Posts tagged growing up
Losing Her Magic

Me at fourteen.

And when she was told it was time...

she grew up.

And she forgot who she was deep down inside. It didn't happen slowly, that would be too painful, she just packed up all the little things that made her whole and happy, and uniquely her, and stuck them in the attic.

For someday when...

she could breathe again. Or when her grandchildren would go through the boxes containing the pieces and parts of the real her she'd saved for later, and set her spirit free.

She stopped believing in magic.

Because magic wasn't in the rulebook for becoming a grown up she was reminded many times. Good girls are responsible, safe, determined, and productive. There was no longer time for collecting rocks or watching butterflies, there were more important things to be done.

She stopped saying what she meant.

For a long while she remained quiet. There were so many unwritten rules that didn't make sense to her. Rules about what, when and how to say things so as not to stand out in all the wrong ways. Rules about pretending not to notice certain things and having to  acknowledge things that really didn't matter. Rules about impressing people with questionable intentions and being nice to people who were mean spirited on the inside. The worst was pretending not to know when people said one thing and thought another.

She got confused.

She was almost afraid to participate in her own life, in case she did it wrong. So she watched and waited for the time to be right to speak her mind again. Only years went by and her natural talents faded. Her dreams disappeared. And her light dimmed.

She gave up.

There was so much to worry about trying to do right that she became scared to say anything important at all, in case she might be wrong. Or ridiculed. Or deemed unworthy. But that felt wrong, too. Because deep inside remained a small burning need to understand everything, to be wildly curious, to right wrongs, to speak up, to make a difference. To stand out in all the right ways.

Years went by and she completely lost her way.

She had stopped writing, reading or even creating. She gave up the thought of ever losing herself in the magic of life again. There was no spontaneity to her movements, and little  joy. She never allowed herself the luxury of just being. She heard constant noise. And she listened only to the mean voice within. In an attempt to outrun it, she stayed in constant motion. Others saw her as tightly wound. Ridiculously planned. Inflexibly judgmental. She became exactly the kind of person she never wanted to be.

And one day she woke up a hot mess on her basement floor and realized she had hit rock bottom. She had become a grown up.

And as a grown up she was slowly doing to her children what had once been done to her. She was sucking the magic out of them. Her body and soul suddenly felt the effects of years spent attempting to be perfect, the times she tried to please, and the utter devastation of realizing even if she got there, it would never be enough. Especially for herself.

So she stopped.

Nearly cold turkey. She stopped doing all the things that had once been done to her. She stopped correcting. She stopped protecting. She stopped smoothing the road ahead for them. She stopped pushing. She stopped comparing. She just stopped. And she began the hardest thing she's ever done.

She let go.

Of everything. The rules. The disappointment. The worry. Her mean voice. The constant swimming upstream. All of it. Piece by piece. And a funny thing happened. She started healing. She began to believe in herself again.

She started believing that she could change the world, just by being herself.

She stopped trying to prove, strive, achieve and she started to become something better. She not only remembered the magic within, she began to rely on it. And she showed the world that it is never too late.

The magic is forever within.

It lived in her and it lives within you.

There is no time like right now to Believe in the power of you.

It is never too late.

Don't Wanna Be Just Like You

There are life changing moments and there are life defining moments.

My life defining moment came at the lowest point of my life. From the person I was most worried about. Not sure what set me off on this particular day, but I hit my rock bottom.

Sad, lonely, depressed, stuck, anxious, scared.....I was sitting in our basement miserable in my puddle of tears. No one else was home. I think I chose this day to crack as I knew it was too scary to share this breakdown with anyone anyway. I just needed to let it all out, face my darkness and start crawling out of the hole I had dug for myself. I was tired of trying so hard to be perfect and seeing the reminders every day of how much I had failed at exactly that.

In the throes of my sobbing from that deep deep part of me, I heard a noise behind me. It was Mitch. He was suddenly there. Oh boy. It was too late to stop the flow, the release-- there was no way I would be able to collect myself and pretend that everything was okay.

He asked: What's wrong mom? Are you okay? He gave me a hug which just made me cry more.

"No"-- was all I could manage. No I thought, how can I be okay when the world feels like it is crashing around me. Everything I worked so hard to control is crashing and burning right in front of me. Even you. Especially you. I am scared for you, worried for you, lost in how to reach out to you.  Tired of trying and failing and trying and failing. At being a mother. At being a career woman. At being happy. At being me.

I have no idea what I am doing. Fresh tears tore through my gut. My heart. My whole self.

I think I said something to the effect of: "I will be okay."

But I didn't feel okay. It was a lie at that moment. I didn't feel like it would be okay at that moment. Or ever. I was sorry. I was sorry for being sorry. I was lost. I was unhappy. My stomach hurt 24/7 and I wasn't sleeping well either. I was just plain miserable. And ready for a change.

But what came out of my mouth was a mom thing:  "I will be okay I just need to let this all out."

"Sorry for what?" he queried.

"Everything. Everything I ever did wrong." I said.

Everything I have screwed up with you. With Alec. With Sadie. I am so sorry I thought.

"Mom, I am fine. I will be fine. You and dad are the best people I know. I want to be just like you when I grow up." And there were nicer words that followed but I cannot remember them. I could not hear them.

His first words struck a chord deep down in my misery.

What? Did he really just say what I think he said?

I stopped crying. And I began to breathe again.

From this seemingly unlikely source, the person I felt most disconnected from, and was most worried about--came the exact words I needed to hear to begin my journey forward. Back to me.

What I wasn't quite yet ready to admit to my son at that moment was this:

I am a joke. I am 50 years old and I have no idea what I am doing or how to really be me. One thing I know for sure is you do not want to be just like me.

You want to be just like YOU.

You are more than enough just the way are. No changes needed --just find and keep your center. It is the heart of you and all that is good. It is all you ever need.

Stay true to you. Don't let the world dumb you down, keep you safe, or stop your dreams. Live as YOU and the rest of your life will fall into place. Don't do things to please others, which is not to say don't be nice to others or show compassion and thoughtfulness, that is important too.

Just do what you know to be right for you --do not lose touch with your center and what feels right, though this is the secret no one tells us as kids. You are born knowing what is right for you.

We learn it someone else's way, through someone else's filter when we are young. And that is where the trouble starts, the losing our own center part.

My way is just that --my way.

And that means that your way is just that also ---your way.

Both are right. And both are occasionally wrong.

Both are enough. Both are important. Both are necessary.

Son of mine, you are: right, enough, important, necessary and LOVED.