Whatever is in you to be, whatever you love, is your fire. Ignite it, trust it; it is a gift born of your spirit. Be it in words, dance, colors, or a song….have absolute faith in what you have been given; chase it no matter how elusive; be it….however challenging; pursue it without pause; seek to….boldly be whatever is in your heart to be. – Pam Reinke
Today I’d like to focus on getting out of my own way. For seven years since my dad passed away, I’ve been in a funk. When I say funk I literally mean Rock bottom. I can hardly wrap my head around how I’ve allowed myself to arrive at this dismal place.
I’ve shared many times that my life spiraled out of control after my dad passed away. I made some poor decisions despite my intuition saying “Don’t Do It!” I didn’t listen to that voice of reason and the result led me to a very dark place. Cancer, an abusive boyfriend, financial lack, financial debt, depression, PTSD, isolation, rejection…..the list goes on.
I have spent the last three years feeling sorry for myself. After all, in my mind I am a failure. Recently, something happened. I woke up and realized seven years had gone by. Wow. Seven years!! It seems like only a few months have gone by. My eyes were open and I began to recognize the wreckage that had overtaken my life. I thought to myself “I don’t want to live like this anymore.” I made the decision to get my shit together.
I was blessed last month to travel to Maui. I had a free flight and a free place to stay. I spend the time with my cousin doing everything I could to heal myself internally. You can read about my experience on my previous blog. Maui my paradise.
I am a licensed realtor in the state of California. I have done nothing with that either. My license expired in March. I had not even completed any of the required continuation classes however I was granted an extension. The bureau gave me until June 16th, this Saturday, to complete my hours and provide them to their office no later than the 16th. I’m not sure how I did it other than through the grace of God. I passed all eight exams and mailed everything off today.
I’m not sure what’s next for me but what I do know is I have to keep moving forward. Will I sell real estate? I don’t know. I’m a certified John Maxwell member. I’m a certified coach, trainer and speaker. Will I pursue a career in coaching? I don’t know. What I do know is I have to get out of my way and quit being my worst enemy. It’s easy to blame circumstances or even others for our downfalls however at the end of the day our biggest enemy is ourselves. It’s even easier to allow fear, doubt, low self esteem to rule our existence. I’m guilty of that myself. Today I am just going to trust that God has a plan for me and keep moving forward.
I love U2. Their music is incredible. They sing a song called “Get Out Of Your Own Way”. I love the song. While it’s actually a politically motivated tune, for me it’s a reminder to “get out of my way” and keep moving forward. Might I suggest to anyone who is in a rut like I’ve been for seven years, to do the same. Lean in and take charge of your life. Life is short. Live it to the fullest.
Meet “Ron”. “Ron” was a 68 year old retired San Francisco firefighter. He is also my ex-boyfriend. I met “Ron” in 2012. At first, I was apprehensive about him but he was persistent in his pursuit to capture my heart. He showered me with compliments and gifts. He called me cutie pie, baby and would constantly tell me how “fine” I was. He uttered the words “I love you” after knowing me for only a month. I recall thinking his infatuation was too good to be true, but his words also came with his promises of a wonderful life filled with travel, love and affection. He was so sweet, after only a few months he swept me off my feet. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that this was merely a facade with words he said to all the women he manipulated. “Cutie pie”, “baby”, “fine” and “I love you” was something he had said to all the girls.
Looking back there were a mine field of red flags, however “Ron” had a way with showering me with such kindness in the beginning that it was easy to overlook the flaws. And when I say flaws, I mean some serious issues that no woman should have to deal with ever in their life.
My experience is not unique.
“Ron” is a good guy. I think he has a good side to him. He’s been married twice like most people in America. Both divorces ended due to his infidelity. He was the cheater but “it wasn’t his fault” or so he claimed. Red flag number one. He was also in a long term relationship with a woman who he referred to as “Mo”. I think because she brought so much havoc and “mo” trouble in to everyone’s life than one can imagine. She certainly brought trouble in to my life. In her defense, “Ron” brought the insanity out in her. I later found her story with “Ron” was nothing short of tragic. Worse was what he did to his first wife. Sadly she was one of the sweetest women I ever met and in my opinion did not deserve what he did to her. No woman deserves the kind of treatment myself and I’m sure many others have endured.
“Ron’s” past consisted of drunken behavior. He was an alcoholic/addict who had arrests for driving under the influence under his belt. He stopped drinking while we were together after humiliating me with his drunken behavior. He also had an infatuation with young women in their twenties and was known to engage in sexual acts with many prostitutes. I later learned he had been on house arrest for engaging in these acts. Of course, I can’t say for sure since this was merely hear say.
“Ron” had a volatile temper and exhibited many mood swings that were enough to turn a sane person in to a psychotic nut. I should know. After three years with this man, I lost my confidence, my self esteem, my self respect, my identity and I felt like I was losing my mind. I really believed I might be crazy. My biggest regret….I only wish I had known these things before I allowed this man to capture my heart.
“Ron” was a pack rat. He had junk all over his condo, which was located in a well to do area of San Francisco. You would have never known it. His condo belonged on an episode of Hoarders. He had so much clutter and he even had old plastic bottles filled with water all over the place. Maybe it was his age.
Two years after I moved in with him he finally opened a carton of lemonade that had been in the refrigerator and had an expiration date of 2010. It had been expired for four years yet he refused to throw it out insisting it was still good. The lemonade was so spoiled when he finally opened the carton to have a glass, he had no choice but to throw it out. What a surprise. Mind you he had vilified me for wanting to throw it the year prior.
“Ron” had odd sleeping habits. He was up all night and slept all day. When I say all day….I mean all day. Often times “Ron” would arise from his slumber at six in the afternoon. Two or three was early for him. He also liked to conserve water. He was a dedicated California resident who only bathed once a month and always on a Thursday. I firmly believe he deserved accolades for being the most conservative California resident during a drought. However, if you ask me he should’ve opened up one of his plastic bottles of old tap water and taken a bath.
At times he had white crust around his ears that was creamy and had the appearance of cradle cap. At times he smelled so bad I would want to vomit. His solution was wipes (he was the poster child for cottonelle wipes) and he would also use lots of cologne. I often wondered if he was European but was inclined to believe he might be crazy. He led me to believe he was suffering from dementia. In my experience when “Ron” would shower it was His cue for wanting to be intimate.
“Ron” was wonderful in the beginning. He took me on trips, showered me with gifts, he catered to my every whim and treated me like a queen. He always held my hand and opened my door. But that stopped and he would throw the door in my face. He portrayed himself as a family man. An attribute that was merely a facade. He was also lots of fun. We went dancing and even took salsa lessons. He would hum in my ear every time we danced. He was a terrible salsa dancer but no worries….he would always blame me for his shortcoming and would become extremely verbally abusive.
All his positive attributes stopped three months after moving in with him. That’s when the “real” “Ron” emerged. The trouble only got worse when a his 27 year old Latina Stripper “friend” continued to call and text at all hours of the day including when we were on vacation. Harassment that continued the entire duration of our relationship. “Ron” also began to withhold any contact with me intimately. We went from having an active intimate life to a periodic one, provided it was on his terms. “Ron” had a penile implant. I suspect many of his issues might have stemmed from this creating his own insecurities however, I’ll never know. I will share that on occasion I would wake up in the middle of the night and catch him naked in the bathroom engaging in questionable acts or even plucking his pubic hairs. I found myself in such disbelief that I would run back to bed and keep quiet.
“Ron” did crazy things such as pluck his facial hair while watching tv. He often had a scowl on his face and would pluck to the point he would cause sores on his face. He would often file his feet over the couch. This odd behavior caused me to believe either he was crazy but he convinced me I was crazy for thinking this behavior was odd.
He was very private about everything. He caused me to believe he had many secrets. Especially, since I wasn’t allowed to ask him even simple questions like “how was your day?” I wasn’t allowed to say “have a great day” and God forbid I wasn’t allowed to express how he made me feel. I wasn’t allowed to ask any questions….period!!! He would explode and punish me for days calling me names, accusing me of being suspicious and rejecting me to the point I couldn’t breathe. I would cry for days. Rejection can cause so much pain and anguish.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I got zero emotional support from “Ron”. He was extremely un-empathetic and lacked any ounce of compassion. He would insult me and make me feel so bad about myself that more often than not I found myself in the bathroom on my knees crying from the pain this man would cause. Somehow in the midst of it all he managed to blame me for his behavior and would punish me for days by ignoring me and giving me the silent treatment. In my experience, I’m not sure what was worse, chemo or “Ron”. This man made fighting cancer the hardest journey of my entire life.
I posted the following post on Facebook after my first treatment. The following five treatments were not much different. In the end he admitted he had treated me poorly because I was no longer attractive. In my defense, when you’re in a fight against cancer, it’s rather hard to remain the beautiful person you once were. Hair loss doesn’t help. I take solace in knowing God is a just God and my abuser will get his in the end.
Ron showered me with love, trips, gifts, fancy dinners, compliments, concerts…..everything and anything. It was short lived and it came at a very painful price. I now know that this is not just my experience, it’s been the experience of many women who have found themselves involved with their “Ron”. While my story may seem tragic I know I’m Not alone. There are many “Ron’s” out there and I feel they dont deserve to have any women in their life. In fact, they should be locked up and throw away the key.
If you happen to be approached by any man who exhibits any of these behaviors, my advice is run and never look back. Do not make the same mistake that I made getting involved with a man like this. It’s hard to get away once he’s got you under his spell. I can assure you the life you have today will be no more. Happiness, joy, self respect, confidence and love for yourself will be a thing of the past. You will find yourself questioning your own sanity, when clearly the one with the mental issues is your knight in shining armor. However, if you don’t heed my advice and find yourself in a crazy relationship I will warn you..don’t bother reaching out to anyone because no one will believe you. “Ron” had two personalities. The one I dealt with at home and the other who was sweet and loving around his friends. Friends, family, doctors and church begged me to leave him but I resisted their warnings hopeful for the man I initially met to return. Finally one day, I snapped and saw this man for he really was. I was heartbroken, humiliated and felt like there’s no way out.
On May 16th, 2015 with the help of the Deacon and sisters from my church, I packed up and left this emotionally abusive man. I left this relationship with a broken heart along with a diagnosis of anxiety, severe depression and PTSD caused from this crazy relationship. You might ask “PTSD?!” It’s a result of the war zone I found myself in. The sad part is I really cared for this man.
Healing from this relationship has taken three years. Counseling was inevitable and it’s taken a lot of strength and determination to come out on the other side. The pain and scars left behind from a three year nightmare has taken a long time to heal. Occasionally I still experience flashbacks. Three years ago I found myself broken hearted and on my knees praying for strength to get through this. I am happy to say I made it.
I’m sharing my story tonight because May 16th was the anniversary of leaving my abuser. On May 16th, I was blessed to be given the opportunity to fly to Maui where I’m spending time with my cousin. I couldn’t put my finger on why this trip fell in to place. It was crazy how it all happened. My friend who owns a condo here offered her condo to me for a week for free. The dates she had available were May 16-24. I accepted her offer not even knowing how I would pay for my flight. My brother and sister in law used their air miles to buy me a ticket. Everything happens for a reason. I knew there was a reason I was coming back to Maui. I love Maui however, Maui is also reminder of the time I shared with my ex. We spent many weeks here together. Today I found an old blog and noticed that May 16th was the day I broke free from my abuser. Three years have passed. I suspect my trip here is somewhat of a Re-birth for me. I no longer have to look behind me. I can finally move forward and what better place to be to begin my new life than to start my new beginning in Maui on vacation with my cousin who is also my best friend.
I don’t particularly enjoy sharing the details of my past relationship. After three years, I’m still so embarrassed. I take comfort knowing there’s a term for what I went through. It’s called “gaslighting”. Gaslighting is a term where someone uses manipulation to cause you to question your own sanity. My “Ron” did just that. Today I’m free from that relationship as well as that toxic environment. Slowly but surely I’ve gotten my confidence back but more importantly my sanity back. Like so many women, I never thought this would happen to me. What I’ve learned is even the smartest and most intelligent women can find themselves in a relationship such as mine. I still ask myself “what was I thinking? How did I allow this to happen to me?” I still have flashbacks and I’m no longer the woman I once was but I’m happy to report I’m a new woman in progress.
Today I’m hopeful again. I’m eager to laugh and have fun again and I believe my knight in shining armor is out there and more importantly I know that when I find him I will never allow him to manipulate me to the point where I lose myself.
Life happens. Today I’m on vacation in Maui. I am waking up to the sound of the ocean and the cool breeze coming in through my lanai. I have no plans other than to spend the day at the farmers market then the beach taking in all that healing spirit Maui has to offer. Life is good again. I heard a quote once that said “I may not be everything I want to be, but thank god I’m not where I used to be!” Truth!! I’m not close to being who I want to be. Thank god I’m Not where I used to be!!
My Darling Velma,
What did you do for yourself today that was purely and solely just for you?
Did you sit with a cup of your favorite tea and a good book for at least a few minutes with no distractions?
Did you spend quiet time in nature to soothe your spirit and soul?
Did you lavish yourself with a bubble bath and lavender candles?
Everyday, you have to find time and space that is for no one other than you. You have to take care of you so that you can continue to do all the caring for others that you do, in a healthy way.
Don’t neglect yourself, my dearest.
Humming a relaxing tune,
Your Inner Pilot Light
Do you know what your quest for personal perfection is doing to you? Besides being an unattainable peak, it slowly over time robs you of your joy.
The very notion that you think you need to be perfect is itself a thinking error. It is a statement that who you are now at this moment is not enough, and so you must strive to be better.
This is a lie! People don’t love you because you’re perfect. They love you because you’re inherently lovable.
You’ve given yourself a set of rules and instructions that say you can’t be happy or successful or worthy until you’ve reached this perfection. But doesn’t it always seem that no matter how hard you try to reach it, you’re never any closer? Doesn’t that tell you something?
Perfection is like a shimmering mirage in a vast desert wasteland. No matter how far you go, it’ll always be just over the next sand dune.
Don’t go down the dark road of perfection, when the truth is in the light, and the truth is that every moment of every day, you are worthy and precious and ENOUGH.
Feed your parched soul from the endless well of “ME” and leave behind the desert wasteland of perfection. – Your Inner Pilot Light
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
Enough money within her control to move out…
And rent a place of her own
even if she never wants to
or needs to…
Something perfect to wear if the employer
or date of her dreams wants to See Her in an hour…
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE …
A youth she’s content to leave behind….
A past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to
retelling it in her Old Age….
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .
A set of screwdrivers,
a cordless drill, and a black lace bra…
One friend who always makes her laugh…
And one Who lets her cry…
A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ….
A good piece of furniture not previously owned
by anyone else in her Family…
Eight matching plates,
wine glasses with stems,
And a recipe for a meal that will make
her guests feel Honored…
A feeling of control over her destiny…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
How to fall in love without losing herself..
HOW TO QUIT A JOB,
BREAK UP WITH A LOVER,
AND CONFRONT A FRIEND WITHOUT
RUINING THE FRIENDSHIP…
When to try harder…
And WHEN TO WALK AWAY…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
That she can’t change the length of her calves,
The width of her hips,
or the nature of her parents..
That her childhood may not have been perfect…
But it’s over…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
What she would and wouldn’t do for love or more…
How to live alone…
Even if she doesn’t like it…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
Whom she can trust,
Whom she can’t,
And why she shouldn’t take it personally…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
Where to go…
Be it to her best friend’s kitchen table…
Or a charming inn in the woods…
When her soul needs soothing…
EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW…
What she can and can’t accomplish in a day…
And a year…
Written by Pamela Redmond Satran
The most important relationship we will ever have in our life, is with our own self.
The most important relationship we have in our lives is with ourselves. And even though we are the only ones who are present at every moment of our lives–from birth onward–this relationship can be the most difficult one to cultivate. This may be because society places such emphasis on the importance of being in a romantic partnership, even teaching us to set aside our own needs for the needs of another. Until we know ourselves, however, we cannot possibly choose the right relationship to support our mutual growth toward our highest potential. By allowing ourselves to be comfortable with being alone, we can become the people with whom we want to have a relationship.
Perhaps at no other time in history has it been possible for people to survive, and even thrive, while living alone. We can now support ourselves financially, socially, and emotionally without needing a spouse for survival in any of these realms. With this freedom, we can pursue our own interests and create fulfilling partnerships with friends, business partners, creative cohorts, and neighbors. Once we’ve satisfied our needs and created our support system, a mate then becomes someone with whom we can share the bounty of all we’ve created and the beauty we’ve discovered within ourselves.
As we move away from tradition and fall into more natural cycles of being in the world today, we may find that there are times where being alone nourishes us and other periods in which a partnership is best for our growth. We may need to learn to create spaces to be alone within relationships. When we can shift our expectations of our relationships with ourselves and others to opportunities for discovery, we open ourselves to forge new paths and encounter uncharted territory. Being willing to know and love ourselves, and to find what truly makes us feel deeply and strongly, gives us the advantage of being able to attract and choose the right people with whom to share ourselves, whether those relationships fall into recognizable roles or not. Choosing to enjoy being alone allows us to fully explore our most important relationship–the one with our true selves.