Because sometimes you are the toxic one…

Stones,

Day 3046 of the Covid19 quarantine: I bought a stuffy. Her name is Elle. She is my only friend.

No seriously though, I hope everyone is being safe, social distancing, masks and all that. I am considered essential so yeah, no break for me. Which is fine because when I’m working thousands of ideas run through my mind.

Some call it ADD, I call it inspiration.

So people can suck. People can be cruel and evil and just plain mean. Hurt people hurt people, this we know. Toxic people are detrimental to the health of those around them.

What happens when that person is you?

Now lower the pitchforks and torches and hear me out.

I am not suggesting that everyone who is toxic is malicious. I’m simply stating that everyone deals with traumas in their own ways. Everyone has been through things and has suffered because let’s be honest, life sucks. Although everyone’s pain is valid, the way we react to trauma can be problematic. It’s not logical to hurt someone because you are hurting. Most people don’t plan on. The issue comes to play when people act as if their pain is bigger and more traumatic or matters more than another person.

We as people don’t get to quantify trauma. It’s not possible and it’s unfair. We also don’t get to mentally and emotionally bleed everywhere. That is misplaced aggression and anger and is also unacceptable. There needs to be a balance between the validation of feelings and respect for others. No trauma trumps any others because we are all different and the same trauma could impact everyone differently.

So my call to action is…

Reevaluate your relationships. Reevaluate your positions in the lives of others. If you find that you are the toxic one, be aware of that. Make a conscious effort to get help to change it.

There was a person in my life that I miss very much. We ended horribly because of me and my actions. I may never get to repair said relationship because of my past traumas that leaked into unaccountability. That’s on me for not healing.

Being aware of you crap and fixing your cap are two very different things.

Until Next We Meet,

S.Hollisway

Scarred and Faceless Here

Because sometimes trust is shattered…

Stones,

Good evening as I am writing this after 10:30. Writing is a struggle. Like I love it and it’s my passion but it is not easy. Sometimes I wonder if I even measure up to “actual writers” because I mostly do editorial pieces and I don’t have a super-strong following. But this is my beginning and while building up my consistency, I know that these are the hoops that I have to go through to earn an established writing career and it’ll be well worth it when my words are used to heal people.

But I digress…

The topic of the week is trust. It is such a delegate fragile thing that we take for granted. When flourished it as mighty as an Oak. When broken it’s strong enough to destroy an entire city and the neighboring town. Trust can be salvaged but it will never be the same. It’s like a mirror that has been broken. It can be pieced back together but you can still see the cracks in the reflections.

I’m sure all this information has been regurgitated on one platform or another. Here is something that I’ve been contemplating, how many cracks are enough cracks? When do all the second chances stop? When is the breaking point?

I know I have written previous posts similar but this one has me truly perplexed. When you’ve noticed an established pattern that appears to have no end in sight, what makes you stay? What makes you think that trust can ever be repaired, especially when all the attempts are one-sided?

I speak from a place of pain and experience.

I’ve been in situations where I was giving too many undeserving chances. For the sake of transparency, most of my relationships were like that. Abusive, manipulative, unfulfilling, and one-sided. A good part of my marriage was like that. I often ask myself why I stayed so long.

Misery loves company but suffering doesn’t make you a martyr.

At some point you have to see that a mirror with too many cracks is pointless. It’s impossible to see through it, or a future for that matter.

I say all that to say this…

How many cracks before a mirror is rendered useless? I urge you to take stock of how many useless mirrors you have.

Until Next We Meet,

S.Hollisway

Purchase Scarred and Faceless

My new logo!

Because sometimes chasing dreams and motherhood don’t mix…

Stones,

First of all, I got a new logo that included in the post. Let me know what you think. I think it came out fantastic. It makes me really happy and proud as an author.

But back to this weeks epiphany.

So for those of you who don’t know, I gave birth to a little monster by the name of Oscar. I have talked about him in previous posts more notably my first Odes post here. He is one a very large part of why I am still alive today. I love him with every breath in me. As much as I love him, motherhood is absolutely terrifying.

No seriously, there should be some sort of test because I’m positive that I would have failed. I can honestly say that I have NO idea what I’m doing. I love my little monster and I would do anything for him so he’ll have a better life. But as far as a plan, yeah I’m kind of clueless. My basic strategy is to give him a childhood that he doesn’t have to heal from. That is basically my sole purpose in life.

The only issue with being a parent and especially a mother is that people expect mothering to be your only goal and sole purpose in life. I’m not sad to admit, that it’s not mine.

I have other dreams.

I have other goals.

There are a lot of things I want to do and achieve.

It’s not selfish of me to want to be more than a mother as long as I’m not neglecting my child.

This goes for EVERY mother. You are so much more than just a mother. Don’t let motherhood be your only credentials.

There are so many things I want to do. I am a writer. That is a passion of mine that I want to share with the world. No one should be limited because of a title.

Until next we meet,

S.Hollisway

Because sometimes pain needs to be changed…

Stones,

Never have I felt so inspired to write as I have in the last few weeks. Today I would like to tell you two very different stories.

There once was a woman, she had been through hell. She was battered, bruised, and broken. She had been wounded fatally left for dead. She didn’t have much family. She didn’t have many friends. She had been assaulted and violated in the worse way. She was an addict and tried to stay clean for her son. When no doctor or pill could end the pain, she surrendered.

But there was another woman

She had been through a lot. Her heart was worn out but she refused to let it stunt her ability to love. Her body was left for dead but she refused to die. She did have much support, but she cherished the support she did have. Although she had been hurt and violated, she guarded herself and pressed on. She was an addict in recovery and made the choice every day for her son. When no doctor or pill could end the pain, she set herself free. She didn’t need to be fixed, because she wasn’t broken. She healed herself.

I’m sure you figured by now that this is the same woman. The same story, a very abbreviated version of mine, just told from two very different perspectives. I watched a Ted Talk, that I will link it at the end of the post but it was very eye-opening. Basically, we as humans are unreliable narrators. That does not mean that what we feel and think isn’t valid. But it’s just that we can only tell the story from our perspective. When we only see something from our lens, we close ourselves off to other possibilities. The talk is amazing and I don’t do it justice so I highly recommend you check it out.

So here is my Call To Action…

Do not limit your perspective looking through your rose-colored lenses. Keep your mind open to all the possibilities. Even if you have to write out all the different possible ways other then what you are sure of. It will feel unnatural and unbearably unfair at times, but so are parts of life. Use this as a stepping stone to becoming a more multifaceted being.

Until Next We Speak

S.Hollisway

Link to Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_MQr4lHm0c

Because sometimes Odes are due (Part 2)…

Stones,

This will be my second post in a row which is great momentum to start and hopefully, I can continue it. I don’t know if any of you remember my original Odes post. I will link it here. It was all about my son who will be 4 soon and about how much I wanted to be better for him. Well it’s been quite a while since that post and I’m still not where I want to me but I am one step closer. He will always be my driving force.

I am learning, however, that I shouldn’t put that much pressure on his mere existence. It has to be my choice and my decision. But it’s always good to have people in your corner cheering you on. Oscar will always have a permanent space on my bleachers. I’m learning to accept that that’s okay. I’m learning that I have other cheerleaders and that is also okay.

My little sister is one of my biggest cheerleaders.

Kyesha

Background information, I am the oldest of 5 children and the middle of 11 I believe. My sister and I who share the same mother and father were really close when I was younger. Even though I was older she was always the protector. We kind of grew about when she became a “cool girl” which was through no real fault of her own. We had rough patches like sisters do but she was always there. She went through a lot, from having children at a young age to supporting a child who spent a year and a half confined to the hospital after having multiple surgeries, to tragically losing the father of her oldest two children. She healed and now she has 5 beautiful children and is an amazing mother.

She’s always been the “mom” sibling. Before we got a “real” adult, we go to her for advice, a reality check, and support. Even with 5 kids, she seems to have a neverending supply. I love her so much and one of the reasons I exist is to make her proud of me. She has earned a seat in the bleachers of my life.

My third cheerleader is one of my best friends in the entire world. She is a fireball.

Alissa

Background information: We met at a place where minds and bodies go to relax and heal. We bonded immediately which is rare because I don’t typically get along with females and neither does she. But we bonded as quick as Meredith and Cristina did in Shondaland. For the longest time, I never knew the benefits of having female relationships. They never seemed genuine instead full of relational aggression. She is the exception. She is wonderful in every way. She loves just like me; hard, passionate, and unconditionally. If you are lucky enough to crash into her you become overwhelmed by her “halo” for lack of a better term. She is kind, warm and supportive but will tear your throat out if need be. She will have your back in the worst times and reign a vicious reality check on you when it’s needed. The best of both worlds.

She has done her very best to keep me afloat. I want to do everything I can to make her proud and pay her back for all her kindness with spades.

These are my cheerleaders for now and I hope to see my cheer section keep growing. I love this and I love accepting support and love for those closest to me. I will no longer be held down by who I used to be. It would have been easier to write a poem but sometimes words need to be written out.

Pain didn’t change me, I changed my pain.

-Icon for Hire “Demons”

Until next we meet,

S.Hollisway

Because sometimes it’s good to break the mold…

Stones,

I have been gone. I apologize for that. I know consistency is important and doing what you say you’re going to do is important. However, I can’t pour from an empty cup. I can’t write under duress and constraint. Well, I can but I can’t write well so, I’d rather disappear then produce crap. I am doing better now I hope you stick with me through this process.

So here are the thoughts that plague my mind.

Why do people feel the need to fit into a predesigned mold that doesn’t fit them to chase after success?

Here is the backstory. Because I have issues with consistency and sometimes have issues writing I have been looking up those generic “how to create popular blogs” and “Popular blog posts” type articles and videos. I got a bunch of the same generic, one size fits all type information. Then, I downloaded a PDF of 8,000+ blog ideas. Let me say first of all that these were not bad ideas. They just weren’t what I’m about. They were about writing blogs about food, crafts, how-tos, DIY’s, things of that nature. This is great for creative people, for mom bloggers, for people who have that audience. As much as I would like the popularity that comes with those topics, that’s unfortunately not where I am. I am not of the bright and shiny collective. I am more of the “cynical hopeless romantic” variety. That’s okay. Blogging, like America, should be a melting pot.

I say that to say this.

I would like to be a very popular and successful writer and author. I can’t however, sacrifice my voice or my identity for the sake of possible success. That’s just not me that’s anyone. I see it day in and day out. Talented people who sacrifice their individuality for a quick buck. Some call it “selling out”. I call it “giving in”. Some people don’t have the strength to stay true to themselves and sadly it’s soul-crushing to settle.

I’m no expert. I don’t have all or any answers really. I can’t offer any “fix it” advice. The only thing I can offer is perspective. I can offer ideas. I’d much rather exist as me tap dancing on the lines of obscurity, then a fabulous life in the spotlight that doesn’t coincide with my values. Think about it; who’s a better you than you?

Until next we meet,

S. Hollisway

Because sometimes I wonder…

Stones,

I wonder

What makes a person good? What makes a person bad? I personally don’t believe people are good or bad, but multifaceted. Everyone can have “good” and “bad” traits but people are made up of so much more than that.

There are strengths, weaknesses, fears, defenses, intelligence, people are made up of so much. I suppose it would be remiss not to mention what has planted in my head.

I know a man who has an interesting temperament. To those who he deems worthy he is a very protective, compassionate, and respectful human being you would ever meet. Society tells us to offer respect to everyone we meet, especially if they are people of authority. He does neither. If you aren’t worthy of respect to him, you won’t get it. He is very skeptical of others’ intentions, especially to the people he loves. So clearly, he needs therapy.

Kidding of course, because who am I to judge? Although I do advocate for therapy for everyone.

However, when discussing his behavior with another friend of mine, she mentioned that his behavior sent up a bunch of “red flags”. She deemed him “bad news” because his behavior was irregular to her. This got me thinking.

Is he bad because his behavior is not what society deems acceptable or is he actually bad? If he’s respectful or caring to those that matter to him and not to others, is that bad? Is he all bad? Is it bad not to indulge in societal pleasantries that are just facades that we all play into? Are we only bad when we don’t do what society wants to do?

I have bounced back and forth for the last few days. I’m thinking that there has to be a happy middle ground. Blatant disregard for human life is worrisome. It’s actually one of the hallmarks of a psychopath. But defending, loving, and protecting whom and what they love fiercely and with their lives is on the opposite end of the spectrum. So while not psychopathic there is a potential for some kind of personality disorder there. Moreover, if it’s not considered breaking a law, (and lawful doesn’t always mean moral so that depends), then there is nothing wrong with not conforming to society’s norms. It might make people uncomfortable, but who’s to say the norms shouldn’t be shaken up?

So here is my call to action…

Can you distinguish between psychopathic tendencies and a breaker of societal norms? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next we meet,

S.Hollisway

Because sometimes feelings are facts and ties need to be cut…

This simply a post about how to end normal toxic relationships. If you are in an abusive relationship I full heartedly urge you to get out now. Call the hotline and get the help you need to get out.

1−800−799−7233

Sinceraly, Me.

Stones,

When do ties need to be cut? Who decides when enough is enough? Who does the cutting of ties? Where are the scissors? Can I get a pair, please?

All jokes aside, when does it become obviously apparent that ties need to be severed? Humans are social creatures we were not made to isolate or be alone. We crave human interactions and to form attachments and bonds with others. Very rarely can people sever attachments with ease, swiftly, without looking back. I’d kill to have that superpower.

Gift or curse, I’d love to have the ability to sever ties in one swift chop and be able to leave it lay. But unfortunately, I’m one to cut ties and the go back and try to reassemble them. Even those relationships that are one-sided. Even those relationships that are toxic. Even those relationships that are detrimental to you and everyone around you. I still try to retie them.

I have this, unfortunate characteristic of being loyal to a fault. I’d like to say it’s a gift but most times it a curse. I am extremely loyal to people who don’t deserve it. I also will give my heart to people I feel do deserve it. I don’t exactly form the healthiest attachments. I am a tad codependent and I definitely overextend and lend myself to anyone who shows anything resembling altruistic kindness. If you can identify with any of these things, I’d be willing to bet my most valuable possession that you’ve experienced this need to repair these toxic relationships under the guise of “closure”.

I say all of that, to say this.

What does it take for you to end a toxic relationship and walk away? Some may feel as though it’s wrong to desert those we’ve known for so long, toxic or not. At some point we do need to consider ourselves before society’s conventional belief of not giving up on family, not abandoning someone who is suffering no matter the pain, or the “Ride or Die” trap.

My call to action is this…

Examine any relationship that is draining more times than not. A relationship you almost dread to engage in. The one that has you thinking right now that it’s, “Not all bad” or that you instinctively feel compelled to defend without reading the rest of the call to action. I want you to really examine the feelings you get at the mere mention of this persons’ name. Recount all the words that still sting, the psychological scarring, the torment done to your very being. Now imagine your dearest friend came to you, with everything that has been done to you, to them. What would you suggest they do?

Until next we meet,

S. Hollisway

Because sometimes forgiveness isn’t a requirement…

Stones,

 

Happy Sunday. I am sending vibes to everyone that they are able to reset for the week ahead, accomplish all they want, and become one step closer to self-actualization. Maslow may have been on to something.

So the topic of the day: Forgiveness. This is a very difficult topic to approach because I feel like there are so many stipulations and conditions when it comes to forgiveness. This begs the question, what is true forgiveness?

According to Dictionary.com, to forgive means to,

“stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake”

-Dictionary.com

To keep this post short I will not bother defining “angry”, “resentful” “offense” “flaw” and “mistake”. Another reason is that everyone’s trauma is different and words have different meanings to different people. So I guess the next question would be “Is there such thing as an unforgivable offense?” I personally believe there are many, but before I get into those I have to address the fundamental issue I have with the whole idea of forgiveness.

Society has been conditioned to believe that forgiveness is not for the offender but for the offendee, that if the person who was hurt forgives the person who did the hurting then all will be right with the world. Their chi will be realigned, cosmic karma forgiven and all will be at peace. Here is where the issue comes in; forgiveness doesn’t guarantee that the pain will stop. Forgiveness doesn’t take away the scars, both physical and or emotional. Forgiveness does nothing to take away the pain that they cause. Forgiveness is a misconstrued belief that letting go of anger will somehow erase the pain and makes you the “bigger person”.

This begs the question, “What is the bigger person?”. I think a more important question would be why do the people who hurt you deserve to be pardoned under the guise that it will somehow eliminate the pain. Why do they deserve grace? I’m sure that holding onto vengeful hatred for minor offenses can be tiring but who is anyone to decide if they are “minor” or not? People don’t get to decide what hurts you and what doesn’t. Your pain is valid and your pain is real.

This brings me to my next point, not everyone deserves forgiveness. Some crimes only the God of your understanding can forgive and even that’s too generous for some. Offenders are not entitled to your forgiveness, they aren’t entitled to forgiveness. If you should decide to let go of all the “anger” and “resentment” that is at your discretion and your choice. You don’t have to be forced to relinquish any feelings that you hold at all. Your feelings are yours. Your feelings are valid. They matter and so do you. Choosing to forgive your brother after he said a mean thing to you is just as much your choice as refusing to forgive him. Refusing to forgive your abuser doesn’t make you any less of a “bigger person” then acting as if they don’t exist.

My call to action

Refuse to enable toxic people. The people who hurt you are not owed anything, forgiveness included. If you should choose to forgive someone, more power to you. Do not let your grace be taken for granted. That’s all for now.

Exist and Bleed,

S. Hollisway

Because sometimes flaws should be celebrated…

Stones,

I am proud to announce that as of January 17th, 2020, I have been clean from narcotics for 4 years. I got my 4-year chip. It’s a grudge match every day to make the decision to stay clean. That’s why addicts are always addicts. Some are active and others are in recovery.

I began abusing narcotics when I was 12 years old. I have a lot of chronic pain conditions and in the early 2000s, doctors weren’t as diligent about giving Oxycodone and Percocets to a minor as they are now.

Anyone who says that addiction is a “choice” has no understanding of human nature.

I do not say this as an insult. I do not say this to attack anyone. I say this as pure fact. No one wakes up thinking, “You know what, life is going way too easy. Let me try [insert drug of choice here].” That’s not how it works. People use drugs to numb pain, plain and simple. There was a lot going on in my life at that time. A lot of abuse, sexual assault, bullying, and then, of course, the normal troubles that come with being a preteen. I could not cope. I began self-harming and knew how to hide it. Before the obvious is suggested, therapy wasn’t an option at the time.

When going through all that physical and emotional and mental pain, it became impossible to differentiate between was physical and what wasn’t. Eventually, it all just melted together and the emotional pain became physical. Simply put, I was always in a lot of pain. Eventually, after seeing so many doctors and being a bit on the advanced side, I learned how to finesse doctors out of the good stuff. Dilaudid was absolutely amazing and made everything go away and being numb was the ultimate goal. Luckily, I’m allergic to Morphine or I’d probably be addicted to Heroine.

Things got a bit trickier when the side effects of the pain medications led to the prescription of Benzodiazepines. So now I’m cross buzzed reaching dangerous levels of numbness and an ever-building tolerance is developing faster than I can manipulate a doctor out of my favorite candy. The pressure began to build when I began my mental health journey and got more prescriptions for more complex benzos, the dosage changing every two weeks. Who was I to refuse?

In 2014, I admitted to myself that I had a problem and tried to get help. As a struggling addict, I knew to ask for help. However, as a struggling addict, I was not prepared to turn down 120, 1-milligram tablets of Ativan prescribed to me by a negligent, arrogant new psychiatrist. Then I overdosed on Ativan and tried to stay away. August 24, 2014, I tried to kill myself and I thought things would get better because I thought that was my rock bottom. And then life got harder.

So I’d continue this pattern of starting and stopping until 2016. I was with this man that I loved, and I thought loved me. But he was abusive, mentally ill, and an addict. He didn’t want to get better. I wanted to get better I also wanted to be with him and unfortunately, those two things could never be mutually exclusive. Because I was born with crippling soul-crushing anxiety, I always did what would be considered “downers”. I, to this day, can’t comprehend people who do amphetamines. Who wants to be that high?

My husband at the time loved what would be considered “uppers”. Crack, coke, bath salts, things of that nature. He and another friend of mine would get together and toss back ten Ritalin pills each and then snort five more. (Snorting: another thing I don’t comprehend). As the peer pressure mounted, I gave and tried. They did ten so I figure I could do it too. Why not, right? This was the absolute best and worse decision I’ve ever made in my life.

I could not sleep for three full days. My heart was humming like a motor, on steroids. I was sweating profusely, rocking back in forth praying for sleep, wondering why the carpet was moving like an ocean. I ended up being hospitalized for amphetamine-induced psychosis. It was bad, but I’ve been clean ever since. Not saying I haven’t been tempted, but I never want to feel like that ever again. Being numb works for a while, but no one can thrive numbly. They can’t even really survive. They just exist in a familiar nothingness.

My call to action

Celebrate the small wins. The small feats that occur every day. We are not perfect. Perfection does not exist. Let us strive for progress, the more attainable and rewarding. Every day won’t be perfect, but the possibility of progress should make it worth it. That’s all for now.

Exist and Bleed,

S. Hollisway