Lessons from my life

I thought I was going to write to Ben this morning. I can’t sleep. I woke up early with my mind a buzz of thoughts. 10 years ago today was the last time I held him. The last time I felt his breath or heard him sigh. The last time. The LAST time. It hurts. It hurts more this year than it has in a very long time. And the past few weeks haven’t exactly helped me work my way thru it all. The promises I made to him keep replaying over in my head. I promised to hand out love like it was candy from my pocket.

I’ve been searching my whole life for something… To feel cared about. To feel loved. Not superficially.. but in that genuine, throw your entire self into it kind of love. The little girl who lives deep within me has been seeking for that feeling to be reciprocated for her whole life. She’s been seeking her place of comfort, her home, since she was 4 years old. She’s just wanted someone to pick her up and put her in their pocket. And that’s not something I admit easily. It feels like a weakness. But it’s not.

And this morning – I had a realization. A big one that left me feeling shook to my core. The only person who will love me that way – is me. Everyone else will have some sort of bias, or agenda… or worse, they will be too afraid and scared to open up and embrace the love that is offered to them… and the little girl will end up feeling hurt, let down, and unsafe.

The thing is – I have the courage to change. I have the courage to get cut down, and to still stand tall. I have the courage to walk in my shoes in a different direction… into the unknown. It’s funny – so many people in my life have commented that I am a force of nature. Stubborn and caring, I rarely back down, rarely lose. If I want something – I go after it and work my ass off to get it. I used to think that my courage came from my absolute faith that love is real, that it’s out there, that if you’re a good girl and you do right by people that it will come. I’m not sure that’s true anymore. I think maybe my best friend is partially right… you have to love yourself. Not because it will then allow love to find you – he’s wrong there – but because maybe it’s the only way you’ll have it at all. Sounds bleak, but I don’t mean it to.

I’ve walked a long road on this road of life. And anyone who walks it with me – whether it’s for a short moment, or for a long while will have to understand that I am not the same girl I used to be. I’ve gotten better over the years. I’ve grown and my perspectives have widened. I’ve learned what grief and loss does to a person. I’ve learned what abusive marriages do to a person. I’ve learned how to love with all of who I am. I’ve learned how to choose myself, my happiness and well-being over the destructive or toxic – no matter how normal they may have seemed to me. Growing up with toxic environments or toxic people shifts your perspectives and makes it hard to know what’s healthy or not. I’ve also learned how to channel so much of my vulnerabilities into a new kind of strength and courage. I know what hides in the dark shadows of life. The monsters that used to hide in my closet or under my bed – are still there. But if you shine brightly and give all you’ve got – the shadows will fall back and the monsters will be forced to stay in their shadows. I may not always have blind faith when it comes to God. He and I have our ups and downs since Ben’s death. But when it comes to my ability to take anything on I have absolute blind faith. When it comes to knowing that the goodness, the care, the love I seek is out there…. I’ve always known that too.

I have no doubt that there will always be people in my life who “love” me. But to them, I’m going to want to say a few things… First off – thank you. Thank you for your spoons of energy, thank you for caring in those moments. Know that I love you too, and truly appreciate the love and care you give back to me. But… If I’m just somebody that you’re gonna leave, or if you’re just some habit that I’ll have to break. If you don’t feel something when you look at me…. just let me down slowly – I’ll be ok.

I’ve got a little girl of my own – I say little – but she’s practically all grown up now. But she looks at me. She thinks I’m this courageous, loving, creative badass. That I’m this amazing strong woman. And yes – for her, I will always be. But what she doesn’t always know – is that the little girl in me is still scared of the monsters in my closet. And now here I am, walking down the road of life trying to show her how to be strong and how to face the monsters from her own closet. Sometimes it feels strange to try and teach my children how to do something that I haven’t yet fully figured out. Talk about the blind leading the blind. 🙂

It’s interesting to me… how I can feel both scared and broken and still stand tall and feel like I’m unbreakable. It’s such a strange mix. But all of it is truth. I AM a badass. I AM a force of nature. I AM capable of feeling emotions at a depth that rivals some of the best stories from literature. I am also capable of being hurt, even by the best of intentions. I’m capable of being misled. I make mistakes, errors in judgement, I overshare and often over communicate. In my head – it’s better to blurt everything that you’re feeling out and at least allow people to sort through it – than it is to stay quiet and keep it all in. But even that side of me is starting to change as I age. I’m learning that it’s often safer to sit. To ask questions. To listen. But even that fails me at times. Curiosity can kill the cat, after all. And even with all of my listening – I don’t always see the full story.

I don’t always have all the answers. How I wish life had a magic 8 ball at times. Although with my luck – if it did – I’d shake it, and turn it over, only to be told “Reply Hazy – Try again later”.

A fantastic weekend overall…

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I’m not ready for it to be Monday.  Truthfully, I got plenty of sleep last night, I’m not sure why I’m dragging as badly as I am today, but there it is.  Not even the vanilla latte is helping.

This weekend flew by a little too quickly, and overall, it was amazing.  I had an amazing meal and an even better conversation on Friday night.  It was one of those nights where I found myself not really wanting it to end.  When I got home afterwards, I’d discovered that the new area rug I’d ordered for my living room had arrived, so I stayed up late getting that all set up.

Then on Saturday, my 20 year old brother and I went out for breakfast.  I came home and started working on my son’s room.  The goal was to get it all set up and decorated before he came home on Sunday evening.  (And just to note – the look on his face when he saw his new room – made everything worth it…he lit up, with an ear to ear grin and came over and just hugged me for a solid few minutes.  Felt damn good to be a mom at that moment.)  Later that afternoon, a friend stopped by and he kept me company while I built furniture.  I had been mulling over some questions in my head and found it nice to bounce my thoughts and questions off of him.

Religions of the World Sign

I’ve been thinking.. a lot… about religion and god.  And since those typically aren’t topics that I think about, let alone ask others about, it was nice to get someone else’s perspective, even if their perspective was VERY different from my own.

On Sunday, my other brother and his fiance came over for a visit before I had to go pick up the kids.  The topic of religion came up again, and I found it was nice to be able to compare perspectives even further.  Theirs in particular was VERY different from my friend’s from the day before… and again, very different from my own.

As much as I appreciate the ability to sit with people I love and trust to talk about these things with… I actually found that I was left with more questions.  More confusion.  A few years ago – had you asked me my opinions on religion and god, I’d have had an answer for you.  Now?  I don’t know.  I suppose I’m feeling a bit lost these days in that respect.

I think what dawned on me on Saturday, is that I don’t think even I realized just how angry I have been with God.  For many reasons.  I dont’ feel like I’m angry much these days.  In fact, it was a few weeks ago that I found myself saying a prayer before I fell asleep.  It has been YEARS since I’ve done THAT.  Maybe I’m somehow coming back around to it all?  Only this time… it’s different.  I’m not coming around to God for anyone or any reason other than it’s right for me.

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What faith am I?  I have no clue.  I’ve studied so many.  There are so many parts of different religions that I connect with… and yet – still parts of them all that don’t quite hit the mark.

My brother’s fiance and I had a very interesting debate about the Bible.  I had asked how she can trust a book that has been edited many many times?  That ultimately, the book was written and edited by Men.  And men – are fallible.  Don’t misunderstand – I find a lot of what is written in the bible to be incredible and there are many lessons one could live by… BUT…. I don’t believe all that I read.  Logically – being swallowed by a whale (ok a giant fish) just isn’t realistic.  But the lessons and morals behind the stories are still clear and valuable.  For her, she believes the bible … literally, figuratively… all of it.  I asked if it was possible to be a christian and not believe that all of the bible is completely 100% true.  Not sure that I really got an answer there.

I also found myself asking why religions seem to pull away from just worshipping God?  Catholics seem to do a lot of worship of Mary, for Christian’s it’s Jesus Christ.  I’ve never fully understood that before.  She had an interesting analogy for me that helped me at the very least understand.  She said that God is a perfect being… one that we, as fallible humans, cannot really understand or communicate with.  She said that Christians pray to Jesus because he then can act as a translator between us as men and God.  Interesting – I’ve never thought about it like that.

Sigh… so much to learn.  🙂

Well – I better get back to my daily grind today.  I’m lacking in motivation today.  I’d much rather curl up and take a nap.  Hope you all are well – much love to you!!

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