Friday, January 27, 2012

Two Things Only

"Love yourself---"

"....Follow your heart. We already know, Mom," the boys yell as they hop out of the car to begin their school day.

I know they don't really know, but maybe I'm planting seeds. And growing to really know, well that's one of those gold mines I'm hoping my kids discover while they're young.

Do you remember your merry-go-round days? "Faster, faster, faster!" I always wanted to go faster.  I was starting to lose my grip, stability being lost in that mounding blur, yet there I was yelling, "Faster, faster, faster." And when I finally did want to get off, I just had to sit and wait until it completely stopped because I had no grounding. I had no focus. I was subject to the merry-go-round.

I came from a home with two parents who loved me and provided for my needs and supported me in a lot of my interests. And  I always liked jumping from one interest  to another, ready for the next best thing, slow to let any one thing capture my attention for too long. When I turned 13 {did I even make it to 13!}, I stepped foot  on that merry-go-round;  a ride that started out with a smile from ear-to-ear, nervously gripping the bars in anticipation for the speed to pick up. I looked for excitement. I looked for new friends.  I pushed perimeters to way outside my parents' comfort zone and then felt my blood fill with adrenaline as I chose to still cross them. It was a rush. As the rush filled my head, inducing a fog, I always found myself yelling, "Faster. Faster. Faster." With the increasing speed and the blurred scenery, I searched for some stability at this new-found pace. I found my focal point in one thing....having fun. I disregarded rules, boundaries, expectations. Fun was the core factor for making decisions. And I was willing to achieve it at whatever cost. Even if the cost was me. The ride picked up, and I could see nothing in front of me. I had no gauge of where I was going, I was insanely lost in the repetitive circles and yet continued yelling, "Faster, faster, faster." But the intensity was unsustainable and there were times when I wanted to get off, when nausea consumed me and I was sick of the ride. I was sick of the speed. I was sick of it all. But there was no stopping point, it just kept going in infinite circles. As time went on, my voice lost strength, and what escaped out of my mouth- "faster, faster, faster", was barely audible. Until it was silence. The merry-go-round was finally stopping. I could finally get off.

But what inevitably happens after the dismount of a crazy merry-go-round ride? To parents delight, kids stumble around, reaching for something to grab on, searching for stability, and often times are only met with failure in those attempts as they fall to the ground in a dizzy mess. And my dismount looked no different. I clumsily stepped off and was thrown to the ground.

The irony in these rides, is the pain. When it sets in. The ride itself that takes place at whirlwind speeds, and steals your vision and your stomach and your head..... somehow it's bearable. It's as if it's going sooooo fast that it defies reality, puts you out of its reach, shelters  your vulnerability  under a million band-aids. But when you dismount, when the ride is all over- that's when the pain finds every nerve ending, where the loneliness fills every unoccupied molecule, where the band-aids are ripped off without apology, and the hurt pierces. It's the stillness that is by far the most painful.

I desired more than anything to be a trusted, dependable, caring, nice, GOOD person.  That is why I chose to stop the merry-go-round. I had higher aims, I had dreams, I had intentions. I was sick to my stomach as I lay on the ground and groped for someone, something  to cling onto, to hold me up. But I had put all my value in 'having fun', and when I reached out, there was nothing sustainable there.  I had to start over, completely over. From square 1.

And I felt myself laying on the ground for a long time, grasping my stomach not knowing whether or not I was going to throw-up. Because starting over is a lot like that. Feeling like a stranger in your own body, strange emotions pushing and pulling from every angle- but feeling that at a stationary position where there's no speed to mask it all. I was just left to deal. And I was committed  to do that, to not give into the temptation to get back on the ride and avoid the pain.  I was clawing my way forward, building my stability one lesson at a time. I was clawing my way forward, even when I slipped down a little bit. I was clawing my way forward, even when I couldn't quite remember why. Yes, I felt myself laying on the ground for a long time. Of course I was. Because what I hadn't known when I decided to go on the merry-go-round was the admission price- I sold  my self worth and my heart for entry. A steep price for a ride. I didn't know the price. I couldn't have known the price.

But now I know intimately the value of what I so cheaply gave away. Because I have earned it back. After years of soul-searching,  through trial and error, through failing and persisting, I found a break though. At a time in my life when it was least expected- when I was once again knocked down to the ground when I tried to stand up-..... it all came together and made sense. I felt something I had never recognized  before......I loved myself. A lot. The good, the bad, the ugly. But mostly the GOOD.  I felt the weight lifted of worrying what other's thought of me. It didn't matter.........because I loved myself. That was the key. The realization of which led me to my map for so many life heart. That little voice I pushed away as a young teenager, it held so many answers. It was my fiercest defender, my most intimate friend, my most passionate supporter. And here at 30 years old, I was ready to listen. Those two principles- loving myself and listening to my heart- were the final healing pieces that gave me the strength I'd been looking for to  get up off the ground and walk again.

And when these truths were mine- the treasures that had evaded me on my search for happiness-the symbolic parting of clouds happened, and the sun pushed its way through, and the angels stood on either sides. Cheesy? Absolutely. But after years of battling inner-turmoil, I don't shy away from cheesy at all. Because I had found the ending treasure. After all these years of searching, and clawing, and battling.......I won. And sun feels much better than clouds any day of the week. I LOVED MYSELF!

My mission as a mom is to prepare these kids for life, to help them be aware of what will really bring them happiness and stability and answers in an absolutely chaotic journey. We're all reaching out to latch on to something that will help us survive. I subconsciously latched onto fun. But I want my kids to consciously latch on to something more dependable. These principles- these timeless, definite, appropriate- for -every -circumstance principles whether you're 5, 15, or 50- well, they hold a lot of weight to me, hence the desire to remind them- and each person reading this- til I'm blue in the face.

"Love yourself--"

"....Follow your heart. We already know, Mom." 


  1. Gosh, all the imagery in here actually made me start to feel a little sick to my stomach as I was reading it, intense journey.....

  2. My kids hear, "You're a smart kid. Make good choices." each day when they exit the car. I don't care if they're sick of it. I mean it and I need them to know it. Our seeds are growing together mama.

  3. LOVED this post Gay! Absolutely loved it. I always try and make some kind of sense in my brain why I was the way I was at that age, and that sums it up perfectly. It just really hit home. You're a brilliant writer! Xoxo

  4. Gay, I look forward to every post! Thanks so much for sharing this. You've definitely given me some things to think about.
    Ally Z

  5. Love reading all your posts. You are an amazing writer, person & most importantly an amazing mother. Yosh & your boys are lucky to have you... and I am lucky to call you my friend.

    Learning to truly love yourself will be a life long battle for me (I think). This post was the best reminder though.


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