Earlier this week I shared with you something that I had previously revealed only to two other people: my therapist and my husband.
It’s a scary, scary thing to not only admit to our shortcomings, but to put them out there for the entire world to see.
Scary. SCARY. SCARY!
What I can tell you, though, is that I feel a bit freer.
It’s no longer a deep, dark secret that keeps me locked into this holding pattern of Fear.
Fear that people will judge me as Bad.
And some will.
But here’s what I believe, Journeyers, it’s at the center of my very heart: we all—you, me, our next door neighbors—deserve the chance to make mistakes and to learn from them.
To change those behaviors that cause us or others conflict.
To make amends and to learn and grow and continue on living the absolute best life we can possibly imagine.
We cannot ever undo the past, but we can have some say in how our futures unfold.
I have included a quote in each of my two graduating seniors’ high school yearbooks.
For Fave, who’s now been on a thirteen years-long journey of becoming an Olympian, I included this, one of my many Mama Mantras, “It’s not where we start in life that matters most, but where we finish.”
His team leader had always used a similar quote with specific regard to the sport, but I felt the message went so much deeper, and changed the wording to reflect its relevance to life.
To me, that finish line isn’t just about The Places of Mistake or Success, but rather, it’s about our feelings about who we are, where we are on our own life’s journey, and where we ultimately want to be. It’s about our mindset and our movements.
For Beauty’s sendoff, Eleanor Roosevelt’s words seemed the most fitting: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
What we believe about our self is the toxin that tarnishes our future or the magic that molds us into the best we can possibly be.
I found this sign buried in a Big Lots store last week, just when I needed it…
I scored the last two of these babies.
One for me.
And one I tucked in amongst Beauty’s belongings as a little surprise for her college dorm.
I’ll be fifty this year, Journeyers, and I’m finally looking forward to the future, heading there with my wand held high over my head.
May my daughter learn the value of these words much earlier in life than her mama did…
Below is an excerpt from my memoir, Digging for the Light, relating back to the time when I first realized that I’d spent years looking for the wrong kind of validation in all the right places…
Any and all assistance toward helping me find an agent or publisher for this body of work is greatly appreciated.
Additionally, it will definitely earn you a special spot in my heart and a title in the Kingdom of My Most Magical Friends…
How about you? Is there something holding you back from achieving anything you want to do? Could you possibly be looking for validation in all the wrong places, too?
Hugs and healing, Journeyrs…
An excerpt from Digging for the Light
Note: The regular font passages are diary quotes included in the memoir
My journals reflect something else during this painful time of my life. Mixed in with all the negative emotions were signs of courage and hope with dashes of humor.
At times I clawed, digging for the light:
What about my children’s happiness?
Oh God, what will my children do without me?
What about my wedding vows?
What about the things that I love…the things that are so rewarding to me?
While thinking positively, I wrote about teachers’ responses to the school tours I offered at the farm: “You are wonderful with the children!”
I processed my thoughts on paper, trying to disassemble the tangled web of confusion. Writing my thoughts helped to validate them, make them more real.
People don’t hurt our feelings or make us angry…we let them.
I forgive myself…Why have I forgiven myself?—I feel like…like maybe I could fly.
Fave said the funniest thing this morning. He wanted to go to Burger King for breakfast. I told him we didn’t have time. He then asked if we could go to Dunkin’ Donuts and said, “It doesn’t take much time, Mommy, only about five weeks.” I had to chuckle.
Oh, how laughter fills the soul… It’s nice to have the day end on a happy note.
Sweet dreams, Annah
* * *
A poem I wrote the morning following the above entry.
The sunshine glitters,
The snowfall twitters,
The leaves of fall
How I love them all…
the seasons which change
are always the same;
their beauty before us –
a great metamorphosis.
The calmness they bring
whispering winds sing.
A home on the range
creatures with no name –
The seasons they share;
sunbeams which glare,
snowflakes so fair.
How my heart twitters –
when nature flitters.
* * *
With permission, my counselor read my journals. In response to something positive I wrote, he noted in one page’s border: “Yes—no one is perfect.”
During one of our sessions, I said to my therapist: “My whole life has been a lie. I’ve been pretending to be this strong, capable, self-assured person.”
He replied—I heard him enough to later write it down—“People just can’t fake that stuff, Annah. Not even you.”
I was jealous when Warren comforted another female: “Why can’t he do those things for me?”
I put my wedding rings back on.
A counselor at the BSU threatened to remove the word “but” from my vocabulary; I had to laugh.
While in the BSU, I felt at times as if protocol was more important than the patients’ needs, and at one point I screamed: “I’m not just some statistic! I—am—a—fucking—human—being!”
* * *
My journals tell the story of my everyday existence.
I wept for an employee whose fiancé was in the hospital for months after a horrible accident. I comforted and sheltered a teenage employee whose “life was falling apart.” I arranged transportation for a new hire with Down Syndrome and a mother who didn’t want him to work, because the amount of her monthly checks would decrease. I worried for and cried with friends whose marriage was disintegrating.
I celebrated the success of our accomplishments with my husband: our children, our business, our political campaign that got him elected to a local office, our continued ability to overcome the many obstacles that kept blocking our path.
I poured the feelings of our arguments onto those pages.
We fought over the big decisions: which direction to take the business in, what equipment to purchase, which expansion to take on next.
We fought over the little things, those pesky details big enough to bring down the house: the kids, the laundry, frozen water pipes, one-sided communication, finances, a broken furnace, urine on the toilet seat… Minutia I thought were isolated grievances unto us…
You are not alone.
Fortunately we (actually I, I just make it a point to inform my husband every step of the way) have come to realize that many couples suffer much the same little grievances, and that we are not alone. (Thanks, Oprah!)
I made and lost touch with new acquaintances along the way; each passing step enriched my life a little more.
There was the mundane: laundry, bills, pets to the vet and pet medicine, school clothes, school pictures, homework, junk mail, housework, house repairs, chore charts, appointments, counseling sessions (lots of them), showers, makeup, meals, colds, earaches, my grandmother’s funeral, bedtime stories, baths, and rubber ducks…
I was an integral part of our business, which was quickly becoming a success in our community.
During this timeframe, I coordinated and implemented the first two of our annual Fall Harvest Festivals. From these festivals, I devised a way to raise money we donated to the Children’s Miracle Network, proud we could finally give something back to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at our local hospital.
I created the House of Elves, a Christmas shop for children, where all gifts were under five dollars. I, Jingles, (a self-proclaimed honorary elf) and my assistant, Jangles, helped young children shop for loved ones.
I educated and inspired thousands—youth, parents, and educators—through field trips to our farm. Through these, I fondly became known as “The Apple Lady.”
Page after page, the journals echo my search in identifying who I was, who I had been and would yet become…