Walking Tall

This month I’m traveling around the country to check out fellowship positions. It is exhausting, trying, lonely, and often confusing. Most of all, I miss my kids.

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how fellowship and moving to one of these places would fit into the current, ideal, little life of mine, but it’s hard to do.

This morning, as I walk to the clinic, I am in awe of my own strength. This is not an easy task

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Hiatus Reveles

If you’ve ever lost yourself  amidst the chaos of daily life, then you might understand why I stopped blogging.  There was a long stretch of time where I felt that the person I use to be was missing, or maybe stolen… and that was the person who loved to blog.  I gave up when the posts I wrote felt forced (you should see the number of drafts collecting dust in that folder) and blogging wasn’t fun anymore.  That person who opened up her soul to an online world of similar soul searchers was slowly choked away; It started with the abrupt demise of The Cranky Giraffe and culminated with the realization that I no longer wanted the life I was living.

Today, I admitted to someone that I used to blog.  It hurts when I say “used to.”  She asked me why I stopped and I didn’t have a good answer.  Maybe I did have a good answer for why I stopped: “Because I wasn’t anonymous anymore and I lost my mojo and I was unfairly judged.” But the real reason was because I wasn’t the person I used to be.  I was sad and lost, and I wasn’t recovering.

In obeying the rules and expectations from some external force, I watched as my very essence slipped through my own fingers.  However, I grasped the last fray before it was completely gone; as if I could see in slow motion that the last piece was falling to the ground.  What started as an epiphany has progressively blossomed into a path of courage, strength, and disobedience.  I’ve let that last fray grow back and intertwine through my fingertips and up to my chest.  I breath it into my lungs and pump it out through my body.  I feel like I am finally recovering.

I’ve found myself called back to the blog.  I’ve found myself called back to many things I used to love and I have slowly been re-discovering the person I am (not used-to-be).

Daily Post

 

A Break From Authenticity

Last night I picked up my copy of Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. This book has been sitting on my shelf, unread, for almost three years.  My mandate to begin “Living Authentically” started shortly after I read Brené’s earlier published book, The Gifts of Imperfection. Since moving, starting residency, and having another baby, my goal to read Daring Greatly kept getting pushed to the bottom of my list.  Within the midst of my current existential life crisis, I decided it was time to pick up the book and stare Wholeheartedness right in the face.

I didn’t even get through the prologue before realizing that I no longer live, or even embody, the qualities of wholeheartedness and authenticity.  Maybe I used to, but in the struggle to keep up and keep going, I’ve let these important aspects of my life fall to the side.

Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection

~Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

The one thing I know for sure is that right now, I have no clarity of my purpose.  I am filled with fear and disconnection from my life and my purpose.  I feel confused and I lack direction because my viewpoint on life is clouded by outside expectations, judgement, and comparison.  My internal dialogue is lost and disguised by everything that defines fear and vulnerability.  These definitions were very well delineated by Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection and I know that reading that book changed my life.  I blogged about that change on the old blog and I will find that post to re-post here in the coming days.

Ironically, The introduction to Daring Greatly literally reminded me of these imperfections and what needs to be shed from my life:
1. Letting go of what people think
2. Letting go of perfectionism
3. Letting go of numbing and powerlessness
4. Letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark
5. Letting go of the need for certainty
6. Letting go of comparison
7. Letting go of exhaustion of a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
8. Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
9. Letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
10. Letting go of being cool and “always in control”

Each of these ten imperfections, every single one of them, comprise the mental roadblocks that I am struggling with right now.  These imperfections are preventing me from committing to the decisions I am faced with in my life today.  I need to lean-in to my fears and rediscover my vulnerabilities.  I need to embrace them and re-discover my own authenticity

 

Together in Pieces

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”
~Suzanne Collins

Image Source: ldsperfectday.blogspot.com

Over the past year, I have slowly been working on putting myself back together.  In last year’s post on this day, I spoke about making an attempt to be more positive and figure out a way to start moving forward.  Here is an excerpt from The Old Blog’s post from last year:

As I child, I remember my mom always getting so angry when something fragile would break because she could never glue it back together without it looking perfect.  This gave me the idea, from a young age, that you are never as good as you were before you were broken.  Anytime I got in trouble or got hurt in some way, I just imagined that it made me less “valuable.”  When I came across this Japanese idea of accentuating flaws – because it makes something more beautiful – I suddenly felt so much less “broken.”

I took the small pieces of myself that I had left and assembled them into a new life.  This really started to materialize in the new year, when I made multiple goals that I wanted to meet – most of which I did accomplish by the mid point of this year.  I am proud of my accomplishments – I ran a half marathon, I made great progress on my goal to read 12 books this year (I read 9 whole books, and I have 3 books on the go… the year still isn’t  over yet…).  I made some new friends, joined a taekwondo club, where I have attained a green belt (that is on hold now while I grow a tiny human), and I’ve got another year of residency completed and under my belt.

The most important part of all of this, though, is that I haven’t been pretending that everything is always okay.  I’ve admitted to difficulties and mistakes – and those are the gold seals that show up in this new and re-formulated life of mine.

I’m Not Always Okay, And I’m Okay With That

“I’m not okay, you’re not okay, and that’s okay.”

~Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

Reflecting on last year’s post thta accompanied this quotation, I realized that it still completely stands true: In our world, we have to get better with being “okay to not be okay.”  I struggled with the a lot recently, especially as I went through many internal difficulties but had no choice but to push through on the outside and act like everything was just fine.  In the past 12 months, I’ve lost an important friendship, come to terms with the idea that people aren’t always who or what we think they are, I had to say goodbye to my longtime and cherished blog, I decided to have a baby, and then I’ve made it through a horrible ill first-trimester.  Not all of that was okay… and that’s okay.  It really is.
(I’ve also realized that in the last little while I have drifted away from Brenè Brown and I need to get back into her books and philosophy)

From The Old Blog, November 3, 2014:

Do you ever notice how everyone is always “okay?”  I find it a little sickening, and irritating, and unhealthy that no one ever admits to being not okay.  Sometimes you can tell that people are struggling or having difficulty with something; yet when you ask them about it, they insist that they are okay.

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we do this to other people?  I feel that by pretending that we are always coping well with our lives and not facing any challenges, we are perpetuating the idea that it is abnormal to struggle with life’s challenges.  We all struggle with life sometimes.  Some people have more struggles and some people have less.  Regardless, when we constantly feel that the people around us are coping well all the time, it only makes us feel bad about ourselves for not coping well.  And you know what’s worse?  When we feel like we are the only people struggling, we become isolated and we don’t reach out for help.  Similarly, when we know people are struggling and they don’t reach out to us for help (even when we offer), we feel isolated from them in just the same way.

I tried working on this for a while – while I was reading Brené Brown’s books on Shame and Vulnerability.  As Dr. Brown alludes to in her books, we don’t admit to being “not okay” because it feels shameful and we are afraid of being vulnerable.  I tried overcoming my own shame and allowing myself to be vulnerable.  However, there is an overwhelming majority of people who are not ready for this.  We have all been hiding our shame and vulnerability for such a long time that when someone reveals it, we are unsure of how to deal with it – so we push it away like we do with everything else that makes us uncomfortable.  Brené Brown is ahead of her time – and trying out her advice can sometimes make life a little more isolating.

You have to pick the right people  with which to be vulnerable.  There aren’t many people I will open up to and admit that I’m not okay.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any of them here with me now.  I need to go back and revisit the world of Shame and Vulnerability, I think.  In the meantime, I just hope that more people will read Brené Brown’s books and realize that there is a whole world of human connection that is waiting for us if we would all just admit that sometimes we are “not okay.”

Throwback: The Past is Never Far

…And scars are souvenirs you never lose,
The past is never far.
Did you lose yourself somewhere out there?
Did you get to be a star?
And don’t it make you sad to know that life
Is more than who we are…

She was 13.  She sat in the corner, on the back bench of the city bus.  She held her new Sony Discman in her hand, the headphones circling her head like miniature ear-muffs.  This was supposed to make her cool, make her fit in – but it didn’t.  At least she didn’t think so.  She may have only been 13, but she was older than that, really; she was older than she was supposed to be.  Life was tough and tumultuous for that little girl.  It hurt.

It was a long bus ride to school.  The other kids got on the bus and she looked at them from her seat in the corner.  They were supposed to be cool, too.  She thought they were.  But she just sat there, holding her Discman, watching the white CD spin round and round and round.  She only listened to one song, over and over and over.  Repeated, day after day after day.

“Name” by The Goo Goo Dolls.

It’s been 16 years, but that song still plays.  And, every time it hits the radio, she goes back to that seat on the bus.

Life has changed but the song stays the same.  The hurt feels the same.  A prophesy come true.

…We grew up way too fast
And now there’s nothing to believe,
And reruns all become our history.
A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio,
And I won’t tell no one your name.

**Originally posted Feb 2013 on The Old Blog