effortlessly perfect

{June 18, 2012}   A new day

I’m not quite sure what is happening to me, but I’m definitely feeling different. Maybe I’m feeling stronger or more independent. Maybe I believe there is something inside of me worth something. Or maybe I’m just resigning myself to the fact that I can’t control everything and whatever will be will be. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s definitely something different.

I have to be honest, I’m not sure I really like it. I don’t hate the feeling, but it’s pretty scary. My stomach is full of butterflies and my arms are a little shaky. Like nervous shaky, right before I give a speech or get on a rollercoaster.

I’m honestly not doing anything monumental here, but I will be away for a little while. Just a couple trips, one for work and one with family. I’ll be flying by myself for both of them and traveling by myself for part of them as well. I will be seeing things I’ve never seen before and experiencing new things as well. I’m nervous, but excited.

I am hoping and praying that this will be a turning point in my life. Having the opportunity to just be with myself, even if just for a short while. I’m eating better recently, which has helped me feel physically stronger, but my anxiety has been through the roof. I’m just nervous. About everything. I like structure, organization, and plans. But my life isn’t really like that right now. So, instead, I sit here with my butterflies and hope that putting one foot in front of the next is good enough for now.

If you are the praying type, I would ask you to send a few prayers my way. For strength, guidance, and safe-keeping during this time. That I would take care of myself and make healthy choices. And stay focused on the things that really matter in life, not the noise and chaos that currently surround me. I would appreciate that, immensely.

Being a list maker, I’m trying to make a list of things that would be helpful to me during this time. Things that will help me stay focused on being healthy and taking this time to make progress on my journey. I am planning to journal while I am away. Starting tomorrow (when I leave for the first trip), I plan to write something each day. Hopefully that can keep me focused and grounded and make sure I don’t slip too far in any direction. My journal is filled with positive quotes and notes from friends, so just the thought of it makes me happy.

This might be a little stream of consciousness, so I apologize, but I was just thinking about a time in my life when I felt most loved. When I felt happy and striving to keep myself healthy. It’s fascinating to me that I can feel that and remember even now how that felt, but then I let myself slip so far from it. Why can’t I just work toward that feeling? Why can’t I just make that my life? I wonder what I would need to do to feel that way more often? What is keeping me from just living that life now? Definitely things to ponder while I’m away. 🙂

For the first time in a while, I feel like I want to get better. I want to be happy. I want to forgive, myself and others. I want to relax. I want to laugh. I want to travel. I want to live.

I know that I have quite a journey to get to that place. But I’m starting to think I might have the strength it takes to get there. I just have to hang on tight and keep putting one foot in front of the other.


{December 11, 2011}   a few simple words

So, last night I had a dream. So vivid and honest that I woke up with my heart racing. I don’t normally think twice about my dreams, regardless of what happens in them. My husband talks about his dreams, trying to analyze them and figure out what they mean… I normally listen lovingly and then tell him that it probably means nothing or a combination of little things that he really shouldn’t worry about.

But this dream was different. And honestly, it is taking more than a little courage to share it on my blog this morning. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it includes a real person in my life… who I’m pretty sure represented something more than himself in the dream. Or that I’m nervous about what people will think of my interpretation. Or that I’ll read this in a week and think that I was being crazy or dramatic. Maybe it was just a dream that meant nothing. Something to look past or get over. Maybe. But for some reason I don’t think so. One thing I’ve learned throughout this process is to trust your gut… and if it makes you nervous or uncomfortable that it’s probably something worthwhile to do.

So, here goes…

The dream started with a group of us sitting around a table playing cards. It looked like we were probably at a bar or out in a busy, social setting. I was drinking (one of my new and current vices), along with all of the people at the table. We were all having fun, talking, and being pretty free with the language and topics of conversation. Nothing terrible, just a little more loose than I normally am. A couple minutes into the dream, a couple guys join us at the table… one of which (get this!) was my therapist… I know, it sounds crazy, not quite what I was expecting either… especially if you know him. 🙂

So, anyway, the scene starts getting a little crazier, people start doing shots and getting a little wild. My therapist is sitting a couple chairs away from me and is letting me do my thing. I know he’s aware of everything I’m doing, but I can tell that there is no judgement or negative thoughts. It’s almost like he’s just there to actually see me during my time of pain… how I react, what it looks like, watching me numb the pain, and try to get outside of myself. His presence makes me uncomfortable, because I know he knows what I’m doing. I know he knows that this isn’t healthy and that my actions are because of my pain and hurt. He knows me and knows what I’m doing. Yet he just sits there, playing cards, and chatting with the other people at the table. And although his presence bothers me and makes me think about what I’m doing, it’s also surprisingly calming. As if I’m not alone. As if there is someone who knows what I’m going through and doesn’t want me to be so destructive with myself. I don’t feel like I can actually explain it… but it just felt loving and calm.

So, the night continues and I fight the urge to give in and take care of myself. The shots keep coming, the conversation gets raunchier, and my mind (as it normally does) starts going to mush.  People are coming and going, music is playing, lights get a little blurry, and I can feel myself starting to spiral.  The pain is too deep. The feelings are too much. I don’t want to know my name. I just want to escape. This scene is way too familiar, especially lately.  Complete avoidance, no matter the cost.

As things start getting crazy, I see my therapist stand up with his friends. He says they are leaving, as they start to gather their things. Part of me is thrilled that he’s leaving, so the shame and guilt I feel can be forgotten (if only temporarily). Part of me is pissed… I thought he was going to take care of me. How could he leave me when I am clearly a mess? When I obviously need something to drag me out of here?  And part of me is too wasted to think anything.

He shakes the hands of my friends and the other people at our table, saying it was nice to meet them and to have a good evening. He then takes my hand. He holds it tight and looks me in the eyes. He says a few short words that I will never forget. Words that are so simple, yet spoke deep into my heart. Words that currently have my heart beating rapidly even as I type. As he held my hand, he looked me in the eyes and simply said “Take care of yourself. I love you.”  And with that, he let go and walked out the door.

His words and touch startled me. The room stopped spinning. The music silenced in my head. I simply sat there, soaking in the calm. I wanted everything to start again… I wanted the noise, the alcohol, the chaos, the numbness. I wanted his hand and his words to mean nothing. To be easily forgotten. To be written off.  But the silence overwhelmed me. It cut through the crazy night like a knife. A gash too deep for me to ignore.

I sat in the silence for a couple minutes, as I watched him walk out the door. My friends, oblivious of what had just happened or how it affected me, poured the next round of shots and threw them back without missing a beat. It was like I was watching a movie…. no sound, no feeling, just pictures.  I wanted a shot. I wanted to join my friends again. But for some reason I couldn’t. Not tonight. Not right now. I knew I would again in the future. And I knew that no matter how much I wanted to stay and get blasted beyond belief. I knew I couldn’t. I wasn’t going to.

I slowly pushed my chair away from the table and quietly waved good night to my friends, kissing some of them on their heads and hugging them on my way to the door.  I opened the door, getting hit by the cold night air and quiet sky. My therapist and his buddies were only a little ways from the door. He hadn’t been waiting for me, but turned around as soon as I stepped onto the sidewalk. He didn’t make a big deal of my presence. He didn’t run to hug me or smile and jump up and down. He simply waited for me to walk to him and reached out for my hand when I got close. There were no words exchanged, but he looked into my eyes and spoke deep into my heart.

When I woke up this morning, I remembered my dream as if it had been real. Every noise, smell, sound, word, and feeling, as if it had truly happened. It’s hard for me to even begin to think about what the dream meant or why I had it. And although I often times try to push away or overlook the presence of God in things (a horrible habit, I know!), it’s hard for even me to ignore it here. By the end of the story, I wanted to start capitalizing Him and He when I typed about my therapist. While I think my therapist is great, I truly feel he represented Jesus in my dream. The lack of judgement, the constant presence, the peace and calm, and the opportunity for free will. He doesn’t force us. He lets us choose. He loves us unconditionally and never turns His back. He welcomes us with open arms no matter how broken we are. No matter how many bad choices we’ve made. No matter how many times we’ve tried to pull away.

I don’t know what this dream will mean in the long run. If it will affect my path, recovery, and faith. I hope it does. I pray that it does. I know that it spoke deep into my heart in ways I never thought anything could. I could feel His touch, His words, and His look. I didn’t feel shame or guilt or pain. I didn’t have the urge to look away, when he looked deep into my eyes. I felt loved. That’s something very new for me… to truly feel loved. I still feel it today. His presence is overwhelming… and exactly what I needed. Amen.

{October 3, 2011}   a little sprinkle of faith…

This weekend was crazy busy and has my mind racing with so many thoughts. I am planning to write more later tonight, but wanted to quickly share a few passages and prayers that I have run across throughout the past week or so…

“…put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and clothe yourselves with a new self.”  ~Ephesians 4:22-23

The following prayer was written as the closing to a message that included the scripture above. I liked it and wrote it down…. “Gracious God, I’m back again at the beginning of another day and another week. There may still be old habits, regrets, petty jealousies, anger, greed, and envy I need to get rid of. Help me keep working on it by the power of your grace that one day, perhaps even today, I can enjoy the beauty of life around me. In the name of Jesus. Amen”

This was today’s entry in my Prayers & Blessings daily calendar that sits on my desk at work. It made me smile… “May you know the depth of God’s desire to bless you – His love is unconditional, His promises are infallible, and the good things He has planned for you are unstoppable.”

{September 28, 2011}   quotes & pics

A friend of mine has a blog that consists purely of pictures and quotes. I love looking through it when I have a few spare minutes. The pictures are breathtaking and warm my heart. The quotes are inspiring, uplifting, and thought-provoking little messages. It’s a wonderful escape from a world filled with words, rules, and expectations… for her and it’s “readers.”

Maybe someday she’ll let me share the link with you, but for now, I thought I would just share a few of my favorites…

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Never let anyone make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.

It’s nice when someone remembers small details about you. Not because you keep reminding them, but because they actually care.

Always remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than think, and twice as beautiful as you’ve ever imagined.


{September 24, 2011}   slowing down

This morning I woke up about 6:30am. I laid in bed for a few minutes, before wandering out into our living room. I grabbed a bottle of water, a hoodie, and padded my way out to our front porch. My husband and I have two chairs on our front porch that are evidently just for decoration. While we’ve spent more than a few nights on our back deck, the front porch chairs have never actually been occupied. But, for whatever reason, this morning I walked out my front door and sat down. The brisk air, damp grass, and silence, was heavenly. I drank it in. I closed my eyes, just feeling the air around me. Nothing to do. No where to go. Not a thought in my head. I was at peace. If only for a brief moment.

This morning was something very new for me. My life is normally a rat race. Organized chaos at best, sometimes just chaotic chaos. I have learned to perfect multi-tasking, while delegating is something I still struggle with. My To Do lists grow exponentially and my iPhone is in a constant state of buzzing, ringing, emailing, texting, or tweeting… sometimes in my sleep. In a world where I can’t ever accomplish enough, each unproductive minute is wasted time. There is never a moment to breath and be satisfied with what’s been accomplished, because there are an endless number of new tasks or requests to be handled.

So, my moment of silence this morning was a beautiful reminder of the progress I’ve made over the past six months. I used to hate going to watch movies in a theater. I really didn’t understand how I could justify just sitting and watching a movie for two hours. That could be time I was doing something. Moving forward on a project. Catching up on email or returning phone calls. Any of those things seemed like a good use of time. Sitting and watching a movie did not. However, in the past six months, I’ve come to find that movies really aren’t that bad. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still far from a movie buff. And I’m ridiculously picky about which movies are actually worth the 120 minutes of my life that they require me to give up. But I have actually gotten to the point where I enjoy just sitting and watching a good movie. It might have taken me a few years longer than most to learn to appreciate them, but I can officially add movies to the list of things I enjoy.

While some of the things I’ve been working on seem to be impossible to make progress on and even seem to be getting worse at times, this morning reminded me that I am succeeding at slowing down. Taking deep breaths. Enjoying nature. Savoring a cup of hot tea. Relaxing with some great music. Sitting with a good friend and chatting endlessly about nothing in particular. And occasionally spending the afternoon doing something completely and utterly unproductive. While it often seems like baby steps or frivolous to even acknowledge, to me it makes me smile. Maybe, just maybe, I’m getting a little closer to normal. Whatever that means.

But for now, I’ll savor the silence of the cold, morning air. I’ll close my eyes and drink in the music that fills my car in the moments between when I arrive at work and when I open the car door.  I’ll let myself feel the warmth in my throat as I swallow a spoonful of homemade chicken soup. And occasionally I’ll even turn off my cell phone, curl up in my favorite overstuffed chair, and read a good book. Wow. Radical stuff.

et cetera