What was said; What I heard

I read something that had a pretty big impact on me at a pretty important time which has led to the inspiration for this post. I have not spoken to my mother in a week. This would not generally be note worthy but this time it is. The last time we spoke ended badly and the space I thought I needed to take care for myself expanded from a half hour to multiple days to now a week.

During this week my Dad showed up in his normal role in our family: peace maker/mother fixer. My Dad picks up the messes of others so everything can stay neat and tidy and we can all pretend there is no mess. Dad also takes care of Mom, Mom comes first. Always.

The space has been painful. I feel like a terrible daughter, I feel like I am the problem, I feel like I am breaking my mother’s heart, I feel guilt, I feel shame, I feel like I will be a terrible mother. I feel self-doubt. I worry that my actions are manipulative, I am constantly second guessing myself. I feel unstable, out of control.

As the space has gotten bigger so has my truth; I feel rejected. I feel used. I feel blamed like a scapegoat. I feel resentment. I feel more stable. I am starting to gain clarity. I am starting to truly understand how much bigger than me this is. I am learning how to care for myself since the focus is not constantly on caring for her. My heart is aching. I feel let down.

Yesterday or the day before, I honestly cannot remember now, I was reading a blog that I have been following for a long time. It is a blog similar to my own; personal, searching, honest. I appreciate the honest part most. I admire and appreciate people who are willing to say out loud that life is hard, families are hard, relationships are hard. I see enough posed photos with perfect smiles, sometimes I need the honesty of how devastating losing a pet can be. This blogger shows up in her truth.

So I was reading this post that true to form was painfully honest and I definitely identified with parts of it. My truth is different from hers but I saw myself, my childhood self, in some of her writing.

I wasn’t sure I had the courage to be so honest but right now seems like the time. The only way for things to be different is to do things differently. That means honesty and stepping out from the shadow of denial. Last week my mother and I broke another vase, metaphorically speaking, and despite all his efforts my father was not able to sweep these pieces under the rug like so many broken pieces before it. So now I am going to stand here in the mess I helped make and accept Alma’s invitation to be seen in my truth.

What was said and What I heard:

Calm down: You are acting crazy. You are crazy.
This isn’t going to work: You can’t do this. You made a mistake. You did this wrong.
Your mother is really upset: Your mother is really upset and it is your fault. You need to apologize to your mother. Please fix this for me. I am scared.
Your brother _____________: I love him more. Your accomplishments, life, words, ideas, problems, are less important than his.
Mother-daughter relationships are hard: This is what it is, get used to it. Stop trying to change things. Stop upsetting the apple cart.
What is most important is that we love each other: Do you still love us? Are we good parents? Please don’t leave us. Family comes before everything, including your emotional well-being.
*Silence*: Fuck you. You are the worst. I will not bend. You will give me what I want. Who do you think you are? You owe me this. You are not stronger than me. Don’t make me angry. How dare you. I do not love you.

What I needed to hear:

This started long before you.
This is not your fault.
I own my part.
Take all the time you need, I will be here.
I am ready to really work on this.
The truth, the real honest truth.

 

There are a lot of ANDs that exist in this space of pain but this time I am going to keep my ANDs to myself. I know what they are and that is what matters. I do not feel compelled to make this mess pretty to make myself or anyone else more comfortable. Not this time.

mom

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The Girl and the Sea

Once there was a girl who had been holding on too tightly. This was a girl who had always been afraid of losing; losing what, she never quite knew. Her mind, her heart, her self, her future, her favorite doll.. There was just always this nagging feeling that the world was not safe and so she needed to hold on tightly to make it through.

What this girl did not understand is that not everything can be held so tight. Holding too tightly can  make what looks like love feel like suffication. Holding too tightly can leave you white knuckled and arthritic, a body cannot withstand the constant pressure to hold on so tight.

This went on for a long time and for all her efforts she still experienced devastating losses. She never loosened her grip on the things she cared about or needed to hold on to but it did not keep her safe from losing like she had hoped. Still the girl held on too tightly because she knew no other way.

One day the girl went to the ocean and was invited to step out into the crashing waves. With trepidation she followed the leader and felt overwhelmed by the power. She could not hold on out in the current, she had no control. She grasped at the sand on the ocean floor but it slipped from her fingers.  She reached out for her leader and together they were tossed by the incoming tide. She realized there was nothing else she could do so finally she let go.

For a moment she let go of everything she had been holding too tightly and watched as the ocean washed it away; in it’s place she opened her hand and found an acorn. The symbolism she did not understand at the time.

That day the girl learned that when she let go of the things she was holding too tightly her hands were then open to receive what she was truly meant to hold.

the girl and the sea

Truth Speaking

truth-speaking

If my family had a a hashtag right now, it would be #truthspeaking. The best part is I did that. Me. The girl with a thousand secrets, the girl with the constant shadow. I brought truth speaking home.

After the ordeal that took place in my family early last week I spoke my truth via email to my relative and then emailed the rest of my extended family to offer love and support as well as encourage each of them to speak their own truth in this moment. The title of the initial email sent was The Truth, it felt very ominous. This relative shared their truth and although I think they believe it to be objective truth I know that is not how truth works. So I took this as an invitation to share my own truth which I did. Now what I did not share with most of my family is that the truth I chose to share was just one piece. I have many truths about what is taking place in my family right now, I chose to share the truth that I thought would do the most good and bring the most healing which is what I believe is needed right now.

As a result of my emails some of my family members did choose to speak their truths as well. Their truths did not look like my truth and that is okay, their truths belong to them and mine belong to me.

After all was said and done the situation is no closer to being resolved but maybe it is on a path towards healing. You can heal without resolution, that is another one of my truths. Truth speaking breaks down barriers that keep us from healing. Once those walls come down it often becomes less about “fixing the problem” and more about healing the hurt.

So as I family I think the focus now is supporting one another as we apply ointment to the emotional wounds that were inflicted from this fire. I am sending each person in my family light and love as they take care of themselves during this time. I hope that as a family we are able to move forward in our collective and individual truths and feel connection and love as a result.

Sometimes it takes hearing someone else’s truth that is not our own to wake us up to what our truth is. I think my relative did that for my family last week. By speaking his truth he allowed each person the opportunity to wake up to their own truth in that moment and speak it.

Little Fish Big Pond

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I just did something that feels both exciting and terrifying. A little piece of truth I have never shared: I have a secret dream of one day being published.

This dream is not one I share openly because I have a lot of not-good-enoughs around this that are still keeping me small and quiet. Something happened recently though that presented a door. I am not sure what it is on the other side of that door or if I am even meant to open it right now. Today  I  took a risk and knocked on this door. We will see if it opens and if it does we will see if I meant to walk through.

If this door does open and me walking through it leads to some of my writing being published then that would be a dream. I am managing my expectations though and reminding myself that this is just a little step. Something to get my feet wet, this is not everything, this is just a step on the path towards everything.

Regardless of what happens next that was a scary first step to take, knocking on that door. I definitely feel like a fish out of water. It is scary stepping into the light and allowing yourself to be seen. It is scary to be open about the things you want in your life, especially the big things. It is vulnerable. I feel like even as I write this I am exposing my delicate pink underbelly to be ripped apart by criticism.

I did it though. I took that step. I exposed myself. I allowed myself to be seen. I spoke my desire to the universe. Now it is a wait and see.

 

Brene and Cheryl and Glennon

giants

This weekend I read Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. I have talked about books on my blog before but this is the book. This is THE book. If you only read one book I have talked about here this is the one. Especially for all my female readers. Her whole story may not speak to you but some aspect of it will because she is telling the truth. She is telling the truth about what it means to be a woman. She is talking about dating, and hating our bodies, and the shame ingrained in us by society and religion and men and even other women, she is talking about sex, and motherhood, and being married, and infidelity, and addiction, and  many other aspects of womanhood and humanity. You will find yourself somewhere in her story, I almost guarantee it.

Her story made honesty and truth telling feel far less scary.

Her story made me think of the stories of other women I have read. Brene Brown, Cheryl Strayed and Susan Cain.. My modern day heroes.

Then I got to her acknowledgments at the back and she had thanked Cheryl and Brene. Thanked them for their honesty and their truth telling. I get it. These women are the women that are making this world feel safe to be vulnerable in. Their tenderness is their strength, their commitment to keeping the mask off is what makes them brave. You can be introverted, and vulnerable, and a mess, and scared, and quiet, and healing and it is all okay and there is a space for you too out there in the big noise of the world. A space that was designed and meant just for you, no one else can occupy that space, it is yours. I am beginning to understand that now.

So I would like to put my thank you out there into the universe. Thank you Brene, and Cheryl, and Glennon, and Susan. Thank you to all the women I have encountered, and whose books I have read, and lectures I have heard, who have brought me closer to my own truth. Thank you for showing the rest of us that we are worthy and we deserve to be seen.

This year I made a commitment to read the books I have been afraid to read previously because I was scared the truth would be too painful. It is painful, I was right about that, but some truths are. I will not be afraid of these truths any longer though. I will allow them to support me as I journey further inward to discover my own. Today after talking with my husband I ordered 9 more books. I cannot wait to devour them all.

On Not Hiding

I just have to say this because it is important.. I have been open about the fact that I am therapy since starting back over a year ago. I have talked at length about my intention behind being so open as a way to reduce stigma. I think this intention has made an impact because in the last year so many of my friends from school and in my personal life have come to me asking about my being in therapy and then proceeded to start with a therapist themselves. The big one though is that two of my family members who said they would not be open to therapy in the past are now not only in therapy but are doing deep trauma work like I am.

I have not tried to convince anyone, I have not given unsolicited opinions or advice.. I have only spoken my truth and only when appropriate to do so. One of my family members started their first session tonight and called me after to tell me that their therapist is a “wizard” and that my therapist (who made the referral for them) “hit it out of the park”.

My heart is so full knowing that just by choosing not to live in shame over the fact that I am taking care of me by going to therapy so many others are now taking care of themselves and not feeling shame about it as well.

I encourage anyone who is doing their work to be open about it. By giving yourself permission to be authentic and vulnerable in this way you are allowing others to do the same. You do not have to give anyone your reasons for therapy, you do not have to share your story, there is no shame in taking care of yourself though and that is something to embrace fully.

Everyday I feel myself connecting more and more with inner self and sacred truth. This is my hero journey, I embrace it fully and without fear.

Listening and Knowing

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about my direction and growth and walking into what scares me. It was a vulnerable post for me to share because what I was discussing, my dream/intention of owning my own practice as a clinician, is something that I want so badly and I am afraid of at the same time. There is something very vulnerable in sharing a dream openly like that. You are letting the whole world, or at least whoever is listening, know that there is this thing that means a whole lot to you; which in turn also means it is something that could potentially cause a great deal of pain. The things we love most have a way of doing that sometimes.

Since writing that post I have been thinking more about this dream/intention and my fear surrounding it. I have been thinking about it a lot for a while now actually. The deeper my connection grows with myself the louder this voice becomes around doing this amazing/terrifying thing. With each day I feel the vibration grow, I feel the energy surrounding this intention get bigger and bigger until finally I will take the plunge because I know there will be no other thing that will feel as right as this in terms of the work I do out in the world for the world.

With every day that passes my fear lessens. And while that is true I also still have felt that it is very important for me to truly understand my underlying fears about this direction. I feel the only way to feel completely connected to this path is to have a relationship with the parts of this direction that feel scary to me.

I talked in the previous post about worries over the business end of things, I know if I need to I can bring in help in this area though. This will not be a fear that causes a road block, it will be a detail to figure out and nothing more in the grand scheme of things. Another piece I shared that makes me uneasy is flying solo. Here is the thing about that though, if I am going to do this any time in the near future I will not truly be flying solo. Licensing laws require that I have supervision while I am unlicensed. That means I am not able to be completely on my own until I am licensed. I will have to share a space with a clinician who is licensed and I will be in regular supervision. This too will amount to no more than a detail to work out when the time comes.

So what am I actually afraid of? These two things worry me yes, and there is some fear attached with them but I feel a fear bigger than both of these pieces as well. After sitting with this for a while since meeting with my mentor to discuss my intentions I have recognized another piece that I am troubled by.

There is a piece of me that has internalized some outside message, I am not sure yet where from, that I cannot do this because I am too new to the field. What if I wanted to do this right out of school next summer? What if all the time I spend in internship, classes, therapy, and life leads to me deciding this is exactly what I want to do after graduation and I want to start immediately. There is someone else’s voice in my head telling me that I would be breaking the rules. You are not experienced enough. You have no right. You did not pay your dues in the field. What do you know? You are too young.

I have been taking a lot of time sitting with each one of these statements and more that bubble up, again I am trying to have a relationship with the fear. I truly believe that is the only way to be successful in reaching my goals and as a human being in general.

So here is what I have so far to counterbalance these statements.

  1. I do not owe anyone an explanation about my direction.
  2. I know what I bring to the table as a clinician and as a human being, I know what my experiences are and why they are not only important but how they have prepared me for this work.
  3. I do have a right to be here. That is my truth.

Ultimately while these affirmations help quiet these voices they do not remove them all together. That cannot happen until I get to know them better.I need to understand where they came from and why they are here in the first place, then I need to show them love so they will no longer hold this fear for me.

I am sure as I continue down this path I will begin to have relationships with more fears that arise. I am making the commitment to myself and to this dream to do that. This means enough to me to do all the needed work to see it through the way I know it needs to be done.

I feel myself getting closer and my excitement grows with each passing day, with every milestone met, with every challenge overcome, and fear met head on. I will share this part of my journey as new pieces come up but for tonight I am grateful to have recognized where some of my work is so I can start doing it.

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