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

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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.

Getting Creative: Creative Communication

Another space where my husband and I have been embracing the creative energy coursing through our home since the birth of little bubby is in how we communicate.

First we introduced the conversation cup. The conversation cup is our vessel for holding conversations we need to circle back to in order to honor what needs to be addressed with the appropriate space and time. Sometimes we use the conversation cup because we are in the middle of a conversation that is going south and we need to step back and gain perspective in order to continue towards connection. Sometimes we use the conversation cup to hold a topic we know needs more time than the thirty minutes we have together in the morning, it lets us jot down our key points and come back to it when there is enough time to honor everything that needs to be expressed.

The conversation cup holds hurt feelings, misunderstandings, truths not yet spoken, dreams, ideas, love.. Above all the conversation cup is about connection because our communication is about connection. We strive to always stay on each other’s team, when it starts to feel like we are not on the same team we know it is time for a break, to call in the conversation cup, and come back to whatever it is when we know we are both in a better place to hold whatever it is together.

This is us getting creative in our communication and for us it works.

Another area where we have recently gotten creative in how we communicate is related to expressions of gratitude.

We were already practicing gratitude with one another but not regularly enough to consistently keep scarcity at bay. We were experiencing scarcity in different ways; I was experiencing scarcity related to support with little bubby and my husband was experiencing scarcity related to time.

Here’s the thing, scarcity is a liar. It is an illusion. That is my truth at least. Scarcity shows up to tell tales of not-enough and it is important when I hear those whispers creeping up from dark places that I remember my truth: Who I am is enough. What I have is enough. What I do is enough. I am grateful. I am love.

What we have started doing to enhance our connection even further and really lean into the abundance of our love is writing down our daily gratitude for one another.

We have a dry erase board on the refrigerator that we mainly use to jot down items we need at the grocery and track little bubby’s feeding/napping schedule; last week I drew a heart on the board and underneath it I wrote folding your blanket and putting it away. 

In our home everyone has their own snuggle blanket for movies etc and my husband sometimes forgets to fold his and put it away. That day he didn’t and I appreciated it. I was afraid I would forget to tell him by the end of the day so I left him the note on the board. What started as a way for me to make sure my Mom-Brain remembered to thank my husband for a small thing I appreciated him doing has turned into a daily practice now.

My husband and I both have hearts on the board in different colors; he writes my notes in purple, I write his in green, and everyday we express our love and gratitude for what the other person is doing.

It helps us both feel seen, appreciated, connected to our intention as a family and in our marriage. There is no room for scarcity when love and gratitude occupy such a large space in our home.

We are both doing things we have never done in any previous relationship, romantic or otherwise. We are allowing our love for one another and our intuition guide us and amazing things are taking place.

My husband and I are not small. We are big, we have wings. Our babies will know how to fly, they will know how to love, they will know they are lovable – we are showing them.

I am grateful for this man whom I get to call my partner. I am grateful for the little soul who chose us and breathed new life into a love that already felt big. I am grateful to have found my wings, I am grateful to be using them. I was never meant to stay small on an unstable branch, I was always meant to fly.

conversation cup

This is All I Get

My father popped in to say hello to little bubby and I. It was kismet because I was actually preparing to call him.

I miss him. He has always been the the closest thing to a calm in the storm of my family for me. He is the only one who has ever felt even close to safe. I have never doubted his love.

He held little bubby and we chatted casually for a few minutes then I told the truth.

Dad I don’t know how to communicate with Mom and I do not know what else to do. I do not mean to drag you into the middle of our relationship issues but I am at a loss, I do not know where to go from here.

Then he told the truth and it broke my heart wide open.

If you are waiting for your mother to take responsibility for anything, you will be waiting the rest of your life. It is never going to happen, it is not who she is.
She is not interested in having honest, difficult, uncomfortable conversations even if it would mean deeper connection, healing, and growth.
She does not want to lay anything out on the table and deal with it.
She is not okay with what you are doing.
You have to accept her for who she is and stop fighting for something different; this is it, she is never going to be different.

I am 35 years old. For 35 years I have been fighting with this woman. I have been energetically and directly/verbally begging to be seen, to be allowed to be who I am and that be okay and enough. I have been DESPERATE for connection.

But this is it, this is all the mother I get, she is never going to be different. It is time to stop fighting.

I am devastated.

I feel ripped open. I feel orphaned, motherless. The loss is immense.

I do not hate her for this truth. She cannot give me what she does not have, she has never been able to. My mother was wounded by her mother and I believe that her hurt is so great that she simply does not have anything left over for me. She cannot give love she does not have to give, and I know now that there is a difference between someone telling you they love you and them actually loving you. I know what love feels like now and she is not it.

All of this true AND I am still devastated. My pain is so deep and so vast, I feel I could cry every minute of everyday for a whole week straight, and not be through it.

She has always been the raging water and I have always been trying not to drown. There is a piece of me that wants to slip beneath the surface now and sink. I have been fighting for so long for something I know now will never be different. I feel defeated.

I will not drown in my mother’s rage. To do so would be to agree to carry this pain with me forever. I will not. I will not pass on my mother wound to those I love, I will not.

I will feel my pain. I will grieve. Then I will rise off this branch and fly. I will stop trying to fit somewhere I do not belong.

After my talk with my dad, the pieces of me that want to play small showed up and tempted me with numbing habits I like to engage in to avoid my pain. Here eat this, go buy yourself something nice, watch TV all day, call someone and gossip.

No. It is time to feel the pain. I have been numbing for 35 years, no more. Someone has to take care of me, I am that someone. I will not destroy myself as a way to avoid my pain.

After my conversation with my father I felt closed in being in my home. I needed some space to process. Little bubby and I ran an errand together to accommodate this need. While we were out I was seeing cacti everywhere. On blankets, bowls, bags. Cactus symbolizes self-love for me; it is a plant that relies heavily on itself – even when there is a “love drought” the cactus can survive because of the inner supply of love.
I appreciated the reminder but did not connect too deeply with the message because cactus are in fashion right now, this is less of a message and more of a fluke.

Wrong.

The Universe showed up for me twice in my pain. Driving home from our errand I looked out the window while at a red light and there was a single cactus plant growing alone on the side of the road. Message received. The love I am longing for is my own.

Then at the end of the day little bubby and I went outside and watched the most dazzling sunset I have witnessed since his birth. The sky was on fire. Reds, oranges, pinks, peaches, purples, and deep magnificent blues. There was one solitary star in the middle of it all shining its light bright enough to be seen even in the midst of this glorious display of color. Again, I see this as a message that I am okay on my own. I am enough, I always have been. My love will sustain me and once I have felt my pain and am freed from this burden I believe my love and light will shine so bright that I will be that star.

This gaping wound was caused by lack of love, it will be filled and healed with love, that is the only way I know. I will love myself, I will give love freely, I will accept it gratefully, without shame. I will be love.

I will close this difficult post with the same words I used to hold myself after my last post because I understand it is my job to hold me now, that will never be her job again.

I am my own salvation. I will use these words to rescue/save/heal/connect/love myself.

I see your pain. I am here. You are not alone. This was NEVER okay. I will protect you. We will get help. This will not continue. 

I love you.

You are lovable.

You are loved.

And once more.. I love you. You are lovable. You are loved. You are love.

 

This Sickness Won’t Last

I spoke with my brother and stepped out of our relationship on a Monday, that Wednesday I saw my therapist. I explained how the grief I felt churning felt stuck beneath the surface, unable to flow. I explained I want to feel my pain, I do not want it trapped inside me festering. I explained how confused I am; I feel pain swirling inside me, I want to feel it, why am I experiencing this disconnection? Why can’t I feel my pain.

She doesn’t have answers, just reflections. She cautions about holding my pain in; it can (and will) manifest in your body.

By Friday I was sick. Congested. More yuck stuck inside my body, unable to get out. I want it out. ALL OF IT. The yuck, the pain, the grief, the truth. The message from my body is clear – I DO NOT WANT TO HOLD THIS, and if you make me – I will make you MISERABLE.

My in-laws are in town. I am grateful.

I am grateful to have help with little bubby while I am sick. I am grateful for family connection that feels safe. I am grateful for boundaried care giving that allows me to rest and feel supported without fear. I am grateful for the opportunity to practice being seen.

I allowed my mother-in-law to see me. It was scary. I did not cry. I am not small and I was telling the truth;

I am not in my relationship with my brother right now. I love him AND there are experiences from our childhood together that I need/want to heal and I recognize this happens outside of our relationship. 

My parents are not around right now because things have shifted and we are spending less time with them. My mother has difficulty with communication and boundaries so we do not allow them to babysit little bubby. 

I am working on these relationships. I am rebuilding.

I don’t know how I feel about being seen. It is like asking my husband to hold my hand while I experience my pain. This is support, this is connection, AND this is foreign.

Blowing my nose to relieve the congestion I am experiencing does not necessarily feel good, it is what my body needs in order to heal itself and feel better though. Doing this well help me feel good.

Asking for support, seeking out connection in new vulnerable ways, allowing myself to be seen in my painful truths does not necessarily feel good, it is what my soul needs to heal itself and feel better though. Doing this well help my soul feel good.

I hid the truth/from the truth to survive. I will not hide anymore.
I disconnected from my pain to survive. I will not disconnect anymore.
I am sick today, in this moment. I will not always be sick.

truth speaking

Hand Holding

When I decided the time had come to step back from my relationship with my brother, not figuratively but literally – it was a Monday morning and I knew it was time, part of me immediately wanted to play small. This piece started coming up with excuses for why now is not the time – if I wait two days I will see my therapist and I could talk to her first, I should wait until Friday so he will have the weekend to process, my husband’s family is coming into town so he will be less available to me emotionally..

This piece of me believes that I am not big enough to handle this on my own, she also believes she is responsible for others. It was time to show her she is safe, my therapist and my husband will not be the ones who show up to save her – I will. It was also time to show her she is not responsible for my brother or anyone else for that matter.

I do not need anyone to hold my hand, I am an adult, I am capable, I am big.

That is what hand holding looked like when I was small. I needed validation, reassurance, more validation. Hand holding in my BIG place looks different; it is my husband sitting on the toilet holding my hand while I cry naked in the bath, it is my therapist energetically holding my hand as I express my grief and pain.

Hand holding when I was small felt easy, I was asking everyone else to do the hard stuff for me, I wanted to be saved from my truth/my experience. Hand holding now is harder, it requires me to vulnerable. It requires me to hold my truth and my pain and be seen. That is what hand holding in the big place is, it is a request to be seen. This takes courage.

I am the hero of my story, I am the one who will be doing the saving, I am not small, I can do hard things – including asking to be seen by asking for someone I love to hold my hand.

hand holding

We Don’t Know How to Do This

After my conversation with both my brother and my parents I was surprised to find that I was feeling okay about things. I had a moment of expressed frustration over my feeling of not being seen by my parents and my mother placing appearances over me again; otherwise though I was okay. At first.

I completed some chores, watched some TV with my husband, and then wrote for a little while. It was after writing that some of those churning emotions started to break the surface.

I ran myself a bath, I knew I needed to be held by the water. I lay in the water listening to Praying by Kesha and the pain surfaced further.

I started thinking of my soul family – should I reach out for support? I had energetically called on them for support before I ever had the conversation, maybe I should connect.. I talked myself out of it by telling myself it was too late at night. I heard my husband watching reruns of a show we like in the living room. Maybe he could hold my hand, that might feel nice.

I laid in the water for another 5 minutes hesitating, too afraid of my vulnerability to ask for what I needed –  then I did it. I called his name and he came. I told him what I needed, will you sit here and hold my hand? and he did.

I thought it would make it easier to experience my grief but it didn’t. I still felt myself wanting to disconnect from my pain, and now even more so because I had an audience. I also felt my husband disconnecting from me even while physically connected through holding hands. I decided to voice the disconnection I was feeling.

What we realized is neither of us know how to do this – connect on this vulnerable level. I am naked crying in the dark in  a bath tub, it is pretty vulnerable. Both of us hide when our pain  and vulnerability are this intense. I go to my closet, he hides behind a closed door. With all the connection we experience through truth speaking and collective accountability in our relationship, this is foreign.

There was connection in the mere act of telling the truth though. This feels weird, I don’t know how to allow myself to be supported like this AND I know that is what I want. And on his end, This feels weird, I don’t know how to show up, you are doing something I would never allow myself to do and it scares me.

By the end of our naked hand holding we were telling each other you are my best friend and I love you.

It still felt awkward and I was not able to let myself have the big screaming cry I know is buried inside me dying to get out AND I feel like we touched something important. I feel like this is part of the shift. If we can learn how to connect in our deepest darkest places, truly connect, by asking for, offering, and accepting support and love when we would normally hide and isolate.. I think that is how we experience the BIG love.

At the end when I was drying off I was thinking of little bubby. He does not hold his big screaming cries in, he lets them fly. He does not bottle up his pain/frustration/fear AND he seeks out comfort when he feels these things. None of this feels shameful to him because he is loved in these places instead of being rejected.

I want to feel my big pain and not feel shameful. I want to feel my big pain and experience comfort instead of rejection.

I want to feel my big pain and feel love.

i choose love