My Daily Present

Real Talk

I Just Had to Listen

Oh, I was feeling small and fragile and shaky today. Things felt extra hard. I felt extra incompetent. After a while, I looked at the boys (my husband and son) and asked/begged: PLEASE GO AND LEAVE ME ALONE FOR A WHILE? And, while my daughter slept upstairs, I decided that maybe it would help to come spend a little time with myself.

Oh, I have been working so, so hard, you guys. I have just been working deep and wide and painful and time consuming and rewarding and exhausting and for myself and for my kids and for my marriage and for my family and for my world. I have been working in tedious fashion, pulling tiny specs of dust and dirt off of my heart, whittling away at old, unnecessary ways of doing things and gathering a pile of shit I no longer need and discovering the courage, in small bits and pieces, to throw that shit out and keep going.

Today, I woke up, and everything inside me said, “Stop. Wait. Rest awhile, dear.” The kids were needing me, the day was calling and my husband was waiting. But, my body and my SELF would not be deterred. “SIT DOWN, SISTER,” they begged me. “GO FIND THE QUIET,” they urged. I started crying, for what felt like no reason, and retreated to my bed. My husband wanted to know what was wrong, and the words came from someone, I think me, “I just need space and quiet and away. Please take over?” And, he did.

There was a time in my life when I would have forced myself onward, even when all things inside said, “Stop. Wait. Rest, awhile, dear.” I would have pushed onward for “the sake of” my children, my husband or my career. I would have told myself to shhh, shhh, be quiet. Get up, get going, and you will be fine. Don’t wait. Don’t stay. Don’t listen. Just go.

This year, I have learned that listening to myself is the best and greatest thing I can do for myself and for everyone who knows and loves me. When I listen to myself, I can listen to the people around me. I can hear my children, my husband and my friends. I can be awake, and I can make conscious choices. It’s amazing, actually, what I can see and hear and do when I listen, first, to myself. I never knew how much I was missing when I wasn’t listening to myself. How I was shutting down to so much because I was shut down to myself. Now, the world is NOISIER, but I am clearer. I need this combination of REALITY and SELF, because, for some crazy reason, it grounds me. It anchors me. I can feel my legs again. The shakiness stops. The blood returns to my body. I can breathe.

Today, after listening very carefully, I discovered that I was hungry. So, I made myself this salad.

Not a salad advertisement, but wow-right?

Not a salad advertisement, but wow-right?

After I ate it, I cried. Because I am so proud of myself. I am hobbling around and facing myself and doing the next right thing over and over again. I am showing up when I don’t know what to do or how to do it. I am doing simple, every day things, and big, lifelong lesson-y things.  For more than half my life, I wanted to be this strong. I wanted to be this brave. I wanted to be this creative. And, after all of those years of longing and searching and not listening, HERE I AM. I was always here. I didn’t have to be fancy or shiny or even walking on my own two damn feet. I JUST HAD TO LISTEN.

(Also, I am proud of my salad skills, but we’ll save that celebration for another day, because time and such.)

Oh, thank you world, for letting me share this with you. I am not trying to teach you the lessons of yourself. I am just so grateful because now that I am listening, I also feel courageous and driven to SPEAK. It feels like real life running through these crinkly veins. I needed that. I needed this. I needed me. I needed you.

Love you. Mean it,

M

Wait With Me

I am really kind of feeling nutso about our world today, especially when CNN, a supposed “news source (coughing fit)” chooses to highlight, on its homepage, a celebrity divorce AS AN ACTUAL NEWS STORY instead of highlighting the very tragic and important story about ANOTHER UNNECESSARY DEATH OF AN UNARMED BLACK MAN.

What is news? What is news to you? Are you interested in KNOWING? Or, do you just want to be distracted from this very tangled-feeling life you are living in this very tangled-feeling world you are living in? Just asking, because it seems like people are gobbling up ALL KINDS OF BULLSHIT and staying zoned out and removed from reality BY CHOICE. And, “news media” isn’t trying to keep us informed, anymore. They’re trying to SELL to their readers. Do readers want scandal, celebrity culture, not real life posing as real life? Yes, yes we do. Do readers want real life tragedy. Stuff that maybe sits a little too close to home? Actual news, featuring actual lives lost at the hands of a broken system that somehow, deep, down inside, we may be a part of? Noooot so much. Nope, try again.

Why is that? BECAUSE WE LEARNED THAT WE COULD MAKE LIFE EASIER BY NUMBING OUT THE TRUTH. We are smart, and we learned that when we distract, we FEEL better. Like, the world isn’t full of suffering. And, maybe, we aren’t either. Good news! Please, pass me another glass of that Chardonnay, and give me a minute while I try to erase away any last traces of discomfort by:

Scrolling
Eating
Drinking
Spending
Over-Exercising
Watching TV
Playing Video Games
Judging
And so much more!

I’m not trying to preach to you. I’ve been there, I still catch myself wanting to go there, all the time. I see suffering, and I get that familiar pit in my stomach. It aches, and I get nervous. Before I know it, I want to reach for…what? What can I reach for? And, I have to stop. Because something about this isn’t quite right. Something is missing. I go back. I retrace my steps. I get back to that nervous, chilly feeling in my bones. And, if I stop and sit, I COME BACK TO LIFE. I feel all kinds of things, but they’re tangled up and it feels shaky and I can’t name them right away. So, I stop. And, I wait. I’m sad, maybe. Or, incapable (I CAN’T DO THIS, I holler, on the inside). I’m angry. I’m afraid. I want to react and blame, but that is another way to detach from myself. So, I stop. I wait. I remember how connected I am to those who have done harm, and to those who are harmed. I get nervous. I get afraid. I stop. I wait. I have work to do.

I have to pay close attention. I have to pay very close attention, and this is hard, because now I can tell that every direction I turn toward gives me the perfect opportunity to STOP paying attention and be whisked away on an entirely fabricated, feelings vacation to anywhere I want to go, for example:

SOMEONE ELSE HAS BIG PROBLEMS (glad it’s not me-hahahaha!).
SOMEONE IS AN IDIOT/BAD GUY (Isn’t that just crazy how some humans become just terrible and I AM NOT ONE OF THEM).
I AM JUSTIFIED (here is a message that reinforces my very limited beliefs).
I AM SMART (smarter than that other bad guy!).
I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH (wait-wait-HAND ME A DRINK/FOOD/PHONE/CREDIT CARD-ALL BETTER THANK YOU!).

We just take in all of these messages being hurled in our direction: I am fat, I am thin, I am rich, I am hot, I am smart, I am not, I am good, I am great, I work hard, I don’t work hard enough, I’m not enough.

We don’t even know who we are or what matters or who is good or bad or right or wrong and it’s too much anymore, so CHANGE THE CHANNEL. Break the internet. More, please, of anything but this mess?

Wake up. Wake up! Someone is calling, and if you want to pick up, you have to GO INSIDE, because this person is YOU and you are NOT OUTSIDE. You are NOT DISTRACTIONS, EXTERNAL MESSAGES AND REALITY TELEVISION. No, you are YOU. And we/I/you need you to be very awake and very conscious in these very real times we are very much living in. Wake up! I know it hurts. Keep going. Wake up. You’re alive.

It’s not funny that you have to drink to survive your life (trust me on that one). It isn’t helpful that you have to consume so much in order to feel full/relaxed/at peace/able to rest. It isn’t wise to believe all the things outside of you when they tell you about:

Your worth
Your value
Your success
Your SELF
Your sisters
Your brothers

It’s not wise and it isn’t KIND. Wake up. Do you want to know? Or, do you just want to feel better?

I don’t mean to suggest that we should always have our faces shoved into the roughest corners of life, and I do not believe we are all suited for the work of dealing with suffering day in and day out. We all need a break, a laugh, a cry, no thinking, time to rest, an escape, hugs, relief, etc. That is, after all, why we have art, music, fiction AND EACH OTHER. Still, it is crazy when we want to consume lies and fiction posing as REAL LIFE instead of opening our eyes, breathing in real air, standing shakily on our own two feet and dealing with our very real lives. Instead of dealing with one another. Instead of listening to ourselves. Instead of being awake.

Take a breath, stop and wait. Ask yourself if you can stand a few seconds of that nagging feeling in your gut. What does it say? Can you hear it? If you can’t, can you stop. Be quiet. Wait. And, listen? Can you? Yes, you can.

Keep trying. I will, too.

xo,

M

2016

The universe gave me a HUGE gift this year, and I probably would have noticed it sooner, if I hadn’t been busy being REALLY pissed off about it (typical). Anywho, in this latest episode of What God Gives When He Takes Away, I lost the ability to run/walk, BUT I FOUND MYSELF. Here is the very long-winded story of how that came to be.

This past year, it felt like the bottom dropped out at the same time that the roof blew off. Have you been there before? It sucks, right? Anyway, that happened. I went back to work full time, and it was awful. My kids entered two “challenging” developmental stages AT THE SAME TIME (fun!). If there was an injury to be had, I was having it (think neck, shoulder, wrist, ankle, hip and foot. Go, go gadget middle fingers up, I know). Finally, one child was not sleeping for-um-ever? I was tired and in pain and really ready for Calgon to take it all away, and then a crisis occurred in my marriage. Yes, Jesus, you can take the wheel, because I AM OUT, I thought. I just CANNOT, I believed. I planned for surgery, watched my children exploding through their phases like a pack of wild cheetahs, and wondered, seriously, WHERE WAS I IN ALL OF “THIS” ANYMORE?

Spoiler alert: I was lost. And, as soon as I realized I was lost? I got angry.

I got super, duper angry. Like, mad at God and my husband and my parents and my uterus and the weather and the season and the year and THE WORLD (cue Godzilla voice on that last one for effect). Anyway, I was so darn pissed off (thank you, Jesus), that I broke right on through the haze I had been in and I WOKE THE F UP. I looked around me. I was like, WHAT THE WHAT? Nope. Not going out like this, sister.

You know what I have been doing way too much of over the last 4-5 years? BEING SMALL. Really. Like, shrinking to make space for my growing family. Shrinking to make space for my marriage. (Noble effort here, all around, but maybe I overdid it which is totally typical for me). It’s no wonder I was lost, because I had disappeared, shrinking to hide from things that needed me or, worse, that scared me, like:

Being a Mom. Wow, that is some scary business in the beginning for all the days, right? I have been super overwhelmed trying to figure this gig out, and it’s taken me some time to learn that I’m NEVER going “to figure it out,” so better to get back to being MYSELF, and let the rest work its way out. It sounds so simple, but trust that this took me 4 years to discover. Good times!

Being Married. Also, wow. Marriage is about the riskiest business in town, and guess what? I didn’t realize the risk until I was way the F married and trying to balance MYSELF with ANOTHER PERSON and doing ALL OF LIFE’S THINGS in partnership with SOME ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PERSON and NOT JUST ME and OUR KIDS ARE DEPENDING ON US so NO PRESSURE but SMILE FOR THE FAMILY PHOTO!

Let me say, here, that I LOVE my husband. He’s an amazing guy. Marriage is hard even if you’re both Beyonce, and I’m not going to sugar-coat that for you, friends. We’ve had a long ass learning curve, my hubs and I, and he was not the one who asked me to shrink. I went ahead and did that on my own (it’s my thing).

In fact, I have 35 years of experience shrinking to make room for other people’s needs under my belt, and while I learned this behavior very young and it was the only way to survive back then, I know better now. My kids haven’t taken anything from me and neither has my husband. In fact, they’ve given me so many things, and the first thing on that list of gifts is A REASON TO GROW INTO MY HIGHEST SELF. Never has this been more pronounced than in the last year, when I have regularly found myself stopping and asking, in complete desperation: Who am I going to be for myself and for my family? This year gave me the perfect conditions to go and look for that person, and while I hadn’t planned on doing that search sitting down, I now realize it was exactly the way I had to go.

So, circling back to the point here, by the time the clock struck midnight on good ol’ 2016, I was already profoundly, deeply and painfully lost, and at a time in my life when being lost can easily go unnoticed (read: BUSY AF). I was surviving, hidden underneath all of the work and the issues and the stuff and the fears and the challenges and the everyone else. 2016 showed up and said: WORK. Or, in other words:

The Lord came down and granted me two silver crutches and said, unto me: Go, forth! And, be found, wise woman. Look deep, deep inside yourself while seated on your uncomfortable couch. There, you will find YOUR ANSWER.

Kidding. It way didn’t happen like that, but I did find myself having to spend time WITH MYSELF in a brand new way. At first and for a while, I was mad about it. I cursed the names of all those I loved. But, I came back. And I kept showing up. And doing my work. I’m still doing it, and finding lots of things along the way. I found my voice (EXHALE TIMES 1000 BC THAT WAS ANNOYING). I found my spirit. I found my faith. I found my COURAGE. I’m still scared, but I’m not hiding and I’m not going to be silent. Finding myself hasn’t taken away tough stuff, hard times, bad days and LIFE. But, it is giving me the courage to do the work with strength, with humor and with gusto-three things I hadn’t felt in a long time.

These times of upheaval are so intense and they hurt. It’s hard. It doesn’t make sense. Until you choose to let it. When you do, you have to hang in, and for longer than you may deem acceptable. Then, I promise you, because I’m THERE, DUDE: Something important is coming.

For some of us, we have to get REALLY uncomfortable and LITERALLY IMMOBILE in order to get found. Especially if you’re a high functioning person, like me. Because I tell you, guys, I would have kept myself busy doing all the things for all the others forever, if I hadn’t been stopped. And stuck. And handed these magic crutches.

If you’re in the DUMPS. If you’re L-O-S-T. If you’re feeling small and stuck and shriveling. You may need to sit down and do some searching. I’m no spiritual leader and I am NOT a therapist or even a person you should necessarily trust with your plants and pets, but I am really, truly tuned into myself for the first time in a while. And that feels like the most important thing in the world.

xo,

M

F— This Tree

*BAD LANGUAGE ALERT FOR THOSE WHO THINK FUCK IS BAD LANGUAGE. OOPS*

When my 4 year old is woken up from sleep, he is essentially cray, and the cray-ness can go on FOREVER. No amount of space, hugs, cuddles, bribing, surrender, hiding, etc can make it better. The only thing that works is TIME or EXHAUSTION (whichever comes first). Anywho, we had a doozy of an episode today after coming home, and while trying to get him in the house, I got stuck, by my hair, in the crepe myrtle tree in front of our house. Like, literally, a branch speared my top bun, and I could not go.

Now, y’all know I’m on crutches, but you don’t know that I was also carrying his backpack. And my purse. And his sister’s lunchbox (basically, I am a hobbling NINJA). There I stood. Stuck, stressed and so hangry. So, I did what any sane woman would do. I started crying and yelled, “F— this tree!” And you know what? I took a step/limp forward and my bun popped out, and I was free.

What I’m saying is: It’s okay, people. I cussed/cried in front of my kids in broad daylight while being harpooned in the hair by a flowering tree. You have a bad day, I have a bad day, my kid had a bad day. Get angry. Get into it. Then, get on with being human. No moment is forever, and no shitty episode is your whole story. Get outta that bind, and go write your own ending. Xoxo

#MomOfTheYear #SpearedButNotTaken #CrutchNinja

To My New Mama Sisters

Hey new moms! Are you inundated with unsolicited advice, tips, techniques and “parenting styles?” Great news! I have something to add (I know, right-JUST WHAT YOU NEED).

But, really. Let me say this to you, because I know you are hearing all of this noise from all directions, and I just NEED you to hear this:

Exactly what you are doing and exactly how you are doing it and exactly every single choice you are making is just so darn wonderful. Really. When you cried on the bathroom floor the other day because you were EXHAUSTED and your baby wouldn’t sleep for the zillionth time and you had NO IDEA what to do or if you would ever sleep again, YOU WERE JUST RIGHT.

You know what? Women used to raise their babies in villages with people all around to take and hold and shush and feed and love on the babies AND THE MAMAS, and we don’t have that anymore. Instead, we have books. The internet. That awkward mommy meet up group. And social media-the place where reality goes to get a facelift, a boob job and a “personality adjustment.” Let me tell you, boo. YOU ARE JUST FINE.

Some women will choose a way to do their work, and while it will work for them, it might be heinous-horrible for you. That’s cool! That’s alright. You’re going to find your way to do your work that’s going to work just right for you. Both of your kids are probably going to turn out just fine, and you know why? Because they’re human beings being raised by people who love them. You know what really won’t make a big difference? One size fits all parenting styles (I literally want to throw up in my mouth when people say the word parenting next to the word “style.” Is this a dress I am wearing? No. No, this is a big ass part of my life and I don’t have a style. I HAVE A ME AND MY HUSBAND AND MY CHILDREN. THE END). In other words, mama, when people try to shove their choices down your throat, RUN. Do not look back.

Also, regarding breastfeeding: THERE IS NO SHAME IF YOU DO, OR IF YOU DON’T. If you loved it, or if you hated it. If it worked, or if it didn’t. NO SHAME. Do not listen to the internet.* That is a place where bored people go to exercise their bad moods, and YOUR BLESSED HEART DOES NOT NEED THAT SHIT. One more thing: SLEEP. It’s going to happen. One day. Until it does, I pray you ask for people to come hold and help with your baby so that you can squeeze in what you can. I pray that you ask for help ANYTIME, and I pray you realize that long-term sleep deprivation is a kind of hell that will make you feel like Godzilla with a bad hangover, so however you find sleep, sister-RUN IN THAT DIRECTION.

One final note. I have ZERO tolerance for judgey mama drama. NONE. I have ZERO trust in people who think they have figured this gig out. Not a drop. Anyone who would judge any choice you make is being unkind, and you don’t want your child to grow up around unkind people, so like I stated above: RUN AWAY FROM THOSE PEOPLE. Perfect, shiny mamas are so lovely to look at, but that is not real life. You know what is real life? YOU. YOUR BRAND NEW BABY. Spit up on all the things. Tears. Fear. Uncertainty. Sadness. Primal joy. Boundless love. Fierce protection. Dread. Desperation. Exhaustion. Hope. Elation. More and always LOVE.

I am looking out for you because I have been you, and I keep getting to be you again, because as my children age, it’s always a new thing. And I NEVER know what I’m doing. But the more I do it, the more I realize that my BEST tools are my own intuition and instincts. That’s it! I’m sorry. I know that means you’re right back where you started, so I will remind you of what I said before: YOU ARE DOING THIS JUST RIGHT YOU SMART, BRAVE, BEAUTIFUL, SWEATING, CRYING, SMELLY PERSON. I love you.

Hugs, etc.,

M

*I realize I am being a hypocrite here, so what I’m saying is: Don’t listen to the internet, unless the internet is ME. Hey, I never said I was fair or made all the sense, did I?

Enough

Hey mama,

You look worried. Is it the news? Politics? Finances? Lack of sleep? Toddlers? Kids? Teenagers? Your hips? Your belly? Your face? Sex? Marriage? Your job? Your choices? You?

You’re not alone.

I worry, too. I’m uncertain, too. I’m feeling risky and wrong, too. I’m feeling shaky and tired, too. I have days when I think, “How am I supposed to keep doing this like this.” I bump into perfectly coiffed people living aesthetically-pleasing lives, and I feel floppy, gross or poorly groomed. I am yelling on the playground next to a woman who is sure and comforting and in control, and I feel crabby, guilty and ashamed. I want to make the right choices and do the right things, but those things aren’t finite, even if the internet and your grandmother tell you they are.

There’s something happening on the internet and, while it isn’t new behavior, it is a new venue, and it’s tearing us down, mamas. Everyone is an authority on the best way to do our work, and this is coming from women and from men. There are entire websites devoted to instructing you and me on how to do our work, and while they all conflict on their message and strategy, they’re still read and they’re still validated. We aren’t victims, but we are being fed information as if we were. We must be very vigilant about the words we read and the stories we choose to believe, or we will find ourselves undermined and helpless. Powerless. Ashamed. All feelings that women have felt and suffered through for centuries, but now perhaps at our own hands. By our own choice.

Listen to me. No one knows how to do your work. Your work is yours, and you were born and built and made to do it in a way that no other person on earth is. Because your works is yours only, it doesn’t apply to anyone else. What has worked for you may not work for her. What has worked for her might not work for you. You are doing your work, I am doing mine, she is doing hers. You decide your success. You decide your worth. You decide.

People will carry on about the beauty and the miracle of their perfect and right choices, and oftentimes, they will be self-righteous more than they are right. Remember that sometimes when we are shaky, we hold on TOO TIGHT to our view of things to protect ourselves and assure ourselves that we are safer or more secure than we actually are.

Women, my brave, beautiful, bold women, we walk a tightrope in our culture. We must be just enough of everything, or we risk being not enough or too much of something. We’re almost destined for insecurity and disconnect from our truest selves. In our tender efforts to try to save ourselves from this cycle, we might retreat and feel shame, or we might cover ourselves in fancy things and arrogant assumptions, but we’re doing the same thing: We’re trying to figure out how to breathe. Be okay. Be enough. Stand tall. Sit down. Lie back. Feel things. Be able.

I worry, too. But, when I worry, I make myself stop. Some days, it takes me days to do this, but I am so stubborn and dead set on not giving into the cycle, that I do stop, eventually. And when I do, it’s right there-right in front of me. I DECIDE. No one else. I AM ENOUGH. Right here, right now.

Just like this. Just like that.

Unkempt, tired and unsure, but ENOUGH.

Be vigilant with me. Stay so close to the ground these days, and choose YOURSELF as your authority before and above and beyond anyone else. After all, mama, this is your work. These fears are your teachers. This body is your gift. This work is YOUR LIFE. And, you decide.

Unsubscribe, unplug and close those angry tabs. You have the answer. You are the person. So am I.

Let’s do this.

xo,

M

Growing Up is Hard to Do

My son turns 4 next month. While he is still small, he seems sort of gigantic to me lately, and these 4 years are a blur. My pregnant and postpartum days are behind me, and it seems like all of a sudden that I’m no longer surrounded by toothless grins and pureed peas and babies slung onto my hip.

Those babies grew teeth and learned to eat their peas whole and now are too big to sit comfortably on my hips. Those days were exhausting and always new (I didn’t know whether I was up or down half the time), and I worked all the time, but without pay or much recognition. Caring for babies can seem like invisible work unless you’re the one doing it (or, perhaps, the one who has done it). But the urgency and the tenderness of the work is energizing in a way that always gave me strength when I most needed it.

Nowadays, I’m spending a lot of time realizing how futile my initial worries as a new mom really were. Breast or bottle? My babies did both, but mainly, they were fed. Cry it out or attachment parenting? Again, I did a bit of both, and eventually, they slept and not one of them better than the other. There’s nothing like having two children to make it glaringly obvious that tools, tips and techniques are only useful in good luck, and that what matters most is the simple act of giving love. Over and over, again and again.

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As I age, and my babies age, I am learning that the only way to give my children the love, empathy and support they need is to first give it to myself. And, this requires a kind of shift that I’d say is pretty difficult to make when you have tiny babies, but not as difficult to make once they’ve grown into mouthy, small children (albeit, CUTE and mouthy small children). Still, it takes real, conscious effort to learn to take the oxygen mask first, again. I still struggle, in my body, to believe that could possibly be the right thing to do. Some kind of person was born along with both of my babies, and that person is me, their mother. Getting to know this new person is no small feat, and I find it even harder to crack her code since she so often turns to her children and seems to identify, primarily, with them.

But, my babies are no longer babies, and their changing needs are changing me. Some days, accepting that I have to put effort, space, time, air and breath back into myself and back into my body in order to give to them feels like a strange punishment, an alien request, an inconvenient truth. The world is rough, and for a while it was made less so because I looked only at those two tiny bodies.
I want to teach them patience, so I must learn it. I want to teach them faith, so I must practice it. I want to teach them compassion, empathy and generosity, so I must discover how worthy of those things I am, myself. When my child cries, I can no longer pick him up to make it stop. I have to teach him to find courage and be vulnerable and feel his feelings-all things I still continue to learn. It’s all new work these days, and the thing is, the work is really all in me.

It’s strange and spiritual and simple how giving birth isn’t just about bringing a baby into the world. Raising children isn’t just about keeping growing bodies out of harm and learning right from wrong. Each year that my child grows, so do I, and this is as terrifying as it is wonderful.

All ye mamas on the brink of having babies, or watching your babies become toddlers and then children, I send you my sweetest, most tender hugs. The road forward is a heartbreaking, soul saving and life-affirming journey into yourself. I’m there, at least that much I know.

xo (here we go),
M

You Matter to Me

Guys,

This weekend, I’m taking a big, heartfelt break from social media/the internet to look my children in their eyes, wrap my arms around my husband and extend kindness and generosity to every human I come into contact with (y’all really need to try to bump into me this weekend). Anyway, I am doing this because I feel just BROKEN by this week. I promise I’m not turning away from the suffering, but I need to grieve and get real and put my feet on the ground and do some old fashioned human connecting.

Today, I rode home from my PT appointment and I rolled right up next to a car with their windows down pumping loud bass that vibrated into my car and into my legs. I looked over at the driver, a black man, and he looked over at me, and we smiled at each other. It wasn’t a big, loving smile, it was more like we accidentally met eyes for just a moment, so we did the instinctive thing. We acknowledged one another. We were kind. We behaved with respect.

We can all do that for each other. Especially right now, because so many are hurt and ANGRY. We know that so much is broken, but here’s something that is NOT: HUMANS. Humans are not broken. We’re confused. We’re scared. We’re hurt. We’re grieving. We’re victimized. We’re traumatized. We’re angry. We’re bitter. We’re fed up. We’re hopeless. We’re helpless. We’re powerless. We’ve got work to do. We can do it. We are not broken.

I want you to know that I have made a personal commitment to stand for black lives because I KNOW that I will never be free when my brothers and sisters are oppressed. I KNOW that my privilege gives me power and I can do something useful with that. I can be willing to talk about things that are uncomfortable. I can listen and hear things that are painful to hear. I can WITNESS the suffering of my black friends. I can witness the suffering of lost lives. I am stronger when I am standing than I am when I am sitting down. Everything I want to change ALWAYS starts with me, and I can start there and I can DO SOMETHING.

So, I’m going to take a couple of days and be gentle and brave and close to myself and to other humans. I encourage you to put your hands on your people, these days. Give and receive love, and be tender and kind and willing. Be held, and hold on. It’s your heart that is broken, not your spirit, not your body and not YOU.

I love you. Your life matters to me.

xo,

M

Trust Your Stuff

I’ve been thinking lately about “circumstances,” and how easy it is to be completely brainwashed by “the way things are going” from day to day or week to week or month to month (and so on and so forth). When things are working out for us, it’s no work at all to assume security, safety and confidence. But, when systems jam. And body parts do funky things. And our plans fall through. And we have to make choices, anyway. Shit gets scary.

Over the last few years, I have really been living into some unplanned circumstances and this has been big work for a control freak (there, I said it) like me (I mean). I like plans. Strategies. Putting all the correct pieces into the correct places.

I have had A LOT of work to do in learning TRUST on the deepest, gnarliest levels. I’m not knocking myself (and if you can relate, I’m not knocking you either), but I was getting in my own way for a LONG time because I really believed that in order to be strong, I could not be weak. In order to be good, I could not be wrong. In order to TRUST life, life needed to be kind and gentle. Maybe I would have gone on like this forever, guys. I could have kept on carving out my circumstances and rounding out all of the edges and just demanding peace and harmony, only.

Except, CHILDREN. And, MARRIAGE.

God, these people teach me so much, and I’ll never be able to thank them properly or allow them to adequately see the inside of my head and my heart and how dramatically things have just SHIFTED because THEY HAD TO.

Some people say God only gives you what you can handle, and if I reworked that, I’d say: TRUST YOUR STUFF.

When it feels too messy and too ugly and too painful. TRUST. When it looks too hairy and too big and too much. TRUST. When it hurts so hard and breaks so bad and feels like no way. TRUST. You’ll probably have to do other things later, and you will need more help and more support and more resources, believe me. But, take it from me, if you can start with TRUST. If you can put down that shit you are carrying with all of your might and just GIVE IT UP FOR A MINUTE. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but here’s a hint:

Relief.

Real life is so incredibly vulnerable. Raising kids is so incredibly vulnerable. Sharing a WHOLE LIFE with another person is so incredibly vulnerable. Writing about it on Facebook is incredibly vulnerable (well, I might as well mention it).

But, I am learning to TRUST my people. And more than that, THEY TRUST ME. And I just CANNOT do this any other way than THE TRUTH.

Trust your stuff. I’m doing it, too. It’s not organized, and just when you think you’ve got a clear picture, things’ll tilt on you again. But there’s magic in this devoted and floppy kind of moving forward. It’s less about getting it right and more about just getting it.

xo,

~M

You’re Doing Your Work and You’re Enough

My favorite thing about being a parent is the hardest thing about being a parent: it doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

I love the way I grow by having to show up and be courageous for my family, even when life is handing me personal challenges. But that shit is hard.

Becoming a parent doesn’t make you immune to life’s ups and downs. It doesn’t prevent you from growing ill or getting hurt or losing or being left. It doesn’t stop unfortunate cases of bad luck, timing or genetics from nailing you. You don’t become a parent and instantly land the gift of always comfortable circumstances.

Instead, life keeps happening and we keep getting to do it. And over time, it makes more sense to just choose to BE IN IT and TELL THE TRUTH, rather than run from it or pretend it is all unicorns and rainbow lollipops. Because who wants to lie when a tiny person is watching and learning?

Gang, I love it when you’re wearing your makeup and you are glowing and showing me photos of your healthy, organic meal or your shiny, family photographs. I also love you when you’re tired, your body aches and you feel stuck. I love you when you’re angry, when you’re lost and when you’re scared. I love you when you haven’t showered, you’ve only fed your children cheese and carb derivatives and you’re lonely.

You aren’t doing this work in some alternate reality where things only go your way. You are DOING THIS WORK. In a world filled with “growth opportunities,” with all kinds of uncomfortable, painful business in you and around you. But YOU ARE DOING YOUR WORK. And that’s enough.

Here’s a pic of me doing some of this life business with my favorite babies. I will make you a promise, and you can make it back if you want:

We don’t have to look good while we do this, and we don’t have to pretend it always feels good. We just have to keep showing up, being honest and doing the thing where we give love. When we’re great, when we’re okay, when we’re broken. Bam. The end.

Love you and mean it,

M

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