Monday, September 23, 2013

Radical Self Acceptance

Many roads keep leading me to this message but I'm not learning the lesson yet.  I think it's time I really started to try.

36 is going to be my year of radical self acceptance.  Here are some things about me:

I'm a good friend but not a perfect one.  I'm terrible at keeping secrets and I've lost friends over it.  I may again.  I'm not a great shoulder to cry on always but I'm exceptionally good at managing a crisis. 

I'm not as active as I want to be.  I've allowed my body to be in stasis as I'm try to figure out my mind.  My mind scares me because I feel patently inadequate all the time.  I feel so markedly inferior to my desired self that I'm hurting my partner by my inability to see my own good. 

I have advocated for children.  I made a difference and they have a better life for it and they loved me.

I've saved lives, human and animal.

I've lied.  Many times for many reasons.  I do it less now.

I'm anxious nearly all the time right now.  I'm grumpy sometimes--too often right now.  I'm scared to be happy.

I'm better than I was last year at being married.  I get better every year because I make an effort.

I tell funny stories.

I need to give myself a break.

I'm learning over the last few years that I'm totally incapable of allowing myself to feel proud of something I've accomplished.  I've managed to internalize a dialogue wherein anything I do is not nearly enough.  Dinner made and on time five nights this week?  Should have been seven.  And included lunches.  And doesn't a real wife make breakfast for her husband?  If I make a goal about my activity level and then do something, well, it's not a marathon.

This constant discounting, not allowing myself to feel happy or content has got to stop. 

My one-little-word to focus on for last year (2013, really, but I'm changing this to start on my birthdays) was 'better'.  I have done better.  We're eating better food.  We're more in control of our budget.  We moved.  And I made lots of that happen.  I did better.  And I have a few more months to focus on that. 

Next year, however, it's time for me to accept myself.  Warts and all.  Not to push forward, not to look back--just to be in the moments, occupy them fully and allow joy into my heart.  Radical self-acceptance.  Let's see what that looks like.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

And then I was 35.

I spent most of this year thinking I was 33.  I was wrong.  Usually birthdays aren't a big deal for me.  Age isn't something I focus on but I remember that I was driving home from something and I know the exact spot on Babcock road where I realized, mid-September, that I would be turning 35 and I've been in a funk since then.  And then came Tuesday, I turned 35 and the world kept turning.

I'm out now, I think, or at least climbing up the side.  I also knew that the day would be hard because of the marked absence of a single friend.  It was.  But I lived through that too and the olive branch I hoped for didn't come.  But I lived through that too. 

My husband found just the right gift, replacing an earring from the set he gave me during our first Christmas.  Erin suggested 007 as a good movie so I got an afternoon date in a not-crowded movie theater and then we shared dinner with my in-laws and some family.

I know the narrative of the day is disjointed but it felt that way.  It feels like I'm middle aged.  I can see my blessings.  I logically understand how lucky I am.  I feel it in my heart.  And in my heart is also sadness for the things I haven't accomplished yet--that I haven't finished a degree, that I don't yet have a child, that I should have a thriving career--all these shoulds.  And I've just had to realize that my life is a work in progress.  I'm still here.  I still have time.  And the progress I make is going to be toward goals that interest me.  I'm still smart, vibrant, loved and lucky.  Even if I am 35.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dear Paris Hilton,

I think I understand you better now.  You used to be a total mystery to me and I could not figure out your flitting and seemingly pointless life but now I've stopped working because I have the option to do so and you're starting to make more sense.  I wonder how I'll combat that.



Thursday, October 11, 2012


Now that I'm at home full time again I find my anxiety about doing all the housework returning.  Right now there is a stack of dishes in the sink, fruit in the fridge that didn't get a lid and is drying out at we speak, a vacuum poised half way through the job in the formal living room and a desk full of correspondence that needs attention.

When I start to get totally overwhelmed I try to remind myself that this afternoon there are also foster families that are calmer, kids that are safer and one pair of pedicured toes to show for my day.  It may not be 'perfect' but it's what I've gotten done and now I'm going to start working on getting the little rocks to fit into my day.

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's all changing.

It's different now. 

We're thinking about children. Biological, maybe or adopted.  I don't mind either way.  We'll see.

There has been an exit from my life that has left a massive, gaping hole that makes me sad lots of the time.  I won't discuss it in more detail, but it's there.  Every day.

I went back to work.  I loved it.  We decided I'd stop in honor of the child plan and the amount of time we were missing together.  I love that too but I think I'll deeply miss working since there isn't a plan for me to go back to that any time soon.

I'm spending time thinking about the stories that have formed me.  I'm talking about them to a therapist and getting it all sorted out.  I  think it's helping me.

Next month I'll turn 35.  I'm middle aged.  I don't usually care about birthdays but this, to me, seems terribly significant. 

It just seems like everything is different now.  It's not bad.  It's just different.  I'm adapting. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It is not so much that I miss you

By Dorothea Grossman
It is not so much that I miss you
as the remembering
which I suppose is a form of missing
except more positive,
like the time of the blackout
when fear was my first response
followed by love of the dark.
I found this today at exactly the perfect time.  Things are in transition here.  I have the strong possibility of working again.  The yard is coming along.  We're settling into the new congregation and carving out rhythms. 
Unrelated to the poem, last week I was able to spend time with my wonderful girlfriends in Utah and it highlighted how much I miss the chance to be with them on a whim.  The days were filled with plenty of laughter, teasing and the usual stresses of being with people you don't see often.  It was in the handling of those stresses that I find the strengths of our friendships.  We had some snarking but not too much and never without love, we were able to give each other space and time when needed and we all had the history to understand what was happening.  
This week is less busy than my weeks have been recently and I'm reveling in the quiet. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I suppose I feel like writing.

I just looked up an old friend on Facebook. We used to be connected as friend on that platform and I found myself wondering today how he and his family are doing. I took a gander to find that we're no longer considered friends.

I hurt my feelings for a moment but I stopped to consider if that was the true emotion and discovered it was more like melancholy for life moving along, something sweeter than hurt.

Often I find myself wanting to hoard my friendships. I don't like it when anyone leaves the pack, it make me nervous and upset. I had a friend a couple of years ago that I enjoyed very much and suddenly he stopped talking to me. It was perplexing and it caused some reflection about how I treat friendships which was when I discovered my hoarding tendencies. Seriously, given an option I'd have 10,000 neglected friends so long as none were no longer my friend.

Having discovered that I've decided that when these feelings pop up I'm going to take a moment to remember the nice things about my previous friendship, the influences and the education gained from each individual, send them some love and light and then move forward. I'm taking more time to understand that not everything has to be current to be valid and important.

So today, to you Travis H., thank you for introducing me to Van Halen, Hilary, the glory of sleeping on trampolines and Magic the Gathering. You are beloved in my memory and I wish you all the best as we move along through life now memories to each other. Farewell, my friend. It really was a blast.