Proud to be Me

Every single day, my life changes and I happily change along with it. This week, something huge happened and it’s made me realize, once again, that I am not meant for normalcy, I am not meant to be defined by society and I most certainly am not like all the other girls.

In my town, single moms have a tendency to lose their homes, they downsize and they struggle to survive in their new reality. I struggle too, but it’s different. I struggle to ensure that my children are provided for both in my home and their fathers; I am the sole provider for my family, including my ex-husband.

This week, in addition to ensuring everyone’s needs were met, I moved into a house that I successfully mortgaged and purchased on my own. Owning a house has always been a dream of mine, and since I left my ex and gave him the house we had purchased together its been something I’ve been striving to accomplish. And now, the stars have aligned and I am once again a home owner.

Although I’d been working towards this monumental change in my life for some time, the reality of the situation still managed to catch me by surprise. I am a strong, independent woman who takes care of herself and her family and I alone have purchased a house that will become a home.

I made that happen; I remember my counselor explaining to me that by my very existence, I was an oppressed person. He explained that as a middle-class woman, of mixed ethnicity and questioning sexuality (I hadn’t accepted my gay at that point) no one had handed me any golden opportunities. He told me I had worked hard to achieve everything I  had and that I should be proud of all that I had accomplished.

But in that moment I felt anything but proud, his words felt like a forced acknowledgment of my circumstance. Yet since that conversation, I’ve found myself reflecting on his words on multiple occasions; especially now, I can recall the conversation so clearly. In the midst of yet another huge accomplishment, I finally see what he was trying to tell me.

I created the opportunity and the change that I wanted to see in my life and that makes me so incredibly proud to be me.

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Love is Love

In my life love has always had an obligatory undertone; love meant giving a part of me to the people that inhabited my life. Love was something I reciprocated, I gave away a part of me, because I felt like I was supposed to. I didn’t know that love should never rob us of ourselves.

Love was simply four letters to appease the ego; an obligation to express to my partner just how important they were to me, the required response to questioning eyes, inquiring comments or statements of love and affection. To me, love was primarily a response.

But that’s not what love is supposed to be, finally I understand that love is not intended to be burdened with obligation. Love is meant to fill you up and reverberate from your soul. Love stokes the fire that you’ve already built within you, until it bubbles from your pores creating the most alluring and inescapable glow.

Love is not codependent, love does not ask for more than you can give; love is pure. In my life, I have loved to the best of my ability, but if THIS is love, then everything before was something else entirely.

Today I’m living in a technicolor world that’s bursting with love, light, happiness and all the rainbows, because for the first time I can see, that quite simply, love is love.

Cautiously Optimistic

For me, October was an overwhelming awakening, an opportunity to see, to feel and to own my experiences without judgement and fear.

In contrast, November has brought me much reflection, consideration and confidence that I have changed. I’ve found myself filled with certainty that I am a different person than I once was.

But I remain cautious; humbled by the weight of my past decisions as I stumble through each day embracing my new reality. In the past I have lost myself in others and I have ignored realities that were meant to be seen.

Today, I believe I that I have changed and I’m working towards the confidence that I can sustain myself in the face of adversity. I want to believe that I have the strength to shine brightly and shine true, no matter the challenges that life presents.

I’m positive that in time, this certainty will arrive. Until then I will remain cautiously optimistic that I have the strength of character to stay true to the song my heart is singing, because finally, I think I’m listening.

I want to be Free.

Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating “Who I Want to Be?” and the word that I cannot escape, is FREE. But what does that even mean? My mind ran in circles, trying to understand what it was about the word free that was calling to me.

I should have just Googled it immediately because there, stated so succinctly, was the exact thing that the scribbles in my notebook, couldn’t quite capture.
free

I just want to be me, I want to be confident in my beliefs and in my actions, I want to shine from the inside out and I want to be proud of everything that I am and everything that I stand for. And to do that, I need to stop caring so much about how my choices affect ‘you’.

I want to be free of the burden of putting the world on the pedestal upon which I am supposed to stand.

I wrote that sentence almost three weeks ago and at the time, it felt like something to strive for, something to hope for, something that maybe one day I could achieve. But today, I read that sentence and its no longer a want, its a fact.

Every single day, I get up and I choose me.
It used to be a challenge, but these days, I’m feeling incredibly free.

 

Who do I want to be?

who-do-you-want-to-be-for-your-turn-on2

I’ve been working hard to be conscious in my thoughts, to feel the feelings and to pay attention when I’m feeling indifferencesadness and everything in between. It’s been a lesson in self awareness and I feel much more in tune with my personal feelings than I have ever felt.

But feeling feelings is only one step in this journey and its time for me to start dipping my toe in the cool waters ahead if I want to keep moving forward.

As children we are often asked what we want to be; its curious that we put so much thought into something that is rooted in external forces and society. What do you want to be implies a job, a career the thing that you will be for 40 or so hours a week, that will earn you money to pay for your home, your food and your belongings.

But asking what we want to be, says nothing for the life that we dream of living, of the traits we value in people and the person that we dream of being. Perhaps if I had been asked who I want to be instead of what, I wouldn’t struggle so much with this seemingly simple question.

Who do I want to be?

I feel like, at 35 years old, I should know with certainty who I want to be, but I don’t. I’ve put so much energy into what I wanted to be, a good mother, a good wife/partner, a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend, a good employee, a good boss even a good person, that I’ve forgotten to ask who it is that I want to be.

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.

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!