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Slice of Wisdom

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

-Dalai Lama

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Releasing The Guilt

Finally being able to a call, a thing! My God, what a relief! I’ve felt the crippling feeling of guilt, shame and misguided love my entire life. The kind of feelings that make you question whether you’re worth anything at all. And it all wouldn’t be possible without my mother.

My mother, an undiagnosed BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), has wreaked havoc in my life since as long as I can remember.

How can the person whose supposed to love you and hold you and reassure you that the outside world is cruel — not the inside — hurt you so badly and so intentionally?

When the feeling of your mother’s embrace is something that you want to badly but when it happens it feels like a thousand and one lies. A constant game of bait and switch, where her only happiness comes when she’s provoking anger and proving that everyone is inherently evil.

I write this passage tonight because I’m going through therapy and need a release. Because as I learn more about this mental illness and hear stories of the countless who have suffered at the hands of a mother with BPD — I need to acknowledge my feelings.

A symptom of a child with a BPD parent is that they learn to hide how they really feel — for fear that it may upset the parent. I can’t hold it in any longer. I have to say what’s on my heart so that it can begin to heal.

I’m not sure if I love her. I can most definitely say that I didn’t learn love from her — not the true, authentic love. If anything it’s been anger and pity all mixed into one. I’m not sure if she’s ever truly loved me at all. My therapist stated that she could hate me. She said that individuals with BPD are thieves that steal love.

My hope and wish is to constantly remind myself that I will feel better one day and to rely on my inner strength, self-worth, friendships and self-love. I’ll start with releasing the guilt of being responsible for my childhood and remember all that I’m grateful for.

  1. A great education that allows me to earn an income and not be dependent on a BPD mother.
  2. The ability to love and empathize with people even if I’ve never been in their situation.
  3. The ability to think before I speak and apologize when my actions are hurtful.
  4. The ability to sing and act and dance and draw and paint.
  5. My great friendships that have lasted me 10+ years with some really amazing people who love me no matter what.
  6. A father who has always been my greatest supporter and best hug giver and advice giver.
  7. My love of people and animals and travel and chocolate.
  8. The love of a God who gave me the strongest test because He knows I have a purpose (still trying to find it).
  9. An able body, mind and soul that can rationalize, reason and love.
  10. An eye for design and good taste.
  11. The ability to tune out the negative and focus on the positive.
  12. My persistence and ability to plan and negotiate.
  13. The love of an extraordinary girl named Michelle — a woman that makes me feel that even the worst part of me is never as bad I see it.
  14. For all 50 states making it legal to marry. Woohoo!
  15. For Broadway, Opera, Pop Music, Indie, Festivals, Concerts, 50s Music.

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My Mother Has BPD

What a relief! To hear someone finally say that I hadn’t been crazy my entire life for thinking my mother had some type of mental illness. Yesterday, I was finally validated and assured that it wasn’t me — it was my mother.

BPD, Borderline Personality Disorder, is a mental disorder characterized by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships.

For as long as I can remember, my mother has always been inconsistent with her behavior. She was very physically abusive when I was a child as well mentally and emotionally. Although the physical abuse has subsided I still have many triggers and emotional upsets It doesn’t help that I still live with her (yikes!)

I moved back in at the age of 26 last year and have been living there a full year. I’m trying to get my life on track financially so that I can move on and do bigger and better things. My dad lives with us as well – he’s a God send. If it weren’t for my dad, I swear I’d be in an insane asylum. He’s my rock. Unfortunately, he’s also the target for many of my mother’s demands and mood swings. That’s a whole other ball of wax.

I’m hoping that by attending therapy regularly, learning more about BDP and interacting with a support group will help my feelings of deep inadequacy and emotional instability be replaced by feelings of empowerment.

Do you anyone living with BPD? If so, how do you cope?

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It’s Not a Steady Uphill Climb

As some of you may have read from previous entries, the past six months have been quite the journey. I left my city, an abusive relationship and an extremely stressful job and moved back in with my parents. I was in the midst of a physical, emotional and mental breakdown.

The day I made the decision to leave it all behind was the first step. Then came the loneliness in dealing with the steps that followed. I may or may not have called Dr. Laura on her XM Channel for advice — God, I was desperate.

In the last six months, I have experienced highs and lows like never before. It has been years since I’d let myself have a good cry and boy, did it last! I had those deep, wailing cries where you literally feel like you’re brain might explode. Those cries where your mind thinks of every moment that has led up to that cry. You remember all of your failed relationships, the times when you were rejected, when someone told you that you weren’t good enough, or the time when your best friend told you that couldn’t bring your girlfriend to her wedding due to religious reasons (yeah, that happened and it still hurt). That type of cry.

Now eventually the wailing subsided and I was no longer crying alongside the car next to me in Monday morning traffic (you wouldn’t believe how many times this has happened). The tears stopped (kinda) and I believed I had reached a point of peace. I believed that all of my prayers, crying, pleading, and promises to be better a person and to do better for myself had paid off. Wrong.

What happened next and what continues to happen is a great tug-of-war in my mind. There is a fight in my brain that is constantly trying to figure out where I am headed next now that I have this newfound sense of enlightenment. I find myself stuck between keeping a devout spiritual path and fearing that I may revert back to my old ways if I don’t. I don’t really trust myself to fly on my own, to let myself make my own decisions. There’s a lot of self doubt and guilt when I realized that my life had hit a wall and I was a big part of it. Because I always had a choice — always. And I chose to ignore my inner voice.

Trying to Make Sense of it All.

And here I am, the survivor of an awful situation, someone who has allowed herself to feel the pain of years past and who is looking forward to the future and desperately trying to remind herself to live in the present.

I have to remember to trust that I know better because I have lived through it and have dealt with the root of the issue. And to take each day at a time. I have to choose happiness each day and to remember what I’ve learned so I don’t have to repeat the same lesson. Healing is not black and white and if you find yourself in the midst of a healing or spiritual journey don’t be so hard on yourself. If no one gets your journey it is ok. It’s not theirs — it’s yours. You’ll come into your own at your own time.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama

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You Issue the Invitation

“You are the priority in your life and how you love you, how you see you, how you treat you is going to set the stage and issue the invitation that will draw other people in to love you.”

-Iyanla Vanzant

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Who is the Girl in that Selfie?

I’ve convinced myself of the reason why I like to take selfies. I’m trying to see if I still recognize her, especially after the life-altering year I’ve had.

For years I’ve lived my life on autopilot, trying to fill every minute of every day with work, friends, relationships, concerts, restaurants, clubs, dancing, and I drowned out the voice inside. The voice that held the answer to who I was, my dreams, my purpose and my inner peace.

I was in a constant tug-of-war between a boss who projected all of her anger onto me and significant other who did just the same. Had the new people at work not asked why I let my boss mistreat me, it may have taken me a lot longer to realize how bad it actually was.

Now, no one asked me about the girlfriend, because I never told anyone the truth of what was happening. I never told anyone that she yelled at me for the smallest things, that she became jealous of anyone I spoke to, criticized me constantly and manipulated me into thinking she was the best thing that had ever happened to me.

Those who know me have been in total disbelief that I would allow such people in my life for as long as I did. The thing is that the broken me – the girl who never made it past May 31, 2014 – didn’t realize that I had a choice.

I was taught to learn that love would always hurt one way or another. That if you made people angry with you they would hurt you and that love would always mean pain. That you should accept that you’ll always be the punching bag. And that’s exactly what they represented to me — another chance at proving all of those things right.

Having these two individuals in my life during a 9-month period completely wreaked havoc on me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I was anxious all of the time, gaining weight, losing interest in seeing friends, not feeling motivated to take care of myself, and preoccupying myself by pleasing the two people in my life who did not deserve it. I was definitely in a state of depression.

Several months ago I had had it at work and I courageously (some would say foolishly) quit my job without having anything else lined up. That alleviated some anxiety and stress but something still wasn’t right. A week after I quit my job, I moved in with my significant other and things started to spiral down quickly soon after. The fights became more intense, the words became more hateful, and I cried almost every night.

If it hadn’t been for the few weeks I spent at the local public library, using the computers to job search I don’t know where’d I’d be. During that time, I checked out a self-help/spiritual healing book by author Iyanla Vanzant, titled Peace from Broken Pieces. In the book she shared so much truth about her life struggles and how everything that happened in her life was a direct reflection of how she felt about herself.  Being a fan of hers from years back and seeing her on the Oprah show, it was mind-blowing to me that this woman endured so much turmoil.

A quote of hers that still gets me choked up is, “You can only get what you really want by letting go of what you don’t want.”

With that, I decided I was leaving the toxic relationship. A few days later a temporary job fell through and I ended up not only leaving a relationship, but also leaving a job, an apartment and my city and moving hundreds of miles away to live with my parents.

Nowadays when I take a selfie it serves as a reminder that I’m not completely lost. That even though there are parts of the girl prior to May 31, 2014 that no longer exist, I’m still here slowly picking up her pieces, healing them and using them to shape the me I thought I’d lost. 934771_10100505330996512_4189002201993813681_n

The Job Shadowing From Hell

As many of you may have already read, I recently relocated to a new city.  Since I’ve arrived I’ve been working from home for a company that my sister was able to connect me with. It’s been going pretty great so far, although I’ve been itching to find a full-time job that requires me to work outside of the house.

I searched through every online database, including my friend David’s new site, Work in Miami. After a about a week of applying I finally got a call from a local company. I was pretty excited, even though I must admit that I applied to so many jobs that I didn’t quite remember which one it was.  I accepted to come in for an interview the following week and was excited about the possibilities!

The next week came and I showed up for the interview on Friday morning. It was for a sales position that required presentations, travel and commission-based. I thought, well that’s not what I typically would want to do but I’ll ask questions to find out more.

The interview went great, plus the interviewer was pretty cute. I wasn’t really digging the position but the interviewer said that if I was called for a second interview I would be job shadowing. Awesome, I get to see what it’s all about and if I don’t like it — I never have to come back!

I really was not prepared for what I was going to encounter the following week during my one-day job shadowing. I’ll just bullet the highlights of the day and comment and let me know what your reaction would be!

  • Paired with a high-strung, short blonde tomboy British lady
  • Spent the day driving around a 5-mile radius visiting the most busted places ever
  • First stop: office suite inside an old office building
    • The office suite had scuff marks all over the wall, there was no air conditioning and people spoke Spanish very improperly (Spanish snob). It felt more like the senior citizen clinics my grandma used to take me to in Hialeah when I was a kid
    • At that stop I got the low down of what the job would be: harassing people to buy office supplies (I really had to keep from laughing at the situation I had put myself in)
    • The lady I shadowed badgered people into buying papers, pen, printer toner, antibacterial hand soap, etc. from a catalog and penning it on a carbon copy form
    • We were there for two hours. The expression on the business owners face went from friendly to trying to keep from strangling her
  • Second stop: she suggested we go have a vegetarian lunch (never had one in my life and I don’t think she cared too much that I wasn’t keen on the idea – RUDE!)
    • At this point in the day it was getting smoldering hot outside and I had some of the worst cramps of life and was struggling dressed in full black suit getting in and out of a two-door coupe
    • We ordered food and then she started to harass the poor restaurant owner into buying toilet paper, styrofoam cups, eco-friendly cake containers (he was so visibly uncomfortable)
    • At the end he found a way to get away from her and she left pissed off after she waited for 20 minutes for him to come back (I mean could she not tell he didn’t like her?)
  • Third stop: we visited another office suite inside an old building
    • This time she wanted to talk to the office manager about placing re-orders
    • The workers at the office had no idea who she was and refused to contact the manager since they didn’t want to bother her (they all spoke Spanish)
    • When the Brit wasn’t satisfied with the answer she became hostile with them and asked them to send the manager texts, e-mails, voicemails because she wanted to speak with her
    • Then I was asked by the Brit to tell them what she wanted in Spanish (I wanted to die because as one Latin woman to another — I knew this office lady meant business and was not going to do what the Brit asked of her)
    • I had one overly aggressive Brit-bull (half Brit, half pit bull) staring me down and one Latin lady looking at her like she was crazy and giving me the WTF? face
    • It resulted in everyone being pissed and me having to leave with the Brit
  • Fourth and Final Stop: we visited an industrial/commercial park and made several different visits
    • At one stop, we were yelled at for stopping by since I guess the Brit-Bull had been informed to show up the following day (that was awkward)
    • At the other stops, no one wanted to buy anything from her catalogue and it was so clear to me but she kept pressing on to the point that they wanted her to go away
      • P.S. I was beginning to think that her interpersonal skills were a bit questionable
  • Back to the main office
    • I was asked to fill out a form on my experience and whether or not I was interested in taking the position. I was honest, I said no.
    • I told the interviewer, thank you but no thank you. I admire what you guys do (b.s.) but this is not for me — he understood and I skipped gleefully to my air-conditioned car and unbuttoned my pants! Hallelujah!

Needless to say, I won’t be entertaining the thought of any sales positions in the near future. I think for now I’ll stick with Marketing and Design — there’s air conditioning there, I can wear comfy pants, and I won’t be forced to eat what I don’t want to!

Never Really Made a Good Lemonade

When life handed me my current batch of lemons, I felt lost. Completely disoriented. What direction was my life heading in? What do I do now that I’m completely moving my life to a different city (and not on the best of terms)? And literally speaking, I’ve never been too good at making lemonade but now life was squeezing me through and I had to find a way before bitterness would set in.

Shock would be the best way to describe everything that has happened since the end of May. I had a friend tell me recently that there are Top 5 Stressful Situations and that I had gathered 3 out of 5 in one fell swoop. Yippee!

  1. Death of a Loved One
  2. Divorce (Relationship Ending)
  3. Major Illness
  4. Job Loss
  5. Moving

So how have I decided to begin to move on?

  • Journaling
  • Reading Self-Help and Spirituality Books
  • Sitting in Silence
  • Taking Long Baths
  • Practicing Gratitude & Forgiveness
  • Going to the Gym
  • Eating Healthier
  • Lots of Prayer
  • Random Outburst of Tears
  • Happiness to Sadness to Anger to Gratitude to Happiness Again
  • Going out with Friends on the Weekend/Making New Friends (Some Friendlier than Others)
  • Spending Time with Family
  • Hugging my Cats
  • Singing Every Sam Smith Song I know (as well as Kelly Clarkson and Demi Lovato break-up songs)
  • Listening to Of Monsters and Men on repeat (currently happening)
  • Taking Time to Do Whatever I Want and Enjoying Alone Time (not as easy as it sounds when you’ve devoted nearly eight years of your life to relationships)

If I had to pick a favorite one out of that list that has helped me the most it would be sitting in silence. I never realized how the mind really needs to be quieted in order to find the answers you’re constantly searching.

I was so used to running around in the morning and getting ready for work, jamming out on the drive to work, working over 50-60 hours a week, coming home and making dinner, spending time with my then ‘S.O.’ and then going to bed. My mind was computing but it wasn’t really thinking.

Now that I practice meditating on my thoughts, I have begun to understand how my past and all the choices I have made have led me to where I am. I can reflect on every single emotion I feel that I dislike and really get down to the root — it’s truly life-changing.

One example I will use is that I would get so upset at what people thought of me — people that I didn’t even know! I would obsess about it at times! So I dug deeper as I sat in silence to find out why.

This is what I learned:

The anger stemmed from me being insecure and not really knowing who I was. I mean, how dare that person say something about me and not know me? I couldn’t let it go! And it was all because I hated that that person could possibly know more about and see me more clearly than I actually saw myself.

The insecurities stemmed from so many childhood to adolescent factors, which I may share another day (but for now I’ll condense).

So now that I knew the why, I needed to accept responsibility for my thoughts rather than blaming others for their cruel words and move into healing the thought. What helped me heal was knowing and affirming the following:

  • Forgiving myself for allowing the thoughts to take over me
  • Knowing that God loves me just the way I am and that only God can judge me
  • Understanding that those who judge are feeling pain as well
  • And knowing that what other people think of me has nothing to do with me, it’s their business

With all that being said, I think it’s time for a close. I hope this was insightful and you were able to take something away from this — that’s my wish!

P.S. If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.