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change

The rest is still unwritten;

A new life, a new place, a new state, a new climate, a new group of friends, a new dog, a new fitness regime, and now finally a new blog entry… new is good and change can be positive and healthy even though it may be scary.

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People keep telling me it will take two years before I will comfortably call California my home – adjusting to a new culture, terrain, surroundings, people etc.  I’m not sure if it will take me quite that long, but it helps to know these growing pains are more than normal.  I’ve been here almost four months now and with each passing day I feel more relaxed and at home.

The past is finally just that… the past.  I may still have things to process but that is my individual journey which may or may not be shared on this blog as appropriate.  I will no longer bring it into my present by dwelling on it, or worrying about how it may effect my future.

I am learning mindfulness and doing yoga almost daily (in the most AMAZING studio).  I hike about once a week as well since San Diego is chock full of beautiful places to explore. These things are incredibly grounding along with returning to blogging.  I find my home in writing.

DGY 2012
1440 S Escondido Blvd, Suite G www.danggoodyoga.com

So this brings me to another lesson about my physical health and weight loss. The stress of the move and changes had me drop another 10lbs since I got here.  This was not healthy and I was not trying to lose more weight.

My appetite is returning and being physically active in such a wonderful climate is no longer a chore. I don’t have to “go to the gym”.  For those of you who are reading and struggling with weight loss, the take away from this is just that seeing things in a different way or a new environment may be what your mind and body are craving and needing – even just a temporary change (not as drastic as mine necessarily – LOL) to gain perspective.

When you step back and become the observer of your own life, emotions, thoughts, decisions and behaviors, change, albeit frightening almost seems inevitable an necessary for growth.

“No day but today!” – Jonathan Larson.  If you wait for motivation you may be waiting a very long time.  Sometimes you just have to “do”. Make that push. Make that change. Take that first step on your unwritten journey.

I am not going to sugar coat it and say this is an easy wonderful process chock full of rainbows and unicorns – it is not.  It is difficult, arduous and at times very painful; but nothing worth anything in life comes easily.  During this process patience is a necessary virtue as everything changes at its own pace.  Trust that your higher power (if you believe there is one), will bring you exactly where you need to be, when you need to be there.  But, faith I believe is not entirely enough to exact change. You must put forth an equal or greater amount of mental, emotional and physical effort and energy to reach your destination.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that during this process you do not criticize or judge your progress. Some days may be one step forward and two back.  The important thing is that you persevere. Never give up.  The rest is still unwritten;

1986 and forward…A mix of extreme clarity and tumultuous emotion

flashback2Flashbacks are happening more frequently now. I assumed they would. Seeing his photo on all these articles is part of what triggered it all, I’m sure. I see and hear the same thing over and over again.  Mordechai standing in the door frame of my basement bedroom in his white undershirt and tighty whities (to be exact). And that one phrase that won’t leave my head: “You know what you want.” It’s something I will never forget. I am almost 46 years old now and half the time I don’t know what I want. How is it possible a naïve vulnerable 16 year old back in 1986 when asked such a question by a man in authority – her Rabbi, mentor and father figure no less standing in front of her almost naked to have an answer to such a question. I wanted him to take care of me. Not sexually, but spiritually and emotionally.

Why is it that that scene above all other traumatic ones repeatedly return? That scene and everything following up till my fetal position on their dining room floor in front of the rack stereo system with a knife by my side – ignored entirely by his second wife when she literally walked right by me – having already been brainwashed to believe that I was crazy – making up stories –and delusional.

flashbacksEach of these scenes play in my mind with perfect clarity down to the clothing we were both wearing. I can’t remember all the years that my 5 children were born mind you (I have to think about it), but this shit stays perfectly formed in my long term memory.  How fucked up is that?

I can almost picture the very modest outfit I was wearing that day as I had already adopted the Jewish law of modesty.  The long straight skirt, the white knee highs, the ¾ length sleeve shirt and the over shirt I put on for some color.  It had a turquoise pattern on a white background. By no stretch of the imagination was my outfit inviting sexual advances or seductive.

And why do I still feel the need to justify myself?  Because I had early release from school for the holiday weekend that day? Because I was a scared, vulnerable, needy teenager?  The adult knows none of this matters. I was a child. I see my now 16 year old daughter and understand. And 16 in 1986 was not what 16 in 2016 is either.

So here I lie awake once more wishing when I closed my eyes I didn’t see him standing in that door way. Running and rerunning those scenes in my head certainly doesn’t help, but it won’t stop once the rest of my brain stops and tells me okay it’s time to sleep – that’s when they creep in. Or in the middle of the night as a nightmare which then has me awake till the morning because I don’t want to close my eyes and see it all again.

I was stronger back then than I realized, and poor Susan I guess was not as strong as she presented to me so that I would have someone to count on. It was just too much for her, his behavior and the rabbinical response. We stopped talking a few years later because I was still so needy and broken after everything.

I need time to process alone. But I know that’s probably not ideal either. I’ve been in and out of therapy since the abuse and keep thinking I’ve compartmentalized the memories that I know will always be there.  It’s just that my story and the stories of other Winiarz/Gafni victims emerge and reemerge every few years with the hope that finally someone is listening – so again I speak out and it all comes back. Maybe this will be the last time. With people like @DavidIngber1, @Markopp1, @lmcshanenydn, @StephenDinan,@EMSorvillo, Rabbi Shai Held and so many thousands of others now supporting the victims it feels like the universe is finally on our side. My blog has been viewed over 10K times by people from 81 countries since it began. I once again want to express my gratitude to these people even if it took 30 years, the wait will be worth the outcome I hope.

With Gratitude and Overwhelming Emotion

Countless acknowledgements are in order, and although many of them are to be extended to my close friends and family, the majority of them seem need to be directed to those I have yet to meet. It took 30 years of repeatedly trying to be heard, never wavering, or changing my story, to finally reach people who listen and believe. The following particular Facebook post brought tears of vindication to my eyes.

shai's thankyou
An AMAZING Sentiment from Someone I Have Yet to Meet

I want the world to hear my THANK YOU, my THANK YOU for finally listening. So here is my public THANK YOU – a follow up to my thank you on Facebook. After everything I have been through the value of all the supportive “comments” on this blog, and the incredible explosion of readership since the release of the New York Times article has just blown me away.  As of this moment there have been close to 6,500 views on the blog.  This may seem inconsequential to some who have thousands of friends and followers on their Facebook pages alone, but to me the value cannot be measured. The comments and the readership mean more than anyone will ever understand. I could be crass, – say “too little too late”, or “long time coming”, but no, I understand that EVERYTHING happens when it does because the universe has a reason for things to transpire the way they do. From the bottom of my heart, soul and spirit I am truly humbled by all the support and immensely thankful to each and every one of you. (I know much of this is redundant from Facebook, but I wanted to be sure to reach all who deserved a thank you.)

Thank you note with smiley face , isolated on white

Getting my hopes up is not something I am willing to do after years of frustration, silencing and disappointment, BUT I feel like the universe is starting to line up, and karma is starting to catch up.  And, when that does…beautiful, holy things can happen.

Maybe Mordechai Winiarz or Marc Gafni or whomever he is right now will no longer hurt others – maybe the universe will see to it.

If some influential powerful person(s) is out there is reading this blog, please make sure my story reaches the right people.  The right people could be the media (press, television), politicians, high powered CEOs (Mackey comes to mind), etc.  There are already such people working in the background Elizabeth Sorvillo who has helped beyond measure, but continuing to get my blog out there can only be positive.  Here are links to the relevant posts:

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-6X       Not Just a Man with a “Troubled Past”… A SEXUAL PREDATOR

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3s        The Cycle of Insanity a Brief Follow Up

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3A       Don’t Silence a Cry for Help

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3M      Reopening the Wound

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-3Z       Returning to Me & the Beginning of the End

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-4k       The Time For Change is Now

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-5s       Achieving “Closure”

http://wp.me/p6RHtL-72       Some Time to Process and Respond

Confidence & Support – A Symbiotic Relationship

Confidence is something that does not come easily for many people.   The more and more I return to myself physically and emotionally – the more confidence I find. I know what I am capable of, and what I have difficulty with. I also know now more than ever that I can accomplish anything I am passionate about and set my mind to. That discovery in and of itself is liberating, empowering and can enable you to break free from people who tell you otherwise. Being around those who support your dreams, share your passions, cheer you on, and encourage your growth is by far one of the most important things you can do for yourself on ANY journey upon which you embark.

With a support system in place you can keep moving forward even when you encounter temporary setbacks. Surround yourself with positive people who bring you joy, who love you for who you are, who will cheer you on every step of the way and even if they don’t share your passion, they understand the importance of living your dream and following your heart.

I know this is sometimes easier said than done; I’ve been there, believe me. It has to be a very conscious decision to not allow negativity to invade your personal boundaries. Shut out the gossip; tune out the “you’ll nevers”, the “you’ve failed befores”, the “odds are against yous” and any other negative talk you may hear. Keep reminding yourself that you CAN, you WILL, you are CAPABLE and you have PASSION. When the turkeys get you down, surround yourself with chickens (or even better…puppies…unconditional love)!

puppiesToday I gathered my confidence and I went to peddle my theatrical services to a local synagogue, and was met with much enthusiasm. I am thrilled and excited at the thought of being able to do what I love, and maybe get a bit of compensation. I know such a program is not in their budget, but it is exactly what this declining congregation needs. I found much of this confidence after accomplishing my weight loss goals. Each goal achieved cultivates your confidence and allows you to challenge yourself in ways you never thought you would. I hope to work with children and adults alike to produce a musical, which will bring their community together in new ways, grow their membership and raise money as well.

None of this would be possible without consciously making the changes to my environment necessary to be happy and stay positive. Take a step towards improving your immediate surroundings and you will see just how much better life can be.

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