The First of Many

In working on phase II in the Insane Roots memoir series, I have gone back and revisited some of the most devastating moments in my life. Some of which, were so damaging that I had almost completely blocked them out of my mind.

Breaking down the walls has been challenging to say the least, but it has also brought back a great deal of beautiful memories as well and reminded me of the many milestones that have had an extensive impact on who I am today.

As you can imagine, my journals as a teenager were centered mostly around boys & the fact that no one understood me. It’s hard not to laugh at myself, but it’s all about perspective and back then I had very little experience with life.

And for that reason, I don’t think I had a very good idea of what love really was back then either. Mostly because I realize now that I didn’t love myself and until that happens I am not sure you are really able to love someone else fully. It takes a lot to allow yourself to be vulnerable to the possibility that the object of your affection may not return the gaze. 

My past relationships were no cake walk, let me tell you!! With the exception of a very small handful of the men I have dated, the majority of them treated me like dirt.

They claimed to love me, but if they did, there would be no way in the world they would have behaved the way they did.

It wasn’t until well after high school that I can honestly say I felt real love and it was reciprocated at that! It was clear then that all those who had come before were merely practice for the real thing. And although that relationship didn’t work out as planned, it worked out the way it was supposed to. 

I was shattered for a while when we broke up, but I think anyone would be after having been with someone for as long as we were together. 

Eventually, I put myself back out into the dating pool again and well….Ya it didn’t pan out the best. So…almost 3 years ago, I  took myself back off the market (“closed for remodeling” as I called it). 

I knew there was something in me that I needed to repair before I was ready to get back out there again. I was clearly attracting the wrong type of men and allowing them to treat me like the ones in the past did.

Again, it was my own self worth standing in my way. I didn’t believe I deserved a different kind of relationship; one where the love goes both ways.

I also think that deep down, I am still battling with the feeling that perhaps I just don’t believe that anyone could actually love me. I mean all of me…right down to the crazy! 

I know that it’s silly, but even now there is a lump in my throat as I think about it. And it causes me to overthink everything…this constant state of worry that breeds unhealthy habits. 

Habits of self defeating behavior, the need for reassurance & fear. 

Sometimes I really am my worst enemy! 

I’m stopping that! 

From here on out, I am going to focus on the fact that I have someone with whom I love spending time with & perhaps it will grow into something more & perhaps it won’t. 

Maybe he’ll feel the same or maybe he won’t, but either way when I am with him I’m happy and for now that is enough. 

Overthinking where it’s going just leads to unnecessary pressure and a ton of needless worry! 

I’d rather be thankful than fearful, so that is just what I’m going to do!!

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Getting Back to Basics

Well I must say, I am in a really amazing place right now! I hope it’s contagious 🙂

I have taken a step back from the chaos of the past six months and it has given me great clarity.

I can see now how easy it can be to lose sight of where we are headed in life. Even when you think you have it all figured out, life has a way of derailing you down a path you never planned.

Sometimes it is a complete dead end and you end up having to track back through the mud and the muck of past lessons you have not quite mastered.

Other times it is simply a detour…you get lost along the way for a bit, but eventually you begin to recognize old patterns and you manage to follow the breadcrumbs right to where you were meant to be.

I wouldn’t say I hit a dead end…it was more like I picked up the wrong trail of breadcrumbs for a while, went in circles for a bit, but eventually ended up back where I needed to be.

It was a humbling experience.

I thought I was an expert at positive thinking. There was no way I would ever fall back into feeling negative all the time! I was wrong, but it was a good reality check for me. I discovered a lot of areas in my life that I still needed to work on and old self defeating behaviors that I thought I had mastered.

I learned that I still have a tendency to take on more than I can handle sometimes and that I have a very  hard time admitting that to anyone…especially myself.  For me, failure in any form is perhaps the feeling I hate the most. Rejection is right up there with it, but that is easier to swallow because it is more like an incompatibility than something you didn’t succeed in. When I interview for a job and I don’t get the position or I go out with someone new and it doesn’t go quite well, I simply chalk it up to not being the  right fit. Failure on the other hand carries all the weight of the expectations associated with the goal you did not reach or the relationship that didn’t work out. Moments of failure are like poison to my normal routine of positive thinking.

It is easy to stay positive when everything in your life is going great, but the real challenge is finding a way to do it when everything seems to be falling apart. But once you do, you will find strength you never knew you had and  discover all the  power to change your circumstance within you.  You are no longer filled with anger and sadness, because you are too preoccupied with finding ways to better your life and the life of those around you.

After this recent reflection, I have a greater appreciation for my life and all of the people in it, regardless of their role. I believe that everyone enters our lives for a reason. Some may treat us poorly, but in most cases those people are the catalyst for some major growth.  I think that is why forgiveness is so freeing. When we place all the blame for our circumstances on others, we carry around the weight of all the pain we associate with them. Replaying significant moments over and over in our mind, stirring up old negative feelings, until it completely prevents us from ever moving forward.

But when we forgive, it is like purging the mind. We are able to look back on those moments with gratitude because we know the role they played in helping us become the person we are today.

Sure it is easier to sit around and bellyache about the painful things that have happened to you in the past, but you are only wasting the small amount of time we have on this earth. Nothing will ever change until you step up and take charge of your own life.

It is not the fault of previous lovers that you are afraid of love or the fault of your parents that you are insecure. It is yours.

Your life went on after those experiences and every day you had a choice as to whether or not to try and move forward and you didn’t. So year after year, you not only carry the weight of the past, but you add to it. Until one day, you begin to accept your fears as simply being a part of who you are. They become an excuse for you to take the easy way out and just settle for your life instead of creating it.

And that is all fine and good if you are happy, but are you? I mean really happy? Or are you just settling for the life you think you have to live?

I know it sounds a little harsh, but it’s true. It would be very easy to blame my mother for all of my insecurities, abandonment issues and fears of failure. And I am pretty sure most would agree she played a role, but that was then and this is now.

Recently, I asked myself those questions. I took a long hard look at every aspect of my life and made myself answer honestly.

And I am not ashamed to admit that my answer was NO for a lot of them. And that was okay because I took it as a challenge. I moved my energy from feeling bad about the less desirable aspects of my life to figuring out what it was that bothered me and finding a way to turn things around.

The difference it has made in me has been transformative and still expanding every day.

I am not saying I won’t run into another detour, but let’s hope this time I make a few less circles around the trail!

 

How Important is Alone Time?

I have had a lot going on these past few weeks and by the time this weekend hit, I could really feel it taking a toll. It was time to re-evaluate my life and my priorities. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t have some alone time to reflect on things, I begin to feel a bit anxious. Perhaps it is because I have spoiled myself over the last two years by making this time a priority. I know that I am no good for anyone or anything if I am not taking care of myself mentally and physically.

My loyal and ambitious nature can sometimes be my own destruction. I have this idea that I can do everything for everyone and once I start something I have to finish it! This is great for my friends, family and employers, but it is not always as great for me.

Although it is good to be dependable, it is necessary to know your limits and when the time comes to speak up for yourself despite the consequences.

I know I can do anything I put my mind to and I also know that in order to do so, I must have a clear head. And in order for me to have a clear head, it is very important that I have some alone time to organize my thoughts.

I struggle with an aim to please everyone and in many cases this results in taking on too much. As well as putting my personal needs on the back burner. I have thought long and hard about the road ahead and I have come to the conclusion that I am ready for a change.

As my life currently stands, I am spending the majority of my time working on the non-creative aspects of my life. It is daunting and at times very stressful. There is very little time in my day to be creative, inspired or constructive in my growth; much like the life I escaped in moving from Wisconsin in 2014. How did I fall back into the same patterns again? And more importantly, how do I get out of them? That is something I needed some alone time to figure out.

According to an article by Sherrie Bourg Carter in Psychology Today, the constant motion of daily life can hinder deep thinking and the ability to effectively work through one’s personal life challenges. Constant distractions such as meetings, phone calls and incoming emails cause tasks to take longer to complete and therefore make the work day less productive.

2. Solitude helps to improve concentration and increase productivityWhen you remove as many distractions and interruptions as you can from your day, you are better able to concentrate, which will help you get more work done in a shorter amount of time.. – Sherrie Bourg Carter

This may not be true for everyone, but it definitely is for me. When I am working from home with no distractions, I am way more efficient. Unnecessary meetings, phone calls or emails marked as important (when they are not) drive me nuts. Why spend time stressing/talking about what you need to get done instead of just doing it? I know there is a need for these things sometimes, but eliminating the unnecessary clears up time to do what is.

Time is precious and finite. And for that reason, I find it absolutely necessary to prioritize accordingly. Know what is important to you and put that at the top of your list. What a better way to do that than to have some much needed alone time. A moment of solitude, free from distractions, revitalizes the mind and helps those creative juices flow!

In doing so today, I have gained a better understanding of my true desire for my life moving forward. I will take the next two weeks to think it over, but I am pretty sure I have figured out what I would like my life to look like from here on out. It is not what one would call “ordinary”, but that is not a word I like very much anyway. How boring to be ordinary. I’d rather strive to be extraordinary!

Sometimes it takes a wrench being thrown into the mix to help you see more clearly and to remind you that you are in control of your own life. When you give this power to others, you hinder yourself from greatness.

Now go out there and seize the day! 🙂

Weekly Inspiration: Dear Me

What would I tell my younger self?

I have been reading my old high school journals to help with the timeline for my next memoir. It is a very strange feeling to be reading the words of your teenage self. There was so much sadness and anger on those pages that I began to feel anxious. I just wanted to reach through the pages and give myself a hug, to tell myself to calm down and that it would all work out okay.

For this reason, I keep getting stuck. I have spent so much time trying to move forward and have made such great strides in self improvement that it is uncomfortable revisiting that head space. It is so far from where I am now that I have trouble relating. Although, like with Insane Roots it is a good therapy session. With each book I grow and this one is proving to be no different. But how do I keep myself from getting bogged down in the energy of it? This need to comfort my younger self?

Then I remembered what a dear friend of mine told me about a process of self healing that involved doing just that.

I am sure you can remember a time in your life when you felt alone, depressed or let down in some way. By going back to that time in your mind and giving yourself the comfort you lacked in that moment so long ago, you have the ability to heal old wounds. It may sound ludicrous to some, but if you are game I urge you to try it. After all, what do you really have to lose?  I seriously doubt it could be bad for you.

It was in one of those moments that I started thinking about all the things I would tell my younger self.

Now don’t get me wrong, if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change anything. I like myself just as I am, scars and all.

I would however tell myself to stop and smell the roses and to never forget the importance of spending time with the ones you love. Time is so precious and each day a gift. You never know how much time you have with someone until it is too late. So, use your time wisely and spend it with those you hold closest to your heart.

Okay, your turn! What would you tell your younger self?

Alone With Myself

In the darkest of night, I sit alone with my thoughts.

Hopes and dreams of grandeur fill my mind.

And for a moment, I feel weak, lonely and afraid.

Questions swim around in my head to the point of exhaustion.

There is so much I have not yet done.

The road ahead seems to stretch on for miles and miles with no end in sight.

It is filled with hills, valleys and fallen trees.

Yet around any corner could be the end.

Will I have enough time to fulfill my destiny, find love and be at peace with where I am?

And in that respect, what is my destiny, who is my love, where am I going?

I close my eyes, take a deep breath and open.

As I look around the room, my vision adjusting to the darkness, I begin to see those tiny parts of me seep in through the cracks of light around me.

Photos in frames, hugging close those memories of times in the past.

Treasured moments pieced together on my wall. The collection of my life.

And then it occurred to me,

This is my destiny…this life I am living right now!

I have love.

Maybe not in the form of romance, but my heart is full.

To be alone is sometimes just where you need to be.

Content with all that you are and the knowing that you are doing the very best that you can.

There is great power within all of us.

The power to choose.

Everyday, as we wake we are given yet another chance to go forward in this life.

We can cower behind fear or we can leap into the unknown.

For a very long time, I cowered.

Afraid to let anyone in for fear that they may let me down.

Terrified of love, because there was always the potential of heartbreak.

But that is not a life.

To have our foot nailed to the floor running circles around our own insecurities.

We will never get anywhere doing that.

Pain is a part of life.

It makes us stronger, more aware of our true desires.

It brings us closer to who we are and in the end is that not the goal.

To be let down allows us more room to grow.

We all need to trim our leaves from time to time so that we may bloom into the beautifully unique person we were always meant to be.

Without risk, there is no reward.

Not in life and most certainly not in love.