Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fighting the Good Fight: Part One: The Cause

Part One: The Cause

It's been boiling and gurgling inside of me for some time now like a seedy little demon gremlin that's been trying to rip through my belly like something out of Sigourney Weaver's nightmares. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was... I'm still not sure I know entirely what it is. It's not indigestion, I know that much. Indigestion goes away. This feeling has been ebbing and flowing like a tide, some days higher than others. 

It feels a bit like a breakdown. Like I'm trying to keep it together, keep the pace, keep my head above water, and keep up the juggle, the struggle and everything in between. And because I am a person that battles head on, I fight hard. There's no quit button in this soul. That also means that after a fight, I'm beat down and tired out.

To make a bit more sense, I should start with some way, way back background knowledge.

I've been here before. Years ago in my 20's I waged a small war between who I was and who I could be. Fresh off a heartbreaking breakup, I weighed whether I could change to fit a mold that someone else wanted me to fit. I couldn't fit that mold. Who I was won out over who I could be. The right Who won. But this time feels different. This adversary feels like it's planning on staying around longer, fighting harder. Fighting dirtier. 

See this time, the fight isn't clear cut. Neither is the winner. Neither is my opponent. He's multiplied and I'm spread thin. 

Now in my 30's I'm in a totally different place. Actually, totally different places. Plural. Mom. Wife. Writer. Older. Non-employed. Expat. Best friendless. These are foreign places for me. Unchartered territory. This time around I have people that depend on me. I don't have time to soak my wild oats and figure out who I am becoming. I'm responsible for others. This time, when I saw the battle approaching my doorstep, I knew it would be a bigger opponent than last time, but now, unlike in my 20's, I'd have far more to lose. Far more people to let down. That thought in itself could be suffocating.

So these tidal waves of doubt pound at my door and they can't be stopped right now. Not all at once. There are too many to fight at once. 

I'll be honest. This isn't going to be an easy fight. I'm used to being certain, to not doubting myself, to knowing what I want and what comes next, to getting organized and being ready. This will not be an easy fight for me to win

...but it can be won.

My strength: I'm here with my no quit button. And thanks to my mother, I won't stand around and wonder if things will get better. I move. 

My first step was to seek out the advice of others and I found it in the form of books. The first is an art journal e-course offered by the General of Get Going herself, Oprah. Run by BrenĂ© Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection, this is a 6 week course to help you be vulnerable and open to courage, compassion, and connection by journaling (a word I love). 

Maybe if I could let go of perfection I can let go of some doubt too.
In our first week we were asked to write this simple message on our hand, take a picture, and tape it into our art journal to remind ourselves, when we needed reminding, that we are not perfect, we are IMperfect and that's enough. 
I'm imperfect and I'm enough

I asked Husband to come along for the ride and being the supportive, fabulous and up for my crazy ideas man he is, Husband agreed. In the midst of taking our "imperfect" pictures, our daughter called us. 
"Mami, papi... *Ma-Pi. Photo." (*her combined name for us)
I looked over to take her photo and there she was, hand raised in united Imperfection. In a simple, innocent, child gesture I remembered why it is so important for me to accept myself and be vulnerable, courageoues, complassionate, and connected - to banish these self doubting ideas that paralyze us from all the things we want in life. Because everything I do matters. It matters to her. She watches what I do and internalizes it. What I do, who I am is what she becomes.

She's imperfect too but DEFINITELY enough.
 And although I am certain that I will lose battles along my journey, I know that this demon gremlin of self doubt hasn't got a chance now because her united Imperfection fist armed me with what I need for the first step of this fight: my cause.

I share this vulnerable space with you for the same reason that I asked Husband to come along for the ride... because I know at some point in this fight to challenge self doubt, I will need allies. And if you reading this has ever felt even a smidgen of self doubt, you will understand that allies are important. 

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  1. I read this over again a couple times, Jen. I could so identify with parts of it. I have battled self doubt, insecurities, depression, anxiety throughout times in my life. It can be a tough battle, but the victories are sweet and give me strength for the next battle. Count me as an ally, and I will pray for strength for you along your journey!

    1. Ally Beth. Your vulnerability to share your post was helpful in my sharing mine. No one is here to be perfect. i have also been reading Freefall to Fly (that's the other book I was talking about) that is strangely describing my life right now. Amazing book

  2. You are enough. Funny, smart, honest, real. I am glad that we crossed paths in this imperfect life :)

    1. i love you, Yemma. You are a great companion on the road to being real

  3. I have definitely experienced some of this. Sometimes I find myself on a quest to out-perfect myself. Screw everyone else, I want to be better than myself! I'm competing with my own expectation of what a mom/wife/friend/sister/daughter should be.

    Thank you for sharing your vulnerabilities and your heart.

    1. i think the quest to out-perfect myself is the worst because I am certainly my own worst critic.

  4. I'm glad you shared this Jen. I think aside from being a true expression of self, people can learn from this. No one has it all together. There's no such thing as perfect. You are a force for sure. I know that because we've actually met, but I think it comes across in your writing as well. It's ok to be imperfect, just like you said. When we blog it's easy to paint a picture for our readers of what we want them to see. I'd much rather read posts like this that are real and honest every once in a while. They're real and relatable and they don't leave me looking at my life like, damn this person has it all together. What am I doing wrong? I'm sure it felt therapeutic to get it out too. XO

    1. Wow, Meg. Thanks! I've been doing a lot of thinking too about this online representative that we put out there that always has to be perfect and look like they're so together. i've gotta remember that no one has it that together. i might start a 30 day FB challenge for myself of taking normal pictures of normal things without filters or trying to make anything seem more than what it is to show that we all live normal lives outside of instagram filters.


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