Bruised

Goodness, life is hard sometimes isn’t it?
 
Last night I went to bed with a heart feeling as bruised as my black and blue booty.
 
Covid times just add an extra layer of what if’s to my ever wondering mind. Add that to a little unexpected chaos, uncomfortable growing pains, restless sleep, deeply hurting friends and hard conversations..I hit my pillow last night with a sense of grief and loss, wondering where my hope and faith are. How can I stand in the gap for others when I am not doing so for myself? I can’t.
 
Then…I got to wake up this morning. I went outside to see the bright sun peeking out and feel the warm air on my skin. I remembered…this waking to a new day is a privilege not to be taken for granted.
 
I took a hot shower while singing loudly and off key. The lyrics rolled out of my heart and off my tongue. I was surprised at the loudness of my own voice; yearning to be heard. Thank God no one is home and only God and the animals (poor animals) could hear my shower symphony.
 
I’m thankful AND I’m hurting. I’m learning AND I’m imperfect. I’m open AND I have healthy boundaries. I’m feeling stuck AND I’m capable of getting unstuck. I’m making choices AND not everyone is going to approve. I must honor my heart AND it sucks that this means displeasing people I love.
 
There are endless dichotomies. Ultimately, I know my heart, motives and intent better than any other human; I have the choices.
 
Today I will choose to honor my moments, make the best of them, treasure those closest to me and hold on to the little bit of hope and mustard seed of faith I still have. Today, this is what my brave looks like.
 
Reminder to self…bruises heal.

A Tribute to Friendship, Sex, & Milkshakes

Thankful tears flowed from my eyes this morning as I thanked a friend for being the blessing he is in my life.

He is my imperfect friend who has no pressure to live up to anything but being him, because his perfectly imperfect genuine self is a rarity.

Take a big, beautiful heart and add in compassion; understanding; trustworthy; humor; integrity; wisdom;hysterical; God loving; creative man who is well dressed and super fun ..there is my dear friend.  See?  Rare.

He accepts me as is.  He loves me as is.  He might sometimes be disappointed for my choices and how they will affect me; at the same time, he is not disappointed in me.  Big difference.

He encourages me to be the best version of me I can be while never loving me any less as I travel my journey and sometimes behave like a dumbass. (true story) We speak truth to one another; even when truth is ugly feeling.  The thing is…when truth is spoken in love and safety is present…it’s a sacred treasure.  He challenges me when it’s uncomfortable and would be much easier to not.

He knows my everything.  My everything is safe with him.  He has never played judge and jury to me.  That is magical.  We’ve all been in a place that we believed we were truly safe with someone…until a dreaded, unexpected moment illuminates a reality that safety has been an illusion.  There was not acceptance and love of who you are; perhaps there was acceptance and love for who they want you to be.  That is not magical, it sucks.

Laughter, tears, and everything in between are welcome. He is proud of my accomplishments, generous with his encouragements, okay with my sunshine as well as my melancholy and super fun to go to the grocery store with.  He loves sex (not with me), milkshakes, animals, learning and laughter.  The countless endless conversations we have will never have sufficient words to let him know that he is cooler and more than he will ever grasp.

I hope and pray I provide the same for him.  There are perhaps 10 people in my world outside of my family that I have this type of friendship with.  I intend to ensure they always know how deeply I love them.

As I expressed my gratitude to my precious friend this morning, my heart was pinged.  Is this not how our God designed us to be in relation with one another?   We are made in His image, right?  I know God loves me.  He made me.  He knows my heart, he knows the numbers of hairs on my head for goodness sake.  He knows my journey.  God weeps with me, rejoices with me, and loves me in the messy middle (which is where my humanness seems to have me living the majority of the time).

Beloved human connections (could, should, can) mirror our relationship with God.  We are God’s heart, walking outside of His body but still in Him.  Our loves are the same…pieces of our heart walking outside of our body but always in us.

True Friendship…it’s a beautiful form of intimacy.  In our individuality, we are still all reflections of each other.  In our separateness, we are still made to be unified.  How cool is my God?  Not only does he offer me unconditional love and friendship through Him…he gives me that in real live humans.

The reciprocity of real friendship is the ultimate legacy to leave with another.  This type of friendship has impacted my life profoundly for the better.

I am grateful to have even one friend of this caliber in my life; sex and milkshakes too.

Philippians 1:3  “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”

 

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.)

Cha-Ching

Those credit cards that are offered with no interest for a year…then if you don’t pay, the interest has accrued the entire time and CHA-CHING….everything is due.  #life

All the emotions, desires, regrets, grief and stuff that I have managed to keep nicely boxed seems to be screaming….”BALANCE PAST DUE!”

In honor of this reconciliation; Spotify gifts me with ” my most loved songs of 2019″. Songs of life, love and love lost permeate the air.

I dream up all the things that life is not but ‘should be’ and try to fit those things nicely with the reality life is offering. My thoughts are intertwined with a hurting heart and I’m desperately fighting to simply ‘sit with “It”; “It” being the unpleasantness.

The wind is strong, the night is dark.  I imagine the leaves dancing and fluttering their way to new locations; far from the safety of the now barren trees they once were attached to.

If the leaves could talk, I feel we would have much in common.  I, too, am fluttering about; unsure of where I will land next.

I see that someone else is living in the life that was once mine.  I want to latch onto the notion that this is not how things ‘should’ be.  I want to take back what is ‘mine’.  That thought makes me laugh.  It also makes me cry.  I own nothing and nothing is mine.

I am.  That is sufficient.

The home I have known my entire 47 years is for sale.  My heart is broken yet I know these  broken pieces still make a whole and my home is truly where my heart is.

My oldest kiddo is driving.  My youngest kiddo just got rid of her braces. I got a “new to me” car.

I have completed a Master’s program and am simultaneously thrilled and terrified.  I followed through with a really hard task, and I struggle to not allow the worry of the unknowns steal the joy of now.

Three years later, it has dawned on me that it’s perfectly good and okay to move on from the marriage I once had.  I just have to figure out how.  I want my own version of a fairy tale.  Before that, I have to surrender my all to the God I (kind of) trust.

Stretching.  Trusting.  (Trying hard).

A fluttering, sputtering leaf who desperately wants to safely land.

Please God, just let me land.

 

 

 

 

He’s a Shell, Sis. Move on.

Dear Sis,

Being physically attracted to a man is such an amazing feeling…especially when you are both drawn to each other like magnets.
Kissing is fabulous, sacred, beautiful, and fun!
All of the physical things are momentarily delicious, scintillating and normal to crave.
But…when you see that this super hot man is empty of the things that matter most (sharing of emotions, caring in actions AND words, true friendship, etc), it’s so disappointing. It’s even more sad to realize you’ve been kissing a shell of a man.
Kissing a shell. Blech. Sis, even if he is capable and full of those things, he’s choosing not to share them with you.
Picture a hard shell running down the street…would you chase it? If you caught it…then what? Can you turn that shell into your Prince Charming?  Probably not.
Think back to all those shells you’ve had the highest hopes for. Did they change for you? Maybe, once in a while. But that’s rare.
When dating a suspected shell, turn around and RUN! If he makes a real effort, he will catch you and continuously capture your heart with his own. 
If he was a shell after all..be sad for his loss and happy for your wisdom.
Be patient in the waiting. There is a HOT to and for you man with the inside goods who is just waiting for his lady.

In the meantime, find your joy and enjoy this beautiful life in a BIG way! You are worth it!!

Always.

Oh life…

It is so strange how our life experiences serve to teach us…I think they do anyway.

I read a quote, “Instead of asking why is this happening to me, ask what is this teaching me?” Instant shift.

It really is an instant shift. I begin to ask myself what my accountability in the experience is, how it is familiar to choices I have made before, and I can explore what is at the root of my choice. Hopefully, even if I can’t clarify the lesson, I can find value in the journey.

Goodness sometimes life surprises me. People surprise me. Sometimes in ways that make my heart sting, other times in ways that make my heart soar…and everything in between. Trying to remember that in many cases, the hurt someone caused is so much more about them than me but my mind has a much easier time grasping this than my silly heart.

So, my questions of the day…what am I learning right in this moment and dear God, where do I go from here?

Happy Tuesday my loves. Enjoy your journey today (and every day)!

Rooted in change…then and now

Transformation, alteration, renewal, metamorphosis….constant change is a certainty of this human experience.  Stubborn resistance may root us in place.  Still, the very change that surrounds will also change us.  Why resist?  We are forever becoming.

I was playing a little game with a friend, we were giving each other a number, and we had to share the photo from our phones that matched that number.  He asked to see the 10th picture of only me.

The 10th picture of only me sent me spinning with shame and embarrassment.  I could not show him this one.  However, I promised…no cheating.  Before sending the photo, I let him know that this was taken at one of the worst times of my life.  My ex-husband had just told me he no longer loved me and wanted a divorce; my precious daddy was dying after a 12 year battle with Alzheimer’s.  The picture (which is here for all the world to see) was a clear image of a lady who had no love for herself and her eyes held a deep sadness, despite the smile on her face. The only reason I share it is because I am trying to practice what I preach…vulnerability and transparency. In this moment, I also share in hopes of diminishing the pier of shame this photo holds.

This precious friend heard my shame and replied with, ‘it’s just a selfie, look at your smile’.  Then he made me laugh with a gentle joke about chipmunk cheeks.  I never thought I’d giggle looking at that picture, but I did, and it was genuine.  However, I have obsessed over that picture since.  It’s not just that I hadn’t realized how much I changed, it brought back a rush of painful memories.

I remember the day the man who was the only love I’d ever known told me he was leaving.  I was inundated with feelings of unworthiness, disposability and fear.  For some reason, I made a little video on my phone to myself.  I guess to commemorate the day.  I very clearly stated (to myself) that I wanted to learn to love myself, no matter who else loved or didn’t love me.  That my friends, is the journey of transformation I have been and am still on.

My timehop today reminded me that at this time last year, I had lost 20 pounds on Weight Watchers.  I then stopped Weight Watchers, and started doing my own thing.  It’s called the ‘keto’ish but not all the way because life is too short to not enjoy ice cream” diet.  Clean eating pretty much, low carb, very low sugar and almost no processed foods.  In doing this, I have lost another 28 pounds.  This makes 48 pounds gone!  I should be so proud.

Rather, my first reaction was “wow!, but I have so long to go.”  I began a laundry list of all the men who would like me better if I had a better body, and of how life would be different if my ass matched my sass!  (Borrowed from a favorite meme).  Somehow, I stopped myself in the middle of my negative recitation.  I wondered to myself, “what will it take for me to be good enough?”

I asked myself what I wanted.  Easy.  I want to love myself.  As is.  I want to believe I am enough and honor that deeply, no matter where I am on my journey.  I want to be excited about the work I am doing for ME while enjoying who I am right in this moment.

I want to practice gratitude, for I have so much to be grateful for.  I am here, breathing.  I am a miracle, just as we all are.  Life is the celebration!  I have two legs that are strong and lovely, and they get me where I want to go.  The gift of walking was taken away from me in 2009 and I had to relearn that skill at the age of 35.  How dare I fuss that I am not enough?  My heart is strong; it is full of love, life and laughter.  I can easily exercise on the elliptical for 35 minutes without rest.  I might not be the most graceful, but I am me and I am a masterpiece.  There is no one like me, ever, anywhere.  I am blessed in every way, I want to remember this every second of every moment of every day.

I want to realize that when someone asks me out on a date, they are every bit as lucky to have time with me as I am to have time with them.  It is not settling to be with me, it is a gift, for I am pretty damn cool.  I want to stand in this truth.  It changes my choices, it changes everything.

I want to show my kiddos who I am at my core and that we are ALL capable and worthy of beautiful, positive, transformation…their Momma included.

There is so much joy in the transformation these days…one day the pain will be nothing but a motivator for better.

 

Life

It’s been a teeny bit of a struggle hearing about Luke Perry’s death. I mean, it’s sad when people die anyway. Then, it feels especially sad to me when they are young. He was for sure young.
We are told that Luke died of a stroke. Anytime I hear this, I feel this flurry of emotions. It’s a combination of deep gratitude for being alive and well nine years after the stroke I had, and of intense guilt for being here when others are not. It’s a feeling of being safe and held that is often interfered with by feelings of anxiety and fear.
I want to know all the details of his stroke. How, when, why, where? As if all of these answers bring me a magical always healthy solution. I have such an ability to let my worries spin right out of control until I lose myself in the middle of them. (I’m speaking to health anxiety…not to my whole way of being). The minute I get lost in that world, I disconnect from all that I love.
It’s been a gift to learn this about myself; to be aware of the things I do when I’m heading in that direction; and to do them.
Being still and trusting that God has my back has been huge for me and it’s rarely my first response. Reaching out to the handful of people that know my heart deeply is such a gift, and another thing I rarely do first.
My wise momma once asked me in the middle of one of my biggest times of worrying about losing my life…”We only have this life, are you going to spend it living or dying?” Absolutely I want to spend it living.
It’s a good day.

Celebrate

It’s National Heart Health month and Congenital Heart Defect awareness week. I’m thinking about Dr. Loughridge who performed the full correction of my tetrology of fallot 45 years ago, my Dr. Cooper…the cardiologist who ‘grew me up’ and the cardiologists and medical personnel who have helped and do help me stay healthy and strong.
I am thankful for the practice of medicine. I am deeply grateful for those who dedicate themselves to learning the science of healing in all aspects. I am thankful for the God who fills my lungs with air and my spirit with joy.
Whenever these celebratory awareness events occur, I celebrate. But I celebrate always because I have seen first hand that my life is a gift to be treasured. Our moments are precious indeed, and time is truly a gift.
I ask myself and God why in the world I am here and others are not. Scientifically, I did not fit neatly into the statistics. I will never have the answers. I will never think my life is more significant that another’s. I will be grateful, deeply grateful for each breath and I will strive to find the wonder, awe and joy in each living being as long as I am here.
Anyway…HAPPY HEART MONTH! Love a little more!

Resistant Me

I am resistant if you are willing. If you are willing, I am resistant. and so we dance around. and around. and around. Never do we arrive . We memorize the steps so we can begin again. -me

I am currently in my addiction and assessment class at school Fascinating because I have lived my 46 years surrounded by addicts that I love, and still I am learning the process of addiction. Bottom line…it sucks no matter which way you spin it.

One of our assigned projects is to give up something for two weeks. Read all about it…. (I am keeping a daily log/journal…can’t wait to share that). I am learning things about myself that aren’t the most pleasing. I am learning nonetheless.

I have chosen to give up all social media for these two weeks.  This includes for me, Facebook (the biggest offender), Snapchat, Instagram (on these two to keep up with my kids and nieces), Twitter (to keep up with an old boyfriend’s articles) and all online dating sites (to meet ‘those’ connection needs).  Even thinking about doing this for two weeks made my belly clench, so I decided it was probably the direction I needed to go. 

            Although we were not required to begin our abstinence until the morning of the class, I had been prepping myself for a couple of weeks.  I’ve not decreased my social media time but I did let my Facebook world know what I would be doing and why.  I was surprised at the positive responses I got and at the people who thought they might ‘try’ it too at some point.  I know a slip up is a possibility but I don’t want to disappoint them. (or myself)  I asked my best friend to help hold me accountable and I know she will.  I decided yesterday (Thursday) afternoon to go ahead and disconnect.  It had been an emotional day and I was doing lots of introspection…it just seemed like the right time to do it.  Later that night, at home, I opened my laptop to do homework.  Silly thing was opened to Facebook from the last time I had used it.  I was mortified and made my classmate (we were working together) sign out for me.  In no less than 5 minutes, I got a text from my best friend telling me to get off Facebook.  Geez!  She’s normally such an enabler for others, lol!  Anyway, we called her on speaker because I did not want her to think I really was on Facebook.  I struggle if anyone questions my integrity…always have.  The internal struggle when my insides and outsides aren’t matching up is significant so when someone else questions that, it hurts me probably more than it should.

            My ex-husband, left our home for the second time in June, 2016.  My Daddy died in July, 2016.  Going back even further, I had a stroke in 2009.   There was an affair in our marriage in 2013.  We legally divorced in 2017. I think each of these events strengthened the relationship I already had with social media, especially with Facebook.  (lol!  I just noticed how easily I referred to this possible addiction as a relationship). 

            That leads naturally into my next point…why is social media considered my friend?  I don’t think I use it as my only way to connect, but it definitely is a way to connect.  I’m super relational and I love to write.  I post way more than I even look at things.  But, looking back during those times of trauma, Facebook was an outlet for me to escape from my own reality, see how others were doing and post my journey…all of which were healing for me at the time.  In hindsight, Facebook became a grounding connection when I felt lonely or afraid and it was always there for me.  It was a way to disconnect from my own reality sometimes, and other times I shared my reality…but it was always there.  I love the safety knowing that connection is always there and won’t abandon me.  That’s really dumb.  It reminds me of a client I had who struggled with serious mental health issues and constant loneliness.  He told me that he hated when his cable wasn’t working because the people on t.v. were his only friends and they were always there.  I get it buddy, I get it!

            My compulsitory behavior of constantly checking Facebook…I look first thing in the morning and know that this ‘friend’ is there when I wake…even though my once husband is not.  Now I remember toward the end of our marriage the emptiness I felt when I woke miles away from him in the same bed…we didn’t connect but I would connect with Facebook on my phone.  I check it throughout the day and at night and at bedtime, as well as when I cannot sleep. I check it when I’m reading a book or doing homework or paying bills…no wonder I feel unfocused.   I can see things that connect me, I read things that make me think or annoy me, or even touch my heart.  It gives me a sense of being in touch when there is no one there to touch me.  It fills my empty voids sometimes, other times it’s just positive, and often it’s only a distraction from life.  So, I guess it appeals to my senses through the provision of memories of sweet times, tender touches, comforting smells; I can even hear and see the memories play out it my head.  This is triggered through my own Facebook memories and also through current people and what I see.  This refers to the constant clicking and scrolling part.  Honestly, Facebook is also a way to keep up with the guys I date.  Have they been on and they aren’t talking to me?  Are they just talking to me?  Are they honest?  I’m validating my already existing walls and keeping score, whether they know it or not…and I’m feeding my insatiable curiosity.  Writing this out, I feel like a voyeur and like I’m cheating myself from truly moving forward.

            I think I have already addressed a foundation for how my behavior provides healing or is a balm to my emotional wounds.  Now, as I am really healing, I enjoy reflecting on things I once wrote and seeing how far I’ve come.  Yet, those memories that pop up can sometimes sting a little bit. As I just realized above…how much am I healing and how much am I holding on?  I guess there is a fine balance. In sharing, I always hope that I am offering someone else healing and I hear often that I am.  Hearing I am an inspiration is lovely but not what I seek.  I am who I really am on social media but I find it’s easier for me to get my full feelings out in the written word sometimes, easier to find vulnerability there than in person which is probably part of why it continues to heal.  I should be sharing that by working more on my blog or a book, like I always dream of.  I am seeing though that I need to see how much social media is a true healing mechanism vs. how much social media is a band aid.

            I don’t know that my social media addictive behavior really makes me feel helpless, but entrapped, yes.  I guess because I realize it’s such a thing I reach to without even thinking and also that it made me nervous to think about giving it up, even for two weeks.  That means it manages me more than I manage it and I don’t like that.  That’s where the feeling of entrapment comes from.  As I reflect on this with as much self-honesty as I can muster, I am wondering how many feelings social media helps me keep confined.

            My consistent relationship with social media, Facebook in particular, costs me perhaps more than I have considered.  I have goals and one of them is managing my time intentionally.  Facebook clicking and scrolling steals from my time, and time is not a forever guaranteed thing.  I heard somewhere recently that the average person spends seven years of their life on social media.  Seven years.  I don’t want that.  In those terms, it kind of freaks me out. I could be writing, praying, connecting with my kids and others…instead I’m staring at a screen.  How much of my life am I giving to the blue screen and what will the payoff for that be?  Ugh.