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I am a woman on a journey. Where I'll end up is yet to be discovered.


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Embrace Kindness

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What are your hopes and dreams for 2017? What do you want to accomplish this year? Are you prepared for what needs to be done in order to see those goals realized?

On New Year’s Eve my daughter and I set fire to the things we didn’t want to carry into the coming year. Emotional burdens and hurdles like anger, negativity and past hurts. Some things did seem to evaporate in the smoke from that little garbage pail fire on the back porch, while others are going to take a bit more work – but still – the thought is the same. We no longer need to carry the things from the past that hold us back. We need to shed those things in order to see a brighter future.

At the same time, we wrote down the things we wanted to do more of in the coming year. Some may call them resolutions, I just like to think of them as the things that will help me to become the person I really want to be. My daughter had several wishes for herself in the coming year, but to me, one of the most powerful was the little statement she wrote above.

Embrace people’s kindness.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? How hard can that be? Truth be told, how many of us are free to embrace the kindness of others in our daily lives? I’ll bet it isn’t as often as you think.

Too many times we refuse the kindness someone tries to show by the gift of their help. We tell them, “Oh, you can’t do that, it’s too much!” Or we see simpler things as something we should be able to do for ourselves. “Oh, no, I can do it, but thanks for asking!”

Sound familiar? It’s hard to accept help, isn’t it? But by offering help, those people are extending kindness.

My daughter knows she has a difficult time accepting acts of kindness. She doesn’t like to be complimented, she doesn’t like to accept help, she doesn’t like for anyone to do anything for her because she then sees herself as a burden.

Accepting kindness is a way to be vulnerable and open yourself up to others. This can be terrifying. Vulnerability is scary. I know. But as humans, without that vulnerability, without opening ourselves up to others, we lose the very connection that makes us human. I’m not so sure I’m ready to give up on that. Are you?

I believe that this very simple thing has the power to transform lives. It can be easy to show kindness to others, but accepting it in return is the the difficult part. Choose to allow kindness in, and I imagine you will start to see the world, and yourself, differently.

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I Wasn’t Going To…Then I Did

I was not going to make the obligatory end of the year blog post.  I wasn’t going to talk about endings and beginnings, or New Years Resolutions.  I wasn’t going to go there.  It just seems so, I don’t know, expected.

Here I am though, in the last few days of 2013, and I started thinking about the year that I’m ready to put behind me, and knew I could not let the year slip away unnoticed.  I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions.  It seemed silly making promises to myself that I knew I wasn’t going to bother to keep.  Not faithfully anyway.  It doesn’t mean I don’t want things for myself, or have goals, it just means I am not into the “this year I’m going to run a marathon” kind of thinking.

I’ve been divorced since 2007.  Yes, it’s relevant. No, I’m not into hashing out the past.  The year is important only because it wasn’t until 2007 that I started to live.  Okay, not technically, but you get the picture.  In 2007 I became my own person.  I got to choose what I was going to do and how I was going to do it for the very first time in my life.  I had no experience at living my own life.  I had no experience with freedom.  No, I’m not saying marriage is bad and stifles your freedom, I’m just saying mine did.  I love the idea of marriage, as long as it’s the mature kind of relationship that includes compromise, give and take and two people that respect each other and value one another.  That, I never had.  I’d of given my right arm for it, but it didn’t happen.  So here it is, 2007 and I’m on my own.  I’m overwhelmed, excited, nervous and scared.  I never lived on my own before.  I had no idea if I could do it.  The first few years were a blur.  My daughter’s anxiety was the only thing I could even think about, there wasn’t time for anything else.  I took care of my daughter and remained the same as I had been that day in 2007.  Nothing inside changed because I didn’t have time to worry about me.  I didn’t have time to find out who I was or what I wanted.  That’s okay, she was more important, and taking care of her was what I needed and wanted to do.  Last year she started getting better, and then this year, 2013, she has been better than she has been in a long time.  She’s getting older, and becoming more independent.  We’re still very close, but she is able to see the life that she can lead separate from me.  Her confidence is growing and I’m so proud of her.

My daughter getting better left me with time on my hands for the first time in six years.  I had no idea what to do with it.  It was time for me to figure out some things for myself.  This is where 2013 comes in.  It wasn’t the first year I was on my own, but it was the first year that I dared to think the question, “what’s next?”  It was the first year that I dared to open up that box of dreams I had locked up at barely 20 years old when I got married, and to see if there were any left.  Writing.  That dream was alive and well.  Once I got started, it took over my heart and soul, just as it had many years ago.  Writing is part of me.  It is a part that I never want to give up again.  2013 was the year I published my first book.  I still can’t believe I did that.  So many years of stagnation left me afraid.  I don’t know where I found the strength to try, but I did, and I’m so glad I did.  2013 was the year that I think I finally accepted myself for who I am.  It is the year that I found peace with myself.  It is the year I stopped beating myself down, once and for all.

So you see, 2013 was a special year for me.  Many great things happened for me this year.  I feel like the internal struggle is finally calmed.  I feel that I really started to live this year.  Do I have all the answers for my future?  No.  Do I know exactly what I’m going to do from here?  No.  Do I still have days where it’s easier to tear myself down than show myself kindness?  Yes.  No matter what, I’m grateful for this year, and I’m grateful for all the good that has happened to me.  I’m grateful for the life that I lead, and am grateful for the opportunity to live it my way.  I may do things wrong, I may make a few bad choices, but they are mine.

I look ahead to 2014 and I wonder what the new year will hold for me.  I have goals in place.  I will continue to write.  My next project will be to start re-writing the novel I wrote in November.  I also plan to finish a short story collection and write the first draft of a middle grade novel which will be first in a series.  I plan to stay busy.  I also plan to take better care of my health.  I’ll eat better and exercise.  I’ll work on getting more sleep.  I will spend time with my daughter and enjoy the time we have together.  All too soon she will be grown and I won’t have these days back again.  I will try to find new ways to tame the chaos in my head and fight the good fight against ADD.  I will find new ways to organize my home and my life.  Maybe I’ll even take up school again.  The thing is, for the first time in a long time, I know that there are many possibilities.  I know that no one stands in my way but me, and that I do not need to seek the approval of others.  I am free. I thank you, 2013, for giving me those gifts.  I’m truly blessed and grateful.