Finding My Fierce.
Dear fierce ones,
When I say that 2018 was a rough year for me and that I dealt with a lot of shit…I really mean it. Every marriage has ups and downs, everyone has a story to tell and everyone has to figure out a way to overcome their issues.
When I married my second husband I promised to fight fiercely for us and for our newly blended family and I have never been more true to a promise. I have never been more fierce and I have never fought more in my life.
This fighting fiercely is new to me…in my past, I never fought. I buried my pain and my anger and I didn’t deal with it, I didn’t face it…I was too afraid. I was too afraid and too ashamed to fight for myself. I felt guilty for for having needs and felt shame for expressing them. Somehow it made me feel as though I was not enough and it felt shameful to me. As a result I became addicted to perfectionism and earning love, and it wore me out.
My first marriage failed because I failed to understand what was REALLY going on between us and in my own heart and mind. That failure hurts my heart to this day, but I can’t go back and change the past. The only thing I can do is learn from it, grow from it, and share the lessons. That is how I heal from it.
In my new marriage, despite all the fighting…I have also never been more happy. The reason for this is because I have stopped living in fear. I have stopped living in shame. I have stopped living in guilt. I have found my voice to express my needs, my issues and when there is a problem, my husband is the first to know, and we talk about it.
I have found my courage. I am not faking it. I am not pretending that “everything is fine”. I have lost my need for perfection, and though it does try to pull me in now and again, I have resisted and worked even harder on myself, and I continue to work on myself every single day. To be more patient with myself and with others. More loving. More graceful. More forgiving. (esp when it comes to my own failures) More kind-hearted. More self-controlled. More joyful. More present. My daily habit is to begin every day with prayer, gratitude and positive affirmations. This has helped me survive and thrive despite the many challenges of the last couple of years.
With regards to my writing, I have been asked why? Why do I post the stuff I do? The hot topics. The shameful topics. The topics that generate conflict and make people feel uncomfortable or even angry and pissed off. I have been accused of “flaunting my happiness”, I have been accused of being “a man-hating feminist”, I have been accused of “trying to make myself look good”, and I have told that “I should stop embarrassing myself”
A fervent people pleaser…I have discovered that it is simply impossible to live my life in such a way that pleases everyone. No one can. It doesn’t make me a failure. It doesn’t make me a bad person. Everyone has an opinion about everything and they are entitled to it…it does not and will not determine who I am or what I do. I share my stories and insights because I know they are valuable. Especially these days. Owning and sharing your story in truth and authenticity is such a rarity. I myself have searched the internet looking for someone or something that is real. Not many people want to talk about the down and dirty stuff. Not many people want to admit that they have saggy boobs. Airing our dirty laundry, or allowing our true selves to be seen publicly places us in a vulnerable position where we become open to the judgement, criticism, and hatred of others and who wants that?
Honestly, not me.
All my life I have avoided conflict like the plague. I really don’t enjoy fighting, or drama. It makes me super uncomfortable. Ugh. Seriously uncomfortable. I have searched to find that person that I could relate to, who was not “holier than thou” and who didn’t have pat answers for serious struggles and challenges. Someone who shared in the real struggles that life brings. Someone who fucked up big time and then found their way out of it. Someone who was willing to share how they handled it and what they did to overcome the struggles. It is hard not to feel alone when all that is presented is some perfect, fake facade. It just doesn’t resonate with me. It feels hollow and empty of truth.
I have found plenty of critics, plenty of haters, and plenty of people who are quick to judge and point out everything that is wrong with the world and it ends there, with blame and shame and criticism. No action plan, no encouragement, no mentorship, no courage, no vulnerability, no authenticity, and no help. These are the ones who don’t hesitate to jump in with their unsolicited opinions, critiques, superior knowledge and advice…
Spare me please.
Since my divorce, I have spent considerable time (literally years) reflecting, reading and deeply working on myself. One day, a couple of years ago, as I was walking down the path alongside my house I asked God a very serious question.
“God, what should I do with my life?”
I have had a longstanding career in nursing, I have raised 4 kids, I am middle-aged now, and I am still not satisfied…I had and continue to have these deep stirrings and longings to help others who suffer and struggle with the things I have suffered and struggled with, but I haven’t known what I could do about it? How could I help? I have made big mistakes in my life and as a result, I want to help people…somehow, in some way not to make the same mistakes, to feel less alone, to feel encouraged and empowered instead of crushed and beaten down with guilt and shame…and to teach them to nourish their souls rather than carry-on in the toxic habits that create the same dysfunctional patterns and results they feel trapped in.
My heart was sincere and open and I was in earnest when I asked God this question.
Honestly, I have often asked God things before, but not often have I received answers
This time…It was so clear.
USE YOUR GIFTS.
Immediately the parable about the talents came in to my mind. As soon as I remembered it…I saw it in a way I had never seen it before, because previously I had always equated the talents to money. BUT…this time I equated the talents as gifts…the gifts that each one of us has inside of us.
For those of you that do not know the parable…
This is a parable in which Jesus tells a story of three men, each working for their master. The master is taking off for a long while and he pulls each of his guys aside and to each one he gives some talents according to his ability to handle the responsibility. To one he gives 5. To another 2. To the last 1. The servant with 5 talents decides to use and invest his talents and ends up doubling his talents. The second servant also invests and uses his talents and doubles his original portion. The last servant is super fearful and decides to bury his talent in the ground because he doesn’t want to take the risk. After a long time, the master comes home and wants an update. He is very pleased with the results of the servant with 5 talents who now has 10. He is equally pleased with the second servant who also doubled his original portion from 2 to 4 talents. In both of these instances, the master says “well done” and rewards these servants with even more. He is well-pleased.
Now…the last servant who buried his talent in the ground, brought his original talent back to the master thinking that he would be ok with it because he returned his original talent that he had been given. He was sure that the master would be happy that he got his original talent back.
He was wrong.
The Master was not pleased at all. In fact, he called him slothful and worthless.
Essentially, he did nothing with his talent. He did nothing with his gift. He buried it in the ground.
OUT OF FEAR.
It really got to me…it hit me square in the chest.
It stopped me in my tracks.
I was suddenly on fire.
My entire body was electrified and I KNEW.
I knew I was meant to write. I didn’t really want to. I mean, it is great to write about design and flowers and all kinds of pretty stuff…but to write about the struggles, the shameful ordeals, the heartbreaks, and the things that I am not proud of…well…I felt like burying myself in the ground. Hiding it all. Going on…pretending that life is all roses and rainbows, and sweeping all my dirt under the rug.
I realized that would be playing it safe. It would cost me nothing, it would require no courage. No vulnerability, and it would be easy. But…It wouldn’t bring healing. It wouldn’t accomplish my hearts true desire, which is to facilitate healing. (this has always been my first and foremost desire and it is why I became a nurse) and I also feel called to mentor. To teach through my stories. To inspire personal growth. To encourage. To help.
I realized in that moment of hearing God speak to me…that everything I have been through in my life was preparing me for this…and I got scared.
I still get scared.
However; I don’t live in the fear…I feel it…and I resist it. I do the thing that scares me a lot. I, who has always been afraid of heights…leaps into the vulnerable task…despite my fear. I risk the fall-out.
When you have grown-up being a total scaredy-cat like me…it really is a complete transformation, and yet I am somehow more me than I ever was. The fear I lived under was greater than than who I was…and it obscured me. My vibrancy, my energy, and my ability to create positive changes were all damped under a veil of fear.
Facing the fears and challenges in your life are not easy. Especially when you have had a habit of hiding them, denying them, or ignoring them…hoping they will disappear magically. Praying in a hopeless manner…”God please help me”, and cowering in a heap of tears on the floor. Numbing the fear, disappointment, guilt and shame with alcohol, entertainment, busyness, perfectionism, cigarettes, food, work, …whatever your pleasure may be. I have done it all and I have overcome it all. My life today is filled with energy and purpose. It has been a hard-won ongoing battle that has not been easy.
During the hard years of my first marriage and subsequent divorce and for several years afterwards, going for that glass of wine at the end of my day, which then turned into 2 glasses of wine and often more, was my coping mechanism, my daily habit and I craved that escape.
I loved that floating and drifting sensation of not caring so MUCH, the feeling of just numbness…
One day I caught myself in this ongoing pattern of numbness…and I stopped and wondered “What exactly am I escaping from? What am I numbing? What am I doing? What kind of example am I setting? Will my kids ever know me as I really am?” These were sobering thoughts, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like what I was doing. I didn’t like it that I was repeating my own dysfunctional pattern…just in a different environment.
I knew in that moment that I needed to deal with myself, my issues, my fears, my anxiety, my shame, my guilt and settle it, and move forward into a new life of freedom from those things right then and I did that.
AND…I am still doing it.
Hear the good news dear fierce ones…everyday…every minute is a new opportunity to make a change…to be someone different than you have been…to make a different choice than the one you have been making for so long. It takes practice, but soon it becomes a habit and it isn’t hard any longer…it becomes who you are. Practice being who you want to be, not the person that you once were. With practice…you become that person.
Take a moment right now and think about what you practice everyday. Worry and stress about things you can’t control? Escapism. Perfectionism. Anger. Blame. Guilt. Shame. Regret. Procrastination. Denial. I have done all of these myself. Especially worry and stress. It was my habit…even when there was nothing to stress out about…I would always find something!
I decided I don’t want to live like that and I have made a lot of changes in my life.
You don’t have to stay stuck in the dysfunctional patterns of your life.
It is YOUR choice.
What gift is inside of you that you have buried? Out of fear.
I have been afraid…of judgement, criticism, people not liking me, being wrong, not being good enough, speaking up, standing up for myself, speaking the truth, telling my story, being myself, and MORE.
Getting over my fears takes force. I force myself. I never “feel” ready! I force myself to jump…leap…just do it!
I have been thinking back to when I was a kid. Way back to the early days of my childhood. What kind of person was I…and guess what?
I was the happiest kid.
I didn’t worry.
I didn’t stress.
I sang all the time…like a bird I would just sing and sing and sing and never shut-up. I drove my brother CRAZY because I often sang slightly off-key and he couldn’t stand it! We had to do the dishes every night and I would be singing my heart out…I remember once he threatened to hit me over the head with the frying pan if I didn’t SHUT-UP! (He got in trouble for that lol)
I wrote songs on the piano. I wrote, performed and directed plays with my friends and my brother. I wrote stories. (right now I am working on a book!)
I was always outside, playing, working, and taking long walks in the woods thinking and pondering.
I would spend hours pondering life’s BIG questions. (When I think about that now…I am amazed at myself as a little kid and how much time I would spend just contemplating the meaning of life) For real. AND… I still do that! Gardening for me is therapy. I spend hours outside with the birds chirping and singing and the bees buzzing, taking in the fragrance and beauty of the flowers…just contemplating life. The magic and beauty and mystery. The harmony and balance of nature. The wonder and splendor and glory of life itself.
I was ALWAYS imagining.
I was always having fun…no matter what was going on…even if it wasn’t fun because I would make it fun.
I could not stand suffering. It would break me to watch anything or anyone suffer.
I was extremely tender-hearted and loving.
When I look back at myself as a child…
I see my true essence and I realize how delightful I was. What a little treasure!
I want you to take a moment and think back to what you were like as a small child. I feel this exercise is a very important one especially when it comes to loving yourself.
In order for me to start making positive changes and get out of my dysfunctional patterns I had to see myself as the small child I once was. When I did that…I was able to love myself, I was able to stand up for myself. I was able to fight fiercely. I was able to move past the fear and into more and more love. Learning to love myself despite all my mistakes and failures and imperfections has been one of the most important ongoing tasks of my entire life. It is incredibly important and necessary for optimal health, wellness, and personal growth.
USE YOUR GIFTS.
The world needs you.
Don’t waste your talents by burying them out of fear…
Find your fierce.
Take the journey.
Hugs from me…