have any bad intentions, but some shit should just remain admired rather than pointed out. Even better, how about saying you admire us as a unit, a team, a healthy marriage?

It’s not like I just sit and look pretty. I look a little bit scary and pissed off most of the time to be honest, especially if I’m low on caffeine.

Maybe I take care of my wife’s heart. Perhaps, and this is just my take on things, maybe she likes taking care of me because she gets a lot out of it – like love, strength, purpose and reciprocal appreciation?

Maybe the fact that I hold her at night is more than enough according to her individual needs, even though my needs are vastly different. Although independence is of great value in this world, perhaps me being in need of care isn’t an issue because there are always people in the world who find great joy in serving others?

Maybe she knows that I’m the type of person who would do the exact same thing for her if she were also in a wheelchair. Maybe I’m just badass and she recognized that instead of just looking at the hunk of metal on wheels I use to get around.

I struggle to remember this more often than not. I struggle with feeling like I have nothing to offer because of my physical limitations. I’ll probably always struggle with it.

If you’re in the same boat, it might be a challenge for you too. We just have to remember that everyone’s looking to be loved. We know a lot about love if nothing else.

Maybe we’re not right for the world, but we’re right for the ones who love us, and that’s always more than enough. Love is always the best thing to offer someone.



Paying Homage to Caregiving, and Being Taken Care Of – Part 1 of 2

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On one hand, living with a disability or chronic illness creates so many barriers; nearly all of these vary or are contingent on a plethora of routes and lives lived up to this moment/up to the onset of disability.

On the other hand, supporting someone with a wide variety of needs, such as someone in a wheelchair, or a loved one who is meeting the passage of time – that’s no walk in the park either.

It is difficult to be the helper. It is also challenging to be the one who needs help. At some point, we all will be fortunate enough to understand both perspectives and their respective realities.

If we are in this dynamic, we might find ourselves feeling guilty for what we can or cannot offer the other, both may feel inadequate or undeserving of the other at times, and because it feels as though we are on opposite sides of the fence more often than not, this can also mean we are prone to forgetting what a sacred relationship we’ve been given.

In my life, out of all of the other relationships I have witnessed or been part of, there is no greater relationship in which two people are more able to give and receive love than that of the caregiver and the loved one to whom care is given.

I have been fortunate enough to see both sides of the “helper/helpee” coin. I’ve needed help, and I’ve been there to help others as well.

One thing that I see most often from people who have Cerebral Palsy, a Traumatic brain injury, or another illness is their struggle with allowing themselves to receive the assistance they deserve.

For some, it may be a matter of pride, modesty, or sheer self-reliance; for others, and I suspect for all of us who have had to look to others for support, and in harsher circumstances, survival, the issue is a matter of much more than surface-level traits. With this in mind, I’d like to express my perspectives on what it felt like to be in each place drawing from my own, perhaps limited, but no less truthful experiences.

To the beloved well-meaning caregivers:

You’re doing the best you can with the tools you’ve been given. These resources are often limited and scarce, and it is you, the advocate, nurturer, and lover who often bears the brunt of your family member’s/patient’s/client’s frustration. I see you. I personally thank you. You are doing God’s work.

If I may, I’d like to remind you that the resistance to your help isn’t out of stubbornness or a desire to be contrary: Resistance is often just a big word for fear. Fear of being of too much, fear of being seen as more of a taker than a giver, fear of facing the prison we sometimes find when seeing our atrophied legs or degenerating muscles, or our declining mental health.

We know we’re difficult to be around. We know you’re tired. We feel that. We know we’ve been in eleventy-seven different moods by the time night falls. We know, no matter how much your good heart denies it, that sometimes we ARE the reason you’re burnt out.

We want you, our caregiver, to know its okay to be tired, and yes, we know you’ll never admit to this because you dont want to hurt our feelings or cause us to feel as though we’re a chore to be dealt with.

Sometimes that makes us, the loved one you’re taking care of, sad. Not because you’re doing something wrong or because we are ungrateful, but because we want your life to mean more.

We don’t want to be the reason you’re held back. We love the quality of your care and of the neverending reach of your love; so much so, that we would also love to share the gift of you in your entirety with some other well-deserving people too!

We often feel as though you’re chained to us by unfortunate circumstances, and we forget that you’ve chosen to care for us because you love us. Sometimes we need to be reminded that you’re here by choice, not because you got stuck with us. Remind us that we didn’t get any less cooler just because we need you more than before.

I’m willing to bet we both forget why God placed you with us: because you have more than just the capacity to love us best. You’re also really good at it, even when you think you’re falling short.

You know just how we like our coffee, pancakes, and sometimes you have to put us to bed or remind us to eat, take our medicine, or tie our shoelaces. You manage to do these things without making us feel worse about the fact that you’re probably the only one who cares enough to do these things.

Let’s not forget your remarkable and convincing arguments on why we’re not the burden we see ourselves as: It is a core belief system you’re working with when helping someone who is disabled in some way.

Speaking from the perspective of someone who is disabled but also works as a volunteer crisis counselor: There’s so much pain involved in asking for help than one might realize. In a sense, it is similar to a collapse of self.

Asking for help is more than just succumbing to percieved weaknesses or afflictions. Oftentimes, grabbing the hand of someone who reaches out to assist you says a great deal not only about one’s level of trust in the person, but of their trust in the world as well.

If I grabbed onto someone else’s lifeboat before I found yours, and the last person tried to drown me under the guise of saving me, I’m going to think twice about accepting your help, even if you’re trying desperately to drag me to shore. Re-establishing trust/building rapport/showing me your intentions is important.

Asking for help is revealing to you that I am a vulnerable human being. It is giving someone access to a wound we would really not like to be shamed for.

There’s a reason no one likes unsolicited advice and hovering, though the intent is to help. Sometimes it communicates that a person may not have enough faith in the bond that is shared, or in the abilities of the person you’re advising. After all, if you’ve told me I can come to you, will you keep giving me advice, or would it be better to let me explain to you what my needs are, and then you help? How can you help if you don’t know what my needs are? Jumping in to help can tell the person that you doubt their abilities; ultimately, you don’t trust them. They will respond in kind, even if you’re intent was the opposite.

Asking for help is an art, just as much as giving it is. Trust that the person you are caring for will come to you after you’ve built a bond, and they will come to you; otherwise, it can come across as nagging, harassment, a sales-pitch or manipulation.

See? All of that is required before someone can comfortably depend on you, especially if they’re disabled and need to keep boundaries in place more so than another.

TLDR, if we bite back, we’re scared. It’s not that we don’t love you, it’s probably just that we’ve forgotten that you love us.

Validation

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In someone else’s story, we are a villain. Despite this, we must know our own truth. Knowing is not enough, however.

In addition to knowing our experience, we must also give ourselves back to ourselves.
We must reclaim our lives back from the people, places, and even the very things that bring out the victimhood in us, even if our biggest obstacle is our inner critic.

Learning how to talk back lovingly but assertively to the voice inside that tells us we are undeserving, too lazy, too noisy, too loud, too much – is, therefore, an indispensable key to living life wholly again.

Validation of self is far more effective than validation from another. We won’t always have someone there in the flesh to make us feel good. We won’t (or don’t) always have a lover to tell us how beautiful, priceless and intelligent we are.

Self-love begins the moment we realize we don’t need someone to tell us we poop gold because we already know we do.

Indigo

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There’s always been someone there when I felt like I wanted to end my life. Giving up is harder than pushing forward when there are these indigo children just like you, begging you to listen. So I do. I do not mean indigo children as in ancient aliens or the oval-shaped dudes on spaceships. I mean indigo, the color a child chooses to smear on her oil-painting as she tells me, someone who is three times older than her that I cant control my life, and that when I’m sad there’s nothing I can do but feel something.

There’s always someone there when I want to end my life.

She welcomes me home and does not know I have been trying to be a safe place for others to lick their wounds in, but still I am the altar left to collect dust from their mouths.

She says we’ll get out of here. She welcomes me home, and I forgot that I wanted to die.

There’s always someone there to remind me of what it means to be alive.

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