Being True

A few months ago my therapist gifted me a word of warning;

The bigger you get, the more you stand in your light, the more people will show up in shadow and try to take from you.

She said they will like my message so they will copy it. She said they will like my words so they will use them. She said they will like the way I make them feel so they will try to be just like me.

She said it will hurt.

When she told me this I cried.

I was particularly struck by the thought that someone else would take my words, my sacred words, the tools I have been using since the age of nine to find my way home to myself – and call them their own.

The very thought was devastating.

I know her warning is truth. I have already experienced this very thing multiple times in fact. And she is right, I am hurt when it happens.

Recently I have been feeling the niggle of this fear in the dark recesses of my mind.

My work right now is being True, being Love, and being in my Power. The closer I get to these goals the more I feel the niggle.

This is what I would like to say to the niggle today;

I will be okay. My Sacred Truth will still be True even if it is copied by others. Part of the purpose of living out loud in my truth is to allow my truth to help others find their own. If part of that process involves shadow work in this way, that is their work and I will leave them to it. My thoughts, feelings, actions, beliefs, identities – these belong to me. Nothing changes that.

What I realize is this; these women I admire, Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, my therapist.. None of them are any less who they are because we are all out here admiring them and trying to be like them and even sometimes internalizing their messages as our own until our True voices emerge.

Their lights do not dim because ours start to turn on and turn up.

Their is enough light for us all.

So, little fear, niggling me from dark corners, please know that I hear you and Yes, our Truth is Sacred. I know you are scared and you want to protect it. Staying small will not keep us safe though. We are safe, I am the safety you are seeking. Our light can shine, we can be True, and Love, and Power AND be safe.

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

I started my work towards wholeness with the part of myself that experienced my abortions, I am calling this part of myself broken mama because that is exactly how she feels.

I have a few soul friends holding this work with me; I have so much gratitude for this group of people. Being in the work in real time felt overwhelming, confusing, and I know disconnection was present of course. The group’s reactions and responses to how they experienced me and for the ways in which my work is a mirror for theirs has helped me so much with my journey towards connection and self-love.

I have written almost 20 pages since our meeting on topics such as disconnection and how my relationship with this super power is changing, manipulation, boundaries, shame, gratitude, how I felt then, how I feel now, and how I want to feel about this part of my story.

Another big one is religion. I have had big feelings about organized religion for a long time but have struggled to find the words to express the feelings. That is changing. The closer I get to the wound, the clearer I become on where I stand in my place of truth.

What I am feeling most hopeful about following this first part of the work is how aware I am of my growth.

Shame rose up during the work and lingered over me temporarily while I was processing a bit with the group, it was brief though. I am allowing so much more room for grace than I used to.

Here is where I am at:

I am okay with how this work is starting. There is no expectation that reconnection and healing will happen automatically. This wound has been festering for 20 years, time is allowed for love and healing.

It is okay that I felt overwhelmed at first. This will not always be true. The more connection I build, the easier this will feel. I am not alone in this and I am doing okay.

I am proud that I am able to separate then from now. Now I am safe and loved and I feel that truth even after being back in this darkness.

I am proud that I am not being forceful with myself. I am allowing the work to come as it comes and be what it is. Connection will happen in its own time.

I am proud that I am facing the hardest parts of my truth and wanting to show love and have compassion for myself in those places.

 

When I was in darkness and scarcity about Love I felt like a panicked animal backed into a corner. That is also how I acted. My laundry list of dark truths about who I was and how I was during that time of my life can be true AND I Love that girl. In all of her chaos, in all of her mess, with all of her imperfections, I have so much Love for her.

You are okay girl, you are doing okay. AND – I am here to hold you when you are ready.

We Don’t Have to Rush

This post is inspired by a memory that surfaced from elementary school;

Sometime during 4th grade, after the death of my Nana, Mom and I had a hard morning.

We were running late getting me to school. I do not know if my Mom was working at the time, so I am unsure if this feeling of rush and force was bigger than just me not getting to school on time, maybe there was more at stake than I knew.

Let me set the scene for you;

None of the clothes I want to wear are clean so Mom has forced me into a pair of jean shorts I am mortified to be seen in and some dumb shirt I do not like.

Here is the thing about these shorts;  first you should know when I was kid money was tight so Mom got resourceful at times. She had a talent for sewing, she made both mine and my cousin’s first communion dresses and you would never have known they were not some expensive store bought dresses like the other girls. What my Mom created for me did not always line up with what 9-year-old fashion was at the time.

These shorts had been jeans that I ripped the knees out of while playing outside the prior summer. We could not afford to throw away clothes that still fit so Mom attempted to transform them into shorts and the end product fell short. I gave it little thought because I had another pair of jeans and a pair of shorts I could wear and re-wear so no one at school ever had to see my Mom’s creation anyway.

This particular morning my Mom had decided I would not re-wear my jeans for what was probably the 11th time in a row, with no other clean bottoms to wear she told me to put on the hacked up shorts.

So I was already sitting in dread of what the day would hold for me, I would surely be a target in these awful shorts, while I frantically tore up my closet floor looking for my sneakers as my Mom yelled we have to leave now!

My sneakers were no where to be found! How was I going to go to school shoe-less? Guess I would just have to stay home.

My Mom was having none of it. She shoved my fancy white church shoes (which were covered in scuff marks from climbing on everything in sight) over my colorful tube socks and told me to head for the car.

I was stupefied. What was she doing?! My protests were fierce and immediate; Mom I can’t wear my church shoes, I have to wear sneakers for PE or they won’t let me participate and I will get in trouble!

She did not budge and with that I was off to school in my rag tag jean shorts, dumb shirt, colorful tube socks and fancy white scuffed up church shoes.

My Mom dropped me off and left. I was so ashamed my eyes were burning before I got out of the car. I did not know how I was going to face the fourth grade, I did not know how I was going to survive the day.

This was my first walk of shame. I was late, the car ramp was empty. Alone I walked through the vacant halls, the little heels on my fancy white scuffed up shoes clacking an echo all the way to the brown metal door of my classroom. I peeked in the slatted window on the door, everyone was in their seats, class had started. I knew the moment I opened that door all eyes would be on me.

It must have been bad because I lose my memory here.

I pick back up maybe 30 minutes later; I am at my teacher’s desk, I am crying, I am asking to go see the guidance counselor. I have become close with our guidance counselor this year, I have spent some time talking with her between Nana dying and my cousin and first best friend being removed from the family and living in a group home.

In the counselor’s office she listens as I cry. She knows my Mother and thinks fondly of her, she tries to balance my feelings for me. There is no balance to be struck, I am wounded and I have no room for whatever my Mother’s truth might be. In my mind she made me prey and then abandoned me  in the lion’s den that was the 4th grade.

The counselor has a pair of sneakers from the lost and found she offers me so I can participate in PE. They are only a small step up from my fancy white scuffed up church shoes. I see another pair, some black Keds with cool mesh sides, I ask for those ones instead – Maybe I can survive the day in those, maybe the kids won’t notice my Mom-sewn-shorts and instead they will just see my cool sneakers. The guidance counselor explains that those shoes are too small for me. I know she is right but I am desperate, I plead and she concedes. I wedge my tube socked foot into the too small shoe and blissfully ignore my cramped toes as I walk back to class.

I know that I do not know this story in full. I know what my scraps of memory tell me, I know what my feelings tell me, but I do not know what I am missing due to dissociation and I do not know what my Mother’s truth is. I can make conjectures and try to fill in blanks based on what I knew of my life at that time but to what end?

This was not one of my big traumas in childhood, it was a hard day. I think the reason this memory has stayed with me is to serve as a reminder now.

I am the adult, he is the child. What will moments like these look like for us?

There are so many times when I have a plan in my head for how the day will go, every minute for the next three hours planned out, then he wakes up from nap and takes an extra long time eating his yogurt because he really wants to work on holding the spoon today. Or we are going to the playground but a few feet outside the door he decides he would rather sit in the driveway and play with sticks.

Here are some things I know;

The first is that I have something now that my Mother did not have when I was 9, security.

Financial security that allows me to be home right now and not working on someone else’s schedule where our mornings would be rushed and potentially stressful.

Security in who I am as a Mother. I am so connected to my truth of infinite enoughness, his and my own, that no part of me can be shaken into believing we are less. Even when I get it wrong I know I am enough. When it is  hard, we are enough, this is enough, all of it is enough. This truth goes beyond my role as Mother, it is woven into every part of my being. This level of security within myself keeps me from falling into places of scarcity where I would value being on time over him or our connection in a moment. It keeps me from valuing “doing” over “being”. It keeps me right here where I am meant to be, in the moment with him.

Of course there are times where we make plans and try to keep a schedule and of course I balance what is going on with him with that schedule. I would not dishonor someone else’s time because he wants to continue playing blocks. What I am very clear on is this; if one day my nine year old child is having a hard morning because we are running late and the clothes he wants to wear are not clean, and he cannot find his sneakers, and maybe I am even running late for work or another important adult commitment… I will pause.

I will be with him, as long as it takes for us to find our way through and out the other side. We will take the time to find the shoes and we will talk about his feelings of anxiety or disappointment, if any, around not being able to wear what he wanted to wear to school. I will put everything else down if that is what it takes to hold space for him.

The way I, together with my husband, love him is the way he will learn to love himself. And if I am willing to do this for him, I have to be willing to do it for me too. That is the other thing I know, my Mother has never fully known how to hold space for me because she does not hold herself sacred.

We, all of us, you, me, our babies, our parents – we are ALL worthy of time. The world will continue to tick away while we exist inside of our pause taking care of ourselves and each other.

I am grateful that my inner nine-year-old has been sitting here next to me riding shot gun and guiding my heart as I parent this sweet soul who chose me.

I am grateful for all the ways my Mother failed me, therein giving me so much opportunity to build the resilience needed to become the human I am meant to be.

I am grateful for my ability to hold space for myself, it creates capacity for me to hold sacred space for those I love most, which is sometimes the stranger walking next to me and sometimes my sweet little boy.

Holding space for myself tonight meant writing this story down because this is the moment it was ready to be shared. Holding space for myself tonight meant asking my husband if he would be willing to hold a little space for me tomorrow by getting up with little bubby so I could catch up on the sleep I will miss to be here with myself and share this story.

As I close I am holding the energy of deep gratitude is for my husband, who holds space for me with so much love, and for every other person in my life who holds space for me and allows me to feel what it is like to be held sacred.

The Last Touch

Following my throat’s collision with little bubby’s foot, my therapist helped me see that while I have done some work around the emotional wounds caused by my brother’s abuse, it is time now to focus on healing my body.

We start with ground zero, my throat.

I understand now that if I walk around for the rest of my life saying to myself, my throat is off limits, then it will be as if his hands are around my throat forever – it will be the last experience my throat ever has.

OR

I can lean into the truth of this pain, as I have started to do, heal my hurts, and allow LOVE in.

Here is what I am clear about;

  1. I have spent enough of my life running from Love, now I only want to run towards it.
  2. No part of my body is off limits to me.

 

A few weeks after my PTSD episode I was laying in bed with my husband at bedtime. I talked to him about the need to allow myself to be Loved in this place of hurt and we discussed what that might look like. Then I asked him if I could practice this Love with him.

First we set boundaries. Safe Love for me always has boundaries.

  1. This is serious, no sillies. Our inner children are best friends, I did not want his inner child popping up and getting goofy while we practice something sacred.
  2. We discuss how you will touch me and that is the only touch that will take place.

 

I asked him what him Loving my throat would look like; he said, a kiss.

He asked me to lay on my back and then he leaned over me and gently kissed the middle of my throat.

Even a light embrace such as this felt like consider pressure to this part of my body, AND, it was beautiful.

He rolled over to his side of the bed and laid on his back, I rolled into him and buried myself in his neck.

From my hiding place in his neck I felt safe, enveloped, no light peeking in.

I thought – here I am again, crying in the dark.

This time was different though, this time I was not alone.

Yoda was Right (of course she was)

My therapist and I have been using Star Wars metaphors for my inner healing and awakening throughout our relationship. She being a child of the 70’s, me being a child of the 80’s, and this being THE movie series of our childhood, it works.

In these metaphors she is always my Yoda and I am always trying to find my fucking way out of the swamp towards my place of truth and purpose.

Something Yoda told me early on is that growth is comes with loss, it is always accompanied by loss. Because growth is change and to change means on some level things will be different, there is loss in that.

Part of the loss for me, and for many people experiencing their awakening, is in relationships. There are some people who will not show up in this with us. Sometimes it was relationships stepping away from me, sometimes it was me stepping away from relationships. What I can tell you is that the loss makes space for the gain, I have experienced major gains as a result of doing my soul work.

Something else Yoda told me about how me growing will impact my relationships is, while yes, some people will step away because they are not ready or willing to look in the mirror and my truths will be painful for them, others will rise with me. Me giving myself permission to rise will have a ripple effect and those who want to rise will accept my invitation, they will give themselves permission too.

My husband is an example of this truth, we are rising together. One of my best friends I feel is another example, that girl is rising and coming home to herself in the biggest ways right now.

I am having trouble finding my words to share this next part because my truth is, I never thought I would be speaking them..

I think my mother is rising. 

It has been gradual, so much so that I was not fully aware of the minuscule shifts happening, now looking back I can see it all more clearly.

Now as I am standing in my truths every day and giving myself all the permission needed to be BIG, to take up space, to be SEEN and HEARD and hold all of me sacred — She is seeing and hearing me. She is bearing witness to what permission to live a BIG life looks like and it feels like she wants in.

The BIG shift for us was deep truth speaking post Soul Camp that led to deeper, truer connection, the likes of which I have NEVER experienced with her.

Today we did it again. That first day was not a fluke. We can do this.

We can be heard and seen and speak truth with each other. We can rise separately, side by side.

My mother and I shared our truths about some of our parts that are hard to love. We shared our truths about our darkness. She told the truth about how she pushes this part of herself away, the way she disconnects from herself and self-sacrifices in order to be in her relationships. I told the truth that her truth made me sad and that I believe her darkness is lovable because I love my darkness, and it looks and sounds like hers. I told her my truth about darkness, it does not make us unlovable, it does not make you unlovable Mom.

We are dealing with generational trauma in my family and for the first time I feel like I can say – We are dealing with it.

There was no broom, no rug being lifted. There were two women, connected by DNA and love telling the truth. The dark, painful, sacred truth.

We can do this. My mom and I, and you – you can do this. I cannot promise you that your mom or your spouse or your child or your boss or your best friend or your partner will show up in it with you; that person may not accept the invitation to rise. That will hurt. It may even rip you open. YOU CAN STILL DO THIS. You are all the mother, spouse, child, boss, best friend, partner you need. You are the connection and belonging you are searching for in those relationships. It has always been you.

In my writing I rarely shift the focus from me to you, this is about my soul’s journey home, AND it’s not. It has never just been about me. If you are reading this you must know, it has always been about you too.

Take the invitation. You are here, you are reading this, you are in relationship with me by bearing witness.

Rise. It might just surprise you who will accept your invitation to rise right along side you.

6 month Update on Intentions

I stepped into this year with some pretty big intentions. I am proud to share that I am in it and have been all year long.

My three main intentions set at the end of December for the new year were;

Release my unhealthy attachment to my mother.
Release my fear of my story.
Through playing small.

A few months in I was doing so well seeing these intentions through and living with intention that I realized, I can go BIGGER.

Then I added;

Stand in my identity as an artist.
Allow myself to give and receive support in safe ways.
Clear physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual clutter to make room for what is coming.

So, here is where I am at;

After YEARS of conflict and heartache I have resolved my unhealthy attachment with Mom to a point of feeling safe enough in the relationship to truly show up. This intention will be my work for years to come I am sure because of the generational trauma in my family and the ways in which family members still show up to play this trauma out together. What I know is that I will no longer participate. I know what is mine and what is not and I am not opening my arms to hold anything that does not belong to me.

I have released my fear of my story in BIG ways. Hello writing openly about my abortions and loving all parts of me that are hurting, in darkness, and afraid. Hello stepping out of my relationship with my brother and holding everyone energetically responsible for their role in my childhood abuse. Hello falling deeply in love with who I am and this story that is only mine to hold and share as I feel called to.

Living mindfully in the above intentions this year has required me to be BIG. rfc (little bubby stopped by with Daddy to say hello and add a few letters, I am going to leave them). You cannot truth speak from a small place, you cannot honor yourself and your relationships from a small place, you cannot hold compassion for those who have hurt you while setting boundaries for your own ongoing safety. I have been BIG and I know now it is because I always was.

I am in my identity as an artist. I create every week, many times daily. I have dedicated time set aside for creating and I make time as pockets of time arise. I have been creating with intention to release my art into the world and have been practicing this by gifting art to every single person I love whom I have celebrated this year. Birthdays, weddings, graduations – everyone is getting love showered over them in the form of art. I am understanding that this year is about preparation. It is about owning who I am, building an inventory, and finding out what feels right in terms of how I want to show up in the world as an artist – next year will be the year I stand up boldly and DO. If this is the year of preparation, next year is the year of action.

I am still actively working on the intention surrounding support. I am building bridges and other emotional infrastructure to my island so I can practice giving and receiving in safe ways. The unlearning and unraveling from my prior unhealthy ways has been a process, I am in it and I am ALL in.

All year long I have been clearing on all levels. I do not want too feel burdened, I do not want to be holding anything that needs to be released. I want to live a life filled with joy and connection – that does not come when I am holding onto “stuff”. Still working this through and I am ALL in.

I am in a space of RAPID growth. I am setting goals, making timelines, and exceeding my own expectations. I am focused and have clear purpose. I know who I am, I know what my life is meant to be. I have spent enough of my life small and flailing, no more.

The time has come to unfold those wings.

Showing Up Together

I have talked before about the ways in which my husband and I show up in and for our relationship. These are the things we do to energetically tend to weeds so the flowers of our relationship can continue to bloom and growth in a healthy way. We have relationship check-ins which is a large block of time is set aside with no predetermined topic so we can discuss the health of out relationship and areas where we have room for growth. We also have the beloved conversation cup which is a place holder for conversations that need to be circled back to when space and time can be made to fully honor them.

All of this is important and valuable, AND it does not prevent impromptu relationship work from popping up on a random Wednesday night.

Case in point; last Wednesday night I asked my husband if he would be okay with moving the bookshelf from the guestroom to the sunroom the following evening after little bubby goes to bed. Friday night is art night for me and my art supplies were currently splayed across my art table, this mess was not going to be conducive to creativity. I knew if he moved the shelf Thursday evening that would give me Friday during the day while bubby naps to getting everything organized and then I would be all set to paint and create Friday night.

He was ALL IN. Love that man. The issue arose after the Yes. There was an old coffee table in the sunroom that we agreed to get rid of when we moved the bookshelf into the room, its time had come. Trash pick up for large items is not until Monday, and with the upcoming Monday being a recognized holiday we were pretty sure they would not be coming for the table. So the question was, where to store the coffee table until it could be disposed of? It took us a few minutes to find common ground and by the time we did my husband was OVER the whole conversation which he made clear when he threw a Whatever at me.

We do not talk to each other this way. It might seem like a small thing but it is a weed in our garden. In that moment my husband was not speaking his truth; I am tired, I feel myself becoming frustrated, I am ready to be done with this conversation for right now, and I want some space.

Had he spoken his truth I would have been very clear on how he is feeling and what his needs are and I could act accordingly. Me acting accordingly would look like this; letting him know I hear him, that we can figure out the rest of the details another time, and letting him know what I would be doing so he could be somewhere else doing something else.

Later when the dust had settled we would have done a little repair work if needed and give hugs, as is our way after a hard conversation.

We got there, all of these things happened in the end, not before taking an sizable detour into shame town USA together though.

It started with me truth speaking and setting a boundary; I am not comfortable with the way that conversation ended, I am open to hearing your truth about what is going on for you right now but please do not speak to me that way in the future.

My husband practiced truth speaking AND went into his male shame place of I-have-to-fix-and-be-the-hero. I lovingly called him on it and made it clear that is not my stuff, it is his, and I am not willing to hold it for him.

This led him to bring up times when I was playing out this shame with him by having this unfair and unrealistic expectations of him which then made me feel invisible. Is he not seeing my growth? Is he not seeing how far I/we have come? Does he honestly think we are still back there? 

We were both starting to spiral.

I found myself standing across from him with my arms crossed starting to fume when I did this really amazing thing that so many of us forget we can do, I paused.

I pressed pause on the whole situation. I may have even said PAUSE out loud, I don’t remember.

I sat down. I closed my eyes. I took a few deep breaths and checked in with all parts of me that were showing up in this moment ready for a fight, and then collected them all in my lap and said, Okay children watch this magic I am about to do.

I opened my eyes and said to my husband, Let’s talk about the lies we are telling ourselves right now.

We took turns.

Me: I am telling myself that you do not see me and my growth.
Bubby: I am telling myself that you want me to make you feel better.
Me: I am telling myself that I am the only one carrying this relationship and that you don’t care.
Bubby: I am telling myself that you want me to be perfect and handle everything and that I am not allowed to feel the way I feel.

Then we checked in with each other on each lie;

Is this true?
No.

Is this true?
No.

Is this true?
No.

Is this true?
No.

The answer was always No.

We stepped out of the spiral together.

We practiced truth speaking and agreed there were a few things for the conversation cup that we would need to come back to and do some repair around.

Then we practiced gratitude.

We took turns.

I am grateful for the way you are showing up as my partner and not making me handle everything alone.

I am grateful for the safety and space you have created so I am able to do my soul work and become my biggest self.

I am grateful for the work you are doing with your family around boundaries and truth speaking, I know it is hard.

I am grateful for the way you show up in your feminine energy with me and little bubby. I am grateful you are the example of what “being a man” is for him.

Then we let the dust settle, we spent quiet time alone together in the same room, and at bed time we snuggled before falling asleep.

 

Our plan that night was to fold laundry and watch TV, that plan went out the window. We recognize that we cannot plan for everything, some storms seemingly form out of thin air. We are ready for every storm that comes our way though, we meet them head on with confidence that what we have built can weather it. This is our truth because we have been intentional in the way we built this relationship together; we have a solid foundation, and strong walls, and no rock will ever break our glass. We take measures everyday to insure the safety of what we are creating and we show up together ready when the winds start to turn.

I am grateful for this man, and this relationship, and this life.

our magic.jpg