This week my focus word is “acceptance”. I’m working on accepting myself, my circumstances, and my relationships. This hasn’t been an easy task for me on the best of days so taking the time to deep dive into this intention is proving to be a challenge – but I’m ready.
Part of acceptance is acknowledging that I’ve not been practicing all that I teach. I share with my grief group participants that we should never say something to ourselves that we wouldn’t also say out loud to those we love most in this world – so part of accepting ME is also being kinder and gentler TO me in my thoughts ABOUT me.
Give some attention to your thoughts and what acceptance looks like in your life this week.
Long time no write! I’ve been distracted; which is my typical, muddled and cluttered brain’s habit.
It occurred to me as we are mid pandemic and people are isolated and away from their families that this holiday season marked my 3rd being estranged from my biological family members.
My first was in 2018 so 2020 makes 3.
I never imagined that the things that fractured my family relationships would carry on this long; but at this point, I can’t imagine what could mend or heal all of the many hurts. As much as I’m not the same person that I was three years ago, I have to believe that neither are those who were formerly integral parts of my everyday life.
So much has changed and I don’t even know how simple conversation could be had. That water under the bridge is icy and full of rocks and choppy.
In my journey through healing I’ve learned that there is so much that I needed to let go of. So much weight that I’ve carried that was full of guilt and self-loathing and in these last three years, I’ve learned that the letting go is a daily practice. The grounding and breathing and simply being who I am and accepting me for me is a constant internal dialogue but each day it gets a little bit easier.
Five minutes of mindfulness and meditation can save your life. I know this is true because that’s exactly how I started to heal.
There are so many lessons one learns from being the proverbial “black sheep” of their family. I decided a list might be helpful to those of you new to this role.
Be prepared to have your phone calls and texts ignored regularly. It’s easier for everyone else to believe that you don’t exist; so when you make your presence known, it will very likely go unacknowledged. Don’t worry, though. You will get used to this in time.
You’re not going to be invited to family things. Neither will your children. It’s easier for others to pretend that they don’t exist either. This pill is hard to swallow as a parent; it’s much easier to accept the ugly that comes your way compared to that same ugly being put upon your kids. Best advice: love them through it. Make sure they understand that love and family are unconditional and that you are there for them.
It’s easier to love your kids always and have some grace and humility than it is to fix broken adults.
Black goes with everything. Especially sparkly tiaras and glitter. Remember that when you feel badly that you don’t fit in or feel unloved because of your black sheep status.
No matter what anyone wants you to believe, you are not hard to love. Love simply is. And it’s hella easy.
And no one told me. I’ve walked around clueless and uninformed for almost 19 years.
Somewhere along the way I decided that once I got my kids through high school, graduated and off to college that I would feel some level of relief at a “job well done”. That was the imaginary finish line in my head that was my aim and direction. He graduates from high school then he magically does the adulting and I’m gonna coast, right?
Now that I’m one week away from taking my oldest to college, I’m consumed with all kinds of emotions and worries as I realize (probably late) that I’m not done.
My job isn’t done.
We crossed off some milestones but he’s still one of my reasons for being. And that won’t ever change. Even when he does the adulting.
I can’t help but wonder if he’s ready. If he’s been given the tools he needs to be whatever his version of successful and happy looks like.
Did I do the Momming right?
How do we ever really know?
In the meantime, since I missed the memo, to the Mommas of younger kids, here’s your reminder:
THERE IS NO FINISH LINE.
The milestones and checkboxes and worries are different now that he’s grown and about to be off on his own. Rather than worrying about his grades or his homework, I find that I worry about his overall well-being. I want him to feel safe and secure and happy in the world at large. The fact that he will now do that away from me and his family is so very scary. I won’t be able to peak a look at his face or yell upstairs when he’s being loud and crazy. I won’t be able to see his frustrated face on the bad days and help him process and feel better.
I’m grateful that we can stay in touch with FaceTime and all of the nifty tech gadgets but my goodness how much I will miss his presence and his energy and his hugs.
This pandemic hasn’t created new problems for me, personally, however, it has magnified the cracks and insecurities in my life that were much easier to ignore before I was socially locked down with no distractions from all of the wreckage that has been my journey for the last 7 years.
Talk about a hard pill to swallow.
That mess that I was effectively sweeping under the rug in every possible way, became too much anymore when I was home alone with my thoughts and my feelings and anxieties and with nowhere to run and zero distractions from what was staring me in the face.
So you know what?
I faced it head-on.
I stopped looking the other way and took a long hard look at ME and my choices. Who do I want to be in charge of the REST of my story?
I didn’t want to forfeit my ideas and thoughts and experiences to another human being no matter how much I love them anymore.
I don’t want to be a watered down version of my true self.
I want to love the things and people I love and not feel ashamed of the human being that I am. I want to honor my heart and my beliefs and I want to take my power back. I want to truly live my story out loud, with the volume way up and all the glitter I want.
So here goes.
I’m grateful that I got here but I’m sorry it took a plague to make me see where I was wrong.
I’m a naturally scattered human by nature. As I’m learning and growing and embracing all that is me, I’m trying to be more mindful of my processes and quirks and flaws.
That said, as I’m reflecting on wrapping up 2019 with a big and pretty bow, I’ve really been ALL OVER THE PLACE this year and I want (and need) to tidy things up.
I’m forever amazed that I still don’t know what I want to “be” when I grow up. When am I gonna figure this life-stuff out? I feel like 42 years and 5 months of age should be sufficient in helping me determine a direction and a path but, here we are.
I feel stuck and uninspired and I just want to spread peace, love, joy and glitter.
(Can I get a real job hugging all the broken people and telling them everything will be ok?)
These next few weeks, I’m hoping to pare down and de-clutter and be more mindful and meaningful about what’s important to ME in this world that I share with the people I love. I feel like 2020 needs to bring about a more focused and intentional ME.
This past weekend was hella tough. For a variety of reasons. But the most strikingly painful part was realizing that I exist in a world where the people who were my unconditional people are no longer here.
In looking for ways to love myself through it, I found a fabulous book called Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig.
In my own anxiety and depression, I sometimes have felt that I’m alone and isolated and that no one understands where I am emotionally and that seems to make that proverbial “black hole” of sadness and loss of hope grow.
Writing has been therapeutic for me and reading about other people’s journeys is also hugely helpful. While everyone’s journey and circumstances vary wildly, we all have the human condition of suffering. But, we also can learn and grow and heal and help each other learn new ways to give oxygen to whatever it is that ails us so that we can recover together.
I hope you know you aren’t alone.
I hope you know you matter.
I hope you know you’re loved and I hope you remember to love yourself when things get hard.
And in the moments that you need reminders and you need support to realize and understand that you really aren’t all alone in the world, find someone that you can relate to — either in person, over the phone, virtually or even like I sometimes do: with a wonderful book.
I can literally name 3 true hearts and humans that I still have in my life and world and I’m grateful for them.
I used to believe that I had more.
But when the shit goes down in the big and ugliest of ways, you find out fast and in a hurry who will be left in the end, and for me, I have 3.
One of the hard lessons was realizing that those people who I believed were my “ride or die” tribe members were more than ready to bail and exit stage left when things became unpredictable and less than socially acceptable.
I quickly learned new ways the heart can break.
But more importantly, I’ve learned and grown and changed in so many ways and become a better support for myself and my own heart.
I’ve learned to love me. Flaws and all.
I don’t struggle to be “seen” or approved of.
I just am.
I’m comfortable in my own skin and don’t feel like I have anything to prove to anyone other than the person who I’m living the rest of my life with — the person I see in the mirror for my forever. She is me.
I’ve have also found that there can be pockets of normal even in the middle of awful. Pockets of amazing in between the chaos. Pockets of hope in between the loneliness.
And, to my 3 true ride or die humans: you know who you are and I love you.
If ever you need some perspective on what really matters in this world, I highly recommend spending some time with people who are dying and/or their families who are grieving.
The human heart and it’s capacity to love beyond all measure never ceases to amaze me. I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to share some of my most treasured conversations with so many folks over these last few months as I joined a local Hospice team. I’ve shared tears, laughter, sweet tea and strawberry milkshakes along with so many meaningful hours with folks who are struggling in some of their journey’s most difficult times.
I wouldn’t change a single minute of it. I have a much greater appreciation for the smaller things that we often take for granted while we keep things moving at an all too often hectic pace.
Our lives are entirely made up of billions of the tiniest moments and in the end, those moments all add up to make us the people that we are and give us the opportunity to shape and share our world with SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE with so many beautiful stories to share.
I am so grateful for this life and the people I share mine with.