strength of envy

To some it won’t come to a surprise that I am a huge huge gymnastics fan, so you can imagine I am in my glory right now as we celebrate the Olympics to where strength is the key to every success!

I was in gymnastics as a teen, and this sport that takes so much strength has been something of awe-inspiring to me – even as an adult today I am awe-inspired and fill up with adrenaline just watching it.

Something about the strength, determination, dedication, faith and hard work that really just brings out the beauty in the end; that execution in the dismount that slams the result of that hard work of sweat, blood and tears.

I look back at the past 5+ years in healing and I always wonder if I am strong enough, or doing enough hard work to move through the harder moments that come up.

I show up, I work hard, I open wounds that are painful, I reflect, I connect, and I am constantly working around the clock in my healing on this journey.

I sometimes wonder “where is my execution?” Is there beauty in the result? I may not do a back handspring double pike off of a 4 inch apparatus, but I sure sometimes leave therapy feeling like I just did – and sometimes my dismount is a stick, and sometimes I fall.

My therapist is a great coach; someone who has truly been on my side since the very first day I showed up. He helps to ground me in the hard moments, keeps me in connection in the unsureness, and gives me hope, care, and support when I get up after a hard fall! It’s hard work, but I do see the goodness in the work even when the fall hurts.

I have a lot of connection and support that makes the fall a little softer to land on, and sometimes I fall back on that, and sometimes I have a harder time accepting – I always want to be strong and feel as if I can do it – but I realize I sometimes need to fall back on that support.

The past couple of weeks have been of those moments of hard work, tears, and complete rawness of emotions. I have fallen, but I have also gotten back up many times in these past weeks; fighting for what Is right here at the surface right now.

I sometimes think to myself “can I be stronger?” “can I do it better?” “maybe I am not strong enough”.. but I am reminded of where I was, where I am, and where I am heading on this path, and then it all comes back to me.

Yes I am strong, I have been strong since I was the 5 year old child fighting for her life, and I will continue to work through the many challenges this healing brings me; even when I fall – knowing someone will be there with a hand to help me up.

So while I watch the Olympics at all these amazing people who are filled with strength and determination for what it is they are fighting for, I have to remember that even “THEY” fall, and they also get back up.

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taking the risk – breaking the past

This photo reminds me of how writing a blog can feel; you feel open, but still want to back into a dark corner for safety.

I have gone through many trials through my blog this year! I have put my voice out there to speak, and I have told some pretty big  truths!

I have been open and real, I have been honest and sometimes been tearful and unsure of the truth being revealed, but the one thing that holds the most truth is that “I have been me”.

When writing about your healing you are opening up for a world to see, and there are some consequences to that; hard ones, unfair ones, and sometimes very hurtful ones.

Some unfortunate events happened to me at the beginning of the year and unfortunately picked back up and had me in a panic of repeat possible triggers.

I was torn between taking my blog down, keeping it up, making it private, making it password protected, and all the while this was going on, I was obsessively checking the IP stats, the counter, and what was going on in the background – sounds a lot like my past to me.

It reminded me so much of my past as a child – always on watch waiting for the next time to be abused, waiting for the next thing to happen, so I stayed in the closet, went into hiding, and kept watch over everything going on around me.

The past 6 months have been just like that through my blog. I had moments where I was okay and strong and accepted what was there, but then the darkness of my past took over in that panic and I folded!

I have worked so hard through this with my therapist, and today in session, I heard my therapist say something that just clicked, and when I got home, I had the courage and strength to re-upload my blog to the way it was. I was excited, my blog was coming alive again with colors, joy, and happiness! I even left a voicemail for my therapist after session saying “I am bringing the blog to life again”.

Today in session was one of those moments where my therapist and I were standing there, I was in tears talking it out on how much this has been in my way for months now, and he said something that just clicked! It made me cry more, and I was comforted and supported in his words and I heard –

YOU, ARE A POWERFUL PERSON! YOU, HAVE A POWERFUL VOICE, and there are good consequences to that, and bad consequences to that” and I have the power to hold both.

It was then that it clicked – I never had a powerful voice before, and having that taken away now is like taking away the voice to that little child again. I would never go back and take away her voice, it has taken me 35+ years to find it.

I will no longer go to a program to see who is reading, I will no longer sit and ponder over it and be that child in the closet waiting for the culprit to arrive – I will write how I feel, I will speak how I feel, I will share how I feel, because I never had a voice to speak before and this is today; not the past to where I have to be partly in the dark, and partly in the light.. I can gain strength from both.

I have the power to take that past and talk about it, and not let it become me. I can talk about the hurt inside of how “watching and waiting” was so much a part of the life I lived, and how that made me feel inside. I have the power to talk about why the past 6 months have hurt me, and how close it felt to my past – I am tearful even typing about it right now.

This has been hard, and this has hurt, and it has been confusing, and yet this has been a learning experience for m – but the one thing I have come to really understand and learn is that- the trigger that has come to my blog? its not about me, and it’s not mine to hold.

A mantra that my therapist and I always use together is “we can talk about anything”. “we are a good team” – and I am holding onto that today, because those 2 things are what is needed to move through this.

My blog is up, my blog is here to stay, I am no longer tracking any stats, IPS or visitors (its been deleted and buried by my husband)

I will admit, It’s going to be hard not having that blanket of security – but I know I have support and care around that, and I can talk about it anytime I need to.

I have a voice to speak and truth to be told, and if people don’t like what they read, don’t read my blog! If my truth hurts, walk away from it.. this is my story, and my healing, and no one is going to silence me ever again.

the quote reads:

“Pray and seek for strength to change our circumstances
Rather for our circumstances to changed our strength”


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Who am I Underneath It All?

Who is Karen if she were to be defined by “who she is” and not “who others see her to be?”

I walked into healing 5 years ago and that was truly one of the things I seek-ed to find. Do I have my own personality, do I hold a place in this world that is mine? am I worth a place in this world? who am I?

The mantra that I lived by since childhood was “what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is yours“.

My whole way of living was about being what I needed to be; being what I had to be. The only place and time that I was myself, was within – and no one saw it because it was safer to keep it inside.

Whatever I did in life, it was never something I could call my own. Everyone owned a small piece of me, and I did what I could to try and make it my own when I could; but then again, at some point, it was always taken away.

I was in ballet for 13 years, but I was always the shadowed child who always took the back row, but yet others learned from my talent, and used them as their own.

I never danced in the front row showing what I had, what I could do, and what made me shine through my talents. Her name was Tina Antifinario! she was always the front front row girl; yet asked me to help her practice.

I was asked many times to help some of the girls practice their steps outside the room because I knew them by heart, but yet come time for recital, I was the shadow in the back .. never seen for who I was.

I stood in the sidelines always taking the left-overs of my own talents and the little things I “thought” I was good at, but no matter what , it was not good enough, and I was not seen.

At age 16, I finally had my SOLO before ending with Hanley Dance.. they finally got to see me for how good I was; the girl always in the back as the shadow to others.

Through school it was much like the same. I was never good enough! I tried to find my true unique self by trying to find the Karen under it all, but it was soon masked by silence and shame. I couldn’t function in school because I always thought I was what was done to me, and I was not worth much of what I knew I was capable of.

People around me never took me for who I was, but for how they saw me (quiet and weird). I was purely defined by the result of who I had to be (reserved and always took the back row knowing I did it good; sometimes better than most – but was never allowed to shine).

The only time I felt I was me, was inside where no one could touch me.

I created my own world in my closet from the age of 5 even up until I was 17. While everyone else was out hanging out with friends, or out doing things with people – I was inside my closet or room with the door close writing to pen pals, finding my writing and my unique self with no one to see what my potential was underneath it all.

I didn’t feel like the Karen I knew I was, I felt like a person moving through life according to everyone else and the way they wanted me to be, or the way they saw me to be.

When I started lifting weights and working out at the gym – instead of people saying “wow your doing a great job” they would say “that’s great but don’t over do it”. or “maybe you should slow down, your going to hurt yourself”. It felt as if people were afraid to see me succeed, when all I was doing was trying to find where I was underneath it all.

Instead of withdrawing inwards due to the life I had since I was a child, I was out there trying to find me – yet it still wasn’t good enough – I WASNT GOOD ENOUGH.

I never stood out besides being the weird child who was quiet. I was stood out by the person who would back away when someone came towards me to approach me, or who wouldn’t hug, or confront.  I was the girl who rather stay home and write to pen pals, than to be out with other people – because the work to be something to everyone else, was just too much work for me.

I was known as the person who covered herself to not be seen.

I was the person who went through 2 O’Clock and everyone defined me by “woe she gets weird every day and wont talk, she must be rude”  – that is what I felt defined me – but deep inside I always knew there was something about me, I just needed to find it – people needed to accept that I was something besides what “they” defined me to be.

When I walked into therapy to start my journey to heal, I lowered the walls to not only reveal myself to another person, but also to reveal myself to me; allowing me to open up who I was in a safe place where I was accepted without judgement.

Being in therapy these past 5 years has allowed me to find who Karen is without someone taking it away, or taking something from me to make it less mine. I showed up to find who Karen is underneath it all.

I found small things in the small therapy room that was provided for me, and found little things that defined “Karen” for who she was. Every little bit of what I found in myself, made me smile, because finally I was finding me. I felt these little special things that I do in therapy are finally the little things I can keep, to help me find who I am without someone taking it away from me.

The therapy room is my escape to where I matter to myself. I learned to love myself when I am there, because I am honoring me and no one else. I feel no one can rape me of who I truly am, or abuse who is really inside – I feel safe – I feel open to be who I want to be, I feel it’s the only place right now that Karen is defined for “herself” than what everyone else wants her to be.

So, Who is Karen?

I am gentle, loving, caring, quiet – and soft spoken.

I love my morning coffee, and bringing it back home to sit in my reading room and enjoy that quiet time in the morning reading inspirational blogs.

I love to write. It is a PASSION of mine and has been since I was little. I am not perfect at it, but then again that is what makes it comforting, I dont have to be perfect, I can be just me.

I love God my creator, and I am challenged everyday to see the path he has put in front of me.

I love weather, I love all things exciting that makes my adrenaline rush straight to your head!

I love photography, it’s life through a lens that I have a passion to capture.

I love to figure things out, and think outside the box. I love to find news ways to be better than I was the last time, but allowing myself the mistakes to learn from it.

When I hear a good song on my laptop, I love to get up and dance around my room and being completley GOOFY with no judgement on me (God may be laughing, but I am sure he is laughing with me).

I love going for drives in the car while listening to “fleetwood mac”

I love lifting weights and everything about it! I love to challenge myself and my strength.

I love goals, and love moving through them, mistakes and all.

I have a thick boston accent and proud of it (no I am not from NY)

My dream in life is work in “social work” to help children get out of abused homes.

I love to dance, not having to be overshadowed or put in the back row!

I hate shoes, and I am not a fan of talking on the phone, but love to write emails to express my feelings and emotions.

I love shopping for clothes, because I never had nice clothes growing up.

I have a tattoo on the back of my neck that stands for “faith courage and wisdom” .. and a small nose ring – both which defines me as being able to make my own decision – not being the person people “thought” I was. “oh Karen would never do that” – watch me!

I am compassionate and strong hearted! I am filled with gratitude and show people how much I appreciate them. Showing my gratitude is probably one of my favorite things to do in life – because it was less given to me.

I LOVE to love people when I get the same respect back.

I love to play practical jokes on people to get a chuckle, and I love to laugh when I can. I have been told that I am funny, and always make people smile.

I have to wash my feet in cold ice water every night before bed – I love clean feet, and can sleep better when they are cold.

The ocean is my sanctuary, It’s all things powerful that God created, and it’s beautiful to hear and see.

Now that I have learned to HUG, I love giving hugs.. and sometimes receiving them when I feel ok to accept.

I am a thinker, and love to spend a lot of time alone – but when you get to know me, I am chatty and loving towards the people I trust and care about.

I am many things that a lot of people don’t see.

In therapy I have found who I am, and what I love about myself. This is a place where it’s safe for me to explore who Karen is. I am sure there are a lot of things that I don’t know about myself, but each day I am learning something else, something new.

Everyday I am learning more and more things that define me for who I truly am, and not for what people thought I was, or how I should be.

I write in this blog everyday and use my big voice – a voice I never was allowed to use as a child; but now clearly taking the front row in believing it can be heard – (no matter what the consequences).

I recently came up against something much like my past – the feeling of something being used, or taken from me, to make me feel less than. I felt unsafe again, and felt that some of the things that were mine that I found within, were no longer mine.. it was just another thing that I did like everyone else. It hurt, it hurt really bad when I wa faced against this – but one thing I know about Karen, and that is “I will find something else that defines me in another form”. “Karen is a fighter, a woman who stands for what she never had”.

I am slowly finding myself through this hard place I have been in.. and each day I am uncovering what was covered all these years.

Who am I underneath it all? I am Karen, a woman who is writing this blog, and using my big voice to show what defines me as how I am today.


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