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Getting Out Of My Way Again

My life’s forest has always been invisible but for my own trees. I’ve always known I can’t see me but now I believe I’ve blocked my view. I need to get the heck out of my way. Maybe you knew this about me and I thank you for keeping it on the down low until I figured it out. I can tell you I have stood at the edge staring at where I thought my forest was for a long while. But there’s no chance to appreciate the beautiful forest if it’s invisible.

I feel like I’ve been waiting for others to tell me what I have that is of worth. To tell me what’s interesting about me. As Po’s Dad in Kung Fu Panda said, to tell me what my “secret ingredient” is. But what I really have craved is my recognition. My affirmation of me and that internal faith that whatever “it” is, it’s there.

Like the child who is so desperate for her parent to like her and pay attention to her. “Please, Mama, can you tell me what you like about me. Tell me what I’m good at.” As Supertramp sang, “please tell me who I am.” Whether you have kids or not, you are your own parent for the rest of your life. And that parenting includes giving yourself the recognition you crave.

Hansel and Gretel in the forest in Shalavee.com

I have often felt so impatient about my blog, my writing, and finding my purpose. I wanted to hire someone to help me get on with it. Hurry up and become already. And then it began to happen. I started to hear what people were saying, what they enjoyed, and which things inspired them. And slowly, the person that I already am, that I want to be, that I want to work hard to become better at being, is emerging. She’s just been hiding among the trees in the invisible forest.

It’s dawning on me that I’m not too sucky. And I may have a talent or two that are slightly impressive. If I step back and give myself the time and space to see it, I just may see the forest for how really beautiful it is. Purpose and positivity only help when you recognize and value them.

I find danger to my self-esteem comes when I’ve compared myself to others who are in another league. For example, in the design world, people who constantly devote their lives, money, and extreme experience to design are going to have great spaces. And of course stuff done on the fly cheaply is going to look sucky compared to people with a lot of money, experience, and taste. So I think I can’t even stick my pinky toe into that stream of water with those people. And it’s such a good excuse to avoid doing this kind of work or anything that you love.

more of my forest on shalavee.com

Yet my vision and creations are good, just practiced in a smaller league way. Experienced blogger and coach Kathleen Shannon points out that we’re all at different levels of doing, blogging, or writing. I’m a B girl looking up to the A girls who don’t really see me because they’re looking upwards to their A girls. Kinda like it was in high school when you admired your upperclassmen and they didn’t know you existed. But I can shine if I hang with other B girls and I look pretty kickin’ to the C girls. It’s me comparing my Bananas to their Apples that’s freaking me out.

Who cares what anyone thinks really. If it’s crap, it’s still my crap to be proud of. And I suddenly felt a bit better when I realized all of this. And I’m ready to put that part of myself out for review. Because not only is everybody doing it, but I’m an original. I’d like to give myself a hard time for having to do everything so differently but that is what keeps my style so interesting and endearing. Did you catch Fiona’s bedroom makeover? Stay tuned for more design fun.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Low Self-Esteem !?

I have a new talking doctor. My previous gal Courtenay got a real job in the big city. Glad for her, sad for me. And I asked to have the right person replace her. And boy howdy, I got her.

I’m still surprised by how many people think therapy is only for the ‘Not OK’ people in the world. Don’t stand next to me because you might catch “it”. Because you’re just fine. Nothing to see or fix here, move along. The facility I visit has a new slogan, “It’s OK to be not OK”. But that was me too.

I had a pretty rude awakening about 3 years ago when I was informed by an earlier therapist that, much to my ever-loving surprise, I had low self-esteem. Fiona with a smooshed face on the monkey bars

Not ME!

And then I raged and I fumed at the insulting change being made to my self-definition until I began to see that knowing this didn’t make me deformed or lacking but rather it gave me a place to start. To draw a line from and to move on from. Why is it such a taboo to be not OK? If you feel unhappy more than happy and have a lot of negative thoughts in a day about yourself, hate to say it but you’ve got this too.

Not claiming it had me perpetually stuck trying to “fix” others. I was freed to see no one needed “fixing”. Acceptance and expectation adjustments are an ongoing process. But at least I’m in process.Fiona and her kitty on Shalavee.com

I have Low Self-esteem and I have worked really really hard to raise it. And happily, I’ve made progress. Seems that the esteem is here, I just need to uncover it. Like a bed you’ve thrown all sorts of clothing and stuff on. You need to pick up all the stuff, make decisions on that stuff about where it should go (trash or closet or give away) and gradually you’ll uncover you. And every step that you take and commend yourself for makes more of the bed top visible.

I’ve also notice that I can not ever see what anyone is talking about when they compliment me. I’m like what? And then that positive thought disappears. I tend to not risk anything too big that may disprove what I think I know about myself ;  that I’m a little fish in a large pond. Everyone else does everything better than me. neigh neighs in love on Shalavee.com

And in my recent reading, I discovered you can’t get esteem from beauty, fame, money, or prestige. So if you were thinking that pricey make-up, stardom, winning lottery ticket, or fame for that You Tube video that goes viral will get you more self-esteem, you’d be mistaken.

So I’ll be sharing my esteem progress reports in the future. Plus my methods for counteracting this self-defeating inner beast. If this makes you uncomfortable, I’d suggest there’s a reason. And I’d offer up, there’s always hope. I have been prescribed a really cool book to read by my talking doctor.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

For Me, After the Baby, Part Two

It was a year ago that I declared I’d be taking care of myself more.

I’d do more things For Me.

Remember this photo I took at the Y above the treadmill? I’ve been taking care better care of me in fits and spurts since then. Since it’s my birthday, the momentousness of the event made me want to share my progress.

Returning From the Trenches

When you have a baby, there is a sucking vortex that drags you into a gauntlet of physical and emotional challenges much worse than those Japanese obstacle course shows. Seen those? Where they’re jumping onto giant bobbing floats in huge pools of water dressed in costumes and you know there’s no possible way they can gain enough speed to jump and land on them and actually stay on top. But they’re trying so hard because there’s a huge prize. And they will fall and make you cringe every time.

It's alive!!! on Shalavee.com

In Momland, the huge prize is just keeping the baby alive. Aspire to nothing else and you are still an overachiever. You do this at all costs and eventually you have completely forgotten that you are a person who needs sleep or showers or a day off. No one can understand why you are so weepy or jumpy or crazed except other Mothers or people who’ve been on the front line and in the trenches. And people’s pity only helps so much and then you’re alone again.

I am not a victim or a martyr of my circumstances.

Instagram pedicure via For Me Two on Shalavee.com

So many people have stories of coming out of this with a realization that to be the happy present Mommy you want to be, you have to take care of yourself and your basic needs at least. After being in the trenches, a pedicure may seem fluffy and frivolous but it is necessary. Since Fiona was born, I have gotten more of those than ever before. I just treated myself to one this week. But it’s also taking care of your body in the serious ways too.

And in taking care of myself, my alone time needs, my exercise needs, and my mental and physical “indulgences”, I am not a victim or a martyr of my circumstances. I do not ask anyone to take care of me. It is up to me.

Which brings me to the fact that this is the first year that we have had healthcare in a very long time. In fact since we moved to the Shore 14 years ago. Remember, I didn’t even want to have the baby knowing the only way we’d be able to afford it was to be on the government dole? Read about my middle class and medically assisted challenge here. But in the end, I thought I’d better go ahead and try before it was too late. Thanks to the US Government, at the age of 46, I had a baby. I refused the free cheese but took the rest.

me on shalavee

My healthcare and well-being have always been up to me.

Yes, Obamacare forced us to get healthcare. And thanks to my husband for being persistent, we got a monthly discount and we have gone ahead and started taking care of all the little, and big, body problems we have, which are many. This past week alone, I had the first round of allergy shots after having, and paying $40 for all the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and allergist appointments to get to that point. Same day, I had my first Mammogram in 7 years. And then yesterday, I had a filling filled that thankfully I did not feel yet. Dentistry is not covered under healthcare but we have a discount insurance through Aetna.

The message I’m sending myself is that I deserve Self Care.

The more you take care of those body parts, the more you know you are worth it. I spoke about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in this post and the impact all of this will have on your quality of life, creativity, and productivity.

sacroiliac-joint-pain on Shalavee.com

My biggest current pending problem is a horrible pain in what appears to be in the hip bone connected to the backbone, aka the S I joint. The Orthopedist I saw last week said he does hip joints but doesn’t deal with that area. See the guy downstairs. It’s interesting to note that, since I was on steroids for my nose, the hip pain subsided considerably. And in the knowing that it could feel better and I didn’t have to eat the pain and endure, I feel more entitled to taking care of myself and addressing the pain.

I fully expect the next Doctor to tell me that I’m going to need arthroscopic surgery like I needed on my shoulder 15 years ago. Something wonky on my left side has left every joint and passage a little crowded with bones. But the good news? We have our deductible paid for. The point that I’d like stop and make here ? My healthcare and well-being has always been up to me. Even when I didn’t have healthcare, I still went to the doctor’s office for treatment. The fabulous turn is that now, instead of being reactive with these issues, I’m allowed to be proactive. I can do further tests and procedures and head the reoccurring sinus infections off at the pass. And take care of horrible pains in my hip. Fiona on the Courthouse sidewalk in Denton, Md from Fro Me 2 on Shalavee.com

I ran yesterday out on the street. It is the first time in over two years I have been able to do that. I have been either pregnant or baby bound for this long. That is also the reason the pain subsided and has now come back. Happy pregnancy hormone help with pains and loosen joints. And while I am still on the steroid for a little longer, I wanted to taste the freedom of what the running felt like again. And it felt mighty fine.

Maybe you now know more than you want to know but I’d tell you about all of this to your face when we got together. Now that’s out-of-the-way. My point is that going into my 48th year, I want to be telling myself that I’m worth the effort, I can do whatever I put my mind to, and I am a mighty talented super swell gal. I can feel the wisdom trying to balance me out as long as I quiet the other noise in my head. Taking care of me is my present to myself and my loved ones. It’s For Me and for everyone who cares about me too.

Crossing the Transition Bridge

I wonder how it is possible that people all over the world can really know themselves and their talents well enough to do work that satisfies them. And also ask for the right payment. I wonder how people are making such an impact knowing their gifts and sharing them to help the world, themselves, and so many others at the same time. Because I struggle every day to get just the right angle, the right understanding of what it is I’m here to do.

selfie from below on Shalavee.com

I stepped back recently and reminded myself that when I need perspective on my gifts, I need to go to the kudos file I have and remember all the really kick butt awesome things people, often strangers even, have said to me that have made such a difference to my esteem.

I'm an artist selfie from Shalavee.com

Andrea was the one who told me that I really am a good enough a writer to be published in magazines. Mr. Jerry, a former magazine guy had already told me this. Linda at the drugstore said that my hair always looks good. Amanda said my writing is just as good as anything on Huff Post. Over our dinner at the brew pub, Jill sweetly gushed in telling me what a good writer I was. My Christmas tree for the church last year garnered such enthusiastic responses from people I admired and don’t usually hear from. I have felt pretty good about myself this year on several occasions.

Mark and I driving over the bridge on Shalavee.com

I forget who I am. As soon as I’ve felt the compliment goodness for a day, it begins to fade and I forget who I am and what it is I give to the world. If your internal image doesn’t fit the outside world’s, nothing sticks in there. There is an exchange of energy that I’m paying attention to now. I’ve gotta build up the bottom of the pit so stuff like compliments and esteem stay in it.

It's not you but who you think you're not fromtruthinmotherhoodblog via Shalavee.com

What purpose does it serve to have a self-esteem sieve? No risks and no change means no failure I suppose. But eventually it’s too painful to stay. A transition bridge is there for me to cross and it’s a hard one. As if I’m crossing it in the dark built on foundations of faith I’ve never had before. But I”m taking it one step at a time and adding the cross boards from the compliments of the lovely people given to me daily. The nails keeping it together are made from gratitude. Keep it coming Universe, keep it coming.

Aspirations

I was a skeptic too you know. What did these whippersnappers know. We didn’t need “social media” to be social. We have always used the telephone to communicate dammit.

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And I can tell you, I’m still a little queasy about internet interrelations. What, you thought I was a pro at this? Because I’m here doing it? Bah, I keep thinking I’m the nerd on the schoolyard that everyone’s nice to. That they’re tolerating my comments on their sites but they’d wish I’d get the hint and stop already.

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 I am better than I’d ever thought possible but my hope is to get over my shyness sooner than later.

I’m three me’s. There’s me then, me now, and the me that I want to be.

I wrote the following some time ago in a mini thought journal.

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Who I am  Vs.    Who I want to be

Just Writer   Vs.    writer, crafter, designer,

published and recognized by me for these

Talking    Vs  Listened to

Creative Only on Demand   Vs.   Creative on a regular basis

Contemplative Vs. Conversations

Dabbler  Vs.  Doer

Uncertain/Reticent Vs.  Certain / Sure

Trying  Vs. Doing

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As long as you choose to change nothing, nothing changes. People were scared of the telephone too.

And I have no business reading anyone’s mind.

Either I am annoying and eventually I’ll figure it out. Or I’m not and I’ll rise above.

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If you read my blog, you are helping me onward and I thank you!

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