Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sweep Away the Debris

Driving along back when I was young, still a teenager, but nearing the end of those years, I remember a friend saying how she didn't know how she would ever go on if she didn't have her boyfriend (now husband) and how dependent I thought she was and how I never wanted to be that way, so dependent on someone and so reliant on them for my happiness that to be without them would ruin my world. The thought of letting myself that close to someone was terrifying to me although I did not realize it was the problem at the time. Years were spent deflecting any attention that would come my way, placing up the thickest and tallest of walls and pushing back hard if anyone dared to push in my direction, never letting anyone close enough to hurt me themselves because I had enough of that from those who were meant to love me and was also doing enough of that hurting to myself so as to not let anyone else get to me first.

Deep romantic relationships were blocked at every pass in favor of close friendships all around and though that sometimes hurt in its own way it felt safe, safer than anyone else's arms ever did at the time. True intimacy was passed up and replaced with other distractions and obsessions to take my mind far away from the affection and closeness I was so desperately missing but so afraid of that to live without it forever felt more realistic than ever getting to a place that it felt safe. So, I carried on and focused on myself and over the years did a lot of work to get to a place where it didn't feel so scary, where my walls thinned and shortened just enough that a few could manage to peek over or walk through, but not too close, for as soon as I felt any push or any wish for something more I would retreat to the safety of my dysfunction. But, time continued to pass, work continued to progress and I stumbled upon someone who didn't push at all, someone who allowed me to pull.

So, pull I did. Rather than accept an advance, I had the comfort of doing the advancing, feeling more the predator than the prey and more in control in the way I needed to move forward rather than scuttling back to safety. Frustration sometimes came at feeling as though I was more committed but looking back I realize that anything more would have caused me to retreat, something I nearly did a handful of times regardless of the dynamic. For someone who found any kind of closeness or emotional dependency to be terrifying, the fact that I let him in at all is remarkable. The fact that we are now married with two children and stable and happy and whole is unbelievable. The fact that I now still have trouble admitting I would be lost without him, but that being without him would leave me lost is progress even if it once seemed weak. The knowledge that I am capable enough and strong enough to face life alone is a comfort, but the fact that I don't have to and don't want to is even more comfortable. So, my strong silent type of a husband, thank you for allowing me to pull. Thank you for being patient while my walls slowly degrade and we work together to sweep away the debris. Thank you for helping me to find the tools to help disassemble the more stubborn portions. Thank you for being so damn calm and normal that I am forced to look inward to my own gunk and clean it up rather than having an easy target to place the blame on for my faults and sorry for the times I make you the target anyway. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for loving me.

Photo shot by our wonderful wedding photographer Virginia Harold

Friday, July 31, 2015

This space has been calling to me lately, or at least the need to write and to feel like someone is listening even if that "someone" is a wide open expanse. So much has been on my mind that I need to work through, need to talk about, need to give room to breathe but I am feeling a certain sense of not feeling like I have the right person/people to talk about them with for whatever varying reasons and that is making me feel a bit alone with it all and that brings me here to this space where I can talk all I want whether anyone is listening or not, where I can work through my thoughts and check back in with myself in the days and years to come.

As my children continue to grow and I think about our future I am brought face to face with the hard reality that I am truly figuring it out as I go with no real framework to guide me, no real healthy examples to follow, no real idea what I am doing. So much hard work has been done on my part, years of it, yet today as I drove home I saw a man that made my stomach clench and my eyes tear up at remembering while I type this, for he reminded me of someone who caused me years of pain that only ended once my mom found her freedom in recent years, but that still haunt me in ways I am only slowly uncovering. During my years of work the true impact of his actions were not in the forefront of my mind, in fact at that time I didn't really realize their full impact as he was still in my life. I was still having to play nice and pretend and those actions kept me from really being able to let the true pain sink in until the day finally came when I knew I would never have to see him again and from that point on the pain has little by little seeped up to the surface and has been felt so deeply that I fear if I ever ran into him on the street I would panic, would turn and run the other way, would shelter my children from his gaze because even the thought of him laying an eye on them is enough to make me sit here near sobbing. He didn't have to love us, we didn't share any blood, there was no obligation, and I only guess that is what he believed to be true because the near twenty years he was in my life, in the entire childhood and adolescence spent sharing a home with him, in the day in and day out of life I can truly say I never think he loved me. I never felt warmth from him. I never felt cared for, safe or protected. Rather than finding his joy in delighting the children, he would get his delight from igniting our joy just to extinguish it so he could find his own joy in our dismay. Truly, it is painful to think about and painful to live, but still only part of the picture. So, every day I love my girls hard. I give them the hugs and the affection I was starved of for many reasons from many people and I only hope they can feel the sincerity of that love. I hope they feel safe. I hope they feel protected. I hope with all the hope in my heart that they know that my greatest joy comes in seeing their joy and that I would never do anything to break their trust in that love or to make them question its authenticity.

I was warned once that as my children grow I may start remembering things I have forgotten, start being reminded of things from the past and my own childhood, start having to do some hard work once again, and it seems as it is time. With their growth and with other positive but still big enough to be overwhelming changes happening, it is more important than ever that I make stopping to process a priority. Make keeping my own health and the emotional health of my family a priority and keep challenging myself to attempt to thrive despite past pains rather than just surviving through them. All I know is that I don't want to look back and wish I would have challenged myself to grow sooner, to look back and realize all I missed out on because I was too scared to face the pain that stands between the here and the there. Ignoring the feelings, pushing aside the pain, it all seems easier in the day to day as it is the most inconvenient to pal to have along for the ride, but then a day turns into a week turns into a month turns into a year and you find yourself losing those chunks of your life that you will never get back and I refuse to do so. So, during this year of focusing on our family I will include focusing on myself as well because in order to be the mother and wife I want to continue being, I have to work hard to not let my past destroy the beautiful present I have built for myself. I refuse to let him or anything else have that kind of power.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26, 2015

As seems to be common these days I am once again being pushed to let go, to grow and to put in the hard work needed to change. We are spending money we don't have to defend ourselves for something we didn't do, but doing it all the same for the peace of mind and the freedom on the other side, knowing that kindness will win out in the end. We are missing out on experiences small and large due the particular place we find ourselves in and we are feeling the struggle on our journey as we feel the weight of such things piling on, but when you wipe away the stresses and the sadness and the unfortunate state of things, we are happy.

Today I am all in - I am choosing happiness over everything else and choosing to let go. To put on my blinders a bit to what is happening outside of our four walls to focus on what is inside. This year we may have to miss out on some things we were hoping to do, we may purposefully pass on others, we may not be in the loop with the rest of the world as it can all be a bit too much, but we will be in the loop with us. We will focus on our family and our home and our pets above all else and we will nurture these things with everything we have and will consider anything beyond that as extra, a bonus, a compliment to the fulfillment we will continue to find amongst ourselves. We will tune out distractions that get in the way of showing our love fully and giving our "us" what it needs to thrive.

Today I promise... tune out distractions to tune into love. let those I care for know in all the ways I know how. resist technology temptations that distract from what matters most of all. allow my pen and notebook to provide the therapy and guidance I need most. keep our family and our goals in the forefront of my mind and not let outside pressures or desires cloud my vision. hug my fella and our girls close and show them that I see them, to let them know they are known. put kindness, love and compassion out into the world. allow myself the space to breath and remember and further discover who I am at my core.

It may not look like much from the outside but these past twenty-four hours have led me to a clarity I was seeking, a path I needed to travel and the strength I needed to take the first step. The journey ahead will no doubt bring all of the proper insights and struggles needed to find my way.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fulfilling the Desire

All I want are a few minutes to write, to capture all of these thoughts and strung together sentences onto the page before they once again dissipate, but the days come and the days go and once again I am left with an empty page, time for writing sacrificed for time with the ones I love most which is really no sacrifice at all.

At times I am desperate for the release, for the therapy that happens when I place pen to page, but one of the many lessons I have learned in these short years of parenting is that nothing stays the same for long – a day will come again when I have the time I desire, but only at the sacrifice of no longer having a warm baby on my chest, so I squeeze in the moments when I can, Odessa in the crook of one arm while I write with the other.

Time to do as I desire may be hard to come by in this season, but today I commit to myself that I will make time to do one of the things I crave most even if it is in small doses, to promise myself to capture these moments and emotions I want to look back on – the best gift I can think of giving myself as the years continue to come and go. This desire is not a new one, but it is one I have left unfulfilled for far too long whereas writing used to be a daily habit.

 Journals fill a suitcase in our art room and were set aside when the weight of the words became too much and though they are heavy and though I will happily bundle and burn them when I am through – at the time those words are what helped me through – some may have alcohol some may have drugs, but I mostly have bic pens and cheap notebooks. I know I will never regret taking the time to write, I will only regret all of the words unwritten and while these days I am not looking for salvation so much as savoring, the words are just as important and the desire for release is just as strong.

Notebooks and pens will once again be kept handy and even when I find myself exhausted and drained I will find myself to them to capture even those moments for the beauty of their rawness. It may be a challenge and it may happen one-handed, but it will always be worth the effort.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Love and Community

Odessa was born six weeks ago yesterday and that little tidbit is a bit hard to swallow but also very comforting. This time around I am much more settled into this role, much less worried about the little things, much more in the zone of just enjoying it all and not worrying about the things I now know won't matter two years from now.  And you know, I never really did announce that here did I? That I had a baby? Well hey - that up there is Odessa next to big sis and it has been true love all around from the first moment I held her to my chest and Isadora peered into the birth pool and touched her tiny head.

Lying and saying two is no big deal would not be doing myself or anyone else any favors. Two is so full of love and so worth it, but it's hard folks. Sleeping less, giving up my time for projects and husband snuggling, living with less showers and more general chaos, well, I was prepared for all of that, knowing that while it is hard it is fleeting and that we would make it through in one piece, but the part I couldn't prepare for even though I knew it was coming and the part that I really knew would be hard (and that is) was Isadora no longer being my one and only, for sharing our hearts and time with another and how that would be for her and I both. Mostly we get by and squeeze in time where we can but I can see how much she needs more time with just me and how I need time with just her, where both of my arms, my lap and my attention are there for her alone. We are working on it every day and I know with time we will have more one-on-one time and I look forward to Mama and Izzy dates in the future, when baby sis is old enough to stay to play with E while Iz and I hit the town or the trails together just two of us. She is such a joy and so conversational these days that I am trying to soak it all in and burn these days into my memory so as not to miss her at this incredible point in her life. And E? If you're reading this? Remind me to hand over Odessa when your own arms are free so I can scoop up Iz to gobble her like a cob of corn, okay? We really do need those moments to fill up our hearts.

Luckily though, our hearts are pretty content as is thanks to having such a wonderful community on our side this time around. When Isadora was born I was very happy and so in love, but the days soon became long and lonesome. I felt isolated and with a particularly challenging baby even more so as I was hesitant to even get in the car to drive anywhere more than a few minutes away. Luckily, one day when Isadora was around six months old I did and that eventually led us to where we are today, with our wonderful mama tribe. This time my sister and my two closest mamas were there by my side as Odessa made her way into the world and when my 30th birthday came just two days after Odessa's birth there was a home-cooked birthday meal and special handmade treats and the company of our tribe to make the day special. Further meals have been provided and more importantly company and emotional support as we settle into this next stage and I truly don't even let myself think about what I would do without it as I know I won't have to. Being me a little part of me is still waiting for the other ball to drop, for it all to come crashing down and for me to be left feeling alone in this journey once again, but I know that isn't life these days, that good things can stick around and that these ones are here for the long haul and that one day I'll even get to the point where I feel that I deserve that love and where typing that and admitting it doesn't make me anxious.

Love love love though, it is here in this home and here in my heart for these incredible girls of mine and there is no doubting that. Rubbing my cheek against Odessa's full head of hair, snuggling up to Isadora for a story or listening to her hilarious ramblings as she spends hours going back and forth on her swing, baking with Isadora while Odessa is wrapped to my chest - those things make my body max out on love to the point I think my skin may start to crack. And just as everyone says it does, that love just expanded right on out to encompass Odessa once she was born and scooped her right up into the fold. I guess we're in what everyone calls the fourth trimester right now, those first few months on the outside, so I hold our tiny one close and know it will all fall into place even more than it already has, that we will hit our stride a little more each day, and that I am lucky as can be to have a crew on my side this time to help me find my way if I start to go astray.