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Sunday, March 30, 2014

When Life Kills You...But Leaves You Breathing...Then What? (My Story) Pt 2

"I've never fooled anyone. I've let people fool themselves. They didn't bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn't argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn't." -Marilyn Monroe

~The Actress Emerges~

If you have already read Part One then you can likely see the direction this is going, if not, get caught up and then come on back. Let's jump ahead to my first job, and all of the other firsts that came along with it. I was hired at a quick service restaurant chain a few months before graduating high school. This job would become my escape. You see I started high school not knowing anyone and for the most part everyone had already had their cliques defined before the first day of school. I had friends, and a best friend, but was never part of a group. I had the church and my church friends, but they all had "pastor's daughter" expectations and had me up on a  pedestal that no one would be comfortable on, I don't know, maybe I was afraid of heights. However, now I had a new job, where people were coming and going all the time, a fresh start where no one knew who I was or where I came from, and for the first time I had an opportunity to create whatever Jocelyn I wanted. However, in my attempt to create whatever Jocelyn I wanted, I found I continued my trend of being whatever Jocelyn I thought everyone else wanted, because at the root of my brokenness was the simple desire to make everyone happy. Now I realize most people will read that and think, 'Most people want to make people happy,' and although I believe that to be true I can assure you I am an extreme case. I will do my best to portray that to you.

I greatly enjoyed my first several months at my job, I was making a decent amount of money and my hard work was being recognized by management and I was moving up quickly. I wanted to learn all the different positions (in part because each new position had a raise that went along with it). I found myself offering to stay after my shift and work for free-off the clock for the managers that would let me. At the time I didn't realize how bad this could have been, but the mangers looked good because they were running better labor with an extra body and I was able to move up faster than others. It was all fine and dandy until the flirting started... I cannot properly explain to you how naive I really was to the world, men, and relationships. Therefor I was intrigued by all this attention I was suddenly receiving that I didn't get much of at my high school since I wore the wrong brands and didn't care. Don't get me wrong, it's not like every male in our store was hitting on me, but let's just say there was more than one and less than five and two of them were managers and one was a manager trainee. I believe I was hired in March or April of 2000, and what innocence I had was removed before the end of that year.

~First Illusion of Love~

I'm a sucker for smiles. Always have been and always will be. I can still picture his, although it does't make me feel like it used to. I wasn't quite 18 when we started talking on the phone and hanging out, and he was 23. I can tell you it wasn't long after I turned 18 that I gave him all I had to give. I really thought I wanted to. I really thought he deserved it. I wanted to make him happy so badly, I gave and gave and gave. I memorized his favorites of everything and made mental notes to reference later. He had an insane amount of power over me, and he had never even spoken the words I love you. Don't get me wrong, this was in the land of pagers, so I got the 143 page here and there, but that was the extent of it. He made me laugh and lots of girls had crushes on him at work, so there was my satisfaction, maybe he didn't say he loved me (I was certain he did), but everyone wanted him and he was only kissing me, (I was certain he was). I had been warned for months by several people at work when suspicions started arising, but I just assumed they were jealous and proceeded on. He is also the reason why I first began smoking, because he smoked and one night I just grabbed one of his and started smoking it in an effort to mold myself into something even more convenient.
        One day my store manager called me into the office and asked me if I would like to take a special opportunity to go open a new store up north in Chico, Ca. I would be there at least two weeks, maybe longer, and I would get to train new associates and work tons of overtime. I was interested, but two weeks just seemed so long to be away from "him." I had some time to think about it so I figured I would do just that. I didn't yet have a car and I still lived at home with my parents so the idea of making extra money sounded really good. Things got a little more complicated when I found out that 2 weeks before I would potentially be going to Chico, he was now going to be going out of town as part of his management training program for a week. There would only be a few days in between before I would have to leave. I stalled as long as I could because I still didn't know what to do. It wouldn't be long before I got my answer.
       He went on that training week, and called me both of the first two nights. The third night I called him and he answered and was drunk in what sounded like a bar. The fourth night I didn't hear from him at all. His last day there on of my mangers not-so-kindly informed me that I was being a pathetic and ignorant girl if I thought he actually cared about me. He then proceeded to tell me that he had heard from the Asshole who had "hooked" up with an associate in the store where he was working. I went home early from work that day. I had not a clue as to how to deal with this. So, I started the next trend that I would become so very good at, running. I called my store manager and told her I couldn't wait to go to Chico.

~From Cracked to Broken~

      It was November, the car I drove the 300 miles to Chico had a non-functioning heater, an 8 track player, bench seats (that were very comfortable), and a cigarette lighter for each seat. Allow me to paint you a picture: If you recall the song Love Shack by the B-52's, you'll likely remember a lyric that says, "hop in my Chrysler it's as big as a whale and it's about to set sail!" I'm quite certain they were referring to this car. So I sailed along the 99 freeway headed north with no idea how this trip would forever impact my life. I had been hiding my newly acquired smoking habit from my parents for a few months at that point and continued to do it even though the reason why I started was no longer relevant. I remember every time I wanted to cry I would just grab another cigarette and force the tears back, (add it to the list of new trends started that year). The first few days were like nothing I had ever experienced. We worked insanely hard for 12-14 hours a day or sometimes longer, then walked back across the street to the hotel the company had set us all up with. The trouble with this scenario is that you've got 20+ people typically between the ages of 18-25 that probably haven't met before for the most part, making a great deal of money, and wanting to party in between. Party we did. I was so ignorant and inexperienced when it came to everything about that world. I had TASTED beer like maybe five times before going on that trip, and to the best of my knowledge I hadn't been really drunk before then either.
     My fourth night there about 10 of us had all gathered in one room after the longest day thus far. We drank, we smoked, (cigarettes and pot), we laughed, we forgot about life. What happened next would change me forever.
     I remember when I started feeling not so hot. I looked around the room and there were about five others still going strong after several hours of non-stop "partying." I could feel myself swaying back and forth and I was fairly certain the room wasn't moving. I stumbled over to one of the beds and sat down and held my head in my palms. Sounds sort of blended into a loud, monotonous humming sound. Everything was spinning at that point and I knew I needed to get back to my room. My brain kept sending messages to the rest of my body, my body wasn't getting those messages. I don't remember hearing anyone leave, but as it would turn out, they all left, all but one guy. I sat frozen, my mind wanted so badly to leave but I absolutely could not move. I don't know if it was the combo of the beer and pot, or just the amount of the beer, but I had full awareness of everything that transpired in that hotel room and zero physical control over it.
    His hands pushed my shoulders to the bed and he swung my legs up on it as well. I remember thinking at first, "oh my gosh, he saved me," because I wanted to lay down so badly. The room spun violently and everything was in slow motion. I thought he was just going to let me sleep, that is until he pulled my shirt up saying only, "Let's see what's under here." Alarms went off so loudly in my mind I couldn't think straight at first. Slow motion turned to a much faster speed and he had my pants off. I felt warm tears pouring out of my eyes as I begged him not to. I pleaded with him not to bother, that I wasn't even good. I told him I didn't know what I was doing. When I realized it was far too late for any of that, I just repeated, "Stop, please just stop," between gasps for air. He laughed and kept convincing me that he was "really good," and that I could thank him later. Slow motion returned and I felt almost every kind of pain a human being can experience. I will spare you the details since I have family members that read this and I don't want to put the images in their mind, but it was sick, demented, painful, and seemingly never-ending. Eventually I passed out I suppose. I awoke before he did, grabbed my pants and ran down the hall to my room without even putting them on.
     I showered until I realized I wasn't going to wash this off. Not ever. Ready for the salt in the wound? I still had to work every day with that piece of shit for the next 2 weeks. I didn't tell a soul because I didn't think I could. I was 18 and I didn't want to get everyone in trouble since obviously they were supplying minors with alcohol, plus there had been issue of the drugs. I didn't want to lose my job and I didn't want anyone else to either. I couldn't justify it in my mind. I blamed myself to an extent which happens sometimes in these situations. The remainder of the time I spent in Chico, Ca was my own little slice of hell. I can still hear his laugh, I can still see his face, and I can still feel all of it.
     I realized I wasn't going to be able to "wash off" what he had done to me, so I spent the rest of my time there trying to erase it. I guess I didn't really know what else to do, which seems so silly now. I'll leave out the details of my erasing activities, but they involved other males. (You get the idea, you're so smart). Guess what, those didn't erase shit. Neither did the tattoo I got. Although, I'm still really glad I got the one I sketched out instead of butterflies like the other 4 girls I went with. Small mercies.
    I returned home from that trip a cold, hardened, broken, tattooed young woman. I stayed that way for a long, long time. I didn't know it at the time but I was extremely afraid. That if it happened once, it could happen again. I wanted to feel safe more than anything, which is why I believe my next relationship was with a 6 foot tall, 300 lb uuuuh Raider fan. A few other things that occurred after this weren't as noticeable. Love and sex were no longer connected for me. Sad isn't it? I mean I suppose some people live that way by choice, not me. I couldn't connect them. Sex was the "job" I did for the people I "loved." Sadly, it would be almost a decade before I actually experienced "making love." Wow.

What if I told you this is still only the beginning.... I know right?? IN-SAN-ITY! I know this wasn't an easy blog to read, especially if you have had an experience like that happen to you. If you have, don't keep it a secret. It ate me alive. I didn't tell a soul until my younger sisters were in high school and I was worried about them being naive at parties. It took a decade to tell my own mother. Don't do what I did. Get help, talk to someone, report it. Do all of the things I didn't do that made healing so much harder. It's not your fault, and don't ever believe it is. It is NEVER ok for someone to take something like that from you, never.  There is so much more I want to say about this part of my story but I'm saving it for the "wrap up" blog that will connect all the dots. The most important thing that happened is this traumatic event made me into an actress in a roll I never really knew I was playing. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense now, but it will. 
Now that we've gotten through that mucky muck stuff, go take a load off, turn on something hilarious on Netflix, or scroll through stupid cat memes and lighten your mood a bit. Part 3 of my story is inevitable and eventual, but it might take a few weeks to pour it out into words. At the end of the day I think most of us just crave being understood. We have an unspoken and sometimes subconscious desire to be assured we aren't alone. That's why I'm sharing my story with you. That's why I relive the hardest moments of my life. As I was going through all of it there were so many times I felt so very alone. I'm sure you have felt or still feel the same. If you get nothing else out of this story, get this: you aren't alone. Maybe I can't give you a big hug while you tell me your own story (although I totally would), and I can't put myself in your exact shoes, but I can assure you that you're not as alone as you think you are. 

To be continued....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Breaking the Habit to Fix What's Broken

"I don't know what's worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream
I don't know why I instigate
And say what I don't mean

I don't know how I got this way
I know it's not alright
So I'm breaking the habit
I'm breaking the habit tonight"

-Linkin Park

This is likely going to be one of my most personal blog posts to date. Don't get me wrong, all of my words are honest and from the heart always, but this one is more of a declaration in regards to my future as opposed to an understanding about my past. That being said, let's do this thing. 

  1. regularly repeated behavior pattern:an action or pattern of behavior that is repeated so often that it becomes typical of somebody, although he or she may be unaware of it
  2. attitude:somebody's attitude or general disposition

We all have them, big ones and small ones, good ones and bad ones, they are present in all of us. I am truly a creature of habit...if I spent a day of "awareness" and tried to document all of mine, I think I'd even surprise myself. Just off the top of my head I can tell you that every time I get in the car I do the exact same things:

-Puts purse on passenger seat
-Starts the car
-Puts on seatbelt
-Plugs phone into car charger
-Adjusts radio/music until I find something suitable
-Then and only then do I proceed to put my car in reverse

I do these exact things every time without fail, whether I'm running late or just heading to the market. Habits. It's as if I couldn't operate my vehicle without performing these few steps, and honestly it would feel extremely wrong if I tried to do so. 

Obviously I didn't decide to write this blog because I'm concerned with my pre-driving routine. I like it. It's comfortable. It's not hurting anyone so stop your judging! (Ha) I decided to write this blog because it has become painfully obvious to me that I have a few much more serious habits that have altered my life in ways that I'm not necessarily proud of, and that typically leave me sad and disappointed. My hope is that maybe you will recognize some of these behaviors in yourself that you may not have been aware of, and that in some way your quality of life will improve. (That's always my goal- JFox's Mission Impossible: Save the Brokenhearted World). This isn't going to be easy for me, as typically I write about things that have been done TO me and my reaction to them. This will be an honest confession of MY wrongs, against others, but more so myself. Bare with me...

Habit One:
Filling the void without healing the hurt. 

I started this habit at 18 and it's one of the most common trends I see around me. It doesn't matter if you're the dumpee or the dumpor, break ups take a toll on you. Period. I believe humans are co-dependent by nature. We are born that way and some of us grow out of it more than others. You get used to having your significant other there even if you aren't happy. If the relationship had any sort of longevity, this person knows many of your favorite things and your pet peeves, and you've probably even gotten comfortable enough to pee in front of them. You've invested time, money, and your heart. When it ends, there's a part of us that goes into panic mode: "Who am I going to tell about my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day now? Who am I going to send those ridiculous cat memes to all day long? Oh. My. Gah. I can't just pee in front of someone else...not ever again!" We all have our own different panic lists, but we all panic nonetheless. Ok, so the theory is we should all panic, hurt, grieve, heal, THEN find our new Pee Mate. The problem is, a lot of times we panic so much that we rush out and try and replace the empty feeling before we deal with all of the other steps. Big. Problem. Some people call this a "rebound." I don't care what you call it, I call it unhealthy or a bandaid. Want to know how I know? Because I'm 31 and single because every time I lost a Pee Mate I replaced him with a new one before healing on my own. I'm not saying that these relationships won't work out, I'm sure a few of them do, but they won't start on healthy ground. You absolutely have to fill the void within yourself before jumping into something new. It's unfair to you and your Bandaid otherwise. "Oh hi there Bandaid, I'm a lot of fun and reeeeeally loveable. My ex? Oh. We just didn't work out. I'm soooooo over it. Here can you hold all my baggage while I pee? K thanks." Un-freakin-fair. 

Habit Two:
Putting new Pee Mate on a pedestal and making him (or her) my main focus and priority. (Even at the expense of my sanity).

In other words, I study them harder than the SATs. I learn all their favorite everythings and make them feel spoiled. I've always done this, it's a starvation tactic I think. "I want you to love me so bad and so much that I'm going to make myself into what I think you'd love most." I basically become a groupie. I feel this is something I've always done because at the time I'm craving love so deeply. My heart was hurting and I fed the craving instead of working my way through the hurt. It's really shitty all around for so many reasons! My friends suffer because I suck at replying to text messages while in a relationship. My work suffers because I'm all consumed by this new Super Hot Better-Than-The-Last-One Bandaid. Mr Bandaid suffers because eventually I burn out and wake up one day and realize "I reeeeeeally hate your small little POS dogs waaaaay more than I thought I did, and now I resent you and despise them." Lastly, I suffer. That leads us into my third habit.  

Habit Three:

I suffer because I put every aspect of my life on hold trying to cling to something would probably have been fine on it's own had I been healthier in the first place. I do this because I'm craving love and wanting my void filled. I continue to tell Mr Bandaid about my goals, dreams, and aspirations, but I'm so busy trying to help him achieve his that I don't spend any time on mine. I stop running. I stop working on my books and blogs. I stop reading because I'm spending all my wind-down time listening to him talk about his horrible day, or figuring out what super awesome girl friend thing I can do for him next. I stop being everything that is me, everything that I love, because I have made him my focus. My last relationship was just under 3 years. At any given time I couldn't tell you what the last chapter was I had been working on in my book, but I could tell you every one of his decathlon PRs. I couldn't have told you how many miles I ran over any given month, but I knew his class schedule. You see where I'm going with this? Because I always put all of my eggs in a Bandaid's basket, their every move affects me. I'm sure you're reading this and probably thinking, "What a hot ass mess," and you know what, you would be right. Before.... Winds are changing. 

Honestly, my heart is still shattered. Six single months may not seem like a long time to you, but this is the longest I have been single in my adult life. This time, it's my choice. This time the hurt was so deep, and so debilitating the dating world seems unappealing. I've sampled it a bit here and there and met a few really nice guys, but I picked them apart, or I met some not so nice ones and they left on their own accord when they didn't get what they wanted. Here's what I'm realizing:
-I'm not ready. 
-I'm not healed. 
-I have too many bad habits. 
-Guys are horndogs. 
-Heartbreaks heal at a pace we don't have complete control over. 

So, now that I've unloaded lots of my crap on you, I bet you're wondering what the point of all this is. I'm breaking the habit. That's the point.... In theory most say it takes 21 days to break or start a habit. Well, I'm one stubborn and strong willed hot ass mess (just ask my mother), so I'm going to double it. Here's the declaration:
For the next 42 days my focus will be on me. My life, my goals, my dreams. I refuse to add another Bandaid to my life list. I will give myself more time to heal while tuning out the loud voice nagging at me to fill the void faster. I will spend time with my friends and family. I will do the things that I enjoy regularly because I enjoy them. I will be alone, not lonely, just alone. I will read at least 2 or 3 of the books I have been saving. (Mr King is calling my name right now in fact). I will write. I will run. I will focus on my job and getting to that next step that will so drastically change my life. I will learn to love myself. That's the biggest AH HA moment of them all you know...when we get rejected we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves. When you are repeatedly rejected you can begin to believe it. I used to be very self deprecating, but that's because I allowed someone else's opinion of me define my worth. That is just so wrong! I mean, I'm pretty awesome and if you're reading this you obviously are too. When you learn to love yourself just as you are the right person will love you back. I truly believe that. 

So 42 days of self focus and self improvement, that's a big deal. In fact, this is probably the biggest challenge I've ever placed upon myself. I'm committing to myself to break the bad habits while creating new and improved ones. I'm doing this for myself and my future Pee Mate who deserves a whole Jocelyn, not just the leftover pieces some asshole left behind. ( bad, my bitter is showing...guess I'll work on that too. I'm thinking yoga...). 

I challenge you to look at your own life, single or not. We all have self destructive habits that we would be better off without. Look on the bright side, you're not alone. I'm here fighting my way through this as well. We can be self improving cranky messes together!! At the end of the day (or 42 of them to be exact), maybe we will be where we need to be or maybe we won't, but we will be a lot closer than if we just sat back and continued the bad habit trend. I don't have all the answers and I also don't expect Mr Right/Prince Charming/Christian Bale to come knocking on my door on day 43. You see, this isn't about him. Not at all. This is about me! (Although, Mr. Bale, if you're reading this, you've had a place in my heart since Newsies, which is basically longer than any other man so know where to find me.) As for now, consider this my declaration of being single and not ready to mingle. So there's that. 

The journey begins :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blood, Wounds, and Cruise Control

"Alas! There are some wounds that cannot be wholly cured, " said Gandalf.
"I fear it may be so with mine," said Frodo. "There is no real going will not be the same; for I shall not be the same."

I do believe some wounds never heal. Not really anyway. We just learn to adapt to them being there. They become a part of us just like a freckle upon our skin. Some are small and become almost unnoticeable to even the most keen eye. Sometimes we even forget they are there until something sparks an emotion within us and we are forced to be reminded, but even when that happens it's only like a little bee sting on the pain scale. However, some wounds are deep and we feel them daily. Life continues, but so does the hurt. We don't operate quite the same as we did before because fierce pain changes us. We guard the part of ourselves that has been wounded and it requires an unimaginable level of trust for these parts to be shared with another. We go on because unfortunately, we don't die from a broken heart. This doesn't mean we are incapable of love. It simply means that we have to be more selective and cautious while waiting for the one who isn't afraid of our bleeding wounds. Wounds don't mean you're broken, they mean you've been broken and survived. You're still capable of loving and being loved, you will just love differently next time. That's ok, no two loves are the same and that's the way it should be. I myself, have wounds of all shapes and sizes, and only one or two still bleed, and I expect they will for quite some time. Perhaps, in some ways, forever. They didn't kill me, I'm still breathing, and they don't scare me. The size and severity of the wound is directly proportionate with how great you loved. The good news about that is my last wound is the largest and most painful. Lots. Of. Blood.  (I bet that doesn't sound like good news does it?) The reason why that's beautiful is because that means my other previous wounds didn't stop me from loving an extraordinary amount. I'm not broken, I'm just bleeding. I'm fully capable of loving again, and even harder, when the time is right, blood and all. I think the world has us running around seeking this illusive thing called closure. It took me my entire adult life to finally realize that sometimes there is no such thing. There is just moving on, with or without blood. Recognizing that there is no humongous, bullet-proof door that closes off the pain can be one of the most liberating things. It is ok to hurt, do you understand what I'm saying? You don't need to coast through life on cruise control with tunnel vision blocking out the world just waiting for a door to slam so you can have your Jerry Maguire Free Fallin' moment. Have that moment now! Get your Tom Cruise on! (That is the one and ONLY time I will ever say that.) Hurt. Cry. Laugh. Sing. All of the above in any order until the blood doesn't scare you anymore. The sooner you accept and embrace your bleeding wounds, the sooner you will find someone else who does as well, and loves you BECAUSE of them. I believe this with all my heart. So turn off that cruise control and put the pedal to the metal! Live. As soon as you start living again, love will find it's way back to you. I'll bet my heart on it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Dark || Part One

She kept it locked away, The Dark. It had scared the others. Tears hidden from the world, smile proudly on display. She shone bright like the afternoon sun reflecting on a calmest sea, beautiful at first, but blinding if you stare deep into it for any length of time. For just below the surface of sparkling smiles and intoxicating laughter was The Dark. Hurts, failures, bruises and lost heart pieces were best kept deep below to be lost and hopefully forgotten, washed away with the sands of time. She had learned well that even those with the purest of intentions couldn't handle what would rise to the surface when the tough storms rolled through. The wreckage from The Dark always sealed her fate. Thus after the storms passed and she found herself alone again, she let The Dark sink back to her lowest places and vowed to keep it there.