I lived for years making life choices, big and small, based primarily on what other people would think of me rather than what I wanted to do. I decided that I’d pull a 180 and do something different in several areas . . . Here’s one of my favorites.
My 10-year-old daughter has wanted to be a red-head for as long as I can remember. She started asking before she was 5 years old. She continued to ask a couple of times each year. Last year she came to me a few weeks before her birthday and said, ‘I know I can’t ask for anything that would take up too much space in the RV, so I was hoping for my 10th birthday you and Daddy would let me have red hair.’ So I told her I would talk it over with her Dad. She reminds me again a few weeks before her birthday. It’s really important to her.
A few days later while in the waiting room at my doctors I picked up a magazine and started reading this interview with Christina Hendricks (that gorgeous gal on Mad Men known for her beautiful red locks.)
When asked about her hair she said it was not her natural color and went into a story about reading “Anne of Green Gables” and wanting to be a red-head since she was 10 years old. Becoming a red-head changed her: she was happy. I couldn’t believe I had just read that story because that was exactly what I needed to hear. I knew we were suppose to let our daughter do this and I am happy to say she has blossomed as a red-head, and come out of her shell so much. She is just happier in all her red-headed glory. I cared more for her than what other people thought of me letter her get her hair colored.
Actually, she came to us and said, “For my birthday, can I get my hair colored and start saying ‘flipping’?” She reminded us that when she had used the expletive ‘flipping’ a year earlier, we told her that she couldn’t use that word because it sounded like THE word. She wanted us to reconsider it, because when she said, “flipping’, she thought of people doing flips, and it made her happy. I actually thought it wasn’t a huge deal, but again I was worried about what other people would think of ME for letting her use a word that sounded like THAT word.
I’m happy to report that clarity of purpose came just in time. We had the courage to prioritize our daughter ahead of what we thought other people might think of us. And our Red Headed daughter had a FLIPPING awesome 10th birthday.
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In August of 2010 my life took such a turn that I never saw coming…..and it would change me forever. Seriously! You are going to love this story!
It was a Monday morning. We were just trying to shake the weekend off that no one wanted to end, and head back to the daily grind. Anyway we were running late and it was total insanity; everyone running around trying to find everything we needed to get out the door. I drove the kids to school in what I slept in, dropped them off, went home, and started cleaning. I threw a frozen hunk of something in the slow cooker and started the first of 5 loads of laundry I had facing me. Then I ran through to clean and vacuum every room in the house; I had to pick up from the night before; there had been about 22 people at our house until pretty late.
Just before I make my way to start scrubbing the bathrooms, I get that feeling I am forgetting something and maybe should be somewhere else. Sure enough, I am not dressed and in desperate need of a shower after my power workout cleaning my house like a freak. I think hard and it comes to me; I am scheduled to meet some one in about 43 minutes! I go through my head how long will it take me to get there….What is Silicon Valley traffic like at this time of day? I have to take Tully Road, and I HATE Tully Rd. It’s a nightmare to drive and always slow. If I am going to make it in time to meet this person, I have about 18 minutes to get out the door. This realization is doubly daunting because I’m convinced that adult ADD has kicked in; I’m imagining all the distractions and shiny things that haven’t distracted me yet, but could in the next 18 minutes. I’m distracted by the possibility of being distracted. Then, I looked in the mirror and everything comes to a screeching halt as I realized that in addition to finding an outfit, my hair looked stringy and greasy. I knew it was so bad that not even a ponytail would solve the problem. My hair was a mess and I was pushing it by not washing it the day before, but time got away preparing to host everyone the day before and I just didn’t want to face anyone looking like this.
I started to think of things I could do and say to this person to cancel, or at least buy some time, without lying to them. Now you see all this plotting and thinking is taking up precious time I need to prepare to leave and do the right thing, but instead it’s like I’m stuck listening to an argument going on between the angel sitting on one shoulder, and the devil sitting on my other; like in the cartoons when we were kids . . . remember that? Anyway, I’m leaning toward agreeing with the devil’s arguments. “People will think you are a slob if you go out looking like this.” Consumed with all the thoughts of what everyone might think if I leave my house with my hair looking like this. Just as that devil voice has made a really convincing argument, I have decided there is no way I can go like this. Then the Angel on my other shoulder whispers softly, ‘You’re going to let something so silly as hair get in the way of loving and encouraging someone when they need it most? Your hair is going to get in the way of that?’
As I stood looking in the mirror, it seemed so simple. Why had I not thought of this earlier? How many days had I been in this position with my self-confidence for the day being measured by how well my hair looked? For years I had coveted and dreamed that I would have long blonde hair and finally… I did. See I thought that hair was a super power; when it looked good, I felt good and could talk, smile and encourage people like I was on a mission. On days that I would consider it “a bad hair day” I barely made eye contact with people, much less talk to them.
I just stood there starting to buy in to the lies, and something rose up in me. I was pissed because I almost fell for it again. I said out loud, ‘I will shave my head bald before I ever let a bad hair day have any power over me again!’ I stepped out of the shackles and walked out the door. I went to meet up with this gal; even though I ran late by a few minutes, she got stuck in traffic as well and showed up 5 minutes later. Thank you…. Good Old Tully Rd.
She was brokenhearted over some big stuff in her life. I realized that if I had cancelled on her, it would have been an awful thing to do. I was also reminded that when I go out of my way, it is never for nothing. Our lunch was amazing; she was in a way better place leaving that coffee shop than when she arrived. To be honest, I was in a completely different place as well. I could hear the music from Rocky playing in my head as I walked out to my car I could feel the victory and it was so sweet. I loved that I got to speak the words that brought encouragement and hope that helped her battle her own little red guy on her shoulder. She just needed to be reminded how amazing she was and those eyes became a little brighter with each word. It occurred to me that my hair had no super powers, but my words did.
On the drive home, with the Rocky theme still beating in my ears, I remembered my declaration about shaving my head. The first salon thought I was having a “Britney moment”, and refused to trim it shorter than my shoulders. That wasn’t good enough. I went to a second salon, and they would only go to a ‘short bob’ length. Still not enough. I wanted it shaved. The third salon took it to a ‘short pixie’ style, when it hit me; I have a set of dog clippers. When I arrived home, I asked my husband to shave my head. My husband, preparing to shave it off, suggested I keep some on top in the middle and do a Mohawk-like style for a few days just for fun. So I shed my long blonde tresses which I had coveted for years. I was so excited, but a little scared. I never realized how much my identity was wrapped up in hair.
One of the hardest things I’ve had to do was walk out my front door for the first time; I had no idea if I could even pull this new look off. That red guy on my should was in over-drive. “You look ridiculous. People are going to make fun of you.” The Angel on my other shoulder reminded me that my haircut was a giant “F___ You” to the red guy, and that he was just pissed off and a sore loser over my new-found freedom. I decided that for that reason alone it was all worth it. ‘wear it high and wear it proud’ as my husband says.
My kids call it my MomHawk. I worked for hours on my hair when it was half way down my back, and no one complimented it or stopped me to tell me how much they liked it. Now they do all the time. It has been almost four years and I have not blow dried, curled, flat ironed, combed or brushed my hair since that day. It feels like freedom and bed head is my friend now.
I have tons of stories of what has happened since and I have more self-confidence then ever before.
Getting rid of that long hair was such a small thing, which didn’t feel that way until I stood up to the lie that was stealing from me and others around me. I pulled a 180 on that voice by going that day. I pulled a 180 on that voice by cutting my hair. I started to look out for other lies I’ve bought into, and that has changed my life. My hair was just the beginning.
You are so much more than that voice ever tells you.
Here is my experience and how I now understand it.
30 years ago, after years of being bombarded with thoughts from childhood; of disappointment, of shame, of loneliness, and eventually a hopelessness. I was so lied to by my own thoughts I found myself without hope. My past didn’t indicate what my future could, or would be, and I only believed the lies that it would never get any better and the only way to stop the pain would be to take my own life. I was 17…
Fast-forward 30 years, I was given the opportunity to gain an entirely new perspective.
While visiting my Gram, I got to meet her new neighbor. As we sat on her front porch it didn’t take long for her to start a conversation with, ‘I don’t know why I feel like I can tell you this but I haven’t told anyone and I need help.’ I had no idea how this conversation was going to go.
She said, ‘I know this sounds crazy but have you ever heard or had a thought in your head that scared you? Or that came from somewhere that you had no idea the source? Have you ever had your own thoughts in your head… just startle you?’
I knew exactly what she was talking about. She began to share with me that she didn’t even know if she believed in this kind of stuff but there were some spooky things going on in their new house. She explained that she had an overwhelming depression that she had never felt before and all of a sudden out of the blue a voice that was telling her “You should just hang yourself”…. She said, ‘Stacey, I never had that thought before a couple of months ago, and it scares me.’
She began to explain the concerns that she had around even her husband; his behavior was becoming odd and even to the point of hostile. She said there were times when she would look in his eyes and she didn’t even know if she was looking at her husband, because what was looking back at her she didn’t recognize and that scared her.
Her mother got sick with Cancer and was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s a year earlier. She and her husband sold their farm and bought this house. It had bedrooms on the first floor and was closer to town and the doctors that they would need to get her mother to on a regular basis. The first few months seemed normal as they were busy getting settled, and then her Mom moved in.
It wasn’t long before her mom started telling her about a young boy that visited her at night. My friend asked her mom clarifying questions thinking maybe she was confused, and thought she was talking about her Grandson’s that had visited the day before…maybe the Alzheimer’s was worse than they thought, she would tell herself and brush it off.
Her mother insisted that this is a young boy she had never seen before and he would sit all night by her bedside, sweetly stroking her hand holding it and just talking to her all night. She came each morning to the kitchen table looking worse off than the day before. Her body started deteriorating from the lack of sleep. She started sleeping during the day because she claimed this boy would visit her every night all night. Her mother claimed she wasn’t crazy and she felt like no one believed her. She said this boy was so sad that she was afraid to ask him to leave because she didn’t want to break his heart anymore than it was already broken.
One morning my friend was outside and one of the neighbors came out to meet and talk to her. They had been in the house now about six months and the woman apologized that they hadn’t gotten over sooner to welcome them to the neighborhood. The woman started asking questions about the house which concerned my friend. The woman asked, ‘So how’s the house? Anything going on in there?’ Not connecting it to the boy and her mom she automatically assumed it was the plumbing, the roof, or the electrical that there was something that this woman knew about the house, that they should be aware of. ‘No everything’s fine. Is there something we should know about?’ The woman became uncomfortable and tried to dismiss it and change the subject. My friend pushed and said, ‘No; what would be wrong with this house? Why do you ask?’
The woman, obviously uncomfortable, said to my friend, ‘Did the realtor tell you what happened in this house?’
After my friend pushed the woman to elaborate, she began to tell her a story that 30 years ago a young boy about 16 years of age shot himself and died in their house.
She immediately felt sick, but just smiled and said no, and that everything was fine.
When the neighbor left, my friend went back in the house to talk to her mom. She had assumed the way her mom talked about a young boy she had an image of a child, not a teenager.
‘Hey mom… You know that young boy who visits you every night? How old is he?’ ‘I don’t know; about 15 or 16…she replied. Then the conversation would always go back to how sad this kid was and and how her mom just worried for him.
My friend had no idea how to process all of this…It was crazy to her. Was she really open to the idea of a ghost in her own house?
The visits continued every night until her mother passed away.
My friend said months went by with no talk of the boy who visited her Mom. Things seemed peaceful. They were settling into their new normal without Cancer, Alzheimer’s, caregiving, and doctor’s appointments. Things seemed like they were getting better.
Then the voices started….’You should just hang yourself.’
After we finished talking on her porch, I ran back over to my Gram’s to help make dinner. We were standing in the kitchen and I was telling her about how much I enjoyed talking to her neighbor and what a sweet lady she was. I asked my Gram, ‘did you know the people who lived there before?’ She began to tell me about how sad it was that the family had lost their son, who had committed suicide in the house as a teenager many years ago.
‘I know. Your neighbor was just telling me the whole story. How she found out from one of the other neighbors that there was a suicide in the house and that this young kid had shot himself almost 30 years ago.’ My Gram said, ‘No.. No… No… he didn’t shoot himself, he hung himself upstairs in the loft.’ ‘Are you sure he hung himself, Gram?’ I asked. ‘He didn’t shoot himself?’ ‘No. They got the story wrong. It was heart breaking the way those parents found their son hanging.’. . . . freaking hookah!…did I really hear that right? ‘I will be right back!!!!’ And ran to the neighbor. Omg!! She almost fell over….’Stacey, I have been hearing “I should hang myself” for months and now I am really scared…. What is in my house?’
She didn’t know why, but felt compelled to ask me if I could help get rid of whatever this was that was literately trying to kill her. She didn’t know it, but I did know a little bit about this stuff and about prayer and how it works. She also didn’t know that this was the third time in six weeks that I had been asked about this kind of stuff just out of the blue, or so I thought. In fact, I had an awkward conversation with the dog groomer three days earlier on this kind of stuff and didn’t understand why people were coming out of the woodwork and asking. It always started with…’ I don’t know why, but I feel like I can talk to you about this…’ Even to me this just seemed odd.
So my son and I walked through the house, storming from room to room. You could feel an almost sinister presence in the house along with an extreme heaviness that I felt I might be way out of my league, but what was I going to do? Nothing? Commanding this thing to go. Sending it away packing. We went through this huge house with five bedrooms and three stories and when we approached the last room, I just stopped. I stop shouting. I stop yelling. I stop taking authority. I stop commanding. I just felt like I heard God say, ‘This is different. Be still, and listen.’ I stood at the threshold of the doorway almost frozen. You could feel the atmosphere completely change and there was just such a sadness, and felt like God was saying to me, ‘This is different because what is in this room is a victim of what is out there. The lies that he believed in life he still believes in death.’ That day I fell in love with God all over again as He messed with my religion. He asked me to go in that room and love all over that kid and tell him the truth of how God adored him, and the only thing that separated him from God were the lies that he still believes.
It became apparent that whatever was attacking my friend with suggestions of hanging herself was the same thing that had attacked that kid so long ago.
I entered the room. I sat down on the bed and I talked directly to him. I started to point out the lies that he believed and that he didn’t belong here. I also got a feel for what the house must’ve been like 30 years ago after the suicide and his Catholic parents’ inconsolable because they had been taught that their son was doomed to an eternity in Hell for what he had done. He was stuck in the lie that THEY believed, too. How can God’s grace be sufficient, except for when you are at your lowest and most deceived? That’s nuts!
I got this image of this kid. 16 years old. He took his own life and here he is stuck, tremendously sad and trapped, just as he was when he took his life. It struck me things didn’t get better and his pain didn’t go away. He was tormented and all alone… and for a short time had the comfort and company of an 80 year old woman. He was in his own personal hell. He was stuck still believing the lies that killed him.
At some point it hit me, and it hit me hard. This boy, who I affectionately named Sam, was my age. You see, 30 years ago when he was 16 and killed himself I was 17 and had tried. Sam and I were supposed to have the same future according to the lies that we heard. Only I made it through while he did not. I was never supposed to be here making this video or writing a blog, I was supposed to be dead and haunting a cute bungalow in Winter Park, Florida.
So let’s talk about this, Sweets. If you give up and give in, then they’ve won.
Let’s figure out the truth and get set free. We can stand up to the bully.
You really want to fuck with the Demons that are trying to kill you?
Decide to live! Finding our truth is powerful and exposing their lies leaves them powerless.
You got this Sweets!!
A while ago, my daughter taught me a great lesson here. She had a word that actually caused her a lot of distress when she heard it used, and instilled fear in her. After talking it through, my kids decided to take away the power of the word by replacing it with a word that didn’t have the same ‘baggage’. That day, ‘Demon’ was replaced by the word ‘Potato’. This took away the power the thing was deriving from it’s name and all that name implied. By changing the name we used to refer to a thing, we changed how powerful that thing was. Who is afraid of a potato? Today, we can talk about Demons, because they have lost their ‘power’. In fact, she laughs at that word.
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What happens when our own thoughts are trying to kill us?
They sabotage us, and serve only one purpose. . . steal, kill and destroy.
They are the biggest bully we can face. It’s time we stood up to them.
Remember that scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie wails on the bully that has been picking on all the kids in the neighborhood? Let’s figure out how to take the neighborhood back, together.
Follow my blog at http://demonsdevilsflyingghostmonkeys.com
Here’s some of what you should expect when we get together to talk about Demons Devils and Flying Ghost Monkeys through this blog, page, and channel. I was raised impacted by my parents’ demons, and the lies they heard over their shoulder every day. But I was also raised in close proximity to the Happiest Place on Earth in Orlando Florida. Some of that HAD to rub off on me, right? Don’t worry; the Pixie Dust I haul around doesn’t weigh me down.
Join me in this conversation about the Demons that lie to us and try to hold us hostage. Talking about them helps set people free.