All posts by braveheartsophia

About braveheartsophia

I wrote a little book called Dear Sophia, Love Yourself! It contains stories about my healing from mental illness. I like to encourage others to take charge of their health and their lives so they can truly live without regrets. My book and writings contain short stories to serve as a primer to think differently about issues, specifically to spark an "aha" moment! Questions and comments are welcome.

A Safe Place

I’m stepping forward to shine a little light on the problems of our culture and society today in regards to boys, men and perpetrators. I will be the first to apologize for saying all of that in one sentence, since I know women can be perpetrators, too. I am too well acquainted with growing up in the city where the atmosphere was highly sexualized. This is not going to be a story of my victimhood, I’m quite over that!

In elementary school, I recall being chased in the girl’s bathroom (should have been a safe place) by some boys who ran in after me and each held me and humped me! I recall the whistles and cat calls from boys, teenagers and men. I was molested and raped while growing up. I don’t want to bring it all to mind, but I will tell you it wasn’t just one guy! It doesn’t help to demonize them all, but at the same time, society needs to look at how many have been complicit in this behavior by looking the other way, sweeping it under the rug, pretending it didn’t happen or making up excuses why a male would treat a female in such a disgusting and disrespectful manner.

Everyone knows they have been somewhere they shouldn’t have been and have seen things they wish they hadn’t seen. We all know the worst of humanity and seen men do despicable things to women and vice versa. What do we do? Do we lock them all up? Castrate them? Put them on an island away from the rest of the world? Do we forever punish someone for some stupid misspent youthful lusts? Hmmmmm. My proposal is quite simple, we create a safe space, a sacred place for men, women, and children to come forward with their confessions and speaking their truths.

I imagine a place where the men will come forward and say, #Idid, “I did rape a woman.” “I did have my way with her.” “I did molest a girl.” “I did treat her like an object. “ “I chased girls in the bathroom and humped them.” “I participated in gang rape.” “I was out of control.” “I threatened her.” “I held my hand over her mouth.” “I got her drunk or drugged her so she wouldn’t fight me.” What if every guy who ever did it, came forward and not only that but humbled themselves and actually apologized? What if every girl or woman who experienced this, said, “Yes, and I knew it happened to my friend, but I didn’t say anything.” What if we all stopped pretending like we don’t know about this???

What if we created a society where it’s safe to be a woman and not live in fear of this happening to us? What would happen to our collective consciousness? What if everyone talked about how someone they know and love was molested or raped and said how it made them feel to know there are people in the world who do this with no regard for human life or dignity?

I’m quite over the world being silent about this. I’m over the victim blaming and shaming. I’m over the pretending these things aren’t happening. I’m over the demonizing a person who admits they did a terrible thing in a moment of weakness or foolishness or selfishness. Should they be held accountable? Absolutely!! However, there needs to be a measure of compassion and forgiveness when someone willingly confesses to defiling another person. We as a society need to rethink how we treat our girls, boys, women and men especially in regards to sexual behavior. We need to consider the world we have created and how we can make it a better and safer place to live for all, and future generations.

My heart goes out to all the girls, boys, women and men who have ever been violated and humiliated by sexual violence.  My heart also goes out to those men and women who want to step forward and confess, who want to shine a light on this behavior, who want to heal it, who want to heal themselves, who want to heal society and set themselves free.

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Dental Woes

Today’s blog is in support of mental health awareness month!  I recently went to the dentist to get a crown.  I have a love/hate relationship with dentists.  I love to have my teeth looking nice and shiny but I know over the years I have had very poor dental care.  Some of my dental problems stem from neglect growing up that continued into my adulthood.  I also didn’t care for my teeth because I was not always mentally aware that I even needed to!  I was very severely mentally ill for a while.  I took Wellbutrin, Zoloft or others, Zyprexa or other antipsychotics, Adderall and Armour thyroid.  I was on some heavy duty medications!   I had a steady cocktail of psychotropics that involved two antidepressants, an antipsychotic, a stimulant and my thyroid medication.  I was like a zombie basically.

When I went to the dentist, it always because I was in some dental pain, I would not intentionally seek out dental care otherwise.   On all of the forms, at the dentist office, they ask if you are now or ever been treated for a psychiatric disorder.  I always answered truthfully.  I could never figure out why they needed to know this.  They even asked if you had ever been in a psychiatric hospital.  Why do they need to know this?  What difference does it make?  I need my teeth fixed.  They’d even want to know the dates you were hospitalized.  I was always a bit embarrassed to admit all the meds I was taking and the different hospitalizations.

There came a time, when I was no longer on psychotropic medications.  I was healing.  I didn’t need them anymore.  I didn’t even have a psychiatrist.  I was still in therapy but I was well into recovery.  I had some dental pain so I scheduled a dental appointment.  I didn’t have a regular dentist so I had to call around to find one on my plan who could see me ASAP.  I found one, they took the xrays and assessed what was going on in my mouth.  I needed a lot of work done and I was in horrific pain.

However, the dentist saw that I had been a psychiatric patient.  She asked about why I wasn’t on medications.  I told her I didn’t need them anymore.  She said I had to get clearance from a psychiatrist before I could have the dental work done.  I was beside myself.  I told her I didn’t even have a psychiatrist, and sometimes it can take more than a month to get in with one!  She informed me there’s a special place for people like me to get dental help.   People like me?  People with former mental illness or someone you think is not in their right mind because they have a history of mental illness?

I still get sad when I recall this story because this is the plight of people with mental illness.  They get looked at funny or judged and misunderstood.  People with a mental illness are still people, they are worthy of dignity and respect from all health care providers.   No matter what healing modality you are serving, remember these people are special, they are sensitive, and need your services.  I went to another dentist.  I also found a psychiatrist who gave me clearance for the dental treatment.  She did offer an anxiety medication that is commonly prescribed for people, whether they have mental illness or not, who fear seeing the dentist.

Believe it or not, I do not have major depression with psychotic features anymore.  I do not have post traumatic disorder anymore.  People do heal.   There’s no reason to treat someone as if they are going to be mentally ill for the rest of their lives just because they had a mental illness at one time.  Even if I did have a mental illness, there’s no reason to treat me like I’m a freak, or crazy, or like I’m just a lost cause.  I healed.

In The Blink Of An Eye

Yesterday, I went to the river with a friend to perform a releasing ritual.  We basically talked about the old patterns, attachments, beliefs , pain, and habits that were holding us down and released them into the river with the nearby rocks.  I would pick up a rock and say something like, “I release the pain of rejection,” then I threw it in the river.  I stood in the cold water, watching it flow as I let my pain go.  I also threw away an old broken fluorite heart.  It broke in 3 pieces a few years ago and I just kept it in my dresser.  Yet, I didn’t want it around me anymore because this no longer represented how I feel about myself.  My heart is whole and healed and I didn’t need this imagery of a broken heart in my dresser.  The things we hold onto matters.

The more I released, I felt lighter, freer, happy, and my head didn’t feel so cloudy.  I had more clarity to see more issues, pain, and memories that I needed to let go of.  As we were leaving, I remember telling my friend how easy it was.  It was so easy to go to the river, and to let the water wash my pain away.  Sometimes we make things so complicated!  Many times, people will tell you, life can change in the blink of an eye.  Normally, when they say this, they’re talking about when tragedy strikes.  They’re talking about a bad accident that leads to serious injury or even death.   How come no one thinks your life can change for the better, in the blink of an eye?

Every day, I think about how I can make the world a better place by being introspective.  I look inside of myself.  I ask my heart if I’m getting better or bitter.  I contemplate my own actions or inaction.  I strive to self regulate.  I don’t look at someone else and judge them, I look to myself.  This I know, for me is true, life can change in the blink of an eye.  I can release my old pain and hurts which will create a huge shift in my energy, and my heart.  Life flows easier when we’re not holding onto broken things, toxic relationships, negative attitudes, and pain.   Let it flow!

Conscious Living

Years ago, I was in a support group for people who had suffered various childhood traumas.  I had severe depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder.   Frequently, we’d all share how we spiraled down due to the negative voices going on inside.  One woman, called the voices, “The committee.”  The committee would call her names.  The committee would say she’s ugly, not trying hard enough, a failure, dirty, embarrassing, unlovable, evil, unworthy, and so on.  We all were fighting our own negative messages.   To a certain extent, everyone has to fight negativity, even those who don’t have a mental illness or have not been abused.  We each have a shadow side to contend with.

Since I have healed from my mental illness, I have learned to live consciously, and  set up a new committee in my head.  This committee tells me to keep going when I feel like giving up.  This committee reminds me I am loved, I am beautiful, worthy, and I am strong when I start to feel otherwise or life is getting me down.  This is the beauty of living consciously, I set my own messages and I disregard any that do not agree with me nor serve my highest good.  Any messages now, that brings me down, they’re instantly tossed away.  In doing so, I don’t spiral down.  I use the positive committee, instead, to spiral up!

This is the essence of conscious living whether you are struggling with mental health issues, negative influences or messages from relationships and society in general.  There is negativity all around, but I don’t let it bring me down, instead I consciously choose where my thoughts will go, because thoughts direct our actions.    It means I’m choosing where I go, who I spend my time with, what programs on TV that lift me up and which ones take me down.  It’s choosing what I eat, where I live, and what I breathe!  There clearly are negative influences in this world and then there are the lifegiving ones.  I choose the lifegiving ones that support me, my lifestyle, my personality, and quirks.  Remember, there is always a choice to react to negativity or respond with grace and compassion.

So when the dark clouds come, and sometimes they do, I listen to my new committee, who I sometimes call my higher self, my inner self or soul.  I listen to the voices that give hope, life supporting and ultimately leads to my freedom from darkness, and into the light.  I spiral up, instead of down.    Another aspect of conscious living, is trusting in my heart.    When I’m sad and feeling unlovable and unloved, I place my hand on my heart.  I feel it beating, and tune into it  The heart knows a lot more than my mind.  My heart’s message is, “You are loved.” “You are worthy.” “ You are strong.”  “You are enough!”  “Love yourself!”  As I love myself, I spiral up even higher!  Live consciously by loving yourself, and trusting your heart.

What We All Want

I was standing in my kitchen, sipping on a fresh cup of coffee, when I glanced outside my kitchen window.  I saw my two granddaughters outside laughing and swinging.  I smiled and went outside to have a closer look.  The lawn had been recently mowed and looking fresh.  However, I couldn’t help but notice the dog had recently done his business!  So I got the doggy doodie tools and went to pick it up.  I noticed a couple of others.  I just wanted my grandkids to play in safety without slipping or falling in dog poop!   Just wanted them to have a grand time and not worry about getting poop on their shoes.  I wanted their play experience to be pleasant, even though there’s the occasional fall or cry when someone’s feelings get hurt.  I am well aware of the little trauma moments that children can experience.

As I went around the yard, making sure it was clean, I thought about the recent fear of my granddaughter going to school.  I worry that she could be caught in the crossfire of someone’s shooting spree.  I thought, what has this world come to?  What are we doing to our kids?  Why is everyone so sad, angry and stressed out?

Learning is supposed to be fun!  I remember teaching my kids to use a crayon because it was fun to color a picture.  I remember teaching them to hold a rattle in their hands so they could hear the funny sound.  I remember giving them different toys to see what they would do with it.  Yes, naturally they progressed but still the best learning atmosphere is one of fun, lightness and curiosity.  These children nowadays aren’t having fun!  They are worried for their lives.  They are worried about stresses that they should never ever have to experience.  Let’s not forget adults also work in toxic, stressful and competitive work environments.

Why have we forgotten the meaning of life?  Why have we forgotten to have fun?   Why have we forgotten to laugh at the silly worries of life?   Life can be serious, but the seriousness should not permeate our hearts and souls.  We should be able to relax, knowing that we are safe from harm.  We’re safe from bullying, and we’re safe to be ourselves.  We’re not under judgment, condemnation or an unfair grading system.

The goal in school is not to produce human working machines, but happy and confident young adults who can stand on their own two feet, make tough decisions, and create a life of meaning for themselves.    In order to do this, we must change the environment of our schools, homes, work, and institutions.  It’s not enough to recognize when someone is having a problem, it’s important to intentionally raise our children to be sensitive, mindful, compassionate, and caring human beings, not in competition with one another.    The quality of our lives depends on it.  We all want to live happy lives.  We all want to live in safety and security, but not at the expense of another!  Remember to love one another.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  It is very simple.

We can do so much better.  We can create the life we want for our children, and future generations.  It starts now with consciously choosing to be the difference, to be the peace, to be the love and compassion we all need right now.   It starts by living from the heart.  The heart knows the way.   Let your heart direct your thoughts and actions to love one another.   Just be love.

Love for Every day

A lot people wait until they’re death bed to finally forgive and let go.   They wait until they’ve been given their last few months and go out to make amends with people, get their affairs in order, tell everyone who is important to them how much they love them.    I wonder what would I do if I was told that it was my last year, my last month, my last hour, or last minutes.  What would I do?  I’ve lived sort of a full life.  I don’t exactly recall anyone I need to go and forgive or someone to go love.  I have strived to live every day as if it were my last one.

So I’m going to ask you, what are you waiting for?  What did you always want to go do?  Who do you need to call?  Who do you want to reconcile with?  What was that argument you had which ripped your relationships apart?  Could you do it?  Is it important to you?  Do you absolutely love your life and the people who are in it?   Is there someone to invite over?

This is not a fearmongering or doomsday type message.  It’s simply your wake up call.  It’s your permission to go and do what is meaningful and important to you (so long as it doesn’t infringe upon anyone’s right to pursue love, liberty and happiness.)   I’m serious here!  It’s okay to call someone I hurt and say, “ I’m sorry for my actions or inaction.”  It’s really okay to take personal responsibility.  It’s okay to say, “Can we start over?  Can we try again?”  It’s okay to say, “I was wrong, please forgive me!”  It’s okay to say, “I forgive you, I love you, whatever it was doesn’t matter right now today!”   It’s okay to say, “I’m sorry for the words I spoke.  I’m sorry I judged you.  I’m sorry I let trivial things get in the way.”

See how easy it is?  See how easy it is to love your self and then love others?  See how simple the process could be?  Maybe the other person won’t be ready to forgive or move on, but that’s a reflection of them, and not on you.  We can all stop with the guilt and shaming of ourselves and others in the name of being right or whatever you want to call it.  I’m telling you, my dear, when the final curtain drops and the lights go out, some things in this life just won’t matter.  What are you making a big deal of right now that won’t matter when this life is done?  Go ahead and fix it now.  Fix it for love’s sake.  Fix it for compassion sake.  Fix it because you really want to.  Fix it because you are ready to move on to other things.  Fix it for no reason, but because you can!

Love is always ready to love again.  Love is always ready to forgive.  Love is compassion.  Love is forgiving.  Love is getting up and trying again.  Love patiently waits and willingly forgives.  Go ahead and give out that compassion, forgiveness and love like candy!  Just pass it out and give it away to those who matter to you.  Give it to the brokenhearted and those in need.  Give it freely from your heart.  Love is always standing by to love some more.  Love is the answer.  Love yourself.  Love your life.  Love is the most important thing.   In the end, only love remains.

The Good Years Outnumber The Bad Years

Many years ago, a good friend told me, “Sophia, someday, your good years are going to outnumber the bad years.” I had no idea what it would look like but I looked forward to the day. The measure for me was that the first 18 years of my life were hell, so I figured after I turned 36, they would start to get better. However, by then, I had full blown major depression and PTSD, and there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. It took me many more years of healing before I finally saw the good years outnumber the bad ones. Sometimes I lost hope, and I forgot about what she said. I just didn’t even want to try anymore. I’d give up, but then a spark of hope would get me going again.

During those years of trying to overcome my past, I had no idea what I was reaching for. I thought maybe I just didn’t want to be depressed. I didn’t know what true happiness looked like. I thought maybe I didn’t want PTSD but I didn’t know what exactly was the alternative? When you have been living with a condition for a long time, it can easily seem like it’s been this way since forever and it’s never going to end. Time doesn’t really heal all wounds, but after a while, our perspectives do change, for better or worse. No one really knows what another person is going through unless they’ve been exactly in the same place and feel the exact same way. We all do have pain and suffering in common but everyone deals with their issues from their points of view, their own life experiences, and sometimes other people just cannot go there with us.

This is why it’s important to let love, compassion, and patience be your guide with loved ones if they’re going through something that you don’t understand, or you think they should be able to snap out of it. It took me decades to reach the other side or to finally get to the point where my good years did in fact outnumber the bad years. Have a little faith and trust in the process. Eventually, I did heal from my past, the depression, and PTSD, too.  For years, I took different psychotropics to manage my illnesses.  I no longer take any medications except one for an underactive thyroid.

Sometimes you’ll have a bad moment, but don’t think it’s going to last.  Or it could be a bad week, month, year, or even a decade or two.   Life really does change.  People do change.  Don’t ever give up. Keep hope alive.   Love yourself!

What I Believe

A while ago, a fan asked me about my testimony. I was somewhat reluctant to share any information about a testimony. I had one and then I decided it was no longer relevant to me or my current belief system. Many years ago, a family member came to me and informed me that God does not give unconditional love. I was a bit annoyed with her at the time. I know she was trying to strike a conversation with me, but coming at me with this was a bit much. I already knew what I believed about God, yet, here she was trying to get me to think of God in a different way. I had way too many people trying to influence my belief systems.
So I decided I just didn’t believe any of it. Despite that I had made statements of faith before, I just didn’t want to go through the hassle of working out my faith, and I didn’t want to wade through the beliefs of others. I didn’t want to be engaged in these senseless conversations. So God doesn’t give unconditonal love, what use is this God to me then? I went 27 years believing in the bliblical version of God. I staked my life on the Bible. I believed with my whole heart, mind and soul that God was real, that Jesus had died for my sins, and saved me from eternal damnation.
Slowly, I made decisions to question every one of my beliefs. I was scared but not of God but from people. I didn’t think God cared one way or the other whether I questioned my beliefs in Him. It’s the people who care and would be concerned for my soul! Yet who are these people to tell me who God is? Who are they to try to influence my beliefs? Isn’t God big enough to do this? Isn’t God strong enough? Isn’t God, God enough to reveal him/herself to me?
My testimony today is that I believe God is love and doesn’t need the modifier of “unconditional” love. I believe God is an energy and is neither male or female or perhaps is both. I do not embrace the biblical view of God. However, I am somewhat of an omnist. Furthermore, I believe none of us have an accurate view or understanding of the energy or entity called God. I also believe some are aware of the consciousness called God and some are not.   Realize I’m not dogmatic about any of these ideas.
Believing in God doesn’t make anyone a better person. It’s our own life choices, the things we do, our capacity for love, compassion, and forgiveness. My spirituality today involves self-love, self-respect, honesty, integrity, and authenticity along with compassion and forgiveness towards others. I strive to follow the Golden Rule which says to treat others the way I want to be treated.  In summary, love is my religion.

Looking Within

It’s not always easy to look within. Sometimes I would rather not see or know what is hidden deep within, but I have a natural introspective and curiosity bent. A few years ago, I began a regular meditation practice because I wanted relief from anxiety and peace of mind. I got a whole lot more! I realized the areas of my life where I was faltering, I saw where I could improve but most importantly I learned acceptance. Prior to this, I was just angry, depressed, and confused. I blamed my parents for my f**ked up life. I blamed the cards I had been dealt. I blamed the people who had hurt me. I blamed everyone for the direction of my life and could not see a way out the darkness and confusion. I had no idea that I held the key to my own happiness. I didn’t know I could choose my own destiny. I thought I would just spend the rest of my life coping, struggling and surviving rather than thriving and living life to the fullest by my own will.

I realize not everyone is willing to look within. If I looked at just the external circumstances of my life, everything looked rather bleak. I was just a bad person with bad karma, and nobody loved me or cared about me. Yet, taking a peek on the inside of me, seeing that my heart hurt, yet had a lot of love to give was a bit of a shock. I could hardly believe that inside of me was a wounded little girl in need of love, acceptance, and compassion. This was a good starting point for me to turn my life around. It was a nice starting point to see where things had gone wrong or I had come to believe I was unlovable, unworthy, and dejected. It was an excellent place to begin to love myself. The more I loved and accepted that little girl, the more my love expanded to all of me, and the more I began to heal all the broken places within.

I’m very thankful I had the courage to look within. From outward appearances, I thought I would see just a dark and lifeless soul, but instead I met the loving, peaceful, and radiant woman I’ve become today. I had to go deep within to bring her out though. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s a beautiful gift to give to yourself, the gift of your true self. Look within, you’ll see the light that’s been hidden, you’ll find the true person under neath to accept, love and embrace. This is the person before you were wounded, the one before you were given a label, before you put on the masks, the one before you were told who you are supposed to be or how to look, your true essence of self. I always love and accept myself now.

Freedom from fear!

I’m lying down in bed, propped up by two pillows, as I write this blog post. Sometimes life is exhausting, and no matter how much I want to participate in it, I might shrink back out of fear! I have to consciously break through the fear barriers almost everyday. Every new day, is an invitation from life to come out and work, play, enjoy the world, be alive! Life is constantly presenting itself. Maybe there’s a moment of laughter when you see something funny. Or there’s grief and sadness due to the floods and devastation around the world. Maybe there’s comfort and warmth when you see someone helping another. This is the stuff of life!

I ask myself from my bed, what can I do? Well I can pray. I can write notes. I can post encouraging stuff on mass media. Yet sometimes it’s a challenge to roll out of bed. I can send money or encourage others to send money or goods. It’s all in perspective. Everyone can do something. If you smile at a neighbor, help a friend or take a nap because you’re tired, loving yourself, it’s enough. It’s more than enough! You are enough!

Too many days, I’ve had inspiration come to me and I didn’t act upon it because I was afraid. I wanted to speak up. I wanted to say something nice and helpful or I wanted to speak against something horrible but I told my voice to be quiet. I told myself, “no you don’t do that!!!” Yet today, I’m kicking my fear out! I’m telling it to shut the f**k up! I’m telling it, “you’re not welcome here!” I’m not going to allow it to paralyze me anymore. This is all part of my journey. I appreciate all my friends, family, and fans who are patient with me. Those who loudly or silently stand by and cheer me on! Thank you so much! I appreciate those who understand my secret struggle to come out of my shell and be all that I can be, which is enough!

Anytime you see me posting something, that’s me giving birth to a new version of myself who is not afraid. It’s me shedding layers of fear and and holding back from being my true self. It’s me bursting out of the shell that has kept me in constraints! Maybe this post sounds a bit like I’m self absorbed but I’m really thinking of others. I’m thinking of others who have fears or anxiety of putting yourself out there. I’m thinking of people who doubt themselves or have low confidence.

My writing is really to inspire others. I share about my overcoming just to inspire someone else to overcome, too! It’s because I love myself and I love the world. I want everyone to feel empowered and special. I want everyone to not be afraid to shine their light and offer the gift of themselves to the world. I want everyone to experience this freedom from fear! Loving and accepting others is the best gift to anyone, to release fears, and live in personal freedom and empowerment. I love myself, and release all fears that do not serve my highest good.