Friendship is…

  • Humorous
  • Vulnerability
  • Dependable
  • Forgiving
  • Fallible
  • Ever changing
  • Supportive
  • Inspiring
  • Challenging
  • Honest
  • Authentic
  • Scary
  • Transcending time, distance
  • Imperfect
  • Enduring
  • Provocative
  • Understanding
  • Patient
  • Tolerant
  • Honest
  • Surprising
  • Trustworthy
  • Reciprocal, though lopsided at times
  • Emotional
  • Loving
  • Enlightening
  • Adventurous
  • Thoughtful
  • Inconsistent
  • A risk
  • At times, brief
  • Rare

Watching new show a million little things …we all hide our pain, and sometimes it’s the most seemingly easy going, happy people who are in the most pain…depression described using a plane crash metaphor…losing sight of the horizon…and subsequent nosedive…hopelessness and powerlessness hide just beneath the surface and we want it to be detected, but we do not want to be the one to shine the light on it…

My recovery “recipe” has included therapy, medication, and a shift in my priorities. I come first, and I never would have gotten to this point if not for friendship. When my best friend died, I shutdown that part of myself. It’s funny though, my long time friends, including my husband, have all been here for me, and I’m grateful. But sometimes it’s the new people you meet that wake you up, revive that part of yourself and make you feel again. To be seen and heard by someone new reminded me that I’m more, have something to offer, and rekindles a desire to think and learn and engage in my life again.

In my next post, I’ll reveal how my husband has dealt with some of this…spoiler alert…it’s pretty incredible.

Spirit Animals…hmmm

When I first started to respond to the realization that I was unraveling, breaking down, I wanted to share with others what I was learning. I wanted to save others the trouble of falling apart, and give them a pat on the back for putting themselves first. So I volunteered to give a talk at our local wellness network. This is a group of other child care providers like myself with whom I feel comfortable and that they would benefit from hearing my story.

In the process of preparing a presentation, I came across an image that I have clung to throughout this process.

This image became a guide for me in a way, and I have been integrating reminders throughout my life in the form of jewelry, knick knacks, stickers…it helps to be cued whenever my mind wanders! It doesn’t hurt that I love the ocean…

Finding a spirit animal, or at least a favorite animal, can give a little direction, a little inspiration, and even a little hope. For a more in depth view on spirit animals, check out a guest blog

And by the way, here’s a little about my symbol of choice:

The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, known as “Honu,” symbolizes good luck, endurance and long life. Turtles can show up as a person’s guardian spirit, known as “Aumakua.” When lost, turtles are excellent navigators and often find their way home.Nov 3, 2014

The Meaning Behind Hawaiian Symbols | Walk Stories™ – OluKai

*Anyway, the presentation was well received: we brainstormed signs of depression, possible strategies, and I shared some quotes that seemed to reach folks. I was touched by the common issues we have all been facing and the openness that flourished in the room that night. See my next post for more about this…

Being Authentic:

Being your most authentic self is scary, nerve wracking, difficult, but also rewarding, worth it, and gets easier.

I have never been a fan of people who act phony, but it was something I was guilty of myself at times. Letting others see who you are, and know what you think requires taking a personal, and sometimes professional, risk. And it can come with a cost.

So what do we gain from authenticity:

  • Confidence
  • Community
  • Friendship
  • Security (emotional)
  • Respect
  • Appreciation
  • Opportunity (for growth among others types)

And from being disingenuous we gain:

  • Casual, sometimes shallow, relationships
  • Popularity (short term)
  • Polite interactions
  • Isolation
  • Mistrust

Keep in mind, this is just my opinion…and feel free to add to either list. And in my opinion, phony, fake, are not desired, but maybe that works for some people…just not me.

It’s important to be yourself, to show our children how to be true to their beliefs and values, to provide a model of heathy emotions relationships and interactions, to foster personal growth and challenge each other to do more, be better.

It has taken me a long time and many struggles, but I am finally embracing authenticity as one of my core values. The truth isn’t always pretty, but in a respectful and unconditional relationship, it can be accepted and sorted out.

I love this definition by Diane Mottl, MSW

“Being authentic means coming from a real place within. It is when our actions and words are congruent with our beliefs and values. It is being ourselves, not an imitation of what we think we should be or have been told we should be”

And one of my inspirations has a lot to say about authenticity that truly match what’s in my head-she just says it so well!!

The phrase “daily practice” is a clear reminder that it takes effort, it mandates that you choose to be authentic.

She’s not wrong! Since I’ve been on this journey, this breakdown, crisis, unraveling, I’ve been noticing that being who I really am, or more to the point, NOT being myself, has been at the root of many facets of my struggle.