The Way I Speak to Myself

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Talk to your child the way you wish you had been talked to as a child.

You may have heard some version of this at some point, especially if you are currently parenting young children.

Talk to yourself the way you wish you had been talked to as a child.

Have you ever heard that? I haven’t, but it’s something I have found myself practicing throughout my healing journey the last couple of years. I hear myself speak kind affirmations and encouragements to my daughters each day, and it has slowly turned into the way I talk to people in general. Including myself.

My subconscious voice has spent decades telling me, “Stop crying,” “You’re fine,” “Your feelings are too much,” and all kinds of variations of, “You are not beautiful.”

But in hearing myself say the total opposite to my girls, and watching them soften in my arms and then stand up stronger and more secure in themselves each time, I found myself wanting that. I found myself wondering if I could go back and talk to four year old Jordan during specific emotional experiences. So I have dedicated a lot of my yoga and meditation time doing so.

I told her it was okay to cry. I told her it wasn’t fine and that her feelings are valid—of course she feels that way. I told her she is just right, not too little or too much or too anything.

And then I did the same with my twelve year old self. I told her it was okay to feel isolated and confused in going through puberty earlier than all of her friends. I told her it was not okay that her soccer coach told her to lose fifteen pounds, and that someone should have defended her. I told her it was not her fault she does not feel good in her body, because she was not responsible for feeding herself. And I told her that, even so, she is still beautiful.

And you know what happened? I felt myself soften. I felt myself become stronger and more secure, and I began to look at myself differently in the mirror. I felt the urge to pour out the love I felt within myself on everyone around me. I even heard myself say, “I feel pretty today,” to my oldest, just like she says to me on a regular basis. I started to acknowledge my own feelings just like I do theirs, and give myself the space and grace to feel them.

We all have our wounds, and some of them are so deep that it feels like we will never do anything but sit inside of them, unable to crawl out—especially if they came at the hands or words of someone else. I had panic attacks that made me feel like I was going to die for a season when all of mine bubbled to the surface after my first daughter was born.

But healing is possible, and you have the love within yourself to love yourself. It is okay and valid and perfectly understandable to feel angry, sad, or disappointed that someone else who should have fulfilled that role for you did not do so in the past, but your five year old self is still there, right where you left her. You can go to her and love her the way she wanted to be loved. And then you can move on peacefully.

I had no idea it was possible to change my inner voice, but here I am. Speak to yourself the way you would speak to the most pure, magical child. Things can and do change.

<3

She's TWO!

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She's TWO! And so, so goofy. She loves to laugh and dance and just mastered jumping off the ground with both feet. She says, "Please," "Thank you," and "Scu me!" appropriately without fail. She would spend all day "ow-side" if I let her. She doesn't know a stranger and often reaches for the hands of kind-looking people we don't know in public. She is the snuggliest and takes every opportunity for a cuddle on her Dada's or Mama's lap--pretty much every time we sit down. She wakes up excited to see her sister every morning, and then immediately runs out into the living room and asks me to, "Let Nellie out!" She offers spontaneous hugs and kisses to her sister, Dada, and me a dozen times a day. She is 26 pounds and is cutting her last couple of teeth before she has a full set. Her small amount of hair is wispy and soft and some lovely shade of blonde unique to her. She makes the best excited face, has the cutest run with her short little arms pumping wildly, and is obsessed with the Lady Gaga song Bad Romance. She counts to 12, says her ABCs, knows her shapes and colors, and sings lots of songs. When she's sleepy, she says, "Mama, story...bout, ummmm, a bunny!" and when I'm finished telling it she asks, "Jesus I Know?" so I've been singing a lot of "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know..."

Reed girl, you are the sunshine over our family. I can't even explain to you how lucky, blessed, undeserving I feel to get to watch you be you every single day, and to be loved by you, OH MY. You have grown all of our hearts so much, it's wild. I love you I love you I love you, sweet Reed.

Mama Needs A...Safe Space to Feel Her Feelings

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I am a 29 year old stay at home mother of two young children, and I don’t drink.

Before you click the X, please know my intentions with this post have nothing to do with you, your personal choices, or swaying you in any particular direction. I am not judging you if you drink. I am not even claiming sobriety to be the best lifestyle choice for everyone.

But for me, at the end of a long, hard, LOUD day of wiping bottoms (and oftentimes legs and backs and maybe even feet and heads—ick), getting climbed on as I sit on the toilet, and basically being used as a walking, talking tissue (WHEW—motherhood is kind of just a big collage of bodily fluids, yes?), a big glass of wine to dull the ache of loneliness and lack of appreciation is the last thing I need.

Because for me, getting buzzed fixes nothing. I still feel lonely and unseen, only now my limbs feel like I have bowling balls tied to them and I get to look forward to waking up (too early to a baby biting my poor, beat up boobs and a toddler jumping on my saggy stomach) with a headache to remind me of my failed attempt to feel better about my life. So then I spend the day feeling like crap, counting down the minutes until I can do it all over again.

A drink is the last thing I need when I am hurting. Stuffing it down so it builds up only makes it all feel worse when it overflows later.

Once upon a time (for like, the first 25 years of my life), I was a stranger to my own feelings. I considered myself “laid back,” “mellow,” and “go with the flow.” I prided myself on not complaining.

HA. I was actually burying my needs (yes, feelings and needs go hand in hand—feelings make us human and I was playing robot). Turns out fighting and hiding your feelings doesn’t make you a non-feeling person. It can, however, turn you into an explosive raging psychopath once they all finally bubble over. In my case, this happened in the midst of trauma I couldn’t control when my firstborn was diagnosed as Failure to Thrive and put through all kinds of scary medical tests to rule out terrifying illnesses. I was exhausted and convinced I was failing my child and I just didn’t have the capacity to hold anything in anymore.

I became consumed by anger and fear, some new, but a lot of junk I wish I would have dealt with as it came up in my life—some of it decades old. So began a years-long healing process I am still sorting through.

And in the midst of all of it, I’ve figured out why I don’t care for alcohol. I spent college trying, pretending, searching for the right drink when the occasion called for it. Turns out, I was allowed to just say, “No, thanks.” That was an option, too, even though it didn’t feel like one.

I don’t like drinking because, to me, it feels like putting a bandaid over a broken bone.

When I am feeling overwhelmed, it is because being a stay at home mom is like working six different jobs and so, yeah, I have every right to feel like it’s just too much sometimes—I need the space to do something that centers me. I need yoga or a hot bath, or five minutes of deep breathing. When I am lonely, it’s because mothering in our culture IS lonely, and I need to sit with a friend and talk about real things or get dressed and get out with my husband. Wine cannot replace the heart of someone who gets it, who hears me and says, “That sounds so hard,” or, “Girl, me too.”

Ultimately, I don’t want to spend my life just coping. Because for me, dulling the bad dulls the good, too. Spending the whole day waiting for bedtime steals me from being all there right now with my children, who are doing the magical act of learning pretty much every second they are awake.

I want to feel the bad, even the really bad, so I can feel the good, and the really really good.