How 1 Family Struck a Chord

Hello world!

Stacy’s Flutterings is back! I took a hiatus from the blog because, in all honesty, I thought the blog had run its course. That was then. This is now, and this 1 mom is back. It hasn’t run its course. Rather, it has just begun. I want to share what we have been up to as a family because what we are doing is so different than the norm, and I’m extremely proud of that fact. And what brings it all together is our unconditional love for one another and music, yes music!

If you are just now joining us…

I started the blog back in August of 2011. That year, for me and my family, was a time of healing. We had experienced the near fatal suicide attempt of my daughter Kim, and we were learning how to cope with the ramifications of that. We were also learning how to support her on her journey to wellness. Also, about a year prior to her last suicide attempt, she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder so we were busy learning how best to support her during this time as well. She likes to say that I was her voice at a time when she struggled the most with her illness. Fast forward to today, and she is doing remarkably well. I’m thrilled, and thankful, as her mother, to say that she has her voice back in more ways than one. She has always been known as our songbird, and once again she is singing too and pursuing her dream of becoming an established singer/songwriter.

Now that I’ve shared a little about how the blog started…

I’d like to share with you why I stopped blogging back in 2016. I felt that my daughter was doing so well that it was detrimental for me continue the blog. I was worried that I was somehow defining her with the use of the blog. I also felt that it was time for my girl to fly as an independent young woman. I didn’t want to stunt her growth as an individual. My thinking was that the blog had served its purpose, and the last blog post that I wrote, titled “An Open Letter to My Adult Child, Now a Mother Herself, Who Still Lives at Home,” marked the end of Stacy’s Flutterings as I knew it. No longer did this beautiful young woman need her mom to speak for her. I set my daughter free. This was an extremely significant time in my life too because after finding her after her last suicide attempt, that ended with her on life support, I clung to her because I feared that I could lose her, literally. It took a lot of healing to get to the place that I was the day that I wrote what I thought would be the last blog post. What I didn’t know was that the last blog post wasn’t the last.

What is different now is that…

it’s not just 1 mom writing, it’s 1 mom and 1 daughter. Kim has decided to join me, and I couldn’t be happier! We are 1 multigenerational family making it work, and music really is at the heart of what we are doing. Don’t get me wrong, mental illness still is a part of our story, but we’ve learned, and continue learning, how to cope individually and as a family with the challenges that accompany mental illness. Mental illness does not define us. We define us. And what’s really cool is that Bill, my husband and Kim’s dad, has joined Kim on her singing journey as her guitarist! I took the picture above last week while they were loading the Jeep with equipment for a gig Kim had that evening. She was actually teasing Bill and pretended she was helping him load the Jeep, when in all reality, he loaded the Jeep! I’m excited to share that he’ll start performing with her at her next gig!

The blog has a new look and vibe as we begin this next chapter…

and we hope that you will follow us as we chronicle our unique family story that involves mental illness, mental wellness, awareness, support, the ups, the downs and ultimately, phenomenal music by Kim and 1 cool dad!

~ Stacy (1 Mom)

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Perceived Obstacles | Seize the Opportunity to Shift Positive Thinking into Overdrive

Draw Bridge ImageHave you hit a roadblock lately?

It sure seems that I have. As a first time anthology creator and compiler, I’m finding it challenging quite frankly. I’m enjoying the process, and I especially like the creative aspect of compiling a collection of stories into a cohesive whole. In fact, this is a project that I’ve dreamt about for years. I’m no longer dreaming about writing the book Stories of the Traveling Talismans. I’m doing it! And it’s a kind of wonderful that I can’t even begin to describe. I’ve grown up to become a weaver of sorts, but rather than weave with fabric, I weave with words, and I absolutely love it and can get lost in it. However, despite my love for writing, it does come with challenges, and what seems to be the most challenging for me lately is waiting for the submissions to come in. I find that I’m worrying about whether or not I will find enough interested writers and thus submissions. After talking with my husband about this concern, I’ve come to realize that this is a perceived obstacle, and I’m going to seize the opportunity to shift my positive thinking into overdrive rather than let negative thinking overtake me.

How am I going to shift my positive thinking into overdrive?

First, I’d like to share a little about the photo above. My conversation with Bill about my writing challenges reminded me of this picture. I took the picture several weeks ago while traveling back home from the beach. At that time, we had a carload: Bill (driving), myself, our two daughters and one granddaughter. When we had arrived at the beach, and everyone got out of the car, it came to our attention that Kim, the eldest of our two daughters, had misplaced her backpack which had her phone in it. After expressing some frustration with Kim over the misplacement of her bag, Bill and Kim decided we’d better head back home to find the bag. All five of us, with disappointed expressions, got back in the car. Ugh! Instead of walking over to the beach to enjoy the warm sand beneath our toes, the radiant sunshine and salty ocean breeze, we ended up driving back home. That certainly wasn’t what we had planned. What was supposed to be a relaxing day didn’t seem so relaxing after all.

Lo and behold, on our way back home, we saw a drawbridge ahead of us rising. It seemed that Murphy’s law was in full swing when this happened. Let’s be honest. When you saw the picture, what was the first thing that came to your mind? I know that my first thought was “What?! Now we have to wait in traffic! We’ll never get to the beach!” After the initial shock that the drawbridge indeed works (we hadn’t seen it actually work before), laughter ensued. You see, when we drove over the drawbridge earlier in the day, to go to the beach, Katlin, our youngest daughter said, “Does this thing actually work?” So when we drove back over it to go home, you can imagine our surprise when the bridge, with it’s massive gear assemblies pulling it up, simply and ever so slowly rose up. The bridge no longer looked like a bridge but rather it looked like some medieval fort wall that was stopping us from passing through and that was keeping us from retrieving Kim’s backpack so that we could get back to the beach. Of course, it eventually went back down, and we were able to drive over the bridge, retrieve Kim’s backpack and go back to the beach.

And that’s just my point…

Even though something may seem like an obstacle, usually there’s a way around it. It’s not the perceived obstacle that’s keeping us from achieving our goal(s). It’s typically our thinking. Dr. Wayne Dyer said it beautifully when he said, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” And that’s precisely what I mean when I say that I’m going to shift my positive thinking into overdrive. In essence, I’m saying that rather than think about things negatively, I’m going to think positive thoughts and ramp up my positive thinking when negative thoughts seem to be taking over. I’ve got a book to write! It’s going to be smashing! It may even end up on the New York Times Best Sellers list! This my friends is positive thinking in overdrive. And why not? It just may happen!

Growing stronger…

Guest Blogger Kim King: A Story of Self Hate and Learning to Love Myself

DCF 1.0

“Kim! You are so beautiful!” said my mom, friends, family, and strangers. What no one knew, when they said this to me, was that it hurt to hear those words. Any type of compliment was so painful that it started getting difficult to hide. I smiled for pictures, and I tried to dress up as often as I could handle so I could “feel” pretty. That feeling didn’t come until 18 years later.

In 1st grade I hopped on the school bus with all the other kids and was wearing shorts on this particular day. When I sat down I looked down at my thighs and noticed they were bigger than the other girls’ thighs. That’s when the self-hate began, and it snowballed as I got older. My hair looked ugly to me no matter what so I always wanted it short. No matter what, I felt ugly. Nobody could change my mind or make me feel better.

Eventually, the self-hate turned into self-harm, and I was hurting myself physically so I could feel the pain on the outside that I’d been bottling up on the inside. My wrists and legs became covered with open wounds and scars from me cutting. One day I felt comfortable enough with one of my teachers in high school to share my cutting struggle. He walked me down to the guidance counselors office, and I went to that office almost every day after that. Although I felt pain it felt better knowing that someone else was aware of what I was going through and could talk to me about it.

The hatred towards myself continued after high school, and right after I started classes in college I dropped out and began partying a lot and got involved in a poisonous relationship. That relationship lasted 3 years, but the emotional abuse lasted longer. Because I had so much hate for myself I accepted and welcomed hate unknowingly from others. The energy I was putting off was coming back to me, and even friends started showing negativity towards me. I lost a lot of friends in those 3 years not realizing then that others were a reflection of me and since I hated myself others hated me too.

It all started to unfold the day I looked at my beautiful newborn daughter. The thought came to me, “What if she grows up to hate herself?”. My mind started to rewind, and thoughts came to me in pictures. In every instance of my life I have always been beautiful on the inside and out. When I smiled for those pictures I was hurting, but here I am today looking at them and realizing I love myself and always have. I’m still not 100% sure why I hated myself so much…maybe because I was bullied, or because of society’s standards, or maybe just maybe I was embarrassed to love myself because I didn’t know anyone that loved themselves. Whatever the reason was no longer gets to me. I have embraced me for who I am. My daughter helped me see myself as worthy, beautiful, strong. I am a reflection of her as she is of me.

So today, I want to share this story because if you or someone you know is hurting on the inside or out they need support. They need love. Loving yourself doesn’t happen overnight and is a different process for everyone. Just make sure you look in the mirror and are loving who you see. There’s beauty in everyone. Sometimes we have to show others the beauty they possess before we can see our own beauty. But there are also times when we need to seek out help from a counselor or therapist. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help and knowing you are worth it.

If you are looking for information about self-harm, please check out the Self-Harm guide on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website.

If you are in crisis, you can text the Crisis Text Line by texting “Start” to 741-741. It’s free, 24/7  and confidential.

Wellness…

According to the Choices in Recovery website it is important for us to take care of ourselves while supporting our loved one.  There are a multitude of ways we can do this, and one such way is to do something we enjoy!  I did just that this past weekend.  I traveled!  I didn’t just travel anywhere, but I traveled with my husband to see loved ones.  We chose to drive.  We drove with a purpose: to celebrate with loved ones, to reconnect with one another and to attempt to relax.  It was refreshing.  As we drove I didn’t forget anything or anybody, but I connected with the present.  I focused on my relationship with my husband.  We talked for hours, just the two of us, with our loved ones finding their way back into our conversation now and then, but we talked.  I noticed the wrinkles now forming in both our faces, and the strands of gray hair making their presence known.  We laughed and smiled as we visited.  There was a sense of renewed energy.  It was refreshing.  However, something interesting happened when we got back home.  I almost felt rawer than before the trip.  I felt mad that life is as it is.  Again I found myself questioning why things can’t be different.  I felt frustrated that I don’t have any control.  I have always known that life can be painful, but I think I have been feeling the pain for so long that our short trip brought this to my attention.  The gift of that small, fragment of time felt so good.  It was uplifting.  I think I have learned that I need to start doing more to take care of myself.  In turn I will be that much stronger to deal with the challenges that come our way.  As  Bill and I reminisced it became evident that we cannot forget ourselves in all that is happening now or ever.