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.

Advertisements

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.

Untethered Soul

I have begun my final rescue mission of myself from my trauma.

This last rescue is all about bringing home the mother, her babies – all of them. The babies who chose me, and all of my inner babies who have experienced the pain of my life.

I did not know it at the time but I started this rescue months ago when I cleared my closet. I donated/gifted away more roughly 3/4 of my wardrobe leaving me with just the essentials; and by essentials I mean, just the clothing that brings me joy. In the process of this clearing I took every single thing out of my closet and cleaned it, top to bottom.

Last weekend I returned to the attic and brought down all my boxes. All of the dust covered memories I have been tucking away in the darkest corners, with lids shut tight.

I opened every lid, emptied every box and found all of my abandoned parts in the heap. I separated myself from the mess and performed a cleaning ritual to cleanse my sacred bits and invite them home to belong to a whole again.

I brought down five boxes, my sacredness fits into one. When I took the lids off and find my special parts they were in poor shape. They had spent years crammed into small, dark dirty spaces, surrounded by junk and other people’s stuff.

You see the message here right? This is not just literal. This is what we do. We tuck away our pain and hurts into the furthest corners of our dark spaces and leave them there surrounded by garbage and other people’s crap that was never ours to be holding on to. Then we spend our lives weighted down by all of it.

It took me 35 years to go up into that darkness, face the truths I was afraid of that caused me to create these boxes in the first place, and rescue myself from all of it.

Now I in the process of tossing the trash, returning everything that is not mine to those whom it belongs to –  I am no longer willing to hold anyone but me- , and holding my truths sacred again. That includes my pain and darkness, it is ALL sacred.

Now my sacredness is held all together, in one transparent box. It has a lid, which sometimes I choose to take off in order to let myself breathe. On that lid words are written. Sacred words. Names. Truths. This is what is holding me now. This box is in my closet, in the space I created for it before I even knew that is what I was doing.

I have allowed myself to be guided by my intuition, my inner knowing, the wisdom I came to this life with, and brought me exactly where I am meant – home in my truths, in love, in connection.

This is what whole looks like for me. This is what healing looks like. This is the BIG LOVE. My capacity to LOVE has grown in a way I do not have human words for. I have a relationship with the dark now which means I will never again be consumed by it; my own or anyone else’s. This is freedom.

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.

Losing You Was My Becoming

Last night I struggled.

I was triggered during the day by something my mother said in passing and by bedtime I was unwound. I was face down in my husband’s lap balling. It did not stop there. I cried when we went to bed. I woke up an hour after going to bed and cried some more. My husband held me and talked me through it as best he could.

This morning he let me sleep. He got up with little bubby and handled the morning routine. Two hours later I came out to a quiet house. Little bubby was taking his first nap, my husband was sitting on the couch watching the news on low volume. I was greeted by his smile and by the wagging tail of my excited Lucy.

I pat Lucy’s head and crawled into my husband’s lap.

I have been holding in all the pain and grief. I have been trying so hard to remain functional. The lid is off.

I asked to feel my pain and The Universe obliged. I am in pain.

I have decided to attempt to talk honestly with my parents one last time about our dysfunction and working towards healing as a family. If this message falls on deaf ears, as my previous attempts have, that is it for me. I will not subject any of my babies (internal or little bubby) to this swamp.

I am raw and reeling and trying desperately to keep my head above water. AND there is a deep sense of peace rising from my power center because this is the decision that has been waiting to be made and finally I am here.

I never wanted to be here AND somehow I have known I was coming.

Right now I do not feel big. I do not feel much like a hero. I am though and even if I don’t feel it, I know it is true.

Because here I am, going through it, not running. I am doing hard things. It is so hard.

I am scooping everyone into my lap and I am walking out of this place we do not belong…

And I am not afraid.

losing you was my becoming

A Part

Alone at night, my husband out with a friend visiting from out of town. Alone, little bubby sleeping soundly.

A Lone.

Tired. Have been all day. Soul weary tired. empty. Without.

I will watch a movie, no energy for art or writing. Lay quietly.

Then it happens.

Hi. You’ve come a long way haven’t you little one? It hasn’t been easy has it? One day you’ll tell me all about it. You’ll tell me everything. I’ll always listen. Always.

I pause. I rewind. I listen again. I pause. Someone in me starts to shake. I feel a vibration strengthening.

I open my lap, call her in and say the words out loud.

Hi. You’ve come a long way haven’t you little one? It hasn’t been easy has it? One day you’ll tell me all about it. You’ll tell me everything. I’ll always listen. Always.

I erupt. From nowhere and everywhere my screaming pieces rise out of me and fly. Breathless sobbing. Everything I have been holding in, pushing down. Grief, pain, loss, separation, fear, anguish- flows out of me, a faucet that cannot be shut off.

I think my lap cannot be big enough. I am not enough to hold all of this.

Lies.

This is my crying baby. She is mine. I will hold her and love her. All I have is enough.

I am enough.

I cannot do it anymore. I cannot be apart from myself.

These stories are hard. It has not been easy. I will listen. I will always listen.

I finally found my baby. I will never set her down again.

owee

 

 

Sometimes You Have Someone to Rescue

I was just hit hard by something I read, it relates to everything I know about experiencing a shift and not being able to go back to the smaller version you once were.

Hazel had read enough books to know that a line like this one is the line down which your life breaks in two. And you have to think very carefully about whether you want to cross it, because once you do it’s very hard to get back to the world you left behind. And sometimes you break a barrier that no one knew existed, and then everything you knew before crossing the line is gone. But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

The book I am reading is not a self-help, it is not spiritual or philosophical, it is not a book that makes you think or question (at least I do not believe that was the author’s intention). It is a young adult fantasy. I read mainly fiction and inside that genre I read mainly fiction that contains an element of magic or make believe. Part of my survival growing up depended on my ability to disconnect, my ability to create beautiful alternate realities where home was safe, siblings were fun, and mother’s loved their children. My imagination has always been one of my greatest powers; it protected me from harsh truths my delicate pieces could not handle.

To this day I love stories with whimsy, imagination; stories that are magical where realities can be bent and you can count on the world around you to come alive and help you. Whether it is a talking animal or being held and comforted in the maternal arms of the Oak.

I know this has much to do with my artistic leanings towards fantasy landscapes – I like to create worlds that you could step through the canvas into. My little pieces like to have places to go when reality feels like too much.

Coming back to what I read –

This spoke to me. It is how I feel after experiencing a shift. My heart is bigger on the other side of that line I crossed and I cannot go back to the before, the place where my heart was smaller. She is right, you do have to think carefully about that decision because there is loss involved in stepping over a threshold like that.

But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

I have stepped into my darkness so many times to perform rescue missions. I know the rescue is worth anything that could be lost in the process. Finding a piece of yourself in the dark, picking her up, carrying her home to the light… Once you’ve done it you know. You know you would be willing to put down every single person and every single thing that you thought was important if that is what it would take to pick that piece of you up.

I am grateful for this reminder of one of my very sacred truths tonight. It is validation of the path I am walking.

I am not afraid of the dark, some of my deepest truest loves were rediscovered in the darkest places. I will continue to venture into the dark unknown until I my heart tells me that all parts of me have been welcomed home. I will not leave any piece of me behind as I walk my path forward, we all go together.

the swamp