I promise to hold myself up to the light of truth, to acknowledge my worthiness, and to know that I am not somehow flawed, but a work in progress.
I promise to go easy on myself on days when my reserves are low and to make it okay to say no.
I promise to praise myself as much as I praise others.
I promise to be grateful for all that I have accomplished and know what I have not yet accomplished is on its way.
I promise to see the woman in the mirror and always find something to be grateful for.
I promise to love without restraint if only for the sole reason that I am capable of doing so.
I promise to trust my inner voice, for I truly do know the best decision to make – the one that works for me.
I promise to use my experiences to my advantage, to learn from them, not berate or minimize them.
I promise not to take myself too seriously, to laugh a bit more, to take a few more risks, and to do things because I want to, not because I should.
I promise not to settle for less than I deserve.
I promise to believe that I can and will accomplish what I intend.
I promise to fix my nail polish if it gets chipped. It might seem trivial, but it’s also the little things that make the big difference in how I feel about myself.
We all do it. Or rather don’t do it. We don’t always say what we think. You know what I’m talking about. We’re on the verge of saying something, but then we cover our thoughts with sighs and forced smiles.
We put on that façade because…sometimes it’s just easier. Easier to slip out of the conversation unnoticed. Explanations usually only complicate the situation, opening the door to more discussion and blatant exposure of our soul. We are called on to answer questions that sometimes catch us off guard, tricking us into revealing more than we had ever intended. With everything so transparent, we are up for scrutiny with emotional poking and prodding and curious interrogation.
So, instead we come up with pretty words, smoke-screen phrases, trick-of-the-light diversions that lead our companions down one alleyway, while we’re running like hell the down the other, looking for the nearest dumpster or empty doorway to hide in until the perceived threat passes.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Okay, so I tend to hide sometimes. Even when my heart screams yes, my mind slaps me upside the head and says, “Are you nuts? What are you thinking?” For years the tides of emotion in my house began and ended with me, and for some unknown reason, my emotions were law. Me. My emotions. As if I had any expertise in that field. Go figure.
So, to maintain a steady stream, I dubbed myself the dam keeper. And it became a way of life. But it doesn’t serve me anymore, and now I’m working on my letter of resignation.
As part of my “rehab,” I do let loose. There are playgrounds I let the Wild Child run amuck, giving only a brief show of concern when the Wild Child gets too…wild. But some neighborhoods are dark and silent, familiar, yet…not. I tend to explore those with a bit more caution, making sure each step is solid before moving on. But the Wild Child is always there, egging me to run through those streets barefoot. Some days she’s so much fun to follow, and I lose track of myself. Carefree one moment, waking up the next with such an emotional hangover, thinking…Yikes! Did I actually do that?
Ah, but we’re all works in progress, and I’m certainly no exception. I would even claim that none of us are the same as we were one, five, or ten years ago. Shedding behaviors that are counterproductive – just like ridding our closets of the clothes that don’t fit us well anymore – is key, and huge to our growth.
It may be hard to part with that comfortable pair of sweatpants, but, baby, if it doesn’t look good, if it’s worn out and tired looking? Yeah. Just give it to the Wild Child. She’ll know exactly what to do with it.
I like touching people. It doesn’t have to be much – just a touch on the arm or hand, a pat on the knee, or better yet, a hug. Most of us have heard of the health benefits of touching and how beneficial it is for the giver and the receiver – strengthening of the immune system, positive mood stimulation, reassurance, and comfort. It is said that humans needs four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and twelve hugs a day for growth. How many of us actually get that?
Well, I try. As my friends can attest, I hug just about everyone. It takes me awhile to get through a room full of people I know, because giving a heart-felt embrace takes time. I’ll even take a chance on people I meet for the first time. They’re surprised for a second, but most of the time they open up and give as good as they get.
Aside from the benefits, I hug because it feels good. I hug because I can. For me, it’s a way of exchanging energy. It grounds me and connects me to others. I have a lot of energy and touching and hugging is a way to disperse it, keeping the flow going. Without it, the qi can back up and turn rancid.
Like the moon and tides, I go through cycles where my energy runs high and I have more than enough energy to share, but then almost from one moment to the next, I’ll fall and I’ll fall hard. It’s during those times when I’m drained, that hugs from others are life savers, helping me to fill up the stores again. Very similar to long distance runners, with nothing to replenish the energy I put out, I bonk.
For the most part, I find people are receptive to hugging, but not everyone feels the same as I do. Some people don’t like to be touched at all. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve hugged my mother. She was one of those who just did not like to be touched. That trait was apparently passed down to my oldest brother. On the rare occasions that we see each other, I’ll instigate a hug, but as close as I try to stand to him, he makes damn sure there is plenty of space between us and all I can feel is a light tap of his fingertips on my back. Kind of like air kisses. Completely pointless and far from satisfying.
My son is sort of like that. He’s generous with hugs, but when I try to touch his leg, knee, or arm, he’s quick to get out of reach.
“What’s the matter?” I asked him one day after trying to get his attention by tapping on his knee.
“I just don’t like being touched,” was his reply.
“Why?” I reached for his knee again and he pulled away. “What is it about being touched that bothers you?”
He thought for a moment and shrugged. “It’s kind of like the backward kneecaps on a flamingo. That’s just the way it is.”
*Blank stare* Yeah. Thanks, buddy. You really cleared that up for me.
But, to each their own, and I totally respect other people’s spaces, but it’s all I can do to not give people like that a drive-by hug.
So what about you? Are you the touchy-feely sort? Do you make it a point to hug or is your personal space yours and yours alone? Everyone is different and that’s why I’d love to hear from you!
It’s been pretty intense around here, with all the soul cleansing and growth, the changes inside and out. Like finding seashells along the shifting tides, I was too wrapped up in my discoveries to see the signs.
Still, I knew something was off. I felt the shift in his manner, his voice, and the way he looked (or rather the way he didn’t look) at me. The realization hit me like a 2 x 4 yesterday morning and gave me a raging headache. I couldn’t let this sit and stew. I had to do damage control – and fast.
I woke up this morning and felt really, really awful. Sick, but not physically. It was more like my heart and soul had collapsed. I didn’t have it in me to get out of bed, and for me, that’s pretty bad.
I panicked because I realized I had forgotten something very, very important. What made this oversight even worse, was that I couldn’t remember how long ago that I had begun to forget.
Sometime between the ages of 15 and 16, I would guess. Maybe even before then. Perhaps it was it when you started with the teen-tude or buried yourself under texting and Facebook. Maybe it was when you started rolling your eyes or put your emotions on permanent lockdown when I went off on my “informative lectures.”
My love started to fall under the guise of teaching you the “rights” and “wrongs” of life and somehow I made you feel less than the perfect person you are. You did things your way, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted more from you, but I didn’t take into account that you had your own issues to process – issues you came into this world with, along with the normal, everyday teenager stuff.
The only difference between the issues you and I are processing is that yours are new and mine are old. Yeah. Mine go waaaay back, but I’ve been flinging them at you when something set me off, and I didn’t realize that until just now. I reacted with anger when you showed me lack of respect. Feelings of worthlessness screamed when you ignored me when I talked. I felt inadequate when, even though I gave you 200%, you complained about it and still wanted more. That’s all recycled stuff from a different decade, bleeding from my past into your present.
Whether intentional or not, I had ignored the distinct sound of disconnection when you tuned me out. I fought hard to pull you close when you fought hard to push me away.
During that battle for control, I believe that is when I forgot to show you that I love you. As a writer, I should know this one. I could tell you I love you until I’m blue in the face, but it won’t have the same impact unless I put action in place of those words. When you stand four inches taller than me, I see the man you are becoming, but forget that you still respond better to hugs than to words.
Today you take your pretest in Tang Soo Do, and after that you are only a few months away from your black belt. You could never have gotten this far had you not been determined, focused, and talented. You are a force to be reckoned with, and I couldn’t be prouder of you.
So now I will start once again to build the bridge between us. I’ll teach my lessons through examples and laugh a heck of a lot more. I’ll be sure to draw the line between my issues and yours. I’ll untie the cord around your waist and give you room to stretch your wings. Not that this gives you a carte blanche to do whatever you want, but this will allow you express yourself and be who you need to be without my issues holding you down.
I hope that by letting you go, you’ll find your way back to me.
And I promise…I’ll remember to never forget.
Your biggest fan,