Everybody Hurts

HangOn

Everybody Hurts

When your day is long
And the night, the night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough
Of this life, well hang on

Don’t let yourself go
‘Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone (Hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go (Hold on)
If you think you’ve had too much
Of this life, well hang on

Everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts
Don’t throw your hand, oh no

Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone
No, no, no, you are not alone

If you’re on your own in this life
The days and nights are long
When you think you’ve had too much of this life to hang on

Well, everybody hurts sometimes
Everybody cries
Everybody hurts sometimes
And everybody hurts sometimes

So hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on
Everybody hurts

– R.E.M

It Did Not Ruin Her

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“Never allow your loyalty to become slavery. You only live once.”             – Author Unknown

While sitting on the beach the other day with a dear we talked about writing. Why do we write what we write? I admitted that I am sick of my story. I am sick of being a poster girl for domestic violence. Many people suffer abuse, exit, and then move on. In fact, I help facilitate this process for them. The abuse becomes a chapter in their book of life. Somewhere along the line I found my calling in the aftermath of this monster (abuse) and so my chapter is becoming my book. I admit for a moment I was having a bit of a pity party. I have a desire to write about lots other things, but when I sit down here at my computer I inevitably find myself writing about overcoming abuse. I have this compulsion to reach out to those who are still in an abusive situation and might be questioning their own sanity. Yes, this is a common occurrence when you live with an abusive lunatic. I write to those who need a roadmap out. I suppose I find my strength here, and the comfort of knowing that I didn’t live those dark years in vain. I get frustrated, but I know that it is here, in my writing that I learned to thrive again. I want to direct this to all of you who are reading these words. I write for you. I am writing to help you find your way. I am writing to be a shining light and example to those of you who are still trapped in that dark place where you see no way out. I am here to give you HOPE for if I can make it out and I can turn my life around then so can you.

It did not ruin me.

I possess a deep strength that came from battling my ex-husband. I would not be the woman that I am today if it weren’t for this experience. In my darkest moments I held out hope for I knew that I wasn’t done here on this earth. There were many nights that I literally stared death in the face (I don’t mean to be a drama queen) and I had no other option but to surrendered to it. Somehow that spark of HOPE never extinguished. That in itself is one of my many miracles.

There are a lot of things that I don’t know, but what I do know is that there are so many other women (and men) out there that can relate to me. My inbox is full of your messages. I hear you when you write to me with thanks for giving your struggles a voice. I know that you find comfort in knowing that you are not alone and the simple fact that someone else out there can understand you. No, my darling girl you are not crazy. You are valid and you are so very worthy of everything good that this life has to offer.

The world needs more survivors to speak up. In telling our stories we make ourselves approachable. We enable others to step forward to be brave enough to speak up and out about what is really happening in their lives. Domestic violence has a long reach. It doesn’t just end when the abuser is removed from the situation. There are years of recovery that are needed and that is the hardest part to navigate. This is where the shelters and local support groups tend to fall off in my opinion. They are great when you are bleeding out and need triage, but in the long term aftermath survivors need other survivors to help them get back to the business of living.

I was told once that I wasn’t schooled enough to help counsel survivors of domestic violence. Well, I have earned the equivalent of a Phd in Domestic Violence through living this shit, and I have proved them all wrong. I have helped many women exit abusive situations and move on. It’s not work for the faint of heart I must say. I have learned over the years that I am good at helping survivors reclaim themselves after they are able to exit the situation. I am good at what I do because I understand the psychology of the aftermath of abuse. I live it every single day. So, I have accepted this truth into my life.

I am stronger than he was . He tried his hardest, but he couldn’t break me. I am stand taller because the struggles, and I am wiser. The help I can offer doesn’t come with a college degree but with years of deep personal work, and a burning desire to help others (and a proven track record). Never discount yourself, and don’t allow yourself to get lost in the aftermath. There is always a way out because HE DID NOT RUIN YOU. You are alive and capable of growth and pruning. It is in this process that you will bloom and become a new you…the person you are destined to be. Don’t you dare give up, not now, not ever. Be brave.

xo Ella

A Hopeful Sadness.

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I am feeling incredibly vulnerable lately and this is not the norm for me; I am always the strong one. As an empath I am able to feel everyone else’s pain, sadness, and anxiety; but in doing so I shut my own out. I have boxed myself in by wearing this suit of armor. Today, I am taking it off and folding it nicely for a rest. It is my calling to empower people and help them transition from a life of just existing to one where they can truly feel all that life has for them. To drop the fear and jump on the adventure.

My belief has always been, and still is, that what is in the past is in the past. You are not your past. You are not what happened to you. You are here and living in the now.
Face your past, forgive, make peace, and then let it go. I still believe this for I have seen too many people get away from their pasts only to live forward with it. We get used to carrying the weight of our burdens and it’s hard to put them down. In an odd way it feels comfortable because it is what we know.

I am always looking within myself and trying to see what is making me tick, where am I heading, and what is really happening in my soul. It’s not easy to do when so many look to me to inspire them every day. My mind switches to auto-pilot and I just walk the talk. I keep moving and push through the pain. It seems to have caught up with me and I am at a bit of an impasse now.

I’ve been crying for days. I don’t know why. Perhaps it started with a case of the mid-winter blues and then just spiraled out. I can’t pinpoint it, but I know I am not trying to stop it. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to feel weak and vulnerable at times. It doesn’t make you less strong it makes you whole, and honestly isn’t that what we strive for?

I believe with all of my heart that life is all about ebb and flow. I don’t often allow myself the ebb part though. I fight it and dismiss it and soldier on. It’s what I know how to do. It’s what saved me in my past. However today I am feeling as though it has caught up with me and I am learning a new way of being. I am sitting with my sadness and I am trying to understand it. Right now I am not sure why it has surfaced. Perhaps it is a workshop I am taking about being tender to my own soul. Something that we all need to learn to do better.

What I do know is that this sadness is all-encompassing. The tears are flowing and I am feeling lost in my own space. A feeling of tremendous loss is here and sadness. The loss of people who I loved dearly in my life, the loss of innocence as a child, the loss of my dreams for my future, and the loss of even myself. For how can I be whole if I am not in touch with these darker sadder moments of myself? I am learning to listen. To reach down and hold my own hand; the trembling hand of a girl who has seen too much and suffered far more than ever necessary.

I am looking at her in the mirror and her reflection is so sad that it makes me cry.
I feel a disconnect from her. I am the girl who has survived so much and yet has never been able to grieve the losses that have accrued over my lifetime. This is scary shit I am not going to lie about that. However, in my sadness and my uncontrollable crying I feel more connected to myself and to others then I have in a long time. I am learning to be vulnerable in a new way. I am understanding my life within a new light. I am scared, but I am okay. I am sad, but I am hopeful. It is just going to take some time. xo Ella

I Hope That You Never…

I hope that you never have to make a call to save your life. I hope you never know that kind of fear. Knowing that your life hangs in the balance; on a thin thread which is about to snap. I hope you never feel hunted or like your next move, if you are lucky enough to get one, has a narrow margin of success. I hope that you never know what it feel like to face death in the face of someone you thought once loved you.

It’s that time of year again where the subject of Domestic Violence gains media traction because the Super Bowl is approaching. Urban Myth has it set that it is the day with the highest rate of reported abuse of one domestic partner to another. This year we saw the NFL struggling to keep face after Baltimore Raven’s player Ray Rice knocked his then fiancé out in an elevator. Rice was initially suspended for two games. The relatively small penalty caused national controversy. He was later suspended indefinitely, but that decision was overturned. We saw other players being called out on domestic related violence as well. It wasn’t a stellar year for the old boys club.

I want you to know that Domestic Violence Happens Each Sunday—Not Just Super Bowl Sunday.

I am glad to see the NFL responding to this with a little proactive flair. This Super Bowl Sunday which is quickly approaching will have millions of people world-wide watching. Some just watching for the ever so famous commercials. On February 1, 2015 the Super Bowl will air, but what is a little different this year is that there will be a PSA about domestic violence.

No More, an anti-domestic-violence campaign, and the ad agency Grey New York have come together to produce a few chilling reminders that THIS is still a HUGE problem in our society. The NFL donated a 30-second slot for the ad and paid for its production. The video is a chilling reminder that so many women live in fear in their own homes. Everyday, not just on Super Bowl Sunday.

To some I realize that it will be a mere bleep in the days advertisements. It may not be memorable to many. It may even cause a backlash in some homes, but it is worth it.
This weekend when millions are riveted to the television, my hope is that it will create a ripple across the land. Something positive out of a horrid situation that occurred the day that Ray Rice decided to finally call the darkness into the light.

The PSA is very simple. There is a woman making a call for pizza from her slightly disheveled home. When the other end answers you don’t hear “Hello Domino’s”, but rather “Mam, you have reached 911. This is an emergency line.” She continues to order her pizza, “Large with half pepperoni, half mushrooms.” The 911 operator keeps trying to tell her that she dialed the wrong number and she just keeps ordering her pizza, until he asks her if she is okay. Is this an emergency?

I hope that this will resonate across the millions turned into the game that will be peppered with commercials of scantily clad women selling chips and celebrities self promoting. I hope that this commercial is THE ONE that will have people talking. I know that my hopes may fall on millions of deaf ears and blind eyes, but I desperately want this to be seen. This is the real deal. According to Grey New York, the ad was based on a real 911 dispatch (paywall), found on a Reddit thread asking dispatchers about their most memorable calls.

Reality really sucks sometimes. I once had to make a call like this myself. It was either me or him, and I decided that I wasn’t going down like that.   xo Ella

Try a Little Tenderness

“I have learned that the most important things are tenderness and kindness. I can’t do without them.” – Brigitte Bardot

Tenderness and kindness are a necessity in the work that I do, as are empathy and compassion. It’s something that you learn especially if you have been kicked in the gut and to the floor as many times as I have. When a person is hurting its heart wrenching for me and I focus on trying to help them see that there is a way through the pain. The pain will end. This is best shown through a gentle spirit.

I am taking a class that my friend Samantha is giving. When she asked me if I would like to join, my first thought was that I am already spread out too thin. Something though told me that I needed to do this for my own growth. When I got her workbook I quickly realized that this was going to kick my ass. The course is called Tender to My Soul. This journey is about focusing on showing myself a little bit of tenderness. What did I sign up for? I don’t have time for this. I have way too much to do!

Tenderness, (noun).
1. A tendency to express warm, compassionate feelings. (check)
2. Concern for the feelings or welfare of others. (check)
3. Gentleness, kindness, compassion. (check)

Am I tender with others? Absolutely, but with myself not so much. What does it mean to be tender with yourself and whats the best way to go about it? The thing I love about my friend Samantha is that she is a wordsmith in the most gentle of ways. Instead of giving us a traditional workbook to trudge through she gave us a beautiful work of art that is a place to sit, ponder, listen, and understand. Most importantly is has given me the message to SLOW DOWN. What is the rush for any way?

How can we see to be tender to ourselves if we are constantly rushing around. We are so over scheduled and working towards the next best thing that we think a 5 minute meditation in the morning is going to be fuel enough to get us through. Not quite so true. When you think about it we give much more time and tenderness to other people. How can we be our best if we aren’t taking the time to lavish ourselves with a little tenderness as well?

“You don’t blast a heart open. You coax it and nurture it open like the sun does to a rose.” – Melody Beattie

I just finished writing an article on finding clarity. I state that you don’t seek clarity you become it. It goes hand in hand with tenderness, don’t you see? In order to truly evolve you must be tender to your own soul. This means taking a holistic approach to your life. You must learn to slow down. Create healthy boundaries and learn to say “no”. You must clear out some of the static that prevents you from having your personal time. Hey, this is really important. You are really important.

For me tenderness for myself is a new concept. I have worked on a lot of other things, but not this or at least not from this perspective. I am just starting out on this journey, but the first thing that I have noticed is the freedom I am giving myself to carve out time for joy me. Constructive time and a safe space to really dig deep to my soul. I am tired of short-changing myself while giving my best to others. In truth, I will serve better if I am in tune with myself. I am ready to stop the inner battles, name calling, and the wicked critic. I am ready to learn to love all the part of me that I haven’t given myself space to do yet. This is the year that I learn to be tender to my soul and I would love to invite you to do the same.  xo Ella

“There isn’t an agony in the world more powerful than tenderness.”                   – Marlena De Blasi

hug

The Clarity in Being.

You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.      – Marianne Williamson.

Ever since I can remember I have been hyper organized. In fact, I used to be called anal retentive. I laugh at the thought of that now because my life has changed so incredibly much since then. When I reflect on the young woman who was so fastidious with everything I see fear. In an attempt to fight back I tried to control. What I learned was that I have no control. It was an illusion and I felt like such a failure for trying so hard to beat an invisible opponent that could never lose.

A shift happened in my life when I left my abusive husband. I finally saw my borderline OCD for what it truly was.  An all-consuming attempt to cover up the real lack of control I had been living with for so long in my marriage. My desire to keep things looking “together” for everyone else was a failure. I was a fraud and one hell of an actress.

I left and let as much of it go as I possibly could; I let go of the husband, the career, the abuse, the money, the fancy car, the clothes, my home, and my friends. I left it all behind, and with it I left my need to control. My attempt to create the facade of “normal” just kept me bound to the abuse. If I had exposed the truth of my situation I felt like I would look a failure for not succeeding in my relationship. In trying so hard to win I lost.

I have been searching for clarity ever since my divorce years ago. If asked what I am looking for in my life, I respond with one word, clarity.  Unfortunately, most days I live with what I refer to as brain fog. My thoughts are disjointed and so very far from the woman who had once run an empire in a busy city. I couldn’t figure out how I could have gone from being so hyper-aware and organized to this. I decided that I would passively seek for clarity. I had no idea what end was up, but I just knew if I stopped trying to force everything, it would present itself to me at the right time.

I didn’t know how to seek clarity. I thought if I read books, took classes, and sought guidance that I would finally come into it in my own time. I found myself always looking for some sort of clear channel that would tell me what the hell to do. It never came, and so I waited and attempted to sit with the unknown. Moving forward on my foggy journey was hard because I had no idea where I was going. I wasn’t able to look at the big picture. Starting over is hard, especially when you have a lot of baggage to unpack.  I was on the one step at a time plan, and it was here that I learned to rely on my faith.

It took me many years to see that I wasn’t gaining clarity, but learning patience. I finally understood clarity when I stopped looking for it, and decided to be it. If I had taken time to focus on my inner self rather than just keeping busy (in a lame attempt to hide the fact that I had no idea where I was going) I may have realized sooner that it was futile. You can only become clear when you are able to sit and just be. No journey. No seeking. No controlling. Just me, myself, and I, sitting very quietly and listening.

xo Ella

ClarityFog