Most of us who are full-time artists are go-getters.
We’re ambitious. We’re talented. Some of us are perfectionists, and some of us are fueled by tangible results. We should be. It’s wise to pay attention to what propels us and to take note of what knocks us back a few spaces.
What about when we see nothing?
How do we respond when there’s little harvest yielded from the seeds we’ve sewn?
Perhaps it’s hard to remember that you don’t need to automatically measure your capacity and strengths by how many lives you’ve touched, or how many hearts you have (or seemingly have not) mended solely by the numbers you are presented with.
For entrepreneurs, self-starters, coaches, trainers, surgeons, volunteers, anyone who is driven by positive results, it can be hard to realize that numbers are only half the battle. Sometimes, we unconsciously wrap up our worth into the results given back to us.
The loud, the proud, the bold, all of us who will not be silent, can accidentally forget that because we are the voice of the voiceless, our audience, our dear friends, our readers, our students, are the quiet ones.
They matter most. We are fighting for them. We raise our voice for them, and they will, of course, not be the first in the room to clap, speak up, or reciprocate the verbal praise that we’ve extended to them.
But, their silence does not measure their level of gratitude.
God is also silent.
No amount of SEO, analytics, or traffic, can measure the gratitude someone feels in their heart when they feel truly heard, valued and recognized.
So, when you think about giving up your counseling career, your podcast, your book (for the umpteenth time) gently bring your attention to the quiet souls in your life. They are cheering you on. They need you, and their value can never be measured in numbers.
If not for you, for them.
I love you. You’ve got this.
I was baptized in front of you. I had my first child with you around. I shared a majority of my life with you for seven years. I don’t regret any of them. And though I never could be just what you wanted, I do love you, and would still defend you to anyone who had something negative to say. You were never just an in law. You were my mom, and from what I could tell you happily did that part and you did it well. I always think of you and what it would have been like between us, had I been lucky enough to have you as a best friend. We never got that far, I guess.
You may never respond to me or wish to talk to me again and that’s okay. You have that right. We were never very good at navigating these types of things, but I’ve never lied to you about anything. Not once. So I won’t do that now.
I just wanted to say what I never could. I haven’t always been patient with you, or kind. I could have done a better job at my part in our relationship, but Lord knows I tried. Lord, I tried. No other situation would have done so much emotional damage had love not been involved. I’m sure you feel the same way.
You may feel embarrassed. You may feel betrayed. You may curse me and hate me and believe I don’t and won’t ever know the pain I put the family through. You probably don’t even like me. You don’t, won’t, and if I was in your shoes I wouldn’t blame you. That’s okay. It’s not like I don’t already feel or know these things.
Even it was just for pleasantries, even it was all just for Garrett, I was more than grateful to feel as though I had a family for a while. I was happy to call you when I got sick. I was happy to watch courtroom shows on Thursdays when I spent the days with you. I was happy to know where home was for many years. I was so, so, grateful to finally have some resemblance of a family.
Thank you for everything. For Garrett, for the flexibility of Garrett’s job, for paying for me to keep my dogs. Thank you for being present in my life. Thank you for the holidays and gifts and birthday celebrations. And even if you were pretending as best as you could for the sake of Garrett. Thank you for that too.
I won’t hurt Garrett. I wont betray Garrett. I love Garrett too much at times, and I hope to be able to provide the comforts that you did in the same way for my own children, should we ever have them.
I just wanted you to know that nothing in those seven years was ever fake, though perhaps it may feel that way to you know. I love you. I have loved you. I always will. You’ll always be a mother to me. You don’t have to feel the same way about me. Nothing could ever make me not love you. The memories we share are enough for me. Somewhere deep down, maybe you’ll understand that I love you. Until then, I love you. Thank you. It’s as simple as that.
I hope you have a daughter in law who can love you just as much, but I doubt that because you’ve always meant more to me than I could ever show, and maybe you didn’t see that.
Goodbye for now, Momma.
Hello, and welcome home! It’s so good to see you! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I hope you all are doing well, and making the most of life.
I haven’t had much to say lately, and I realized that was fine. I have a tendency to feel like if I’m not speaking or thinking of something important that I’m wasting time, and the more I thought on it, I began to realize that just being and breathing is perfect.
Time is never wasted, as long as it’s appreciated. I realized that I love children so I plan to finish my TEFOL certification. I also realized how much I love people as well as education. To be able to combine the two would bring me peace.
I’m quitting smoking and I also have a good sleep schedule for the first time since I was a kid! That’s exciting and for sure a monumental step for me.
What about you? Have you been proud of progress, even by a small amount? You deserve to feel proud of any improvement, progress is progress no matter how insignificant it may seem.
Before we wrap up, I’d just like to ask you to do one small thing for yourself that would bring you joy.
I love you.
You’re safe here.
Hi there. Welcome Home! It’s so good to see you. <3
I realize that I haven’t written as much as I have in the past. Fear not! I will not abandon our little corner of the ‘net.
What about you? How are you feeling?
I hope you’re doing well. I hope your present moment is tolerable. If it isn’t, I’m not going to feed you some line about things being peachy in the future.
Instead, I hope that you find the relaxed, good-natured friends you seek.
I hope that as time goes by, you’ll find that they are the type of friends who want the best for you; May you come to see that you can shoulder the burdens of this life with them.
After all, things can get heavy from time to time.
It is not what you’re going through that matters, but who you go through it with.
More than anything, I hope you find the courage to share who you really are with your comrades. You deserve it.
If you’re anything like me, you might be thinking, “That’s so hard! What if the people I meet hurt me in some way? What if they conjure up some version of me that is untrue, or worse, unkind? What of my reputation…? It’s not like I had much of a good track-record with interpersonal relationships to begin with, right…? Right?”
Extending our authentic selves subjects us to a world of possibilities, both good and bad – dark and light. This also includes more risk and a lot of deep emotional investment, including vulnerability. That’s no joke. We as people can be so sensitive to pain and rejection – and many of us feel everything.
How does any one expect us to trust them?
How can we ever do such a monumental thing like trust again?
Even though I’m still trying to figure that out, I say this for you with love:
Do it. Do it, and don’t look back. You aren’t too broken, bad, or damaged to be befriended. You’re never too wounded to be loved.
You’ve nothing to lose but silence. You’ve nothing to miss but the stories that you’ve already read. You aren’t better off alone (unless you need time to yourself to heal). We weren’t made to be paranoid, distrustful, and solo all the time.
Stop telling yourself the same narrative, and invite others into your future chapters – including the best version of yourself, whenever you’re willing and able. Take a chance to witness yourself as beautiful as you really are, and as other humans (and puppies, and cats) really are. 🙂
You’re worth it.
It’s always been hard for me to do something for myself, mentally. I give myself a hard time. I don’t always cut myself slack.
I forget that my past mistakes, and even my present situation doesn’t necessarily determine outcomes. I forget to remember that compasses can be redirected. I forget to remember that I am not what my harsh inner voice tells me. I’ve always been quite bad at talking back to the loud inner critic and telling it to pipe down, and going on about my day. This anxious feedback loop is tiring.
I know that I’m capable of stopping, looking both ways, and then crossing. I know that you and I have the capacity to bear the world upon our shoulders as we take responsibility for the lives we lead.
What I don’t quite get is why a head so full of ideas, and words and everything that makes life worth living, can feel so dull.
At this time, I feel dull and uninspired and I haven’t known just what the thing was that needed an outlet. So I sat, and I felt guilty… for sitting! Man, our brains can really do us in.
I’m working on that. Instead of punishing myself, I will instead remember that:
Busy doesn’t always mean productive. I will try my best to remember that my value is the same as everyone else’s intrinsic value, and that even the most dynamic, adaptive and exploratory people can take a minute to be… bored, without it meaning their life has lost value.
It’s okay to enjoy myself. This one is hardest for me. I don’t know why fun is sometimes awful when fun isn’t something you’re used to having.
It is so hard to move forward when it looks like you’re going backwards, or dancing with stagnation. I suppose life is a cha-cha and not a line dance.
And sometimes, it is really hard to look on my past actions and feel as though I’m an okay person. It’s hard to choose to be good to myself when I’m overcome by the weight of uncertainty, or when I feel as though I’ve done something wrong. (Most of the time I’ve realized later on that I wasn’t guilty of anything but being too hard on myself).
Maybe you feel this way, too?
I guess this is the part where I say that it’s okay to feel these very human emotions, and let you know I’m here for you.
Yes, I am here for you, and we will both be okay.
This time though, I wanted to take this time to say thank you.
Thank you for reading this blog, and sharing in your time and existence with me. If you hadn’t, chances are high that I wouldn’t be here expressing myself if I didn’t feel like I could.
Thank you for giving me the space to share with you – to be human with you.
Thank you for the opportunity to create dialogue where there would otherwise be silence.
Thank you for doing nothing with me, even when that’s the hardest thing for you to do.
I can relate.
Just a friendly reminder for the both of us:
You are not your actions. You are more than tasks, duties, and checklists. Sometimes the best thing to do, and the most⁷ important thing we need to be is here. Right here. Breathing, living, and accepting that life wont always be acceptable, or tolerable, but choosing to show up for it anyway.
You’re not doing as bad as you think you are. If you’re satisfied, enjoy it. We don’t get our seconds back.
How’s it going? Today is June 9th, 2019.
I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to rest these days. (Rest doesn’t come easy for me at times; I’m working on that).
I have a question for you, and I am genuinely curious to see your answers.
I’m in a group on facebook where other women with Cerebral Palsy come together to share their experiences, joys, and to ask questions we probably couldn’t ask in ‘real life’.
In the group I posted a question:
How do you find purpose if you’re unemployed due to a physical or mental illness?
I’ve been struggling with this because I feel as though I’m in a constant state of letting time pass, or overworking myself when I decide to take on an art project, writing project, or a writing class.
To say that I am unsatisfied would be a lie. I’ve come far from where I was a few months ago, and I’m not ungrateful in the slightest. The scenery is different; it is beautiful here.
Now, I just have to figure out a new routine here, as a disabled person as well as an introvert.
This is why I wanted to ask you, the person reading this, how do you find purpose if you are disabled; or if like me, you are still searching for that fulfillment, what are you passionate about?
I’m so excited to hear what you have to say! Hopefully, we can learn from each other. I’ll see you soon.
As much as we all dream of meeting our potential, it will not come without sacrifice.
Sacrifices that we, as people on a mission, could never dream of until we are faced with them. When we think of success, we tend to think of a precise line. Success is anything but linear. When we pray for success, it’s not that our prayers go unheard, it’s just that we are responsible for our next steps.
This is where it gets tricky, though;
Sacrifice, never seems like sacrifice in the moment. I have found that sacrifice usually presents itself as ultimatums, and impossibility.
As an example: In an earlier post, I illustrated the fact that in order to move, I had to do the impossible: I had to choose between my two dogs in order to move to my new apartment. I had to move in order to get a fresh start, mentally as well as financially.
I was unable to make that decision at an earlier time, and as a consequence of my indecision, I was faced with it again.
It was time to decide, would I do the unthinkable in order to get a fresh start, or would I stay where I was, because of my resistance to change?
It was not easy leaving my chihuahua behind.
This pain we are asked to face, I believe is why we sometimes stay where we are, even if change would be good for us – because we aren’t willing to lose. In turn, we also forfeit our right to choose.
I can’t blame or shame anyone for that. Letting go of anything – routine, our children, our parents, our habits, at times even our entire identity, is devastating.
There is no manual for letting go. There are no easy ways; there are no ways to avoid the pain of letting go.
As humans, we are wired to choose pleasure over pain – that’s the way our brains are. Our brains are also geared toward habitual ways of being, like drug addiction. Nobody wants to let go of something that makes our world easier to deal with – even if it causes us pain and ultimately, death.
We know that resistance is futile. We know. We only let go when it’s time to, and it’s never the right time to say goodbye to a friend, lover, or family member.
Success looks nothing like our daydreams.
If I could paint a picture of what the road to my potential looks like, it looks an awful lot like indecision, on top of a mountain of self-reflection.
At best, there is recognition and pats on the back. At worst, it’s a whole lot of facing ourselves – our demons, our loneliness, maybe even the fact that we aren’t as nice and charitable as we see ourselves.
That, my friend, is the cross we must bear. When we are pondering pursuing our potential, when we are thinking of our art being published, when we imagine ourselves on the shelves of our local bookstore, or on our local news, we must then ask ourselves what we are willing to lose in order to make our dreams a reality.
This is my question for you, dear reader,
What are you willing to lose, or choose?
In the comments, you can feel free to tell me about some of the choices you’ve had to make to get where you are. What was the impossible choice, what was the outcome? I’d love to hear from you.
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I love you.
You’re Safe Here.
Trauma said to my self-esteem:
"Hatred of self is the currency for love that would otherwise be freely given."
Except, all of that hate doesn’t equate
Love — that which is freely expressed.
To my soul, Commitment confessed:
"Abandon ship! To love and be loved is too big a risk."
To my heart, she cried:
"I love you. I’ll show you."
I’ve been walking a tightrope ever since.