When I was younger, I don’t feel like I had much of a connection to my family history. I grew up around a lot of people that were of “pioneer stock”, and I always felt a bit on the outside.
Over the years, I’ve become a bit of a collector of things from the family that are important.
One of my most treasured possessions is a bracelet that was given to my great aunt Millie by her husband on their wedding day. I knew my aunt Millie mostly as someone we would see around the holidays, but I didn’t know her past all that well. By the time I was ready to ask the questions, she was unavailable to answer them. I wish I had the opportunity to talk to her about her marriage, what life was like for her growing up or what it was like to have a “special needs” child.
I’m also really grateful to have other things — like photos my grandfather took when my mother, aunt and uncle were young. I also have a great collection of items that my grandmother had during World War II.
I also have a fabulous collection of older photos of relatives. The only unfortunate part of the albums I have with the really old photos is that no one over the years took the time to write down who the people were.
One of the reasons why I’m writing this blog is because these are the stories that I hope someone wants to know about me in the future. What is it like to be single at 40? What are my thoughts now about what my life was like when I was younger?
It’s funny how you aren’t able to see things literally until you write them down.
I wrote a post last night about how I’ve had a hard time finding things to do to help me relax.
Literally 15 minutes later, I walked into one of the rooms in my townhouse and saw a book that I bought at Christmas to read that I haven’t read past the introduction.
Growing up, I used to spend my life with a nose in a book. If something were written down, I was trying to read it. I would read the sides of cereal boxes at breakfast because they were there to read.
I used to check out multiple library books at a time. There was one summer where I spent nearly every day at the library reading books because I had lost my library card. I used to hide books on the wrong shelves so they would be there the next day when I got back.
I think in addition to the other daily goals and tasks that I’ve set to do, I need to add some daily leisure reading to the list.
One of the things I struggle with is finding ways to relax — especially after difficult days like Friday. I have a hard time turning off “work brain” and letting myself have work / life balance.
A big reason I moved to Tennessee is help create some of that balance. Yesterday, I was able to go to my nephew’s baseball game and mostly enjoy it. I was already in an anxious mood, and thankfully a lot of people showed up to cheer on the team. The crowd caused me to a bit more anxious and at one point mid-game, I had to go be off by myself for a bit.
One of my other challenges yesterday is that I didn’t want to “eat my feelings”. I am a stress eater, and I didn’t want to compound my feelings of inadequacy from yesterday by “feeding it with food.”
Doing crochet projects is usually something I find relaxing. Unfortunately right now with my wrist having troubles, I can’t crochet without major pain. My chiropractor is doing great things to help fix my wrist, so hopefully it will be better soon.
One of the other things I really enjoy are long car drives and exploring new places. It’s not great for the environment, but it’s good for my brain.
I need to find new things to add to my life to help me relax …
Today’s blog post was supposed to be about the Start Experience (#startexp) and punching my fears in the face.
And, then I made a mistake at work.
Making mistakes that impact my clients are one of my biggest fears. For some of the work I do, mistakes can be easily corrected. Unfortunately, once you hit send on an email a mistake is near impossible to take back and correct.
Throughout the afternoon and evening, I’ve been trying not to beat myself up too badly about the error and also trying to find ways to help prevent similar mistakes in the future. The good news is that I rarely make the same mistake twice and this mistake and the steps that led up to it is something I will be on guard for even more in the future.
Dealing with my mistakes and the emotions around the mistake have taken a lot out of me.
I know that many of you have wondered what all the magic was about Misfit Conference.
This video gives a small glimpse of what the conference was all about. You especially want to watch the 1:08-1:11 mark.
At the end of May, I attended an amazing conference in Fargo that I’ve wrote about a couple of times called the Misfit Conference.
It was life-changing and for the first time in many years I felt inspired to tell the stories I needed to share. By the time I got off the train, I had a whole list of blog posts that I wanted to write in my notebook.
I knew that June was going to be a crazy month, so I marked down in a calendar that on July 1 I would start the #julyproject. If you’ve been following along on the blog, you’ve seen me post daily — and sometimes twice a day — on various topics.
A few weeks ago, I read a blog post by Jon Acuff inviting his audience to be part of something he was calling the “Start Experiment“. You only had 24 hours to decide if you wanted to be part of the experience, and I jumped in.
As part of the Start Experience, you had to list some big goal. I decided to use the Start Experience to help keep me motivated for the #julyproject and beyond and committed to writing on this blog at least once a day — and try to do two or more posts some days.
Tomorrow, I’ll be posting more about the Start Experience and specifically my task for today, which was to list some fears that have been holding me back.
I met with a physical therapist at a gym today, and I’ve met with a possible trainer at that same gym. I like this gym and hope that it will “work out” as a place for me to meet my goals for personal health and fitness.
The big question is, what are those goals?
I wish I could set weight loss goals and be confident that I would be able to match them. That has never been a winning strategy for me.
Back in the mid-2000s, I was working out at Equinox. To say that I was feeling the healthist I’d ever felt would be an understatement. I was working out with a trainer, Brian, 2-3 times per week. He was pushing me to my limits given my complications with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. On days when I would work with him, I would do at least another hour of cardio work on the bike and elliptical machine. I would do another 3-4 workouts during the week where I would do 1-2 hours of cardio and 30 minutes to 1 hour of weight work. These were awesome workouts.
The one downside – I wasn’t losing any weight. I wasn’t gaining weight, but at most over several months I only lost 5-10 pounds.
I didn’t know what I was doing wrong.
Unfortunately, I was walking around Los Gatos one afternoon and stepped off a step wrong and severely dislocated my knee. That led to me being in a wheelchair for a couple of months and accelerating a planned surgery I was going to be having on my knee.
Now that I’m beginning this process again, I believe in setting realistic goals … I just don’t know what those goals are.
I was born Sue Anne Phillips in 1973. At the time, my mom’s name was JoAnne Wishard and even though she and my father weren’t married, they gave me his last name.
When I was 3 in 1976 and my mom married my step-dad, I was legally adopted and my name was changed to Sue Anne Reed.
When I was younger, everyone knew me as Sue. When we moved to Modesto at age 16, people started calling me Sue Anne and it kind of stuck. When I went to college, I was used to be called Sue Anne and that’s how I introduced myself.
After all that happened with my step-dad, I seriously considered changing my last name. I debated legally changing my name back to Sue Anne Phillips. I also considered taking my grandfather’s last name and changing my name to Sue Anne Berryman. I also thought of a couple of other options. Eventually, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle of dealing with all the legal paperwork.
I figured at the time that I would eventually be getting married and the name change would happen once I got married. When I was living in California, my last name wasn’t that big of a deal.
Since living in Tennessee the past year, I’ve been called Miss Reed or Ms. Reed more times than in the past 14 years of living in California. Being called Ms. Reed so many times has made me wonder about changing my name again.
I had no idea before watching this video that Kid President had osteogenesis imperfecta …
Keep going Kid President and make the world awesome!
Did you know that some studies show that victims of sexual assault are significantly likely to be victimized a second time? There is one study that showed that 2/3rds of the sexual assault victims surveyed were victimized more than once.
Unfortunately, I fall in to those statistics.
In addition to the abuse by my step-father, I was also sexually abused by 2 other people as a child. There are very few people that know the stories behind those events. There were also a couple of what I would term “near misses” where something might have happened but I was able to get out of the situation.
One night in college, there was also a situation that almost led to me being raped. Thankfully, I was sober and the guy wasn’t which allowed me to remove myself without it going further than it did.
There are lots of reasons for why victims are revictimized. Some studies theorize that it’s a combination of PTSD symptoms leaving women vulnerable and predatory men being able to sense women who are particularly vulnerable. In many cases, alcohol has quite a bit to do with women putting themselves in vulnerable situations — especially women who are survivors of child sexual abuse but then are using alcohol in their teens and early 20s to cope with PTSD.
I know that for me and the near-miss in college, was largely due to PTSD. I had been going through a rough time during my freshman year and left myself vulnerable. That night was a valuable learning lesson for me. I was on a campus where a lot of the social activities involved alcohol. Not only is this common on most college campuses, but there really isn’t a whole lot to do in Northern Wisconsin. That night taught me that I needed to avoid those situations as much as possible.
One of the reasons why I’ve always been fairly open about being a survivor of abuse is because I felt so alone when the abuse was happening and for years after. If one person reads this blog and feels less alone because of it, it’s worth it to get my story out there. There are two things that I really believe can help those with abuse-related PTSD: therapy — especially talk therapy — and knowing that you are not alone in the struggle to overcome.