Sometimes by embracing things we can reframe them in a different way. These are my thoughts and feelings from my heart that I share with you. Take from it what you so choose…
Why I would rather be broken than bent.
If if I were to be bent that would insinuate that somehow I was only one thing and that thing or object could be bent. A steel rod, a piece of wood, something that is straight and linear. When you bend and eventually bounce back. there is usually a point of weakness somewhere in the object. Unless it’s springy material. At a low point in my life a very good friend told me that when you are broken you can take those pieces and put then back together anyway you want. I didn’t have to be a teapot or a cup, I could be a beautiful mantle piece or a plate (hypothetically) By being broken, I can create cycles. I can rebuild myself in any way I so choose and I can leave behind the parts that no longer serve me. A broken piece of glass or mirror refracts beautiful light. What does something bent refract. I would rather be broken and shattered into a million pieces and rebuild myself self than bend and be somewhat conformable. I was made to begin each day anew, so from the broken pieces I reframe and rebuild to be better and stronger. When I am broken I can analyze which pieces don’t fit back into the existence that I am choosing to manifest. Which means that I can break myself at any moment take pieces away and rebuild as something better. Just like death brings rebirth, brokenness brings beauty. 🙏
“I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow those walls down because I want what you have.”
“I will take your power your innocence and leave you feeling a living dead girl broken and not able to see your own light.”
At a very young age I had my “NO” taken away and learned you need it to hide your true self. Put on a smile, do what you’re told, suck it up, be a good girl, and big girls don’t cry.
I was born into a family where most could not see my gifts and forced me to suppress them and those that saw my specialness decided to greedily take a piece of it for themselves.
Not able to verbalize what was going on or chastitized for telling the truth, I built a wall of straw because I knew I needed protection. This wall was to protect me from my family because although they were supposed to protect me they failed to do so as they had their own issues add their own issues. Alcoholism, abandonment, and abuse left me with an insecure attachment and not knowing what love or acceptance looked like. I did not know where I fit in or where I belonged. I knew I was a part of my family, I looked like them, talked like them, liked what they liked, but I did not feel like one of them.
Those walls broke down easily and at school and in the community, I learned you needed stronger walls. So, I built walls of sticks and wood. Teachers can be cruel. They have their favorites and succeeding doesn’t get you anywhere if someone has slapped a label on you.
Difficult, hard to handle, too emotional, not a good role model, and not good enough to be Valedictorian despite straight A’s.
It was better to judge me or call me names and degrade me then find out what was really going on with me or show some interest in my life or well being.
A desire to be a part of something beggar, to see the world, to be of service to humanity, and a thirst for knowledge led me to join the Canadian Armed Forces. A quest to hopefully get educated enough to become a doctor.
I built walls of brick in attempt to be Bad-Ass, tough and able to take on anything. I wanted to be the best me possible and be all I could be. A defender, a protector, a leader, and a helper. Children that don’t feel wanted, grow up and often go into professions where they feel needed.
Well in the military they know how to blow things up and friendly fire on domestic territory left me and my walls of bricks shattered into a million pieces and a desire for safety and security that led me to run for a safe room.
Betrayed, abandoned, rejected yet again and conditioned to believe I was a bad person, that things were my fault, and I was a failure I then locked myself in a safe room metaphorically where the only way anyone could get near me was if I invited them in. Letting people into my safe room was not a successful way to move forward. Those I invited in brought their trauma, issues and conditioning into my safe room with them making the environment toxic, negative and full of bitterness and ungratefulness.
I wanted better. I wanted to move forward and go from surviving to thriving. I began to understand my vulnerability was my strength. My adversity had made me resilient and able to overcome any obstacle. When I started to tear down my walls and be true to myself, I started to accept myself and love myself.
I found a way to leave the safe room and face the Big Bad World. By conquering fears, wanting change and more for myself I was able to transform my hurt to lessons. By challenging myself to be comfortable with being uncomfortable I can transmute the darkness to light. I can finally step into my power by taking control of my feelings, my actions, my behaviors, and by being accountable to myself. I fall down a lot without the security of 4 walls protecting me but they only kept me in a Box where I could not see my true potential. I could only see shadows and glimpses of what could be. I was looking through the window of my safe room watching the Big Bad World but not participating.
I feel so I can deal than I can heal. I left the safe room and I’m finally free to be the real me.
A long time ago, I think I may have been married to my second husband at the time, I was going through a “pre-awakening.” I was still asleep, but I was searching. Searching for something that I thought was bigger than me but eventually found it within myself. I had a strong sense of being different and not belonging. Conventional psychology/psychiatry in my hometown was not helping me grow. Religion had not held the answers I was searching for. My first husband was a Jehovah’s Witness and although it was not for me (apparently neither was he) I learned to look at theories and philosophies and see them from different perspectives. Big pictures. I went to a past life regression therapist and had an enlightening session although I was still a little skeptical at the time. At the end of the session, he led me on a meditation to see if I had wings. I saw the most magnificent huge Rainbow wings radiating from my body. I could not wrap my head around that vision, but it left an impression and always stayed in the back of my mind. Big Beautiful Stunning Rainbow Wings. I could not wrap my head around the vision because I was stuck in a negative mindset where I though I was forsaken, everything bad happened because of me and I was a failure that could not do anything right. I could not look in a mirror without seeing everything that was wrong with me and all my flaws. I lived and breathed my sons, yet my own trauma kept me from being a real mother. I was more of a friend, and I wanted them to love me so badly I made many mistakes. I look back now and know that I did the best I could at the capacity I was able to. Ever since I was young, I had a desire to serve humanity and a feeling I was different from the rest of my family. I wanted everyone around me to be happy. I felt all of their emotions and often felt like a peacemaker or peacekeeper. I smiled all the time because that is what “good little girls” are supposed to do. My desire to serve humanity led me to join the Canadian Armed Forces where I dreamed of being a part of something bigger and making a difference. It did not turn out the way I planned, and I ended up leaving the military with feelings of abandonment, betrayal, and rejection, thinking I had failed and that I was only good enough to be an object for men’s pleasure, it also left me with some amazing skills and abilities to be able to adapt and overcome any situation placed before me. I learned some ridiculously hard lessons through trauma that have allowed me to turn my knowledge into wisdom. Going public with my story from the Military and my desire to make sure others did not feel alone got met with ostracism, disbelief, and lots of judgment. Assisting others with no framework or understanding of trauma and not realizing or comprehending the fact I could absorb the emotions of others led me to decide I needed to educate myself, research my own trauma and get a better understanding of how to assist others. I took my 2 young Sons and met the Director of the new nursing program that was starting at Trent University and applied for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Other than wanting to help others I did not have a clue about what I was doing. I was in survival mode, and I wanted a better future for my sons. As much as I wanted to give up, those two kept me going. There was something in my blood that kept me fighting. My dad tried to instill in my brother and I to be lovers not fighters, but I learned young I had to fight for his attention and love. His Father (my grandfather) had been a boxer and we learned young how to use our fists. I was competent, just not supported or encouraged. I had my grandfather’s boxing Spirit of no matter how many times you get knocked down, you get back up. Sometimes I have tripped and fell down myself and I know its important to get up, dust off and keep going. I also had to acknowledge self-sabotage and how my trauma was affecting all of my relationships. So, after I literally knocked myself out one day (seriously, I threw a rocking chair, it bounced off the wall, hit me in the head and knocked me out; not sure if my head cracked it or the wall). I had to take a cold hard look at what I wanted and what I was willing to accept in my life. I was in the process of leaving my third husband who thought I was a white devil whore and had awakened me from my Sleeping Beauty-bubble state in more ways than one. The reconnection to Mother Earth, nature and an introduction to Indigenous Studies provided me with a different perspective on life I was extremely grateful for. The knowledge from the strong, beautiful Women he had introduced me to was what guided me after the cell phone to the side of the head awakened me to the fact, I needed to break free, find myself and look deep within. I had to look in my toolbox and discard the tools that were no longer working for me (metaphorically I had a fisher price hammer and a couple Barbies in there) and get some new upgraded grown up tools. Boundaries were what I needed, not to mention some self-worth, self-respect, self-value, and some confidence. I had been badly submitted, dominated, and conditioned by my family, my community, my teachers, leaders, and Society at large. I had been told by my ex-husband and my brother that I could never survive on my own and I was silly enough to believe them at that time. Everything changed the day I met a man that stood before me like a mirror and somehow radiated back to me (like a mirror) an image of myself that saw how all these previous failures could be reframed into accomplishments. It was like a light switch was turned on. I had been looking for a switch outside of myself in therapy, relationships, compassionate acts, love, and the switch had been inside of me all along. All the lessons in all the hurt and trauma were overwhelming and hard to process but I could see the light in the darkness finally. I was now on a quest to discover what I enjoyed and what I was capable of. The possibilities before me now were infinite and I was looking at the world through child-like eyes where everything was a blessing and opportunity. It was like I was seeing it all for the first time with new eyes. Something kept taking me back to those rainbow wings. I wrote a lot about rainbows after my mother passed away, picturing her dancing under one. In my first act of my own rebellion, I decided to get those rainbow wings tattooed on my back. I was going to go big or go home. I challenged myself, went way outside my comfort zone and moved to a city where I knew few people. My friend found me a tattoo artist that turned out to be a Wizard. I told the Wizard my vision and we discussed the meaning of my wings. I told him they will represent everything I have overcome. Every feather would represent a trauma that taught me a lesson and gifted me with wisdom. I started my wings on my Granddaughter’s 6th birthday and spent 23 hours getting a priceless piece of art tattooed on my back. The process was finished the week of the 20th anniversary of going public about military sexual trauma (which had become a hot issue again 20 years later). The Wizard had provided me with and experience that left me feeling like I was really growing wings. They itched, they peeled, they hurt and sometimes were prickly. The whole time the Wizard was doing his magic he told me he would also fix my cartoon Pinocchio ship on my lower back I had gotten may years before. Injury forced me to be patient and heal before I could return to cover my ship and I felt like I had just broken my wing I had just grown. The healing journey from my injury involved many lessons that were all for my own benefit and assisted my developmental growth. Later in the year I had a black mysterious ship with a lighthouse placed over my old tattoo. When I saw it finished, I saw my wings as heaven (Angelic and from above) and the ship as hell (darkness and below heaven). The ship was the vessel that would take you down the River Styx if you harmed me. I had dark and light, I had balance. I sought out the past life regression therapist and went to see him again. It was a joyful day that brought much healing. There I did sessions with him and his beautiful wife and discovered what my rainbow wings meant. He told me I could communicate, with anyone, at any age, at any level and leave an impression, make a difference in their lives. It started to make sense. I always thought I never fit in anywhere. After this I realized I did not fit anywhere because I belonged everywhere. I realized the only person I needed to please, accept and love was myself. The external reward system of society would never lead me to confidence, respect, value or worth, these must all come from within. My wings remind me to love myself, believe in myself, and to have faith in myself. They are my heaven. My ship is everything I have been through, the rough journey on the Sea of life yet as much as it represents HELL, the lighthouse reminds me to look to the light and reminds me of my wings. I can go through hell, but heaven will always be with me too. Balance……….
I met a Wizard on a cold February night being initiated by his own with a set of wings. I did not know he was a Wizard at that time, but I did know he was someone special. I went to see the Wizard at the tattoo shop because I wanted my own set of wings. Wings that symbolized freedom, breaking free from the confines and conditioning of this materialistic world. Wings that represented overcoming trauma and abuse and that reintegrated the different parts of my personality so I could finally see myself as whole.
I wanted rainbow wings with words in the long feathers and I wanted them to cover my whole back. The Wizard and I discussed my vision and the meaning behind my tattoo. He was honoured to be doing them and to assist me on my healing journey. I remember him saying he was excited to be doing them. I watched the Wizard draw up magnificent wings, make stencils and place them perfectly on my back.
I straddled the chair and he started to tattoo me, and I tensed up. I started to realize that I could not see or know what he was doing, and I needed to trust this man I had just met and relinquish full control to his artistic abilities while enduring intentional infliction of pain.
This was when I first had a hint that he was magic. The Wizard seemed to sense my tenseness and inability to relax so he decided to put some music on. He started to play “ELO Live at Wembley” and by the third song I started to relent, relax, and trust the process. I left that day with a full outline and fully committed to getting them done as fast as possible and sensing I had just met someone that had magical capabilities and a way of just knowing.
The Wizard spent 23 hours from 27Feb18-25May18 magically placing my rainbow wings on my back. The words LOVE, HONOUR, SACRIFICE, RESPECT, TRUTH, LOYALTY SYNCHRONICITY AND COURAGE grace the longer feathers in teal for PTSD and Military Sexual Trauma.
In my time in the Wizard’s chair, I learned so much about life. He listened to me non-judgementally, offered amazing advice and had an insight into things because he was aware and paid attention. I found out the Wizard had won an award at 5 years old for art submitted to the Olympic Games, had been an art teacher and had saved 3 peoples lives in a house fire in Brighton. He was well travelled, knew many people and followed his dreams despite what others said. Turns out we did not grow up that far from each other either.
The Wizard was supposed to do a cover-up of my cartoon-like Pinocchio ship on my lower back, but he refused because I had injured myself quite badly. I thought the Wizard was upset with me, but he just wanted my body to heal, and he knew no matter how much pain I was in I would still want to be tattooed. Later that year he did give me a beautiful black ghost like ship with a lighthouse to give me “Heaven and Hell” on my back. The wings were heaven, and the black ship was the long boat ride down the River Styx if you piss me off. I am a cusp baby, born on the cusp of opposition. Libra/Scorpio.
I enjoyed spending time in the Wizard’s chair. He always knew what music to play or what show to put on to calm my nerves and make getting stuck with a needle millions of times seem pleasant. There was one time he had Moana on the TV for me to watch and empowering female rock music playing as well. The conversation was stimulating, and he did not get mad if I asked stupid questions. He told me I was not just his client; I was his friend.
Every time I was in the Wizard’s chair, I saw pictures of him and the guys from Sum 41. I tried to meet Sum 41 at Montebello Rockfest to show them my wings the Wizard had instilled on my back and instead of meeting them, I got to have an amazing chat with Avril Lavigne’s mother, which I did not figure out until after she was whisked away on a cart (I had wondered why she wanted a selfie with me but would not let me take one with her).
While the Wizard was doing my MerAngel I wrote my speech for the Supreme Court that I would give during my testimony for the Sexual misconduct class action lawsuit. It was also during my MerAngel that I had my vision. While driving and listening to Uriah Heep “The Wizard” I saw my Wizard (looking slightly different) standing in a cave with potion bottles on a desk with scrolls and fire coming out of his hand. I texted the Wizard when I got to my final destination and told him the tale of my vision and he was happy I shared it with him.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from the Wizard was about relationships. He told me that it is a “relationship not ownership.” I knew that people often look at others as objects or possessions and that was a perfect mantra for me to break free from the grips of those that saw me as a trophy or a prize. The ones that loved me but truly did not love themselves so were incapable of loving me the way I needed to be loved. The Wizard taught me to respect myself and that some people actually do listen without judgement.
We had many philosophical conversations during my Angel Archer tattoo which I got on my nerve damaged arm because his friend/Brother reminded me “No pain, no gain.” I have been encouraged and supported by the Wizard in so many ways. The Wizard does not just tattoo me, he brings the image to life on my body. There are priceless works of art done by a Master Wizard on my skin. My wolf and my dragon really are friends on my leg, talking to each other. My poppies blow in the wind and Morrigan looks fierce and reminds me I am a force to be reckoned with.
My adversity has made me resilient, and the Wizard has been able to picture this accordingly. The Wizard has provided magic no doctor or therapist could ever provide. He listened to me and made my ideas even better, then left them permanently in ink on my body forever. The Wizard has also introduced me to some amazing people that I have gone on to develop friendships with because he knows I have a hard time meeting new people, so he introduces me to anyone that comes in the shop when I am there.
I know my body only has so much room for tattoos (although I told the Wizard I was not going to stop until I was a rainbow) so I asked the Wizard if he would be willing to give me art lessons. My creative abilities with arts were very juvenile and I saw so many scenes I wanted to recreate. To my delight he agreed, and I am finding my inner artist due to helpful hints, suggestions, and encouragement from the Wizard (and a little help from my inner child.) The Wizard respects me for who I am, who I have been and who I will become. He accepts me for me. I feel like the Wizard is helping me grow up, guide me through the dark night of the Soul and his friendship has allowed me to find myself. I feel like I knew the Wizard in another life and meeting him in this one, was no mistake.
I wanted to write an academic paper about International Women’s Day full of statistics about domestic violence, sexual assault and gender barriers. Then I wanted to write out a long thank you honouring every Woman that has encouraged and supported me along my healing journey. I wanted to acknowledge all of the special Women I have met and their contributions to Society. I have met Women who have been firsts in their field. I have met Women that defy all odds. I have met Women who have overcome huge obstacles with grace and dignity. Every Woman that has ever served her Country is a Warrior, no matter the capacity in which they served, they are a Hero in my eyes. Counselors, Doctors, friends and my Veteran family have aided me in so many ways and I am so very grateful for each and every one of them. However on this International Women’s Day I want to honour my late Mother, Sue. We had a tumultuous relationship. I was the firstborn. A daughter, with a brother following 11 months later. At 19 years old after already having her own traumatic past she set out raising the both of us with my father. They were wed 11 days after her 18th birthday in a small ceremony when she was already 4 months pregnant with me. My Mom did the best she could with what she had. I could not see this for most of her life. She had a grade 8 education and was barely an adult when she was all of a sudden raising 2 children. She was the youngest of six children and her brothers and sisters treated her like a baby, even when she was older. They treated her like she couldn’t think for herself, like she didn’t know what was good or right for her. I always felt like my Mom was trying to make them proud but they wouldn’t see it. They only saw everything she did wrong. My Mom’s mom died when I was 10. I found out on my 10th birthday. She had died the night before. This was my Mom’s breaking point. She had been drinking more and more since my baby brother was born when I was 8 and the depression hit hard after Grandma was gone. We lived with our other Gramma. My Dad’s mom. 5 people in a 2 bedroom apartment above her. I shared a room with my brothers until I was 16. I watched my Mom and how she treated me and I judged her. I blamed her. I hated her. I wanted to be anybody but her daughter. I was a self-absorbed teenager that wanted to be noticed in my family and could not see that my Mom had her own issues. As an adult I can look back with hindsight and wish things were different but see them for what they really were. My Mom was suppressed for years. She was not allowed to truly be herself. She was barely an adult when she met my father and had already been through things no young woman should ever have to go through (prostitution, incarceration). My Mom made choices, some turned out good, some turned out bad, just like me. She made the best of some pretty shitty situations and kept moving forward. I thought I was the reason she drank, the reason she was so unhappy and in turn I blamed her for my unhappiness and my issues. My Mom and I finally started to have a good relationship and enjoy each other’s company. We finally started to understand each other and communicate when I realized it wasn’t her fault, she did the best she could. Truth is my Mom didn’t know how to be a Mom, just like I didn’t have a clue raising my Sons. Took me over 40 years to see my Mom for who she really was. An amazing beautiful Soul with a huge heart and stunning smile. My Mom started over after 35 years of marriage. She got her own place and finally got to discover who she was and what she wanted in life. She had friends and traveled a bit. She had a family in AA, as she was sober for almost 26 years when she passed. She lost most of her sight due to diabetes and had painful laser surgery to correct it enough she could see things. She had terrible pain, used a scooter, had chronic lymphocytic leukemia, congestive heart failure, neuropathy, kidneys at 10%, broke her hip and had a mini-stroke but she kept going. She did the best she could every day. She kept journals and every newspaper clipping I was ever in. I didn’t realize what a difference my Mom had made in people’s lives until her funeral. The people that showed up and told me how my Mother had made a difference in their life. I couldn’t see my Mom because I couldn’t see myself. I was so busy not wanting to be like her, blaming her and resenting her that I couldn’t see how truly amazing she was. When my mind was focused on the negative and my own trauma I only saw the bad. When I started to have the same issues with my Sons as I gave my Mom I suddenly realized that she was never to blame. As I got older and progressed on my healing journey I came to find that it doesn’t matter who broke you, or who is to blame, it is your responsibility to fix yourself. My Mom fixed herself and because she did that she was able to assist others on their journey. The Woman I never wanted to be now inspires me to be the Woman I choose to be today. She may be gone from this Earth but she still walks with me every day as I learn from the time we did spend together and the lessons I was too stubborn to learn because I was absorbed in my own trauma. My Mom led by example. She fought til the very end and she left this world independent, courageous and brave. She proved she didn’t need anyone but herself and that she could make good decisions and she lived her own life her way. My Mom is my hero, a real Angel and I am going to be the best me I can possibly be to honour her memory and to provide an example for my granddaughter. Hurt people hurt people, healed people heal people. My Mom was living proof of this and my Mom made me. I am the Woman I am today because of her and I finally accept and love the Woman I was, am and choose to become. Happy International Women’s Day to every Woman out there. May you find happiness,love and peace on your path to finding yourself.
In Memory of Susan Ann (Harrison) McIlmoyle April 25,1954- October 19, 2015
I was a caterpillar, crawling through life; when I found a beautiful plant and spun my cocoon. As I metamorphasisized and grew my wings, I thought about how grateful I was, for the hibernation. For I had only experienced life from one perspective. When my wings had grown, The struggle began as I broke free from the confines of my cocoon. I thought of how the fight and the change; no matter how hard it was, no matter how much it hurt, no matter how much pain it caused, was going to be worth it. I was no longer going to see the world just from the ground. When the time finally came and I spread my wings, I could fly. Bright, bold and rainbow I used my wings to fly high. I let the wind blow me around. I was happy. I needed to learn, and then when I established control, I could see from above and I could fly down below and I could sit on a plant like before. I could see the world from 2 different perspectives, and it allowed me to be free. The watcher and the experiencer. The best of both worlds. Once I could fly, I never once looked back on the struggle in the cocoon. I had a whole new way to look at everything.
My friend knew I was experiencing some emotions after a bad breakup and suggested I tell myself what I would tell a friend experiencing the same thing and to have compassions for myself. I wrote this after we had our conversation.
A letter to a friend experiencing what I am going through or my daughter if I had one.
I know you are hurting, and you feel so foolish for having feelings for someone that obviously did not see you the way you saw him.
I know your heart feels like it has been ripped out and stomped on the floor and like you have been stabbed in the back.
I know you gave your everything to someone that was not capable of loving you the way you deserved to be loved.
I know you feel abandoned and rejected.
I know he left you with a bitter taste in your mouth, feeling jaded and not good enough.
I know you believed every word he said and feel stupid for believing his lies.
I know he hurt you very badly in ways no one should be hurt, and he took advantage of your kindness.
I know he used you like a blow-up doll and thinks he got away with it.
But Baby Girl, Girlfriend,
You are a Goddess, A Warrior, A Valkyrie
And none of this is on you.
Because I also know,
You are beautiful,
You are resilient,
You are intelligent,
You are wise,
You are knowledgeable,
You are brave,
You are courageous,
You are fearless
And you are everything he is not.
You have integrity, you have respect.
These are things he will never have, and he hurt you because he knows that. His behaviour and his actions are a reflection on him, not you. You did nothing wrong. Believing in someone, loving them, and accepting them completely is not wrong. Seeing the good in them and their inner child is not wrong. Accepting unacceptable behaviour is wrong.
He preyed on your kindness, put you down for being too good. He told you that you were too emotional and made you feel bad for things you should never have felt bad about. He tried to make you think your friends were not your friends and then when it all went bad and he got caught, he put it all on you. Shamed you, blamed you as if he were completely innocent and did nothing wrong.
So, listen to me,
Remember who you were, are, and will be.
Feel the pain, learn the lessons but do not dwell there for too long for he does not deserve those tears you cry. Your energy is much better spent working on making yourself the beautiful light of truth that you are.
You my Queen, will rise again like a Phoenix, move on, and live your life to the fullest with many new experiences. You will change and grow with every new lesson. You will not succumb to stagnation.
For you are pure awesomeness and you will always adapt and overcome.
I know you; I see you
I am here for you
Believe in yourself, Love Yourself the way you always wanted to be loved and Fly like the Angel you are.