authentic self, Blog, childhood, Fear

From Fearless to Fearful and Back

Day 255

I was a fearless child. Growing up in the country and having the freedom to roam helped me be rather fearless. I do remember two points in time where I first felt fear as a child. One, I have written about one here on my blog, where my own thoughts were overwhelming and made me fearful.

The second memory has to do when I went with my siblings to ‘jump rocks’. Jumping rocks was what we did to move across or up and down the creek. We jumped from one exposed rock to another. I was the youngest of four children, and I am sure often the most annoying of the lot.

On this particular day, the creek was up, which made the available surface to jump to and from smaller. My siblings told me to wait on a very large rock because the jumps were too long for me to make. All was well until I looked down to see a snake and what looked like 20 babies swimming along beside the rock.

I started to scream bloody murder. All I wanted was my grandfather to rescue me, but unfortunately he was away visiting his brother. I screamed so loud, the entire community came running. No one could get me off that rock. I wanted my Grandpa.

I am not sure who finally got me off the rock, but I remember this as if it were yesterday. I know now the snakes were harmless water snakes, but at the time, they seemed deadly.

When my granddaughter was here, she started to say “scared” and the most benign things. It seems she has picked up fear of bugs at daycare. Being afraid of bugs in the mountains will not serve you well. We were able to show her bees and bugs and talk about where they lived, but I cannot help but wonder what goes on in her little mind.

Looking back, I think society influences our fear. The news, the guns, the crime, the hatred — all of it bombards us. I have made an intentional effort to limit the amount of time I read the news, spend time on Facebook, or watch too much tv. As a result, I live more peacefully and enjoy life much more.

I also think being knocked down through jobs we held, can make us fearful and believe we are not capable of all the magic that each of us possess. But the magic never dies. Sometimes we just need to unearth it.

The other day I walked by a huge grape vine wound around a tree. I remembered back to the little girl that would hike the woods with her brother, cut free the grape vine and swing like Tarzan. We drank water from the springs using leaves as our cups. That was a fearless girl. I’m glad she’s finding her way home.

authentic self, Blog, coffee, women

Disturbing the Water — My Notes to Young Women

Day 173

Once, when advising my daughter, she replied ‘…Mom, I wish I could learn from your mistakes, but I have to make my own…’ I always keep that in my mind and try not to advise people on the life-choices they make. I do have some general thoughts for young women. Thoughts I wish someone had shared with me.

My mother died when I was 19. It was hard. I went through all my big life moments without my mother. My wedding, the birth of my children, divorce and all of life’s heartaches, my mother would not be there.

When menopause hit, there was no family history for me to gauge what this would be like. Both my sisters had hysterectomies fairly young and the HRT hid the normal symptoms.

No, I would never advise anyone specifically but my suggestion is to at least consider the notes I am about to share.

  • You do not always need to go with the flow. Sometimes it’s okay to disturb the water.
  • Stay young in mind and thought. Don’t let anyone tame your spirit. Coaching behavior in women starts at a very young age. Sometimes it’s okay to just let your hair fly free and get your feet dirty.
  • Move your body — walk, dance, play volleyball, swim — just move.
  • Take care of your skin.
  • Avoid chemicals as much as possible. In your food, in your clothes, in your home and on your body and your face.
  • Minimize the alcohol. It ages you inside and out.
  • Plant a garden — even if it is small. You can learn a lot about life by caring for plants.
  • Learn to love good food. Take a cooking class if you were not taught to cook at home. Learn about the power — good and bad — of food in your body.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Care for your appearance, of course. But remember the inside of your body — the machine — needs constant nurturing. It is, after all, what keeps you alive.
  • Value yourself more than your sexuality.
  • Choose a career or path you are passionate about.
  • Remember it is okay to change your mind.
  • Read.
  • Earn your own money and save some for the future.
  • Travel as much as you can. There is no better way to learn about people than to get outside your own culture.
  • Love yourself.
  • Be honest with yourself.
  • Be authentic.
  • Invest in friends you trust.
  • Be with people who make you laugh more than they make you cry.
  • If someone abuses you, leave NOW.
  • Sing — even if you can’t carry a tune.
  • Respect your partner and insist they respect you.
  • Have a child or don’t have a child. Just do not minimize the choice of other women.
  • Find doctors you trust and see them regularly.
  • Be kind.
  • Most of all, enjoy this life you were given. It’s up to you to make the most of it.
aging gracefully, authentic self, Blog, loss, reflection, retirement

Loving Me – Or the Day I Quit Trying to Fix Myself

Day 144

I was a quirky kid. My thoughts were big. When I went to bed at night my thoughts were on things like infinity and time and death and how the universe could just go on forever. Didn’t everything have an end?

I remember a specific night becoming so overwhelmed with my thoughts I cried. I was at my grandmother’s house. Scared and seeking comfort, I went downstairs. When asked what was wrong, I lied and I told her my throat hurt. This ignited her worry gene. She needed to get me to a doctor. What if I had strep throat or scarlet fever?

I am not sure how that night ended except to say that I know I did not go to the doctor and I also know I learned to never tell anyone about my thoughts. They were thoughts much too big for a little mind.

Thinking Vs. Curiosity

I was a child of the science fiction age. Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, The Time Tunnel, Night Gallery, The Time Machine, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and on and on. I became obsessed with time travel.

This scene and my love of costumes (see my earlier  post) certainly fed my creative curiosity:

It was certainly a time of big imaginations. I had a Kreskin ESP game although I acknowledge I never gained any extrasensory perception.

High School and Beyond

My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was in my final year of high school. It was tough. I started to search for reasons and explanations to answer all the why questions I had.

I read Sydney Omarr’s horoscope column religiously.

I always had deep thoughts. My term paper in high school was entitled The Nonexistence of Time for which I received an A- (I omitted a comma somewhere along the way). I don’t think my teacher thought I could pull off the references needed, but I managed.

I bought a crystal ball, I was intrigued with seances and bought books on astral projection — is that even a thing now?

I was in the military when my mother passed away. I went home for her funeral. I was broken. Being in the military you aren’t really given time or space to grieve. I was only 19 and all I wanted was to be home with my family.

Feeling Broken

I think the losses in my life were big. I took them hard and didn’t really know how to grieve. Once you label yourself as broken — or others label you as such — you begin to believe it. You start to search for how to fix what’s wrong.

I saw a therapist who was happy to prescribe anti-depressants. I never took them. Somehow I knew I was not depressed. I searched so many self-help books thinking if I could follow the thoughts of others I might turn that final corner that would make me whole again.

Then one day it hit me. What if I was not broken? What if I was normal? What if self-help books helped make me believe I was somehow lost?

I will say there are a number of books that really helped me and many that are a godsend to others. I am not saying self-help books are bad, for some are worth their weight in gold. All I am saying is what if I just had some hard stuff to deal with and had no way to process my way through it? What if it was easier to think of myself as missing a piece of me and if I could just find it I could be whole again?

Finding Me

So one day, I just decided to embrace myself and love me for me. I resolved problems or situations singularly instead of believing I had those problems because of some flaw. I started to remember the little girl who had big thoughts and just did not know what to do with those thoughts. She was the same little girl that watched her mother slowly die of cancer and was not given space to grieve.

I started to value myself enough to leave bad relationships. I stood up for myself. I learned I could live on my own and be perfectly happy. Once I knew that about me, the right person entered my life.

Embracing My Authentic Self

I love to think big now. I love my imagination. I still fancy the idea of time travel and to this day never underestimate the power of a 1979 penny to whisk me back to reality.

I give myself room to grieve. Losses are still hard and I have lost a lot — a downside to the blessing of living a longer life. Unfortunately, it is part of this thing we call life.

I am not afraid to be me any longer. I like me. No, no, I love me. I am not broken — just human and not in need of fixing.