Being Authentic

Had a bit of a rough start to the week yesterday. Didn’t wake up on time to come down to write. Alarms got jacked up from the weekend, I napped a bit too much on Sunday which caused for a restless night when I did sleep. Yesterday was better, but I dragged butt hard. I’m honestly considering sticking to my morning routine for the weekends considering how awful I felt by Sunday night.

Rob’s parathyroid surgery went well. He’s still in the hospital, I should get the call to pick him up today. His spirits are good too. It’s amazing to go into the hospital for a routine(ish) procedure vs. going in because you are deathly ill or fighting some kind of crazy infection. He’s up, dressed, walking around. On Sunday we even took him down to the cafeteria for dinner.

It’s always nice when he is down this way, it breaks up the loneliness that comes with being a single mom. We’ve both changed, are more humble from having had our asses kicking from the world. We are not as quick to fight and we can laugh at ourselves so much more than we could have before. The love between us is real. We just suck as a couple. And let’s be honest, I’m not the easiest person to live with, just ask my daughter.

I purchased a brand new washer and dryer and it was delivered yesterday. The delivery man was a douche bag. Didn’t make anything easy and declared within two seconds that the installation I paid upfront for didn’t include what I needed done. That on it’s own was all well and good, but he took the cap off my gas line, didn’t admit to it, and tried to tell me I had a gas leak. I knew better, but I was still nervous. I’ve got a plumber coming out later in the week to hook everything up, but I have to admit that I’m a little sad. I’ve been waiting a year for these bad boys. The weekly trips to the laundromat have been brutal.

I have a messenger group chat called, Family Talk, and it’s my brother, SIL, me, and my mom. Over the past nine months it doesn’t get used as much as it had in the past, since things are insane with my mom and her living situation and my status with the family. I had asked my mom some advise about gas vs electric dryer when I was making my final selection on the appliances. So I had popped in there to say, “Hey! My washer and dryer are coming today!!!!”

Later in the day my mom checked in to see how thing went and of course they didn’t go well. I was bummed, but I refused to get upset about it. It was really interesting to sit from that perspective and watch the conversation. I feel like my mom wanted to work my emotions a bit and I just stood firm and positive about how this was just a bump and it should diminish the fact that I had a brand new washer and dryer in my basement and that is amazing.

I’m done getting upset about the small stuff.  Hell, I’m done getting upset about the big stuff too. The only thing I am in control of is my perspective to the situation. Since I’ve put this into action in my life I can really tell the difference. It’s hard at times and I’m not perfect, but I’ve gotten a lot better. I even found that I don’t talk as much. I do a lot more observing. I believe that when you are more authentic with your word, you have a lot less to say.

Not really related to this, but it has reminded me of one of my infamous podcast sessions. The topic was about what would be the difference between your current job and your dream job. Her feeling was nothing. We are still the same person in either job. She says, it’s not our jobs job to make you happy. It’s our job to make us happy. Being more authentic with my word has really made me more happy.

You can listen to that podcast episode here.

Well I need to get my butt in gear a bit. I have three kid being dropped off at my house in the mornings starting today. They do school of choice and one of the siblings is a friend of Erin’s. Something happened where they were being dropped off before at the aunt and uncles house and it is no longer available so their mom asked if I could take them to school in the morning. You know me, I’m always willing to help out as long as the situation remains positive, so we are going to give it a try.  Erin on the other hand is very skeptical of the situation. She very much enjoys her routine and doesn’t want any interruption of it. It will likely be good for her to have a few people in her mix.

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Getting Deep. So Much Heavy Stuff Here.

I sacrificed some of my writing time this morning to pick up the kitchen a bit. Erin was at a birthday party yesterday when I came home from work and I opted to sit down with my book and put my feet up, vs clean. She’s on spring break right now and she’s like a tornado through the house. As soon as I am finished writing I will be making her a to-do list, which should keep her pretty busy throughout the day.

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I’m coming back in here to say that I talk about some pretty heavy stuff today. Abuse I experienced as a child. Sometimes when I read these things, and if I’m especially fragile, they trigger enormous emotions in me. I’m giving everyone warning now and I give you permission to walk away from today’s writing. Love to all! 

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When I was a little girl I was filled with this ball of sadness. I could never do right. I didn’t feel like anyone loved me. I had responsibilities beyond my years. I think about myself, this tiny girl raising a baby only four years younger. It’s unreal. Maybe that is why I am content with raising just one child. Throughout my life I have mothered several children and they have filled my heart with the same love that I have for my daughter.

I don’t know when it started, but around 5th grade, so I would have been 10 years or older, my mother had my grandfather put a mirror on the back of my bedroom door. My mother had a tremendous self esteem issue and she wanted me to see myself, and love myself, and this mirror was so important to her.

Our family was broken though. My father was abusive. My mother consumed her life with keeping the peace, and I walked on eggshells.

Man, I remember the nights after report cards came out like it just happened yesterday. The yelling was so bad. I remember one year I came home with a bad grade in math, my worst subject ever, and this ticked my father off so bad he yelled at me the entire night. When I say entire night, I mean, The. Entire. Night. Until he had to go to work and we had to go to school the next morning.

At some point during the night he thought it would be a good idea to pull out a tape recorder and have me record myself talking about why I was so stupid and failing this math class and then he would replay throughout the night.

I would get bathroom breaks when needed and I remember my sweet little brother meeting me in the hallway, his eyes swollen from crying. He loved me so much and it was torture for him to sit in his room and listen to this abuse. I remember we hugged and cried together, I cleaned myself up a bit, we embraced again, and then I went back out in the kitchen to resume my beat down.

This next point has nothing to do with my story, but I have finally realized why there is one fucking subject that has continued to hold up college education. Math. Fuck this is so liberating to realize this. There is so much here in this connection. When I had my nervous breakdown at college when I was 19, the final straw came the morning I drove to class, my math class. I remember sitting in the parking lot, watching everyone park their cars, gather their belongings like good students and walk into class. I was paralyzed. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the car. I sat there all day in my car, watching students come and go. At some point I started my car, shifted into reverse, and pulled off campus. I never went back to school after that.

How crazy is it that it was a math class I was going to?  I mean that has to have some meaning. Right?

Math had always been a huge point of contention between me and my dad. It was my worst subject. It started when I was having a hard time with my times tables. He used to drill me over and over and over and over. It was abusive the way he did it, because that was the only way he knew to be. There would be night long sessions of me having to spit out 8×6, 9×2, 5×5, over and over until my little head swirled. Anyway, to this day, I don’t know my times tables. It’s like a mental fucking block.

So that was a tangent and a total bypass of where I was going with my story, but it is good stuff. I guess this writing first thing in the morning is really good, just like the experts say.

Back to this mirror, so my mom has this mirror installed in this weird attempt to help boost my self esteem, but I’m broken and I use it in the opposite way. Every time I get in trouble, mess up, get yelled at, or do anything outside of perfection, I retreat to this mirror. I look myself dead in the eye and I tell this fragile young beautiful girl, “you are worthless” “you are ugly” “you are fat” “you are stupid” and any other horrible thing you can imagine. I create this mantra of ugliness to reiterate what I’m being told by the people all around me.

It’s so fucking devastating to thing about. Can you even image how damaging this was to who I am as a person right now? I think of all the neural pathways that were created and reinforced in my brain. It’s amazing really that I’m as whole as I am.

I bring this up because I’m reading my book on self care right now and at the end of the first chapter we have an exercise. It’s to do mirror work. There are exercises for me to do looking in the mirror, telling myself how beautiful I am, how smart I am, and whatever other positive reinforcement I can give myself.

It’s been a couple weeks since I set out to do this and I’m stumped. I can’t do it. Ugh. I’m writing about it today because I want to release these feelings out into the universe in hopes of releasing the anxiety out of my body. I’m going to wrap up this post and I’m going to do my first session.

I’ll be sure to report tomorrow on how it went.

The War is Over

I’m asking myself today a couple questions. What is it all about?  Why am I making such an effort to change my habits? I think it’s pretty simple, because I want more. I almost typed that I deserve more, but I hate that word and I hate that mindset. No one deserves anything. If life was based on what someone deserved or didn’t, we would all be in a much different place.  Right!?!

When I say that I want more, it’s not a tangible more, it’s not about possessions. It’s about answering the call that is burning inside my soul. I am so much more than this life I am currently living. I was put here on earth to help people, to make a difference, to answer questions. The horrific abuses I endured throughout my life were actually a gift that will allow me to change the direction of the universe. It might be a very small change, but if each of us continually made small changes, these changes would meet, and a powerful force would be created that could change the direction of humanity.

When I think of the person who continually hurt me in my life and I look at him as a person, I have no real answers for what he did to me. I really don’t give a fuck any more really. He was weak. Broken. Abused himself. Most importantly to note, he’s miserable. His choices led him down a path of misery. He filled his life with possessions and ranked those things higher than his own children and now he sits on top of his hill, alone. (that is except for the hostage he is holding, my mother.)

I refuse to give him my life. I refuse to give him my fire. I will not allow the broken thoughts he put inside my head to guide me down bad roads. Somewhere in all this I will find love for myself.

My weight is a shield. It is a barrier I put up to hide from the world. To keep me in a subservient place in the workforce. To stay safe. I declare at this moment that I do not need my shield any longer. I want to feel what it is like to be raw. For people to see me for who I am. To carry a shield is to be in a constant state of protection, a war. I declare the war is over.

Today.

I am done fighting.

I will think before I speak. I will honor the truth inside me. I will not allow myself to come last any longer. I want to unleash myself and my goodness into the world.

I’m not sure where all this came from, but I accept it. I sat down this morning with zero agenda on what to write, yet here this all came flooding out. I own my words even if I don’t understand their meaning yet. This writing thing is fascinating.

I will trust the process.

What Does Happiness Look Like To Me?

Back to the exercises of yesterday, what does happiness look like to me?

This is inspired by The Life Coach, Episode Three

Starting my list from a place of abundance, what I already have, and then diving into what I’m striving for in the future. My list:

  1. Have a beautiful daughter that completes me in every single way possible.
  2. Build a career that I’m proud of.
  3. Make enough money to comfortably provide for my family.
  4. Have health insurance that covers my family in case of emergency and/or sickness.
  5. Have life insurance to protect my daughter in case anything ever happened to me.
  6. Drive a dependable car that keeps my family safe and comfortable.
  7. Live in a home that is affordable, yet also has the space I need to house my possessions comfortably.
  8. Live a life free from debt.
  9. Have enough money saved for retirement.
  10. Save enough money to purchase a ranch home where I can grow old.
  11. To fill the perimeter of that home with a beautiful flower garden.
  12. To join a community of people that is centered around fitness, health and well being like I had when I was in CrossFit.
  13. Get to a place with my weight where I can have my knees replaced.
  14. Have surgery to remove my excess skin and a breast reduction.
  15. Have a home where friends and family gather to laugh, cry, eat good food and feel safe. I want to be surrounded by people I love.
  16. Purge my possession until I have just enough.
  17. Finish my education / never stop learning.
  18. Work for myself in a profession where I am able to support and change lives, yet make enough money to provide for my needs.
  19. To always have enough.
  20. Ability to travel to places I’ve only seen in pictures.

What about you?  Can you take a half hour out of your day to listen to the linked podcast? If you can and you feel like posting your list eventually, link to it in the comments. Or just write your list in the comments.

I love the idea of starting the list with what we already have. I think that it is an amazing place to start because it honors what we already have.

Responsibility

Well I’m up again early. Showered. Face lathered in cream in hopes of nourishing the lines that appear faster and faster these days. And I’m here, writing, two days in a row.

As I sit down to type I have no idea what I want to unload this morning so it will be interesting to see where this post goes.

I mentioned in an early post that I have been listening to a lot of podcasts. I even linked to one or two. Yesterdays podcast journey delivered me to one that really resonated with me, yet it didn’t say anything more than what the hundreds of others I’ve listened to before. Yet I feel it’s intensity in my soul yet today.

We are personally responsible for our lives. 

At the end of the day, no matter what our background story is or how good or bad we’ve had it in life. I am in control of the person I am ever single second of the day. I think of all the years I wasted in my ‘story’, wallowing because I wasn’t loved the way I should have been. That I wasn’t supported to thrive. That my family relationships were all based on conditions that I behave a certain way. That I had no money.

I allowed people to treat me bad. I didn’t set boundaries with anyone. I thought if I just gave and gave of myself, finally someone would love me the way I deserved to be loved.

In the end I gave of myself until there was literally nothing left to give. I lost my voice. My health declined. I wasn’t the best mom I could be. I lost control of the finances.

The best thing that ever happened to me, and as hard as that time in my life was, and as scared as it made me, getting sick changed my life. I saw death and I knew I didn’t want anything to do with it. I saw how stupid I was acting. I saw crystal clear that I was the one stopping myself from having the life I wanted.

Since I’ve been setting boundaries in my life interesting things have started to happen. People have left, my parents. Others have stepped up and have (mostly) respected the lines I’ve drawn, Rob. My work parameters are changing because I stood up and said I couldn’t run myself into the ground and longer. In response, two of the brokers I support have been removed from my desk.  This will allow me to truly build a strong relationship with the team of brokers I’m left with. My most challenging relationship, my daughter, is actually improving too.

If someone is talking to you in a way that angers you or makes you feel bad, you need to open your mouth tactfully and express what isn’t working for you. If your husband isn’t respecting something that is creating a burning sensation of rage in the pit of your stomach, then you need to tell him. If someone doesn’t value you, regardless of how close they are to you, parent, child, sister, brother, then they need to be removed from your life, no matter how hard that decision will be to make.

For generations we have been taught to abide. To silence our needs. To fix. And as maternal beings we have been looked at as an endless well of nurturing. I know loving someone makes me feel amazing, but it just can’t be done on a one way street. We can’t be taken from until we are depleted with nothing left to give ourselves. We need to protect ourselves so that we can continue to keep giving to those that we love.

It took me 43 years to figure this shit out and I’m sure it will take me another 43 years to perfect how to reprogram myself to love myself enough to keep a little inside for me. I was born and bread to be a wife. From my earliest memories I was taught to serve men. From waiting on them as they barked orders to me, to cleaning up their messes. I was taught that I needed to have straight teeth, long hair, and an attractive body because that was the key to my hooking a husband that would provide for me. My value in my family is based only in how much I weigh. How fitting is it that one of the last things I heard my father say was to my brother, “look at her, no man would ever want to be with her.” And that wasn’t 20 years ago, that was in the past six months.

It hurt for a long time afterward. I processed it over and over and read about men that feel this way about women because it hurt so bad and I needed to understand it. After I made peace with it I am left with this, I’m so happy to be me on my terms. Big and fat with a gap in my teeth, living life on my terms. This is so much better than having a man, providing for me under the terms that I kept those conditions met. When I do eventually lose weight it will be on my terms. Not on the pressures that have been put on me.

This is my demon. I’m sure you have yours. Hell, this is just one, I have plenty. Regardless what yours is we need to remember that we are the ones in control of everything. Set boundaries, live them, and you will be surprised how others act when you demand that they respect them.

Happy Tuesday.

Below are a few links on where you will find me at these days:

What I’m listening to:

The Life Coach School podcastEpisode One

 

What I’m reading:

The Art of Extreme Self Care, by Cheryl Richardson