Certain uncertainty

“Sometimes I am the mess.  Sometimes I’m the broom.  On the hardest days, I have to be both.” -Ruby Francisco

“PEACE.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.” -unknown

It’s been a terribly ‘off’ day.  Nothing in my world feels centered and each time I try to choose peace, chaos charges in.  Since early morning,  I have been a colorful storm of emotions; tonight, I desperately seek the rainbow.

I woke myself up from a deep sleep by loudly sobbing into my pillow.  It took me a moment to wake up and piece my dream together.  I felt such a heaviness in my spirit; I was yearning for a quick fix to clear my head and heart.  I transcribed my dream with as many details as I could recall into my notes and headed out in the brisk morning air to walk.  The walk was short, I longed for peace and God connection.  I went to my favorite spot behind the shed and sat in the sun.  I was intentional in picking my prayer spot, I like to remind myself that I’m literally, ‘walking in the son’.  I spent a good amount of time there considering my dream and I actually read it out loud to God.

In reading my dream aloud, it was obvious that I had blended several issues that are bothering me during wakeful hours into one crazy, scary, heavy dream.  The subconscious can be it’s own monster I guess.  Details of my dream aren’t what bothered me most; the feelings I had upon waking threw me into a tizzy.  I’ve discussed them a million times, I’m open with my struggles.  I wish that made them go away.  I was feeling overwhelmingly unworthy, ashamed, resentful, mistrustful and sad.

We must travel through our feelings to get to a better place, right?  I really didn’t want to travel through…I’ve been here more times than I can count.  Nonetheless, here I was.  I am aware that my M.O. when I’m feeling these things is to grip the reigns tighter; get ‘control’ where I can in my life; withdraw or pick arguments and maybe throw in a few oreos for good measure.  It’s not like we plan to do these self destructive behaviors, but they are comfortably convenient and familiar, so why not?

I’ll tell you why not…because I am worthy of the best life for me.  My kiddos are going to get to see their momma continue to not just survive, but thrive.  How awesome in theory this sounds, yet living it is another story.  Here is where the first rainbow of the day came in.  My dearest friend called and processed through this with me.  I sought wisdom from my precious Momma.  I have a new very special friend who was extremely patient and kind with my verbal vomit; and is still my special friend this evening.  Best of all was my overwhelming guilt for reaching out to God only while I’m in a valley and forgetting him on the mountaintops (I believe this was ‘ironically’ part of the message at church last week.)

I had the opportunity after this mini journey through hell to settle in and work on a school project.  Instead, I made myself a brilliant to do list where the biggest task was to, “Save the World!”  This should be a big joke, yet I get so caught up in taking care of everyfreakingone that it’s really not.  I sat down to start typing and began to feel extremely nauseous.  It’s just a little antibiotic side effect, and although little, it was awfully distracting.  I decided to go do a load of laundry and take the sheets off my bed.  Oh yes…I needed to add a few things to my said to do list.  I have a washer to do laundry, a comfy cozy bed with warm blankets to sleep on, hands to write a to do list with….more rainbows!

My son’s girlfriend came over.  I was visiting with the two of them for a bit, before I resumed my project.  There was a knock at the door.  I was surprised to find that rather than a friend; it was a very angry man who believed my dog attacked his son.  Long story short, I was terrified as were the kids.  I called the police and it seemed like they took forever to arrive.  In the meantime, my brother in law and dear neighbors came.  I am still feeling horrible tonight for involving them, I didn’t know if this man was dangerous, I only knew he was out of control yelling, cursing and pounding on my doors and windows.  The situation was resolved, my kids were horrified as was I.  However, definite rainbows here.  First, my 16 year old son totally stepped up and directed his girlfriend and I to stay put in the bathroom so he could make sure the police were really here.  He is brave, he is a protector and he really does love me!  Sometimes 16 makes that hard to remember.  I am incredibly blessed to have friends and family that will rush to aid us and thank God for the police officers.  On a deeper level, this is the first time I have not felt safe since Nathan left our home and it has just left me feeling the teeniest bit emptier than I like.  My brother is here with us tonight….yet another rainbow for which I am grateful.

I stubbed my toe when running into the bathroom this afternoon and half of my entire toenail on my big toe came off a little bit ago.  There was blood…my blood.  I am not a fan of my blood and my sweet 12 year old daughter doctored me up.  She is sunshine, rainbow, goodness and love.

I am a bundle of uncertainty right now.  That’s okay.  I remind myself that I have to be certain of nothing but uncertainty.   I am blogging; I have accomplished not one iota of my project or my bills. (Our Christmas tree is now decorated and the nativity set is up….priorities!)   Tomorrow is a new day.  It’s on my to do list to find my sanity….I might be looking for a while.

Blessings all.

Now

I got home from school around 10:20 tonight. (BTW, I am loving school!) Anyway…I came home wound up as all get out so I used that energy to do a quick clean. Laundry is in, kitchen sink scrubbed, all floors vacuumed, and the smell of bleach is permeating the air while the whites wash. All of this makes me happy…and suddenly, my abundance of energy has vanished.

My heart is slightly heavy tonight as I process letting go. I talked to a very wise soul today…(you know who you are). I was tearfully sharing my fears that there will not be another side to my journey, as well as the other terrors that haunt me. I shared that after Pathways, I had the BEST two years of my marriage that I never could’ve imagined and then, whoosh!, it was gone. I let her know I have a wee bit of mistrust and anger with God for not making this better and lots of mistrust and disappointment in myself for losing my magic wand.

She asked me something I truthfully have never considered and am pondering carefully tonight. “What if God gave me those two years to give me a glimpse of what a future love could look like? She asked me some other things, and the permeating thought I have left over as my summary is the one that begs an answer to the question…”how I am going to spend my now? Am I waiting to arrive at the other side before I settle in?”

I likely am waiting in ways, I tend to freeze a little when I am afraid. I have had to say too many goodbyes lately, as I discussed in my previous post…no way around it, they suck.  There have been goodbyes through a death, goodbyes through divorce, goodbyes and a goodbye to a dear, dear friend by choice.  None of them is better than the other.

My heart is telling me there are other goodbyes to say…another bit of  letting go that is weighing me down.  It’s time to say goodbye to things that aren’t working in my life as I learn to replace them with what is better, healthier, wiser.  It’s time to say goodbye to control (or my illusion of it), yet again…which means, hello surrender my friend.

 

It’s time.  It’s time.  It is time.

Grief

I recently read that the best cure for grief was to grieve.  Duh, sounds simple enough.  No big deal until one just feels weary of grieving.  The grief “process”; it’s flabbergasting.  It’s an exhausting, painful, crushing, hard to breathe process and every time your get your head above the waves to catch a breath, the wave crashes over you once more, and you are drowning.  Again.

It’s a lump in the throat that says, “don’t speak” or the torrent of tears will come, but what choice is there?  Swallow the bitter bile down into your seemingly empty soul?  It’s the endlessly sour tummy that won’t go away no matter how many Tums are downed or how cautious the diet is.  It’s the tightness across the back that burns and is only alleviated by deep pressure; because the pressure reminds us that we are alive.  It’s the clenched jaw accompanied by tense neck muscles that are holding the world in place and the twitching eyelid that is imagined to be the worst kind of tumor in the anxious, exhausted mind.

It’s joyful laughter when a certain scent, song, memory…anything comes to surface…but then it is followed by an unsolicited, salty rain…running down soft cheeks without warning.  It is the penetrating sense of emptiness that ravishes the soul and the nightmare that haunts in the daytime.  Grief is the reminder of loss….over, and over and over again.  It is said that time heals all wounds.  I find this to be an intricately woven unreality that was designed to protect hearts from further pain.

Grief is obviously front and center in my world today and the effect is snowballing.   I am hurting for people that I love dearly because they lost a man precious to them.  He was a father, a son, a once in a lifetime dream love, a friend, a brother, an Uncle, not- simply…an honorable man who lived to make others smile.  I hurt for my niece and nephew who have never experienced this kind of loss before.  The first time with grief is unlike anything , the last and the middle griefs are no better.

Heartache.  Loss.  Tears.  Unutterable prayers. Pain.  In all of it, the healing has begun, I think.  Maybe the healing begins the minute we even connect and the pain of loss reminds us just how important love and each moment are.  It doesn’t matter right now though, right now is not celebration…right now just hurts.

I cry for their losses.  I cry for my losses.  I cringe at the thoughts running through my mind.  I wish I had a grief formula to follow.  Do blah blah blah and then do yada yada yada and in a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months, everything will be okay.  Getting to the point of celebrating what was before the loss will come but your life has been forever changed.  My life has been forever changed.  This is truth and for now, I’m kinda tired of grief and all that accompanies it.

Shadow Dance

My internal world has been filled with an abundance of “AHEM” moments today.  AHEM moments don’t feel like the progress I like to feel after I’ve done the hard work of processing; they have yet to lead me to any “AHA” moments; and honestly, those are usually my goal.  AHEM moments are more like scathing, scary, scolding, self scuffling conversations that go on constantly between my head and my heart.  These moments are anxiety provoking…the kind of anxiety where although I continue to be productive and sufficiently distracted with work, there is the constant gnawing in my belly, the lump in my throat and the uptight breathing that accompanies the tense certainty that everything cannot be as okay as it seems.  I went through my day, doing the business of living and forgetting to find my place of surrender, my calm center, my joy…I just go and go and go as fast as I can.  No matter how much I do or how amazingly efficient I am, the chatter in the background will.not.stop!  That’s my day today.

Writing, praying, reflecting and sharing are healing for me, and I know there is something deep inside of me in need of healing as I write this or my heart wouldn’t be so overflowing with trepidation in this moment.  Selfishly, I’m ‘getting it out’ in hopes of being rewarded with peace.  Altruistically speaking, I hope the reader gleams some sort of self awareness from reading.

  • I made a decision a couple of weeks ago to do something totally out of character for me…I think.  As I ponder my actions more, I consider the possibility that this was absolutely something within my character but something I’ve never felt the freedom to do.
  • I had a hard and precious conversation with my ex husband today (I still feel as if I am speaking of someone else when I say those words…I’m working on owning them).  We are at a place of peace and we are able to ask questions of one another, this is beautiful but does not make the answers easier to bear.
  • I have had to distance myself from someone precious in my life in order to guard my own heart.  Boundary setting sucks.
  • It is less than a month away from the 9th anniversary of the stroke and just a few days away from what would be our 19th wedding anniversary.  My soul reverberates the echoes of what my mind wants nothing to do with.
  • I’ve been playing Words with Friends when I need a little break.  One of the men I have been playing with invited me to download an app on my phone today so we could ‘talk naughty’ to each other.  (I don’t know him, he is a ‘random’ stranger from the game).  I don’t really believe in random and after I found out his story, my belief that there are no accidents has been confirmed.  He is married and wanted to be honest with me, but felt that ‘talking dirty’ wasn’t a big deal.  He asked if I thought it was and I let him know that I guess that depended on where your personal boundaries were and that mine would not permit me to engage in these conversations with a married man.  We talked further, I shared with him my heart on the matter and my own story.  I encouraged him to find out what was missing within himself or his marriage and not go down this road, no matter how innocent the intentions were.  I don’t know what he will do, but I pray that our ‘meeting’ was of value to his heart.
  • We celebrated my beautiful sister Beth’s 60th birthday this weekend.  I have no words sufficient to describe the fullness in my heart that the love within my family provides to me.  No words.  No matter how many years go by, when I am naming my siblings, I always feel like I leave one out.  It’s my big brother Brent and he definitely left an empty space.  I celebrate his life in partiality by always ‘counting him in’.  My Daddy would’ve loved the party thrown for Beth, and he would’ve been immensely proud of all of us.  I miss him so.
  • I have haunting background thoughts that tell me I will never be the object of a worthy man’s love, that having extra pounds makes me less than valuable,  that I will get Alzheimers and not have enough money to have good care, that I won’t fulfill my purpose before I die….all of these crappy lies that won’t go away.  I don’t actually know if they are truth or lies, I do know that I am living my purpose right here and now, that I will have everything I need when I need it and that God’s plan is much better than my own.  I KNOW these things deep down but when the shouting between my head and heart gets louder than my knowing, I forget my truth.

So here I am….dancing with my shadows but the shadows mean that there is light, so I know I am okay.  That’s an AHA moment and the only one I really need right now.

 

Be blessed,

Sarah

 

 

 

I AM WOMAN

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace;

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…

Ecclesiastes 3


I mentioned recently that I am a late bloomer.  This persona goes with this whole “old soul'”, “wise for my age”,  “good girl” theme that I was dropped smack in the middle of on September 5, 1972 (this would be the day of my birth).  This has always been a belief about myself that I bought into…until recently.

Sometimes, one’s world is turned upside down by the uncontrollable circumstances of life.  Personally, things that have rocked my world in the past few years include, but are not limited to:

  • Walking through Alzheimer’s disease with my precious Father and losing him after he bravely battled it for 12 years.  Every day in Alzheimer’s land is a day that you say goodbye in some way to your loved one and hello to a new change in them.
  • Infidelity, followed by three years of intense therapy with my ex husband
  • A divorce from my best friend after 23 years together
  • A big move for my beautiful Momma out of our family home and into her new home (which is lovely by the way)
  • Helping children cope.  Children teaching me to be a grown up.  Welcome to teen world.  Enough said.
  • A couple of career changes
  • Financial stress, financial stress, financial stress
  • Weight loss, weight gain and now onto loss again

Goodness knows, there is much more.  This is an excellent starter list though.  Surprisingly, I’m still here to tell my story and for that, my gratitude is overwhelming.

There are “firsts” happening too:

  • There have been a couple of dates for me.  Shocking, but dating at 19 is a completely different game than dating at 45.
  • My kiddos are experiencing tons of “firsts”…growing up; junior high; high school, dates (kind of); and all the challenges that accompany their experiences
  • I have begun graduate school, tonight as a matter of fact
  • I have a new career that I treasure!
  • New friends.  I feel like I am in college all over again with the new friends I am making.  I was just discussing with one of them (my new friends) how cool the process is; we agreed that there is a feeling that some of the friendships we are forming now, in our 40’s, are forged for a lifetime.
  • I am making grown up decisions for myself without regard (or less regard) to the judgement’s of others.  This is a drastic change for me.
  • I’m working on replacing words like shame, guilt and should’s with surrender, forgiveness and healing.
  • I am letting my mistakes be what they are…a growing experience that does not indicate I cannot accept myself with imperfections.

So….back to the late bloomer.  I have come to the conclusion that I’m not ‘late’ afterall.  I have certainly not arrived.  I am simply journeying along, just like we all are.  I wrote out Ecclesiastes 3 because it’s always been a favorite of mine, yet it’s only now that it seems to apply to my own life.  (I know…forgive my recent egocentricity.)  I am viewing myself in a different light.  There is a path ahead of me that is full of beauty and delight, I get to decide (generally speaking) which directions I will go.

During a party I recently attended, I watched in awe as several beautiful women danced to the song, “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy.  The lyrics fit where I am right now beautifully…..

“I am woman, hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore, and I know too much to go back or pretend cause I’ve heard it all before and I’ve been down on the floor No one’s ever gonna keep me down again.  Oh yes, I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain, yes I’ve paid the price, but look how much I’ve gained.  If I have to, I can do anything.  I AM STRONG.  I AM INVINCIBLE.  I AM WOMAN.  You can bend but never break me cause’ it only serves to make me more determined to achieve my final goal and I come back even stronger not a novice any longer cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul.  (chorus)  I am woman watch me grow see me standing toe to toe as I spread my lovin’ arms across the land.  But I’m still an embryo with a long long way to go, until I make my brother understand.  (chorus)  

Yep…this is right where I am and right where I am is EXACTLY where I am supposed to be.

Midnight Java….the Aftermath

My dear friend Traci let me know this morning that she is not concerned about my becoming an alcoholic.  She is, however, worried about my frequent late night coffee consumption.  I’m wondering if her unease about my exuberant consumption is something I ought to investigate further.

Though I have always found the aroma of a fresh brew intoxicating, I was never a consumer of this ‘nectar of the gods’ until I was a Preschool Director and momma of two babies.  My energy was low and the needs of those I cared for were high.  Simultaneously, they put a Starbuck’s in less than a mile from my home.  I took it as a sign, God was smiling down at me and it was a love at first sip!

Since then, I have kept my intake of this delicious cup of energy minimal to moderate.  One cup on a good day, two cups on a rushed day and 3 -4 cups when I was trying to keep the poo from hitting the fan.  I guess by now the poo has hit the fan and been splattered about, so it only makes sense that I have begun the sweet little ritual of late night coffee drinking.  I do this only occasionally, I can stop anytime I want…really.  I limit myself to this practice when the kids aren’t at home and I’m quite productive (sometimes) when I begin to drink coffee at midnight.

What’s the problem then?  I might be a wee bit sensitive to the caffeine but it’s a nice, harmless little buzz. It helps me stay awake so I can create, clean, or stare of into space contemplating my world.   There is nothing like coffee and candlelight!  Countless benefits, right?

It’s been a rough week in this life.  Last night was a cup at midnight…a cup at 1…and maybe a 1/2 cup at 1:30.  (Sorry Traci, I couldn’t bring myself to tell you the whole truth). I fell into a not quite sound sleep at 3:30’ish and was awake, ordering groceries at 5:30’ish.  I was on my way to work at 8’ish.  I’m feeling the consequences of two hours of sleep in a serious way.   No worries…nothing a little cinnamon dolce latte with extra espresso can’t fix!  It’s a cycle for sure…I just haven’t decided if it’s vicious or victorious!

Last night’s bender wound up in a great phone conversation with a beloved friend, a couple of loads of completed laundry, clean dishes, a bit of reading and A LOT of staring at my candle flicker while I chatted with God and weighed on all that is heavy on my heart.  I felt, and still feel, conflicted and afflicted.  As I mentioned, it’s been a rough week in this life.

I am incredibly proud of my ex husband and I.  We fought the good fight for our relationship and although the outcome wasn’t what either of us had hoped, we are still here.  Now we fight the good fight as parents who love their children dearly.  Still, the divorce is new and I find myself deep in thought as I adjust once again to a new normal.

I found myself in the middle of a devastating situation this week, I am thankful that I was present yet this is a situation that hurts every fiber of my being.  The ex and I have had to walk through some really difficult stuff with our kids this week and who knows if we are doing it right?  I am in a state of mind that leaves me aching to ‘fix’ and nothing is in my power to fix.

I think about the tragedies around us.  In my opinion, teens and social media combined have the ability to create a horrific impact and I am seeing this directly in action.  Our elders and our children are not cared for well in our society.  There are endless gaps in this world and too many people are oblivious to the societal impact until they are personally affected.  How do we radically meet those around us right where they are without pushing our own agenda onto them.  What are the long term repercussions for those who are harmed and for those who cause harm?

These thoughts are the aftermath of my midnight java.  Good thoughts….great thoughts…heavy heart and void of solutions for the most part.  Still, I march forward ready to embrace life as it comes and holding onto a mustard seed of faith that there is hope for my future…for our future as a whole.

Most of us are familiar with the quote,

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

I’m pretty sure the original quote was, “You must be the change you want to see in the world, and it all begins with a late night cup of coffee, a candle, and a little chat with God.”

The aftermath of late night java….it’s a beautiful thing.

 

 

 

 

 

A sweet, sad day

Today, my best friend of 23 years, my husband of nearly 19 years, my baby daddy and a precious part of my heart and I journeyed to the courthouse to finalize our “dissolution of marriage”. .

We will stay conscious of the decision we made to create two incredibly special humans. We will intentionally and cooperatively make every effort to co-parent well, and I believe, we will maintain a special friendship. We will stay the sort of goofballs that take selfies while we waiting to meet with the judge

Jokes aside, my heart is filled with a deep ache. It is unfortunate that what is best isn’t always what is easy. After court, we went and talked over sushi. Instead of celebrating our divorce, we celebrated a beautiful history made and the friendship we will continue to have.

Thanks to all for loving us, as well as praying for, encouraging and supporting us. I have hot tears running down my face and I feel I’ve been punched in the gut. Healing is here.❤️🙏

Compilation

  1. So much going on and it all eventually becomes just another life compilation.   My precious sky blue eyed son turns 16 today.  SIXTEEN!  This means that I will be 45 just a day over a week and my beautiful daughter is 6 months away from being a teenager.  I can barely fathom how fast time truly does fly. 11, 12, 14, 15, 43 and 44  have  been sorta hard on all of us, respectively speaking.

I’m not looking for easy, I’m too much of a realist for that.  I am hopeful that the deep inventory I continue to take of myself is not a futile effort and that there is great goodness in what I find.  I am still searching for freedom from the things that bind my heart…there are many.  I am yearning for the things that make my tummy have the best kinds of butterflies, there are several of those things too.

There was a time that I walked every single day.  My goal was to reach 100 days straight of walking at least 10 minutes a day.  Most days I walked 45 minutes to an hour.  Then, at 91 days of walking…I sprained my ankle and couldn’t bear any weight on my foot.

Looking back, I can’t believe I stuck with a form of exercise that long.  I am a wiggle worm, I have a hard time sitting still.  I normally hate exercise but somehow in that process, I had learned to cherish my daily walk.  I spent the time talking with God and at the end of my walk, I’d lay in the grass and listen to worship music and ask God (again and again and again) to help me surrender everything to him.  This small act made the biggest impact in the way I lived my life and in the peace I had in my heart.  It wasn’t that life was easy, it was that I took time for myself; time to ‘be’ with God and just time to be.

This is definitely missing from my life.  I avoid connecting with myself.  I run from God.  I sure as heck don’t take time to just ‘be’ and care for myself.  I have read countless studies about the effects of long term low stress levels. Weight gain, lack of motivation, trouble sleeping, etc, etc, etc.  Name a side effect and I have experienced it at one time or another.  I am amazed at me.  It’s comparable to my ability to handle 32 crazy kids in a classroom while I struggle with my perfectly imperfect 2.  I can counsel people all day on the significance of self-care.  Preaching to the choir!

I touched on this when I last wrote, I believe that somewhere along the line I quietly decided that I wasn’t worth it.  That’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to my kiddos.  They need to know their Momma is a beautifully confident, capable and compassionate woman who  is doing her best to raise beautifully confident,  capable compassionate kids.

I’m beginning with what I have and where I can. I took a 30 minute walk yesterday.  My phone died immediately after my feet hit the pavement.  That irritated me and I nearly went back to charge it.  I had wanted to make a phone call or listen to something.  I had a dear friend (maybe more than one at times) tell me that I was so stubborn and sometimes needed a figurative smack in the head to listen.

Ouch!  I know why I haven’t been walking and it’s not because I am lazy.  While I might say that I desire that time with God and to care for myself, I truly do not.  I just stated that I’ve been running from God and can’t stand to be alone with my own thoughts.  This is truth.  I would rather read, talk, play candy crush, do dishes, eat, drive….anything that keeps me from being alone with my thoughts.  Sometimes, when I am still, the tears still come.  I’m tired of the tears.  So I run in various ways.  I’m beginning to see what a self destructive pattern this is.

I walked.  I noticed six beautiful geese and I wondered if they were partnered.  (you know…because they mate for life).  They were in close proximity but not right next to one another.  However, when a car drove by or there was a noise, they would immediately pair off with their mate.  It was the coolest sight to observe and I doubt I would’ve taken time to notice God’s intricate design among the geese had I been on the phone.  Ironically, I was able to turn my phone on long enough to snap a few pictures of my feathered friends.  No accidents, ever.

Tonight, I will walk again.  Not because I have to but because I can.  I am on a journey of learning to love myself.  It’s not all bad but I’m honest enough to express that much of it really sucks.  I’m taking some scary steps, pretty consistently stretching out of my comfort zone…because that is where life begins, right?  I’m ready life!  Oh, what’s that?  You say you’ve already begun.  Oh dear!  I better start living!

Just here

I do not consider myself to be a person who rapidly and randomly changes moods.  I have a strong preference for people (myself included) who are stable, joyful, thoughtful, compassionate, tolerant, grace-filled, merciful, humorous, insightful, wise, cherish the moment, deeply reflective about life sorts.  Those characteristics give me a sense of trust and safety; both are significant to my heart.  That being said, I have struggled this last week with all of these.

I have not externally changed moods, (I don’t think), yet inside me it’s a constant storm of ‘shoulda’s’, ‘what if’s’, and the dreaded shame and guilt tapes.  UGH!  Yes, ugh!  Here, again.  I am stuck in the belief that nothing in life is stable.  My joy is hiding in the deep.  Compassion, thoughtfulness, grace, and mercy all are abundant for others, unfortunately I haven’t saved much for myself.  It’s tough to find humor, insight, wisdom, and gratitude in the moment when one is only reflecting on what I fondly refer to as the “familiar muck”.  We all have our muck, right?  No accident that it rhymes with my favorite curse word.  (as in ‘f$*@ the muck…but for my sweet Momma I’m going to not write the word out…this time!)  I’m trying my damnedest to keep my eyes above the waves, but if you look closely ,you will see me bobbing up and down, fighting to keep treading water.  I’m kinda pooped.

Anyone who spends 30 minutes or more with me will probably figure out that I do not enjoy the negative feels.  I will deflect with humor, talk nonstop, busy myself to the point of exhaustion, and turn the conversation around to take the focus away from me purely for the purpose of not feeling my muck.  I’m quite good at this.  It helps that even strangers feel compelled to share their life stories with me, I tend to be perceived as a safe person.  Thus, when someone wants to know about me, I am a pro at getting them to tell their story instead.  I am fascinated that this trait, which will help me be a fabulous counselor, can be so detrimental to my real life.

The other night, my 12-year-old daughter and I were hanging out.  My phone rang and she started to pick it up for me (normally I am in a stupid mad rush to answer)…because…SOMEONE NEEDS ME!!! The following conversation ensued…

Me: “I don’t want you to answer,  I don’t have it in me to be a very good friend right now.”

Stella:  “You are always a good friend.  Do you mean you don’t have the energy?”

Me:  “I do mean that.  I’m teary and sad feeling and I just can’t.”

Stella: “Mom, I want you to try something, okay?  When you feel like this, why don’t you call a friend who is having a good night and get some energy from them instead of feeling bad because you can’t help them.  Sometimes you need help too.”

This is my baby girl.  She is a boundary setter galore, so much so that it takes me aback at times.  I treasure this quality in her.  I’m thankful for it.  I’m baffled by it.  She is such a natural at something I am still trying to comprehend!

Perhaps this is why writing is incredibly healing for me.  I can write and anyone can choose to read/or not read it.  I’m not ‘bothering’ anyone.  I tell my story in this manner with ease.  Vulnerability here is simple for me, even though I know people will read and may judge.  I don’t care…in written form.  When I write, I do not have to ‘receive’ anything but feedback, I can share only what I want to share and though it’s a great lot…there is so much more brewing inside.  My new promise to my readers and myself is to practice the same vulnerability that I practice in written word, face to face.  A challenge from me and for me.

That’s that!

No better time than the present to share vulnerability….  I am certain I will write more on this after I have processed a bit…something to look forward too!  I am reading “Made to Crave”, by Lysa TerKeurst.  I’ve always loved her books and knowing that she has experienced infidelity in her marriage makes me love her even more.  Anyway….doing lots of thinking on my relationship with food and wanting that relationship to be different from whatever it has been in my entire life.

Just a few days ago, I had several (I am still ashamed) handfuls of Oreo’s for dinner.  As in over 1/2 of a box several.  The shame lies in the fact that I ate them as if I were desperately hungry, like I  hadn’t eaten in days. I didn’t even enjoy them.  (They were Oreo thins and why overeat Oreo’s if they don’t even have the good gooey artificial crack like stuff in the middle?)  Also, I had no milk.  What a waste.

I NEVER would’ve eaten cookies or anything else with that kind of animatistic drive if someone was watching.  I did it in secret.  I did it to stuff something I did not want to feel.  (Remember, I said I do not like the mucky feels).  I know that like any addict, I am comforted by my source in the moment.  I think my source is sugar.  There is a numbness that accompanies the comfort, again, in the moment.

I’ve been praying about this, and something hit me yesterday like a ton of bricks.  I have probably acknowledged ‘around this’ many times, but this time provided a deeper truth than I have ever felt surface.  Do I eat in secret only to numb?  Do I eat in desperation only for comfort? Do I stuff myself until I feel nauseous to stuff my feelings way down?  Yes, yes and yes.  Wait!  There’s more.  Here it is… (drumroll would be cool except this thought is anything but cool).

I EAT TO PUNISH MYSELF.  It’s a brilliant form of self-flagellation.  It is in the moment that I choose to overeat, ‘self-medicate’, stuff, numb, comfort; in that moment, I am feeling an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt for ‘whatever’ it is on my mind.  It could be a multitude of ‘whatever’s’, and that is what I will save for another post. I stuff myself with food (‘bad’ food, not ‘good’ food) and then I can feel even more guilt and shame for making such a miserable, hopeless choice.  All of the diets in the world are useless when the desire to diminish the feelings is stronger than the desire to heal.

This is a gigantic AHA for me.  I must figure out what to do with my new discovery.  I hate the way this knowledge makes me feel.  It makes me feel dirty and ashamed.  I’m  flooded with uncomfortable, ugly memories and truth. I have been praying for endless ‘something’s different’ and my relationship with food is among the top five, it wasn’t coincident that this my eyes have been opened to this revelation.   What to do?  I guess I’m going to sit in the discomfort for a ‘moment’ and prayerfully seek direction so that I may continue on the road to healing.  Life begins outside of our comfort zone, right?

I do not consider myself to be a person who rapidly and randomly changes moods.  Oh but my deepest desire is that my insides are always congruent with my outsides.  Stable, joyful, thoughtful, compassionate, tolerant, gracious, merciful, humorous, insightful, wise, moment cherishing and reflective….I’m going to be these for myself even amidst the muck.  These are part of my soul.  Don’t worry, I won’t desert me.

The Ugly Thing

There is this  ‘thing’ that keeps coming up for me in various, uncertain forms.  This icky, ugly ‘thing’, I think…is rejection.  It’s not even tangible rejection…it’s the feeling that overwhelms me when something just doesn’t go right.  Of course, we all have tapes and feelings, this rejection seems to be the one I am massively struggling with right now.

  • I got in an argument with one of my closest friends.  I attempted to offer something I believed would be fun.  My friend interpreted the intention of my offer as negative; absolutely different than I had hoped for.
  • One of my precious children is in the habit of meeting anything and everything that comes from me as “stupid, retarded (no, the approval of this word isn’t mom approved), mentally unstable, ‘boosted’ (my current favorite use of teen slang), ridiculous….any term or attitude this kid can pick to deliver an effective gut punch works.
  • The cable company refuses to let me out of the two year contract (that I swear I never agreed to), despite my willingness to write a letter of financial hardship…because, you know, my bill will certainly make or break their huge corporate business.
  • The scale in my house keeps computing numbers that do not match the effort I am putting into healthy eating.
  • On a bigger scale, my D I V O R C E is nearly final and this makes a series of tapes scream loud enough in my brain to drown out any notion of rationale I might grip onto.

These are just a few examples.  Unfortunately, they occur in a bundle because recognizing one form of rejection triggers a memory of another rejection and it just all snowballs together.  In all honesty, I have been pretty nasty to myself  lately in the constant chatter that goes on between my head and heart.

  • My friend doesn’t react like I’d anticipated?  I must really be naive and dumb…why would I have ever thought my initial idea would be fun?  No wonder my friend rejected my idea, I’m expecting that he’ll reject my friendship next.
  • My child probably hates me.  Don’t take it personal?  This is normal for this age.  Is it or have I screwed up again?  It’s likely I have screwed up.  Most children might go through a phase, yet I’m sure mine really does wish for a different Mom and probably is deserving of a better one.
  • The cable company is going to win, face it.  Their corporation has more power than I do, they don’t care what I believe I agreed or didn’t agree to.    I am small and insignificant in this.
  • I will never win the battle against the scale.  Maybe I should just give up.  Trying to find contentedness where I am and still want to find my place of best health is exhausting.
  • D I V O R C E…enough said.  This was never my dream and there are days I accept it and acknowledge it’s best.  Other days, I get swallowed up in what it says about me to not be able to hold my marriage and family together.

In all of these, I do not hear the truth.  I hear gut wrenching, heart tearing lies.  Today , the lies are louder.  Rejection tells me I am not enough, I am not worth doing hard, I am not acceptable as I am and I probably never will be.

Logically, I know the other side.  The truth would tell me I am more than enough, it assures me that numbers aren’t everything, some things have nothing to do with me but everything to do with another, I am a great Mom and I am worthy.  I will get out of this, I don’t want to be Eeyore for long.enough

I am accepting where I am today but have no plans of staying in this place.  It’s okay…it’s a hard day and hard days must come.  What to do?  Reaching up, reaching out and reaching in….the journey continues….