To Be Seen

I really thought I was hard to see but I am realizing with great surprise that this is another big lie I have believed.

I have felt misunderstood by my mother for the vast majority of my life. She would tell me that she knows me best and would also say I was things like selfish, rude, manipulative, etc. Now, in truth, I didn’t think I was these things and didn’t intend to be any of them either, but when you’re a child and you’re taught these things about yourself, you believe them.

I thought, if my mother can’t see that I am really trying hard to be perfect, something is wrong with me. If she can’t see that I’m trying hard to do my very best to make her and everyone else proud and happy, and it isn’t coming through, something is wrong with me. I’m not doing it right. Being massively misunderstood is no fun at all. Being told you are the exact opposite of who you are is devastating and degrading. In my mind, since my true intentions weren’t obvious, I just needed to try harder, do better. That was my thinking for most of my life.

Now, I am coming across more and more people who are telling me things about myself, things that are actually true of my character, and I am dumbfounded. I wonder, “How do they know?”, they seem psychic or something. How is it that they see so clearly what my own mother, who says she knows me best, doesn’t see?

It didn’t dawn on me until recently that perhaps I am not at all difficult to see, I am who I believe I am and maybe the problem begins and ends with my mother. Maybe she does in fact see who I really am but doesn’t want to admit it to me. I don’t know.

Regardless, I am experiencing shock after shock as people I am friends with on social media describe me perfectly.

I posted about missing my oldest who just moved out, and one dear Facebook friend said to me, “You are so close with your kids, so intentional, you’re such a good mom, you’re real friends. I thought this was going to be really hard for you.”

Another dear Facebook friend wrote, “To not ache, I’d be concerned. I know you well enough to know she’s your sidekick. Your babies are your friends… and it’s beautiful and painful and messy and wonderful, and all the things. This is a testament of what an amazing mama you are!”

I am an open person but even with what I do share, I don’t share everything. To have these two women see the real me like this amazes me. I have only met one of them in person and that was only one time, probably a good 10 years ago, but they see me. And now, I understand that it isn’t that I am hard to truly see. They see me because they want to and the real me doesn’t present some sort of imposition for them in any way. They don’t feel the need to tear me down in order to feel better about themselves. It’s good to be seen for who I am. It’s good to know that I don’t have to try to be perfect. It’s good to know I can just relax and be myself and that is not just enough, but it’s plenty. It really feels good. Actually, it’s not just good. It’s great.

Valuing Relationships

Last week, on my Facebook page, I posted about valuing people over differing opinions, theirs and mine. I said, I value relationship, and I do.

In the not too distant past, I have loved people and valued relationships in very unhealthy ways and to my own detriment. I am not doing this any longer.

If I am dealing with a person who is unwilling to take responsibility for their actions, I am able to eventually forgive, but a necessary shift occurs.

I am at a point now where in such a case, I can and will go on loving the person. I am wise enough to understand that I cannot make anyone change and/or see what I perceive as reason. We have all been gifted with free will from God. Who am I to think I can override another’s will? Why would I want that responsibility? It’s too much, not to mention, unreasonable.

In this instance, the relationship I am choosing to value changes though. I will still honor and value the relationship. The one I am now choosing to honor and value, is the one I have with myself.

My Jaiela

I think what I will miss most is my daughter’s laugh. From her first laugh out loud moment, I remember feeling I never wanted to miss that. I dreaded when I’d have to send her off to school. I didn’t want to miss a thing with her development. I knew that in school, her teachers would miss or dismiss that laugh, maybe even find it disruptive and punish her for it in some way. Thank God for unschooling and divine appointments.

I was unschooling Jaiela (pronounced jay-la) before I knew what unschooling was or that it had a name. I was simply living and learning alongside my baby girl and enjoyed every moment of it. I was shocked when a woman, after watching our 2 children play together at an educational booth (at an expo of some sort), came to me and said, “You homeschool her, don’t you?” I had no idea what she was talking about and was astonished to learn that she was doing it, it was legal and I had this option as well.

My husband thought it was a phase when I came home with a bunch of books about homeschooling that day, and declared, “This is what we’re going to do!” My mother told me I was going to make her granddaughter stupid. My daughter was in a teaching daycare when I told my grandfather my plans. He said, “Get her out of there quick and do it.”, and I did. At 4 years old, when she would have been about to head to kindergarten, I quit my full-time job, took her out of the school-ish daycare and never looked back.

I have done my best to be the type of mother to her and my other children that I would want at any given moment. Not knowing how to do what I wasn’t taught, presented challenges along the way but it has been nothing short of amazing. My children have taught me far more than I believe I have taught them. Growing alongside them has enabled me to reclaim various simple aspects of childhood that I missed, things like getting muddy, playing in dirt, running, hiking and wearing t-shirts that weren’t dressy enough, right out the front door.

Today, I sit in my oldest daughter’s living room and type this. My children and I will travel home tomorrow and leave my daughter for the first time.

Others have said they feel like she is theirs. They feel happy and proud and sad, all at the same time. I don’t feel the sadness at this point, just happiness and pride. I would love it if others could take up all the sad on my behalf so I don’t have to deal with that. I am grateful that I have had her for 21 years. She could have left sooner, many do.

It all happened very quickly. She was offered a job out of state and needed to start 17 days after the offer was made. She was on it. By day 7, she traveled here and visited several apartment complexes that she’d researched and narrowed down. By day 12, she moved into her new apartment. On day 14, she purchased her first vehicle and was ready for work on day 17.

My sister jokingly asked if my daughter had a sugar daddy she was hiding somewhere to get so much done in such a short span of time. I told her she has 2 things, favor and financial savvy.

My daughter was accepted into an apprenticeship program that only 15% of applicants get into. She worked for 7 months and saved up all of her tuition money. She put aside money for buying us all Christmas gifts -this child bought me almost $70 hiking boots! She set aside money for when life throws that curveball and she saved a chunk of money to use for the inevitable move she knew was coming at the end of her apprenticeship program.

The company that hired her, did so immediately and because they aren’t actually affiliated with the apprenticeship program, she wasn’t offered the typical 6-month apprenticeship but a full-on position in the company. This was a clear case of favor and opportunity meeting the prepared.

I am so proud of her. I am excited to see where she goes and what she will accomplish because she has some serious plans for obtaining financial freedom. So far, she loves the job. The people she works with are silly too, which is right up her alley. I am going to do my best as always, to enjoy this new phase of our relationship. I couldn’t be happier or more proud.

Opening the door to her first apartment, with no coat. Freezing, lol.
New vehicle and plant!

Being Valued

I always thought that in order to be loved, I had to be really good. I was literally told that I wasn’t wanted so I translated that message into having to work hard to make everyone happy and proud and then, maybe, I would be loved and wanted in return. I did pretty good with it too, adapting a lot of perfectionistic behaviors to try and make it all work out. Thanks be to God, I am so done with that.

What I dismissed and ignored, God has shone a blazing light on. I am no longer normalizing the abnormal and harmful. I am facing what is, head on and with God’s help, healing and dealing with it all. It is HARD. I am worth it though. So I trudge through, sometimes laughing, playing and joking, other times sobbing and wailing, but I am moving, always moving along.

Just after Christmas, I had two sisters come to visit for 5 days. My children and I were sick most of their visit but we still managed to have a great time. One of my sisters prophesied over me that she could see many hands reaching for me, to give to me, to love me. Others in my life have said that this is a time of me really seeing my worth and how people value me, like never before. I am finding that I am far more valued than I ever imagined and it isn’t new. I just didn’t see it. I believed lies and behaved from that perspective but I am not doing that any more. What I am noticing is amazing.

My husband was face timing 3 friends when he came home from work one day. He passed the phone to me and when the 3 guys saw me, I was ready to cry. They all tilted their heads to the side, smiling and what I can only describe as pure love, shone on their faces. I was stunned. It was very overwhelming and I even laughed and told them they were gonna make me cry looking at me like that. Then they all laughed.

The truth is what my Mama Robin recently told me when I thanked her for loving me. She said, “Loving you is the easy part.” I am seeing now that it’s true. I am easy to love and oh so valued by so many. I am so grateful.

New Things

Although I don’t currently write as much as I would like, I am keeping pretty busy with wonderful things. I recently went to NY to do a trailer shoot for a webisode I am a part of that has to do with narcissism. I will post the trailer and more info about it when it is available. For now, you can see the cast and learn about the story line here. I am very excited to be a part of such an important work.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to cook and bake. I’ve been doing a lot more of that lately for my family and others. It’s so much fun! And I can’t get enough of my newly discovered passion of hiking! My goodness, I had no idea how much I love it! I have even started to sing in the woods, with abandon, which is something I would have once shied away from, fearing being thought of as a show off. I am shedding so much of the foolishness I once believed and it feels amazing!

I am also starting a new ministry! Learning about how to care for myself, coupled with conversations with women I am in regular contact with through ministry and life in general, I decided to do a trial meeting in November teaching some of what I am learning. The response still has me shocked. After talking it over with my Dad Gary Fishman, I now have a ministry called Love Perfected. You can learn more about it here.

I’m so excited to see what God will do with all that I am involved in. I feel very grateful and am eager to help others.

Loneliness

I am convinced that the idea of loneliness is a scam. Perhaps it’s our feelings, trying to lie to us.

The fact is, we are surrounded. We are never, ever alone, not even for a millisecond.

I have not felt lonely in a long time, several years now. I’ve noticed a few times recently, that I am tempted to feel I am alone but it never seems to take hold these days and I am grateful.

I’m grateful that I hear from God so well, that if that inkling comes, I hear Him say, “Hi.” or, “I’m here.” It is actually difficult for me to feel alone in this world.

Truly, I shouldn’t feel alone. No one should. It’s a lie. The truth is, I am in union with Him. There’s nothing I can do to change that and I don’t want to. Maybe I could ignore it, but why would I want to even do that?

My prayer for you is that if you don’t experience this as your reality, that you will. You are never alone. You never have been, nor will you ever be, and that is an amazing thing to consider.

Owning My Stories

Anne Lamott says we own everything that happens to us and that we should tell our stories. This brings up fear, sadness, false shame, false guilt and anger for me.

I don’t enjoy causing anyone pain, whether it be directly or indirectly. I have gone out of my way to not say things, or to say them only when absolutely necessary, with such meticulous calculation, that I can cause the least amount of pain possible. I see now that this is another layer of codependence. This is another way I take on responsibilities that are not my own, and frankly, I want to be done with this harmful practice. It serves no one, not even the ones who think they would fare better with my silence and enabling.

When I was ordained 3 years ago, I didn’t want to tell anyone. I remember low-key begging my mother to keep quiet about it and of course she didn’t. Anything I didn’t want shared, should not have been discussed with her, lol because it would always be as good as broadcasted before anyone who would listen. It took far too long for me to understand this. I think part of the reason I felt unofficial was because I didn’t feel I had a clear understanding of my purpose.

I now understand my ultimate purpose is to love and be loved by Him. From there, I have gifts and things to share, all from a place of overflowing love from my Abba. These are things I get to do, not absolutely have to do. There’s no ball and chain that comes along with this deal. There is freedom, peace, love, joy, and when the trials of life come, there’s my Abba, walking me through it all. We do it all together.

I am naturally, an open person. I don’t like superficial conversations and small talk. That is draining to me over time. If you look at my very first blog post, I’m sure there was a level of vulnerability there because it’s just who and how I am. I make no apologies for that, but now, things are different. God has shown me areas of my life that I need to face full on. Things I need to accept and deal with, and in doing so, I need to speak and share openly.

It hurts. The last thing I want to do is cause others to feel uncomfortable, but my sharing my story is just that- me sharing my story. I am not responsible for others’ feelings or actions beyond that.

Anne Lomott’s quote says, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

God is giving me greater clarity on my ministry, and in order to do it, I must have room to speak openly. I will do my best to be sensitive to others, but I will not shy away from where God leads. I said earlier, that beyond loving and being loved by God, I get to do other things. I refuse to live a mundane existence where I cower in fear of man or woman. When it comes to my life, I want Jesus to get what he so dearly paid for because I love him. I love him more than I fear you. There’s more to come, dear reader.