Because sometimes scars tell all…

Stones,

Last week I talked about suicide and it turned out to a pretty relevant topic that made for a pretty well-received blog post. Today I want to talk about another topic that is sensitive but desperately needs to be discussed:

Self harm.

I think the reason that fewer people take this as serious is because of the stigma of an angsty, “emo” teen slitting their wrist blasting “alternative” music when they don’t get their way. But the issue is so much deeper than that. Self-harm can look like a lot of things. It could range from moderate things like scratching, cutting, burning, and pulling out one hair to as severe as causing broken bones. It varies from person to person but doesn’t lessen the severity.

I remember when I first started cutting. I was around 12 and when my grandmother found out she took me to my pediatrician and told her that I was cutting. I’m not quite sure what my grandmother was expecting but I don’t think either of us was expecting what my doctor said next. She equated cutting to smoking, in the way that they were both addicting stress relievers. Once you get stressed out, you have to do the action again to relieve that stress. She then said that we have to find better-coping skills.

Things went back and forth over the next few years, I had really good months when I’d be fine. Then there were other times where my arm barely had time to heal before I was adding more scar tissue. Things hit a head during one summer but I think the lowest point was having my grandma clean my wounds after I had cut and then fell asleep because I had drained myself of all my energy.

We never talked about that night after that. If we had I wonder how that conversation would have gone. The only thing she ever said really in regards to the subject was that I was going to get an infection. I feel like at that point sometimes I would cut just to prove her wrong. I always used clean razors but cheap never the good one because was a waste of money. Looking back now I can see how easy it would have been. Funny how hindsight is 20/20 when you can look back and realize how misguided you were.

Now at almost 26, I can say that I’ve have self-harmed in a while. Most of the superficial cuts have faded away. I am however left with a very unsightly burn mark a year ago when I couldn’t find any razors. As much as I really don’t recommend self-harm, self-harming out of desperation is even less of a good idea. I’m lucky that this is the only real damage that I’ve sustained after all these years. If I had the chance I’d go back and talk to that confused and traumatized little girl.

A lot of times things like this aren’t talked about. How would one even approach the subject? Typically the times when you have to have these talks an incident has already occurred. How can we take a sort of preemptive strike? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Until next we meet,

S. Hollisway

Scarred and Faceless

Because sometimes moms matter…

Stones,

For anyone that is a mother, have you ever been told it’s not about you anymore? Have you been told that it’s all about the baby or the children come first? That your time is over?

Well, let me be the first (or second) to tell you that that is a big steaming pile of crap.

Hear me out!

If you think about it, a child’s first connection is with her mother. They help form their view of the world. So how can you expect them to take care of a child when they aren’t taking care of themselves. You can’t pour from an empty cup. I know I use that saying a lot because it’s true. I have a lot of experience draining myself for the sake of other people.

I remember when I had my son. I was already diagnosed with mental health issues and couldn’t take my medication for 9 months. I was depressed I was suicidal and for most of my pregnancy, I was alone. I was barely coping or keeping it together. I got into a situation with CPS and I couldn’t be with my baby for 11 days. Everyone expected me to be a robot until this situation was over. I wasn’t allowed to go through postpartum or go see a doctor’s determination on what meds I could safely breastfeed on. No one cared. My son became more important.

That’s not to say that he wasn’t important. Of course, he was important. He was and still is the most important person in my life. But how could I be trusted to take care of my son when I didn’t have the time or resources to take care of myself. People are so quick to pick the flower and forget about the roots. Here are some quick statistics for you:

Did you know…

Approximately 70% to 80% will experience, at a minimum, the ‘baby blues’. Many of these women will experience the more severe condition of postpartum depression or a related condition.

The reported rate of clinical postpartum depression among new mothers is between 10% to 20%.

One recent study found that 1 in 7 women may experience PPD in the year after giving birth. With approximately 4 million live births occurring each year in the United States, this equates to almost 600,000 postpartum depression diagnoses.

https://www.postpartumdepression.org/resources/statistics/

I do encourage you to finish the article in its entirety because it does include a lot of helpful information. I also want to inform you that this article was written early in 2019 so can you imagine how those numbers have grown? I can say from personal experience that the mental health field isn’t competent or compassionate towards women. Not all of them mind you, but I’ve encountered enough of them. One time I had a doctor suggest taking Lithium because there was a 1 in 5 chance my firstborn child would be stillborn or serious birth defects. A 20 percent chance was okay with him.

I say all of that to say this. Of course children matter but mama’s matter too. There is no more or less here because I feel as though they are equal. We worry so much about our children, but we need to make sure their moms are okay too.

Until Next we meet,

S.Hollisway

Scarred and Faceless

Because sometimes “No” is necessary…

Stones,

“No” is a full sentence. Use it.”

-Amy Landino

I have a confession to make: I am a people pleaser.

It has been lessened as I grew older but the tendency is still there. This wonderful tendency results in me putting myself into some very interesting situations.

This makes saying “No” very difficult for me. I always feel like my “No’s” warrant an explanation. But in reality, they don’t. None do.

“No” does not require validation and your reasons are your own. In fact, “No” is essential to mental health.

Think about it. How many times have we spread ourselves paper-thin for fear of using “No” that we couldn’t take on any more? How many times have we been taken advantage of or sacrificed our sanity for the sake of doing more for others that we don’t have the time for ourselves?

You can not pour from an empty cup!

You can not give what you don’t have.

I like to remind myself of this before I put myself in these situations. I like to think that it will make saying “No” easier. Sometimes it does, sometimes I lose the battle. I tend to think in extremes, like black and white thinking. I think that “No” is for extreme cases but the little things matter too.

My recent encounter when I should have used the word “No” early on was on a date that I had. Nothing illegal happened but I definitely should have said no earlier. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I shouldn’t have sacrificed my comfort for his feelings.

You don’t have to spent emotionally or physically to use your “No”. The little “No’s” help build up the confidence for situations that require the big “No”. Then there are no people taking advantage of you and no way to be hurt.

Well, that’s the theory. In a perfect world that’s how pain would end. People wouldn’t be afraid to be vulnerable because when someone would step on a boundary a quick “No” would either end a relationship or the relationship would blossom into a healthy tree of respect. What an easy life that would be.

Until next we meet,

S. Hollisway

Scarred and Faceless

The video I got the quote from. Check out the other 34 tips. This video is not sponsored in any way, shape, or form. I am not affiliated with her in anyway, just a fan.

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

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My new logo!

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

Because sometimes we need inspiration…

Stones,

Happy 2020 and fake new year. The world was created. Humans inhabited the Earth. Someone invents time. 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours a day. Cool. 12 months, four different seasons. 12 months divided by 4 seasons would equal 3 months per season. Why in the world would you start a new year in the middle of a season? Insert April 1st being Aprils Fools Day because April 1st is really the beginning of the new year. But I digress, let’s stay on topic.

Welcome to the New Year. It is supposed to be the time of the “New Year, New Me” cliche. I was never immune to it, I fell into that trap every year too. This year, however, I can finally admit to myself that I have no idea who I am. Not a single clue. My entire life I have had my insides brutalized, damaged, and spilled all over the place. So I’ve collected up what I could along with God knows what else along the way, filled myself up, and stitched myself close. Welp, as the years’ have gone by the stitches have begun to wear, and my three-year-old just pulled the string holding me together. So figuratively, my insides have spilled out all over the place. I’m trying to find me in all of this mess and quite frankly, I’ve never felt more lost, vulnerable, and exposed.

Life is complicated. Imagine trying to find yourself when you have no actual time to find yourself. Living is like that job where the only training is on the job, and you have a new trainer every day sometimes really good and sometimes horrible. Living doesn’t pay enough, and the worst part is that it definitely constitutes as face to face customer service. Forced face to face customer service at that. I stand corrected, the worst part is that NO ONE IS DOING THE JOB THEY SIGNED UP FOR.

However in the interest of my word for the decade which happens to be “THRIVE”, I refuse to exist in another decade where:

  1. I am still allowing things to happen to me; and
  2. I have no clue who I am

No more! I refuse to just exist. I am going to THRIVE.

I have so many goals I want to reach. I am 25 years and besides having a kid which let’s be honest isn’t that miraculous, I have nothing to show for being on Earth this long.

Before everyone sharpens their pitchforks, let me clarify. Physically having a child, for most women, is not a huge feat. Being a mother, however, is a different story.

I’d like to leave a lasting impression. Not so much to live in fame or infamy, just impressionable. I’d like a positive lasting impression on everyone I met, but there is no pleasing everyone and good girls don’t make history. I also have the same cape of most social justice warriors so I’m bound to piss at least half the world off. It’s funny how being 25 can make you feel like you’re halfway there and nowhere at the same time. It’s not quite 30 but it’s definitely not 21. But the expectations are there. Expectations from when you were 13 to when you hit the dirty 40, pressure from both sides hitting you right now to achieve the way society wants you to. The madness. When will it all end?

As far as figuring out who I am, I’d love for you all to enjoy the spectacle. There are so many levels to who I am, but for right now I’d love to share this journey with you all of finding out who I am as a writer. I’ve wanted to do so much with my voice and really I’ve just felt like I’ve been squandering my gift. So, I want to throw caution to the wind, bare my soul to the world, and see what I can do if I act as if I cannot fail.

My call to action: Share with me what you are going to do this year as if you could not fail.

It doesn’t matter how big or how small, but maybe by sharing it we can work toward our goals together. Really corny, played out and cliche I know, but I work best when I’m working on behalf of someone else, or I’m accountable to someone. So let’s hold each other’s hands as we take a leap of faith.

Until next Sunday.

Exist and Bleed,

S.Hollisway

Because sometimes projects change….

Stones,

So, I’m so happy I’ve been consistent with posting on my blog thus far. I’ve been having the worlds’ worst case of writers’ block. I can’t write to finish my last book and I can’t be inspired to start the next book. This is getting out of hand. I have never had it this bad before. The only thing that I can write is “I have writers’ block!” Maybe I need to write a book about writers’ block. If only I could write. If you guys have any ideas to help with this let me know in the comments.

So, I may have found a publisher for my first book. The only thing I’m wondering is if I should submit this for the contest portion or should I just submit it just as a regular manuscript. The idea of losing the contest is just horrifying for me, so I might just submit it as a manuscript. However, if I was to win the contest I get an immediate boost as an author and the book gets an immediate boost. I still haven’t made a decision, but what I do know is that I need to finish the book first which I could do if I could just write. UGH! You may be asking how I can finish this blog post if I have such bad writers’ block. Welp, very simply these are just my thoughts.

I have some exciting news. In a few short weeks, I will be launching Hollisway Comforts which is a line of homemade crocheted items made by yours truly. You will be able to buy them on this website in the shop. I will be selling shrugs (sweaters), dolls, rugs, baskets, afghans, scarves, and fingerless gloves. They will be in various colors and then I will stock the stores in batches because it takes a while to make enough of these items.

Okay, that’s all the news I have for the day. Until next we meet.

Bleed and Exist,

S. Hollisway

Pick up Scarred and Faceless Here

Storytelling is important sometimes because…

Stones,

I feel as though storytelling is for the masses.  Certain stories just have a way of resonating with people in a way that benefits them. This is not a happy story.  It doesn’t have a happy ending. It has an ending that is typical because life is typical. Although every story is unique, no story is special in the sense of tragedies. Everyone goes through them. Everyone suffers.

“Life’s a bitch, and then you die.”

-Narrorator of 1000 Ways to Die

Being homeless in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was an adventure, to say the least. I wouldn’t dare use any word synonymous with “enjoyable” nor would I recommend this experience to anyone. It’s almost like going to prison, an experience you would exchange for just about else.

I was one of the lucky ones. I never completely got engrossed in the lifestyle. I had a job, had meager funds to buy things, and wasn’t active in my drug addiction  (over 2 years clean and sober!)

There’s so much to know about being homeless. So many unspoken rules to follow. So many secrets you need to know.

Like I mention before, I had a job.  So I’d wake up, go to work and endure the nonsense of earning a paycheck. I loved my job. It was a break from all the craziness and the politics of being outside.

On days, when I didn’t work, I’d go to the local homeless shelter where you could sleep and eat lunch a noon.  It was like being in school. There were rules that had to be followed and monitored very carefully by staff. There were all sorts of things you could do there. Like take a shower, get clean clothes, get mail, get your hair cut, it was a homeless paradise.  There was also tones of trouble you could get into to, so they kicked us out at.

Then it was back to killing time til Dinner time.

There were always people coming to feed the homeless. Some people were forced to but the majority were just decent people. They’d bring huge spreads with a variety of foods for us too. Granted with the amount of us it wouldn’t last but it was, it was still delicious. After dinner, all there was left to do was kill time until nightfall. And nightfall was when all the drama began.

Nightfall was when the drugs and alcohol came out. It was when all the drama started. There was no shelter to it. The best you could do was stay out of it.  It helped to stay with people who had a sense of immunity to it. Or at least people who favored you enough to keep you out of it. I was lucky.  I ran with people who had jobs as well. People who could separate themselves from the drama. People who took care of themselves. When you are homeless, it’s important to remember to put yourself first and not get absorbed into the world around you.  Always remember, that you don’t want to make this temporary situation a permanent one.

Mine was temporary. After about 3 months, my father invited me to stay with him. Things worked out for a while, but not permanently. My point is every situation, however good or bad is not permanent. Things change in the blink of an eye. Stay ready, and be prepared.

Until next we meet

Breath and Exist,

S. Hollisway

Pick up Scarred and Faceless Here