Thankful Thursday 25 November 2021

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, but I am grateful every day of the year. I like counting my blessings and I have many to be thankful for.

Last weekend Tom told me that he loved me and I share the same feelings. I am comfortable and safe with him, and well, I love him. I sent him these two images today:

I made him all verklempt and he said, “I love you more, babe” and we had the “I love you more” contest until we laughed.

It’s really hard to put into words how I feel, but I am grateful to the core. It’s great when you find someone who is on the same page as you, respects, and honours you and you do the same for them. Trust issues were huge before him, and while they are still being worked on, I feel safe in learning to trust him.

Hanukkah and Christmas are coming. I celebrate both and I’m going to get Tom something. Last night I sent him a photo of the gift I’m going to send to one of my British friends and said, “Can’t wait to surprise you!” He said, “we’ll share!” My British friend loves to crochet and I bought her some crocheting things. He thought I was going to crochet him an Afghan. I have no idea how to crochet. Although, a good friend of mine (local) does crochet and she will give us an Afghan to share.

I’m going to make him a scrapbook layout and frame it so he can hang in his room. I’m also going to get him a gift card.

I love giving gifts and honestly, being with him is my gift. He understands me, he respects me, he honours me, and that is a gift enough. I just want to give him a little something and see him light up. I don’t need anything and I have everything I want with him.

Tom had Thanksgiving with his family and I had Thanksgiving with my parents. It was just mom, dad, and I today and it was a laid back Thanksgiving. I’m grateful that we were able to gather around a table, share some food, and have warmth surround us. That is indeed a blessing.

What are you thankful for today?

Only Light Can Drive Out Darkness…

I wasn’t quite sure what to title this post. The past few weeks have been on an upswing and the outlook is looking good for a while. November is usually a difficult month for me and while life has been on the upswing, there have been some dark days.

I’m overcoming trauma and I have a handsome boyfriend who is helping me. I am thankful for his patience, but sometimes I still get frustrated with myself.

“If I wasn’t raped, I would be a better girlfriend. I wouldn’t be so damaged and slow.”

“Is this fair to him? Am I being unfair by being so emotionally and psychologically damaged that he’s my first relationship in 12 years, and I was raped 8 years ago?”

“My PTSD is going to drive him away. I’m awful! I’m awful!”

Friday was such a dark day with thoughts, that I needed to listen to TED talks. I found this gem of a TED talk:

I could relate to this. I can’t change what happened to me. I had Phantom Life for so long, I had a habit of comparing my situation to a better one. The truth is, that was making me miserable. 2013 was a year of loss, first Nan, then rape, then being shamed by the detective, and him dropping the case despite some admitting on his part. I lived in negativity bias for so long.

Medicine and therapy helped me see the anchor that Lindsey Roy talked about. I learned that I tend to empathize and give grace to others, but can’t give it to myself. After my trauma, my “wow that puts it into perspective” trains didn’t arrive often either and didn’t take me to new places either.

I had to start asking myself the same questions as Lindsey began to ask herself. I asked myself on Friday, what five things could be worse now? What’s the advantage?

The truth is, I could have died on 7 November 2013, but I didn’t. I have the opportunity to wake up every blessed day and start fresh. I could be still stuck in fear, but I am not. I could hide who I am. I could hold it inside.

The truth is, I can’t compare myself to day 2 of my recovery. I can only compare day 2920 to day 2919. It doesn’t make sense to compare day 2 to day 2920 because I am at a different point. I’ve had therapy, I still have therapy. I am medicated for PTSD and depression. I told Tom the truth. He knows. He could have walked away, but instead he hugged me and told me we will work on my timeline. He checks in with me and asks if I’m okay, he respects my boundaries. I began to cry tears of joy. I wouldn’t have dreamed about this on day 2 of recovery; hell, I couldn’t even imagine this last year, at day 2555. It’s amazing what a year brought.

I had to watch another TED talk. I’ve watched this TED Talk before and I’ve always loved this one.

I can’t change what happened to me. I’m never going to be able to go back and change it. It’s not going to change and it’s part of my story. However, my pain has begat joy. By telling others my story and being able to help, it brings me so much joy.

My experiences make me empathic at my new full-time job. I can make victims feel at ease and I know how to work with them. I am so good at my job and I don’t know if I would be if what happened to me didn’t happen. Anyone who is nervous about things that happen to them, I can tape in with my empathy and help them work through it. I am to them what other case workers were to me when I needed help after my trauma.

I don’t live in spite of things anymore either. Of course I wish what happened to me didn’t happen to me, but it isn’t going away! Instead, I count my blessings to the people and places that have been connectors to joy.

And the boyfriend? I told him I was feeling self-conscious. His response? “I like you just the way you are.” I told him the same thing – I like him the way he is. I smiled. I am enough and I am worthy. I am so much more than what happened to me. My story isn’t only that one dark and painful moment, and other dark and painful moments. The darkness helps me see the light.

Hiking With Tom | 20 November 2021

On Saturday, I trekked to Delaware County and met up with Tom. He decided to take me on a hike around Darby Creek. The scene was something from a painting.

We sat at the cave for 20 minutes, talking and just taking in the autumn beauty. I’m glad there are still leaves on the trees and the colours have finally peaked.

Tom found a discarded bike and he was going to fix it for me. We decided to walk down the embankment to look at the bike, and as we walked, I saw the graffiti under the bridge. I love admiring graffiti. Tom looked at the bike, unfortunately it was too big for me and he couldn’t salvage it anyway.

We walked the trolley tracks and as we walked, it reminded me of a few scenes from Stephen King’s “Stand By Me.” I asked him if he ever watched that movie, but he hadn’t. I said, “some time I will have to show you!”

We crossed the tracks and went to the Swedish Cabin. That Swedish Cabin was neat.

Since Thanksgiving is on Thursday, I’m going to write about gratitude this week. I am really grateful for Tom. I’m blessed.

And Then He Kissed Me | An Oldies Love Playlist

I’ll admit that I’ve been listening to sappy songs as of late. I decided to play this gem of a song this morning as I walked to the bus:

After Downtown ended, Amazon led me to a playlist of oldies love songs. I listened to the station for the next 25 minutes. These were the hits that filled my morning:

I posted this on Facebook this morning. Here’s a shout-out to my dear friend and fellow blogger, Shady!

I love listening to music and I can honestly say I listen to everything. I also love listening to modern covers of old songs.I follow this one blog and the writer has a series called “Jarring Juxtapositions” where he explores how music changed over the years. Sometimes he’ll talk about covers.I’ve always liked Leslie Gore and G Eazy, so when I found a cover of “You Don’t Own Me” by Grace and G Eazy, I had to give it a listen. I’ll post both songs.

I still have a CD burner on my laptop. I just have to figure out where I can purchase music or make a mixed CD. I really want to make a mixed CD now.

Thrifting, Riding Trains, Arcades, and Teaching Tom How to Ice Skate (Oh, My!) 13 November 2021

I like to keep relationships balanced and we agreed to take turns visiting one another. He will come to visit me, then I will visit him, and so on and so forth. Saturday I told him I would go to him in Delaware County. It wasn’t a bad commute – 40 minutes via SEPTA.

When I arrived, he met me at the Baltimore Ave. station and he gave me a tour of his town. It’s a quaint little town, especially Aldan. He took me to his favourite thrift store and we walked around.

Tom found some video game console cords and found an electrical outlet from the 1970s. He decided to buy it, because it was dangerous for today’s use, and he would show me how to wire things. Hey, why not? Sounded cool!

My rainbow purse fell apart; second Sak purse to fall apart in a year. I didn’t want to spend money on a new one, since it seems like the stuff made nowadays aren’t built to last, so I decided to look for a new purse while in the thrift store. I found a nice black purse, probably from the mid to late 90’s. It was only $4, in great shape, and I decided to get it. I needed a purse.

After spending an hour in the thrift store, it was raining, so we walked to the train station in Primos. We found shelter and he took out the electrical socket he bought. Tom is OSHA certified to install electrical wiring. He used to work as an installer before he shifted focus.

I had to snap a photo of him showing me how he would wire something like this. Gosh, that’s what I admire about him: Tom isn’t afraid to teach me things and it is interesting. I learned a lot about alternating currents and direct currents and how getting them mixed up can be dangerous. It was neat learning how I would install wiring too. Good to know for the future!

Eventually the rain stopped and before the train came, we decided to get a selfie with the beautiful fall trees in the back. You probably can’t see the trees too well.

It was freezing cold after the rain passed through. We were so happy to get on the train and cuddle a little.

I decided to get my hair touched up and he went skateboarding for a little bit. Once my hair was done, we ordered pizza from Dominos. He ordered a regular pepperoni pizza and I ordered my gluten-free cheese pizza. Customers can’t sit in Dominos yet and Brauhaus Schmidt wouldn’t let us sit in one of their outdoor tables, so we walked to a park to eat. It was 6pm, but felt like midnight. The park was between South and Lombard Streets, so it wasn’t too bright, but we did have some light from South Street. It felt interesting eating pizza in the cold dark, with the moon shining above. We talked and laughed as we ate.

Tom and I then went back to the arcade. We had fun playing Space Invaders, dancing games, fusball, and Pong.

Tom agreed to go ice skating, so we ventured to the Rothman Rink at City Hall. He never ice skated before and I taught him. Since he skateboards and can roller skate, he was a natural at ice skating once he got used to it. He did well. We held hands as we skated around, and I gave him some tips for easier skating.

We fell once and we both laughed as we wiped the snow off of our pants. What fun! He told me I was an excellent teacher.

Saturday was such a great day! I can’t wait to see him on Thursday and Saturday!

Thankful Thursday 11 November 2021

Happy Veteran’s Day and Remembrance Day! I am grateful for the men and women who not only serve the US, but the service members of Canada and Europe as well. We celebrate Veteran’s/Remembrance Day because on this day in 1919, World War I ended (this day was originally called ‘Armistice Day’). World War I was a worldwide effort, like World War II, and much like today. I honour you all!

The leaves are changing and it’s looking so beautiful outside. I am grateful for the changing season and thankful that the holidays are soon approaching. It’ll be another year down and I’m grateful for all that I learned so far this year.

Date #2 with Tom tonight and I’m so excited. I’m thankful that I met an awesome kind and respectful guy.

What are you grateful for today?