Find Me, Dear Heart: An Ode to Infinite Worthiness

worthy

Tonight I checked in with a friend. I am glad I did, she apparently has been struggling and I was not aware. I know it took a lot for her to even be open with me about her struggle. I am glad that I have done enough for our relationship to feel safe for her to share even a little bit, I know how scary it can feel to be honest during dark times. We talked for a while and her pain hurt my heart. It was not just her pain, but the shame she was unknowingly expressing.

She talked of the burden. The burden we all have felt at some point. The burden we carry that we will not allow others to shoulder for fear of burdening them. We don’t want to be too much, we don’t want to ask too much, we don’t want to risk running others off with our darkness. We don’t feel worthy of the comfort, and love, and connection that can come from allowing others in and trusting that they will want to stay and hold our hand through it.

I gave her my words, I tried to make her feel heard and loved and understood. Ultimately I know from my own experience that you can never feel connected with others and truly allow yourself to be unburdened until you begin to work on the relationship you have with yourself. Until you love yourself you will never feel worthy of the love and comfort that can come from others because you will not believe you are worthy of it. It is an up hill climb and it is a long road she is on, but I know she is on it and that gives me hope.

I am no poet but tonight I want to close this post by sending a message out into the universe with the hope that my friend will feel it and feel comfort..

Find me, dear heart.
I know the pain you carry.
The pain of I cannot burden another person with my load.
The pain of I am not worthy of your time, your consideration, your love.
The pain of the awful voices in your head that torture you with hurtful untruths about yourself.
Find me, dear heart.

I see you.
I see your greatness.
I know what bubbles beneath your surface.
I know because what dwells in your soul dwells in mine as well.
I am darkness too, your dark does not frighten me, it is not too much.
And like me, you contain the brightest light, a light that is uniquely and magnificently you.
So find me, dear heart, and let me be your mirror.

A mirror that can reflect for you the love, and connection, and wholeness you are worthy of.

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Identity: How we are seen, how we see ourselves

“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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Todd and I have been talking lately about our next car. Like the responsible ISTJ he is he managed to pay off his car loan early. I think close to a year early actually. So having not had a car payment for quite sometime and the recent addition of a large dog into our home he has started thinking about the next vehicle and what makes sense. He has decided we need a size upgrade so when he is ready he is going to look at SUVs. I must admit a piece of me is jealous.

It’s not just that he will get to drive an SUV while I am stuck in a car (I have never liked cars since being in a bad accident when I was 14). It’s the fact that I already know when the time comes for me to get another car I will be getting a minivan! It is what makes sense for us though. By the time I am ready for a new car we will either already be one child in or at least ready to start having children. When I was in high school my cousin and I always used to say we would never be “minivan moms” we were going to be the cool moms who drove SUVs. Well uncool or not I have grown up and watched my girlfriends struggle with baby seats in the back of their SUVs and cars plus at times not having enough room for all the extras you tote around not to mention trying to fit additional people in your vehicle. I realized it just doesn’t make sense.

Todd and I were talking about minivans and my silly ideas about them. Believe me, I know they are silly I do not need to be told. What would be more ridiculous though is not getting a minivan when the time comes because somehow I have attached my identity as a person to the car I drive. Or I allowed my ego to get in the way of what makes the most sense for my family. Anyway, Todd says Volvo makes a minivan so at least I have that. Half kidding, I do kind of love Volvos.

This whole idea of feeling less than because of the car I drive got me thinking bigger picture about my identity, about individual identity in general. What do we think of ourselves? Where does our self-worth stem from? How does this compare to how others view us? Are the two ideas in line with each other or are they incredibly skewed?

For example, They say the clothes make the man, what do my clothes say about me and how much do I let what I wear speak for me?

I think my style is feminine, relatively conservative and comfortable but always put together. I will usually pick a colorful flat over a heel to save my feet but I am not a t-shirt and jeans girl.

So I wonder what kind of first impression I give? What I always strive for is approachable. And in thinking about it I do identify with what I wear. I am not proud of it but I can honestly say I don’t feel as much like myself running around in a t-shirt and jeans, I actually don’t really own any t-shirts. I acknowledge that there is a degree of superficiality in allowing my mood to be affected by what I am wearing but I do care about how I represent myself in public. While I accept that this makes me superficial on some level I also feel it is about self-respect though and possibly even being respectful of those around me.

Let me elaborate a little, if I know I have a meeting with someone I will dress accordingly. It shows that I care, showing the person I am meeting with I take them seriously therefore have shown up put together. Not to mention in terms of the work world most companies care about how the people they hire represent them. I realize when I am out in the world I am not just representing myself but others as well. That means something to me.

When it comes to my identity, I do not want to be defined by material things ultimately. My car, clothes, jewelry, phone. I have never been into status symbols etc. I also don’t want to be solely identified by the roles I play in life.

Mother, Social Worker, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend. I have talked many times about wanting to be the same version of myself across the board, striving for authenticity. My hope is that as I go through life I am able to stay true to who I am in all of these different roles and that come across to those I interact with. I realize my children will only ever really thinking of me as their mother but I hope as they get older when they think of me it is more than just “Mom”. I hope my affection, support, empathy and compassion shines through.

I feel this way about all of the roles I will play in life. I don’t want to just be “Jill the Social Worker” or “Jill, Todd’s wife”. When people think of me I hope who I am transcends just the title I hold in their life.

 

Impenetrable

No matter how hard we work at life, no level of achievement (internal or external) will ever raise us so high as to be beyond judgement. I had an epiphany while reading this week. A former professor published a book about striving for authenticity, the subject matter suits me perfectly. I agreed to do a book review for him so I have been rereading certain chapters as a way of getting my thoughts together before I begin writing the review.

I have had my fair share of negative critiques in life. This is to be expected, navigating your teens and twenties is a dangerous business, few make it out without some scars. I know for a fact that I have been to blame for emotional scars on others and I acquired a few of mine own as well. I have regret about those I hurt and know that it was not done with intention or malice. I was not, am not and never will be perfect however so all I can do is own my mistakes, apologize for injuries I have caused, learn and grow. The first two I have covered, the second two will always be a work in progress.

The challenge is

– Knowing which critiques are worth processing and which are not worth the time.

– Not always feeling the need to defend ourselves or our actions.

– Understanding that while we may have good intentions in life that is not true for everyone. Some people are just being cruel or catty, do not dwell. Their words have less to do with us and more with them.

– Forgiving those who do mean us harm in their words. They need it.

In life we will always face a level of criticism whether it has foundation or not. The ultimate goal is to face judgement, whether it has constructive benefit or not, and not lose our self-confidence over it. Learn from it, grow from it, but do not allow someone’s harsh words shake you into self-doubt.

An archaic notion

I got to school early today thanks to no traffic on the highway this morning. While I waited for class to start I attempted to review the chapter, this proved to be difficult because of a loud conversation taking place right behind me. Normally I am pretty good at focusing in and ignoring background noises when I am trying to read but one of the girls that sits behind me has a very distinct high-pitched nasally voice that is near impossible to block out. So I, as well as every other person in ear shot, was forced to listen to these two nitwits talk about their favorite TV shows. What was worse was the titles they were discussing! It’s bad enough you are distracting me from studying but to have to listen to someone gush about why whatever revenge TV show is the best around, gag. Revenge? Really? I cannot believe there is a “reality” TV show devoted to seeking revenge.

The premise for the show sounds like absolute garbage, “You were mean to me 10 years ago when I was 13 so I lost a lot of weight to prove I am better than you and now I am going to humiliate you in front of the nation!”

What does this really prove?

1. That you (the revenge seeker) are petty and small-minded. – Stop blaming others for your lot and live the life you have. You don’t like where you are? Change it.

2. That your self-worth is attached to your outward appearance. – It is a shame that as women so many of us buy into the notion that someone is more or less worthy based on superficial characteristics. I think the act of seeking revenge says more about a person’s level of self-esteem than them parading around proud to be a size 2.

3. That you are stuck in the past. – I realize harsh words and actions can stay in our minds for a long time but handling the situation in this manner won’t make you feel any better.

I could understand if we were talking about the family of someone who lost a loved one to murder (or some other scenario where a specific  individual(s) was responsible for loss of life). I think vengeful thoughts against the person to blame would be a natural reaction for even the most docile individual. However, I still think that acting upon these thoughts would be a mistake and that the act of revenge will never heal a persons hurt.

It just sickens me that shows like this, as well as so many others that feed on negativity, are on TV.

I would never be able to stomach watching a show where all the person is doing is being self-absorbed and nasty to their family because they have a big head about the fact that they are getting married. This whole idea of “It’s my day, I am royalty, worship me”. Um no idiot, it is a special day for you and your groom and ideally you should be thankful that not only there is a man out there that wants to be with you for the rest of his life (poor sap) but that you have family and loved ones that want to share in your joy.

Or how about the show that is literally just girls being awful to each other  in competition to be the most terrible person.  I mean really?! Why do these shows exist??

In fairness I acknowledge (as I have previously) that reality TV is not real. Most of this nonsense is staged, I get that. What I don’t get is why anyone would agree to go along with it. Money is my guess which is a sad reason indeed.

I also acknowledge that my rant is easily resolved by choosing not to watch the afore mentioned shows. Clearly I choose not to but even just overhearing a conversation about one put me in a bad mood to the point of creating this post. It just shows that negativity breeds negativity, another good reason to avoid garbage like this in the first place.

Capote’s Great Novel

I am finished with my first week of class and I am still excited, good sign. 😉 I am surprised to find economics as interesting as I do. This teacher has put such an emphasis on the social aspect of it that it keeps me intrigued. It is really nice that the themes in my classes are running parallel to each other as well. Inductive reasoning in math also explains how social scientists make generalizations about patterns in society. Whether it be economists, political scientists or sociologists. It is helping drive home the points I am learning in these classes because for four hours out of a day it repetition really. Moreover, I am just happy that for once math makes sense to me. That is such a good feeling.

Today I took a longer break than usual after class before I started my reading. I decided to watch a movie and relax a bit. My morning started off rocky, I apparently forgot to set the alarm last night and woke up at the exact time I need to leave the house to be at class on  time. Booger. 😦 Todd wasn’t thrilled about my oversight either as he had a meeting at work this morning. Oops. :/ Luckily I got to school on time with no issues.
When I got home I decided to watch Capote. I have read In Cold Blood and have always meant to get around to seeing this movie. To my surprise Harper Lee’s character is in the movie quite a bit. I loved that. To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book. It is something my Dad and I share together, he is my Atticus Finch. I could never look up to anyone as much as him and you see that in Scout’s relationship with Atticus in the book as well as the movie.  For those that are not as familiar with the story, Harper Lee wrote the book around what her childhood was like and Dill’s character is actually Truman Capote. As a child he lived with his aunt next door to Harper Lee and they became lifelong friends.
What I found interesting about the movie was what Truman Capote went through to write and complete this novel. I was aware when I read the book that he interviewed Perry Smith quite a bit as well as Richard Hicock, I did not realize it took him years to write this book however.
The question I was left with after watching the movie is, Did he never write another novel because he felt that he could never do better than this or was it because of how affected he was by this story.. by Perry?

The reason this thought came to me is because part of what has always held me back from doing Social Work, which is what I truly feel I was made to do, is the fear that I will be too affected by it. My heart will ache too much, I wont be able to separate the two different parts of my life or worse.. I wont be able to give enough, do enough. At the end of the movie Truman Capote’s character is saying final goodbyes to Perry and Dick right before their executions and he says, “I did everything I could.” And you get that sick feeling in your stomach knowing that our best isn’t always good enough. Sometimes you just cant change things, you cant fix things, something bad is happening and no matter what you do you cannot control it. I guess it’s like Harper Lee said, “Real Courage is knowing your licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” Fear of Failure should never be a reason for not trying.