SPEAK YOUR TRUTH

Dear Strong Woman,

When people ask you how you are doing, do you answer honestly or comfortably?

I’ll come clean: I’ve been telling half-truths, tip-toeing on the edge of my comfort zone for fear of sounding braggy or being labeled as inconsiderate.

The truth? Things are GOOD.

They’re so good I have been reluctant to say so because I know we are not all in the same boat, pandemic or not. But bringing attention to what’s happening with me feels…selfish.

And that’s because it is!…which is the point of this share. Creating the space to celebrate that I made some uncomfortable moves, some unreasonable declarations for my life, and am blooming in spite of the circumstances in front of us. Toot toot!

So here are my recent wins:
• I’m getting 8 hours of sleep on average for the first time in decades.
• Creating home-cooked meals on the regular has been cathartic. It is now and will continue to be my new normal.
• My business has doubled.
 • My pups are getting the love and attention I always wished I could give them, especially considering my recent hospital scare with Juno.
• I’ve done all of this the last six weeks while sharing my little studio apt with my new beau, and we have been belly laughing on the regular.

I created this.

I created this and skipping the celebration of it would take away the opportunity to be in awe of what became possible when I took responsibility for my life. That is some awesome power to get present to!

If you’re holding back from saying what’s true for you – good or bad! – notice how uncomfortable you’re choosing to remain in order to prevent someone else’s discomfort. Remember, sis – you are not required to shrink yourself down in order to put those around you at ease.

Speak your truth.

Both

Dear Strong Woman,

First of all, imma do both.
 
I bought this dress today as a symbolic representation of the problem with being me.
 
 
(And I’m not talking about the problem of what shoes to wear with this thing.)
 
What I really mean is that limiting belief I have that has me holding myself back; two characteristics of my personality that I think just can not exist at the same time; the two traits that, if I were to step into then both simultaneously, would likely create a lot of awesomeness in my life.
 
For me, it’s been a choice between being bold and embodying grace.
 
It shows up like me biting my tongue to keep the peace, and focusing the attention on others rather than on myself. Then my bold side retaliates and says the thing, only now with a hella hefty helping of resentment because I waited too long. It’s me quitting jobs, relationships, and projects because I shove down the inkling to have a bold conversation before it becomes more than I can handle. I escape, start fresh, and the cycle continues.
 
Today I’m choosing both. I’m choosing to TRUST that I can embody both grace and the audacity to do or say something that may be completely unreasonable, and not have the world – MY world – come tumbling down.
 
I can challenge a client from partnership, not make wrong.
I can give tough love to my brother from compassion, not disappointment.
I can share my take on the matter from communion, not proving.
I can stand my ground from love, not fear.
 
I can tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they enjoy the ride.
 
I saw all of that represented when I looked at myself in the mirror wearing this dress. I knew I had to buy it because the awareness had me second guessing myself. Can I pull this off? (“This” clearly meaning so much more than the dress.)
 
I can.
 
I can and I will.
 
 
 
 
 
But seriously, what shoes?

NEW

Dear Strong Woman,

Old ways won’t open new doors.

I’ve been working on a new entry for weeks.  It’s about how I wore shoes that were both cute and too small and how the pain I experienced in my feet is similar to the ways our souls feel pain when we shrink ourselves down for the sake of appearances in relationships.  (Takes a breath.) . It was witty and heartfelt and vulnerable…and laced with self-judgment for the way it’s gone for me in that arena.

So I scrapped it.  I scrapped it because I’m done with that past-based, back-door “I should’ve known better” trap.  Looking to the past to assess patterns in an effort to interrupt them moving forward?  I’m all for it.  But going back there to dig up all of the evidence as to why I am a silly, naive girl who never learns?

I’m not available for that anymore.   

I believe I took a step in breaking up that pattern by choosing to share this here thing I wrote in seven minutes versus the story I’ve been writing for almost two weeks.  It wasn’t hard.  It wasn’t emotional.  It was simply a choice.

Maybe there are more spur-of-the-moment shares like this to come from me.  Maybe more spontaneous decisions in general.  

A voice in my head says, “Yeah, and maybe more living, too.”

I’m not sure where to end this so I’ll end it there.  I’m also not sure if you got anything out of this, and yet I’m more present to what I got of this right now.  I suppose the gift of writing is found more in the process than the final product. 

(There.  You can pull an “enjoy the journey” zinger from that.  My work here is done.)

WAGGING TAILS

Dear Strong Woman,

Love is a four-legged word.

I broke down crying while sitting on the floor folding laundry last night. What? Not your idea of an exciting Saturday evening?

I went to grab a shirt to fold and found my Muzz laying on top of it. It’s a scene that’s frequented the past almost nine years now. Different clothes. Different floors. Same snoring pup making sure he’s right next to me.

I got present to how much we’ve been through in that time. New apartments, breakups, job changes, death. No matter the roller coaster or roller coaster of emotion, this furball has been my constant. I became overwhelmed with gratitude, which is when the tears came in.

We’ve been talking about relationships in my coach training and it’s hit me how alone I feel at times. It’s hit me harder how much I perpetuate that. I’ve cut out family,  friends, and previous colleagues from my life in an effort to protect my energy, with this conspicuous undertone of something being wrong with them. But as this pattern has continued to repeat itself over the years, I can’t deny the common denominator: me.

Being responsible and putting down the victim-mentality means it’s time for a gut check. I’ve been cutting others out to protect my energy, but at the root it’s because I couldn’t deal with the heartbreak of repeated rejection. I let it make me feel less than, and eventually I shrink smaller and smaller until I stop showing up all together.

This pup of mine doesn’t follow my lead. He doesn’t care if I’m late to feed him or haven’t walked him enough or am behind on his belly rub quota. He shows up with that same wagging tail every damn time and brings nothing but love.

I’ve practicing embodying his essence when I’m in the face of heartbreak, bringing a wagging tail (metaphorically) in place of a wagging finger.  Not because I’m looking to fix something about the people I care about, but because I’m choosing to stand for what could be by showing up as love and love alone.  That doesn’t mean loved ones will be ready to consider my point of view on things as anything other than ridiculous, childish, a threat, etc.  It doesn’t mean my plea for a deeper conversation will be well-received or even heard. It doesn’t mean I’ll feel less heartbreak.

It means I’m staying on the court when I want to tap out.  It means I’m showing up as me on full blast with less and less need for validation from others. It means I’m remaining in the essence of who I am rather than letting fear drive my decisions and take me out of the game.

When I do this, when I choose from love…I know there’s a hell of a lot more pawsibility present.  I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know there’s still a chance of something happening because I’m keeping that door open rather than slamming it shut.

Consider this in your own life.  In which relationships have you stopped showing up with a wagging tail, and done so because of something they need to do differently? What could be possible if you came from love each and every time? What impact would this have on you, on others, and on the world at large?

Share with me in a comment on this post, or feel free to connect with me privately: dearstrongwoman@gmail.com

FACTS

Dear Strong Woman,

Focus on the facts.

I had frustrating pool session this week. (Quick catch-up: I’ve been taking swimming lessons the past few weeks.  I signed up to do a triathlon with my Strong Man this September and I really don’t want to drown.  I also really want to keep dating him, which is why I’m having someone other than him teach me.)

Nothing was working.  I forgot everything I’d learned.  I was clunky in the water.  My breathing was out of wack.  I wanted to quit.  I considered cancelling my upcoming lesson due to my regress rather than progress.  The thought of actually completing the (open-water Atlantic Ocean) swim part of this race became more and more of a pipe dream in my head.

And then it hit me.

OF COURSE this swim was a shit show: I hadn’t been in the pool in five days.

I do this all the time…expect performance without putting in the practice. Last night we split a tray of Grand’s biscuits for dinner, and I still got pissed when I saw the scale moved in the opposite direction this morning.  What is that?!

I think as humans it’s natural for us to let our emotions drive the bus.  That’s why we often don’t do the work that’ll get us closer toward our goals – we don’t feel like it!  And when we don’t see any signs of progress, we let emotion make it a big friggin’ deal. 

It’s too hard.
I’ve just got a lot going on right now. 
Easy for YOU to say.
I’m just not wired that way. 
Those things don’t ever work for me. 

You don’t know me!

But if we focus only on the facts, on what IS rather than what we’re letting it all mean, it deflates that drama cloud.  We go from OH MY GOD LIFE IS SO HARD to Hmmm. How about that.

Shift the way you look at things and the things you look at change, right? Pinterest has a point, friends.

Our best decisions are often what we choose not to get involved with…like our own bullshit stories. 😉

Practice, practice, practice.