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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I Encourage You to Write – Repurposed

This post was originally published February 2017 in my former writing space. I am bringing it home to Adding to Nine because this is where it is meant to live.

This post was born when I was a mentor and working as a therapist to teenagers at a youth shelter. It is my two pieces of advice for anyone wanting to heal, especially those who want to hold space for other’s as they heal.

As I welcome this post home, I do so with my dear friend in mind. I am so glad you are writing and am HONORED you are sharing your truths with me. Don’t you dare stop writing, your fight matters.

————————————————————————————————–

Something has come up a few times now as part of the mentor-mentee relationship, I am being asked for tips/advice on this or that as it pertains to healing/holding space for those who are healing. I realized I have two tips/pieces of advice that are universal no matter who I am speaking with.

  1. Start seeing a therapist
  2. If you don’t have the funds for therapy then start writing until you do and then keep writing once you do.

That is it folks. That is my sage wisdom about life and feeling fulfilled and whole.

The see a therapist part is important because you need to have one person in your life that has no other role in your life than to listen. To listen to it all. Anything you have that needs to be heard that is your person across the board.

This is coming from a woman who has a husband, soul friends, girl friends, trust worthy co-workers, mentors.. I have a lot of people in my life that are here to listen. It doesn’t matter. None of them can hold it all for me. Not even my husband.

And here is my truth about that: I would never want them to. Again, not even my husband.

My therapist is my person that helps me with my relationship with myself so I can learn to listen to myself and be the one person responsible for holding all of my stuff. My truth is that if there is any aspect of myself that I am asking someone else to hold because I don’t want to then I am doing it wrong.

There is nothing that my husband, or friends, or family, or co-workers, or mentors can do to make me feel better about something if I am not first willing to hold it for myself and help myself feel better about it.

So I say again: Tip #1: Get a therapist.

Tip #2 is of equal importance. Start writing.

I realize there are a lot of reasons/excuses that are out there for why you aren’t doing this.

I am not a good writer. My grammar isn’t great. I don’t have time. I don’t have a computer. I don’t want anyone to read it and judge me. I don’t know what to write about.

Keep making that list folks. Write down all your reasons/excuses so every piece of you that is fighting against writing has been heard and then START WRITING.

Start writing right now. Don’t even feel pressure to finish reading what I am writing. You have my full blessing to close the window to my blog right now. Just start writing.

Write about whatever you want. Start making lists. The first list can be that list of reasons you don’t want to write. Make your grocery list. Make a list each morning of who you want to be today. Make a list of your heroes and what draws you to them. Write anything just write. Write everyday until you get to the point where going a day without writing feels like going a day without air.

This is how you get to know who you really are. You are not processing your thoughts and feelings with anyone but yourself. You don’t need anyone else’s opinion or input on your life, you only need to be with yourself. Write.

Write and learn who you are. Write to find yourself. Write to learn your own truth. Write to be heard. Write to heal. Write to get it out.

Writing gives you time to be alone and quiet so you can hear your own inner wisdom about your life.

It does not matter how you start. Write on napkins. Write on whatever is next to you, as long as it is not living because that would be problematic. Just write.

If you do only one thing today I encourage you to write.

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

Running Through an Open Door

My lightening bolt hit almost immediately after finishing my last post.

Killer still hurts because I am trying to belong somewhere I no longer belong.

My family of origin is Catholic Republican. I grew up surrounded by the following messages:

No sex before marriage.
Your female body is inherently shameful.
As a woman you have no power.
Any woman who has sex out of wedlock is a slut.
Your female body is inherently wrong.
As a woman you belong to your father or husband, never, not ever to yourself.
Your female body is inherently bad.
The only thing worse than sex out of wedlock is pregnancy out of wedlock.
The only only thing worse than pregnancy out of wedlock is abortion.
Women who have abortions are KILLERS.

HOLY SHIT. Literally. This is religious, men-making-rules-that-disempower-women, bullshit.

I am NOT Catholic. I am NOT Republican. NONE OF THIS IS MY FUCKING TRUTH.

I would never believe any of this ridiculous bullshit about another woman, so why have I been carrying around these lies about myself?

I do not belong here, in your untruths, in your religion, in your politics. I do not belong anywhere that sees me as less worthy. I AM WORTHY. I AM MY OWN. I AM POWERFUL.

I release my need to belong in this place I do NOT belong. I am picking up ALL of myself and walking through that – now open – door to LOVE. I am no longer on the outside looking in.

I am not empty. I am not shameful or wrong or bad. I am not a slut. I AM NOT A KILLER.

I am a mother. I am a woman full to the brim with my sacred power. I am the owner of all of me, no one owns me. I am BIG. I AM BIG. I am the fucking hero of this story – I will always do the saving.

Come on sweet girl, you do not belong here anymore, we are going home.

my baby saved

Home in My Truth

I want to share with you one of my most sacred stories.

 

It is a story of pain. of grief. of fear. of shame. AND it is a story of love.

It is time. Time to LOVE myself openly. Time to feel any and all things that I feel about this OPENLY, FREELY, PUBLICLY, TRUTHFULLY.

With my hand at my heart I share with you something precious.

I was sixteen years old when my relationship with motherhood began.

I was afraid.

I wanted to be small. I remember that specifically.

I wanted to be small, a child, innocent, not capable of creation. I wanted to hide, I wanted to be saved, I wanted to disappear.

I was afraid.

I told my mother. I stared at the blue of my bed, tears in my eyes, and I slipped away.

She told my father.. I am not mad, I am disappointed.

They made the decision for me. I was a child, their child. They were saving me, I was letting them. I said nothing.

I was not saved.

My father was noticeably absent. He dropped my mother and I at the clinic and left. My mother dressed me that day. Like a child, she picked out my denim overalls and pale pink shirt, and my hat. It was important that I wear a hat so she could hide my face from the protesters. She was saving me.

I was not saved.

A woman took me into an office and talked to me about sex, how the female body works. My mother asked if the talk was necessary, she thought I was too young to be hearing it.

Years later looking back at the parts of this story I consciously remember, it amazes me how powerful denial can be.

If I treat her like a child and dress her like a child, she will be a child again and we will make this go away and she can be my baby again.

I am sorry Mom. I am sorry we had to experience this together. I am also sorry that I can no longer carry the burden of these untruths for you.

THIS HAPPENED.

I was not given anything for pain or comfort.

I know that I felt everything but I remember almost nothing.

I remember feeling empty.

An indescribable emptiness. The floor opened up and ate me up whole. This is where my largest void was created – in this room with my feet in stirrups where I was made empty.

This is where I became hard, rigid, AFRAID. This is where I was made empty.

I could not love myself anymore. The darkness enveloped me. It did not creep in slowly, it swallowed me whole in one gulp. Then I was gone, all that was left was empty.

Empty and shame and fear.

There are so many stories in this story. This pain is so layered there were times I never thought I would be able to unravel enough to tell any part of this story with clarity. I will start here, with this truth; when I was sixteen I became a mother, a mother who would never hold her baby.

This is my start. My BIGGEST moment. I am allowing YOU to see me in my most naked state of truth and love and pain. I do not know who you are, I do not know if you are safe.

What I do know is that I AM SAFE. I am safety.

I am no longer empty. I went so deep into myself to rescue this mother who was abandoned. I love her without exception. Without fear, without shame. I am in love with her and this is not dangerous, it is one of my most sacred truths; I love my darkness.

Nikoli

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

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.