“When you have courage to tell the truth about what you’re really afraid of, fear doesn’t have control over your life.” – Ali Vincent
Four more days. I’ve already spent over 3 weeks in beautiful Bali and I’ve enjoyed
my share more than my share of green juice, yoga, raw food, rice, nut mylk lattes with thick coconut cream, poolisde conversations, late night snacks, and time with myself. It really has been incredible and alongside the incredible has also been terrifying, sad, lonely, homesick, worry, guilt, shame, and fear.
Spending more time with me than ever before, I’ve realized that I have been crossing my fingers that you’ll like me and putting so much energy there, that I’ve let go of being concerned with whether or not I like me. What I’ve also come to realize is that for true authenticity (what does that word REALLY mean), we need to be completely comfortable with all of us, not just the stuff we are comfortable posting on facebook.
While in Bali, I spent time writing my book, but more importantly, I spent time getting to know and fully embracing me. I am not perfect, never have been and never will be. Just like you, though, I am perfectly imperfect and it is through my imperfection that I can still create change in this world. Today, that starts here and it starts with me being afraid. I’ve decided that I’m going to share with you some things that I really prefer you don’t know, but since they are a part of me, I’m going to share them. You can simply scroll through the highlighted pieces, or you can read beyond that and more detail. Taking a deep breath, here goes . . .
1) I’ve been married and divorced THREE times and I’m only 37.
I usually never offer that information – married, yes; divorced, yes – but not that it’s been 3 times. I’ve had experience with this in the past and without even having a chance to share more about it, I get automatic judgment about me, my choices, my integrity, etc. Heck, my daughter and I were even kicked out of our church once because of one of the divorces. There’s a reason I don’t just offer it up. But, here you go… 3 times. (if you want more of the story, reach out!)
2) When I was a little girl I NEVER dreamed of being married, ever.
When little girls were dreaming of big fancy weddings, I was dreaming of travel. I always imagined I’d be working in Europe or somewhere other than where I was and I’d be just enjoying life and living for me. When I was little, the visions I had of myself were of a strong, independent woman. At times, I feel very far from that vision. I’m making my way back, though.
3) I am scared to death that my daughter will resentment me when she’s older. I always say that I firmly believe she tugged on God’s side saying, “Her. I pick to be her daughter. She’ll need me.” And she was right. In many ways that girl has saved me. I’m afraid, though, that she’ll wake up one day and realize how screwed up I made her because I was so messed up.
4) I shudder at using the word “God” because I don’t know how you’ll accept it.
I no longer identify with being a “Christian”, however spirituality and the understanding that there is definitely a connective energy – God/Source/Spirit/Universe/LOVE – means a lot to me. I happen to be raised as a Christian so the word “God” is ingrained in my brain. I sometimes fear that if you’re Christian, you’ll put me in your box and assume we’re the same. I also fear that if you’re not Christian and dislike the word “God” that you’ll completely turn away from me assuming we are not the same. Sometimes I use the word, sometimes I don’t.
5) The only “religion” that is important to me is LOVE.
A long time ago (okay, maybe a year or two) I changed my twitter profile and said “Love is my religion…” and someone got really upset about that telling me love is not at all a religion and I’ve just secured my fate in hell. Understanding that I might be committing myself to a lifetime of fire, love is still my religion. Simply put, I choose to lead my life with love and although it doesn’t always happen, I’m doing the best I can.
6) I sometimes binge on crappy food even though I know it’s horrible.
Perfect example… last night I decided I just wanted a ‘little bite of sweet’. Hearing the pull, I promptly got out of bed, put on my barely appropriate for being seen in public clothes and walked my buns to Coco Market, about 5 minutes away. Walking up and down the aisles, I knew where I was headed but pretended to have better ideas. I walked past all of the fruit, circling it twice, and then headed straight for the Double Stuf Oreos. I got a sleeve for 7,000 rupiah (70 cents) and walked back and ate every single one – except the last two which I finally got up and soaked them in water so I wouldn’t dig them out of the trash and eat them later. I’m not perfect. I’m human. I’ve been judged though because I’m a “Certified Health Coach” and I know better. Sometimes, though, I just want the damn cookie.
7) I just wrote the first draft to my book and I have no idea what’s next.
It scares me to death that I just spent close to $15,000 (program, flight, ‘lost wages’) in order to spend a month in Bali writing a draft for a book and I don’t even know what’s next, where I’m going, how to publish it, etc. I do firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and if this wasn’t meant to be, the money wouldn’t have shown up…but still. It scares me to think I did that with no plan in place.
8) The first 5 days in Bali I spent
crying sobbing myself to sleep. Literally.
I’m completely embarrassed and mortified to tell you this. Ugh. It’s true, though. I felt so alone and afraid and didn’t know what to do with myself. I have NEVER, not once in my life, lived alone. Ever. After I left my parents house, I’ve always lived with a man (husband) and even after my divorces, I always had my daughter. Arriving in Bali for a month meant I was living alone for the first time, ever. It was hard and ugly and I thought for sure I’d die. I didn’t and I’m stronger because of it.
9) I’m teaching what I most need to learn and I’m scared you won’t think it’s enough.
I’ve done a TON of personal growth the last 4 years and I’ve come a long way. But, I’m still completely imperfect and flawed and sometimes I judge myself that I haven’t grown enough and maybe shouldn’t be teaching and supporting others. When I’m in a good space about this, I remember the quote “We teach best what we most need to learn.” – Richard Bach. I know that as long as I’m sharing, openly, honestly, and vulnerably, there are others that will benefit and appreciate what I’m doing. I also know that I’ll never please everyone, and that’s okay too.
10) I sometimes absolutely LOVE religious music (refer to #4).
Even though I don’t identify with a religion, I do love some of the music because it often speaks to a higher power and I firmly agree with that. This song is a perfect example. I met Danny and he’s awesome and he has an incredible story.
11) I went through a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2006.
The word “bankruptcy” has such a negative connotation and just saying that word conjures up ideas and images that are not flattering. I’m not proud to say I did it, but I felt like it was my only option. After divorce #2, I was saddled with some horrible debt that he had tacked onto my name. Plus, ex #1 had gotten into some trouble so the banks were coming after me, even though we’d been divorced for 7 years. May of this year it was finally cleared off my record, but that means I pretty much have no credit – or crappy credit that I’m rebuilding. The good news…it doesn’t define me and I get to start fresh!
12) I had an abortion December 1, 2001.
I was dating and living with future husband/ex #2 at the time. We were both working for the same company – he was a truck driver and I worked in the office. Our relationship was already rocky and deep down I knew it wouldn’t last (that’s another story) but I had found out I was pregnant. I talked to him about it and he insisted that I get an abortion. It was the last thing I wanted to do, but I was so afraid of being alone and without him that I listened. He came with me to the appointment in Minneapolis and I was snarled at and called terrible names as we walked in the door. When I was in with the doctor before the procedure, he told me it was a good thing I had come in (since it had only been verified by peeing on a stick and I hadn’t seen a doctor). He proceeded to tell me that the baby was ‘tubal’ and had I waited much longer, I could have died. Yes, I was against the abortion, but grateful for #2 insisting on it. I can’t say if I’d be here otherwise. After the procedure we headed to our company Christmas party where I proceeded to bowl 5 games. This is not good and not a decision I’m proud of – again, listened to what I was being told to do.
13) Being fired from my roles with Aquatennial was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to embrace.
After having dreamed of participating with Aquatennial for YEARS, literally, I spent 3 years in major roles – Captain, Board Member, Vice President, Candidate Program Director. I absolutely loved my role and I really thought I was doing a great job with the program. After a couple hard years with a lot of changes, I was informed that I was no longer needed in my roles and someone else would be filling them. I was immediately heartbroken and confused about what I had done wrong. Still not having a clear answer, I’ve moved on and embrace the open space in my life that this firing has created. I embrace.
14) After 3 marriages and 3 divorces, I still believe in LOVE.
Everything happens for a reason. Although one of the hardest things was being fired from Aquatennial, it’s also one of the best things I’ve been part of. It’s where I met my partner, Lindsey. Through Aquatennial he and I were able to build a strong foundation and friendship. After my divorce #3, both of us still involved with Aquatennial, we began spending more time together. It’s amazing what can happen and unfold when you aren’t desperately seeking and searching for love. By letting go of any expectation we found each other and it’s amazing what has unfolded. Marriage #4? Maybe.
Okay…I think I could probably go on and share a few more, but we’re already over 1,700 words which is FAR too long for a simple blog post. I will say this, though, going through the process of sharing makes me feel a little lighter. I’m not sure how I’ll feel once it’s in the ethers for others to judge, but I digress. If there is judgment, that’s okay – I still embrace me and love me – imperfectly perfect.
And there are other things that many may consider darker or uglier – we’ll get to those. These, however, are the ones that are a bit challenging for me to share because I’ve received so much judgment around them in the past. Today I say I’m over it and what you do is on you and what I do is on me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments and if you feel like being brave, I’d love to hear something that would be on your list. And speaking of your thoughts and comments… #15 – I’m still learning how to work this friggin’ website. The comments are turned off so feel free to reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via facebook. Looking forward to it!
Make a Difference . . . Lead with Love