I am Going to Write Something True.

secret chapter

Let me first clear the air about the title of this piece. Me sitting down and saying I am going to write something true does not mean that everything I have written before this post was false. Tonight I felt the familiar tug to write and when I sat down to start this is the title that flashed across my mind. In that moment I knew it was time. I am ready to be seen in a truth I have not shared.

In this post I am going to share a chapter of my story I have never read out loud before. I have held this pain, I rescued this piece of myself many many moons ago, and now I am ready to share this small piece of a guarded part of my soul.

When I was 23, almost exactly this time of year 10 years ago I was raped.

I was raped by a friend. I did not call it rape, I called it complicated.

Complicated in that I blamed myself, complicated in that I knew him personally so who would believe me?, complicated in that when I told one of my best friends the very next day she also blamed me and minimized it – you should have known better, you know how he is.

He was excused and I was blamed. I never spoke of it again. I threw away my ripped shirt and bra, I made peace with the fact that I was never getting that missing earring back, and put healing ointment on my ripped ear that the earring had been torn from.

I got tested a month later and every month after that for 6 months to ensure my body was safe from what happened. He used a condom but still, this felt like the one way I could control something when everything else that had happened that night made me feel powerless.

By 23 I was so skilled at disconnecting from my body in times of trauma that it did not take me long to adjust and “get back to normal” as if nothing ever happened.

As if nothing ever happened is the lie I have been telling myself since childhood, I knew how to play this game.

I don’t know what my feelings are towards him. He shared his darkness with me that night, AND I know he is more than just that moment, he is more than just that darkness. AND I do not ever have to be okay with it.

I can know all of this AND I am not obligated to forgive and forget. My healing does not depend on my forgiving him or forgetting anything. My healing does not depend on him at all. My healing happened when I finally went back to that moment and rescued that girl who I abandoned that night when I was scared and in pain. It happened when I allowed myself to finally hold the pain, and shame, and fear, and rage I had spent a decade ignoring.

I am one of countless women who have experienced sexual trauma. We each narrate and make sense of our story and experience in different ways. This is the first time I am sharing this piece of myself so openly and while I am not sitting in shame about allowing myself to be seen in such a raw form, writing it and this sharing feels clunky.

Many of our stories we tell so often that they have a natural flow and ease rolling off the tongue or falling from our finger tips. My truth is: trauma stories rarely do. They feel clunky and misshapen, sometimes uneven and without that flow. I believe that is because these are our unspoken truths, we have never given these experiences words so when we finally try I think it takes time to find the words that fit, and sometimes there just aren’t any words for experiences – that is okay too.

This is my raw, unfiltered truth:

I was raped by a man who I know now was never my friend. I was shamed into silence by myself and (knowingly or unknowingly) by my friend. It may have taken me a decade but I went back for myself and I saved that girl. I took that shame and like an alchemist transformed into love. Nothing that I have ever done or that has ever been done to me in this life has made me unlovable. I am love.

 

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Labeling

light and dark

This theme has come up quite a bit within the last week or so. This might be the first of multiple posts on this topic because I feel the direction I want to go is only half-baked, I may have further insights at a later date. Let’s call this a first draft.

It came up first when discussing an ex with other women who were also discussing ex’s. One of the women labels her ex a narcissist and while she and I discovered similarities in how we both experienced our ex’s this is one place where we differ. I do not label my ex anything other than an ex. Maybe that is not true. I label him a liar, and a manipulator, and a betrayer of sacred trust, and a phony, and insecure – AND at the end of that sentence I say: Me too. If I label my ex I do so knowing that anything he is, I am too.

I did not express this to her because I felt no need to. People have different reasons for why they do or do not choose to use labels, my truth about this belongs to me and I felt no real need to voice it in this instance.

Later we talked one on one in further detail, her separation from the ex is recent so I know she is still processing. My separation occurred over a decade ago. I am still processing as well but my processing is coming from a different place. My processing is less about him and more about me. There are unresolved emotional wounds from that relationship that have been left unresolved because:

  1. In the moments where I was experiencing his darkness I abandoned myself.
  2. I was not yet ready to experience my own darkness that I brought to the relationship.

So now my work is going back and picking up all those pieces of myself that I left behind and have not wanted to see because they feel/felt unlovable AND now loving those parts of myself well.

It is not about the other person, it is about the pieces of you that you left behind. This is my truth and my first reason for not labeling him in this way. Because at this point it is not about him so what difference would a label make? None.

Here is my bigger underlying truth about labeling:

Labels are used for lots of different reasons. For example it feels to me (I could have this wrong) that the woman I have been speaking with is using a label with her ex because it is helping her detach and make sense of what she experienced with him. Labels can absolutely help understand something that feels confusing.

Related to that detachment is another reason I believe people use labels, to create a sense of separation. Us and them. In this case narcissist and empath.

This is where I get uncomfortable. I do not believe in us versus them. That concept eliminates all the possibilities that exist in between and that is just not my truth about the world at this point.

I do identify as an empath. That is a label I choose for myself, that does not automatically make this person who I was emotionally wounded by a narcissist though. He is no more narcissist than I am and I am no more empath than he. We both possesses qualities of each.

In that relationship we both experienced the darkness of the other. Empaths are not just beings of light. They are not only as capable of manipulation as narcissists, they are masters of it. That is what comes with the power of feeling others on this level, you can misuse that power and go into a shadow space with it. There is this notion of a divide between empath and narcissist..

That divide says:
One of us is good and the other is bad.
One of us is the abuser, the other is the victim.
One of us is light while the other is dark.

I am sorry but I call bullshit on all that. It is just not my truth. Narcissism is a real thing, absolutely. And if you have ever been the victim of a narcissist than you know how painful their darkness can feel. I am not meaning to minimize anyone’s trauma or experiences. I only mean to underline one of my personal truths and that is: in adult relationships we ALL show up in both shadow and light, some of us lean more one way than the other, sure, it is always both though. I know individuals who have been emotionally wounded by diagnosed narcissists, I am not trying to take that experience away or make it invalid; I am merely trying to bring to light a fuller picture which includes those who have been emotionally victimized by empaths as well. If you think that is not a thing I know my ex would disagree with you.

Another place where labeling has come up recently relates to how labels can make us invisible. I am going to continue with this example of my ex and the label narcissist to avoid outing the other people I spoke to about other labels they experience in their lives. It all applies just the same regardless of the example I use.

So relating to labels and how they make us invisible:

Calling someone a narcissist allows us to strip them of their humanity rendering them invisible. He is no longer (insert name here) he is my ex the narcissist. The moment I say that I no longer have to experience him as a complex human being made up of both shadow and light, I get to detach all of that truth and see him just as a monster. Well I do not believe in monsters. And my truth is if one person in this world is a monster than we all are. Whatever one person is capable of, we are all capable of.

The reason labels exist in the first place is to help sort and understand commonalities. It is not black and white though and that is why it is so important to never lose sight of the person.

Think about all the different labels you identify with- truly take a minute and bring these labels up in your mind – now imagine if you were only seen by everyone else through that lens:

I am someone’s wife AND I am not just someone’s wife.
I am a social worker AND I am not just a social worker.
I am someone’s sister AND I am not just someone’s sister.
I am manipulative AND I am not just manipulative.

I am light AND shadow.
I am grateful AND entitled.
I am you and you are me AND we are no different AND we are completely different.

It’s all of it, everything in between and then some. There is more than one way to add to nine, the possibilities are infinite, and one measly little label will never be able to contain the vastness of a human being. That is my truth.

 

I Choose Shadows AND Light

shadow work

Last night I was having a conversation with my husband and this morning there it was, my exact feelings put out into the world by another. You can read the post I am referring to here.

I strongly identify with this writer’s perspective on spirituality and life in general because what she is talking about is the AND. I had a hard time in my younger years with my experiences in formal religion because there was no AND allowed, even then I knew that was not my truth.

There are times even now where I struggle in interactions with individuals who claim to be spiritually enlightened. I show up with my shadows AND light and I feel shunned. I have been made to feel on occasion that there is only one right way to experience myself this way, and again, I know that is not my truth.

My version of spirituality, my whole life, will always include both. I will always choose my shadows AND my light. All parts welcome, no parts left behind. That is how I will love and how I will heal and that will be my life’s work.

Holding On to What’s Mine

pain

I gave myself time this weekend to further process my feelings around the events I outlined in my last post. I checked in with my mentor, the person who first showed me what holding space looks like and who held space for me as I found my own voice as a clinician in that space he provided. Then I checked in with myself. As mentioned in my prior post there was a lot of counter transference taking place in that session, both the other clinician’s and my own.

I have no way of knowing if the other clinician is aware and doing her own work on this AND that is none of my concern. I am only responsible for me and my work. I know I am still sitting in my shadow of judgement. In my last post I led with that judgement because that is where I needed to start, now I would like to process a little deeper and go to where these judgements are coming from.

The reason I allow myself to show up in my shadows of self-righteousness, and arrogance, and judgement, as well as any other shadow that pops up based on how I experience the world and myself, is because that is where my work is. I can deny that any of these shadows exist so that way I appear pretty and palatable to the outside world and become consumed by them OR I can allow them to exist out in the open, allow them to bring me my work, and learn to love myself there. I choose the latter and my truth is if my shadows are too much for some to stomach, that has everything to do with them and very little to do with me. I will do my work to love myself wholly and worry not what the world thinks about it.

While sitting in the space of heavy judgment I was feeling towards the events that unfolded in front of me during this session I was able to identify where some of my feelings were coming from.

Above all it was this: I am someone who is doing my own healing work and I projected my truth about what that means to me onto this situation.

Being held in your pain is sacred. I have allowed myself to be held in my pain. Since I started my own healing work years ago what I have not done is allowed anyone to hold my pain. There is a difference.

When I am being held in my pain that means I am allowing myself to be supported while I hold my pain. I am not asking anyone to hold it for me. I have to be the one holding it or the healing is not happening.

Here are some examples of what that has looked like for me:

Sitting in the ocean. Allowing the sand beneath me to hold and support me, allowing the water to support me, as I hold my pain.
Sitting on a front porch swing next to my therapist. Allowing my therapist to energetically hold space for me, allowing the swing to support me, as I hold my pain.
Sitting in my walk in closet next to my husband. Allowing my husband to energetically hold the space for me, allowing the walls and floor of the closet to support me, as I hold my pain.
Sitting in a healing circle with other women. Allowing each of these women to energetically hold space for me, allowing the floor and the wall to support me, as I hold my pain.

This is what being held looks like for me. This is how I learned to hold space.

I do believe that you can be both energetically held AND physically held while holding your pain. I have absolutely curled into my husband’s lap and allowed him to physically hold me while I hold my pain. Whenever I allow myself to ask for support in this way it comes with conversation – that is what was missing from the situation I witnessed. When I allow my husband to physically hold me while I hold my pain I am clear about what my needs and boundaries are first, I tell him exactly what I need from him and then ASK if he is comfortable with my specific request. He has a right to say No AND if at any point I feel like he is trying to hold my pain rather than hold me while I hold my pain, I have the right to disengage. If there is ever a time that I am allowing anyone else to hold my pain then I am not healing. That is my truth.

In school when we talked about counter transference and becoming triggered while working with a client I think there was this idea for some that this only relates to trauma or our biases based on how we were raised to view race, religion, sexuality, etc. I believe it goes far beyond that. I experience it all the time with clients. It happens in moments when my client reminds me of my nephew or my husband based on something they say or a mannerism they possesses. It happens when my client is struggling with a part of their healing that I previously struggled with. And it certainly happens when I see something that goes against one of my personal truths.

There is nothing wrong or shameful about being triggered and experiencing counter transference. My admission of this does not make me a bad or ineffective therapist. My truth is: the counter transference itself is not as important as  what you do with it.

In that session both myself and the other clinician experienced counter transference. My truth based on what I saw and how I experienced the situation is: when I became triggered I sat there with the piece of myself that was experiencing the counter transference and I HELD HER. The other therapist did not hold her pain. She did not hold the piece of herself that was triggered by our client’s emotion. She got up, crossed the room, and essentially made the client hold it for her. It was never about how the client was feeling, it was about how what the client was feeling MADE HER FEEL.

Each therapist has there own style and approach to practice. I feel very deeply connected to my way. That does not make me right. That does not make other therapists wrong. Part of my practice will always include showing up for myself like I am right now so at no point am I ever trying to hold my client’s pain for them or energetically asking them to hold anything that belongs to me, including my opinions on how this work should be done. Even my approach to practice belongs to me alone and I am responsible for holding that piece of me.

 

Holding Space Not People

It is important to me that I acknowledge that in this post I may show up in my shadow of self-righteousness. I was triggered yesterday and when triggered any number of my shadows may rise to the surface. As I process out this experience I am sure self-righteousness will show up as well as any other shadow that has something to say.

Yesterday I was meeting with a new client. Rather than start this story at the end, let’s go back to the beginning. Last week I was informed I was getting a new client who would be transferred from the therapist who had been working with this client because the therapist was leaving the agency. My supervisor requested the therapist and I touch base with one another so I could be brought up to speed on treatment goals and progress thus far as well as anything else pertinent.

When I spoke with the therapist I was informed that the client has severe abandonment issues and the therapist informed me they would like to attend the first session I schedule to make introductions, answer any questions, and ensure a smooth transition for the client.

I am new to this job so at first I did not question this. I assumed this was protocol, when a client is transferred both therapists go to meet with the client and do a warm hand off. Plus I was willing to trust the current therapist’s judgement. A few days later, however, I did start questioning it.

In the days leading up to the scheduled session I had a few interactions with the therapist that on the surface seemed normal, yet I was picking up on something. I started wondering, is this proposal of going together really for the client.. or is it for the therapist?

Attachment goes both ways. The bond between client and therapist does go both ways and that is why boundaries are so important.

I believe my intuition was right this time. This was about the therapist, not the client. I believe there was unaddressed counter transference happening.

What I witnessed during the session was, in my opinion, outside of appropriate boundaries. At one point I asked a question that elicited a strong emotion from the client, when this happened the other therapist left the couch we were sitting on together, walked over to the client who was seated on an adjacent couch, and half held them. This was done without warning and without permission.

In that moment that therapist was not holding space for her client she was literally holding her client and my truth about that: we cannot let go of pain we do not allow ourselves to experience.  We cannot set down/let go of something we never held, literally and figuratively speaking. That is what our work is collectively as a human race. In that moment my client was attempting to hold her pain so she could finally put it down/let it go and the other therapist prevented my client’s healing moment due to their own personal need to comfort the client. They were made uncomfortable by the client’s pain, maybe it reminded them of their own – who knows, either way they took this opportunity from the client and that was incredibly hard for me to witness.

Outside of my own personal truth about what I saw take place, touching is a big gray area in therapy.  For example, in a Hospice setting hugging is a regular occurrence you see happening. Still, you ask before you touch – that is my truth. In a traditional therapy setting you do not see touching as often. There are many reasons for this and I am not here to write a report on the significance of physical contact in therapeutic settings, just know that this is a delicate area. And again, to be clear, my truth is: I would never touch a client without asking permission first and in most cases I would probably just never touch a client.

What I witnessed felt, in my opinion, like an unhealthy attachment between the therapist and client (that may or may not go both ways). It felt to me like the therapist was having trouble letting go and that was why they requested to be present. Now it could absolutely be both; the therapist felt this was the best way to help the client transition AND they wanted to be there for their own personal reasons related to trouble letting go. The latter aspect made me feel very uncomfortable and made my part of the session challenging.

It is difficult to build a connection with a new client when they are trying to process the loss of a former therapist they felt connected to and that former therapist is still present. It is difficult to connect with a new client when they are literally physically connected to their former therapist during the session. It was a weird situation to find myself in and I was definitely regretting not listening to my inner knowing and asking the therapist not to attend.

Here is my truth about this, and this is where my self-righteousness will undoubtedly show up: I think it is important for all those who want to step into this very sacred role of holding space for others in this way to be doing their own work, or have done their own work. I am human, not robot, which means during a session, all of my pieces are still present in the background and can become triggered by a client or the environment or anything really. My truth is: me doing my own work is what has made me effective at holding myself AT ALL TIMES so I am able to hold space for my client and protect against counter-transference.

Transference and counter transference are absolutely a thing that happen in a therapeutic relationship. Transference can actually be a great way to process and explore deeper topics in a way that feels surface level and safe with a client. Counter transference is also a natural thing that happens, what is important (in my opinion) is having a place to process it when it happens. Supervision is a great place for this, that is a big part of supervision, AND I still believe in therapists having their own therapist to hold their deeper work.

For example, I totally see where I am experiencing my own counter transference in what took place during this session. I am processing a surface piece of that here and I will be doing my real work around it when I see my therapist.

Something that I heard a lot when in school had to do with meeting our clients where they are. I think we also often times meet our clients where we are. Just like Brene Brown says you cannot give your children what you do not have, relating to parenting, I think the same can be said for therapy; you cannot give your clients what you do not have.

I cannot hold space for my clients to do work I have not personally done. That is my truth. It is not every therapist’s truth, many never do their work and do not feel called to and are still effective at practicing in their way. My truth is: I could never hold space for the deep healing work my clients are called to do if I am not walking my own path towards healing.

I do not know what this is going to look like going forward with this client. This client’s very first experience with therapy has sent them the message that when they cry their therapist will literally hold them. I am hoping to show this client that they can still feel held energetically through use of empathy and healthy boundaries AND show them how to hold themself and comfort themself.

inner shit

#This-is-my-truth.

 

Getting It Wrong: Shadow Work

A week or so ago I wrote a post that I was so embarrassed by after the fact that I deleted it. First time ever in all my years of writing that I straight up deleted something. This is not the first time I have felt embarrassed by myself after the fact.

I have a whole other blog that holds five years of writing and you better believe I evolved quite a bit in five years, the early stuff is embarrassing to the point of nightmarish. I never deleted any of it though because that is who I was at that time and I will not dishonor that girl by hiding her, that was my truth at the time, I own that, for better AND for worse.

So fast forward. I got it so wrong the other week and I was almost so completely destroyed by how wrong I was that I deleted a post. I started to go in and edit it to correct my mistake but I realized that didn’t feel right, I also realized that I was not comfortable leaving it up as is SO I decided to start from scratch, write it over with my new truth included.

So a week or so ago my husband called me in the morning after he left for work to inform me that there was a gopher tortoise in the road that needed help before it was run over. I immediately started putting pants on.

As I walked outside, still on the phone with hubs I asked him if he was sure it was a tortoise because I know better than to mess with turtles, some are mean, especially the snappers we have here in Florida. He was reasonably sure it was a tortoise and when I saw it I knew for sure it was NOT a soft shell snapper (which are no joke with their aggressiveness) so I went along with this assumption of it being a tortoise.

The thing is, I wasn’t just going along with the assumption of it being a gopher tortoise, I convinced myself that it was a gopher tortoise and that it was a sign from the universe because I had just had a meditation a few days prior where I identified the gopher tortoise as my animal totem for my root chakra. Now suddenly one was appearing before me a few days later (after I had not seen one since I was a child). I got so caught up in my spiritual place the truth is I was not actually experiencing this interaction with this animal from a place of grounded realism.

I was able to help the little guy over to the park next to our home, which was the direction he had been heading, and once we got there he was trying to get past the fence that circles the pond so I helped him get there and he quickly scooted off into the pond.

Here is where I got it wrong, devastatingly wrong!

  1. My sign from the Universe was not in fact a sign from the Universe. This was not a gopher tortoise, it was one of the painted water turtles that live in our pond.

Now this is an absolute blessing and I am BEYOND grateful for this fact because:

2. Gopher tortoise cannot swim!

Legit, if my turtle friend had been a tortoise than my “helping” would have literally killed him.

I have never EVER been so fucking thankful to get anything wrong in my entire life. The way I figured all of this out was a few nights after helping my little friend I started thinking about the gopher tortoise’s from my childhood and realized: Wait a second, they live in burrows in the ground, I never saw one near the water, can they even swim?

A quick google search confirmed what the shadows of my mind already knew: no, they cannot.

My brain exploded.

Oh my God I killed it! It drowned and it is all my fault!

I was beside myself. I was sick with shame and guilt.

I spent the next I don’t even know how long researching every kind of tortoise/turtle that resides in the central Florida area. It was apparent almost immediately that my little friend was not in fact a gopher tortoise, nothing about the shell shape, texture, and coloring matched (thank goodness I took photos of him so I had something to compare to the pictures I was finding). This fact did little to ease my mind however. I needed to know that whatever he was he was able to swim. It wasn’t just that I didn’t want to kill a gopher tortoise, I didn’t want to kill anything!

I finally found my match and with relief my husband confirmed my picture to the picture online. The little friend I helped was in fact a turtle, a turtle that swims, the same kind of turtle that lives in the pond next to our home.

The moment I was able to finally breathe knowing that I had not contributed to the drowning of an innocent creature it was time for me to take a hard look in the mirror and address how wrong I got this situation and how to be more mindful and aware in the future.

  1. As well intentioned as I was in helping the turtle get to where I thought he wanted to go, I should have stopped at getting him out of the road. That was enough. Getting him to safety was enough. I should not have interfered past that point.
  2. This speaks not only to my shadow piece around arrogance but also to my shadow of denial and spirituality. I know, and have always known, that gopher tortoises cannot swim, I grew up next to their burrows, I know they are land dwelling creatures with claws for digging, not fins for swimming. Yet I allowed my “spiritual moment” to completely cloud this knowledge I possess because I thought I was having this profound moment with this animal.

Wake the fuck up girl and do no harm! This is a perfect example of why it is important to have your enlightenment and spiritual awakening AND keep yourself grounded and tethered to the earth/reality. I was arrogant to not only be so sure I knew it was a tortoise just because I wanted it to be because if it was that would mean something, but to also ASSUME I knew what was best for the animal. I was in denial to not make these connections sooner; that tortoises do not swim and that is wasn’t even a tortoise. And this is all true because of my shadow around spirituality. Lesson learned.

I clearly do not have a well established relationship with my shadows of arrogance, denial, and spirituality because now that I am facing these truths I am sitting in shame. I was in an absolute shame spiral when I did start to put all this together. I got this so wrong and I am absolutely ashamed of myself. The phrase that keeps flashing across my mind is: You should have known better. That is the worst!

I really need to have a I show myself love moment right now.

I show myself love when I get it fantastically wrong.
I show myself love when I feel ashamed.
I show myself love when I do not want to see the truth because the truth is painful.
I show myself love when I dare to be honest about my mistakes and failures and be seen as the imperfect being that I am.
I show myself love when I am doing my best to love my shadow pieces and invite them home.
I show myself love when my good intentions fall short and injure others.

You are okay girl, you are doing okay.

all parts welcome

 

So Sure So Wrong

Have you ever been sure of something? You were absolutely positive about something, your mind was made up, this is the way it is. Have you ever been wrong? I have. A LOT.

When I was 6 or 7 I was absolutely certain that I had the ins and outs of human digestion figured out. I remember standing in the dining room telling my brother while he ate his lunch, See this is how it works; you eat your food and then it travels through your body down to your knee where there is a trampoline, the food bounces off of the trampoline into your tummy and that’s the end. Then my Mom walked in the room and complimented me on my vivid imagination as she explained how tummies actually work. I was quite disappointed to learn there was no food trampoline in my knee, my body seemed so much more exciting with a secret knee trampoline.

I just asked my husband, who is laying in bed next to me doing his math art on his laptop, if he had a funny anecdote about getting it wrong he would like to share. He reminded me of a situation that took place not too long ago.

A few months ago my husband had a so sure so wrong moment regarding the blankets in our home. My husband is from Illinois where they have real winters. When he and I moved into together I realized this man comes with a lot of blankets. They are all from back home where in the winter they are needed, here in Florida where it can get in the 90’s on Christmas, not so much.

So a few months ago, on a particularly cold day, my husband and I were making our blanket burrows on the couches and getting ready to watch one of the Harry Potter movies together. My husband comes strolling out of the bedroom with my quilt at which point I immediately objected; Hey man, lay off my quilt, I was going to use that for my nest. My husband proceeds to tell me that it is not my quilt, it is his quilt, as he begins making his burrow with it.

At first I thought he was just being an ass and telling me to deal with it that he was going to use my quilt. My inner 5 year old started having a tantrum, she did not want to share her quilt, and my inner feminist was ramping up to verbally kick his ass; no man is going to take my shit and get away with it! When I opened my mouth again in protest I realized he wasn’t being an ass, he was being serious, he honestly thought it was his quilt.

In his defense this mistake could be easily made for someone who is not being super observant. My husband has a quilt that was made for him by his aunt which has brown, green, and tan box pattern on it. I have a quilt made for me by Target which also has a brown and tan on it. Mine however has turquoise as the third color and is a paisley design rather than the boxes and rectangles of my husband’s quilt.

So now I am explaining to my husband, No honey look at the pattern, this is my quilt yours looks like X,Y, and Z. He was not budging. He was absolutely adamant, so much so in fact that he did not even believe me that I had a quilt. He thought the two quilts were one in the same and that there was only one brown quilt and it belonged to him.

At this point I bet him a dollar that I was right. My husband knows what this means, most people who know me know what this means. I only bet a dollar when I am 100% certain of something and I almost never lose a dollar bet. For me the dollar bet is the equivalent of swearing on the bible. He knew I meant business. Usually when I pull out the big guns on a debate and bet a dollar he immediately folds because he knows he has lost, she knows the truth and I am only guessing, time to surrender. Not this time. The man was sticking to his guns.

I was done talking, time for action. We halted all prep for cozy movie day and I made him come with me as we searched the house for his quilt. While we searched I told him the story of how I bought that quilt online in my early twenties with two shams and a sheet set, he still was not convinced. Low and behold we found his quilt tucked away in the armoire in the guest room. Needless to say my husband was eating humble pie the rest of the day.

Sometimes we get it wrong and it is not cute or funny. Sometimes it is humiliating, sometimes it can be a very real problem.

Like being certain that it is clear and safe to change lanes when driving to then discover a car in the blind spot that we nearly collide with, terrifying.

Or any scenario where we are so sure and then so wrong in front of people we would never want to be that exposed in front of; like at work or with our in-laws.

There is certainly a shadow present with certitude and that is when our assurance of something crosses into arrogance. I was thinking about this when it comes to truth speaking. My truth is a mixture of belief and opinion, it is what I personally have decided is true for me in my life. When I speak my truth I feel liberated and bold, I am a lioness standing my ground. And this is all well and good AND it is always important for me to remember that my truth belongs to me. No one is required to agree or validate me in my truth just like it is not okay for me to assert my truth onto others with the expectation of this.

While in a group recently I noticed there was a lot of truth speaking going on which is beautiful AND it occurred to me that those standing in their truth may have actually believed that their truth, that belongs solely to them, was objective fact. I saw this as a sign for me to step back and acknowledge where in my life am I guilty of doing the same. I see my shadow of arrogance, I know where my work is with this shadow.

Always thankful for messages and mirrors that hold me accountable for my work. Tonight I welcome this shadow home, I am sure I will have much to learn while building my relationship with this part of myself.