Monday, October 21, 2013

I've Changed.

It's true.  There's something different about me.  You may not notice it because it's been creeping up on me over the course of the past several years, but...well, something has shifted.

Call it getting through the mid life crisis I went through in the first few years of my forties; call it getting a little wiser with age; call it gaining perspective on things that are important in life...whatever you want to call it doesn't really matter.

The truth is simply this.  I'm not living in denial any more.  Mostly by that I mean that I'm not living in denial of my feelings, my heart, any more.  I spent so many years of my adult years, far too many years, feeling a strong need to have control over myself, my feelings, that I forgot what it felt like to truly feel things.  Instead, I shoved food into my mouth; numbed myself with mindless things oriented around distracting me from what was really going on inside; made sure that what others saw in me was a strength that I did not feel or possess; tried to control myself and others to the best of my ability; ensured that tears coming from anything other than anger remained tightly secured under lock and key.

I was so scared to feel the things that really matter in life.  Scared to feel great depth of love because that might well lead to pain; scared to feel sadness because when would it ever stop; scared to tell the real truth (the greater truths) because what would people think; scared even to feel joy because surely that acknowledgement alone would orchestrate impending disaster.  I was so scared that I shoved those things far down and covered them up with a guise of control and togetherness and many masks oriented around others' perceptions of me.

They were such good masks that for many years I fooled myself.  And as a result, I learned to ignore what my body was telling me.  I stopped knowing feelings of fulness when I sat down to eat; I stopped recognizing feelings of fear, guilt, and sometimes even propriety even though I so often felt overwhelmed by things; my strong 'sixth sense' which I might now call a gift of discernment vacated me.  So many things were affected.

I've come a long way...thanks to therapy, good friends, a faithful husband, a compassionate and ever-interested God, Dr. Gordon Neufeld's work, and becoming a parent.  I feel like I'm finally maturing, emerging as, well, myself.

These days if I can't cry when I feel the need to, I'm aware as I never used to be that my heart rate has increased, my eyes are burning, and there is a lump in my throat that simply will not be ignored.  My heart is readily available.  When I'm frustrated, I know it and don't have a need to suppress it - rather I find a way to purge myself of it, or to work with it to translate it into feeling the grief over the things that I cannot change or control.  It's so much healthier.  So freeing.  I don't feel the driving need to impress any more, to project any image other than myself.  I'm learning how to say no, how to speak my truth, and am re-discovering some of my areas of giftedness.

Why do we - and I say we because I don't think I am alone in these things - live so much of our lives in denial of things?  In denial of who we are?  Why is it so important to hang on so tightly to control?  Do we ever even really have control in the first place?  And yet we continue to try to exercise it.  Why do we worry so much about what the Jones' think?  Who are we working so hard for??

I'm still scared of all of those things I used to be scared fact, I have a lot of fears.  But I'm choosing not to hide myself under the weight of those fears any longer.  Will I fail in this choice?  Absolutely.  That's ok.  This is the change I've seen growing in me, expanding outside of me, over the past number of years.

Culminating in today.  The first day of the rest of my life.  The day I want to maximize as if there is no tomorrow.

So help me God, I want to live my life as He intended He created me to be.


  1. What a great, honest post and how brave you are!! I find that the more things that feel out of control to me, the more I try to control things I CAN! I have found that since our 2 Ethiopian treasures joined our family almost 2 years ago, I have felt the need to mask my feelings more because they are so sensitive to my emotions!! Yet, I have come around, too, in realizing I am human and I have emotions and I make mistakes and that is OKAY for my children to see!!

  2. Thanks Angela...I FELT a little brave writing it...well mostly in publishing it!

    I should clarify something, though. I'm actually very careful about the emotions I let my kids see in me. I don't want them acting/behaving 'properly' because they think they have produced frustration in me, or because I have in some way prompted guilt in them. When I demonstrate my frustrations to them through my actions, I'm later careful to distinguish that mommy's frustrated voice got louder than the other, kinder voices in her head, etc etc. I actually try to get myself to a private spot for a few minutes if I need to act out my frustration or sadness, etc etc. so that I can be calmer when I'm around them...simply because I don't want their behaviour to be 'good' in reaction to something they're seeing in me. My kids, like yours it seems, are very sensitive to my emotions. Of course they see me make (a gazillion) mistakes, but I have to say that I try to be pretty careful about what/how I express emotion with them.

    My kids mostly see me as just a mom, an entity if you will...less so an adult person with interests and opinions outside of them. What I'm mostly talking about is something separate and apart from the kids - about myself...about how I understand myself differently and so much better than I did just a few short years ago, and about my willingness to be be authentic. I have (re)learned how to FEEL, and that the denial of my emotions hurts only me. How I PORTRAY my emotions will still depend on my company (eg. kids or no kids, etc) but it feels so good to be in this place where I am able to recognize things in myself that have been denied for a long time. I'm kinda proud of myself!

    Anyway, thanks for responding to the post felt really good to read your comment!!



  3. I don't have time to properly comment right now, but I absolutely love this post! I'm feeling very much the same way, these days. Thank you for sharing! xoxo

  4. Thanks Gwen!! It sounds like you and I might be on similar journeys and I wish we could share a bit of our stories over a cup of tea...or really awesome Ethiopian coffee.

    This was a big post for me to write and I'm glad I did it...and your comment helps me feel supported. Thanks!