I Will Not Look Away

I have been tangling with judgment lately. I have been trying to untangle. These roots run deep.

I am self-righteous. I judge. I still project my pain.

Projecting is so easy and it feels so good.

I don’t want to feel my insecurities around mothering so I will look at what you are doing and find flaws. 
I don’t want to address my own unhealthy habits so I will fixate on yours and feel superior.
I don’t want to admit my fears so I will criticize yours.

I like it when it is all about you and never about me. I like getting to be the right one while you are over there being wrong. I like being superior. I like being big.

I am not big here. This is not my BIG place. When I create any kind of disconnection from love I am certainly not BIG. This is me being small.

I am not meant to stay small.

We all struggle. Instead of seeing someone else’s hard time for what it is, pain and struggle, I am wanting to use it for my gratification.

If I am willing to see the truth about the pain and struggle of others it means I have to be willing to hold my own truths about my pain and struggle as well.

This is being BIG.

Being BIG means not looking away from pain. It means loving someone in their struggle and pain. It means loving myself in my pain and struggle.

Projection feels so good, it is so easy. Deep love takes work, it is hard.

I can do hard things. I am not small. I am BIG.

I choose love and all the hard AND goodness that comes with it. I am ready to set down my judgement and self-righteousness to pick up LOVE. I will not look away from pain.

I choose love every time.

i choose love and joy and peace

 

 

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When You are Ready I am Here to Hold You

I have been sitting with myself following my last post.

A lot came up for me after sharing my abortion story.

One of the first things that came up for me is the fact that I did not use the word abortion.

My pain related to my abortions is ever present. I love the part of me that experienced this trauma AND my unraveling is a work in progress. What I have learned is that I cannot unravel and come home to my truth without holding myself in love as I do it.There is something I want to unravel once and for all and now that I am loving myself openly, freely, publicly, TRUTHFULLY, I feel BIG enough to step through my fear and start this work.

Two years ago I attended a healing retreat with my soul family. It was powerful.

The healing work I did had to do with words and how they have been used in my life as weapons, as a way to keep me small, as a way to keep me disconnected and standing ever on the outside of love.

I shared specific words with the group that have caused harm, things that have been said to me or messages I have energetically received. There is one word I left out.

It is a word I have tortured myself with for two decades. Anytime I have ever thought I could love my darkness, stand fully in my color, be BIG – this is the word that knocks me back down.

I still was not ready to say this word out loud.

After the exercise I shared with one person, my soul friend who participated in the exercise with me, my truth that I was still holding on to one word that causes deep shame, disconnection, and smallness. She asked what the word was..

Killer.

This word has always been the door slammed in my face.

Me on one side, love and all the goodness of life on the other. There is no AND big enough to create connection. I am here in the dark, a killer, I do not get to experience light, love, sacredness, my true essence, holiness, color.

I want to unravel.

First I need to start with the function of the word, what is it being used for?

To keep me small.
To create and maintain disconnection.
To keep me enveloped in shame, in fear.
To keep me empty.
To keep me separated from love. Love of myself and love of my babies.

None of this is my truth any longer. So it would seem Killer is not doing its job.

I am NOT small. I am NOT disconnected. I am NOT enveloped in shame and fear, and when they come to visit I now welcome them into my lap to be heard and loved. I am NOT empty. And I am absolutely NOT separated from love. I AM love.

So my question is, if all of this is true, why does Killer still hurt?

Is there a place I am not being honest with myself?

Why does the word abortion hurt?

I am missing something, a piece, a part. Something or some part of me is hiding behind a curtain afraid to stand in the light. I am not here to force anyone or anything forward, just to send the message that my lap is open when you are ready to be held.

I want to feel my pain. I want to feel openly, freely, publicly, truthfully. I want to release my fear of my story. I want to be BIG.

Re-Defining Safety

Fear, shame, and doubt popped up this morning to tell me untruths about the danger of what I am doing. They were warning me about the calamity that will come from allowing myself to walk openly out in the world with my heart exposed. What you are doing is dangerous – you will only get hurt! 

I scooped my little ones into my lap and held them close as I examined where these messages were coming from. What I did not do was believe the messages. I did not shrink. I can no longer pretend to be what I am not, and I am NOT small.

I started to wonder what these littles learned about love and about feeling things – any things, all things.

To love openly is dangerous.
To feel what we’re feeling openly, freely, publicly, truthfully is dangerous.

This is where disconnection happens. Right here in these untruths.

This is where we shut off our heart, our soul, our creativity, our ability to be with each other and experience connection.

We become hard, rigid, afraid, empty. We create a void and the only thing that can fill that void is the exact thing we are running from, the thing we told ourselves was dangerous. Love is the missing piece. Allowing ourselves to feel what we feel without shame, without fear – this is the only way to fill the void and reconnect with our truth about who and what we are. Some people call this our essence, some people say light and love, some people say sacred, some say holy. I like all of these words, right now the word that has been coming up for me is color. I am bright, boundless, exploding, illustrious color. The word is not what matters, the feeling that rises up when you know you are home in your truth – that is what matters.

When any part of me wants to play small I think I am ultimately looking for safety. I have to keep showing all parts of me over and over and over that we can be BIG and safe. I am comfort. I am love. I am safety – These arms, this heart, this lap, these words. I am safety AND I am NOT small.

I want to take a moment to recognize the monumental growth I have experienced when it comes to holding myself in love and sacredness. In years past when shame came to visit (multiple times a day) it was a tornado of an experience and I was always sucked in. Today it took me a matter of moments to say out loud, No. This is not my truth., and then hold the pieces of myself that were experiencing fear, shame, and doubt in love and gentleness. I am a good mother and all of me feels that truth deeply because of the way I have learned to love and nurture myself.

What I am doing is not dangerous, it is the most courageous thing I have ever done.

Sweet girl, 

You are. You know. All you have to do is trust.

daisy

Sometimes You Have Someone to Rescue

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

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

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

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

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

Coming back to what I read –

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

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

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

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

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

the swamp

Getting to the Other Side

I have been struggling with the knowledge that my father lied to my mother about stopping by to see me and little bubby the other day.

He and I have had a limited relationship outside of my mother and now that my mother and I are severely on the outs I am starting to see behind the curtain of their relationship a bit to see how dysfucntional it is.

Why does he feel he has to lie about being with me? Is it because he is afraid of getting in trouble, like a child? Is it because he is trying to save her feelings? Both? How am I supposed to feel about this? Apparently his love for me, his daughter, is not greater than his fear of my mother. At least that is the story I am telling myself because my family refuses to communicate openly leaving room for painful (hopefully untrue) assumptions to be made.

I love my father. This hurts. I worry that I will lose him because I know my truth, I am not willing to participate in this. Either love me in the open or admit the fact that you don’t love me that much at all.

My husband and I watched a show once where a kid got himself in too deep when lying and his sister’s advice to him was, keep lying until you get to the other side.

I feel like this is what my family has been doing my entire life only our lies are dressed up as denial, avoidance, and minimization.

Part of my untangling is an unwillingness to take part in the lying. I will tell the truth. I am going to keep telling the truth until I get to the other side, until I am healed, until I am seen – even if it is not by my family.

I do not know what the other side of this pain looks like, I don’t know who will be there, or how it will feel. I do know that is where I belong though.

My Dad is trying to peace-keep right now, he is trying to smooth over, this is his role in our family –  he sacrifices self for “the good of the whole”. It is not for the good of whole though, and it is absolutely manipulation. Well-meaning, Yes, but manipulation none the less. I will not participate.

I love you daddy. This is breaking my heart. I won’t stay small for you though, please don’t ask me to do this – I don’t want to leave you, but I will in order to get to the place I am meant to be. I will put you down to pick myself up if I have to.

unraveling

 

Living Outside the Shadows

My family lives in a neighborhood right outside the city. We love it here for many reasons, one of them being that there is no home owners association. Everyone is allowed to live in their homes and on their property as they feel, no oppressive rules.

Because we are close to downtown and because there is no home owners association our community is a pretty popular place to live. What is happening now as a result is that some of the cute 1920’s bungalows are being bought up, knocked down, and replaced with massive homes. It makes for a diverse neighborhood; there will be a modest craftsman next to a small bungalow next to a mansion next to a two story colonial.

Recently as little bubby and I were walking home from a different park in the community I was looking at the homes on the street we were walking down. It was close to 5:30 in the evening and the shadows were starting to stretch as the sun fell. I walked by a cute bungalow and noticed that it was completely enveloped in the shadow of the massive home next to it. My immediate thought was, I wouldn’t want to live in the shadow of anyone else’s mansion.

This thought took me back to a separate issue I have been stewing on; comparison.

Earlier in our walk I noticed two mothers with their children at the park and they were both doing something that brings a rise in judgment for me. In my head I was criticizing these mommas. I caught myself right away and then turned the criticism on myself for being that mom who judges other moms.

Here is my truth; anytime I am judging outward it is because I am judging inward. These mothers were just a mirror for me. What they were showing me is my insecurity around an aspect of our parenting that my husband and I feel very committed to. I have been working on being less rigid on this part of how we parent and the struggle I am having manifested outward when I judged them.

I bet these moms are terrific. I bet they have aspects of parenting that they feel very committed to as well. I bet they also judge themselves, I do not need to add mine to whatever load they are already carrying.

The choices my husband and I make regarding how we parent little bubby belong to us. Everyone’s choices are allowed to look different, different is okay. Different should be celebrated, not diminished by comparison.

I guess what the house in the shadow made me realize is, not only do I not want to live in the small house in the shadow, I do not want to live in the big house casting the shadow either. That is essentially what I was trying to do, I was trying to feel big (better about myself) by making someone else appear small and judging their choices. All that did was expose my shadow (darkness).

I have to be as okay living in the small green house with the purple door as I would be living in the large white mansion with the pillar columns or I am not really living in either, I am just existing in shadow projecting my judgment outward.

Approaches to parenting are as diverse as the houses in my community. I realized that if I am caught up in comparison regarding any aspect of my life, I am effectively robbing myself of the joy and connection to that aspect of my life.

I choose joy. I choose connection.

I will continue to work on my self-judgment and be grateful for the messages from the Universe that help me.
I will hold my truths sacred and respect the truths of others.
I will acknowledge scarcity in my role as momma when it comes knocking and I will not answer the door.

I am enough. Our choices are ours. I will not live in shadow and I will not cast it out on others.

Bringing Light to my Dark

There is something I have been carrying in shame for sometime that I need to own and bring into the light in order to move forward writing here and be free.

I mentioned in my post Coming Home that one of the reasons I stepped away from Adding to Nine was because I knew I was ready to be seen and at the same time there was a piece of me still wanting to hide, specifically from the ridicule of someone who I knew followed my blog with malice.

Time to own this story.

Before this blog I was writing in a different space. It was responsible for holding space for my experiences over a 5 year span of time as I returned to  college and obtained my Master’s degree in Social Work. When I started the blog I posted the link on FB (I was still on social media at the time) and to my Pinterest account. I invited my friends and family to follow along while I recorded my experiences. What I did not realize is I was also opening myself up to followers I did not expect, specifically my ex’s girlfriend.

Apparently she snooped my social media, let’s be clear though; I did the exact same thing to her which is how this all got started.

I was on her Pinterest and followed a link that I assumed was to a social work blog (we are both social workers). Well it was, kind of.. It was her personal blog. I did not even realize it at first. I read a post that was pretty general then I read another and got smacked in the face with an enormous wave of shame.

I read about a paragraph in and realized the post was about ME. It was about this run-in that she and I had in a hospital elevator when I was working for the hospital and she was interning there. It was her perception of the interaction and man it did not paint a pretty picture of me. I was mortified. My perception of the encounter was a bit different. I remember thinking, Oh Shit it’s Gena – Be nice! Don’t give her anything to say to him.

Back then I was very concerned with being in control and being “the bigger person”. I remember peppering her with questions and trying to be nice and engaged. Her perception of me apparently was that I was frantic and on the verge of a panic attack. I was very uncomfortable, I do not doubt that both of these things were true.

On top of being pretty embarrassed that she was putting this encounter out there on the internet, she was also pretty unkind. She talked about how some people from my former group of friends (including my ex) labeled me as manipulative and a liar. Oof! One-two punch to the gut.

So.. with this began a 5 year passive-agressive internet relationship between me and my ex’s girlfriend (who during this course of time became his wife) where we communicated with one another through our blogs.

It was awful.

I would post about something and a day later she would post about that same thing but from a contradictory position. I did the same to her.

It reached a fever pitch when she showed up at a charity walk with my ex and their baby that I had said I would be attending because my friend was the speaker at the event.

Needless to say, it got weird.

Here are the reasons it was hard for me to own this story when it was happening:

I felt petty. Like super petty. Middle school girl fueled by drama petty.
A dark shamey piece of me enjoyed the tit-for-tat.
I enjoyed the attention.
I was a total troll.
I was afraid. Lots of reasons why but that is the fundamental truth, I was afraid and acting out from a place of scarcity.

And finally, towards the end, my judgment towards her started to melt away into compassion. More and more I was seeing how we are the same. Then it was no longer fun, then it was just sad.

I couldn’t be that person anymore, I couldn’t play the game. It did not seem like she was going to blink first and back away so I decided I had to do this for both us, cut the energy source once and for all. Soon after I stopped writing here she stopped writing as well.

I come back knowing there is a chance she may still be there in the shadows. What is different now is that I am owning this story.

I was in a weird internet relationship with my ex’s wife where we played a game of judgment and one-upmanship for years.

Gena, if you are reading, I welcome you here. I hope my work brings you closer to your own. I am sorry for the part I played in our weird relationship through our blogs. Thank you for the way you showed up, you brought me work I could not have done otherwise.

brene