Saturday, January 26, 2019


So... I did a thing.

That turned into a bigger thing.

Basically, my "this isn't right" met up with my "someone has to say something" at just the right (or wrong) time, and I decided that someone was going to be me. I posted some heartfelt thoughts.

To our internal message board. At work.

I know.

And then, I scurried to bed.

I was almost afraid to look at the fall-out when I got up the next morning. No. I was afraid. I really do like my job!

But... I guess the most immediate fall-out was gratitude -- many messages, publicly and privately, thanking me for standing up, for saying what others also felt, for my bravery.

I haven't really known what to say or do with that.  I haven't felt brave at all.

It reminds me of how I felt when our girls were babies. We were 23 years old, first-time parents, when we had our twins -- preemies who spent weeks in the NICU. I remember feeling so uncomfortable and inadequate when people would praise us for how strong they thought we are.

Strong was the last thing I felt. I was just doing what I had to do -- for survival, not strength.

Strong and brave aren't really words I would use to describe myself but --

Maybe that's just because I've seen to many Hollywood movies where Strong and Brave were the big heroic deeds of muscle men and superheroes. Maybe that's not what Strong and Brave are.

Maybe... sometimes...

Strong and Brave are the little choices of ordinary people just trying to survive and do the right thing.

And maybe I need to remember that more.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Last year, my one resolution was to be more authentic. To be okay with being myself, yes - but more, to have the courage to be more outwardly vulnerable. To have the courage to be more honest.

It was a good resolution. Just with a short life.

My first attempt bit me in the ass, basically. It was met with words that I found painful and sent me running back to my defenses. The risk is too great, I thought. Authenticity is too hard. I guess that courage didn't last very long.

Even in the fall when I got a little more solid in my life decisions, when Iw as a little more sure of my why's, and I wanted to write more -- I laid out some affirmative mantras for what I wanted to guide me, one of which was "You have permission to be honest." Wrapped up in that was a continued desire to open myself up, to stop carrying secrets, to better practice and exemplify that authenticity. I found it harder than I thought.

Authenticity comes in pieces. When I think about it, it's not true that I haven't practiced it. It's just been very private and where I felt safe. There are a few people I've trusted enough to be authentic and open, people I was sure were there for me and not just gossip. And with those, I've been much more open about laying out everything. Outside of that, though, I've been pretty closed.

But maybe that's okay to start. One of the Brene Brown pieces that sticks with me is that we choose authenticity, we share our most real stories with those who have earned the right to hear them - not just willy-nilly with the maddening crowd. And maybe that's how you start to learn to be more real - with one trusted soul at a time.

Until, perhaps, the risks of holding tightly to your story become greater than the risks of giving it wings and validation.

I still want to work toward greater courage, deeper vulnerability, truer authenticity. If nothing else, as a gift to myself. But, I think I see now that there are footholds to rest on between the two extremes, and that it isn't an either-or.

Friday, January 11, 2019


I trolled back through my own writing of the last seven or eight years...  I write about being fine in yourself a lot.

I guess, because I am often not.

I have always been a bit of a chameleon -- admittedly in a slightly snarky package. That part of me, I don't think I could camouflage if I tried. But I have found myself trying to squeeze into boxes that would be pleasing.  And then I'm mad at the world when I realize that I don't fit into them.

Writing about it... exhorting the idea that it's okay to just be you... I think that's probably been my way of therapying myself into believing it, too.

Even now, I find myself trying to shape myself differently as I write. There are places that I feel I should be further along... in growth, in healing, in maturity.  I know that I'm not... and instead of being honest about those things, my inclination has been to just not talk about them or just skirt their edges or to pretend they aren't there. It's not even that I'm ashamed of those places. Growth is a part of life. Healing is a part of life, and I don't really feel like anyone should have to adhere to a timetable. It is what it is.

I just don't want to have to defend that timetable to anyone else.  The growth and the healing is hard enough without having to construct shield and armor around it. If I don't speak of it, I don't have to defend it...  which is, in itself, a kind of shield and armor.

I'm not sure I feel any more comfortable in myself for the writing... but I do find that it makes me more aware (sometimes) of how I treat others in their broken places. Or even in just the things we love that differ.

I ran into that when my Celtic Thunder furor was at its peak... I never liked it when people made fun of me for it. We don't all have to love the same things... but when people ridiculed the things I loved, it was hard to not feel that what they were really ridiculing was me.  I'm more cognizant of that in myself now... am I treating someone's love for their things in the same way I'd want mine to be treated?  And even, if they don't love what I love, am I treating their preferences with kindness?

Oh, I'll get there.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


I am optimistic...  or maybe it's not so much that I'm optimistic, but I believe in the good in things. I'm really good at finding silver linings.  If you were around for my rantings over Crazy Grumpy Lady, you will remember how we clashed when my insistence on locating silver linings crashed up against her insistence that there aren't any.

Not saying either is better.  Just saying that she was annoying as hell. :)

But, I was thinking about that as I was searching for silver linings in my own chapter-closings. What I was thinking about was "Okay, that was an odd decade...  what was going on there? What was I supposed to learn from all of that?"

And I wasn't really sure.  When I thought about the most obvious things I'd learned about myself, they weren't really all that different from what I believed when I started -- aside from maybe a fresh realization I hadn't had before that I was pretty naive and apparently had "Easy to Manipulate" stamped across my forehead. Was that it? Not that this was the only thing.  There were honest accountings of bad choices, unhealthy motivations, pride swallowings, and uncomfortable admissions. There were people that I wished I had treated differently, people I wished I'd listened to more. Advice I should have taken, stubbornness I should have bested.

Maybe those are the lessons.

But I also thought, "Maybe the point isn't the mistakes you made or the lessons you were supposed to learn.  What do you regret doing?"

And really... nothing.

I didn't regret trusting. I didn't regret caring. I didn't regret trying. I didn't regret supporting. I didn't regret pouring in.

and while there were specifics in the middle that I could have done a whole lot differently, who I was... she wasn't someone I regretted being.

Just maybe next time, I can listen to myself and trust myself a little bit more.