So I was Told

“No one is telling you how they really feel about you. You force people to lie to you.” With a quick text, a second…self-doubt encompasses me. Others, close and not-so-close, have made me aware of their opinions about me as a person. Some positive and some not so much. And for the most part, fairly accurately. So who is it? Or who are they? Who is not being honest with me? And tell me why I need to care? I expect the truth.

Funny how someone, someone so incredibly close, can take any bits of self-confidence and shred it in a second. “…….But words will never hurt me.” I beg to differ.

14 Reasons Why I am Lucky

I guess in some shape or form we all have reasons for being and feeling lucky. But are we lucky as a result of some cosmic force providing us with wonderful pieces of our life? Or are we lucky as a direct result of reaping what we sow? Or maybe it’s because we just opened our eyes wide enough and altered our perspective just so? Whatever the reasons may be, they are there….reasons why you, me, are lucky. Certainly, I have more than just 14 reasons of why I am lucky. But, 14 is an important number in my life, a marker. So to list 14 just felt right. The first 7 are the more obvious of reasons. The bricks of my life per se. The second set of 7 are the deeper reasons. The ones that hold the bricks together and complete the structure, my life.

1. My two beautiful, amazing boys. Everyday they push me to be a better mom, a better person. They keep me in line. Make me question myself…in a constructive way. They are my motivation, my inspiration, my heart, and my soul.
2. My health. I am able to run, to practice yoga, to take deep breaths. I am able to clean my house, to walk my dog, and weed my yard. I am alive and well.
3. My friends. It’s nice to have people I can talk with, discuss my worries. Even complain. It’s wonderful to know I am thought of in so many ways.
4. My family. How lucky am I that I have family I can depend on to be there for me when I need them. I am loved.
5. My job. In my work, I have the ability to make a difference in a child’s life, however small. And they have made a difference in mine. What I do during my work hours is meaningful and full of hope.
6. My home. I have a roof over my head, a cozy bed, warm blankets, pictures on the wall that remind me of how great my life was, is, and is sure to be.
7. My dog. Yes, even my dog. He is such a caring, loving, sociable fluffy ball of happiness.
8. My breath. It centers me. Instantly relaxes me. It’s a gift that is always available.
9. Exercise. Some days it’s more challenging to begin a workout. But I never regret pushing myself to move. It uplifts my spirit. It feeds my body.
10. My sense of self. I have only relatively recently been able to feel and show my true sense of self. It was always there and shined at times. But now it’s more blatant. It makes me feel stronger.
11. Memories. Some good, some bad. But they all serve a purpose, a lesson, a reminder. I can look back with gratitude. I feel blessed.
12. Meditation. However short my practice is at this time, I’m still discovering. And escaping to a neutral space that allows me to stay the course.
13. To connect. I can connect with people. How amazing. Sometimes someone can relate the smallest of gestures that make the biggest impact. Stay open and feel the power of connecting.
14. My window. Sounds funny right? My window? Yes. I can look outside and watch my children play, hear their giggles, see their smiles, watch the intensity of their faces as they chase each other or ride their scooters or throw a football. I can see the flowers bloom and the grass getting longer. I can watch the cars drive by and the mail be delivered. All of these moments, these small gestures of life, remind me of why I am lucky.

Take a moment. Look out the window. Life is good.

Imprinting of the Past

My very first boyfriend was when I was fourteen years old. It was immature and very unhealthy. I remember arguing with him on the phone and he was kicking the dishwasher. He had this temper where kicking, breaking, punching various things in the house was a norm. As a result, there was an intensity to our relationship. If I look back further, I can remember my mother slamming cabinets, screaming, turning music up loudly in the middle of the night, all a result of being angry with my father. This is where the intensity began. Fast forward again to a relationship I had for almost five years…this beginning at a vulnerable age of sixteen. He was, on the outside, what many girls in the school at the time desired…popular, athletic, funny..a “catch.” But, it quickly became abusive in so many ways. I was verbally abused constantly. Emotionally, psychologically abused. I was controlled. And I allowed this to happen. I own it. This intensity was a part of me. And this relationship filled this need for intensity. I will admit there was this quiet part of me that new it was wrong. This was not love. It was hard for me to work through. I equate it to an addiction. I know if I married this man, I may not be alive today or maybe alive but so beaten down that I would be a hollow shell. College years created a forced space between us that eventually allowed me to break free. During this time of breaking free, I met my husband. I remember waiting for him to yell at me. It felt so much healthier than my previous relationship. I was by no means “addicted” to this man. I felt better. I felt stronger. I felt “I can live without this man, but I am choosing not to live without him.” Until one night I remember us arguing. He took my binder of study materials that I had been reviewing for an exam that would culminate the previous five years of hard work. He took that binder and threw it against the wall. The papers falling everywhere. The following day we were looking at potential reception halls. I lied in bed that night thinking “what am I doing?” But I moved forward. I felt this momentum that I thought at the time I needed to roll with. I questioned things in my mind. I gave myself no voice though. There were so many struggles within me that I became paralyzed in my being. So I moved forward on the outside, while the inside stayed paralyzed. Over the years, I tried to blend the inside with the outside. To find some sense of harmony. Today, here is what I know. I need to listen to my inner voice. I don’t deserve to be treated any less than well. I need to be a positive role model for my children, exposing them to positive role models, providing them with healthy lessons in relationships and love, teach them respect and empathy. I need to be this so they feel this. I don’t have blame, I don’t have regret. But I do have the need for change. I do have the need to finally allow that quiet self, that true self to move to the forefront. Yes, the past has shaped me. But I am ready to take charge and use my own hands to shape my present and my future. Are you?