Friday, August 30, 2019

Being Seen and Not Heard

I'm 44 years old this year. The times in which I grew up, seem so different, from those that my kids are growing up in. Of course there are similarities. I mean we are on the same planet, in the same country, subject to some of the same societal expectations.

I don't need to say much about the major impact technology has had on the way of life over this last decade. I mean, wow, that's just big and not what I mean to focus on presently.

With age comes wisdom? I don't know if that is true for everyone. I do believe there are times in life in which most people, experience inner upheaval. Those times in which your previous ways of seeing the world, and especially seeing yourself, turn upside down. I would wager this happens for a huge population of women as they near 40. And it doesn't end there, it's really only the beginning of a rebirth that happens over many years. There are several spiritual and archetypal theories and traditions based on these very transitions. Most of which ring very true and speak deeply to me.

Being the age I am, I'd say I've been going through this portal for about 6 years now. Realizations, transformations, wounds resurfacing to be properly held up and healed, and deeper clarity on what gifts might live inside of me, and what I am meant to do with them.

No longer feeling regret for what was or might have been. Forgiving the maiden, knowing she did the best she could with what she had. I wish I could've saved her from some of those experiences, but that was not meant to be. Those experiences are part of my human experience.

This is all an ebb and flow of course. Times in which I am really trudging through it, and others when I'm "busy" doing life.

Relationships have changed, boundaries have been realized, triggers have surfaced that I never saw for what they were, and mine and my husband's relationship and parenting has been shifting.

Something I'm seeing with new clarity right now is the impact of that old adage that kids are to be seen and not heard. I've mentioned it in previous posts. I've always known that having been brought up in middle of that mentality hindered my ability to communicate my feelings well. But really, so much more than that challenge is imbued to the child that is silenced.

The constant need to people please

The inability to feel and process your emotions,as they must be stifled in order to stay silent

The physiological aspects of holding (while you are holding your tongue you are also holding your body taught. You become a container with an airtight lid)

No real understanding of the importance of holding personal boundaries

Feeling misunderstood

Feeling like any type of negative emotion is wrong or bad

Feeling responsible for other's emotions and happiness (by not burdening them with your own thoughts, ideas and especially feelings, you spare them the discomfort of having to talk about them or hold space for you)

These are only the few that come to the top of my head. The ones that have become apparent to me. There are more, as we are all different. We all internalize that rejection and pain of being unheard in personal ways.

I've come to realize, there are ways in which we tell our children that we don't want to hear them, without even being aware of what we are doing.

A couple of things I've caught myself, or my husband doing, in our attempts to make them "feel better" or "be respectful"...

If one of the boys is hurting, us telling them "don't be sad" or "It'll be ok, don't be bummed".

Of course it's our attempt to MAKE them feel better. It's uncomfortable for us to see them in pain and we want it to stop, to make them feel happy. So we tell them to stop feeling the things that are natural for them to feel, to only feel good, instead of allowing a little time and space for the not so pleasant emotions. That doesn't work, and only makes them feel like they can't share those hard feelings.

Telling the boys "don't talk back when I'm talking to you".

I get that there is a line here. At least I believe there to be. Kids, just like adults, need to learn to listen without just spending the time that someone else is talking coming up with their own responses. Tone of voice and intention play a huge part, I think. Discussion is good. Kids being able to disagree with their parents in a constructive conversation, is healthy. Where is the line between talking and talking back? Between talking with them and talking AT them. Working on that one....

I've learned that allowing the emotions is necessary. And it is still really hard for me. AND that allowing them, doesn't mean you have to live in them. Feelings are temporary. They are meant to come and go. To help us process. Yes, sometimes people get stuck in certain emotions for longer than is healthy. I think that is a fear, that if your child is sad, they will become depressed. Or is that just me? There are lots of resources and people that can help if things seem like they aren't moving forward. I believe knowing what and who those resources are is so important. If intervention is needed, do it.

It has taken my lifetime so far to become okay with allowing and expressing negative emotion, unhappiness, or feeling empowered enough to speak up if I feel my boundaries are being crossed, to those closest to me. Some of those closest to me are the ones that didn't want to hear it before, therefore the ones that I feel most vulnerable with. The ones I am most worried about causing pain, or making angry. I've never had a problem firing up (at all :)), showing dislike, or standing up for others, or for things I believe in. I didn't feel vulnerable in those situations. I felt like a protector, a leader, or an antagonist. It's in situations in which I need to truly reveal my pain, or my fear, ESPECIALLY my needs or desires (to which there is a deeply held belief that I am not worthy), in which I feel so afraid of opening up. Of being heard. Of speaking when not being spoken to. Of being shushed, or told to be quiet.

These are hurdles I hope to save my children from. God knows, I will not, as much as I try, do this parenting thing all right all the time. My husband and I will make mistakes, and cause pain. There may be things that my kids take from childhood that need to be healed later in life. As much as I hate that. I am realistic. I hope that feeling heard, empowered to speak their truth, to feel their feelings and to hold their own boundaries securely and with grace, is not one of those things on the list for the therapist.

I am in no way, shape or form an expert. I am not a therapist, or a parenting coach. I am not a guru, or even anywhere close. What I am is a truth teller. It's what I do. I share my truth, the good and not pretty with you. The stuff of my human experience. You might read this and think I'm talking out of my ass, or you might read it and feel some relief at knowing you aren't alone.  I lay this stuff out there for you to say this..." Guys, we are all in this together." We all make mistakes. Most of us are trying really hard and want to be kind and conscientious humans. We want what is best for our families. We want the world to be a place for future generations to grow and thrive, live and love. Being human isn't easy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Lesson

I've always thought myself a pretty willing student. I love learning, can even get a bit obsessive about it actually. I'm open to hearing new ideas and trying new ways of doing things. Okay, that one has come with age. I used to think it was my way or the highway, and that my way was always the right way. Ay yi yi. But see, that was just my way of controlling things. Being in charge. Like I was okay learning, but when it came to doing I took the reigns. I still find myself doing that sometimes. But now I try to see that for what it is and pull back when my leadership is not necessary. What I guess I'm trying to state here is....I haven't considered myself one of the "has to learn things the hard way" kind.

Yet, life keep presenting me with the same damn lesson, over and over and over again.

The last time this continual lesson popped up in it's newest reincarnation, I thought to myself, or actually to the Universe...." Haven't I learned this one well enough yet?! I've gotten SOOO much better at accepting uncertainty and relinquishing the gripping control. Do you have to keep beating a dead horse here?! What the actual fuck?!"

Because this time, as it often has before, it involved my kid. Because this time, God decided to kick it up a notch (in all her/his/it's wisdom and love) to remind me that.... no actually....I have not mastered this concept yet. That truly, this is a life long lesson for me. One I will get more proficient at each time I'm presented with the opportunity to practice, but one that won't stop being gifted to me throughout this life.

The acceptance lessons are tough. When they involve my kids, they take herculean effort on my part.

It is so ingrained in me to protect them, as it is most parents. I've realized in these last 5 or so years, that some of their life lessons too, will come with pain. That they too have soul lessons, life lessons, things that they are meant to endure. Situations that will help make them who they are meant to be. And I accept that, and I hate it.

This most recent "opportunity" for me, came in the form of my youngest having a seizure. In the middle of a hair cut. Falling down on the floor and seizing. He turned gray and stiff. His eyes rolled to the top of his head. Rigid arms, legs and head jerking. I thought he was dying in front of my eyes.

And 30 seconds later it was over. He was back. Scooped into my arms. Firemen on the scene. My oldest taking control like a boss, and me in this kind of calm-ish shock over what I just saw and what it might mean. I think it is the most afraid I have ever been.

I'm a delayed reactioner in the realest sense. This happened over two months ago, and I am just begging to realize how it affected me. I "deal with things" as they are happening. I take care of what needs to be done. I stay pretty calm and level headed, usually. But given a little bit of time, the fear, pain, confusion...they slowly sink in. I mean they have to. They need to be felt and acknowledged. It just happens on a later time line for me. Those feelings have some old armor to get around before they find their way in.

Scans were run, EEGs happened, all was clear. Which is a huge blessing, the same time, another way of making the uncertainty even more acute.

There is no explanation. There is no diagnosis. It could happen again. It might not. We just wait, and live, and see.

You've got to be kidding me right? No way of knowing why, or if it will happen again. My brain swirling with visions of him on the playground at school, having a seizure. Riding his bike down the street to a friend's, falling down having a seizure. In his room at night, having a seizure that I won't even see or know about. How am I supposed to do this? How can I let him out of my sight?!

I've told y'all before how vivid this chick's imagination can be. It's a blessing and yet....

I was sure my OCD and anxiety were going to have a flippin' field day with this. There was some compulsive googling, to be sure. There was definitely anxiety running through my veins and scrambling my thoughts, and still are at times. Like I said, definitely picture stories taking up space in my head. But nothing got out of hand. Nothing stuck in the glue for more than a day or two at a time. No real panic attacks. I've let him out of my sight. I do daily. Although the memory of the seizure still brings up such big fear in me, and in turn, prods on my deeply held desire for answers and control, I have accepted the fact that, I don't have those. I don't have answers, and I don't have, nor do I any longer want,control.

And I think of the parents who are enduring so much with their children. There is so much pain and sorrow happening right now. Be it due to physical or mental illness. Be it due to misunderstanding or other peoples' unwillingness to accept people who are unlike them. Be it due to death. Be is due to allllll of these things that our out of our control.

It is my lesson.

To accept uncertainty, plain and simple, with all of it's faces.

To accept that I truly do not have ultimate control. Not over life or death. Not over health or injury/sickness. Not over other peoples joy or pain.

That the desire and attempts at control are only pushing me backward on the path.

That when I see life through my spiritual eyes, my heart eyes, instead of the human eyes in my head, I know that my having control is unnecessary and pretty much a joke. That the desire for control  is based in fear. That real healing happens when fear is relinquished.

My lesson in this area began in my earliest childhood, and continues to this day. I understand finally, that this is the big one in this life for me. This is the piece de resistance. And no matter what opportunities it brings my way, I will meet them. I will embrace them. I will not push, or grip, or run like the sky is falling.

I embrace uncertainty and all that that means.

It is my lesson.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Keep Digging

Huh. I remember sitting here looking at this blinking cursor a few years ago, and not thinking twice. Typing like my life depended on it. Not stopping to over analyze. Not second guessing my motive. Not worried about the reaction the post might elicit. Not censoring or  sugar coating. Just knowing. Knowing I was supposed to be writing, supposed to be sharing, and following my soul's very loud instructions.

I miss that. I want that again. I want the walls down. I want the heart open vastness that living in your true naked power brings. And there is the key word, naked.

I have to allow the complete disrobing of myself. I have to say "fuck it" and just be me. Just speak my truth as I know it. And not just to allow it to be seen...but to live in it. To feel it truly and live it.

As year follows year I realize how very cyclical nature is. Our outer world, more obviously, but  our inner world just as potently, if not more. We don't get to see those inner cycles as easily. We have to attune to them, to feel them and recognize them, which takes time. We can look outside and see it's time for leaves to fall. But learning how to look inside to find that same knowledge takes continual practice.

On the outside, I don't seem to be someone who seems to worry much about "being me". I don't really consider myself one to be overly concerned about how I appear to others, or how they perceive me. I'm not easily embarrassed, nor very modest. I don't filter my photos or try to be someone I am not. And yet, there is a part of me, that lives in terror.

She lives in complete fear of being hurt. Of not being heard. Of not being enough. Of being over powered. Of being made fun of. Of failing. Of hurting others. Of making mistakes. Of being too loud. Of being wrong. Of rocking the boat. Of opening herself up.

I'm in a season of excavation. I believe we all go through these seasons, or cycles (see above :), and I think that may happen more for me then some because of my Scorpio-ness. The constant shedding and transformation. I think a lot of us shove it aside. We feel the nudge and discomfort. We know it's time to dig in and clean stuff out. But we also know that it ain't gonna be pretty, or easy, or feel good, and so we shush it. "Shhhhh" we tell that part of ourselves trying to heal and grow. "Not now, I don't want to."

I've realized during this most recent archaeological dig, that as much as I have grown, as much as I have become more aware of my thought processes and the way my body and mind react to one another, more aware of my tendencies to put up walls and stow away, there is still so much more to uncover. Or shall I say, those same places have much deeper and darker caves to be explored. So many split second decisions made, with out my conscious awareness, based on the conditioning and pain of my childhood that affect my relationships, my sense of self worth, and my ability to communicate. This conditioning that has directed my path thus far, has been based on fear mostly.

None of us leave childhood behind unscathed. Most of us know we "have baggage", but figure it's better left behind us where it happened. Why rehash? Why open old wounds? But how many of us take a magnifying glass to those old wounds? Invite them to tell their story? Look at the way those old owies are still showing up in our lives, and therefore, if a parent, the lives of our children? I believe this is our responsibility. This is an endeavor we must gather courage for and to see through, no matter how difficult. When it's time, you'll know.

That's where I am, friends. Peering closely at those boo boos and trying to really learn from them. To really heal them. To really forgive myself for decisions that I have made based on them. Trying to stay soft and open when all of my survival instincts are screaming for me to armor up and shut it down.

Shared, as always, will so much love. xo