No Wrong Way

I have a confession.

Sometimes I have a little trouble giving myself room to be in my truth of struggle when it comes to mothering. The parts of me that experience privilege, and feel deeply connected to my son, and Love my life, and see all the good – those parts have no room for my truth of struggle.

A few weekends ago we spent sometime with a family we are friends with. They have a little boy too, he is one year older than little bubby. While the Daddies were playing outside with the boys me and the other momma sat at the kitchen table and exchanged truths.

Her truth of struggle looks different than mine. She works full-time and does not want to, she wants to be home raising her baby. She said she has “attachment issues” with her son because it too them two years to conceive and now all she wants to do is be with him. She shared with me the pain she experiences when she drops him off at daycare in the morning and how since becoming a mother she feels “off her game” at work, like her mind is fuzzier than it used to be.

I held space for her truth and felt the ache of her momma heart breaking. When it was my turn to share I felt the space being held for truth shrink. It felt as if there was not room for my truth of struggle. She reminded of my good fortune – I became pregnant our first try, I get to stay home and be with my son. This is all true of course AND I have many truths of struggle.

I could tell this momma, inside of her own truth of struggle, could not hold space for me and mine. I felt her self-judgment, her not-good-enoughs were littered around us like emotional landmines. Better to hold my truths sacred rather than set off bombs.

I was grateful this momma showed up the way she did with me that day. It was a much needed reminder that while support is essential, at the end of the day I am the one that has to be able to hold my truth of struggle. I am the one who has allow space for it. All the blessings of my life can be true AND I am allowed to have truth of struggle.

Here is the other reminder she reflected to me; there is no wrong way to mother. All of us are enough AND we all have truth around struggle. In the space of motherhood there is enough room for all of to be here, there is belonging for all.

She is no less a mother because she works, just as I am no more  a mother because I am home with little bubby. Her struggle is no more or less than my own, it just is. It is struggle, whatever our truth might look like, we are allowed space to be in it.

So I close this by saying I see you Momma, whoever you are, out there being enough AND being in your struggle. Thank you for seeing me in mine.

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A Distant Echo

In the early months of little bubby’s life I was feeling deep longing for connection with other mother’s. I was in a new relationship not only with him but with myself in the role of mother. The whole experience had upended my life in many ways and I was feeling very alone.

I did not find the friend I was looking for. I know now there are reasons for that.

  1. I was not really wanting a friend, I was wanting to be saved. Only I can do that.
  2. I wanted to experience belonging. That is always an inside job first.

Support is welcome and necessary in a big life transition like this but I was not seeking support.

I was scared and I wanted someone to hold me and rescue me from it. I was playing small because I was not willing to look in the mirror and claim the power of my truth – I am the belonging I am seeking, I am the HERo of this story.

Don’t worry friends, I got there. I figured this things out and picked myself up in a BIG way.

Now I marvel at the growth not only I have experienced, but my whole family. We are in a season of growth over here and I am living for it!

Once I stopped playing small, the companionship came. I have three mommy friends who I feel deep connection with, the kind of connection that can only come through feeling truly seen.

The acceptance goes beyond knowing I am enough in these relationships, it is knowing that three is enough. I do not have to have a large social circle, I do not need to have a play date scheduled for every day of the week. My needs are met through having three women, who I can show up with and who will show up with me in return.

 

I was with one of my friends this week and she reflected something to me that has been echoing around inside of me all week. She is a social worker as well and she asked me, what will returning to work look like for you?

We discussed this for a while, my truth is; I do not know yet AND I do know I will be playing by my own rules.

What she reflected to me in the course of the conversation is an idea of my work taking place somewhere in spirituality.

I feel like when the words fell from her mouth a gong was struck inside of me and I have been feeling the vibrations ever since.

Of course I have no idea what spiritual work would look like, just like I have no idea where my writing or art will take me. All I know is that this is who I am, this is the Light I bring, and as Glennon Doyle says, I will just do the next right thing until I get where ever it is I am going.

 

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.

A Kick to the Throat and an Onslaught of Memories

A few weeks ago little bubby and I were tumbling around together tickling and giggling and having the best time. While playing, he zigged when I zagged and he accidentally kicked me in the throat. My PTSD reaction was immediate. My eyes welled with tears as pain across my entire body came crashing over me like a wave.

My throat is my number trigger one area in terms of the physical trauma I have experienced. I have others as well but my throat is absolutely my place of vulnerability above all else. I paused and tried desperately to stay inside myself and the moment long enough to allow my husband, who was standing near us, to take over while I cared for and comforted myself.

Once little bubby was with daddy I scooped up all the parts of myself that had risen up with stories to tell and I listened. I listened to each part as they shared their truth with me, and with each truth shared I repeated to myself over and over – I believe you.

These three words have been so powerful when it comes to my healing. They have been an emotional salve, mending all my wounds. They are exactly what I needed to hear in the moments when my wounds were created, I say them now each time I am repairing a hurt with myself.

My body tells me – this happened, and I say – I believe you.
My inner 5 year old tells me – this happened, and I say – I believe you.
My inner mother tells me – this happened, and I say – I believe you.

The healing starts here.

After I listened and validated all parts of myself in these resurrected stories of hurt, I took a shower. It was time to care for myself and honor my body for what she has been holding for me. It was also time for release, which I did in the form of a heavy cry under the warm water. I allowed the water to hold me while I held all the pain of my truths.

I was strangled, his hands on my throat, until I blacked out.
I woke up to see him walking away from me, leaving me alone, still choking, on the floor.
My father found me.
I was not comforted.
I was alone.

After my shower and my cry I found little bubby and my husband in the kitchen having dinner. I kissed little bubby on the head and checked in with him. I told him I was sorry that our playing ended the way it did and that I bet that was confusing for him and maybe even made him feel sad. I told him I loved him and he did nothing wrong. I told him mommy accidentally got hurt and had to take care of herself. I told him accidents happen and mommy is okay now and is ready to play when he finishes dinner. I thanked him for the way he shows up as a teacher in my life.

After little bubby went to bed I made myself some lavender chamomile tea and painted to finish releasing anything related to this incident as well as the original trauma, my body re-experienced what it was like to suffer a throat injury and it brought up a lot of other physical pain from the original trauma – my back hurt, my shoulders, my pelvis.. My body was telling me that when this happened it was not just my throat that experienced it – I was held down, there was intense pressure on all these areas. Now that all of this had risen back up to the surface, I wanted to make sure to acknowledge it all and release it from my body. I do not want this pain trapped in my body any longer.

At bedtime I processed with my husband. While it was a difficult night, I was immensely grateful for the clarity and information I gained from the experience. When this trauma originally took place I dissociated to survive, I not only literally blacked out from lack of oxygen, I blacked out many of the memories as well. This is how I have survived all of my traumas, through disconnection. Reconnecting my dots as I heal has been challenging; the more Love and acceptance I show myself the more I get back, I don’t know if I will ever know my full story though.

What I am the most proud of is how I mothered myself through this PTSD episode. I did not disconnect, I did not shutdown, I did not numb. My pain came on swift and fierce and I held all of it. I held all of myself and loved myself and I stayed present with everything that was happening inside, even when the truth was awful. I did not abandon any part of myself.

I am also proud of how I handled my repair with little bubby. My commitment to owning my imperfections and staying in my connection with myself while in my relationships with those I love makes me a better everything – a better partner, a better mother, a better friend..

In moments like these I know this truth for certain – this little soul and I, we chose each other. I am so grateful for that. So so grateful.

 

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.

Calling In

My husband and I are still in our clearing out process, we have not quite reached the other side. The functionality of our home is much improved and the extra space that has already been created is so welcome.

I think we can agree that we are feeling so much connected to ourselves, each other, and this life we are creating.

Now that we are making room for what comes next, what comes next is starting to come.

One of the biggest acts of clearing I have performed has been with relationships; specifically with my brother. I am going to be honest with you friends, I do not remember how much of this story I have shared so please excuse any redundancies.

Over a month ago, not long after returning home from Soul Camp, I unpaused my relationship with my brother and officially stepped out.

I hit pause on the relationship back in January with the mutual understanding that when we speak again it would be to discuss what our relationship will look like moving forward on the other side of my healing.

Once I got to the other side that question was easily answered. There is no relationship to go back to because I am not going back. I am going forward, without him, as our souls agreed to. I am keeping a promise our souls made in another time. A time his soul no longer remembers.

We spoke about this and from his human place he appeared confused, frustrated, and in denial.

One fact is clear; even if your soul does not remember these promises made, and even if you do not understand my soul speak, you DO know that you abused me. From a very human place I have no room at all for you acting as if you do not understand why my healing was needed or judging the ways in which I am doing it.

What I made clear is that I am not cancelling our relationship, I am just not going backwards to be with him. I am over here, in this new place that exists on the other side of healing. There is space for him here too, I see his place being held for him. This is where our relationship is, if and when he ever finds his way here, I am waiting for him with Love and open arms.

 

Now that I have finally set down my brother and all the pain that was never mine to hold there is SO much space in my life for new beginnings. Me creating this space energetically Calls In whom I am meant to be with in this next phase. The Universe responded without hesitation.

A very clear message came through about someone whom I do not actually know but rather know of, and how I am meant to have connection with her. So I listened and then I do that thing I do where I set down all my human fears and insecurities and allow myself to be guided by my intuition. I reached out to this woman via email, practiced soul speaking, and made her aware of this message that came through about this connection I believe we are meant to have.

If this our time I believe her soul will know and she will respond accordingly. Either way I have lost nothing and already experienced gain in the very act of once again trusting my inner knowing and allowing myself to be guided her.

I am grateful for the opportunity to practice allowing myself to be seen in this way. With each opportunity to take these kinds of risks the vulnerability of doing so lessens.

I am grateful for the clearing and the calling in.

I am grateful to be here, in my life, ALL IN, showing up.

 

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.