Where I Was (August 2022)

Unlike other months where I wrote a lot in drafts as the month went on, August has almost nothing. But I’d like to add here some bullets to show where I was.

This is the only thing I wrote:

The Lost Years

I went to my first Bible study with a friend. Well, it wasn’t actually the Bible we read, but rather the book “What Is The Bible” by Rob Bell (which I very much enjoyed). I was nervous before I went. I wouldn’t know anyone besides my friend there, and I am very new and uncertain in my understanding of Christianity and my own budding faith. But it all went really well. Everyone there came from very different backgrounds and the atmosphere was casual and open-minded. I left wanting to attends next month’s session.

An interesting thing happened there though. A girl mentioned how she strayed from religion in college, as her religious friends had an attitude that just didn’t match what her heart felt was right. She felt where is my place HERE. The group discussed. And then as we all moved on I heard the pastor lean over to her (he has known her since she was a little girl), and he said something to her about how even though she may have felt off track for a few years, it was her prior relationship with God that pulled her back.

His comment hit me. Where was God in my past? As it stands now I feel He wasn’t there. I always felt so alone. I always was so alone. That lonely little girl and young adult still lives so much inside of me, all those years lost without Him. I feel those years broke something essential in me…but was I actually alone? Was He there all along?

Poems From August

I write my poems in quick burst of energy on the notes app on my phone. Outpourings of intense emotions in a moment. Therefore they capture the months intense emotions well.

You're gonna be you,
I'm gonna be me.
Maybe we'll see us 
In eternity.

--

If anyone saves me in that place
I know the face
It will be 
If any

--

Each out breath you take
Makes a space 
For me to fill

But we can never catch the other 

Though sometimes 
As your breath quickens
I feel I catch you there
A little gasp of your air

And I laugh 
And I cry

Without your fall I will never rise
Without my retreat
You will never grow

Invisible 
Bedfellows

-- 

What if I am wrong
What if you are the Son of God?

My faith in You is far too great
For even a molecule of me to shake

--

Important Events:

  • With approval from my counsellor and my doctor I started tapering off my antidepressants August 26th. I took half a pill for a week, then stopped all together.
  • My son started Kindergarten. This is a point to look back over my stay at home mom experience with him and our relationship. He is a little boy now. When I reflect on our stay at home experience, there is a heaviness. There are so many areas I wish I did better. But there is also so much joy! He climbed the steps of the school bus that first day with so much excitement. He was ready for this big transition. I feel he has a security with my husband and I, a base of love to jump into the world off of. And he seems to often feel it! (Though I know I still do have work to do in being more freely expressive with love.) He starts each day with such joy. He seems like a happy little boy. So at this big milestone I feel mainly encouraged. Oh, the work that went into getting him to this point! It is good to stop and reflect, and also to see the years pass so FAST. He is still my little boy today. How I wish I could hold onto these moments forever.
  • My daughter has one more year before school. Still my mind has started to wonder what I will do after these stay at home mom years come to an end. What will I do career wise? As space opens up for ME and growth in my life. What is next for me? What do I want? That turning back to self sounds promising and good. But there is an uncomfortableness to it. I can’t claim the “I have no time I’m a new mom” title anymore.” The time for major growth for myself is coming.

Where I Was (July 2022)

(*I’m editing this in October 2022. I am in a different place now. Different conclusions. I am tempted to delete what I no longer fully feel. But I believe it is important to document my journey step by step. There are no right and wrong parts, only parts, to whatever journey this is I am on. *)

(Written: July 2022)

Counseling

Still talk therapy. But progress. The final strings are being cut. Another counsellor is telling me my Dad has narcissistic traits. I resist, but it’s sinking in. It’s all sinking in. But as it does, I see a rising of another sun. I am forming my own family now. I am blessed, and hopeful my family can be full of love.

The Car Battery Challenge

Our car battery died in our garage this month. It is our only car. At first I felt panic – if we don’t rely on my parents anymore we have to start from scratch socially. My husband’s family is hours away, and are rarely in touch with us. Many members of my extended family live close by, but I’ve never formed close relationships with any of them.

After going through all our options, we decided to make an online post to our neighbors to see if anyone could jump us. It felt like a last resort. Immediately we had a response from one couple. By the time I got outside, to help my husband roll the car out of the garage, another 2 neighbors were heading over with battery chargers and jumpers in hand! They all seemed so eager to help, even people we’d never met. It was so joyfully done. I was overwhelmed. This was not the WORLD I was raised in, or taught to believe in. It felt like a message from God – kindness is all around me. He is all around me.

A Neighbor Struggles

This summer I have grown close to one of the other moms on my street. She stays home with her young children as I do, so we have hung out a lot this summer. We always have our children with us when we spend time together, so that limits our conversations, but still; I have developed a real fondness for her as a person. She has a very sweet heart.

While our kids were at sports practice together, in a private moment, she shared struggling as a stay at home mom. She was feeling overwhelmed. She said her husband didn’t understand her feelings of overwhelm, and moreover was frustrated by them. She sounded like she needed help with the kids and around the house, and her husband was saying he wasn’t able to. It was her job. She also shared that she has struggled with anxiety, especially social anxiety, her whole life. And that the recent move (she just moved in a few months before) has brought up a lot of anxiety in her.

I felt so much for her! I barely have it together most days with my 2 children, and my husband helps me constantly. My husband also is fully in touch with how much work being a stay at home mom is, and he has a listening ear and supportive words for me when I am struggling. I can’t imagine doing this alone, and feeling judged for struggling!

I tried to support her with my words. I let her know, that I heard her overwhelm and that I was not judging at all. I shared how I too found being a stay at home mom a near impossible job, and that my husband was helping a lot when he wasn’t working. I supported her feelings that she needed more help around the house. I told her that if she ever needed a few hours off to swing her kids by my house and she can leave. Our kids play together almost everyday anyway. I wanted to help. As I left practice that evening, I felt a heaviness from our conversation. I definitely felt she was in a dark spot. I shared the conversation with my husband that evening.

The next afternoon the situation escalated, and it was obvious her family was having major struggles.

I felt guilty, I knew she had been upset but did not know how serious it had been. Another of her close friends was angry with her and her husband. They didn’t like the stress and drama they had brought to our street and they told them. That family pulled back from my friend and her family. They didn’t feel comfortable with them anymore.

I was shocked, all I felt was concern for her obviously, and her whole family. I reached out through text the day of and over the week. I shared with her my own struggles with depression and moving. I shared that my family was here for her and hers. I asked her if she wanted to talk. She said she would really like that, and would call me the next day. No call. When I checked in a few days later, we again arranged to go for a walk to talk later that week. She text me day of and cancelled.

At that point, I gave her space. And I sunk into a state of doubt. I started feeling like my love and support of others is simply a burden. (Old issues deep within me were being triggered by this event).

Then the day of the sport’s practice rolled around. Our daughters are on the same team, so I knew I would see her there. That day she came and sat next to me like normal. But she seemed distant. After a few minutes she got up to take a phone call, and then came back over and said it was crowded where we were sitting so she was going to sit farther down.

At this point, I was hurt. It had seemed clear to me before that she didn’t want to speak to me about what had happened, which I totally understood even if it hurt my feelings. But now it felt like she didn’t even want to be around me anymore. And when people hurt me, I run from the relationship. I could feel that slide into running.

I sat there for about 10 minutes. My mind was ricocheting with the thoughts and feelings of so many sides of me. Finally one side started to build momentum within me “approach with love.”

I got up and went and sat next to her in the less crowded area. When I sat down she immeditaely put her hand on my knee and said “Oh, bless you for coming over here. This crowded room is giving me such anxiety.” We had a good conversation, and I expressed my complete love for her and her family no matter what “others” were saying. When the time came to leave I reached over and gave her a hug. This seems natural I imagine, but that is the first time in my life I have done so in such a moment. The whole conversation and hug felt so awkward to me, I felt stupid and bumbling. But I knew what I was trying to express, and I knew that was more important than anything else. Love and support for someone who was going through a challenging time in life. A time when some were turning away.

In some ways, it feels like another sign from God. Him showing me – I can be there for others. That (unlike what my inner critic says) others actions are rarely about me – they are about the other person’s own fears. In this case, she wasn’t avoiding me. She was going through a lot in her life. She was afraid to have the conversation. She was afraid of being judged. She was experiencing intense anxiety.

Still I resist

Still I resist it, I fear my love, fear it’s a burden. I get in the way, best to seclude myself in the comfort of isolation (my norm). But no my heart so longs for human connection, for a human difference. It knows the feel of years and years of loneliness, the suffering that lies in that.

I falter in this all because I fear. And so quick those fears old fears all come back up. Social rejection cuts me deep. I see that now. It shifts me on to whole different tracks. That tracks of no one loves me, and my love means nothing to anyone. Everyone is just “putting up with me, pitying me”.

When I feel so unloved, and old more narcissistic coping side of me comes out. And I judge others, as I push them away. But those old narcissistic coping styles aren’t able to last as long now, as I feel I am growing beyond them. I see them as harmful and damaging more quickly now. It’s a good thing those old defenses are falling away. But still I struggle and new coping mechanisms come up to try to help calm me – but often the new coping mechanisms aren’t healthy or helpful either.

But I am having moments where I see progress in my learning the art of loving. Something as simple as a hug to my friend as I said goodbye to her – I feel so silly to feel so proud of it. But it is the first time in my life I have ever let that urge express itself. I have felt the urge to hug a friend going through a struggle or even simply saying goodbye before, but my feelings of uncomfortableness or fear have always won out. I see, I am bumbling, but I am trying to express my love of others.

Where I Was (April)

(Written: April 2022)

The Birth of A New Parent

I’ve been donating clothes, and buying new one’s. New styles for me. I have figured out a very simple and natural makeup look I love. I finally understand what it feels like to look in the mirror and feel confident and beautiful. The energy I see, reflects ME. It’s new, and wonderful. Something young inside me, is giddy over it all. Delights in this new found expression of self, and confidence in it.

At home that is…..

Out in public other sides of me seem to gain a voice. When I was dropping my kids off at preschool this week that “other side” got busy. In my mind I was hearing what “everyone else was thinking” – judging me and my new clothes, my new makeup. Judging me as a person and a mother. With all these thoughts playing loud in my head, I walked toward the front door of the preschool with my head down. I couldn’t wait to get back to the safety of the car. I felt foolish.

And then, something I’ve never experienced happened. An inner voice showed up to “protect me” from myself. This new voice said “even if they are judging us – let’s defend and encourage “her” (me). She needs us. It is not a time to join the voices of judgement, but a time to support “her” (me).”

And in that new self-loving and self supporting space, I felt peace again. I remembered how happy I was with my new look. How I felt myself expressed in my style. And amazingly once I got this breathing room, reason returned to me as well. None of those busy parents, were paying any attention to me that morning. Those thoughts were purely my own fear speaking.

Freeing of an Old Parent

Whenever I have to interact with my parents for a long period I always feel so sunken the day after. Recently after one of my visits, I laid in bed in the morning, heavy. I don’t understand how they have the power to twist my perspective into darkness. I feel alone, invisible – abandoned. That alone weakens me greatly. I stayed in bed 30 minutes to an hour longer than usual. This meant my husband was going to get to work later than usual (he works from home).

I did get out of bed though and into the shower. Where like usual, in that lonely and rejected state, the inner critic found me and had a lot to say. “You are lazy, dragging everyone down. You are a burden. Your husband might lose his job now -he’s too busy for this”.

Another side of me (which is fairly familiar to me now) rose us to respond in anger to this voice. “Leave me alone!” “You are so cruel!”. I still feel the hits of my Inner Critic, but I’m at the point in my journey where I don’t “believe” everything the Critic says anymore. And I most certainly don’t believe any human should be spoken to in the tone of harshness and hate the Critic uses. It’s not a voice of love, compassion, grace, or growth – it is not a voice of Jesus.

Still, the emotional hits on an already emotionally struggling me left me rubbing my head in frustration and helplessness. Then something interesting happened (probably because I had just been researching how to work with these sides of me through IFS). A voice came in to stop the resistance to the inner Critic. This voice seemed to have an understanding of the inner critic. It knew the inner critic wasn’t “evil” it was merely “confused”.

As this side talked with the Inner Critic I was able to come to understand the Inner Critic (like always) was trying to protect me. It assumed “these accusations” were coming, or soon would be if I let myself lapse in my productiveness. It was trying to make sure that I didn’t “upset” the schedule for anyone, that no matter how I felt I would keep quiet about it and “get the task done on time with no complaints”. That I behaved so I wouldn’t get in trouble.

And I heard this voice reassure the Inner Critic, “That all isn’t going to happen anymore. She is not at risk of getting in trouble”. It told the Inner Critic that people around me now don’t think like that. I am safe to have big emotions. I am safe to share them. I am safe to ask for moments off if needed. And I felt a huge release of inner tension. The inner voice was quiet. And in that now quiet space I felt grief. A sense of my past reality sinking in. How my childhood world and then by extension “the world” hadn’t felt safe psychologically or emotionally to me.

But also, what freedom. That old parent (my Inner Critic), caught a glimpse of a new environment, and for a moment backed off. I am not failing. I am not weak. This is simply what is required for me to let go of what I learned over decades and to relearn that today I am safe to be me. That I am not alone, that love exists, that I am loved, that I am safe.

I asked my husband if I could have another 30 minutes after my shower to type this all up. The final step in me processing it.

Another Step

In the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, my heart kept pulling me to attend an Easter church service. But I was unsure of where to go. I do not have a church, I have never had a church. Well, besides the one my Grandma brought me too as a little girl. So I asked my Grandma if I could attend Easter Mass with her. “Of course” was her response. She was delighted to have company and delighted to hear I wanted to attend.

So Easter morning, after my kid’s woke up to their Easter baskets, I got dressed and headed to church with her. My heart found a peace there, a determination there, I felt myself somehow make a promise there to LOVE. Whatever comes.

I am starting to feel, and step into, being a Christian. A follower of Christ. Which to me feels like the most natural of impossible challenges. LOVE. The highest meaning of my heart and soul. LOVE. However, I find the words “being a Christian” very complex. Some aspects I relate to, some I do not.

But my heart knows, when I am with nature, when I watch the face of person after person receiving Communion, when I walk through the empty chapel at my son’s preschool after morning drop-offs – I am there, I am not alone, I am home.

(April 2022)

The Gender Of Love

I have determined the gender of love.
The world gathers round.
Some pray tearfully,
Some joyfully,
Some don't pray at all.
 
Watching sun descend,
I set the heavy book on altar.
It's two hands are weak
Against sensations held within.

She's there! 

Rising out of written words
On decaying paper she dances. 
Converting ancient language to newborn song,
Telling of her longing.
Her gently luscious voice 
Is the vibrations of the world.
Waves of us
Fall to our knees,
But right before we propose ourselves and the world 

She stills and shifts to He.

A stone who grows in height. 
And in his flight
Turns his head.
Left and pausing 
Right and pausing.
Then looks down, and bends to page
And with a pen
Records her song again.
Adding in how all will be achieved
Loyalty to life.
His instructive words
Are the math of the world. 
Waves of us
Fall to our knees,
But right before we propose ourselves and the world 

He stills and shifts to She. 
 
Some pray tearfully,
Some joyfully.

(September 2021)

I Find Love

I find love to be a complex thing 
Yes, even the love Christ brings 
He says he loves me 
But how could that be  
For most of me is faithfully unkind 
I guess he's simply paid me no mind
He replies what is me is past what is seen
I lie in unmanifestable dream - eternally clean
I've paused more, mined silences, surveyed what's within
I've never seen anything other than darkness and Him 

(December 2021)

You Have Forgotten Who You Are

You have forgotten who you are.
But I haven’t. 
Some part of God
Lost to love.

But your heart beats,
Listen!
It will guide you back, 
You say to “death!” 
And I agree
As all paths lead
Certainly to destiny.

But if we hold to love,
Through the darkest paths of fear.
We may find a death
With breathe

Our immortality

(August 2021)

Poem – Kahlil Gibran

"Your children are not your children.
     They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
     They come through you but not from you,
     And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

     You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
     For they have their own thoughts.
     You may house their bodies but not their souls,
     For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
     You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
     For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
     You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
     The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
     Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
     For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable."

- Kahlil Gibran 

Complete Love

Being before complete love
We have no fear
For to love completely
Is to know we are completely loved 
Safe
Secure 
Eternally

And we will turn
And reveal 
All
Before all
And find only...

We have no fear 
For to love completely 
Is to know you are completely loved
Safe 
Secure
Eternally 
You 

(May 2021)

Inspiration:

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19)