Thursday, May 4, 2023

Story telling

  I came back to this blog to write and tell the story of things.  I don't think what I've been through and lived is that unusual and maybe just maybe if I hold up a lantern and light the path, it might be the bit of light someone needs.  So if there is truth telling to be done, I think it needs to be the real truth, not just the quick story of a woman who left a bad marriage to start over but the real story of how someone creates a life that feels like exactly what they meant to do.

    I have spent this last year in struggle, I've actually spent so many years in struggle but this has been especially hard. I honestly thought when I packed my little car and followed the moving truck westward that I was ending the hard part, that freedom and peace were now mine. What I didn't know was I had also packed up a whole carload of trauma and triggers.  I didn't know that struggle still had some things to say to me and that there was some hard hard work ahead.  Shame, guilt, regret and grief were waiting for me in my new hometown ready to unpack and move in with me.

  Texts from my almost ex although seemingly benign triggered gigantic anxiety and physical reactions, I was confused by why something simple felt unsafe and caused such a panic.  Unfamiliar situations especially with crowds of people also brought on emotional and physical responses.  I didn't even understand because on the outside I was portraying "Look at Me!! I'm the brave girl who left that bad situation and I'm so much happier now."  which was true... but what was also true is I had years of trauma brought on by abusive manipulative behavior that I allowed and normalized. Not physical (let me be super clear about that) but shaming, blame, disrespect, gaslighting, manipulation, financial abuse, lack of affection, emotional abandonment and belittling my entire being.  If I was vulnerable, it would be used against me, I was not given even a tiny bit space to grieve my parents. Anger could come over the smallest of small things and it came at me as rage.  The load I carried for the household was everything except doing his job, I did mine and was expected to put everyone else first, never asking for anything for myself.  I am not going to ever give examples of these things but make no mistake it was abuse.  The things I did to cover and pretend that my life was not what my life was and the things I missed or didn't see and how I failed to protect people I love, those are my greatest source of shame and sadness.  I am angry at myself for ever stepping into relationships that were not in my own best interest and how I handed away my own self...I am doing the deep examinations of how and why that was my pattern.  

So yeah.... trauma came in like a freaking wrecking ball...I didn't even know I had trauma until trauma had its way with me.  My nervous system has spent most of my adult life on high alert, the fight or flight response (in my case freeze) was always engaged causing high levels of cortisol to course through me at all times.  I didn't sleep well, I never could just relax or trust that the ground beneath my feet wouldn't shift, always waiting for the other shoe to drop and it always did. And here is some deep truth.... I have been married twice for over 40 years and never have I felt safe of loved and when I say safe, I mean accepted, cherished and respected.   Processing that bit of truth took me down to the floor. I chose people as my life partners who couldn't or wouldn't give me that.  Love and  emotional safety. That is on me and I'm working my way through the way I handled relationships and choices, I own my part in my own sadness.

So my first order of business was to dig where the pain showed up.  A trauma trigger tells me that I have to get on my hands and knees and dig in the dirt until I can find it and pull it out by the root.  That happens through free flow journaling, body movement (it's all stored in my body, that was also a fun discovery), sleep, good food, sunlight, nature and things like yoga and somatic exercises that release the trauma, opening up hips and releasing tension with practice.  Facing it all head on as I am able, one piece at a time is my work these days.  I was with friends a couple of weeks ago, having cocktails and the best dinner sitting outside on a beautiful night and suddenly I shut down.  I didn't even know what was the deal, this was a great time with people I trust and love.  The next day, I slept in, did some body and breathing work, wrote some stuff down and had a good breakfast. When my friends and I came together at noon the next day, I let them know what had happened.  I didn't even know while I was in the middle of it, I'm learning to recognize what sets off things.  Also, learning what to do about it.

Now for the tricky part.  I do not want my life to be in the victim energy as I have done the last too many years.  I want to use what I know, manage trauma and triggers and not let it all have their way with me when they feel like it. I want to pivot and rise. I want to thrive and find my power, maybe for the first time ever.  Stand in my own light and also light the way forward. I don't want what has happened and been my pattern to be what I choose now.  I cannot carry the load shame and guilt and sadness along with where I am going.  It would be easy to fold and hide but that is not what I came here for. I will use my voice and my kindness and my deep way of loving, that is how I plan to take my power. I think truth telling sets us free, I think the way through the pain is through the pain, I think the logs that fall across our paths are there to climb over not stop our walk.  And telling the story is the way but not letting the past story be my whole being. 

I hope you stay with me; I have things to say and I do not plan to shy away from what isn't so comfortable, but I also know that in every bit of discomfort comes the opportunity for love, connection and healing.  That's why I'm here. I'll soon be divorced (at long last, it's been an exercise in patience for sure) and when all the paperwork is done, I will maybe say more but maybe it's just not about him anymore, in fact it's for sure not about him.  I think it's time to learn how to fly just a bit higher.

With Love


Wednesday, March 1, 2023


For the first time ever in my entire life, I live alone.   I was a daughter, sister, roommate, wife, mother, wife and mother and always had someone or many someones who I lived with and shared space.  It's daunting and  I have no idea how to be so alone.  In all my 65 years, I have never ever felt so far from solid ground. It's as if l I'm in a rowboat , no land in sight... unachored, disconnected and adrift. 

Early on, I knew I would have to find my way through this sense of loneliness, anxiety and grief that felt like a weight pulling me under the surface.  Nothing felt like it had before which was probably the point.  In the midst of the aloneness in tears I asked myself who is going to love me?"  which of course was fear having it's way with me.  I'm going to tread carefully over blame and telling stories  that don't serve me, the past is for sure the past.  I live where I had wanted to live, I am free and trying to start life at this late point in life, late but still so very much good ahead.   I had hoped to be in a sure, happy and loving partnership with someone, a sense of home and belonging. But that wasn't my story... I had to sit with all of that and try to learn how to row because there was no longer even the illusion of belonging to hold onto (seriously so unhealthy the way I tried to make it all look like something it wasn't). Moments of it all being overwhelming and terrifying.  Anxiety, trauma triggers and the only company I had in the dark was the inner voice that stays up all night with me telling me I am unloveable and deserve to be alone and unhappy. 

One of the very best things I have done in this process is to hire a life coach to help me navigate this whole process of divorce and getting my feet under me.  As I was trying to explain this gut splitting feeling I was having of facing the aloneness that admittedly I had made happen and created I just blurted out "who will love me?"  and he asked me back, "who IS going to love you?"   Without even thinking I said "I'm going to love me." I DO NOT KNOW where those words came from, honestly, I blurted it out and suddenly it all made some kind of amazing sense.  Suddenly, I got it... I knew why I was here, in this place for this reason.  I have never ever in my life put myself on the list of people I take care of and love unconditionally. I had never stood up for myself and protected me from what I knew wasn't in my best interest.  Keep the peace... DO WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO DO was the message I heard ... That has lead to oh so many mistakes and regrets and to handing off my ability to stand for my own self, what I know is right (not what anyone else says ) and it's for sure the thing I know I am here in this time to figure out. I know my parents wanted me to do this work, they raised me strong and somewhere along the way, perhaps in search of belonging, I silenced my own voice and truth and became what others wanted. I maybe thought if I didn't become their mirror, I would not be loved..(yes i know that isn't love...I didn't know it then)  I cannot go back to my college self and tell her that whole path is unwise and dangerous but I can tell my 65 year old self that I will take care of her and we will be in charge of whatever happens next.

Someday I'll be able to put the process into words, someday I'll share how I'm learning and growing and healing.  Does loneliness still hang out, yes all the time but I now call her by her new name. Peace.  Perhaps the most important thing I'm learning and getting comfortable with is love for myself.  Forgiving the mistakes and missteps made when I didn't stand up for what I knew to be true and right because other voices were louder and intimidating.  Addressing shame and regret but not putting them on like a comfortable but ill fitting tee shirt to wear through life because it's what feels "comfortable" knowing now there is a price for that I'm not willing to pay any more.   Love is the answer.  I will love me and I will occupy my space in the world with truth not afraid to create boundaries that serve me.  I will never abandon myself for someone else's comfort ever again.  I am working hard to become whole as I bring that to relationships. Shedding the old t shirts and toxic comfort that wasn't actually comfort at all, I just made it so because I didn't know how to row back then.  I hope that showing people who I love, how much I love them with a bright clear light, no more clinging to anyone in fear and desperation.  I feel stronger , more confident and feel free , I will take my boat where ever we may go, come what... I am anchored to my own self. College me is waving from the shore ... I am sure this is the lesson I needed to learn, the thing I was meant to figure out so that everything else can flow from it.  Stepping into one's own light is a powerful and blinding thing when the dark was so comfortable in it's lies.  This what love and belonging feel like, this feels like safe harbor at last.

with love,


Monday, January 30, 2023


 I read a quote the other day from Ann Lamott as I have been trying to sort out why I feel the need to write the stories of the things learned and as much as I try not to use the word...the journey.  Why do I feel my stories are worthy of being told and shared...  Why on earth this blog? But then this popped up.

     "Stories are written and told by and for people who have been broken, but who have risen up, or will rise, if attention is paid to them.  Those people are you and us.  Stories and truth are splints for the soul."


I knew when I came back here to do this blog, it was because stories had kept me up and night and with some gentle and not so gentle nudging from people who love me to write more. I am here for the telling of the stories and all that comes with them. I am here for truth telling and saying the things I have to say with as much honesty as I can bear.  I don't know any other way.

After many years of trying hard to find peace, love, respect, happiness and connection in my marriage, on June 7, 2022 a moving truck came to my house in the morning and picked up 10 bins of fabric, embroidery projects, yarn, clothes and shoes that I had openly packed up over a few weeks (nobody even noticed the stacked bins and cleared off dresser)... the hope chest my dad made me when I was 19, two small bookcases I had recently put together and a dresser from my mom's house.  I loaded my small collection of baking appliances and pans, 8 china place settings, my sewing machine and a couple of things that hung on the wall and a hour later the moving truck and my car headed west as I left my home and marriage. I ran away. 

I did not give advance warning, I had done all the asking for help to piece it back together I had in me. I didn't ask for anyone to bring their trucks and help haul my stuff to my new home because this was my task and I desperately needed and wanted to do it myself. I had spent the better part of 15 years wondering how to do this and when it was going to be the right time to go. I didn't sleep from the stress and over thinking and I lived in a constant state of heartbreak, hopelessness and fear that I would never know anything else.  I stopped asking for respect and support because it was time for me to respect myself enough to do what was best for me.  It was time to stop abandoning what I knew was good for me for anyone else's comfort.  It was time to go and although I had waited for some big "reason" or crisis to make it palatable to other people, the plain truth of it all is, I couldn't do it anymore. Nobody was coming to save me, I had to become my own warrior girl on own white horse. 

I knew where I was going, I had known for a very long a town 2 1/2 hours away, close to the coast, a small town with hills to climb, a downtown that was so similar to where I grew up that it felt like home and beaches to walk on. Every visit to this place had felt like comfort and peace and every time I left to return home, I was on the verge of tears.  As I planned and enacted my runaway, I knew was leaving my sons behind but knew they are grown and I ached to do so but knew it was their time to also find what they want for their own lives, I couldn't save them and me at the same time.  

I started fresh, living in an apartment that feels a bit like the treehouse I always wanted to live in, I have created and put together a space that feels safe and is so full of pink and pretty things that I can hardly stand it. Every day I wake up (sleeping full nights again at last) in gratitude and although living alone for the first time in my life can be daunting and achy, the peace is everything.  I am grateful at the same time I grieve. Still grieving my parents and the loss of our family home, still grieving the loss of the illusion of the relationship I tried so hard to fix and create. I fully accept that if it doesn't feel like love and support, it's ridiculous to try to convince the world and myself that it's those things. I'm so unsure of what is next but letting life help me float back to the surface of things and working on becoming whole without trying to always manage what is next. Solitude is a beautiful but also overwhelming thing at times but I remind myself that this is what I wished, ached and dreamed of for so very long.  This town has welcomed me, simple things like lunch on a Friday with my daughter, time with grandsons (I wish all my kids and grand children lived here honestly)a walk on the beach, new friends and a sense of all feels like home. I am figuring out all out one day at a time, grateful for this time and place.  

I simply did not know how else to get from there to here, from sadness and angst to peace and happiness, I just felt I had no choice.  I am not saying I did it exactly right, it was a bit of messy for sure, but I did the best I could.  I'm doing the best I can, I am really glad to stop running from my fears, the turmoil and knowing that I wasn't doing the right thing for me.  Now I am. 

With Love




Thursday, January 12, 2023

When it all changed

 Before yesterday, the last bit of anything I wrote was pretty similar to yesterday's post, saying I needed to jump back in and do the things I was aching to do.  

That was November 3, 2021. I talked about how I needed to do up Christmas and make it so good.  The reason for that was twofold.  Christmas in my home had been me doing all the things, trying to shop, wrap, decorate and bake my way into feeling how I used to feel at Christmas.  My parents were Christmas elves, they did all the things (on a budget you all...a small budget), our 100 year old house was full of lights and baked goods and villages and greenery and the biggest tree ever. There was always a mountain of presents, mostly homemade despite  their claims that next year they were cutting back.  They didn't.  After dinner on Christmas Eve people stopped by and the house seriously bulged and swayed with family, my parents friends, our friends and eventually our spouses and children. It was loud and never once did I feel alone or in any way left out or ignored.  I needed that again. And my  mom was starting to have some life changes that didn't allow her to create that giant Christmas in her own home, I had invited her to my house and my plan was to Christmas it up as far as I could make it go. I had started knitting her a beautiful lace scarf and was making lists. I  had lights and greenery ordered to throw around. I wanted to give her the same kind of Christmas she gave us.  I was excited to give her and also get back some Christmas love and spirit I was desperate to find through doing it for and with my mom.  A holiday purpose and liferaft.

On November 5, I got a call in the morning that our mom was admitted to ICU and had a small ulcer they were watching.  Nobody was in a panic but I felt like I should get there as I lived 5 hours away. I arrived at the hospital at about 3:30 and found my mom as I expected... kind of mad she was in the hospital at all , not overjoyed that we were making a deal of nothing and complaining so much about being bored. She claimed over and over that she feeling just fine and mostly pretty pissed off that she wasn't in charge of anything.  I hung out with her for a couple of hours, talked to her nurse who laughed at how sassy and bossy she was and with promises to bring socks for her cold feet and cards to play Gin Rummy the next day since she couldn't get anyone to spring her, I gave her a kiss, told her I loved her dearly and left her with books and her glasses on the night stand.  I said we would talk about the Christmas plans I had the next day. That was 6 pm.  An hour later her body had a crisis and we lost her late that night.

I know we aren't the first adult children to lose a parent and I know that it is often shockingly sudden and I know there is no way to be prepared. Figuring out what needed to be done was a weird kind of buffer, planning things and getting things set up, arranging things, dealing with mortuaries and hospital aftermaths, picking dates and making calls to her friends and ours. Stunned silences and not even clear about how real it all is and how fast life had changed forever.  My brothers and I in our separate barrage of  shock and grief and disbelief but sitting feet apart not even knowing how to speak. 

Let me say this part now because it's important to me.  My two brothers and I have, I believe navigated this really difficult bit of life with what I believe is the utmost grace and in doing so have worked to honor our parents, the way they raised us, the life and attributes they gave us as well as the way they lived and loved each other.  We had a herculean task ahead of us in the clearing out of our family home of 59 years with so much stuff that had memories attached to everything.  That's for another time.  But I'm so proud of us, I love those two men so deeply and I am grateful for the time we got to spend connecting as grown ups , working together and forging relationships that are made of granite. They have with their wives reminded me that I am loved and valued.  I am grateful beyond words.

This for me was when the reckoning began. When it became unbelievably clear how desperately short life is and how uncertain each day can be.  It was the time to come to terms with my own stuff . I am my parents only daughter and they loved me so, I wasn't taking care of their girl. I was freefalling trying to find a branch to grab onto before I hit the ground. I had lost my pieces, my spirit, my spunk and my hope. Life is short and it was time to stop abandoning myself for anyone else's comfort. I have a whole lot of shame and guilt that goes with what I accepted and normalized in order to get along and make it look like I was good. There was a walk I had to walk and hopefully not too late... this is where it began. Sitting under the redwood trees at my childhood home, I let the light in, I found my lost pieces, I stopped feeling hopeless and helpless. It was past time to take charge of my own well being without waiting for permission from anyone.   

I think we all have our things we need to tackle and sort out, I think the beauty of life is that the moments when the lights come back on in the dark cave of worry and wondering ...those are the moments we start to believe that maybe just maybe it is going to be okay but it's a walk up a steep narrow path to the top of the hill. But I'm pretty sure that the view is worth it.  Walking our walk, holding up the light for the ones behind us and in front of us, trusting that this is not for nothing.  Even if we just get stronger legs in the process and learn to breathe deeper, we will have stories to tell from the top of the hill.

with love


Diving In....

 So... here I am again.  My third reinvention and refresh of a blog and if I'm honest I still have no idea what I'm doing but it seems the desire and if I'm honest, the need to pound out in words the stuff that is rolling around my heart and thoughts.  I want to write and this is where I choose to do it.  Hi, I'm glad to see you all...

It has been a roller coaster kind of year and a half, some of it totally brutal, some of it amazing and beautiful and some of it not for me to share out loud. I will tell as much truth as I can without making  people I love uncomfortable or embarrassed. It does feel a bit like I'm opening Pandora's box and while keeping the heart of my family  in mind I do think it is important to be honest about what got me here.  It feels like I'm walking a narrow path up a steep hill.  But I believe that truth is light  and healing...that is the whole point of it all. I'm not coming from anger and not looking to unload a bunch of stuff that is not the point anymore, just telling the  story of how I got here as well as what the future holds for a woman in her 65th year who feels way more alive and free than she has in a very long time if ever (imagine that). I want to bask in the beauty of this time but acknowledge the way here. Breaking down, saving myself, figuring out how to heal and live with love as the bright lamp that lights my way. I hope it comes out the way I imagined. I hope I make it stick this time . I hope for the best of everything. 

After months of trying figure out a name for this new iteration of my writings, I decided to use my former tagline, Barefoot & Tangled. I just kept coming back to it and it felt right this morning when I started playing with layout and nailing down how I was going to approach things.  The moment I decided to return to Barefoot & Tangled, it felt much like crawling into bed and pulling up the comforter, like an exhale.  

A quick shout out to the friends who encouraged me to write again, I didn't know if I could , not sure if I should,  yet here I am because I believe in listening to the things that call my name, that will not leave me alone. A big bunch of love to my family that has shifted and evolved this last year and a half ... I will try to make you proud. And a big Ta Da for me, I put my well being at the top of the list of things I needed to get right and I had to do it in my way, on my own terms.  A woman in her 65th year coming back to life and talking about how that happened and what happens next.  For anyone reading this, I thank you for giving it all a look, I hope you will stay. Diving In....

With Love


Story telling

   I came back to this blog to write and tell the story of things.  I don't think what I've been through and lived is that unusual a...