I felt like I was drowning for the longest time, trying to be a mom, a good friend, great daughter, for a time the sweet little perfect wife, and once that fell apart I have even attempted to be a good partner to a couple of men. All the while I always felt like a part of me was always being devalued and missing. I was being swallowed in a pool of everyone else’s expectations of what my worth was to them.

 

I realized in my late thirties that I was missing the huge fucking point in the game of life, I was missing my own mother fucking self worth. I have given and given so much of myself that I was left devalued and empty, from my sexuality to my own emotional well being. So I decided to do something solely just for me.

I did my very first Boudoir photo shoot, I stepped so far outside my comfort zone that I almost thought that I lost my own damn mind. But let me tell you the moment I saw those pictures it was like the self worth bomb went off in my brain. I finally for the first time in my life saw myself as a strong confident and sexy woman. From that moment forward my life started changing and it has not stopped since last April.

My pictures hang on my bedroom wall as a daily reminder that I am a sexy badass woman. I buy lingerie for no man but for myself. Most days I have lace underwear on simply because I like knowing that under my scrubs I have some sexy ass bra and panty set on and it helps me walk a little taller and yeah my little half smile on my face might be simply because  I have something naughty on under my clothes. Who knows its my little secret.   

I am learning that my self worth is knowing fully that I am strong, independent,fiercely sexy and beautiful woman in my own right. My beauty comes from the way I carry my confidence, it is how I smile even though I have been broken down multiple times and I still choose to live and I am willing to give my heart over and over.I know that I am worthy of love from a man and that my time is valuable, and so is my respect, trust, and my sexuality.

I am taking pride in getting up early everyday and going to the gym and pushing my body and making it look better, for no one but myself, but along with that comes the pride in wanting to look good, I am doing my hair more… like holy shit I am actually styling it again and even went as far and having extensions put in and this woman has long hair again for the first time in over fourteen years! I am taking more time with my makeup and have started wearing my perfume again,

Yes for me my self worth is tied into myself love, and self confidence and my sexuality but for fucks sake I don’t care. It’s all a package deal for me. I am in my late thirties and I am in full bloom. I am finally becoming the woman I have always meant to be, I am a strong, confident, sexy badass beautiful woman worthy of all the love and beauty this world has to offer. Who the fuck wouldn’t want to be with a Badass like me? Because baby I am Fucking worth it! I own it I am a mother fucking Queen! And that is Self Worth. Knowing it Owning it and Showing. I don’t need a partner its a want. I am just fine all on my own.  

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It has been awhile since I have had to reflect on the emotion of sadness, life has been pretty good recently. While I am not saying that there have not been moments of doubts or fears but for the first time in years I have not experienced sadness or depression on a regular  basis. Maybe it’s because I have finally found an inner peace and I have cleared the toxic relationships out of my life.

On the other hand I do experience fear on a regular basis and that can easily lead to sadness. The fear comes from not knowing if I will ever have the one thing that I have always desired and wanted more than anything, its the ache in my heart and soul that I would give anything to have filled. Even as I type this my eyes are filling with tears and they are streaming down my face.

 

See it’s the one fucking thing in my life that I can not control, force or really do a mother fucking thing about. It’s having someone in my life to share it with a partnership, that ultimate relationship, that I think every soul on this planet craves.  I have been so broken, and beaten down mentally and emotionally in the past that now as I have gained self love and found my self worth that I am unwilling to just settle ever gain.

 

I am loving all that the universe has brought into my life so far in this journey of new self discovery and ultimate happiness, but there are nights where I sit alone in my room with my headphones in listening to music and I allow all the dark thoughts of self doubt and fear of being alone for the rest of my life to creep in, and in those dark moments I don’t just cry a tear or two I sob. We are talking full on ugly crying here.  For I know that if I don’t give myself a chance to let it out it will build and fester like a dark poison that will slowly creep through my heart and make me a jaded and bitter woman.

 

So I sob, I let out all the pain and fear on those nights, all the doubts and stupid self hate that I know is not true is to let it go. Still I cry it’s not easy letting it all go in these moments. See on nights where I let the fear grip me like this I don’t reach out to my friends or family to get reassurance that “Oh yes, your time will come” bullshit. I don’t need a fucking ice cream cone.  No, I take these moments to still my body and let all the negative thoughts flow like the oceans tides  through my mind.

 

I am learning to find my own strength and self worth and love through these nights. With each negative thought I force myself to find a positive to it. I am making the choice to change my own mental outlook on not only my own damn self but on life, love and relationships. The most interesting thing about that change is my own outlook on things is that its starting to fully reflect back on my life from the inside out and my entire life is starting to change in ways that I never thought possible.

 

My life was once in black in white and I feel like I am coming out in technicolor a vivid and bright. I’m  taking it all a day at a time and enjoying every moment that life has to offer me. I know that my heart’s deepest desire is going to happen one day soon, I can feel it with vibrating deep within me, simply due to knowing  I have an open heart and open hands when it comes to that. And a view of what you think about your bring about. I have some weak moments where I break down and cry, but that’s okay, even with the fear I know I will rise. So the sadness does not bother me. I can face it with an acceptance of an old friend, whom I need to have a conversation with once in a while.

Many times in my life I was sad. Ive spent years depressed    years sad.  Sad little strawberry.

As a young woman everyone expressed emotions in my home regularly.

we rarely used words or descriptions. conversations were null and void. My mother would disappear for a week smoking dope and fucking her husband in hotels and lavish Seattle homes of dealers ( the high life). then sleeping it off for three days while us kids figured it out. We would see her at random times  screaming about anything. whether it was because I hadn’t cleaned enough or because she thought my step dad wanted to fuck the girlfriend I had over for the evening she would just scream and spit and choke people.  My step dad expressed his emotions by  Playing guitar loudly through the nights and beating my moms ass when she offended him by accusing him of mis stepping. Surely she was off her rocker!!.  ( because it wasn’t my girlfriend he was fucking it was me.)

My family expressed emotion as long as it could be felt DEEPLY.  it was normal for us to fight.  I remember blackening my baby sisters eye for not cleaning the bathroom properly .  I remember the hurt look in her eyes.  she said, ” I thought that you loved me” then she cried and went to tell someone safe, an adult, who looked at me and said, ‘ nice right hook!”.   the ” adult” agreed with my actions.  Afterall mom ( his girlfriend)  was gone and somebody had to clean the house. with 4 kids in it she would freak had I not kept everyone in line.

. I felt right…

I was pissed.

a few hours earlier my moms cousin had had me pinned in my bed with a syringe in hand insisting I fuck him for my moms fix. I had run into the living room and sat down on the couch behind her while she watched cartoons hoping he would leave me alone.   he sat next to me and whispered in my ear. ”  If you say anything to me now your sister will see what I’m doing to you.”  he slipped his hands down the back of my pants and finger fucked me. stating that if I sat still she wouldn’t have to see.

he expressed his emotion while I took it in. I let him do what he wanted so the baby didn’t have to be exposed.

Of course later when she couldn’t just clean the bathroom like I asked…. I acted out…. rarely were real emotions expressed.. Anger, rage, control……

lets get to the point

there was no room for crying then. and after years of crying and yelling around as an adult I realized I was just like my mother.  I cry by myself now in my own presence  where I am safe.    I cry   when there is time and it usually doesn’t take long.       I also tend to cry with people when they have stories similar to mine, when they need permission to be sullen before we build a fortress.

I have no depression. nobody makes me do anything I don’t want to.  I enjoy my tears they keep me from making bad decisions and blackening the eyes of those whos heart would break knowing that my love can sometimes be dark.   I love to take my space and cry alone. I enjoy my sadness when i get to have it for myself  and turn it into what makes me strong. I use it to jog, workout, do better in my work , make plans , travel, be happier than what I was handed and to see the good in everything I live for now.

there isn’t much to be sad about  anymore.

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.

I sat reading my horoscope last week. Being relieved to read that it’s in the stars and ok that I have not yet found myself in the cold ,deep ,dark of the self.  I remembered almost suddenly that feeling  I need and worried. “How can I make myself experience this dark night of the soul? That sweet relieving feeling just before I release it for the coming year?”

As I woke the eve of the eve. Just a light spread over and I realized my intention without ritual, had been answered.  That day my anger was present but it was a laughable little anger. The  anger my partner had stated to me in a laughing smile for over 3 months. I texted her immediately.  “I owe you an apology.   I am so sorry ive allowed others to decide who i am and how I relate to you ”   she thanked me , of course, as real queens do when you’ve really done nothing for them and they have patiently waited for you to catch up.

I was met with love when I returned home.   A clean house, a well heated bathroom with the hot bath set, candles, the best washcloth in the house, the good razor, good shampoo was brought, cashmere robe, tea was warm and optional,  and a hot americano….all waiting.   The house was empty……ahhh my bedroom smelled like cinnamon…..  A note in the phone stated there was water in the freezer and to please drink it…

This was all in preparation for a noon massage from a woman I was gifted who could only be described as an earth goddess. The woman danced around my body wisking away  loads of yuck… as she pushed the blackness from my body she related and reminded me where I wanted to be with smells in the air  and contours in her face when I was brave enough to peek up at her work. My wife sent me to the most beautiful woman she knew to clean me up  on a Sunday afternoon. On the eve of this new year. I went home sick as fuck. Was put back to bed, fed whatever I opened my mouth to ask for and allowed to sleep or wake throughout the night without any complaints or disruption….  Surely, I have chosen my best friend.   This woman knows  what’s best for me.  I was thankful.

I woke early on the morning of the new year.  About 4 Am ( i think)   my wife, my best friend, turns toward me slowly…  “we didn’t make it to the water to be with the moon like you wanted. Should we go now?”

“Yes, if your willing”

We promptly set out to bundle up. Into the car and being our awkward selves fumbeled about around what water was best and setteled on the idea that to go to them all would suffice.   As we pulled up to salt creek her voice became quiet and my mother spoke .   How blessed I was to hear her immediately! The mother earth lulled me in with her song and assured me she had her message waiting.  I was immediately  comforted.

My wife took her space back by the rocks.  And I was let to do what I needed. It had been moths since I asked properly to have my struggles and questions answered.  The wind. The trees. Their perfect placement, how playful.  The water across the way.  The moon .   My mother, my brothers and sisters harmonizing the truth to me in Whimsical statements. AHHHHH I love you!!   ” look around, your the only one not joining in.” The chaos was big the waves sounded over here the trees talking behind me.  The rocks so loudly still. The vibration of it all! And here I am fighting it.   She whispered,” do not fear what noise others make. Just make sure you are singing your mothers song”.    My tribe is of earth warriors. Fiercely fighting for her ways.  Perhaps I got lost and have forgotten what side I’m on.   She sang,”we prefer that you sing with us”….” of course they want to ruin but you know they cant hurt you,and SHE surely wont try. Lol Carmen they can’t fuck with you as you so angrily say” like a baptism inside of a lotus I am clean… ready to fight with the dance…

Eyes closed. Black gone.
I walk back to my partner. She spins tales of being one with the universe. And mentions fear and hate.  We have this conversation all the way home. And she reminds me who I am.

We spent that day  playing like 5 year olds, and cooking like mothers. We cleaned like medicine women,danced like warriors, and fucked like animals.

Last night after we were all snuggled into the night. She smiled at me  cuddled into my arms,looked up and whispered,”Your my best friend”

I just want to thank my mother for reminding me that to dance with her is to really live.  And my partner who will feed me what I need…  I plan to thank them fiercely…

I have recently started to become more of a morning person. No, I’m not talking about that annoying perky bright eyed overly chirpy annoying type that when they open their mouths in the morning before your first sip of coffee you in vision chicken choking them. I speak of the quiet type of morning person. The slow to wake type, the let me have a couple sips and savor that warming of my chest that the first sip brings. I will talk but let the conversation be easy and calm.

Some of my favorite mornings are the ones where I am up super early before my family and I can make a fresh pot of coffee and then find a comfy chair to sit in and listen to my music on headphones and zone out. To quietly muse and ponder to allow myself to think but not stay on anyone thing for too long the art of learning to not overthink. It was in one of these mornings of pondering that it hit me.

I have always wondered if I picked up any of my dad’s mannerisms. You see, my Dad was not my biological father so knowing that I picked something up from him would be something awesome. This morning I was thinking about my dad and how most of my favorite memories of him are of him sitting in our kitchen at the table drinking his morning coffee, smoking a cigarette, and either leaning forward on his knees thinking about the coming day or leaning back looking out the back window pondering life.

I never understood why he would get up so damn early, even on the weekends most of the time dad was up early, during the week he was always up at what to a teenager seems like ungodly hours. My dad was a carpenter and he owned his own construction company so he was up and going early my entire life. I never understood why he got up so early…. Until now.

Now I get it, in the last year I have slowly been waking up earlier and earlier in the mornings to be up before anyone else. I enjoy my mornings where I can sit in the quiet stillness and ponder life or thinking about the coming day. It gives me time to sort things in my head. I find that it’s making me a calmer person and a happier one. I also enjoy the mornings where I get to share them with good company that is like minded those rare mornings are breaths of fresh air n my constant routine.

Then the moment of pure pondering joy hits, that split second when all your musings give you a little incitement to the inner truth of you. I do have one of my dad’s habits it’s taken me almost ten years to see it and really truly appreciate it. It’s my morning routine. The early mornings, with my coffee, music playing on my headphones while contemplating the randomness that passes through my mind. That moment of reflection that all along these last few years when I have been missing him the most, he has been right here by my side as I have been giving thought to all the things in my life and working through them.

Little did I know that I have not been alone at all, my dad joins me for coffee every morning, whether I know it or not. His spirit carries on within me every morning when I take that first sip of coffee, in the quiet moments of life’s musings, and every time I avoid talking to my teenage daughter in the morning to avoid her snapping at, (Just like my dad did with me unless I spoke first). My dad smiled all the time just like I do, my dad was a constant smart ass…yep I can be to. But of all the things I picked up from him This one makes me the happiest, because I feel the closest to my dad for the first time since his passing ten years ago.

 

Sometimes I wondered if I would ever get that light bulb moment in regards this whole relationships thing. After my divorce ,which was almost nine years ago, I was on some sort of contrived mission to find me again and to eventually meet that person to be my partner for life, that supposed ride or die, or the other half to build a life together and all that romantic bullshit nonsense that fills our heads from books, movies and other places in life.

Yet here I am two failed relationships later, in which both came close to marriage in at least that we talked in depth about taking that plunge into the spending our lives together in some form of commitment.  The first seemed like it was going pretty good up until the point where we suffered a loss that was hard for either of us to verbalize our grief .As we went through a miscarriage we started to slowly fall apart. That break up was hard for my heart as I still loved that man so much and when we split the circumstances were ones where I had hard lines drawn and we had to go our separate ways.

The next relationship seemed like  potential good. There were some issues but we started out as best friends and it just flowed into something more. Then after two years it all imploded on us like a bomb that had been ticking (maybe it was both of our bipolar mental states combined with his addictions) but it was an explosion that we did not survive. See, I choose the path of help and I got stronger by seeking medical attention and counseling for my mental health. Along with my continued growth physically with my OCR’s I was changing and becoming healthy and strong all the  while he was willing to stay stuck in his addictions. The final blow came when the emotional and mental abuse started and I was done.. I had to protect my daughter , my mom, and myself.  So I made him leave after four years of togetherness.

Now I am at a point where I am seriously thinking about seeing people again. There comes a point where that thought crosses my mind ‘is it me? am I that fucking damaged? am I that difficult to be with, that a lasting relationship isn’t possible since I have three failed ones under my belt now?’ Then I have to give myself a mental bitch slap, and a hard one at that.  As it has dawned on me, yes I played a part in each of my past relationships and in how they grew and eventually fell apart but so to did my partners, whether it was cheating,abusive behaviors, addictions, growing apart or other circumstances that caused the separations, as adults both partners played a part in the relationships.

Thus I have this to take away from these past relationships, for one they are not failures in each one I grew as a person and as a woman, each partner taught me new lessons, one gave me the greatest gift of motherhood, one gave the gift of enjoyment of going out and being social with my partner, the other taught me that I can be in a relationship and still do my own thing and still grow. They taught me that even in the aftermaths of the breakups you can still find it possible to love and care about someone.  There is forgiveness in time and distance from the pain and hurt even if that time has only been a few month or if its been years.

I have figured out the things that I will tolerate and those which I will not in a relationship, I know that I want a partner who is willing to integrate into my life and be apart of my groups of  friends and supports my dreams and goals, one who is loving towards my family, just like I would expect them to want me to be and do the same for and with them.  I require a partner who can handle that I am a strong and independent woman, I have been a single mom now for 10 years even when I was in relationships I never stepped out of the single mom role and I won’t until I have made that total commitment to someone who can fully be my partner and I know they have my back fully.

I have come to the realization that it is going to take an equally strong partner to be with me, a person who has the same ability to rise and grind to meet their goals while motivating me to meet mine and having me do the same for them while meeting my goals and yet still have the capability to reach for common goals together as partners. Now for some this might seem like a huge task but I know for the right person it won’t be.  I want to take my time to get to know someone and enjoy the process of knowing them.  It’s not about moving in with someone quickly or getting that commitment as fast as possible, it’s about knowing a person and understanding them, its about finding out if we can make our damaged parts fit together and pack them away so we can move forward

Honestly at this point in our lives, I am in my late thirties who in the hell does not have a past and is not damaged in some way, we have to learn to make our broken bits fit together with our partners. Finding someone with no past and no damage is like finding a unicorn good luck and if you do send me a picture!

Here is to growing older, gaining some wisdom from age and being thankful of my past for its bringing to me a better future, and to possibly finally knowing what it is that I am looking for in a partner.

My entire young life I had heard that I need to grow up and be an adult. When I turned 18, pregnant with my first child, I did not magically feel like an adult. I got married, had another daughter, and still the enlightenment of being a year older never felt like the definition of adult. If time is a concept that society created in order to have structure but does not tangibly exist, could the concept of being an adult also be a myth used to explain the in-explainable?

While typing Edith’s Memoir “The Book of Edith”, her caregiver would forewarn me of the bad days as they happened. For Edith a bad day is mass confusion within dementia and her body is locked into place from Parkinson’s, with her failing site producing hallucinations. As I would come every weekend and read her the journals I had typed onto my computer, we would relive her childhood. The journals were especially fond in the memories of her childhood, even though she lived in refugee camps and was busy running to the woods to escape the bombs reigning down all around their hometown of Stuttgart, Germany. Her childhood is told in a way that reminds me of my own childhood, the feeling of nostalgia accompanying the reading. Edith, in the last sector of life, loved hearing the stories she herself wrote, especially the early stories that tell of her defiance with her mother, and later the mothers love she found as a woman, as an adult.

As I would read, her caregiver would report odd happenings through her day that happened to coincide with the stories we read. The characters who once were live humans have long past, and this memory and need to remember becomes imminent. We finished the book and printed it, as you may know, and Edith said she was “Kaput”.

Edith’s health began deteriorating quickly, and my friend (her caregiver) asked if I would be interested in sitting with Edith on weekends. I had been a caregiver for adults in my past career in the decade prior, but had been working with children as of most recent. Months passed and Edith’s health rapidly fell into 24 hour care. I arrived with a duffel bag full of home comforts for the 24 hour shift and appreciated the view from her apartment as a gift of perspective. The observation ritual I noticed seemed backwards from the magical words of “Someday, you’ll be an adult.”

As a kid, that statement meant freedom, as thoughts of paying rent and mortgages and utility bills were not in the view for my younger self at that time. I could not wait to be an adult and be independent. My definition of adult meant I no longer had to listen to my parents, which ironically is still a great value I have on being an adult. Growing up meant understanding as well, becoming wise in my elder years. And all of this was supposed to just happen at the moment I turned 18, then I would be 40, and then maybe retire and die. Life had been cut into chunks that I wasn’t aware had been studied by the brilliant psychologists, one of the observations being about Lifespan Psychology, and the four sectors of aging.  Carl Jung referred to this idea as simply the “Stages of Life.”

Jung’s work in archetypes lent to his study of the human psyche in regards to the stages of life, naming four in particular; the Athletic stage, the Warrior stage, the Statement stage and the stage of the Spirit. While ages varied, Jung found that the stages were loosely based on approximate ages, and if given the opportunity to live through the years he found that there was a psychological viewpoint within each archetype.

The athletic stage is based on looks and performance. Humans enter this stage at birth, grow exponentially for the 5 years, and learn cognitive functioning. This stage lends fascination to the visual of the body and its usage. The athletic stage lasts until approximately the age of 25, which coincides with the biology of brain development changing around this time.

The warrior stage begins with restructuring this new life. The value of freedom and to conquer in career and life overall is strongest at this stage. The adults are gone, and now we get to make choices that state our importance to the world. The warrior raised children, builds her career, and learns to physically and emotionally support ourselves in self-awareness.

The statement stage is about realizing our place within the world as a warrior while understanding that community and the humans we love are more important than the career and money we spent the last 15 years building. The statement is a realization that there is more to life than the items we own, and we want to be a part of the fabric that holds the world, our individual world, together.  So far we have progressed through stages of confidence building in our physical and mental prowess, have self-actualized our lives.

The spirit stage is recognition of the body and mind being separate. For most of our life we depend on our legs to carry us, we do not see old age bringing sticky muscles and cracking bones. As I watched Edith try 3 times to push herself up from her chair, I could not help but think of all the mountains she climbed throughout her life. Now there is a separation, and with that separation frustration or acceptance. I look around the dining room and recognize the frustration of working an entire life just so the kids can sell the house and lock their parents in for their own safety, the child becoming the adult for the now adult child. I watch two older men, white haired and missing teeth, gossiping about the ladies with arms folded and little smirks and I think to myself what a cosmic joke. We spend all this time and money on looking good, and in reality none of that actually exists, just like time, it has no value unless value is given to it.  The spirit stage is acceptance of childlike wonder, as we regress to our less physical life. The recognition of spirit is a beautiful gift as it specifically outlines the idea that you are still, indeed, you. In fact, the other 3 stages of you were not fully formed until this very moment.  We are able to become the observer, with all the unique information about ourselves, in an effort to ease out of the body without fear and trauma.

My definition of being an adult has changed due to my life experience. I have no desire to fulfill the stereotype of being an adult as defined in my past stage(s).  Instead, I will continue to be me as only I know it and learn the acceptance of the difference between body and mind.  Where are you in the stages of life?

Warmest Regards,

Peggy

 

P.S. I have included a link to this highly recommend reading about Maslow’s self-actualizers.

 

The Following information was taken from here; https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Characteristics of self-actualizers:

  1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;
  2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;
  3. Spontaneous in thought and action;
  4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);
  5. Unusual sense of humor;
  6. Able to look at life objectively;
  7. Highly creative;
  8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;
  9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;
  10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;
  11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;
  12. Peak experiences;
  13. Need for privacy;
  14. Democratic attitudes;
  15. Strong moral/ethical standards.
Behavior leading to self-actualization:

(a) Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration;

(b) Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths;

(c) Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition, authority or the majority;

(d) Avoiding pretense (‘game playing’) and being honest;

(e) Being prepared to be unpopular if your views do not coincide with those of the majority;

(f) Taking responsibility and working hard;

(g) Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up.

The characteristics of self-actualizers and the behaviors leading to self-actualization are shown in the list above.  Although people achieve self-actualization in their own unique way, they tend to share certain characteristics.  However, self-actualization is a matter of degree, ‘There are no perfect human beings’ (Maslow,1970a, p. 176).

 

 

 

Twenty days; yes the countdown to THAT day in my life is on, and it’s coming like a slow moving storm in the distance that you know that you can’t avoid no matter what direction you go . It’s a day that I would give anything to just be out on the beach at Kalaloch all day; just to be in the place where you loved to go and we released you to your final resting place. Where I could sit and listen  to the ocean beat the shore with its calming heartbeat as the wind blows around me. But that day I will be the responsible adult that you taught me to be at work.

Ten years and it’s hard for me to fathom that it’s been this long since that day that started the massive tsunami of change that has overtaken my life. Little did I know that the change would come at the cost of one of my biggest losses and heartbreaks of my life. I knew you were sick, it was why I chose to stay in this small town and why we didn’t move across country, but I thought i had more time than we did. What I thought could be years turned into only a year and a few months.

That  day is still burned forever in my memories, most of the time I can block it out but this year little clips of it keep popping into my head like little flashes of a broken film with no sound. With each little fragment of a memory it catches my breath and I have to fight back the urge to allow the whole nightmare of a day and the following weeks to play out in my mind. Followed by the overwhelming questioning;  did I tell you how much I loved you and give you one more hug before I left the house after picking up your granddaughter? Did you know that you were my favorite person to have coffee with and my best adviser? How much I have missed you in the last ten years and would give to have one more talk?

I hope that you are proud of the woman your daughter has become dad. I have struggled, I have fallen to my knees, and been broken and battle worn.Your passing pushed me to fight for my self worth and my daughter’s right to have her parents not end up hating each other.  I have handled my divorce with grace and my head held high,showed as much respect as possible, taken care of mom like you would want me to (even if at times we drive each other crazy, but hey, we are mother and daughter and that’s normal and we love each other dearly), I am raising my own daughter to be strong and yet kind with just a touch of sass, and I have survived a round or two of emotional and mental abuse. Through it all I fought hard to keep my heart kind,but with the fire and grit of a warrior.

While I know your passing was the hardest on mom, it still lingers for her in ways that can only be expressed by her, but for me as your child even though I was not yours by blood you were my daddy. You raised me and loved me like your own. It’s an ache only someone who has lost a parent can understand.  I have learned that grief comes in so many forms and we all have our own ways of coming to terms with this unimaginable loss.

For me I choose to remember the day you left not only because it marks a sad moment in my life but because in the long run it marks a turning point in my life. It marks the moment I started to become the woman that my family always knew I could be and the woman my family needed me to be. It marks the moment I started crawling out of the darkness of pain and depression I was in. I became a warrior that day for my family and above all for my own life. Death changes people. Yours showed me that I need to become a stronger woman. I miss you so much Dad.