Chopping the Onion

Chopping the Onion

by Dusana Michaels


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781452584850
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 11/13/2013
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.76(d)

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Chopping the Onion


Balboa Press

Copyright © 2013 Dusana Michaels
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4525-8485-0




I'm older now, 16 or 17. Though I know it's not what woke me up, I become aware of my father leaving my bedroom. He runs into my oldest brother. As I hear them exchange greetings I have the thought, that hasn't happened in a long time. What that entailed I was uncertain but I remember thinking, that's an odd thought ...


I've decided that I've got to start living my own life. No one else can make life easier for me than me ...


Once again I've decided to get my life in order. I must learn a self-love and realize I'm only human. A lot of people don't understand it but I feel a need to finally come to terms with myself. Maybe deep down it really is a copout, but I don't think so. I need to realize the inner strength other people see in me. I've made a lot of choices in my life that I must now learn from. I am self-sufficient. My true colors must come out. The next year is my time to grow from within. This self-search does feel right for me and whatever anyone else says about it doesn't make it wrong. By getting to know myself, I can help mankind. I must love myself in order to love others. Maybe my little help can open the eyes of my friends and spread the word of love.

I've had a lot of other people get to know and love me. Now I must get to know and love me. It's not my place to judge others nor should I worry about their judgments of me. It's what I feel that matters. I can't please everyone so I'd better learn to please myself. What I'm doing is not wrong just because other people follow tradition. In learning about myself, I'll learn what to do. How to affect the world. I must start from myself and grow in order to grow outwards. Maybe my sole reason for this life is self-knowledge so I can guide others to the same self-knowledge.


I need to change and I'm hoping by writing it down it'll become easier. I didn't realize it but I do have low self-worth. I love myself but don't think I'm worthy of people's respect. I have a hard time standing up for myself and getting what I need. I really need to change and I know it'll be slow so I have to be patient. I have a hard time getting what I need out of my friends and family. I have to figure out why I'm afraid to hurt people's feelings. I think I'm afraid of them abandoning me. But that's a risk I have to take in order for the relationship to grow. I do deserve to get what I need out of relationships.

I keep on feeling I need to do things for my family. I think I do it to get the family together and close. I also do it to be important and the center of attention. But I can't make the entire family better, just myself. I can't stop the alcoholism. No matter how good I am, I can't make anyone stop drinking. I can't fix the family's dysfunction. I can only stop my own.


My family is really fucked up. Steven is crazy. The alcoholism is making him insane. I don't think he's in touch with reality at all. Steven and Charlie are so obnoxious. Steven's got to mellow out. I can't do anything about their craziness.

I'm feeling sad about my whole family. And I can't help them. I need to stay away from them. I can handle them one-on-one but forget all of them together. Is it me? Is it them? It's too much for me to handle when they're all together. It's them. I'm learning to take care of me.

I am not the caretaker of the family. My family isn't right and I don't know if they ever will be. But this doesn't mean I have to put up with it.

I think I've got to break away from them. I can't be around them. It hurts too much. Or I can be around them in small doses. Just because they can't change doesn't mean I have to accept it or figure they are all I have so I'd better put up with it.

First, let's think of what I wish we were like:

• I'd like us all to relate and talk to one another differently

• I wish we were all on the same level of communication

• I don't think that any of us really appreciate each other. Is it a TV fantasy I want?

• I wish it would be more relaxing when we're together

• I wish we could talk to one another

We talk but does anyone listen? The one thing we do talk about is the family business. There is no way any monetary value is worth the price paid by all the family. No amount of money can make up for the trouble that damn company has cost. It makes me sick.

I need some sanity in my life. Help me be a better person. I haven't been patient lately. I can only save me, no one else. I'm the sane one. I'm the one who can get me out of it. I LOVE ME!

2011 about the fall of 1990

I was standing behind the bar on a quiet autumn afternoon. It wasn't time for the after work crowd to commence and the lunch crowd had long gone. The bar was stocked and the glasses washed. As I gazed out over the lake I once again thought, is this all there is? It seemed to be the focus of my life, to be unsatisfied with work and friends and family. I had the odd feeling that I was missing something. There was something hidden below the surface. On some level, I was aware of two things: it involved sex and it involved my father. It would take another six months for the memories to start coming forth from my body.

I could feel the long-forgotten rumblings of terror pushing their way slowly to the surface. I had been putting on a smiling face for so long at this point that I had no way of knowing my happy childhood would soon crumble like a building being demolished by dynamite. What once stood strong and tall would be wiped out with the slightest push of a button.

I can laugh now at my cluelessness as decades cushion the event. The horrors of incest were not something that entered my mind. I couldn't fathom having an experience where I could feel the paws of madness grabbing me. The mental attention I needed to stay present and not descend into the webs of insanity-provoking confusion threatening to entangle me as things were done to my body that were incomprehensible to a ten year old. What was it that could possess my beloved father to hurt me so? What was he doing? What is that? What did I do and how do I get him to stop? The stifled screams burn in my chest and throat to this very day. My defenses eventually took over as I learned to leave the moment and repress what I could not understand.

My body feels thin like a piece of paper as I lay flat on the ground looking up. I hope for a slight breeze to come along and take me where it wants to go. Anywhere but here. Get me away from this situation. How many times will this plea be thought throughout my life? Flattened by the enormity of it all and unable to gather the wherewithal to change it. Hoping someone would find the piece of paper and pick it up to fold it away in a pocket. Tucking it away where no one can find and hurt it again.


I'm mad at Dad and I need to figure out why and put it past me. I don't like the way he treats my mom, yet she allows herself to be treated that way. He's such a selfish bastard who doesn't have anything to give. It's always him, him, him. I guess it just hurts because he can't give of himself. Does Dad know what to do in a crisis? Dad cannot give of himself. Mom deserves better. What I have to do is not expect anything from him. Poor Mom, she has needs too. It's only his life that is important. Dad is like a spoiled child who expects everyone around him to bow down to him. I don't want or need that in a man. My life will be equally important. I will not bow down to him for I am a human being and my life is just as important as his.


Help me find the way Jesus. I'm lost. I've let the incredible giving part of me go. It's such a good feeling to give. I like to be good, I love giving to others. I love loving others. Thank you for not expecting us to like everyone. I feel it back now, thank you. I feel so lost when I lose the love. I forget that all I have to do is ask. You never leave, I do.


Core-self is shame-based:

I have a hard time asking people for help or their time because I don't feel important enough for others to waste their time on me. I am special and others are better off knowing me. I'm not used to any time being spent on me. Others lives have always felt more important than mine. Other people's time was always worth more than my time. Damn it, I am not worthless. If people can't make time for me then fuck them. I am very much worth other people's time. It is my right as a human being to ask for the time I need from others. If they can't give it to me it's their loss. I am worth it.

I am also worth my own time. I am a very incredible person! I am not worthless and I will not let myself think I am.


I put too much emphasis on my looks and I don't put enough attention on the strong, beautiful person I am on the inside. Yet I hate it when others only do pay attention to my looks. I kind of hide behind my glasses so I am not just another pretty face. I don't come across to others as the strong person that I am.

I am the lost child. I am a life spectator. If I'm not comfortable with people, I don't join in. I sit on the sidelines. It is only with people I am comfortable with that I am able to join in the fun. I disappear or I blend in when I am in a crowd. I don't know how to act in crowds. I never know what it is I should be doing. I don't have my true self. I am acting my way through life. I don't know how to have fun in a group of strangers.


I either have no sexual encounters or I let men have my body when I don't want them to.

I give of myself so others will like me. I don't listen to my inner voice enough. This has got to stop. I am worth it. I want to know my true self and quit living this lie. God help me find me. I've got to stop living for others. It's my life that's important. I don't want to live for anyone else anymore. I want to live for me. I am here. This is my life. It's my life and I have a right to live it the way that's right for me. It's my life, it's my life. I can't help you, only you can. I can only help me. I'm not here for anyone else but me.


This past year has been wonderful. I've definitely become a better, more whole person. That is what I want to continue doing into 1991. I truly love myself now. I'm getting to know myself and I like what I know. Life really is amazing.

What I want for 1991:

• To appreciate life

• To enjoy the moment

• Passion for living

• Increased confidence in myself

• Become a whole person

• Know myself even better

• Recognize my needs and get them met

• Develop more intimate, deeper relationships with healthy people

• Appreciate the friends I have

• Be less critical of my family members

• Give more of myself to others in need without jeopardizing myself

• Set boundaries between myself and others

• The ability to receive gifts from others

• Let others know me better

• Recognize my feelings and let them out in a healthy manner

• Develop a stronger, more flexible: body, mind, and soul

• Ability to forgive past hurts

• Honesty with myself and others

• More healthy eating habits

• Trust myself that I am not going to let anything happen to me

• Trust appropriate people

• Listen to my intuition

• Become closer to nature

• Be more Christ-like

• Love all my brothers and sisters

• Generate love

• Be at peace with myself

• Accept myself just as I am

• Every man to love himself

• Mankind to respect himself and others

• Peace on this planet and in the universe

• Mankind to respect and follow nature's example

• Get a job I enjoy

• Treat others as I want to be treated

• Get into an intimate, healthy relationship with a man

• Learn my full capabilities

• Know that I can attain what I want

• Get rid of the junk I don't need

• Let go of things I have no control of

• Be more direct with people

• Have fun

• Let little Dusana play

• Give up some of my responsibility to others

• Walk 15-20 miles a week

• Start dance lessons when my body is ready

• Go someplace I've always wanted to go

• Develop my own interests and likes

• Let the world be my playground

• Keep it simple

• Lower my percentage of body fat

• Be open to others

• Surround myself with love

• Be happy

• Surround myself with good things

• Treat myself with TLC

• Ability to ask for what I need from others who can give it to me

• Stand up for my rights

• Not allow others to violate my rights

• Directly confront those who have violated my rights

• Respect I deserve


It's very interesting what I'm going through right now. I have a slightly inflamed hip that's making it a little difficult to get around. It's really not that limiting but it's bringing back some issues from having arthritis when I was young. My world doesn't stop because of this ailment. It's frustrating but I haven't slipped back into self-pity. The world does keep on spinning.

It's fine to have this and it doesn't make me any less of a person. I'm still the same person and that is great, all of me is great the way it is. No matter what I look like, I am still the same special person. I'm perfect the way I am.

I've just got to figure out why this happened.

It's slowed me down. It's made me less mobile. It's forced me to sit and spend time on me. It's inflamed. Part of my life isn't moving smoothly or working for me. Alright, this will be painful but let's go through it.

I haven't been moving toward wholeness as quickly. I've started to treat people not as good as they should be treated. I've gotten to be more immature also. I'm a bird that needs to be set free to soar to new heights. I need my passion for life back.

Help me Jesus. Help me get it back. Open me up to others again. Let me feel the peace, love, and understanding again. Or more appropriately, don't let me lose it again.

It's always there, people just don't always take it. Especially now we need a kinder, gentler world and people. There are over 5 billion of us on this planet, we'd better start learning to live with each other. I love myself and accept myself unconditionally. I love myself unconditionally and I accept myself unconditionally. I love others and I accept others unconditionally.


Why am I sad? I feel something's wrong with me. I feel like a mistake or unworthy. I deserve love and attention. I have to open myself up to it.

Does anyone really care? I care what happens to me. I'm the only one who can change it. I'm never going to get the world's approval. My life is not a joke. It's mine.

I'd better find happiness within or I'm never going to find it outside. I want to feel love. I've been outside it too long. I am a very beautiful person. I want pure love to enter my life. I'm sick of all the hate and pain. I just want love and acceptance. Help me discover the love around me.

Open up, feel it, let it flow through my veins. I want every cell to feel love. Quit holding it in. Let it flow. Let go and let God. I am a being very capable of giving and receiving love. Let it flow in and back out of me. I just want love in my life. Help me start seeing the love all around me. Open me up.




I'm feeling down today. I have to get to the root of this so I can parent the child that is crying out. I am not that child but I am the survivor of that child and I am here to give that child what it needs.

I hated the way I was treated by my family. My family had no right to treat me that way. They robbed me of my spirit and my childhood. I was kept down and I wasn't able to grow the way I needed to. I need a break from my family for a while. It's something from childhood because I'm sitting on the floor. I need people on my side right now.


I'm doing very positive things for myself right now. I'm giving me time, goals, permission to have fun, patience, and respect.

I'm cleaning out my apartment. Getting rid of the clutter. I'm doing that in my life too, keeping what I need and trying to get rid of the rest.

I love the person I've become. I am very independent and keep my power in more situations. When I give it away, I recognize it faster and am able to change or realize that's not how I want to be.

I've been mourning the loss of my childhood family and my spirit. It really is hard not having the supportive family I need.

I'm thankful I've done the work and had the courage to become more healthy. I am alive and that's enough. There is so much to discover in this world, I must never think I know it all. There is so much to experience. I must break down more of my walls and bring it in. It never ends, there's always more to do. Let's open this body and soul up to receive life.


Excerpted from Chopping the Onion by DUSANA MICHAELS. Copyright © 2013 Dusana Michaels. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Dedication, vii,
Preface, ix,
Introduction, xi,
Inklings, 1,
Surfacing, 13,
Picking Apart, 28,
Love and Forgiveness, 57,
Emerging, 72,
New Beginnings, 110,
Why Live? What is Life About?, 141,
Ready to Find Love, 190,
Reaching for My Dream, 198,
Descending, 229,
Hidden Again, 250,
Going Home, 262,
Making Lemonade, 272,
Grief Catches Up with Me, 293,
My Life is Calling, 307,
Afterword, 331,
Appendix, 337,
Bibliography, 343,
Reader's Guide, 345,
About the Author, 347,

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