Today is my day for reflection that I take every year. To honor the woman who raised me in all her flaws, she loved me, gave me the courage to be myself, odd and arty. She was a powerhouse of 4'11, wore what ever the hell she wanted and loved her high heel shoes all in size 4!!! Styling and silly...old and child-like.
Then I read this article today...just confirmed all the reasons why I take the time every year to reflect and ask myself that question..."Am I connecting with people?" "Do people KNOW that I love them?" Because conventional success has never been in the cards for me...but loving people has!
When I started out as a young adult I felt broken, I felt like I had no power to change my life, and then something clicked...I began to fight back and take responsibility for myself, and forgive those that harmed me. I let them go, I kicked them out of my head and gave myself permission to live. I had that right. And then slowly began to believe that not everyone was going to harm me. That was HUGE...trust from me is HUGE...
Since that decision to trust people, I have been SO lucky to have so many people in my life that inspire me, that I am loyal to, that make my heart soar for the things they are capable of doing. For the depth of commitment I see in them. The brave, the weak, the strong...those that put their lives on the line for others every single day they walk into work...those that have such deep compassion for people I am left feeling like I do nothing.
I have been so blessed knowing so many people because I was able to get over myself...the fear of abandonment for so many years of my early life held my heart hostage...If you knew me then you would recognize I couldn't even hug people for fear of rejection and the anger that had taken over my youth. When someone is harmed over and over and over, they lose trust in people...in their own judgment.
But as I grew up...worked out the demons, my heart became broken open in a good way...and yup I cry when I am moved, you would have never seen a tear on my face before, I hug, I hug the stuffing out of people I love... I TELL people what they mean to me and that I love them! I tell them when I am proud of them...and I keep slaying those dragons in my head that pop up now and again that tell me I am less than you...all stemming from childhood abuse... I am no longer a child... But I hope to remain child-like, I am in awe of the world, I have a power I never did as a child...I have the ability to see that your pain can cause you to lash out at me and that it is your issue not mine.
I won't allow myself to be closed off again...so today when I read this article about "Are you living your Eulogy or your Resume?" I can say I sure hope people see I am living my Eulogy! That they see the good things in me before they just see the bad, the flaws, the scared little girl hiding behind her big heart... I hope that when you think of me you don't see the flaws but you feel that I treated you well, that I listened, that I loved you...no regrets for anything that came before, because ALL of those experiences made me who I am....and gave me compassion for others...empathy that allows me to feel for you.
Even though my early life was not ideal...I am grateful. Grateful for those I love. Grateful that I found the love of my life and took the chance that it would make me happy. Grateful that for how many years I allowed myself to suffer, that I opened up my heart and made the dangerous decision to choose happy!
I am grateful that in all of Grandma Carmen's flaws, being the last child she raised, she was able to open up her heart and love me...teaching me, even if it took more years than I like to admit, that I can do the same...overcome life obstacles and love. I can stand and know that all my hope is that when you think of me...you find kindness...you find love...and that I made you feel good about yourself and not bad!
I am off to celebrate Grandma Carmen and clean up her grave and honor her in the best way I know how...and think about all those friends I have lost over the years...and hold them close in my spirit and say thank you....
In this photo grandma is dressed up and in her favorite color...this was on my birthday in 1970...my life long love of collecting dolls...