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.

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You Are Ready

Two weeks ago my mother and I did something I never thought possible in our relationship, we practiced truth speaking.

It was HARD.

AND —

It was SO good.

 

I called her a few days after soul camp to wish her a belated happy Mother’s Day and check in. Early on in the conversation she cautiously asked if I had done the work I needed to do around my relationship with my brother in order to be able to step back into the relationship.

I told her I had done work around the relationship, Yes, AND I was not ready to return to the relationship. I asked her if she wanted to discuss where I was at with it and Why, she did.

I told the truth.

He abused me growing up. It was not “siblings fighting” it was abuse. Shattered bedroom door, holes in the wall, bruises on my body, strangulation until I passed out –  I was terrified and it was abuse.

I was holding up a mirror she had been avoiding for a very long time. She had failed as a mother and my truths were the proof.

The truth speaking continued like this – me making room for her to be an imperfect mother, me letting her know I can love her and I will not reject her in this, AND truth speaking about my place of injury in these failures. I understand now it was never her failures that hurt, it was her rejection of me when she failed. By not owning her imperfections as a mother she was rejecting me every time she got it wrong. She was rejecting me because she could not hold the truth, that she was not the perfect mother. She rejected me because I was a reminder that she was not a perfect mother.

I told the truth that I am AS IMPORTANT as my brother, I am MORE IMPORTANT than my relationship with my brother, and I am MORE IMPORTANT than our family being whole. I AM IMPORTANT.

I told the truth that I will no longer carry my brother. I will no longer hold anything that is not mine to hold. I will not hold her pain over her failures, I will not hold my brother’s pain, I will not hold the pain of my family. I will ONLY HOLD MYSELF.

I told the truth that my brother is still spiraling, it just manifesting in different ways. He is still that 13 year old boy in his trauma. He has not showed up to hold his pain, rescue the parts of himself he has abandoned, and he is not loving himself well, if at all.

I told the truth that these truths about my brother make him feel unsafe to me and I will not expose any part of myself or my family to this.

I spoke my truth that I love my brother and I miss him, but not more than myself. I come first.

My mother asked questions and spoke truths as well and held her pain. It was hard and it was good.

For the first time in the history of our relationship I felt seen and heard in my pain and truths. The rug was lifted and we survived.

It was hard and it was good.

When I recounted this experience with my therapist she said one of the best things she has ever said to me; You are ready to have a girl. 

I knew exactly what she meant.

I am in my power. I have done the work. I am saved and I am the one that did the rescuing. We are past the trauma because I am the mother of this vessel and the parts therein, I am safety. Because I now hold myself and my truths sacred and in deep deep love I am able to show others how this is done, including a daughter if one chooses me.

I came home and told my husband what my therapist said and his reaction filled me with so much joy.

I did it. I am on the other side!

There will always be work to do, the tree is never done growing until it dies, but I am done going back. Now it is time for me to find my way forward.

I know I still have some work to do related to my past but it is different now. It is from a place of power and love, not victim mentality and fear. Once these last few parts are scooped into my lap I will be unstoppable. This is what it looks like when a powerful woman rises.

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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

All of Me is Here

This morning I am sitting in a quiet home relishing the morning sun shining through windows of the sun room. This is a pre-little bubby feeling. It is a reminder that I am still me and all of me is here, no parts of me have been excluded from my new life since his birth.

I received another reminder of this yesterday.

My husband and I went out for date night, our fifth since little bubby’s birth 9 months ago. We went downtown to two bars we would occasionally patron before little bubby was born. Even with all of the changes and growth we have experienced separately and as a couple since little bubby’s arrival this still felt fun, and comfortable, and familiar. I still feel connected to my partner and best friend, I still look forward to and enjoy dating my husband, we still enjoy deep conversations and walking hand in hand in a crowd.

The second bar we visited has been relatively unchanged since I first began going there 15 years ago. Same decor, same crowd (a bit older maybe), same 80’s music, same energy of acceptance and freedom.

I like this bar because they play my favorite 80’s music and has been a constant downtown when everything else is ever changing. We like this bar because the people who go there give themselves permission to be seen, to be vulnerable, to be real.

We were talking about that last part while we watched people swaying on the dance floor to Tears for Fears. There is something happening at this bar that is not happening at any other bar downtown, not at this level at least, it is the feeling of freedom that comes from giving yourself permission to just be.

We were both sitting in our gratitude that there are places in our community where this kind of safety exists, we were grateful to be witness to it, to be part of it.

I am a mother now, I stopped drinking 3 years ago, I am more grounded than the girl who played downtown over a decade ago AND I all of me is here and part of this life I actively creating with this man I love.

I felt the parts of me who love to dance, the parts that like to be silly, that parts that want to get into mischief, the parts that want to be seen. All of me is here, what has changed is the time and my relationship with these parts. How I care for myself, how I honor my needs and wants, the way I connect within and without.

Last night was fun, this morning is peaceful. Nothing and everything has changed and all of me is here to be part of this. This is a good life, more than I even knew to dream for, and I am grateful.

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.

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

Going Small to Get BIG Joy

Here is something I am learning that is a real mind bender, sometimes you have to do the opposite of the thing you think you want to get the thing you want.

Confused yet? Yeah, I was too.

Here is the breakdown of this epiphany:

It started with the me realizing little bubby needed me to intentionally disconnect in order for him to experience deeper connection. It blew my mind that connection required a level of disconnection, but it did. Now I see him and feel him building his own connection to the world around him AND our connection is deepening as well. Amazing right?!

My next experience with opposites belonging together came when I unraveled my truth about my relationship with clothing/fashion.

Oh man, this is a big one. I used clothing/fashion to hold/hide my shame for sooooo long! It was one of my favorite masks.

I finally decided once and for all I wanted to be seen, I wanted to be BIG, and that meant addressing this shameful part of me directly and bringing her back into the light.

More on my relationship with fashion/clothing and how I was using it to play small in another post, I am going to jump ahead to the conclusion for the purpose of this post.

What I found at the end of this particular deep dive is that I want to feel joy, and peace, and connection when I get dressed. I want the outside to reflect the inside.

Here is what I decided to do about it:

First, I emptied my closet and my drawers – completely empty. This left a HEAPING pile of clothes, we’ll comeback to the heap.

Next, I cleaned. This felt like my way of bringing the light in and showing love to dark places. I cleaned the inside of my drawers, I cleaned my closet (deep clean- I washed the walls and shelves, vacuumed, and shampooed the carpet), and I cleaned every single piece of clothing. This deep clean took days!

After the cleaning came the rearranging. I went through every single piece of clean clothing and sorted what will be coming home to my closet and drawers, what will be gifted to one of my dearest friends who I knew would find joy in it, and what will be donated to women in need of joy.

I was intentional in this process, it also took days. I had a definite YES!! pile, a I need to think about it pile, and then my pile of gift and donate.  By the end of the process my wardrobe was 1/4 of what it was. Every single piece of clothing remaining brings me joy, comfort, peace, and makes me feel connected to who I am. This is true for my underwear and date night dress alike.

Now when I go in my closet I feel peaceful. I did not realize how cluttered my mind felt by the excess until it was finally eliminated. You want to know something else, as much as I thought I loved all the clothes and accessories and shoes, I know now that was not true because I am not mourning my losses. In fact, they do not feel like losses at all. There is no sense of scarcity here, what I have is not only enough, it makes me feel full.

In the past when I would pare down it would often trigger feelings of scarcity and then I would want to shop to replace the loss. Not this time because I did this work from a connected place. No part of me feels abandoned. All of me got to participate in the decisions made and all of me feels the peace and freedom that comes with having exactly what we need.

I am not going to lie, it was HARD to be in the middle of this deep clean. I wanted to cut corners and skip to the end where I could put everything away and go back to ignoring the hoard.

I am glad I gave this work the space and time it deserved. Creating a small wardrobe has created so much space for BIG joy.

Now I am in love with every article of clothing I own. I am excited about getting dressed each day because what I am wearing on the outside always reflects the love I feel on the inside.

Now I have space in my closet for other things that bring me joy like my art.

This was a major unraveling. It is amazing to me how “AND” really can hold space for everything.

Disconnection AND connection can exist at the same. I had a lot and that made me feel small, now I have a little and it makes me feel BIG.

These are truths I never would have believed before, yet here I am. Here I am playing with what is possible, allowing myself to feel connected AND joyful AND peaceful AND loved AND BIG.