Sunday, May 26, 2013

Am I Over It?

There was a time in High School when one of my closest friends confided in me concerning her parents impending divorce.  The first time I heard the news I was heart broken.  Devastated that this beautiful family was soon to be split in two.  I ached for her.  Couldn't even begin to imagine what she must be feeling.  Didn't know what to do or say other than offer a place of safety, love, and comfort.  However, as she continually disclosed the same information repeatedly over the course of several months I began to grow weary.  I was sick of hearing it.  I could only say so much.  I could only DO so much before her pain became burdensome and I was sick of hearing about it.  That's when I turned to her one day after school, amidst another one of her venting episodes, and told her to JUST GET OVER IT.

Still can't believe I ever said that.
But I did.  And she'd never forget it either.  And I don't blame her.  I looked at her straight on and said, "I'm serious.  You need to get over it.  Your parents are getting divorced and there's nothing you can do about it.  Stop mulling and move on." To which she said nothing but instead, stood up and walked away.  
We had a break in our friendship for quite some time after that.  Because I was insensitive and rude.  Because I failed to see, that what she was experiencing right then, would be life changing for her.  She needed my support.  She needed my listening ear.  But I grew tiresome, and bored.  And didn't take her circumstance seriously. I didn't realize this trial she was going through would become a defining part of who she was.  I didn't appreciate that.  I didn't help her see that, feel that, know that.  And as her friend I could have...
The reason I relay this story is to exemplify the fact that WE ALL HAVE A STORY. One we wish to share.  One that has changed us forever and molded us into who we are today. And these stories should be acknowledged, celebrated even. We are lucky to be alive, let alone live through the bad and the ugly. Because as we often hear, it's from those times we learn and grow the most.
Eckhart Tolle quote

I absolutely LOVE this quote.  Because sometimes, just like the rest of the human race, I have really bad days.  I get SO down on myself, thinking I can't believe I ever did that, I'm so rude, I'm so dumb...blahblahblah. Whatever.  It goes on.  But then I stop and think, hold up, without all that history, who would I be?  Like, really, who would I be? I understand people, I get their stories.  I can relate with the 'girl next door' and the 'nerds'. I know what it feels like to struggle, to thrive, to hurt, to love, to hate, and to forgive. And that's a true blessing.  I can't hate where I've been, not for two seconds, not when I think about all I've become because of it.  And I hope I'm not the only one who stops to think about this. I really hope this is something we all do.  I bet it is...but let me ramble anyway;)

"Let no man pull you low enough to hate him." -- Martin Luther King Jr.
"Let no man pull you low enough to hate him". Hmm...well that's definitely a lot easier said than done.  I doubt very many people refrain from hating someone simply because it's in our best interest not to. Its not new news to  hear that harboring hate is one of the most self destructive pursuits we can engage in.  Too damn bad it's so easy to do...I so wish that hating someone or something would make it all better.  Make it, or them, change to eleviate my hatred. But the fact remains, it wont. They wont. Nothing changes. So you continue to hate.  And by hating, your wounds continue to fester. So how do we fix ourselves without changing them? Well, I sure as heck don't have the perfect answer for that question. But I can tell you what I do. However,before I do, I need to share this next quote.

need to be this and see this more often

"To be a christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you".  .  .  .  .

Do ya feel like you just got hit by a ton of bricks?

Mind blowing I know.

Atleast it was for me.

I'm not kidding when I say I read this and thought.  Holy Crap.  Who the heck do I think I am? Who am I not to forgive those who have wronged me?  When I have wronged more people than I care to think about. And when God himself has forgiven me for the worst of sins.  For the 'Inexcusable In Me'. I have no right.  It is my God-given RESPONSIBILITY to forgive ANYTHING.  And that IS.SO.HARD. My gosh it's so hard.  But that's what I do.  Well, TRY to do.  And that's all I can do.  I can't change them.  I can't change it.  So I forgive.  My only option really.

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a girl. A girl so unconcerned with her High School career and SO concerned with her boyfriend.  The man of her dreams, the one she thought, she'd be with forever.  The one she fell so in love with, so, so young. This girl truly believed she had found her soul mate. They did everything together.  Everything.  They had the same friends, same interests.  They laughed together, worked together, hurt together, disclosed all their secrets to each other. They were living a fairy tale . . . for over two years. . . that's a long time when you're so young...

So you can imagine her pain, her sadness, her absolute despair when her worst nightmare became their reality.  And his too. She knew he was hurting too. Their hearts, their lives, their whole universe was shattered.  In a matter of minutes.

There was no happily ever after for this girl.  Not with him anyway. Which is good.

But no, she'll never forget it.

I, ShaNae McCleskey, will never forget it.

I will never forget the pain I felt losing not only my daughter, but my best friend.  I have never felt so betrayed, neglected, and un-loved in my entire life.  I blamed myself for the.longest.time.  But I also HATED him for it.  That hate drove me to do A LOT of stupid, self destructive things.  I didn't know how to move past it. I didn't know how to forgive someone I loved for dealing with our situation in a way I didn't, and couldn't, ever understand.

And I can honestly say, I'm still learning.  I just know it's something I have to do.  Will do.  Not for his sake, but for mine. I want to do it.  With all my heart I want to let it ALL go, every ounce of the hate.  But like I said, so much easier said than done.  Even after three years...

Let me clarify also by saying, this isn't a bash.the.birthfather. post.  He did what he had to do.  And the consequences of that have led me to embark on one of hardest journeys of my life.  And that's the path to true, total, and complete forgiveness.

And that takes me back to what I wrote about in the beginning of this blog post.  Healing takes time.  And a different amount of time for every person.  So how dare I tell my friend amidst her parents divorce to just 'get over it'.  And how dare I tell myself that either.  It's not possible to 'just get over' something that has affected you so deeply.  So permanently.  So I think I write this post more as a declaration to myself than anything else.  Because I've been pushing some feelings back for over a year now.  I wanted them to be gone, so I convinced myself they were.  Well, surprise, they're not.  And that's only because I have yet to forgive 100%. If I had, it wouldn't matter anymore.  Nothing would phase me.  So, I'm hashing this out.  Once more. But this time I aint stoppin till I'm finished.

I need to finish this.  Forever.  I'm beyond ready to move past these debilitating emotions.  I hate admitting to myself that ya, I'm kind of a hot mess sometimes. Behind closed doors, when no one's watching.  Cause I'm the kind of person that doesn't ever wanna be a hot mess. In public OR behind closed doors.  So, I'm doing it.  I'm going to figure this out.  I'm going to forgive the inexcusable because God forgave the inexcusable in me.

Two Roads...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wonderful Mistakes

Why HELLO again.  It's been WAY to long since my last post and I realize that's probably cost me over half my audience (which wasn't very big to begin with unfortunately) but I'll do my best to make up for it and earn 'em all back and then some!  I just finished school, I have a life now:) I'm working graves at a fabulous treatment facility that lets me write ALL I WANT in my FREE time. Meaning, once all my shiz is done.  And heaven knows, I've been aching to write, with lots to write about! So hopefully I'm able to spit out a post or two every week on just about everything from adoption, to hippi mafias, to marriage, to life lessons, to comedy, and more.  I'm super excited.  I've had hundreds of ideas just mulling over in my head for months, with no time to write them down.  So, I plan on spending a lot of my summer organizing those thoughts and putting them out there on the internet where they can now and forever be used against me...sounds good to me:) 

SO, the other day I was working and due to the nature of the facility I work at, there were motivational quotes and sayings just about every where I looked.  I spent a few minutes reading some, connecting them with people or places I knew.  Ideas I had.  Or experiences I'd been through.  One quote in particular triggered my thoughts to commence down memory lane. And it had this effect, because my life has been FULL of mistakes. Absolutely full.  But I say that with no underlying implication of remorse.  The quote said, "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." And after I withdrew my thoughts from memory lane I thought, "Wait a second. So, a life like mine must be pretty damn useful right?" Here I was for the first time in a long time, acknowledging my worth as a human being.  As a citizen.  As a wife.  As a daughter, birth mother, friend, sister....As ME. 

We hear it all the time.  We.Are.Our.Own.Worst.Critic.  And it's true.  Unless unsuspecting fame has caused your head to swell, then you're like the rest of us.  You don't fathom your worth.  So, being part of the majority who has yet to enjoy the comforting bliss of fame, I naturally, continually demean myself.  Forgetting that I've made wonderful, yes wonderful, mistakes.  Mistakes that have led me to places and people I never would have beforehand seen or known.  Mistakes that have changed my body, mind, and soul forever and molded me into someone that deserves to be loved by the one person who mostly definitely should...myself. 

So, there I was, having a moment.  I noted my honor.  I noted my usefulness.  And I noted to always try and remember that a life like mine will never stop turning.  AND THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT.  Because like the quote says, the more mistakes you make, the more useful you are to yourself and those around you. The more mistakes you make, the more people you can relate to.  The more mistakes you make, the more open you are to life's experiences.  And the last thing I ever want to do is stop learning, stop meeting new people, and stop LIVING.

Throughout the weeks that followed, this quote would arbitrarily pop into my head.  I'd be sitting at home, getting down on myself cause I couldn't finish a stupid homework problem.  Or I'd be standing in the mirror cursing because I have birthing hips and saggy boobs.  Or I'd get mad at myself for ruining what was supposed to be a nice dinner for Spenser and I.  But then my thought process would change.  And all of a sudden I wasn't stupid, I just needed a brain break.  Or I wasn't ugly and fat, I had a beautiful body, one that had given birth to a beautiful baby girl.  Or I wasn't a failing wife, just lacking skill in the culinary department. This was ground breaking for me.  To be conscious of all the times throughout each consecutive day I was demeaning myself.  And then to reverse those thoughts and turn them in to something more reasonable.  I felt better, I felt CLEANER when I could remind myself of all the things I've done RIGHT  because I've done WRONG. 

This new thing I'm doing, this change in thought, has altered my mood immensly.  I'm happier, I'm less stressed, and I'm more grateful. It's a work in progress, but I don't plan on halting the efforts any time soon.  These kinds of things, these patterns of change, they take time.  But I know they're worth it.  Now, the main reason I bring this up is not to expound on my most recent self discoveries, that's boring. I bring this up for something much more important.  

During the week before finals I was riding the campus shuttle to class.  Sometimes rides on said shuttle can become slightly awkward due to there being only two rows of benches, placed on either side of the bus.  So every passenger faces their fellow riders, hopelessly avoiding eye contact or the urge to stare.  However, on this particular day I rejected all social cues held withing my subconscious and just stared.  I stared. At each and every girl riding the bus with me that day.  Why? Because it was just that. An entire bus full of women. Not a single male inhabited a seat on those two rows. And these women were of all different shapes and sizes.  All different races, religions, background, majors. . . all very different.  In more ways than one. However, the one thing it took less than 30 seconds for me to realize we all had in common, was how much we DIDN'T and maybe couldn't, fathom our worth.  I was feeling self conscious that day without makeup. And that's ALL I could think about. The girl on my right,attemping discreteness, had her cell phone off so she could examine every square inch of her face through the screen's reflection.  The lady across from me was overweight, and never looked up from the ground.  The woman on the end of my row looked beaten and abused, torn down tired.  And the woman on my left kept fidgeting with her hair, her nails, her makeup, her clothes. None of us seemed comfortable in our own skin.  Not one of us seemed happy.  And not one of us seemed to be believe we.were.beautiful.  

I'm not kidding when I say I had a sudden, strong epiphany.  I pulled out my cell pone and sent myself a text that said, "and not one of us believed we were beautiful" so that I could remember that moment, sort it out in my brain, and write about it later.  Which is why I'm here, relaying that story now. Because after I realized what was taking place on that bus, I felt sick.  Absolutely sick to my stomach to know that most women, most divine daughters of God, don't believe they are beautiful.  Don't fathom their worth.  And how sad, how heart breaking is that? To me, I wanted to cry.  Sounds a little emotional and extreme but it broke my heart. Because I have a daughter.  I know what it's like to love a little girl more than life itself.  And if I EVER heard her thoughts.  And if they were EVER like the thoughts I feed myself on the days I don't wear makeup.  Or the days I don't ace a test.  I would be torn, my heart would be confounded with grief.  I would wonder how she couldn't comprehend her beauty.  Her worth.  How she couldn't possibly see her strengths, her strong points. I would do everything in my power to help her FATHOM HER WORTH.

 It's all too easy for us to understand someone else's worth without ever fully comprehending our own. I've understood Sophie's worth since the day she was born.  And nothing about that could ever change. But I'm in my twenties...and I STILL don't fully understand my own.  I sill don't love myself the way I should.  

In this moment I thought of my Heavenly Father, and how he must feel, as a Father, every time I've hated myself.  Or hated the mistakes I've made.  And then I multiplied that by all the people in Earth's history who've hated themselves at one point or another. And I tried once more, to comprehend how that must make Him feel.  From my standpoint as a birth mother, as someone vulnerable to how her daughter view's herself, I could only imagine.  I suddenly held this strong conviction.  To try as much as possible, not to add to His pain.  

And not just for His sake, but for mine. And to know that my life, one absouletely full of wonderful mistakes, is worth a lot.

Psalm 139:44