You Get to Say How You Feel

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I’ve been massively obsessed lately about how I can get through to people.  Frankly, my drive was coming from feeling very lonely and feeling that I often fuck up with people and have a hard time cleaning it up.  I know people in my life, close to me, who still cannot forgive me for some things I did.  And surely, I can talk until I am blue in my face that it was not my intention, some of them won’t budge.  Part of me gets it, because they are also hurt and they have the right to not trust me.  But how do you get the hell out of this vicious circle?  I even thought to myself, maybe I screwed up this life, perhaps I should wait for another one to come along so I could do better.  This made me cry because it shows how defeated I was, how much I was afraid I could never change and I can never have better life, better relationships, more results than I can currently show for.  Surely, it seems like some got it right, being sweet, likable and all.  I just didn’t fit that mold.

I don’t know about you, but I think about this a lot: how hard to push where I can change things, where do I need to surrender because it is what it is. I am a bit of a perfectionist, an overachiever, and while I love people, growing up as a single child, I do have this knowledge that: nobody else is coming, so that if I don’t do it, I can’t expect anyone to do it for me.  Perhaps this has me go for it where some people wouldn’t but also lack confidence in places where some would feel reassured.

In my obsession with being nicer to people, letting them further in, releasing more of my judgements and surrendering to the flow of life, I naturally remembered this saying: “People don’t remember what you did, but they remember how you made them feel!” And all happy I started to breathe more deeply when I am around people, to notice when my reaction takes the best of me, to try and step back and let other people shine and not feel like I always know best.  And this thought has been on my mind for days, as I would drift of to sleep, play with my kids, go to my yoga class…  And then suddenly it hit me:  WE are in charge of our experience, fully and completely.  I really got to see for myself how thinking that X person made me feel bad is not the X persons’s problem, it becomes mine.  It suddenly flashed before my eyes that when I make other people responsible for how I feel, regardless of what they said or did to me, I am giving away my power and ownership of my feelings and to people I don’t necessarily like or trust.

This, naturally, took me by surprise.  I could see the statement as valid:  yes, we don’t necessarily remember what people did but how they left us feel.  And here is what I see:  it’s not how THEY left us feel, it’s what they did that triggered something in us that wasn’t in alignment with how we prefer to feel.  Said another way, people who made us feel bad, for example, are not “making us feel bad,” they are merely shining the light on something within us that we need to take ownership of so that we don’t feel bad.  This instantly turns the power of people to leave us feeling anything to the power for us to feel and learn from everything that comes our way.  Doesn’t this instantly make you feel grateful for people who do push your buttons?  I feel it should because I really don’t have it that any person out there is fundamentally bad.  I have it that we all try to do what’s best and sometimes that’s just not enough for some of us and that is ok.

Then, obviously, there is no such a thing as “toxic” people we so openly try to let go off, cut off from our life, our love and our attention.  While we can choose people in our life that we vibe with (notice a reframe from “make us feel good”), that doesn’t for a second make those people we are not getting along with TOXIC.  There really is no such thing as toxic, maybe not a match, good mix or however else we can express it to remain true to what we feel without labeling those around us.  Said even better: there are no toxic people, just things, buttons, issues we would rather be not dealing with right now.

I feel this could make for a better world because suddenly, we are owning that we have the power to change how we feel and in that process, which can take some effort, we can choose who and how we want to spend time with without labels or judgement of others.  And there, we have a word free of “toxic” things, only playground to play on, work with, work through and choose while generous, understanding, loving and in full ownership of who we are and what we feel.

Give Women Some Room to Breathe

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US Open, Serena Williams, everyone is talking.  I didn’t watch the game so I had to research it and see it from a different angle to see if things add up.  Surely, she is being seen by many now as an entitled brat.  In her mind however, she is a victim of sexism and unfair ruling.  Where do you stand?

I will say right away that I don’t care to be right.  I will share my view so that it’s there and so that it can validate all the women out there that may feel the same. Here is the thing:  Serena broke rules.  She said she didn’t cheat though her coach admits to giving her coaching during the game, but she did slam the racket (which is a violation to the integrity and professionalism of the game) and then insulted the umpire by calling him a thief.  The first time I watched it, I cringed, thinking: Oh my goodness she is losing it and it doesn’t look pretty.  But then I watched it again, and again, the longer version, the in betweens and here is what happened:  my stomach started to hurt, I began to curl up and cry feeling anger and defeat.

My point is not that she is right, but my point is that it’s hard for a woman to be a woman in the world we live in.  Yes, there are rules and we must follow them but here is the deal: these rules are not made with us in mind.  Serena is 37, she had a baby a year ago and she is probably completely hormonal.  She must be dealing with what it takes to bring up a child in this world, what it is to be black, what it is to be a champion and how to do the rest of her career given all the difficulty that we experience after birth (and from following her IG story, I know she almost died).

Why is it that “emotions” run so much in our lives and yet we have to “keep them in check.” I know some men can read this and say, “well, we do, because that is what being an adult is like,” but I beg to differ.  It is not easy to keep your emotions in when your hormones are running the show and when the world you live in, fundamentally, doesn’t give you space to express what you feel.  I have experienced this time and time again and unfortunately, more from other women than from men.  Somehow, when we “lose it” we seem like we are not in control and that is bad…and yet, the whole world wants us to be vulnerable, to give up control, to be flexible, to be good moms, to be good at what we do etc.  I get it, Serena broke the rule, but in my world, she broke the silence of those of us who suck it up and try so hard to live in the world where being who we are is not accepted.  And I admit, when a woman has charge on something, she does seem crazy and disconnected from herself but I also know that the only way out is not trying to tame her crazy but validating how she is.  Those that are smart enough to honor the space we are in will help us see more clearly and we will calm down.

Here is one way to see it:

“The feminine’s moods and opinions are like weather patterns. They are constantly changing, severe and gentle, and they have no single source. No analysis will work. There is no linear chain of cause and effect that can lead to the kernel of the “problem.” There is no problem, only a storm, a breeze, a sudden change in weather. And the bases of these storms are the high and low pressure systems of love. When a woman feels love flowing deeply, her mood can instantly evaporate into joy, regardless of the supposed reason for the mood.” ~ David Deida

 

Again, I am not going for the right and wrong, I am just simply sharing as another woman who can see Serena’s storm just as a storm.  It is sad that people comment that she lost her grace.  This is a woman that won in Australia while already pregnant and wants to continue to create legacy.  It is unfair to blame her that she overshadowed another woman’s win.  She didn’t do that, we did that by looking at what she did with judgement and not empathy.

Her coach is right when he said in an interview: why is it a big deal that people show emotion on the court when that emotion is real.  Emotion is energy in motion, if we let it be, it will pass, but when we judge it, punish people for it, then we add mass to it and then that energy doesn’t flow freely, it gets stuck.  That is what happened in the game.  Serena was accused for cheating and she wanted to set the record straight.  Finding the wall instead of attentive listening, her emotions escalated (this can happen to anyone, let alone a woman who just became a mom), and after that we knew this wouldn’t end well.

Part of me wishes she could “collect” herself, but a big part of me is grateful for the dialogue that will follow as the judgements resurface for us to clear so we can begin to honor people for who they are, giving them space to have an emotional response especially when they were done wrong.

Serena, and all the women out there that struggle to keep it together, I feel you ❤

 

Being A Mom

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I only vaguely sensed that being a mom must be magical and expansive but I never knew how much it would impact my life, how deeply I would feel my love, how strongly I could stand, how much I could endure and how unwilling I would be to hide and pretend I am anything other than a human being trying to do her best.  I learned to surrender, to take it easy, to put myself first, as in put oxygen mask on my mouth before I offer it to others.  I slowed down and became more effective.  I added a level of compassion I didn’t have.  I started thinking for more people not just myself, consequently, I have expanded the way I see things and the ways in which I manage my life.

I often complain that people don’t share the truth about motherhood.  I don’t think we are fully honest about the effort that this role requires (and I don’t mean complain, but be real about it) as well as not fully bragging on the world that this role also makes possible, the love that is there, the joy we could feel and how small things in life often become the essence of our days.

It took me a while to approve of different ways of parenting but I definitely appreciate that people have their view and do their best.  The thing is, when you know what it takes, you don’t judge as easily or as harshly.  Again, I make comments and sometimes have a passing thought but I don’t hang on to it or relate to like: “this is the truth”. I also lightly roll my eyes at people who give me advice but really have no clue about the world I am in. I do appreciate the effort though, I’ve been there myself.

At the same time, I have been screwing up way more often, feeling cornered against things in life that are seemingly unresolvable, needed on too many sides, torn in too many places, longing for some time to myself to just hear myself think without trying to please everyone around me who has a loud expectation.

All this said, the journey of mothering my first born and then almost 3 years laters his brother has been the biggest role I played.  I used to cringe when people said that in the past because I always made it mean they had nothing else important to do (as if raising future generations of humans isn’t important at all).  I try to beat that value with other things  I do but the kiddos are still small and they still need me in a way that I don’t want to say NO to.  At the end, it is always a choice not to leave them for long periods of time, not to have them raised by babysitters and friends but putting them to bed at night on my own or having my husband do it instead.

My sons are an absolute joy most of the time.  They remind me how carefree childhood is for those of us who had our basic needs met and then some.  They wake up my creative side, they soften me to love, they let me be more accepting and kinder with myself and others while holding healthy boundaries. I am moved and beyond grateful I was given the opportunity to be a mother in this life time.  They will also never know all that it takes to be their mom and what these past 5 years were like and they don’t have to know until they live their life and learned their lessons.  My efforts are not theirs to carry because if I can do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Happy 5ht birthday to my beautiful Adrian and anniversary of birth to me!!!