I am only human, and a misunderstood one at that.

Let me introduce you to myself the best I can, but first let me apologize for my recently deleted blog post. Although, I did not use names I hurt the people who I thought hurt me. Guess what? Miscommunication. I said I wanted to stay in my room the whole weekend and order room service. So it’s my fault I wasn’t included as much as I wanted to be, and I did have some enjoyable time with everyone leading up to the Gala. Also, if I didn’t want to be laughed at with me I shouldn’t have laughed at myself in the first place. 

We are human, and we fuck up because it is in our nature. I have lost out on some people being in my life now, and I am okay with that. Ive lost more people than I would like to admit. 

So what lesson did I learn? Well to communicate and be honest, and not expect so much. I need to learn to stand on my own two feet, and not rely on others to hold my hand. Honestly, that was my problem. I have always relied on someone to include me because I get so much anxiety about being rejected, and in that Gala I felt so rejected. That is no ones problem but my own. 

I have been to many galas, and even had lunch with Jim Treveling and George Melville. The reason I can feel confident with those people and some major events is because of my Grandma Lucille Johnstone. I’m instantly important in that world because I’m her granddaughter, and she was one of the most important woman in Vancouver history. That tugboat your kids play on in YVR airport called the Lucille that is in honour of my grandma and the work she has done for YVR. Her work there is only a small percentage of what she has done too. So, you put me in a room full of strangers and no connection and I shut down. 

Let me explain why. My mother always told me that I only had the financial ups in this life because she married into this family. She always told me she could take me out of this world because she brought me in. She gave up her handicap son because she couldn’t handle him, but she told me she gave him up because of me. I should be thankful she chose me. She broke all self esteem I was intended to have in this world by making me feel unwanted. She would tell me my real dad left before I was born because he never wanted me. So I was the reason he left her. My shame of ruining her life still stings. I met my real dad yesterday, and guess what? He lived with me until I was 2!!!!  

My step dad, he really made me feel I cannot count on anyone. I don’t remember when he started molesting me, but I know I remember he was when I was in grade 1. I was a sexual tool. Then when I would cry at school I got bullied. More shame and more untrust in the world. So I turned to alcohol, drugs, and the wrong crowd. Dropped out at 14, and headed nowhere fast because I was not worthy.

Then the last piece of the puzzle that had me believing so little of myself. My ex. 8 years of being beaten, punched, kicked, and told I was nothing but a pig. Ive been spat huge loogies in my face while being told I’m ugly. Sleeping with a machete under his pillow instilled fear in me I only remember from my childhood. He would tell me I am ugly like my mother, and that he had a feeling I was screwing my step dad. Even though I never have, people were picking up the vibe of secret holding. The only thing is the secret I was hiding was not mine to hide. The minute my son was born my ex said he’s not mine. No ride to the hospital and no ride home from him. My trust in the world had been completely broken. 

So, I spent 3 years trying to wither away. Partying is all I did, and I tried to muster up the courage to end my life. For some reason I never could. The best I did was carve FML on my arm. I married my husband and was being called a silverback gorilla by some and shamed on a nasty website saying I am a ugly chug with monster kids and I’m a loser.

So, lets get to now. I am one year sober October 16 and quit smoking cigarettes 4 months ago. I have a wonderful marriage, and my kids are getting better now that their mom is healthy. They were not the monsters….. I was…. 

I cannot take back what I said in my previous blog, but I can say I am sorry a million times over. I have lost some new connections, and may have even damaged my career, but you know what I do know? I am human, and for someone who raised herself I think I did ok. I make mistakes, and talk before I think, and I assume a lot, but I am learning. Please do not shame me for trying. 

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid” -Epictetus

Well I’m still here aren’t I? I’m improving! I made it through Vegas without drinking! I had some major takeaways, and I know my limits now. I know not to rely on others, and cannot expect others to get me through life. I am enough, and I am strong as fuck! 

Living with PTSD is not a glamourous journey, and feeling that I do not belong is just my mind but this is my reality. 

“If you want to do something truly great, you’ll have to accept that some people are going to think you’re delusional or an idiot or self-righteous” -Gary John Bishop from Unf*ck Yourself

So this is me, and I am here to stay. If I hurt your feelings I apologize, sometimes my feelings overtake me. I am an aspiring speaker and author, and I am fighting the war on shame! I have endured limitless abuse, and I am here to hold your hand. I can offer guidance and support, but most of all I can relate. 

Now back to visiting my Dad, finally I can say Dad and not feel any shame. My blood, and let me tell you he is pretty kick ass!!! 
My grandma is one of my guardian angels and I am not giving up because of her. 

“I can! I must! I will!” -Lucille Johnstone Nov 11, 1924 – Dec 31, 2004 

Assuming over communicating…..

My last post took me well over an hour to write, and it felt really liberating to let out so much that pains me. Looking back at that post I realize I am still learning to communicate. What if my adoptive family didn’t truly know the depth of how I feel. What is my posts hurt them too. I just dropped one of the biggest bombs of shame and I never thought any of it would hurt others. I made assumptions out of anger, and because these assumptions made sense to me I felt better. 

Now, I offer my apologies to anyone in the line of fire. 

Yes, I struggle with identity. Who I am, and where I came from, and especially the family identity and knowing people I share DNA with. My human needs test showed my top needs are love and connection/growth. I am tied by both, but I live life for love and connection. Now that I have explained my true feelings, and have heard other sides I realize we all hurt and need to heal. My little cousin calls me “a difference maker” in his family, and I just heard this today. I love the title and I will wear it proudly!! 

My adoptive family is my family and some of them and I will never see eye to eye, and others I will love dearly with all of my heart. 

As for my parents; my mom and step dad are living life together. I do not know what they think, or if they understand the true depth of damage they have done to me. All I can control is MY actions, and I live my life healing and getting to the point of no shame. 

However, I must scream as loud as I can that I have found my biological father! My dad!! My dad and his wife who treat me like we were never apart! I meet them in less than two weeks, and I can feel it in my gut. The love, the connection, and the growth. 

Please remember, if you are living in shame and it eats away at you there is hope. If you try to numb your shame and guilt because you believe you deserve nothing, you are wrong. ANYONE is capable of greatness! Join my tribe of shame fighters, and kick those beasts down!

#fuckshame

 

Excuse me if I offend you.

Why must we carry secrets? You’d be very surprised how secrets are not secrets to everyone. I cannot explain enough the power of communication. Communicating can be one of the hardest things you’ll do in life, but if you can master it at the most uncomfortable of times you have it figured out. No more misunderstandings and hurt feelings. 

So, here is a piece of my shame story. When my husband and I got together he was going through a hard time in his life, and I was barely healed from a 8 year long abusive relationship. The kind of relationship where I figured I was a waste of skin, and deserved everything I was given. You wonder why people don’t leave abusive relationships? Because we believe that is all we deserve. So, needless to say we were two broken people and we were like magnets to each other. The passion we had for each other. The understanding of one another. Although we partied much to hard for much to long we had each other’s backs and came out ahead in the end. 

Well when we got together someone added me to that nasty Dirty website. Don’t pretend you don’t know which one, and don’t fool me by saying you haven’t seen it! It’s there for life. Someone felt the need to shame me for my drinking and drug use at the time, and along with that calling me horrible names that made me feel completely worthless. Remember I just left 8 years of being told I was ugly like my Mother, to be told publicly online I was a pig and a chug. My children were even called monsters. My shame level went completely on overload. 

Now whoever did that added to my shame. I knew I partied too much, but what they didn’t know was why I’ve numbed myself since I was 14. Shaming someone only does more damage. Instead of putting me down for my wrong doings I could’ve used some words of wisdom, some shoulders to cry on, and some all around understanding. No one in my family noticed, and no one came knocking on my door with open arms. 

I finally got sober on my own after much loss and pain. It was then that my shame started to hinder my living. I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t motivated, I simply didn’t know what my point was in this world. When I started opening up about my secrets I started to feel better. When I talked about what happened to me I not only became free I inspired other people to message me with their stories. Now this is not a glamourous lifestyle and I cry almost daily, but I am passionate about it. 

I have waited for so many years to be accepted into my adoptive family, and every year I wait I am hurt more. To be told to just move on hurts, and to think there is a chance I made this up is absurd. To think I should dangle myself on a string waiting for apologies to be accepted is something I used to do. To be told no help will be given in my case is my last straw, and to think I am looking for sympathy is disgusting. I have felt gross and disgusting my entire life, but for the first time I feel beautiful, strong, and plain badass!! For those who dislike me without even knowing me I am sorry you are so closed minded. 

I never said anything because I was afraid. I was afraid of losing a lifestyle, and being homeless as a little child. I was afraid of being beat and no one believing me. I was afraid of getting him in trouble. I was afraid of being dirty. 

I however am not saying sorry for using my voice. What if it was your little child? Wouldn’t you want justice? 

#fuckshame 

This is hard, but nothing worthwhile is easy.

I had the opportunity to talk to a fellow survivor today, and I asked many personal questions which she freely answered. I had this great idea of interviewing her and posting this mesmerizing post gaining incredible amounts of awareness. 

I have sat here and I am blank. I was going about it the wrong way. I am in no ways a reporter, so let me just recap some moments in her life that are a sad reality for too many.

Coral, was molested from the young age of 8/9 until she was 14. This man was a family friend, so had access to her. As a young girl she was neglected, and found this man would buy her things and give her attention. Coral told her mother when she was 16, but nothing was done. Her mothers own addiction more important than her daughters trauma. She carried pain because no one noticed or seemed to care what was happening. She even tried going to the police a few years later, at 19 she went to the Vancouver Police, but because it was out of their jurisdiction nothing was done. Again neglected and feeling defeated she went on in life. Then a few years ago she was faced with answering a question; one she cannot remember for the life of her, but “for me to give an answer was impossible because I didn’t believe I was worthy of the truth of how I wanted to feel answering it.”

“It was then that I broke down and knew I had to go through with finally charging this person.” 

At 35 something started to happen regarding this abuse, and at 37 she will watch him receive his verdict. October 16, 2017 is the day she has been waiting for. 

Her message is important, and it is a gift of acceptance by her and myself. This tribe I speak of consists of people who are with you during this time of pain. People who have been through the same and choose to spread awareness by speaking out. 

“If I could say anthing to survivors whom have not felt strong enough to come forward yet; I will hold your hand 

I will give you the strength 

I will be there if and when you need to cry 

I will help you through this every step of the way because YOU MATTER 

You deserve to have your story heard

You deserve to break free from the depression that comes with living with holding it all in

You are amazing for making it this far and you can heal.” Coral Warner

If I had that 20 years ago I would have saved myself a life of heartache. So I ask; if not today when?

No more secrets please, as they hurt the innocent. 

I would like to close this post with a interesting fact. Corals day of justice is also my 1 year sobriety date. Also her nephews would be 4th birthday had he lived. XX

It is okay to have off days.

How about a full week to do nothing!? Doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of me anyways. I will own all my own shit, and this week I did nothing. Ok, that is not entirely true. I got my youngest to school everyday and although this is an entirely easy task for most it was terribly hard for me this week. As soon as a fit bit lands in my lap to track my sleep I can only guess, and I would guess I get maybe 2-3 hours of sleep a night. That’s REM sleep I’m talking about. The part of the night where your brain processes your day. Let’s just say I haven’t processed my childhood let alone the last 24 hours. 

This week I did the courageous act of filing a police report. Some people know this, others do not, and deep down I think some will not agree with this. Let me explain my point of view. When I hit 3 or so months sobriety something happened. I changed. I shifted from being a scared shell of a person to a woman who owned her opinions and feelings. Up until this time I kept a relationship with my parents for the following reasons; 

1. They were my family regardless and I need a sense of connection.

2. Adults knew this was happening to me when I was a child so why should I make a fuss over it later on in life?

3. I don’t matter, and used to think I was born for the use of others to inflict pain on. 

4. If people knew my step dad molested me I would be considered dirty. 

Well guess what. Although my feelings were completely valid at the time I learnt they are not true. Here is what I know today.

1. Family is who I say it is, and I choose family that does not inflict pain on others. 

2. I can make a fuss over anything I want because EVERY DAMN PERSON is allowed their own opinions, and as a human I can make my own decisions. 

3. I do matter!! 

4. I was a KID! 

The reason I moved in with my step dad as a teenager was my moms way of living was pretty dysfunctional and I wanted what other teenagers wanted. Freedom, name brand clothes, and popularity. I got those three things, and grew up unbelievably fast. By 14 I was quite the partyer. I carried his shame and ended up filling up on my share of shame too for the way I lived out my life. I cannot go back, but guess what I can do?

I can speak out and stop carrying other peoples shame around. I have my fair share of shame and by speaking about it the power is gone. My story opens your eyes! No more looking the other way. The statistics are staggering and noted at the end of this post.

Some who have been in my situation may say “it was so long ago”, “I healed”, “I am over it”, and so on! 

The reality is, this should not be happening in the first place. This happened before me, and nothing was done. This happened to me, and nothing was done. Surprise, surprise, it happened again! Where is the justice in that? I know this is a terribly uncomfortable subject, but it shouldn’t be. What is truly uncomfortable is that as a society we are more comfortable forgetting. 

Here are the staggering statistics for Canada from https://www.sexassault.ca/statistics.htm

Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police

1 – 2% of “date rape” sexual assaults are reported to the police

1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime

11% of women have physical injury resulting for sexual assault

Only 2 – 4% of all sexual assaults reported are false reports

60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17

over 80% of sex crime victims are women

80% of sexual assault incidents occur in the home

17% of girls under 16 have experienced some form of incest

83% of disabled women will be sexual assaulted during their lifetime

15% of sexual assault victims are boys under 16

half of all sexual offenders are married or in long term relationships

57% of aboriginal women have been sexually abused

1/5th of all sexual assaults involve a weapon of some sort

80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim
I am sick of being a statistic, so you can choose to stand with me and fight the war on not only shame but sexual abuse, or you can forget. I unfortunately cannot forget about my lost innocence any longer. Not if I intend on staying sober that is. 

My dream is coming true.

First I will acknowledge my week of health care. I have been drinking water and amazing myself that I can actually drink a lot of it and not die! It still doesn’t taste as good as Coca Cola but I know eventually I will not like the taste of cola like I do not like the smell of cigarettes now. I indulged in some fatty food, but I will touch base on that soon. This blog post is dedicated to my last couple of days. 

Saturday, I went to an event in Seattle with my foxhole friend JenN (never forget that second N!!) and her mom (who is my new adopted mom). This event was put on by a mother of an addict; Valerie Silveira. Please GO and purchase her book Still standing after all the tears; nine actions to battle your beast. Let me tell you that this book is not just for parents of addicts. It is for the addict, the sibling of an addict, the child of an addict, and the everyday person who has a beast in their life. A beast can be any one thing that conjures shame, stigma, or guilt. I had the opportunity to speak at her event, and I am so honoured to have been there. 

Now of course everyone knows I am an aspiring speaker, but boy do I have anxiety. A big part of my anxiety is from my childhood and adulthood of trauma. Many daily situations put me into a freeze, fight, or flight state so you can imagine on Saturday I was freaking out. A drink is what I used to use to calm me, and if I had still been drinking I would have killed that stage, but not authentically. I have rewatched my time on that stage, and have critized myself slightly, but I have also given myself a huge pat on the back. Although I ended each sentence with a slap on my thigh, I did stand tall and confident. I am so excited for the next time I will share my story on stage. 

After the event a great indulgence of dinner was rewarded. Why not hit up Red Lobster since BC doesn’t have one and there was one right down the street from the convention centre. Well if you want my advice DON’T GO THERE! It was not very good, and the service was terrible. For $49 USD I bought myself an upset tummy and an embarrassing few moments with my new family on the drive home. Thank God we are the type of people who can laugh at ourselves. 

I have since been surprisingly surprised by the amount of feedback I have gotten on my fb personal and business page. WOW! I touched people with my story and true self. If you asked me a year ago what I had to think of myself I would have said; I am loud, crazy, and an alcoholic coke head. There I said it. So many people were already saying it for me. I was scared of the stigma of being an addict. Now people understand I was numbing myself because I never healed from the childhood of molestation and the adulthood of domestic violence and emotional/verbal abuse. Today, I am strong and a fighter. No I am a warrior! I demand respect and create an environment I can thrive in; one where I like being sober and learning who I am. I am meant to share my story because if I don’t who will? 

If not today when?

When starting a diet it’s always next week. Quitting something, next week. You get the idea. I know how to lose weight. I have been in two major challenges and have competed against other women and have lost a lot of weight, but as soon as that challenge ended and I had no accountability I went back to old habits. I can give you a million excuses as to why, but that doesn’t help anyone. So, for once lets start being honest. I LIKE FOOD. It makes me happy and fills a void. I have a relationship with food and its killing me slowly. Food is one of the hardest addictions because we need food to live, but I know I can live without the crap I choose to eat. 

Look, life is hard. I have abusive parents, no close family outside of my home, and I am codependent. So, I eat to make me happy, however I am not happy day to day. I am really only happy for that small amount of time I am eating something that tastes good. I am writing this and being so frank for accountability and to let others out there know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

Kids went back to school Tuesday and I have started drinking water. I carry around my water bottle like its my baby. Bring it everywhere so I will have no choice but to drink it. If I can stop using cocaine and stop drinking AND quit smoking I think I am more than capable of not drinking pop and getting that water in. By the way, I am a camel and swear I don’t need water lol, but I know its healthy so I am working on my physical self so I can work on my mental self. 

Just remember, life is hard but it is our choice to keep it hard or put into place steps that make it easy. Set yourself up for success. Get a tribe!! You need your people behind you. Set a schedule and adhere to it. Meal prep!! 

Much love and respect.