The broken ones

A wise person once said:

“Broken people hurt others with their sharp edges”

It’s possibly the most wonderful pearl of wisdom ever dropped in my heart.

I have the privilege of working with broken people and being broken so many times myself. It is rewarding and exhausting and sometimes comes at a price. Whatever injuries I may sustain, I am always drawn back by a passionate desire to prove to that person that no matter how hard they may have fallen, they are worth coming back for.

The difference between empathy and sympathy lies in our brokenness. It is our ability to truly connect through wordless and shared pain, to bridge chasms and forge hope.

I have an amazing and agonizing and brilliantly gorgeous job. It’s more of a calling to be truthful.

I meet people at low and desperate moments, and in dark places. I don’t have a cure, I have only a candle with a thin and vulnerable flame.

As each person shrinks and backs away for a moment, the strains and pressure of the world around them, I stand shoulder to shoulder, plant my feet solidly, press my back firmly against the storm, wrap my arms around them and hold that space as long as it is needed.

I have needed that often in my own life, and been so grateful for those who stayed beside me through that brokenness.

It is a simple and basic act, to lift another up, to be silent and still and with that person completely when they are most alone. It is not about fixing, or curing, rather kneeling next to another when they are down, picking up the pieces that can be found, and seeing the wholeness inside of the broken ones.

The monday-est Wednesday ever

Today was the Monday-est Wednesday ever. Monday’s have a reputation for dragging you kicking and screaming, nails clawing desperately at the weekend past in an attempt to cling to that effortless joy of a lazy Sunday, and into the bleakness of the workload and worries ahead.

It’s not often the subject of happy love songs or ideal moments. It’s the equivalent of the universe flipping you the bird.

Tuesday can be cruel but you’re sort of catching your breath and finding a groove. Tuesday still leaves you with lingering memories of how great it was not setting your alarm, and leisurely strolls from the couch to the fridge for binge worthy snacks to accompany binge worthy shows.

Wednesday is hump day. A unanimously agreed upon game changer for your mood (only two days until you can return to your natural state of gluttony and sloth) since you’re half way through. I can do two more days! Helllllooooo HUMP day! Someone needs to turn the volume up because this girl can almost taste Friday!

This brings me circling back to the present and how totally not like a present it was. Every kid at work was spring loaded for action and bouncing off of walls and each other, which, while tolerable if you are the bouncer feels intolerable if you are the bounced upon.

I was very bounced upon.

Then there was the “fresh air break”. In sideways, misting, curly haired horrifying, damp to the bone, wet socks in wet shoes “fresh air”. Please understand I LOVE what the rain does for the earth, but I’m not overly fond of what it does to ME. At least not when I’m going to spend the many hours after it squelching along hospital floors in my wet socks and wet shoes, while children cower and cry at the sight of my antagonized tresses. It’s not me at my best. It’s not even me at my okayest.

In the hours following I averted meltdowns, I soothed meltdowns, I managed meltdowns, I documented meltdowns for posterity and then wanted to meltdown standing ankle deep in a mud puddle getting out of my car while simultaneously being muddy-pawed eagerly by my dogs.

It was the Monday-est Wednesday ever and I’m taking my ball and going home. I’m done adulting for the rest of the week. Wake me for the weekend.

Date night and other disasters

The faucet started dripping two days ago and increased steadily over the course of the hours to an open pour. At some point late in the afternoon the faucet exploded so we shut the water off to the sink.

I walked into the kitchen to find the kids had pulled a garden hose through the house for washing the dinner dishes.I can not make this stuff up.

A beleaguered hubby turned to me and suggested perhaps we should spend the evening installing the new faucet he had just run and purchased from Home Depot.

Like it was a hot date.

I told him to go ahead and get started and I would go and slip into something more “comfortable”, wiggling my eyebrows suggestively.

It took him quite a while to figure out that something “more comfortable” was the bed, and that when I said I would be back downstairs, I meant in 8-10 hours.

#truelifestories

#ourlifeisridiculous

#datenightanditherdisasters

Living loud anxiously

All evidence to the contrary, I am a very shy, introverted and anxious person. In person. On paper, in texts, over social media I am brash, outspoken, uninhibited, wildly impulsive and loud. I over share. I flay myself publicly so others know they aren’t alone. I’m loud about my life. Above all other things I am LOUD. I am a force of nature that wants its path no matter what stands in my way.

The thing is, I am most often the thing in my way. I am the wall I come up against when the flying free me wants to explode into the air in a colorful burst of sound and fury.

I have lived with intense social anxiety since I was a kid. There are days when it’s manageable, and there are days when it feels like there is an invisible wall between me and my life and trying to push past it takes Herculean effort.

I can look out the window and have every part of me yearn to be able to simply just go for a walk with my dogs to feel better but I’m frozen. It makes me feel simultaneously trapped and yet intensely driven to beat it.

School was terrifying. In classes I was ok, I could focus on work and my studies. I sat in the front of every room so I couldn’t see the other students and I would pretend it was just me and that teacher.

Passing between classes, going to recess, and lunches were quite another situation. College was no different. Parties took the place of those recesses. They required conversation and solid self esteem and a thick skin. I spent a lot of time waiting things out in stalls or strangers bathrooms.

Adulthood meant interacting with other adults at kids play dates, concerts, games, open houses, in staff break rooms, annual parties, and a million other equally terrifying places. I swear I had so many kids because they formed a human duck blind to hide behind as I navigated such treacherous landscapes.

If my life has a sound track, it’s definitely from Jaws. Thank God I like sharks. Just not too close to me. In fact, I like them best when they’re far, far away from me. Like everything else!

I am supremely uncool. I’ve been this supremely uncool for ages. It takes a lot of energy and distraction techniques to master this level of uncoolness. My coping skills are mad strong. Like so many people who struggle with anxiety, I use a combination of avoidance and humor to survive myself.

If I can avoid a social situation you can be absolutely certain I will. If I can’t, I’ll come in swinging with funny stories, self deprecating humor, and do whatever it takes to keep those laughs coming until I can escape and go back into hiding. I may have loads of anxiety, but I sure as hell don’t have any shame, a personal point of pride.

So I’m loud. I openly confess and display my messy mind to the world deliberately. I challenge myself to strip away the mask of laughter, and I hold my feet to the fire by letting people know upfront that I’m trying, I’m struggling, it’s hard, I’m dying inside when I’m out there face to face, but I need to be out there face to face if I want to truly engage in my life. And I know that I’m not alone.

I know there are so many people out there, looking at everyone else and wondering why they feel so alone, wondering why it looks so easy and feels impossible. And so I am loud.

I shine a light on the dark places inside of myself. I want people to look at the magnificent hot mess that I am and understand that they are not even remotely alone. We are all in this together.

And so I am loud.

Perfect

I am increasingly at peace with my mistakes and imperfections. They are as varied and colorful as my vocabulary when I smack my shin against the shopping cart. I would prefer to have fewer bruises and less shocked stares, but all in all, I balance on my virtue. Perfect was never a word intended to describe people. It is meant for moments.

#bekindtoyourself

#alittlebitofeverything

Today I am stillness

Two steps forward, one step back, that’s just the way life goes.

Some days you just have to surrender to the place that you are and give your body the love and care it needs to heal and to grow stronger.

It can mean tossing out your preplanned day of work and activities and being exactly where you are.

Surrendering to yourself and the things that you can not control is a challenge, but it is also a sign of wisdom and a strength in itself.

We must always push ourselves to be better and to stretch beyond our comfort zone in our efforts to elevate, to illuminate, and to grow.

Surrendering to what is beyond your control, and allowing yourself to be still, to listen to your body and heart’s voice is critical to this journey.

Stillness is uncomfortable.

I want to move and to accomplish. That is what we are programmed to do in society. To achieve. To be able to have something measurable to show for our time. We are pressured to base our worth on this. I don’t want to feel imprisoned.

When I fight against what my body needs, I feel imprisoned, unable to achieve, itching to move and to fly.

Stillness forces me to be quiet, to be present, to be alone with myself while my body does what it needs to do. That is my challenge.

But stillness is a gift. It creates the to opportunity to quiet, to slow, and to hear your heart.

So today I am stillness.

#todayiamstill

#fybromyalgiawarrior

#restdaysarenecessary

#selfcare

#bestill

#healingtakestime

Casual Friday and you: a helpful guide for tasteful living

Ok New Englanders, I know you’re made of sterner stuff than most. We’ve all seen your Instagram pics of your snow fort beer coolers and night time blizzard grilling so we know you can take a punch and role with it, but this is the time of year common and good sense appear to abandon us all.

Let’s take this inevitable warm snap (it’s actually 56 degrees and raining here in Massachusetts) that makes a brief appearance each January causing perfectly reasonable individuals who’s blood and skin has been thickened by subzero temps and Nor Easter bitter wind squalls to break into heat rash and begin strolling around in cruise attire when any other season a coat would still be required.

Let’s also look at “casual Friday” and the slippery slope between “casual” and “dude, you forgot half your clothes, are you drunk or committing to a dare?”

This afternoon as I sat in traffic, pondering the great mysteries of life, one such mystery made its way up the sidewalk and past my idling car. It’s three in the afternoon on Friday and two people, two NOT TOGETHER people just casually strolled by with several articles of clothing missing.

FYI: that dude’s wearing DRESS SLACKS. Bare chested. There’s just no way to string together this guys outfit to explain his life choices. He’s also walking from the train. So he rode home on the train bare chested, in dress slacks. Let’s appreciate this for a moment. This is JANUARY. In MASSACHUSETTS.

The woman walking several paces behind him is covered in even less material. It’s 3pm, it’s January, it’s raining.

I’m sitting here thinking that maybe we need to go over the guidelines for casual attire Friday’s so that we are all on the same page. Or at least in the same library.

ca·su·al

ˈkaZHo͞oəl/Submit

adjective

1.

relaxed and unconcerned.

“she regarded his affairs with a casual indulgence”

synonyms: relaxed, friendly, informal, unceremonious, easygoing, free and easy; informallaid-back

“the inn’s casual atmosphere”

2. clothes or shoes suitable for everyday wear rather than formal occasions.

….sooooo, NOT half naked. At least not half naked as you stroll along the street on your way to or from work. I’ve drawn up some very simple, elegant, and clear flash cards to help those of you visual learners out there. All I ask is that BEFORE you leave for work do the following:

1. Stop. Don’t leave your place yet.

2. Look. In a full length mirror. This is your safety net. The reflection will alert you to any missing articles of clothing before you head out.

3. Ask. Ask yourself, a room mate, a partner, your cat. Ask “Am I wearing anything at all that covers the TOP half of my body, AND the BOTTOM half of my body?

If the answer to any part of that is “NO” then ADD the missing item. We don’t care if it matches. We just want that stuff covered at the office. Or on our way TO the office. For Gods sake it’s winter people! There is still SNOW on the ground and another storm on the way. Put your suntan lotion back in your bag, baby, we ain’t there yet.

*see attached helpful illustrations to use as a guide for tasteful public attire.