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Today, I cannot help but marvel at how I was raised to believe that the words, opinions, moods, and behaviors of others should make me doubt and dislike myself.
I recall being told repeatedly “Nobody will ever love you more than you love yourself”. Well shit, nobody could’ve loved me less. That is for sure. Better late than never, recovery is helping me unlearn self-loathing. It is not possible to hate yourself and behave genuinely with kindness and goodness. It is was not possible to learn to love or respect myself in the “care” of those who demanded I disappear or be different, OR else. Thank goodness change is possible for those of us willing–who either change because we see the light or feel the fire. For me the fire brought the pain and the light. I hope you find yours.
So grateful for the unlearning and reparenting made possible though my program of recovery. That is no way to live. Happy Independence Day! Blessed.Much Love,
It really makes no difference why a person is consistently kind and honest or why they are not. It may be time to stop needing to know why. We all deserve kindness and honesty. Some people are more capable but no person is more OR less worthy than another.
I have felt silenced by my personal declaration to no longer write/post/share about my experience with grief over actions which knowingly harm my little family. I realize –it is not that I must stop examining and healing and posting–but that I would benefit from looking from a different angle. I let go (the letting go is constant- a million times a day) of a need to prove or understand. My only task is to heal and learn my lessons so I can move on. This miiiiight be achieved, not by looking away but by looking at it differently and communicating with a different intention. My focus has shifted from: why do they behave that way– to: why did I participate and react as I did? What did those experiences teach me about myself that was not true? How had it
destroyed distorted my perception of love, family, connection, and trust, and especially self worth. I am now choosing to understand my part-then and now–the things I can change and the things I can learn from.
Yesterday, I casually mentioned having knowingly married a man who hated me. When asked why, laughing I said–“Probably when you are raised by a mother and older sister who treat and talk about you, as if you are bad, unworthy, and unwelcome as you are– it makes sense to marry someone who loves you similarly– which to me, now looks and feels a lot like hate–or at best–very sick love.” When we know better we do better.AND –Hurt people hurt people. I am so grateful to be unlearning and detaching from that brand of love. I am discovering and practicing wholesome love and I never stop trying. Wholesome Badass—my daily intent and goal– a process–neither an event nor status.
Ruthie Lindsay recently shared something which is helping me to clarify and refine my perspective and process. “I believe that all truth is loving, inclusive, and expansive.” Much better than my old truth/myth: the people in charge decide on and control the truth. Ruthie also says:” I’m constantly in a state of unlearning and coming back to the truth, that we are so good, worthy, valuable, needed, loved, whole, and beautiful.” It is a challenge when you were raised amidst people who would disagree with this truth for all people–wanting good things for themselves and their people, but not for all people—as if their is a scarcity of love and goodness. I suppose for some, that their own lacking would make it seem so.Much Love,
The other night, my older son was distraught by a situation at school and was spiraling into despair by obsessing on the unfairness and the reason/ question of WHY? Only because I have some recovery, was I able to say to him, that demanding to understand why and mentally sustaining the argument with ourselves of how it isn’t fair, only makes us feel worse. We must continuously and intentionally choose the the very next right(spiritually right) thing over our reaction. In our conversation, he realized there was only one constructive response to his dilemma. Brilliantly and calmly he asked: “What about when you hate the solution?”.
I hugged him so hard and laughed and cried all over him, explaining that often, the solution just stinks. But when we focus on what needs to be done to elevate the situation and not ourselves, we get through it and come out the other side. He totally heard me and just did the next right and necessary thing.
Me to me: Cool another opportunity to bring up recent experiences, in which my only healthy options– sucked badly.
Sometimes the solutions are purely frightful– Saying Good Bye to a beloved family pet. People having cancer, dying, and not inviting you to their funeral and still showing up anyway. Going no-contact. Filing for divorce. Being lied to and about. Being banished and being treated unkindly. Having your children used and forced into conflict. Moving to a more affordable area. Having your ex, to whom you were married for a brief eternity of 4 seconds and who never even knew your family, listed as one of the survivors of your mother. Biting your tongue. Acceptance is always the solution.Much Love,
If one of my legs became afflicted with progressive, fatal, and incurable disease, diminishing my overall health and quality of life –and I could have the leg removed and adapt, as a healthier person or host the disease and constant pain, but get to keep both legs—with hopes of appearing more normal– I like to think , if necessary, I would cut that shit off myself, with a dull butter knife.
I never wish to have only a single leg, but– if I could stop pain and disease from compromising all parts of my body, life, and infecting my children– THAT is a no brainer.
Having two legs, like having a relationship with my mother is something I had viewed as evidence of being normal, acceptable, and healthy. This is flawed thinking and believing, rooted in concern for how things look from the outside. I care more about how things and people actually are– than appearances—no matter who is looking. I prioritize goodness over looking good. (Good, as in wholesome—not, as in pleasing or correct). I choose to save my ass over my face. Seems, there are times in life, in which we are called to choose.
When recovery not only taught me to, but insisted, that if I want to be well and whole, I must acknowledge my feelings and limits and honestly express them. In doing so, the sickness within our family was illuminated. It showcased the fact that we did not want the same type of relationship—in which each person mattered— no more and no less. My mother hinged having a relationship with me to my accepting/tolerating/ignoring/denying poor treatment and unkind words from my sister. We each made our choices. I chose mental health and wellness.
These are my thoughts today, as my first mother’s day without a living mother.
In recovery, we learn that pain is a part of life BUT that suffering is optional. As always, the special days are complicated for those of us who struggled with unhealthy family systems that led to unhealthy sense of everything.
I will end on a funny-ish note. While on vacation a few weeks ago, at a gift store we saw a cute “Get well soon” card and one of my sons asked if we can send to my sister. I use the word sickness to explain the painful and confusing things which are said and done. This has been the only succinct and blanket statement I can think of– to help them process unkindness and dishonesty. I just say, that is what unwell people do. And then we talk about healthier behaviors. We want to be well. We are learning together how to do that.
Also, I am certain my relatives would insist I am the cancery leg BECAUSE I chose to be so. Whatevs.Much Love,
Ugh! My life has never been better. Ever. But this does not change the reality of my depression and anxiety. In fact, they are made worse by the expectations that I feel or be different because of what the calendar suggests about the day. Clinical Depression and Anxiety, whether a result of trauma or just basic brain chemistry are not circumstantial. They are not moods.
I am preparing for my first vacation ever with my boys. It is Easter and there are Easter baskets and hidden eggs. Sweet Greg is out seizing the trails on his bike while I prepare for Easter lunch at Favorite’s with #framily. All is well. All is actually great. And yet–I am still burdened by depression and anxiety, an urge to fast forward through vacation and Easter so that I be free from historically imposed guilt and shame for my wiring. I am neither sour nor ungrateful, just struggling in these ways, particularly on special days as THESE were the ones in which I was persecuted more overtly for being so selfishly sensitive. Shamed and banished for not knowing how to do a better job of denying a pain I could not articulate or relieve by myself.
As I have continued to organize and purge these last weeks, I found more than a couple of notes from my mother asking, insisting to know what had changed, why things were fine for so long, as indicated by emails and letters sent by me.
I was ineffective at helping her understand that– absolutely nothing had changed– except for my willingness to pretend. When I sent reports of being happy and fine with chit chat, which I loathe, I was accepted. When I decided that pretending, dining, gifting, and chitchatting with those who judge me– was no longer something I was willing to do, shit hit the fan. I spoke truth. I said NO. I shared displeasure. All without shame, profanity, or volume. That is what changed. When I refused to fight or pretend, all conversations stopped. I learned to say No. That is what changed. I learned to take care of myself—and I got the silent treatment and did not beg my way back for more of the same.
This week, I began learning to bullet journal–so pleased by another simple, therapeutic and creative outlet to enjoy and soothe myself. The truth is– nobody ever taught me how to relax or enjoy. I was demanded to do those things, I did not manage success under those conditions. The Bullet Journal Image at the top is one I am working on copying…the concept.Much Love,