Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Different Lens

So my book is finally out. And by that I mean it’s been sent to reviewers, friends, and family. All day today I’ve felt uncomfortable because I’ve been nervous about how the book will be received. I thought it was because I worried about whether people will like it or not, but in truth that’s not what’s bothering me. In truth, I’m scared. I’m scared that once people read all my personal details, once everyone sees how my mind works, that my friends will decide to disassociate with me. That once my true self is revealed I’ll be shunned.

This is an old story for me, one from childhood. I’ve believed I didn’t have friends as a kid because once my peers found out how weird I was they decided not to have anything to do with me. That’s how I viewed things through my childhood lens. But as an adult I can see a fuller, more accurate picture. That’s really not what happened. I had friends. Nobody shunned me. Really I was the one rejecting them because I didn’t feel a connection. I chose to spend time by myself rather than with people I didn’t share anything in common with. It wasn’t because I was a weirdo loser freak that scared people off. It wasn’t because people found out about “the real me.”

As an adult I also know people like learning about vulnerabilities, they LOVE hearing about the deeply personal stuff because that’s how we connect with one another. I love it when people feel like they can confide in me. When they want to talk about what’s really going on. My book is an opportunity of sorts to have the same thing happen, to allow people to connect with me. Instead of keeping others at arm’s length, I’m letting people in. I think that’s what’s so scary. I don’t get to pick and choose who I’m letting in, it’s anyone who’s interested in my story.

I also think about how people have shared with me things they were ashamed of, things that are not widely accepted or approved of, and my response was not to go running from the room. My response was not to turn up my nose in disgust. Instead I felt compassion for the person, for the pain that drove them to act out in such a way. I’m hoping my friends will react the same way. Instead of cutting off all ties because they found out some things that happened years ago, they’ll react with compassion and with love. Because when I’ve been my most vulnerable that’s all I’ve ever received.

I guess I’m saying I can look at a story that has shaped my identity and how I move about the world with a different lens. These days I get to see the reality of what happened to me instead of just the pain. I get to heal my childhood trauma and recognize I wasn’t as powerless as I led myself to believe. That I had a choice in things. That I co-created an experience for myself.

As far as my book, no one will turn me out because they suddenly find out I’m human and I have feelings. They won’t say, “Sorry Rebekah, you’re not the person I thought you were,” because they learned more about me. But if they do, is that really someone I want in my life anyone? I choose to know it’s safe to be me, that it’s safe to express myself, that I can view my life’s events from another lens and thus experience some peace.

I dream of a world where we know it’s safe to reveal our true colors. A world where we feel comfortable sharing our raw and honest emotions. A world where we examine our past with a different lens acknowledging things were perhaps not what they seemed.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Peace Where We Are

I almost don’t want to write about this because it’s so personal, but my unofficial modus operandi is to share personal things in the hopes it will be helpful to others. And I keep thinking about the quote that’s on the bottom of a friend’s e-mail: “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” So here goes! My secret!

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit, er, obsessed about romantic love. Many of you have been on the receiving end of complaints about my love life, lamenting the lack thereof. And there was many a night I ached for a partner so much I cried. When I want something I want it fiercely, and a relationship has been no different. There really was a part of me that believed my life wouldn’t feel complete without a partner. That I was missing out on some amazing and magical phenomena that everyone else got to experience. It hasn’t helped I’ve been fed a steady diet of rom coms and love stories that portrayed finding “the one” as the most important and noble goal of life. Most of the stories ended of course when the couple got together, very few showing what it’s like in the day to day. Probably because it’s not as exciting.

Because I wanted romantic love so intensely I did everything to try to get it. I said affirmations, tried online dating, read books, stopped looking because “that’s when I’d find my partner,” felt happy as I was because “that’s when my man would come along,” prayed about it, tried to forget about it, used the law of attraction, focus wheels, created romance for myself, etc. You name it, I did it. Admitting that I feel a bit ashamed, but I also know shame is judging myself for how I think others will view me, and seriously, who hasn’t experienced at least a little bit of what I just described? For 15 years I really thought there was some formula I could follow to bring a man into my life. So the really amazing thing is I’ve stopped.

That’s right. I’ve let it all go. I’m no longer pining after a man either secretly or publicly. I no longer feel a great big void in my chest. For the first time I feel at peace where I am romantically, and I don’t mean I’m pretending to feel at peace because that will bring me my match, I mean I really feel at peace. I no longer feel lack in my life. Everything I thought I needed a partner for is already happening – my housemates make dinner for me, I travel to foreign countries with friends, and I already experience love from so many different people in different ways. I’m no longer dreaming of the day when “Prince Charming” swoops in and saves me.

This may sound a little depressing, but at this point I’ve also come to accept my romantic relationship may never happen. Somehow by accepting that, by facing down one of my biggest fears of being a “spinster,” I’m ok with whatever happens. I’m ok with being single and I’m ok with being a wife. I’m really ok with all possibilities because I know all of this is completely out of my control. I thought I could shop for a man like I could shop for shoes because that’s what society has led me to believe, but it’s not true. There must be some divine mystical force behind all of it because if there wasn’t, I would have coupled up long ago.

I’m inspired because I finally feel at peace. I’m inspired because I never thought I’d be happy being single and now I finally am, really and truly. I’m inspired because I no longer pine after men hoping they’ll pick me. I’m inspired because for the first time EVER, being in a relationship doesn’t seem like the be-all, end-all I was making it out to be.

I dream of a world where we can all feel at peace where we are, not trying to feel one way or another. A world where we know we don’t lack for anything. A world where we live in the moment feeling grateful for what we have. A world where we know love is not something we find, but rather something that finds us.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Growing Pains

“There’s a reason they’re called growing pains,” a friend of mine says. Ain’t that the truth? I feel so uncomfortable because I’m growing beyond my comfort zone. For the first time in about five years I’m living with roommates again. A part of me wants to say, “I changed my mind! I want to live by myself again!” but another part really enjoys having social interactions and being around people.

It’s funny to be in such a state of flux – to see where I was and where I want to go but not really being in either. I see how this new situation is good for me, how it’s necessary for my growth as a person, but I am also still uncomfortable. That’s understandable considering yesterday marked two weeks of living here. I also recognize the discomfort I’m experiencing is growing pains. I’m expanding my circle of want and that takes some growth.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the universe provides and mentioned I wanted to live somewhere that had a garden. I also spoke about how I wanted someone else to cook for me. I wanted someone else to share the household chores. All the things I mentioned I wanted months, or even a year ago, have manifested and now my mind is playing catch up. I’m reflecting back and asking, “Do I really want this? Am I really enjoying it?” Everything is so new and scary because I am no longer in a position where I can control everything, where I can make it look exactly the way I wanted. I can’t hide away from everyone else and dictate how I want my social interactions to go. I can’t have everything on my terms. I have to navigate around other people’s stuff and deal with the dynamics that come with living with others. I have to assert my needs and be cognizant of someone else’s. I have to do a lot of things that are outside my comfort zone and I don’t particularly like it.

Here is the beautiful thing. Even though I’m experiencing growing pains, I’m sticking with it. I want to grow, I want to learn how to live with someone else because I’m serious about having a romantic partner. I also realize what I want, what makes me happy, changes. It wasn’t so long ago that I was happiest when I was left by myself to watch TV and veg out. These days I find I’m happiest when I’m connecting with other people, when I get to experience deep friendship. When I’m truly seen for who I am and still accepted. So even though I’m feeling uncomfortable, I know this too shall pass. That eventually I’ll grow into my new situation. Because I always do. And more than that, I want to.

I dream of a world where we allow ourselves to be uncomfortable. A world where we move beyond the familiar. A world where we keep growing and changing even when it’s painful. A world where we are patient with ourselves as we go through the process. A world where we know growing pains are a part of life and we allow ourselves to move through them.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Help for the Little Guy

I am too tired to write a blogpost tonight, so instead I’m going to link to a story about a community’s outpouring of support for a family-owned business instead of a corporate chain. Because sometimes the little guy really can win:

In the era of big boxes, a day for the little guy.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.