Sunday, September 28, 2008

no longer mute turns 50



i'd like to ring in our 50th blog with some photos (lauren, aren't you proud?). many of you have realized in our writings that shauna and i share a love of words, existential crises, deep thoughts, strong emotions and using this blog to express those loves and so much more. what you may not know is the other sides we share.

we also love to laugh. while life often provides more opportunity for tears and frustrations than for laughter, when the occasion does present itself, we seize happy moments with the same enthusiasm as that of a deep sea fisherman reeling in a gigantic, bright and shiny fish. we savor the inside jokes, the do-a-little-dances, the ironies, the sarcasms, the witty and clever innuendos, the hints of smart and slap-stick humors, and all the belly laughs that come with having a 12-year history of friendship to draw from.

these pictures - while not at all flattering - are most representative of what i love. while i have a deep need to write and to get all my insides out, i also have a deep need to laugh. i am a glutton of epic proportions when it comes to those chances where you laugh so hard you can't breathe, you're crying, your doubled-over...i crave those moments. maybe i know life will throw me a curve ball pitch next inning, so i relish the chances to hold on to those times of sheer happiness.

so, here are the moments captured on film circa 1998 where we were having fun once. but seeing them now, i'm having fun all over again.

k.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

i'm angry.

i'm forewarning any men that might read this entry: this topic might not make any sense to you whatsoever. but it will to your wives and daughters. and since i express best in a chronological order, i'm going to include the thoughts that led up to me being angry.

Noelle, you might appreciate this most.

i just got an email from a friend who wanted my opinion on which Hooter Hider to select. this item happens to be an apron-type contraption that ties around the neck and provides privacy for a mother while nursing her baby. so, i went to the site that sells these items, browsed, made a selection and offered my opinion to her. that was that - or so i thought.

i began to be upset, first, that 4 years ago when Lucy was born, and even 2 years ago when Peter was born, they didn't make these contraptions. beginning motherhood was so difficult for me in every way - that anything, and i mean anything that might have helped me wade through those waters would have been invaluable. but as it stands, i missed out on the Hooter Hider, the Bumbo Chair, the Papasan Swing, etc...

but the frustration, and furthermore, the anger, mounted when i was reminded of all the other components that were missing in my early motherhood. whether or not a Hooter Hider would have come in handy, i can only speculate. but other priceless necessities that would have helped were missing.

for instance, i could only nurse both children for four months. just didn't have it in me, i thought. come to find out a year after Peter was born and eight months after i couldn't nurse any longer, i found out i was deficient in an element called 'Manganese', the key component in breast milk, something that could have been resolved with a simple vitamin supplement. and today i was reminded of how essential nursing is to building a healthy attachment between the mother and child.

also, nearly every friend i had would say they witnessed my misery during Lucy's first year of life, but not a single one suggested seeking help for postpartum depression. instead, i found refuge in a Brooke Shields book. and today, i discovered that had i sought help within that first year, i might have stalled, stopped, or possibly even corrected the damage i was doing to myself and my baby because of the depression i was drowning in.

but, i can't go back to the day Lucy was born. i can't do april 1, 2004 any better. and now, i have no need for a Hooter Hider. maybe i should get one just to remind me that someone else was in my broken boat once - frustrated with what was available for the new mother - and instead of being angry, they were inventive. instead of drowning, they swam. they swam to the other side of sorrow and went back for survivors. they came back for me.

k.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

3 things I know...

1. I AM LOVED. How else could I explain the fact that three of my closest friends are traveling here (2 from Colorado and 1 from the other end of Washington) to see me today?! I feel so honored!!!

2. RELATIONSHIPS NEED TIME. Brian and I went out on our first official date in about a year. We were celebrating our 10 year anniversary (though technically our anniversary isn't until the 26th). I've always sort of felt like "date nights" were a nice luxury, but weren't vital to the relationship...but I think I've changed my stance on that one! We began the night with a set of rules - no talking about kids, money, work for him or school for me. At first it was difficult to figure out what to talk about, but by the end of the night we couldn't stop talking.

3. THERE WILL BE DANCING IN HEAVEN. The So You Think You Can Dance show was absolutely amazing. There is just something magical about music combined with the movement and expression of the human body. Some how the movement is able to communicate desire and beauty in a way that surpasses language. In a truly creative and engaging dance the observer is invited to enter into another realm of reality with the dancer.

That's all for now...can't wait to see you!
~S.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm posting like crazy today!

This poem has moved me immensely over the past several days. It was used for discussion at the marriage weekend we attended at my school.

The Ache of Marriage by Denise Levertov


The ache of marriage:

thigh and tongue, beloved,
are heavy with it,
it throbs in the teeth

We look for communion
and are turned away, beloved,
each and each

It is leviathan and we
in its belly
looking for joy, some joy
not to be known outside it

two by two in the ark of
the ache of it.

I don't think it's possible to bear shame alone...

We experienced a few moments of panic yesterday afternoon when Bailey emerged from her room attempting to cry but unable to get out a sound. I instantly stopped what I was doing in the kitchen and ran over to her. My mind was collecting data as I attempted to figure out what was going on. She mouthed the words, "I can't breathe" as she clutched the right part of her chest. I am usually able to snap into crisis management mode fairly quickly when my instincts tell me that something is truly wrong, but for some reason I was not able to stay composed in this moment. There was something about the look of fear in Bailey's eyes that triggered my reaction. Luckily, Brian was able to maintain calm enough to instruct Bailey to raise her arms into the air and to calm down. At that same moment I realized that Faith had followed Bailey out of the room so I looked at her and demanded to know what had happened. She looked up at me rather frightened herself and told me that she had kicked Bailey in the chest but that she didn't know she would hurt her that bad. I was enraged. I caught myself yelling at her with a mixture of disbelief and disappointment in my tone, "You KICKED her???"

Filled with shame for what she had done she ran into her room, laid in her bed on her stomach and hid her head under her arm. I knew instantly that my reaction had shamed her even further and I knew I would need to contend with what had just happened. At that point, Brian had calmed Bailey down enough to get her to breathe in slowly and methodically. It was her first time experiencing having the wind literally knocked out of her. I was immensely relieved that we weren't dealing with any number of things that could have been more serious than that. Once I knew she was fine I sought after Faith. All I could do was crawl into bed with her and hold her. I whispered into her ear that I was sorry I freaked her out and that I was just scared. She continued to sob as I tried to cover her with my love and understanding. Again I spoke to her, "It feels really bad when we realize that we've done something wrong...doesn't it baby?" She looked up at me and nodded her head in agreement. I continued to lay there with her for a long period of time, just holding her and feeling those places of shame that I know so well in my own heart.

It was a moment I'll remember for a long time to come. I wanted to take away her shame, but I knew I didn't have the power to do that. It was there not just because of the single act of kicking her sister, but because at the core of each one of us lies rebellion. It is a rebellion that we can't always hide or control...or cover up with "being good". It always remains. It is a part of being human in a fallen world.

It's ironic that all of this happened with my oldest daughter just prior to an experience where my own shame was painfully exposed. This morning I am the one lying in my bed on my stomach hiding my head under my arm and I'm longing for someone to come and hold me. I need someone else who knows this place of shame within herself to come and cry with me. I don't think it’s possible to bear it alone.

~S.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Did you know I'm a Gemini?

I've always been intrigued by the fact that my astrological sign is Gemini. Though I personally give no weight to the mythological fascination of astrological signs, I am intrigued by the fact that the ideas behind being a Gemini have to do with a duality between positive and negative characteristics. Lately, this idea of twinship or duality has surfaced as I've grappled with some rather disrupting discoveries. Through my own personal processing, engagement with some of the thoughts and readings from my current courses, and the beginnings of a relationship with a therapist I have found a new metaphor to play with a bit in my life. I'm becoming increasingly fonder of the use of metaphors. I'm learning how useful they can be when the substance of our minds is to difficult to bear without them.

My practicum professor from last year (who is currently my professor of psychopathology) once said that what surfaces in our dreams is what we cannot bear when we are conscious. They are tools for the mind, much like metaphors are. I've had a series of disturbing dreams in the last week that have prompted much processing. I thought I might utilize this blog entry to process through my most recent dream which has given birth to a new metaphor.

It began in what appeared to be a city alleyway (though it was physically located in a field just west of WBCC - right where Centennial was built). It was dusk or dawn...I'm not quite sure which, but there was an eerie feeling to the entire experience. I knew that walking down this alleyway was dangerous. There was a long line of abandoned warehouses and old broken down homes that had become the primary residence for many people without homes or with serious substance abuse issues. Despite my cognizance of the danger, I proceeded to walk down the not-quite-dark, yet not-quite-light passageway. I physically felt myself swallowing my own fear. It somehow made its way to the pit of my stomach where it remained throughout the course of the entire dream.

As I was walking I noticed that a figure began following me. Initially my pace simply increased until I realized that his pace was increasing incrementally with my own. Without much thought, I turned around immediately and faced my stalker. He was a scary-looking dude. He looked like he had been far from the arms of love for quite some time. Instead of screaming or giving into my fear, I felt a surge of strength propel me to confront him. I instructed him to travel with me and I began to run backwards facing him. I told him that once we got to the other end of the alley I would feed him and care for him. Though I found that taking control of the situation made me appear to be unafraid, it was merely a cover for the deep set fear still making itself known (at least to me) in the pit of my stomach. Surprisingly, this scary dude seemed to succumb to my demands and I soon felt as though I had power over him. At the end of our jog together I indeed fed him and also pulled my handy little wet-wipe to clean off his grimy face. As I wiped clean the thick and greasy dirt from his face, I felt increasingly tender toward him and whispered aloud, "I am wiping clean a face that was once loved dearly."

That was the extent of the dream and so you may be able to already assess how much there has been to engage with. Initially I was fascinated with my determination to walk down a path that I knew from the beginning was dangerous. I don't think this was simply a reflection of my ability to often take the plunge when it comes to walking down the right, yet difficult, path. This was more associated with a part of me that wants to dare people to hurt me or do any more damage than what has already been done. I was then intrigued by the way in which I dealt with my own fear throughout the progression of this dream. The physical manifestation of swallowing my fear felt so real. What was that all about? I wonder about the ways in which I have simply swallowed the red-flags - or better yet, the anxiety indicators that protection is necessary.

When the stranger began to follow me and I felt my fear attempt to creep its way up to my throat (it sort of felt like pregnancy-induced acid reflux), I fought it by taking control of the situation...by taking control of the person whom I was most afraid of in that moment. This has been the idea that I have been stuck on now for a couple of days and this is where my metaphor began to develop. There seems to be a duality that has taken place within my very being for as long as I can remember. There is a little-girl Shauna who is severely vulnerable, desperate, and incessantly needy. And then there is big-girl Shauna who has actually taken little-girl Shauna hostage. Big-girl Shauna says, "Be quiet. Stop whining. Stop feeling needy...heck, stop feeling anything. Don't worry, I'll take care of everything, just let me be in control and you'll stop feeling the pain." Little-girl Shauna helplessly takes the hand of big-girl Shauna until the pain is just too much to bear, and the desire and hunger overwhelms her tired and lonely little body. So she begins to scream for help. She runs away from this big girl in desperate pursuit for a mother or a father to hold her and rock her and weep with her. But she never seems to find the one she needs and eventually big-girl Shauna finds her again.

Big-girl Shauna is not numb to the pain, but she has learned how to bury it - in the pit of her stomach. And she actually loves the little-girl Shauna and believes that she is doing what is best for her. Her life is consumed with quieting the needs and taking control. She is constantly filled with anxiety. This cycle never seems to end. So as I am coming to terms with this duality living within me, I am struggling to figure out how I can grow into an integrated self. Abuse and defense mechanisms have driven my life thus far. So how do I begin to free the little-girl Shauna and teach big-girl Shauna to trust again? Relationship seems to be the only answer. It can only be in the context of relationship that desires and fears can be given a voice. And yet genuine relationship is what this duality has prevented from occurring.

~S.

holding onto empty

twice this week i've been left empty handed. once, i was anticipating coming away with something and didn't, and another time i was anticipating keeping something and couldn't.

last thursday i had my counseling appointment. i was so excited to see shari after having been unable to meet with her for almost a month. i brought pictures with me and had many unanswered questions i was ready to ask. but because it had been a month and we weren't on our regular schedule, we didn't meet at her office at the same time and missed each other. knowing that i was up the mountain, babysitting was taken care of for the next hour, and nowhere in particular to go, i decided to grab a cup of coffee and sit. i drove to a parking lot nearby and sat.

i sat and tried to sort through why i felt like i was left empty handed. with so many questions and anticipation brewing in my spirit, i so desperately wanted to share with someone and take away some answers. i went up to genessee with palms open, waiting expectantly for resolution and peace and was instead faced with closing my fingers around nothing but my coffee cup. i'm glad i had something to wrap my hands around because i couldn't shake the disappointment of emptiness...how it just sits like the heaviest breath in my throat, and i'm unable to swallow. i wanted so desperately to fill the void. i thought about spending the time i still had at the mall making purchases, or going home to clean. i couldn't just sit empty - i needed to be filled.

thankfully, i only had to sit for an hour. i finished my coffee and tried to spend the time in silence, meditating. and when finally, my normal appointment time was over, i turned on my car and headed for home just in time for shari to call and say she was on her way up the hill and we could still meet. i was then hopeful that i might not leave the mountain empty handed after all.

another time this week, i was holding joy and peace and fun and a spirit of gratitude when something simple pried my fingers open and what i had was stolen.

i was driving along bowles to begin running way too many errands for one night, thinking to myself how fun the day had been and smiling at a joke i had just made to karl on the phone. i felt something tingle in my chest and i thought, "is this feeling meant to make me more aware? do i need to be present to something? is it the song on the radio i should listen closer to? should i turn the radio off and hear only silence? should i pull over in the catholic church parking lot to wait and 'be present'?"

then, the moment passed and i went along my busy way. i was speeding to another store when the lights came on, a siren, and finally, the jefferson county sheriff pulled out right behind me. i got pulled over for driving 56 mph in a 40. my peace, my joy, my smile was taken out of my hands when i handed over my driver's license and registration - and was given a $58 four-point ticket.

after the officer left, i pulled into clement park and cried. i felt empty when what i wanted was to be full. i didn't know how to be present to that moment of disappointment. i didn't know how i should feel or if God was trying to speak. i didn't know what to do. so, i sat. i sat with the emptiness for what felt like too long before filling the void by calling karl to tell him the news and then calling my dad, a denver policeman, to see if he could take care of the ticket for me.

how do we hold on to empty? how do we sit with anticipation unmet, or disappointment in the loss of what was? how do we remain present in the moments that feel empty? are they worthless moments? doubtful.

in fact, what we do when we're holding on to empty might be the greatest test to who we really are. do we avoid empty? do we sweep it under the rug? do we try to fill it with a square peg when its in the shape of a round hole? or do we sit with emptiness and hold on to it with the same fervency as we hold on to full? should we?

k.

Friday, September 12, 2008

i'm surprised she doesn't call me krista...

sometimes i wonder if lucy only calls me mommy because she doesn't know my first name. because sometimes i think we're merely on a first-name basis.

today, lucy had a pretty big procedure done at the dentist and now she has a silver tooth. there was a lot of drilling and tools and it was all i could do to not cry for her. she was asked to remain still, and how hard that must have been for my 4 year old baby to do! she was brave and tough, but in the end, her emotions got to her (probably a side-effect of the nitrous gas) and she started crying and wailing and they had to shut the door to the room so not to scare all the other little boys and girls in this pediatric dentist's office.

i was convinced that she just needed to get the gas tubes off her nose, and the sunglasses off her eyes and then have a good cry, with mommy holding her and comforting her. i thought if she could just hold on to her tears and erupting emotions for a little bit longer, then mommy could sweep her up and hold her and rock her and soothe her.

i thought wrong.

the dentist had left and it was just the assistant doing some flossing and i asked if she could take off the gas (it just seemed like she was so claustrophobic, just like i was when i delivered her and protested when the nurse tried to put me on oxygen). since the procedure was over, they took off the mask, did some final clean up and lucy was able to sit up. but instead of collapsing into my arms and crying it all out, she immediately dried her eyes and asked if it was time to get a toy from the treasure box. she was further consoled when given her choice of a new toothbrush and some flossies. she chose a bouncy ball from the box and with a promise of chuck e. cheese next, she had all the comfort she needed, and didn't need anything from mommy.

i wanted her to know how it hurt me to see her struggle. i wanted her to know that watching her in pain hurt me and my compassion for her bubbled up in my tears. i wanted to give her love and show her care. i wanted to sweep her up and cuddle her fears and scares and wiggles away. i wanted to lavish, richly, my hugs and kisses. but, like her mom, she has a hard time receiving love. by omission of letting me do these things to her and for her, she pushed me away. by lucy comforting herself with bouncy balls and shiny toothbrushes, with gold coins for bright machines and lots of tickets for cheap prizes, i was left nameless. i wasn't mommy, or in other names: comforter, safe place, open arms, shoulder to cry on, wise one, gentle touch, compassionate one, taker away of pains and fears, of scares and unknowns. i was the babysitter. krista. the one who took her to and from her doctor's appointment and paid for pizza and prizes.

its hard for me to see that in her inability to receive my showering of love, while i feel pain, she's actually the one who is missing out. and like daughter like mother, i too am missing out on all the showering of love when i fail to receive it from those who so desperately want to give it.

k.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A quote will have to do for now...

I am planning on posting a real blog here soon. I'm still trying to get adjusted to this new schedule and attempting to figure out how best to fit in a little blogging action amongst other leisurely activities. Until then, a little quote will have to do.

"The Fall did not diminish our capacity for intimacy; it created a distortion and an agonizing disruption of intimacy. Each of us longs to break through the limitations of our existence into a blissful, unending intimacy with others. Such a dream cannot, however, be fulfilled. So we desensitize our hunger and thirst for the pre-fallen state by preoccupying ourselves with career, family, food, sex. leisure, and other distractions. But no diversion can richly satisfy the surface of the illusions we create in order to cope with life."
~Dr. Harry W. Schaumburg from False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction

p.s. It's a book I'm reading for my sexual disorders class incase you didn't pick up on that.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I couldn't resist...

I've decided not to use this blog as a political platform...but a little humor can't hurt anything, right?

Check out this video

Thursday, September 4, 2008

who wrote the book...

who wrote the book on supposed to's? the one that talks about all the shoulds and should nots? the one that tells me how i ought to live, act, be? i want to know who wrote the book because the author of all those supposed to's has ruled my life and dictated to me how i need to be living. i'd like to meet her because she's keeping me from my freedom. she has me bound, ball and chain. and frankly, i'm sick of her.

everyday i hear her incessant messages: "you should look better than you do. you ought to work on smoothing those rough edges. you are supposed to be seen and not heard. you shouldn't spend that dollar. you ought to plan for your future now. you are supposed to apologize, even if you're not wrong. you should go to the party just because you were invited. you should serve more, even though you don't want to or have any more time. you ought to go to school because you need to learn more. staying at home with your kids isn't enough, you should be doing something else more meaningful. you are supposed to cover up all those feelings so that no one knows how you really feel or what you really think, because if they did...well, they're just not supposed to."

well i'm tired of all the supposed to's. and i'm going to take a whack at this ball and chain with the ax of quiet. instead of listening to every opinion or new insight, tip, trick or self-help book, i'm going to listen to what's within. the Spirit that lives in my heart has all the supposed to's that i need, only he promises me that his yoke is easy, his burden is light, he has the truth, and his truth leads to freedom, not chains. but i haven't heard from him in a long time, maybe ever. instead i listen to the noise - the wind, the earthquakes, the fires...and i can only hear him when i'm quiet because he whispers.

and so, I begin. the axe is poised and ready. 3. 2. 1. shhhhhhhhh...

k.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just a quick note...

I'm back at school this morning. I dropped the big girls off this morning for their first day of school and then I drove Krisalyn over to her preschool. I can't believe that my baby is at this stage already. It's bittersweet - I'm excited for her to enter into this stage, but I also know how much school seems to grow them up! I totally cried my whole ride into school this morning. I just can't believe how fast time seems to escape us in this life. And so I am refocusing on what it means to more fully LIVE my life rather than watching it zoom right by. I can't slow down the clock, but I can certainly live into each moment with greater intentionality and presence.

My first class today is Sexual Disorders - a fabulous way to start out the trimester, don't you think so? I'm sure I'll be posting some thoughts from this class once we get going. Such conversations may appeal to even more of our blog readers. I'm remembering how whenever the topic of sex or relationships was at the forefront of our college group discussions group attendance would nearly double.

Before I sign out, I was going to encourage you to download a podcast from Mars Hill Bible Church (Rob Bell's church) from 8/16. It was a message delivered by Brian McClaren focused on the idea of story (you know how much I love that topic). One of these days I'll figure out how to post a link on this page, but until then you're just going to have to search for it yourself.

~S.