Connecting the Dots…


“Is it getting better, or do you feel the same?”

U2, One

Ever run into a somewhat complete stranger who gives you a jolt of nostalgia? I recently had a run in with someone who recognized me from my past career at Michigan State University. The person lives locally and while I was working at my current job, looked at me and said, ” wow, you have such a familiar face!” (Insert eye rolls I swear I have an evil doppelganger running around…I get this one a lot. Also, as a person in my recovery I don’t ALWAYS WANT to be recognized for my past moments ….) “Did you used to work for MSU?” was the follow up.

Gulp.

Sure did.

Serenity….

If I am being forthcoming and transparent, I have been struggling a bit lately. I sometimes wonder a lot of things. I have lived in Northern Michigan and now have called it home for about a year now. What’s my actual place here? (I think.) It has been a whole year, do I have the roots down I had anticipated? (Hmmmm…) Life I had dreamed of when I relocated up here? My mind things horrificially insecure thoughts sometimes. Do I belong here? REALLY belong? Would I be missed if I left? Who am I today versus a year ago? I hate the insecure thoughts.

The thing of it is I moved to a new area during a pandemic, started new employment, a new relationship, new lots of things, but did I really feed my soul with connections I crave and needed? NEED? I tune into my former church from downstate and sometimes cry thinking about attending with my gals from Wings of God. Those times were so precious and fleeting to me. Why didn’t I honor them more. We never really seem to know when the “good ‘ole days” are right in front of us and instead always yearn for more.

I am so guilty of this.

I have also forgotten about all of the positive parts of my past so many times. I think what I tell myself is that I’m a terrible person for becoming an alcoholic. I don’t deserve nice things of a fragment of what I used to have. This blocks out any joy from reflecting back. All it really feeds me is bitter tasting medicine and sadness.

I forget I have knowledge, happy memories and more. I forget the happy memories such as spreading joy on the RHS Celebration Team, gaining confidence and friendships with Toastmasters, happy tears as I watched my students graduate, the LITERAL blood, sweat and tears I put into my eight years at the State Room.

I forgot and forget I matter. My connections matter to where I have been and where I am going to go. Brene Brown talks about all the dots in our life connect us to where we need to be. This resonates with me. Dr. Brown nails it. Sometimes we don’t love the dot we are on nor possibly see the link from the past.

If I am being totally forthcoming and honest; the sting and aftertaste of my former life can surprise me at times. Its a palette I had perfected that now lingers in my throat acidic and raw.

It hurts.

Feeling disconnected and isolacted can hurt. Craving things you used to come by so naturally hurts. Things like : female church fellowship, coffee dates with friends, community, committee work and more. Some of it is COID-19 to blame, some of it is my own undoing.
We are WIRED for connection for fucks sake (yes I swear.) So why feel guilty for craving it???

Surely I cannot be alone here.

Does anyone else ever glance back and smile/cringe at the same time?

Author: toughasteal

Kate Weber is a woman who dreamed up the concept "tough as teal" while recovering from her own sexual assault in Fall 2015. Teal is the color of Sexual Assault Awareness and Ovarian Cancer (both have effected her in her personal life.)Tough as Teal is a mindset of being strong and a streak she proudly wears in her hair. Her goal is to use her voice, blog, and personal teal streak to broaden awareness of sexual violence. She believes, "you have to make people comfortable with the uncomfortable." Kate is a graduate of Michigan State University and has spent the majority of her career working within Higher Education. These areas included the following: off campus and on campus housing, overseeing academic dishonestly, coordinating academic integrity grievances, hearing, and appeals for all colleges at Michigan State University, working with STAR scholarship students, mass training for University employees, managing her own staff of 50-100 students within the Residence Halls, administrative work with the Vice President and Provost's office, devising training curriculum, serving on the Brody Neighborhood Core Team (Engagement Center liason), retention planning, safety and security work and more. Kate's first hand work with student employees, coupled with her own experience as a traditional and non-traditional student put her primary passion to be involved with college students. Statistics show alarming rates of sexual violence on college campuses and Kate passionately continues to advocate to end this statistic. Besides building her own personal toughasteal brand, Kate enjoys public speaking. She has received a national award from Toastmasters International and is putting her talent to work with the Mid-Michigan Survivor's Speaker's Bureau. She has affiliations in Pennsylvania with "Voices of Hope", national organization "Still Standing", and is a guest blogger/podcast participant for Open Thought Vortex (committed to giving a voice to victims.) Kate is also in recovery for alcoholism. She believes being honest about her own struggles and healing can help other women come forward with their own stories. Healing is not linear and there is power in speaking with one another. Recovery is a daily process to take one day at a time! Kate is looking forward to expanding her philanthropic passions to her educational pursuits in the upcoming years. She is available for speaking engagements or you are welcome to connect with her on Twitter @katers513 or toughasteal@yahoo.com Her personal interests are running, enjoying the Great Lakes of Michigan, reading, learning, a few Netflix shows, watching her beloved Spartans in all sports, and newfound motorcycle adventures with her boyfriend!

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