Sometimes, believing is seeing.

accept-yiIn life, there are the truths about ourselves that we accept and know to be true and there are others that we choose to deny, fail to acknowledge or perhaps never bothered to notice. To truly accept myself for who I am, its essential that I remove the blinders, and choose to both embrace and accept the hard truths.

I know no other way, except to work hard, to strive for more and to put in the effort that is required to get there. On the flip side, I’m learning this particular trait is driven not just by a desire to succeed (as I’ve always believed) but also by a fear of failure.

Day to day, I recognize that failure is part of growth, but when it was suggested to me that perhaps I stayed in a marriage for years past its natural expiry, because I didn’t like failing, I was almost offended at the thought. But now, a year later I can accept, with an open heart, that maybe a fear of failure played a role in my previous decision to stay.

I am driven; when I want something, there’s no stopping me, and I wanted that marriage to work. But one person, can’t make a partnership successful and I did ultimately have to admit defeat.

I’ve also had to admit this year, that I need help; strong as I may be, I am  human and accepting help isn’t a sign of weakness. I am fortunate to have people in my life that lift me up, celebrate and encourage me and every single day I am thankful they have chosen me.

Given my affinity for pleasing others it s a struggle at times to distinguish between support and validation; to remember that no one else’s interpretation or opinion of me is more important than my own. Nice as it is when my friends build me up, their opinion is simply that and must not be used as a yardstick to measure my success.

A relatively new friend, a lifelong lesbian, told me today ‘it’s all about the body language…you have lesbian written all over you’ and I can’t stop reading it. I’ve always felt I had an assumed straightness and the thought that the opposite is even a consideration has given me a multitude of smiles today.

Not because I need a label (I don’t and I’m not claiming one now) but because it gives me some hope that what I’m finally beginning to admit to myself is also being projected into the way I present myself and as a result what others see in me.

At first I was unsure if this was an example of validation or a friend building me up, but as the words unfolded in front of me, I’ve realized the latter is true. An acknowledgement of what she sees in me is not influencing the way I see myself, quite the opposite; she is simply seeing what I am finally accepting and believing in myself.

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That Which Wasn’t Said

This week, I was asked to share a story where I had grown as a person for an exercise on active listening. It was difficult to share my vulnerability with people I had known for less than 24 hours and yet the sense of pride and accomplishment from learning to let go of my guilt, learning to stop carrying other people’s metaphorical baggage spurred me forward.

The ‘listeners’ were asked to listen for beliefs, emotions and perhaps most importantly that which wasn’t explicitly said. In life, we rarely have the opportunity to look into someone’s eyes, bare our soul and have them truly hear what it is we have to say.

What’s stuck with me since the exercise is both the accuracy of their observations, but also the reflection that has come from identifying those things that I didn’t say. My listeners identified three emotions, all completely valid, that I never mentioned.

Sadness, anger and pride; three strong, true and completely different feelings.

What is it about those three, that perhaps, I resist?

The dissolution of my marriage, my children’s understanding of family and even the life I had created all invoke a feeling of sadness and yet, in the telling of my journey to overcome guilt, it was barely more than a thought.

I grew up in a home with a lot of energy and I learned my place as a mediator early in life; in order to effectively manage the people around me, I needed to manage my own anger. And despite the fact that most anyone in my situation would likely have been (and perhaps still be) incredibly angry, I find my choice to exclude anger from my story more acceptable.

Pride however, in my decision to leave, in my ability to grow, in my ability to survive, is something I do feel. The seed that I planted on that day just one year ago has grown with me. I find myself disappointed that I did not effectively express how proud I am of myself, however my listeners heard that which I did not say, and they saw my pride shine.

Now the question becomes, how do I own these emotions I have chosen to exclude?
How do I support myself each and every step of the way? How do I embrace all of my feelings?

Sweet Girl

It is time, to embrace the change,
To accept that reality has been altered,
To know, that today is a new day.

It is time, to feel the vibration,
That starts deep within my soul.
Communicating what words cannot.

Overwhelming feelings,
Coursing through me,
Just as the hummingbird flies.

Fluttering, fleeting and gracious,
Beautiful, authentic and pure,
Searching for impossible perfection.

I close my eyes,
And breathe in all the emotions.
Willing myself,

Not to release them,
But to feel them.
To be them.

Finally, I’m learning,
Feelings are not to be conquered
Pushed or ignored.

When I embrace my emotions,
They stop controlling me.
And sweet girl, I want that for you too.

365 days to Shine

10269011_857219927661044_358550143_nOne year ago today, I did quite possibly the bravest thing I’ve ever done. I changed my life. On the screen before me, were carefully crafted words that could only barely begin to scratch the surface of expressing how broken I truly was.

I  had written, read and rewritten those words so many times I should have been able to recite them from memory, but I knew that I couldn’t. The only way that I could possibly say everything that needed to be said, would be to find strength in the words I had written.

I said a lot of things and most of them are far too personal for sharing, but this snippet, embodies everything that I wanted for myself and everything that I continue to strive to achieve.

And the truth is…
I’m tired of feeling guilty.
I’m tired of trying to be everything for everyone all the time.
And most of all, I’m tired of trying so hard to have a relationship that feeds my soul and brings me love and light and happiness.

Since that day, I have shed many tears and I have struggled through many days; I have laughed, I have loved and most importantly, I have lived.

The past 365 days have given me the opportunity to begin to dust off the layers of negativity, perception and judgement that were weighing so heavily on my soul. An opportunity to rediscover, who I am and how to stand proud, always; as an individual worthy of all the amazing experiences that the life before me has to offer.

The past 365 days, have seen me grow. I’ve taken steps forward and I’ve taken steps back, but at least I’ve stopped standing still.

One year ago today, I was sitting on my couch, riddled with anxiety, waiting to tell the man I had married that our life together wasn’t enough. I felt a fear like no other: of the pain I would inflict, of a future marred by a failed marriage, of an inability to make it on my own.

But today, 365 days later, although my future is just as uncertain, I’ve let those fears go and now my outlook is rooted in hope and joy and love.  And as for tomorrow, I say bring it on!

Indifference

There was a time,
When I mattered,
Least of all.

When everyone,
Mattered more,
Than me.

I shut my eyes,
So tight,
That even I couldn’t see.

My tears,
My frustration,
My anger.

Invisible,
Hidden,
And tucked away.

I refused to fool myself,
To claim joy,
Where there was none.

Instead,
Indifference
Became my reality.

I lived it,
I breathed it,
My life was engulfed.

But now I want it back.
My life, My feelings
Me.

via Daily Prompt: Subdued

Pushing Through or Moving Forward?

14022161_2063026770503249_7996733661336964197_nTonight, I was going to go to the gym. Simply because I wanted to and because I know the resulting flood of endorphins would feel so good. Emotions have run high this past week, I’ve felt overwhelmed more than once: by sadness, joy, frustration and even embarrassment.

Given my default is to stay busy and push through, I know that owning and feeling those emotions is valuable for me. It’s not about wallowing, it’s about simply feeling and for the most part, I’m doing OK.

I’m learning to differentiate between pushing through and moving forward and there is a distinct difference between the two.

Where I’m faltering, is in the relationship realm, because I’m not the only person involved. I broke things off and despite the hurt, we both agree that our connection is strong and a friendship is worth the growing pains, but how do we get there? How do we take a relationship that was all encompassing and help it evolve into something more natural, when such big feelings are involved?

They say a watched pot never boils and I can’t help but think it’s the same, that with time, healing and growth we will find our way to a brand new blossoming and supportive friendship. But without some space for change to happen, something in the equation (the friendship, the personal growth or worse, both) may become stifled and stagnate.

We had and continue to have a ‘relationship’ built on honesty and trust; tonight we spoke freely, we cried, we hugged and we tried to let expectations go.

Amongst the sadness, I feel a sense of peace after our talk  and I ‘m hopeful that sleep will come easy for both of us tonight. Tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to keep moving forward, even if I’m not quite sure what that looks like.

A Life with Less Rushing

un-becomingWhen asked to envision a life with less rushing, my instinct is to create a list of all the things I would do for myself, instead of rushing to do things for others: exercise, yoga, running, cooking, baking, crafting, sewing, crocheting, the list could go on.

My instinct is to take that list and methodically enter those ‘things’ into the calendar, thus creating more schedule, more expectation and generally more things to attempt to, and potentially fail to, accomplish.

That’s not creating a life with less rushing, it’s instead setting myself up for failure, in a situation where true success is a completely qualitative metric.

So what does this life with less rushing really look like?

I think, its a life that affords the luxury of choosing what feels right in the moment and the wisdom to hear the message of the heart and follow through on those desires.

It looks like an unapologetic self awareness that is not hindered by guilt and expectation and instead thrives in the certainty of personal capability and that the knowledge that deep within our being, we all know what we need to do: to be refreshed, to be fulfilled and to live a life that serves our own soul.

And now that I’ve named it and described it, I want it.
I want a life with less rushing.