Off to the Coast

Morning Fog at Seal Rocks
The wife and I are spending a couple of days celebrating Thanksgiving at the Oregon Coast. It’s been a bit crazy here since we made the move and with her working on this coming Saturday thanks to the Oregon-Oregon State football game, (aka the Civil War Rivalry), I’m thinking a couple of quiet days are just what we need right now.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend this time together. I’m also reminded that as crazy as it’s been, I’m thankful for the adventure. Life can change around you pretty quick when you let it, and it can be pretty exhausting at times. But it’s also pretty interesting too. I can honestly say that before this year, the idea of living in Oregon had never really occurred to me. But now we’re here, and while being all the way across the country from our families and friends is difficult, we’re also very thankful for the modern technology that makes it so easy to keep in touch with the people we love, even when we can’t be with them physically.

Of course, as I’ve said many times, that same technology not only has allowed me to keep in touch, it’s also allowed me to “meet” so many people through my websites, social networks, and other groups. I hope, especially with this site, that coming across the stuff I share from my adventures, has helped you in some way. If it has, then I’m truly thankful for that, even if I don’t know about it. What the point in sharing if not to educate, comfort and inspire others when we can?

Whatever you are doing this holiday weekend, at least for those of us in the US, spending it with family, spending it avoiding a dysfunctional family, working, resting, traveling, etc.  I hope that you can find some time for yourself, to recharge and enjoy the scenery along the way!

 

What’s the End Result?

Tomorrow I get to do something that, according to statistics, is one of the things adult survivors of sexual abuse dread the most. I have to have some dental work done.

I was terrified going to the initial appointment for an exam, I’m terrified of going back to have this work done, and I’m terrified of the number of appointments I will have to have to fully complete the work. Luckily, we found a dentist here in Corvallis who specializes in sedation dentistry, so I will actually be sedated long before I step foot in the office tomorrow, but even with that added bonus, just the thought of being in a dentist chair makes me feel queasy.

The only thing that is getting me through this, and the thing I’m counting on to get me through this whole process is the knowledge that the end result will be worth it. I’m looking forward to getting these things fixed and moving forward.

I think healing from abuse is a similar reality. Some of the steps toward healing can be scary, and many of them won’t be all that pleasant. Facing what happened, and facing the self-destructive behaviors we’ve developed over the years to help deal with it can be pretty terrifying. Healing isn’t always pretty. Sometimes, it can be a lot like taking a drill in the mouth, but we do it because the end result is worth it.

A life beyond “surviving” is out there, and it’s possible, but you have to show up to each appointment to get there. Keep your eyes on the end goal and keep moving forward!

Coming at You From The Other Coast

Oregon! Still hundreds of miles from home but in the right state!

A photo posted by Mike McBride (@mikemac29) on

 

So yes, I did make it to our new home in Oregon last week. I am still catching up on the photos I took during the drive over on my photo blog, but I realized today that I’ve neglected to post any updates over here!

I’m still getting used to being on a three hour time difference and living in a new place, but it’s coming along. I keep reminding myself that the frustrations I’m feeling are actually normal for anyone moving to a new place; finding things, not really feeling comfortable and let’s face it, after that drive, just feeling a bit run down! Those are not signs of “survivor issues”, they’re normal. Isn’t it weird that any struggle we have has to first go through that lens of figuring out if this is a survivor struggle, or a plain old regular struggle, as if survivor struggles are somehow different? They’re all struggles and obstacles to overcome, that can be overcome! Eventually, I’ll figure out how to get around Corvallis, what places I like, which I don’t, how to get an Oregon driver’s license, and so on. People move to new states, I did it myself just three years ago. It’s not without stress, but it’s hardly impossible.

I will say this though, even though I know I’ve said it before many times. Going through the trip here and all of these changes is only possible because I have spent the last few years embracing small, and large, changes and seeking out new adventures, building the confidence to deal with change. Driving across the US is not without it’s perils. I worried every day about the car breaking down, for example, but I also knew that if it did, I could figure out how to deal with it and get to where I needed to be. Luckily, no such thing happened, the trip went off pretty well and I was able to have a new adventure and see some new things.

I look forward to not only settling in and getting comfortable in our new surroundings, but to new adventures in Oregon as well. From what I’ve seen so far, I do believe there is plenty to explore here, and I know that I can explore it without fear!

Permanent Victim Status

A few weeks back, Patricia wrote about being an advocate, and being accused of being “stuck in victim mode” because she continued to talk about child abuse.

It’s something that I’ve been thinking about too. Part of that thought process had to do with some cleaning up of old links that I’ve been doing on the blog, and seeing how many survivors have simply stopped blogging and dropped out of the online community, as well as thinking about some of the things I see online about healing in general.

First, before I even get into my thoughts, let’s make one thing clear. All survivors are individuals, and what works for some, may not work for others. Whether you feel lead to continue being an advocate, or sharing information like I do here, or Patricia does, or if you’d rather spend your time with other interests and put this behind you, is totally your choice. Part of being healed is giving yourself the ability to make your own decisions and have control over those decisions. Far be it for me, or anyone else, to demand otherwise.

On the other hand, part of being healed is being more than “just” a child abuse survivor. That can be a tricky line to walk. I’ve been at this blog for 12+ years now, and it’s still tricky. In fact, maybe it gets trickier the longer I go on, because it would be easy for someone who doesn’t know me to look at this site and come to the conclusion that I’ve been going on and on for almost 13 years about being a survivor of child abuse. Wow, talk about someone who is stuck!

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Dealing with Change and Challenges

oregonThose of you who follow my other blog may already know this, but we are moving again! To Oregon of all places!

As I look ahead to the challenges of moving to a new location, and dealing with living across the country from my wife for a couple of months, it occurs to me that I feel pretty confidant about the whole situation, because we’ve done it before.

When we moved to South Carolina just about 3 years ago, I moved down for my job, and Angela stayed behind to pack up the house and fulfill some work commitments. We lived apart for more than 6 months. This time it’ll be under 3 months, and since I work from home when I’m not traveling, I don’t even need to switch jobs, just locations.

Anyway, to the broader point. Child abuse survivors, many times, do not have the experience of dealing with change and challenges to fall back on when faced with this sort of challenge. We have spent so much of our lives trying to survive, and protect ourselves, that the confidence that comes from making our own decisions, or overcoming new challenges is a foreign concept. We want nothing less than to have anything change, and yet life is all about change. We can’t avoid change, we can only learn to deal with it. The quicker you can learn to deal with it, by taking on some small challenges, and gaining confidence, the more you can make positive changes in your life, and take advantage of new opportunities.

Self confidence is like any muscle in your body, it only grows stronger by exercising it.

What are you waiting for? What small challenge can you accept, and face, today?