Birthday Surprises

I remember when I turned 30 I was a little surprised that all the goals I’d made at twenty hadn’t magically happened!  I realized that not only did one need goals, but a plan for achieving them as well.  So I worked on that, and now…it’s been another decade, and there’s another surprise!

I’m almost 40 years old, which my children will quickly tell you is definitely ‘mid-life’ (“Eighty isn’t a guarantee for anyone, Mama!”) and am still learning about who I am.  I wouldn’t say I’m finding myself.  I haven’t necessarily felt like running off and searching for who I am (although some days that’s tempting).  I’m certainly still learning and adjusting to new knowledge and tweaking my goals based on all that, though.  I’m realizing what my natural gifts are.  I’m still finding ways to be comfortable with me.

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Journey On

Healing isn’t a destination.  At least that’s my educated guess, based on my experience.  Whether healing from a physical scrape or any number of unseen wounds, healing happens with time.  With some bruises, the ones on your skin, there comes a point when we can clearly state, “It is healed.”  For most, if not all, of those unseen hurts, though, healed may not be a destination we ever reach.  Healing may be continuous and forever, a journey.

Recently it occurred to me that I’m almost 26 years past my rape.  A quarter century has gone by.  I was thinking about it because someone who’s story I follow is now six years past her own rape.  I first met her when she was only one tender year into her healing journey.  She spoke to a class of people learning to be victim’s advocates to anyone who’d been sexually assaulted in the Navy.  There were other people there, but she spoke directly to me.  Or so it seemed.

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I said to my daughter today that I felt like I was growing.  She studied me for a second and obviously decided that she didn’t want to get too deep with me and responded, “Me too.  I’d like to get tall enough so that neither of us has to bend over when we hug.  It’s not good for our backs.”  She’s right.  I smiled.  But we both knew that I didn’t mean physically growing.

I’m growing in my heart, my spirit, my mind…all those places that can’t be seen or measured.  These are my favorite places to grow, but they’re also among the most uncomfortable places to stretch sometimes.

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Family Secrets

Every family has secrets.  These things kept quiet might not be all bad, but some secrets may be and those can be destructive.  They may leave decades of questioning, guilt, or unnecessary pain.  They may restrict victims or family members from ever taking a pure, deep breathe, like a weight is on their chest – an emotional binding.  I know that not all secrets are meant to be shared or told, but some should be, I think.  What about you?

This subject is one I’ve been thinking about in light of the project I started a few months ago, collecting stories from survivors of sexual assault.  Many of the stories involve family on some level, either as perpetrators or conspirators to keep it quiet after the fact.  It got me thinking about this idea.  And, it made me wonder how many families have rape, incest, sexual harassment, or anything inappropriate along those lines woven into their history?  How far back is that secret rooted?  And how can we change the tapestry of these families futures?

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When We Don’t Talk

I’m a mom, like many of you. Or maybe you’d a Dad.  Or an Aunt or Uncle.  Maybe a grandparent.  Or…maybe you don’t know any children, as odd as that would be.  No matter who you are, though, this could be a good read for you.  It’s a post about talking to our kids about our physical bodies, especially our daughters.  That’s not a new thought, I know, but these thoughts are new to me – maybe again – sometimes I have to realize something a few times.  Slow learner, I guess.  Therefore, I want to share them with you.  See how helpful I am?

I’m not sure how closely you pay attention to this topic, so let me give you a quick back story of what I’m talking about and where I’m coming from.  As a child I was told I was fat.  I was picked on for my weight.  I was put on diets over and over again.  In fifth grade I was gifted a book about improving my metabolism from that of an elephant to that of a mouse (probably a thin mouse).  I was told that I shouldn’t gain too much muscle, during the years when I was active in two or three sports a year, because it would just turn to fat…and I didn’t need more of that.  A boyfriend once told me that I could stand to lose a few pounds.  And I won’t even get into the effects of being raped and how that impacted my feelings of worthlessness, which were often tied up in my weight.  That’s where I started. Continue reading

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A Day to Love

If ever there was a day to show our love, it’s Valentine’s Day, right?  There are hearts and flowers and special dinners.  Every store has soft, fluffy, cuddly animals.  You can find articles about how to romance your Valentine, celebrate your Galentine, or even about Palentine’s Day (which is technically today – the 13th – so better get on that!).  I’d like to propose an idea that’s not new, though.

Let’s love ourselves first.

It’s been said in a hundred different ways, but here’s how I feel about it…

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I wanted to call my grandmother a few days ago, but she passed away twelve years ago.  I sat down to write a letter to my great aunt today, but she passed away too.  Yesterday would have been my grandfather’s birthday, but instead it’s been almost 19 years without him.  He lived four years longer than his wife, who didn’t even really get a chance to be old.  She passed away when I was just 16 years old, days after her 69th birthday.

I’ve been thinking about all of this family that’s gone.  I’ve been remembering little things I learned from them.  I’ve been curious about what I didn’t get a chance to glean.  I’ve been thinking about the legacy they left here on Earth.  Did they even realize the impression they made…the inspirations they were?

Lots of unanswered questions.  Lots of memories.  Lots of love.

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