The internal film of my life

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My life frequently passes chronologically through my internal lens like a film, a movie trailer. It seems to start and end the same each time it plays. But the middle always surprises me by what my subconscious chooses to remember and draw to the surface at a specific time of day or during a particular season.

Today, my film is playing out like this:

>> I see myself chasing after lightning bugs as a child with my sister.

>> I see my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Newlon, who encouraged me to speak in front of people despite the embarrassing way my “R”s came out sounding like “W”s.

>> I see the town librarian who never smiled and always seemed annoyed that my sister and I would come in on really hot summer days and sit for hours and read Highlights magazines just to cool off.

>> I see myself at sleepovers with my friends Missy and Lissa and their annoying little brothers.

>> I see myself sitting through my high school graduation next to Doug who finally spoke his first words to me after being in the same classes for 4 years.

>> I see myself as a freshman in the dorms and running barefoot in the puddles behind Cumberland Hall with Kristy who loved thunderstorms.

>> I see myself visiting DC for the first time alone to be with my friend Susan and meeting her Korean ballerina roommate who had no shame in telling me that her secret Korean spice was MSG.

>> I see all the interesting patrons I met waiting tables in college.

>> I see my friends and parties and celebrations and vacations and the ocean and the mountains.

>> I see my wedding day and the day I learned I was pregnant.

>> I see myself meeting my son for the first time.

>> I see last night and how my son is growing into a boy who makes me proud.

>> I see the sociopath and how accepting one man’s self-pity nearly destroyed my vision of all the beauty my life has provided.

>> I see the power I had once given that ugly grain of sand.

>> I see how that ugly grain of sand will forever spread his self-pity, and I accept that there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it.

So I go back to thinking about planning my next party with the people I love and who love me.

I think about being here, now and being completely confident in my next decision to grow and learn and to open my life to more opportunities to meet even more wonderful people I will one day be seeing in future versions of my life’s internal film.

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://pinterest.com/pin/401172279277101461/)

Identifying Signs of Trauma in Yourself In Order to Heal, Recover and Transform

Signs of Trauma in Victims of Abuse

“Trauma survivors have symptoms instead of memories.” – Mary R. Harvey (1996). An ecological view of psychological trauma and trauma recovery. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9:1, 3-23. (Read the abstract and download the PDF.)


I think one of the greatest mistakes many victims make is denying we have a problem until it’s too late. We tend to be ignorant of what trauma looks and feels like.

I’m the first to admit that I failed myself REPEATEDLY, because I ignored the signs and thought I could fix my own issues despite repeated failures to do so.

Before I accepted I was a victim and that there was absolutely NOTHING I could do to change what happened, I could check off all 18 of the below signs. All severe and intense.

1. Depression
2. Irritability
3. Loss of interest
4. Numbing
5. Decreased concentration
6. Insomnia
7. Emotionally overwhelmed
8. Loss of the sense of the future – Hopelessness
9. Shame and worthlessness
10. Little or no memories
11. Nightmares and flashbacks
12. Hyper-vigilance and mistrust
13. Generalized anxiety – panic attacks
14. Chronic pain and headaches
15. Substance abuse and/or eating disorders
16. Feeling unreal or out of body
17. Self-destructive behavior
18. Loss of sense of “Who I am”

Today, my abuser might be walking around free to prey on his next victims, but justice has been served in my life, because none of the 18 signs listed above control or negatively affect my life anymore.

I am free for the first time in many, many years.

No more shaming and blaming yourself. No more ignoring the signs. No more hiding behind your need to be perfect. No more thinking you’ll be a burden if you reach out and ask for help.

Take the first step toward your freedom today!

Namaste!
~Paula

To Scan Or Not To Scan

I remember growing up in the 70’s when the family camera emerged sparingly on special occasions, like birthdays and vacations, from its nesting place in a desk drawer. Recently, my mom produced a box filled with the loose prints of my childhood and teen years. The edges are browning and yellow. Some are Polaroid shots; some have rounded corners; some are glossy; some are well-faded from age; all have a strange smell that takes me somewhere else in my mind.

Can't yo ujust smell the memories?

Can't you just smell the memories?

They all need to be placed in an album, but I have no idea where to start or how to organize them. I have considered using a basic chronology and have even thought about organizing them by theme like all Christmas pictures together or all baby pictures together, the first requiring only a single label for each group and the second option requiring EACH picture to be clearly captioned. Either way, it’s going to be a tedious job, and one that will surely consume me.

I think about scanning them into my MacBook and iPhoto application that has the power to organize them by person (through face recognition), by place, by date, and by tags that I designate. Fun for me, but the tangible is lost.

So, I wonder, how emotionally charged will my son be in twenty years when he stumbles upon a Web gallery he can click through quickly as apposed to stumbling upon a dusty album he must hold and “move” through? Is there value in the smells and the look of pictures that have aged as he has aged? Does it matter?

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