Monday, April 23, 2018

The Mean Girl

The Mean Girl

I was raised by a single mother. I spent a good part of my life moving from one place or another and back again. I moved so often I never really had good friends or relationships with other families. Generally I was the odd one. Always being the new kid with acne and no Dad, pretty much made me odd most of the places I moved too. Let’s just say that being bullied was not on anyone’s social awareness radar and name calling and hurtful events ensued. I would share some of the mean things that kids did and said (since when you are bullied, you never forget), but honestly it serves no purpose. The wound is still open and I don’t want to add salt.

After years of being bullied it became part of my inner dialogue. After a while I became my own bully. Looking in the mirror and seeing an ugly girl who was never good enough. No matter how hard I tried to be “good enough”, I failed. I would end up looking in the mirror ridiculing myself or carrying the mean girl bag around with me so if I had a free minute I could find a reason why I was not good enough. It’s really not hard to be your own bully once you have the right tools.
There I was standing in front of the mirror telling myself I am ugly. I dress poorly, I’m fat, no one likes me and cursing the fates for dealing me the acne card. I was uncomfortable in my own skin to the point of not being able to walk in to a restaurant alone for fear someone would see how ugly I am and make me leave. My inner mean girl dialogue reminding me that when people are looking at me all they see is someone that doesn’t measure up. I bullied myself so much that I know I have emotional scars from it. 

I have spent many years working with therapists trying to remove my inner mean girl and learning to believe in myself. I think at this point in my life I am as good as I’m ever going to be to myself. Just as I get there, my aging process decides to put a few reminders on my face and body that I am no spring chicken. Awesome! Now I have a whole new agenda for my personal mean girl to point out, aging. I know I am a mean girl to myself and I know that I am not really the person I think I see in the mirror or imagine I am. That however does not stop me from reaching back to those days of being the odd new fatherless girl with acne. I have to be honest those bully’s from my youth really got there words worth of damage in. 

My point with all this is, we are better than we think we are. If we just give ourselves a break and look around we realize that we are all flawed. Even the mean girls who found such pleasure in hurting someone else just so they felt better about themselves. Now I see that the people that strike out the most at others are the most wounded of us all. That reflection we think we see means nothing. It’s who we are, how we love others and how we do our best to reach out and remind others that there is always someone to take their hand and walk with them through the tough stuff. 


My mean girl has become faint and she is less critical, but she hangs around still. Why give up a good gig when you’ve got it? I’m not sure I will ever be completely done bullying myself, but I have come a long way since the sad days in front of the mirror. Now I have friends that love and support me. A husband that loves me just like I am and reminds me of that often, and finally my 3 daughters who have grown into amazing self sufficient women. So back off mean girl, I’m not all that bad after all!

Friday, March 23, 2018

REDEFINING

Here we are, early spring, birds chirping, sun shining, light hearted and ready for snow to slip away. Spring always seems like it sweeps in to remove the thorn of winter and make things right again. I guess in away, spring is our hero.

The birds are chirping, even on this frost covered crisp morning. I have watched birds flutter about trying to find a place to call home. Their excitement for this new season has ignited my own excitement for the changes ahead. I keep looking out for the fluttering wings and beautiful colors that spring unfolds for us. It is like spring slowly opens her hand and shares her rainbow of color and tosses excitement into the creatures around us. I felt such joy the other day when I saw a cardinal perched on a tree in my backyard. I stood watching the beautiful bird preen and look about for the next place to fly to.

Now I realize I am in my own spring. I have an overflowing agenda in the next couple months. Lots of excitement as my youngest daughter graduates college, my grandson who radiates joy and a zest for life turns one year old and brings an opportunity to see my oldest daughter and share that special time with them. Last but not least, my middle daughter will be getting married. All wonderful exciting events that I am looking forward to.

Eventually I will be back to redefining myself. I am moving out of the season of mothering into the season of being me. I struggle with the thought of focusing on myself. It is not something I have done for sometime and I believe I have lost the ability to look at myself as a priority. I am so use to wanting happiness and a good life for my family that I have tucked myself away in my mothering cloak. I may have to wrestle a bit of myself out from under the cloak. This will be a good time to do a little spring cleaning of my own and discover the treasures of who I am when I am not completely responsible for someone else’s well being. 

I am excited to rediscover myself. Who is this person that I tucked away and does she want the same things or is she ready to switch things up? One thing I know is that I have been a huge slacker with my writing and I miss it terribly. I have wondered if I set it aside so that I could just rest my brain or if I lost faith in myself and the stories I share. Whatever the reason was its time to return and let my words tumble out of my head into my fingers and on to my personal nest.


Nesting my thoughts and bringing them to life are a joy for me. The stories I have written bring me joy and they have made me cry, but each one has a big piece of me hanging out there that I want to share so that someone else feels like they are not alone. Laughing and crying over who we are, where we are and where we want to go makes us better. Each moment of revelation is another twig in our nest as we begin to rebuild ourselves. Sometimes its not about flying away, sometimes its about making a new nest with new ideas, new plans and loving ourselves because...just because, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and its spring. Exciting, beautiful, sunny, lighthearted spring.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Facebook Vs Friendship

There is nothing quite like a hot cup of tea or coffee, a candle burning and quiet music playing. It is calming and centering. This was how I would begin my morning writing session. I use to make time for this habit each morning and then I discovered Facebook. I avoided Facebook for a while and then after some good natured pressure by friends that wanted to “keep in touch” I made the leap. Now it feels like there is no going back. 

How do I leave Facebook? I have friends and family that do not live near by and I am able to keep up on what is happening with them and their families. There are funny quotes and dog and cat videos and and and blah blah blah. Basically, I have trapped myself into following the crowd instead of blazing my own trail. I use to encourage people to join Facebook and I use to except friends left and right. Now I’m thinning out my friends list and expressing admiration to the few that say they are not on Facebook

It started when it hit home that not all those people were my friends. People that actually asked to be my friend would walk past me and not even acknowledge me. That hit me kind of hard, “Wait...what’s wrong? Aren’t we friends?” Obviously, I didn’t say that, but I would walk around with a giant chip on my shoulder and complain to my poor husband (He could care less because he got off Facebook) because “Why would someone ask to be your friend when they don’t know you well enough to recognize you?” That’s when I stepped back and thought Ohhhh. I am just as much to blame, I accepted their friend requests.

Somehow I had the idea that each and every one of them truly wanted to be my friend. The truth is I was probably a friend of a friend of theirs and hey why not? Friendship is a big deal to me and I treasure each and every person that IS a friend of mine. I like seeing the new babies and the weddings and the joyful families all together. That’s what really matters to me, the relationship. Relationship comes from sharing life with people not staring at their feed on Facebook.   

I enjoy meeting with my friends for coffee or lunch or dinner and actually hearing their voice. I look forward to the times when I can relax with friends and share stories and talk and laugh and truly bond.  There isn’t any true bonding going on as I flick my finger past peoples lives on Facebook. People share and say some crazy crap on Facebook and many times I’m sitting here wondering if they would say the same things if they were face to face with the person, actually talking instead of hiding behind Facebooks shield.

Truth be told I’m not leaving Facebook. I am a glutton for punishment. I am, however, going to be more discerning about using Facebook as a way to relieve my waiting room moments or  the times that I could be just sitting and watching the sunrise quietly or reading a book. Actually a book is a terrific idea. I haven’t read a book in quite a while. I was too busy keeping up with all my friends on Facebook (insert eye roll here). I think my plan now is to choose friendship and face to face contact over  Facebook and flicking through someone’s life. I want to be experiencing life with them. Wish me luck my friend and SEE you soon!


Monday, November 13, 2017

#MeToo

Why #MeToo Matters

There is a new movement for women called #MeToo that is empowering women to speak out about sexual harassment, rape and molestation. The ability to blend your voice with others and release a horrible, uncomfortable and debilitating truth in tune with others and be heard and accepted and supported is something those of us who have been through this have longed for.

The hard part about sexual abuse is that the abused must prove that they were abused. This wounded being must step out and reach towards support and love and hope that who they reach out too will lock arms with them and walk beside them with love and support. This is not always the response those abused receive.

I am extremely sensitive to this myself because I was a victim of molestation at the age of 10. My Mom left me with her boyfriend because of a family emergency and I was left alone with him over night. At the time I did not understand what was happening and I was confused and afraid. 9 Years past and after extensive therapy I reached out to my Mom and told her what happened. Her response was an immediate That did not happen!” I was stunned. It took me years to come to grips with this horrible memory and then the one person I needed the most shut me down.

Now we see through this #MeToo campaign that so many women have shuttered those memories of abuse. Fear of no one believing them or retribution have caused many young girls and women to push through the memory. They must try to get on with their lives and act like everything is normal and ok when their hearts have been damaged. I personally struggled with self worth and trust of men and for years harbored anger and hurt towards my own mother.

The other issue is the onus of truth is always on the victim. The last few days I have struggling to understand as I have watched the details of a senatorial campaign in Alabama claim that women that have come forward are liars because of the amount of time between their accusations and the actual sexual misconduct. There is no easy way for any victim to talk about what they have been through and when you are a young girl you feel powerless and diminished. The strength that they may have had was taken away by being overpowered by someone older who should have known better. Now for what ever reason it is, these woman are speaking out and the person they are accusing is responding like a bully. It reminds me of a quote from Hamlet,“ Me thinks (s)he doth protest to much.

I applaud the women that have stepped forward and spoken their truth of abuse. I tried to #MeToo at first and then found myself facing those old feelings of shame and sadness. When this bully started attacking the women that shared their stories it made me realize how little people understand about those of us who were damaged when we were young and afraid, for that matter any of us that were damaged at any age. Its not like a tumble down the stairs or a bad day at work. You dont just shake it off, you carry it with you every single day. You see your shame in every mirror and you feel it in every disappointment and every failure. Your not good enough plays over and over in your head. 

This is my coming out of shame moment. This is me locking arms with others and #MeToo. This is also me hugging any of you that are not ready to share or declare your damage. Just know that you are loved. Your story matters and when you are ready you will share it where you feel safe and loved.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Be Careful What You Wish For

On The Edge Of Parenting


Well, its a week and a half away. The day my youngest moves back to college for her senior year. I have complained and nagged and laughed and cried over the last few months and now I am faced with letting go again. Say what you want about parenting, but you have to admit that even the worst days with our children are always forgotten and the joyful times seem to rise to the top. I'm a bit melancholy about this next lift off for our young one. All that fussing and frustration is melting away and I’m looking down the barrel of all the alone time I have craved.

It  wasn't too long ago (maybe a few weeks) that I just wanted some peace and quiet. Now the possibility of endless time alone is just days away and I'm wondering if the old saying “Be careful what you wish for” might apply here. This person that Mark and I worked so hard to get ready for the world is just about to launch and I’m starting to drag my heels a bit. Perhaps my alone time is overrated. I realize our girl isn't going that far, but its more the emotional distance. As our girls have grown so has their independence. They are each building lives of their own and doing a darn good job if I do say so myself.

I am proud and happy for each of our children. They have had their struggles, but they all have the skill needed to find their way out of them. I have missed each one as they have grown and moved into adulthood and this last one will be no different. I know I complain about the different ideas and ways things are done, but in the end those things really do not matter. I wish I could remember that when I am on my last nerve.

Now I am learning to parent from the edge. No longer knee deep in my children's business, I circle around the outside like a good mother bird, waiting to swoop in if I am needed. I am not needed often but the girls know I am here. This will be a learning process for me now, learning how and when to swoop in. I wish I could say something that sounded confident. Something that would sound like I will handle this life change without losing balance, but I am sure that there will be a tumble here and there. I am going to fall off the edge now and then, that is to be expected. I have been watching over these girls for almost 34 years (when my first was born). Learning not to mother is going to take some time.


So if you are bored check in on my blog now and then and see how I’m coming along. I hope to be better about writing, I miss it. Knowing there is someone out there curious about how crazy I really am keeps me coming back.

Friday, June 30, 2017

On the Edge of Parenting

"Why do you keep asking me the same questions all the time? Your driving me crazy." 

You are welcome to insert a hostile and indignant attitude into this dialogue. It was definitely not an easy conversation and it ended with someone stumping off and me staring with my eyes wide and my  heart pounding. I sincerely asked because the answers I have received are somewhat vague and because I tend to forget what I have asked. This happens because I have more going on in my life then just one daughters plans.

This was a brief conversation with my youngest adult daughter. As she prepares for her final year of collage, she is trying out driving ME insane by putting off as much as she can until the last minute and while she is at it she has pulled out the defiant card. Nothing is more fun than an adult child acting like your intruding in their business when they are eating and sleeping in your house and a good portion of their well being still depends on you.

Don't get me wrong, I love her to pieces. I hope and pray for her to take flight as soon as she can and if need be we will let her come back to the nest for a SHORT while. The hard part is convincing her that my plan is not to drive her crazy but to get her life up and running, (however I can) from the sidelines. Obviously the work is hers to do, but when I ask a question about something and I'm given an answer I expect to see some actual movement forward. 

I hate to be the one to bring bad news, but the world is going to ask a lot of questions. Many of the questions asked are going to come with the expectation that you will follow through on the answer you give. There will be professors, bosses, loved ones and possibly children and others that depend on you in your life time. Questions upon questions asked over and over and some of them from a person who's brain is crammed with lots of other things that pertain to themselves and others. Please do not flatter yourself and think that my goal is to focus only on you in some weird plan to "drive you crazy". Honestly, if I really wanted to drive you crazy, I could and you would not even know it was happening. Not to worry though, I'm not that kind of person.

All I really want is to foster success in a loving being who tends to postpone the inevitable, everything, good and bad in most anything that comes up. It's a character trait that I do not understand. I personally do not like things hanging over my head so watching that giant load hanging over my daughter is difficult at best. I understand that its her life and her way of doing things, but the stress it throws into the mix is like walking on a path where you know there are land mines, but you just don't know when or where they will blow. GAH!

I am trying to go with the flow and be flexible but being the detail oriented, a place for everything, everything in its place kind of person makes it tough to flow sometimes. I am also very aware that my daughter's traits are curiously much like her father's. He happens to be on the receiving end of a lot of questions as well because procrastinating is a gift that just keeps on giving in my world. So if anyone is trying to drive someone crazy I would have to point at the "let us put everything off until she blows" group of procrastinators that I love. For the record I will continue asking questions AND driving you crazy as long as you continue to drive me crazy. I think that's fair.

*New phase of life and a new focus. Seems like my new learning curve is now parenting adults...



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