If you were following me on WordPress, I’ve moved to Squarespace.
My mailing list didn’t come with me and I’m still figuring that out.
Subscriptions didn’t transfer either.
But my domain did!
If you were following me on WordPress, I’ve moved to Squarespace.
My mailing list didn’t come with me and I’m still figuring that out.
Subscriptions didn’t transfer either.
But my domain did!
A lot of times all we need to see the world differently is a shift in how we see the world. Sometimes that’s about the words we speak and internalize. Sometimes it’s a shift in what we are physically doing.
When I look straight into a mirror I see my face. I see my nose. I was once told by a classmate that it was like peanut butter and spreads across my face. I can’t remember the kid. At all. This child was such an insignificant part of my childhood that I can’t remember if it was a boy or girl. But I remember those words. I see the tiny little blackheads harbored in the safety of my pores. I see the memory of every sadness I’ve lived because I know what my face looks like when my smile isn’t one that is in my heart or shining through my eyes. I can see my reflection when it’s not the mask I present to the world.
I have a couple of mirrors in my bathroom on opposite facing doors. I can adjust them to see the back of my head or body. The other night I was watching myself without seeing my face. I was looking at the reflected image of the side of my face. It was an odd feeling to watch myself, watching myself, knowing I wasn’t seeing a side of me I’m used to. It was what you might see if you were watching me and I didn’t notice you. I saw the harsh angled line of my jaw. I noticed the way my hair fell softly to frame my face and I noticed that I’m beautiful when I’m smiling at myself. Imagine that!
It was a shifted perspective.
A few years ago I would often hear, “it is what it is.” That phrase would make me so angry because I felt powerless in it. It meant my husband of 15 years was leaving me for another woman and I had no choice in the matter. I had to shift my perspective and once I did, I felt like I was able to gain control through an altered word choice. “It is what we have made it and we can choose to accept it or change it.” I tried to change it. Then accepting it meant it was a choice I was making too. After a year of standing and waiting for my marriage, I realized I was happier embracing life as a single woman.
I had a moment this week of being coached by a co-worker. I’m so blessed to have her in my life as a friend and mentor, and surprise, yet another life coach in my life. She’s pretty amazing. I was having a moment of feeling out of control and not knowing how to react or respond. It was a deer in the headlights moment for me and I was so out of my depth. I was lost and the anxiety had me. She could see and sense it because my emotions were so palpable. She reminded me to be still and not puff up or shrink back. She gave me a word: Allow.
So much of life is given as moments we are told to accept. You accept what has happened and move on, but what if you don’t have to? What happens when you allow it to happen? What happens when you embrace your ability to empower the situation with your ability to offer grace through allowance. We allow things to happen and they are no longer things which have been forced . . . Things we must accept. They become things we are in control of as we offer permission.
I think of my tiara. I blogged about it a while ago. It’s not the idea of being a princess. I bought it last summer to wear when I pay my bills. It helps me feel more like the Queen that takes care of my Empire. I am no longer being victimized by my choice to shop for junk I really don’t need at a discount. It’s a moment to reinforce the spending I did by deciding that I made a choice, and I continue to make that choice in making payments and balancing my checkbook. I have choice and control over my finances in a way I never have before. Even before I met my ex, I was at the mercy of my debtors. I wanted a night of fun, so I used a credit card to pay for that night over the next year with the interest involved. In my marriage I was often told what I could and couldn’t do, and any rebellion on my part was rebellion. I was never an equal. But with my tiara, and my checkbook, I feel control and empowerment. It’s about a shifted perspective and the choice to be empowered by words. “I am making a payment” is so different than feeling “I have to make a payment.”
What do you get to do?
My job is 20 miles from home and the commute is at least an hour to and from. I get to go to work and I get to sit in traffic. Working for a company that treats you like they want to keep you is easy when you know what it’s like to not be able to work, or what it feels like to work where you feel disposable. Traffic is a real treat when I get to sit alone and sing to myself to start and end my day. I get to go to work and drive through traffic!
I get to pay my bills because not everyone can.
I get to make dinner for my family because sometimes I also get to be alone.
I get to do more than was asked of me, knowing that being asked at all is an honor.
Today my shift wasn’t just in word choice. I had a rough start to my day with a moment when an email made me feel defensive and insulted. It cast a shadow over my morning and by the afternoon I had felt the weight of it physically. I was sitting in my seat, doing my job, working on remembering to snack less, and eat an actual meal. It was slouching and leaning forward with the weight of my head on my hand in a position that said I was uncomfortable in my skin. And then there was music.
It wasn’t the lyrics. I don’t understand most of them. It was in the way I was able to step outside of the space I was in, and just feel. The sound of Madilyn Bailey’s voice hit me in a way that I started tearing up and needed to share it. From that song, I was able to shift into the sound and feel of the other songs on my playlist. By the end of the day, I was dancing in my seat, working and doing overtime but entirely pleased about it. I jumped into traffic this way and got home feeling happy still. It was a shift that came with song, and movement.
You get to shift. And when life settles uncomfortably, shift again. Shift several times. It’s like forgiveness. It’s for you, not the person you’re forgiving. You keep giving it, you keep shifting it, until you feel better and can move forward. It can be a gift you give yourself. Repeatedly.
I’m doing my job by being the crazy stalker ex girlfriend that really doesn’t work anywhere else. I’m a Billing Specialist. It’s a hybrid position that was created as an idea. I was put in place and it has kind of evolved into what it is. It’s client facing finance. It’s customer service. Whatever it is, for this company it is me and I love doing all of the things a crazy stalker ex girlfriend would do.
We look over contracts and want to make sure what they have paid covers the cost of what we offered. We want to see if there’s wiggle room to maybe reduce services and lower costs. We want to see if it’s worth the time and effort to really go after someone for the debt.
You promised forever and you are going back on your word by taking the love that was promised. I usually take this moment and try to remember the real moments of love and connection. I want to remind myself that it was really special at one point, so I don’t get bitter. I like to push them away but let them leave. I don’t want to be the one to end it because I want to know that I did all I could until the very end. I’ve learned that about myself. I can’t be another person to reject them because in the end I still care and love them, but maybe it’s not enough. Maybe I hold too tightly to the good and purposely ignore the bad. Most of the time the bad really is terrible.
I get to call customers repeatedly. I get to leave messages and voice mails. I send emails. I’ve faxed and mailed invoices. Every day, until we’re paid, I get to reach out and make myself known.
Sometimes it’s about an outdated contact. In those cases I do a Google Search or check LinkedIn. I’ve texted someone from my personal cell phone. I’ve even checked someone’s personal Facebook profile to make sure they’re still around all in the name of getting a payment.
We all want to know, right? Where are they? Who are they with? Are they just as heartbroken as we are?
I’m not asking anyone for love or validation, but I get to beg them to pay us. I ask repeatedly for what was agreed on. You signed a contract. We gave you what we promised and now you owe us.
I suppose this could also be about getting closure but I’ve learned you can’t get that from an ex.
In collections, you document each interaction. You want to know when you called and what efforts were made. That way, when you enact your collections leverage, you are justified.
Toward the end, the good and the bad are measured and weighed. We want to know when the scales tip and it’s no longer worth the effort. We want to know what was good and what was accepted because of the good and is the good still there? Is it even enough?
The lesson is this stuff works in collections, but not love relationships. I’m at a point in my latest relationship where we’ve pulled so far apart that I can’t imagine being able to fix it. I’m seeing that I need to acknowledge and cherish the good but let it go and move on. I’m back in self care mode, and it looks like the perfect time to be the crazy stalker ex girlfriend, but I’m trying to keep that focused and restricted to work. I’m trying to not keep dibs but I want to know where he’ll go from here. In quiet moments throughout the day since we last parted, I keep telling myself not to do all that I want to because that will drag out the pain instead of healing it. I keep picking up my phone to read our last texts and start texting something new, only to put it down and remind myself that I will be okay when I decide to let go and move on.
I will hold each cherished memory and balance it with the bad times. I’ll take the masterpiece of who he is off of my pedestal and strip away layers I added to see the truth of who he was and areas I need to work on that I could only see in the hindsight of my relationship with him. And I’ll be alone for that healing and recovery because that’s also part of honoring who we were and the memory of the babies we shared and lost. I don’t have to stop loving him yet. He doesn’t have to be here to experience that either. I can release him moment to moment and day to day.
I suppose that lesson for you is more a lesson for me. Tonight there will be whiskey and a cigar on my porch. I’ll read old texts and have a good cry. Maybe even watch some of the shows we watched together. And tomorrow will be a new opportunity to remember to love myself in spite of what I might be feeling.
She waits alone on the bluffs, facing the winds that would fight her stand. Strands of hair whipping across cheeks lashed by the cold bluster of sea kissed air in haphazard frenzies and flurries dance chaotically around her still body. She looks defiant and bold but courage has left her. She trembles within where the ebb and flow of love and worry have battered her.
The sun slowly warms her skin in spite of the constantly barraging wind. The attack becomes a caress and the air breathes a whisper, “who are you?” She breathes deeply, knowing she’s been given the breath of life. As she exhales, her faith is the renewed purpose begging to answer, “what’s my contribution?”
She thought of her favorite literature and the accident of its survival. Through the burning of heritage by conquerors and the libraries that lost battles with floods and fire, its survival has been a lucky mistake of history. There’s no reason to its survival from oral tradition to written prose. She is the guardian of her favorite tome, memorizing stanzas and caressing phrases on gentle lips that try to hold the beauty of each image with gentle breath in honor of the miracle of its persistence. Its survival is an accident and she will honor each word.
She feels the strain of the day as a pulse that throbs at her temple. She feels the pressure rise a beat under her skin. Humming and throbbing a frenetic rhythm of life. She knows who she is. She carries the blood of lifetimes before her. Kings and slaves of distant lands and time came before her. Women that carried babies and lead their households give her generational strength. The back breaking labor of men in fields and railroads, through racism and scarcity support her and she feels her spine straightening. Her existence was no accident. Her life on this earth is woven with purpose. It runs through her veins.
With a deep inhalation, she swelled with the fire bestowed by the breath of life and exhaled a fortified surge of power, knowing she was ready to offer the world her contribution. She was ready to walk in love. She was ready to be brave in spite of fear. She was ready to be courageous, no matter how much the pain of her loss manifested as an empty ache in her belly. She would continue to lead with her heart, offering love because she knew it would only fester into pain if she held it quietly within. She was ready to lead. She was ready to show others the power of their identity.
Several months ago a friend posted something to the effect of, “life takes many turns.” It was a phrase I held onto when one of my online relationships fizzled. I thought it was real until I realized I was being catfished. Again. My catfish history has lead to my 9 day series on Anatomy of a Catfish, and here is the first post in said series. It’s not all roses but it’s not just piss, either.
I was again on Facebook today when another friend posted about unfriending and blocking people. We take that for granted, don’t we? With the superficial aspect of online friendships, we have the full ability to cut someone off and we can choose to not acknowledge their existence. It’s easy. It’s a button and a confirmation click and you don’t have to see them and you can stop them from seeing you. When my ex first left me and I felt abandoned and attacked by everyone that knew us both, I did lots of blocking. I’ve since unblocked people. Less freakouts on my part mean I’m more passive about the secret fan club I may or may not have. Now there’s a handful of blocked people and they’re only men that didn’t take my direct rejection as hint enough to stop asking me out. (Please don’t try to woo a woman by telling her she doesn’t know what she wants when she tells you it’s not you.)
I even fully ghosted a man once. Months later he called me from a different number to ask why and it’s not something I choose to do as easily. It’s human nature to need acknowledgement. I knew a man that was big on ignoring people. Maybe I still know him. I don’t know if you ever know anyone right now. I’m a little jaded. I can admit it though. We were at a gas station once and another man walked up to his window to ask for money. The person I knew ignored him. The acknowledgement probably hurt more than the money that wasn’t given. It’s important to humans to be seen. It’s who we are. There are selfies for that reason. Personally, I have a whole blog with stats and everything.
Where is the social aspect of social media? Don’t get me wrong. I love Facebook. I give my Facebook feed more of my free time than I give my blog. I get to spy on friends and watch their lives without taking time out of my life to actually see them in person. I can share inspiring videos and things that make me smile. I can share snippets of my Mommy Moments that look like snark and dark humor. I can wish someone a happy birthday and even though that may be my only interaction with them or their page until next year, I can make you believe that phrase I typed means I hold you close to me. Because in that moment you do. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my friends and really do stalk them all day and night. At the same time, I can’t tell you the last time I drove to a home or restaurant or cafe for a moment to really engage with someone outside of my kids. It’s totally me. As it is, I rarely feel like there are enough hours in the day to do the things that I want to do the most.
Life would be different without social media. I would probably make a greater effort. I mean, all of the meaning we feel in life is a reflection of the relationships in our lives. As much as I’m big on my loner moments, I’m still very affected by my relationships and the frustration I feel with the amount and quality of interactions I rarely make time for. When I was younger I would call my grandmother or write her letters. When she passed, I found that she kept all of them.
Today I can share a picture and tag my mom and she doesn’t need me to make the same efforts. My mom takes Facebook photos and prints them out. At the same time, social selling has become so easy because of these relationships. People I know and have trusted are a few finger strokes away. There’s a whole network of people I have met or know through a network or two that share certain visionary ideals and their pictures and thoughts give me a daily boost of hope. My point is we all need to dig deeper for a more meaningful relational experience with our friends. With the fast pace of life as a mom, I understand how busy we can all get.
Yes, I just admitted I’m not as involved in relationships as I really want to be. There are friends I’ve known since I was a little girl and friends from high school that I would love to spend some time with. There’s a 3 month old I am dying to hold and sing to, but I haven’t made the effort. I see his adorable pictures and pick apart the ways he looks just like his Dad did when we were all young and loving our terrible choices for after school entertainment.
What about applying the superficiality of online relationships to real life? In school we were forced to see the same people over and over again. If you started a relationship that ended, you might get stuck with that same person sitting behind you. Talking about the new person in their life. Making you miss them and showing you all of the reasons why you really shouldn’t. You grow up and sometimes there’s a spark at work and you consider that career move a little faster than you might have. Or, like me, you go through a nasty separation with kids and have to do a custody swap. We were lucky enough to have a judge wise enough to make most of those swaps happen from the kid’s schools. If I’m lucky, I don’t have to see him. But at the same time, we still have to see each other at functions for the kids and on custody swaps during vacation times. It’s frustrating because at one point we were close.
That’s the point of relationships, right? At one point you move from strangers with nothing in common to people that share interests. You become people that share a history. Post relationship we might be able to be friends instead of picking fights. That rarely happens for me. A relationship ends and either they still love me or hate me. There’s no in between that fades into friendship. But when we blocked each other there was no fuel to fight with. It was convenient.
The thing with relationships it that they don’t just end. Months and years later, you might hear a song or smell something that brings you right back to where you were when you remember a special memory. The people we love or have loved will leave indelible marks on our hearts and it’s okay to honor that. I think it’s okay to tell someone what they meant or mean to you, even if there is nothing reciprocated because there is too much hurt to allow something like that to land. The beauty of love is it can be unconditional. You can give it without expecting anything in return. You can offer it, knowing that it may always be unrequited. Giving love without it being returned can be painful. It helps to remind yourself that your expectation meant you weren’t giving it unconditionally. That expectation was the cost of the love you offered.
Relationships aren’t meant to be convenient. They aren’t meant to be one sided either. My late aunt once gave me the best marriage advice. You give as much as you get. That’s part of the deal. The relationships we have take effort and communication. They need time and intentional connection. With all that we have and all that it takes, and our individual needs to be seen, acknowledged and loved, is it really that important to cut someone out of your life?
I wouldn’t want to be fearless. Fear is healthy. It guides you in what you need to do and not do. You don’t want to be fearless. You want to be brave in spite of fear.
My big freak out was about the 80’s color palette I use for my makeup and I remembered the time I was hiking in Sunken City.
It was dumb, but my fear is what kept me safe. I was being foolish in climbing past a “No Trespassing” sign, but cautious enough to know my limits.
In a conversation with the Co-CEO where I work, he observed that I am a strong person. That comes from doing things in spite of fear. I’ve walked through the fire. That wasn’t fearlessness, but through bravery through fear, I’ve become a really strong person.
Use your fear. Don’t let it rule or own you. Let it guide you. When you face fear, your body will respond. Listen to that reaction. When you start to feel support . . . where opportunities come . . . where you are fed or given sustenance for what you need to endure, you are on the right path.
If you go through something hard, you will have rough days and miraculous moments. Hold onto the miraculous moments. Bravery rides in on the shoulders of fear.
A Facebook friend posted a query:
What if your glass ceiling is actually a mirror?
My favorite answers were:
Yes, I know some intensely visionary beings of light and they live in possibilities that not everyone can imagine. I’m very grateful for the network of ideals that flow through my Facebook feed.
How often do we stop short of taking a risk because we can imagine the outcome? Usually that outcome isn’t in our favor. I must acknowledge what I’m doing and stop it. My kids do it and I’m trying to teach them not to, but what I have done consistently is a more solid lesson than the possibilities of what we can create when I’m choosing to be intentional. Being intentional is a choice that needs to be chosen moment to moment when habits are easier to fall into.
An example is when we go shopping and my kids already expect what I will say yes to and what is usually a no. Anything food related that isn’t too full of sugar or caffeine is usually a yes. Toys are usually a no, unless it’s one that is reasonably priced. The rest depends on my budget and how much I want to put up with it. It’s a mom thing. We don’t always want the loud toy that requires batteries. We sometimes prefer quiet time. My consistency means my kids are really hesitant to dream big and ask for what isn’t usually approved. It’s not something I want to continue teaching them. I want them to learn to ask for the bigger things. You don’t know what the possibilities are until you ask and are answered. Everything in life is negotiable. You just have to know what to ask.
In the shopping example, my kids limit themselves by thinking about my expected response. They stop themselves before giving me the opportunity to answer and in life, it’s a practice many of us have perfected. We limit ourselves, not knowing we are often our only limit.
Sheryl Sandberg wrote Lean In and in her examples, there were many times she encourages women to Lean In. This means not accepting what has been and pushing for the new thing. I highly suggest it. Her prose is easily engaging and her examples relatable. More than that, her career altering perspective shift is just what is needed for women in the workplace. Sandberg writes about the many times in a career that a woman is likely to not lean in. Be it starting a career, or jumping into a conversation, they often limit themselves. Don’t get me wrong. The glass ceiling and financial disparity in the work place are real and influenced by gender. That’s a norm all of us get to break together. At the same time, she points out where women are responsible and offers the authority and power to regain control of how you craft your career with her honest advice.
It’s a practice for me to ask, “what story am I telling myself?”
My big goal for the end of the year is still to take my kids to Canada. It’s Kid1’s dream and my goal. I do not yet have the finances, and that is the first story I tell myself. It’s hard to not think of my present financial situation as the only one there is. It’s hard to not convince myself that the only way to make the money happen is to do what I’ve always done, and that’s going to work and making money. Earlier this summer I started selling whitening toothpaste. It’s work, but it’s also sitting on my phone and playing on Facebook. (You can try it too. It’s less risky than slanging rocks on a street corner.) Last week I was in a minor car accident with a minor payout to go with it. Money comes to you in different ways all the time. Why do I usually believe I won’t have enough if I don’t have a job? Because I’m living in the story I tell myself, and not the possibilities that fall in my lap because they surprise me and I can’t count on their schedule, even if I can count on those opportunities arriving (because they always do). Always doing things one way doesn’t mean I have to keep doing so. I get to try new tricks. I get to let the possibilities play themselves out without falling to the limits of a past that may never repeat itself.
The next story I tell myself is about access. First on my list is to get passports. I get to fill out forms, wait in an office and pay for them. Once I do, I also have to get permission from their Dad. There’s also transportation and lodging. The area that limits me the most is having to ask their Dad for permission. This was something that Kid3 also believes is impossible. The kids aren’t convinced their Dad would let them go. I’m not convinced either, but living in possibilities means when the time comes, I get to ask him. I will not just assume I know the answer because in reality I’m only in my own head and not always sure of what my own thoughts are.
The last story I’ll go over for now is the story that it’s not my time. If I have until the end of the year, I can push my goals, right? I can wait for the right job. I can wait for the right body shape to wear that outfit. I can wait until my kids are older. But then I’m giving the world excuses that I need to put off living my life. What is so important that I would put it before my desire to live the life I choose to live? Go get your life! No one else gets to live it but you. Putting your life on hold doesn’t serve anyone. Where’s your urgency?
It’s like lying. What is so important about someone else’s perception that you can’t stand in the integrity of your word? What is so important about someone else’s feelings that you would choose to invalidate who you are by lying? If you can’t tell the truth as you see it, can you see why you would devalue yourself so much as to make someone else’s perception of you more important than how you see yourself?
So what is your story?
What do you tell yourself and convince yourself of, based on a past that has nothing to do with the future you get to create? What limits do you put on yourself? What limits do you allow others to put on you? Why do you put these limits on yourself and do you know you really don’t have to?
Go get your life. We get two. The second starts the moment you decide you only get one, and you won’t get out of it alive. That’s not how the game is played. We all die, but there’s no reason to live a dead existence.