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Posts tagged ‘kindness’

Week 18 // Battle On

Portrait_Week18

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“I just want to crawl out of my own skin” is a thing I said often in the first weeks and months after he died. For the whole first year really. That was my existence much of the time. Every cell of my body – every hair, every pore, every organ, was reverberating a constant and loud message of denial. Every cell of me, bumping up against the truth at every turn, abrasively, painfully. And then violently pushing and pushing, trying to thrust the truth out of my world. No, no, no, no, no, NO, NO, NO NO, NO!!!… vibrating loudly within every inch of me, trying to fight off a reality too painful, too unbelievable to comprehend. This single aspect of his death was by far the most agonizing of all.

I have wanted to create this image for almost a year now. It came to be randomly one day, just an image in my mind, and I knew that it needed to be made. Sometimes I find I need to sit with these visuals a while though, until I feel the time is right to create them. After a session with my grief coach this week, I instantly knew it was time.

I was describing to him my experience of joining the gym – how working out each day and watching my body change and become stronger has so deeply empowered me on so many other levels. And I said to him… “I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have in my life”. He had to repeat it to me in fact, just to make certain I grasped the sheer magnitude of that statement. And he was right… wow. Because just two years ago, I wanted to crawl out of my skin. That is when I knew it was time for this one to happen.

There’s something else I feel I need to share here too. When I sat down in front of this final image tonight to write about it, I was so overwhelmed by how much of my past it spoke of…

I was in an abusive relationship in my early twenties, several years before meeting my fiancé. It was another extremely dark time in my life, and a very lonely one. What I did not expect to find in this image tonight, was part of that story, too. Not only the fear and pain of that past, but also the inner strength that came out of it. Because when I look at the woman in this image… she has not only been through the unbelievable pain of losing the love of her life. She has – at a much earlier time of her life – been pushed and intimidated and made to feel small and forgotten and scared and alone. She has been made to feel worthless and shameful and flawed at her very core.

The woman in this image has been through all of that. And she has fought with every inch of her life for nearly a decade to heal all of these pains. She has fought to become strong so that she could guard herself well enough to remain soft. She is now a woman who is never pushed nor intimidated, and who does not tolerate anyone who makes her or others feel small. She knows her worth, she is not ashamed of who she is or where she comes from, and she knows she is beauty at her very core. She knows how brightly she can shine.

We all have our own story like this. We all have the battles that we have fought, or are fighting through right now. The pains that break down our doors and leaves us battered and bruised. The pain that makes our very foundation of a future crumble beneath our feet. Even if it cannot be seen on the skin… all of it still lies within me, and within you. And I hope that when you meet such pain that you stand up when it knocks you down. That you square your shoulders and look it right in the eye. That you are mindful of what you can gain from it – strength, wisdom, and a radiant inner beauty that surpassed anything you ever imagined yourself to be.

If you’re new to this project, you can read more about it in this post. Or to see the full image gallery visit 2014 PROJECT. Please share with anyone who you feel can relate to the imagery, my hope is that it gives many others a visual for something they are going through in their own lives.

Hugs, Tears, Gifts and Love

Hi everyone..  first i wanted to say thank you to each of you for your loving and supportive replies to my last post. It truly warmed my heart and meant so much to me to have such support from you. We may not know each other’s faces, or know the sound of each other’s voices, but believe me when I tell you, it has meant something real to me.

I’ve been back in Dallas a week. I’ve had more rock bottom melt downs than you can count this past month, but especially coming back to Dallas. I tried to sleep in my apartment alone for 2 nights before finally calling a friend to stay over and then calling my Aunt to come down to stay with me for a week. I’ve tried to do things on my own my whole life – it’s definitely a new and odd experience to not even be able to be in my own apartment alone for more than a few hours. I am so thankful for the people who have been here for me along this journey so far… and the ones that are to come.

I will not leave you without a few positives though – as one of the things he loved most about me was my ability to find rainbows in even the darkest storms… a few highlights from my first and most horrible week in Dallas…

Succulent Succulents
My team at work sent me this gorgeous succulent basket and a great big amazing cards that made me cry buckets. Thank you all, now I just hope I don’t kill the poor things with my brown thumb!

The Girls At The Office
The first day I went back to the office… there were a few girls (you know who you are ladies) that surrounded me with love, tears, and hugs. We broke down right there in the middle of an ocean of cubicles together. They even gave me their lunches and snacks, and brought me water and anything else I needed so that I didn’t even have to get up from my desk. And some of these girls I don’t even work with on a daily basis, in fact I really don’t work with them at all directly. Knowing they are there has made each day at work a little easier to handle. Thank you ladies.

PASTA!
My second day back at work, one of the ladies in my group gave me some leftover pasta from Olive Garden. I had not eaten pasta in over a month. It was penne, with a light red cream sauce and shrimp, and it was the most heavenly thing. My taste buds were singing! Thank you Linda.

Hearts for my Heart
I finally opened up a box of cards and other goodies from work today that I had not gone through yet… and was overwhelmed by all the lovelies. One of the groups next door to me made me individual little needle felted hearts with their names each tagged onto them! Best of all, they came inside a lovely little felting craft box, complete with a bunch of colorful wool to make new creations with. So many little hearts just brightened my heart. Thank you ladies (and Montey!)

I’ve yet to find the creator of this adorable little bird I got from the office as well! There was no tag and I suspect the card got away from him, but he will be sure to cheer up my desk when I take him back up there tomorrow! He stands about 7 or 8 inches tall!I love his little feet. Will soon find out the maker and update here.

A Military Memorial
One of Drew’s friends on the gun forum wrote to me privately after the accident and wanted to send me a ceremonial flag in his memory. I cried when he offered this.. as I know how much it would have meant to Drew. Although Drew was not in the military, but he had deep respect for our military and I know had he not had a back injury, he had planned to fly for our country. His friend also included a military medal for good conduct. Not knowing much about military medals, I looked it up. This is a medal that is given for 3 years of good conduct, as well as to any soldier killed in the line of duty. Thank you Karl – you are a good man and friend.

Well, that is going to wrap it up for tonight. Not every post will be positive… but I was glad to have the energy tonight to post one. Again thank you to everyone for the gifts, cards, kinds words, support, tears, hugs, calls, food, and for everything in between. I love you all. <3

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