Monday, July 21, 2014

Free to be

Last week, something happened that made me quite sad. Actually, I was angry and if I were completely honest, I went into straight up pity party, woe is me mode. You know it; don’t act like you don’t! That mode where the world is simply unfair and you are being treated like a common criminal when everyone knows you deserve to be treated like royalty! Yeah, that mode! In the midst of my par’tay I said just as proudly and arrogantly as I could, “When is someone going to defend me?” And boom… the bomb dropped.

As if I were in a movie theater with stadium seating and 3D glasses, buttery popcorn, peanut M&M’s and a diet soda, I saw my life flash before my eyes. I recalled the little girl wanting to play with her neighborhood friend who seemed to be the idol of “the block”. But rather, she was in her room looking out the window because her neighbor’s cousin was in town - and the cousin always bullied me. This was my first experience of wondering, “Why won’t my friend defend me?”

Fast forward to high school. I had a friend who I loved dearly. We did everything together; we shared everything. And one day, she was no longer my friend. Just like that, it ended. To this day, I have no clue why. I wondered for years why she didn’t take a stand and defend me against whatever it was that tore us apart. Let’s be real here, I’ve wondered for a long time… up until last week.

Fast forward to college. The short and sweet – I was “steered” from joining what was familiar to me, although not conventional, only to be rejected by what was unfamiliar but would have seemed more befitting. Once again, I found myself wondering, “Why aren’t THEY defending me?!”

So, what was the bomb? It was a simple question. “When are you going to start defending yourself?” Boom - a paradigm shift. A 180 in how I think, reason, plan… live. Life isn’t about having others do for you what you can do for yourself. Why didn’t I stand up to the bully? Why didn’t I confront my high school friend? Why did I need the familiar? And why was I willing to accept rejection by the unfamiliar when I never wanted it anyway?

In truth, I have always wanted acceptance. And since I am removing the veil, I have always wanted to be on top – the best. So much so that I have compromised the very teachings and principles that shaped my formative years – my Christian walk. You see, in all my examples here, and the countless others elsewhere, it was never about them. It was about ME! I’m the best friend, I’m the lovable wife, I’m the one that’s super special. Surely you want to be with ME! In essence, I felt that I was so special that I shouldn’t have to face adversity. Life should treat me fair and right and when it doesn't “they” should be right there to help me! To defend me! To cater to me - sweet lil’ ole’ innocent me! Geez Louise, someone bring me some cheese for goodness sake!!!!!!

Wow, I didn’t expect to go there but why blog and share your journey of self-discovery if you aren’t going to be raw. I’m learning that my focus in life hasn’t been on those around me but on the accomplishments I wanted to make in life. It felt good to say I’m on umpteen number of boards (wearing myself O-U-T), and I am president, and I know the CEO, and I… I… I. What about them? Those who truly love me no matter what I accomplish… and here’s the kicker, or what I don’t accomplish. I am learning to love. I’m learning to love me for who I really am. I’m learning to love others for who they are and for who they are striving to be. But most importantly, I am learning to love Christ. I am learning that as I grow closer to Him I am gaining all that I ever needed. And that defense… well who needs a greater defender than the Savior?

I have lived a life led by fear… fear of what may be and/or what may be thought of me. I choose not to live that life anymore. I choose to live a life where I am free. Free to be the new me that I’m discovering more about everyday.

Friday, July 11, 2014

One Month Old

It has been a month since I started my journey of self-discovery. It has had its highs and its lows but it has been amazing. So let's go ahead and tackle the lows. In a nutshell, they come when I doubt myself and my decision to quit my job. Was I crazy? Should I have thought longer, harder? People probably think I've lost it. Sometimes I even cry a little (ok, a lot) and I want to call the world and say I am not crazy!!! And then I realize that I am thinking about this on my deck at 10:00 in the morning with a nice cup of coffee...and I realize that I am free.

Now, quitting my job meant giving up half of our family’s income. That doesn't come without sacrifice. We don't eat out all the time. Heck, ordering pizza one night was like a special treat! And two days later when we went to breakfast I thought I had hit the jackpot! I have my daughter (who is learning to be potty trained - sigh) with me almost all the time. I took on the responsibility of keeping the home and preparing meals. Not too bad until you're washing dishes (because paper products are a luxury people) for the umpteenth time when you'd rather be at the salon for your standing weekly gel nail appointment (also a luxury item that you've since given up)!

But! Yes, there's a BUT! But, there is beauty in all of this. In one month, I have seen more beautiful things than I've ever witnessed in my life. No, this is not the dramatic climax of my blog entry. I'm just stating the truth, my beautiful little life-changing truth. I realized that I'd never seen my husband for the protector that he has always wanted to be. I'll never forget the moment I realized it because it was a tangible moment that occurred from a simple embrace. An embrace that said, "I've got you, Lovely, and you have nothing to worry about." We've been married for almost 13 years and I've never felt I needed that. I wish I'd allowed it the entire 13 years. You may call me old fashioned but I call me a Godly woman who has rediscovered the love for Christ that she'd lost. My foundation was built on my career and not on the teachings I once cherished. I'd stopped praying and during weekly church services instead of listening, more often than not, I was surfing the net... ok so occasionally I even played Candy Crush.

I created a calendar of events and joined a "mommy & me" (thank you Facebook for your random advertisements) group. My daughter and I have started visiting places I was always too busy or too tired to visit before. We are discovering parks and daytime activities that keep us busy and prayerfully will keep us bonded. The other day I started her favorite movie, got her a snack and bundled her up. I was ready to start doing who knows what around the house when she said, "Sit down Mommy, please." We enjoyed that movie. I see my parents and I see them more. How sad is that? I stop by now just to say hi or to bring a sample of what I've cooked. (I don't want to get bored in the kitchen so I have started sampling fun and interesting recipes. Pineapple Dream, anyone? It has been fun for all of us!)

And I workout. And I love it!

So, what am I discovering in all this? That I was lost before. I was driven to climb a ladder that was taking me down. I was no longer breathing and I had stopped living. No, working doesn't mean death. But losing yourself no matter what you are doing is simply walking dead. I lost myself in my career. I lost me and now I am finding me. I love taking care of my family because I first take care of myself. I am gardening. I am still crafting. I am cooking. happy.

I have just begun, friends. I wanted a month to go by before I wrote my first blog because I wanted time to be sure I wanted to blog. I've rushed everything in my life. And I don't want to "hurry up and go" anymore. I want to keep living because I have tasted it and it's absolutely fantastic.

In the words of my little Pepper... Lata Gater

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

June 11 was the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning... however that saying goes. All I know is I was a free woman. I worked for fifteen years at a company I'd planned to work at for no more than a few years. But one turned into two and two into ten and before I knew it, fifteen years had passed. I don't regret staying that long. I met the man of my dreams there. He's my best friend and father of my darling daughter. It was at this company that I had conversations that changed the course of my life. So I definitely do not regret my time there. What I do regret is losing myself in the process. Honestly, I don't think I ever "had myself" which means technically, I couldn't have "lost myself", right? Well, figuratively speaking, I forgot what it felt like to breath... to smell the trees and walk barefoot in the grass. And that my friends, is where you find me today. Welcome to my age of discovery...