Family

So many meanings to this word… I’m keeping it to my online family this time around and more specifically to the Word Press family.  Why?  Because I am tickled pink (what does that even mean?!) that Mina over at May Cause Irritation included me in her Word Press Family Awards.  Her blog is a joy to read even as she writes about her experiences of dysthymia (aka a really long time with depression).

She summarized it quite nicely so I’m just going to copy and paste the rules here:

Rules of WordPress Family Award

1. Display the award logo on your blog.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your wordpress experience and family

4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them

5. That is it.

I’m going to include a list of nominees with no pressure at all for anyone to continue on the awards (though please do if you are interested!).  There is no commitment required, this is just a perfect opportunity to acknowledge a few of the blogs (and there are many more too) who regularly inspire and influence me.

And without further ado…

  1. May Cause Irritation… not sure if I am “allowed” to link back to you, but you have become a regular read for me so here you are 🙂
  2. Chimerikal – you are like a kindred soul to me and I love to hear anything you write or comment
  3. Many the Miles – even though you aren’t a “hug”y person, according to you, so many times I want to give you a big ole virtual hug as you bravely confront life head on
  4. Hope the Happy Hugger – I admire your energy in posting such lovely pieces of your life and sharing them with the world each day
  5. My Purple Dreams – You are inspirational and I love the variety and the honesty in your blog
  6. Extraordinarily Ordinary Joy – I start to smile whenever I see you have posted – you give me hope
  7. Champagne ‘n Pizza – I love that you mix it up with tons of interesting material, and occasional sappiness – I also love how you frequently change the whole blog design
  8. The Hurt Healer – I love your blog name… it seems the best healers have also been hurt and your words reflect a deep wisdom
  9. So about what I said – You too have a great mix of content – I particularly love the Wednesday photos – you choose such a lovely set of photos each time
  10. Why Girls are Weird – Your enthusiasm for life is beautiful to behold and I look forward to reading each day.

That was hard – there are many others I would like to include but I will stop there lest this post get out of hand 🙂

Thanks again to Mina!  Much love to all my blogging and online family…

wpfam

My ideal self

The woman I want to be…

…Is kind and compassionate.

 

…Speaks from the soul.

 

…Accepts herself and others.

 

…Gives and receives love infinitely.

 

…Laughs freely.

 

…Is a calm and peaceful presence.

 

…Views food as nourishment for her body.

 

…Respects her body’s needs.

 

…Has healthy boundaries.

 

…Puts on her own safety mask first.

 

…Dances with abandon.

…Believes in divinity.

 

…Considers wine and chocolate to be a joyous pairing.

 

…Happily loses herself in a book for hours at a time.

 

…Creates collages and cards.

 

…Welcomes her meditation time each day.

 

…Knows the power of nature.

 

…Can be still.

 

…Takes imperfect photos.

 

…Writes.

 

…Writes a lot – poetry, blog posts, journal entries, stories.

 

…Invites the world in to her space.

 

…Respects her need for solitude.

 

….Practices mindfulness in all she does.

 

…Trusts herself.

 

….Notices the small treasures of life.

 

…Knows balance.

 

…Is ever changing and growing.

 

 

Is a subtle goddess.

The Stories We Tell

As I work to simplify my life, it makes for a lot of space.  Space that I often find difficult to fill as I am striving to avoid creating new busy-ness just for the sake having something to do.  I truly want to make this experience and this life rich with my authentic self.

I’m still getting to know that true self and so it is important to me to make room for that her.  This is sometimes always uncomfortable, and yet completely necessary.

In allowing that room to grow, I have realized how often the things I do are more about the story I will one day tell rather than about enjoying the experience itself.  So that I have something to say when asked what I am doing that weekend.  So that I have a story when asked how my evening was.  So that I can fill the air space when I go for coffee with an old friend.

Those reasons have little to do with me.

Of course, sometimes the story does reflect my interests and my passions.  Right now I am trying to be mindful of my reasons for doing the things I do.  I am working to tune in to whether the activity is for me or for the story.  It’s okay to say yes for either reason, but I want to start knowing what I like, so I need to slow down the process, say no sometimes and notice my inner reaction when I do say yes.

I feel that I am slowly but surely digging deep and seeing my soul.  Sometimes I come across a surprising nuance of myself that I didn’t expect.  Sometimes I reconnect with an aspect I had hidden but has been laying dormant ready to rise up again.  Sometimes it’s allowing space and recognition for the things that get overshadowed by fear.  Sometimes I get to affirm a familiar and well known trait.

All of it is valuable.  It’s all my story, in the end.

Take care of me

In healing, I am learning that I need to take care of me.

I won’t lie… I hate it.  I realize lately that I crave having someone take care of me.  I want a “safe place to land”.  My ex couldn’t do that for me and I am having difficulty doing that for myself.  As such, I feel rather lost and lonely.  And pathetic.

I want to be a strong independent woman, and yet inside I just want someone to take care of me.

The fact that I’m feeling at all remains a good thing.  My combo of emotional overwhelm plus meds has caused me to be rather numb for awhile and so the ability to feel is welcomed as it emerges slowly but surely.  And yet I’m still fighting against myself.  Labeling this emotion of loneliness as “bad” and wishing I could change my experience.

Breathe.  Come back into my body.  Notice what this experience is all about.

All easy to say but hard to do.  Hard to integrate into the person I am.  I have spent much of life in single-hood, telling myself and anyone who would listen that I didn’t need a man to be happy.  Then I spent time in relationships that ended.  Now I can no longer fool myself into thinking that I truly want to be alone.  I don’t.  I don’t want to go backwards either, but forward feels too scary.

Forward means changing everything.  I can’t have a relationship with my eating disorder and with a man.  I can’t build up emotional walls and expect someone else to claw them down. I can’t look to someone else to save me.

I need to save myself.

It’d be nice to have some back up though.  It’d be nice to have a visible guiding light… I find it hard that my beacon exists only in my mind, in some imagined future happiness.  I know it’s true, but my inner child is throwing a tantrum at the fact that I need to love myself first.  A full-on, messy, loud tantrum in my head.

So what do I do?  What I do is love that little child, hold her hand and treat her with kindness b/c she’s right, this is hard.  Hard doesn’t mean wrong.  Hard doesn’t mean impossible.  Hard just means re-committing to the cause over and over and over again.

Until I get there.

 

Of two minds

I was journalling just now and realized I was experiencing a puzzling and unfamiliar mental state.

Over the past week, I have been strongly missing my ex.  Despite what I wrote here, I felt strangely unaffected during the post-breakup days.  I felt some mild sadness, but for the most part, I felt relief and detachment.  Which likely means I was just pushing the hard stuff away.  When I did feel something it was the anger that I wrote about here.  I think, given our on-again off-again history, I was responding to an intuited knowledge that I needed to be angry in order to avoid falling back right where we had been so many times.

But the past few days have been particularly hard.  It’s summer and it’s beautiful and we shared many many happy times in summer.  Drinks on the patio.  Drives up the coast.  Camping near hot springs.  The good memories have come back to me full force.  With them, there is a desperate longing to reclaim a couple-hood we may never have really had.  And yet, we did have that comforting familiarity.  I miss that.  Both the emotional and physical familiarity.  I have been looking at old photos (I know, I know, not the smartest thing to do) and it’s unbelievably sad to see “us” as an entity existing solely in the past.

Here’s the puzzling part.  I realize that although I miss him desperately, I also don’t want those times back.

I’m still trying to make sense of that in my head.  Even though my heart aches and yearns, if I looks at it closely, I do not wish to be back where we were.  As I write here, I realize that my duality of mind comes from a tacit knowing that I really am not missing us as we were, I’m missing the us that we never were.  Which includes the future plans we made, that I want so much.  I see that I want them particularly b/c there is no reality to refer to and bear out the truth of how it really would be.

I think this is a positive sign.  I am fostering a tentative awareness that I am sad we will never create memories together again.  I am also aware that I am looking backward right now with a soft focus that is narrowing in on the happier times.  Which is okay.

It’s okay to miss him, to miss us, and to also know that it is right for us to be apart.  To know that I am mourning the future that I won’t get to remember some day.

Get ready…

Two of my passions are photography and meditation.  Specifically mindfulness meditation.

One of my favourite and simplest meditations involves simply opening awareness to colour.  For me, this works best if I set an intention to notice a particular colour as I go about my day.

In keeping with this meditation and with my goal of presence, I recently decided to devote each week over the next while to noticing a different colour.  When I notice myself racing forward to some imagined future, or conversely, dwelling on the unchangeable past, I will return my attention to that week’s colour in the environment around me.  In this way I can return to myself in the moment.

This has sparked a little creativity in me as I strive to remain present to my life and also to chronicle my journey here on my blog… this project of mine will cover the next few Fridays – I’m calling it my Friday Fotos Feature! (I like alliteration and so I’m sacrificing spelling.)

Each week, as part of my mindfulness of colour, I will take a series of photos showing how that colour has emerged for me.  I’ll have minimal text, mostly just visuals of the colour of the week.

Allowing myself to be creative without turning it into a perfectionistic endeavour is new for me and I am quite looking forward to this challenge of mine.

I hope you will follow the rainbow with me. 🙂

 

A simple concept

This post about embracing one’s own life over at May Cause Irritation was evocative for me.  It’s something I keep bumping up against in my striving to value myself and recognize my own worth.  What really struck a chord with me was this:

At night, when I lie in bed and think about the day that has passed the only person I have to answer to is me. The only person who has to live with the consequences of my decisions is me.

I tried to write a comment in response and fumbled around but Mina managed to get at the heart of it in her response:

My sisters and their opinions count. My partner too. But only because I want them to because I value their advice & suggestions. But the lady who looked me up and down as I walked past the supermarket yesterday – don’t care.

I have noticed that my fragile self esteem snakes it’s way into how I view other people’s opinion of me.  I can intellectually know that I am worthwhile and loveable and good.  I can know in my mind that it’s okay, and even important, to put myself first sometimes.

However, my distorted thinking tells me that I can only put myself first if others are unworthy.  That someone else has to be fundamentally undeserving for me to put myself before them.  Unfortunately this includes the imaginary audience surrounding me each day.

The internal dialogue goes like this:

Me (to a gentleman selling newspapers on a downtown corner): Sorry, I can’t stop right now, I’m late.

 

Internal me: Sorry, I can’t stop right now, I’m late.

 

Newspaper man: Come on, it’ll just take a second.  I’m even in this article!

 

Me: I can’t stop right now – but I’ll catch you later.

 

Internal me: I can’t stop, I really am late.  And really, what nerve!  Harassing me to buy his paper.  I don’t owe him anything, he’s the one bothering me as I’m just walking down the street.  He’s completely out of line.

See how the internal voice is only willing to value my experience by making him somehow in the wrong?  {Shudder} I hate that I think that way so often.

This leads to an immense amount of self torment.  This ill-logic tells me that to believe in me, I have to devalue others.  And doing that 1) makes me feel extreme guilt, and 2) is not how I want to view the world.  I don’t want to live in a way that supposes I need to denigrate others to feel good about myself.

I think Mina’s post made such an impact on me because I am beginning to acknowledge and accept that putting myself first does not necessitate putting anyone else down.  I don’t need to defensively attack anyone (even in my head) in order to hold my own opinion.  For me to own my voice, I don’t need to dismiss all other voices as lesser than or unworthy.  I simply need to choose to listen to my own voice over others and recognize that is okay.  Period.  It says nothing at all about the worth of any other voices; rather I am simply choosing to validate my voice and raise it up above the sea of other voices that will always be there.  Some of which have personal meaning and I will choose to let influence me, some of which I will not.  Both are okay.

Back to the title of the post, this is a simple concept, and yet not an easy one.  I’ll be working on this one for a long time.