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The summer of my 16th year was a blackout that only in recent years has begun to resurface for me.

Three things happened that summer:

I lost my virginity and became pregnant
I was confirmed into the Catholic Church
I had my first abortion

In that order.

These things did not belong together. I cannot be Catholic AND be a teen mom. I cannot be Catholic AND be a girl who had an abortion.

I do not get to be both, and I HAD to be Catholic to belong to my family, and I HAD to belong to my family.

There was no other way, so half of me was left behind. 16 and pregnant. 16 and a childless mother.

I disconnected from myself so hard that I lost my memories. This is a skill I learned in childhood. I have talked before about our magnificent minds and the lengths they will go to in order to protect us from painful, frightening, devastating realities.

I told myself; This is not part of my story. This never happened. The level of disconnection I experienced was severe, complete-loss-of-self severe. I was lost for a long time, and I only became more lost in my twenties.

I remember sitting in the gymnasium of my church the summer of my 16th year, unaware of the change likely already taking place in my body. I was sitting on a metal folding chair between two girlfriends from my CCD class, we were listening to a guest speaker. This speaker was warning us of the danger of premarital sex. This speaker was impressing upon us the importance of abstinence.

This speaker was not telling us about consent, or affirming our rights to our bodies, or empowering us to make choices with our bodies from a place of being informed and connected. Our bodies did not belong to us, they belonged to God or the Church or our parents or our future husband’s or something?

It was clear that sex was dangerous. I remember the speaker recited a statistic meant to scare us, something about 1 in 3 of you girls will end up pregnant out of wedlock or something. The statistic is not what stands out, what I really remember was looking to my right at my friend Megan, then to my left at my friend LeeAnn, and thinking Well I know it won’t be me.

It already was.

My patron saint was Mary Magdalene. It was my way of thumbing my nose at the church. I had always felt other-than, their rules had always chafed me, felt like nonsense. I had questions that could not be answered. I had questions no one appreciated me asking. I always felt wrong.

I chose Mary Magdalene because my Catholic brain saw her as the persecuted whore, I felt sisterhood with her. I was struggling with the fact that only weeks before I had lost my virginity, I needed someone in my corner and she seemed like a good someone to me. I liked that no matter what society said about Mary Magdalene, she and Jesus knew she was inherently worthy; that she was part of the divine, that we all are. On some level, even in my darkest corners, I have always known too.

This truth is why I did not stay lost. In my Found place I know I am worthy, I am whole, I am enough. I know this because of my connection to the divine.

This part of my long walk home is not just about picking up that mother and her babies and welcoming them all back in love; it is about the repair of my connection with my own sacred holiness.

I have to unravel from the untruths I learned about belonging and worthiness. The Church does not get to define these things for me just as they do not get to withhold them.

 

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Cry Cycle

Every 28 days or so, with the shift of my body’s tide, I have a major cry.

Before birthing little bubby I experienced the intense emotional upheaval that comes with shifting hormones most women experience during their body’s monthly cycle. Back then, I did so with complete disconnection from myself.

For most of my life this experience, that is actually very natural, has felt anything but to me. It has felt scary, unnatural, and wrong. As a result,  I have spent most of my life either in a wild spiral or fighting against being sucked into that spiral. Either way I have not allowed myself to experience the healing release that my body and female spirit need.

Last month my moon cycle started flowing again for the first time since becoming pregnant November 2017. Once again my emotions swelled, and once again I fought against the wave. I was reluctant to give in and allow myself to experience the ecstasy and relief of the release.

I cried and fought and resisted one whole night until the wee hours of the morning at which point my husband, unsure how else to support me, encouraged me to show up for myself however I needed to and then rest. He agreed to take care of little bubby and go into work late the next morning so I could sleep to recover.

I stopped fighting and allowed myself to cry. I allowed myself to flow through my emotional state freely, without fear or judgement. The next morning I slept and that day, after waking slowly and quietly, I was gentle with myself.

This was a different experience, and it felt better.

I had allowed myself to surrender to the release and much like menstruation itself, I was able to shed all the emotional debris that I had collected over the course of that month (and truthfully the 16 months prior).

Last week I felt the familiar build up as the wave of emotions started to peak. I knew I was scheduled to begin my next moon cycle and all of me was crying out for release.

Last month’s cry cycle was dedicated to my mother. This month’s cry is dedicated to my body and everything she has held; life, pain, lies, physical and sexual abuse, joy, love, all of it.

I have decided I am done fighting against my divine feminine nature. Each moon cycle I will allow myself to flow with the changing tide. As I begin to flow so will as many tears as are needed to release what my body, heart, mind, and soul have been holding from that cycle that are ready to be released. I will not fear this flow, I will not fight it. I will allow myself to be held, I will float. I will not sink, I will not drown. This is natural, this is sacred, and I am safe.

Each month I will be gentle with myself. I will rest. I will honor this sacred time and hold myself sacred and worthy.

Love is so different on the other side of healing. Love is so expansive when everything is allowed to exist as it is meant to; together, in connection and love.

Sending Out My Whisper

I am understanding as I do my work towards growth and healing that there is purpose in all of it. Purpose in the pain, purpose in the healing – it is mine, my purpose.

None of this is accidental. None of it is arbitrary. All of it is connected, all of it is mine, and from it I step into in my most sacred truth and work; my purpose. The whole reason I am here, what all of this has been preparing me for.

I am know who and what I am now. I know the purpose of all of it. I know my purpose.

I am still working with my small parts, they are afraid of the BIGNESS I know I am.

I am BIG and my purpose is too.

So for now, I will let this post be my first whisper out into the Universe.

I know what this life holds for me now and please hear me loud and clear when I say: I am ready and I want it.

I know who and what I am, I know where I am going, I am open to receiving everything I am meant to receive in order to get me there. I understand this is not a place I am going as much as a life I am creating; I am ready for this life, I want this life.

I promise to honor all of my sacred gifts. I promise to honor who and what I am and share it as I am meant to. I promise to honor my purpose. I will not waste this one wonderful existence where I was called here to do and be this.

I am calling it all in. I am ready to be BIG.

Creating Safety for Small Parts

I recognize that as I perform this rescue mission for my small part(s) that are afraid of being BIG there is some work here for me to do as I wait for them to warm up to the idea of being held.

They will come home when they are ready, I do not have to force this. What I do have to do is honor the commitment I am making to them – I will not abandon you – by showing up BIG in my relationships. This is what will create the feeling of safety for these parts so I can reconnect with them and step closer to ultimate goal of connection, wholeness, and love.

When I play small in my relationships I am abandoning this small part(s). I am energetically telling this part(s) of myself that she is not worthy of my love, that the other person is more worthy.

If at any point I am having to abandon a part of myself to experience love with another person I am not actually experiencing love.

Love comes from a connected whole place, never a place of disconnection. I do not throw the word never around lightly. This is my truth.

There are specific places right now in relationships where I can practice being BIG and I committed to this work.

My Mother-in-law is in town and I have been playing small. I will do my repair work with myself and stand in my truth in this relationship.

I also need to do some repair work with my husband. He and I have experienced disconnection as a result of both of us playing small around his mom. It does not feel good when he and I are not on the same team. I look forward to truth speaking with him to move towards realignment in our relationship.

There is a place where I have felt I need to do some repair work with soul family by owning a misstep I made with them. I look forward to practicing connection with them in this way.

Finally I recognize there are bigger ways for me to practice being BIG as well. These opportunities are on the horizon. It will not be easy and I am scared.

I know I can do hard things because I am not small AND I honor and hold the part(s) of me that are small in love as I stand in this truth.

This is how I create safety. This is my path forward towards love, connection, and wholeness.

With my hand at my heart I will walk my path forward in gratitude, courage, and love.

We All Go Together

Little bubby woke up crying before midnight. This is unusual for him. I went in, changed his diaper by the glow of the salt lamp in his room, and cuddled with him and his velvety bunny in his chair before putting him back to bed asleep.

I don’t think I will ever get tired of sleepy cuddles, even when I am sleepy too.

More than two hours later I am still awake. This is unusual for me. Sleep is valuable in our home, we savor it.

I had a breakthrough in my work today and I am unraveling from untruths. This is what keeps me up tonight.

What I realized today is that

  1. There are still ways in which I am playing small.
  2. There is at least one small part of me that needs to be welcomed home for the first statement to no longer be true.

The part(s) of me that play small does not magically disappear when I get to the point where I am fully connected to myself and am in my BIG place. In order to be fully connected to myself this part(s) of me has to be there, without her I am missing a piece of myself and remain in disconnection.

This is tricky.

This part(s) is small. She does not understand what being BIG is. Moreover, because she is small and being small is her whole job, being BIG feels scary.

Being BIG, truth speaking, loving myself without shame, holding myself sacred and worthy, allowing everyone else to hold themselves.. That was not allowed in the place she came from. Doing these things meant intense rejection, it meant not belonging, it was wrong and bad and forbidden.

BIG feels scary.

She is the part that shows up and whispers warnings in my ear about the danger of my mission to be BIG.

Pssstt.. Be careful.. You will only get hurt.

I hear you little one. I see you. I know you are scared.

Please know that my lap is open to you when you are ready to be held.

Until then please hear me, we are going to be okay. I love you. I am your belonging. I will not abandon you. You will always belong here.

You will always belong here.

I am home. I am safety. I am belonging. I am love. We no longer have to look outside for these things – they are here.

Please know that the door is open, my lap is open, I welcome you home when you are ready to be held in love.

Belonging

There are places you belong, where you will find your belonging. It will be in arms, in love, in hope, in security. Sometimes it will be in people, sometimes in places. One thing is clear – you NEVER belonged there.

You the know the there I speak of – the place where the pain is.

In the bed of the man who raped you. In the hands of your brother as he attempted to squeeze the breath from your body. In the church that told you every Sunday how wrong you were. In the car bleeding. The clinic having life removed forcefully from your womb.

You NEVER belonged there.

Yet there you were. Putting on your brave face. Struggling to survive it. Abandoning yourself to save yourself.

There is no shame in our efforts to survive.

I know where I do not belong now. I will not go back to those places now that I am finally saved from them. I will not stay anywhere I am not meant to belong. I was never meant to be long there – I have already stayed too long; in my pain, my shame, my struggle. Too long.

There are places I want to be long – there are places I want to be forever. I am off to find my belonging and I am sure at this moment it is deciding that it is off to find me too.

invitation art

I Will Not Look Away

I have been tangling with judgment lately. I have been trying to untangle. These roots run deep.

I am self-righteous. I judge. I still project my pain.

Projecting is so easy and it feels so good.

I don’t want to feel my insecurities around mothering so I will look at what you are doing and find flaws. 
I don’t want to address my own unhealthy habits so I will fixate on yours and feel superior.
I don’t want to admit my fears so I will criticize yours.

I like it when it is all about you and never about me. I like getting to be the right one while you are over there being wrong. I like being superior. I like being big.

I am not big here. This is not my BIG place. When I create any kind of disconnection from love I am certainly not BIG. This is me being small.

I am not meant to stay small.

We all struggle. Instead of seeing someone else’s hard time for what it is, pain and struggle, I am wanting to use it for my gratification.

If I am willing to see the truth about the pain and struggle of others it means I have to be willing to hold my own truths about my pain and struggle as well.

This is being BIG.

Being BIG means not looking away from pain. It means loving someone in their struggle and pain. It means loving myself in my pain and struggle.

Projection feels so good, it is so easy. Deep love takes work, it is hard.

I can do hard things. I am not small. I am BIG.

I choose love and all the hard AND goodness that comes with it. I am ready to set down my judgement and self-righteousness to pick up LOVE. I will not look away from pain.

I choose love every time.

i choose love and joy and peace