Morning Light and Life With Imperfections

I wake with a start to the soft sound of trumpets; my phone plays training montage music from the Rocky soundtrack.  I smile a little in the darkness, groggily throw off the covers and cross the room to silence my alarm.  I pull the curtains from my window and blink at the early dawn light … Continue reading Morning Light and Life With Imperfections

Sunshine and Self-Worth; Am I Welcome Any Time?

It is Saturday night and I'm attending to my new-old treasure; my wooden dresser stands at the foot of the bed.  I kneel in the hallway with a stack of dresser drawers.  The friend I am living with now took me to retrieve it and I am unreasonably excited to have a piece of my … Continue reading Sunshine and Self-Worth; Am I Welcome Any Time?

Rage and Bob Dylan On A Warm Evening

content warning: domestic violence, weapons, sexual assault I discuss my litany of problems with my therapist; major uptick in anxiety, more flashbacks, continued distress over Kevin.  When we dig into the flashbacks I quickly grow distraught and begin to cry, so we prepare to work with them using EMDR. First I notice resentment over my … Continue reading Rage and Bob Dylan On A Warm Evening

Fifteen Miles and Being Reminded Of My Strength

I wake when the alarm goes off at 6 am.  This time I don't struggle to get out of bed.  It is Saturday and I have a training partner meeting me in an hour; the promise of a long run with companionship lets my morning grief recede.  I prepare quietly, pulling on warm clothes and … Continue reading Fifteen Miles and Being Reminded Of My Strength

1000m Repeats and Accepting Responsibility

I'm at the track again after another night of crap sleep; for the last month or so I wake myself repeatedly choking in my sleep.  As I warm up, I worry.  I'm gonna have to keep it together for 1000m repeats and I'm not feeling confident at all.  I'm exhausted.  I'm sad.  My grief over … Continue reading 1000m Repeats and Accepting Responsibility

The Searing Pain Of Failure; Interpersonal Dysfunction and Burpees

When I ran Spartan Race World Championships in 2017, it was vicious.  The altitude, the double ascent course and the sheer insanity of the amply amped-up obstacles for the occasion all contributed to the very worst performance of any race I've ever run.  Lately I keep thinking of this one moment during the race. The … Continue reading The Searing Pain Of Failure; Interpersonal Dysfunction and Burpees

Attachment Trauma Redux Versus Rupture and Repair

content warning: emotional abuse It is October 2016 and I am sitting in the sanctuary at Sixth & I in Washington DC with a few hundred other people listening to Tara Brach speak.  My spouse sits next to me.  I wonder why he came at all; as I do the work of the offered meditative … Continue reading Attachment Trauma Redux Versus Rupture and Repair

Grief and Longing, Loneliness and Depression

We were supposed to have a holiday party together. Though it’s been off my calendar for weeks, I haven’t forgotten. There’s a snowstorm coming in.  We'd talked about how much fun we'd have sequestered at his place during the first snowstorm, so I am sick with grief and dread and missing him.  All day long … Continue reading Grief and Longing, Loneliness and Depression

A Healing Relationship: Music and Community (3/3)

Reverend Brett greets the congregation and we do it all again.  This time the order of service changes slightly and the last thing that happens is LeLaina singing. "Courage is not being hard. It's time to peel back all of the layers You put between who you're meant to be And who you are And … Continue reading A Healing Relationship: Music and Community (3/3)

A Healing Relationship: Music and Community (2/3)

I always did arrive extra super neurotically early to prepare for performances, so I show up at 7:45 for an 8:15 call time.  Only Kevin the choir director is there ahead of me setting up microphones.  I say hello to him and perch on the piano bench to hunt for a part in the music … Continue reading A Healing Relationship: Music and Community (2/3)

A Healing Relationship: An Apology From My Therapist

content warning: suicidal ideation, self-harm I hear the voice of my therapist saying, "Can you honor your anger?  You've described a man who gave every indication of skillfulness and emotional maturity.  You've also described some really hurtful behavior.  Have you seen that skillfulness and emotional maturity from him when it really counts?" Get angry, I … Continue reading A Healing Relationship: An Apology From My Therapist

A Healing Relationship: Bodywork as Resuscitation

content warning: suicidal ideation I am getting a massage.  My bank account balance is so low I've transferred money out of savings for this because my body feels horribly dysregulated and I can't fix it myself.  All the post-concussive symptoms are back in full force--the nausea and dizziness, the light sensitivity, the eye strain and … Continue reading A Healing Relationship: Bodywork as Resuscitation

The Comfort of Home and the Fundamental Truth Of Love

Before he stopped responding to me, I had one last good phone conversation with Kevin*.  We talked about my housing situation.  I have been without a permanent home ever since leaving my abuser--it's coming up on two years.  My mailing address is with one friend, most of my things are in storage, and what I … Continue reading The Comfort of Home and the Fundamental Truth Of Love

Training Failure and Small Comforts

I'd be pissed that it's Thanksgiving morning, but I'm too tired and and defeated to be pissed.  I'm foregoing one of my most beloved and gratifying personal traditions this year because I'm simply too depressed and exhausted; I can't.  I'm really sad about it and I've gotten another night of terrible, fragmented sleep so basically … Continue reading Training Failure and Small Comforts

The Decidedly-Not-A-Miracle Power Of Therapy

content warning: suicidal ideation I sit with my therapist and tell her how I came to end what felt like the healthiest relationship of my life in a way that was so out of character.  I tell her about the paralyzing grief and anxiety, the confusion, my inability to focus on anything else.  She digs … Continue reading The Decidedly-Not-A-Miracle Power Of Therapy

Reverence For the Innate Perfection of All People

I prepare to teach class the day before Thanksgiving after more nightmares and very little sleep.  I'm so tired and anguished I can barely think straight, the drive to the studio is brutal, and I go to the door full with dread and precariously low on self-confidence.  There are out of town guests and students … Continue reading Reverence For the Innate Perfection of All People

The Barometric Pressure of Unresolved Trauma (2/2)

(...continued) content warning: suicidal ideation I love Kevin*.  I think he is a miracle, but he is treating me like I don't matter and our relationship isn't worth the effort--and I am letting him.  I kneel on the floor and re-read our text exchange from yesterday for maybe the thousandth time.  I begin to type … Continue reading The Barometric Pressure of Unresolved Trauma (2/2)

The Barometric Pressure of Unresolved Trauma (1/2)

content warning: drug abuse, suicidal ideation I miss him and haven't heard from him so I send tender, vulnerable text messages.  His responses are terse and defeated.  In the language of marriage research, we've played out the demand/withdraw dynamic--except that I've set aside my defenses in hopes of helping my partner feel safe, and when … Continue reading The Barometric Pressure of Unresolved Trauma (1/2)

Sprinting, Self-Care and the Myth of Mara

We talked on Friday and didn’t begin speaking for a long time. As he held me in his arms, as I took in his heartbeat and the scent of his skin and my own sense of homecoming, I let go of so many words I’d thought of to say. I finally offered simply, “I was … Continue reading Sprinting, Self-Care and the Myth of Mara

Comfortable With Uncertainty; The Grace I Give Myself

I run and I miss him.  I notice that I'm running when I've already been at it a couple miles; I'm neither enjoying nor struggling with it.  I'm merely hurtling my body through space in an accustomed way while my brain runs and runs; attachment theory, core wounds, one-sided conversations and conversations we've had already. … Continue reading Comfortable With Uncertainty; The Grace I Give Myself

Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (3/3)

(...continued) content warning: suicidal ideation, self harm My burst of motive power is short-lived; it disintegrates when I go back outside to falling rain, just like during my car accident.  Kevin* helped me with some of that fear.  He won't be helping me any more.  Devastated, I sit in my car and let my eyes … Continue reading Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (3/3)

Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (2/3)

(...continued) content warning: suicidal ideation, graphic imagery I don't want this life; a life that's difficult and lonely.  I don't want to keep on with my impotent love, struggling for something I can't have.  I was so stupid and naive with my hope for this relationship and my own healing.  I want to die.  I … Continue reading Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (2/3)

Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (1/3)

It's Friday afternoon.  I have one more class to teach and Kevin* said he'd call me.  My head hurts, both eyes are twitching.  I'm exhausted, anxious and nauseous, unable to think about anything else.  I tried to look at some emails; I didn't care and my eyes twitched harder.  I barely kept it together to … Continue reading Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (1/3)

Getting To Yes/Hold Me Tight

It's Tuesday.  I'm finally going to talk with Kevin* an entire week after this started.  I can think of nothing else all day.  Though I do work at the computer, I stop and cry several times.  I keep getting confused mid-task, and I'm terrified I'm going to make a mistake.  Finally I finish the time-sensitive … Continue reading Getting To Yes/Hold Me Tight

Birthday Gifts and the Simple Power of Human Connection

It's pitch dark again when I wake in the middle of the night.  After a good day full of support and love from friends, I'm disappointed to find my thoughts racing and breathing shallow--again.  But I'm not surprised.  I place my hand over my heart and try to breathe more deeply, which takes a great … Continue reading Birthday Gifts and the Simple Power of Human Connection

Sanctuary; Where Is My Safe Place to Fall?

It is Sunday morning, the day I was supposed to attend an event with Kevin*.  We've been talking about it for over a month.  We haven’t spoken in almost a week--a week of panic and grief, confusion and anger.  A week of troubled sleep and half-eaten food that tastes like dirt. Christian is meeting me … Continue reading Sanctuary; Where Is My Safe Place to Fall?

Deflated Determination and the Edge of a Panic Attack

I wake up in the middle of the night, anxious again.  Remnants of nightmares swirl through my head--something about my abuser and something about my boyfriend.  Sleeping on a park bench. I don’t remember. My brain starts in on pointless one-sided conversations.  I turn onto my side and try to calm down--I'm not breathing right … Continue reading Deflated Determination and the Edge of a Panic Attack

DUSA Progression Run as Emotional Support

Exhausted, frightened and overwhelmed, I walk up to Christian's door lugging a bag of groceries, a plant, and the suitcase I'm still living out of.  I open the door with my key and he looks surprised to see me; after not sleeping last night I guess I forgot to tell him.  I explain that we … Continue reading DUSA Progression Run as Emotional Support

Attachment Trauma, Misattunement, and a Sleepless Night

I'm ready to fall asleep and he is not, so I lie down with an eye mask and close my eyes.  I drift off for a while and then I hear the running shower.  I drift off again, and this time he's coming to check on me.  I'm tired and I groan.  He teases me … Continue reading Attachment Trauma, Misattunement, and a Sleepless Night

Anxious Attachment and Failure to Communicate

I keep feeling this sense of unease, and I've been judging myself for it.  Anxious attachment, I notice when Kevin* pulls away slightly in bed and I grow distraught.  Or when he isn't holding my hand quite as much as I think he did last week.  Or when I think he's giving me just a … Continue reading Anxious Attachment and Failure to Communicate

Bad Memories and The Power Of Secure Attachment

The week of the Kavanaugh hearings I have flashbacks.  I'm lying on my yoga mat in my boyfriend's bedroom while he works downstairs. I'm driving as I catch sight of my abuser strolling toward me near the courthouse.  Bile rises in my throat, my knuckles turn white, and my heart is pounding so loudly it … Continue reading Bad Memories and The Power Of Secure Attachment

My Abuser’s Birthday: Camping and Existential Dread

It’s my abuser’s birthday and I am pissed. I’m pissed that I married a manipulative, lying shitbag who ruined my life. I’m pissed that I’m still struggling with the many, varied and terrible repercussions of living with and loving a person who figured my worth lay in propping up his fragile self-esteem. I’m pissed at … Continue reading My Abuser’s Birthday: Camping and Existential Dread