You forgot to love yourself.

I remember looking at my ex and knowing that if I had a shred of self esteem I never would have acknowledged him…but I didn’t and I threw away many years believing perhaps I had a problem loving (I don’t) or that maybe I was just scared or damaged by my family (his near constant whisper in my ear) and I couldn’t handle complete devotion.

I listened to his passive aggressive crap about my family for years while also watching him sleep soundly as I got up and did all the work…I listened to the complaints about me while he sat in his underwear “looking” for a job for years but also took note of the fact that he would not work forever unless it was a CEO position. He would let everyone suffer rather than lower himself to actually help…

I am a strong willed person and that is what saved me. I was not the one to believe the nonsense about my family because I have both a brain and extreme devotion to those I love. It is one of hundreds of signs when your spouse tries to convince you your family is flawed. When they try to isolate you from your friends and family and then when they become deeply unhappy or agitated when you go against these wishes…and God forbid you go speak of their family they way they so freely speak of yours.

Soon you find you have lost most contact with the ones who adore you. You have no friends where you used to have many. Your joys are not shared and so you give them up. The ones who make you laugh and happy also bring guilt because you feel like you are in some way betraying the one at home, and then when you get home you are put down but told “I was joking” and your life is one huge mess.

Extremely damaged people can make hell feel like home.

I found that I had to be numb in one way or another to just be ok and when I worked hard and got very healthy his unhappiness and tears became near constant. When I got angry about his not having a job the passive aggressive crap began then the kissing up in a ridiculous way and then tears and when you don’t give in then you will get the threats. Suicide was a big one. He went to that one frequently and obviously it was my fault…all of his failures were in fact partially or entirely my fault.

I am brave. I am worthy of a beautiful life. I am an amazing soul who has gifts and humor and finds happiness in loving others…so I left. I got every single threat known to man but I was done and it became predictable and transparent. You can’t make a person kill themselves! That is obvious but not obvious when you’re in deep. You are not responsible for another adults mental health, they are. If someone truly loves you they will do what needs to be done. They contribute. They love your family because you marry the family as well. They don’t ever make fun of you and your personality or hobbies or being. They don’t try to damage your relationships (this one will haunt you later.) They don’t watch you go crazy while doing nothing and then suddenly beg and plead when you lose it. This is very literally the opposite of love and one day you wake up and if you’re lucky your gone and it’s then that you see that this person was completely incapable of actual love. They needed you because just think about where they would be if you left?

I am deeply in love with my life now and it looks nothing like I thought it would. I wake up happy and go to bed happy and work my butt off happy and have a relationship with my parents I didn’t know possible. Everything I thought was wrong. My father sat me down and told me that I was a joy!! My mother said how grateful she was to have me to talk to! My neighbors all gave my daughter and I gifts because we have really close friendships and I have more love in my life than I ever had even as a child.

Every second you decide what your life will be.

Me then you.

I’m not sure if I’m a normal human. Sometimes the feeling of having lived before is so profound…the ability to empathize with the unseen in far away lands or the familiarity of a landscape I’ve never seen. Or maybe it’s just that my soul so desires to see, touch and taste everything this world has to offer…I feel claustrophobic just staying within the walls of my own perceived “space.”

I look back on my struggles and feel such frustration at my simple and egocentric life…what a waste. My need to be numb to avoid the screaming in my head “YOU’RE NOT WHERE YOU BELONG!” I had no one to guide me or explain to me that perhaps my mind was bigger than my world. That I was feeling caged and the same and I wanted to be free and different.

I wanted to learn about every single culture and to use my hands to create. I wanted to understand the looks in people’s eyes and I didn’t want to miss anything. I wanted to help and to build and to be a part of the world not just the tiny little world allotted to you when you follow life’s rules. I don’t love rules.

When I had my daughter it was just us (still is) and I was so excited at the ability to fill her spirit with everything so she could take on this world. I wanted to foster in her a deep love for life. A knowledge that the world is vast and textured and hers. That she is not limited to only the ground in front of her and that learning is a gift, a prize…and it extends far beyond textbooks.

I desire to raise a child who is not the same! The world doesn’t need millions of kids staring at their phones. We definitely do not need another kid scrolling through Instagram and Snapchatting their way through to adulthood repeating the nonsense that they are told matters. I owe it to HER children to grow her fully. I owe it to the world to raise a woman who engages entirely and brilliantly with everything around her.

So now we homeschool. We do spelling tests in magical forests and math outside of a museum. We wish on stars at 4am then learn about astronomy by pointing out constellations and watching videos of the space lab. We make friends with people from other cultures and religions and we learn about them and who they are. We live and adventure and play because that is what really matters.

I am raising a child who is brave, well mannered, well rounded and interesting. A child who is deeply empathetic and who looks into your eyes and holds your hand. Someone who wants to take care of others and who also loves to be taken care of. She will always help the child who falls down but also will just walk away if someone is unkind…at 6 she knows her worth. That is my prizeā¤

Every day is God’s gift to me and what I do is my gift to God…or maybe who I raise is my gift.

Continue reading “Me then you.”

Go outside.

Did you know many kids average only 4 to 7 minutes outside per day!? Those same kids average over 6 hours per day on screens…video games, social media not to mention online school…just reading that gives me anxiety.

I have opted for a polar childhood for my daughter. She is outside for the majority of the day everyday. We do watch TV together but we mostly adventure and play. The benefits are blatant and beautiful and undeniable for both of us.

The author Tom Corley compiled a test telling about how to raise our children to be successful and happy in life and it puts kids in one of six categories giving the likelihood of success later in life…not even one question related to success in school or test scores! The questions related to strong relationships, gratitude, self care (exercise, sleep, limiting junk food and screen time, etc.) Being responsible with money, being a life long learner.

It seems we as parents focus so much on school success and extracurricular activities in order to create a well rounded child that we forget that perhaps these aren’t the things that truly matter. These aren’t the areas that facilitate true happiness or success later in life. What about the value in areas that can’t necessarily be measured?

I decided early that I wanted my daughter to see the magical parts of the life. To see outside as the ultimate playground. I knew that for me finding dragonflies and baby frogs was far superior to artificial light and staring at a screen. I also see the direct relationship between the amount of time I spend outside and my mood so I knew it would also be healing, educational and bonding for us as a family.

We start our day with a walk in our jammies. Just a little walk to see the stars (we get up early) and to pick flowers for potions and to decide on the direction our day will take. It is one of my favorite traditions and always sets the tone for the day.

Sunlight regulates human physiology and behavior. Sunlight effects hundreds of bodily functions because our bodies have daily rhythms that require exposure to the sun’s day and night schedule to function at its highest level. When you consider that humans spend over 90% of their waking hours indoors our decision to spend the majority of our day outside feels like such an act of rebellion.

I desire to raise a whole, brilliant, kind and interesting human who talks to you while looking into your eyes. I am so changed by living this way and encourage anyone to try it for a week and watch the immediate benefits.

Happiness

I’m so happy. I mean I have a near constant state of gratitude and peace that I never ever EVER thought possible. I feel mostly joy and I don’t feel terribly weighed down by the problems of others.

For as long as I can remember I have had anxiety. Sinking into the center of the earth anxiety. Praying God would take me anxiety…literally trying every drug, herb, food and distraction anxiety. And then I gave up…

Giving up for me meant stopping every single thing that altered my brain. I wanted to know me if I was going to let go of me. I knew intuitively that if I needed a drug to deal with my feelings then something was wrong with my environment or my perception of my situation or the people I was surrounding myself with..nothing was ever wrong with me specifically. I retrospectively can say that the only times I’ve been truly alive is as a young child and in the past 7 years and that’s not to say there hasn’t been tough times…but in the past 2 years there have been few.

I absolutely had to go through hell to get back to that childhood state of wonder and grace. I had to lay on the bathroom floor dealing with insomnia and not knowing if I would live through the pain. I had to revisit every shitty moment and abuse and insecurity and I had to turn my life entirely over to God who I wasn’t even sure was listening. Try praying for a sign at these times!! Absolutely nothing happened. Apparently you can’t manipulate God.

I also had to be ok with the fact that every relationship I had was not going to stay the same. Some would end, some would alter and some would grow in ways I couldn’t imagine. I had to be ok with losing everything to get me back and I was and in some ways I did lose everything and I wish deeply I had done it sooner.

Those relationships that require you to not be 100% authentically yourself are not real and they have little service to you outside of being a comfortable hell that you are too scared to leave. I miss nothing of my life before. Not one single second.

I gave myself entirely to God and it gave me a peace and gratitude that I knew at 7. I had to find a relationship with God that served me and my path and because I was raised in church and I felt confused by the hate and judgment that was preached near constantly. That isn’t God. God created us perfect. Gay, single, divorced, flawed, sinners, screw ups, broken, transgender…it doesn’t matter. We are perfect to God. We are enough. I am enough.

I don’t question my path because I have been on it long enough to know it is perfect for me. I have absolutely no need to alter myself to deal with my day. I sometimes struggle with people and then realized that generally those aren’t my people…I am happy and no it wasn’t easy and yes it took so long to see the benefits but all the things I was searching for externally were already there. The relationships I craved came when I was clear and open to recieving them and many of my deepest dreams started coming true and they looked nothing like I thought they would.

I am whole. I always was but this world and the people we surround ourselves with can tell us otherwise and it’s a lie and once you understand that you start to see you can have everything and you deserve that.. no matter who you are. I am not perfect and I never will be in the world’s eyes but I am to God and that is enough. I’m a better person and I can love you entirely because I love me.

Agree to disagree….No.

“Agree to disagree” is reserved for things like “I don’t like cilantro” not racism and homophobia…not human rights. Not being a good human being. I mean a BASIC kind person with a soul.

I think the topic of racism is one that serves as an instant filter. If you disagree right now with the protesters (not the looters) if you disagree that Black people have been treated in an abhorrent manner and if you roll your eyes at me…well yuck and bye.

I hope we never go back to “normal” greedy, dishonest, self centered world treating some people like they matter and others like an afterthought. I will work to make sure this time is cemented into the mind of my child so she stays on this path forever helping to eliminate the hateful voices

I love my colorful world. I LOVE my family and friends who are worth more than every adjective can describe. I love using my voice to stand up for what’s right and good and I know there are way more people like me than the evil ones hiding behind ridiculous rhetoric.

I will support Black owned businesses, educate myself on the history you don’t hear about and educate my daughter so she can educate her children…check out urbanintellectuals.com.

Being a hateful person is a fearful choice. Hate is weakness. It’s a character flaw.

New Word

I’ve been holding my breath.

When things got strange and talk of a virus began I blew it off. No big deal!! Who cares! You have a young child at home and half your year is fighting off one weird sickness after another so…what’s one more cough. Ugh. It was more. Life was about to change.

I used to pray life would slow down. Once school starts for kids the days become fast forward and rigid… hurry hurry hurry!!! Running from home to school to home to errands to food then back to school then hurry hurry hurry or we will be late to gymnastics then dinner then 7 minutes of quality time before trying not to shriek GO TO SLEEP because you have to be up at 5 if you want a minute alone to drink your coffee in peace then saying sorry 87 times to the sleeping child because you feel so guilty about rushing and you miss them already.

Now we find ourselves doing ALL the quality things. Literally all of them. All day…that is almost all we do. I’m going crazy. My child is going crazy because I am going crazy. Life has altered and I wasn’t prepared.

I woke up this morning realizing that life is forever different. I had been holding my breath waiting to be set free. Waiting to rush to the park and laugh with the moms and watch the kids euphoric to see each other. To grocery shop listening to cheesy music while older people smiled at my wild child dancing through the aisles eating a opened snack. To be annoyed at the long walk to the beach because the parking lot was so full. I had been waiting! DAMN!

That’s not going to happen is it. That magical day is not coming in two weeks or two months. This is life now and we have to settle in just like we settled into every new phase of our lives…but I wasn’t prepared for this change and I guess I am going to need to mourn the loss of the old. I am going to have to feel the anxiety and let my child feel hers as well and then life will go on…whatever that means now.

I feel scared. Not of the virus. I feel scared of the loss of freedom…how interesting. My perception of the world has permanently altered and I feel a loss of control and it feels scary. I wonder how I will reflect on this in a year? How will I feel proud of myself? What will I wish I had accomplished? When will I take my pajamas off..

Generational curses

I used to think generational curses were actual curses put on a family like the “curses” you see cast by the evil witch in a movie…feels the same minus the beautiful gown and prince who saves the day.

I have been committed to ending the generational curses in my own family. I may never be able to help those that came before me but I damn well can help my child and those that come after.

You watch patterns and if you step back and become non reactive you see the curses layed out so clearly…lack, fear, shame, anxiety, hate, pride. Well, no. I say no. No I will not be apart of this, no I will not pass this down, no you can’t have my soul I’m taking it back.

I’m brave. I am. I will always defend you, I will never stand by and watch someone being bullied or abused. I will take the hit and because of that I know I can overcome any curse no matter how strong.

I will watch as the children in my life grow up totally unencumbered by the very things that threatened to suffocate me and I will see them thrive and know that the hell ended with me. Someone has to say no more.

I will say it. I will stand in it. You may have destroyed every generation before us but you cannot have us because we see you.

Maybe just the knowing is the beginning of the end.

Inside out

I searched and searched for signs and messages at my lowest points…show me God, show me that you’re real…just a little sign PLEASE!!!

This doesn’t work! At all. In fact when you hysterically cry out to the Universe the world actually seems to go silent. In desperation you see nothing. Zero. It is in surrender that the signs appear.