Fear Faith Freedom

Freedom.  (What’s it going to cost?)

Circulating thoughts. (Merry go round mind.)

A voice that counts. (That’s me talking).

Change is inevitable. (How?)

Learning new. (Listen.)

Unlearning old. (Critical necessity.)

It’s tough. (Super f’ing tough.)

It’s necessary. (Now.  Right now.)

Breaking out this preservation prison. (Damaging, self defeating preservation.)

The turtle inches out of it’s shell. (Intentional, purposeful.)

Seeking. (Earnestly.)

Searching. (Within.  Deeply.)

Wondering. (Endlessly.)

Praying. (Without ceasing.)

Grieving. (The plan.)

Scared. (Tremendously.)

Stepping forward in the dark. (Being a light.)

Still scared. (Horrifically.)

Faith and fear. (Coexist.)

Fear and faith. (Together.)

Creating a new story. (Mine.)

Somethings gotta give. (Surrender.)

Fear and faith and freedom. (Alive and well, the three f’s hug.)

Acceptance. (Peace.)

Life…you only get one. (Yes.)

Ouch

We had agreed to be honest with each other.  We had both been hurt by infidelity in our previous marriages and agreed to promote trust and safety with each other as best we could. We hadn’t been dating long; it was actually only our third date.  Our second ‘real’ time together.  The first date, I had come down with a stomach bug.  He was super sweet, bringing me flowers and sprite and hanging out for a visit.  I still am not sure if he brought those flowers to make sure I was being honest about being sick or out of genuine kindness.  Either way, I was impressed.

We seemed to click fairly well, yet we definitely were still in the stage of figuring out if we enjoyed each other.  I had noticed a rapid change in his behavior. Within a week, he had gone from “good morning beautiful”, “your mind is brilliant”, “you are amazing”; to a more formal style of communication minus the flirting.  I obviously noticed this, right?  It’s that gut check that says something is off.

Fast forward to the  third (and final) date.  We were in the middle of a rather intimate moment and involved in a deep conversation.  I had mentioned the change that I noticed.  He was quiet for a moment, I encouraged him to just share what was on his mind.

He hesitated for a brief moment before he said, “you are just bigger than the girls I date”.  His words jolted my heart.  In that moment, it was no longer he and I in the room.  Instead, it was rejection.  It was every single person who had ever said anything ugly about my body.  It was wound upon wound about the very thing I am most sensitive about.

I cried.  He apologized.  I was trying to decipher whether he meant he wasn’t physically attracted to me, or if he was being intentionally unkind or something else.  He assured me, he only wanted to be ‘honest’.  I don’t want to pick and choose honesty, it just seemed like such an intensely vulnerable moment to choose this brand of honesty.  To my own regret, I did not stop the evening there.  We continued down a path I wish we would’ve not traveled down.  The journey was less than remarkable.  Of course it was.

He left in the morning.  I spent two days looking at myself in the mirror; seeing not a beautiful woman but a little head with a huge, outrageously large body.  I didn’t eat much that weekend, because ‘bigger girls’ don’t deserve to eat. I punished myself with disdain and a refusal to acknowledge any of the progress I have made in the past few years.  I spoke of this only to a very small group of friends that know my heart more than I know it myself sometimes.  I was devastated, disgusted and ashamed of me.  I took myself to a place I haven’t traveled in an extraordinarily long time.  His apologies were texted through out the weekend.  I remained the nice girl and said I understood.  In the moment, I did understand because I myself, agreed with him.  I was more than I should be and less than enough.

The more I thought about it and received ‘medicine’ from the people who love me, the more I came to a different conclusion.  Today, nearly a week later, I am acknowledging that it’s okay to think he was incredibly shallow and wrong in that moment. I am going inside of myself and asking why I skimmed right over the pain when it happened and continued with a path I didn’t really want to go down. I am horribly sad that my size determined my value to him.  I am even more sad that I have spent any time of this precious life aching to be who he wished I was.

As I mentioned, we are each entitled and encouraged to have preferences and know what we are attracted to. What I cannot fathom is why someone would in essence, attack someone in a most vulnerable situation.  What is the ‘reward’ of that kind of honesty?

He withdrew, going from several conversations  a day to perhaps a goodnight or “how are you?” text.  I had no idea what was going on in his head.  Was he feeling so bad he didn’t know how to recover this?  Was he trying to ghost me?  I don’t know.  I finally just told him that his behavior was extremely confusing to me.  I received a quick response, “I am sorry, we are still friends, right?”

I explained that I was happy to explore a friendship but didn’t need a pen pal.  I sent him a video with my very real perspective.  He’s missing out.  His opinion does not determine my value…though it took me a while to get there and I’m still working on it.  I am the unique kind of beautiful that I love.  My heart is pure, my mind is inquisitive, my spirit is genuine and real, I am compassionate, funny, smart and though I am not Ms. Universe, I am the kind of beautiful only I can be.  He doesn’t see and that’s okay…he is not for me.  My last text to him was to let him know that I had his really cool wine tumblers if he wanted them back.

Truly, I don’t think this is a bad guy. I think he has parts of him that are super cool. He is intelligent, attractive on the outside and a great conversationalist. I do believe he is sorry for hurting me. I am sorry he hurt me too, yet I’m thankful that I was forced through this ugliness to face some feelings I’ve been burying for too long.

Since my ex- husband left our home, it was my prayer and my desire to learn to love and accept myself.  Fully.  Always.  I will continue to strive to be the best version of me, and I am lovely right where I am…not just when I arrive.

The pursuit of health and healthy living is of the upmost importance. I have worked my ass off the past two years to get to a healthy place…inside and out. I’m still a work in progress and hope to God I always will be.

I wonder about our world. I wonder what it would be like if the pursuit of kindness, character development, compassion, humor and gentleness were more important than the pursuit of a hot body. Maybe they are; I just haven’t found that person in my dating life.

If someone had to choose to love my mind and heart or my appearance, I would choose my heart and mind; no contest.  I know that while I have my physical preferences, heart, mind, compassion and character are my ultimate deciders.  I hope and pray that there is someone who loves ALL of me, not in spite of my uniqueness, but because of it.

Also…I am keeping the wine tumblers.

 

 

 

Dear everyone…

Dear everyone,
 
This is just public acknowledgement that my “Dear Sis” posts are not directed toward any one person.
They are more an accumulation of the experiential education I have had in my dating life. I have learned much about a few men, but what I have really learned of value is that I tend to make choices that I know will hurt me in the end. I make choices hoping that a man will in essence, change because he so adores me.
 
How’s that working for me? lol!
 
I guess we all just want to truly see and be seen in a relationship…and fully accepted with love. That’s what I want anyway.
 
So, dear Sis, keep on keeping on.
 
You are worth it…and so is he.
 
XOXO

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.

I am Nearly 45 and Exactly Where I am Supposed to Be…

Almost 45, and a little over one year ago, I was handed a “gift” that I tried with everything in me to return.  My husband of 18 years asked for a divorce…again…and this time, I conceded.  We had taken turns putting divorce on the table yet one of us always stayed grounded and talked the other down.  This time was different, I knew that my only choice was to let go.  Heartbreak had become a too comfortable friend and we were both weary.  I knew that he was trusting me enough to ask for what he truly felt he needed, I finally recognized that I loved him enough to graciously (a process indeed) give him what he was asking for.

In June, my sweet husband moved out of our family home and into his own apartment.  July brought the death of my precious Daddy, who had fought a brave battle with Alzheimer’s for 12 years.  August was full of transitions for the kids, one beginning a new journey with homeschooling and the other entering high school.  September was the beginning of returning to full time work for me.  In October, my precious Momma sold the home we all grew up in with she and Daddy and moved to a new home of her own. Alas, November and December brought bittersweet holiday celebrations, as we all adjusted to the consequential firsts that come with change.

Whew!  I have to catch my breath just remembering. This is life though, right?  It’s full of change.  Joy in the suffering, lightness  in the dark, triumph in the tragedy, beauty out of ashes and growth out of doing hard.  We have to search for the gifts…seek out the God in all of it.  Man, that is tough.

Only now am I beginning to get my feet back on the ground (that’s giving myself a ton of grace) and barely able to reach out my arms, hands open, ready to receive.  Only now am I embracing trace amounts of gratitude for my journey.  Only now….and this is okay, for only now is all we ever have.

Countless gifts in the mix, and the one gift that keeps re-emerging as a theme in my life is the opportunity to believe that I AM ENOUGH.  Despite a delay in my cooperation, I am now absorbing the truth that until I believe this and until I truly love myself, I don’t have all of me to offer anyone else. I wonder if I ever have truly and fully loved me for me, just as I am?  Even if I never opt to offer myself to another in a romantic relationship, isn’t it just as significant to offer myself the fullness of this kind of love?  I think, yes.

I am exceptionally gifted at meeting others where they are and loving them well. On the other hand, I am extremely inadept at doing so for myself.  I have an ongoing list of things I want in a future partner/relationship.  Ironically, all of the things I am seeking in someone else are things I really am seeking for myself within my own heart.

It is my soul’s desire to reconnect with God in a way that my human self has forgotten to do.  I know that He loves me and sees me in a light that I cannot easily fathom; I yearn to have  a glimpse of that view.

Here I am…nearly 45…with amazing opportunities before me.  This year is stunningly different than last year and next year will be incomparable.  I don’t know what all of this means, I just know this life is a one time gift and I intend to live it well.

 

“When you start to feel like things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here, they are not accidents and those moment’s weren’t in vain.

You are not the same you, you have grown and you are growing, you are breathing, you are living.

You are wrapped in

Endless

Boundless

Grace

and things will get better, there is more to you than yesterday.  

-Morgan Harper