Monday, November 27, 2017

Music Monday - Vol 3 - James Arthur Recovery

James Arthur - Recovery

James Arthur is a British singer who won the British show  X Factor and fell from grace due to an in appropriate comment he made for which he later apologized.  The song below is more about looking yourself in the mirror: do you like what you see or are you willing to change?  Do you give up or do you try to recover?

Recovery is about sitting down with the truth of ourself and facing the truth about what we are.  We can never recover by running away or ignoring things from our past that bother us.  That's what "Recovery" is all about: sitting down with yourself and coming to terms with what you see.

I take this song personally because when I look at myself and my truth, I don't think I'm always honest with myself, and there are many things in my past that I would like to ignore.  However, if I want TRUE recovery, I am going to have to come to terms with my past.

Partial lyrics to his song are listed below:

I don't wanna play this game no more / I don't wanna play it / I don't wanna stay around here no more / I don't wanna stay here / Like rain on a Monday morning / Like pain that keeps on going

In my recovery / I'm a soldier at war / I have broken down walls / I defined / I designed / My recovery

I love the above verse and how passionately he sings them.  You can just hear the pain dripping from his voice.

I could find no definitive answer on the second stanza listed regarding what it is he "defined" and "designed."  From repeated listening I can only surmise from the intonation of his voice that he is referring to designing his recovery.  My interpretion of these lyrics is that he's become a soldier because he's had to fight and build a recovery for himself and repair his reputation.  He will not be destroyed again by his old self.

As we watch the video, perhaps again,  see if you can determine what he's emoting and how it makes you feel.

It's a simple, stripped, and black and white video that has him in the middle of a circle and the video camera is rotating around him.  What does this basic video add to his message and to his recovery?  I think the simple, encircling aspect of his video highlights how he keeps going round and round and looking at himself in the camera and we do just the same thing by never stopping or looking at ourselves, but if we want to get better, we will have to stare that mirror in the glass and find out what we're made of.

I think because his video is black and white it is symbolic of the truth we discussed earlier.  For the songwriter, it is all or nothing.  It's either recovery or relapse.

What about us?  What if we drown out all the things that get in the way of our recovery?  For me it would be thinspiration pictures or looking online at calories.  It might also be the negative dialogue I tell myself about how worthless I am.  What about you?

I can relate to the idea of building and defining my recovery.   We all have our own path to take and have to build our recovery the best we can.  There is no definitive course that cures us, so we have to define our recovery, face the truth in ourselves, and keep moving forward.

Questions I ask myself: 

Do I truly want to recover?  What does recovery look like?  What does recovery mean and not mean?  What am I willing to sacrifice to work towards recovery?  What will it take to recover?  How can I recover?

I'd like to hear from you.

What are your thoughts on this song?
What are your thoughts on recovery, yours or otherwise?

Friday, November 24, 2017


Maybelline says, "This road trip is making me tired.  I'll just steal Becca's pillow."

’d love to hear from you?

Is self-care difficult for you?
Do you do anything special this time of year to help you cope?

I’m too busy; I don’t want to inconvenience anybody; There just aren’t enough hours in the day; My family will hate me; I don't want to be selfish; Others need me more; My boss expects more of me this time of year.

Have you said those words or others regarding practicing self-care?  The list of reasons not to take care of ourselves this holiday season could go on ad infinitum.

While last week we discussed what the basics of self care are, with this holiday season coming up on us, self-care may not seem as much a priority against the plethora of activities surrounding the holidays.

Trying to recover in good times is difficult; add in family, shopping, food , and the overall chaos that ensues and you have all the elements brewing for a possible emotional breakdown.  And you can’t steel yourself against  or talk yourself out of a breakdown.  The only way to avoid an emotional collapse is to make self-care a non-negotiable prerequisite to the eventual stress.  

Twitter user Mana @fallingstar_x tweeted recently, (used with her permission)

  • “I'm doing the best I can. Well, we are. Just have to get through the holidays. I can fall apart in January, not before, please not before. I'm struggling so much.”  

In response to a couple of my questions asking why she HAD to hold it together, she tweeted,

  • “Because my family has enough to worry about and we're quite busy until after Christmas. I don't want to ruin anything, don't want them to hate me.”

Privately, she wrote to me (also used with her permission):

  • During Christmas I always freak out and relapse. Nothing seems to help during that time and I'm really busy finding something I can do when I get overwhelmed, without offending my family . . . “

I would offer that Mana’s response is not uncommon.  

However, I wonder if families would really hate another member if they needed some downtime. I also wonder what we might discover if we stepped back from that thinking and really assessed how our loved ones would react to our taking care of ourselves. What if we asked them?

As for me, when I’m with my family and it gets to be too much, I say eff it and go do my own thing.  If I want to be at my optimum, I have to take care of myself, do things for myself, regardless if it inconveniences them or they disapprove.  That’s just the way it is.

Think of animals.  Of course my dog Maybelline comes to mind.  When I rescued Maybelline from the animal shelter, she was neglected, sad, peeking out from downcast eyes, listless, and with no spunk or enjoyment of life.  Now that I’ve been taking care of her, such as taking her for walks, feeding her, rubbing her belly, and playing with her, she is thriving and returns the love in kind with kisses and snuggles.  

The same is true of you.  If you take care of yourself  and practice self-care, you will put yourself in a better position to be balanced, happy, and engaging for yourself and for those close to you.

It is true, however, that our family, friends, and employers may not understand the concept of self-care.  My thoughts are that their approval is not predicated on whether I take care of myself.  Self-care is not selfish or inconsiderate.  It's for preservation. I am reminded of the quote below:

I laugh, but it’s true.  Self-care not only benefits me, but it improves my relationships with others. I can’t imagine how I would handle the world right now if I didn’t have some “me time.”

So when it comes to your sanity this holiday season, think of the benefits below.  Self care:

  • Prevents burnout
  • Makes you more energetic because you feel better
  • Boosts confidence
  • Maintains a healthy relationship with self and others
  • Reduces stress
  • Helps you refocus

Aristotle said we are what we repeatedly do. So if we repeatedly neglect ourselves, we burn out and will probably not be much use to anyone. However, if we repeatedly take care of ourselves, we will be in a position to contribute to the season, to our family and friends, and especially our sanity.

Next week in another addition of Friday Feelings, we’ll explore what to do if we feel we don’t deserve self care.

I’d love to hear from you?

Is self-care difficult for you?
Do you do anything special this time of year to help you cope?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017



Do you have power? What is it? How do you get it? What do you do with it?

Power: The ability to do or act in a particular way to direct or influence others’ behaviors. 

I know in the mental health community, my experiences with power are not dissimilar to others. When I think of power, I am reminded how little power or control it seemed I’ve had over my life, particularly as a child.  Growing up, Birth Mother was more of a “my way or the highway”  type mom.  To say she was controlling and unyielding in her power over me is a generous understatement.  It is only now, decades later, that I am finding the nerve to take back my power and stand up to her.  Recently she told me to be quiet, and I responded to her in a respectful tone to never tell me that again, and immediately she told me to be quiet, and the cycle continued until I left.  As an adult, my mother has tried to take away my power of voice when it is inconvenient to her.  So it is quite understandable that when being abused as a child, I didn’t say no.  I didn’t try to stop it.  I didn't know I could stop it or use my voice to tell because I was taught I had no power. No power at all.

But over time, little by little, I DECIDED and COMMITTED to the belief that people will no longer take my power away from me. I firmly believe if you want to be powerful, if you want your voice to count, if you want to take recovery by the horns and let it lead you to a better life, you have to decide that you will take back your power.  Power is not something that you can acquire by osmosis or wake up one day feeling it in your soul. In order to take back your power, you have to realize to begin with that you are capable of using your power and can take it back by taking small risks, by believing in yourself, and realizing you have power, and so do I.


So when the quote tells me, “This is NOT how my story will end,” I know I am entitled to create a different ending than what my abusers handed me, and I have within me whatever is needed to implement a different ending to my story.  

My abusers created an ending for me, one filled with pain, desperation, helplessness, confusion, dissociation, and hopelessness.  I don’t want to live like that anymore.  So I’m taking my power back, the power that was stolen from me, and I’m screaming out loud, “This is NOT how my story will end.”

I've realized I have the power to fill my life with people I love and that love me.  I have the power to fill my life with happiness and peace.  I have the power to shed my shame and create a version of me that is compassionate and understanding, not just with others but also with myself.  I have the power to eagerly wait and see what great things will happen next. I have the power to make the changes that seem impossible. Most importantly, I have the ultimate power which is to take back my life and recover.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
With my power back where it belongs, my ending can be anything I want it to be, but it will NOT be, now or ever again, written by my abusers. Their show is over.

I'd love to hear from you.

What is your experience with power?
What would you use your power for?
What is one thing you have the power to take back from your abuser(s)?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Music Monday - All about RECOVERING! and FORGIVENESS? Vol 2

Welcome to another edition of Music Monday!  I'll be quiet now because I have a lot to say regarding the following song "Praying" by Kesha.  

Side note:   I don't know why it turned my background white.  All words are my own except when directly quoted.

I'd also love to hear from you.

What songs are you relating to right now?

How do you feel about forgiveness for those whom have hurt you?
What are you struggling with right now?

Kesha - "Praying"

While watching the video and reading the accompanying lyrics, I was all torn up and mentally chaotic. Breaking down and analyzing this song caused me to face my own ideas about recovery and forgiveness.  

"Praying" relates to the bitter legal feud Kesha had with her producer “Dr. Luke” and Sony Records over her claim of manipulation, along with mental, physical, emotional, and sexual assualt at the hands of Dr. Luke.  For four years, she was unable to produce new music until circumstances changed recently, unconnected with the law suit, but which allowed her to put out music again.  

I found myself vacillating over whether I liked or hated this song because I don’t necessarily agree with the totality of the song's premise or message.  But I don’t want  to only share with you my choices and my beliefs.  I trust you, the reader and listener, can do your own thinking and decide on the  message and the impact this song has on you. I definitely would love to get your reaction. The video is below, and afterwards I break down the lyrics and offer my analysis.

Partial lyrics to her song are listed below.

Well, you almost had me fooled / Told me that I was nothing without you

I begin with embracing her thoughts about almost being fooled.  Don’t we grow up with our abuser(s) lying to us, telling us to keep quiet about what’s happening because no one would believe us anyway?  But Kesha doesn’t fall for it when she says, “You almost had me fooled.”  

Oh, but after everything you've done / I can thank you for how strong I have become

Here comes my reluctance to accept her lyrics regarding thanking her abuser for how strong she’s become.  It’ is MY PERSONAL BELIEF that I don’t owe a thank you to any of my abusers.  Fuck them.  Plain and simple.  I was born strong.  THAT is how I’m still alive, not because of anyone else.

'Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell / I had to learn how to fight for myself / And we both know all the truth I could tell / I'll just say this is "I wish you farewell"
Other than her politelness in “I wish you farewell” where I would have said “Get the fuck out of my life”, I can relate to these lyrics on the level where tells him that her hell is his fault, but she is stronger than he is because she learned to fight for herself.

On a personaI note, I believe we can fight for ourselves.  I don’t need an apology from an abuser to make me feel better, bring me peace, or provide closure for me.  I can fight my own battles, and a contrived apology doesn’t count.
Kesha also writes, “And we both know all the truth I could tell.”  Because she says this before she bids him goodbye, it almost seems to me that this is part of her letting it go, forgiving him and wishing him peace.  I believe she is saying, "I’m not going to rehash it anymore; I’m done with it.  I’m moving on."  
This sentiment of Kesha’s possible forgiveness works nicely into the next lines when she writes,”
Cause I can make it on my own / And I don't need you, I found a strength I've never known / I'll bring thunder, I'll bring rain, oh / When I'm finished, they won't even know your name
Again, I can make it on my with my strength.  And I suspect she’s saying regarding bringing thunder and rain that this is a metaphor for her power. Perhaps she is saying she has the power to bring him down.
And after all this empowerment, she fails and writes what is below,

I hope you're somewhere prayin', prayin' /  I hope your soul is changin', changin' / I hope you find your peace /  Falling on your knees, prayin'

Alot of survivors would debate me on the issue of forgiveness, and that is okay.  Each to his own.  Some feel forgiveness is necessary to move on, some say not so much.  I side with the “not so much.”  I don’t feel forgiveness is necessary to heal.  How can you forgive something or someone that stole your life, your potential.  

I can already hear others telling me forgiveness is about you, not about the other person.  I can understand this line of thinking and even agree to some extent.  However, my convictions on forgiveness are not in line with that.  So when Kesha is singing,” I hope your soul is changin’, changin’, / I hope you find your peace”, I just want to scream, “Oh, hell no!”  While I wouldn’t want my abusers to hurt others, I want them to stay the same evil people they are; I don't wanting them finding peace because they don't deserve it. I haven't even found peace, why should they. In addition, my feelings are partly due to reactions I have that if they did change and repent, I might feel obligated to forgive them, and that’s not something I want to deal with.

Kesha has said in an open letter on that “this song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you.” Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.  No way will I try to understand the evil of an abuser.

On a positive not, Kesha has found inside her the ability to fight her way out of her depression and mental anguish.  She has been through something anguishing and come out the other side, and, as she has said, has found her strength.

While I do have issues with some of her message, I also find it inspirational because there are still issues in my life to overcome and when I see others rising above their personal demons, it makes me think that maybe I can too.

I'd also love to hear from you.

What songs are you relating to right now?

How do you feel about forgiveness for those whom have hurt you?
What are you struggling with right now?

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Always have to start with Maybelline.  She's the beginning and the end of my world.

Today sucks.  I hate today.  I feel depressed because I'm fat.  I am having some distressing gastrointestinal issues going on, and they are wreaking havoc on my body and making me feel fat . . . . which in turn makes me depressed.  So I've been hiding in my apartment all day.

So I thought of one thing that might make me feel better today which is to stop hiding behind an anonymous screen and reveal my picture and identity. 

I’ve been thinking about revealing my identity for a while, but up until 2015 I was studying to be a teacher or working as a teacher, and I didn’t think it would be prudent to expose myself in such a vulnerable way in such an important role.  However, I’m not working now, so I can take more risks, and I’m ready to take some now.  I would say my life is boring and safe right now in many ways.  I’m not taking chances in recovery.  I hold up the same walls to Therapist that I usually do.  I just play it safe and if you always do the things you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten.

And for some reason, I want more now.  I’m hungry for some type of change.  Something to shake up things.  (I don't know who is saying this because it's not coming from me.) I don’t know what change looks like, what it is, or how to get it.  Normally I hate change.  Still do.  And when it comes time to enacting change, I’ll probably avoid it.  But for now I’ll take my first step and reveal my identity.  

So my name is Becca, and these are some of pictures below.

Hi!  I'm Becca and this is my frizzy, curly hair.

Maybelline and I fell asleep together, and Husband was mean enough to take a picture.

Maybelline loves to rest on my chest.  I think it's my heartbeat she likes to hear.

Always snuggling.  She is my world.

1 of 2 pictures without Maybelline.  What can I say?

Well, now you know.  My name is Becca and I have curly hair.  Not quite an NBC reveal, but it will have to do.  I'll change my avatar soon on IG and Twitter.  I invite you to look at my Instagram page @Run_Becca_Run if you would like to see more pictures of me, Maybelline, and all things inspiration.

I'd love to hear from you!

How do you feel about revealing or not revealing your identity?
Does anything scare you about it?