Moving from the Outside, In is the story of one woman’s healing pilgrimage and her quest to find life’s answers as she moves from her 20s into her 30s and 40s. She struggles through her childhood conditioning and unhealthy relationships and moves into a new awareness of self-understanding where her inner power is truly revealed. As she heals her body and mind, she is taken on a spiritual awakening into the metaphysical world. At times this tale seems rather fantastical, including mystical creatures and unearthly voices. Can healing really be so complex? Yes, but also very rewarding! Experience the magic that has become her life.
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MOVING from the OUTSIDE, IN
One Woman's Transcendental Journey
By Tracy Makarenko
Balboa PressCopyright © 2013 Tracy Makarenko
All rights reserved.
It was time for a change. Not my huge hair or my trendy '80s clothes, but everything else. My name is Tracy, Tracy-Lynn to anyone who has known me since grammar school or is in my immediate family. My driver's licence states that I'm five feet, three inches, and since my nerves have recovered, slightly, I have gained some weight and sit at 105 pounds. I have red hair and freckles everywhere—the freckles, that is—and thankfully, at nearly twenty-one years of age can be called pretty. The days of being called Red-Headed Hamburger are long gone, thank God! The insecurities attached to all the name calling during my grammar school and junior high school years are not. It was necessary to change my mentality in order to survive their harmful effects. This came in handy when, during the last ten months of my senior year of high school, all the gossipmongers decided I was the perfect scapegoat for, well, everything. My reputation tanked! I put no energy into correcting their lies unless directly asked. Why should I feel bad for their behavior? What it did, however, was encrust me in an even thicker protective layer. Do I still trust? I trust only those I believe truly love me, which is what got me into this current mess. The facade I have carried around with me to show the world that everything in my life is perfect and that I am not damaged goods is starting to disintegrate. Therefore my world must change.
The guy sitting next to me, Peter, is the reason for this not-so-sudden decision. He is not much taller than I, has brown hair and brown eyes, and entered my life more than six years ago. Our turbulent relationship started when I was fourteen. Peter was the first boy to look at me. The first three months of our relationship were kind and loving. Then he cheated on me. For a multitude of reasons—insecurities at the top of that list—I was willing to continue our relationship. We worked though his cheating before we broke up as the result of a move. My parents wanted a new start in their own dysfunctional relationship and moved my younger sister, Jane; our dog, Skeeter; cat, Scruffy; and me twenty-four hundred kilometers across the Canadian countryside. Over the next two years, while we were apart, we both saw other people. I actually fell head over heels in love at one point, only to be dumped, painfully. It was after that incident that Peter and I reconnected. I realize now that he was a safer choice than putting my heart on the line again. Notice I didn't say "smarter choice."
My focus for the last two years of high school was friends and parties. When I received my high school transcripts, that was very apparent. Upgrading was necessary if I ever planned on attending a postsecondary school. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn't until I saw my transcript. Redoing the necessary high school classes to get a better grade with the same teachers seemed like an oxymoron, so I contacted Peter to see whether we could be roommates. That took three years of my life. One year of upgrading, bringing my marks up significantly, which allowed me to get into college. I was now a month away from receiving my two-year diploma in business administration, which I planned to transfer to the University of Winnipeg in the fall for another two years, finishing with a degree in human resources.
The last three years that Peter and I had been together make the word dysfunctional look functional! The three times we tried to live together maxed out at four months. I found the strength to make what I thought was the final break in January and was doing wonderfully until attending a party last month where Peter was in attendance. He acted like a jackass—nothing new, mind you—dragging me up a flight of stairs at one point to "get with me." Up until that point he had never actually laid a hand on me; he was more the mentally and emotionally abusive type of guy who only leaves internal bruising—stuff you can't see but that affects your self-esteem in a slower, more detrimental, way. If he had hit me, I would have left years ago. I'm pretty sure, anyway.
At the party I managed to get away, with no help from his friends, and I called a taxi. By the time my ride arrived, he was outside acting like an out-of-control delinquent again. He is going to get his ass thrown in jail, was the thought that raced through my mind. In the next instant I found myself grabbing his arm and throwing him into the taxi ahead of me and giving the driver my address. The next morning I looked over at him in my bed and thought, with much regret, When will I ever learn? I should have left his sorry ass behind to deal with the consequences. But I hadn't, and it was six weeks later that I found myself committed to change no matter what that looked like. I didn't know what was next, but I knew who was not.
The deciding factor had been a pregnancy scare. Moments before, we had been to the walk-in clinic, and thankfully, the results were negative. Negative. That always confused me, as in my mind I was taking a nonpregnancy test and wanted the answer to be positive. I questioned the nurse, and she confirmed that I was indeed not pregnant. "Thank God!"
Peter had been surprisingly disappointed by this news and mentioned to me how he had hoped I was pregnant so we could get married. There was no way I could conceal the amount of shock on my face at this statement. We had never, not ever, discussed a future together and now talk of marriage? I was still sitting in stunned disbelief half an hour later with Peter on my left side and half a dozen of his obnoxious male friends around a couple of tables in an Irish pub when I realized that the only way I could achieve separation from him and his friends was to return home, permanently. With a huge sigh, I realized this meant giving up school, at least for now.
Over the last three years—actually, six years—I had tried every scenario to be rid of Peter, but for whatever reason we were always thrown together again and again. I believe that things happen for a reason. What the reasoning was for this must be too close for me to understand. All I knew was that I couldn't continue living in the current turmoil that had become my life. The pattern that had presented itself showed that there was no way I could live in a city of six hundred thousand people and not in some way be connected to Peter and his insanity. I had tried really hard with no success. It was time to get off the hamster wheel and try something completely different. I hoped that having three provinces between us would give me what I was looking for—peace of mind.
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, is located twenty-two hundred kilometers south of the magnetic North Pole and twenty-one hundred kilometers north of the Canada–United States border. It is located in the Canadian Shield, which is mostly made up of rock, with small pine and birch trees growing where possible. It is considered a desert, although there are numerous bodies of water, large and small. Yellowknife had been my home since the summer I turned sixteen, including every Christmas break and summer vacation for the last three years while I attended school. Currently the population was near twelve thousand. Yellowknifers mostly work for the government—territorial or federal—or one of the local gold mines. We enjoyed forty-four weeks of winter, one week of spring, one of fall, and six weeks of summer. Nowhere on earth could beat our summers, which featured twenty-four hours of sunlight a day. Walking out of the movie theater at eleven o'clock at night into daylight is magical. As a teenager walking home after a party or, now that I was of age, which is nineteen, the bar, I felt a sense of security having the sun still in the sky.
I had said good-bye to Peter at the airport as though it were any other departure. I hadn't had enough strength to tell him that I was not returning in the fall. I hadn't even tried to find the strength; leaving the news to a later date seemed simpler. I was too beaten down with all the changes I was making to bother having that long conversation where I would perhaps be persuaded to stay or return. He thought we were back together, and that made leaving easy. I was so exhausted and quite frankly, done, but it had all been about buying time.
It only took days for me to settle back into a routine once I had moved back in with my parents, whose relationship currently seemed fine. They had split up again the previous summer and reconciled that fall. That separation and reunion made three. My sister Jane would start her last year of high school in the fall. She was so grown up. When I had left for school three years ago she had still been so little. The four and a half years between us constantly left us on different pages of our lives. She was now a few inches taller than me and had blossomed into a woman. Her blonde—almost white—hair, perky nose, and inquisitive blue eyes turned heads, male and female. Her skin was beautifully tanned, not red and blotchy like mine when I spent too much time in the sun. Not that I would share my positive comments with her, ever. We didn't do that in my family. That whole "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," had been taken even further in our family. We just didn't say anything, nice or nasty. Don't get me wrong: my father's side of the family yelled when they spoke, and over the years Jane and I had learned that way of communicating. In those explosive moments we said things we regretted, which were never spoken about again.
For years I had perceived Jane as a troll who had taken the love of my mother away from me at the age of four when she showed up in my house. Those feelings of disdain developed because I saw love for Jane in my mother's eyes that I had never noticed when she looked at me. Over time my emotions had erupted, causing Jane physical pain in a number of ways. Even with the abuse at my hands, she returned love and compassion. That eventually won me over in my junior high years. I now loved her dearly and would protect her at all costs.
Since my return I had a full-time job with my previous employer. It was a government job that paid well for menial office tasks. Socially, a male friend I had met the previous summer had been popping by daily. Luke was a year older than I. What he did for work, I had no idea. Nothing, from what I could see. He was not much taller than I, but definitely taller than Peter. He had blond hair and blue eyes and a beach-bum tan. I had always been attracted to the tall, dark, and handsome type, but at no point did I seem to be dating that type.
Within weeks of my return, Luke and I were dating, I guess. I hadn't completely forgotten about Peter, but I hoped he had forgotten about me, which I knew was not true. My mum had given me a dozen phone messages from him.
I hadn't been able to keep anything down since the pregnancy scare. The years of living with Peter had done a number on my nerves, and the smallest thing seemed to throw my system out of whack. For that reason I should have just returned his calls. It took two weeks before he got me on the other end of the phone.
"Hi, I haven't heard from you."
As I held the receiver, I could feel my body shaking in fear at hearing his voice. Here we go, be strong, Tracy. "No, I've been busy with work and stuff."
I could feel that my standoffishness had caused tension on the other end of the phone, "Are you coming back in the fall?" It wasn't a question, but more of a demand.
"No." Yeah, I said it! Silently I kept repeating, Stay strong, stay strong.
"Have you met someone?" he questioned me.
This just brought out my anger. Did he really think that was the only reason I wouldn't return? What relationship had he been a part of? "Yes," I replied. If that was my way out, fine; I'd take it. He then hung up.
It was over.
Was it over? I wasn't crying. I was still shaking, and my stomach was tight. Where was the relief? Enough is enough, Tracy! You have spent an abundant amount of time on this situation; it's time to move on.
Telling my parents I wasn't returning to school was not any simpler. I fretted for a month before I finally told them in August. Their reply shocked me, "So what are you going to do?" I had expected a lecture about quitting school. Rather, they had posed a good question. My mind said, "Take it day by day," but I didn't dare express that out loud, for perhaps the lecture would then surface. I should have had a plan, but I didn't. My only plan had been to return home and away from Peter. With that accomplished, I would have to give my future some thought.
Luke was a great sounding board. He'd listen to me for hours, for days, which turned into months. To anyone else, perhaps, it would have seemed like complaining, but without my knowing, it was my therapy. Most of my verbal diarrhea was about Peter and his cheating nature. He had never stopped; I had just stopped noticing. When I did, it brought out a jealous side of me that made me cheat too. Now I was dealing with all the anger and guilt, never mind the recurring thought, Could I be trusted in any relationship? Or was that just a reaction to being treated so badly? I complained about the numerous weekends he never made it home because he was out on a drinking binge. What else, who knows? I unloaded about the night I spent in jail being questioned about the alleged assault Peter and his friends were being charged with. If I ever made plans with a girlfriend, something tragic would happen to Peter, and I would cancel my plans, to be with him. In the end he would never show up, leaving me home alone all night. He never once offered to drive me or loan me his car to go and visit my paternal grandmother, who lived only two and a half hours away. My aunt and favorite cousin were only five minutes away, and he had only visited once during those three years. Then there was an abundance of embarrassing parties where he would use information about me or our relationship to start conversations with various girls. One girl actually told me my boyfriend was a jerk. I nodded and agreed. What else could I do?
The previous year during one of our separations I had found the cutest little loft. Peter agreed to house-sit while I returned home to work over the summer. The day I returned to Winnipeg, ready to relax and get organized for school, I found out that we had been evicted. Peter had not paid the rent and had had one party after another. He had lost me my favorite apartment and my damage deposit. I was so devastated, and an apology was never forthcoming—only excuses. But the last straw came four months later when I found out that he was charging me more than my portion of the rent to cover his monthly parking space. How could he treat so badly someone he claimed to love? The answer could only be that he didn't love me, and if that was the answer then why treat me badly at all? That answer was easier, because I had allowed him to. I had put up with it for years. Time after time his sweet-talking nature lured me back in. He continued to have control over me even when I was in other relationships! Hating myself had come naturally. Did I deserve so little? I had considered suicide in March. Not to put myself out of my misery, but rather: "I'll show you, Peter! How would you feel if I was dead?" The scenario petered out quickly, as I had no idea where to get a gun, there was nowhere to hang a rope in my apartment, and the last time I accidently took too many pill I threw up for hours.
The fact that I never considered how my parents or sister would feel if I were dead spoke volumes and was something I'd need to ponder more closely later.
Currently, I was happy to be alive, although I might have a terrible disease. The doctors had done numerous tests involving my intestines and bowels. They kept telling me nothing was wrong. Well, my body wasn't acting normal, so something was wrong! It was irritable bowel syndrome—something they didn't have a name for in the '80s. Coffee seemed to affect me the most, so I quit drinking it. Thanks to Luke I had also stopped smoking. My redheaded temper kicked in after he bummed one too many cigarettes. I wasn't going to pay for his smokes anymore, so I quit. I was tired of being used. Had all this made me selfish or just less tolerant?
Excerpted from MOVING from the OUTSIDE, IN by Tracy Makarenko. Copyright © 2013 Tracy Makarenko. 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.
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Table of Contents
What's Next?.................... 1
Chapter 1 Change.................... 3
Chapter 2 Aloneness.................... 15
Chapter 3 Adventure.................... 29
Chapter 4 Conditioning.................... 47
The Wonder Years.................... 63
Chapter 5 Exhaustion.................... 65
Chapter 6 Premonitions or Confirmations?.................... 86
Chapter 7 Compromise.................... 95
Chapter 8 Trust.................... 110
Chapter 9 Abandonment.................... 124
Spiritual Acceptance.................... 131
Chapter 10 Moving Forward.................... 133
Chapter 11 Integration.................... 156
Chapter 12 Slowing Down.................... 172
Chapter 13 Experiencing.................... 189
What Now?.................... 201
Chapter 14 Patience.................... 203
Chapter 15 Transformation.................... 231
Chapter 16 Releasing Fear.................... 245
Chapter 17 Resolution.................... 259
Chapter 18 Completion.................... 275