The Price of Truth

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I wrote the title right up front so that there is no confusion about where I am going even though I will explain how I got there just for the record and instead of posting angry rants elsewhere.  This is my blog, I pay rent on this space, I get to say!

After a painful dental surgery yesterday, I cleared my schedule and turned on to watch Dr Ford’s testimony just in time.  I wanted to be with her as she speaks up and tells her truth.  Having been a coach in some capacity of the past decade and a half, I have witnessed many women sometimes even unwillingly, share their story of sexual assault, harassment and rape.  I worked with some of these women diligently to take their power back and I know for sure that many of them are very powerful, compassionate, smart women today.  I always knew, if something as radical as this happened to me, it would take something to get through it.  I know it.  I downplayed my sexuality most of my life for a reason.  I even acted dumb in some situation or was overly masculine just to survive.  I wore less revealing clothes to hide my body.  I escaped assault many times and I know I am lucky I did.  I take that back – I am not sure I escaped it because even to this day, when I tell my older son who is 5 to stop playing with my hair or something like that, when he continues, I get so angry I have to leave the room to compose myself.  I am teaching him with no wiggle room that: NO means NO, and I cringe when people say: boys will be boys.

When Dr Ford swore in yesterday, I felt her in my bones.  I would not write this here if I didn’t spend so much of the past 2+ years studying the feminine which had me understand why I felt this way.  While this may sound so cliche to those who are less aware of it, what a woman feels does not begin or end with her.  I find this true of any humans, so men included, but among women only, I have found, this travels faster.  When we are connected to our source energy, another woman’s pain feels like our pain.  I have, through some exercises, healing sessions and classes, felt my grandmother’s pain of losing her child. I remember like it was yesterday that I stood on the foot print that represented my grandmother (without knowing who I was representing) and I weeped like it was the end of world.  My womb was tightening up, my whole body was in pain and I screamed louder than ever before.  I started bleeding my period right in that moment, coincidently, and realized I wasn’t pregnant, which I thought I could be.  So something told me it had to be a child.  I felt my grandma’s pain loud and clear, I felt her loss of a child.

I know this is too much for some to hear and I have had a fair share of having people roll their eyes at me when I talk, but I’m 40, a woman and a wife, an entrepreneur and a mom, I have spent past 20+ years of my life in an intense life training and I have successfully coached people even much older than me through the toughest things in their life.  I am no longer willing to be treated like I am a kid who doesn’t know what she is talking about, because it is uncomfortable.

To return to my point, I felt Dr Ford’s pain instantly.  That is the thing about authenticity and truth, it resonates.  I listened to her speak and I heard what she said.  While I can never understand what it must be life for her, I can get that this wasn’t easy, that she has stood for something so much bigger than just her and I could have enormous appreciation for that.  If you noticed, everyone believed her, some just didn’t want to believe it was Judge Kavanaugh who did it.

His, Judge Kavanaugh’s, testimony was in my view a disaster.  I want to say I can’t imagine what it is like to be falsely accused (if he is falsely accused which I doubt at this point), I do know that this was a true for so many men and women before him who endured false accusations solely based on the color of their skin.  So while I do know this is inconvenient for him, I fully stand that if he is really innocent, there are ways to clear his name, like taking polygraph test, conduct FBI investigation and alike.  What bothered me the most about him is that he never answered straight, he went into long story about everything instead of directly answering questions, he got way to emotional and too quickly (his wife was holding up very well I found as I saw her at the left corner of my screen), so I simply don’t believe him. Here is what I do think is possible:  he may have not been fully conscious because he was drunk (“I like beer, I do like beer, …I like beer a lot”) but he surely knows that this was possible and if that is case, he is not telling the truth, which means, he is lying under Oath.

This is a tough time for everyone, women everywhere are finding their voice and speaking up, they are feeling represented.  White men everywhere are scared to be caught in lies they’ve gotten away with for a long, long time.  Both Dr Ford’s family and Kavanaugh’s families are suffering, and they should not.  Social media is on fire and people don’t hold back their anger.  We do have a right to a free speech but lashing out when your amygdala is fired up is not healthy for everyone.  As humanity, we are all hurting.  We are in this mess together, we have to come out of it together.

I think there should be a fair investigation, that nomination of Judge Kavanaugh should be withdrawn because we saw he couldn’t be a fair judge.  I know this was hard, but look at what they put Hillary Clinton through and she is still standing.  I appreciate and welcome emotions, but I also know we can’t make good judgement calls when we are swimming in them.  For this reason, I say #kavaNO, this is #HERstory, and Dr Ford, #Ibelieveyou….and to all the women who’ve ever been hurt in this way: #IBELIEVEYOU

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 ❤

 

Glamorized

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Here is what I shared on Instagram account last year right after I completed watching the 2nd season of The Crown:

The most disturbing thing about season 2 of the Crown was watching the queen and the way she, even as her Royal Highness, acts merely as a puppet in a man’s world.

“Female power involves women taking part in the conversation either in the public arena or the dinner table, and having the same emotional space in which to do so as men.  It means women not having to fear punishment of any kind.” ~ Marianne Williamson

I am not a historian so this post is not about monarchy, or a direct judgement of the queen, but rather a reflection of us women, and people in general, losing our own power. The “attachment” to an outcome is surely always going to cause us to compromise and tolerate things we would never tolerate otherwise.
While in the Crown this attachment to preserving the old ways and honoring the ancestors was completely exposed, I think that each of us constantly does this in our own lives. In wanting to belong, we often sacrifice what is possible.
I never wanted to change my last name (that was my father’s) even though it made so much more sense to go with my mother’s.  I was in agony for so many years growing up, so much so that I only finally broke through it when I got married.  Even then, I decided to wait for my citizenship to actually formally change it.  Feeling like I am “disobeying” was way stronger than my personal desire to break free.

I wonder if anyone sees the places where being faithful to the old ways is robbing them of opportunity to owning who they really are and can be.”

I remember taking so much interest in monarchy when I watched this show and following up with many documentaries about the queen herself, Lady Diana Spencer, Kate and William and so on.  The more I watched, the more I felt that being a royal was almost like a curse, one is born into this privilege but then is completely robbed of a normal experience of growing up – paparazzi follow your every step of the way and while I would personally love to have more audience, I can’t imagine that someone would fill tabloids with my every move.  Nor would I find it important – and it’s not just because I am not a celebrity but because certain things don’t need to be glorified.

There is something that has us get fascinated by the stories we see on TV and buy as real.  I am still blown away by the popularity of Kim Kardashian for example. While I actually admire her ruthlessness and probably great marketing skills, I can’t help but feel that her content literally has no value.

This is a bit how I felt after watching the royal wedding.  I got curious and wanted to see – I fell for the fairy tale and even thought of myself as jealous and less than.  In allowing all those feelings to come up, even writing about them, I realized: something here doesn’t add up.  Naturally, I won’t spend time trying to prove the point, as far as I am concerned, I really don’t care what happens, but what I do care about is that this fairy tale princess story feels a bit like a drug of choice. Mesmerized by what they see, the surface of it all, people all over America have been glued to their screens and social medias commenting and sharing their love for the royal couple, their view of the whole thing and alike.  In a process, I think many don’t realize, this smoke screen of happily ever after is just as dangerous as photoshopped models that have us create unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our bodies.

I am happily married:  I define it as being committed and in love with my husband and able to solve any problem with him in a conversation.  We haven’t gone to bed mad at each other for the entire time we’ve been married (and while we dated).  We don’t agree on everything, we even have loud disagreements but we keep it real and we work on it and when it comes to it, we have space to work through whatever our limitations are so that when we come together, we can still be a team.

Duke and the Duchess of Sussex are surely in love, that shows and they are blessed to have found each other in this.  But let’s not compare ourselves to them.  Let’s not pretend that Meghan “lucked out” when she married Harry, because she is yet to prove that she can stomach all the restrictions that come with her role: the one she married into.

My concern with the messages I see all over social media is that we are creating a fake standard for what ordinary people, women, relationships should look and feel like.  There is nothing wrong to aspiring to marry well or into a royal family if that is what you truly desire, but let’s not pretend that anyone, regardless of their fame, has a better life just because they have status and money.  Granted, this is not true for people who are in a “survival” mode, but it is for everyone else who makes a decent living – because happiness, that’s not something money and fame can buy.

I think we often miss the blessings in our lives because we watch TV more than we mingle with real people.  It’s a form of escapism that I think doesn’t do us good on a long run because we have unrealistic expectations that cause us to feel bad about things that are actually good.  There is a fashion designer/youtuber who did an experiment with real people and had them pose like models in magazines.  Not one of those woman could actually physically make the pose they saw in the magazine.  Other words, we are attuning out eyes to visions that are not possible for us and then we use that to turn on ourselves.

How about we try being wise enough to detach from the buzz, appreciate what we have, and create what we really want.  Be better than you were yesterday and understand that happiness comes from you and the choices you make and the life you create and not from anything you see on social media or TV.

 

Breaking the Silence

My father passed away last month.  I couldn’t get myself to write about anything else and the wound was fresh, the emotions bubbling up.  I always stand for authentic communication and was wondering how do I do that when it involves other people.  How do I write the truth about myself without mentioning people in my life who are part of my story?  I wonder this a lot because I am committed to living in the truth.

In my younger years, I learned that “rising above” was a better way to be about things in life.  I learned a few years back that being kind and keeping my mouth shut, protecting people from their own poor behavior was only shooting myself in a foot.  More often than not, people believe the story they are told.  They are not invested in finding out what everyone else’s perspective is on the subject and I find that unfair.  I no longer think that being silent or stepping out of the equation is good in and of itself.  On contrary, I believe I am responsible to tell my side of the story.

Years ago, and I think through this blog, I shared a story about my dad.  I sent him a link, thinking, it was appropriate that he knows about it.  I was proud of the way I’ve written it, I thought there was no shame and blame just simply my perspective on life as I lived it.  I remember him telling me that his younger son, my step brother, already told him about it and that when he asked if I was harsh with words, his son answered: “so-so.”  I was a bit wounded.  People walk around blaming other people for their lives, here I was, reframing my dad’s absence into a story of my becoming the person I was and it was still not good enough.  I was wondering, can anyone ever saying something personal without it meaning something bad about someone else.

We are all connected.  While this sounds like a total cliche, it actually isn’t.  We really are in this together.  People in our lives are merely mirrors for what we need to discover about ourselves and move through, evolve.  Perhaps all those fingers pointing at me for sharing my stories are making me stronger because in absence of approval, it is that much harder to stand for something we believe in.  And I, I simply believe in truth, in writing, in art, in being with one another.  We all make mistakes, we all mess up, but owning it allows us to transcend it, to stay present, to learn from it.  And there, I broke my silence and my concerns about writing.  I have a voice to use it. And so do you… woman

 

 

 

Pregnancy – reality check (from August 27th, 2013 – about a week before I birthed my first son)

I think all of my life, with some rare occasions of being rebellious, I have wanted to be a wife and a mother.  Definitely, the moment I was clear I wanted to be in a relationship, I was looking forward to everything the relationship would bring: partnership, prosperity, wealth, marriage, and children.

I have envied people who were in powerful marriages, who got along well and at the sight of pregnant women, at least after my 20s, I was envious and jealous.

It’s not until I got pregnant myself that illusions of the miraculous child birthing were beginning to crash.  Namely, I had visions of working and being completely mobile until the day of delivery and have found myself exhausting and sick for almost my entire first trimester.  My breast were getting bigger and it was painful.  I could no longer sleep on my stomach which is how I liked to sleep since I was born.  The worse thing was, no one could tell I was pregnant, because nothing showed on the outside, so I wouldn’t necessarily get a better treatment while in a metro or waiting in a line.

Then second trimester came and I had felt much better. I could finally eat food again (something other than lemons, grapefruits and sour cabbage), but my body was changing.  Now, I wasn’t looking pregnant but slightly chubby and for someone who suffered from extra weight and many impacts of that in my teenage years, that was a big mental struggle to overcome.  Don’t get me wrong, I wanted my baby more than anything else, but the way I felt was hardly matching or feeling like it’s  a fair price to pay.  Mind you,  I am talking about healthy pregnancy.  I cannot even imagine what women who have slight complications have to go through.

And finally, I am approaching the end of last trimester, very close to delivery.  I have interviewed more than 50 mothers, checked about different ways of delivery etc.  And, it seems that, while there is a small percentage of women who were mind strong and were able to have a relatively easy and natural delivery, most women had some kind of complication, lot’s of pain and perhaps some further impacts in their life from birthing their child (or children).  Yes not one of them is ongoingly complaining and most of them did all they could to put that experience behind the moment they brought life into the world, but I know, from having talked to all of them, that they all experienced pain in the process.

Then a friend of mine recommended a book by Ina May and on her website, even prior to ordering, I found this quote:

“It’s not just the making of babies, but the making of mothers that midwives see as the miracle of birth.”

— Barbara Katz Rothman

I realized that there was more to it than what we initially get to see.  This fear that I had my whole life about birthing a child, as much it can be justified, is also a bit unnatural.  And, I am out to find out.  AS my friend said, affirming: “easy, natural, child birth!!!”