Thanksgiving is almost here and I can’t wait to sip coffee and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. To bake bread with Jessica and make french crullers for our dessert later in the day. I want to watch as Oliver makes a mess painting and facilitate the space for Aaron to engage in a book or newspaper.
I’m so excited to be here. Which, is kind of wonderful and incredibly messy and exactly where I need to be. I’ve been digging back into “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene´ Brown and loved this excerpt:
We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.
Also her definition for Mindfulness:
Taking a balanced approach to negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time. Mindfulness requires that we not “over-identify” with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negativity.
Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.
And the fear that keeps me quiet, she said perfectly:
What if I let my imperfect self be seen and nobody likes what they see?
So I went back to my journal – I wrote a few things down, as part of how I’m practicing authenticity – I have a formula that keeps the Shame voices at bay. Writing it out, talking it out, getting inspired and dreaming dreams are ways for me to combat the shame I have. I started this year, 2012, fresh on the heels of being deliberate in dealing with my shame.
Of being my true self. Of saying “this is me! this is where I came from!” “look, I survived! Look! You can do this too!”
Not long after that my biological father took me out to coffee and asked me (?) to stop writing about it. To leave the past in the past. To move on and let go.
He didn’t even read it. He heard about it. He let someone else tell him pieces of what I was writing and then he asked me to stop being me.
He was confused when I started to cry immediately. And wow, this is heavy for a Thanksgiving post – but I’m getting there. I don’t write this to “out” my family problems or shed light on any of what’s happened since. I can, and try very hard, to respect the vision of my family. Their privacy.
But, and hear me clearly when I say no one else gets to tell my story. The beginning of my story and where I came from is just that, the beginning. It was my foundation and I have to go back there in order to repair my foundation. I need a few new cinder blocks in order to get on with my life. I need to know that the cracks I experienced aren’t going to rot out my entire life.
The problem is I let the shame takeover. I wanted to fight the urge to please someone I no longer speak to, to revert back to being perfect instead. I wanted, so badly, for my dad to see the value in my struggle. To recognize, for once, that it was about me. It wasn’t about THEM! It wasn’t about him. But all he could see was that if someone who didn’t know the truth came across my site – they’d know he wasn’t all he’s cracked up to be. Truth is, they’d feel the same way about me.
Which is exactly what I was trying to do. Dis-spell images. Break through the glass house, throw a few rocks. I wanted to feel.
So, I’m back. Sick of hiding, of shaming myself into silence. Of believing that by pretending like nothing ever happened I could just get better all by myself. I’m so thankful for that. It took me 11 very long, very quiet, very dark months. Some of which I chronicled … here are the excerpts I’d like to share with you:
From Jan 27, 2012 – “Each day I’m less afraid of the outcome. Each sentence I write is another weight I no longer have to carry all by myself.
I think I’m embracing my sadness and I’m totally going through it for the first time. I’ve been here before but it was always something that needed fixing! Jodi couldn’t be wounded or tortured. And I wasn’t really, not then. I didn’t know any better and thats the trick because now I know the difference and what’s healthy and acceptable. I understand love and how to treat people – even though I struggle.
I think, mostly what unnerves them the most is exactly that.
That I know the difference and it’s not ok.
That I’m seeking truth and health and vibrancy out of this pain and these places that scared us all. I won’t stay here – I refuse.”
From March 31, 2012 – “I want different and I want to believe it. Meaning: not currently this. What if I’m not the girl I was always trained to be? The matronly, motherly, non sexual, no danger, vanilla, safe, not risky girl I was told to grow up as? And if I can let go and rewrite my rules or boundaries – in this new and unlimiting reality … well what happens when I start to want dangerous things? Or aspire to be better? Educated, trusted, listened to?
I don’t even know how to take myself seriously and I’m begging an entire audience to.”
September 5, 2012 – “I’m starting to wonder if the rest of the world figured out how to live without regret and forgot to clue me in …
If I could publish my journals – I couldn’t hide anymore! I’m afraid of the truth. The truth that I’m mostly living in yesterday somehow hoping today makes it all ok. But that’s too much to ask of Today – not even a fair question.
So HOW. How do I leave yesterday alone and wake up in the here and now?”
Later in the day September 5, 2012 – “I feel like a drunk who promises not to take another drink – but inevitably always does and beats the guilt and shame senselessly into anything but myself.
And I know that there are obvious growing pains to having kids. Girls, daughters, Mothers. These aren’t easy roads and relationships to score on our own.
That being THE woman in another females life is a tall order to fill. That expectations so often get the better of us and our realities. That intentions don’t make actions happen.
These are my hopes and my wishes: That I could recognize my mistakes as my own and stop naming them after the people I love the most.”
November 3, 2012 – “I’m sick of giving myself away like a child selling chocolate door to door.
High price for momentary bliss – but the only thing left is an empty wrapper.”
November 21, 2012 – “There’s no need to wait any longer. No more self hatred or wanting affection.
Being healthy is how I love myself. It’s how I model respect and care. Tomorrow isn’t easier – it’s just another string of moments ready for me to start. To use. To feel. To live. To Love.”