Category: Marriage

The Next Right Thing

Oh, friends. I started to write you yesterday and today about the stress and the pace of the holidays. The way the spending always gives me the heebee jeebies. How tired I am. How so very overwhelmed this time of year can often feel for me.

But, as I wrote and I kvetched and complained, something else showed up for me. And, it was this:

I am just really struggling, right now.

I really want to walk. I want my feet and my legs to work right. I want to get up and go. I want to stand up and move. The demands of the holidays are one big, fat reminder of how limited I am. Of how crippled I feel. I am myself, but I don’t move like me. I know something bigger is at play here, but I tell you what: I can’t see it right now.

I can’t see it at all, today.

What I can see is everything that I really want to create in my life. I can see it CRYSTAL CLEAR. And, being benched and riding the sidelines with that vision just dangling in front of me, HURTS. I keep telling myself to be patient. I keep willing myself to have faith. I keep touching the wounded place with my gentlest touch. But, today, I can also see that I have a long way to go.

Somehow, I really need to bridge that gap. Today. Because, I have searched myself, and I have determined that there are a variety of ways to deal with my current emotional and physical state, and none of them feel as right as this:

I need to give myself the gift of knowing what I know. Right now, that means knowing my goals. Even if I don’t know how the hell I am going to get there. Somehow, if this vision is what I can see through the clouds, then THIS is what I will focus on right now. Even if it hurts and feels like a promise I don’t know how to keep.

Either way, I have learned that there are days when I can only do the next right thing, and today is that day. Telling you what I want to create for my life, what I see for myself, is the only right thing:

I want to walk in the sand beside the ocean.

I want to swim in the ocean.

I want to play with my kids in a green field.

I want to walk for 30 minutes without stopping.

I want to write about what I want to write about.

I want to volunteer for the Up Center and Planned Parenthood.

I want to pick up my daughter.

I want to run with my son.

I want to ride bikes with my children.

I want to pay off my hospital bill.

I want to get rid of my couch (okay, maybe burn it, but that seems dramatic, so I will stay medium on that).

I want to wear sandals.

I want strong legs.

I want comfortable feet.

I want more than all of the baby steps that I have been living on. You know I have supreme gratitude for my health and the health of my children and our family. I know I am LUCKY. I also know that I see more. Reconciling  those two feelings can feel like an awkward battle between two well-meaning friends that really just want some kind of goddamn harmony. So, I say, maybe harmony tomorrow. For today, a struggle.

I gave a dear friend advice the other night, and it seems relevant for me, today:

“You don’t have to feel better, right now. You just have to keep moving.”

Thanks for moving with me, gang. Needed that.

xo,

M

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

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. I went back to work full time for all the wrong reasons, and, naturally, it was awful. My kids entered two “challenging” developmental stages AT THE SAME TIME (2 year old hitting me, 3 year old tantrums at all the times). If there was an injury to be had, I was having it, and surgery was in my near future. Finally, my 2 year old was up all night, and so was I. Ultimately, 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 hip surgery, watched my children growing/exploding too fast for me to keep up with, 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 a wonderful 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

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