Friday, April 14, 2017

Is Your Self Image Worth the Lies or the Victory of Hope?

Are you at the end of your rope? Do you believe the whisperer as he whispers in your ear you are dumb and will never amount to any good? Are you letting a bad day or month or year define who you are?

Have you lost all hope?
 
No one escapes the messages they received about their self-worth, their personhood. Messages come in all forms such as praise, edification, guidance, uplifting or perhaps destruction, lies, invalidation, tearing down, to name a few. Some messages were blatant while others were disguised.

Messages can be misleading. Perhaps they suggest that looks helped us to succeed in life, a job, a relationship, while others said we'd never make it, who'd want you, I disown you, you're stupid, too thin, too fat, too pretty, too ugly or you're trash.

The messages we receive, good or bad, often become the filter on how we see ourselves, the world, our job, our family, our friends, and perhaps even God. Some people know the message they received while others aren't sure or claim they don't have one.

And when our day is really bad, we might say, "Nobody understands me. Nobody understands my pain, knows what happened to me or what I've been through."

It is true that we are all unique and our pain is our personal story but it is also true that nothing is new under the sun, therefore someone will understand, at least a piece of your story. You just have to share.

But the enemy, the whisperer, makes us feel ashamed and so we hide or mask our pain and our stories with pride so we don't share. This is how the enemy divides and conquers. He separates us from the light and casts the shadow of dark doubt over us.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Grammy Barbara's Flannel Nightgown

I didn't know the week I spent with Grammy Barbara was going to be the last time I saw her in her home. My grandpa, Robert Gay, and Barbara moved to Venice, Florida when I was about 15. She was his second wife so we were taught to call her Grammy Barbara. I didn't think anything of that until one day she questioned why us kids didn't just call her Grammy. I didn't know either. Just following suit. I never knew her to be anything other than my grandmother so from then on I called her Grammy. When I was a little girl, she was the one who loved the cartoons I drew and made me feel creative, special and loved.

When my husband and I owned our youth sports photography business, we were asked to put together a photo kiosk and hire the help to run it for an old fashioned roller coaster that was being built outside of Fort Lauderdale. My husband basically lived in Florida for 6-plus months. Shortly there after I followed  and lived there roughly 4-months through mid-January.

The experience of being involved with a photo kiosk for an old-fashioned rollercoaster was something we had never done before. It was an adventure. We were entrusted with installing a photo kiosk to capture the thrill ride expressions of peoples elation, or screams, when going down the slope on a rollercoaster.  Not many people can say they did that. We're thankful for the experience and the many friendships made.
December 2000
Testing out my husband's photo booth
with Cyndi Jo and Bill who visited.
Dania Beach Florida is on the east coast and my widowed Grandmother was in Venice on the west coast. Living in Connecticut I didn't see her as often as I would have liked so I stole the opportunity in October 2000 to go visit and spend close to a week. I welcomed the solitude of the 3-hour drive which was roughly 200 miles across alligator alley. The landscape and the bird sightings were phenomenal.

This visit gave us a chance to get to know each other, now as adults, one on one, and meet some of her close friends who lived in the same trailer park. She had her favorite chair in the middle of her open space living room facing the T.V.. To the left of it was a little bathroom size waste pail where she collected her garbage. She didn't want the trash to pile high so her garbage was to go out every night.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Day My Sister Died

Thursday March 25 was moving day. It was already a chaotic week due to a last minute move when Dad announced we were moving. But it all came together thanks to mom’s organization and perseverance coupled with, just do it, because she had two days’ notice to pack up a house and three little girls.


Moving day
March 25, 1971
Getting ready to follow the moving truck to our new home, I was privileged to carry my 3-month-old baby sister Sandra Gay from the house to the car where I placed her in the plaid car-crib that took up half the back seat. Mom showed me to how to support her new neck in the crook of my arm. Once I managed the cement steps and walked towards the car in our driveway, I was relieved I didn’t drop her. After I carried her something shifted in me, a sense of responsibility, a sense of protection, a sense that at seven-years-old I was the oldest sister and the oldest of three siblings.
The moving truck unloaded boxes into our new home while I ran back and forth to the car to check on Sandy. Taking to my new role as the oldest I bugged Mom to let me hold her. She insisted I wait till the movers had her crib set up. I’d run and stand on tip toes as I peered through the back car door window and watched her sleep as her baby blanket moved with each breath.
Finally mom said, “You can go get your sister now.” Excited I ran, opened the car door, and reached in to lift her out of the crib. As I picked Sandy up with her baby blanket, she looked and felt funny. I didn’t need to support her neck like hours earlier. She wasn’t the same soft baby and she had turned funny colors.
I ran to get Mom who broke down and sobbed hysterically as she told me to get my other sister Cyndi Jo, who was six, then she drove us to the hospital. Dad met us there after someone found him over the CB radio in town. The candy striper who was assigned to watch me and Cyndi Jo walked us through the halls of Danbury hospital while staff comforted my parents grief.

The move put me and my sister in a new elementary school midyear. I hated my 2nd grade teacher because she was mean and whacked my knuckles with a ruler. I wasn’t sure how I landed in this place. I was in a fog, a different town and a new home.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

What's Your Self Image Worth - A Red Dress?

Is your self image worth the lies or the victories?

OMGosh why do I always feel fat!

No one escapes the messages they received about their self-worth, their personhood. Messages come in all forms such as praise, edification, guidance, uplifting or perhaps destruction, lies, invalidation, tearing down, to name a few. Some messages were blatant while others were disguised.

Messages can be misleading. Perhaps they suggest that looks helped us to succeed in life, a job, a relationship, while others said we'd never make it, who'd want you, I disown you, you're stupid, too thin, too fat, too pretty, too ugly or you're trash.

The messages we receive, good or bad, often become the filter on how we see ourselves, the world, our job, our family, our friends, and perhaps even God. Some people know the message they received while others aren't sure or claim they don't have one.

For me, it wasn't until I got older and began asking questions about my past that I began to unravel some of the lies of my abuse. You might ask, if the abuse was real, how can it be a lie?  Well, the abuse was real. What wasn't real was the messages that I received from the abuse that imprinted a lie about my self-worth. False lies that will continue to skew my view of my life, if I let them. So instead, I choose to keep asking questions one step at a time in search of a different view.