My First Oil Painting

I use to be very artistic. I took Art during all four years of High School. I painted, drew and even made sculptures. I was also involved with theatre and music. At some point during my early twenties I stopped creating.

It was probably around 2000 when I first started to deal with the sexual abuse, though it probably started even earlier than that.

I have really struggled getting back into my creative side, the energy just wouldn’t flow.  Then I realized the cause, my creativity is tied to my spirituality. As well as my self worth, heart and soul… I also think there is a part of me that believes I don’t deserve these gifts that God gave me, that is where the self worth comes into play.

The above painting was my first oil painting that I had completed. The only other time I dabbled in oil was in 2005 but I never finished that piece. Previously I had only painted in water color and acrylic. I felt a sense of accomplishment to finish this painting. Even though still life wasn’t the most exciting thing I could do, I really got into painting it.

I was rather nervous taking this painting class, as it meant pushing myself but I learned it is just like riding a bike. At first you are a little shaky but eventually it becomes natural.

I am learning to embrace my creative side, which writing is one part of it. I still struggle with motivation. I need to spend more time on my art, rather than do other things. I hope to one day to be able to embrace it fully. I would love to have my own art studio. It is something to work towards.

Art is also very therapeutic. I need to remember that during my times of stress and depression. I need to turn to my creative side as a way to cope. I have also learned that my art is a way for me to do what I love and give back to others.

Losing my spirituality…

Now I know it isn’t like a key or book that you misplace but I can’t seem to find my spirituality again. It is rather upsetting because it felt nice for a change to feel it again. I know that it isn’t really lost, more just misplaced but I really could use my spirituality right now. About three weeks ago I noticed a shift in me. I don’t really recall what sparked my spirituality, it just kind of happened.

Part of me really wishes I wouldn’t have watched The United States of Tara because it has sent me into full on trigger mode. Ever since then I have been down, depressed and very disconnected. On a positive note at least I am aware of what is going on but still I dislike feeling this way. I know my spirituality is deep within me, I just have to dig it out.

I think the hardest trigger from The United States of Tara is realizing that I have internalized my abusers and their actions. Ever since watching all the episodes I can picture myself as a boy in the bedroom where I was abused, hiding in the corner. It literally feels like I am still there today!!!

Once I get triggered it is very difficult to come out of that cloud of confusion. I feel so dazed and confused. I really need to get back into therapy. I left an appointment with a therapist that I saw once about a month ago. With everything going on right now, it is important for me to be in therapy. Years ago I was diagnosed with having PTSD from the sexual abuse.

I hate this scared feeling I keep having. It feels like the end of the world. I would totally be Chicken Little!!! The sky totally feels like it is falling, when reality it is not!

It also startles me because when I start to feel good it gives me a false sense of security that my bad days are over. Then I am smacked in the face with a bad day and it sends me flying.

I know there is a reason for me watching the show. There is something I need to learn. It really bothered me that I didn’t get to see if Tara overcomes her problems. I felt great sadness that the series was cancelled. I guess in a way if Tara was able to overcome all of her obstacles and make it to a happy place, I could too… but because I couldn’t see the outcome, I am not able to see my future… and that scares the living day lights out of me!!!

Today something happened that I don’t care to go into. My first thoughts were I was going to hell. I had a lot of shame and regret surface as well. So did the words LOSER. I really had to catch myself because I was going down a dark road. It is like when I get this way, I am a completely different person. Plus it didn’t help that I have been sick the past few days.

I really need to work on my support system. I don’t really feel like I have many people I can turn to, when I need to talk about what is going on. It is not to say that I don’t have people in my life who care about me but I don’t feel comfortable going to them.

Another key is the lack of people outside of my family to spend time with. I have friends all over the place but not to many near me that I hang out with. I honestly can’t remember the last time I spent time with a friend. Friendships are very important to me and I have struggled fostering new friendships in my area. Part of it is the small town I live in and the fact that I don’t have a car of my own. I really miss living in a big city but with everything going on with my Mom, this is where I need to be.

I wish feeling my spirituality was as easy as plugging myself back into a spiritual outlet but I realize it isn’t how it works. I have to work through these feelings and learn to process them. The key is remembering that spirituality isn’t something you lose. It is inside of me. I just have to keep moving forward, which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” — Walt Disney.

My goal this week is to setup a meditation area. I need to bring into my world some coping mechanisms that will help me connect to my spirituality. I just have to hang on and keep doing whatever unnecessary to heal. I know in my heart that as long as I continue to take the steps, my life will continue to grow and get better.

Fighting with my alters…

So my new favorite show lately is The United States of Tara… I am not sure that it’s a great idea with me being in transition, very much like Tara, as the show is very triggering at times. The show has got me thinking about my various different personas I have in me. We all have different personalities, some just have a few more than others.

We have the persona of who we want others to see us as and that changes with different people we encounter. We all have roles to play like Mother, Friend, Brother and so on…

Some of us create persona’s that we aren’t too fond of and others just happen to grow into a certain personality.

When I first started to come out of my shell and let go of the personality traits that weren’t really me, I used my drag persona (Puddin Pie) to embrace who I truly was inside. At the time I didn’t feel safe, comfortable or secure embracing them as Derek. So I used Puddin as a way to test drive who I wanted to be or who I really was. It didn’t go as flawlessly as planed because not everyone was as accepting as I wanted or thought they would be. I hadn’t worked on the parts of me that could handle rejection. So I went running with my heels, panty hose and makeup back into the closet.

That was the key and the reason I went into seclusion in the first place. It was never that I doubted who I was or my abilities, I just didn’t think anyone wanted them or they were too scared by my gifts. So if they didn’t want the good parts of me, I would create others.

So I put my light back into the box and it wasn’t until recently that I let my light back out…

In a way I really relate to Tara (who also was molested by a family member) and how her alters fight with her. The closer you get to the light, the more the darkness tries to suck you back in. It is pure fear at the core. I really feel that negative energy trying to stop me.

The last few months my depression has been in check for the most part. Even with the news of my mother having Cancer I still moved forward but the last couple days I feel something in me that I don’t like. It is almost like a persona is trying to take me over. Now I am not saying DID (Dissociative identity disorderbut I certainly have aspects of it including the dissociative part. I can remember dissociating while I was being molested, I went high above the clouds of that bedroom. When I can’t handle something I can feel myself checking out.

Now that I think of that, that might be what I have been feeling the last few days. I know that the thought of me living my dreams scares me senseless and I am not quite sure why. Possibly because I am starting to embrace my gifts and abilities. I am taking a painting class this summer and it is the first time I have painted like this since 1995. I created this blog which I have been able to connect and share my story with others. I guess I have a lot of change going on. Plus with everything going on with my Mom and the uncertainties of the future, it all can be a little overwhelming.

I feel disconnected. I haven’t felt like this in a while. It is frightening because I am afraid of going back to my old ways. A little over a year ago I was in a dark depression and feeling this way reminds me of that time. I probably was the closest I have ever been to suicide and that scares the crap out of me. I never really wanted to die, I just wanted the pain to end but when you are that low the two blend together. Your pain overpowers your fear of dying. I don’t want to ever go back to that place.

I guess it scares me because I have started to connect with my spirituality. I have felt these wonderful feelings and I don’t want them to go away. I know that I am taking the steps to overcome these feelings. I am not wallering in them. I am airing them out and freeing them. It is when I keep these thoughts and feelings in my head, that I get in trouble.

I also feel very vulnerable. When you are vulnerable you have a greater chance of getting hurt and I am still building my coping skills. I am still letting negative energy get stuck in my connectors. It is like a virus a computer gets. I am working on installing an anti-virus program but that takes time. That is why it is important to be mindful of my surroundings. I am very cautious about being left open because in the past that is when I have gotten hurt but I have to remember that I am at a different place today. It is so easy to flash back to that time when my purity was first robbed. I have to remind myself that I am no longer that child.

My light side is really quiet right now and that bothers me because I need it to fight the darkness. I have felt that the darkness has held my light at bay for many years. I have felt trapped by the abuse. My light side and the boy I was when I was molested are connected. I still can picture that boy in the corner, alone and scared… I no longer have to stay trapped there. I am adult now and have the power to overcome it all.

I guess that might be why getting disconnected is so triggering, as it reminds me of the time when I couldn’t tell anyone about the sexual abuse. When I isolate and hide in the present day, I am mimicking that time in my life where I had this secret that I didn’t think anyone would believe. For close to eight years as a child I held this dark secret in. I was so alone in my despair. Even though it has been seventeen years since I let the secret out, I still have many of those hurtful feelings.

I internalized that darkness and it became me but that isn’t who I am!!! I need to remind myself that I have the power to say NO!!! It is such a little word with such a powerful message. As a  abuse victim is very easy to lose your voice. You want to scream and shout NO but only air escapes.

I still get trapped in this victim role. Not only am I a survivor but a WARRIOR!!! We all are!!! My heart is my shield and my light the sword. I have to break free from both the victim and monster roles because they were both passed down my abusers. I must tell them NO!!! I won’t allow you to take over my body any longer.

It is a process and it will take time. One day I will be able to look back and see how far I have came. I am the strongest I have ever been and that will only grow. I am building a new foundation, putting up a new security fence and learning to embrace the gifts inside of me. In the near future, the darkness will not have any power and it will no longer be able to penetrate my walls.


On this healing journey I have learned the more disconnected I am, the worse I feel. The longer I am disconnected the harder it is for me to reconnect to the world around me. Isolation became a safety net for me. I used isolation as a wall, a layer of protection but I was depriving myself of life and all the wonderful energy that surrounds it.

I still struggle with isolating myself. I have to force myself out of the house. Like for example tonight, I didn’t want to go to class but I knew the consequences if I didn’t go. Missing one class turns into two, and two turns into three, and so on…

I can no longer fall apart, I have people who depend on me like my Mom, Sister, my nieces and nephew. Sometimes it is tough being the strong one. I think the biggest key is realizing I can support people and be there for them but I can’t hold them up. I think that is why in the past it was always so exhausting. I was trying so hard to protect people that I would do all the work for them and in the end I would always get neglected.  I have learned if I don’t care of my needs, I can’t be there for others.

I know that I can no longer hide my light. I will admit I still get overwhelmed by my light. It is tough to learn new behaviors. Facing your fears is a tough battle but an important one on the road of healing.

I still struggle looking for unhealthy connections. It is so easy for me to get caught up in my old behaviors. After a few heart breaks I searched for that kind of a connection in quick fixes. It was a way for me to get a connection without getting hurt in the long run but in the end it hurt me more than the heart breaks. I started to believe that the only way I could get someone to love me was to have sex with them but it never happened. One night stand, turned into a house full of them. All for the pursuit of love, all in the wrong places. It’s like trying to get blood from a turnip. I was so desperate for the approval and love of men, that I even put myself in harms way. The issue is that I wrapped my self worth around sex. I started to believe that there was no way for a guy to love me. I thought something was better than nothing, well I was very wrong.

With isolation comes loneliness, which is one of the major triggers I learned in therapy. HALT… Hungry Anger Lonely Tired… I really have to be careful when I get lonely because it triggers a Pandora’s box of emotions and insecurities, which brings up behaviors that can make me very unhappy. It is so easy to go spiral downward very quickly.

I take things personal. Then I internalize it. Then  the whole toy box of negativity comes out to play. I need to be very careful with my choices when I am starting to feel this way. I have to remind myself is this going to hurt or help me? I really need to do this with my eating habits.

When you have little or no self worth you aren’t going to care about what you put your mind, body and soul through. All you wan’t are the quick fixes to give you that high. Now that I am rebuilding my self worth I am learning to overcome these challenges. I need to consider my mind, body and soul as a temple. Processing the emotion, rather than trying to stuff the feeling deep inside is the only way I can heal. I am learning to replace my unhealthy coping skills with new healthy ones.

Here is a list of some of the things I can do that will help reconnect myself when I am feeling depressed, disconnected or triggered:

1. Meditate.

2. Spend time with my nieces and nephew.

3. Be creative.

4. Blog about my feelings.

5. Positive self talk.

6. Call my best friend.

7. Get out of the house.

8. Watch a funny show or movie.

There are countless things I can do to feel better. What is on your list?

I also have to remind myself that I am going to have bad days and when I do have a bad day it isn’t the end of the world. Tomorrow is always another day, a new chance for the sun to shine. Everyone has bad days. As I start to connect more to my spirituality and I continue to heal, the bad days will not be as severe or as often.

Positive Reinforcements

I must remind myself when I am struggling or feeling something negative enter my aura, that this energy is not mine to keep. This can be especially difficult when faced with a particular negative projection from someone else.

I believe being aware of this is half the battle. Once you are conscious that this is about to occur you can begin to work on it. Someone once told me that there are three stages. The first is not being aware of your surroundings or what is happening to you. The second is you are aware but you haven’t started to work on overcoming your issues, insecurities, etc. (whatever is keeping you from happiness) The third stage is not only are you aware of your triggers, stresses, issues, etc but you are taking the steps to overcome them.

It is easy when you are at step two to become discouraged or overwhelmed. Now that you are aware and more open to the universe it is natural to want to want relief fast but healing is a process. A wise woman once told me that you can’t attach a caterpillar to a stick and begin to whip it around, expecting the butterfly to come flying out. All you will do is cause more harm than good. Sometimes you just have to sit back and hold on as tight as you can.

The point is that being at step two you are already so far ahead than you were before. Previously you weren’t even aware, preventing you from growing and moving forward. Being at step two you are at a place to do the work to heal. It is kind of a safe waiting room, a transitional place. So allow yourself to relax and give yourself some credit for being awake now. We are where we need to be, right when we need to be. Healing has steps that you take one day at a time. Slowly each day will get better. You just have to try.

As you grow you begin to put more coping skills into your healing tool box. Using cognative reinforcements and affirmations are really useful/helpful to me. When I am faced with a negative energy and I can feel myself start to take it on, I start to use positive self talk. Quietly I tell myself that this energy is not my own, nor do I have to keep it. Over and over, I repeat this inside my mind. Do it until you overcome and let it go.