“Caution, Things Are Not Always As They Appear”

Ok, bear with me here, you will see where I am going with this eventually. Promise.

I recently had to give all of my grocery shopping receipts to Mr. Attorney Man as a part of my continuing court case with my ex. I hated it because it felt really invasive, but there was no getting around it. As I was stapling them together I was sort of looking through them and I was struck by the fact that everything was not really as it appeared to be.

Often times, large chain brands will have a smaller, organic, and allergen free line, but the register rings it up under the generic category label that has been assigned to the entire brand.

For example I repeatedly noticed that I had purchased “queso dip,” “tortilla chips” and “pizza.” Because of a health issue my kids are on a high protein, gluten free, and mostly dairy free diet and the daycare needs me to pack their meals for them. The “queso dip” that I purchase is actually a bowl of organic/GMO free beans, cilantro, onion, peppers, tomatoes, and vegan cheese. It’s high protein, a good source of vegetables, easily packable for a daycare snack, and straight up good for them. The receipt though, reads as if I had been continuously buying jars of cheese. “Tortilla chips” were on there multiple times, but nowhere on the receipt did it state that these “tortilla chips” are actually a mock version made of organic lentils that have been flattened and oven baked to create a healthy, crunchy, high protein item to accompany the “queso” dip. The organic, frozen, Greek yogurt, protein bars were listed on the receipt as a “frozen ice cream novelty,” and I noticed “pizza” on there a few times which actually made me laugh out loud. If I invited any of you over for a “pizza” and I served you a “pizza” that consisted of a grain free crust, tomatoes, onions, spinach, and no cheese, you might be a bit taken aback by what was in front of you. Nevertheless the receipt says that I bought “pizza” so that must be what you would be expecting to be served, right?

I made my kids “ice cream sundaes”
I made them by smashing an organic banana, mixing it with Greek almond yogurt, and freezing it for an hour. I made the “syrup” topping by drizzling smashed organic blackberries on top. The “gummies” are semi dried organic goji berries and the “sprinkles” are chia seeds. Tons of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants, but yes, I feed my kids “ice cream sundaes,” sometimes even for breakfast! ((gasp!!)) In each one I stuck a high fiber, organic, gluten, dairy, and grain free  carob chip cookie.

My point here is that things are not always what they appear to be on the surface.

As I said in the post “I Talked To My Ex,” the Nutcase Neighbors are finally moving out of their house. It was a long summer, I’ll admit it. It was hard for me to see them, knowing how much they had hurt me, knowing that they hate me because I got raped; something that already carries a shameful feeling. It was hard for me knowing that to them I was nothing more than a disposable person; a person containing no value and unworthy to be in their presence. It was hard knowing that my home was attached to the house of people that hated me. It hurt, I’ll admit it.

As I talked about in the post “Updates” I had promised myself that no matter how uncomfortable I was, no matter how much they wanted me too, I was not going to just go away and crawl back into my house; hiding behind my curtains of shame.

Like I said, this was a hard summer. There were some tearful nights spent in my house alone, nights where I just couldn’t bear to be around them, nights when they would sit outside on our shared driveway, infiltrating what I consider to be my safe haven.

There were lots of times when I would see them unloading new bikes, ATV’s, and outdoor toys from the back of their truck; all things purchased with money that they owed me; money that I had worked hard for and was now being frivolously spent on unnecessary things while my kids went without some very basic necessities.

There were many days that I had to force myself to even walk past them to get my mail.

It was a hard summer.

It was a hard summer but things were not always what they appeared to be on the surface.

On the surface I was feeling hurt, I was feeling shunned, and I was feeling shamed.

Inside though, I grew stronger. I am stronger now. I faced the giants that were them and even though I may not have won them over, I did not fall apart. I did not back down and I did not run away. I did not give up on what I expected of myself and I stood firm on my beliefs.

I grew this summer. Through the tears, through the pain, through the public shaming, I grew.

This is not a battle that was lost. They never came around to seeing my point of view and I never got from them what I would have wanted; compassion and acceptance, but I got something better.

I learned that someones opinion of me does not determine reality. I learned that I can prevail in an uncomfortable situation.

The lessons that were reinforced this summer will take me a lot further in life than anything they did to try and destroy me.

I talk a lot on this blog about how the only person that can label you is you, which is so true, but I get a lot of emails from people asking how they get past knowing that someone has the wrong opinion of them.

To be quite bold in my answer, you have to be willing to accept the fact that you can’t change the opinion of someone else. Yes, it hurts, believe me I know, but just because it hurts does not mean that you have to fix it. Sometimes you simply just can’t. Sometimes you have to be able to accept the fact that it hurts and there is nothing that you can do about it because the only person that you can control, is you. No matter how much you want everyone to see what is really going on, to see and understand your point of view, sometimes that is just simply not possible. In those cases you have to learn to be ok with that for the greater good of the rest of your life.

Accepting that someone wronged you does not mean accepting their behavior; it just means that you accept that you need to move on so as to not dwell in a place that is harmful to your future growth.

The Nutcase Neighbors are never going to admit their wrong doings, they are never going to pay the money that they owe me, and they are never going to be able to undo the damage that they caused in my life.

Could I spend my time trying to make right the injustices against me? Of course I could, but really at this point they would be moving forward with their lives and I would be at a total standstill.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should let your rapist walk free and drop the charges on the man who beat you, I’m simply saying that in situations like mine with the Nutcase Neighbors, when you have reached a point where you have exhausted any reasonable means of justice or reconciliation and you know that that opinion and or actions of the other person are not going to change, then in those cases it is in your benefit to move on.

Don’t continue to give power to someone who has wronged you by allowing their actions to continue to control you.

The only way that you can gain that power back is to stop allowing their actions and opinions to control how you are feeling and determining the way that you live.

I accept that the situation with the Nutcase Neighbors was not one that I would have desired, but just as I refuse to allow the them to control my future, I also refuse to allow them to control my past.

Nothing in life is wasted unless it is a missed opportunity for growth. There is room for learning and growth in every situation if you are willing to be open to the possibilities of it. Pain and sorrow only feel unnecessary when you close your eyes to the possibilities of the awareness that they bring.

Think about it; how often do you spend time truly dwelling on yourself and your inner most feelings other than the moments when you feel the most alone and utterly lost?

These, these, my friends are moments that are gifted to us when life tells us to stop and be still. Take a minute to look inside of yourself; to reevaluate the effects of the situation.

These painful moments are when we learn the most about ourselves, when we truly learn what we are made of.

Is it easy to scream and yell when you are angry? Yes. Would it be easier for me to stand on the Nutcase Neighbors front porch and scream to them everything that I wanted them to know? Of course. Would it be easier for me to spread their business to anyone who would listen? Absolutely, but then what? Then I would be no better than they are. They are moving on and I refuse to stay in the angry place alone.

Sometimes strength comes quietly. Sometimes strength comes from the little voice in the back of your head telling you to do the right thing. The biggest test of strength comes you are able to stand strong alone and prevail in your pain.

It takes a stronger person to be able to set down their pain in an effort to achieve a greater outcome, than to hold onto it and walk through life bearing an angry, bitter, shield of armor.

Above all else it takes the most strength to be able to pull the lessons from the pain; to look below the surface view and find the hidden blessings

The Nutcase Neighbors bent my stem and blew away my petals, no doubt. The storm that was them trampled on some very delicate parts of me and for a while it appeared that all my best parts had been blown away; my vibrant colors gone in the wind.

Yet everything was not as it appeared. New life was emerging from under the flowers that they destroyed in their storm. What grew out of everything they blew away on my surface now has deeper and stronger roots. I am more anchored and able to withstand the storms and wind that are sure to come again in the future because they have taught me that I can be strong.

I stood firm in a painful place, my house physically attached to people that I couldn’t run away from, and I did not fall apart.

I’m blooming now and I’m coming from a stronger base then I had before.

You can’t always replant what was taken from you, but you don’t have to blow away with the petals that were ripped from their stems.

In life you will meet people who hurt you, who wrong you, who don’t believe you, and there won’t be a damn thing that you can do about it except to control the way in which you react.

Take these situations, these painful, hurtful, horrible situations, and look below the surface. Look past the obvious and see all the benefits that are hiding just below the obvious view.

You may have been mowed over, but I bet there is a part of you that is left behind. It seems so obvious that if you spend more time tending to what was left behind than chasing the petals gone in the wind that you will be better off for it, yet it took me 31 years to realize that.

On the surface this summer really hurt, but when I looked just below the facade of a surface I discovered the amazing things that had been going on beneath my pain.

All of you, my beautifully injured people, are much more than what blew away. You are more than what was taken from you, you are more than what someone has plucked from your life. You are more than what people see on the surface. You are stronger than you think, because you are still here.

In the post “The Post Where I Show You My Ex” I talked about how you don’t need to start with the whole tree, you just need to start with the seed.

Only the strongest seeds are able to break through to the surface and feel the sun, but do you know where the seeds need to be in order to grow?

They need to start below the surface, below the dirt. They need the rain to pour down on them and only when they have been thoroughly buried, covered in dirt, and rained on do they finally reach the surface where they can bloom.

 Be those seeds!

Beauty blooms from the cracks of life

Spend a little time tending to what was left behind and allow yourself the chance to really bloom.

The Nutcase Neighbors took a lot from me when they stopped talking to me after the rape. For a while it felt like my parents had stolen my past, my ex had stolen my future, my rapist had stolen my body, and my friends had crushed my heart. It was really hard to feel like I had anything left to stem from but when I finally stopped focusing on what was gone and started tending to what was left behind, amazing things happened.

Letting go and moving on does not mean that you have given up; it just means that you have come to realize that it is in your best interest to focus your efforts elsewhere. 

I looked past the obvious and under the surface.

I let them go and I found myself.

When I stopped focusing on what they had taken from me, I was able to finally able to make something beautiful out of what they had left behind.

This was an awesome summer.

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  • Anonymous
    August 25, 2014 at 5:04 am

    That was beautiful Eden. You're right, difficult experiences really are just opportunities for personal growth, if we take advantage of them. Also, I am sorry for all the difficulties you have gone through and are going through. (hugs)

    • NotMyShametoBear
      August 25, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you 🙂 Yea, it’s been a rough go of things lately, but I’m continuing to see the good come out of them, so yay for that!!

      I hope you have a FANTASTIC evening!


  • Katy Anders
    August 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    This is a fantastic quote from this post. It'as my takeaway: “[J]ust because it hurts does not mean that you have to fix it. Sometimes you simply just can't. Sometimes you have to be able to accept the fact that it hurts and there is nothing that you can do about it because the only person that you can control, is you. No matter how much you want everyone to see what is really going on, to see and understand your point of view, sometimes that is just simply not possible. In those cases you have to learn to be ok with that for the greater good of the rest of your life.”

    • NotMyShametoBear
      August 25, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Thank you 🙂

      Everyone deserves to be able to give themselves permission to move on, we have our whole lives ahead of us!


  • Mzfuzz
    August 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Awesome post, Eden. I so treasure your perspective on life. Love you to pieces, girl! *HUGS*

    • NotMyShametoBear
      August 25, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Aw thanks hun!!


  • Anonymous
    August 25, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    I learned this same lesson through my divorce when my ex husband got all his friends and family to believe that I was severely mentally ill, perverted, a pathological liar, dangerous to myself and my daughter, unable to hold down a job, lazy, etc, etc… and I had to come to a point where I made the choice that the opinions of all of those people meant nothing to me because I did not respect any of them. If any of them had actually been intelligent people of honor who were able to discern someone's character, I may have respected them and their opinion might have mattered, but that was not the case. Anyway, all the truth eventually came to light anyway and in the end guess who ended up homeless, with an untreated severe mental illness, a sexual addiction, jobless and with very limited and extremely supervised access to my daughter? Yeah… not me. I think the simplest way to sum up circustances like this is “consider the source”.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      August 25, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      Getting divorced can be just like highschool ya know? All the social cliches and taking sides, ugh.

      Karma is a bitch!! I’m glad that the truth came to light for you, I bet that had to feel pretty victorious!!

  • Anonymous
    August 25, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Eden I love your insights. For only being 30 years old, you are wise beyond your years! I don't think most people ever get to the level of awarness that you are at at such a young age. You are going to be one smart senior citizen after 50 more years of the way you think!In all seriousness though, you continue to astound me with your perceptions of not only yourself, but the way in which the world works and how to always strive to be the best form of yourself that you can be.Keep on being amazing Eden, the world needs more perspectives like yours

    • NotMyShametoBear
      August 25, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      Haha! Well thanks (takes bow and blushes)

      My head will most likely explode at some point from over thinking my life, so it would be a miracle if I even made it to senior citizenhood!!

  • Evelyn
    September 6, 2014 at 1:31 am

    I know this is a bit off topic but I was wondering how you can afford to buy all these gluten free dairy free specialty foods.

    • NotMyShametoBear
      August 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      I can’t, which is why I was giving Mr. Attorney Man my grocery receipts. The diet is a medical necessity for my kids and my ex is supposed to be helping with the costs for that.

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