I left astounded. Hurt. And definitely pissed the fuck off. I guess that’s what happens when you let your guard down. Interactions with people that leave me feeling this way are something I try to avoid. In fact with some of the people I love the most, I have very limited interactions for this very reason. This time, however, I was in new territory and wasn’t sure how to respond. It wasn’t necessarily the actions or words of the offending person that bothered me so much as it was the glimpse of my own past that I had never seen from that viewpoint before. I needed to process. I needed my mom.
We left our house that morning with plans to take his daughter and her man to the races with us then stay the night at their house so we could spend some time with them before the baby was born. Plans changed, she didn’t want us to stay the night, said she was embarrassed because they didn’t have much food. Well shit, we all been there, no need to be embarrassed, just say something. We can help, a hand up – not a hand out! Well, that is what we were feeling when we got to their house, this changed quickly. Luckily we had made other plans for overnight, but stopped by their place to drop off some groceries.
I was comforted by the fact that I looked over at my lover and seen the tears of anger and frustration welling in his eyes as we left his daughter’s house. What a strange thing to draw comfort from. I have been with my boyfriend for a few years now, and although there have definitely been some rough times, I have lots of love for most of his family as he does mine. It’s like it all just fits…… He has been doing lots of work to repair some of his family ties and is finally starting to build a solid relationship with his adult daughter, who is expecting a grandson in just a about a month’s time. The history of their relationship was rocky, a lot of manipulation and the behaviors that go along with it, involving her mother. That’s not my story to tell though so I will move on from there.
Many people in the family had an ill feeling about the baby daddy from the start, but I always go for the benefit of the doubt stance because tons of people who have a rough start in life are able to clean up their lives and make good things happen. I met him at the same time as meeting the daughter, so I took them in my heart as pair, a family, as she was already expecting. I kept a little distance at first and allowed her to set the pace of our relationship. It seemed to blossom with ongoing texts and conversations, even an invite to the gender reveal ultrasound and being referred to as “grandma” a time or two. I was asked to be in the delivery room. My heart gushed. However, was turned back to the current reality and source of the surprise, hurt and angry feelings sprouted from her baby’s father that day and the insight into a potentially abusive environment.
A dose of disrespect goes a long ways, especially when it comes from someone you consider “one of your kids”. The little event that took place was based off of a moment of real life encouragement as a parental figure to the baby daddy. He was telling of how he had quit his job….. again…. and was pursuing to start his own company and be a contractor so he wouldn’t have to work for the man. Discussion pursued with open support of his ideas, but with the realistic approach that with a baby on the way, he may find himself needing to have a consistent job. This was often the type of life experiences that I shared with all my kids, kind of like its ok to dream, but you have to have one foot in reality. He took it the wrong way, continued to get angry, proceeded to curse, attempt to throw us out of his house, and even attempted to instigate a physical fight before stating for his gf to call him once we had left and out the door he went. The whole scene was ridiculous and definitely a glimpse to a new side of him.
Amazingly, both myself and Josh stayed seated with calm voices covering our feelings of being disrespected and angry, stunned. I seen a glimpse into my past, things my mother may have gone through that I couldn’t even apologize for. I remember times where she felt unwelcome at my house because of my husband’s influence, I thought it was ridiculous, but was seeing it through new eyes. As I watched Josh’s daughter sit there through this interaction, and her empty eyes afterwards, it was difficult to know what she was thinking. I can’t say her path and mine were exactly the same, but familiar nonetheless, I had been there before. The rest of the evening, things felt surreal. We continued on to the Races as planned, but my mind was elsewhere most of the night. I know his was too. I sunk into moments of meditation, feeling the vibrations of the motors of the racecars, the smells, the sounds, letting them flow through me as I worked through my own shadows that had surfaced. I know my mom had spent years in this same environment, I searched for any of her remaining energy. The welcome taste of whiskey on my lips brought me back to reality here and there. I longed to hug my mom and tell her I love her and see now, yet another thing she suffered through just trying to love and support me.
Looking back, I realize I was also incredibly angry with myself for putting myself out there. This also was a prime example of behavior that I do not have to tolerate, will not tolerate. I know now I put myself in a place to allow this to happen, I will further proceed with caution. I choose not to have interactions of this sort, they are toxic and quite frankly they hurt. FUCK, allowing vulnerability in your life sucks, but building walls sucks even worse!!!! However, I realize that over the last few years, I’ve really changed. Had this happened even just a couple of years ago, my reaction definitely would have been different. I wasn’t one to sit calmly and attempt to diffuse the situation back then, but rather add fuel to the fire and poke it til it burns oh so bright! I had a short fuse (still do at times) but I’m learning to keep the explosion controlled. I hate the way it leaves me feeling when its not.
I don’t take for granted the amount of respect that has been instilled into my sons and nieces and nephews alike. It comes from examples handed down through the generations. The amount of love that I feel for them is intense and it grows each year as our bonds tighten. In fact, when I think about the number of souls I consider “my kids” it encompasses, not only my boys and nieces and nephews, but many of their friends that have attached themselves to my heart throughout the years. They have all been “real-lifed” by my own hardships and experiences and this little incident will not stop me from providing strength, guidance, and support to those that I love.
Its been a couple weeks now, baby is due anytime. The communication between them and us is non-existent. It hurts me tremendously and I know it must hurt her daddy tenfold. The excitement of the bonding with this little family, helping them set up house and gather supplies for the new baby was a great source of joy for us. Its rare to see a man so high on life as mine was the day we took a whole truck load of household items and groceries to their house when they first moved in, being honored to help. There is definitely something missing in my man’s smile, a piece of his pride taken away in worry that he is again losing his little girl. I hope that as time passes and they learn lessons of their own that they are able to learn and grow from them. I know even as small as the confrontation was, the box that it opened in my proverbial closet brought immense opportunity for my own personal awareness and growth. Past to present and ongoing into the future of this fun adventure called life, I hope for continued ability to process and share the things I’ve learned as well as listen and learn from the experiences of others.

Loved… AHHHHH. Carmen and Peggy, I am most certain that you both are loved and capable of giving love, but allowing it to happen? Being vulnerable and accepting it? Giving it freely without expectation? Yes these are challenges we must face! How do you define it? When you think of love, is it something that you feel? Do? Think? Want? Need? Does it cause you stress just to think about it? What is it that makes it so powerful? So scary? How high are your walls and why? These are all questions I have posed to myself at times.
 I’m going to start by attempting to define LOVE, or my interpretation of it. Funny that the definition of Love lists it both as a noun and a verb. Ok, maybe its not that funny  outside my mind.
verb: love; 3rd person present: loves; past tense: loved; past participle: loved; gerund or present participle: loving
  1. 1.
    feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone). “do you love me?”
noun: love; plural noun: loves
  1. 1.
    an intense feeling of deep affection for example: babies fill parents with intense feelings of love OR she was the love of his life
I guess if you ponder it long enough, you could see how it could be both. I have never really set out to define it, but before I started looking around, I guess I generally classified it as an emotion. But does it really fit in the same category as Happy, Sad, Angry, etc.? So I continued on with my internet searching… that’s where we find all the best information, right? I found one reading with an interesting viewpoint about emotions and feelings and if they are the same or different?
Many people use the words “emotions” and “feelings” to mean the same thing.   However,  I suggest that you think of emotions and feelings as distinct, but highly related things —  two sides of the same coin.  One side of the coin is an emotion:  a physical response to change that is hard-wired and universal.  The other side of the coin is your feeling: mental associations and reactions to an emotion that are personal, acquired through experience.   Despite seeming interchangeable, emotions actually proceed feelings.   Like with coins, what you notice will depend upon where you are looking
Because emotions are physical, they can be measured objectively by blood flow, brain activity, facial expressions and body stance.   Because feelings are mental, they cannot be measured precisely.  Emotions are generally predictable and easily understood, while feelings are often idiosyncratic and confusing.   Feelings reflect your personal associations to emotions – the other side of the coin.”
But where does love really fit in? I believe that it could potentially be measured objectively through blood flow, brain activity, and so on, but could definitely also be idiosyncratic and confusing. FOR sure confusing, lol.
LOVE! One word….. 4 little letters that can mean so many different things, for me anyways, and it only seems to get more complicated the more I think about it. Regardless of the depth of my current level of cognitive energy spent trying to define it, I know that definitely…… I love love, in every form. Does it come with risks, most certainly. Did I have to learn to love it? Most certainly! However, when you feel it, and it overwhelms you and you are completely absorbed by love, I would say it outweighs most heartbreak. Maybe I’m just getting old…. getting soft.. but I feel love more than any other feeling. Maybe it started with the challenge of truly learning to love myself? How many times can I use the word love in this blog and still have it seem relevant and purposeful in each placement? *Devilish Grin*
I haven’t always loved love. It has taken a long time and a lot of work. Forgiveness has been monumental in my ability to love, whether its myself, my mother, kids, friends, family, or my lover. I think the hardest love for me to accept is that from a man/lover/partner. Loving my kids was easy, especially after I learned forgiveness. Mostly I needed to forgive myself for the shitty choices I made throughout their childhood. Like being 17 and taking a bong hit while I breast fed my infant. FUCKING BRILLIANT (dumbass) or the time I got wasted drunk while we were on a mini-vacation in Seattle with the in-laws and I locked myself in the bathroom all night. The kids pissed out the window of the hotel. Not that I think they minded, but looking back I think WTF? They turned out alright.  Ever since I first laid eyes on their squished little heads. I can recall the feelings of love pouring out of me when they were little, it still does.
Then there’s my momma, I can’t even begin to measure how much love I have for her. It took me a few years of being a mother myself to see her for her. I often told her I wish she could see herself through my eyes. Being “grown” and seeing things from a different side, I was able to turn the focus of my upbringing to highlight the positive awesome things we did. There was likely an equal share of terrible things that happened, but overall, my mom did the best she could with the tools she had. At one point, she was a single mom working 3 jobs and trying to take college classes. At another point, she was leaving her kids at the babysitter til 1 or 2 in the morning while she was out at the bar. These were her struggles. First, I forgave her without telling her. Then seeing that she was still struggling I forgave her out loud, to her. With further conversation over the years, it was like a big load lifted off her. She’s been gone two and a half years now, but I still am learning important life lessons from her influences. I treasure them. Love and acceptance are 2 of the biggest that are ongoing.   I believe that other than my momma, probably my children are the only people in my life that I was able to love when I couldn’t manage to even feel anything else, like when your whole world crashes, numbness sets in, nothing matters, fuck life, can I disappear now, kind of not feeling anything else. The attachment to my mother and kids keep me going. Its unconditional, its free, and even if they hated me and walked away to never see me again, I would still love them. How could I not? They were born from my womb and I from hers.
Can I love inanimate things, like the ocean – cuz I do. Watching the power of the waves and all the things associated brings the familiar sensation to the center of my chest. It’s an energy that is not easily described, only that for me, that’s how I know its love. I love my pets, does that count?
Ok, ok, I have been avoiding this long enough. The scariest form of love. Relationships. UGH!! (Insert walls here, like tall ones, made of the strongest stone, and a moat. Yes, a moat filled with the most vile creatures) My ex-husband taught me how to build walls. We were together from the time I was 16 til just before my 30th birthday. There were lots of fun times in our marriage, and for most of it I was head over heels in love. The butterflies stayed far longer than anyone ever mentioned they would, but were they actually butterflies or were they some nasty moth eating me from the inside out? BUT after the divorce and the next few years of hard work and struggles, its apparent to me that although we gave it a good try, that was not the kind of love I wanted. When we separated, I was beat down. I didn’t dare look at my face in the mirror, I didn’t know the power of looking myself in the eyes. I nearly turned into that Whore he always said I was through reckless sexual behavior. It was tough, I was a faithful wife, prided myself in this, never even kissed another man for the 13 years we were together, but I paid emotionally for being a girl with a vagina. I got fat while we were together because I felt it kept other men from wanting me and maybe he would see it as an act of my devotion to him. (I’m still fat haha) I have put in tremendous work, into me to get past this. I can look in the mirror. I do love myself, and when I forget to, I find a mirror and stare myself down. I look into my own soul and remind myself of who I am.
My current relationship is a new experience. I could tell from the start that it has the potential to be something awesome, but there will be a lot of work along the way. I have walls and I have let them down a few times, only to feel the heartbreak that can come along with that. But we are both learning. He has had some terrible relationships as well and has an equally hard time being vulnerable and letting people in. He has high walls. Having walls is necessary to protect ourselves, but I do not want to live forever inside mine. There’s something there though, a kinship I have never experienced. I am learning how not to push. I love him. We have come to a point where it gets mentioned once in a while, but its not something I say every day, I show it everyday, he shows it every day. Through all the little things. I think the biggest difference for me with this relationship is I keep a lot of it to myself. I keep the intimate things private for the most part. Every little detail, or fight, or awesome display of love that we share is not announced to the world, I don’t brag or bitch to my friends on the regular. Its between me and him, but every girl needs at least one closest confidant that she can be completely transparent with. Can fess up to her own bullshit and not just twist it to see his. I have this, its a good balance and keeps me centered. I feel myself growing more.
Hearing the call of the CROWS has allowed for a colossal shift in my thinking. I welcome it freely and look forward to the things to come. Who’d have known that a group of small town girls could turn into such influential women. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of this movement and hope to continue to feel the strength of CROWING LOVE.

Me, a type 8? Are you serious? That was my reaction when I attempted some enneagram testing the first time. I was convinced it was wrong, surely I had to be a 2. The Helper. That was me, all nurturing and stuff. The woman who presented this to the office, a woman with whom I had also been doing some spiritual work with, laughed at me. Well, she told me, I was most certainly an 8. I groaned. Read the description, it doesn’t look nice at all. POWERFUL and DOMINATING… I was a nice girl, at least that’s what I always told myself. Now this woman who did the presentation, let’s call her Bertie, she knew me pretty well. I was able to share things with her that I didn’t even care to say out loud. I had hit a place in my life where I could feel the potential for some serious personal growth, which naturally turned into a path of professional growth as well.  The enneagram was the gate to a whole new world of self-awareness.
I started to listen and question myself, constantly gauging my reactions to everyday things in life. Through the next couple years I worked hard to pause myself and let people exist around me without telling them  when, why, and how to do it, etc., it was tough at times. I learned how to empower people by giving them knowledge and decisions, instead of telling them how they should do “life”. I basically put my opinions in the back seat where I could keep an eye on them, but keep them in check while I worked on figuring out the big question “who I am”
My work changed from the focus of just my personality, to being more aware of all of myself.  I noticed the more work I did, the more I was letting my walls down. Allowing myself to be vulnerable. It was weird and foreign, but I knew good things would come of it.
“Bertie” invited me to walk a labyrinth.  Have you walked a labyrinth? Its a pattern in the ground, a path that looks like a maze, but there is only one way in and one way out, no wrong turns or tricks. There’s multitudes of religious and spiritual meanings that are attributed to this path, but here was my instructions. We were both going to walk it. She would start and I needed to wait a certain amount of time to give her space to be far enough ahead of me that I would not catch up. There was no talking, no interrupting. Once you cross the threshold, your mind and heart are open, you are to receive whatever is brought to you and spend time in reflection for things that come to mind. There was a small task of working on something that was causing an issue in your life, but not allowing it to take over. This was my first real exercise in Mindfulness.
I don’t remember every little detail of my walking experience, but I came away with some very profound insights. The task that was my issue to think about involved relationships with men and how they all seemed to turn to shit at some point and I was tired of the drag it was putting on my life and most of all my kids. I spent a couple years in a relationship that took my attention from my kids more than I would have liked, but I didn’t see it until it was over and I was reflecting back during this walk. I could have delved deeper and deeper, but decided that this particular situation had taken enough of my time. I wanted to receive the energy of the earth around me. It was mid-april so there were birds and sunshine and beautiful greenery. The labyrinth was set on Bertie’s friends property so it was private, it was just her and I. Once the conversation had stopped and the walking had began, the birds came back to what they were doing before we arrived. Before stepping over the line into the pathway, I allowed for my instructed time to let Bertie get started before my journey commenced. I took time to notice every little thing, the sounds, sights, smells, everything. Then as I was in the depth of my mind, my soul, walking the pathway, something weird happened that stopped me in my tracks. I noticed an alligator in the grass, it was just there out of nowhere, but had really been there the whole time. It was part of the decoration, I had walked by it at least a half dozen times, looking in its same direction at the birds around it and the trees that were behind it, but never, NEVER seeing it. It scared me. I stopped. I think back to the physical reaction, (heart rate through the roof, short scattered breaths) and then the realization that as I thought I was so aware and perceptive of my surroundings, there was an alligator that I didn’t even notice, what else in life do I not notice? After a minute or so, I decided I needed to get walking and could further contemplate the relativity of the alligator to my life as I wandered the path. There was just one problem. I had no idea which way was forward or which way I had come from. I was standing in the corner of the path in which I had been walking when I got distracted and I was LOST! The effects were crazy. The world silenced as my mind raced.The physical feelings of being lost rose in the back of my throat. I wanted to cry and puke at the same time. Now I wasn’t really lost, I could look and see Bertie as she gracefully maneuvered the path, still going towards the center, but there was no way even assessing her journey that I could figure out which way I was supposed to go. I couldn’t just stand there forever, I had to move my feet. So I walked the path, not knowing if the direction I was going was right or not. The physical manifestations of panic and fear and insecurity were so intense I could barely get a full breath in. Not wanting to be a distraction, I forced myself to hold all this in, abiding by no talking no interrupting the journey. It the first time in my life that I stood, feeling completely defenseless to the world and SO completely lost, not knowing where I was going. I had been scared before, beat down emotionally,  left with nothing, questioned my direction, and had never felt anything even mildly close to this. Maybe because I never allowed myself to reach this level of vulnerability? I don’t know, so I walked. slowly. This time it wasn’t because I was absorbing the world around me, I was in a stupor for the first few sections of the path. Still frantically trying to figure out if I was going towards the center or back to the start. Well, as it turns out, I ended up back at the start. By the time I got there, my breathing and heart rate had returned to normal. The frantic, panicked thoughts subsided as I reflected on how great the impact of this lesson was. When I reached the starting line, I did not step outside the path. I stayed. Inside the labyrinth. My journey was not over. I turned around and completed what I had set out to do, still taking my time, still abiding by the rules, but with a new and raw sense of awareness.
I could probably write another 2 or 3 pages on the rest of my walk towards the center and what I found there and my journey back out, but I’ll savor some of that as my own and save you the extra long read. Bertie sensed my strange energy, she knew I had started over and we discussed it in depth after we both had stepped outside the path. Describing what I felt and how my body reacted brought involuntary tears to my eyes. She could relate. We finished conversation and left. I was high. On spirituality. This was new for me and I craved more.
 I should set the picture of the setting maybe a little more. During this walk, I was never out of sight of my vehicle, my Bertie, or the birds and bugs that were bouncing around. The labyrinth is set in a small yard that is secluded from onlookers, nestled up on the hillside with trees and fields on every side. The path laid out in the grass, identified by stones that line the grassy walkway, with a pile of stones and tokens brought there by the journeys​ of others marks the center. You can feel the energy of the land the minute your foot makes contact. I wish I would have walked it barefoot. Maybe its due time to walk it again….
labyrinth 1This is not the actual labyrinth that I walked, but the depicts the correct pattern and feeling of quiet and natural space.

In light of all of the wonderful recent blogs about self-worth, I thought, why not explore this a little bit further. For me, increasing the awareness of myself, my responses, actions, and emotions has been instrumental to me having a more rounded idea of my self-worth.

Now we can talk about self-awareness, self-help, and all of the other ideas, readings, and resources out there, but for me, none of it really started to make sense until I explored my personality. I was always under the impression that personality was based mostly on learned/conditioned traits. However, over the last 4 years, I have spent some time discovering me through a path first brought to me as part of a staff building exercise while working in Hospice. The goal of the meeting was merely to scratch the surface of the subject to raise awareness that we all think, act, respond differently based on more than just our environment, education, religious (or other beliefs).

The basis of the exploration was a quick personality test based on the enneagram theory. There are many websites that you can pay your monies to in order to take a test. I suggest the free website listed here…. http://www.9types.com/newtest/index.php you can hit the link if it works, copy and paste the text, or simply google 9 types new test. This is a short questionnaire that gives fairly accurate results. There is also an option for the “RHETI” at the top of the page, this is a sample of a longer test, but I have found the results of both to be the same for me. I have to honestly say I have taken the test more than once and when I am in different frames of mind, or feeling off kilter. Down in a depressed darkness or on top of the world, my results were the same. The numbers in the boxes varied a bit, but the trend was always the same.

After taking the test, you may feel confused, or like it certainly must be wrong. I know I did. It tells me my type and I was like heck no, I’m a 2. A nurse, caring and nurturing… hahaha *mischievous grin* well I do have those qualities, but with further exploration I realized the accuracy of this little test was slightly scary. Scary, but also awesomely intriguing. Before jumping to conclusions, spend some time in reflection. Although I do not know each one of you closely, I have had several friends, my kids, and even talked my boy toy into taking the test.

Deeper exploration brings you to understand additional concepts: The Centers, Wing, Levels of Development, Directions of Integration and Disintegration, and more. I have done some work with the wing, centers, and directions of integration and disintegration concepts, but have not really looked much further. The concept of the three instincts is what I have been reading on most recently. When you are ready, here is a link with some additional information that I have found handy:https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works/ Now, let’s not leave out the most trusted source on the internet…. Wikipedia, which boasts a nice chart with lots of information all laid out by searching Enneagram of Personality.

I’m interested in hearing about your discoveries about yourself and ways that you practice self-awareness. I look forward to hearing your voices about other ways that have lead you to personal awareness or what the term “self-awareness” means to you.

As your mind starts its pathways and another extension of the story of you begins to form, I will leave you with this statement. To me it reflects what I am attempting to achieve, not only to know myself better, but to be able to put that knowledge into action. ** Self awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. It allows understanding of other people, how you are perceived, and your attitude and responses to them in the moment**

The prompt is: what is your worth?

Personal worth in my mind: The search for the never ending answer or confirmation that our being on this planet is valued, our existence not merely a waste of emotions, validation that who we are matters at least to ourselves. Our worth. More specific to this blog “MY WORTH”. I put it in shouty caps to help myself remember the impact for my own state of mind. I think that the worth of a person is multifaceted. Like a diamond, we may have many sides, reflecting light from many aspects, while holding the same value. I certainly feel that my self-worth affects all parts of my life differently.
Interesting topic and right on time for recent events in my life. I have spent a lot of time lately identifying what I’m not. I’m not a housewife. I’m not a maid. I’m not a personal manager, laundry keeper, cook, financial adviser, etc…. I’M NOT! However in this frame of mind I think I have forgotten what I am. I am a mother. I am a girlfriend. I am a daughter, aunt, sister, friend, a nurse, etc. In those roles I find my worth and they all accompany in some aspect all of those things I was so focused on the “not”.
My most important role in my focus is that of a mother. My worth here is huge. MONUMENTAL! For I am helping to shape the lives of 2 humans that will ultimately have to survive without me at some point. Preparation for the world has 2 sides. How they interpret the way the world affects them and what their effect is on the world in return. My worth as a mother is to teach them how to act, how to respond, how to care for themselves, the list goes on and on. It’s not just the teaching of the how to’s but giving them sense of self as well. Allowing them to feel valued and learn to value themselves. (Being a parent is tough) I feel that this is not only my most important role, but where I find my biggest worth. From the time they were little and I seen they had used manners in an appropriate setting (even if they were fuckhouse crazy the second we got home) to them now as young adults managing their lives with jobs, doing their own laundry, cooking, and just being generally good people. It fills my sense of worth, elevates my self-esteem to watch my boys propel through life.
Instead of moving onto another role in life and how it is reflected in my worth, I think its noteworthy to discuss a little bit of how I came to value myself. Though still a constant work in progress, it started a long time ago when I was down on me for being chubby and hating my weight. I struggled with an eating disorder and swore to myself I was more than the number on my scale or on the tag of my clothes. I started by refusing to get on the scale. I went over 3 years with no clue as to what I weighed. In that time, I learned to better love my body and myself. I stopped wearing make up Mother’s day 2015, have only wore it once since which was later that fall. What was my real purpose for wearing it in the first place? I always felt different and not always good. So fuck it, I haven’t put a single little bit of make up on my face for well over 2 years. Has not worrying about my weight or wearing make up had negative effects? Maybe at first. But…. BUT!!!! I soon realized that the effects I was looking for weren’t what I needed. I didn’t need any man to think I’m sexy because of my weight or how my make up looked. I had more to offer. And to some men, I’m crazy sexy. To other, not so much. Really the factors of my physical appearance would have similar results… the difference, I believe it now. I still have more to offer. My boyfriend has only seen me with make-up in pictures. Never in real life. This thought also goes to my career. My looks and my weight bear no difference to my role as a nurse. Feeling confident in my skin and my knowledge however does on both accounts.
All of the other above roles friend, sister, daughter, etc… all are greatly treasured and while I find value in my roles, it is the value in myself that leads me there. My time is important to me. I am there for those who need me, but not unnecessarily. When I say I am going to do something, I do it (on most accounts). I hold my friends to the same worth and values that I hold myself to. Kindness, compassion, honesty, openness, respect, accountability….. those are some things that make up my worth to myself. Just a few of the things I strive to carry with me in all aspects of my life. In all my roles. My worth is not something I will work to convince someone else to see or feel or know. It will happen naturally if they are able to perceptive to it. What is ultimately important is how I perceive myself. Can I look at myself in the mirror, not just at my face, but look myself in the eyes? Am I proud of the person I am? Do I see my value in my family, in my community? Most days, yes I do, most days. There was a time in my life where I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, my sense of self worth shattered, my allowance of my value to depend on the opinion of someone else. Its on those days where I don’t see these things in myself, that I find value in others to help bring me back to myself.
I am the opinion of my worth that matters. I work to remember this!

I drive by this sign twice a day at least. And every time I think… Self, you know you could use to do some inventory. I need me time, silence, no one to worry about, just even for a couple hours. I found it on Saturday by a innocent miscommunication and a fucked attitude. Lately, I have been finding complete silence and solitude to be very rewarding, even if its just the 30min drive home from work. But I needed more so that I could delve deeper inside my head, welcome my thoughts of personal successes and failures from the past year. I should start small, knowing that my attitude needed to be addressed but that would need to wait. One of the first things I realize is that this whole being inside my head, alone, in silence, isn’t nearly as scary as it used to be. There was a time years ago where I wouldn’t go inside my head alone, it wasn’t safe in there. My thoughts were destructive. Not necessarily to me physically, but most definitely emotionally. I could cut myself down harder than anyone else was capable of. I soon came to realize that the things I would say to myself and the thoughts I had we’re not really that of my own. I want to know me better than anyone else and to love myself unconditionally. Work in progress.

My attitude has been brewing for a couple days. Relationships are hard and mine is less than perfect. I left the house Sat morning for my tattoo appointment with it in full effect. My attitude that is. I don’t slam doors, yell, or make a scene anymore. I just let the steam circulate in my head, stirring my thoughts furiously. I grab one once in a while and ponder it before letting it back to join the others as they race around my mind. The silence allows me to not be distracted by lyrics to a song that may influence my mind, for good or bad. It’s just me and the road, and the pressure cooker in my head. The drive to federal way is nice and long and I am excited for my session today. I fill up at the Longhouse, grab some snacks and hit the pavement.
The main reason for my attitude is being alone on the road. My bf usually joins me for the trip cuz “we like spending time together” ha and some of our trips he has had an appointment at the same time. I’m stewing because he didn’t come this time because his shoulder hurts, he doesn’t feel like riding that far…. And whatever else. But I recall that he said earlier in the week that he likely wasn’t going to go with me, he’s gonna hang out with the guys. Now don’t get me wrong, I know how petty and selfish this sounds. But with the appropriate background, you would realize that to me, it seems he has “other plans”. It seems premeditated. For the past month, he has had all day during the week to hang out with the guys, his best good friend on vacation the whole last week. The weekends are my time. And with his history of unfaithfulness, my mind is reeling. BUT I hate these thoughts and as I am processing them I am realizing that I am letting them control my mind, my temper, giving the power of my temper to someone else. My phone is on silent, my kids old enough to not worry about, and I work on letting go. Letting go of the thoughts that are driving me insane. Letting go of the fact that history can repeat itself, but will it? Letting go.
I’ve had a problem letting my walls down when it comes to relationships and I don’t plan on starting now. This makes letting go a lot easier. I paint a nice picture for everyone to see when they look our direction. I realize this isn’t new for me, but I paint anyways. This time the reasons are so very different. I’ve been reading about dissociation and think that maybe part of my walls are from a lifetime of disconnecting myself. I haven’t done enough reading on this to bring my theory to actuality at this point, but it’s developing. As the drive goes on I decide that even though the reason for my tude is a prominent part of my life, I have other things, bigger things. Like my kids and my career. I decide maybe it’s time to do “inventory” here, relationships can come and go, but my kids and work will always be a part of me.
I took account of my role as a mother first. I am incredibly proud of what my children are accomplishing in life but am struggling a little bit with the transition from a parent of children to a parent of adults. In 11 short months, both of my boys will be considered “adults”. Scary, right? I don’t spend a lot of time on this but make a point to acknowledge how tough it is and that I need to be kind to myself and my boys at this unique part of the journey. I used to wonder what happens when the kids move out, now I fear the outcome. I miss them already.
My work. I made a big change in 2016. I left my job with hospice after 3 years for uncertainty in the form of old people and a heavy med cart. It felt like a huge step backwards in my career, but I had my reasons for leaving. I’ll discuss these at a later time. I knew I couldn’t stay in long term care and when they offered me a permanent daytime position, I turned it down and started hunting. Landing my current job provided me with a new opportunity for learning and personal and professional growth. Over the last calendar year I have worked hard and self propelled myself into the world of cancer and the associated care that comes with Medical Oncology. I am blessed in my career.
My day only gets more interesting when I show up for a noon appt and realize I’ve scheduled myself at 4 pm. 4 hours in the city…to myself… What will I do? A few drinks, some window shopping, and driving around aimlessly, that is what I fill my time with. Make it back for my appointment and am refreshed by 2 1/2 hours of my newest form of release. I am comfortable and satisfied in that chair, my skin exposed, hilarious “hardcore” -sometimes raunchy conversation between all the guys in there fills the empty spaces in my thoughts. Funny how they’ve let their guard down and become themselves after knowing I am not easily offended. I find relief in the ink being set in my skin. I spend considerable time with my eyes closed, inside my head, comfortable. The drive home uneventful, I even turn the radio up and sing obnoxiously loud, I feel brand new. I don’t know what other people do to free themselves when life fills them with stress and angst, I used to yell, scream, throw things, drive recklessly, etc. Now, I save my pennies and plan my next session of art. Tattoo. It works for me for now.
I’m sure the mental inventory will continue as the month progresses, there’s always more “me” work to be done, but for the end of 2017 and the start of 2018, I think I’ve done my share.
I know this year will bring it’s share of lessons, I look forward to them, good or bad. Welcome 2018.