This Life is Mine

As of late I’ve been encouraging myself to own my story. To stop talking about it as though it is someone else’s story that I’m telling. To stop dissociating myself from my story. It’s much easier said than done. Having said that, I’m very aware that I will be unable to fully heal until I’m able to own it, to feel it, to mourn for it, to cry for it, and to process it as the reality that it is rather than be so passive and dismissive of it.

I’ve spent a lifetime being someone I thought I was supposed to be. I’ve spent a lifetime creating failure through self-sabotage. I’ve spent a lifetime feeling that I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy enough, I’m not lovable, I’m insignificant, that I have no voice (at least not one worthy of being heard), that my feelings don’t matter, and the list goes on. While I’m now told that these beliefs I’ve had about myself, are in no way true, I still struggle daily to believe otherwise.

I had a dream last night that hit me like a ton of bricks within the first 5 minutes of waking this morning. I’m unsure if there were 3 separate dreams or if they are all part of the same dream. What I do know is that several of the same emotions connected all of it.

*Names have been changed*

The first thing I remember about my dream is Steve. He was back in my life,
we were sexually active, and I was back on birth control. I felt a sort of
numbness about this and what little emotion I was feeling was shame and
guilt. I was going against my own wants and needs, against the person I
strive to be; I had no explanation for why I was doing this to myself.

End of that segment of the dream. Steve is no longer part of the dream in
anyway (again, I’m not sure if it is all one dream or 3 separate dreams)

I am at some house waiting outside with a woman whom I am in a relationship
with (at no point does this woman ever have a name). She is younger than me
(at least in real life, but I’m not sure how old I am in the dream), she is
shorter than me, slightly darker skin than me, she has dark hair, she is
thin and in good shape. We seem happy together.

While we are waiting outside a truck pulls up and a couple of guys get out.
They seem a bit like some “good ole boys”, which has me a bit unsettled, but
the unknown woman and I seem to know them and are friendly with them. It
wasn’t until they arrived and got out of the truck that I had an awareness
that we were waiting for them to arrive to tell us the gender of the baby
the unknown woman was carrying. It was like I knew what we were waiting for
the whole time, but it wasn’t clear until they got there.

The guys reported that she was going to have a baby girl. We were both so
elated. We embraced each other and cried tears of joy. She already had a son
and now we were about to have a baby girl. The situation in the dream was
that she had her son with her ex and the baby girl was also her ex’s, but
he was no longer part of the picture at all. So the kids were our.

Note: In the Steve segment, I was on birth control. In this segment I was
elated to be having another child with this unknown woman whom I seemed to
have deep feelings for. End of this segment of the dream

Now I’m at a wedding (I don’t know whose wedding it is, but I’m a member
of the wedding party. I never discover who the couple is during the dream.)
The venue is a huge beautiful mansion. Most of which seems to go unused.
At the wedding are some people I know. My mom, one of my sisters, the
Unknown Woman (not pregnant and we have no children in this segment. We are
in a relationship though), Stephanie (an ex in real life), Tina (a real life
co-worker), Carol (another real life co-worker), and Dave (a real life guy
I’ve known for several years). There are also several people that I don’t
know at this wedding.

At one point, I see my sister talking with someone. She is on a level about
5 steps up from where I am standing. I can’t see who she is talking with
but she looks to be talking to someone who is on a level below her. To my
left there are a set of about 5 steps going down. She is talking with
someone standing down there (it is a loft like set up, hard to explain).
Then I hear the voice of the person she is talking to. It’s my mom. I peak
down the steps, but I can’t see her. I stood there for a moment, completely
unnoticed. I walked up the steps to where my sister was standing, then we
were all on the same level.

In this segment of the dream it seems I have relations with the Unknown
Woman whom I have real feelings for, Stephanie, and Tina. In the dream
I have no feelings for Stephanie or Tina, but I am still having relations
with them. At no point in my dream are there acts of intimacy with them,
but I have an awareness throughout this segment that there are things
between us.

While waiting for the Unknown Woman to finish in the rest room, David
appears in a stairwell off of the area I am waiting. I feel uneasy with his
presence and it feels like I am betraying a friend by conversing with him.
The conversation doesn’t last long with David and he never appears in the
dream again.

I wander into a room; it is mostly empty. There is a chair, an over-sized
chair I think. There are also some boxes in various places throughout the
room. Otherwise it is a large empty room. The Unknown Woman appears in the
chair (I can’t say if she was there when I walked in or not). I walk over to
her and say, “we should find an air mattress or something and sleep in here
tonight. The room is empty, we should be undisturbed in here. We could talk
and get to know each other better.” We both laughed a little at the idea,
I sat down next to her in the chair, she leaned into me and I wrapped my
arms around her. We sat talking for a moment about how we wish we had more
time alone together (I’m not sure why we didn’t and I don’t discover why
during the dream). After what seems like only minutes people enter the room,
it’s time for photo’s of the wedding party. The Unknown Woman and I make
our way to the patio with reluctance of having to leave that moment we had
together (that is the last time I see the Unknown Woman).

While out on the patio, Carol calls me over to talk with her about a
co-worker that sits 2 desks down from her at work. At this point I notice
that Tina is standing by my side while I’m talking with Carol. I don’t
recall what Carol was saying, but it had a negative vibe. While Tina is
present during our conversation, I pay her no mind.

End of Segment

I’m in my bedroom (my dream version of it anyways). I notice there is a TV
on a table or dresser in my room and it sits atop a DVD or Blu-Ray player.
My first thought is that I can use it for my Yoga DVD’s. The following
thought was that Stephanie would be so happy that we can lie in bed together
and watch TV. In this segment I’m in relationship with Stephanie. My aim is
to make her happy regardless of what I feel, which was not much of anything.

End of Segment

I’m in my shower, alone. I close my eyes and lather them with soap, just
my eyes, not the rest of my face. With my eyes lathered a feeling of fear
comes over me. A feeling like I’m not alone. I rinse my eyes and open them
as quickly as I can. The room is darker than it was before I closed my eyes.
I peak my head out from behind the shower curtain to see if anyone is
standing there. A feeling of relief washes over me at the realization that
there is no one there. As I turn to resume my shower, I catch a glimpse of
the mirror out of the corner of my eye. I pause with fear and stare at the
reflection looking back at me. It was monstrous and terrifying. I leapt out
of the shower to run, but it was then that I realized the monster looking
back at me was, me.

I was fear stricken. I looked so terrifying. My hair was long, black, and
gnarled. The bones in my face seemed larger and looked as though they would
pop through my skin at any moment. My eyes were dark and deep. My skin was
rough, splitting, and colored with areas of dark blue, dark purple, and
grey. The more I stared the less afraid I became. “No! This is not real.
This is not me. This is a dream. You’re dreaming. Wake up!”, I said to the
hideous face in the mirror. I began to wipe my face with my hands in an
almost slapping manner, “This is not who you are. This is not you.”, I said
again, to myself, as I frantically wiped the hideous mask off of my face.
Once I had cleared my face of most of the monstrous mask, I fell to the
floor. I sat leaned against the outside of the tub/shower. The water was
still running. I was spent, exhausted, overwhelmed by what had just taken
place. I placed my hands under the running water. I noticed I was wearing
what looked like work gloves. I was confused as to why I had them on and
where they came from. I also noticed that I was wearing my work fleece.
My gloves and fleece were getting soaked. I didn’t care, I kept splashing
water on my face. I needed to cleanse myself of all of what I had just
seen. I felt like I needed to completely submerge myself in water to free
myself of that horrible mask and image. While I could’ve climbed into the
tub and done just that, I didn’t, I sat outside of it and continued to
splash water on my face.

I wake up. End of dream

Upon waking up, while the dream lingered, I didn’t give it much thought. I tried to shrug it off, but was mindful of the uneasy emotions I was feeling from it.

My typical morning routine is to wake up and check Facebook. This morning was no different than any other, or so it seemed.

This was the first thing I came across on Facebook this morning:


Could The Universe have sent me a clearer sign? Probably not!

After I read this, I took a moment of silence, to close my eyes, and to reflect on the dream I had just awoke from.

I felt deeply for the Unknown Woman, but I betrayed her and myself by being involved with Stephanie and Tina, whom I had no feelings for, but they were both happy.

I betrayed myself with Steve in the first segment of my dream. I didn’t want to be with him, but he was happy.

While I could hear my mom, I couldn’t see her. I could only see my sister. My presence went unnoticed. I felt invisible, set apart, I didn’t belong. It wasn’t until I sought out my mom, from where my sister stood that we were all on the same level (I haven’t worked all of this part of the dream out yet, but it feels like something runs very deep there).

As I laid silently in my bed with eyes closed, I realized that throughout every segment of my dream I carried with me guilt and shame. I realized the hurt and fear that came with wiping off that face/mask in my dream. I laid there in my bed sobbing at the realization that I matter, that I’ve been hiding behind some hideous mask/face that is not mine. I sobbed because this life I’ve lived for 38 years hasn’t really been mine at all. I sobbed because of the freedom that comes from finally having this awareness.

It’s time I take off the mask that was given me. It’s time I start owning my story. It’s time I stop running madly and stand still instead. It’s time I stand still and allow myself to “feel my own weight and density”. It’s time I wear my own face. It’s time I start living from my heart rather than from the false thoughts I’ve believed about myself for so many years.

Now is the time I become myself without regret, without hesitation, with pride, with courage, with determination, with an open heart and an open mind.

I see you and I hear you.

This life, this life is mine.

But Who Am I?

My name is Danielle. But who am I?

I was born in Faribault, Mn and grew up in Delano, MN. But who am I?

My job title is Mfg Inspection Lead. But who am I?

I’m love women but keep my heart open to all. But who am I?

I’m Irish, German, Norwegian, and a plethora of other things. But who am I?

I have dark bluish eyes, brown hair, I’m 5’4.5″, I weigh…(I’m average weight, we’ll leave it at that), I’m 38 years old, my shoe size is 6.5-7 depending on the shoe. But who am I?

I’m not a religious person. I consider myself to be spiritual. But who am I?

I don’t consider myself to be part of any political party. I want what makes sense and what’s best for the people. But who am I?

All of the above tells you something about me, but none of it tells you who I am. Hell, most day’s I’m not entirely sure of who I am, but this is what I do know:

I am an open book. Ask me anything and I will answer the best I can.

I am open-minded and continue to practice open-mindedness.

I am a helper, a healer, a caretaker. I will do my best to do what I can to help others. Not out of obligation, but out of the kindness of my heart.

I am empathetic. If you hurt, I hurt. If you’re happy, I’m happy for you.

I have few convictions, but I’m very passionate about the ones I do have. I have no tolerance for bullying, discrimination, or abusive behavior of any kind. We don’t all have to like each other, but we do all have to live in this world together. Just be respectful of others. It really is not that hard.

I have a deep love for dogs and more recently horses, but I am a lover of all animals. I’m the person watching the movie who is more concerned about the animal’s welfare than  I am the human’s…DO NOT HURT THE ANIMALS!

I say I’m not really a people person, but I feel most alive when I am with people. I’m not a big fan of large crowds. I have some anxiety around meeting new people.

While I am no longer being actively victimized, I have been the victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment, unwanted sexual advances, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, and discrimination. Many of which have happened on separate occasions with separate abusers at various times throughout my childhood and into my young adult life. It has been many years since I’ve endured any of the listed types of abuse. What some may not realize though, is that not validating the victim and their story, is a continuation of victimizing the victim. Victims often feel even more victimized than they did during the initial act of abuse if there is no support, belief, and/or acknowledgement of the trauma they’ve endured; when no one will validate what victims have been through we are left to feel alone, insignificant, unworthy, not good enough, and unloved/unlovable. All victims, whether validated or not, are at a much higher risk to suffer with mental health issues. Which leads me to my next piece of who I am…

…I struggle with some mental health issues, which should not come as a surprise at this point (especially if you’ve read previous posts on my blog). Depression was the one I noticed first. I found myself in a very dark and ugly place that I could not get myself out of. I was seeing my wonderful therapist when depression hit like a ton of bricks. Through therapy it was discovered that I also suffer with developmental trauma (C-PTSD), anxiety, and adult ADHD. Thanks to my wonderful therapist and my amazing one-of-a-kind psychiatrist I am a helluva lot more balanced than I’ve ever been.

In spite of all of that, I have an incredible amount of love in my heart. Sometimes it feels like it could explode out of me at any second.

I feel every emotion, that I allow myself to feel, very deeply. Having said that, due to all of the trauma in my past, I have the ability to disconnect from just about every feeling I don’t want to feel. I also have the ability to disconnect from myself as well as others. When I’m in that place of disconnect there is a feeling of nothingness. I know it’s not healthy, but it’s been a great protector many times throughout my life.

I’ve learned to carry hurt, heartache, and pain very well. Because of this I wish that I could take all of those feelings away from people I care about and carry the weight of those feelings for them.

I often have very little regard for my own self-care, if I have any at all. I would much rather help others. I can wait.

I’m close to expert level when it comes to putting up a front. While I may appear like all is good and I’ve got my shit together, there is often a lot of chaos going on inside. I’ve just learned to manage it in such a way that it doesn’t reflect on others. My chaos is my chaos, I try not to invite too many people into it.

I have a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature. Sunsets and sunrises; all of the beautiful colors nature provides for us; the serenity found in the woods; the music created for us by the wind, rain, thunder, the birds, squirrels, and other creatures bustling around and living there lives; the moon in all it’s many phases, the stars and all their wonder; the mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans; the stillness of a cold winter morning.

My dream is to open a wellness center where I will be a therapist/life coach. I would provide space for yoga, Reiki sessions, chiropractic care, acupuncture, guided meditation as well as silent meditation. The center would be focused on holistic methods of healing.

While I often feel like my world is in constant unraveling mode, I continue to fight for myself and that’s a fight I will never give up.

I am not just a name; I am not my job; I am not what has been done to me; I am not my sexuality; I am not a religion or political party; I am not the town I was born in nor am I the town I grew up in; I’m not just Irish, German, Norwegian, or stereotypes that go with them; I am not my appearance. These are part of what makes me, me; I’m proud of all of the many parts of me, but these don’t express the essence of who I am.

I am a beautiful complicated loving soul; I am a helper, a healer, a caretaker; I am connected to nature; I feel emotions very deeply; I’m a constant work in progress; I’m a survivor; I am passionate and compassionate; and while I don’t really hold much regard for myself, I refuse to give up on me.

This is a glimpse of what I know to be who I am. I will continue seeking out more of the who that is me.

Do you know who you are?