Do I want to be an independent woman?

There are songs about it.  Women are praised for it. We all want to be it, don’t we?  I am referring to being independent.  This past year I have heard it so many times.  I’ve said it so many times.  I’ve felt it many times.  I am on the fence about whether or not I like it.  I know it is not the most politically correct thing to say, but being an independent woman kind of sucks.  What I mean is, I don’t want to be an independent woman.  I want help.  I need help.  People were put on this earth to help one another and I am no longer going to be too embarrassed to admit that I can’t do everything myself.

For the past several years, I have been going through a major transition in my life.  It is a welcomed transition and I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life, but the process has been very lonely and I have had to do many things on my own.  I have been the quintessential independent woman.  I can change my own oil, change a tire, shoot a rifle or handgun, (better than most), move heavy objects, etc. all by myself.  I even have even been given the name, Superwoman by my colleagues.  People often wonder how I can do so much.  My answer is, because I have to.  I honestly do not want to be an independent woman. I want to be able to do all of the things I listed, but I don’t want to have to do them all by myself.  I wears me out.  When I take off my fancy bulletproof, uniform with the chiseled muscles embossed on the glossy exterior, what lies beneath  is a battered and bruised body with aches and pains. That body is in need of a warm bath, massage, and bandages, but I am too tired to run the bath or reach for the bandages.  Instead I sit and wait until the throbbing pain subsides and I put on the Superwoman garb to cover what has yet to heal and walk out into the next day to begin again as an “independent woman”.

The Superwoman moniker is somewhat true in my case.  On the outside looking in, I may seem invincible.  My superhero uniform is pristine and I am, for whatever reason, freakishly strong physically.  I only sleep, at most, three hours a night and function perfectly on just those three hours (my grandmother was the same way.  It is apparently a gene mutation. You can read a little about it here. )  All of these things are remarkably impressive, but unlike most superheroes, I lack the ability of rapid healing.  I feel the effects of my “independence” physically and emotionally.  I will have to admit that a lot of it is my fault.  When I was younger, I was so proud of all of my seemingly superhuman abilities and loved to show them off.  I taught everyone around me that I could do everything myself.  After a while, offers to help stopped coming in because I supposedly didn’t need it.  I was an “independent woman who didn’t need no help”.  I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now.  I gave in to the pressure of being the independent woman.  I wore it like a badge of honor, but it became my scarlet letter.  Being the “independent woman” was shielding me from the help I needed.

Years later, I realize I am in the same pattern.  I am no longer challenging men to arm wrestling contests, but I am still showcasing my “independence”.  Now I would welcome any help that is offered, but I have shown that I don’t need it.  As old habits die hard, I have become accustomed to turning down help because I have also convinced myself that I am invincible.  I have recently had to allow myself to show weakness.  Every superhero has his or her limits and I have reached mine.   As before, I can still do all of those things, but it is getting harder to just throw on the costume and make it through another day.

Now I have to create new habits and change old behaviors.  These past few months have been quite challenging, even for this superhero.  I have never cried so much in my life.  I have wondered why no one has been around to help.  I had to realize that I had put on a superhuman performance that showed all of my loved ones that I could handle everything on my own.  I truly believe in being vulnerable.  In some areas of my life I feel that I am, but I never ask for help.  I have no problem expressing my feelings or showing when I am hurt, disappointed, unhappy, etc., but I never ask for help with dealing with those things.  I have a lot of work to do.  As I have mentioned before in many of my previous posts, I am a work in progress.

I would like to challenge all of us to not only be open to help, but to also ask for when when we need it.  We were not put on this earth to travel this journey alone.  Although it is great to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-supporting, we don’t have to be, nor should we be.

 

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Build

We are all building something. It is up to us which materials we choose.

As like all people, I have had ups and downs, highs and lows.  During the downs and lows, I felt stagnant.  I felt as if I was stuck in mud, marinating in gloom and doom.  What I did not know was that even in those down/low times, I was building.  I was building with inferior materials of guilt, self-pity, anger, and insecurity.  Those things are flimsy and degradable.  Once I realized those things were not going to improve my position or outlook, I had to first get out of the mud and that required some help.  Sometimes you aren’t capable of getting out of the mud on your own.  You need something to grasp onto.  I latched on to my faith in God.  I realized I had sank so deep in the mud that I allowed my hands to get stuck as well.  I had stop reaching for help.  Wiggling my hands free from the mud was a choice I had to make and I made it.  That was one of the best decisions of my life.

Once I reached out my hand and let faith lead the way, I was given the materials to construct an abundant life.  I did not find them! I did not purchase them! THEY WERE GIVEN TO ME! 

It had to be my choice to wiggle my hand free from the mud, reach out and believe. That was all I had to do.  God took care of the rest.  I made a choice to accept that I could not build on my own.  I had to get rid of the inferior materials to make way for the premium-grade.

I would like to challenge all of you who feel you are stuck in the mud to at least wiggle one hand free. Have faith, reach out and believe.

 

Letting Go.

 

I have been absent from this blog for a while.  I started it as a way of stepping out of my shell and being vulnerable.  At the time, blogging felt the safest for me.  Since that time I have been willing to be vulnerable in my everyday life.  I have been sharing my story with other people, making new friends, and taking baby steps toward letting go of my insecurities and limiting beliefs. The results have been miraculous!

I currently have a job that I love.  I am helping people and in turn, I am helping myself.  I am in a position to use my experiences to help others.  Opening up and being vulnerable has not only helped me, but has been a blessing to those I share with.

This year I decided to be a youth leader with my church. I lead a group of 8th grade girls.  I intended to be a leader for high school girls as I work with college students, and felt I could better relate to them.  I particularly did not want to lead middle school girls as I had assigned my middle school experience to the whole group.  When it was time  to assign leaders to groups, the youth pastor found  they had a surplus of high school leaders and not enough for middle school.  I cringed.  I did not want to lead a group of middle school girls.  I began to have flashbacks of all the judgments, name-calling, and the awkwardness of being part girl, part woman.  I did not want to relive that again.  I was assigned to a group of girls.  Some of them I found an instant connection with, some were very quiet and awkward like I was.  I was surprised to find that I was not afraid of them, but afraid of what my thoughts and feelings I had about myself coming to the surface.  This led me to do so soul-searching.

We all have insecurities, some we get over, some we don’t, and some we push so far away we think they are gone, but they are not.  I was wrestling with the latter.  I went through the typical preteen growing pains, but I held onto a lot of the insecurities that surfaced during that time.  I have been insecure with my appearance.  I have good days and bad days, but I often tie my expectations about how people are going to treat me to how physically attractive they think I am.  Sometimes that is the case.  In my interactions with adults, I had accepted that and had gotten over it. I was confident with my physical appearance.   I did not feel, as an adult, that my physical appearance would in any way hinder a connection or relationship.   Now I was back in the 8th grade, and those insecurities resurfaced.

As I walked into the first youth group meeting,  I surveyed the other leaders.    Most were young, cute, and fit.  I instantly thought the 8th grade girls would gravitate to those young ladies.  I stood there with my graying hair, with my purse on my shoulder (apparently purses aren’t a thing anymore), still dressed for work as I came to church immediately after, wondering how would the 8th grade girls feel about me.  I envisioned all of the leaders in a lineup being chosen by the girls to lead them, and I would be the last one standing.  All the leaders met before being assigned to our groups.  I was partnered with another leader in her twenties, who was bubbly and cute.  I was immediately insecure.  Not because I am older and grayer, but I was insecure about how the 8th grade girls were going to feel about me as I stood next to a human Barbie.  My insecurities came from my experience as an 8th grade girl and not feeling adequate, popular, and attractive.  As an adult I am confident in most areas of my life, particularly my appearance. I had held on to the insecurities of my youth and they came spouting up when I was about to face a horde of adolescent girls.

It took me a couple of weeks to realize my insecurities had nothing to do with the 8th grade girls and everything to do with the healing that was yet to take place.  I had to extract the roots of my old insecurities and let them go.  I was needlessly holding onto something that was not serving me.  This caused me to examine other things that I need to let go.  It’s on ongoing process, and like this experience has taught me, there may be firm roots beneath the surface lying in wait to attack at any given moment.

I would like to challenge all of us to do a self-assessment and figure out if there is something we need to let go.  Some of them may be relationships, ideas, habits, etc.  We need to eliminate the things that are not serving us and make room for the good things that will enrich our lives.

Artist Louise Bourgeois on How Solitude Enriches Creative Work – Brain Pickings

“You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust and love.”

Source: Artist Louise Bourgeois on How Solitude Enriches Creative Work – Brain Pickings

I need you!

the-only-think-keeping-you-from-being-happy-is-the-belief-that-you-are-alone

As I have written about many times, I am a work in progress.  I am constantly examining things in my life, figuring out how to make things better, etc.  One of the things that I love about myself is that I can have a good time alone.  Sometimes I need to be alone, but that does not replace good company.

I have read a lot of self-help books, listened to seminars, read advice columns on how to be your best self and to seek your own approval before you seek the approval of anyone else.  Although I believe that to be true, it is nice to have people in your life who tell you all of the wonderful things that you feel about yourself.  It is nice to have people in you life who appreciate you and your contribution to the world.  I’m not saying that we need outside confirmation to feel good about ourselves, but we should always be open to receiving it.

There has always been a huge push for women in particular to be independent.  We should all be able to support ourselves and be independent in all areas of our lives, but we must not let that independence close us off from well-intentioned individuals who want to share life experiences with us.  We do not have to prove our independence by shutting others out and going it alone.  We don’t have to do that.  We were not put on this earth to go through life without the fellowship, love, compassion, and companionship of others. People need people!

As a younger woman, I felt I had to prove that I didn’t need people in my life to be happy.  I would go to out to dinner alone and be proud that I could do so without companionship.  I wanted to prove that I could date myself, but I was honestly wanting to share a meal with someone.  I am not saying that there is anything wrong with going to dinner alone, but there is also nothing wrong with wanting to be with someone.  I need people.

I have also mention several times in my previous posts that I am an introvert.  I love being alone sometimes.  I need to be alone sometimes, but I also need people in my life.  I need to socialize.  I need someone to hold me when I’m sad.  I need to hold hands with someone at a concert.  I need someone so sing Journey songs with me in the car. I need someone to laugh at my jokes. I need someone to tell me that I am beautiful, and there is nothing wrong with that.  You alone cannot supply all of your needs and it is okay to want friends or a significant other in your life.

I would like to challenge all of us to remain open to allowing people into our lives.  Those who label themselves loners, antisocial, and even sometimes we introverts claim to not need people in our lives, but we do.

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How to take action even when you’re scared

This is something I have struggled with my entire life.  I am extremely cautious.  It has held me back from doing many of the things I’ve wanted to do.  I take days, months, and sometimes years weighing my options, pros and cons, what ifs, etc.  I have just come to the point in my life where I feel a little more comfortable taking risks.  I have learned to accept that challenges and mistakes are just a part of life and can also lead to very pleasant outcomes.Has this ever happened to you? You have a goal—an amazing goal—but fear of taking that leap catches you in the chest and you. just. can’t. If that sounds familiar, great!  Not only are you in good company, but you’re likely on the right track. How to take action even when you’re scared We hear

Source: How to take action even when you’re scared Continue reading

How to move past your parents mistakes and stop blaming them for everything

You have the power to learn and grow from your parent’s mistakes…if thats what you want to call them… there is no perfect parent and lots of conflicting opinions about parenting… but nonetheless people  seem to  feel the best about their childhood when their parent’s choices, behavior, personality seemed to be a good fit for

Source: How to move past your parents mistakes and stop blaming them for everything