In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.















Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Survival

This weeks theme for Jen’s Spin Cycle is called Surviving the battle, winning the war. Since I wrote a post recently on the topic of change and that post talked about many of the things I have been through in my life, I won’t rehash all the things I have survived. There are things that I survived, that I don’t talk about here and very rarely in my real life. There are things…secrets, that I have never shared with anyone. I am a survivor. Or at least I was a survivor…of drugs, abuse, sickness, divorce, death and loss.




I have said it here before that it’s a miracle that I am still alive…that I have survived through some tough shit sandwiches that really should have killed me. Some of these shit sandwiches were of my own making. Some were not. Surviving changes a person…changes our perspectives. After those moments of survival…after we get safely to the other side, after we breath in that sigh of relief, and it’s time to start living again, because life always goes on regardless of what shit sandwich you are trying to digest…whatever circumstances brought us here…we have choices of whether these things we survived are going to break us or make us.


Living in survival mode can be a way of life because there is safety in living this way or at least we think so. In survival mode we are fighting for our lives, so we are on constant red alert for the next attack. Fight or flight. For some of us, it is how we grew up and what we learned…it’s all we know how to do and be. Surviving can be a habit because we have done it for so long. Stepping out of survival mode and into living is a big step…a risky step and a step that many will never know how to do. It can be like stepping out into an unknown abyss. Laying down our swords or weapons is necessary if we want to call a truce.




After we survive, we have a choice in how we will respond to life’s adversities…to those shit sandwiches. We can eat them with a smile on our face, pretend they are not what they are and that they have no affect on us. When really the stench they leave in us can be smelled from across the room. Because these things, are just like food that goes undigested or does not get put away properly, it spoils and leaves a smell and can make us sick. Everyone can smell us, but us. They leave their mark and everyone can see it but us.



The bitterness, the anger, the hurt, the hate, the shame, the blame, the unforgiveness…all those things that remain unresolved can cause us to act just as stinky as we feel inside. The rotten stench of things left out, and not dealt with leave us with thinking, actions and words that are stinky…and it‘s with this filter that we view life and those around us. Broken.


Or we can spit them out and not accept them. We can call these shit sandwiches for what they are…shit. We choose to do something about them. We take a good look and don’t pretend they are something they are not. We cry. We grieve. We even forgive. We even see the good parts of the sandwich…because every shit sandwich has layers and some of those layers are good…and we take the good out of them and keep them like a priceless gift. And when we are done, what remains of the shit sandwiches get flushed down the toilet, where they belong. We let them go. We don’t forget, but we don’t carry their stink with us. We don’t allow the stink that they caused yesterday to stink up today.



It’s a choice. We stop feeling sorry for ourselves and start feeling thankful for ourselves. And sometimes, if were lucky we are even thankful for the shit sandwich. It’s in these moments of choosing to spit out and not accept, that we go from survival mode to living. The filter through which we see ourselves and the world, is not seen through a shit sandwich.


I made the choice to spit. I made the choice to stop living life in survivor mode and just started to live life. Life is beautiful when your living outside of the box. Yes, part of me will always have a survivor in me. These things that I learned from surviving will always be with me. These shit sandwiches do not define me, but they did help make me who I am today.



In a sense these shit sandwiches are a gift. They are my gift. They are my gift that I share openly and willingly with others. I made the choice for these things I survived, to make me better instead of breaking me. In the end, it’s these things, that made me want to go from living as a survivor, to living life out loud.


How do you live?



This was my spin on survival. For more spins on survival go check out Sprites Keeper.

22 comments:

The Incredible Woody said...

You speak to me. Thank you.

queenofphrump said...

You wrote this to me today whether you realize it or not. I am currently choking on my shit sandwich and I know that you know that. Thanks for this perspective. I am printing it and carrying it with me today so that by tonight I can figure out which parts to spit out before I quit chewing all together.

Thanks Lori! You mean the world to me.

Jan said...

As usual, very eloquently put Lori. You're right - we DO have a lot in common.

How do I live my life? The same way you do - leaving the past in the past, enjoying the present and full of hope for the future.

(((Hugs)))

morethananelectrician said...

I just try to make sure that I don't make myself too many of those shit sandwiches...that way I just have to deal with the ones others make for me...

nothingfancy1 said...

Well said.

Cristin said...

Loved this!!

I traded my shit sandwich for a Yummy Grilled Cheeeeeese!!!!

Sprite's Keeper said...

So well put and yet the kick in the ass that some need to stop taking the shit and start sending it back to the kitchen. You're linked and so much more aware than a lot of people!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Every time I read your posts you amaze me even more. you put this so well. And the phrase: "Shit sandwich" will forever be etched into my brain.
I choose to put the past behind me also..you have to. Or else, like you said: "we will stench of the shit"
Thanks again...take care.

I loved your comment about the sister wife....sorry no insurance, but everything else is a GO.

CaJoh said...

Great way of describing the term. So glad you can spit it out and not keep it all in. Reminds me a lot of my recent post on coping mechanisms:
http://cajoh.blogspot.com/2009/02/coping-mechanism.html. Since it's an old post, I won't be re-hashing it for Spin Cycle.

Enjoy,

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Proving once again you are the Lemonade Queen! I'm glad you chose to spit it out!

Bina said...

I try SO very hard to forget and forgive, but sometimes, I can't help by dwell. I see how other women are with their mother's and father's, and I get very lonely, mad, jealous, bitter. I can't help it. I will never, ever know the love of a mother or father. I will never have a close family, such as brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins. I'll never how a real marriage should actually feel and I wonder if I will always feel like the victim. I also wonder if I should have just stayed single. I think it would have been easier for not only me, but my new husband.

But other times, I'm so thankful for what I have, and for I am, because the person I COULD have turned out to be? It's scary to think of her. Scary to think of what her life would have been like and how miserable she and her children would have been.

Very nice post. Great job.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I have secrets,t oo - in fact, they are embedded in Tender Graces - just hints -- not of everything, but some things - most from childhood are the embedded secrets in TG ...

The Aunt RUby character is such an amalgam, as is Uncle Ar-ville.

But, with TG, I kept things hopeful - it is not MY story, but Virginia Kate's....but I couldn't help but place codes and whispered secrets and things between the lines that no one may ever notice or figure out or see.

I am glad you are safe.

Onward: that is how we live our lives.

You can't let "them" win - living in the past makes them Win.

Debbie said...

You are such a great writer and every day I feel like I get to know you better and better. I am thankful for that.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

wow, very profound. and I am so happy for you that you were able to reach that point of acceptance and find peace in your life. bravo! Nice spin!

Laura said...

You and your metaphors. First a bucket and now a sanwich.

How do I live? I'll go for a different metaphor. I am a castle but the moat around me is full of infested waters. No matter how tight the windows are shut, the stench comes it. But at a certain point I realize that I can build a bridge and get away from this castle and get away from this moat and find a better spot. I'm working on building the bridge, but working is better than trying to live with the pestilential stench thinking that this is the way it should be.

Channeling some disco diva: I will survive!

Camille said...

I'm digging the sandwich metaphor. Thanks for that!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Awesome and amazing spin. I knew you would rock this one.

I've got soemthing for you at my place.

Jeannie said...

I think I'm still eating my shit sandwich cuz it's stuck to my fingers and I don't know how to get it off.

You are inspiring me to find some wet-wipes somewhere.

SSG said...

Hey Lori, some really good advice here. Sometimes you have to stop wallowing and move on, but sometimes that can be scary too. Sometimes it feels safer to stay and wallow and be unhappy, if you know what I mean? It's good to be able to spit it all out and get on with things. And it's good to read this on your blog!

Shangrila said...

I love the line, "In the end, it’s these things, that made me want to go from living as a survivor, to living life out loud." EXACTLY!

midlifeslices said...

I've eaten so many shit sandwiches in my life that I've developed an auto-gag reflex when one starts being shoved down my throat. I'm not swallowing them any more and I'm glad you aren't either

thistle said...

Here and echoing MLS' sentiments...no one should eat them and maybe sometimes they need to be lobbed back just to wake the server up ;)