A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table

The beginning of the year heralds not only the start of the next year, but also my birthday. Each New Year brings me to a nostalgic place full of reflection. For the last 4 and a half years I have been setting goals to become the best version of myself.

It really all began, ten years ago with a silly chain questionnaire and two honest responses. These responses haunted me. The question was would you be friends with yourself. I answered no. It was honest and true. I didn’t like myself; I had never and even though I was included in this chain with many of my friends at the time I felt more alone than ever.

The second response came from a friend. It took my breath away. The question was what is your biggest pet peeve and her answer was people with self-pity. I remember thinking she was talking about me as I read that response. Of course she wasn’t; but self-centered goes with self-pity and any reason to hate myself more was always welcome.

At first I didn’t know what do about it except let those honest answers to silly questions gnaw at me. Life kept me busy, twins came, we moved, but then as the dust settled I was faced once again with my low self-worth.

If I had to describe myself to others at that time I would have said; I am a lost and wayward soul just like anyone else. I do the best I can in each next moment, but I am mostly empty when I should feel so full.

I didn’t like that description, but I knew it was within my power to change it.

I made a decision to find out who I was and to be myself out loud. I was tired of hiding and hating myself. Thus this blog was born. It led me to open up every inch of my soul and pour it out.

Putting my heart into action became a practice; I did random acts of kindness on my birthday. Two years in a row I spent the day delivering gifts to others on my birthday because it was what I wanted to do more than anything else.Holiday Cheer was born.

It led me to tell the world about my ability to speak with spirit and my business was born. This need to be who I was out loud led me to quiet the voices that worked against me in my own head. Therapy, anti-depressants, self-loathing, fitness, healing and then the weight gain…I lived it all out loud here.

As my birthday and this New Year comes round again, I found myself again at square one. Silly after all this growth to somehow feel at the end of last year that I was back at the start.

I felt as if I was hiding more than showing up. That I was retreating and giving up more than finding the next step forward. And those honest answers to silly questions rose to haunt me once again. But this time there was an added haunt…I had someone recently tell me, “Why do you have to be such an overachiever?”

It stung. I wasn’t sure why exactly, but I think because it is true. This need to over do all the things; this force that if I am not doing it all then it is not enough always propelling me forward.

I am tired and unfortunately my health is taking the toll of my need to do all the things. My body physically can’t handle it any more.

As I sat down to make goals for this year; I found myself with writer’s block and it wasn’t the first time – I have several blogs still in my drafts folder because I couldn’t find my own voice enough to finish them.

I am tired of being sad when I should be happy. I am tired of being tired. I am tired of not showing up completely. I am just plain tired…

The answer was simple.

It was right in front of my face, but I just couldn’t see it. I looked up from my computer to the goal sheet from 2017 that still hung on my cork board. The beautiful chevron white gold tack gleaming like a beacon. Even though there were only 4 goals; there were sub-goals below detailing each one. A total of 20 goals to complete for 2017. Not all of them simple. While some of them were completed; it hit me that no wonder I always feel overwhelmed. No wonder the simple always seems so hard. Busy had become my default; filling time meant I wasn’t being still or quiet. I was hiding all over again; but this time just behind doing things. Adding things to a list; crossing them off only to add more.

Be still and know that I am God

I started to get still and quiet. I started to meditate again and think about the thing I most wanted in life. It was simple. I want to be present. I want to live. The past is the past and there is nothing I can do about that and the future is almost certainly out of my control, the only real thing is RIGHT NOW.

When I sat still and quiet and brought into view the RIGHT NOW; I envisioned a table.

My table was full. My family all in their chairs. Abundance overflowing on the table. Beauty, sustenance, love, friendship, all surrounded by green hills and the ocean. I could hear laughter and feel growth and success, but something seemed off. One chair at the table was empty. I looked around and everyone that should be there was there. Who was missing?

My family was there. Friends; check. Jesus; check. All my important people and beliefs were all accounted for. “Why is one chair empty?” I thought.

It was then that I realized I was witnessing all of this and seeing all the people there. My viewpoint was not one looking across the table but from above. I was not seated at the table. I was the one missing from my own life.

Ah, I was hiding in the busy-ness and not showing up for the best part; the RIGHT NOW. I was missing from my own life. My seat was empty.

To actually take a seat; I had to figure out why I had left it in the first place. Why was I really hiding?

Stupid, silly, life-eating shame. My weight kept me from showing up. The fact that I have a job with negative connotations; one that God may even dislike, kept me from showing up. I cringe when someone asks what I do for a living.

On top of that, life was happening so fast the mom guilt of not being present for my kids was eating me alive. What would my kids remember about me? Would they just remember that I took them here and there and nothing of substance? That I was always too busy?

So, this year as I reach my fourth decade; I choose to take that seat back. I want to be in the RIGHT NOW. How do I do that?

It all became clear at a funeral the other night. My wonderful, beautiful friend stood and spoke about her father. He had told her at the end that he was confused why everyone thought life was so hard. It is easy he told her; you just have to go out and love others. That was the secret to it. There was nothing hard about it at all. My heart burst open. I can do that. But there is more than loving others; that I have figured out. My chair was empty because I wasn’t loving myself enough. I needed to love everyone; me included.

Just as the day before, I had chosen to be grateful instead of begrudgingly taking down the ornaments from the tree as in years past; I was grateful I had a tree and ornaments to take down. I was grateful for each memory that came with each ornament. I was thankful that I had a home and a family and memories that surrounded me as I carefully put away Christmas back into its boxes until next year. I have woken each day grateful for another moment. And that is what fills my heart each second. I am grateful for the RIGHT NOW. While I am grateful for everything that also means, I have to be grateful I am me. To treat myself with love and grace.

The only goal for this year is that I live in the RIGHT NOW with no shame.

This year I am going to tell myself it is okay.

It is okay…

to feel lonely sometimes

to be scared

to be nervous

to try new things

to decide not to try new things

to live in the RIGHT NOW

to let the past go

to let the future be what it will be

to hide when I need to

to show up

to believe I am meant for great things

to believe I am worthy, as I am, in the RIGHT NOW

to use my armor when I need it

to live outside the lines

to believe in a Jesus that guides me through what I do every day; even speaking to spirit. In fact, to believe in a Jesus that knows I am doing the right thing.

to believe in miracles and magic

to laugh, live and love

to always take my seat at the table

to be my own advocate

I was watching a video with Brene Brown and Glennon Melton and they said that an eviction from your live is an invitation to heal yourself. Invitation accepted. This year the focus will be on me and that is not selfish, no self-pity or shame will be attached to that.

I will heal myself; and live in the RIGHT NOW. There is no limit to what you can accomplish when you are your best advocate; when you are seated at the table in your own life, present and ready to live each moment the best way you know how.

Wishing you a RIGHT NOW, shameless, grace-filled, love abundant 2018,

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On the flipside…

On the flipside…
Click photo to be taken to original source
Click photo to be taken to original source

I have written a great deal about happy; about how living out loud has helped me find joy.

But I want to make sure that I also talk about the dark days – the dark days are the days that my depression still gets the better of me – the days I feel like I am fighting a losing battle – the days I want to quit this whole living out loud gig and curl up on the couch and go back to my safe, secure hermit life.

I am on team keep it real and I realized I write this blog to catalog what happens on this journey to live out loud and that means that you have to see the flip side, too. Other people are on this journey, too or might decide to give it a try; and if they happen to read my blog they have to know about the hard days, too.

So, I have what I call dark days; days where my head roars with insecurities  –

“You aren’t good enough”

“You have nothing to offer.”

“You are not strong enough.”

“No one cares what you have to say”

“Why do you even try?”

“You will never be thin – you are meant to be fat.”

Loud and incessant the tirade of insecurities barrage me. Now this is the thing; you know in the fringes of your being that these rants aren’t logically true, but some days, the dark days, you are just too tired to argue back. Living with depression means you live in a constant battle with yourself every day. You fight your own brain…trying to retrain it to believe you are worthy.

In the beginning when I first started this journey, I was dog tired; felt like I had lived two lifetimes tired. I couldn’t stand the fight any more. That is when I decided to get help – I knew I couldn’t fight my depression all by little old self any more. That is how you live out loud – no more hiding. I knew I had to arm myself with the tools to succeed.

So I went to my doctor six months ago, I told her how I was feeling and that I was just so tired. She said, “If you had a heart condition would you take medication to help your heart?”

My answer was “Of course!”

And she said, “Your brain has a condition. The chemicals inside your brain aren’t functioning the way they should be and I can give you a small dose of a medication that can help make sure those chemicals are at a more even level so that your brain will function better – what do you think about that?”

Well, duh – that is BRILLIANT  – so of course I signed up for that and I decided I needed to talk to someone to figure out how to retrain my brain and try to end this internal war I have with myself. I have been taking medication for about six months and seeing a therapist for about the same amount of time. Tools…these are the tool for success…you need to be armed and ready for those dark days.

It’s weird doing the retraining after 30 odd years of hard wiring, but it is possible. And what I want you to know is that now even on the dark days; I am stronger than I ever have been. I remember that it is okay to give myself a break and watch TV instead of running. I remember that it is okay for me to have some peace and quiet me time. If things go wrong with the kids and I yell; I remember that I am human and I apologize. None of the above situations equal bad mom, bad wife, bad person.

Even though those dark days still bog me down a bit; the tools have helped me reach out instead of climbing back inside my own head and hide.

In the beginning the dark days would come and there would be no light at the end of the tunnel. Now I know that even on the darkest day there is light; there is always light.

Keeping it real –

M

December 2013 lessons…

Ah December – this month is always a time for regenerating. I don’t know about you, but after the holiday craziness, I always get real quiet and stay cozied up at home.

This month I have learned a lot and I thought I would share. Hope you find some nuggets of wisdom in my truths.

1. Sometimes I just need to chillax and watch some Jimberlake.

If you aren’t familiar with Jimberlake it is the combination of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. I was so thankful they were on Saturday Night Live this month. Here is one of my favorite skits from Jimmy Fallon’s show.

2. Zone in

I am a professional, top of the line, best ever zoner outer. I can zone out anywhere, anytime. It is something I developed in my sports days. I guess it isn’t truly zoning out because I just have extreme focus on one thing – like TV or writing or reading, but I can’t hear or sense anything else going on around me. While that is good, many times I zone out to the extent that I catch myself just going through the motions. You know how you drive somewhere and all the sudden you catch yourself and you think; whoa I don’t even remember the last stoplight or you pass your exit – sometimes I feel like I do that through life. There is so much going on day-to-day that sometimes I just don’t have the energy to focus on everything or everyone that comes my way, so I just go through the motions. I need to choose to zone in and really focus on all the things that come my way whether I have the energy or not. It will pay off in the long run.

3. Having the same shirt in multiple colors is never a mistake.

Okay, you heard me right I said never – so don’t hold me to this one. But you know how you go shopping and you get a shirt and you LOVE it and you think to yourself, man I wish I had got another one of these? Well I am here to tell you I finally did that and it was SO WORTH IT! I got the sweatshirt below in peach and gray and I have already worn both multiple times. Next time splurge for both or all three; it is totally worth it.

click photo for original source.
click photo for original source.

4. I am an obsessive reader.

This is just a weird tid bit if you needed any more random knowledge about me, but I can’t be alone on this one. So for example, I read the Hunger Games Trilogy in 3 days. I know I am late to the Hunger Games party, but I read a book a day. Then I had to go on Netflix and watch the movie and maybe just maybe I can get to theaters to see Catching Fire. I did the same thing with Fifty Shades of Grey – I read all the books in just days. I read every Harry Potter within days of them coming out and the kids and I read every Percy Jackson book back to back as quickly as we could. Same with the Spiderwick Chronicles. Maybe there is something wrong with me or maybe I just love books, when I find one I can’t put down and it is a series I just zip through them like Mario Andretti on the race track.

5. I am so grateful for modern technology and fantastic ER staff

One of my little guys had a horrible case of croup over the holidays. Poor little guy was wheezing something awful and nothing we were doing was making him any better so my husband said, “he needs to go tot he ER.” So I took him to the ER. They rushed us right in and got him several doses of EPI and some steroids. We spent just about six hours there, but they were amazing. They even got us into a room where there was a door and they shut of all the lights so each of us could get some sleep while they watched him after the last dose of EPI.

Plus the nurses and doctor were fantastic. The doctor made everything seem like it was no big deal. She had the best voice and was so calm. Of course my little guy was a trooper, never cried or got upset. He really disliked the nebulizer but her listened to the nurse letting him know he had to use it because he needed the medicine.

Just such a blessing that we can so easily get the medical attention we need to help our children or ourselves.

5. Duck Dynasty Bobble-Heads are a MUST have

Okay so I know Phil Robertson has created controversy lately, but I am not even going to touch on that. I just have to say I love these little bobble heads! They make me HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY! Seriously, listening to Jase and Si spout wisdom while I work is FANTASTIC.

“If you don’t know what you are doing you better do it quickly.” – Jase Robertson

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6. Living out loud has its setbacks.

So if you have read my blog you know I am doing my best to “live out loud” which is really just being my authentic self out in the real world. 99% of that is great. I feel better about myself, I have more fun, and I worry less…most of the time. Occasionally when I am talking to someone and since my filter is set on wide open, things will pop out of my mouth that can be taken as hurtful. Twice at our team meeting I said something to someone that could have been taken the wrong way. I apologized right away and even again with a phone call later, but that is the hardest part for me, having the filter set to wide open and then sometimes the things I say just come out wrong. My therapist says if I apologize right away and correct my mistake then all is good, but I am still having a hard time with that part. I know it is okay to be imperfect, but I absolutely detest with a passion hurting someone’s feelings.

7. Quick internet shopping can lead to cheetah print shoes.

Yup, I asked for Cheetah print Nike shoes for Christmas.

So my dad asked me for ideas for our family for Christmas and I knew something for everyone else, but I had a hard time thinking of something for me. I quickly thought – running shoes, I could use a new pair. So I looked online at the running shoes from Nike and saw a cute black and pink pair. Sent the link over to my dad who responded “are you sure you want that color?” And I thought, um yeah what’s wrong with black and pink. But I just replied with yes, please. Any way, I opened them on Christmas to reveal these little beauties.

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So from the side they look black and pink, but in light they have a reflective cheetah print. Maybe they’ll make me faster…I’ll keep you posted.

My husband recently told me about a quote he heard – “I am winning and learning”. So here’s to winning and learning my friends –

M