Modesty Schmodesty

Last night I attended my first crochet and knitting social group at the library.

I have so many take aways.

  1. It was awesome to drive alone in the car, turn the music up (no little ears in the backseat to overwhelm), and be alone with my thoughts. It was awesome to be alone. I miss being alone. I love little bubby and my husband fiercely, AND I miss being alone.
  2. It felt good to see the world clearly. When I am able to close down all the momma tabs in my brain for a while I am able to see the world so much more intensely again. I m someone who pays attention; I see the variation of greens in the grass, I see the fake flowers sitting on the windowsill of the open window of the church. I SEE my surroundings and am  inspired by all of it. Motherhood has fogged my brain a bit, I am still paying attention but maybe not as closely and maybe not all the time. I felt so myself as I marveled at the long shadows on the pavement and the way the 6:30 sun turned the green leaves gold in the park.
  3. I was not afraid. This one is BIG. In the time before I was in my power, I was afraid. I was afraid of so much. I would have never gone by myself downtown in the evening to a meet up with a bunch of strangers. All of that would have felt scary and dangerous to me. Last night I was not afraid. I was not afraid of finding parking, I was not afraid of walking by myself on the street, I was not afraid of the men on the street around me, I was not afraid of the city, I was not afraid of getting lost, or being new with unknown people, I was not afraid of being accepted or not. I was not afraid. I was not afraid because now I know and believe that I am safe. Let me be very clear about what I am saying — I know and believe I am safe because I know and believe that I am the safety I am seeking. I am safe in the world because I am safe within myself.
  4. I was not afraid – AND, I was nervous. I felt it rise up as I was driving there. It was a little part of me, preschool age, she was nervous about being new and being alone. I told her, I am with you, I am not going to leave you, we are all going to together. That was it. That was all it took. She knew she was safe and the nervous energy immediately lifted. Again, I am the safety I am seeking. If I know that I am wholly connected to myself and have made a promise not to self-abandon for anyone or anything on the outside, I am not afraid to be BIG and there is no room for anxiety because I am safe.

So this was all the internal processing that was happening before I ever stepped foot into the group. Here is what joining a new group looked like for me now from a place of deep self-love and connection.

I did not hustle, I did not prostitute. I am sure for some reading the second half of that sentence might feel icky. This is what social situations used to look like for me though. My insecurities would ride shot gun which would always lead to a terrible hustle to fit in and more often than not I would prostitute a piece of myself to try to experience belonging. This is what happens when I operate from a place of disconnection and shame. This is what it looks like when my trauma and insecurities run the show. This was not my experience last night. I walked in, made eye contact, said hi, found a seat and started crocheting. The library employee who hosts the group introduced herself and then introduced me to the group. Then I sat back and listened and observed while I worked with my yarn. I felt seen even without exerting any force or effort because I felt connected to self.

Something I noticed right away as I sat quietly working was that socializing does look different for me now. It has been years since I have socialized on a very human level, no healing or spiritual dimension present in the social group. My social group now consists only of other souls on their journey towards healing and purpose as well as a few close friends who I have known most of my life and who I can be emotionally and spiritually naked with.

The first thing I noticed was the difference in energy with this group. I felt really strong energy, I felt the hustle and insecurities of people in the group, I felt their wounds. I kept feeling triggered to comment on what I was hearing, seeing, and feeling. I held myself though because none of this was mine to hold and I was not going to set any part of myself down to hold what was not mine. I do not need to do that to belong, I already belong. After a moment of reconnection to my truth about where my sense of belonging comes from I was fine. I no longer felt triggered by anything or anyone around me, I was able to just be. It was pretty fantastic, I was super comfortable.

Overall socializing for me amounted to two statements; at one point to group was having a conversation about something and I felt comfortable sharing my truth that “we are allowed to Love what we Love”. My other contribution to group discussion came when the host shared that she was crocheting “booty shorts” for her son as part of his requested Halloween costume. This brought up the topic of appropriateness to which she replied “his body his rules” (which I fucking LOVED and agree with my whole heart!) so I said so and then said modesty schmodesty because the part of me who responded so strongly to her awesome feminist mothering is apparently a weirdo! Who am I kidding, to the outside world most of me probably seems pretty unusual.

With all of the energy flying around the room and the clear projection taking place I was  amazed to find myself feeling calm. More than that, I enjoyed myself. I enjoyed the group. When I stand in my truth of connection and belonging and allow all other beings to hold themselves without feeling the need to pick anyone up, my capacity to experience joy and Love expands, it is infinite.

I am growing. Everyday I am growing. I am becoming truer, I am becoming more powerful, I am LOVE, more and more and more I am the embodiment of LOVE.

I do not need a single thing from this group except for everyone to be just as they are and for me to be all that I am too.

It was good. It is good. There is so much goodness.

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Seasons Always Change

Oh friends, I am in my struggle.

Little bubby and I are in a difficult season and some moments I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water.

He is betting busier and wanting to explore more, which is really exciting and fun for both of us, AND it is also leading to multiple meltdowns a day when I try to create safety for him in the process.

He is starting to experience some of his big emotions, like frustration, and due to the communication barrier I feel the best I can do to help him navigate these experiences is to nurture and support him in the moment and redirect when necessary.

I feel good about the way I am showing up with him AND my nervous system is feeling the impact of spending 12+ hours a day with a someone who does not yet know how to self-regulate.

I hit a wall on last Monday. Long story short; my day started before 5am and ended after 10pm, and the in-between was trying to put it mildly.

Since then I have been giving a lot of thought to what needs to happen inside of my self-care to better equip me for these kind of difficult days. My husband and I have been talks about how we can both be making space for our own and each other’s self-care. This has been a priority for both of us, even before little bubby was born, but of course we are not perfect and sometimes we spread too thin.

My self-care has always existed inside gentle moments; sitting under the oak tree at the park near our home and being part of hum of life, creating through art and writing, reading, making space in my life to put myself in the way of beauty, and of course my daily practice of gratitude.

The gratitude practice is key and we feel it when we allow it to fall by the wayside, as it has over the last few weeks.

So for now we are recommitted to practicing mindfulness and gratitude as a family, AND while I figure out all the ways I want to step up my self-care game, I have decided to pack up my yarn and take my crochet project on the road! There is a group that meets up once a week to knit and crochet together at our library downtown so I have decided to join them this week to see what I think.

Truthfully I usually enjoy being enveloped in silent solitude when I am creating but I am clear that I need to have time away from the house and this feels like something I could slide into with ease.

I am feeling called to close with a little gratitude;

I am grateful for our home. I love where we live, I love all the life I get to share this home with – baby and husband and cardinal alike.

I am grateful for my healing, my awareness of my wounds and my commitment to loving myself wholly makes me the everything that I am.

I am grateful for each sweet silent moment of solitude I get to exist in.

I am grateful for the change of season and the temperate with that will accompany it.

I am grateful to be here, in this. Struggle or not, this is mine and I love it.

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.

Home is Where the LOVE is.

Little bubby turned one at the end of August. I spent most of the month reflecting on the last year of our life together and all the milestones my family has experienced during that time.

When I say milestones I am not talking about little bubby learning to crawl or say Momma, although that last one was earth shaking for me to be sure. I am talking about all the ways in which we ALL grew; as a family, as individuals, in our separate relationships.

It is incredible to me how much growth and Love and joy and abundance we have experienced in this last year.

I would like to share just a few of those moments with you before I move into why I really sat down to write this morning;

Witnessing my sweet husband become a father. Going from frazzled and at times scared while he navigated choppy waters with a newborn into the confident Daddy who played the role of both parents for four days when little bubby was 9 months old while Momma was on a healing retreat.

The way my husband and I found our way home together to our truth about gratitude and fulfillment. Being in it with him as we started calling scarcity out on the lies it was breathing into our life and staying connected to each other and our truth as we moved into a space of joyful intentional living. There is no part of our life together that has not been touched by this sacred work.

And of course little bubby. Oh my heart. I could fill pages and pages with the joy and Love I have been swimming in while I bear witness to the growth of this sweet little soul who chose us. I have in fact. I have been writing this sweet soul letters, 2 or 3 a month, since we conceived. This is how I started my connection with this little soul who chose me as his Momma and I know one day it will all mean something to him.

 

Okay, now that I have had a few minutes to soak in a Love bath let me tell you why I am here today.

As the days drew nearer to little bubby’s birthday something that kept coming up for me were images of my husband while I was in labor. It is hard not to think back to the day little bubby entered the world and the truth is, it was not all joy. There was joy and LOve but there was also fear and pain.

I have not been dwelling on the fear and pain when the memories rise though, what I keep coming back to is my husband and the feeling of warmth and comfort; the feeling of emotionally and energetically being held.

I see him sitting next to me in the labor room reading To Kill a Mockingbird to me. I see him spoon feeding me jello and encouraging me to drink water. I see him holding me as I attempt to move around the room. I see him petting my forehead between pushes. I see him running to the bathroom for a cold wash cloth and then holding it on my face and neck. I see his beautiful face and the tears and relief he is feeling when it finally over and little bubby is laying on my stomach. I see him standing across the room next to little bubby who is being cleaned by nurses while the doctor stitches me. I see him helping me practice taking deep breaths when little bubby will not latch. I see him sacrificing his body to take care of mine. I see him trying over and over and over again. He never stops trying.

I fell in love with this man because when I said I wanted to take it slow, he said okay. He never once tried to take anything without asking, he waited for me. I fell in love with this man because when I told him my whole story, without editing the pain, he said I love you, none of this changes that. I fell in love with this man because falling in love with him was the easiest thing I have ever done in my entire life, there was nothing to do but love him.

I did not know, I slipped so easily into this Love with him, just what it would all mean. I did not know then that he was the soul, who chose me and whom I chose, to walk home together. This man has always been walking me home, and I am walking with him too. Sometimes he leads, sometimes I am the one in front, but we are always together, always in our connection. His light shines clarity onto our path and so does mine.

So on this anniversary of the day our sweet little soul joined us here in the outside world, I send my kisses and gratitude to the stars for the man who helped me make the vessel that will always be little bubby’s home. We made this Love, we made his little human form, we made this family, we made a home together.

 

With my Hand on Your Heart

On a very human level, this week was hard.

Saturday my husband, who has been sick all of three times during our 7 year relationship, came down with the cold that little bubby and I have been sharing over the last few weeks. Sunday my cycle started. Monday little bubby began having sleep trouble.

Monday left me in tears, Tuesday left us stressed, Wednesday about killed us.

Wednesday night little bubby woke at 10:30 and did not finally return to sleep until 3:30 Thursday morning.

We were all able to make up some of that sleep during his morning nap on Thursday but the damage had been done and the day hurt.

Have you ever had that kind of day, where the day just hurts? Thinking hurts, moving hurts, interacting hurts, everything is just painful.

It was still before noon when I found myself standing in the middle of the living room, shaking two beach towels, tears rolling down my face, all because Lu was following me around the house as I readied us for our holiday plans when all I wanted was a LITTLE SPACE!

I stopped my shaking and went inward. I breathed through the emotional and energetic shaking as I held all of myself and allowed the hurt to settle. We are okay.

Settled, I walked into the kitchen where all of my loves sat around the table having lunch. I sat in my spot at the window seat and picked up the sandwich my husband had made for me.

He looked at me with his beautiful face, the one he shares with me when he can see my pain and is promising not to add on.

He said, We have to get through this together. We cannot melt down.

I added, At the same time.

He smiled.

He suggested we practice counting our gratitude together to offset the hurt. From my place of exhaustion I shared that I could not see it through the fog. We agreed to start in a simpler place, funny stories. Let’s retell funny stories until enough hurt has lifted to call in our gratitude.

We told the story of Lu getting pooped on by a bird. We told the story of little bubby farting across the living room as he crawled towards a toy. We told the story of Lu getting her ear covered in barbecue sauce.

We laughed and the fog of hurt began to lift. It was time to go. We loaded the car and nestled our babies in and headed out to be with family.

The rest of the day ran smooth. We ate, we played, we rested. We honored the space of where we were and chose rest over fireworks and drinking. We came home early, put little bubby to bed, and cuddled in bed reading until lights out. We were asleep before 9:00.

As a laid next to my husband in the dark, right before falling off the edge into sleep, I told him I was ready to count our gratitude. He went first;

I noticed you remembered to turn the air up before we left.
I am grateful for how gently our babies play together (little bubby was sitting with Lu earlier in the day handing her dog bones).
I am grateful little bubby is asleep and able to rest.
I am grateful for the support we allowed today.

Then I followed;

I am grateful to call you my partner. There is no one else I would choose to do this life with. When it is good, part of that is always you. When it is bad, part of my ability to navigate and survive it is always you.

I am grateful for these sweet souls who chose us (Lu and little bubby). We get to share our home and our love with such gentle little beings and I am so grateful and honored to have been chosen by them.

I am grateful for our ability to lean into support without falling into exploiting  the givers of that support.

I am grateful for this bed I get to share with you, and clean sheets to lay on, and comfort, and quiet, and rest.

I fell asleep with my hand on his chest, his heart beating beneath it.

Momma Gratitude

This afternoon I completed my 3rd load of laundry, 2nd load of dishes (the third load is waiting its turn in the sink), put away all the supplies after giving the Lu an impromptu bath this morning when she decided to roll in mud, made dinner for tonight (legit food I am proud to feed my family), finished cleaning up the art room from last night’s creation, and sat down here to write this post – all while little bub takes a nap.

I came in from moving the laundry around and saw another item to add to my check list – clean up shoes from front hall. I almost grabbed them then and there but instead I got mad; I have been cleaning my house all day, how the hell is my house still messy?! 

I say this to myself multiple times per week.

It feels like I am always cleaning. It is totally not true, I am no slave to cleanliness; however, I do clean a lot more than I used to.

I have a third person’s laundry to do, and that third person is super messy. I have a third person to feed, and that third person is super messy. I have a third person to clean up after, and that third person is super messy.

I am grateful for the chores my husband does, otherwise I would be buried. As it is, I still feel a bit ick about this particular part of my role as mommy and house co-manager.

That is why I am writing in these sacred few minutes I have left before little bubby wakes up. Not because I need to vent, the opposite in fact; I have gratitude exploding out of me.

My ability to balance is on point. When scarcity creeps in; Hello why is the house still a mess?!, I don’t have enough help, I don’t have enough time, I don’t have enough energy, We need a maid!, I start looking for the truth and tune out the lies scarcity is trying to sell me. Sorry scarcity, I am not buying.

My first truth: The truth of enough.

I am enough. What I have is enough. What I give is enough. I do not have to do it all now. There is enough time for everything.

Second, truth: The truth of abundance.

Enter gratitude, welcome back old friend. I missed you for a moment there. Let’s practice some truth speaking about this life of ours.

My gratitude in this moment is this:

I am grateful for the peace an organized home brings myself and my family.
I am grateful my husband shares a peaceful home as a foundational value and does his part to create and maintain our peace.
I am grateful little bubby naps well and that I am able to use his nap time in whatever way I feel connected to in that moment; cleaning, art, cooking, writing..
I am grateful for the knowledge that no use of this time is wrong as long as I made the decision from a place of connection.
I am grateful for what I was able to accomplish and create this afternoon.
I am grateful for my truth around perfectionism; I do not have to do it all, I do not have to be supermom – I am enough as I am, ALL of me is.
I am grateful for the support I call in; friends, family, the food I eat, hot showers, books, coffee, hugs.

Most of all, always most of all, I am grateful for the love. There is so so much love here and I am grateful.

Little bubby is awake and I am now ready to play.

Creating the Path

Now that I have performed all my rescue missions and I am on the other side of the hurt, it is time for the RISE.

This bird has created a nest of safety and now she is ready to LIFT and see just how far these wings can carry her.

Through my visions I have seen some of the road ahead. The places where the path are clear make goal setting easy, this is good AND I am not looking for easy. My focus now is on the challenge.

I have been writing my story since I was 9. I have been sharing my story since I was 28. The time is coming for how I will fully OWN myself, and my story, and all of my sacred truths OUT LOUD. It is time for me to pick up my brick and carry it down the path. It is time to lay it down and take my place in the collective stories of women who have risen when their souls called out for it. I have to take my place where it has been saved for me. My brick will call the next woman to carry hers. We cannot get to where we are going, we cannot return to love without these bricks, without this path.

The time is coming and I am making myself ready.

On the other rise of trauma therapy is about the rising. It is about clearing the way to follow my truth home.

With my hand at my heart I thank you for being here, if these stories have touched you I am grateful – now go pick up your brick.