Choose love ❤️

A short but important piece I wrote on self-love this morning.

When I looked in the mirror this morning, actually when my phone turned on me unexpectedly, like a cruel mistress and I saw myself:

First I saw all the imperfections, the sun spots, the lines, the puffiness, the pale, and my tired looking eyes. How much weight I have gained in my face.

The very next thing I did is think about how loved I am by my family, my friends, and my clients as well. Then I thought you can’t be mean to that person who is loved so well.

I think how much my people love me, and that I must keep how I feel about myself in that equation. If I don’t I would isolate, be irritable, and mean when and in ways I don’t want to be, I would push others away if I felt unworthy.

That’s how it works folks. And then they would miss me, worry about me, and I would unintentionally take more than I give. Loving ourselves isn’t selfish, in fact it’s the most unselfish act we can give, because it isn’t easy. It is in fact often the hardest thing.

This is something that needs to be taught in our homes and our schools. I just read a psychology today article about how we don’t see ourselves “accurately” anyway. Our perceptions are shaped by so many social factors. So when given the choice: why not always choose love. It certainly feels better than any other choice, and that’s the point.


Sunsets and Rainbows

*last night driving home the sunset brought me to tears. I’ve been crying a lot lately. All of my emotions right at the surface… and then a giant beautiful rainbow. I didn’t even see any rain, it was just there for me.

Lately I am overwhelmed by emotions. Good ones. What even is this that is happening? After spending most of your life feeling strong on the outside, but inside; frantic, desperate, disconnected, panicked, wrong, bad, behind, abandoned, not enough, not chosen, and the list goes on.

Here I sit today feeling blessed, honored, humbled, more love than is ever possible, calm, being able to regulate, seeing Love everywhere and in everything. I feel stable like the roots of a great oak, and gentle like the rustling of it’s leaves. Many storms have passed through me, but still I stand. And to realize I stand as more, not less. The storms didn’t take, they gave.

For me to put down roots I had to break through concrete.

My Oak is in the midst of Times Square; having always felt out of place, but suddenly people are seeing it like it’s the most refreshing thing they have ever seen. It provides oxygen, shade, a different perspective, a place to rest against that is sturdy and vibrant with life.

It’s like an out of body experience, except for the first time I’m inside mine.

I am two feet in.

This morning I read an email from my dear friend Chip that I have mentioned. And I was thinking about how much I wonder about my Father, and hurt at the not knowing. I had an “Under The Tuscan Sun” moment, where I realized that here is this found father, right here. He writes me everyday basically, always checks in on us, and is supportive and kind.

Anywhere something was missing in my life, I had only to look through open mind and heart to see that it could be filled.

I realize in this moment I’ve missed a thousand rainbows and sunsets, just staring blankly into the world because of old pain and the stories it created.

Now in each moment I’m writing a gorgeous novel. And if these thoughts are never organized into a book someone else can read; you have only to look at my life to read it.

My book is one filled with love, and I never would have known I could say that before.

More Questions than Answers

I’m just sitting here wondering this morning about how to get my life closer to congruence. I keep saying I want to read and write more often, to be still in quiet, and the more I say it, the more the opposite happens. Much like eating healthier or exercising. Why do I always do the opposite? Why is it so hard to be disciplined in anything?

Is it because our ideas of life, the very shoulds of it all, end up being so different than what life has planned for us?

I literally cannot stand social events one is expected to attend anymore. They feel heavy with obligation. I end up needing to nap for three days after. And does this mean something is wrong with me, or quite the opposite in fact?

Can I have the courage to stay and do what is in my heart, or will I always see such an action as letting my loved ones down? Would they still love me if I indulged my passion? What if they missed me too much? What if they gave up on my presence and I become a lonely hermit? The rest of the crowd with the humans banded together. Isn’t that my biggest fear?

But to be surrounded by love you also have to give it. My way just feels so different than the other humans.

What if I lost this love to writing? If my presence wasn’t available anymore in the way she needs because of it? So I choose presence, because if I’m not fully present for the life I have earned, what would be the point of writing.

Is it so wrong to want to be committed to writing? But I already have commitments: what this looks like is a large mom van, with all this room in the whole thing, and I’m trying to pile everyone in the front seat. And if I can’t I throw a fit and sleep for a day or two. Sigh

Why is it so all or nothing with me? Who wants to feel like choosing their loved ones leaves a knife in their side of unwritten words? The last thing I want is to resent those I love. I refuse to do that.

I crave quiet spiritual activities in nature, but when it comes down to it, it feels so daunting. When you add time and money, and all that is needed from you, frivolity loses that battle. Then I get to feel the prize of being seen as a good wife, mother etc, but how long can that be maintained before the passion breaks through.

Maybe I’m not all that lacking in discipline. Maybe it’s just all being used up, and no one, not even me, realizes that. If no one has the words or sight for something, does it still exist? Those are the core of our deepest misunderstandings of ourselves and others, aren’t they?

Maybe I’ve been disciplined my whole life. I ran out. But then the result was a self I couldn’t sit with. I was always just too conscientious for that. So I did that work too. I beat out compassion fatigue and ptsd. I finally learned to add compassion to the mix. So I guess that’s the ingredient needed to answer all these questions too.

I have to like myself, who I am in the life of my own creation, and find room for passion. Why is it always such a tall order with me? Why do I say that like it’s a bad thing? My wiring fights so hard to be against me. Compassion is the sword.

While the questions seem to have no end, this post must.

Our little follicle is almost 14 mm. It needs to be 18-22, before we trigger. So we go back tomorrow to see what he is doing. Courtney thinks it’s going to be a boy. My heart dances at all of this. How can this really be me? I thought I was Elizabeth Gilbert. I thought I had chosen the wrong life. It turns out I chose the right one, but it feels so bizarre. And trusting myself has not been my strong point. This feels exactly right, it is only my desperate starving artists mind that feels anxious. I’m beginning to realize that’s my normal though.

This thing this time is different. It’s not a part of moving so quickly my feelings can’t catch me. Lately I am nothing but feelings. They are constantly spilling out of me, and I can’t even shame myself for that anymore. I can’t shame myself for how I dress, or for my weight. And this new life feels so foreign it almost feels wrong, when I know that it’s right.

Because in the old model clinging to shame helped motivate me. How sad is that? Shame might be more powerful than love when it comes to motivation. Hmmm…. ?

I think the epiphany I have written myself to is that I often think I’m on the brink of some life changing thing, and I often am, but it doesn’t work like I thought. My expectation is that I’ll crack some code on the game of life and it will get easier. In many ways as we age it just gets harder. And for me personally to have life get harder ever is such a trigger.

What a terrible aspect of ptsd. It’s encouraging me to work against myself still. Even after you clean up, the feelings remain, the changes in wiring remain. But it opens up love too. Even if it’s not as motivating as shame, love is always the answer.

I just have to remember to keep myself in that equation. Love is for me too I realized. I think the truth here is that in life there will always be more questions than answers. So if your quest is to find “that one answer”, you may end up being disappointed often.

The questions were always the most important teacher, and here we are, always looking for answers.

An Open Letter to My Children before Our New Adventure.

To my first born children, before this new addition rocks our lives.

Tyler I remember when I finished my Master’s Degree how vehemently you asked that I not pursue my PHd, which turns out is the best decision for us anyway. The point though, was you wanted your mom back. From all the school, from all the stress, and from being inside her head.

I know you all do.

And here we are about to bring a new life into this world. It seems insane sometimes doesn’t it? If things at times seem so hard now why? If you’re so stressful (how you might feel sometimes, not true) and mom is so stressed, why have another!? You must wonder about this at times. I know Court and I have.

Why with shootings, and so much evil, and already what can feel like not enough to go around, why bring another? Note: we have so much more than enough already in terms of resources and love.

You must all wonder some of these things, because Courtney and I are often talking about all the aspects. And you need to be able to share your feelings too. Even the scared ones, or ones that might not be easily received. Because this is how we sort out our feelings, and truer realizations rise to the surface after.

No truer words will ever be spoken than: I loved you first and you have made me who I am now. Every part of me who you watch loving this baby well, is who she is because of you. Courtney has me now because of you, and I have her now because of you.

If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be helping people. You give me courage and strength. Your unconditional love healed so many things in me, when I didn’t even know that was possible. When I didn’t even know it was happening. I thought I was barely scraping by, but it turns out I held the key to happiness in my pocket all the time. I have only to look at your faces when they light up with passion, to know that.

I’m everything I am because you chose me as a mother. I’m beginning to believe with some mystical unknown force that we choose our parents to provide the tasks we need to fulfill our destiny in life. This happens without us knowing, but I bet it’s true.

And I believe this baby will choose us to be it’s family. Because with every new adventure we are also healed you know? You can’t watch unconditional love and joy, the kind babies possess, without being changed. Being touched by that kind of love has transformed me over and over, and you will always have been the beginning of that.

You are the heart of everything I do, never separate from me, the way it’s easy to believe. We aren’t loose particles floating aimlessly in the air, how I felt at one time. We are the roots of a great red wood tree. We will go see them someday. (In California). We are intertwined, strong, safe, sacred. We are growing things that will be important to the world, that are already.

I want us to talk about our feelings about this adventure as it unfolds. I want to create space for your fears, the way Courtney does for mine. Because it heals. I want you to watch how I was with you as a mother when you were little and know how loved you are. Know that I held you just as tenderly. And to watch Courtney experience the blessing of becoming a mother. How it grows and changes her heart the way it has mine.

I want you to have these experiences, closely intertwined with a family that loves you with all their hearts. Because that’s what you have, and I realize more and more that’s what I have too.

All my love,


Out on a limb

My whole life I feel like I have been out on a limb. In so many aspects. Somewhere along the way I learned to take the risks. During more of the unsure times in my life these risks could definitely have been categorized as the unhealthy kind. So I internalized, as I do so well, more bad information about myself.

In this second half of my life my “risk taking” is the exact thing that has yielded some of the biggest pay out. I still look at those people who cross all their t’s and dot all their i’s with great admiration. And a serious dose of black and white thinking: they are right, I am wrong.

Here in the state of Connecticut I have found that risk taking could be as simple as speaking to someone in line at Starbucks. They don’t do that sort of thing here. Stay in your lane baby girl. Mind your business. More people starving for connecting here, than I have found anywhere else. Perhaps that’s why me, the queen of connecting, ended up here.

I met one of my dearest friends in life, a man closer to the end of his life than the beginning. A good man who likes the Hallmark channel so he can get a dose of real emotion when he needs. A man who loves his son and grandson, and a wife who doesn’t deserve it so much (from him, everyone deserves love).

I tell our story sometimes to clients and they are always baffled. You did what? Yes we borrowed sugar and an egg to make cookies. We asked a neighbor to borrow something. Naive as usual, I had never received the memo that people in Connecticut absolutely under no circumstances do this sort of thing. Psycho. Go to the store like everyone else does. Nevertheless this yielded a friendship that would become a surrogate father, and person who tells me I am their normal.

I tell him if I’m his normal he is in serious trouble. We loved him on birthdays when no one else showed him how special he is, and he loved me with all of my insecurities. He listened to a thousand anxious emails, worried I would never be loved the way I was hoping to, worried I was bad. Only one of those worries very occasionally threatens to crop up. I consider myself very blessed.

You see thoughts about going out on a limb come to my mind, and they won’t be dismissed in the name of anything. They keep tugging at the strings of my heart until I am forced to unleash them on an unsuspecting world. This wasn’t so well received when I was younger. I scared the hell out of people. I was called too intense more than you can imagine. Which of course triggered my family stuff. Too much, somehow not good that you’re around. I made myself smaller. My self became depressed, shrank.

I tried to just do day in day out with no magic. It never worked for me. When I ignore that urge to reach out when I feel that vibration, later the regret drives me mad. I know I missed out on the hidden secret the universe had wrapped in many papers and then in box after box, like those Russian nesting dolls. And the determination it takes to be brave enough to keep opening after not only finding empty ones, but also being ridiculed for trying.

I needed to belong somewhere, anywhere. That need trumped coming into my own. So it has taken me a long time to be here now. And when it comes to trusting myself I am still a baby deer wobbling on it’s new legs. Self-doubt had been my constant companion, ptsd has hard wired it into my system. But I always knew I belonged out on a limb.

Out on a limb you’re alone, nervous you will fall at any moment, and precarious. You face rejection, being discredited, and boat loads of shame. Why would anyone do that? Especially in Connecticut. If there ever was a state you do not do that, it is here. I often muse to myself that instead of being the “Nutmeg state”, we should be the repression state. I guess “Repressers” doesn’t ring as light and fun as “Nutmeggers, but I would venture it rings true to many.

Now before you’re tempted to think I’m generalizing in a terrible way, I’m not finished yet. Underneath a thin layer of steel, people here are warm and gooey just like all of us human beings. I would argue they may even be more passionate here. Whether it’s being fueled by the unbeatable fall seasons here, or the determination to make our own sunshine after a long cold winter, there is as much heart as anywhere.

The heart is in tact. And I have found people are just wanting those brave people to make that first move to connect in a real way. Sure some aren’t ready for it, that is their cross, and it is heavy. Another best friend heart (bless her), one who has known me at my worst and still seen through.

She once gave me a Globe from the show Wicked. She taped “keep defying gravity” in a small note she taped to the bottom. If the house ever caught fire this is the one thing I would grab. After the live animals of course. :p Her heart was crushed from birth perhaps, a thick skin became very necessary for her, and I broke through for a real friendship. My self-doubt made it feel invisible sometimes, afraid I wasn’t good enough, and so I kept myself away, as people who feel that way tend to do. I hope she always knows she is my person.

At that time I was an uncultured swine (ok that’s mean, a broke, single mother) and could certainly have never seen that show. I was as lost as a human can become and my behaviors sucked, and yet she still believed in some part of me. These people are two of many of my supreme gifts the Universe has given me. These people are how I help so many now. I had to be lifted up, to lift others. They are my angels and the light that shines through my eyes.

To be allowed to have the love I knew was behind a particular soul, more big risks, more limbs. I’m pretty sure she thought I was nuts in the beginning, but something bade her to keep going with it. And now we are standing on the precipice of a great dream, neither of us knew we had before.

This woman never wrongs me for the risks I take. Every time I go to talk to her I project she will tell me no way and that I’m not thinking and all sorts of other things. But she trusts me and our love to such a pure degree I HAVE to trust it also. It is unwavering. Her love and trust for me is UNWAVERING. And like the grinch who had been so hurt and rejected he had reached the point where he was bristly and mean on the outside, the parts of me that still threaten to become that way, just stop. I think my heart has expanded larger than my body, and all the light is just constantly radiating outwards.

I am a lighthouse for others, and I am beginning to believe that is true, and to love parts of myself that I shut down (to keep safe) long ago. Her love is my constant kerosene, and it’s a reflection finally of all the love I splashed at the world. A world who wasn’t ready for it, a girl who wasn’t ready to give it to herself.

Here I sit today, on the end of this limb, calmly having a picnic, dancing on the tip. For me this is the only way to live. Love is everywhere, inside of everything… Connecticut is no exception and neither are you….


Emotional parenting versus logical, part 1.

We need both, a tall order to be sure. It seems like I’m better at logical (the lessons), and everyone else the emotional.

*my blog posts are very long. I am aware, and working now at knowing the ideal is shortened into easily eatable portions. Part of what I do is show my whole process of talking through the feelings. So if you hang in for the whole ride, rather than dismissing for too overwhelming; you might find some special gifts within. My writing comes out raw. I am working on the process of making it more concise and readable. This one has a lot of personal emotion that isn’t resolved yet, so will likely read that way.

I Hope it makes some parents feel less alone.

I am in the parenting trenches again. No surprise there. Three children 16 yr old boy, and 14 year old twin girls provides this gauntlet for me. I finally learned being hard on myself doesn’t help. So here I am talking through my feelings about this, because that does. Whether it’s hearing myself, being willing to look inside, or someone else validating and jumping in with the ability to ask more questions to open more up: it is certainly better than holding myself hostage with intermittent beatings. That’s what I used to do, because I thought it was the only way. Actually I didn’t think, it was only instinct, the not thinking was the problem. This is how counseling can help. With a skilled professional things can often be seen and understood, that no one could have pointed out before. When it’s done well, it feels like magic taking place.

A favorite quote from The Myth of Sysiphus, “we get into the habit of living before the habit of thinking.” When I first saw these words they hit me like a lightning bolt of truth, and thankfully they stuck.

In our lives we go along with what are most often good intentions, but also a lot of misunderstanding of ourselves and others, assumptions, and a huge ol’ reservoir of pain. Only a courageous few turn their attention inward and are brave enough to weather the storms of self-doubt and shame. These are the people who enter my office.

As no surprise parenting is a big subject of work I do as a counselor. This includes parenting myself along the way, often becoming a parent figure that was needed to the client, etc. So for me to sit down and write my parenting shortcomings, fears, struggles, and hopefully victories too, is part of this beautiful work.

A hot topic today is kids behavior with regard to parents being very scared of providing consequences. We are very scared right now, and hold onto what we can to feel safe, even if that is an illusion. Control does not necessarily provide safety. Yet we try so hard at it, often unconsciously and often not with great results.

To further complicate matters often many people (including myself) are navigating the choppy waters of blending a family, and often lots of pain exists from the divorce that can accidentally be coming into play. A lot of that happens in my particular situation.

A fantastic strength in my family is my wife always educating herself when she feels lost, or more appropriately as an impassioned response to seeing me feel lost. We don’t scratch and bite at one another, she doesn’t point out what a poor job I’m doing. As I’ve stated I was good enough at that in the past.

So last night she found and we both read two articles I found very helpful and I want to post them here.

Why Children aren’t Behaving and What You Can Do About it

Navigating the Complex Emotional Terrain of Teenage Girls (also has helpful info for boys as well)

To not be repetitive I’ll let you read those for the expert advice and I’ll just go into my experience below:

With three children it seems like there is almost always a storm, and you get an occasional respite in between. During this time however you know you must scramble quickly to prepare for the next. That is the objective, not to play and refresh with them, because of course you must care for them. Lately I am thinking the play and refresh is equally as important. So perish at sea because you didn’t practically prepare, but die happy and smiling? Is this the only way.

All or nothing is still a struggle for me. As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) being overwhelmed is such a big part of my life, and all or nothing is the unpasteurized symptom. I have to work really hard at getting calm and feeling capable so I can choose one thing and tackle it, and then the next and then the next.

So I have the semi-typical situation where my children’s father (my ex husband) comes in every other weekend and sometimes mid week and spends time with the kids. I get paid the correct child support, and he is a good father to them in so many ways. My situation is more the exception than the rule. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our struggles. One of the main ones being: being on the same page, especially as the kids get older, about rules, and staying consistent. Particularly if one parent is prone to having it be more important to disagree with the other parents rules, and then the kids pick up on that energy and run with it.

It makes everything the one parent is trying to instill that much harder. Example: 14 year old daughter who has been struggling with controlling her emotions becomes grounded. Now I don’t know how grounding changes with age for you other parents out there, but in our home it used to be for a period of time. I learned it was important this time be realistic. As they are older and so much more is going on, sports, social events, school functions, balancing so much, it gets harder to keep grounding in place. I own my own business and see other families for counseling as well. I am often run down.

What I have learned though is accountability is a key component in anyone’s character. When I was let out of it as a child I became not the best person to others. Also all the pain I had endured helped me give myself a free pass on important ways of behaving and treating people. Enthusiasm for life should not trump attention to how we treat people along the way.

My 14 year old when she gets lost in her emotions (age normative) will mow over anyone else in the name of her intensity. It’s a behavior I recognize as important to address now, while it can be, before it becomes a category 5.

With my discipline I have gotten to the point where the new guidelines are that punishment ends when you show that you fully understand your part in things, and are not blaming others for getting grounded. My daughter is still saying that I did this to her, or I’m ruining her life, versus her realizing her behavior dictates the consequence. This seems one of the hardest lessons.

Because their Father sees them less I think it’s much harder for him to want to spend that limited time going up against them. I can sympathize with him, it must be hard. But the bigger picture of what they also need to learn is important too. And what makes it harder for me also becomes harder for them in the end. When I get support and don’t have to do it (the hard parts of parenting) on my own, I then also have a lot more room to be fun and enjoy my relationship with them.

As a child I could get around any consequence, because I wasn’t really parented, and it did me no favors later in life. I was difficult to say the least and my relationships struggled. I couldn’t empathize very well, because I could just get my way. I didn’t have to sit in my feelings, or be asked to change. So this is a hot button of importance to me as a parent.

So the situation is that my daughter comes to me last night and says: “Mom I’ll be gone these days with my friends in New York. Dad is taking us. Anyone notice the first issue here? She’s telling me, not asking me. I haven’t heard a word about this from their Dad, he didn’t check in with me about those dates or if she had earned that privilege by first really working at how she is speaking to her family, and how she behaves when she is comfortable.

So of course I lost it with stress. It’s exhausting to go up against just teenagers, let alone to have all the ground work I am laying be destroyed in a mere few moments.

Everyone wants to be the fun parent, and see that delight on the kids faces when they are happy. Who doesn’t?! But someone also has to do the work. If one person is working, and the other is playing, it’s grossly unfair. And often this isn’t so much a product of bad parenting as it is of circumstance. Certain circumstances require even more effort if you want kids to learn to hold themselves accountable for their actions. While at a young age they can’t be expected to be able to accomplish this task yet, the groundwork still needs to be laid. In my opinion anyway. It is their job to find their own voice in fighting back, but it is the parents job to provide good boundaries. It truly is how they know they are loved, versus because a parent doesn’t. Which is how a consequence is seen emotionally.

For the purpose of length let’s make this a 2 part blog post. Stay tuned for some more information and the follow up.

I will end with a piece of my personal work that I want to be vulnerable about as a parent. Individual focused attention on each child. Even as I type those words I tremble with fear at how to rearrange my life, and what life throws at you to accommodate this. This is the medicine my children are requesting from me in so many words. And I have only myself to hold accountable to meet that need. If I blame anyone else, or the divorce, or my work schedule, etc etc, then I cannot grow.

I must grow…

Mary Lambert a Champion of Women.

Do yourself a favor before reading this:

Body Love Mary Lambert

Also this is blog post #50!!!!!!

We watched this beautiful soul at Daryl’s House in Pawling New York. I am tearing up just thinking about it. I’ve never been like this before. Openly emotional and all heart outside my chest beating for all to see. Her first few words made the tears come immediately, something I never thought was possible for me.

Which helps me also acknowledge how hard my life has been and allow that. Allow it without worrying that I feel I’m special, or in comparison with someone else, or betraying another. I am realizing journeying out of PTSD is a lifelong pursuit, it cycles over and over, until enough security is built to let safety and peace take over.

And now that I am standing here (a little), I am feeling all my feelings I minimized before. My whole body shakes with them at times. I am feeling them with a new story. The work is exhausting. I am ragged lately. I dress comfortably and often don’t even wear make-up. At face value many things could be said, but since I go deeper, and I’m loved deeper, it doesn’t matter anymore.

Trying to live to be seen and loved has lost all its power, and in this new place I am finding all of mine.

I found something in Mary Lambert last night. I said to my wife that “she must have suffered a lot/suffer a lot”, and that “she does music the way I do therapy.” I could feel every word of her music wrapping my heart and soul in support and love. I could feel her giving to others with passionate truth.

The tears just kept running down my face. I didn’t wipe them away, or smile awkwardly in shame. They are mine and they are important. I want to live Bold like her. I do on the outside, but my insides still scan my self for wrong and bad things. Hyper-vigilant to my core.

Watching Mary Lambert move her body proudly, unbridled, and with great joy; makes me know I have to love mine as fiercely.

I’ve spent most of my life desperately insecure about how others would see me, squirming with it. Trying to sell myself, and so often feeling rejected and less than. Uncomfortable in my clothes, and my very skin. Always looking to others for answers.

Mary helps this great hurt. Her voice goes straight to my soul. She is a healer also. And again I catch myself wishing I could be enjoyed like that. She gives comfort and often times I remove it in favor of growth. People watch her and enjoy themselves. People come to sit with me and ache and bleed.

I give permission to feel feelings also, but there’s no sweet background music. Maybe there should be 😉 I’ll have to think about that.

I still don’t have all the words for my feelings right now. What I can tell you is I am a person who has dedicated her life to healing, and I am only now realizing the full extent of my wounds, and the time and medicine it takes. I am hoping to do some important work for others with this.


Christina 💪🏼💜

Ps wanted to share my Facebook post that came out in the raw last night.

Music gives us permission to fully feel our feelings. Tonight the music of Mary Lambert opened up my heart and emptied it, and filled it, again and again. It was a spiritual experience. This past year I feel like I’m walking around with no skin on. Everything is raw. It’s beautifully painful.

This past year I’ve come back from the dead. My body was present and I could give, but my emotions were so far away from my reach. As a result I’ve feared myself, questioned my character, and been drenched in immense doubt for most of my life.

I ran hard and fast from myself. I had huge feelings I didn’t know what to do with. I held them on top of me. I couldn’t breathe. I haven’t breathed a true sigh of relief most of my life. So now when I do it could blow down a building. I’m a tidal wave force of emotions. The choice of the powers always to decide for good or evil. I was always good. I had the hardest time believing that story. My feelings are valid.

I refuse to ever let myself believe again like I am not worthy of every one of them, and Allowed to express them. I used to write songs, but then I forgot. I forgot my joy and my beauty. I packed them away in many a suitcase. I padlocked them, wrapped them in chains, and let them sink to the bottom of the Ocean. The current took them to extreme temperature depths ,and they froze there.

I just tried to find the template for living after that. I looked around, and then said, “I guess I’ll try that.” And that and that and that. A great enthusiasm on the outside, and endless pit of doubt on the in.

Now I have the permission to create. I gave it to myself. And this brave brave woman tonight, has given me more than I can express in this moment. Simply by fiercely loving herself, so I could see how beautiful that looks on someone, and know I could be beautiful too.

Into the Abyss of My Story

“And Then She Danced”

“You’re the mom and I’m the baby”, she always said. No truth could ever illuminate my early life more. That first time she held me and looked into my eyes, she also said “you had a wisdom in your eyes I knew you already were beyond me.” Sometimes I wish she didn’t take that so literally.

That day was the first and last day I was a baby. Now at thirty seven I might as well be eighty eight. I’ve often felt like an alien in this life. The self-doubt was the worst part, when you are your own parent how do you know if you’re going the right way and doing the right things.

I had an innate curiosity and enthusiasm that rocked me tightly through the storms. I was conscientious to a fault. I remember watching movies and always wanting “to be the good guy.” My insides would tighten when someone was harmed or in danger. I wanted to jump through the screen and protect them, the fatal flaw was that I always believed that I could. And that I never included myself in that equation.

How could I, I was born to be strong. That’s what they all needed from me.

I sought my Father for safety, nose pressed to the glass a hundred times he didn’t show. My heart broke again and again. Bonded and left wondering. He smelled like Polo cologne, the green bottle. He smoked a pipe, was strong and smart, and had big dogs I adored. He was the safer bet I thought. Except he didn’t bet on me.

My salvation, is that so many others have.

My human angels that just reached out and saw my heart. They loved my enthusiasm and my smile. To them I wasn’t too much. To them I was someone to be enjoyed. They brought me into their families and I watched and learned all I could.

My grandparents meant well and they tried. Good church going folk doing the right thing raising their daughter’s out of wedlock baby. Whispers through the church they were the saints, I was the sinner, and my mom was never mentioned except with pity, as those with mental illness often are. Rigidly religious, shame was the ruler of this roost.

Everyone had sympathy for my birth and praise for the grandparents who saved me. Similarly later in life everyone pitied my husband, a good man, when I left him after the realization I was gay. Inside I struggled for years, wanted to end my life, and entered therapy. Outside I had an affair, and my character diminished. I was always dark and twisted, something to be feared. Why then did others see so much light in me? The ultimate confusion.

I became everything I hated and wanted to fight against. I had already been that for quite some time, but strong always speaks louder, in these situations. So naturally now that I had the whole big answer: being gay. I pressed fiercely forward towards love. I fell in love fast and hard. Dripping with desperation.

I needed a parent not a lover, but I didn’t know at the time.

When Love was the vehicle that finally illuminated all my broken parts, I could begin the healing process. The critics were immense. There were more than those that cheered me on. Self-doubt again was my constant companion.

Another trip into hell, and another trip… it would take me hundreds before I emerged.

As a result I have this gift. People feel seen and safe in my presence. When I expected myself to be everything that saved just one, all my own triggers were brought forth. Through the process of honing my healing powers in graduate school, and with the teachers that sprung forth my heart was thawing out. Boundaries were a constant lesson, and the better I got at them, the more healing occurred. I could help people without pouring my entire being into them.

I could find a real and genuine empathy for others I was closely involved with, and not just the strangers on the street. My heart was thawing. The tears could finally fall freely. I had learned to refer to myself as a good mother without flinching and immediate disbelief. I began to learn how to play. I found healthy love, and a meaning filled career. I wake up each day looking forward to it now.

The title of my memoir that has rolled over and over in my head emerged:

And Then She Danced….

Day One of My Eighth Life

Day one…. again

We have 17 follicles. Tears are gently falling into the Raisin Bran I am eating out of a mug. It’s so surreal. This moment. This is life number 8. In this life I am loved with every bit of what I didn’t have in the previous ones.

In this life I am a good mother not just practically, but emotionally. A strong partner and a financial provider. I blink twice and pinch myself once.

It’s still true.

My teenagers could feel angry or resentful about this. Nervous they will lose the number one spot in my heart. Nervous they never had it. Because I went back and got my own child, now I’ve scooped them up too. So they are so excited for a baby sibling.

I am 37 years old and going to be a new mother again.

On this other side of things how much of an oak will I be? I’m figuring out at this stage of knowing myself my limits begin to get real when someone I love suffers. In the words of the great Maya Angelou, “You have to have courage to love somebody. Because you risk everything. Everything.”

Courage is something I’ve never been in short supply of, but I’ve also never had so much to lose. I’m in that strange in between where I’m fully embracing it, but also can’t help “the rug will be pulled out mentality.” It’s fainter now, but the body remembers even after the mind has healed.

My body regularly reminds me I’m a survivor.

The only thing I may have never doubted is my strength. Now I must wonder about that? I didn’t know I could love a family so much that if a member of them suffers and I have to watch; shards of glass throughout my whole body. Don’t move it will hurt.

Being strong before was my only choice. Now that I’m thawed out what will happen when we face a trial? I’m scared. You get scared when you’re soft. When you’ve aligned all your fragments, you can get scared. They never told me this would happen. This is a beautiful scared. The other was a terrible scared.

We are having a baby. Today is day one of my 8th life within 1. I am a good mother. I will be a good mother.

This much love might just be the scariest thing I have ever faced….