It's Sunday.....and in Texas it's humid........okay, I'm going to stop complaining right now. We've just been told that husband will probably be sent to Louisiana next. Hmmmmm, I believe that's humidity central. Knock on all wooden heads out there that he get's this one, as it's at least a year long job......which means much longer since the company always under-estimates the time involved. Remember? Texas was supposed to be completed in March, then May, now......I don't know. They're wrapping it up though......The Louisiana job sounds like a lot of fun for husband.

Newspapers have put video up on the net of the Hogle zoo exhibit he worked on, but now with the animals having a blast! It's fun for the littles to watch, especially the polar bear exhibit.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXr6rWBswRo

I've been thinking a great deal of a quote I recently read. To be honest....the quote has stimulated so many thoughts, that I find it almost a challenge to put them down into a logical order. Alas, that's a good thing though: to read something that calls to your most inner parts, and provides a seed of thought that grows until it blossoms throughout your entire system.

To be honest, it's not just a single quote, but a quote within a paragraph that grabbed my attention. So strongly did it hit me, that I marked the paragraph with an explanation point.

" 'The soap in the bathroom, the flowers in the garden, the book on the bedside table are all strong symbols of a life in progress' notes write and interior decorator Charlotte Moss......'you look at these details and a world unfolds.' Each day you create yourself anew through choice. By paying attention to details- your authentic gestures-you give expression to the most personal of all the arts; making your own imprint on life" ("Simple Abundance" by Sarah Ban Breathnach)

My own imprint on life? What imprint have I left? For the moment, and for the last number of years, I have been uncovering and recognizing the imprints that others have left upon my life. Initially, it was the negative, the abuse, the violence, the neglect, the emotional fractioning of a small child and young adult. But what imprint have I left? The person I've become, free from the origins of dysfunctionality?

This reading, along with the "Life Questions" that my therapist has assigned me to study and answer have both brought to mind the same question: Who am I now? What imprint am I leaving in my wake? Who have I become?

So, after answering all of my therapist's life questions, and since I have completed this assignment so many times before the answers are almost painfully by rote.....I looked at the paragraph above. In detail, slowly savoring each word.

"The soap in the bathroom (oatmeal, by Yves St Laurent.....always has been my favorite, also a bar of Dove, as I love it's simplicity)......the flowers in the garden (well, we don't have a garden, we live in an apartment, however, I always take notice of this very, very small yellow flower that is found all over this area of Texas....so small, it's no bigger than the letter "o" typed......and sprinkled in just a few spots that one can easily walk past them. I often stop and simply take notice of their simple perfection.....so small, and yet, so determined to live. How many people walk by and step on these little yellow stars of delight, and yet they still exist? Their determination to survive amazes me almost daily).....the book on the bedside table....(well, that has always been the complete works of Jane Austin....wherever I travel, I bring my dearest friend "Jane" along)....are strong symbols of a life in progress."

A life in progress......that's certainly correct. But it was only when I truly thought of these individual things that I began to see my life 'in progress' as she says. My choice of soap, the book I favor, the flower I noticed.....all relatively simple things, and yet they do reflect who I am as a person. It was then that I began to look at the larger picture around me.....my entire abode. Granted we travel a lot, hence even more so, the things I choose to bring along with me are certainly 'imprints' of the person I am.

It was then that I noticed that I have consistently moved this one small, very simple jewelry case to every location. It was a gift from a dear friend, who came from Israel, who was a great painter like her father before her, who had suffered through many years in Auschwitz. This simple jewelry case reminds me of our friendship, and how much I learned from her. How much I admired her strength, and yet, she often commented that I was truly the strong one. We argued this point many times.....for she had served in the Israeli Army, had traveled the world, had experienced so much, and yet: she saw strength in me that I didn't.

I looked deeper, and noticed that I have several dragonflies carefully held in small cases......I had found them on one of my many walks through Utah, and only collect those that are dead already. Their beauty intrigues me, and their life cycle additionally calls to something way deep inside myself. For it's the larval stage of the dragonfly that feeds off of mosquitoes. The very creatures that seek to attack us as humans, these wee creatures feed off of. One would never know it, to look at their fragile beauty. They are my heroes of the insect kingdom, and often remind me that what you see often hides a much more powerful creature underneath.

Of course, as most people, I have a collection of photos saved throughout the years: representing special occasions or moments in time that I wish to cling to when grounding. They remind me often that time has passed.....and just as time has passed, I have changed.

Which leads to the final thought of that paragraph: "Everyday you create yourself anew by choice." By choice. What an empowering statement. By choice. So simple (which I like) and yet, very deep. As a child, I often had no choice in the matters at hand. As a young adult, again, choice was not something that was offered to me or even expected. BUT, as a free adult: I have a choice daily to determine the course my feet will follow, how my mind will function, and the decisions I make. For good, or bad, I have the opportunity, every single day: to create my world anew.

Quite profound to my way of thinking. I discussed these subjects with husband just yesterday, and he made a comment, which to me: was striking. He said: "You are incredibly strong person, I don't know why you don't see it. Don't you realize that you've created 8 of you to survive, you are not only a survivor, but you have made yourself stronger in the process."

Hmmmm, I never really thought about that. I have survived, and I've learned to honor that. But to become stronger in the process......well that thought had never occurred to me.

My son came out this morning, and said: "You look very soft and loving, but there is something inside you that people don't see. You are strong, stronger than even Dad......but you choose when to let that part of you out."

I choose? Really? Anyone struggling with the diagnosis of DID will argue that choice doesn't seem to be first place within the system. And yet, I must admit.....I do. I choose to be harsh or understanding with the children, I choose my words carefully when dealing with the general public, I choose with whom I associate, I choose daily who I am, and what I stand for. The entire system (thank goodness, after many years of battling) has chosen to cooperate together, and no longer views the world as a hostile environment destined to repeat the dangers of the past.

Perhaps, most astounding of all, is that every day, we choose to live. It seems simple, but as anyone who has suffered from self harm, or suicidal ideations understands: it can become quite a challenge to organize the entire psychological system into working for life, for the next day, for the future. I have come to believe that statements like the one mentioned in today's post; "Everyday you create yourself anew by choice" are a critical reminder for those dark moments. 

How true indeed........I know, beyond a doubt, that I am not the first woman to suffer at the hands of victimization, nor am I the first human to have been oppressed and damaged deeply for years on end. There are many men and women who have come before me. Perhaps the most astounding thing of all, is that they too moved past those events, and daily chose to create life anew for themselves.

Perhaps, that's why that simple jewelry box means so much to me.......and as I looked around, the few possessions I pack carefully each time we move, each hold a memory or a symbol of survival that I appreciate being surrounded by. There may not be many things, and most of them may be simple, but they truly define who I have become.

My imprint on the little world around me. It's a fascinating one that I had not taken the time to truly analyze.

So, while on the path to self-recognition, self-awareness, self-actualization.......each, obnoxiously redundant as to "the self", I have discovered a few things. I leave an imprint, that is unique and true to the person I am. How empowering is that concept! I have a choice, daily, to create "a world anew" for myself.

Have a good day everyone......

may this next week bring us all a bit o' peace.

Shelly

 


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    Shelly Dowen-Johnson

    I am currently traveling with my husband across the United States, due to the nature of the work he does. 

    I am the mother of two boys, one who has recently been diagnosed with Early Onset Childhood Schizophrenia (Schizoaffective Disorder). 

    It appears the Dowen family gene sequencing contributes much more than the darling dimples both boys have inherited!  But, as always, with love, tender care and support....we will thrive! 

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