Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Circle of Trust

Being betrayed, is sour lump in your gut…a bitter and painful thing…your pulse races, your heart pounds, your stomach turns nauseously, and a sense of anger and confusion takes over…how could you do this to me? I gave you something so precious to hold…my trust and now it’s broken.  And we all know trust is not something easily repaired, but it is possible. 
I have been on both sides of this fence, as most of us have, because betrayal comes in all sizes…itty bitty…"I fibbed about why I didn't come to your party"…to triple extra large…"I wasn't working late at the office last night dear." Whatever side of the fence you fall on, it feels awful.
What I have learned is while the betrayal can be vastly different in scope, the root feelings are the same, much like my reflection on grief in my previous blog. It just comes down to how deeply and how long the feelings will affect you.
I think the thing that hurts the most, is sometimes it's not the actual crime itself, but the fact you were excluded, lied to, or tricked…it feels as if you were disregarded. No one wants to feel disregarded, let alone by someone they trust and love. I think often the perpetrator does not intend on any of these things…instead they fall into a trap they have set for themselves through bad choices, fear of judgement, and their own inability to trust in others.
In order to be honest you have to trust your relationships, you have open yourself up and trust that those you love will be accepting and considerate of your humanness.  There is that word again, trust…full circle. It seems to be a  a catch 22, when you are breaking someone’s trust, you are doing it because you don’t trust them with your honesty.
Why is honesty so hard? It’s because honesty will often make you vulnerable…vulnerable to criticism, vulnerable to feelings of anger directed at you, it often disrupts the status quo.  Self preservation is a very strong instinct; to make yourself vulnerable isn’t a simple task.
In  the end I think the most important thing we can do, is trust and be honest, build those relationships in which these things come most easily, and put your faith in your most cherished friends and loved ones. Try to be someone who can be trusted to be thoughtful with honesty, and be truthful in your words and actions.
When you make a mistake fess up, and try to learn from it. Then forgive…forgive yourself for being tripped up by life, for being human. But don't make excuses, take responsibility for your actions, learn something and move forward.
This actually feels rejuvenating, I am energized when I have learned something even if it had to come to me through failure. I am human, therefore fallible and malleable, I can make mistakes, see the error in my ways, change, and learn, becoming a better person for it in the end.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cry Me A River

Columbia River photographed by Randy Handorff
I don't know why this is heavy on my mind, but for some reason I have been thinking a lot about grief this week.  I even wrote a poem which I rarely do.
I feel like the root feeling of grief is the same for almost everyone, a clawing at your chest, a lump in your belly, shortness of breath, tears stinging your eyes, your throat closes up and you just feel like weeping. It just varies in intensity with the depth of whatever is causing you to grieve in the first place.
You can grieve for an hour, a day, weeks, etc…depending on the significance of your loss. Regardless, it hurts.
But I also believe it has a purpose, I don't think you can make peace with your personal tragedy or move on with your life without a proper grieving period. I think you stall where you are until you can mourn properly.  It’s like a purge of sorts, it will stay all balled up in there making you feel like, well…shit. Until you let it out and allow it to wash over you.  A cleansing of the spirit if you will.
“I will not say, do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” 
J.R.R. Tolkien
As I contemplated all of this, I had a couple of friends whom had things happen to them this week causing them grief in their lives, I had written a poem, and as I said before I rarely do, I know next to nothing about poetry other than sometimes it moves me when I read a good one. I don't know about style, content, composition… seriously, nothing. So I NEVER share. But I'm going to buck up and share this time because perhaps it is needed by someone.  Maybe even just me.  It’s probably not very good, but it is basically just an emotional from- the -gut sort of thing.  So here it is for what it’s worth.
Warm tears tracing a winding path down my cheek
Heart seized, aching, pounding in my chest
Breath short, catching in my throat
Sorrow breaking me into sharp and jagged pieces
Breathing in, breathing out
Slowly purging away my misery
Hope begins to lift my spirit
Broken places begin to mend
Grief begins to give back what it has taken
Strips me down to my very bones
Builds me back with courage and grace
I am better, stronger now than before
Whole, renewed, scared and beautiful

Friday, June 7, 2013

What's in your Backpack?

I like to think we all have mental backpacks, where we carry the things that are important to us or that we feel responsible for. I think for myself, and for many others we don't pay attention to what’s in there and how heavy it may get.
For many years I did not realize how heavy I had allowed my backpack to get, or even that I had a choice as to what to pack around in it.
What was in my backpack? My family, but not just my immediate family, my entire family…my mother my siblings, the whole kit and caboodle. (And I have a huge family for those of you that don’t know).I felt like I had to hold it all together, protect the integrity of our family, care for everyone’s feelings, keep all the secrets, be a perfect sister, daughter, mother and wife.
I covered up their mistakes, protected their feelings, organized holidays because if I didn't it wouldn't happen, I needed perfection and stability that I didn't get being a "commune kid". 
Also, I carried my pain in my backpack, pain from a traumatic childhood, filled with sexual abuse, instability, and confusion.  Pain I never fully expressed, burying it and covering it up because it’s ugly and doesn't fit my perfect life.
What happened when I tried to carry all that around? It got really heavy. And when I couldn’t carry it anymore, I didn't just set it down, I dropped it. At first it felt really good! But dropping my whole pack had its drawbacks. I went through some painful things I am not yet ready to discuss, made some mistakes and let important people in my life down.
But I learned! What did I learn?  Well, I had a choice as to what went into my pack, we all do. What I don’t need is:
Responsibility for covering up for others mistakes, people will have to live with the choices they have made just as I have to live with mine. If they have hurt me or caused me pain, I am allowed to feel it; I don’t have to cover it up to protect them.
Perfection…nope, don’t need it. Life is not perfect, it’s messy and wonderful. Christmas in January at the local Chinese food restaurant? Great.  My husband and kids taking off somewhere tropical for thanksgiving? Great. I don't need to be painting the perfect traditional picture and trying to force myself and my entire family into fitting it.
Pain…It happens. Feel it, express it, reach out for help if I need it, and then move on!
Control and fear, I don’t control what’s going to happen next, I can only weigh in, fear of change will only hamper me.
What do I have in my backpack now that I have repacked it and picked it back up?
Imperfection! It’s perfect, I love my quirky imperfect life and family; we are all just as we should be and are all traveling through life choosing our own paths. 
Acceptance, I accept change, I accept imperfection in myself and others, I accept my life the way it is, and accept that I can only control my own mind…everything else is going to do what it will.

Self care. If I am caring for myself, being responsible for my own actions, and living the best life I know how in the present…everything else falls into place. Now my pack is light and my life is good. So if you’re carrying around too much weight, lighten up!