As Intended

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I have always believed you are the exact person you are supposed to be in this moment; you are who you are meant to be and you should embrace and love yourself. I have offered this wisdom to many friends at their times of struggle and self doubt.  Sometimes we find it is difficult to have faith that we are as we are intended to be at this juncture; especially when we feel broken, or not enough, or it is not how we want it to be;  now I am struggling with this. That faith is so difficult but there must be a plan and in those moments I hold tight to that belief or else the struggle may be for naught. So I remind  myself with fervor that I am where I am needed as I am supposed to be…. and try to focus on the love….and try to give that as much of that type of care, kindness,  and compassion as I feel I may need it in that moment. This morning I tried to focus on that, on my gratitude and share with those who have enriched my life over the past three years. I spread today’s love by thanking each and every person for their individual impacts on my life, by showing my gratitude for their gifts. While I am still struggling with this period of growth, struggling to see the opportunities to embrace, looking  finding that door which has opened I am a bit more centered and I suppose that is more than I should ask for. I shall wander to the porch and watch the rain, listening to find my peace.

“I promise you, these storms are only trying to wash you clean”.- Jessica Katoff

 

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Kept in Confidence

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I am a thinker, those very few people close to me know I try to understand everything I come in contact with.  My therapist actually told me that not everyone thinks about life at the depth I do, so try not to expect people to understand it at that depth. So this weekend afforded my time to analyze my life, where I came from, what I went through, the people that are in my life, those who may weather the storm and those who are deciding to leave me at this point of my journey. I think it was a time for me to consider the gifts I have had and regrets I carry since the point my life began again.

Throughout the night my thoughts kept drifting back to what I have shared; having spent my entire life trying to hide the pain through the past few years I opened up and parceled out my past. Although I am a deeply private person having only mentioned a tiny portion to a few people, that shallow acknowledgement, I kept my stories buried deeply until a few came into my life, people who had some shared experiences, who understood the pain, who listened without judgement, and never pried for my details. Unconditional acceptance and lack of criticism did allow me to assess my past and its impact on my present; how it limits my trust, how it restricts my ability to be vulnerable, and my fear of certain closeness.I opened up and apportioned my past with the trust that it would be kept in confidence. Now I am working to collect those pieces, place those stories back into their makeshift tomb.

So as I retreat, how do I secure my stories I cannot collect? How do I approach the topic of privacy? I do not want my secrets shared in a fashion that can undermine my struggle or be used as a means to minimize me for I have spent a lifetime negated. Is this just a concern based in my struggle to trust; the time I did will it be validated or dismissed? I know when one shares their story, their struggle, their past,  I treat it with the utmost respect for I was trusted enough for one to disclose. I would never share the story, never violate the trust by besmirching their truth, in a light that be disparaging, as a means to justify my behavior or choices?  This is quite possibly a fear based in my experiences with people for I have seen this done to others, been a victim, stories used to displace accountability, vilified for no reason.  How does one even broach the topic?

“Confidentiality is a virtue of the loyal, as loyalty is the virtue of faithfulness” -Edwin Louis Cole

Off Kilter

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It seems that my world was knocked off kilter. I was employed with a company where I witnessed behaviors that did not align with my own morals, it regularly pushed against my integrity, and often made me question my purpose in the career I had chosen. It was so far from the my choice to pursue this path I am unsure why I stayed for as long as I did but I held on well past the expiration date. Part of it is possibly this is the only existence I have known, since I was six years old I have been involved at some level in education, my world has primarily consisted of learning in some form or another. I have worked in other areas but have always had that as a foundation. I have often contemplated switching fields, finding my way back to what fuels my passion and feeds my soul for that was how it was in the beginning.  For some reason I chose to stay and try to make a difference in a place where there was only futility and hostility; focusing on my identity and all I had known I lost sight of life and my contentment and joy with my career. Maybe I am being nudged to change and since I didn’t listen to my heart this was the only path out.  Monday when I received the call from HR I was not just let go, in that moment she stripped me of a part of my identity, the only real one I have known.

In this moment of instability I find myself fighting my insecurities, riddled with doubt, and at moment crippled with anxiety. I am perfectly aware the only control we have in life is over our reaction to it, how we respond to the situation, how we treat the people we see along our journey, how well we love those in our life, how kind, compassionate, and empathetic we are.  But this has brought forth a memory, a time when I fought so very hard to find my own financial stability; where I had control to ensure my children had their needs met. That was a dark time where I was truly alone; the reason I try so hard to be there for those I love because I know what it feels like to have no one. That is the fear that seems to overshadow my thoughts right now. For I have seen people leave, when a storm comes in, they seek shelter because no one wants to see the agony of struggle and tragedy. Trying to look beyond my fear, for it will only be conquered by time and validation I try to find my new path.

I understand that often times, letting go of what you held so tightly too is painful, at time casting away what we believe about yourself may feel like we are cutting away at who we are but maybe that is no longer my truth.  If I can open my hands to the possibility what does the world hold? What possibility of greatness is waiting for me that I cannot imagine because I am looking at the fear of some past that in all likelihood may not repeat itself. While I am a tough old cat and always seem to land on my feet, there are at times that little voice of doubt is what I need to silence. If I could trust in my strength one more day.  Thank you to my friend that has sent wonderful words of encouragement; I hope you never face struggle but know I will be there with the same kindness in your hour of need.

So in this darkness I need to hold to the things I believe, the truth as it still exists.  I am not what I used to do nor what others have said; in my heart I am kind, compassionate, a nurturer, a teacher. While I am fighting to right myself and balance my world I know I am blessed beyond words. I may not always have what I want but I shall have all I need. I have the financial wherewithal to withstand this shift. It may not be an easy path to traverse but it never has been and I suppose anything worth having is worth the effort. I need to trust in my journey! I have riches beyond monetary wealth; beautiful, happy, healthy children, family and friends that rally when I need them, a good meal with laughter, friends that understand and accept me, as well as a few material blessings. Those moments, the deep laughter with a friend, the warmth of my cat on my lap while drinking a good cup of coffee, fun with my children, getting lost in a good book, cooking for my loved ones….those have always fueled my soul and will always be my purpose.

 

“Be sure that whatever you are is you.”  ― Theodore Roethke

Crisis of Faith

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I am felling the weight of my brokenness much more than normal as of late. I don’t know how else to describe it. I feel like all the piece of me I have fought so long to keep up with are becoming too difficult to carry, some of them are jagged and painful and keep gouging me…

I believe we are all broken, we all have some crack or ding, some scar. Maybe we caused the damage ourselves, maybe it is something we have been carrying since childhood, maybe it was caused by someone else and quite possibly there are many of them. Sometimes I think that is where our beauty grows from the courage to continue in our brokenness. I often wonder if that is the source of our empathy and compassion. I believe our imperfection is what makes us impeccably suitable for life, for one another; from our damage we can heal, from our mistakes we can learn, and from shortcomings we can grow.

So why do we fight so hard to keep our brokenness concealed, why do we chose to not embrace our vulnerability but strive to hide our struggles? In my heart and soul I believe you are the exact right person in this moment, you are who you need to be for the purpose of now, you are who you were intended to be. So why am I struggling with that belief? Why this crisis of faith?

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” –Ernest Hemingway

Note to Former Self

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I am a believer of getting it out of my head either by talking it through or writing it down.  If I put it on paper it adds perspective and allows me to process through my thoughts instead of them continually bouncing around inside my head.  The other day I shared with my dear friend the process I have used to let go when you have no way of actually dealing with the person or event; writing a letter and hold nothing back, there is no need for civility only honesty about your feelings, pain, etc. then I find a quiet place and set it ablaze leaving only a trail of smoke. I have been known to scrawl my thoughts of anger and pain on napkins or compose detailed letters of forgiveness on my fine stationary; it has ran the gamut.  I have written many to myself throughout the years, focusing on forgiveness or to clarify things. Over the past week or two the same topic has surfaced in conversations with different people; what would you tell to your young naïve self.  I don’t spend too much time on regrets, this just made me think what words of wisdom would I impart. Here goes….

 

 

Dear Chicka,

At twenty-two you are so young, have so much of your life to live but you feel like you have been swept off your feet with love. Although you have been loved by your parents and siblings, you have no idea this is not real love. Before you know it you will be facing motherhood and within a few months of that you will know fear. Not that silly scary movie type or the heart racing because you are frightened in a dark parking lot type but true fear for yourself and your unborn child. I am sorry I put you in that position.

You will know a love like no other the moment you hold your first child in your arms and from that moment forward you will make all your decisions as a means to protect, nurture, and provide for them all. You work so hard, you try more than anyone I have ever known, always telling yourself if you just love a little more, try a little harder, find a bit more patience for that is what role you are supposed to play. So many nuances you will learn for yourself just know I am so proud of you for your strength, your courage, and all you have given to your children.

Please try to remember to love yourself, be kind to yourself but I know there will be times that is lost, know there will be moments where you set yourself ablaze to keep someone else warm, and where you sacrifice you dreams a beliefs for some false greater-good. You will return to yourself in time.  Try to hold fast to what you believe in your heart and soul. In your late twenties,  you will lose sight of who you are, you will lose hope, and your faith will be challenged but know it will be found again, to be stronger than you knew. When you face those moments, remember to never lose sight of your kindness, compassion, and love; just know not everyone is deserving of those gifts. Know you deserve so much better, your children do too and one day you will have it.

In your early thirties  you find the courage to finally leave, to have a plan in place and all the elements align for it to occur remember you are strong enough to make it; you are a survivor! You will regain your financial independence, some security for you and your children, and strike a career path that will carry you through another rough patch or two.  When you return later, know too that everything happens for a reason, try to retain your belief that life is unfolding as it should.  You trusted in the words, you wanted to believe more than anything. Who would think the person who professes to love you would even…?  When you begin to doubt yourself, when you lose confidence in your choice hold fast to your conviction that this is all part of a plan.  Stay strong, be courageous, and love your children with all your heart for it will work out. In your mid-thirties you will understand why you returned, why in all the prayers and moments of silence seeking the path and strength to leave that little voice would say not yet.  You are blessed with a do-over and there are not many of those in life so enjoy it!

It will eventually all fall apart one fateful morning. All the financial security you created will see you through a nasty divorce and you will be able to maintain a decent lifestyle for you and your children. You will begin to live life as you had only dreamed. There will come one morning on the beach where you will forgive, a sunrise all alone where you learned to lay down the burdens forced upon you by another for you know they are not yours to carry.  You will also learn to forgive yourself which will be the most difficult; at times I still remind myself of this.You will regain your confidence and although there are times you struggle you know all you were told was not true for you know your own truth, worth, and beauty. You will know a peace in your heart you never knew existed. You will live a life of contentment where so many of the things you endured have given you a skillset that proves useful.  One evening at the dinner table, you will laugh with your children and know the journey while difficult was worth those smiles and in that moment life will be as it should.

Know that even now there are difficult times, moments that revisit your psyche but at this mid-point in your life you are wiser than you could have even hoped. There is still so much to learn, so many experiences, so far to travel but you will be doing so with a full spirit and a peaceful heart surrounded by loving friends.

 

Be kind and love yourself on this journey,

~Your middle-aged self

 

An Unwanted Visitor

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Sitting here waiting for the sun to rise the night noises are my constant companion. An unwanted from my sadistic friend Insomnia; she has once again arrived at the most inopportune time and is outstaying her welcome. I am sitting here thinking of a moment when I was a child and had to be pulled from the water, that felling of no matter how hard you fought you could not stay on the surface, the fear because you know what failing in that moment means, and becoming too tired to fight any longer. I wonder what one’s last thoughts are, when then go below the surface for one last time.

I am so tired

…tired of fighting so hard to stay above the surface

…tired of being the strong one

…tired of smiling when I feel like I fell like I am crumbling

…tired of reassuring others when I am so unsure

…tired of my anxious mind always thinking, trying to understand

…tired of feeling like I am damaged

…tired of not being enough; pretty enough, good enough…

…tired of not having a place to take respite, if only for a moment

…tired of keeping this all inside, to myself

…tired of not knowing whether to continue or just give up

…tired of struggling so hard to keep my grasp on hope.

“Faith begins where Reason sinks exhausted.” – Albert Pike