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Archive for the ‘Learning to Cope’ Category

If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?

She’s adventurous, feisty, and desires to control her own destiny. She’s a gifted archer and good with a sword, but it is her spunk that drew me in. I love her playful relationship with her dad, and I love her bravery!

merida1

Merida of the Clan DunBroch

Don thought I’d choose Katniss Everdeen. I thought about Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I could have easily chosen Eowyn again, or one of the other kickass heroines I love so much, but Merida has been on my mind. I relate to her defiance against traditions and expectations, and admire her fighting spirit. And who doesn’t love her red hair? 😉

I share some of her less desirable qualitites as well, I suppose. She’s brash and sometimes acts without thinking only to regret it later. Been there. But I couldn’t help cheering when I watched this scene:

She’s been my Facebook profile picture many times, she’s currently my cover photo, and friends send me pictures of her. Fans of Merida have drawn and painted amazing depictions of her. This one by artist Heather Theurer is my favorite:

Merida_sm

A few years ago, my friend Michelle bought me a figurine which now sits in my office. Every kid who stops by wants to play with her because she’s beautiful, posable, and her accessories rock! She only came with one arrow, which I assume is enough – she’s that good. I love her.

She inspires me when I write by reminding me I too am brave.

merida figurine

 

Have you stopped by my fellow challenger’s sites lately? We still have a few days left to catch up and finish our challenge!

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

 

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For Christmas in 2013, Karen gave me a copy of Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. She had already read most of it and was sure I’d love it, and she was right! I’ve been reading it and incorporating it into my life ever since.

Vulnerability-Quote-2-Brene-Brown

Brene Brown is a research professor and storyteller who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, worthiness, and shame. She’s written three #1 New York Times Bestsellers, her 2010 TEDx talk “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the five most viewed Ted talks in the world. She inspires millions of readers like me through her websites, interviews, and public appearances. I post her quotes on Facebook a lot.

From The Gifts of Imperfection:

“People may call what happens at mid-life “a crisis,” but it’s not. It’s an unraveling – a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re supposed to live.”

As I’ve been working my way through the book for the second time, reading all of my underlined passages again, I am painfully aware of the places I’ve been digging deep, being brave, and making difficult choices that are making me a more wholehearted person. The word “No” isn’t as scary as it used to be, and I’ve increased the frequency of its use. Friends, it is SO much better than saying “yes” and being pissed off later because I knew I should have said no in the first place. I’m doing hard heart work, and the results are beautiful!

Some other lessons I’ve learned:

  • Our stories aren’t meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege and we should ask ourselves who has earned the right to hear them. (p. 47)
  • Incongruent living is exhausting. (p. 28)
  • Cultivating self-love and self-acceptance is not optional. (p. 28)
  • Practicing courage, compassion, and connection in our daily lives is how we cultivate worthiness. (p.7)
  • Courage is contagious. (p.54)
  • Here’s what is truly at the heart of wholeheartedness: Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is. (p.24)

I own the other two books and will read them soon. Check out Brene Brown. She’s one of my courage-boosters and currently on my list of Top Ten Most Inspiring People.

These people inspire me too:

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

 

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anne lamott quote

This CHALLENGE is aptly named. Some people are more challenging than others, yeah? I could let myself off the hook and choose a mother figure, but part of the reason I do these challenges is to make myself do hard things. It’s good practice for life. Life is hard.

I haven’t had any contact with my mother since July. It’s by choice, both mine and hers. Mine because there has been a need for stronger boundaries and healing in our relationship for years and I’m finally taking care of myself and drew the boundaries I needed. Hers because she chooses not to take responsibility for her actions and doesn’t respect boundaries. I won’t go into detail here, but I will say that I plan to post more in the future regarding dealing with parents with mental illness.

I am not blind to my mother’s good qualities. She loves God, her family, and her friends. People who meet her think she’s nice. She’s creative and artistic, and resilient. She’s also overly medicated for her many different mental illnesses, disorders, and a varied set of physical issues due to polio when she was a child, and extreme allergies as an adult. Add to that her horrifically abusive childhood, and you get a small glimpse into my life as her oldest, and only girl child. I know I’m one of millions with family members who fit a lot of that description. I’m guessing someone out there will read this and nod their head, understanding me on a deeper level because they’ve been there. Mental illness sucks.

Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in life, and I didn’t want to be one because I thought I’d stink at it. I cried when I found out I was pregnant with Max because I was so scared I’d become my mother. It turns out I’m pretty good at this mom thing. Still, every Mother’s Day is a struggle for me to view the holiday through the eyes of a mother instead of a wounded daughter. I’m getting there. I haven’t mailed any cards that say, “Happy Mother’s Day, I’m thriving in spite of how you raised me.”

She did some things right, but they get overshadowed by the things she did/does wrong. I know she struggled to be a single mom and there were many times my brothers and I didn’t make it easy for her. I know she thinks she did the best she could. As a child, and again as an adult, I vowed I wouldn’t be her, or parent like her, or be the kind of wife she is, or deal with my struggles like she does. I know women joke about turning into their mothers, but for me that was a real fear. I wonder if she felt that way too; her mother was no picnic either.

Generations of women in my family have passed on a legacy of fear, control, and manipulation to their children. I refuse to live like that. I fight NOT to be those things. I cannot, do not, and will not continue the cycle of abuse passed down on my mother’s side of the family. It ends with me, even if that means she is no longer part of our life. I don’t know if the future holds mending for our relationship, or if I even want that right now. Here’s what I do know…

Our last interaction was on July 4th. America’s Independence Day. It wasn’t planned that way, but it‘s become quite symbolic for me. Since then I’ve experienced a freedom I have been craving for most of my life. Freedom comes at a cost, but I keep reminding myself that I am not responsible for her – what she does or what she says, and that feels really, really good.

Anne Lamott once said, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

I agree.

Read about my fellow challenger’s moms:

Don at donhillson.wordpress.com

Beckie at free2b2much.blogspot.com

Tracy at countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com

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