Finding Why

change

Up until recently, I struggled my whole life sticking to things. I quit track in 7th grade because it was hard. I quit my job 10 years ago because I really disliked my manager. I quit full-time parenting because I burned out. I’d quit anything in a heart beat for any reason.

I didn’t know how to breathe and almost puked. Quit.

She talked to me like a kid. QUIT!

They said ‘Mommy’ too much. Kinda quit (the kids are still here and they now just call me Mom which is surprisingly less of a quitable sounding word than ‘Mommy’).

The point is, I found giving up easy and taking the easy way doesn’t really build habits because there’s no time for a new behavior to take hold and become the new normal. The other side of this problem was I would focus so much on the exact definition of what I was supposed to be or do that I got lost in why I wanted to do it.

I didn’t want to run, but my friends were running so I thought it would be cool.

I didn’t hate the job, but I didn’t explore options to transfer to a section doing work I liked.

I didn’t dislike motherhood, but I was mothering based on everyone else’s rules (or my rejection of said rules).

In all of these situations, and probably 4,781 others, I wasn’t doing something for me or with my own way of doing it in mind. It took me almost 42 years to figure this out on my own. I was showing and signing up for things that were someone else’s idea of fun or success, not really mine. I was also trying to change my life without understanding the motivation behind it.

For me, understanding why helped me make major changes in how I think and what I do. And I doing things now because I just want to. Not because of any expected future benefit or gain. There is no end goal. They just make life richer and make me feel younger.

And I stopped thinking about them and if what I was doing was right. As soon as I stopped focusing on doing things a particular way, I had fun exploring different ways to get them done. I meditate in the morning, but I also go meditate at my favorite day spa and find something new to add to my at-home routine. I run on a treadmill. Sometimes I run outside. And sometimes I take Bro’Ham with me (although he really just walks fast because I run slow).

The point is life is short, so enjoy it. Show up for it every now and then and make yourself happy.

 

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Feminist Musings

Feminism

I’d never thought of feminism with any real in-depth analysis until December 2014. And you know what I found out? I was a competitor and I saw everyone as my opponent. Compete with men for intelligence, logic and sometimes straight up brawn. Compete with women for the same things and the attention of men.

When I realized that, I felt kinda sick. Always measuring against another person left me wondering what, exactly, do I compete with myself for to be better? What matters to me when there’s no one to compete with? I had no definitive answer that focused just on me.

So I decided to try something: redirect the competitive nature from outside to within. I had to think of a time that I truly enjoyed and focus on rediscovering that part of myself. I started with the period before The Hero and I got together. I realized that all of those things I loved – writing, painting, drawing, making jewelry, sending cards, reading – the things that made me distinctly me, had fallen off. So I challenged myself: make an artistic planner. Write down or sketch my ideas at least three times a week and devote one hour on the weekend to working on a creative project. Talk about floodgates! It’s like all of my creative energy was like ‘FINALLY!’

The second part, competing with other women, was harder. I’m sure this has been a lifelong thing, since my days of reading Harlequin Romance novels and my mom’s magazines (I wanted to be a Jet Beauty soo bad). I would size up other women and wonder what made them attractive to men. I’d ask The Hero to point out women that had ‘it’ and tell me why. I was taking inventory on how to be better than her, how to keep him from looking. I’m lightweight embarrassed writing this, but the competitor in me couldn’t seem to let it go. So I tried a different tactic, something that went against my nature: I started complimenting the women I envied. I began to appreciate that each woman was doing her at that moment and was secure in her womanness. That changed how I saw myself. I stopped obsessing about my belly fat, jiggly thighs, Spongebob-shaped ass, half-full closet, small make-up and nail polish collection and low-maintenance hair. I started being thankful for what I loved about me and appreciating the perfect imperfections above. Those two things changed how I started seeing other women. It’s no longer about me versus her. It’s now an appreciation of different shapes, sizes and shades of fantastic womanness. I do still give the occasional side eye. I never said I was perfect.

That led to some changes in other areas of my life. For the last three years, I tried to make The Hero my surrogate girlfriend. When I started shifting my thoughts though, I was able to comfort myself or turn to my female friends and find the solace that The Hero just couldn’t provide. It allowed me to be independent again and sever the imaginary umbilical cord that made me a needy, perpetual damsel in distress. I still want him to shank someone if they hurt me, but I’m completely capable of walking a heavy trash bag to the dumpster with one hand.

Speaking of my female friends, it allowed me to start talking less and listening more. Inquiring about their lives. What I realized was I had left all my good friend sensibilities somewhere in 2011 and became a self-centered jerk. Not a good look. To change that behavior though, it required me to get out my lane and foster my existing relationships with women who I wanted to form deeper bonds. Sometimes that meant being vulnerable in ways I never had before. Risky, but worth it. It also meant not giving energy to relationships that were not positively affecting my life. Some people had to be curbed.

These changes also shfited the dynamic between The Hero and me. Like I said, I would lean on him for EVERYthing. I found through this change that I had been shrinking myself because I thought it would make me more attractive. I would keep my opinions to myself. I wouldn’t share a lot of the deeper issues I pondered. I would passively disagree with some of his ideas that I felt were outdated or stereotypical by not saying anything. When I started to share more, I found that he would too. I’d be lying if I said that we’re talking about deep universal truth and changing the galaxy, but I know that I am now not afraid to be vulnerable with him and love him freely rather than protecting myself from some unforeseeable hurt.

All of this started with a Beyonce song. Am I a feminist? Yes. What I didn’t know is that it starts within, with me acknowledging that I can reframe my life experience from one of equality among women and respect from both men and women. Support, uplift and love the familiar femininity among my peers.

Life Lumps

© EK Success

© EK Success

I’ve been avoiding the blog. Some of it has to do with the fact that I have work to do and, quite honestly, I’m afraid. Some of it is sheer procrastination (read: laziness by overachievers). Since the last time I wrote, life has been, well… trying to help me re-member some things that were once an integral part of who I am.

The Kid left. You know that. The Kid came back. You know that. I had issues with that whole period. You probably know that too. What’s been happening for the past five months though is energetic and spiritual denial. By me.

I’m a firm believer that Life/God/Universal Energy wants to be gentle with me. I also believe that when I’m like ‘yeah… I’ll get to that as soon as….’, God sends a more serious situation. And when I blow Her off again, she sends – dun, dun, dun, DUN – THE lesson. The one that says ‘listen up or knuckle up.’

Mine is an aching lump on the side of my left boob, near my armpit.

The lump itself doesn’t bother me. It’s what it represents. It represents my abject disobedience to my higher self, to the God in me who wants me to be happy, light and free. The lump represents resistance to the spiritual shifts that I’ve ignored. Its existence translates to ‘You ready to work now? ‘Cuz, you know, She has unlimited resources if you still want to fight.’

I don’t want the brass knuckle treatment. My face is too pretty.

This lump represents me denying the truth that I cannot save my child from himself. That no amount of love will keep him from learning his life lessons in the way that he chooses to learn them. It’s spent energy on the things I cannot change and unspent energy on the things that I can. And when I move back into my Dee alignment, the lump will go away. Sounds easy, right?

So I’m sitting here in this coffee shop finally accepting that protecting The Kid is not my responsibility and probably never was. That months of beating myself up wondering where it all went sideways is not my fault. I wasn’t June Cleaver to The Kid, but I did the best that I knew at the time. I don’t have to internalize imperfection. Even June Cleaver probably took shots and hit the blunt in the bathroom when everyone was away.

Honestly, this shit hurts. A lot. I could probably cry from right now until Sunday night and still feel this… deep mourning. Death of an age for us, The Kid and me. But death always bring life and the hurt is ‘what will that life look like?’

Which brings me to the second part of the feelings. The unknown is what scares me. What if The Kid… just… doesn’t want the kind of relationship I want? And this is when I realize all these years I wanted to be a good mother, but I sometimes lost my way. Denying it was a lie. I love my homegrowns and they represent some of my greatest work. I think about the future a lot because I like planning for most things (except retirement, but that’s a story for another day). I can’t plan for what’s coming so I’m forced to slow down and be present, be in one moment. Immerse in each experience. Be present for everyone who takes the time to share a part of their life with me, especially my homegrowns.

I have to re-calibrate my brain and let me tell you, that’s no small feat.

But this lump sure as hell ain’t a walk in the park either.

I’m at a crossroad: I can choose the path of least resistance. Or not. It’s that simple.

Think I’ll take the easy, low road.

Dr. Seuss drops knowledge