Posted in Embracing Vulnerability Series

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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Posted in Embracing Vulnerability Series, Good Stuff

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.

 

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday, Uncategorized

Bloom

We have all been planted.  Some can bloom in their present situation.  Some need to be uprooted and transported to an environment conducive to growth.  Regardless of your situation, you owe it to yourself to blossom.

Sometimes change needs to happen. If your present situation is not to your liking, by all means, do something to improve it.  Things could always be worse, but they could also be better.  There is always a bright side.  Don’t be afraid of the light.  The grass is not always greener on the other side, but if there is no sunlight on your side of the fence, nothing will grow.  Make a move!  Go out and find the sunlight to fuel your growth.

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday, Think About it Thursday

Making Room

We have all heard “Out with the old, in with the new.”  It sounds so pleasant, but it can be very difficult.  Sometimes it can happen abruptly and without warning.

If you have read some of my previous posts, you will know that I went through a season of unfortunate events.  The first unfortunate event was the second accident in my minivan.  I was on my way to the body shop to get an estimate for a rear end collision that caused some minor damage to my rear bumper.  I had planned on doing some Christmas shopping as well.  I had my mother and my two-year-old son in tow at the time when a pickup truck crossed the median,  T-boned another truck which in turn hit me, pushing my van into oncoming traffic on the opposite side of the highway.  The first truck went on to hit the car behind me. Fortunately, the oncoming traffic was far enough away not to hit me again.  After the dust cleared, I checked to see if my mom and son were okay, snapped my dislocated thumb back in place (yeah, I’m tough like that), I realized all of my airbags had deployed which meant my van was surely a total loss.  The drunk driver who hit us had destroyed my mommymobile and caused so much damage and injury to others as well. The last person hit was seriously, but not life-threateningly injured.

The paramedics came to take us to the hospital and as I could see that my mom and son were okay, I wondered what lingering aches and pains would follow us in the upcoming days, and possibly years to come.  I hoped my thumb was not broken.  It wasn’t, and my mom and son were fine (my mother and I needed several weeks of physical therapy, but on the whole, we were okay).  After my family and I made it safely home from the hospital, I started to think about my mommymobile.  I had purchased it when I was still working.  Now as a full-time, stay-at-home mom, my family was living on just one salary. I wondered if we would be able to get another vehicle comparable to the one we had.  I loved that van.  Fortunately, we were able to get a used van identical to the one we had.  This one even had all of the bells and whistles my base-model had not.  Something I loved was replaced with something better.

I think of this story when I have challenging moments in my life.  There are times when I need to make room for better things.  I cannot get too attached to something that may be blocking the place of something better.  Go with the flow.  Allow things to be transient.  Oftentimes we tend to hold on to things with the mindset of scarcity.  The world is abundant.  We have more than we need at our disposal and should never hold on so tightly to things with the belief they cannot be replaced.

I would like to challenge all of us to make room.  Purge the old and tattered and make room for something new.  We deserve it!

 

Posted in Embracing Vulnerability Series

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.

Posted in Think About it Thursday

Keep it Simple

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In life we often try to make things more complicated than they are.  If we can just take the time to listen to what our hearts, minds, and bodies are telling us, we can face the world and all its challenges with confidence.

 

Posted in Good Stuff

New Experiences

a-mind-that-is-stretched-by-new-experiences-can-never-go-back-to-its-old-dimensions

New experiences is the first thing I say to may son when I wake him up in the morning.  He is not a morning person like his mother.  He needs a little extra encouragement. Actually this practice didn’t happen intentionally.  I was saying, wake up little Nigel.  So the next morning after the first day of school, I said it again.  Then Nigel said, “Mommy, I want you to say new experiences like you did yesterday.”  Actually, that wasn’t what I said, but it was a good practice to start.  Now I say it to him every morning when he wakes up.

I have been putting that practice into action in my own life.  I am very fond of rituals and routines and I think that is just fine, but there are times when you need to give new things a chance.  I recently started drinking coffee.  Now I love it!  I don’t drink it every day, but I enjoy a good cup of coffee.  I don’t use it as a stimulant as I have been accused of being caffeine personified, but I drink it for the taste.  In the past I refused coffee because I felt that I had no use for it.  I viewed coffee as a means of staying awake or jolting one from a groggy morning, things I never had an issue with.  One day I decided to give coffee a try.  It happened in a very strange way.  I was watching an episode of Satisfaction on Netflix and I saw one of the characters making a cup of coffee with a french press.  The whole process looked interesting and I wanted to try making coffee that way.  That particular way of making coffee appealed to me for its simplicity. So I purchased a french press, a hand-crank ceramic burr grinder, bought a bag of coffee beans from a local coffee shop, and made my first cup of coffee.  I enjoyed the process of heating the water, grinding the beans, and waiting patiently for the coffee to steep.  I found the experience to be therapeutic.  It is nice slow down and savor an experience, and now I have a new ritual.  It forces me to slow down, take my time and really enjoy the moment.

I would not have gained this new ritual had I not been willing to try something new.  I have learned to let go of feeling that I cannot benefit from something that is not necessarily marketed to me or the identity I have assigned to myself.  I must remain open to new experiences.  We all must let go of notion that something is “not for you” or “you are meant for something like that.”

I would like to challenge all of us to try something or experience something new. Try a new food.  Visit a different place or just take another route home from work.  See what’s out there!