Love, it’s the MANE Idea


Spread some love around today.

Ever give someone you don’t know a heartfelt compliment, a hug, a word of encouragement, a little help? You never know the difference you will make when you show a little love.

I remember a time when I was at a restaurant with Wesley, eating tacos. I saw a young woman, probably 25 or so, looking sad, but undeniably effervescent, hunched over her lunch plate. It seemed she would burst into tears at any moment. I got up and gave her a hug. She let me! Afterward, she asked, “Why did you hug me?” I replied, “It looked like you needed one.” She smiled such a gorgeous smile and said, “I hadn’t thought I did, but I guess I really did need one, thank you.” Well, after that she perked up a little and ate her lunch. I was so glad to see her feeling a bit better.

There’s a glow that comes from showing love like this. It allows you to feel more compassion for everyone, including yourself. You feel better, the other person feels better.

Don’t hesitate to spread some love! ♥

Horses, New York State

Dear Bio-Dad…You are Forgiven


Dear Biological Father of Mine,

Well, first of all, forgive me for making you sound as though you are some sort of hazardous material or a recycled fuel! But I always call you Bio-Dad. With three to talk about I had to give all of you nicknames and that one’s yours. But I’m pretty sure you would find humor in that – yes, I think it would make you laugh.

I will choke on tears and a tightened throat as I type this, for these words are so hard to write. I guess it’s the not knowing, whether you are dead or alive, suffering somewhere alone and feeling hopeless and helpless, or in a place of peace, at last. I will always wonder what has happened to you. I’ve scoured certain websites, looking, sometimes shaking, to see if “that’s you.”

No matter where you are, living or not living, I want you to know that I forgive you. I feel no resentment or hatred.

I understand why you gave up your rights to me, so that I could have the surgery I so desperately needed – it was a very selfless act. I know, you couldn’t even come close to helping then, so you did the right thing, but oh, how hard it must have been for you to do it. For that, my heart bleeds. I’m so sorry it worked out that way, for both of us.

About the stories – the abuse, the drugs, the drinking, the random acts of violence – I’ve heard about them from Mom, and a few others.  But the things that you did, I understand. I know they came from a deep pit of hurt that you didn’t know how to deal with very well.

Biology speaks. I’m sensitive, too and that has created a lot of ruckus for me over the years. I’ve done things of which I’m not proud, yes, it’s true, and I know that if I could talk to you, I would be given your understanding and compassion. I know this from a place that has no name. I will just call it awareness.

I’m sorry that so many in your life saw you as bad – shunned you without taking the time to understand why you did certain things.  But I do, yes I DO understand. Your childhood was disastrous, hey, just like mine!

It would have been nice if Grandma and Grandpa could have acknowledged their role in your problems!  But I’m not so sure they had peaceful childhoods either, and so I have to forgive them also. Maybe that had no idea that they were letting you down. Even if they did, I try to remember that for many it is so much easier to run from a problem, rather than take it on, tackle it, own it, and fix it.

Please know, no matter what anyone else thinks, I don’t think you’re bad; I really want you to believe that this is the truth. I know what it feels like when people watch you create an “event” or a “scene” – label it horrendous, and then go on to judge you as a freak, a sinner, a crazed-nasty person, unworthy of life or love. Blind eye. They don’t see the pain that caused the actions. They see what they want to see. It is convenient.

If I could give you one gift, it would be that knowledge. It’s not your fault! You just have to do your best to accept this blindness, forgive people for what they don’t understand, forgive YOURSELF, work on fixing your own problems and go on to help others. If you are alive somewhere, I hope you’ve found a way to do this.

Sometimes when I think of you, I cry, feel sad, and can’t stop wondering. But the one thing that always puts a smile on my face is the snowball. Do you remember? You, living in Arizona at the time, called me late one evening, to say that it had snowed and that it didn’t do that very often where you lived, so you ran outside and quickly made a snowball and stuck it in your freezer. I remember you said you would save it for me, just to prove that it snowed! I’m sure the snowball is long gone, but the memory will always feed me my heart.

I hope these words make it to you, somehow.  I love you and always will. You made me, how could I not? And I know, just know, that you love me, too.

Love and warm thoughts always,

Your daughter

Love Is In The Heir


Remember always -

be mindful of this -

aw, shucks, folks, just do

NOT FORGET -

that…

the most important gift you can give your child

is unconditional love.

When you provide this to your little one,

you’ve put love in the heir.

It will then be passed down,

to the next generation.

Don’t Quit When You Feel Inadequate!


The feeling of wanting to quit sometimes is very nearly unbearable. It’s such brutal work to change destructive habits and so easy to give up. Yikes, the temptation! Better than all the best foods right when you want them. Better than drugs. Better than success. Because at least, if you quit, you know you’re right – about yourself. You’ll never amount to anything, and you know it, so why bother to continue!? So satisfying. What disgusting happiness it is to put oneself down. Ever notice how ironically wonderful it feels to shun yourself?

So, this not quitting thing, well, this is relatively new for me. I won’t. I can’t. I promised. I promised myself and I promised my beautiful boyfriend. He made me. Well, damn him!

(I’m laughing, really!)

And what made me want to quit?

Last night, I asked my boyfriend what he thought of yesterday’s post. He said, “It was okay.” Just okay? Nothing more? I wanted to quit. Just quit. Delete my blog. Be done. Wipe my hands of it. I mean, why waste my time if it’s just okay? I felt so inadequate.The feeling was intense and tossed me right back into the invalidating, shark-filled waters of my childhood.

Oh, those annoying self-harm urges! Even when you know why you have them, they’re still a nuisance.

In my very first readings about Borderline I thought self-harm meant only the physical. But then I realized, no, it’s not. It’s anything you do that in the end brings on exactly the opposite of what you really want. It gives relief, this self-destruction, because you’ve just validated yourself by invalidating yourself, but it’s temporary bliss. Later you feel worse. I wanted to destroy the thing on which I’ve worked so diligently. Not okay. Quitting won’t bring me what I want. It will only affirm, for a DAY, negatively positive thoughts, positively negative thoughts and (joke on me) make me feel smug – see, you knew you’d quit - and then what? No! No quitting.

I remembered my DBT skills, thankfully, right at that moment – when I wanted to punish myself. Oh, what a pain they are at times. Well they are! They can be immensely burdensome to remember, when you want to lash out at not just others, but yourself. I don’t know which feeling is worse. But use them I did. “What, wait, why was it just okay?” And, no, it’s not that I’m looking to be perfect, as much as I’m trying to avoid INADEQUATE. I was munching away on baked potato skins, while I was asking him, trying to keep my cool. DIFFICULT! Because really I wanted to yell and tell him what a terrible boyfriend he was for not saying something glorious about my post – so I didn’t have to feel inadequate. He hasn’t seemed to enjoy them much lately, so the feeling of inadequacy has been building. I was proud though, despite feeling inadequate, because I didn’t lash out and bash the poor guy and I didn’t self-harm. I asked a question. I was clarifying, using Opposite Action!

I was surprised by his answer.

“Well, honey, you didn’t write about your shrinking and I thought that was the cool part,” he said. Shrinking? Confused, I was. He saw the look on my face and explained. “You know…you told me, when you’d go visit the Itty Bitty family, how they’d shrink you, magically, so you could fit through that little door.”

Ohhh! Gulp…

Oh, yeah! Right. Shrinking! I did forget. Well crap. Okay, so I’m not horrible. Now here, in this, is the art of Borderline maintenance. It’s in the constant self-monitoring and positive self-talk.

Right, it’s okay, these are just feelings. They’ll go away sooner or later. You’re upset because it’s challenging to get out of the habit of putting yourself down. Hey, remember, you’re not four anymore and no one can MAKE you feel bad. You’re an adult now, not a child and you can handle this. You’re not inadequate. How silly you are for thinking that. You’re not horrible either. You didn’t do anything wrong. So, you forgot a part you didn’t want to forget, but no biggie. Life goes on. Continue with your blog, continue to share, continue to trace your illness – to help yourself and maybe others. Keep writing. You like it! Stop feeling bad now, you, and go on and enjoy the new journal you’ve just bought for yourself. It’s red, your favorite color. The creamy pages are scrumptiously lined, elegantly detailed with flowers at the top and bottom and you really like it. Don’t be down. Don’t quit. Stop feeling sad and write in that journal.

You know what I bought the journal for? To keep a Gratitude list. I’m sitting here laughing. Yes, specifically to keep a list of things for which I am grateful. So would I be grateful if I’d quit, just because I had a few moments of feeling inadeQUIT? Uh, no, I don’t think so. What would the first entry look like? How nonsensical. “Today I quit writing. I gave up on my blog. Yep, just got rid of it. Oh, because I forgot something, about shrinking.”

My boyfriend, he’s a good guy. He does his best to understand me, even when he’s terribly confused by my emotions. I AM grateful for this. So, I put those iffy, self-doubt thoughts on clouds and let them float away. Then I grabbed the cute, butterfly-adorned notepad that I’d also just purchased and inked out a message on the very first sheet of paper:

I know it’s hard to understand me, thank you for trying so hard. It’s not easy to keep going, to not give up. Giving up has always been easier. Thank you for trying to help me keep going. I love you.

Well, I am happy to report that my first entry in my Gratitude Journal is this: I am grateful that I did not quit! I did not give up on myself. I can survive that feeling called inadequate and I don’t have to look for the elusive perfect feedback in order to keep going. I am good enough to pursue what I want.

Love, compassion to all. And don’t quit when you feel inadequate. THIS is part of - the art of Borderline maintenance.

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