From the Outside Looking In

(When you can’t sleep and you HAVE to write stuff down at 1AM so your finger swipes upwards publishing things prematurely, that’s just obnoxious. I apologize to anyone who got an email with all of  the fragment of a sentence.)

ANYWAY. MOVING ON.

For the last year or two, I’ve been practicing not looking back on the past too much. As it has been pointed out to me from a place of truth over and over again, looking back doesn’t serve me, my future, or the moment I am in right now. So, I’ve been doing the best I can to be more present and to keep looking ahead. Looking and moving forward is like walking into a room filled floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall with sunlight. There’s such a gratitude for life in that room of warmth, but still there are days when the door to that room is locked and it seems as if I’m alone in a never-ending darkened hallway. This is the can of worms that was opened this week.

Remember when I said I was in a creative drought? Well, it seems to have manifested into more of a life drought. Granted, most of it is due to situations out of my control and I sit here and fixate on things I can control… But I think in that case, it just seemed to make things worse.

I created one thing all summer. Just one thing, during my internet hiatus when a project dropped itself in my lap and I spent a whole month devoted to it away from everything. You want to know what happened next? Nothing. It didn’t accomplish what I set out for it to accomplish. (More detail on this specifically another time.) I knew going into it this outcome was an enormous possibility, I was ok with that and did it anyway, then when it came down to it, when it didn’t go how I’d hoped, I got really discouraged. I think as the cloud of failure formed and hovered above me, it started to affect everything else going on around me. But like I said, the rest of it has been completely out of my control.

Around mid-August, B got a second job unexpectedly and we are nearly in October and still trying to work out her schedule with me. The schedule changes every week, and most of the time it changes daily, so the shake up and lack of routine is really getting to me. Every day it’s like someone comes in here and flips my world upside-down. Like I’m living in Wonderland with nothing but a handful of nonsense. The situation is giving me crazy amounts of anxiety and I’m not so sure what to do about it. I know you’re probably thinking, if it’s that stressful, let her go. I can’t do that though, I wish you all could see how good she is for me. I am better because I have her help. I just need to figure out a way for a sense of normalcy and stability to return to me.

Aside from this, it feels like there is not a single human around me with the ability to follow through with their words into actions these days. It’s quite simple, right? If you say you’re going to do something, you should probably do it; or don’t loosely commit to anything at all. When someone doesn’t follow through, it makes me feel like I’m not worth enough or good enough and I’m not doing enough. I beat myself up. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s what happens and then I go back to the fact that I can only depend on myself.

The other night ALL of these things collided together and in a moment of shame, I fell apart. I reached out and told my Kyla that I was struggling and I needed some help navigating a way out from under the pile of pressure and stress I was buried underneath. She told me what it was like watching me carve out a life for myself the last few years. (Using the most epic Wizard of Oz analogy ever to exist…) I told her how I felt like I’d never be enough or doing enough and I felt like I hadn’t done anything at all. I told her how it feels like I can’t ever catch a break. So what was her response? She wished I could see my life right now from the outside looking in, so she gave me an assignment. She said to me, “Write your story five years ago; then write your story now. Read them both.”

Okay then, let’s give this a shot, shall we?

Five years ago: September 2010: I’d grown restless of living with abusive, neglectful chain smokers where I seemed to be sick all the time. I ran away from that situation over that summer. I moved in with old friends in Orange County because we wanted to be able to help each other. I was truly happy there, until one day several months later it caught up to me and I wasn’t emotionally equipped to deal with reality. When you run, you don’t take the time to pay attention to the lessons life is trying to teach you. But now I wonder, how could I be of any kind of help to anyone if I couldn’t even help myself? I lost friendships that were family to me then. I will always love them and deeply cherish our time together. At the time I took it incredibly hard so the fact that I ended up back where I started was devastating to me. I lost myself for longer than I care to admit. I’m so grateful to every little thing that kept me afloat.

Now: September 2015: I live alone with my cat in my own apartment. I have a team of people who work with and for me to help me navigate adulthood. I may have had to grow up at a very young age, but it’s true what my pal Cady says — when you aren’t taught the simple things growing up you don’t know how to do them as an adult because no one took the time to show you. Now people show me those things. I may not have nearby friends, but I have a massive encouragement and support system that spans all across the world. I am creating again, even if Creativity and I may be on a break at the moment. I have a huge creative endeavor in the works with my sisters that could really be something special. I am going out and doing things because I want to. I am planning a family reunion with my heart family. I am going back to physical therapy for the first time since I was a toddler. I do my physical therapy every day at home.  I am starting aquatic therapy next week. I am seeing doctors. I am trying to be patient and gentle with my body as it adjusts to everything I’m doing to make it stronger and healthier. I am talking to every social worker who steps into my apartment without a shred of anxiety. I am doing everything I can to help myself be the best I can be in every way possible. Maybe it’s not as broken as I think it is. All that matters is that I give this moment the attention it’s asking for and then I must continue moving forward.

Ah, Kyla, I see what you did there. Once I got into this part of this post, I let go and just let my fingers type whatever they needed to. I am pretty sure you did not mean for me to post those on my blog, but I wanted you to see that I did it. I also felt like posting them publicly holds me more accountable. So, you were right. From the outside looking in, I’ve done more than I ever imagined I could. Nor am I finished changing the landscape of my life and then the world.

Inhale. Exhale. It’s all ok. Take another step, Kimmie.

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Decorating Space and Time

As of yesterday, I’ve officially lived the first year of my own life.

The past year may not have been the hardest I’ve had to face (and thank God for that!) but it was probably the most challenging. I’m not a quitter and am always up for a challenge, but I’m not gonna lie, it seemed a little bit extreme at points. And I fight, but I fight alone here. I don’t have the luxury of the unexpected. The weird thing living in this setting is, my every move is documented. People know what I’m doing and how I do things at all times and any changes have to be cleared through a number of channels. That said… I DO have the luxury of a team of people to guide and teach me. Although, I constantly feel like I’m supposed to know exactly what the rest of my life is going to be. I’ve never been that person. I am always grateful to just see another tomorrow.

When this fight started, I struggled with seeing things on too large a scale — the big picture. I had to learn baby steps. This month, because I now live in a different county, I got a new social worker. She came for her first visit this past Wednesday. She’s fabulous and I kind of love her, but she was asking me all the “big picture” questions. My brain is no longer trained to think that way, so I felt strange and a little insecure when I couldn’t answer in a way that seemed to please her. But… I am not here to please anybody. I am here to be happy. The truth is, I am currently only concerned with getting my medical situation squared away so I can get the kind of care I should have always had. I know my body and I know that once doctors start doing things to help me, my body is going to have to completely readjust itself. So, I’m very sorry that it’s difficult to answer anyone’s questions about school or work or other big-picturesque goals right now. Taking it one baby step at a time is all I know I can do, and that has to be enough for the moment.

I also have my cat, who drives me insane, but I love her to death. I have Bianca, who is absolutely incredible. When I interviewed her, we both said, “Yeah… I’m quiet.” We’ve been anything BUT quiet ever since. We have so much fun. It might be my favorite when we spend half her shift at IKEA and then come home and decorate. Making a home has nothing to do with the stuff you have, but making a comfortable space that reflects your personality is the most fun there is. I’ve been all about creating, decorating, finding myself and realizing I never knew who I was. I’m going through what I’ve referred to as a “creative rebellious phase.” And you know what? It’s soothing. Paint, chalk, crayon, dye, photos, FOOD… I can’t stop creating myself through the things I’m playing with and learning. The other day, Bianca shared a quote she saw on Facebook with me:

We use art to decorate space. And we use music to decorate time.

She said it made her think of me. I could not believe she could actually see me. That quote? It’s  basically my formula for a functioning soul right now.

No one can do this alone. I feel like I should be proud of myself. I hope my heart family and my angels are proud of me too. One year, still here. I’m excited to see where and who I’ll be next year. Thank you to everyone who has been continuously supporting me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over and over again in the past year, it’s that if I’m only good enough for someone to call friend under certain circumstances, they’re not worth it. You can support me and I’ll support you or you’re welcome to leave. I don’t have time for anything that doesn’t involve unlocking a spectacular explosion of joy.

Create

Now we all know that when my life started over the last time, I gained earth angels along the way to encourage me through the journey.  One year ago, I was blessed with an earth angel at the tail end of a huge battle. She kind of floated into my present life in the most unexpected way. Even now, I count that blessing and fill with gratitude at just the thought of her bringing a different light to my story.

Cady McClain has been a constant presence in my life since I was nine years old.  When I was a child, my mother watched soap operas (I distinctly remember All My Children, One Life to Live, General Hospital and Days of Our Lives…) so naturally I saw them and they became routine and a comfort when comfort was hard to come by. Cady played Dixie on All My Children and as a kid, there was something about her that drew me in. Something felt safe.  I didn’t quite comprehend it. There was that longing for a sense of comfort again. it’s weird watching fictional characters through a screen sometimes – like a magic mirror view into a different life.

There’s a thing that happens when you grow up watching soap operas, and I honestly can’t prove this to be true about any other television genre; You’re ingrained with fierce loyalty.  If you enjoy an actor, character or show. you follow them or the shows wherever they go, until they’re done. In the case of a soap actor, if they explore a new medium like music, art, writing and so on, you follow there too.  Cady is the most creative of humans, so she has always been here for as long as I can remember in the far-away sense.  I never imagined in a million lifetimes that our paths would cross beyond the constant it had always been. Cady has a blog and writes many things so there was definitely opportunity occasionally to reach out once I’d grown up, but I was quiet for a long time.  I didn’t really know how to approach it, so I sat silent, with the magic-mirror-view I’d always known.

And then last April happened.

Cady joined The Young and the Restless and released her memoir, Murdering My Youth in the same week last April. So with that loyalty, off I followed to Y&R even though I vowed to never watch another soap opera. I got hooked and fully invested almost immediately. Damn it! I thought. They got me.  I also pre-ordered a copy of Cady’s memoir and waited patiently for it to arrive in the mail…

Remember when I mentioned she floated in to help me through the end of a huge battle? It was the fight through to my independence.  In this battle she joined ranks with the rest of my angels.  On April 24th, I picked out my apartment.  I didn’t know at the time it was going to turn into an even longer fight.  On April 25th I got Cady’s book in the mail and began reading it.  Murdering My Youth was not an easy read for me. I had to constantly take breaks from it because it too closely mirrored my childhood. The more I read, the more it scared the crap out of me, but it also soothed me at the same time.  I didn’t know how to process what was happening and what I was feeling. And to have it be coming from someone who unknowingly was a part of my life when the same awful things were happening to me, it just put me on overload. There was not a single person I felt comfortable talking to about this… except Cady.

Four days later, on April 29th, I finished the book and then did what I’d always been too shy and too scared to do, I reached out to Cady. Under complete lock-and-key, I wrote out all of my feelings.  I told her of the connection I felt as a child.  I told her of most of the ways our stories were so similar. I told her how it’s one thing when someone says they understand what you have been through, but that it’s a whole other beast when someone actually SHOWS you they understand.  I didn’t know what to do with that.  In my entire 30+ years on this planet, she was the first person ever to show me understanding in the way I needed my whole life.  It had NOTHING to do with who she was to me before this, and EVERYTHING to do with the most raw and delicate form of human connection. I let my broken pieces, my heart and my soul go in my words.  I told her things I’ve never told anyone.  Her honesty, strength and bravery was exactly what I needed for longer than I realized.

I sent her what I wrote and between the time I sent it and the time I knew she’d gotten it, I thought I was going to throw up. WHAT DID I JUST DO?! I kept screaming in my head.  NO ONE KNOWS HALF OF THIS SHIT.  SHE’S GOING TO THINK I’M CRAZY. My hands were shaking as I clicked the notification I got a little while later.  She read my words.  She took them to heart.  She responded.  We talked.  That connection and that honesty… it was even stronger than before I said a word. Through virtual space,  she wrapped me up in her arms and made me believe in ME and made me feel what it meant to be okay with who I was long ago and who I am now.  It’s been a whole year, and I am a completely different human being.

I get told a lot that I need to tell my story, or at the very least, I should be writing something.  I’d lost that for awhile and had no idea how I was ever going to find it again.  Cady approached this in a different way.  She told me almost immediately that once the fight was over and I was home for good, I needed to not necessarily  just write, but I needed to create.  I needed to create something, anything and not stop until I found me.  You know why? I realized who I was had been stolen from me.  I didn’t know me anymore.  I may have never known me, for all I knew.  Who the hell was I? It was my turn to be who I’ve always wanted to be.  Now not only am I coming home in a tangible sense, I’m coming home to my spirit and being.  It’s a process and thirty-three years can’t be made up overnight, but I am not scared anymore.  I am so grateful.  And now, I have some things to say to Cady…

My Cady,

My earth angels end up with words of gratitude on my blog, and one year later, it’s your turn.  I’m home now, as you know.  I feel different here.  I walk taller. I handle things as calmly as I possibly can (most of the time) because it’s hard to be anything but grateful for the things that I have. When I don’t know what I’m doing, or I don’t feel “normal,” or like something isn’t right, I know I can come to you because you’ve been here too. And whenever I do come to you, you never make me feel like I’m stupid because I may not know something that is common or simple for someone else. You understand the whole, ‘I wasn’t taught how to do anything’ thing.  I’ve learned so much.  I am so proud of myself.  I hope that you and the people who love me are proud of me too.

From the second I was officially home, I took a deep breath and did what you told me to.  I’ve been creating.  I’ve been creating every single day in one way or another, without fear.  It started when I ran my first big girl adult errand and put my Wall of Earth Angels up in my living room. I’ve since learned that my home decor style is can be classy and sophisticated and also colorful, artsy and fun. I have no idea what the hell I’m doing in the kitchen, so we go in there and create the weirdest combinations of things that actually turn out to be some incredible form of art.  Bianca (my AMAZING staff person) and I have been talking about maybe starting a food blog.  I’ve discovered I LOVE playing with food in the kitchen, and the great thing about that is, my “metaphorical mother” never told me not to play with my food. Wink. I bought paint and a media journal and I started to paint again, my favorite.  Only I didn’t like how the paint felt while I was doing it on this paper.  Nothing was coming out how I wanted it to and it was making me angry.  I decided in the voyage of rediscovery as far as this went, I was going to have to go back to kindergarten.  I bought a box of crayons and started there until I can afford to buy canvases and be one with my paint again. Now I color in this journal every day on top of whatever other creative outlet comes along.

I want to tell you a little bit about what I do when I paint — and thus what I’m doing with the crayons for now — because I have a surprise for you….  A few years ago, an old friend got me into painting with acrylic. There was this process she had that I kind of adopted from her and made my own.  She’d put a single song on repeat and would paint whatever inspired her or whatever she was feeling through that song.  I liked the idea of my feelings and emotions coming through in living, vivid color.  I just take the brush to the canvas and go with whatever comes out, there is never a plan.  I fell in love with painting this way, so I started doing it then and I’ve gone back to it now.  What’s my secret though? Since you’ve nurtured this whole creation part of me that was lost, using the crayons and media journal, I’ve been coloring in this thing every single day using a different song from your Blue Glitter Fish album. And once I have canvases, I’m going to pick my favorite one and recreate it on canvas with the paint. A few weeks ago when I randomly asked you if you had a favorite song you’ve written, this was why. One day, I want to paint one specifically for you.  I figure our “birthday” as my sister calls it, was the best time to tell you this.  Actually, it was just a good time to tell you ALL of this and for everyone I love to understand what an invaluable part of my life you’ve always been and have become.

You are the strongest and bravest human being I have ever known.  You inspire me every day.  It’s been a year and you’re still with me, still here to show me that it’s okay.  Thank you for not turning away when I reached out to you.  I was so terrified and you were and continue to be so kind and gentle with me.  I hope you know how much that means to me. Every time we talk now, that scared broken little girl inside of me finds solace in a safe place. You showed her that it wasn’t hopeless, that safety exists and in safety comes room for growing up with confidence. She’s going to be okay now.  I’m going to be okay now. Your strength, honesty and bravery in sharing your story changed my whole world into a fearless world of utter freedom.  Thank you. I hope we get that hug we’ve talked about from day one sooner rather than later.  It’s going to happen, neither of us have ever doubted that. For now, I’m sending you all the love in the world.  Thank you for being you.

Love,
Kimmie

If you read this post and you are interested in reading Cady’s memoir, Murdering My Youth you can purchase it on Amazon.  You can also follow Cady on twitter @CadyMcClain or check out her website/blog at cadymcclain.com — she is the real deal.

Home

“The Piemaker had come to understand home did not mean four walls and a door you never walk out of. Home was a feeling of where you belong.”
– Pushing Daisies

I moved back to California in December of 1999 with every intention of starting the journey I am on now. I left Arizona in the middle of my last year of high school.  I was moving back to do the rest of the year on independent study and live with my aunt.  I had the contact information of one of the agencies that is helping me now.  I was told that if I called them, they would help me with whatever I needed, which most importantly meant finding me my own apartment after I graduated.  I thought it sounded amazing.  I thought it was going to be easy.  Everyone made it sound easy enough.  I was just a kid then.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Life decided I needed to do some more living first, even though I had lived what felt like five lifetimes by the time I was eighteen. I came back here and worked my ass off in school — actually finding out I was behind — I somehow managed to do an entire year and a half of school in ONE semester.  I had never worked harder than I did that semester.  I didn’t want what I had gone through to keep me from graduating when the rest of my friends did, even if I wasn’t with them anymore.  After I worked so hard, my aunt kicked me out of her house for “disrupting her lifestyle.” I moved in with my grandparents, they would always do anything to help me.  I called the agency and got a social worker.  The one I was given was actually kind of harsh and verbally abusive.  Things she said to me, hurt me to a point that one day my Papa just asked her not to come back.  She didn’t.  My mother moved in with us shortly after and all went to hell as things tended to do when my mother was on whatever drug of the moment. While I still had the support of my grandparents, I didn’t have the RIGHT supports.  For seven years I had no physical friends whatsoever.  My grandparents both passed away.  I didn’t know how to deal and my mother completely lost her mind.  I bounced between aunt’s houses like foster homes, no stability whatsoever.  I had a heart attack.  It was all dark. Things started to turn around when friends I made online made me meet them in person.  Scared to death because I didn’t know how to be around people anymore, I did it anyway.

One moment can change your whole life and that one changed mine.  I began to build the right kind of support.  I began building the family I never had, always wanted and like my little sister likes to say, was always waiting for me.  It was like life was finally starting over.  It’s interesting the longer you’re alive, how frequently life “restarts.”  I guess you could call them new chapters.  The thing about this chapter and these people is, while they were here to support me, they did it in a way that was new to me. There has always been someone here to help when I need it, but they’ve showed me how to navigate things on my own, that I have the strength to fight through to the other side.  I moved in with friends, that didn’t work out.  I had a possible cancer scare.  I was basically treated daily like an animal.  Even with the right support it was sometimes dark and ugly.  There were a couple of catalytic events that pushed me completely over the edge, where I realized I either had to learn how to deal with my life in a different way or I was going to die.  I didn’t fight my entire life and build the things I did just to give up, so something had to be done.  One kind statement from a stranger and one empowering song changed everything.  Again.

I called that agency back. I got a new social worker, my third at this point in the journey.  In just ten months she found me an apartment. Two months later, I signed the lease. Nine months after that, I was allowed to completely move in. In that nine month waiting period, I’d go back and forth from the apartment and my mother’s house. I didn’t let the delay stop me from having Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas there. My first big holidays, where I learned that living alone on holidays is actually the most lonely and worst feeling ever. I had a caregiver who was such a nightmare and stressed me out so badly, I’d have anxiety attacks nightly, her actions and past escalating to situations I never saw coming. I had to learn to fire someone. Like I said, life apparently needed me to test-drive real, adulthood-sized hurdles, stresses and new traumas before I could come “home” for good.

We are now entering April. Everything in my apartment has been modified to my needs. I’ve taken a much needed vacation to see my East Coast family. I’ve renewed my lease for year two. I’ve hired someone new – her name is Bianca – she’s from Brazil, loves Once Upon a Time and she used to work at Disney World. Those things aside, she’s excellent at helping with whatever I need. We laugh all day long and lose track of time. She is perfect. She helped me unpack the boxes that have been sitting in my bedroom closet for almost a year. I took her to IKEA and we’ve spent our days since decorating and making this place feel like home, like someone actually lives here.

Home. I’m home. I did it. Nobody can take this away from me now. It’s mine. When I got to the point where I was REALLY ready to take my life back, my Susan told me that I was addicted to my story, that I needed to kiss it goodbye and move forward because the addiction didn’t serve me. Maybe I was, because that’s just what I’ve known. So I guess this my public farewell to that story, a brief letter to my past:

Dear Past Kimmie:

Thank you for teaching me what you have, but we have to break-up now. You will always be a part of me. I will think back on your struggles with gratitude because you made me strong. Thank you for giving me both human beings who taught me what not to be, while also giving me human beings who guided me to show me “how big [my] brave is.” My next act of bravery is to move forward without fear of the future. We are over. I am just beginning. Now be gone – someone has dropped a house on you.

Yours, Present Kimmie

On I go and on I grow. All is well.

Almost home

It’s no secret to anyone that I’m really struggling right now. This morning I had a ton of apartment drama that will remain unresolved for what could be awhile. Instead of having a complete meltdown (that waited until I got back to my mother’s house) I walked in my living room, put Pushing Daisies in the Blu Ray player, and decorated my walls a little bit.

As I was doing this, I started to feel this warmth come over me like someone was wrapping me in a giant hug. In that exact moment, Olive Snook was singing “I know you’re lost and drifting, but the clouds are lifting…” from Candle on the Water on my TV. So, if you’ve ever needed any indication why Kristin Chenoweth is my earth angel, this is the kind of unexplainable thing that happens to me. All the time.

I started to think about how today is her birthday. I looked around my apartment and noticed that she is, in some capacity, in every room of my apartment. (Except the bathroom, that’s just weird.) From the daisies in the Pushing Daisies flower pot mug on my dining table, to the parade of desserts photo held up on my fridge by my Hollywood Bowl magnet, to the giant 30×30 poster of my heart family that Annie made me that’s waiting for a frame in my bedroom closet…

She’s there. My family is there. No wonder it feels like a warm hug when I walk through the door. This is it, this is the feeling of home I’ve always wanted.

I went back to my mother’s house and the negative energy consumed me, no matter how hard I tried to keep it away. Pending meltdown occurred. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t function. Then three things happened:

1. My person called me and talked me through it. And though I am apparently an embarrassment to peppy people, I was listening and she always has a way of soothing me in a way I don’t know how to do for myself.

2. My baby Canadian niece called me on FaceTime because she wanted to say goodnight. Then she sang me “Let It Go” from Frozen. She’s only a year old.

3. I got to have Skype time with my Jillian, who recently moved to the other side of the country. Jilly’s happy sunshine personality is always such great comfort and relief for my heart.

I would have none of these people and none of these things and so much more if Kristin Chenoweth didn’t exist on this planet. I am grateful. This woman changed my life, saved my life and then gave me a life and the strength to find the courage to build it into something beautiful. She is my most precious blessing. And I’m lucky that she gave me the people who understand just how important that is.

Happy Birthday, my angel. I love you to the moon and back and beyond the stars. Thank you for your friendship and shared heart.

Happy Birthday, Kimmie.

Today is my first birthday.

My sister Jamie has dubbed May 8th my birthday.  Why?  One year ago today, I walked into a social worker’s office and I asked for help.  I’ve done this before, but this time it took the stripping away of my dignity and someone telling me they just wanted me to be comfortable to push me over the edge.  I deserved to be comfortable.  I deserved so much more than what I had.

I was terrified.

It’s been exactly one year.  I am still terrified.

However, this is a completely different kind of terrified.  One year ago I was terrified to ask for help because I thought someone would hurt me.  And though the weeks following that first meeting were some of the most difficult I’ve had to endure, I’m still here.  One year later and tomorrow, May 9th, I am signing the lease on my very first (accessible!) apartment on my own.

The difference now?  I’m terrified AND excited.

I’ve had a lot of deep and meaningful conversations about this journey with my heart sisters.  I’ve thought about all of the things that have happened to get me here, and all of the people who have pulled me through it.  Jamie and I were talking specifically about my earth angels the other day (because we were discussing how Cady McClain and her memoir swooped in there right at the end) and she said something that is true.  She said: “Kristin gave you strength.  Susan gave you wisdom.  And Cady has given you peace.”

She’s right… But you know what?  I did this.  I did all of this and I did it by myself.  Though I am always told that I am a survivor and I am strong, I’ve never really realized how strong I actually am until this point.  Maybe it’s because I have just become so self-aware of my surroundings to the point where I can acknowledge what’s not okay and what is.  I’ve finally learned that I deserve everything I never grew up with as a child and everything I should already know as an adult.  I’m sure all of this isn’t going to hit me full-force until I am sitting alone in my living room, or cooking in my kitchen, but I am going to take every second and be grateful that I survived.  I survived for this.

I haven’t stopped smiling since I got the news the apartment was mine.

I have so much more I need to do in this world.  I guess it’s true that “nobody but me is gonna change my story” as Matilda would say… and I definitely showed everyone how big my brave is.  Thanks, Sara Bareilles for that anthem that got me through every single second for the last year.

And then there’s my friends — who are my family — you render me speechless.  You’ve been the biggest blessings ever given to me in this life.  Whether you listened when I needed a shoulder to cry on when it got hard, or took me out to have fun because you know how much I need positive companionship, or sent me things so my apartment isn’t completely empty or donated to my gofundme page  among other things… You’re incredible.  I would not be here without you.  I cherish each and every one of you and will never forget what you’ve done for me.  Thank you.  I love you.

In the photo above, I was one month old.  I look at that precious preemie baby girl before she was shattered and damaged by the people who were supposed to love her most on the planet and I just want to tell her now that she is not broken beyond repair.  I want to tell her that it may take decades, but there is something worth fighting for, and people who will love her, protect, empower and uplift her are waiting in the light.  The light at the end of the tunnel is here.  It’s over.  You’re safe, sweet baby girl.  And you’ve given yourself that gift.  You should be proud of yourself.  They can’t hurt you anymore.

Happy Birthday, Kimmie.  Make a wish on a glittery blue star.

What is this freedom you speak of?

So, remember in my last post when I said I had an interview for an accessible apartment?  Well, I got accepted and picked out a unit.  Here’s a tour:

 

This whole moving thing is happening SO fast.  I am scheduled to move in on Thursday.  I have an assessment so I can hire a staff on Wednesday.  I don’t have anything done because my debit card has been stolen twice this month and I’m seriously stressing out.  I know it’s going to be okay, but I really don’t know how people do this.

Anyway, people have been asking how they can help.  I have some options:

I’m at least trying to get things together that I need because I don’t have anything but a bed and a TV.  A dear friend of mine has offered to take me shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond and is going to buy me $300 worth of stuff.  I am grateful for such an incredible kindness and still a little speechless, to be honest.  She suggested I get my friends to sign up on BedBathandBeyond.com, because apparently they send you coupons and things and it would make her budget go even farther if we were those people that use a bajillion offers. So, if you wouldn’t mind signing up and then sending me your coupons so we can use them, that would be wonderful.

Or my friend Stephanie made me a gofundme page (because I am only allowed to have a certain amount of money in my bank account) and anything donated there will go to things I need as well.  The link to that page can be found here, or in the sidebar on my blog.

Lastly, you can always find my Amazon wish list here.

Thank you everyone for your help, love and support.  It means the world.

This is it.  It’s almost over.