Becoming the best version of myself…

This is my third post resulting from my meeting with Louise, and I found this one hardest to write for some reason…

She says things that I once thought of as cheesy or goofy, and though I’m coming around to her way of thinking, speaking like her is a different story.

So I’m going to give it a try. No, I’m not. I’m just going to do it. Not yet though, I’d like to break it down for you first. She described to me three parts of defining who we are and how to be the best version of ourselves.

What I am…essence and spirit of our being, a gift, sharing, compassion, light, kindness, presence.

What I have…gifts I’ve been given, make up, joy, compassion, unique talents.

What I do…you write, you create, you share. You live a good life as an expression of who you are.

When we hold back who we are, we get depressed, anxious…we have to go back to the beginning, to the source, to be our best self.

It’s funny, because I have always been one to think about my past and value it for shaping me as I am now. Some people say to forget about it and move on, that it doesn’t do any good to dwell on it. And while wallowing isn’t productive, I think reflection is, and I feel like Louise validates that with these words. So here is a glimpse of how I see myself, or define myself, or at least begin to…

What I am…open, vulnerability , fallibility, dedication, anxiety, adoration, pride,

What I have…resilience, hope, creativity, potential, emerging courage, opportunity

What I do…caring for children and families, teaching, parenting, illuminating the strengths of others, listening, sharing, writing, “creating energy and consciousness of goodness and wholeness, and compassion, kindness and sharingas Louise describes.

This is the essence of who I am and what I am, at least right now in this moment…

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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 😊

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.

Which one of my biggest “failures” brought me the most value?

I love this question because it takes me all the way back to why I write this blog: I failed to care for my own needs after several family issues demanded I care for others first. I ignored my need for friends and connections, my need for physical health, my professional goals, and my emotional well-being as well.

And while it’s not a choice I would make, this failure led me to where I am right now, and the value in that is immense: I AM FINALLY ME. I broke as a result of that failure and as I unraveled my failure, my life, I learned about myself, and slowly became the person I always wanted to be.

Now I am doing my best to take care of my needs, because I cannot afford to fail again, at least in that department!

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, part 2

I’m making progress, little by little. As I’m seeing things more clearly, I’m also discovering a little more self-discipline. One of the things I’m getting into the habit of, finally, is spending time in the dirt.

I’ve always liked the feeling I get after working in the garden, but depression robbed me of the “get up and go” that used to drive me. Now that I’m becoming myself, again or for the first time (not sure which), I’m spending time tending to my plants every day. Whether I’m pulling a few stray weeds in the sandbox while the kids play, or turning the soil in the garden, each time yields some peace. Gardening calms me, in every sense of the word, but especially the freeway of thoughts that never wants to slow down on its own.

Just looking at this fuchsia, I start to notice the tiny parts of the flower, the unique shape of the leaves and petals, and beautiful combination of colors…and my thoughts slow down, and shift. Gratitude and awe creep into my mind. And how wonderful is that? And there’s the begonia…the many layers amaze me, but I also notice that there are different shape blooms from the same plant. How can I possibly feel anything but surprise and wonder?

So in the interest of drawing my attention outside on my tough days, I created a small garden corner on my deck. When I’m in the kitchen, the window to my right gives me a view of my little patch of color. Sometimes I’ll go out there thinking that I’ll just pick a couple faded blooms and then go back to whatever…I usually end up out there for an hour. I even set up a chair and a couple wind chimes, and it has become a cozy spot to relax at the end of the day with a hot cup of tea. Here is a peek:

It’s a work in progress, but that’s the fun part! And hey-there are days when I really only spend a few minutes in the dirt, but forming the habit takes away the pressure, gives me a sense of pride, and promotes my mental and physical health.

I’m too much sometimes

I’m learning that sometimes I am too much for people. What I mean is that when I connect with someone, and I feel something positive, I open my world to that person. And though I’ve had some success, and some reciprocity, it’s difficult when I come on too strong and there is a retreat by the other person. Even more challenging is when it seems like it’s accepted, and all of a sudden, I am met with silence.

It sucks. But that won’t stop me. You know why? Because I am finally myself. I no longer feel a need to stifle the real me. I accept the rejection because if someone doesn’t want me, I know it’s their loss.

And I also know that sometimes, a person needs a little push…a reminder that they are worthy of friendship, and that they can contribute to another persons happiness, and of course, that they deserve kindness, belonging and connection.

This song, I’m not giving up…, reminds me of what I said to my friend, Laura, when she started to push me away at the thought of moving. Sometimes it’s too hard to care, sometimes it’s too scary, too risky, and sometimes, we walk away. I fought for her friendship, and I won. She is a clear case of someone who needed the fight, needed to hear that she was worth the effort.

But this songs makes me think of my dear friend lately, who just doesn’t have it in him to be my friend anymore. I am too much for him. I have to accept that. It sucks, but it’s his loss. And yes, I did fight for our friendship, “…until my heart was black and blue,” but at the end of the day, his friendship came with so little reciprocity that it wasn’t good for me anymore.

I’ve paid tribute to the friendship in so many ways, and I’ll always treasure the personal growth that came from it. And if he ever decided to let me back in, I’d still be myself…but of course I’m still discovering who that is. For now, I’m just me. Open, honest, blunt, flawed, emotional, scared, brave, whole, vibrant, alive…and I’m grateful for the color that came into my gray world when I needed it most.

*and did I mention that this song is absolutely breathtaking?!

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.

The little girl in me…

So upon the advice of my therapist, or myself, I’m listening to my little girl self. She wants a birthday party. She wants it to be just for her. She wants a special theme and activities and decorations. She wants to pick it all out and see all her friends come together to have fun.

So that’s what I’m doing! I’m throwing myself a good old fashioned birthday party!

With a winter birthday, we always went sledding. It was fun, but it wasn’t what the other kids were doing…and my mom did the best she could, but we didn’t have a lot of money for stuff like decorations or party favors when we were little…and being a twin, it was always both our friends, and I had to share the attention. Is it too much to ask for it to be about me just this once?

Now mind you, my mom always made us each our own birthday cakes: chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for me and strawberry jello cake with cool whip for my sister.

Oddly, I asked for chocolate chip that year, but also, the wrong cakes are in front of us!

We always got to choose our own friends, and it wasn’t so bad. But even at an early age, I was aching to just be celebrated independently of my sister, especially because she had a powerful personality. I was quick to be the quiet one. Well, I hear that as an infant, I was the loud one, but somewhere along the way, that changed…not sure when why or how…

Anyway, I can’t wait to celebrate my birthday with friends! It’ll be unicorn themed with a piñata and musical chairs, decorations and balloons! I’ll let you know how it goes!

And on a side note, when I was 6 years old, I wanted a horse for my birthday. Our wonderful neighbor dressed up as a horse for me…my fondest birthday memory from my childhood❤️

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.