Friday, December 1, 2017

He's Still Bob.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were having a conversation about someone we knew who had gone through some remarkable--positive--changes. When I asked if a difficult situation regarding this person was now resolved, my friend shrugged and said, "Well, I mean, he's still Bob.*"

Since that conversation, that phrase has repeated over and over in my head. Sometimes in the midst of a tragedy or life-altering event, people step up in ways that can blow you away. Sometimes, a person who has hurt you repeatedly reaches out in kindness. If you're anything like me (past me) you'll welcome that person right back into your life and heart thinking he or she has changed.

How's that work out? In my situation(s) it has worked out for shit. Because guess what: He's still Bob.

I give people second chances--and sometimes 3, 4, 5 .... chances--because of all the chances people have given me. I've damaged relationships and friendships. I've messed up with my husband and my kids and my friends. I've lost my temper and said mean things more times than I care to remember. Everyone messes up occasionally, but I have been guilty of holding myself to unreachable standards. I don't expect YOU to be perfect; I just expect me to be perfect. Getting better all the time.

Anyway, through my shortcomings, I've become an outstanding apologizer. And my tribe always forgives me, gives me grace and second chances and 3, 4, 5 ...

So I give people chances. But guess what? Not everyone has a place in my life. And not everyone has a place in yours. That doesn't mean someone is a bad person. It doesn't mean you and I are bad people either. Maybe you are just bad for each other. If someone brings out your worst side, then they shouldn't be part of your tribe.

My dad used to tell me: No one is all bad and no one is all good. True story. Damn, I miss my dad.  Good people are capable of doing really awful things, and awful people can sometimes do really good things. How you behave the majority of the time--especially when no one is watching--indicates your character.

Recently, thanks to Emily P. Freeman's wonderful podcast, "The Next Right Thing," I've been practicing "bringing peace with me into the chaos rather than trying to calm the chaos to find peace."

Occasionally I actually succeed. Yesterday, I didn't. As I made dinner and Peyton and Lily argued and fought and picked at each other, I couldn't pull them into my peace. I couldn't bring peace into their chaos. So I briefly lost my shit and brought a little more chaos to an already chaotic situation, and then I put my ear buds in and let Shauna Niequist pull me into her peace.

Sometimes, someone will read my blog and say, "I needed that; thank you." You're welcome. Other times, I think I'm writing to my future self. Maybe in five years, when I'm about to give someone a seventh chance to break my heart, this blog will pop up in my memories and warn me: He's still Bob.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Every Day is the Best Day

Before you go any further, let me warn you: This is a brain dump which might make very little sense. I'm only sharing it because every time I write something, I think--someone might relate to this today and feel like, "YES! Me too!" and that is one of my favorite ways to feel. Others might think it's a pile of shit; that's perfectly fine too. Here goes...

Rules for the rest of 2017:

1. Read only fun things. I gave myself permission to read cozy feel-good fluff. Chick lit. Beach reads. Yummy rom-com kind of stuff. I work so damn hard on being better all the time that sometimes I plain forget to be good enough. So here's to being good enough. And happy. And chill. And wrapping up in a blanket and reading for fun.

2. Stop worrying so much about missing something...remember, what goes by you wasn't for you. Sometimes, I jump out of bed to jot down an idea or yell, "Hey Siri, write this down!" This is rooted in Anne Lamott's super solid advice for writers to have a pen and paper handy at all times. Of course I took that good advice to a completely different level. Because that is what I do.

3. Stop rehashing everything you say. I surround myself with wonderful, kind, lovely people. Then after spending time with them, I go back through conversations criticizing and second-guessing everything that came out of my mouth. That was so stupid. Why would you say that? Here's the thing: Not one of my wonderful, kind, lovely people ever said that to me. It's my inner critic. You say the dumbest things. No one likes you. They're pretending. They all talk about you when you leave. She's such a bitch! This morning, when she started, I said, "You can't talk to me like that anymore," and she shut up. Just like any other bully. Stand up to her and she backs down.

4. Give yourself a fucking break. The other day my friend asked, "Do you ever sit down?" Huh. I never thought about it, but the truth is I rarely sit down. Sometimes...when I'm writing. And in the evenings when we watch shows. But mostly, I feel the need to always be DOING something. I only allow myself to watch my favorite shows when I'm on the treadmill. Sometimes, I stand at the kitchen counter when I'm working on long writing and editing projects because "they" said sitting for long periods of time is worse than smoking. It's okay to sit down.

5. Make more room for things that light you up and give less energy to stuff that doesn't. People, experiences, podcasts, books... So often I don't let myself enjoy something if it isn't stretching or teaching me in some way. Sometimes the only things I let myself enjoy are food and drinks. Wow. That's an aha moment. If the only pleasures you allow yourself are things that in turn cause you to beat yourself up, it's time to reevaluate what you're doing for fun.

6. Just write. Since finishing my book and starting the process of trying to find a literary agent, writing sometimes feels like work. I only let myself blog if I send out a query letter. Or I have to work on my proposal before I can work on anything else. So sometimes I don't write because I don't feel like doing the working part. It's a catch 22. I refuse to let "being a writer" suck the joy out of writing. Building a platform and finding an agent and selling a book...none of those things matter. Writing keeps me sane. Writing feeds my soul. Writing is where I speak my truth. That's what matters, and that is enough.

7. Be here. Really here. My little tweenager is going through a rough patch. Yesterday I whisper-scream-prayed, "HELP ME! I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!" in the middle of a fit and then wrapped her up like I used to do when she was a toddler. Full disclosure: That was about as pleasant as trying to hug a cornered rat that's more than half your size. Still. I held her really tight, kissed her head--which I barely have to bend down to do anymore--and smoothed her hair, repeating, "It's okay," while she screamed, "IT'S NOT!" ... until it was.

You guys, about half the time I don't know what the fuck I'm doing as a mom. I feel like an imposter. I fear that I'm monumentally messing up these souls trusted to me. I'm flying by the seat of my pants. Here's what helps: Meditation. Yoga. Essential oils. Praying. Grace. Sweet Jesus, less anxiety and more grace. I'm open to suggestions if anyone has a remedy.

And just like that I'm done. The well is dry. It bothered me to stop at a random number like 7, but that's where I am this morning. 7. And then I remember...7. God's number. The number of wholeness and completion. March around the walls once a day for 6 days. 7 times on the 7th day. Forgive 70 x 7 times.7 days of creation. More than 700 references of 7 in the Bible. One of the best sermons I ever listened to was called: Don't Stop on 6--the gist of which is don't give up too soon, or you might miss the miracle that was coming. And it's an awesome one to listen to if you need a pep talk.

I'm going to try to spend the rest of 2017 being fully here. Showing up for my people and for my life. Good enough as I am. Listening and loving. Giving grace...even to myself. Letting every day be the best day.

xoxo