Monday, March 28, 2011

Expressing Emotion

Sorry it's been so long since I posted. Life has been sort of busy but that's not really it. I just haven't been feeling like putting my thoughts into words lately. And, my deepest inspirations come in the middle of the night when I'm supposed to be sleeping, so usually I avoid writing them and try to sleep. Tonight, I must write.

I've been thinking about how hard it is for me to put words to my emotions; my innermost, deepest thoughts. Why is that? I mean, I'm a counselor. I make a living listening to others deepest thoughts. I sit with them while they cry, plead, become angry, despondent, and generally work their way thought all sorts of feelings. Why is it so hard for me? Whenever I go to talk to someone about my deepest, most heartfelt thoughts, I end up crying; unable to speak. I have so many things on my mind and heart to say to people and can't. Not even to my dearest husband. Especially not to him.

I used to think that I felt things more deeply and profoundly than others. I'm not sure if I do or don't. Probably don't. But, I haven't ever mastered the art of hiding my emotions. They kind of bubble over usually. That is why I can be in a supervision meeting with my boss and end up crying. I really hate that! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that when I was a child, my family shunned feelings of "weakness". Crying wasn't allowed. I was supposed to be strong. I was supposed to put on a happy face. In my family, you could be happy or angry. Nothing else. Certainly not sad or hurt or loving. No, expression of these more vulnerable feelings was forbidden. Maybe that is why I struggle so much with them today. Maybe.

You would think that at 45, I'd have mastered this. But, no. There are so many things I wish to say to my husband that I can't seem to get out. Whenever the talk becomes sweet and heartfelt, I end up crying. He gets confused and thinks I'm upset. I'm not really. Emotion comes out that way for me. So, much of my time is spent being "brave" and avoiding my innermost feelings. Thoughts, dreams, emotions remain inside and those I love most are never allowed access to my vulnerability.

Why is it easier to joke around or be sarcastic than to really express feeling? I have been angry with some of my family members but never addressed it with them due to the restriction I feel regarding this. No, angry is not the right word... hurt. Hurt is the word. Expression of hurt can lead to more hurt. The thoughts of that make me cry. Is that crazy? I don't know. There is a price to pay for emotional distance as well. You never have the sense that you are part of a close knit group. I like to think that my immediate family is close. And we are... and yet, we aren't either.

I am often jealous of families that are truly close... sharing fun times as well as difficult times... expressing emotions freely. I feel like a fish out of water around those people. How do they do it? When I start to cry, I can barely get any words out. It is like there is something in my throat keeping my thoughts from being put into language. So, I avoid crying... which means I avoid expression of my innermost feelings. They are all inside, unable to express themselves. Waiting to be spoken.... and yet, I can't help but wonder if maybe there aren't words to express the feelings. Maybe they aren't spoken because simple English words don't do them justice. At least in part.

How do I tell my husband that he means so much to me? That I feel the most deepest sorrow for past hurts I have caused him and that I truly, honestly wish I could go back and change all of that? How do I tell him that I love him very deeply and truly trust him, something that wasn't always so. Maybe the problem lies in my own thoughts... how I am so self-loathing about the wrongs I have committed. My emotions overflow because of the depth of sorrow I feel for any pain I've caused. It matters not that he has caused pain also... that is irrelevant. I can forgive that as part of being human. Maybe I can't forgive myself.

Maybe I've been so closed off for so long that there is a sense of shame involved. How can I not have told people my feelings? Maybe I'm ashamed of my own feelings... of my own perceived weakness. Which really circles back to being ashamed of not being able to express my feelings of weakness. It's like a deadly cycle. Cutting me off emotionally from others around me. And yet, there's always a fear involved. Fear of rejection. Fear of hurt. Fear that I will not be perceived correctly. Maybe there's a fear that if I express my innermost vulnerable feelings, I will somehow get lost in those feelings. That they will pour out and I will never be able to control that flow of emotion.

 So, instead, they are bottled up, overflowing regularly when I don't want them to. Or maybe overflowing because they are not allowed to come out often enough. Like a regular person. It's something to think about... and something to work on.

Namaste my friends. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Wisdom of Age

Wordle: Aging

I know it's Wednesday and that's the day for Wishcasting Wednesday but I didn't really feel compelled to write about today's prompt. So, instead I'm going to write a piece based on Jamie Ridler's other blog site, The Roots of She. She has a section called the Elder Sister Project. Since I'm an elder sister and since my birthday was a couple days ago, I thought that I would share some of my thoughts.

I am the eldest sister of 5. I have a full blooded sister who is almost 5 years younger than I am, a step-sister who is about 12 years younger, a half brother who is 16 years younger and a half sister who is 25 years younger. So, we are spread out. I just turned 45.

45 is a funny age. You are not really quite "middle aged" as that usually starts near 50-- as you are going through menopause. I'm not exactly young either. It is somewhere between the "motherhood" stage and the "crone" stage... long past the "maiden" stage. I look at where I am now and think, what the heck am I supposed to be doing? I no longer am highly driven to make a name of myself in my career. My children are grown adults. But, I'm not yet ready to retire, nor am I a grandmother yet. So, where does that leave me? Having had my children young, many of my peers are still dealing with children in their home. Not me. And, although I went to college later in life and have a relatively young career, having worked for 7 years post grad, I don't have the drive that I did in my 30's to make a name for myself.

What I do know is that life is short. There are lessons to learn, yes. But, there is life to enjoy also! Little things catch my attention; my puppy playing, the cardinal eating out of the feeder, the squirrels playing tag, a snowflake falling. Living life to it's fullest seems import ant. Learning lessons in everyday life seem important. Living life seems important... more important than waiting for tomorrow. The "somedays" that I always looked forward to seem closer somehow. It's like I have to enjoy what IS! My mark on the world is made in the little things. Smiling at a harried cashier, a word of kindness to a stranger, reaching out to friends and family when it's not really convenient.

But, I always thought that these were thoughts one had when they were in the twilight of their life, looking back on the past and enjoying the present. I'm not at all to concede that I'm in the twilight of my life yet! So, what's the deal? Perhaps it's partly age and perhaps it has something to do with the long search for myself. Constantly analyzing one's life eventually makes you think about these things. Who do I want to be? Rather than who am I supposed to be. The trials I have endured over the past few years have really helped give perspective on this. It has helped me to accept myself more, love myself more, trust myself more. The expectations of the outside world don't stress me out as much. And, you know what? It's not all that important anyway! There's a quote in one of the Anne of Green Gables books that goes like this... "It's not what the world gives to you that's important, it's what you bring to it." Expecting others to accept us is not important. Living my life in the most authentic way possible is important.

My message to my siblings? Live your life authentically. Be authentic to yourself, your beliefs, and your values. It doesn't matter what others have to say. It doesn't matter what others expect of you. What matters is whether you are living the life you intend. Live life with YOUR OWN INTENTION!

Me? I'm still working on me. Still working towards complete authenticity. Still finding my place in this in-between time of life. But, it matters less and less what the opinion of others is. It matters what I think of myself. It matters that I live my life to the fullest. Not the paycheck I bring in, not the labels I earn, not the fancy letters behind my name. What matters is much simpler. Bringing myself to the world around me. That is what matters.

Blessed Be!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


~ Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. ~ 
Edith Sitwell

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wishcasting Wednesday

Jamie Ridler from Jamie Ridler Studios developed something called Wishcasting Wednesdays. She sends out a blog prompt for us to complete.

Today's prompt is:  What do you wish to enjoy?

This is a bit tricky! There are so many things I want to enjoy in life! But, I'm going to focus on a couple things that I struggle with at the moment.

1. I wish to enjoy job hunting! I find this a drudgery, quite frankly. I struggle with the fact that my career no longer inspires me so every job I look at seems to be something I don't want! But, I want to enjoy the process, feeling inspired to put out my resume daily. So, that is my first wish.

2. I wish to enjoy the process. What I mean by this is enjoying the process of my life unfolding! So often I'm focused on the end result or worrying about the end result that I forget to enjoy the journey! So, I want to slow down and not worry about what is to come because at the moment I have no idea what is to come!! Enjoying the journey! 

My final thoughts for today:

I decided to drag out some of my oracle cards today. These are cards that have symbols on them. You pick one or more and get a message from them. I find them inspiring and helpful in learning little lessons (or being reminded of them.)

I picked from my Animal Dreaming Oracle Cards. The cards come with a guidebook that tells you the message of the cards. Today I drew the Possum card, Opportunity.

The guidebook states that "Possum inspires us to see opportunity in any condition and to productively harness all opportunities to our best advantage; to gently ride on the back of any circumstantial generosity afforded us until we are comfortably established, after which retreat should be executed in an honourable and discreet manner. ... If Possum has ambled into your cards today, you are being asked to remember who you are and what agreements you made with yourself before commencing your Earth Walk. What did you want to achieve? Where did you see yourself ultimately?"

Hmmmm.... interesting! Taking advantage of the opportunity! So, what opportunities do I have at the moment? Freedom! I'm unemployed and able to take advantage of some freedoms to explore what I want to do! I also have freedoms that I had wished for when I was working, to write and learn. Remembering who I am! Yes! That absolutely speaks to me! I used to see myself as a teacher, a leader. I also saw myself as a writer. So, maybe, for the time being, I need to take advantage of my situation to explore how I can do these things, perhaps for monetary gain even!

I do believe I'm beginning to see how I can enjoy this "job hunting" time of my life! Until next time...


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Vision Board for January

So, I finally got my vision board done! Yay!! Ok, here's what's behind all of this. One of the websites I like had a monthly vision board thingy that they do. (ok, it's a life coach's site and it's a project that her clients do.. you can find here at So, I am hoping make one per month.

I decided my first one would be about work since I'm currently job hunting. The goal of a vision board is to help you focus on what you want and envision it for yourself. This works on the principle that if you can envision it for yourself, your unconscious self will bring about your desire. Or it can be likened to prayer or spell casting... only visual. I find vision boards to be very difficult, mainly because I have so many different things I like that it's hard to keep them focused. Plus, I found when doing this one that I struggled between allowing my feelings to dictate what I did and making it "logical". It's not unusual for my emotional and logical sides to conflict. :)

So, first I got out the materials needed. I had intended on doing something on canvas but my mod podge was all dried out. :( I didn't want to use white glue and rubber cement seemed like overkill. So, I grabbed my big sheet of poster board that I had bought a long time ago for this project. It was covered with dust! (Ah, well... we won't talk about dust).

I cut the poster board into 4ths because, doing this monthly, I didn't want huge sheets of these boards! Here's a pic of my materials...

Ok, then I started cutting out images and words that I liked. I was going to take pics of my "in progress" but got caught up with the project and forgot. I assume if you ever went to Kindergarten, you know how to cut and paste. I used a crafters glue stick (which, was partly dried out... I think it's time to look at my craft supplies!) to glue these on. Nothing fancy!

So, what did I discover? First, it's pretty hard to find work related stuff in the magazines I had! But, I think it was interesting. I started out thinking about all the things that go into being a clinician... all business-like. But, ended up with some very interesting and unusual pictures! So, first the words. Most are pretty "touchy feely" and social work oriented. My past job got me feeling very incompetent. I questioned myself and struggled a lot. So feeding confidence, believing in myself and being stress free were obvious choices. I picked the mind, body, spirit because I work in a holistic manner. Our minds, body's and spirits are interconnected. I picked "Awaken to your Purpose" because it felt to me that I need to figure out my path in my work life... where do I want to go? I obviously want to be "in the know". At my last job I always felt like I was somehow a half step behind. I picked "financial balance" because I would like to make more money but it has to be balanced. It's no good to make lots of money but lose our on all the other things! And last words were "Fit in. Stand out". Seems pretty self-explanatory.

Now, the pictures are the really interesting part. The center picture in pink was actually linked to an article on vision boarding! I liked it because it shows imagining your path and then drawing it to you. That's the point! I then found the picture of the people sharing a present in the upper right hand corner. This reminded me of the human connection and emotion involved in my profession. The writer directly below that reminded me that I would like to move towards writing, teaching or both. Those are my passions. I chose the lady looking through the binoculars because it reminded me to look forward to what is ahead. Yes, I need to be "in the moment" as well but it's ok to dream and embrace the future too! The heart stands for caring for others. (more touchy-feely stuff!). The candles were very peaceful to me and represented that I want my job to give me inner peace and also allow my own light to show. The last picture is of a fairy and that reminded me that I want my job to have a sense of fun and creativity. How that will happen... I don't know yet!

So, there you have it! My first vision board! I need to sit with it and meditate on it more for it to speak to me. One thing I did when looking for pictures is to focus on what leapt out to me! Allowing my unconscious to help decide what would go on here. So, figuring it out more will definitely require some absorption of the collage!
If anyone else decides to do one, I'd love to see it! Until next time...

Blessed Be!

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Hair Cut!

Ok, part of what I want to do with this blog is explore fashion. I'm a plus sized gal and I want to show that we can be as fashionable as anyone! Now, sometimes I do get into a rut or in a mental state where I just don't bother much... but, overall I do enjoy dressing nicely!

So, without further ado.... I got my hair done today. Here is a pic of what I wore to get my hair styled (and of my new hairdo!)

I know that fashion blogs tell you where they got their clothes... so here goes my try...

White long sleeved T-shirt-- Lane Bryant outlet
Green flowered shirt -- Torrid (my first purchase from them... LOVE it!!)
Belt-- also Torrid
Jeans- Lane Bryant Outlet
Necklace-- Just a chain necklace... had it for years  ??

So there you go! What do you think??


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Being Human

Sometimes, even with your best effort, you just screw things up. That's life folks! That's part of being human. 

What am I talking about? Well, I have had some issues in the past year and half that have caused me to do some deep soul searching and stretched me to the end. You see, I blurred the line between personal and professional life with some of my colleagues. I trusted and befriended someone I shouldn't have. And it did not turn out well. I thought the friendship was mutual. It was not. I was exploited instead. As a social worker, my clients seem to think that I have a perfect life. I had one client tell me that she wished she was as "together as you are". HA! The truth is that I am human. I do stupid things. I try to make things better and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Real person.... real world. 

Unfortunately, my attempt at correcting the situation resulted in betrayal (mine), deep hurt (mine again), and a very stressed work environment. Did I handle this with grace? Did I say the correct "social workey" thing to make it right? Not exactly. I spent an afternoon in my office sobbing... and many off duty hours as well. I struggled with my emotions. I became angry at my colleague and at myself.... Hooo boy! Was I ever angry! Why couldn't I just suck it up? Why did I have to cry everytime I thought about the situation? Wasn't I strong enough? Answer... sometimes you just need to cry and feel pain. That's how you get over things. And sometimes you have to get angry! And, although there were others who didn't understand and even thought there was something wrong with me, I know that I handled the hurt and subsequent loss of a significant relationship the best way I could have!

I spent a great deal of time questioning myself... questioning my decisions, who I could or could not trust, my career... and yes, even my sanity. It was not a good place to be. I was targeted by some at work and things I said, ended up getting twisted around. It felt like I was suddenly in a majorly dysfunctional family... my work family that is. I felt abused and powerless. And then one day I said to myself, "I'm not going to take this anymore!" I had done nothing wrong, except befriend the wrong person. I didn't owe anyone an explanation for my life, choices, or feelings! I was done being the victim. 

In the end I have had to move on from that place and those people. But, there was something significant in that entire chunk of my life. First, I stayed at a place where it was uncomfortable and faced my fears. Fears that others were talking about me behind my back (they were). Fears that they thought I was a bit crazy (I might have been!). Fears that if others knew the real me, all of the subtle nuances that make me... well, me, they couldn't possibly like me!  And if they didn't like me, then it meant that I was somehow not a good enough person. But, guess what. I stayed and faced the people causing me pain. I stayed and redirected my energy into my work. Some thought I was a bit crazy. Some didn't like me anymore. But, that didn't destroy me like I thought it would. Yes, it was hard. But, it was also a learning experience. I learned that I didn't have to rely on others to determine my sense of worth. I learned that sometimes relationships don't go as we would like them to. I learned to trust myself and my own decisions. I learned that others are also unsure, despite the fact that they come off differently. I learned that people are people... nothing more. Nothing less. 

I have become more self-assured and more loving towards myself than I was. Sure, I still want to live a perfect life... I want to be liked. I want to come across as competent. I want to have great relationships. But when that doesn't happen... as inevitably it will not at some point.... I am more forgiving towards myself. When family members let me down or when I don't react to them in a "therapeutic" way, that's only because we are human. Once my step-mother told me that she thought I shouldn't even be a counselor because I had a bad argument with another family member. I did not take the "high road" but let my anger carry me away. But, she is wrong! I am not a counselor to my family. I am intricately, emotionally and physically connected to family in a way that is not present in my counseling relationships. There is no way that I can be un-biased. It is ridiculous to expect me to stay "in character" during a family argument. I am ok with her assumption that I should somehow be better because I know that being myself, being human, is the best that I can be. I can work on improvement but in the end, I am just me. Flaws and all! 

Be yourself and reflect on the times in your life when you have felt let down by others. Learn to take challenging times as learning opportunities.... even if the lesson is just to be more compassionate... to others... to yourself.

Blessed Be