Sunday, September 24, 2017

9/25/17—Letting Go Of Holding Myself Back

Starting when I was 16, my mom began dying from cancer. I lost her when I was 21. Then a few years later, my father was murdered by my stepmother—the woman he met after my mother died—for the insurance money. When I was 25, I was the only person I knew whose parents were both dead. And I wore that story for a very long time.

I also wore the story of an abusive boyfriend I was with for a couple of years. And the two exhausting years lost to anemia because a nurse forgot to tell me to take an iron pill. And the many more exhausting years lost to asthma because a doctor insisted on diagnosing me as merely fat.

For many years I wore these stories and more—partly because they proved my resiliency, partly because I learned so much from them that I could share with others and partly, frankly, because they allowed me to feel sorry for myself and remain stuck.

When I was in my 20s, my stories were big for someone so young. Now that I'm in my 50s, I realize everyone has a tragic story to tell. Sure, not all are as dramatic as having a black widow for a stepmother, but everyone has something that is just as traumatic for them. Some have even worse. Maybe they lost a child. Or lost a limb. Or maybe they had to battle cancer.

I love watching TV shows where people compete, whether it's something inane like Big Brother or something cool like American Ninja Warrior. Because of higher priority DVR conflicts, I only get to watch one or two episodes of Dancing With The Stars each year. But I saw the first episode recently. Debbie Gibson was on and talking about living with Lyme Disease and how she doesn't know from one day to the next how she will feel. But she presses on. She said that everyone has something, so she can't sit around feeling sorry for herself. Like Tierney Sadler does.

At least that's what I heard.

Then there was Victoria Arlen who, at 11, became paralyzed and was in a vegetative state for four years, aware of what was going on around her, but locked in a body that couldn't respond. She was paralyzed for 10 years, during which time she became a Paralympic athlete and an ESPN sportscaster. In her life, she has had to relearn EVERYTHING...talking, eating and even just making simple moves. Then she relearned how to walk. She can't feel her legs, but she can move them. And, a year after relearning to walk, she's on fricking Dancing With The Stars!

Which reminds me of Mandy Harvey. This woman was in college, studying voice, when she suddenly went deaf. Well, she is singing again and she is amazing. Really. If you haven't heard this, you must. And it's not like all the songs she writes and performs are about going deaf or overcoming tragedy. It's almost like a side note, because her voice and her messages are so beautiful. But there was one song with the lyric, "I have no one to blame, because the only one standing in my way is me. Did you hear that, Tierney Sadler?" Of course, I'm quoting those lyrics from memory so I could be a little off.

These shows always make me cry. I've even written about it before. And I'm beginning to think maybe I'm crying because I am letting my stories hold me back. And while these people have the courage to use their stories as a springboard for something greater, I'm letting mine excuse me from not doing the hard work they have done. I've become comfortable, complicit, and complacent in my stagnation and mediocrity. And I hate that about me. It's not what I want for myself.

Although I sometimes doubt it or fear it isn't true, I believe there is much more I'm meant to aspire to and achieve in my life. And hey, where I am right now is a blessing. Don't get me wrong. But I feel my calling is intended to be something beyond where I am right now. In fact, I was musing over that very thought tonight while gazing at a crescent moon in a clear sky when a firefly literally got all up in my face, flashed his butt at me once, then flew off. A firefly! In September! They are gone by or around July in these parts each year.

So I googled the spiritual significance of a firefly—because that's what you do when the last living firefly on earth makes a point of getting your attention—and the meaning I found likened it to The Hermit card in tarot. The seer, the sage...the spiritual teacher. The Illuminator. Which just happens to be the "greater calling" I was thinking about when the firefly showed up. (And The Hermit also happens to be either my birth or destiny card in the tarot. I can't remember which.)

More than that, I see bats most nights at dusk. But tonight they were especially prevalent, circling constantly over my head and home for the 15-20 minutes I sat outside watching it get dark. Symbolically speaking, bats guide us through darkness and ready us for something new and healing in our lives. My thoughts had been swirling around that, too, as the bats were swirling over my head. So I took this all as a sign, because duh.

I have held myself back for quite some time because it's safe. And I get by like this. I get to work for myself in my own home. Sometimes I just barely subsist, but I'm nonetheless subsisting. I have three constant sources of love and approval and adoration no further than 10 feet away from me at any given time. I have the world's most adorable home. I have like-minded friends. I have a peaceful and quiet life. There is nothing tragic here. Nothing to escape from. But I know there is more I doing. And I've known this for some time. And once you become fully conscious of something like that, it becomes harder to ignore...harder to indulge and deny.

I'm always going to have my stories. I couldn't leave them behind if I wanted to. But I don't have to have a co-dependent relationship with them. I don't have to use them as an excuse for the unhealthy, stagnating choices in my life. And I don't need the voices of doubt and fear that hide out in the folds of my stagnation steering my ship, either. 

I may not feel ready to start right this minute. I won't make lofty claims or timelines. But I know this—once I'm aware of anything at a new level like this, change is inevitable. 

Which led me to one more thought as I gazed up at that crescent moon. The universe has always brought the right things into my life. Some of them delighted me, some challenged me, some broke my will for a while, some broke my heart. But they were all necessary to bring me to where I am. And despite my fears and doubts, the universe will bring me what's necessary to get me where I'm bound. I just need to face forward, do what I can to help, and otherwise get the hell out of its way.

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