Tag Archives: healing

There is hope after…

I want everyone to know that there is hope.

I remember when I felt hopeless. When things felt like too much, and I felt like too little. I remember when my brother came to stay with me one night when I didn’t want to be alone, because I had lost hope. I remember when – all those years ago – there seemed like there would never be a break from my anguish, never be a release of my traumas and terrors. I remember when – just recently – I fell back into my fears and anguish for a bit, and again it seemed like there would never be a way out.

I’m here to say, there is.

There is hope after anguish. There is hope after pain. There is hope after suffering.

There is hope after hitting a bottom. And another bottom. And another bottom.

There is hope after remembering things you wish you didn’t remember and facing things you don’t want to face. There is hope after having a week (or weeks) when you felt like you couldn’t get off the couch. Or you actually couldn’t get off the couch.

There is hope.

I know I haven’t hit the deepest depths possible, or at least I think there are people who unfortunately have had to go even deeper into despair than I ever did. But I’m here to say there is hope after deep, dark depths.

I find hope in the little joys of life. Sunshine. Smiles. Breezes. I find hope in others. Connecting. Reminiscing. Laughing. Dancing. I find hope in reminding myself of how I’ve climbed out before and of how so many people climb out of seemingly bottomless pits.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I certainly don’t believe I have anything and everything everyone else needs. I obviously don’t have experiences in all the pain and anguish, or even the deepest, darkest pain and anguish.

I just know that I’ve been graced with a way out of every bottom I’ve hit (or created) and every tragedy or challenge I’ve endured. I just know that humans have an incredible, undeniable ability to adapt and evolve and renew.

And that gives me hope. Endless hope and beautiful hope. That gives me hope that there’s hope after nearly all – if not all – of it.

So, if you need it right now, hang on until you can find hope.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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It’s getting real. It’s really weird.

I was at a neighborhood party the other night, and a number of people congratulated me on signing with a publisher.

I had lunch with a friend from business school whom I hadn’t seen in decades, and he mentioned he was excited for me that the book was coming out. (And that he had no idea of my past, my background, when we were in school together. “You think you know someone,” he said. “You really don’t.”)

I’ve recently had a few friends who are mentioned in the book, whom I’ve recently re-found, read the book. And cry over some of what happened.

It’s getting real.

Now, obviously I wouldn’t have written a memoir if I wasn’t willing – and eager – to tell my story. I still see it as a “memoir of hope,” and my hope is that my story will give hope to others who suffer and struggle. There are so many kids who grew up in the Church who endured so much pain and trauma. So much confusion and challenge. There are so many people throughout the world who have endured so much – who have so many scars and need so much love.

My hope is that, somehow, the story of my journey will give other people hope for their journey. That the beauty and joy I’ve learned to search for – and I’ve found – can inspire others to search for what they need. And to find it.

I know I still have a long path until the book is a book. But it’s really getting real. And that’s really weird. Wonderful and weird.

The paradox of abuse – the desire to shout it from the mountain tops, while at the same time you long to hide it (and yourself) from everyone. The paradox of trauma – you somehow learn to not love yourself as if your very lacking is what caused the trauma to occur. Or perhaps, to somehow take responsibility for the trauma – and in my case to usually take responsibility for everything – so that you feel some semblance of control.

I want to share my story, and shout my joy, from the mountaintop. And I want to crawl inside myself in case someone thinks I’m “too full of myself” because I want to share my story. “It wasn’t that bad,” I hear myself chide myself. “Other people had it much worse.”

It’s like a jail I lock myself in, at times. “I’m messed up because of what happened to me, and I’m messed up because I think what happened to me was bad, when other people had it much worse.” It’s a mind game that trauma can inflict on you, as if to keep its hold on you.

“You’re only as sick as your secrets,” I learned years ago. Another saying that helped save my life. I offered that same thought to one of my re-found friends just the other day. “Tell your secret,” I said. “Let it out. Let it go. Don’t let it eat you up anymore.”

I’m telling my secrets (even though my brother says I remember them incorrectly). I’m telling my story. The book will come out next year, and people know that.

It’s getting real. It’s really weird.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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Why do I lift heavy weights?

I was at the gym again this morning, lifting heavy weights.

Often I will stop mid-workout, turn to the guy next to me (not to be too gendered, but in the room where I lift, with the rack and the benches and the heavier weights, it’s mostly guys around me) and laughingly say, “Why do we do this? I mean, it’s kinda weird. We pick up heavy weights, move them around a few times, and put them down. What do we accomplish?”

The guys in the room generally laugh and say something witty back. And, in retrospect, I guess they’ve been kind because none of them have said to me, “Your weights really aren’t heavy!”

They’re heavy to me.

So, why do I do it? I was thinking this through this morning after my workout. Why do I push my body so hard? Especially as I get a little bit older and a little bit shorter – and any of you who know me know that getting a little bit shorter is probably not the most desirable thing on my agenda – and the heavy weights can’t help but push me in the wrong direction. Why do I do it?

Why have I deadlifted more than my bodyweight? And bench-pressed way more than my body weight? (Got that bragging in well, didn’t I?) Why do I?

Well, first off, it’s fun. I love lifting, and I love lifting more than people think I can. Second, when I started lifting I was in business school, and it was way more fun than studying. Then I developed muscles, because I have the type of body type that does. And that was fun too.

And third, and probably deepest and therefore probably most “important,” it makes me feel powerful. Being physically powerful makes me feel completely powerful.

As someone who was, I guess at least in some ways, somewhat of a victim when I was young – or at least somewhat victimized – lifting heavy weights makes me strong and makes me feel strong. Maybe it’s like when my oldest child, who only saw themselves as a “smart kid,” became a varsity athlete and began to see themselves as an athletic kid.

Maybe it’s changed how I view myself. Or maybe it’s given people a chance to view me more how I view myself (and less how my size might lead someone to view me). Deadlifting 115 lbs. reminds me of how powerful I am. As does bench-pressing 120. (I’ve now successfully bragged and told you roughly how much I weigh. ☺)

I like being strong. I probably was always strong on the inside, and I like being strong on the outside too. I like the way it feels, and I like the way I feel. I like reminding myself – as I’m learning more and more we all have to learn, or relearn – that, as Christopher Robin once said to Pooh, “You’re stronger than you think you are.”

I think that’s why I lift stupid heavy weights.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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