It's interesting to feel all the ways life can tug on your skin. To be tugged on - I have felt it both as a blessing and a curse at different times in my life. It always reminds me of that phrase from a Mary Oliver poem - "Mend my life."
Over the weekend I said to my husband, "You see what happened Tony is that I am finally okay with myself. I took care of me. I saw to my needs. I dealt with my stuff. I know I will continue to grow, but I'm okay now. And being okay now gives me a chance for the first time in a long time, to be available to others who are asking for help. I'm not scared I'll lose myself in them."
What has become my center is myself. I realized in June (I knew June was going to be huge) that the biggest wound I have to personally overcome is the lie that if I am exposed at my core I will be found out to not be who I have said I am. These thoughts still come to mind sometimes, but I am getting better at navigating them and calling them out for the lies they are.
It still stings when people question my character or my motives or my behavior or toss blame onto me, but I know from experience, no amount of my words can convince anyone who has set out to be against me. And so I return to me. I look at me. I ask me: Are my intentions good? Is my love big? Is my vision beautiful? Yes, yes, yes.
I aim to please me, because I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I acted on what I believe to be true.
I act on what I believe to be right. What others think about me may sting, but I am stronger now emotionally, and I know I can keep moving forward without anyone's approval but my own. I can own my current actions AND allow myself to learn as I go.
I am okay that it takes time to build trust, and I realize some people won't have that much patience or interest to stick around that long. I am not afraid to pull into myself when I need to care for me, and I am not afraid to come back out an entirely different person because I was ready to grow and change. I am okay if that sends the messages to others that I can't be trusted. I will always choose me first because I know it is the only way I can be available to others in a healthy way. And I honor and respect those in my life who need to go their own way to do the same. I allow the going away and the coming back in all its forms. I believe true character always gets exposed, and I'm not in a rush to prove myself to anyone. This is what it feels like to be sure.
I say all this today because it is this continual being okay internally that is bringing so much grounded joy into my living. To be aware of what I cannot change and to be aware of what is within my reach to change and to be aware of that which does not need to change. There is a certainty I have about myself, and I know it to my core. It is how I keep going when things get dark and heavy. If nothing else, I always have my own magic to pull from.
I chose to go to the Black Lives Matter event in Oklahoma City this weekend with my friend Babette. I was feeling fearful about it and so I looked myself in the mirror and asked:
"What is the worst that can happen?"
"Well, I could die," I said to myself.
Then I paused, and I thought about what that meant. Thought about it so intensely my fingers and toes started to tingle with the fear and sober reality of it.
"I want to go anyway. I would be okay dying in this way, standing for this sort of thing, and I am very happy and content with what I have done with my life."
Was I a badass while I was there? Not really. When I saw a handful of people waving the confederate flag I wanted to vomit into the water canal that runs through downtown Oklahoma City. But my god did it feel good to be there anyway, knowing I could live with myself because I live in a vulnerable way that I am proud of. That matters immensely to me.
Back to where I started this post, I see my interaction with people as less and less about them tugging and more and more about me being the luckiest that they want to come to me. Out of all the people they could pick, they choose me. And I like to be chosen.
I want to be sturdy enough in my own skeletal structure that whatever they need to bring forth won't tear me down. I want to know who I am, so I don't have to spend our interaction having them help me make sure I am okay. No one should ever have to let me know I am okay again. I've got that part handled. I want others to feel this sort of self-reliant freedom for themselves. It is incredible.
Do I love accolades? Let's just say I'm a Leo and I've got a thing for praise. Verbal affirmation makes me purr, but I don't need it to be okay. The bonus in interacting with a Leo that is maturing is that she is 100 times more likely to dote on others because she knows how wonder-full it feels.
I don't want to call it being tugged on anymore. I want to call it expanding my circle. I am dedicated to scooping up all the magic and treasure one woman's arms can gather - and when it comes to magic and treasure, the more arms the better. There is more wonder in this world than one person can hold. I am seeing to exposing as much of it as I can...for all to enjoy...if they so wish.