Super Butterfly Girl

You are seen as such a great and wonderful man. They have not seen the other side to you. Behind the public eye, you are a danger to others. You are a monster. You can take all the hard work one has done the past 10 years and nearly destroy it in only 3 years. You can take one’s self esteem and shatter it. You hide under your psychology degree, play the “friend” and the “helper” and instead of helping, you destroy, you hurt and you demand some form of payment for the “work” you do.
I gave you three years of my life, millions of hours of my time and effort, and I let you into my life after being hurt like no other. You knew ALL this and what did you do? You used it all against me and nearly shattered me, almost killed me.
Well, this is what I have to say.
You don’t get to win. I’ve taken my life back. I know the controlling monster you are. I also know I don’t need to be afraid of you. I don’t need to worry about running into you. You can’t hurt me anymore. I took that power away from you when I walked away. I have never wanted to look back. My life is so much better. I’m so free and I have a better understanding now.
It may hurt seeing you get all the praise you do, but deep down inside, I know the person you really are, and I know some day the rest of the world will too.
My eyes are wide open now. And I thank you for teaching me the most important lessons of all. Wolves really do hide in sheep’s clothing. I know I’m prone to manipulating monsters like you, but there are things I can do to protect myself and I’m much stronger than I EVER thought I was. I survived the aftermath of being sexual assaulted, having my virginity stolen from me, and then you came along, and TOOK everything else from me.
But, I realized if I can survive all this, gosh-darn-it I must be SUPERWOMAN! I can not only survive, but I can thrive.

How Could Something So Right Go So Wrong

My Story – Take Two

The small group of volunteers I worked with had become a close knit family to me. We worked hard, but we also knew how to have fun. I learned more life lessons in what I did and who I worked with than I thought I ever would doing anything else.
I learned valuable people and customer service skills, I learned how to stick with things, to commit, to go even though “I didn’t feel well” (excuses I used to own in every area of my life) I figured that I may not receive a check for what I did, but I felt I got so much more than that. I felt a strong friendship and support system from the folks I worked with, a special bond I hoped we’d always have. I was learning valuable life skills. I got to meet amazing people. I was happy. But most of all. I finally felt like a “normal” person.
Honestly, I loved it. I loved what I did. I loved how it made me feel like a “normal” person, the sense of accomplishment and pride it gave me.
How could something so right go so wrong?
I started out doing simple things, before I knew it I was doing more and more. He made it clear from the beginning that I was expected to be there for every event.
Seemed like a lot at first, but I was having a lot of fun meeting all the musicians and getting to do meet and greets with them. Before I knew it I was in too far, too deep. I was hanging posters for him all over town, going early to help him set up and staying late to tear down. I was being used and manipulated for his purposes. Anytime I wanted to leave or cut back I was told that my husband was controlling me, or that I owed him for this and that and would use the guilt trip of “I would never do that to you.” Or  “Stick around. I’ll make it worth your effort.”
Funny thing was, it was starting to not be worth my effort anymore. I was feeling more and more tired and stressed. The late nights of tearing down was cutting into my paid job, I was starting to realize what kind of person he was and starting to get bad vibes. I cast them aside telling myself that it was my PTSD from my rape and I wasn’t going to say anything if I was just paranoid.
So I’d keep on doing the horrible cycle. By June and July of last year I was smoking up a storm (mostly when we had a show) and trying to control my anxiety attacks. I felt I was losing it. When he found out what was going on, he got me alone as he always did (he’d make sure he took me home because he thought I’d feel safer that way.) and he did the manipulating guilt trips again, reminded me of all the reasons I had loved doing the shows and I gave in.
So, I continued on for a bit more. Still smoking up a storm whenever something was related to him. I was starting to feel that bad vibe more and more that I was not safe and maybe it wasn’t just paranoia.
The last straw came when he brought posters to my work and pretty much demanded I take them even though we weren’t hanging posters at the time. I told him that and he still was shoving them on me. Finally he says “Well, are you going to take them or not?” And huffed out when I wouldn’t.
That is when my eyes opened up the manipulating selfish man he was.
I went home that night and googled manipulation and everything fit him to a T and everything he put me through. I knew then I had to get out. To protect my family and my mental health I had to take my life back.
But, I was terrified of him because every time I tried before he would hook me right back in. I felt like I was in a domestic abuse situation. It was all the same feelings to me.
Thankfully, I got a couple friends to really know what was going on. My one friend supported me through text message and the other in person.
I managed to “squeak out” at our last outdoor show that I wanted to resign. He said “Fine! Quit!” And immediately cut me out of his life.
I was relieved and devastated. So many emotions!
I still have a lot of emotions as I can see things clearly for what they are.
But, I learned some of the most valuable lessons of all. That I am prone to manipulating and abusive people so I have to constantly work on my boundaries.
I learned to set personal boundaries and not give my whole life to anybody or any volunteer job.
I have learned to stand up for myself and my rights.
I’m an advocate for others and I was hiding in an abusive situation myself.
I learned I could be brave and face the feelings and aftermath of emotional abuse again.
And, although it continues to be a journey I’m starting to feel better and better. I have my life back. I get to spend valuable time with my family again, I have more energy than ever and I’m kicking butt at my job again.

Domestic violence and emotional abuse can take so many forms. Don’t underestimate your story because it may not fit the norm!

Abuse is abuse.

I’m just now becoming more comfortable sharing this part of my story!

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

I’ve gained a lot of weight (medication, slowing metabolism, bad habits) and I’ve struggled with accepting it. It’s so easy to let my disordered thoughts take over.
I’ve slowly been getting used to it and being OK with it. Now I’m starting to embrace it! To even love myself.
I realize that it’s not the number on the scale or the clothes size that determines my self worth. It is being able to love all of my perfectly-flawed-ness.
I have hated myself since I can remember. I hated the girl inside and I hated her on the outside. That mindset stuck with me for many years. I didn’t feel worth loving.
I’ll admit it isn’t always easy. But, I’m started to realize my self worth and love me for me. That means all the imperfections as well as all my positive traits.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I am beautiful just by being me.

Video Update: Medication Changes

Check out my new Vlog post!


Purpose For The Pain

I have known for a long time that all my pain had a purpose. That I have gone through everything I have so that I could learn to use it to help others.

I have known that this is my calling in life for a long time now.

I have blogged in the past about wanting to becoming a victim advocate. And, that is still a passion of mine.

I have started doing some training so that I can volunteer at The Family Center. All volunteers are required to watch webinars to get some form of training and earn certificates. It’s been very very eye opening for me. I’ve not only learned a lot about myself but I’ve learned a lot about others and better ways to deal with certain things.

So far I have earned 5. Very rewarding but it was also pretty intense and brought up issues with me that I didn’t realize were there. It’s been a very good experience. I have taken a break from the webinars to work on my own journey. There is no rush. I’m doing what I’m meant to do and I’m doing it at a pace that feels good for me.

I’m not sure where I’m headed in this journey yet. Will I just do my blogging? Will I become a victim advocate? Will I do something else? Right now, it’s anyone’s guess, but I know I’m going in the right direction!

I know that healing begins when someone bears witness. I want to be that person for those who need it most!

Dear Future Katie – Letter To Get Me Through Future Tough Times

Dear Future Katie:

Here’s a few things I want you to know…

You struggle with mental health conditions. This is something you will have to deal with for the rest of your life. But always remember: Hard times comes and they go. You have lived this countless times and come through them each and every time.

You are one of the bravest and strongest people I know. You use your struggles to help others. But, know this… it is absolutely OK for you to reach out to others, too. You don’t have to struggle alone. Know who has your back and lean on them when needed.

You have your amazing tool box. Always know you can reach in there. Whether it’s looking at pictures of better times, reading positive things people have said about you previously, snuggling with your cat, or anything that helps soothe the bad days. I believe in you 100%. You haven’t lost this fight yet and I don’t see you ever losing.

You are so resilient and so determined to succeed. Sure, life knocks you down, but you have chosen not to unpack and live there. Life can give you a cactus but you don’t have to sit on it.

Feeling stressed? Don’t forget that you can always take a walk and clear your head. That has worked for you in the past and I bet it will continue to be a good stress reliever.

Most of all… be kind to yourself. You are only human. We all have our bad days. Just remember: The darkness doesn’t last forever.

You’ve got this!





To The Person Who Asked If I Was Expecting

I knew you didn’t mean any harm when you asked me today if I was expecting. But, your question hurt me.

I’m experiencing an uncomfortable side effect of a new medication I’m on – bloating and gas.

I looked in the mirror today and saw this.

And, it bothered me for a couple reasons. I have body image issues I have been struggling with for years. It also bothered me to “look” pregnant when I clearly can’t be. I was trying to talk kindly to myself and not let this temporary food baby ruin my whole day.

Then I was asked if I was expecting. And, then I realized that it wasn’t just my distorted eyes but that I really must look that bloated.

You meant well. However, it crushed me. Not just because I look pregnant but because when I’m asked that question I have to say no. “No, no baby. Nope. Just bloat.” While I say those words with a smile inside I’m crying.

I’m crying because I can’t have a baby. I probably physically can but because of all my mental health issues we have decided not to. And I know this is realistically what is best for our family as most days I can barely take care of myself.

But, the maternal instincts are so strong and is so painful.

I try to be OK with it. And, deal with it by being an “aunt” to other kids. And, I’m usually OK doing that. But, when asked questions like that. It makes the pain more real.

Questions like that are usually a bad idea. For the reasons I listed and probably many more.

No, I’m not pregnant. I’m bloated. And yes, I’m going to focus on being the best me I can be.