The greatest gifts in my life have come in the form of breast cancer, foreclosure, my drug and sex addicted father, who passed away when I was ten years old, my ex-husband, my children, Jake and Jonah, and their sister, Sydnee, who died two days shy of her due date.
One might ask how losing a father at a young age, getting divorced, losing a child or having cancer could possibly be considered gifts. There is no doubt that these were very challenging times in my life, but once the dust settled, and maybe even during some of the later experiences, I was able to see the gift in each and every experience in my life.
Within each of our not-so-normal lives, we are faced with challenges along the way, nobody is exempt. These challenges show up for us to help us grow. Each and every one of those experiences leaves us with a “gift”. The catch is, we don’t actually get the gift until we are aware it’s there for us. Imagine a beautifully wrapped present hiding way up high in the closet, but you don’t know it exists. It only becomes exciting when you know it’s there and you have the chance to tear it open. The good news is it’s never too late to find them, we just need to open our minds to another way of seeing things.
My hope is that through this series of dysfunctional, crazy, funny, challenging and sometimes embarrassing glances into my life, you will learn to spot the silver linings in your life, unveiling these precious gems that have the power to bring you freedom and peace of mind.
I’m going to tell you some very personal details about my life and you will likely have thoughts of judgment, maybe anger at some point, but don’t stress out, just breathe. I forgive you. Xo
Ain’t Nobody got Time for that!
College, 1985, I met a boy – a high profile sort of guy. He showed an interest in me and I was impressed with myself that such a guy would be interested in little old me. So when he called and asked me to come and spend time with him, I jumped at the chance. After only a half hour or so he told me to leave. It felt cold and embarrassing, but I ignored the feelings. A few days later the same thing happened. He called, invited me over and then told me to leave fairly quickly, like he was ordering me around. I felt very used and hurt, and yet I showed up for round three.
Something in me was certain from the very beginning that this was not a situation that would allow me to maintain my self-respect while participating in this “relationship”. It was loud and clear, the feeling in my gut, one I would eventually come to realize again and again, was my intuition, and yet I didn’t listen. I started hearing my thoughts tell me that I wasn’t worthy, a familiar meme. I bought it, for a while.
But then one day I realized I didn’t have to participate in this exchange. This boy may have initiated the game but I allowed him to and I agreed to play. The thing is, nobody can treat us poorly without our permission. There is no question he was not a nice guy, but I allowed him into my life and I allowed him to disrespect me because I kept going back for more. All I had to do was to avoid the situation and say “no, thank you,” but I didn’t.
This experience, like all experiences, had nothing to do with him. This was my opportunity to stand up for myself and find my self-worth, a lesson I have learned over and over throughout my life, and frankly still struggle to overcome.
Shortly after my third visit, I recall thinking, “I’ve had enough and nobody will ever treat me like this again,” and nobody ever has. I had to dig deep to find the strength inside to learn self-respect in that moment. I had to be the one who decided that I deserved better in order for me to grow that day and receive the gift of self love.
In this scenario, I learned to trust my intuition which has served me very well since, even though if I’m really honest, I don’t always listen. If I start to get that same nagging feeling in my gut now, it’s my wake up call telling me that I need to pay closer attention to the people and the circumstances I am allowing into my life. It keeps me on track, allowing me to walk in my integrity.