As it turns out, I'm not alone.
And I don't mean that I just now realized that I live with a husband and three children. No no, this is different than that.
I mean I've discovered over the last 8 months that very little of what I feel and/or think is singularly unique to MY BRAIN. That's a big deal pour moi.
While we were on vaca, my husband was by the pool, trying to get a book to load on the Kindle. Neither he nor I could see the apps or words very clearly. The screen was super dark, even though we were in the shade. He was sure the thing was broken. He went to settings and increased the brightness. He powered it off, waited for five minutes and powered it back on. He tried everything he could think of short of calling tech support.
Then he started laughing.
"What?" I asked
"I had my sunglasses on!" When he removed the polarized lenses, the screen was crystal clear and bright. I took off my glasses (which were tinted with Transitions) and he was right, the screen was fine.
This illustrates my recent learning experience perfectly.
I used to think that I was the only person who ached to write and felt that if I didn't it betrayed something deep inside. I used to think I was the only person who felt a captive by her obligations and responsibilities. I used to think I had a great responsibility to use my many talents to help and that I was - by extension of those talents and abilities- the only one who could help certain people.
I guess that last one is a bit of a Savior complex, but it's not really what I meant. I didn't think I was the way, the truth, or the life. I just bought into the idea like "Maybe you were born for such a time as this," stuff. "You never know the life you can change." or "To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world."
Well then I was pretty pissed when I wasn't "the world" to ANYONE. Someone else can sell a book as well as I can, or even write a book as well as I can. Someone else can smile as pretty a smile as mine or a voice as interesting. Someone else can also be good. But then where did that leave me?
"Everyone is special, Dash."
"Which is another way of saying no one is."
Basically, I thought I was broken. Because no matter my talents, choices, help, service, love, humor, hugs, work, or beauty I didn't seem to be good enough to be "the world" to anyone. I wasn't needed. Not especially. It made my ability to be a Jack of All Trades really look like just a Master of None. I wasn't special, so I wasn't enough.
To me, being SPECIAL meant singular, unique... the word special carried so much weight in my mind. I had to be special to matter. My experiences had to be singular to Chelsea for them to "count" in my account of my life. (I mean, sure, Robert Redford said I was cute. But he's very likely said it to hundreds of people and puppies over the course of his life. So it doesn't count because it wasn't a phrase said only to me. It's a dismiss-able moment in time.)
So to that end, I've become a sort of dare-devil or thrill-seeker. Except I was seeking exceptional. Anywhere I thought I could get recognition for it. The privacy of my mind or my heart wasn't validation enough. I wanted my achievements, my talents, my sharing, my love, my writing, my singing, my service, my magnifying of callings, my participation to be something so unique and so special that I would become necessary.
I wanted to matter. This even extended to my relationship with God and Jesus Christ. If I wasn't in especial pain or unique circumstances or dire straights, or exceptionally righteous and valiant, I couldn't justify the idea that They would make time for me.
Ah...I was trying to be the squeaky wheel, but in a good way. Not by doing bad, but by striving so much to do good - and in so many areas! - I wanted my good works to shout "Here I am!! See me!!" It might actually be that this method just shouted "I'm overwhelmed and prideful; I don't need help because it's not bad enough yet..."
But good news! The point is that I'm shifting my thinking.
Look! I don't even have an exceptional mess! All the messes are basically the same as someone else's somewhere! That's why they can be messages! Because every mess will ring true to someone and the message will come through!
Awareness makes me insightful. I have become aware of my previous need to be seen and my previous need to be a LONE example of (insert talent or way of being here). It was a filter through which I saw the world and I'm removing it. Like the sunglasses. I'm not broken, I just couldn't see clearly.
I matter. I am enough. I am not alone.
Monday, November 2, 2015
The concept is simple, and born of the functionings of my adorable brain. And it has alliteration. I LOVE alliteration.
Truly the need for No-Regrets November began when we got in the car to drive to Seaside, OR (an adventure that would be followed by our jaunt down the coast to the ever magical Disneyland) and I fought feelings of regret.
We had won the trip to Disneyland in January. Soon thereafter I put an image and a phrase on my Vision Board that I would "Weigh 200 in Disneyland!"
Now it was September...and I had not come anywhere near my goal. I can't even honestly say I tried, physically speaking. Yes, I went to a therapist and he identified that I had a binge-eating disorder. I went to get help. He told me to change my thoughts and that would change my emotions, which would change my actions which would change my results. Like this:
So I kept a "Journal" of sorts and tracked my thoughts, emotions, actions, and the result was that I didn't binge. In fact, since March I have binged only twice. That's a vast improvement over multiple times a week. (YAY!!)
After 30 days binge free, my weight hadn't budged. That was rough. But the therapist said that if I stopped the behavior, I was fine. Just exercise and eat well. He sent me off on my way, though I had hoped he would help me with something more like this:
But, he didn't. He said I was fine. So I rode a bike with my kids and loved it. But I really didn't improve my eating.
I could go on with the sad story, but I'm adopting a new creed. No More JEEBS. Here is what I mean:
So long story short, there I was in the seat of my van- lovingly called Duchess - regretting most of my actions over the last nine months. NINE MONTHS. I kicked myself all the way to Seaside as I shifted my uncomfortable weight about and slept heavily on uncomfortable beds.
It was on the first morning in Seaside that I decided I needed to forgive myself or I was going to be miserable, and then regret my actions when I returned home.
That wasn't going to work for me. So: new plan. No regrets. Regretful action stopped that morning. I looked myself in the mirror, my real self, and said "I like you. I trust you. I believe in you. And I forgive you for not losing weight. Now go be happy."
I did and I was and I don't regret anything on my trip (except not eating the fresh seafood or buying that one necklace. but I digress). I was a blast and I had a blast.
We returned home happy. The weeks came and went quickly as we caught up in our lives. Before I knew it, Halloween was about. And I regretted - again - not loosing weight so I could really dress up the way I wanted to.
You know what? I'm tired of this cycle. And it occurred to me that I can change it. I'm declaring that November I'm just going to do what's good for me. I'm not even going to tell you what it is, because I don't need anyone's opinion or permission to live my life. I know what's good for me. And I'm going to do it. And since words are my pals, I'll even name it.
I know I'm not going to act or be perfect. But that's the beauty of No Regrets November. What it really means is that I'm going to act in my best interest and forgive myself quickly if and when it doesn't go as planned. I'm going to practice and do and my goal is to reach the end of November and not regret any day in the whole month. And if I do happen to know of a day that I regret an action or a food choice or something... well then I'll forgive myself and keep moving on.