Hello friends! It is a complete joy and immeasurable pleasure, to begin this week with an introduction. Here she is, the long awaited and much loved little blessing:
Grandma’s little writing buddy….at least for this morning while her momma gets a much needed rest. Later, she will be my banana bread making buddy, and then my workout buddy, and finally, when Grandpa gets home this evening, his NFL watching buddy. She fits perfectly! 😉
Who has time to blog when all this goodness is going on?
That could be my excuse to why this post has taken so long, but would not be true. Struggling for inspiration and floundering for meaningful steps through this topic of Encouragement with ME, felt a bit like self-inflicted torture, or like someone with intimate knowledge of my vulnerabilities was doing their best to rip me apart inside.
I started writing about this topic over 3 weeks ago, it all spilling generously out onto the page while pondering the last few posts on Encouragement. Several themes showed up, opening many thoughts to pursue, and then…..it just stopped. I was unable to finish….or unwilling….because everything pouring out of me was leading to one destination….and it was not pretty.
Not pretty, nor acceptable, and not where I imagined myself to be going while searching for an anecdote describing how to find Encouragement for myself.
My original assumption was:
People are going to Encourage ME. You know, those close, loved, wise and open hearted folks that I have purposefully placed near, who help me gain a better understanding of life, who hold me to a greater standard of truly living rather than just existing….those kind of people. My Circle.
Thank God it is finally my turn, I whispered to my tired, depleted self. Work has been stressful, home life has been bumpy with pre-baby anxieties, my volunteer commitments seem to multiply daily….I cannot wait to be Encouraged! I will be fed….I get to be held….I am allowed to rest. I kept waiting….watching for a clear indicator that my trouble deflecting fists could come down, listening for the roar of my cheering squad to kick in. If I would not be lucky enough to escape the arena ring entirely, at least someone would be fighting in my corner for a change!
No blast from an advancing horn from my heart held Circle.
No family to steady their eyes onto my life.
Hubby and I were separately working on keeping our own heads above turbulent waters, secretly crossing our fingers to not be called upon to save the other.
Talk about living on the Edge! I found myself going cold. My heart tightened, generosity in thoughts and speech thinned. Blame swirled constantly at the surface of my brain, labelling others to doom and projecting my fate along a pathway of martyrdom.
Here is the catch. Circle and Family should not feel on the hook for this.
These thoughts, messages, labels….are about ME and my coldness….which grows with fear and distrust….freezing out what I need to hear the most. It spits out on repeat….I do not belong….I am not loved….I have no hope.
I must be close to the summit of something great, which could explain the temperature. The cold wants me to quit. Gnarling its teeth with intimidation, stalking across my path, preying on my people pleasing nature, and creating phantom conflicts to keep me from warm connections. Anything, to distract me from the truth….
I am SAFE. I am HELD. I am LOVED.
With a tank on empty, and winter now warring on my personal worth, it is no wonder I am down. Who will Encourage ME?
Well, someone came along, who needed more encouragement than I did. In fact, she asked openly for it. I met her recently through a public event I was hosting. That harmless encounter turned into a challenge, or an Encouragement duel….perhaps to the death….as her terms seemed to reach beyond healthy relationship building.
Even though she was voicing the same thing I had silently been waiting for, I wanted to tune her out. I took stock of her approach….unrealistic, demanding, selfish….then I really wanted my distance. I would never let ME get to that point.
Begging for Love.
Starving for Validation.
And yet that was ME….presently, on the inside…and historically.
So I shamed myself into entering this lonely lady’s world, certain my gigantic aorta would not fail.
Find the Strength.
I invited her to my house to join a group that meets regularly for growth and connection. I believed my group could help me share the burden of caring for this friendless soul.
We were not her cup of tea. Not relational or authentic….according to her 46 minute exposure to us….and more specifically, I was too fake.
Listen lady, I am not fake….I BLOG!!
All my emotional triggers were set afire with indignation. Not because I am a rookie at accusations of being fake, but because each time it happens, there is always more at play than a selfless comment meant to help AJ become a better person. The first person to suggest I was ‘hollow’ was my college acting coach, who did not see past his own ego to understand why he could not tear away mine. College was sandwiched in the years I was either losing Mum or had just lost her, so I had to shut emotions off for survival. I was not about to turn them back on without a guaranteed safety. Something not promised in acting class.
My other accuser should not be hard to guess….picking up where my acting coach left off….he accused me so often, I became immune to it. So he upped his accusation and changed the word to….EVIL. After reading a book titled “People of the Lie” by respected author, M. Scott Peck, he galvanized it to be an accurate description of ME. I got quicker at recognizing when someone was putting their garbage into my back yard, complaining about the smell, then pointing their finger out to shame me into fixing it. But recognizing that, does not make the garbage disappear.
I think I have 2 choices when facing people like this….accept more piles of garbage into my life, OR….pack up and move away.
If that sounds harsh, try breathing under a mountain of garbage.
But back to being fake….
For a couple of moments I was disturbed, talking Hubby’s ear off until collapsing into bed, without a true resolution within me. The next day, I wanted to blast my story to everyone at work, potentially debunking this incredulous tale, and be vindicated through my co-workers eyes.
Not the right place. Not the right time. Not the right people. So I stayed quiet.
Smile. Laugh. Shrug. Joke. Breathe.
Then, I sensed it. A shift….it felt like Encouragement!
Where did this come from? Was it a result of Mum’s old adage, ‘IT‘ builds character? Maybe.
But that did not quite fit. It went deeper. Something bigger and stronger was stirring from my core.
It gently flooded my body with comfort and power. Reminding ME….
….I have come far.
….I know who I am.
….I know where I want to be.
May you see how far you have come, trust in who you are, and see a bright version of who you are becoming.