Monday, April 3, 2017

Holding Space

There's a concept in woo land referred to as holding space. It's a bit vague really, but to hold space essentially means to wait. On a person, a situation, a thing you can't quite sort out which way to go, what words to speak or how to feel. It's a permission slip to just be rather than to know and act and it's quite important to those seeking to live the most intentional existence possible.

And it's hard.

The past two years of my life can be attributed a massive space holding. For me, my children and everyone affected by the huge flux named Divorce. There's no easy way to separate what was once one and no right way to determine which path is the correct one to traverse. You are walking blind because what you see isn't always what's there and what you feel can't always be trusted. You take it one day and one decision at a time hoping the ripple created by each change doesn't destroy what little is left of the foundation you are counting on to remain.

You are you. It's all you have left, but when you weren't quite sure who you were before it all toppled down the search to find who that is doesn't come easy. It's rocky, rough and painful. So you hold space for whoever it is that will emerge. Whatever will be.

It changes daily. Hourly. Hell, even minutes can change everything you know or knew to be true at some point. I can honestly say I had no clue who I was before and the journey to find that out has been the hardest one I've ever taken. So many voices offered their interpretations, advice, guidance and sometimes even just white noise to fill the empty spaces where no words would have helped. Knowing which to heed and which to mute is also a challenge not for the faint of heart. Everyone has an opinion.

And because I'm mentally healthy (says those professional type people who go to school for such things) I've realized I can trust mine; my opinion. I can trust my own perception of who I am, what I want and what I need. That being said, not everyone trusts that I can trust myself.

In the past few months especially, new people have come into my life and given me their perceptions of who I am. Most words have been flattering and uplifting, but there also comes a point where everything I am, to the very core of my being is mistrusted. My words filtered through experiences with the ghosts of the past misconstrued, eyed with suspicion and discounted as meaning what they mean. I ask a question for the simple intention of gathering more information and it's taken as an accusation. My needing to be very clear because with this many years under my belt aI am well aware of how socially inept I can be taken for doubt, mistrust and not hearing clearly. It's frustrating. Very frustrating. In a world where everyone is lying and pretending to be a version of themselves they can't quite manifest on the daily, being genuine and very, very real is seen with suspicion How incredibly confusing.

I've thought long and hard about learning to play the game. To follow the rules and blend in and I've come to the conclusion that I just cannot do it. I've never been able to and I certainly can't start now. My intensity might drive people away but it also draws those who matter even closer. My honesty might offend, but it also endears those on the path I am which is the path to living the best, most full life possible. I dont' need (or want) to play it safe when it comes to experiencing the unexpected, the divine, the delicious and even the scary. There are far too many holes in the ground holding the what-ifs in life, filled with regret and grown over with things not experienced, people not pursued and days lived in complacency. It's just not me. When I wake up each morning, it's a new start; a new beginning. It could be the first day of something absolutely amazing if I'm just paying attention.

The scariest thing about adding years to my timeline hasn't been the realization of my own physical mortality, but the awareness of those my own age who have already died emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They've gotten to this point and think "Okay that's it, I had my run with youth and the best there was from this lifetime, so now....this is it. This is what my reality and my life looks like from here on out." Nothing depresses me more. Day in and day out I see people giving up on big dreams, depriving the world of huge gifts, incredible love and limitless passion. Why? I just cannot understand it.

Perhaps I'm an idealist with goals way bigger than can possibly be met, but I can't stop. Not now. Is it childish to believe the impossible is still possible and every hope that's been firmly planted in my heart is there for a reason? Maybe. And maybe it's my duty, to myself, to believe even if no one that crosses my path will. It's space I'm holding for me and no one else and that's been the hardest lesson of all. No one's convictions are strong enough to reach anyone else and if they are, that's not consenual pursual of mutual beliefs, but coercion if you really think about it. You can't make someone believe the best is yet to come and that happiness is one decision away. They have to believe for themselves.

And I do. I truly do. I believe that regardless of circumstances, life is an open playing field where lessons are to be learned, dreams are to be realized, love is to be given and returned and marks are to be made. If we submit to trusting the process, we are gifted the abilty to re-invent ourselves daily, becoming a better version of ourselves today than we were yesterday. Life is so incredibly, beautifully and breathtakingly precious. It's made to be lived and experienced, not survived and witnessed.

So each day, I'm holding space. For myself, For those I haven't yet met who will teach me something, for those I have and may circle back around to finish the business we started but abandoned and for those who have always been around and become more deeply woven into the fabric of my life's story one day at a time. For everything that has been and everything that will be. I've never been more aware of how important each day is, each decision, each opportunity and after many stumbles and downright, full on crashes, I'm picking myself back up, shaking off the dust and allowing the process to happen. To just....happen. Not easy, not comfortable and certainly not typical "Melissa" but necessary.

Who knows where it will lead?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dear Future Husbands (And wives)

Someday, if you're lucky and/or crazy, you, young man, might jump in to the biggest commitment imaginable: Marriage. An interesting union, for sure, this marriage thing, both blessing and curse and always tipping more towards one than the other any given day. And it's hard.

You enter in with hopes and dreams and an expectation that this other person, this girl, will fill every want, need and desire and for a time, she will. That's what being a newlywed is all about. It's new. It's flawless and easy. Exciting, yet comforting and it seems as though the entire world entered into existence just to allow this manifestation of perfect love.

Then life happens. And when life happens things will change. She will change. And you have to change with her.

Love her with every turn and she will love you. Support her in every struggle and she will support you. Embrace her flaws and she'll giggle, lovingly, at yours. It really is that easy. Let her be her and you will find yourself enjoying a new version of your lovely lover, each incarnation more exciting than the last.

Don't keep her from her passions because that fire inside her will keep you warm, even hot (if you know what I mean) Let her shine bright (yes, even without you) and you'll never be in the dark. Let her break down so you can help build her back up and don't make it about you. It's not (usually).

Don't compete with your kids for you wife's attention, rather compete with your wife for your kids attention and you'll always have hers.

But don't compete with her otherwise because you are two part of a whole. When she's weak, be strong. When she's strong, be humble.

Don't ask her to give up her life for yours. Her friends for yours. Her family for yours. SHE MATTERS.

Don't take more than you're willing to give, give more.

Don't own her, own you. Own all of you and let her do the same. That way each offering of yourself to each other is a gift, not an obligation.

Let her have her own favorite color, music, movie, food.....Yes, really. She doesn't have to like what you like for you to like it. Remember this.

Have and hold....not smother and consume. Until death do you part...don't kill her (figuratively and definitely not literally) because once dead inside, she has nothing to lose.

Be a witness to her growth, not her imperfections.

Value her.

Cherish her.

Listen, learn and grow.

No means no EVEN after I do (it wasn't a perpetual yes; let that sink in HARD)

Love isn't hard dudes. It's not. You do it for yourself every single day. So it's easy. Treat her like that. Or better.

And if you screw it up, on any day, say I'm sorry as fast as you can and mean it. And by mean it, don't repeat the thing you just said sorry for.

Give her grace and space and room and love.

Even if....


She doesn't do the same....because at the end of the day.

You live with you.

And there exists no divorce from yourself outside death.

Choose wisely. Or choose blindly. It's up to you.

Jump in. Jump in with everything you have.....

Or don't jump in at all.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Cat in a Bag

And I guess it's out. For some. Some knew a little of the battle raging inside my four walls over the last few months and some know it's been almost a decade long war. True story.

With things like these you never know where to begin, but I knew I had to start somewhere because things that are very, very wrong fester in secrecy and rather than lose my mind, I started to share a bit here and there with my closest people. The problem is bits here and there had people giving ALL sorts of advice. "Oh you need counseling" (been there done that) "Well you need a different counselor" (we've had four now) "You really need to take this to God" (Oh God knows, believe you me.) That is maddening. Like we have crossed every T and dotted every I and we were just waiting for those who barely know us, or our situation, to drop that one pearl of wisdom that will FIX IT ALL. Sorry, folks it doesn't work like that.

So let's talk. What the HELL is going on? What was that post about anyways? Well, it's about my life. It's about years and years of chasing the carrot of approval and never catching it. Trying every which way to please a person who wanted things that were altogether impossible. And a waking up. Not some big epiphany really, but a moment in time. On a porch, talking to a girlfriend, covering the mouthpiece of the phone hoping she didn't hear the epic tantrum my spouse was having because I was on the phone, with a friend, after BEDTIME.

But lest you feel sorry for me, let me share some facts with you. I'm a bull headed, strong willed, competent and well rounded woman. I don't mope, cry, whine or live a joyless existence. My house is obnoxiously loud with laughter, crude jokes and happiness. Because I chose it. Because I found it hidden in the nooks and crannies of life and held on to those joys like a life raft. That's what they were. My life blood. My children. My yarny pursuits. My yard, lush and green and animals doing their pain in the ass animal things. Facebook. Memes. Smart ass friends. My life is full. I'm good. I really am in a place of joy and contentment in my life.

And that's largely because I let go. I FINALLY LET GO. I finally looked my reality square in the eye and said "Well it is what it is and it's his, not mine and I can't change, fix or manipulate it."

I sat with someone I knew, who was recommending a "better marriage counselor" after I explained I wouldn't go back because I wasn't the problem. WE weren't the problem. HE was the problem. Sounds arrogant right? In any marriage, if there's a problem it MUST be both parties causing it right? The short and correct answer is NO. When one spouse is controlling and abusive there isn't one damn thing the other can do to create a permanent peace because the second you show any humanity, you've screwed up once again. The second you say anything not on the script, you get the punishment. The punishment in my case is either the silent treatment or an hours long "talk" about all the ways I have failed to show love in the "correct way." It can be hard to wrap your mind around what this looks like if you've never lived it. And it takes YEARS to see that there's a cycle, a pattern, to it...and the offenses are never unique. It's the same thing over and over and over again.

But I'm not here to school anyone on what is and isn't abuse. It's not my place. I'll put it very simply that if someone is consistently up your ass with complaints about normal human things you do...if there is a cycle of freakout, apology, promises, calm....and if that calm can only be maintained by acting a very specific way, there's a problem. If you are given consequences for stepping out of line, that's not okay. Conversely if you are expected to reward loving gestures with anything more than a "thank you, I really appreciate that..." also not okay.

Details are just gossip and some aren't mine to share. They aren't my confessions to decide to give or not, so I leave out details. They don't matter. But I'm disappointed. In so many people. I tried to share some of what was happening and I got a whole lot of super not helpful feedback. And I suppose that's the point of saying anything at all. Because the ONE person (who I barely knew really) who helped me listened objectively and was the first voice to say "Okay, take a step back and ask yourself honestly....can I say this to him and not face retaliation. Do I feel scared? Do I feel safe?" That person also lost a lot of people who just couldn't quite handle the reality of what she ACTUALLY experienced.

I've had messages today. I've had feedback. There is some respect being thrown Jamie's way for "getting it out there" but even in that....there's manipulation. How you ask? Because I let him know last night I could no longer keep this to myself anymore. I needed a stronger support system to keep myself mentally healthy during his wild swings back and forth. And so he beat me to it. Despite not using Facebook much at all, he had to "confess." I'll say I appreciate the sentiment, but it's after years of hell and after painting me in a very negative light to many, many people including co-workers, friends and his individual counselor. It's a new trick from an old sleeve and I've seen similar moves before. I've been through intense counseling where everything was agreed upon and worked on, only to have my ass handed to me months later for saying "Remember, the counselor said we should...." It only stuck for as long as perceived benefits outweighed the effort and when there was no reward for doing the right thing, the right thing was no longer appealing. I pull no punches anymore. I can't. I cannot live in nor support an environment that will teach my son's to act like spoiled 2 year olds or my daughters to walk on eggshells with the man they commit to. Enough is enough.

Silence has its place at times. Covering another's flaws can be loving or it can be fatal. When it kills YOU, it's not longer about respect and giving the other person space to change. There are a million reasons to brush things under the rug and I've ran through them all. I could make this blog go on for hours listing every single grievance I have, but that's not me. I don't have to destroy another person to get anyone on my side because quite frankly if you don't trust me enough to believe my story, I don't need you in my life. I know what I've seen, heard, endured and lived with. I know what I've done, what I've tried, what I've sorted through. And today, right here, right now I know I've given it all I have (and then some) I also know I have the best wishes for my husband as I know the path he's chosen is empty. He could force and coerce compliance for years. It was easy. But empty. The thing about love is, without it flowing from a natural state of mutual trust, admiration, affection and adoration, it's not love. It's routine. And the world has SO MUCH MORE TO OFFER than that.

I have no idea from day to day what the rest of my life will hold. I wake up and I love my babies and my big kids and my home and just bask in the peace that my daytime holds. No worries, no drama, no disappointing anyone, no silent treatment for asking nasty comments to stop. I've become who I need to be through fire. I've sat in the silence and been very honest with myself "what is my I doing what's necessary?" In the end I have to live with ME. Along the way I have made good friends who know my heart; the good, the bad and the ugly. I have people who help me sort out the common husband/wife friction from the "Oh Melissa, that is just NOT okay....are you SERIOUS???" stuff. And so far we have approximately 10 years of weekly conflict that follows the same script. The EXACT same script. I found a letter written to me a little over 8 years ago that apologized for the same offenses, the same words, the same accusations and a promise to "not ever do that again. I've seen the light now. I know better now." And I wept. I wept for all the hope I felt reading those so many years ago. The hope that THIS TIME we'd get it right and I'd do the thing that finally made him happy and I'd not have to apologize for every thing I had failed at, once again.

Last night it happened again. And last week. And the week before. I did something wrong (I asked for him to stop making stupid comments about my breasts, especially in front of the boy going through puberty who is embarrassed by everything BEWB. I asked nicely and only after the third night in a row of such commentary), I was punished with the silent treatment, then a tirade, then apology, then message after message, then a begging to forgive, then a critique of how I wasn't forgiving correctly or nicely enough, then a declaration that the marriage was finished, then another declaration that if I said different words with a different tone the marriage would definitely be saved immediately, a veiled suicide hint, anger, accusation, "fine you're right I'm wrong, you are just perfect aren't you...." and finally a sulking off to bed while I stayed up with our newborn. This is my life. And this is my line in the sand. I won't go through it anymore. I won't engage in conflict that isn't calm, respectful and logical. I won't hug and say "awww that's okay" when we've clearly not made any headway on the root issues. I will not continue to spend hours on my porch, while I attend to the fragile emotions of a man who should be helping get our kids in bed, but instead sulks for hours about how hurt he is that I said a comment bothered me. I will not accept, any longer, that I am responsible for HIS EMOTIONS. (P.S. I just had a baby y'all...I didn't even get a chance to get my hard won postpartum break down. I was too busy attending to his) I cannot control how anyone else feels. I can say what I need to say with respect, a soft and kind voice, with a disclaimer "I know you may see it differently, but I'd like to share how it makes me feel..." but if I am not allowed to say ANYTHING that doesn't fall within certain parameters....without receiving the silent treatment, there's really no point in speaking at all.

The very few times I've tried to get some advice, some help, some back up, I've been made to feel like I'm being ridiculous but I won't accept that ANYMORE. I KNOW that if a man spoke to my daughter like this, I'd clean the floor with with tush and if any of my sons EVER spoke this way, a similar situation would go down. NO MATTER WHAT you need to say, you CAN say it nicely. No matter what the conflict, you do NOT NEED to belittle or threaten the other person. Every person in a relationship, a unit, a family, should have equal voice. They should be heard. No one else, outside of you, gets to dictate what does and doesn't make you uncomfortable at anytime and it took me 36 years to absorb that truth.

I know Jamie is working hard on looking within himself. He's been in counseling for months. We did joint counseling for months. Unfortunately the root is yet to be killed. It keeps growing back. It keeps coming back around. It was his decision to put it out there, in hopes that uncovering it would make it harder to fall back into. We shall see. But knowing what I know.....I am not banking on it. That might sound harsh and defeating, but statistics aren't in our favor. For 16 1/2 years he's had a very different wife. One that would quit something she loved if he expressed disapproval, one that would stay home all day, every day rather than form outside relationships that made him "sad." No more. I will not quit the things that I love because he doesn't understand them (mainly Matthew's Gift). I have always taken excellent care of our children and our home and HIM. I have never done anything that threatened our homeschooling, our children being nurtured and invested in or caused our house to completely implode (explode at time, but we won't talk about that) I will not apologize for a once weekly phone call with a girlfriend after the kids are in bed. I will not apologize for playing in makeup with my teens and wearing a nice new dress. I WILL give that look now when he's taking over my OB appointment talking about his ailments. I will be that woman that wants to be treated with the respect I've poured into this thing my whole life. Because I want that for my kids and I can no longer hide the truth from them. They have their own opinions and they aren't shy in sharing them. I am rather proud that they (mostly) share their views with respect for authority without FEAR of authority. They know they matter and that's a huge win in my book.

And I will not humiliate him or my children by giving every nitty gritty detail. I've been asked. I have seriously been asked "So what's so bad that you feel that way...." and when I don't spill or just give a very general overview "Oh well that's not that bad....really...." DISGUSTING. And nope.

Prayers are great and we welcome them. But we do not believe that everything is a happily ever after. Just because prayer and God are involved doesn't mean you get the outcome you want. Can God heal anything? Yep. Does he? Nope. "Hold on...." Yep. Done that. For longer than anyone reading this knows.

And I will find joy in every day. Life IS good. It has been. Parts have sucked but not all. That girl you "see" online....making ridiculous jokes...that really is me. That's not fake . That is who and what I am and even the suck doesn't cloud that. And even that is an exercise in independence because my joy in all things has been a long standing grievance. On good days, he loves my joyful heart. On bad days my joy is just more proof that I don't love him because if I didn't I couldn't possible have any joy knowing how horrible his life is.

And so the cat gallops gleefully out of the bag. And so it is finished......and so it begins.....

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sweet Dreams?

Alright, my wise doctor decided that since I'm pregnant, I need to sleep sometimes.  Preferably every night and preferably for more than like 3 hours.  And I've tried.  Oh yes, I have.  Counting sheep won't work because if y'all know me, I'm all examining the fiber quality of each one that jumps the fence wondering if maybe I really should get a spinning wheel.  Because I'm pregnant and responsible and because Nyquil even when not gestating a human knocks me on my ass, a glass of wine isn't an option either.

So he suggests....FOUR benadryl every night.  Uhm, 'cuse me?  WHAT?  FOUR?  Two make me feel like Dopey and Grouchy's love child so there was no way in hell I was taking four.  I tried two.  I got sleepy and then it felt like I had WWIII going on between my legs (OMG, I seriously just read that back...that sounds bad.  So bad I simply must keep it here to give all the other sick, twisted minds out there a giggle.)  But what I MEAN (you sicko) is that my legs just fight each other and themselves for hours after the benadryl kicks in, which I think is restless leg syndrome, but if I had to name it I'd call it "cut off your legs so you can sleep" disorder.  All around SUCK. attempt to do that sleep thing was Unisom.

Oh.  My God.  Is Unisom derived from 'shrooms or what, because y'all my dreams on that crap are CRAZY.

And we aren't talking the typical naked in front of a classroom, falling from a hot air balloon or running circles crazy.  I'm talking so weird that I can't even remember enough details in a logical order to explain them after I wake even though in my slumber it all makes sense and I'm fine and dandy with all the psycho crap happening.  I am SO OVER IT.

My kiddos love to sit around and talk about their dreams and what they mean, which by the way is apparently a science or some shiz, but I have no idea where to even start with mine.  Lots of airplanes, lots of weird shiz falling from the sky, doomsday, while I'm over there still knitting like "Eh, just a few more rows before the end of the world, I'm good."

I don't think I'll find that here but whatever
Is there anyone out there that can give me some very serious suggestions on how to get to sleep and stay alsleep without falling down rabbit holes of weirdness or wanting to perform my own amputatoin cause y'all I AM SO TIRED!! HELP?!!?!?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

UFO? You mean awesome. pre-started project right?

It starts with an apology usually.  "And yeah, I have a ton of UFOs" lamets the yarn artist, apologizing for his or her obvious failure to take that project from A to Z in one sitting.  Pffft.  Get real.  UFO?   You mean awesome pre-started project right??

Let's have a little chat about this shall we?  Let's get logical for a minute because y'all know that's where I feel most comfortable.

First, why are we apologizing for not meeting some standard no one actually put on us?  Are we doing this for a JOB?  (If you are, get on it girl, don't make that customer wait!!)  If we are making stuff for the pleasure of making stuff, or even to make something we need eventually, let's lose the apologies for not doing in on sweatshop timelines.  Live long and enjoy the process.

Secondly, technically any project you start is a UFO the second it's begun, so the stigma of having even one UFO is silly.  To get philosophical, even WE, ourselves, are unfinished objects and there's beauty in that.

But lastly, and my favorite part of UFOS, specifically a massive quantity of them is the aforementioned "awesome, pre-started project."  I LOVE looking through my yarn [-]hoard[/-] er, stash and finding all sorts of stuff I started and abandoned out of boredom.  It's like "Oh wow, what a cool project.  BONUS, it's already started.  Hey look at that, this new awesome project is like 75% done."  So really, it's like WIP Christmas.  Right?

I no longer feel guilty about stuff I've started and left behind for later.  It's like leftovers, but with yarn and leftoevers are always awesome right?

Today's revisited UFO started back before Christmas....

Something kind like this:

But with my own little spin :)  This one will take a long, long time.  And I'm okay with packing it away when I get sick of the green monochromaticness of it all.  

Long live the UFOS.  A yarnies opportunity to make something awesome in itty bitty stages and cheers to the all the UFOs out there lingering in storage boxes waiting to be rediscovered as "awesome pre-started projects!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Poor Orphaned Blog

You know how you start something and dedicate yourself to doing it very regularly...then that old four letter word inserts itself into your best intentions and screws it all up??



But life also demands the cathartic nature of writing if you're a writer, even if you can't yet articulate everything you need to write about.  Life changes so fast and furiously sometimes and you don't even know how to do the basic things anymore, let alone put a bunch of words in any logical order.

So I guess I'll break it down.  I still have kids and stitches.  As a matter of fact, my 10th little bean will arrive in the next few weeks.  This time around it was a bit of a shock which probably makes most people laugh, but it's true.  There was some active prevdention happening, but I suppose fate had other ideas.

Since my last blog I've started a charity Matthew's Gift which donates boxes of infant memorial items to loss parents.  We made our first official donation on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day and are slowly reaching out to the community more and more to give parents the gift of dignity for their stillborn babies.  I'm still trucking along with my Jamberry business and loving that (for the most part!!)  I've traveled to Austrailia and back home again and have started a few new projects that are still in development but super exciting.

On the yarn front, my most loved project right now is my "Opus" recycled sweater blanket.  I spent over a year collecting merino and cashmere blend sweaters from thrift stores and they have been carefully processed and wound into balls of watercolor beauty.  It's the warmest blanket I've ever touched and I absolutely adore each minute I work on it.  I chose the Attic 24 Neat Ripple because it's simple and easy!

So very warm and cozy!!  Of course I'm working on a couple things for the "new one baby" (that is SO cute and not sure where it came from, but all the kids are calling him that.  Yes, it's a boy!!)

Farm life has been absolutely devastating.  Our three Nigerian Dwarfs had their first babies from the new buck.  All three delivered triplets.  The first birthing only saw one survivor out of 6.  The last to give birth had one stillborn, with the second dying within the week and the next being fatally wounded by our male Pygora during a nursing visit with Mom.  It has been absolutely crushing and I haven't fared well emotionally during all this.  Having babies on a farm is the best part and seeing such loss has really been a blow on my heart.  We've decided to ixnay on the goats for now.  We simply have too much going on to keep up with it and we are all very tired of the, well, bullshit, associated with having them.  We plan to sell them soon.  I guess part of being a grown up is knowing your limits!!

Yarn.  OMG.  I have bought SO MUCH YARN in the past couple months.  Knit Picks Black Friday deal brought over 300 skeins into my house, then Little Knits about 100 and Goodwill, eh, we won't talk about that.  But no, I haven't gone yarn hoarder.  Getting yarn into the hands of volunteers for Matthew's Gift has been a something important to me and the price point of $1 or less per skein makes it really cost effective, so when the sales hit, I jumped.  I have a handful of steady volunteers that enjoy the work and I am so blessed to have them.  Unfortunately I have also had a few people take large boxes of yarn and just disappear, ignoring all messages asking for progress.  Live and learn and then create a system that still allows me to give yarn to volunteers on a trial basis until they prove they will actually return it in the form of finished items.  I still have a hard time with the injustice of anyone taking from a charity, especially in light of what we are doing, but I have to let those people live with that choice.  

For now, life really is in a HUGE flux and I have no clue where it's going anymore.  So much has changed, so much is happening, so many choices and decisions laid before me and the idea of taking each day one at a time has never been more poignant.  The balance between happiness and sacrifice is a hard one to strike and lately I look at it all and just sigh.  There's only so much compromise a person can make before they are no longer the person they actually are, you know what I mean?  

Since writing is the place I can actually find that person, that I am, it's pretty important to start it up again, even into the wild blue yonder of blogging to the unknown world out there.  Just the act of spitting words out is healing, so hopefully in that, there will be a small measure of peace and comfort.

How is everyone out there?? What are YOU up to??

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Through Who's Looking Glass?

We just rolled back into Augusta after a whirlwind trip to Atlanta....fangirls, concert, exhaustion.  In that order.  The hotel we stayed in was one of those swanky deals with valet parking, bellhops and $6 bottles of water via room service.  Also, mirrored elevators where you stood there, feeling queasy not just at the upward movement of the people moving, but the reflection staring back at you.  OMG, I look like that?!?!  To avoid my own hideous reflection, I looked at my daughters, who I know are adorable and perfect and they looked all weirdo too, which was somewhat of a relief.  You really expect mirrors to be honest you know?  They should be....they are supposed to be a reflection of what you actually look like and in this case, at least in the case of my gorgeous girls, that mirror had it all wrong.  Me? If I really do look like that, I need some help because it was scary.  Very scary.

But I was still me.  I still laughed at the same weird things (Like looking like an Oompa Loompa.  All vanity aside, that shiz was funny)  I was still Mom to those three girls standing there with me....still carrying my 31 overnight bag I absolutely love, with knitting tucked inside. No matter what the mirror was reflecting back at was still me...

I've never been to a carnival, but I am familiar with the house of mirrors.  The walk through every kind of reflection possible.  The stretched out, tall and skinny...short and fat, warped faces, bodies, perceptions...and you know what?  It may just be the most honest place on earth...that hall of mirrors. Because we really do see ourselves like that.  All of it.  We see ourselves as less than, as more than, as beautiful, hideous...and we look...constantly at ourselves.  Constantly.  Always concerned with not only what reflection WE see, but how others see us.  Depending on the person you can be any version of yourself.  

Have you ever been around someone you feel beautiful around no matter what you actually look like?  They SEE you.  Beyond the hair, the perfect eyeliner, the cute dress.  They look at you in ratty yoga pants, hair up in a messy bun with part of your sandwich still on your face and just SEE you.  Hear you.  Feel you.  Conversely, have you ever been in a room.....dressed to the nines..and felt like the ugliest, stupidest, least valuable person in the room?  You could have checked the mirror a million times before you left, completely satisfied with your appearance only to see something devastating in the women's room mirror when you arrive.  Your hair is all wrong, your dress not fancy should have aren't good enough to be there...But you're still you.  

You are still you.

Flip it around now. You know when you look in the mirror that some changes need made.  Everything looks just perfect, but it's only the surface of who you are that's reflecting back at you .  You....are still you.  You are still struggling with every heartbreak you've ever buried being unearthed.  Every hurt you convinced yourself you didn't feel ripping open and bleeding  You are still you when everyone around you tries to convince you that because the surface is fine, the rest is too....and even when they don't want to see you for who you really are still you.

You are still you.

You are still the person who doesn't understand why anyone can see what you see...your heart, your emotion, your one knows what you they can't possibly convince you of what...of actually are.

But they try.

They try....

"Well at least..." 

"Well if it were me..."

"Well if I had that...I'd...."

And you want to scream STOP.  This is my life.  This is my story and my pen, my paper, my choice and unless you were part of writing any of the previous chapters you can't possibly know what made the cut when editing the bookstore copy.   

So you decide. Done. No more.  No more opinions about what the mirror is actually reflecting back. No more.  Because it never mattered.  Ever.  Keeping up appearances for anyone else, a waste of time, energy and life.  There's nothing beautiful about masks....

Not only do you stop comparing yourself to others, you start refusing theirs to you. No, my life is not perfect.  Yes, I have something you have about 17 things I want....and about 100 I don't.  That's the raw, ugly truth.  You no longer allow anyone to compete with you on anything.  Ever.  If someone needs to, let them win because they aren't there that place where they realize no two human beings should ever compete, compare, contrast who they are with who you are and decide one's the winner.  It's a distraction.  A massive eye off the ball because wanting to be someone else will forever keep you from wanting to be yourself.  

And you are enough.  Every human is a self-contained work of art, a masterpiece, a wonder of biology and spirituality and every mirror, in every reflection....every glance, thought, compete only with you....

Only with you....

And at being you?  You always win.