Monday, January 4, 2016

Guest Post - Alice Fox: Please Don't Judge Me

We are grateful for Alice and her desire to write as a guest on our blog.  The following post does contain materiel that may be triggering to some.  Thank you Alice for being honest enough to help others. 

"I can hardly believe that I am writing this. It is probably the last the on the earth that I would choose to write. This issues is, as I understand it, rather common. It also is not addressed in what little LDS, or Christian trauma healing writings. My shame is... suffocating. My shame has depth. But, as I have written before, shame come largely from secrecy- and out culture and faith should not place shame on survivors.
   This might be a rather triggering post- so take care of your self please.
      Everything that happened to me as a kid is horrible, but I never hated myself for any of it. I have feared myself, undervalued myself, ignored myself, etc but I have never hated myself as I do now.
    Since my flashback memories a year and a half ago I have not been worthy to go to the temple because of morality issues.  With my bishop and my counselor I am learning that my problems, however, are not so much addictions as coping mechanisms. This doesn't make them okay, but it helps me deal with the real issues.
     Both my counselor and my bishop have told me that it is quite common for survivors of sexual abuse to become hyper sexual; pornography, masturbation, deviancy, promiscuity, and everything else in that realm, are common reactions (the opposite end, hypo sexuality, is common as well as I understand it). This isn't because I am broken or messed up or bad, as much as my brain tries to tell me that. This is simply an extremely unfortunate byproduct of my experiences.
     My bishop explained that these things happen for a few reasons. 1). Our brains are trying to process all the childhood crap, and so sex in some form or another is in our brains much more than a normal human- and bodies..ya know... I can't finish that sentence. 2). Hyper sexuality gives a person an opportunity to try and process and understand so many confusing things that happened when we were kids, and we can process in a grown ups brain the thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 3). It is a way to try and take back control of what was taken from us. 4). It can add current understanding, giving us power. In my brain power equals safety.
     I hope this helps some, and I hope you don't judge me. I do that enough. Please be kind to yourself and love yourself as God loves you, with compassion, mercy, and understanding"

Guest Post - Alace Fox: Life Hurts Less That Wa

Alice again. 
     It's been really hard these last few weeks, though I don't know why I haven't accepted this as the norm yet. Sometimes I feel normal. Sometimes I fell as though I am waiting for Satan to drag me back to hell. Sometimes I fell like I am walking myself strait to hell. I don't much care for it all. 
     I think that perhaps part of the reason life has been so difficult recently (though by no means close to the whole reason, or a majority of the why) is that I have been reading one of my favorite books Mistborn. The main character in the story is a teen age girl named Vin who grew up on the streets in 'crews' that rob the rich to survive. Her whole life is fear, and staying alive one more day. Then she discovers she has magic (yes it is a fantasy) and her life changes. Vin gets in on a new crew where the team operates on trust instead of self defense. A bunch more stuff happens, the world ends, nobody is happy, and everyone dies. Its a really good book; you should read it. 
     As the story goes along you travel with Vin through her journey between fear of betrayal and choosing to trust. Brandon Sanderson, the author, does amazing at creating whole persons, not just characters, and you get really sucked into Vin's struggle, which is trust. Trust is pretty well my least favorite subject on the face of the planet. To me trust is pain.

                             Image result for trust

     To trust someone means that you think they will bring more happiness than they will pain, but there will still be pain. You see, the problem is everybody lies, and everybody leaves; and all that's left is pain. Friendships are more of convenient relationships. People who said they would be 'there' get married, or move, or normally both. Folks say they will support you, and then don't. Someone gets to busy to consider me human, and worth a 10 second text. I guess I don't mean much. And if they don't leave, I will. To me people just mean betrayal and pain. It is simply a matter of when, and if the returns are greater than the cost. It sucks, but I know this is how life operates. 

                      Image result for walk away, leave behind

     I was talking to my therapist about this, 'cause ya know, it's a problem if you want to ever have real relationships without trusting anyone. We of course went back to trauma stuff and how that affected everything. I remembered that after all the bad things happened my mom had a short and very poor conversation with me about it. It left me knowing that I was a bad little girl. 
     Somewhere along the therapy process that day I realized that everyone must lie, and everyone must leave because that would mean that my mom didn't choose to abandon me, she would have had to. If everyone is going to betray me it means my mom might have still loved me and chosen to keep me, but couldn't- instead of being left as the bad girl in the corner that was never the good girl mom really wanted. 
     These aren't very pleasant thoughts. I, however, still decided to share them because trust is something that most survivors rightly struggle with, and perhaps one of ya'll (If there actually is anyone who reads this blog) might relate to it. Maybe this will help you. I hope so. Life is hard, and you deserve good.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Guest Post - Alice Fox, "Emotional Free Space"

Alice Fox here again, 

     It's been an unpleasant weekend. It's been bad for many reasons, but right now I am gonna share about forgiveness. Now don't go thinking I am telling you that ya gotta go forgive every person in the world right now. I ain't that naive. I just wanna share my thoughts on what forgiveness is, in a nice and ambiguous "Lets make our relationships with others better." sort of way. 

     My best friend hurt my feelings a few days ago. It isn't okay to hurt peoples feeling, but it is okay to make mistakes. She is still a good person, and I still have the right to have hurt. I think that is just the unpleasant way being human goes. When all of these feelings were going around my brain I kept trying to understand why she chose what she did. I think this, plus Jesus, is the key to figuring out how to forgive people.

     When we step back and try to understand the reason for peoples actions we are willing to try and see as them as people, not actions. Understanding doesn't make what someone has done right or wrong. This simply puts them back into being a human in our own perceptions. Empathizing takes you out of thinking of them as mean, critical, selfish, cowardly, or thoughtless. Empathizing takes you into thinking of them as a person who chose to be mean, or a person who chose to be critical, or selfish, or cowardly. Perhaps this seems like a small difference, but to me this helps me remember that they are a person who acts, not just a thing that does. This simply helps me let in more emotional free space. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Guest Post - Alice Fox

     My fake name is Alice Fox, and while I myself am rather unique, my life is the Utah Mormon norm. I am in my mid twenties, raised in Utah, both my parents are pioneer stock, I have a bunch of siblings, I really do love Jello, I went to a church school, served a mission, and can't figured out how to get married. I am the average Mormon girl.

     When I was in high school I began to recognize, or remember, or accept that something bad had happened to me as a kid. It wasn't way bad though, and it didn't cause me any problems, so I just stuffed it in the back of the brain closet. Last November I recalled that a whole lot more happened than my brain had let me in on before; and I could no longer pretend that everything was okay. Since then life has been hard.
    November was hard, but December was worse. What was worse than December was January, and even more still February. March was trying to slaughter my life, and April was succeeding. In May my job started getting busy again, I was able to move out of my parents house, found a therapist I could afford, and talked to my bishop (actually I passed him a peace of paper because there was no way on earth I could say that stuff aloud). June was hard but good. July is doable. I might be able to survive this. I can see a light in the tunnel (though it sure doesn't look like the end), and I no longer think it is a train. Maybe I can become not messed up one day. 

     I was invited to contribute to this blog around December by a friend who has a heart as gold. At first my brain was reeling at the possibilities; I could be a spokesperson for survivors. I could educate and prevent. I could fix society! Then I realized I was a bad bad person. Doing the life thing was hard and full of bad. Everything seemed bad. Now I feel something that is a little less then hope. I think I can become more; I think I can become better. I don't know what changed but I'll take it. Somehow I can accept the bad things right now, and still be okay. And so I choose to write. 

     I hope my different perspective can help someone. If not, that's okay. I think it will still be good for me. I am just starting into this journey of... not being...broken, and bad. Perhaps seeing someone at the start of their journey will help someone. Sometimes I get tired of just reading about 'happy all better people' because I can't relate to that. 
I am just in the broken stage.

     So beside an introduction, here is my thought today. And it really is just a thought; not nearly so concrete as everything else around here.
     I listened to Brene Brown's TED talk on shame, and did some reading in a healing book on shame. Somewhere something clicked and I realized that the den of shame is secrecy. "Don't tell anyone because______." "Keep it secret." "If they don't know they will still love you, and wont judge you." This is so wrong! We need help and we need support and we need love- and not just the parts of us people see. True love loves all of ourselves. When we keep ourselves secret we convince ourselves that they only love us because they don't see the bad part of us. If they saw the dark they would know how evil we were and not to love us. How heart breaking!
     This doesn't mean to go spill you guts to every Kerry, Larry, and Harry! That does not seem safe to me on a great many a level. This means we need and deserve privacy.

     The difference in this concept came to me one day when my friend had her journal hanging out in the front room. I asked her why she wasn't worried that her brother would read it- I mean it's a journal, it's full of vulnerable stuff! She explained that he wouldn't because he knew it was private. It wasn't going to be a thought for him, so she didn't have to worry about it. What on earth is this! What a foreign idea! I hide anything personal in layers and layers of computer files in desperate hope that no one will find them. I can't make myself freely write in a journal because I know someone might read it. How is this a thing!
     Privacy, what a great, novel idea. You can keep yourself safe without believing your bad. You can have safety without secrets. By creating some sort of privacy culture you invite, you trust someone to respect the boundaries you put up. In secrecy putting up boundaries means you don't trust that person. In privacy boundaries can be good and healthy! I didn't even know privacy was a real thing; to me privacy was secrets. I can't imagine not hiding the things I care about in boxes in the corner of my room. People live this way! I want that. I don't know how to get it, but I want that.