Badass Family Therapy

I’m in the middle of EMDR therapy and it’s hard.as.fuck.

My family is joining me in this therapy ride, whether they like (or know) it or not.

Cry Baby

Thoughts on therapy.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy is an interactive psychotherapy technique used to relieve psychological stress. It’s often used to treat trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which I’ve had for over three years thanks to Rapegate.

This poop emoji raft really “gets” me. I want to float on it every Thursday after therapy.

PTSD doesn’t necessarily last forever – but it can linger. It’s just the fucking hardest thing to describe a disorder that is invisible. It’s like having a ghost live within you and it comes out to haunt your body where its housed anytime it motherfucking pleases. Just like no two rapes are the same, no two pregnancies are the same, no two diagnosis of PTSD are the same.

I need a tank that reads “Surprise! It’s PTSD!”

So, there are obviously different treatment approaches depending on the person, the therapist, the situation. I started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Rationally, I knew it wasn’t my fault I was raped. But I could not help but feel that I let it happen to me. I was my own worst enemy, standing in the way of my recovery process due to my black and white thinking. I still wrestle with this after three years of therapy but CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. Coping mechanisms are put into place and for me, mine is – ‘would you talk to a friend like this?’ Fuck no I wouldn’t, so quit talking to yourself this way.

We can be our own worst enemy.  CBT helps anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations.

Jazz hands also help.

Starting EMDR with my therapist, Superhero Sheila, I was told to think of a happy, relaxing, real life place. Somewhere I’ve experienced first hand, where I felt safe. It took me a minute but I thought about water. I thought about laughing. I thought about what I loved in my life. Maybe it’s the time of year, but my safe place is memories of time spent at the Lake of the Ozarks with my family every Fourth of July.

Family

Clan

We kinda had some fun there over the years.

From wapatoolies, to aqua bars, to tattoos, to boys against girls Trivial Pursuit games (pretty sure the chicks won more), I can envision this place and be at ease. Hearing the boat motors, my family’s belly laughing, smelling the lake water, my uncle ‘washing’ his hair in the lake (true Griswolds move right here), the relentless teasing, remembering my sister getting hit in the face with a can of Budweiser thrown from the boat to the water (ah, memories).

Aqua Bar

Aqua bar doubling as a life saving device.

Tattoo

Tattoo Ted performing his kind of adequate skills on Aunt Crazy Pants.

Winners!

Trivial Pursuit Chicks rule. Dudes drool.

The first thing for me to tackle in EMDR was the exit off of the interstate which leads to the house where I was raped. My ex friend’s house. I pass by that exit almost every day. And every.single.time I think, “oh, that leads to Ex Friend’s house where I was raped.” It doesn’t ruin my day. I don’t ruminate over it. But it’s a thought that pops in my head and can causes anxiety that sometimes spills into my daily life.

To tackle this, Superhero Sheila hands me a device with two knobs – one for each hand. They vibrate, alternating, then at the same time, then alternating, using both your right and left sides of the brain to re-train your thoughts.

“Close your eyes.”

“You’re driving on Interstate I40, coming up to the exit. You see it through the windshield.”

*feel pang in my stomach, think of safe place*

Driving a boat at Lake of the Ozarks.

Party Chick

“You are getting closer to the exit, what are you feeling.”

*pang in belly, think of safe place*

Oh hello boozy party cove.

Party Girl

“Are you going to pass the exit or get off?”

*if I get off here now in my thoughts, it will take me to the place where I was raped…think of safe place*

Laughing with family.

Cousins

All day laughing with family.

The Griswolds

Family laughing all day with help from Jell-O shots…

Jell-O

…and whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

“You are going to pass by the exit. What are you thinking?”

*why are there tears starting to roll down my face..stop it…think happy place*

Lake of the Ozark patio karaoke nights.

Mic Fight

With a microphone hog.

Karoake King

 “Are you OK? Do you want to keep going?”

*yes…even though a river of snot is now accompanying the stream of tears down my neck*

“Take a deep breath in. Take a deep breath out. Think of your safe place.”

After boating pool dunks while our moms fixed supper.

Dunk

“You’re now passing the exit. You’re past the exit. Take inventory of your body. Do you feel anxiety anywhere?”

*a small pang remains in my stomach but it doesn’t ache*

“How do you want to feel?”

*more tears, happy place, happy place*

Drunken dancers around a hunk.

Hunk

*I want to stay afloat, I don’t want to cry, where’s the goddamned aqua bar when I need it*

Floater

 “Deep breath in, deep breath out. How do you want to feel – how do you see yourself?”

I see me cooling off with a refreshing beverage.

Beerpoo

“How do you see yourself?”

*I’m strong but I’m crying*

“You are not alone. Emotions don’t equate weakness. Feel them. Sit with them. Think about your happy place.”

Better together.

Muscles

*I feel strong. I feel like a badass. I am a badass*

“Know that this exit, this representation has a beginning, a middle and an end. You’re OK. How do you feel?”

*I feel…better…no dull ache in my body but what do I do when I drive by the exit…fucking christ, how will I feel then…*

“You will go to your secure place. You will use your coping tools. Now open your eyes. How do you feel?”

I feel safe. I feel happy.

Fam

Therapy of any kind is fucking hard. The interstate exit is the smallest of my issues that root in my Rapegate anxiety but, as with anything, sticking to it is a gigantic key to my recovery process. No matter how much I want to quit. No matter how many fucking tears I shed. No matter what. It’s my key to carrying on.

Here’s hoping you have a secure and favorable place to go in your mind, whenever you need.

Be your own badass – with as much help as you need. Thanks to my own version of the Griswolds family, I am…how bad can that be?!

Happy Fourth!

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – Red, White and Booze

Dreary skies didn’t keep the fun out of the Fourth of July holiday weekend in Nashville.  The crew and I were going to have a fabulous time – even if we had to enlist in the party patrol.

Patriotic party patrol.

Patriotic party on patrol.

Not everyone was in the spirit of celebrating. Prince B wasn’t sure what to think of his new headpiece as he paraded around his kitchen in Iowa.

Serious Statue of Liberty.

Serious Statue of Liberty.

While the real life sculpture was sulky, there was zero hesitation on my part whether or not to fete the weekend – no matter how shitty the weather. It was still hot enough for a boat ride accompanied with a bag of wine for classy, cooling off shenanigans.

Wine not?

This can also be used as a pillow if a party goer needs to pass out.

Between the over consumption of vino and the precarious monsoon-like weather, I kept refreshed in the lovely I-don’t-care-why-it’s-brown-because-I’ve-had-too-much-to-drink colored lake.

Cool down in the cool rain.

Cocktails helped keep my composure in the non-crystal clear lake.

Princess B had a much better (smarter, cleaner, safer) way of keeping her body temp in check by slurping on a slice of watermelon.

Keeping cool with water melon.

Star spangled smartie.

Not to be outdone by my niece, I threw on a matching outfit but sipped on something a bit more my speed.

Choosing another route.

Bringing the best out for a holiday.

Dada CBXB double fisted to stars and stripes forever as he downed a very American meal of … chips and salsa.

Double fisting cool down.

Red, white and brew baby.

Meanwhile I was policing my two pussies as they tried to create their own fireworks all weekend by demanding to drink out of the same dish at the same time, acting as if they had their sights set on the last nine ounces of water left on the planet.

Double up cool down

Party patrol on high alert.

Here’s hoping you find your own way to keep the blistery summer heat at bay.

Might I suggest something with booze?

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

 

The Wapatoolie

You know the old saying ,”the family that Wapatoolies together, stays together?”

Oh you’re not familiar? Allow me to explain…

Our first Wapatoolie.

My dad and me sharing our first Wapatoolie. How sweet.

Every summer, my family tends to meet up at the Lake of the Ozarks and act like misfits from the Griswold family.

Heathens at their finest.

Heathens at their finest.

It was at the Ozarks where yet another one of our classy family traditions (which also include Jell-O and moonshine shots) was born.  Allow me to introduce you to…

The Wapatoolie

Yum

Looking just as refreshing as lake water, I know.

According to family legend (which was told by my dad, who is known for streeeeeeeeetching out a story or two), the Wapatoolie was first introduced to him and his twin (yes, there is a replica of my father….a story for another day) while at a college party with the Wisconsin football team.

Blow Hard 1 and Blow Hard 2

Blow Hard 1 and Blow Hard 2 sharing the same farmer’s tan.

As the story goes, a party was unfolding where the two twins above were innocent bystanders.  With zero prodding, my dad boasted that he bravely took a shot of a Wapatoolie (ingredients consist of whatever the hell is in your bar at the time). Hand to Jesus, I swear I could see his chest puffing up with each oooh and ahhh he received from the Band of Griswold Misfits.

The story ended with a quote only a college football legend (again, a story for another day) could utter….”The Badgers started it but it took a Hawkeye to refine it.”

No shit.

Recipe for tastiness.

Definitely not from a college kid’s bar but a recipe for tastiness nonetheless.

Before the last syllable of the tall tale could be sputtered, us cousins were extremely busy at work mixing a Wapatoolie for the bullshitter storyteller.

Mix masters.

Mix Masters.

Down the hatch.

Tequila, bourbon, whiskey, white and spiced rum, margarita mix, vodka and gin topped with a dash of creamy Bailey’s…

Mmmmm

Feels so good when it hits the lips.

The following evening, my cousins (all of whom are male on this side of the family, which probably just explained everything you needed to know) decided if their stud of an uncle could stomach a Wapatoolie, they could too.

The Village of Idiots and their leader.

The Village of Idiots and their leader.

The rest of us gleefully skipped to the bar to concoct the next round of poison potion.

Back to the mixing board.

Back to the mixing board.

Tough Guys...

Tough guys in the beginning…

Not so tough

….not so tough the first round…

or second round...first you don't succeed? Try, try again. Shoot, shoot again.

…or round two the following year…

And just like that, from one year to the next, the timeless, trashy tradition of the Wapatoolie was born.

Now, we extend the pleasure of this shot to anyone who dares to hang with our family…

Just get engaged to one of my male cousins?  A Wapatoolie for you!

First time to party with us at the Lake of the Ozarks?  A Wapatoolie for you!

Want to date my sister?  A Wapatoolie for you!

Think you can hang with us during football season?  A Wapatoolie for you!

Oh and for those of you who don’t drink liquor of any kind, we can mix a non-alcoholic version for you. Don’t worry.

Think you can hang with me and my dad?

So you wanna hang with us? You sure?

C'mon over to my bar and let me mix you a little something...

C’mon over to my bar and let me mix you a little something…

Yum

Your personal rite of passage into CBXB’s clan.

And if you’re too chicken shit, we understand and will be happy to cocktail with you anyway.

Until then...

Equal opportunity drinkers.

Just remember, the family that Wapatoolies together, stays together.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

Being Known as the Fun One…

Being known as the ‘fun one’ just might be the death of me.

Hang on.

All laughs and games until you can’t feel your crotch.

While I was visiting my Miami Mini Me and her fam over the Fourth of July, we took their boat out and about. What I thought was going to be an afternoon full of watching the kids with water toys, instead turned into yours truly being a full participant.

Coaxed by cute faces (and a little begging) and with the gracefulness of an elephant, I hoisted myself up onto the Aquaglide (which does anything but glide) while blind as a bat without my prescription sunglasses.

All smiles at first, not knowing what was to come...

All a blur of smiles from my point-of-view.

I plopped my ample derriere in between MMM and her brother, (my ex-Mini Boyfriend as he used to be in love with me but has grown up *sigh* and is into peeps his own age. How appropriate).

Prep

If I hold my hands up like this, will they act as a spoiler for the float?

As we started at the slowest rate possible, I was thinking this ride wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Hee hee. Faster!

That all you got Driver?

Settling in, thinking this was smooth sailing, I heard my MMM shout “FASTER! FASTER! FASTER!”

Wait, seirously? You want to go faster?

Wait, seriously? You want to go faster? SHUT UP!

Being that my ass is the size of the Grand Canyon, I was able to hunker down, keeping us on the water.

Business.

Me and my mad ass skills.

But then came the water to the face. More specifically, to the eyes not protected by my prescription sunnies.

EYE INFECTION ALERT!

EYE INFECTION ALERT!

As you can see, the beautiful lake water is the color of fluorescent moss and slightly stung when hitting my eyeballs. I couldn’t remove my arms that were strategically placed around each kid, therefore unable to shield my face (more importantly mouth) from the lake liquid.

Doesn't taste well, either.

The water tastes as good as it looks.

After being further blinded by the lake as it crept into my eyes and unable to take deep breaths due my soggy lungs, we started to lean.  Not wanting the Aquaglide to win, I hung on for dear life. That is, until I realized my ex-MB was underneath my rear end and I feared smothering him to death.

Descent into the green lake. DO you think the lochness lives in here?

Look closely for the tiny feet under my not-so-tiny hiney.

Clinging

Bracing myself to do a water cartwheel, while not knocking either kid in the noggin.

Inevitable capsize

Inevitable capsize.

The first thing I did after gulping down even more of the lake like it was a gigantic Skinny Pirate, I looked around for both kids, immediately realizing it didn’t matter because I can’t see a damn thing without my glasses on. Then I thankfully felt MMM grab my shoulder and she assured me that my ex-MB was near the boat being picked up.

Phew.

As I was wondering how I could possibly climb the ladder up to the boat due to the lack of feeling below my waist, MMM oh-so-sweetly asked me to ride with her again.

Oh sure, I'll stay on and do it again.

Oh sure, I’m fun! Let’s do it again. KILL ME NOW.

And away we went….

Fuuuuuuuuuuck.

Fuuuuuuuuuuck.

Thankfully most of the bruising has faded away from my backside. And more thankfully, my folks already have grandkids, as I’m not sure anything will ever be the same below my belly button.

But at least I’m known as the ‘fun one’.

CBXB

CBXB!