Owning it

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 5.09.39 PM“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”  Brené Brown

Easier said than done, Dr. Brown. But I hear you.

My story hasn’t been the most uplifting tale as of late, as this blog has well documented. Granted, I’m usually more melodramatic about myself when I sit down to write in this space, but overall I’d definitely say I’ve been in a rough patch.

I know I’m usually harder on myself than I need be. For example, I recently started taking Emma to see a therapist (who is just a great person! And I’m so excited to see how she’ll help Emma develop her resilience). But when I’m being hard on myself, the louder story I hear in my head is one of how difficult my little girl’s life is – and how unfair it is for such a sweet little one to be carrying such burdens when she’s only 8 years old.

But if I’m going to own my story (and love myself), I can see all the strength Emma is developing through all these difficult times of transitions. I can also be proud of myself, and of being assertive enough to do what I needed to do for myself – despite the sadness and difficulties and devastation that followed my decision.

I guess I’m just impatient about “the process” and the brave face I sometimes feel like I’ve got to put on in the meantime. That said, I’m thankful for the people and spaces in my life where that face doesn’t have to be pasted on. This blog is one of those places (and some of you who read this blog are also safe spaces for me to be me).

The quote up there is from the researcher Dr. Brené Brown — someone who I’ve heard lots about, but haven’t (yet) had the time to read.  Here’s her TED talk on vulnerability (WATCH ME).  When she spoke about the results of her research, she said “I know that vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.”  And I had one of those proverbial ah-ha moments, because ever since the life-changing moment of deciding to end a decade-long relationship, I’ve felt incredibly vulnerable about the effects of being true to myself and my desires/needs in a relationship.

Also in Dr. Brown’s TED talk, she discussed what it means to have courage:

And so here’s what I found. What they had in common was a sense of courage. […] Courage, the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language — it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart — and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. 

And so these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.

And the last was they had connection, and — this was the hard part — as a result of authenticity, they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do that for connection.

I think I need to sit with these thoughts for a while.

Anyway, the last month, in pictures:

OWL Con with youth from 4 provinces! Exhausting, inspiring fun.
Feb 28 – March 1 I was one of the facilitators for an OWL Con with youth from 4 provinces! Exhausting, inspiring fun. I guess I really am a Unitarian.
My Medusa girl - So proud of all she's doing in school. (and super proud she picked Medusa as her Greek myth of choice. Bad ass.)
My Medusa girl – So proud of all she’s doing in school. (and I’m super proud she picked Medusa as her Greek myth of choice. Badass.)
#misandrinks! A collection of Saskatoon ladies and fancy hotel bars. To be repeated this Friday.
#misandrinks! A collection of Saskatoon ladies and fancy hotel bars. To be repeated this Friday night.
Longer days! Finally. Now to get green.
Longer days! Finally. Now for the world to get green.
Hey, have I mentioned how I've lost almost 50 pounds in the last 6 months? Yeah, there's that.
Hey, have I mentioned how I’ve lost almost 50 pounds in the last 6 months? Yeah, there’s that.

Year 37

A Dream Deferred
by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

What she said:

In Blackwater Woods
by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

That’s what she said

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou