I’m Sorry Self

“Mom! Jaylah is disrespecting property!”

It was seemingly the twentieth fight of the morning, but this one sounded like something real since it directly violated Rule #2: Respect People and Property.

He continued on, detailing her destruction as I stood up from working on the headboard that I desperately wanted to finish today.

I walked inside and saw her sitting beside the scene of the crime, “Hey Boog, what’s going on?”

She rolled her eyes and looked away, crossing her arms and sticking her chin out as far as she could.

“Jaylah, we should talk about this. If you’re not ready, you need to go to your bed until you are.”

One thing she learned well from her favorite movie is an icy glare. It was more frozen than, well, the movie itself.

“You can walk or I can carry you, babe. You choose.”

She walked to her bed and crawled under the covers, completely hidden from view.

“I’ll come talk to you in a few minutes.”

I took a mom time-out. The property she had destroyed was custom made for her. It had taken a tremendous amount of time and effort. I had to remind myself that it was just stuff and the lesson was going to be the important thing here.

I walked back to her room. “Are you ready to talk?”

She peered out from under the covers with one watery eye and I discerned a almost invisible nod.

I sat on the end of the bed, scooting her onto my lap. She was still doing her best to look away, so I slipped one hand under both of hers and stroked her hair with the other while I waited for eye contact.

Finally, after what felt like an hour, she looked up.

“You realize you broke Rule #2, right?”

Faint nod.

“Why did you do that? I made that special, just for you. Why would you want to destroy it? I just don’t understand.” I tried to keep my voice as neutral as possible.

I wanted to tell her it hurt my feelings. I wanted her to know that I had plans for it, plans where she gave it to her daughter, detailing how her mom had made it for her. I wanted it all to be about me. My hurt. My pain. My loss.

But it wasn’t about me. It was about this precious little girl who will someday have to face the big, bad world on her own. It was about preparing her for that.

Big, fat, crocodile tears now. Her voice shook as she gripped my hand a little tighter. “I didn’t think it would matter mom. It’s mine.”

My heart broke a little as I started to explain. “Baby, you have to respect yourself and your property. You have to know how to take care of things. You are just as important as anyone else and you have to treat yourself with as much, if not more, respect than you treat others. You matter. You are valuable. And so are the things you care about. But you have to set that standard and know that first. Do you understand that?”

I lifted her chin up so I could see her whole face. She nodded again. “I’m so sorry mommy.”

“Baby, tell yourself sorry. You hurt you by ruining your stuff, right?”

She nodded again, a bit stronger now. “I’m sorry self.”

Oh my heart. If only I had heard those words a few weeks or years ago. How easy it is to forget…

I’m sorry self.

How many times have I forgotten that very thing? How many times have I settled for second, or worse, destroyed something valuable to me, compromised my values, been untrue to myself because it was “just me”?

How many times have I hidden the hurt or acted out of my insecurities and spent days, weeks, months, regretting the very thing that I thought would make me feel better in the moment?

I’m sorry self.

I’m sorry for treating you as less than. I’m sorry for not showing you the respect you deserve and desire. I’m sorry that I’ve given you the impression that you are unworthy. I’m sorry for settling.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone goes through hard times. Everyone has a memory or two that they would rather forget. And that’s okay.

You’re still worth it. You’re still valuable. You are made for more. So take the time to remind yourself of your worth. Take pride in your accomplishments. And don’t ever, ever let anyone treat you badly. Especially yourself.

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I had an article published for a non-profit recently.


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Watch “Tears and Rain by James Blunt with lyrics.” on YouTube

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Leaving Home

I’m sorry, but I must leave you now. We’ve been through so much together, seen so much. I’ve come to know you intimately as you’ve repeatedly come into my life coupled with the words “I love you”.

Hurt has become home somewhere along the way and I don’t know what it might be like to live without you. Yes, it hurts to hurt, but it also hurts not to. You are a familiar comfort, even as you attempt to prod my soul to seek better things.

So I must say goodbye. Because even as your pain reminds me I’m alive, I realize that leaving you is a wild adventure, full of the unknown. And I don’t care. I’m finally letting go.

I must say goodbye. Because the years in your shade are over and I’m ready to turn my face to the sun. As I wander into this wilderness, I trust that I will find respite from your constant chill.

I must say goodbye. I’m falling in love with a life free from you, a life without you in it. I’m giving up on you. For so long, you’ve been my security, walking in each time another walked out. But I can no longer live with you whispering that it is better to break my own heart than to risk the idea of possibly falling apart.

I’m saying goodbye because I deserve to love myself better, to understand myself more. It’s time for me to fight my demons, to choose myself and create a new, brave heart. I will lead me into battle against the army of my insecurities and I will fight until the walls of self-doubt crumble.

Farewell my beautiful home of hurt. You have served me well for a time, but I am choosing to start anew, with more of me… and far less of you.

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The Ocean at Dawn

The Ocean at dawn. The autumn leaves on a winding road. A majestic sunset. The end of an incredible book. Moments that take our breath away and bring tears to our eyes.

The yearning for it to last forever and the desire to linger, to wait, to soak in as much as we possibly can. It is so powerful, so sharp, so deep that it peirces every fiber of our body with longing. We want more. It reminds us that there has to be more. Maybe somewhere is life, exactly as it should be. It makes us ponder a paradise that we have never known, but somehow our hearts were created for.

And then it is gone, with only the longing left behind. And we pour contempt on our fragile hearts for wanting more, for wanting something transcendent and unexplainable. We deny ourselves the grand adventure, deny the dreams that were birthed with us.

We settle.

We convince ourselves that the desires so deep in our hearts were meant for the people who have their shit together. Not someone like us, with all our failings. Fear comes in like a wet blanket and smothers the fiery passion that forms the very nature of who we are.

And then, beauty draws us back, reminding us that it is worth pursuing, worth fighting for. Beauty is the core of our humanity. That is why we see it, we feel it, we bask in it, we NEED it.

And slowly it sinks in, little by little as our souls awaken. So often, it is harder to fight for ourselves than for anyone else. But it is imperative that we do so. We have become so accustomed to evaluating everyone and everything on their usefulness, on what they can DO…

But we repeatedly fail to realize that beauty is in the being. And that beauty, in and of itself, is a great and glorious good. We desperately need beauty in large, daily doses to bring us back to the reality that anything is possible, and that there is always something more, something bigger.

We need it to awaken our dreams and desires – not the shallow dreams of getting or attaining things- the dreams of wholly and fully embracing who we are. We can’t love with a whole heart if our heart is asleep. And beauty allows us to feel, to risk waking up, to risk wanting and desiring. It can make us whole if we allow it.

So, my dear friend, if you’re reading this, take a moment to embrace the beauty surrounding you, the beauty that is you, and accept that you were made for a great and glorious purpose and YOU are so loved.

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Still finding my ten.

Today’s gratitude moments were harder to come by…

Moments fraught with “how is this going to work?” and “am I making the right choice?” seemed far more common today.

Today was hard and messy. Today felt like failing more than anything. Today made me realize how much I don’t “have my shit together”. Today hurt. Basically from the moment I opened my eyes.

But even in the hard, messy moments, there was a certain beauty, a certain glory.

Standing up for myself was a positive moment. It wasn’t long ago that I couldn’t advocate for myself because my voice was weak. Today, I made sure my voice was heard.

Being honest with myself felt good. Sometimes I tend to fool myself into believing things are more than what is true. Getting a gut check this morning hurt a bit, but allowing myself to accept that raw hurt was a growth opportunity like no other.

Making a plan felt good. I started this morning with a few obstacles to overcome. Distraught and frantic, just hoping I could put it all together… Nothing a few goals and a plan can’t fix. At least I feel like I have the beginning of a path hewn now.

Changing direction felt good. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I’ve been doing that with my health journey for TWO YEARS now. It’s about time to remove the insanity from my world.

Realizing that no one else’s opinion truly, actually matters… That felt really good. So often I’m tempted to make decisions based on what other people might think or say… I try not to succumb to that often, but I do. I am human, after all. Today, just in one small area, I was able to take that risk and decide that I matter more.

Being honest with my friend felt good. Admitting that I was struggling, that things aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Its easier to let people believe my life is all peaches and cream, but sometimes it just isn’t. Honestly let’s people support you. Honesty means they feel safe too. Honesty is always the best policy.

Trusting someone with my kids felt good. Knowing I have people in my life that will come through for me in a pinch is amazing. My people are amazing.

Teaching my boy about responsibility… Well, that didn’t feel good, but it was certainly necessary. Hard lessons are (hopefully) lessons well learned.

Having my girl volunteer to do laundry made me think maybe things were okay after all. Her empathetic side was showing, and I feel in love with it.

Being actively creative with no thought of results was beautiful. Being able to share that with both of my kids was priceless.

So, yes, although today was challenging, rising to the occasion certainly felt good.

And as Jaylah said ” Mom, this was the best weekend ever! No one else can say their mom caught on fire!”

So, I got that going for me. 🙂

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Ten minutes

One. Her diving into my bed head first, “Good morning mom!”

Two. “I don’t trust myself to crack the eggs. Can you just show me again?”

Three. Puppet shows with new friends just because.

Four. Him laughing, gut deep, unable to contain himself.

Five. Painting her hair pink because I can and it makes her so happy.

Six. “I made you a card because I love you so much”

Seven. Reading to them as they rest their heads on my shoulders, my fingers running through their hair.

Eight. Tickle wars that never end, but continue night after night. Our little tradition.

Nine. Laughing with and learning about some incredible ladies.

Ten. Slipping into fresh washed bedding and staring at the flames while listening to the rain pound down outside.

It was a good day.

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