Hola chickadees! Wow, I am in such a great mood today.
I hope you are well.
I think I am re-connected with a part of myself that I'd become un-acquainted with--over years of navigating a marital relationship and being passionately DRIVEN to raise my kids with
and So Much Love.
I wasn't distracted. I was genuinely focused, and the focus came out of having gone through something that I thought was really hard.
I've thought about that photo of my two year-old self that I mentioned last time.
I've thought about some low times in the last few months where I woke up in the morning without any purpose at all. Not like career purpose or paycheck purpose, but purpose in being alive today. What value is there in my presence? Or existence?
Part of it is recalibrating my role and titles: if I'm not a wife, actively, and if I'm no longer needed as a hands-on, full-action Mom, then who am I?
And without those things, what value do I have?
There's a little space where DRIVEN used to be.
Today, I am thinking about the thread that connects me to that two year-old girl, whose eyes are full of Hope and Resilience--who has no idea what is coming, or how things will change. Yet she is Hopeful and Resilient.
When I (ahem, book spoiler alert) went to jail, I spoke in high schools and church groups in five counties around where this thing, my crime, had happened.
When my first child was born with and diagnosed as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD,) I wrote for a blog for parents with ASD kids. This was back in 2008, when teachers and administrators did not know as much as they do now. Autism was not on the list of conditions that schools were legally required to provide accommodations for. I was educating teachers and principals and Special Ed workers about autism as I was advocating for my son's care and his education.
As a parent of kids who were getting older and curious about the details of my life, I wrote a book about All Of It, that they could read as teenagers and adults, and that offered Hope and Resilience with a very sweet, happy ending. I published this book as a thank you to my family and also to offer an understanding and hope to other women who have suffered in their lives.
This year, when I knew I was going to soon be separated from my husband after 26 years of marriage, and then CovidLife postponed that separation which kept us in the same house for 167 more days, I needed certain things from my journal that I was not getting. I started to create what I needed for my transition from a peach composition book. Almost from the beginning, I wanted to share it with other women going through what some call the Gray Divorce process.
-->-->-->--> When I am faced with something hard, I have a deeper instinct to try and care for others that have the same difficulties. That is my thread. It has woven through every hard thing--but also every happy thing, everything that was fun and worthwhile and even pleasurable.
This IAmNotBritish email was started the very Sunday after my husband and I first spoke about separating. By the second Sunday Brunch offering, our our final decision was made. This email-turned-blog was born out of something new and hard. It was a sharing from the deepest parts of me during a challenging time.
I have felt uncertain... writing so openly: what I think, what I want and who I may become.
It is not uncommon for a woman to have a period of readjustment, after her children become adults.
It is not uncommon for a woman to have a period of readjustment, after her marriage begins to end.
It is not uncommon for women to help other women with these and many other challenges.
It's what we do.
When I was an orthodox, or very active Mormon, one of my favorite times of the week was the 47-minute class for women each Sunday. The women not serving in the childrens' or girlteens' classes gathered in a room for the purpose of learning, sharing and just BEING with each other.
Oh, I could breathe in there.
Granted, there were often times of comparing, a little bragging and the unfortunate inducement of judgement and guilt. But that's just how our brains work.
I loved it. I loved being surrounded by women, discussing what is hard, what is wonderful and what could be. I could ask questions about my next steps. It was a very powerful thing.
In many ways, that power is yet untapped. For a woman individually, and for women in communities and worldwide collectively.
I love the collective, but I truly cherish the individual. Certainly, the collective matters, but never at the expense of the individual. Save the one, save us all.
That is my thread.
Today's Deep Breath: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
What is your thread? What is the thing that connects you to you as a child, to who you've been and who you are today?
I want you to really answer this.
Thinking about this core piece of you may be a guidance to who you want to be tomorrow and for the rest of your life.
It may be the thing that gets you out of bed and motivates you to move forward.
I'm so glad our paths have crossed, you and me. In this moment, we are connected. Over time, one of us may move on and say a GOODbye, because relationships change.
For now, I am grateful that you are here.
Thank you for all that you have taught me.
You have shared with me, which has motivated me to move forward.
I genuinely wish to do the same.