She thinks I’m funny…

I am noticing the more that I write, the more ideas come to me. Basically everything is becoming a blog post in my mind. The trick here is to actually have the proper mixture of inspiration and timing.. the “and timing” being the most important. For example I just got an extreme shock wave of amazing inspiration, and the kids will likely walk in the door any minute. They will all want to talk and my train of thought will be completely de-railed. My challenge is to not be irritable about this process and remember that these moments are moving more and more quickly toward my rear view. Soon I’ll have all the quiet in the world, and then the silence will be deafening. I know me.

Once again with this book (Carry on Warrior) I am able to read her mini essay format quickly in between things and they spark inspiration of my own. One thing I just noticed is how hysterical she is, you can’t help but love her. I notice that I would never give myself the same permission to admit some of these things. I just read a chapter called “Sucker-On Vacuuming, where she describes in hysterical format how she duped her husband into believing she had vacummed by having her young daughter maneuver her baby stroller in just the right way. It made the lines that made it looked as if the floor was vacuumed. She is so pleased with herself that she was able to get away with “keeping her lifestyle the way it was”, until her husband came home with a new vacuum at which time she taught her daughter that big girl strollers have engines and continued the game. I shall include a picture. And also they are home. Let’s really stretch things and see if I can finish this post. Stretching my patience and perseverance muscles here tonight.

Yeah this “muscle stretching” didn’t turn out much different than my attempts to work out. Sigh. The kids indeed did arrive home, and I chose to be present. They were cranky and tired, and I as well, so it was short lived… and then the unthinkable happened I was flossing and popped out a huge chunk of filling, basically half a molar and now I’m just waiting for some kind of intense pain and wondering how I will fit fixing this into my schedule :/ My tongue keeps seeking out the gaping hole and testing it for pain. I absolutely hate dental anything, which will now probably end up a blog post. I have a very tricky history with being able to get numb, and having had nerves hit etc. My mouth is extremely sensitive and historically dentists have not always been so understanding of this. I’ve been made so often to seem like I’m just overly sensitive, and this definitely does not only extend to dental care.

But the original point of this was to say that in admiring how funny Glennon is, when I look at myself I get nervous that I am not that entertaining to read. She is much funnier than I am. However my person thinks I am funny. She always tells me actually. She laughs at/with me all the time. She makes me feel so good about myself, in a way I haven’t experienced before. It’s pretty amazing when someone looks at you like the best thing in the world. When they appreciate your mind and heart. When they think you’re funny and tell you so often. She loves me so well that I’m nearly convinced I’m at least 50 percent funny. But I feel so serious all the time. I am almost always in some contemplation, and if I am overwhelmed forget it I seem spaced out and as if I can’t focus on a single thing, and it’s usually because I’m focused on a million things.

I’m not good at sarcastic funny. I’m always teaching the kids that something is only funny if it’s funny to all involved parties. Then there are the people that feel as if “just joking”, or saying they only meant it to be funny etc. excuses behavior that is at times appalling. It masks their own discomfort at the expense of someone else’s. I was the butt of a lot of peoples teasing when I was young, perhaps this has something to do with it. Some pretty brutal teasing actually.

I have a funny story that thinking of Glennon’s mishaps as a wife and mother brought to mind. The very first time I ever used a dishwasher, which I think was after I got married and had moved to Virginia. We were in a 2 story brick house with a screened-in sun porch. I put dish soap in the washer. I had no idea you were supposed to use detergent. I found this out when our entire kitchen floor was covered in frothing bubbles coming out of the machine. My now ex-husband thought it was hysterical. I literally had no idea what was happening, he did though. Tyler was a baby. I had a child before I knew that Dawn does not go into the dishwasher. I have definitely done more than one thing backwards in my life.

I’ll end on a note of the next chapter I began reading. Glennon says “Craig and I have two recurring problems in our marriage. I feel sad when I don’t get listened to, and he feels sad when he doesn’t get made out with. I am starting to understand that these two problems are related. They’re both about intimacy.” She goes on to say that her and Craig lack intimacy. Perhaps she is funny out of a place of need. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism. I would describe myself as genuine and sincere and that is my super power of sorts, that people who talk to me can feel that I am invested, in more than just me using my counseling skills. Regarding the differences in intimacy I am happy to report with my person thankfully I have both. The fact that she thinks I am funny gives me encouragement that in turn gives me a lightness that makes me more funny. Even when I feel I might have streched it a little far, she laughs so sincerely, and I feel like the most attractive person on earth. Is there any greater thing really than feeling seen and loved just as we are. I feel lucky beyond all imagination… every single day. I hope to write our love story, and my love story, and everything in between.

A story of in-laws: from several lifetimes ago.

*today I oh so randomly decided to dedicate my morning pages to writing a letter important in my healing.*

Writing true words from my heart is one of my greatest joys. Today I read one essay from Glennon Doyle-Wambach actually. I’ve been saying it wrong. Outdated.

I read a few pages of hers on in-laws, and her raw account of the mistakes she made in this department. And of course as it does it made me travel back in time to my own life when I had in-laws, and all the scar tissue that now lies between us. There is a river of pain that separates us. Sadly I believe this is all in the name of my children, for their best interest. I wish we all knew more about what is really the best interest of a child. We think we do but so often we get it wrong.

Originally I was going to transcribe this letter but I think I’ll make my readers suffer through my doctor-esque long hand because it’s more authentic. It’s a real piece of a real life lived in earnest.

Before I share I want to walk through just a couple of memories that are some of the more vivid. My MIL was so good to me. She watched my kids and let me take baths in their large tub with this ginger bubble bath from Avon. It was her favorite and her husband my FIL bought out the rest of it when they discontinued it. I used to have a glass of wine, a dark blue Lindt truffle and a bubble bath to drown out the weariness of being a new parent. She helped me find these things. I remember once she said to me “you’re so confident as a parent, I was never like that in the beginning.” She also told me tales of how micro-managed she was by her own MIL. I think it was important to her to take a different approach. I am grateful for that grace she extended to me. When I came out I know it was deeply painful for the family. At that time I couldn’t shoulder any of that or even be gracious about it, because my own journey was so heavy. We all did our best I think. We have had some run ins over the years where less grace than I wished for was present, on both sides. I hope as time moves on we maintain the grace that she taught me by example. Who knew that beneath her grace I think welled a lot of pain, and it has a profound effect. May we all find healing in our hearts. Life is very hard sometimes. 💜💜

My Sanctuary
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A great journey can occur in only a couple of hours. It’s the depth that matters.

It’s Sunday morning. Well afternoon now. What do you do when you feel like there’s no possible way to capture the journey you took (in the span of one morning for only a couple of hours), in one blog post? I guess I need to find or develop more skills in terms of summarizing and organizing. This morning I took an emotional journey. I journeyed miles through feelings physical and emotional. The most important aspect of this I think is that at the finish line I was able to lay in my person’s arms and just cry. I cried for so many things. Initially she was concerned, and because of my work I was able to tell her I was crying because I needed the release.

I needed to let all of it out. To allow all of my feelings with no judgment and just to share them. I told her she was my safe space. She is my safe space. I told her how new this feeling is for me. I used to push down tears and my own experiences in exchange for the stiff upper lip that felt at the time like it helped me to survive. This worked UNTIL I had kept my side that had needs alone for so long, that it could no longer take it. It needed air. And because I didn’t know how to meet it’s needs I struggled in anger. I was angry at my disease, at my pain, at myself, at so much more….  and it came out on others for awhile. I couldn’t access my calm and understanding parts, especially when I needed them the most. My basic natural tendency was to be tough, and we are not always nice when we are so tough. I couldn’t access the parts of myself that could help me have compassion and understanding for others, and I knew I would need that if I were to survive as a Counselor. I knew that I could not help other people find a way to allow their process and meet their needs if I hadn’t first climbed that mountain myself. I wish I could say it’s one mountain. It’s not. It is a series of mountains, with peaks and valleys, gorgeous views, and also dark and seemingly endless nights.

Two times since we have gotten together I have broken into a heap in my partner’s arms. I am always welcome to share my full spectrum of emotions with her, and that safety is irreplaceable. But these two times I was at my limit and I allowed myself to not worry about being a burden, about being over-sensitive, that she would shy away from my pain. She is a warrior…. a warrior behind her service to the Army (which I still need to post about). She is a warrior for myself and my children. She is the best kind of warrior. The kind who constantly faces up against her fears and continues on inspite of. It is because of her I have learned the importance of being gentle and sometimes succumbing to our sense of overwhelm and fears, and that this is OK. She doesn’t try to fix my pain, nor does she shy from it. She doesn’t try to compete with it or put it on a scale of comparison. She doesn’t squirm uncomfortably trying to change the subject, or invalidate it in any way “like telling me to look on the bright side”. She doesn’t become so upset herself that there is no room left and I feel I must zip myself back up quickly so as not to harm her. She just offers her presence, and it turns out that’s all I need.

I began my day today with my beloved bath, my books, and my writing. My favorite way to begin a day. I also began it with severe abdominal pain, gut wrenching pain, frustrating nausea, and symptoms that are quite unpleasant and leave a lot of fear in their wake. I am grateful I had the perfect arms of her, and the words of Glennon Doyle Melton in Carry On Warrior to compliment. As always I had everything I needed. Now that list also includes compassion and understanding for MYSELF. This was the missing piece that has made life so much different.

I write my best when I write to her. It is how we fell in love. So I am going to share a personal letter, because aren’t those the best kind? A letter that came on the wings of inspiration while I was having my struggle this morning.

Here it is: A quick note about it. She is a Veteran of the United States Army. She did two tours over seas. She often struggles with identifying with this experience or remembering it for ways she could be hard on herself about it. Since she doesn’t fit the traditional role of what someone would think of as a Veteran she at times struggles with owning her bravery and power. Last night we ate at Texas Roadhouse and came across other Veterans who banded with her and helped us celebrate. It was random and it was beautiful. I know in my heart that one of our greatest gifts in this life will be bearing witness to one another’s journey.

*I feel very vulnerable about sharing this letter. My thoughts are should I? Do I need to? Does someone need to hear all the parts when particularly some of the letter and the way it flows will only make sense to her. I think to Glennon’s book where her Dad say’s to her “don’t you think you should take some of these things to the grave Glennon.” Her reply is how I found the courage to share this part of myself today. “I thought hard for a moment and said, no I really don’t. That sounds horrible to me. I don’t want to take anything to the grave. I want to die used up, and emptied out. I don’t want to carry around anything that I don’t have to. I want to travel light.”

The letter:

“I’m writing you to distract myself from the discomfort I’m currently in. I keep getting out of the tub because I have to use the toilet, and each time this happens I am cold and shivery and soaking the bathroom floor 🙁

I wanted to focus on and tell you how cool last night was. It was so lovely seeing you get to honor yourself with others. You sat with it and owned it and didn’t reduce or dismiss and I’m beyond words proud and happy for you, with you… all of it. I feel so lucky to have shared that with you. I also feel lovely that I’m able to move through momentary petty emotions without them ruling my life anymore. This has changed my whole world. What I mean by this is for a few minutes there I felt so anxious and overwhelmed, and then loud people coming over, and you being super into whether you’re going to text this guy who may or may not want to get close in any way possible with my baby,…. and I was nauseated and hot. For a few moments I felt horrific. And because of that most likely and not because you did anything wrong I almost got cranky with you. Almost let my mind tell me that this wasn’t how I saw our night and you weren’t paying attention to me. Like a baby…. lets modify that to be kind. Like someone not feeling well getting caught in a wave of panic induced negativity.
and then as you so often do you read my mind, I had also worked through it myself, but it’s so refreshing that our intuition does that.

My ex was intuitive too, we scanned one another for flaws and the world so we could be hyper-vigilant and flip out at shadows. You read my mind which said without me having to get upset you noticed. You said out loud that you were present…And in reflection I would have regretted it terribly if I had made those lovely moments about me, whether I didn’t feel well or not. Actually where I took my mind to was how I felt the day I did the Crohns walk, and how important it was for me to take that day to be about me and honoring my experience, and people give that to me, have helped me find my way to it. So I’m so glad I kept my initial feelings at bay because I would have missed out on irreplaceable moments of witnessing you honoring an important part of your life. I also enjoy so much seeing you blossom and open up and share you with others. I have to remember to not get jealous and crazy because I just love you so much, and because it isn’t healthy. I have had to learn this security, it doesn’t come easy.

Today I woke up short of breath with abdominal pain…. terrible bloating and some bleeding actually :/ waves of nausea and terrible joint aching. And it’s so tempting to be taken over by anger and frustration at my body. To beat myself up or make our whole experience that I shouldn’t have gone or any other thing. To lash out at the world, great pain makes us lash out at the world, and those around us. It makes us claw and bite and bargain and deny. When really our only choice is to feel it until it passes, it will pass. It passes easier with someone like you by my side.

So when I tell you how grateful I am know that it includes this: that I am just sitting here smiling, even as I cry in pain and frustration…. because I loved logging that experience last night and I wouldn’t trade it. And if I’m going to have this devil disease it’s so nice to have it near to you…. I could be alone. Someone else could still have you right now. So when I take account of my life I feel like I have a fortune in the bank and houses all over 😉 rich beyond my wildest dreams.

I feel grateful for less panic. Somehow your steadfast gaze and warmth helps me panic less. Our love. I know it’s just a superstition of sorts that nothing terrible can happen because our love is so good. But it feels better to choose safe and calm waters while I can, since we have no control over some storms anyway.

I’ve gone to the bathroom enough that I can finally breathe a little better. Boy is it an unpleasant feeling to have so much air built you can’t even breathe and to not know whether to take an ant-acid or my inhaler :p

I love you with everything that I am. I am the best possible version of myself when I am with you. You make everything worthwhile.

I see you. You seem so much less hard on yourself. I know that will still be a natural default tendency for awhile and Rome wasn’t built in a day.  But I see changes and I’m so grateful for your strength. To be able to live my life next to someone who sees things and gets them and then puts action into those things to make changes that benefit all of us as a whole. Amazing. That makes you a true warrior even, with now an invisible uniform. We now have a teammate in this pursuit. No longer having our resources sucked out of us by being misunderstood and misunderstanding. What an amazing feeling.

Ok back to my morning pages, maybe a little reading and soaking my sore bum in this bathtub. So grateful to be able to breathe a little better.

All of my love darling….”

On the importance of trying new things…

So this morning I woke up nearly regretting my decision to schedule an 8 am oil change for my Jeep. I don’t have a Client until 11 am and I so value my morning time. So much so that that also will be at least an entire post, if not also melded into this one. At the dealership they asked me if I would also like a tire rotation (that is mercifully included with my “Jeep Wave” warranty), so I knew it would be a few extra minutes. With my Crohn’s I am often nauseated in the morning, especially if there is nothing in my stomach. When I went to sit and wait, it was nagging at me.

There is a small coffee/breakfast sandwhich place literally right next door I have never tried. It’s called Safari Kaffeine Fix. It like many gems in life does not have much to attract you from the outside. However here on the inside the piece that draws me in the most is a wall where people have written their well wishes, and a variety of things. It gives it that human touch. Many of the sentiments state that they are so glad this place is back, and they missed the coffee. This lends me to believe that this is a second try…. BRAVE.

Looks can be deceiving
The wall of well wishes

More aspects of human touch …. a woman came and put her money on the counter and the man came out immediately with a regular order. I love that! This is a place regulars hang out. It is also a world apart from downtown Fairfield, the land I typically live in. I love both. The hard working laborers and people struggling paycheck to paycheck. There is a man in here very frustarted with his job as a contractor and he is telling everyone his foibles on re-doing someone’s bathroom. At face value he kind of sounds like a complaining jerk, but as I have watched him longer his rough around the edges demeanor melts into a man with family values who is polite and considerate. He just bought a woman’s coffee. This makes me think of a line in a book I’m currently reading by Brene Brown. She says that “it’s hard to dislike people close up”. This is the thread during this time of division that can bring us closer together. When we generalize and hold onto our fears and keep looking from a distance with our judgements we miss out on a lot. Get a closer view of anything that is causing you frustration or you’re having trouble with.

Back to the topic at hand…. When I do things differently or try something new, I ALWAYS gain some new awareness or receive a gift. Doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, just try something new. Go into a new place, talk to a person you’ve never talked to before, try something different in your day. This is much more difficult than you think. It is easier to know what to expect with what you’re getting, and we are more wired to stay safe in that way. New experiences no matter how insignificant create new thoughts.

Sometimes I have learned lately from my client’s we need permission to try new things in our lives, whether that is career or taking a risk in our relationship by sharing a feeling that may upset our partner. So if you’re reading this post today this is your permission…. Try something new.

*To me this post feels disjointed and I’m not as happy with it because I feel like there are real and raw things inside of me I need to be sharing right now. Things Glennon Doyle Melton and Brene Brown have given me the permission to write. However I have to trust the process. The reason it’s all over the place is because I looked up from my laptop, broke my consciousness, to lend some of my heart to this person who clearly really wants someone to listen. This is what I do. This is why I fear I won’t write a book, because there are people all around me always that need my presence, and if I am able I will give it. Sometimes I become frustrated that I get pulled from my writer’s heaven that exists within me, but when I step back for a moment and look my life is richer from everything I give, not from hunkering down in my brain. Finding balance in this arena is one of my greatest tasks. I can be upset about the struggle or thankful that I am even able to have it.

Stay tuned for a post on my favorite Veteran…..

Restless with no rhyme or reason

*listening to Joshua Radin Radio on Pandora; His song “Only You” *

I am restless today. Very very restless. This can easily be confused with anxiety, the sensations are very similar, and misunderstood this could easily feel like not a good thing. However, today I am entertaining the idea that this restlessness could actually be excitement. I’m thinking that it must be because I have a lot to be excited about recently. One of the things is a secret, so you’ll just have to stay tuned and be curious. I am like a locked vault. *yeah right*. LOL. The idea that excitement without anxiety could actually have a place in my world is a little mind blowing currently.

What is my life going to be like without that constant companion of “feeling like the other shoe is always going to drop, or feeling like the rug will be pulled out from under me”. I am slowly coming to…. to the realization that I don’t feel that way anymore. It feels like being re-born. I say this because this sensation can only be described as so new that it is foreign and so foreign that it feels as if my body is trying to reject it.

I am happy, and safe, and confident. And how do a few words on a page make the reader’s heart squeeze the way mine is right now, and the tears begin to release. I need to tell my story, because it is starting to burst forth from my seams, to leak out into everything, and to reduce me to a puddle of emotion on nearly a constant basis. My gratitude is endless. My nerve endings are all alive. The sense of hope I always maintained was not without merit. This is real. This is real.

I’m physically restless, tapping my foot, moving around a lot, not able to sit still. I bit my cuticles a bit too (gross habit). All of my sensory systems feel sharpened. All of my emotional systems too.

I somehow made it through 2 pages of Morning writing, even with this distractibility. I become consumed with Facebook and a drama on there that later I would be hard on myself upon realizing it was a time suck, and generally left me feeling less grounded and pleasant than is my choice. Change begins with noticing. You must notice first, then you must take action. If you do those 2 things with anything that is important enough you can make the changes you desire. But you’ll have to be brave! 

Speaking of brave… I began my drive to work listening to …

Life Changing Book by Ms. Brave Herself. I want to be like her when I grow up!!

One gem so far is her describing how she has posted up in her office Oprah’s words: “Do not think you can be brave with your work and your life and never disappoint anyone, it doesn’t work that way.” One of my biggest misunderstandings in life was feeling disappointed in myself so often for everything, simply because I am sensitive and didn’t understand what that meant or why. The only template I had for it was one of shame and deep misunderstanding. What if most of us are only a few layers away from uncovering this type of treasure? I think that is true. And I am finding proof it is true in the lives of those I am able to touch now. My greatest privilege in this life is to be a counselor and walk with others on this journey. I walked alone for so long, and in so much more pain than I ever had to. If I knew then….. but scratch that because I KNOW NOW, and it is meant to be this way.

You see even this much writing, in a space that is rapidly becoming a second home to my heart… the restlessness has calmed. I have written my way through it. Just as I have written my way through most of my many unanswered questions and a heaping load of trauma and pain. My greatest hope is to write a story that others can access and feel the way I did this morning listening to Brene speak her truth.

It wasn’t really bravery that I’ve had a problem with. I developed that being a problem because I believed others with their should’s and should not’s. I watched other people in shame and thought I’d rather belong to the herd than to be cold out here alone. I’ve changed myself so many times to try and belong somewhere and to something. I didn’t realize at that time that the price would be my soul, and then on top when it turned out to not fit for me I blamed myself. So much pain. I’ve suffered immensely, mostly at my own hand. At the hand of my rapidly over-thinking mind. My mind is capable of being a great paradise or a terrible prison. I have known both, but I didn’t know that I had a choice, and now I do.

Thanks to feeding my mind with the brave and the many stories of people who came before me, my life has become a whole different kind of place. Now… I just want to share that journey with anyone who wants to listen. My heart is so open and raw lately. It is just out in the air beating for everyone to see, and the vulnerability of it all is often overwhelming. I wouldn’t change a thing.

As I listened to Brene this am and her story of belonging and her struggle I just could not stop crying. It touched me so deeply. And having those experiences help me unlock how to touch other’s lives in such a way. ….

Stay tuned …. I am on the brink of something special here.. .every second it is becoming…. just like how I “woke up” in this career where I belong that feeds my soul every day.

Simple Pleasures and Adult Responsibilities

*it is injection day. By the light of day I rarely talk about my disease, but as part of doing this blog I want to make a conscious effort to not omit less palatable aspects of my life. Even if it does feel better to live in denial on this one.

My tough guy girlfriend is yelling at our border collie mix Henri (Etta) as she attempts to “protect us” from the mailtruck. Sigh. She has come into this home after it has been fully formed, and probably questions her sanity as she attempts to undo bad habits in my dogs that have been long standing. She is also having serious ADHD while trying to complete her Morning Pages, I can relate. I already completed mine. Overachiever say what 😉 We run on very different schedules she and I. She is just waking up fully around the afternoon (when we have days off together), and I wake up with the first sign of dawn (usually because a teenager has missed his bus), but also because to me each morning is a new day.

I have been born with this enthusiasm that I don’t even understand. Often it has made me feel odd or different, awkward even. This brings me to a series of questions that have always been a big part of my thinking, the whole nature versus nurture debate. Was I made this way, or have I just cultivated it so much that it has become a part of me? I can always remember waking up and my mind abuzz, and my spirit ready for a new adventure. For me there is always new people to meet or something new and exciting to experience. Lately I almost feel some sense of guilt that I am so naturally this way, and for others it is so different. So even more the wondering if this is just in my wiring or if needing to learn this was a function of my childhood. I definitely would have needed to find things to be enthusiastic about. I think I manufactured my own world in my mind, and all the while never felt I had a creative bone in my body. Go figure.

I almost become excited to go to sleep at night so I can get it over with so it’s the next morning and I can partake in my beloved ritual of my morning cup of coffee in a favorite mug and writing/reading. I spend a great deal of my time in reflection and thinking, probably 90 percent of it. In this later half of my life I am learning to spend some of it on play. My partner helps me with this. Yesterday we went to Target for a pen. I have always had a thing about pens. Certain inks that glide as if the pen isn’t even touching the paper. I am old-fashioned and love touching pen to paper, it breathes air back into a soul that has been sucked out by modern technology. Our Target adventure also yielded a 40 + set of fine tipped colored markers, a sketch pad, some sick supplies for one of my 13 year old twin girls who had a cold (soup, the nasty kind, and gatorade), stickers (for morning pages), … essentially things that spark and nurture creativity. Courtney and I are spending some time as a couple working paralell in this journey.

Last night while randomly watching the movie Sing, which is adorable by the way, we took cute pictures on the couch with Sig. One of them came out perfect with all of our tongues out. Feeling like I must post it now… yes I must….

Simple Pleasures
Silly Pleasures

I am survived by the simplest of pleasures that keep my soul warm on a cold day. Cups of coffee and journals, sketch pads and novels, hooded sweatshirts and walks next to her, a shared glance and the tender hand hold. There are so many to list. My life has unfolded before my imagination with so many moments of bliss I never anticipated. I feel grateful for every second.

The adult responsibilities portion of this post is everything in between these moments. Currently it is the fact that we need to replace the furnace in the house. Found out yesterday. This is in the ballpark of $6500-10,000 apparently, it is an immediate necessity. Finding this out yesterday made me think of the movie UP. I now want to watch it. I think of how they planned on travelling together and made a jar to save and then how every little thing came up. In the past this would have made me unbelievably stressed. Especially as it seems so unfair that Courtney moves in and then needs to share in this expense (or will because she is that kind of partner). My mind says that I duped her or she has done the opposite of winning the lottery. She won the lottery in love I suppose and my romantic side thinks great, and my practical mind argues. What is a whole house full of possessions with no one to share it with? Right?

So back to rectifying student loans and figuring out the ultimate fate of that payment, getting estimates and making hard decisions about new AC/FURNACE units, running errands, etc. But first I am going to make an egg salad sandwich while listening to Ani and hopefully get a nice kiss in the kitchen. The simple pleasures to me, will always outweigh the crushing aspects of life…

My heart is full….

On feeling like a fraud….

Thank you Dave !!


I’m having a lot of emotions open up for me recently. It is occupying a lot of my energy and therefore the lines have been silent for a bit.

I haven’t talked with many people outside my immediate few about my experience with deploying with The Red Cross for Disaster Mental Health Relief to Texas.

This morning I recieved a Houston Strong T-shirt and a special pin from a cherised person whom I look up to in the counseling field. My reaction was unexpected even to myself. I cried big ugly crocodile tears, and I am here sitting in these emotions. I wish I could say I cried because of the generosity of the gesture and how it feels to be seen and appreciated, for all the depth of that. This is my desired wish. The truth is I cried because I felt like I didn’t deserve it. I felt, as I have many times throughout my life… like a fraud.

My first idea to become a Red Cross Volunteer came when in my graduate degree program I met Professor and Red Cross Extraordinaire, Dave Denino. He was teaching a Crisis course at SCSU. He showed us a video of relief effort for Hurricane Katrina and I immediately felt as if I wanted to give in such a way as well. I looked up to Dr. Denino. He had a warm and kind presence and his work to improve the lives of others in a variety of ways is deeply inspiring. He is the type of figure I would have wished to have for a Father. I am grateful that he is seen and believed in me, and in that way he became somewhat of a figure of that nature, someone I wanted to model myself after. I have always decided I want to work to become that which I admire. I work tirelessly on those efforts, but what people don’t see is how often I have struggled and at times failed in these pursuits.

In this case people could see my effort, and my fancy Red Cross garb and my big smile headed to Texas, but what they didn’t see as they thanked me for my service was the internal battle that ended up happening.

All my life I have struggled with biting off more than I can chew, my enthusiasm larger always than my pool of resources. I am beginning to see also the beauty in this and not just the beast, but it’s been quite the journey. The truth about a Red Cross deployment is I have wanted to be that person, the warm and comforting one, since the day I realized that was a possibility, but my life has not afforded it being that option. I knew if I didn’t decide quickly to go on this and just make it happen, like many other things in my life, it would not come to pass. It is perhaps just how I work. But in my situation I have many other people to consider, and the fact that I have a disease. Both of these things came into play with my deployment in ways that I didn’t anticipate. My heart was in the right place, but as always with life when we see what we think something will be like, and what it is actually like can be a world of difference. I am a famous “romanticizer”.

What actually happened is that my partner whom I adore is a 911 dispatcher and she ended up being held over for 16 hour shifts the majority of while I was gone. I could tell and hear in her voice that she was desperate for me to come home. What actually happened is that the travel and stress on  my body made my Crohn’s symptoms come to life in ways that I did not anticipate, that I could not have known, but still feel like a hack and a fraud for wasting resources and going if I had to come back early. What actually happend was is that I rushed to the scene wanting to be a hero, and the version of myself I ended up meeting was someone cranky when things didn’t look that way. A full frontal view of my own humanity was laid out before me, and I did not like for awhile what I saw.

I realized this morning that this entire experience as a whole has important lessons for me. This is what I do with most of the experiment that is my life. I attempt to learn from it, and only in this second half of my life am I learning to do that without being AS hard on myself as I used to be. What actually happened was that I spent the first 4-5 days of my deployment not particpating in much because the operation wasn’t organized yet. Outside the situation that is very understandable and I would not fault the organization, but inside I was impatient and frustrated since it was a big sacrifice on my part to not be earning income for that 2 weeks. I recognize now that I couldn’t skip past this being a learning experience. I now know so much more about what to expect from myself and from the organization, and to make fully sure my home situation is secured before doing such a thing. My enthusiasm is like a giant lab puppy dragging my responsible self across the world.

I wanted to show up better, with more patience. I expect myself to have a positive attitude and to bring it with me. I had more moments on that deployment than I would have liked where I did not feel that way. And on top I feel guilty about that. Because I know if I am not part of a solution then I am part of the problem.

So now the entire experience became this source of shame and discomfort, and once that happened I somehow forgot all that I did contribute during my time, and that my heart was in the right place. My heart is always in the right place, I just make mistakes and have shortcomings like everyone else <3

So for everyone out there that feels like a fraud. Your feelings often can lie to you, and this is also a normal part of being a human being. To take the time to work through it and give yourself the understanding and compassion you would give another is essential.

Thank you Dave. What you don’t know is how this gesture actually became a piece of my healing, because it showed me where the hurt resides and then with some support I can find relief. I can’t tell you how much it means to have a role model like you to be able to watch and learn from. How much it means that you have believed in me. I hope to be that for my Client’s, my Family, and my Friends. A role model that they are proud to call theirs and to learn from.

This post has inspired me to spend some time soon writing a blog post about what I did accomplish in Houston and about my experience there.