Sometimes I surprise myself…

It’s been a weird week with a few bad days that culminated in something amazing happening, but more on that later…

I’m finally detaching myself from my dear friend, and I think it’s for good this time, but more importantly…I’m doing ok…and that’s the surprise.

Long story, but he is no longer able to have me in his life, though I know it is not his preference, which helps me. It makes me still feel valued…the last time I saw him, I got to hear how he was taking time for hobbies and reconnecting with friends. I feel like he’s been listening and has some newfound resilience built into his world now.

I also was able to tell him how much he’s meant to me and changed my life. And while I still feel a little unsettled and wish I could see or talk to him, I’m focusing on my relationships, my work, and myself.

And I’m surprised at myself. I’ve been trying to let go for the past year, and just felt like I couldn’t…and while I still don’t want to, I now know that I can…I’m going to be okay, due in large part to the healing prompted by my dear friend. My dear friend that I will never forget, always care about, and wish well 😊

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I’m not perfect

News flash: I’m a little messed up, a little broken, a little crazy, and a little muddled.

I make mistakes.

I piss people off at times.

But I try to be the best person I can be when I’m able.

People believe what they want to, but unless you’ve had first hand experience, or been part of a situation, you have no idea what has transpired between two people.

The insecure will cling to the worst possible scenario and spread their negativity. The strong will keep their mouth shut and take the high road. I’m trying so hard to take that high road but I get so furious when the insecure try to make something so simple and positive into something ugly and unkind.

Deep breath.

I’m not perfect. I’m just…me.

Connection…it starts with me!

Photo by Stacy Brown

As my son finishes up his 6th lacrosse season, I finally feel like I’m connecting with the other parents. His first season, I was shy, and nervous, especially because all the other families seemed to know each other so well, while my son had been an outcast early on because of some behavior issues.

Anyway, some of the parents were actually unkind, and others just doing their thing. There were definitely some parents that were inviting and helped me feel at ease. But as I watched the boys gather after a tough championship loss, I felt more connected to all of the families than I ever had before. And while it’s true that over time, those relationships develop, I think it was more about me: I wasn’t connecting with myself.

I was a mess, insecure, emotionally volatile, and couldn’t meet my own social and emotional needs. I feel like now that I’m listening to myself, and meeting my own needs, I’m more open to connecting with others. And in turn, people are more open to connecting with me. Feeling proud and happy today, truly. What a feeling!

Yes, I do need to be my own hero

I just got home from paddling and checking in with a friend, had a nice conversation. Came home, put some of my stuff away and opened up my social media. Lately, I’m digging Andy Grammer and his new video was posted. I gave it a listen and before it was half over, I was saying to myself, “that’s exactly what I have to do, what I’ve been trying to do!”

Check out this inspiring song

So in the interest of following what strikes me, I am going to be my own hero. I am going to look within, and look at my skills, and notice the positive impacts I can have on the people in my world. I am going to be my own hero.

Please feel free to share if I have affected you in a positive way!

Little by Little…

I was in the newspaper today!

Little by little, I’m getting better and better all the time. And I feel proud. And happy. And I’m sure I’ll have more roller coaster moments, but I’m stronger than I’ve been in a long time.

I had a roller coaster moment this week for sure, and it hit me hard at first. But I picked myself up, dusted myself off and looked for a reason…a next step. I was able to reflect and begin to let go and move forward. And though it’s still in progress, I’m feeling good about my next step.

I had a therapy appointment just this morning, and usually, when something happens and I choose to hold onto it, I don’t tell her. But I’m feeling solid in my forced and reluctant decision, and so I told her. And I thought I’d cry and be all kinds of whiny or whatever, but I wasn’t. I surprised the both of us!

I did cry eventually though…because I am letting go of my dear friend finally. The friend who sparked my soul and started this whole thing…we have reached a point where we are no longer good for each other. And though it really is the right decision, it’s tough. I shed tears thinking back to those first acts of kindness and friendship, the laughter and the discoveries, the debates and the conversations. I am grateful for all that came in the days since, despite pain and tears…I’m finally becoming, little by little.

Knowledge is Power: a super power, so keep learning

When I was a student, I thought this was a load of crap. Why on earth do I want to spend my time studying? I’m never going to use this stuff in real life! But you never know what you will or will not use. Now that I’m much older and wiser, I get it. Education and knowledge have only enriched and enhanced my life, my career, and my roles as leader and mentor. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I wish I didn’t know so much” and mean it?

Now here’s the kicker…you can apply the phrase Knowledge is Power in a variety of ways. Book smarts, math smarts, science, art…so many areas for this to apply! But I’d like to draw your attention to emotional smarts, or emotional intelligence. I was introduced to this concept at a conference this fall by the keynote speaker Debra Cannerella. She uses emotional intelligence as a tool for companies to maximize employee performance and ensure leadership success.

Emotional Intelligence is defined by Dr. Dick Thompson, President and CEO of High Performing Systems, Inc., as a person’s innate ability to perceive and manage his/her own emotions in a manner that results in successful interactions with the environment and, if others are present, to also perceive and manage their emotions in a manner that results in successful interpersonal interactions.

Learning to read facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, as well as your triggers, stress management techniques, all of these can give us information that we can use to maximize our interactions. But it also makes a big difference to know your own emotional intelligence skills, impacting interactions, and decision making.

Anyway, what I’m saying is this…keep learning. Embrace it. Seek it. At least now that I’m an adult, I can choose what I want to learn about, when, and how I learn. Growth of the mind is a valuable thing, and should never be taken for granted.

I’m not the only one growing and healing…

Had a conversation with my husband last night. He was finally honest with me about how my friendship with a guy made him feel. After a lot of listening, I told him to turn it around: when he was grieving his sister and father, I was feeling the way he’d been feeling. But instead of months, it was years. Instead of jealousy, I was burdened with isolation and extreme pressure. It’s not a competition, and there’s no blame. Only perspective and empathy and understanding. I explained that the friendship met a need for me that he wasn’t able to meet, my husband relied on me for everything for so long that my friendship with this man that didn’t rely on me for anything, filled a void.

I think my husband is finally ready to fill that gap again. And I couldn’t be happier. I’m so proud of his personal growth and vulnerability…I wasn’t sure I’d ever see it, but I guess we all have setbacks before we leap forward…

She’s using my skills against me…and it’s so dang helpful

Once again my talented therapist is surprising me with her insight and skillfulness. I’ve been having some repetitive thoughts and trying to make them stop only makes them worse. She ever so carefully steered me into how to get to the root of those thoughts without my awareness, with no pressure, and an ease that allowed for openness.

So here it is…her magical approach:

If a child in your care was having a tough time letting go of some feelings, how would you help that child move through it?

So simple. First I would listen to the child, because after all, every child wants to feel heard. I would then observe the child’s behavior to look for non-verbal communication. Children’s behavior is a such an enlightening form of expression and communication. Next, I would find activities or roles based on my observations that I could offer to empower the child and build on that child’s strengths, ultimately meeting the unmet needs.

Damn she’s good. She got me so focused on the child that popped into my mind that I forgot I was talking about myself! But here comes the tough part, right? Looking at myself as the child instead of the teacher…well, she put me in my secure role as educator and so I carried that feeling with me as I dove in.

So here I am sitting there thinking that I have to listen to my young self. And that child says nothing. She is silent and trying to make herself small, trying not to cause any trouble or unwanted tension. She wants someone to notice her, to listen to her. She wants someone to ask her what she thinks, and she wants to be listened to when she answers. She wants others to want her. She wants others to accept her. She wants others to feel comfortable with her. She wants to be seen for who she is becoming, and she wants to cheer on the others who are becoming…

Here I go…

  • Writing my blog helps me feel heard and I love that others find inspiration in my words and thoughts. (Keep it up!)
  • I’ll never be seen if I don’t let others have the opportunity to see me, so I am putting myself out there. (Be brave!)
  • I will keep becoming myself, and accept who I am, since my own acceptance is of paramount importance.
  • I will keep working toward being comfortable with myself and the comfort of others will come on it’s own (right?)
  • And finally, I will begin to let go of the fear…fear of rejection, loss, fear that I will never again find the connections like those I’ve had in my life.

Wish me luck…it’ll be a process, a trial of sorts with some backslides and failures, but I’ll get there.

Friendship Follow-Up

Faced with changing and evolving friendships, I’ve been examining what I expect out of my friendships. One of the things I didn’t realize is so important to me is being physically present. I’ve had pen pals in the past, and though the letters were a bright spot for me, they were punctuated by seeing friends in real life. The outings and visits sparked more conversations and commonalities to continue to build a relationship, galvanizing the connection.

a hug or looking into a friends eyes is the ultimate affirmation of friendship.  It cements the connection and relationship between myself and the other person, and it is the most authentic and meaningful way to show someone you care

I suppose that’s part of why we become friends with those we spend the most time, like our colleagues. And I suppose that’s why people like me, who work alone, struggle with friendships…or maybe it’s the other way around? Huh.

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…