Hot Mess Express.

I've really missed blogging. It's been a while. I've started and stopped several posts in the last three months. Life has been chaotic in too many different ways to list here, and I've learned to recognize when I need to take a step back. Or when my mind is such a tornado of thoughts that nothing useful would likely come from blogging anyway.  I can feel that season coming to a close and I'll have more to say soon. Life is nearly kind enough to let this be regular again; to let me be my normal, overly-communicative, super vulnerable self. 

Sometimes (not right now, for me) you get to these places in the healing journey that are oddly smooth. It feels...weird. Good, but weird. You're used to inner tumult, not inner peace. You can't help but find yourself waiting for the next rough patch, but maybe this time it won't come? Spoiler alert: it will.

Anyhow, during those good patches, you may find yourself patting yourself on the back for all the hard work you've done toward healing. Do it. You absolutely deserve that. But you may also find yourself beginning to think that you're finally past the worst of it. Finally done with the biggest healing projects and maybe it's just speed bumps from here on out. 

And then you have a series of sketchy encounters with a man who is supposed to be trustworthy, and it dredges up all kinds of nasty feelings and memories, and introduces some new ones, too.

And a week later you stumble across a pair of soccer shorts at Goodwill, and they're identical to the ones your abuser wore into your room at night when you were a young girl, and you freeze in place. The room starts to spin and you forget how to breathe. More nasty feelings and memories
dredged up, totally unexpectedly.

And something unravels inside you.

And the next day you get cat-called while you're walking down the street and it makes you want to slip into the sidewalk cracks and disappear.

And every day you hear other stories of suffering and abuse and each one makes your chest tighten and heart sigh. Your sky starts to darken. Over the weeks, each new morning doesn't bring with it hope but instead brings something that feels more like disappointment or maybe even apathy.

And then an unexpected trial tips you over the edge and you end up in heaving sobs at an urgent visit to your doctor's office and he kindly sends you home with an emergency supply of valium -- just so you can function and care for your children and fulfill your responsibilites without freezing in panic and anxiety and spiraling thoughts...and ending up in the ER.

So here I am. Tired. Ashamed. Humbled. So fucking excited to start therapy again tomorrow afternoon. So glad to be off of valium and on a more gentle, sustainable anti-anxiety medication. Grateful for my closest friends who have loved and embraced me even in my hot-mess status. Grateful for a husband who on the daily is so incredibly kind and understanding that it actually pisses me off. 

I've started getting up before the sun again, that always helps me. I need those pre-dawn moments to lasso my thoughts and emotions before I interact with other humans. I'm doing more yoga, which really helps bring me back into my body and settle my anxiety. I'm starting therapy again. Did I say I'm excited?

The light is beginning to shine through the clouds. It always does, eventually.

Healing is not a unidirectional journey, but it can and should be a collective journey. Our paths are supposed to cross and when they do, we're supposed to love each other. Love is the only thing stronger than everything awful. Love is stronger than your sorrow. It's stronger than your anxiety. 

Love is so very, very much stronger than all of the pain and trauma in your past.

Remember that.


  1. Natalie, I have been in an abusive relationship (lasted 5 years) and then married a wonderful man with whom I had 6 children. We have buried two of them as infants due to a genetic condition we mysteriously share. Like your life, my days can be fraught with landmines that are imperceptible to others. I used to follow blogs of others who also lost children but would be overwhelmed by their pain and anguish. A good friend gave me permission to unfollow them for the health of myself and my family. Living a quiet and simple life has been medicinal and working hard as a wife, mother, foster mother, etc. has kept me from the negative pitfalls that toxic people (both online and in real life) can bring. I took a two-year Facebook break and didn't return till I was strong enough to not synthesize all things into my personal experiences. Enveloping myself in the love of Christ, my husband, my children, true friends and family, (and turning 40 and refusing to be manipulated anymore) has been a true turning point. I am raising 3 girls and 1 young man who are amazing and strong and kind people. Not that you are asking, but I give you permission to take all the personal time you need in your healthy bubble to get as healthy as you can - for you and your dear family. You are the world to your kids and you have so much wisdom and strength and love and joy to share with them and your husband. The world will chew you up and spit you out...leave them behind and press on with a single​-minded focus to give what you can each day to those who love you for you. Some days will be more productive than others, some will just be filled with memory-making fun.... But today is the first day of the rest of your life. Revel in it cuz it is short and allowing others to dictate another moment of it for you is totally unacceptable. 😊 You are an amazing woman and I am very proud of you.

    1. Wow - thank you for your kind words, and for the permission to care for myself. This was really thoughtful of you.

  2. Glad to hear things are better. Drugs can do amazing things. Last fall my drugs got adjusted, and again early this year. A couple of days ago I realized that I hadn't had a panic attack in over a month. For me that's really unusual. I also felt vaguely human. It might also help that I've lost nearly thirty-five pounds since November. And my therapist has been wonderful, along with my doctor, and my psychologist.

    It is a journey. In some cases it feels like it is too long. But every day we survive, we show our abusers an upraised middle finger.


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