Monthly Archives: July 2015

Just Perfect

(This post is for Day Nine of Blogging 101.  It was inspired by my visit to the blog miss-kris.com.  She’s such a beautiful woman)

I have struggled with my weight and my body image all my life.  I can remember being in grammar school crying in the department store when it was time to buy new clothes.  I was so hurt that my clothes were always purchased from the ‘husky’ rack; these were not the most attractive clothes.  When I wanted to look like a little girl all sweet and cute I had to settle for clothes that looked, for the most part, androgynous.  The only saving grace for me was that they couldn’t make dresses for boys.  Every day I envied my petite, girly- girl playmates as I tried to come to terms with the chunky frame I had to carry.

Things didn’t get any better when I entered the middle school years.  My classmates were getting taller and thinner and I was just getting taller.  I still had to deal with my not-so-thin body and it became very apparent to me that this was something to be abhorred.  Once again in my life I knew what it was like to be on the outside when it was time to shop for new school clothes.  Instead of this being a fun occasion it was filled with more angst and tears when, as a pre-teen, I was forced to move over to the misses’ section of the stores my mom and I visited.  I would sit behind my desk day after day wishing and praying that the body that had betrayed me would show some mercy and get rid of my unwanted pounds.  This never happened.

girl crying

High school was no less a nightmare than my previous academic career.  My height had finally plateaued but my body and my body image was still a major source of sadness for me.  It seemed like all the girls I looked at were ‘perfect’.  They didn’t seem to have to worry about hiding a bit of a muffin top or robust breasts.  They were the ones who had no hang-ups getting dressed in front of one another for physical education and who didn’t cringe from the thought of wearing a bathing suit when it was time for the mandatory two-week stint of swimming.  Outside of school they could wear the short shorts and bikinis that I could only dream of putting on.  I would spend hours in the mirror at home dissecting my body trying on one thing after another looking for something that would hide my thickness and make me look more like my female classmates.

At this time I also got hip to fad diets and so-called counting calories.  What this was exactly was me starving myself and then going through a period where I was bulimic.  I loved this because I was finally seeing results to what I was doing.  Binging and purging was paying off in my waist line but it was adversely affecting me in other ways.  My gums were bleeding, my throat hurt, my ribs were always sore from throwing up and I was generally in poor health; but I kept doing what I was doing because my body was getting, and staying, smaller…finally.

Throughout my college years I started feeling better about myself as I kept on starving my body in pursuit of the perfect frame.  I was often tired and consumed with how many calories I was taking in and worrying about being caught throwing up in the bathroom in order to maintain the body I’d been dreaming of all my life.  This routine lasted for the better part of my college years but after graduating my body began to betray me again.  All the years of doing the wrong thing to stay ‘thin’ and lose weight had caused my body to rebound to the other end of the spectrum; I started gaining all the lost weight back.

This was the worst period of my life.  Not only was I gaining weight I was officially plus-sized.  I had to actually shop in the ‘big girls’ department and I was internally mortified.  Oh I kept a good face and I would smile when I got compliments on my outfits; from women twice my age mind you, but I was just not happy with my body and this was affecting how I felt about myself overall.  Instead of loving myself and my body and reveling in my uniqueness I went to the opposite end of the spectrum.  Not only was I dressing from the plus-size department, I was over dressing.  Instead of figure and body flattering clothes I would wear clothes two and three sizes bigger in order to try and hide my assets.  Then I started losing weight again. Joy and rapture!  Ironically, this gaining and losing, losing and gaining would go on for a number of years.

All of this had finally gotten to me and a vowed that it could not go on.  About six or seven years ago I finally decided that I was going to embrace the body I’d been given.  I was tired of depriving myself of the foods and drinks I like, wearing too-big clothes that hid my true shape, hating what I saw in the mirror and hating myself.  I embarked on a journey to love myself at whatever size I might be.plus girl

Though it was slow in coming I began to see women like myself in magazines and on television.  I began to really look around me and see all the beautiful women who had actual shapes and filled out their clothes sexily.  Most importantly I gave myself permission to love me in all my glory and splendor; I would not hide behind bulky clothes and shapeless shifts. plus girl 2            plus girl 3

Don’t get me wrong, I still have those moments when I wish I could lose a few pounds for any number of reasons but I refuse to get caught up in this and slide back into the loop of self-loathing.  I’m perfect just the way I am.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

It Comes From Inside

I went to see my therapist yesterday and I have to say that, quite frankly, she pissed me off!  I sat in the waiting room with my chest out and my shoulders back and a quiet smile on my face.  For reasons outside of my control it had been quite some time since I’d seen my therapist and I was so excited to tell her that I’d been winning the battle with my bipolar disorder daily, posting to my blog; I’d started it in 2013 but hadn’t done much with it until this year, and I was still celebrating having a year clean and sober.  I was all bubbles and sunshine inside while I waited to see that door open and her pop her head out and call me into her office.  For the first time in forever I was really ready for therapy.  Then it happened.  She did call me back and on the way to her office she asked, “How’s it going?”  I was beside myself with glee waiting to get started on how good life was going for me and how happy I’d been lately and then…she blew it.

I’d decided to downplay the sobriety thing and start with my mood.  I told her that things had been quite good for me where my mood is concerned.  I’d been able to use my CBT and DBT skills to keep me grounded and I’d been more positive than I’d been in a very long time.  She looked at me with a blank stare, shook her head and that was it.  Really?  Maybe she didn’t hear me.  Maybe her mind was someplace else, I don’t know.  This wasn’t what I expected or what I’d planned on.  This was supposed to just floor her and instead she just looked at me.  Fine. Okay. I decided to talk about my blogging.

I went into detail about how I’d been putting my feelings into the blogosphere about my bipolar disorder and treatment and my recovery from drugs and alcohol.  I knew she’d be impressed with me because I’d been in a horrible slump for so long not able to do much of anything and this was monumental for me.  I kept looking at her face waiting for the big smile to open up and let me know she was proud of me.  Nothing.  She just shook her head and turned around to her computer and began making notes.  Are you fucking kidding me!  What the hell is her problem; clearly she did have a problem.  Well, the last thing I had in my arsenal was my sober birthday and I knew this was going to get her.

After no response to my rambling about my good mood and my blog I was jumping up and down inside to tell my therapist I’d finally reached my first year of sobriety.  And I was right, that got a response.  “How did you feel about that?”  That’s what I got; a question.  As far as I was concerned it was a stupid question.  Wasn’t sobriety like this the goal of hours of therapy and training?  Anyway, I decided to bring attention to my blogging again and explain how I’d blogged about the bittersweet feeling of my year being sober.  I went into detail and made a very important point; at least I thought it was, about mourning my addiction like a good friend.  I thought this was really big and I thought that being able to verbalize it in such a way would surely impress her.  Nope.  What did she do?  I’ll tell you what she did.  She took the wind out of my sail like her certification gave her the right to just cut me down at the knees.  How dare she!  “Well, you’ve been mourning this for months, what makes it any different now?”  That was it; I needed to do some quick mental checking because I was on the verge of losing my cool.

In my head this woman was every name in the book but a child of god.  I thought about getting up and just telling her never mind for the session and walking out, she’d touched something in me that I knew wasn’t good.  My inner demon was coming to life and that never ends well.  In an instant I had to jerk myself back to a happy place because I was quickly going down the wrong road.  I could envision her calling security just like the social worker did in the ER when I came to the defense of my partner; I just hoped my eyes hadn’t turned the least bit red.  This just wasn’t going the way I’d envisioned and I was totally thrown off by her nonchalance.  Right then I had to decide whether to take the high road or to just show my ass.  Trust me, it was a hard decision.  All of this took place in a split second.

And then I came to the realization that, as much as I wanted my therapist to be happy for me and give me some sort of accolade, the most important thing is how I feel about what I’ve done and how far I’ve come.  My therapist’s job is to guide me down the road to being able to manage my mental illness and staying sober.  She’s not responsible for giving me my self-worth; that’s my job.

happy balls

So after I had this internal dialogue with myself I decided to let my therapist off the hook and go on with our session.  I reminded myself that I was there for therapy not ego stroking and, surprisingly, I was okay with that.

Tagged , , , , ,

Coming Clean on Getting Clean

Today I reached a milestone; I have one year sober.  I’m sure I should feel some kind of way but, surprisingly, I don’t.  Instead of feeling totally celebratory I feel quite introspective on this day.  I’ve spent the entire week leading up to this day thinking about the journey I’ve been on to get to this point.  I remember when it all started.

I was active in my addiction to alcohol and powder cocaine and not taking any medication for my bipolar disorder.  I was a walking train wreck and a health hazard to myself to the nth degree but I refused to believe or accept it.  I didn’t know whether I was coming or going and my body was beginning to cry out that something was wrong but I just kept abusing alcohol and drugs; I’d added pain killers to my repertoire of addiction at this point.  I was staying up days on end, playing my music louder than I would normally be able to stand, rambling on with my grandiose ideas, going from one thing to another never finishing anything, etc., etc., etc.  I was a classic bipolar addict mess and I’d been that way for several months.  I thought I was living the good life being drunk and high and all over the place but I couldn’t have been further from the truth.  I was on a fast track to destruction.  I’d chosen to deceive myself into believing that I had it all under control.

When I’m active in my addiction I’m what I like to call ‘functional’.  I’m still able to do normal things without much difficulty.  I fool myself into believing that I’m not some run-of-the-mill addict; I tell myself that I’m better than other  addicts who use alcohol and drugs and neglect life altogether.  How ignorant does that sound?  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  An addict is an addict regardless of how the addiction may manifest itself in a person.  One day something hit me and I realized that I was living a life of complete insanity.  I knew that I was out of control in my addiction and my mental health was at an all-time low and my health was truly suffering.

I don’t know exactly what happened but something deep inside of me wanted a change.  I was ready to get help and, truthfully, as much as I loved my addiction I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I sat down and made the call to a local mental health facility and went for an intake interview.  That same day began my journey down the road to healing.  I remember the seven days I spent at an in-patient hospital detoxing and starting the process of getting regulated and back on my bipolar medications.

The beginning was hell.  I had trouble sleeping, I had the shakes; I was hot then cold then back again, I was extremely irritable and my skin felt like it was crawling with bugs.  I felt like I was losing my mind.  These things are a normal part of getting clean but I’d forgotten about them and I didn’t like it one bit.  I spent most of those seven days thinking I must have been crazy to have wanted to clean up my act but I was determined to stick it out.  Getting sober isn’t easy and don’t let anyone tell you it is.  It’s hard and it requires a lot of will and determination.  I had to constantly remind myself why it would benefit me to be sober and why I needed to have my bipolar disorder under control.  Trust and believe addiction wreaks havoc on mental illness.  As much as I kept telling myself I was okay, I was not okay.

At first I would count my sober time by the days, then I was elated to be able to count the weeks but the real victory started to show when I could start counting months.  Still, I had to put in work.  I was in therapy several days a week and I had to learn to change how I thought about addiction and mental illness.  I had to see a psychiatrist on a regular basis and I had to stay committed to staying sober.  That is the hardest part of the journey; commitment.  Today I’m committed to staying committed about staying sober.

When I got to six months sober I began to see so many positive changes in my life.  My complexion was better, I was learning to eat healthier, my mental faculties were getting back into alignment and my sleep was more productive.  My favorite part of being sober was, and is, the fact that I was regaining my artistic self.  I used to believe that I had to be under the influence and off medication to be creative. Wrong!  Addiction is a full time job and a jealous lover and it robs you of everything, even who you really are.  I learned this the hard way and I’m glad I know better now.

As I got more together I started looking forward to my sober anniversaries; nine months, ten months, eleven months, until finally today’s big event…one year sober.

sobriety

Like I said to start, I’m not quite sure how I feel today.  I am happy and proud of myself and I feel so very accomplished but the day is a bittersweet one for good reason; I’m also mourning the loss of my addiction.  This may sound strange but it is a very real part of getting sober.  My addiction was such a big part of my life and letting it go was hard, my addiction was my friend.  Who wants to let go of a faithful friend who’s been there throughout the years, through thick and thin and good or bad?  Certainly not me but I had to come to the realization that sometimes we have to let things go out of our lives so that we can grow.

These are the struggles and triumphs that got me where I am, and for it all I can say I’m truly grateful.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Her Fantasy

[This is the beginning of a short story/novella that I plan to finish.  It also came about as a result of the Blogging 101 assignment for day 4]

She had to belong to someone.  Her perfectly coiffed hair and fresh manicure confirmed that she was well taken care of.  Trying on shoes in the upscale boutique, Uma couldn’t help but look at her shapely legs and the way she softly placed each foot in a shoe when trying on each pair that was brought to her.  Uma was sure she smelled of some exotic perfume that probably would have cost her a week’s wages but really none of that mattered because in her fantasies that woman deserved all the best things in life.

The first time she’d seen her was in the grocery store one evening after work.  She was leisurely shopping and Uma could tell by the contents of her cart that she took care of her body.  She had fruits and vegetables, all sorts of natural juices and organic supplements and very lean cuts of meat.  Uma imagined she’d be in her kitchen blending all of her cart’s contents while she danced to music in her panties and a t-shirt.  Her shoulder-length hair would be damp from her shower and she’d have it pinned in a messy bun with small pieces of curly hair framing her face.  In her mind Uma could smell the food cooking and she could feel her in her arms as they stood back to front in her kitchen.

As always, Uma stood in the shadows waiting and wondering who she was getting dressed for and making plans for.  She’d been watching her for several weeks now and she’d only seen her go out with friends or with business associates; she’d never seen her go out with anyone one on one.  But that really didn’t matter because she couldn’t watch her all the time.  When she looked down at the green illuminated face of her watch and saw that it was past six o’clock she knew it was time to go.   In the warmth of her car she hugged herself and started the engine thinking about the day.  This was the first time she’d been able to look at her for so long and she had a smug feeling of satisfaction in her gut as she pulled away from the curb and headed back to her apartment.

fantasy girls

Back at home she headed for the bedroom.  She took off her clothes and went into the bathroom to run herself a hot bath.  The steam from the water covered the mirror as Uma eased herself into the tub and leaned back to relax and think about her day.  This mystery woman had consumed her heart and thoughts and she wondered how she was going to approach her.  She was ready to make all her fantasies a reality for good.

Tagged , , , ,

Perseverance in Doubt

All of a sudden, out of the blue, as a seriously messed up thing I woke up with no desire to write or create.  Really, I woke up yesterday morning and it was like a horrible grey cloud had descended upon me taking all of my artistic vibes and creative juices with it.  I have to admit that more than being frustrated, I was afraid.  For a moment I was scared to death that who I am at the core was fading away.  I thought to myself, this can’t be happening to me, I’m an artist.  I was absolutely distraught and beside myself the entire day well into the night.

At around 10:15PM I was still thinking about my plight and it hit me; WRITE.  Yes, I didn’t feel like writing and it finally hit me that this was the exact opportunity to write.  As I sat watching ‘Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip’ trying to figure out what I had a taste for as a late-night snack, I found my inspiration.  As I wrote I tried to figure out the reason for not wanting to write or do anything creative.  The first thought I had was that my bipolar disorder was getting ready to take me down into a bit of a depression.  I did a quick self-evaluation and realized that my bipolar disorder had nothing to do with it.  As much as I wanted to be able to blame my slump on something, I couldn’t blame it on my mental illness.

Image result for images of clocks

Well, crap, I thought, what the hell is the problem?  I still couldn’t figure it out.  I’d write then pause, write then pause, write then pause; I did this for nearly an hour.  Then it hit me.  My drive hadn’t gone anywhere, I’d just overwhelmed myself.  I realized that I had been overthinking the Blogging 101 assignment for day four as to a target audience for my blog.  I’d never thought about a specific target audience for my blog.  I write because that’s what I do and I enjoy sharing my life and my art and poetry with other people.  Now I may target a specific audience based on a certain blog post but I just consider my target audience anyone who likes poetry, short stories, relating to my struggles with bipolar disorder and the like.

Something else that I realized in the brief time I thought I couldn’t write was that I have an issue with people judging me.  I was worried about what other people might think about me when I talked about my target audience or what they might think of what I do as a whole.  I had to get past this and not worry about what anyone may say about me or think about my blog.  I had to stand up for myself and realize that my blog is my blog and what I do should not be dictated based on what I think someone else might or might not think about it.  I had to realize that I can’t please everyone and if my blog or blog posts are liked by a certain audience; fine, if not that is also okay.  All I’m required to do is write and share.

Once I got around all of this self-doubt and apprehension I was able to go ahead and finish the assignment without a problem.  I’m proud of what came out of this hiccup and if my story helps someone else I’m happy.  If no one reads it that, too, is fine.  Whatever audience I touch through my art is a plus regardless of what audience it may be.  This is who I am and that’s all that really matters at the end of the day.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Nuts and Bolts of Me

When we got the assignment to introduce ourselves, I was thrilled.  I thought this is going to be a cinch, but then I really started thinking about what was being asked of us and I was actually stumped.  This assignment is much deeper for me than I could have ever imagined.  I’ve never been asked, point blank, who I am and why I’m here.  I thought about the simple answers of being a daughter, sister, aunt, partner, friend, and etc. until I reread the instructions and realized that I needed to dig a bit deeper than this.  I struggled over and over just to get started so instead of driving myself up a wall trying to be ‘perfect’; I have a major problem with perfection, I decided to just jump in and put it all out there.

My name is Kelli-Lynn and I started my blog, Showcasing She, because I am an artist and I wanted to find a platform to share my work.  As a painter I’m still learning and growing.  What I create is mostly abstract or still-life and I’m ok with that for now.  I am also a poet and I absolutely adore when the Muses visit me and I create some pretty cool stuff.  I like sharing what I create and I like looking back over my creations in amazement every time because I truly believe I go to another state of consciousness when my works take on their life.  I am also a writer of short stories and erotica.  Some people may judge the fact that I write erotica but I see this as just another form of artistic expression.  This leads into the name of my blog.

Image result for images of the mind

I chose Showcasing She because I wanted to highlight my work as a woman with all my different elements.  My blog gives me the freedom to be me and do me on my own terms.  Although I am unable to post my racier works, I am still able to use my blog to enlighten, entertain, inform and invite readers into my multi-faceted world with all its imperfections and silly quirks.  Initially I thought I would just use my blog as an artistic outlet but the more I checked out other blogs in the community I found that I could do even more good by opening my life to other people and telling my life stories.  I have recently been writing about being a recovering addict and living with bipolar disorder.  I look forward to writing more on these subjects and many others that affect me such as my journey to find my place in the world, how it feels to have a multi-racial background and how it affects how people treat me and what the creative process is for me.  I guess I don’t have just one thing to blog about, I just want to write and create and welcome other people to go with me down this road of writing and sharing.

I started a blog some years ago before my current one but I was not consistent with it at all.  I eventually deactivated it and put blogging out of my mind until a few years back however it wasn’t until recently that I became more consistent with Showcasing She.  I hope that by doing these assignments and networking with other people I can grow as a person and, hopefully, something that I share will help someone or give them hope or even make them laugh or smile a bit.  I guess it’s on now.  Let’s get this party started.

Tagged , , ,

Riding Darkness

In the darkness

in the throes of brooding silence

while the night comes alive

and the grass grows

where quiet wraps itself around me

and shields me from the distractions of the day

the beguiling of my conscious rationalizations rises

I feel it deep in my soul and it moves me to tears

In the darkness

where the questions and uncertainties falter together; lurking

speaking to my childhood creating doubts and worries

born of a fabricated past of actions

Nothing is as it appears

In the darkness my thoughts are my own

I am alone with the vibrations that bring my creativity

and the angels speak

and the melodies of all creation play in the trees

I am afraid in the darkness

unsure of myself, shunning all introspection keeping secrets

from the light and running from Evil

crying out for deliverance

looking for a place to hide from it all

I laugh hysterically in the darkness

sorry for unrealized dreams, where my heart breaks and

the weight of the world kills my aspirations and my frustrations

take me to the edge of Death

nothing makes sense here and I am confused

In the darkness I run for broken promises and regrets

that leave gaping wounds of despair

hugging myself tightly with all the brutality of real love

knowing that a foothold will bring me stability

Day comes

and

I am no longer

in the darkness

Tagged , , , , , , ,