Monday, February 7, 2011

The Ugly

You know, I told myself when I started this blog that I was going to use it to help others and to share my thoughts about life as a woman, however, I have been avoiding it like the plague lately out of fear...fear of being judged for what is my thoughts lately. I'm taking a leap here because I think it will help others but also think it will help me too.

Not everyone knows that I am on a journey to become a therapist and I've kept it that way for a while for fear of being judged. I am a year away from being a licensed therapist with concentrations in substance abuse and trauma, abuse, and deprivation. My past is definitely a colorful one and one of the main reasons I am taking this journey to help others is because I can share some of their experiences. I can relate to people who have substance abuse issues, who have experienced trauma, and who have struggled to get out of some pretty deep holes. I have some big goals when it comes to helping others. I'm lucky to say that I will be working with veterans starting in May. I get to lead some of the men who have fought for us through group therapy and individual therapy for their substance abuse issues. I also want to eventually help women and children who have been abused and if I had my way I would work with the incarcerated, the lowest of the low.

In order to be a successful therapist, a person should be comfortable in their own skin so that when a person sits down and shares their most intimate secrets with them, they can not judge them and also should look at them with empathy, even if they tell you that they beat the shit out of their kids every day. I mean you could judge them but never to their face. You wouldn't make any money as a therapist. The model therapist would not judge and try to find a solution that works for the client.

I decided if I was going to go to school to become a therapist, I had better get some therapy of my own to battle my own demons. The reason being because understanding the therapy process will make you a better therapist. You can actually see what works for yourself and share that with people if need be. I feel like going off on a tangent here about how counseling is so taboo, but I'm going to save my audience from the ranting and the raving about therapy and just say that it is very nice to see our society turning towards individualism and the problems that come with searching for that.  A few weeks into it I was absolutely amazed at what I learned about myself and my relationship with my husband. I've changed so many habits that were almost ritualistic that it's hard to believe I ever did them. Now, I'm kicking my self because I've come to the hard stuff, the stuff people push away and never speak about.

While going through all of this, I wonder how many people I share this with, how many people have things that they never talk about again after it happens. I think about how many people I come across every day, how many women I look in the eye and ask "Hey, how are you?" and we all respond with  "Good. How are you?" I now look at people wondering what they are really struggling with that day, how their lives have been before the moment I see them, and where they really want to be. It also makes me think about how we humans do not trust and are so scared to take a risk. It's allowed me to look at the dynamic of how people become friends with each other. For myself, it's taking a risk by sharing something intimate with someone I think I like and I think I get a long with, hoping to create a foundation for a solid friendship.For others its about sharing something they have in common, sometimes as shallow as what status they are in society to having children to seeing how many people they actually know.

During this journey, I have also learned something very important. I do not have to be perfect. Because of my experiences I've always strived to be perfect and to be what society and some other unnamed people deem successful. I've tripped along the stones in life's path a few times; hell, I've fallen flat on my face more than once. I'm a stubborn one though and will pick myself up, brush myself off and keep on walking because I do have the hunger for life. It took me about 25 years of my life to make a drastic change and to live for myself. That is a different story for another day, how I came to that point.

Today, this article is about admitting to not being good...breaking that barrier of "I'm good, how are you?" People don't share that they are not doing well out of fear of being judged and out of everyone finding out their problems. What I think is amazing is that we all struggle; all of us have our own demons, yet we hide them and put on that everyday mask to hide from those issues out of fear. Facing your demons is not easy work, it's hard and it sucks. I'm not asking people to just share their feelings with everyone. I think it's important to have healthy boundaries for yourself and walking around sharing your issues with everyone is not a good practice. It creates vulnerability and vulnerable people get hurt very quickly. All I'm sharing is the realization of it being ok to be intimate with someone and to share with them that you're not doing ok. Being intimate doesn't mean to have sex with someone but to share something personal about yourself to someone you trust.

If you see me tomorrow or in a week or two, I'll tell you, "I've had better days." Because lately, I have not been fine. Yep, I said it, I am not good right now. Nope, I'm not "fine", I'm not "ok", and I'm definitely not "alright". I'm struggling with some very hard, intimate things about myself right now that has nothing to do with my husband or my children, just me.  I promise you I won't give you this long, drawn out story about what I'm going through so you're not burdened with it. To heal and to meet my goals of helping people, it's a neccesity to face the ugly.

So if you're struggling, if you're hurting, if you're having a bad day, own it, tell someone you trust. Take a risk, ask for a hug, grab a hand, take a bath, do something for yourself because more than likely, you need it.


  1. Oh Amanda! How honest, and heartfelt, and brave. You really put yourself out there with this one, I am so proud of you and want you to know that my hand is always here if you're looking for one to hold. What you are doing, what you are working towards and through, are incedible feats; mega accomplishments. You are an amazing wife, mother, and friend. I am so glad we have begun to let each other in past the cursory "How are you?" stage of aquaintance.
    Here's a poem for you today...
    My Demons-
    In darkened corners
    Of my troubled mind
    Lie hidden demons
    Left to find
    They creep and linger
    Ever there
    Waiting for some sweet despair
    To show their faces
    And sink their claws
    Into places
    Soft and raw
    They feed on worry, fear, and doubt
    But I know how to bring them out
    To deal with them courageously
    In hopes at last they’ll set me free
    Face the darkness deep and true
    Find the hidden healing clues
    Bring the fearsome thoughts to light
    Where they’ll lose all will to fight
    Without the secret shameful shadows
    They can’t exist to fight this battle
    And at long last I’ll truly win
    My soul, my heart, and yet again
    Be happy as I could have been
    Had I never let those demons in


  2. Love it Sara, Thank you! I'm also glad we are getting past the common barrier of "How are you?" Just takes some time and intimacy. Your poem describes exactly what I feel...just like you wrote the words from my heart! Thank you!

  3. I have never been through therapy before, but I am sure it really brings things out there. Glad you are able to do this! And those barriers you are talking about are so automatic aren't they?!

  4. Amanda ~ Thank you so much for sharing this, it is a very powerful thing to be able to let go of the "I'm fine" answer and be honest with yourself and your friends. This is something that is coming to be more and more important to me as I become older...wiser (hopefully)... and more comfortable with myself. I hope that whatever it is that is troubling your spirit is something that you can work through and come out of being a stronger person.