We’ve awakened to a new day. Trust that you can walk on whatever path is in front of you even if it feels like a side road or detour. It’s your path so don’t be afraid of it. No one is waiting at the end with a timer telling you that you were too slow. Put one foot in front of the other. Do the next right thing. And then the next. And then the next.
Remember that life is sacred so don’t rush, just walk and don’t forget to breathe darlin’.
Oh sweet mercies the roads I have traveled these last two years.
Ups and downs.
Joys and disappointments.
I will say this isn’t my usual kind of post. At least not of late. Not that I’ve posted much lately, but you know. I meant to. Being distracted by a side dish of crazy makes it really difficult to write anything that matters.
Yes, you read that right. I haven’t been writing because I got distracted by my own crazy. I can’t write that so and so will be upset. I can’t write about this because that will upset someone else. I can’t write about….
I’m in a new writer’s group and it’s time to break this cycle, take off my water wings and swim again.
There are also some things you should know about me if you are new around here: I cuss some times, I’ve been known to drink whiskey on occasion and while I’m considered a bleeding heart liberal here in the bible belt, the truth is I’m really more of a moderate. I do love horses and cycling, I’m just banned from both until my broken leg finishes healing. I love rockin open comedy mics, I play banjo for fun and believe it or not, I am really happy you are here.
I’m not going to tell you how to get everyone to like you (you can’t) or how to be a better Lutheran, I left the Lutheran church three years ago, which is when this whole mess started so you know. I’m not even going to tell you how to be a better wife. As for gardening, well… that’s what nurseries are for so go find a master gardener and have a ball.
I want to have fun writing again. So this is just me raw, mildly edited and hopefully offering a side dish of humor.
I’ve been through a lot of changes over the last few years. Some great, some notsomuch, but changes all the same.
I am going to tell you the cold hard truth that some people won’t be happy with your changes, your choices, or even your hair. And I am here to tell you that you will not die from that. And I know that because I didn’t.
I’m writing this because there are several of us in my new writing group who have faced this same dilemma. They feel alone like I once did. Together we are sharing our stories in hopes they find their way to other women like us. The hope is to be an encouragement for those who are afraid they are too much. Too loud. Too smart. Too outside of the lines for humanity.
We aren’t lone rangers. We are women who care about other women. May our strength become yours.
My blog did great in 2012 and then something unthinkable happened. The very people I believed would be excited for me, weren’t and I got upset by that. Not just a little upset either. Think literally shake whenever I met someone new upset. Super sweet oh please be my new best friend, upset. Mad at you to the point I thought my skull would burst and still not say a word about it so that you will still like me upset. Obsess over every nuance, phrase or contact to see where I stand on everyone’s “HOW MUCH I LIKE DEANA TODAY” Chart upset.
We are talking full frontal crazy my friends.
There were those who told me I needed to repent of all this dreaming about writing a book and doing stand up comedy and just go back to being small so that they could be comfortable with their own choices. I hate to admit it, but I may very well have given in to the pressure at least for a little while. I lost my voice. I got scared. I almost let my blog die and clung instead to the tattered shreds of their garments hoping they’d like me again. It was nauseating.
I didn’t even realize it was jealousy. I started thinking that maybe I really did deserve being the one to bring cookies to funerals and nothing more. Maybe they were right. Maybe that was the only thing I really deserved. After all, I must be an awful person if they are reacting so violently.
I even considered releasing my first book under a pseudonym so that I wouldn’t lose any more friends. Or worse, not writing it at all.
I wish I could change those two years, but I can’t. All I can do is learn from it and move on.
It never occurred to me that jealousy was behind it all. Not once. Here’s the deal, there will be people who will be jealous of you. Impossible you say? Nope. Gonna happen so get ready.
Someone finally put it this way. You put a bunch of male lobsters in a pot of boiling water and they will help each other climb out. Put a bunch of female lobsters in a pot, they’ll pull each other back in. Don’t get pulled back in!
Yes we’re taught to play nice and be relational, but the truth is you can’t nice jealousy away. Allowing another person’s opinion of you to become your problem is no solution.
Let it go, trust your gut and follow your heart.
Do you remember that comedy judge who called bullshit on my set two years ago saying “if this is what you believe about yourself, someone lied to you.” and then told me to go find the real me and bring it next year? Yeah well — turns he was right. I did believe those things and someone DID lie.
The biggest lie I remember being told – It’s your fault if other women reject you.
Can I tell you a secret?
My Facebook friends list used to include women I know hate me. Crazy right? Do you know why? I thought if they got to know me — the “real” me (as if FB is ever real) and saw all the stuff my husband and I did, they might eventually like me.
You know what?
What a colossal waste of my time.
If I knew then what I know now I’d tell you to hang in there. It gets better. I promise. I hung in there long enough to learn that not all women are petty and fearful and rejection isn’t always caused by anything I did or didn’t do. Being uber sweet and playing small won’t help. Let’s face it, I bet there are women out there that hate Maryann from Gilligan’s Island. Even Ginger was jealous of her – remember that? Now who hates Maryann? People do.
Sometimes rejection is 100% about the insecurity of the other woman. There are women who see someone they deem beautiful and the walls instantly go up and the teeth come out.
I remember being blindsided by a cat fight a many years ago while getting ready to sing in a local presentation of The Messiah. It was my first year, and I was afraid.
“Oh wow a leopard print dress in The Messiah, how appropriate.”
“It’s not leopard, it’s wood grain. My friend made it for me.”
Insert eye roll and huff as she walks away.
All I remember about her is she was a pastor’s wife and a friend of a friend. She’d been at the same retreats I had. I liked her right up until that moment.
This was right before we headed upstairs to start the program. I started hyperventilating and someone grabbed my hand and stood there with me until I caught my breath. Not that his fiance’ appreciated that either though. Even so, I didn’t care and I was thankful for the kindness.
See the problem is, I didn’t realize yet that I hadn’t done anything wrong.
It would be wonderful if I could tell you I was in high school when this happened. I wasn’t. I was 34 and miss indignant was in her 40’s.
So here’s the deal girlfriend. Being nice isn’t going to fix this.You can’t nice someone out of jealousy. I know because I’ve tried. It makes you look icky. Really it does. That plus it’s just pathetic.
Catty women know no age limit and I want you to remember something. The right women will like you no matter what so to hell with the catty and insecure ones who need you to play small.
Did you hear me?
I know that sounds harsh — and it sounds harsh because you are still hanging onto the false hope that the woman who gives you grief, who bullies you, lies about you, whatever will finally like you if you just try hard enough. I’m ripping that band aid of denial right off of your heart. I do know the more spiritual answer is to let them go with love and leave them to God. That’s great but I know you. I know me. If we sugar coat this, we’ll have the false hope that they’ll come to their senses.
It’s just not going to happen. Let’s accept that and move on.
Put this on your refrigerator if you have to.
You are beautiful.
You are smart.
You are brave.
You are a child of God.
You do not have to play small around women who matter. The right women will encourage you to grow bigger and stronger along with them. Trust me on this.
Print this picture out and post it on your bathroom mirror. You are beautiful. Own it like you mean it. Be brave sweet girl.
Unless we know how to be alone on purpose, not in a runaway alone, but an intentional pilgrimage, we’ll never learn how to be with people.
That’s why I wrote yesterday’s post. Not everyone knows how to be alone. I thought I did. I used to look forward to my days at the lake – until they spread out to over 200 of them. That’s when I discovered that I have a limit for alone.
That’s okay. We are created for relationship. We aren’t created to stand alone. One aides the other, but one should never exclude the other.
I admitted something yesterday that is really taboo in my circles. I admitted that I don’t always like myself. Everyone goes through seasons like that, but not everyone admits it really. We’d rather hide behind an all’s well mask.
I’m not much for hiding really.
Unless I want to, and then I’m killer at it.
I’ve shared many things over the years with you guys. We’ve talked about fear, about courage, about death, about being tired. I’ve even shared stories about things I’d just as soon forget, like the *real reason I hate being called “darlin'” (see bottom of post) and about my past experience with depression.
I do want to clarify, I am not using soul-tired and depressed interchangeably. They mean two different things to me.
I’ve been depressed, I know that black night of the soul. It sucks.
Thankfully, I’m not there today. But if I’m not careful, soul-tired can become soul-sick very easily. It’s a slippery slope really.
What I honestly didn’t realize, before heading on this adventure is how tired I really was last fall. I slept the first three weeks I was here and blamed it on the surgery.
That wasn’t the problem.
I had some big emotional items on my plate. Things I don’t share here because it would harm others. But trust me, just because I don’t share them does not mean they aren’t real. They are very real and they weighed on me because I confused myself with Atlas and thought it was my job to carry it all on my shoulders.
I’m kind of egotistical like that.
I had pushed myself beyond my limits and did not do the things I know to do to stay above water.
Now it’s true, life is not without it’s problems and we can’t always escape them. We do however have choices and can take right action to help ourselves.
The first thing we need to do is not be victim of this guy:
They didn’t even know they had trouble until he came along. And the truth is they didn’t have trouble – he just wanted to sell some musical instruments. He had a motive, and an agenda to create a FEAR BASED need. The town bought it, hook line sinker and tackle box.
That happens today – just look at Facebook or Twitter, MSNBC or Fox News — Town Criers everyone proclaiming trouble. Turn it off once in a while. Use discernment.
If you’ll recall, I posted a bit of an emancipation proclamation a few days ago – the whole Best Friend or worst enemy thing. I’ve had to consciously remove myself from manipulative circumstances for my own sanity — that’s a sign of health. I’m no longer willing to blindly follow fear based leaders.
Charisma is a turn off to me today.
As are threats of abandonment — do this or I’ll leave. Okay. Leave.
Cold? Maybe, but not really. It’s the most loving thing I can do for both of us today. Took me years to learn that.
I have HUGE attachment/abandonment issues. I’ve spent the past 200 or so days facing them. You know what I learned? They aren’t that hairy after all.
Other things I didn’t do during my Let’s go out and conquer 2013:
1. I didn’t exercise. Oh sure, I planned for it, wrote about it, bought things and signed up for clubs, but I never pulled the trigger. Exercise is important. It released endorphins and gives oxygen to the brain. Yes, I got injured, but I spent so much time staring at closed doors (Cycling) that I didn’t look for new doors.
2. I didn’t face my problems head on. That’s not like me. I’m a deal with it now and get over it kind of woman. I value my relationships. The trouble is, fear kicked in. I’d done such a great job (tongue in cheek) cleaning house in 2012, I found myself not wanting to rock the boat in 2013. That made me dishonest. I hate dishonesty. That hurt some very important, to me, relationships. Rather than honestly deal with issues, I internalized them and created a wedge with more than one person.
3. I cut off my spiritual arm to spite my face. I had my mentoring group and we studied scripture and whatnot, but that is not the same as being in fellowship with other Christians. I wasn’t even reading my bible if it didn’t pertain to my classes. I let my well run dry. That made me thirsty.
4. I caught myself wanting things that I didn’t have instead of being thankful for the things I did. I started filling up a spiritual void with junk food. Wrong relationships, wrong motives, wrong everything really. Wishful thinking replaced right action mostly,
While it is true that I didn’t necessarily do something permanently stupid just because I was temporarily upset, I did hurt myself with my own unrealistic expectations of how it was supposed to be.
I refused to own my feelings. Or my thoughts. Every time something unpleasant bubbled up in my life – whether a relational conflict, or a fear, or hurt, or anger, I stuffed it and got busy doing more. The conflicts went unresolved.
I was alone long before I came out here because I’d already gone inward and withdrawn into myself.
The one thing I’ve wanted most in this life after kids is to live an authentic life.
Authentic lives are messy. They involve people. And before I can fully introduce myself to that equation, I have to deal with me first. And that is why I’m here.
*There are people in my life today who are allowed to call me Darlin’. They’ve earned that right. They are what Henry Townsend calls Safe People. They know that trust is earned and are gentle in the earning process. They tell the truth in love. (they call me on my bull) While they don’t always like me, they do express a kind of love that is endearing. They have boundaries and they respect mine. They give me a chance to make amends when needed and they own their own side of the sidewalk. Always a good sign.
So, dear readers — have you ever gone into the wilderness of alone, whether on purpose or out of necessity? Would you like to share something you learned?
‘Look Up’ is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone.
Written, Performed & Directed by Gary Turk.
Featuring Louise Ludlam & Stuart Darnley. Original score by New Desert Blues. Sound engineering by Daniel Cobb. Filmed and edited by Gary Turk.
Sometimes, when I’m being honest with myself, I have this secret fear that I am not enough. Did you know that? No matter how hard I strive to control or contain reality, I get afraid.
Doc had to break my leg in order to make it whole again. That didn’t seem right to me and yet, because of my pain, I allowed it. I’m tired of limping. Tired of hiding my injury. Tired of staring at the ground when I walk so that I don’t accidentally trip and fall. Again.
Funny how that happens. Pain drives us sometimes. Sooner or later though, hopefully, we get tired of the pain and become willing to do whatever it takes to make it go away. This was really no different. I knew it meant being down for almost six months and frankly I was so tired, I really didn’t care.
Jeff came with me for the first two weeks, making sure that I followed the doctor’s orders by staying off my feet. Major surgery takes a lot out of you. Having your tibia broken in half, shifted, and new bone grafted in hurts. A lot really. I couldn’t be alone. At least not at first. And he, being my husband wouldn’t dream of leaving me to care for myself until he knows I am capable.
Fall has just come to the cove when I begin my recovery. The trees still have leaves on them and they are just beginning to turn. The weather is still pleasantly warm. There was a gentle breeze off the water and I spend the first six weeks of my recovery resting on the front porch with my leg up as the doctor ordered.
I watch the pelicans and ducks play across the cove chasing shad and each other back and forth every morning before settling in together. The cows from across the way come down for their morning drink and some mornings, if I am really still, deer come down as well.
In six weeks, I read four books, write five chapters of my own book, play banjo till my fingers bleed, and watch the leaves turn from green to bright yellow and then fall away, leaving my trees barren against the sky. Geese come and go their migratory way. So do the monarch.
A full season comes and goes. I witness all of it. Unhurried. No deadlines. No boundaries. No striving. No fear. Just being present as summer takes its last breath and fall prepares a covering for winter’s slumber.
Caught now in winter with Christmas behind me and full recovery only weeks away, I miss my front porch. The tightness in my chest is returning. I find myself planning my next bike ride, my next horseback ride, my next comedy show, my next banjo lesson. Everything that I think defines me is just out of my reach.
My thoughts, fears and worries that I left behind sometimes sneak out from under my bed while I’m asleep and scare me awake.
“You’ll never ride with the Diva’s. You’re a full season behind. They started training last year. You can’t keep up.”
“What if you fall off the horse? You’ll break your leg again, worse than it was before. What then?”
“Your banjo teacher will never take you back you know. His schedule is probably full. Besides, even if it isn’t, do you honestly think all of that time you spent practicing will be enough?”
“Do you really think people will remember you after taking six months off? There are plenty of comics in Tulsa who’ve been gaining a ton of stage time while you are gone. No one will remember you. You’re rusty now.”
“And what about that book you are writing? I mean seriously who are you kidding?”
If I’m being honest, sometimes I give in to the fears. I get up and go downstairs, pour myself a drink and light a cigarette in my garage and let them have their way with me.
Other times, I close my eyes and remember that summer ended, fall bloomed and passed, birds played, cattle lowed, coyotes yipped, wolves howled at the moon, (yes there are wolves in my cove) pelicans fished, and the monarchs continued on their way all while I sat as nothing more than a witness on my porch. And it was enough.
How often can we say that?
Come what ever may be as the result of my hiatus, life will continue with or without my help.
Perhaps I should follow winter’s example. The world is asleep. Spring is three months away. I’m only half way through my hiatus. I have time.
Now is not the time to let fear whisper to me like a thief in the night.
I have another season to bear witness to, Winter has lessons to teach but only if I’m willing to learn. It too will come and pass without my striving.
Another season without riding, without horses, without music lessons, without running the show – only me as a witness, nothing more, nothing less – a chance to rest and learn that even without my trappings, I am enough. May it be so.
This is my last resolve quote. I’ve sat on it for quite a long time. I looked up subversive and it doesn’t sound like a nice person at all. It sound’s rebellious. I’m not rebellious. (okay so that’s a total lie.) And then I remembered, I said “tits” on a Facebook Post and I’m a Christian. That’s pretty subversive if you ask me. Granted it was totally in context of the point I was trying to make even if it is shocking.
I’ve sat here at my desk for well over a week trying to come up with my end of year blog. Every year I take inventory of my life. I write what went well, what didn’t and ponder where I want to go next year. Something ate at me though.
All I saw for days was what I didn’t do in 2013.
I didn’t ride with the Tulsa Diva’s like I said I would.
I didn’t walk the Rt 66 Marathon or run in a 5K
and I still stink at banjo. I didn’t practice enough so I have no one to blame but myself.
Now the fact that I had a physical limitation that took most of that off the table did not matter to me, all I could see was I failed my physical goals for the year. I couldn’t see my successes at all.
You know what?
As I wrap up 2013, I’ve decided that the most subversive thing I can do, for today, is to tell my broken brain to shut the heck up and start agreeing with God that I am who He says I am. I’ll admit that I do sometimes struggle with that.
I began 2013 with one word on my mind, Resolve. Every week I’d look up quotes that spoke to me and focus on them. It’s interesting to me to see the theme now.
Dare to be powerful.
Be my own best friend.
Free myself from criticism, fear, negative self-talk, and discouragement.
Push myself to my limits
don’t give up
trust my courage.
Remember who you are.
Wow, what a list. I did all that. While it’s true I didn’t do it all perfectly every day, I did do it to the best of my abilities. That’s an accomplishment. I also allowed myself to go on a four day vacation with some friends – only the second time I’ve ever done that in my life. That’s pretty cool.
I gave up my IPhone in order to reconnect with real people face to face instead of online.
I got a ton of stage time performing locally. While it was exhausting, it was fun.
I met some personal heroes like Anne Lammot, Mark Lowry and Jennifer Rothschild (we sat next to each other on a plane. It was awesome)
My humor piece about never having met Mark before is the most shared story of the year. He’s read it, I’m embarrassed, but I am allowing myself to admit it is funny and besides now that I’ve met him I’m a little less embarrassed that he read it. oh and thank you thank you thank you for that! You guys are awesome.
I drove 15 hours by myself to podunk Indiana to compete in a clean comedy challenge next to comics who’ve been doing this for years and in front of national celebrities — AND I allowed myself to be critiqued by them. HOLY CANOLLIES — that woman – the one brave enough to do that did not exist five years ago — I’m just saying – we’re talking full on miracle here.
I graduated from Thelma Well’s Daughters of Zion mentoring program and was awarded 30 college credit hours from the seminary she teaches at in Indiana. How cool is that?
Why do I get the feeling that I’ve spent 2013 being subversive and revolutionary and I didn’t even realize it?
I’m presently in a boot, recovering from surgery on my tibia. One of my goals for 2014 will involve physical therapy and learning how to walk again. Beyond that though, I’m still stuck. I don’t have my word or a scripture verse. Somehow, I’m okay with that.
Maybe all I need to do in 2014 is show up and leave the rest up to God.