Naked & Ashamed

Naked and ashamed

Even though, I started my blog a year ago, I have kept it very quiet from my friends and family; I believe sharing my deepest thoughts and creative side can be a very scary feeling. Making a category on my blog and posting some of my essays for original non-fiction writings is like walking into a stadium full of people and realizing I forgot to put clothes on.  First, there will be a quick hush among everyone.  Some will be frightened for me and others will be frightened by what they see.  Others will cheer for my bravery and others will cheer because it wasn’t them that foolishly exposed themselves in public. In a stadium, I may have the chance to turn around and run and pray no one recognized me (though social media would capture my hideous mistake for eternity and track me down to find out who I am, so they could torture me with the photos and videos until the dire end), but by putting my writing and art out in the universe for my family and friends to see, I risk them seeing a part of me that they do not like.

Last Spring, I shared with a professor that the part of growing older that I hate the most is that I wonder if the person someone is sharing with me is their true authentic self.  The professor chuckled and said authentic people are an illusion and that I need to quit setting my standards so high.  This put me on a quest of really wondering if the ones closest to me, at work and in private, were truly authentic.  I learned that a lot of the people I looked up to were not truly authentic, but I also found a great deal of people who were. However, in this quest, I remembered something my mom told me when I was a teenager.  I tended to be a very judgmental teenager and even broke up with a guy because he yelled “Damn” at me when we were on a scary carnival ride and he thought I was silly for being so scared.  My mom asked me if I was perfect and I laughed and said “far from it”. She quickly replied, “Then it was time I stopped judging others so harshly.”

Thinking back about this, I realize in my quest to find authentic relationships that I, myself, may not be completely authentic, and if I am ever going to be a true artist, then I need to own up to the fact that being a published author (other than my research studies) is my ultimate dream; a published author of a body of work that many others want to truly read. However, after I posted my dreams on my Facebook account, I literally became ill wondering if anyone was reading my non-fiction writing and if they were reading them, were they enjoying them or were they judging the life I used to live?  I spent the weekend frozen in time barely being able to do anything.  All I could picture was that stadium full of people staring at me and whispering to each other as I stood there and froze to death, naked and ashamed.

There’s nothing like a Monday morning to thaw me out.  I tend to wake up on Mondays and panic about what I did not get accomplished the week before. This morning, I woke up barely being able to move, I had wrenched my back somehow and was in so much pain that I could not sit up.  As I carefully applied icy hot, I thought about what I did to cause it.  That’s when I had my “aha” moment and remembered frantically running from the stadium, naked and ashamed. Yet, it was too late – when I shared my writing, I did it on the internet, so there was no covered back room to run to.  What happens now?

Next, I took some ibuprofen to help with the pain and made some hot tea and contemplated what the universe might have in store for such an idiot. Before I could think anymore, I retreated to my Tumblr.  That’s where I disappear when I want to see what everyone else is looking at.  I learned quickly that there were not any photos posted of me in the stadium that I had conjured in my mind; the worst that could happen is that someone does not approve.  But for most of my life I have been a people pleaser, so disapproval is like a knife in my back.

I also realized this morning that I do not like waking up in excruciating pain either, so I knew I was at a crossroads.  What now?  I thought about this and asked myself, “What would Bob Marley say?” Good question!  Bob Marley said “Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you are riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!”

There’s no taking back what I shared this weekend unless I deleted my blog, but if I was honest with myself, I want to create, I want to write, I want to help others, I want to live!  At that moment, I started creating the above image on my computer; I have spent the last seven years struggling to find the light that is waiting to take me to the next part of my life.  Today, I finally can see a glimpse of that light hitting my face, and whether others like me or hate me, I am ready for my next chapter.  For better or worse – sink or swim – Look out world, here I come!

Overcoming challenges makes life meaningful!

This is my daughter, Megz, when she was three.  She is a junior in college now, but still has that same strength and determination.  I have decided I want to be her when I grow up.

Courage or a fight for survival?



Today, my grades for my first quarter of my doctoral program posted and I received a 4.0.  I was just numb when I saw them, & seeing them led me to post for #FBF.  If anyone had told me when my ex-husband deserted us 7 years ago how drastically my life and my kids’ lives would change, I would have never believed them.

Some remember how broken I was back then, and I’m not flashing back for sympathy, but instead to give others hope.  To say this has been an easy journey to where I’m currently headed would be a lie, but no one ever promised achieving one’s dreams would be easy.  I even debated on posting a photo of me way back then.  It brought me to tears seeing that person I was, but what made it even harder was seeing how young my kids were then.

No child should have to experience the kind of pain my three kids did.  I am so proud of the young adults they have become despite the suffering that was inflicted upon us.   It’s great to celebrate our triumphs, but it also keeps me humble to look back to where I started.  But I do love that I am not that broken woman anymore and I am so grateful for the incredible people who have come into our lives since then.

I will probably be screaming from the roof tops the day I walk across the stage and I receive my doctorate, but despite all the incredible opportunities that have come into our lives, I still cannot help but wish that one day that my oldest son could see that I am no longer that sad, broken woman, and wish he would want to  know the woman I have become.  Because I know this woman is a good person and I am proud of her, and while continuing on this journey, I will never forget everyone who has lifted me and my kids up and I will always continue to pay it forward. Happy Friday everyone and remember ‘Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ ~ Mary Anne Radmacher.

Is it possible to be too honest?

Phoenix Rising 2

Last night I was out at dinner with friends, not just friends, but the amazing, supportive women who hold me up when I am too tired to get up and try again.  The year I left my abusive husband, my youngest son was also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  My life was in such a fog, I never thought I could find my way through it.  For the first week of my separation, my husband was unaccounted for.  He told me he flew to a job site in Colorado, but his work said he took an extra week of vacation to spend with his family.  As I tried to get a protection order, I was terrified he would appear and try to kill me or one of my kids; I would nap during the day, while my teenagers were awake, and then at night, I had moved a mattress into our living room, so my kids could sleep on it, and I would sit on the couch watching over them all night with a butcher knife under my pillow. For months, I was out of my mind and the only thing I could focus on was our survival.   It has been six and half years since those events, and I am a different, stronger person now, but those nights all came flooding back last night at dinner.

A close friend is going through her own divorce hell right now.  It has similar characteristics of mine.  I found myself advising her, bluntly advising her. I was sharing what she could expect her first day in court.  I wanted to prepare her for anything that may be thrown her way.   Before we could finish, she ran out in tears.  I felt ill inside.  It made me think about whose truth was I telling?  I think we are all guilty of that.  We see our friend in pain – a pain that is similar to something we experienced – and we want to spare our friend that pain.  Maybe we can a little, but sometimes they may have to go through some of that pain to come out stronger on the other end as well.

I found myself up half the night asking myself just that; is it possible to be too honest?  Throughout my life, right after someone has just served me up a huge dose of reality, they end the conversation curtly with “I was just being honest.”  Those words cut through me like a knife.  Really? Just being honest?  When we hear those words, do we ever stop and ask whose definition of honest are we using, and do we give power to that person that their definition is the correct one?  As women, when some well intended friend or family member is advising us on our life, we need to stop and thank them for how much they care about us, but inside we need to question where their well advised words are coming from.  Are they projecting their own baggage on us or do they really know what’s best for us?  I think only WE know what’s best for us.  Don’t get me wrong, I live for my group of supportive women, but what I love most about them is if I ask for advice, they give it, but they give it with no intentions for their outcome, but instead for me to figure out what I need to use and what I will toss aside.  They trust that I know what’s best for my family and me.

So it’s less about being too honest and more about giving your opinion and advice, and letting it go, and supporting your friend no matter how they choose to take the advice.  We are all at different stages in our life, and we can’t expect our friends to be in the same place.  What we can do is to hold their hand and remind them of all the reasons we love them.  If they need more, they will ask.