Category Archives: Self Esteem / Self Concept

Hope on the Horizon

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I haven’t had a chance to write in a LONG time.

It’s not that my mind hasn’t been buzzing with things to write about – it has.  However, getting those thoughts down on ‘paper’ is what has been difficult.  With my kids off for the summer, I have been focusing more on family time and togetherness and less on myself which, let me tell you, is a welcomed relief and mostly a good thing.

Usually, my own thoughts about myself, my life, my ‘issues’, my destiny are like constant raindrops making their way through a waterlogged leaky roof – annoying, relentless and impossible to ignore.  However, with the distraction of my kids, our gorgeous new deck that we’ve been living on, and my lack of alone time, I’ve had only moments of deep self reflection that have quickly been swept up in the activity of the moment.  I’ve been so swept up in fact, that I missed my blog’s TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY!  It was not intentional AT ALL, however I think it speaks volumes to where I am another year later.

As I sat to write this post, one thought kept occurring to me: though I have been trying, at times desperately, to find serenity and fulfillment in the ordinary things of life, there is one thing that I have definitely learned about life this last year – life is anything BUT ordinary!  It is complex, difficult, painful, trying, beautiful, stunning, confusing.  Everyday there are new challenges, new hurts, new struggles.  Pain has no prejudice or favourites.  All the more reason to pay attention to the little, ordinary things and enjoy them.  You may be surrounded by a downpour but there are simple graces and mini miracles that offer a kind of protection from the storm.  They can canopy over you making the storm a little less potent, powerful and overwhelming.

It’s not always easy to see the beauty in the ordinary or feel the wonder in the mundane.  In my own life, the downpour is sometimes ALL I can see, and unknowingly I become sopping wet, miserable, and pruney.  However, when I AM stuck in the rain I consciously make a choice to reach for that umbrella of hope; my daughter’s smile, my son’s arm around my neck, my husband’s hand in mine.  And though it’s still raining, I am no longer alone and can see hope on the horizon.
Becoming Ordinary: Year 2!! Day 14

In Need of Rest

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As June is slowly creeping up on our calendars, I can’t help but feel like time just moves WAY too fast (you know you’re getting older when these types of thoughts or statements start to creep into your vocabulary!).  There seem to be an increasing number of ‘t”s to cross and far too many “i”‘s that will have to go ‘undotted’.  My daughter actually turned to me yesterday and said: “Why aren’t we sitting at our table to eat together anymore, Mom? I miss it!”  Gulp.  She’s right.  How could that have fallen off of my radar after consciously making it an important part of each day this past year?  Cue guilt ridden, excuse making mom.  “Well…things have been really busy the last couple of weeks.  There was your Spring show in the theatre, Caed started his spring soccer league, then spring camp, your spring recitals coming up, our spring renovations…”.  Yuck!  Too much time DOING things, and not enough time LIVING.

Well, I guess the prayers that I didn’t even know I was praying were answered this week with a NASTY sinus infection. With all of the crazy busyness I had been longing for the calm of my porch swing.  Where we have spent many afternoons cuddling as a family and many evenings touching toes as we read long after the sun went down.  So that was where I went the other day when I needed to crash for an impromptu sickness induced nap.

The swing swayed gently and consistent, and though I was feeling rotten, I was lulled into the tranquility of the moment, as the warmth of the sun poured over our porch.  As I laid there, I closed my eyes and listened.  Listened to one of my kids giggling.  Listened to the birds singing and playfully bouncing from branch to branch.  Listened to the far off lawn mowers and weed whackers desperately chugging, waging war against the winter’s growth.  All of these sounds combined created a symphony that strangely, I usually ignore in the day to day hustle.

It took getting SICK, (and literally being unable to keep myself upright longer than 20 minutes) to appreciate that LIFE was teaming and scheming around me.  It really was much more than just listening to what was going on around me.  It was like I could sense things.  Things…growing… even my children.  I could sense strength; strength in the ordinary and mundane tasks of life.  I could hear togetherness and sense a thread of connection running from the tip of my toe to everything and everyone around me.

I sometimes feel lonely in this world.  A stranger to my habitat or a sojourner, unsettled, and restless.  But this week, being forced to slow down, I listened. I waited. I prayed.  And felt peace and strength.  For that, I am thankful.

Becoming Ordinary: Year 1  Day 284

Ramblings…

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ramblings

I haven’t been writing lately…well…that’s not exactly true.  I have been writing a little, but not sharing.  I’m not sure why exactly…that’s not true either.  I do know why.  When I don’t feel like I have something positive to offer, some glimmer of hope, some coin in the cake (this was my favourite birthday tradition as a child; come cake time, each child would dive through their piece of cake like the Hulk looking for gold!  Actually quarters. But you get the picture.) I just keep my mouth shut.  Or I guess I keep my blog…unblogged.

 

I haven’t seemed to have any coins lately.  It’s not that life has been bad either.  In fact I have been feeling quite good for awhile now (for those of you who may have just tuned in, I struggle with clinical depression and the last couple of years have been…up and down).

 

What I have written is… ramblings.  Pure, honest, heartfelt ramblings. To whom do I ramble?  Myself mostly.  And my therapist. Especially to myself AFTER I’ve seen my therapist! 🙂  I write to survive.  I write to contemplate.  I write to put my feelings down where I can see them; somehow relieving the pressure cooker full of emotions that are festering, pulsing, and growing just under the surface.

 

Why share these ramblings at all?  Why not show the ‘Photoshop’ed version of my reality (Is there a writer’s version of Photoshop? Oh…I guess it’s called editing.)  One, because my blog is called ‘Becoming Ordinary: Letting go of ‘perfect’ one day at a time’.  If I only write when I have something poignant and sparkly to share, then I am still suffering under the rules of the tyrant who constantly demands perfection (and we know where that leads!).  Secondly, I feel it’s my duty to be honest about my struggles.  Let me explain.  I want to help people.  I want people to be inspired to ask for help.  I want people to know that they are not the only one who gets depressed, or has ‘crazy’ thoughts, or is ridden with anxiety.   Psychiatrists, psychologists, practitioners & counsellors all agree that the biggest barrier that stops people and their families from getting help is the stigma attached to mental illness.  People are afraid of being judged, gossiped about, people using their hurts or struggles against them.  However, if we can remove the stigma attached to speaking up, asking for help, we can begin the helping and healing process.  Then and only then will people be able to crawl out of the shadows of shame and isolation and get the help that they need.

 

So here I go.  Warning: it’s not uplifting.  It was written on a day when I was feeling down, alone.  I DO NOT feel this way all the time – it is a small sliver of thoughts written from the heart when feeling anxious.  So…here are the ramblings of a pastor’s wife, recovered anorexic, sometimes depressed person who wants to blow the LID off of ‘stigma’!  Stigma?!  Bah!  You may have met your match!

 

ALONE

Sometimes we are lonely. So lonely that we feel like strangers in the world we live in.

 

We walk around on the outskirts of life, watching, listening, pretending for a moment that we too are a part of what is going on.

 

But there is a wall. A thick barrier between us and the outside world. On one side is laughter, camaraderie, and sweet indulgences that mock you, alone, on the other side. What other people have, at times, seems appealing, but you can’t help but hear the destruction, littered with pain through their shouts of elation and enjoyment.

 

This makes you wonder why there aren’t more people on your side of the wall. You listen to truth, obey the rules and start to resent those on the other sided the wall. After all, though you can see the destruction and identify the pain, their shouts of celebration make you painfully aware of the giant barrier between you and them.

 

And yet they don’t see it. They don’t see the wall a because their backs are turned only facing what lies before them. Indulgence, desires, wants, needs. With their voracious appetites they devour all that comes before them. And God allows this. Here I am on my side of the wall. Listening, hearing, and watching while others get blessed; enjoying every minute of their lives with reckless abandon.  On my side of the wall, I am desperately trying to please God, make sound choices, lonely and keenly aware that my choices keep me behind the wall.

 

There I wait. Wait for the time when I am celebrating. When I am indulging.  When I am filled with joy. Instead, I am left staring at the wall, only listening to the living that is going on beyond my bricks and mortar.

 

Morning dawns.  I bravely smile as I start my day once again alone, behind the wall.  But I pray that God would be close and that he would bring more people to my side of the wall.  So I wait.  And listen.  I begin to live tortured by what is going on just beyond my reach.  Both the joy and the suffering, the abandon and the aftermath.  I decide to build my wall higher, thicker, tougher. Maybe if my wall was thicker I wouldn’t have to hear their shouts, smell their humanity, feel their pain. Maybe if my walls were thicker I would be happier to stay on my side. Though alone, I would at least feel safe. Safe from their immorality, and dangerous choices.  But the construction of a bigger deeper and impenetrable wall leaves me wheeling even more alone, and I have now blocked out the sun, and the beauty that was part of both of our worlds. I no longer get to smell the flowers, see the sunshine, feel the warmth of it touch my skin. Alone, I don’t experience the beauty of togetherness. The beautiful music of life cannot be played by a single instrument alone. And I can no longer hear their shouts and singing. No all that is left is the wall. I am safe and alone.

How’s that for ‘letting go of perfect’ one day at a time? 🙂

Becoming Ordinary: Year 1 Day 236