Thursday, October 30, 2014

Recovery Post Workplace Abuse: Appearances are deceiving.

Me on a a good day.  I appear to have it all together.
(at the World Wide Knit in Public Day last spring)

I've learned many things on this journey.  Some I've already written about in earlier - much earlier - posts, yet it appears that there is always something else coming down the pike to learn.  Just as the journey is ongoing and doesn't seem to ever stop or end, so goes the learning curve.  There is always something new to learn on this journey.

As I've written in an earlier post, during this time frame I've been thinking about friends.  Not just how to be a friend, as I wrote about in an earlier post about a woman who not only impacted me greatly in a positive sense by being my friend when I needed one but also by teaching me how to be a friend.

I've been thinking seriously about friends because of an experience I had during this past year.  I tried to be a friend to someone.  Someone hurting.  Someone who badly needed a friend.  I thought that with all the things I've learned on the journey of recovery that I could walk with her and help her in her journey towards recovery from her life circumstances.

It didn't happen.

The relationship turned out badly and I eventually had to walk away from this hurting person, hurting her even further in the process (which I'm not proud of).  I learned that I'm not as strong as I thought I was.  While I may have been strong enough to walk with her on her journey, I was not strong enough to carry her.  Heck!  I can't even carry myself!  Even hubby can't carry me.  Nor would I expect him too.

Yes, I have had an amazing amount of recovery, but there are still those pesky weak spots within my make up.  Those "Achillies' heels" in my makeup which make me vulnerable in some ways.

I learned something important during this time frame.  Appearances are deceiving.  To the outside eye, a person who doesn't know me, where I've come from, my struggles, etc., I appear pretty good.  In the vernacular:  I clean up pretty good.

To the panhandler on the street, I look like a good target - especially when I'm having a good day and have that bright smile on my face.  One of the luxuries I've managed to keep during this sojourn through trauma and drastically reduced financial income is my once-every-eight-week hair appointment with a good stylist.  So, unless I'm coming due for another session with her, I look pretty good together, even on days when I'm wondering if I have the strength to get on the bus and go back home.

When I'm having a good day, I come across as being very positive.  Being a woman who knows, in a positive sense, who she is.

I bought lots of nice clothes, etc. when I was still working and had money to spend, and I enjoy wearing them now.  In short, I don't look like someone whose life is a daily struggle to recover, to get on top and stay on top.  To the uninitiated, I look like I have it all.

Similarly, to this person who I tried to cultivate as a friend, I had things she didn't have - and wanted badly.  Friends.  A support system.  Family.  Most of all, a husband.

I tried to explain to her that it wasn't always like this.  I've worked hard for years on these relationships.  I've been with a competent therapist for seven years now paying every single cent of her fee from my own pocket with no outside help.  Because recovery is that important to me.

Things haven't magically or mysteriously fallen into my hand.  I've worked hard for every single particle of recovery I've experienced.  At some points I've worked on recovery 24/7 - and gotten weary.  Yet, I've persevered.

Because. It. Is. That. Important.

As I've healed and gotten slowly stronger, I've been able to go out and do things with hubby. Things I enjoy - like taking pictures.  Things which help in the healing process.  Outings which provide good memories to think back on.  Positive things.  To the outside observer, with our bantering behaviour, etc., we appear like any other middle-class, "mature" couple.  No one would guess the journey we've been through on this road to recovery from emotional trauma.  Not unless we clued them in.

Four projects - one hat and three headbands - being blocked
Then there's the right brain stuff.  I'm a left brain type of person.  My mind is constantly active.  Thinking.  Analyzing.  Trying to make logical sense out of the illogic that happened to me in the workplace.  Without some sort of intervention or therapy, I will never get any rest from this constant onslaught.  Therefore, I knit.  I crochet.  I write.  I watch DVDs.  I take pictures.

I blog.

I do these things not because I can financially not work and, therefore, am able to indulge myself in my "hobbies", but because this is the way I stay sane.  This is the way I work through all of the turmoil.  I find peace when I've got those needles in my hands.  When I see the finished product, I feel like I've accomplished something.  When I place an article I've made in a loving home, I feel like I've contributed something to the outside world.  It helps me see that I have value.  I have worth.  And there's always another project - or two or three - in my mind to start when the current one is finished.

The latest project on my needles (photo taken just a few minutes ago):  a Santa hat
Appearances are deceiving.  Very deceiving.  No one lives a charmed life.  I hope I haven't just busted your balloon with these words that no one lives a charmed life.  But it's true.

Life happens, no matter what we've planned.

Until next time (hopefully tomorrow)....

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